You might have noticed that lately the Noni Designs Facebook page has been a lot of fun. I wish I could take all the credit, but I have to say that I have been watching, delighted, from across the room as I sit here and knit furiously, design new bags, write blog entries, read your comments. Occasionally I will stretch my legs, pop in, and be part of the fun. The lion’s share of the credit for our new fun Noni Facebook, Twitter, and soon to some degree a bit of my Ravelry presence, goes to Melissa Schoenwether, one of the smartest, most upbeat, funny, and loyal people I know.
You might have noticed Melissa already. She has been posting comments to my blog entries and cheer leading on my Facebook page.
Melissa and I met a little over a year ago when I was on a teaching trip to Hawaii. Melissa lives on Kauai and I met her at the workshop hosted by Hanalei Strings N Things, a sweet little shop on the North Shore that has started their own line of hand-dyed yarns since I was there. We immediately became friends. Her three beautiful children got on well with my son, her husband taught my husband to surf . . . how often do you find a whole family with which you have that kind of feeling of sympatico?
Melissa called me with encouragement just about every day when I cloistered myself in my in-laws summer cottage on Lake Huron (in winter!) in order to write the Noni Flowers book (40 flower patterns in 30 days! It was intense!).
The circumstances of our lives took us away from each other for a while and it was, strangely, my phone that got us back in touch. That sounds silly: of course it was the phone. . . we talk on the phone a lot. But it was my phone dialing Melissa out of nowhere, truly, out of nowhere. I remember hearing the sound of a woman’s voice on the other side of the room in my studio (it was late and quiet, everyone in the offices and studios around already gone for the day) Melissa’s phone message sounded tiny and far away. She called right back and time closed. It was as though we had just said goodbye to each other in front of her house on the garden island.
I hesitate to offer a biography or resume for Melissa as it is much too tiny to capture her properly, except to say that she is truly one of the most energetic, smartest people I have ever met. She is teaching her children Latin, Hebrew, Greek, French. She reads marketing textbooks as bedtime reading. She has been a ballerina, owned a successful dance studio, is a masterful knitter (she said, when prompted as to her favorite Noni pattern she said this: “I love ALL noni patterns! What are you trying to get me canned? Jk…. I love your sweaters, and Groveralls….I find it funny we are doing Ella as she has been my favorite since you sent me my pattern book. Love flowers and purses too, but just was really taken by the sweaters—and how many looks you could get from one!!”
She is a devoted wife, mother, friend.
Melissa is one of those rare people who does nothing with a sense of lethargy–I marvel at what she has done in her life and she is yet young (and also beautiful!). She gives herself to her tasks. And I am so so lucky that she has given herself to the task of Noni’s social media face in order that I might devote myself more fully to this and the other blog postings, to my designs, to more book ideas, to sourcing and designing hardware and other products for your delight.
So, to clarify my world and hers: it is always always my voice you will hear in this blog. if you see a Facebook post from Nora Bellows, it will 99.8% of the time be me personally. Melissa might jump in if I am on a remote mountain with no internet and someone has a question that can’t wait for my return. Both of us will post on the Noni Designs wall, though it will mostly likely be Melissa as she is organizing promotions, give-aways, exciting events I hope you will all take part in. . . there is much more fun to come! If you want to talk to me, or hear from me, just ask. Just write to me. Just call. That’s me over there sitting on a boulder knitting flowers, and listening, and watching, and smiling at how lucky I am to have Melissa’s extraordinary help.