Sunday, December 4, 2011

December what ?

Hi Everyone,

My sincerest apologies for neglecting you and this poor blog for so long. I seriously can't believe it is December and the end of 2011. Really? Where did those 11 months go so flippin' fast?

This is the first time we have been off the road in what seems like an eternity, actually 39 weeks and counting, but hey who's keeping track of such trivial stuff like that? We have shown at several new venues and are in the midst of adjusting our 'perfect' set-up for indoor areas without a tent.

At first, no tents sounded so great, no heavy lifting, no struggling to lock the legs in, no sides but then reality set in. We were spoiled with all of our very own walls to hang and display wreaths, frames and banners on and all of a sudden it's NO WALLS at all. Back to the drawing board and here I was thinking we were finally in a great place for displays, NOT! LOL It is always a challenge each and every venue as they all have different shapes and sizes and we have different neighbors, which means the background to our things now has a different look each and every venue. For joy!

But, we have met some really cool people and have been fortunate enough to be able to show with the top promoters in the Midwest, real professionals who have our business as their top priority. Like the Zurko team from Wisconsin. Bob Zurko, the chief Indian, has been doing shows for over 45 years, (just shoot me now please) and the 'gals' as I call them, his wife and sister, Irene and Eileen, the office, are the most organized, kindest souls you ever want to show with. Just the best and it makes our job so much easier. They procure beautiful clean sites to do the flea markets and antique shows in, provide us with all the tools we need, great marketing and advertising, great traffic and support to boot.

We will be heading to Grayslake again next week and I will be showing off our newest addition, our slip covered journals. I am so in love with the idea to be able to keep the artwork and change just the inside book as you need a new journal.

Fabric, embellishments and flowers are just a few of the many elements I am using on these creations.

Another new treat is my 'believe' hearts. Just as sweet as can be. About 4" by 4" and come with a cool muslin shred hanger if needed.

What would shabby chic be with a bird cage sitting around?

The boxes are flying out of the booth so I found this really cool oval shape one I picked up, who knows when or where, and love the french hatbox feel this one ended up with. It reminds me of how we grew up around real hat wear. My aunt Jane was a hat maker and as a child we used to sneak into the 'hat room' and make our very own chapeaus. What a hoot that was!

The main reason I have not posted tho is that my personal schedule and life have been severely disrupted by the sudden lost of my best companion and bud for the last 21 years.

I lost Nubian to heart failure a little over a week ago and the loss is so overwhelming and so difficult to get past. He was my constant companion while creating or working in the office our entire time together. Where ever I was, he had to be close, as in real close to me and I didn't mind a bit. As he became more ill over the years, I learned to type single handed and hold him for hours as that was how he was most comfortable. Rest in peace my dear friend, you are sorely missed daily.

This week, I have the privilege of teaching 'brown paper packages' at a cool little boutique in Glenview, IL on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The Vintage Nest is a a great place to find shabby chic / vintage accents for you and your home and I am so looking forward to visiting with Mindy and her clients.

We will be sashaying into Grayslake this weekend and are looking forward to seeing everyone again there.

Til then,

the muze
All My Musings
We are headed back

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

still getting ready

Hi Everyone,

Our trip to Waukesha was wonderful this past weekend. We showed at the Waukesha Expo Market and we were amazed at the quality and the type of vendors we encountered. The best of collectible vendors were there with very good quality finds. So many types and cool things to look at, a very fun market to see.

This show is run by Jeff Herbert, who I have to admit is the most proactive, in your corner, go get-em' show organizer we have ever dealt with. Nice doesn't even come close to describing Jeff, he is just magnificent. He is careful about choosing vendors and as a result has the friendly, warmest and neatest vendors all in one space, a round space to be exact.

He hired a new caterer this year for his events and boy can they cook! The real homemade chicken noodle soup was delicious and the pulled pork sandwiches to die for. Such a welcome change from normal venue fast food vendors. We all know it's about the food during really long days.

