Monday, December 31, 2012

Obsessive hoarding fix

Hi Everyone,

As part of that lovely reorganization we are still working on, I have come to the determination that all of us in the 'handmade' industry are hoarders to some extent.

It is damn near impossible to throw out scraps.

There I have said it, but alas feel absolutely no better for it. Or any closer to resolving the HUGE issue that entails.

I have however, found a bit of solace in creativity about it. After discovering a slew of gauze scraps, I made some drop dead gorgeous flowers. If you have drop dead gorgeous flowers, you must then create something to place said flower on.

Has any of this made sense?

It did to me, there' a problem right there . . .LOL!

In February, we have agreed to be part of a huge bridal event in Chicago called Indie Wed. If you are a bride to be, it is the best of the independent best to be found. Really great artisans in the bridal industry. No corporate stores or firms allowed.

And then there is us, the burlap and poultry netting folks.

Last Spring we did the show at the Harley Davidson Museum and it was spectacular. We were inundated from the moment the doors opened to closing as we were the only shabby / rustic / romantic farmhouse type vendors there.

So now that we have one under our belts, look out our displays are going to be killer this year.

That is as killer as one could be in a 6 X 6 space. Really ? I digress. So sorry.

I used my scraps for a table setting item that everyone has thought about, the infamous mason jar / glass jar centerpiece.

Here is  Jar #1 Gauze and copper wire with satin rose

Jar #2 is lace and German Glass shards

Jar #3 is painted jar with lace and gauze rose

What do you think ?

There is still a big bag of scraps and I can see more gauze roses in the future.

Road schedule

February 2  -  Indie Wed , 4025 N. Ravenswood Ave  Chicago IL 

Working on the new things and off to get in more trouble,,

the Muze

Friday, December 28, 2012

Main stream and new introductions

Hi Everyone,

We have finally had a teeny tiny dusting of snow here in the South suburbs of Chicago and I am hoping that we don't receive anything else til we get back from Michigan in about 8 days. One can always hope . . . 

While out running errands early today, I stumbled on something kinda' cool. For a couple of years we have been proud to say we were part of the new revolution of the standard antique market industry. When referring to antiques these days, one also needs to include words like vintage, shabby chic, mid century, industrial and retro as they are integral parts of the industry today, 2012.

This has made it into mainstream as evidenced today at the new Whole Foods store near us. Take a look at the cool checkout lane lights.

Yep, vintage soda bottles! How cool is that? Then down the aisle they had these for sale . . . 
Yes, boys and girls, canning jars and wildflowers, the exact items we have been showing for our  shabby chic/ rustic farm/barn weddings for the past couple of years. This store also has beautiful tin ceiling accents and tons of worn wood, patina finished pieces, a real shabby feel. Guess we have arrived, if the building industry is shabby-ing upscale stores!

I have a sneak peak for you on our newest line to be shown at Grand Rapids next week. After serious contemplation, I decided to design a line of totes, not purses for practicality reasons. Seems there are a slew of bags out there, all about the same size, so I have a new line of really use-able tote bags, shabbied up with gorgeous laces, fabrics, beadwork, doilies, vintage jewelry and handmade flowers.

Here is a corner of the first tote . . .
And the second one . . .
That gauze rose is to die for in real life. These totes are very generous, 13" W X 14"H  X 7"D with additional handles, ready a million different uses. If work continues at the current rate, there will be 4 new designs of these gorgeous new totes and if they make it through the MI show I will put what ever I have left on Etsy. You know you are on the right road when you take your new project out in public and several people stop you and ask about it! (Just another reason to move into the Trader Joe's, but I digress . . . ) So it is a serious push to get all of the it done, new runners, new journals and new totes. 
Back to the mill, more later,

the Muze

Monday, December 24, 2012

Introducing . . .

Hi Everyone,

Well, as promised, more new items are finding their way here and without further adieu our newest tassel in the family, Scrapper
This tassel was literally a culmination of all the scraps I found during my big workroom redo. A piece of lace here, scrap of shredded muslin there, leftover piece of ribbon found, each time I added a scrap, it added a dimension to this tassel. Pretty soon I was in awe to how gorgeous these guys turned out. Kinda' shabby, kinda vintage and a whole lot of fun, that pretty much sums up Scrapper, coming to a show near you in the near future.

Back to the desk,
the Muze 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Newest additions

Hi Everyone,

Having a little bit of time off of the road and a really good cold snap is as good of a reason as any to sit and create for endless hours. That and having the Crockpot helping out with dinner. Can we say the world's best slow cooked barbecued pulled pork ever? (contact me for the really easy super delicious recipe) Then, there is the pot roast and root veggies for the family dinner today. Good old fashion comfort food, yes sign me up now. Being on the road makes you appreciate good cooking, trust me on this one.