So, we are back home and still creating for the big Holiday show in Morris on the 18th and 19th of November.

This involves making tags, boxes, wine bags and cards just to name a few of the many items we are going to offer this year.

We are also going to bring along a lot of our frames, only much smaller ones.

A lot of these are on easels for desk use.

They make great gifts, just in case you were wondering.

More pictures to follow, off to bed for now,

the muse
All My Musings

Thursday, October 27, 2011

getting ready

Hi Everyone,

It has been very quiet here on the blog front as my very stained fingertips have been elsewhere, creating.

Several months ago, my BFF Linda the muze and I were fortunate enough to spend a couple of days together and attend a little resource show called CHA in Chicago at the Rosemont Convention Center.

Basically, it's like feeding drugs to an addict. The product offering and ideas are so overwhelming, your senses are on an overload of no comparison and the entire time you are on the setting, rush.

But, you come away with new goodies and a million ideas at least. Both of us took pictures and journaled while we went through with the grand expectations of remembering a fraction of some of the things we saw.

One of our successes has been these great altered boxes we designed. The only catch has been that they do not last past one show, so if I forget to photograph them, these babies are history. That and they are not the quickest thing to make. It would help if I was the patient type.

So for the last few days, I have been finishing up several and gotten them ready for their Wisconsin debut this weekend.

Here is a neutral one, it is the large size, about 4"W by 12"L done in just paint and gauze.

and they do not photograph well either. Or could it be the photographer, probably the better guess. Guaranteed the better guess.

This box has an amber glass handle and handmade gauze rose tag to finish it off. It is really beautiful in person, I promise to work on the photography thing.

The next one is very dark, all shades of deep chocolate chip, with a partial stained gauze covering. This gauze washed out to almost a deep rose/purple color in certain sections, just luscious.

It is the small size, about 2.5 W X 9.5 L with cute feet, I do have a thing for cute feet that's for sure.

the fun tag

and the cute feet and all the beautiful
color on the stained gauze

The last one I am sharing is a combination of soft greens and blues with a really cool antique backplate and glass door knob for a handle.

It is the medium size box, about 3.5 W X 10.5 L and the papers are really soft and worn  in appearrance.

Hopefully, these will do well in Waukesha this weekend.

Better go pack and get ready, Til next week . . .

the muze
All My Musings

Saturday, October 15, 2011

off the road

Hi Everyone,

Seems a little odd to be posting on a Saturday as normally we are at a show, somewhere other than home.

But for the first time in nineteen weeks, we are home and getting ready for future shows. Today I am working on the 'Brown Paper Packages Tied Up WithString' class at the Careful Peach in beautiful downtown Oak Park. Karen and her staff are graciously hosing this class, hoping to get everyone on board to start planning for the Holiday season.

So after sketching out some pretty cool tags and a couple of ideas about using doilies, I have a plan, or at least I think I have a plan, LOL! We'll see how this goes.

So stay tuned as I hope to post a couple of the new pieces before I pack up for the class on Wednesday. If you are in the Chicagoland area and would like to attend the class, contact Karen at the Careful Peach for details.

Back to creating,

the muze

Thursday, October 13, 2011

the NA DA Farm Barn Event

Hi Everyone

Thank you for being so patient about the farm event post. Busy week with catch up and filling custom orders on top of life !

As I hinted before, the setting for this event is just spectacular to view. The prairie setting is so calm and tranquil . . .

the gardens spectacular

so we had to get ready for what we all hoped for, a huge crowd of shoppers that would enjoy this wonderful setting.

It was so helpful having lots of help setting this event up. Ana Koval from Lock 16 in LaSalle and her son Peter handled the huge load of vintage furniture and rustic primitives. Here's Peter. George and I setting up the tents. Candy was so kind to be snapping all these wonderful pictures as we had our hands full.