So, having everyone else taken care of, I sat down to add some new, "old things" into our first of the year show in Grand Rapids MI on the 5th of January. 2013, where did last year go to and so quickly?

When the first couple of industrial tassels were created, I immediately saw tons of possibilities, all sorts of different textiles, fibers and materials to incorporate down the line. Saw them but had absolutely no additional time to get them created until now . . . 

Here is the one of the latest,

meet CR, a relative to Silky,

A wonderful permanently, scrunched and stained ribbon tassel perfect for an accent anywhere, front of a cabinet door, pull for a window shade or window treatment, pillow and the list goes on and on. Oh heck, just fun to have because you can! 

This tassel medium will be shown in two ways in our shop, cut, like pictured above and a looped version as well, CR Loop. 
Today I am hoping to finish a lace version and a new sample of Hercules so I have a lot to do. We will also have some of our regular tassels, IT and Cutter making an appearance, so it will make a nice display.

Two days ago we cut 30 new runners, 16" X 72" 11 gauge burlap as well, some to be sold as elements on our Elements board for those of you needing a basic piece to start with and others to be embellished with vintage doilies, lace and anything else that strikes my fancy at the moment. Ahh, the joy of being able to create at whim. Nothing like it in the world. Those get packaged next week, hopefully.

The last item or should I hint at items, is something we have been asked about for over a year now. Sure I could tip my hand but I would rather try to finish the first two and show you here but suffice it to say, I think everyone will be surprized at what I have been able to come up with. I know I am, as I never thought I would try to make something like this. But because we value your input and inquiries, I am going to try my hand at this. Heaven help the fashion industry, here I come . . . 

Til then, I am busy, busy, busy . . .

Road schedule,

February 2  -  Indie Wed , 4043 N. Ravenswood Ave  Chicago IL 

Working on the new things,


Monday, December 17, 2012

O M G ! ! ! take 2

Hi Everyone,

This past weekend we set out for Columbus Ohio early, like 2 AM in the morning early. We were headed to the Scott Antique Market, an indoor antique market held only in the fall and winter months.

For those of you who are rejoining us, welcome. I have no idea what that glitch was all about, but once again I apologize on behalf of Blogger for keeping this soooo entertaining.

As I was saying, leaving that early in the morning or was it leaving so late at night?, makes one question one's sanity at times.

Here in northern Illinois, the state that taxes dead people not once but twice, we pay exorbitant prices for gas. Next to California, we are right up there, consistently, without fail.

So the one joy in traveling is trying to find reasonable gas prices because logic states if we are leaving Chicago, it's gonna be less. We usually make our first stop right over the Indiana /Illinois boarder as it normal drops about 20 cents a gallon immediately.

On Friday morning it did. Yeah!, less money to fill up. Home was $3.39 and Gary Indiana was $3.09. But wait there's more.

Next stop somewhere in the Indianapolis area usually.(can you tell we have made this trip too many times?)

And there it was.

Gas priced under $3, Since it was a little before 5 AM, I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or not, so I took a picture. Yes, the other customer thought it was pretty funny.

We drove on to Ohio, arrived just in time to make our load in window and had an interesting weekend. Senior citizens are so much fun.

Then we packed up, bought gas in Columbus at $3.03 a gallon, again feeling pretty excited and headed home.

Next stop Indy. I am sensing a definite pattern here.

Imagine my shock and disbelief when I pulled into the same station Sunday evening and saw this. Keep in mind we are accustomed to seeing much higher prices on Sunday evening between Michigan and home, as everyone and their Mother is coming back from their weekend away and therefore, they jack the gas prices way up.

But nope not Indy.

Can you believe this? It was amazing to fill up the truck for $37.50, not over $50.

It's the small things that make us smile and after this past Friday's events in Conneticut, we all need to smile thru our broken hearts and tears, wouldn't you agree?

Home to create for awhile,

the Muze

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back to the road (again)

Hi Everyone,

Before it starts getting back to the normal level of crazy, I thought I would post two new items we are taking to Ohio with us this weekend.

A couple of years ago, our customers from downtown Chicago told us they loved our wire boards for organizing, especially their earrings. Seems the theory of having all of it where you can see it, means that you wear it more often. Sounded sensible to me, especially when you think about digging through drawers and boxes in the wee hours of the AM. The one request we got time after after time, was to have a place to have both earrings and necklaces or bracelets.

So we did exactly that. And boy, have they been popular. So popular I haven't had a chance to photograph and get them here. As soon as we load them for a show, they disappear and the process starts all over for the next show.