After 2 hours, we were ready and boy, did we need to be ready for this . . .

We had a steady stream of folks from start to finish. We jokingly told everyone that our 2 tents were part of the pre-show as they had to pass by us to get to the barn part of the barn event. Here's where the line continued past our place, we are all the way to the left of this picture but you can see the line trying to get into the barn.

We had several new things we showed here.

Some of our new boxes

our new word sticks
part of our brown paper package line with new holiday tags

and our new paper trees

The tree on the left is handcrafted from antique hymnal pages. They both stand about 12" tall.

A big thank you to everyone who drove out, stopped and chatted, took home goodies and made us felt welcome. We had such a great time and can't wait until next year.

Thanks for stopping by today but I must get back to creating. Til next time . . .

the muse

Sunday, October 9, 2011

the farm

Hi Everyone,

We are slowly recuperating from the most wonderful trip out to NA DA farm today and I will be posting pictures soon. Just need a days rest from visiting with all the new friends and customers we met the last two days.

You know you are at the farm when you see . . .
this headed towards your booth. She was just curious and looked around and then left without purchasing anything!

Seriously, this event is a small piece of heaven on earth. This was the entrance to the path to the barn. The cool hurricanes were protected by those window pane awnings and were stunning at night.

Truly beautiful.

I will post  soon with new goodies.

the muse
All My Musings

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Nite and God Bless Steve Jobs

Hi Everyone,

The world of technology got a little smaller tonite with the incredibly sad news that a true visionary and brilliant mind had left us, Steve Jobs has passed. This blog wouldn't be here tonite if it weren't for the path that Steve Jobs blazed for us all.

Our society of instant gratification stems from all the development in Silicone valley, the computer age as some referred to it. But I often wondered what it would have been like to have a mind so far reaching into the unknown and so driven to make something better as he dedicated his entire life to. He was driven but brilliant, most creative people are to some extent. Yet every time Mr. Jobs came up with an idea, the whole world gasped with awe. 

I remember when I saw the first iPhone and thinking at the time how he must have seen the tip of the iceberg so to say. If you could use a touch screen for a phone, why not a computer and hence, the iPad was so to follow as well as computer software making touchscreen a reality, not just something you saw on a TV drama.

True creative minds are very hard to come by and this evening we are all a little bit better for having Steve and his brilliant mind in our lives.

Thank you Steve for making us all feel like kids with new toys and improving our communication needs on a daily basis. You will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to your family and loved ones, for their loss is immeasurable for sure.

Good night and God bless you Mr. Jobs, we will miss you. You did change the world

Monday, October 3, 2011

a wonderful Sunday in Wisconsin

Hi Everyone,

After a very long week in the rain, we finally finished up all of our items, repacked the vehicles and headed back to WI, Cedarburg to be specific.

As mentioned before, we have fallen in love with the Cedarburg area and the people we encounter. It promised to be a sun filled day for the Maxwell Street Days event and we started our journey on Saturday afternoon to take advantage of the Saturday early set up. It is so much easier on our weary and tired bodies to set up a day early and then get a good nights rest.

I thought you might want to know what goes on to get the store up and going. Here's how it happens . . . first you find your spot.

This is space 128 .
The steel marker in the ground has been there for decades and the rules state that we get 12' from that marker to our right.

Well, here's what we start with, a blank empty piece of ground. The van in the background belongs to Karen and John Hanna, real sweethearts and our great space neighbors at 129. They arrived before we did.

We back up the overloaded vehicles,
who packed all that stuff anyway ? Man, that's a alot of things . . .

Let's get going, we need a couple of tents . . . big tents, did you see all that stuff in the previous picture ?

Oh boy, we are about to get a store front (after 3+ hours and a whole lot of work). We worked until about 6 PM and then called it quits for the night.

By 5 AM the next morning, it looks like this. Complete with a very heavy coating of frost on everything, inside and out.

It is still pitch black outside and VERY cold, only 34 degrees. We woke up at our hotel in total darkness as there was an electrical outage, causing us to scurry in the dark. Can't say we looked our best this day, but on the other hand, the store looked good. We love how folks react to our note boards at the right front of the tents and of course, the huge truck full of coffee bags on the left.

The sun came out, they opened the gates at 7 AM and the crowds rushed in. We saw new customers, received great visitors and met new friends, like these ladies. Remember, it is only 8 AM in the morning,
You gotta love the Wisconsin spirit, a glass of Miller in one hand and a pitcher in the other, I think that makes any event more enjoyable! We laughed so hard with them, they love the open drinking policy at public events and we love the sights we see.

So by 5 PM, we were back to this look . . . amazing what goes on in just 24 short hours. Time to get on the road and travel South. 
The good news was we were not the last ones to pack up and leave, a little victory for us each time, we hate being the last ones to leave a venue. We will see you next Spring Cedarburg around May 28th or so.

Today back at the homefront, we started on preparing for the NA DA Farm Event this coming Friday. It promises to be spectacular and we couldn't be more honored to be included. So much work to finish in so little time.

Back to creating . . .

the muse
All My Musings

Friday, September 30, 2011

on the road again . . . still . . . .

Hi Everyone,

and I guess welcome. Boy, has this been a long and not so productive journey. Our website, is still not up and running (if you know a great and REASONABLE website site designer, call me !) and this is the next stepping stone to keeping in touch with all of you out there. So grab a cup of coffee or tea, here's where we are going . . .

We are on the road again, this will be the 19th weekend in a row. This weekend, October 2 we are going to visit the great folks in Cedarburg WI, for their Maxwell Street Flea Market. A little history on this event besides that it is just phenomenal ! The Fireman's Park where the event is held is located just north of historic downtown Cedarburg, population of about 12,000. There are over 1100 spaces available and everything from soup to nuts and us ! The proceeds over the past 45 years have funded the Cedarburg Fire Department and they have very up-to-date equipment and services without any cost to the taxpayers from what I understand. Attention Illinois . . . oh never mind, they wouldn't get it.

This event also has what most Wisconsin events offers, plenty of adult beverages. On our first visit, we observed folks walking around carrying 6 packs of 16 ounces Schlitz in cans, using the six pack holder as a wristlet corsage bracelet. But, as one resident said, 'Hey, it's Wisconsin, what else need I say ?' Cracks us up. But, not a foul word, no one acted out and everyone was in a great mood, sounds like a perfect venue to me.

So, pack up the trucks, we are headed back with new goodies in tow. We will be in the same space, 128, that would be halfway between the Cow Palace and the Grandstand, beer vendors at either end! and of course, lots of food, most importantly bratwurst.

Some of the new items in our little adventure this week will be our vintage boxes, available in 3 sizes, small, approx. 10" x 2 1/2", medium, approx. 11" x 3" and large, approx. 12" x 4 1/4". Great for accent pieces, gift giving or storing keepsakes in.

Here's a couple of pics . . .

This is the polka dot box, topped with stained gauze netting and sitting on glass white with black polka dot ball feet . . . this is medium size . . .

Next, this large size one has a vintage feel paper with crinkled stained gauze, an old wood fitting for a handle and the cutest camel bone feet ever!

look at that foot ! (I'm in love !)

I have designed about 7 of these, all different patterns and finishes, so far.

Also, I will be showing my new tags off, perfect for naked books, gift giving or a great accent as well, this is old rose . . .
Also, we have a full stock of both burlap cork boards and poultry netting boards ready as well to show, about 60 pieces, every size from 4" x 4" to 24" x 40", including a wire hexagonal, you should see George's hands from that one, sheesh!

We are headed to the one and only NA DA Farm next weekend, October 7th and 8th. Check here for details,, promises to be another unbelievable vintage event!
Off to create something . . .

a muse
All My Musings