These two babies just left the shop to be packed so I grabbed them quickly.

Lots of hooks to hang just about anything, bracelets, lanyards, necklaces and don't forget keys.

I personally love mine by the door for keys and last minute reminder notes. Anything to organize me is a huge win-win, just ask the DH. He would jump on that one!

We are off again to the wonderful area of Columbus OH for the Scott Antique Market at the Fairgrounds. It is a sold out show, so bring plenty of cash and your walking shoes, there is plenty to shop with over 800 dealers. I am worn out already and haven't driven the six hours and done the set up yet.

Just remember, we're the folks with all the coffee bean bags and tons of burlap and of course, while they last, wire jewelry boards!

Here's the next couple of shows;

December 15 &16 - Scott Antique Market, Columbus OH 

For 2013 - (can you believe that ? ? ? ?)

January 5 & 6  -  Grand Rapids Antique Market, Grand Rapids MI

January 26 - Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace, Carmel IN at The Fountains

Until then I need to get back to creating the Spring line,

the muze

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thank you Sandy

Hi Everyone,

Things have been crazy busy here with our big workroom redo that we undertook starting Wednesday. Here it is Sunday evening and we are about 2/3 rds the way done. Thank heavens, it was so much more difficult than I had planned. Where did all this stuff come from to begin with?

Since we are a majority of handmade items, that requires a whole lot of different mediums and materials to have to work with. Add in I only work a minimum of two to three days a week creating and producing until it's back on the road again, things get out of hand real fast, i.e.; why clean up, I am just going to be back at this in a couple of days. You can see where this was going, real fast.

To compound the situation, I have been grabbing up every bit of lace I come across as we have been using quite a bit in a lot of different projects (and I am a sucker for a beautiful piece of lace). When it came time to straighten out all those pieces, I discovered how many I really had. Uh oh, there are a whole lot of lace pieces that I need to find a home for. Multiple that by 30 or 40 different materials and I have a huge storage issue.

So I took a little break and checked in on some of our 'road' friends, fellow vendors that we don't get to see very often. What everyone is doing and showing in their booths.

One of my favorites is our friends Joe and Sandy from Rhubarb Reign. Sandy describes their business as;

rhubarb reign is an antique and design business specializing in cottage-style furniture, artsy smalls and found objects. 

One of the main reasons I fell in love with their booth was Sandy always has cool laundry baskets like this

She and Joe always have really cool stuff. They are two of the nicest vendors we have the privilege of showing with, professional, kind and oh so knowledgeable about everything in this crazy business.

As of today, Sandy moved up on my appreciation ladder a couple of more rungs. When I went to visit her blog to see where she and Joe were going to be in the next couple of weeks, I noticed that she has this little blurb under the category of,


That's us ! That I am aware of, it is the very first time anyone has every listed our blog. Thank you Sandy for listing us, it means the world to us and hopefully we will show together again soon. It seems like forever since we were in Allegan and April seems like a long, long time off. We should cross paths somewhere at a Zurko show in January if everything works out.

In the meantime, thank you Sandy, for making my whole day. It was so kind of you but that is so you, just being you, a sweet friend.

Back to creating something out of all these goodies,

the muze

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All in the Details

Hi Everyone,

I forgot to post this cool picture of our booth from Louisville on the last post. Rarely do we show at night and there are always challenges when you do. Mr. Wonderful has really gotten that lighting issue under control and we have great light to show our handmade products by.

I thought it looked pretty good at 7:30 PM in Kentucky Friday evening.
The tent to our right had halogen lighting and was super bright. They showed jewelry and it was very well lit.

It dawned on me as I was going over inventory needs this morning that I have neglected to show the heart and soul of our line, our wire frames.

We offer literally hundreds of different sizes, shapes and profiles and they have been used for every room in the house, many a jewelry display in stores and professional booths, tons of weddings and a few corporate meetings as well. If these frames could talk . . .  the places they have been and the things they have experienced.

We discovered that many have tried to duplicate these frames and many have failed because of the structuring protocol we use. The simple way would be to slap the wire on the back side of the frame and throw a few staples in. The problem with that is they will not support much weight and we have jewelry designers that work in chain maille and it is incredibly heavy. So, our inside installation and reinforced application makes for a very durable and long lasting frame you can use for years. Mr. Wonderful does a really good job if I must say so myself.

There have been square frames as well as octagonal, rectangle, hexagonal and yes, a couple of ovals and rounds along the way. Then this year we started a new addition called jewelry boards, where the boards come with additional hooks at the bottom our wire frames for necklaces and bracelets. I loved them for next to the backdoor for keys as well.
Who knows where these guys will end up at. According to my numbers, we should hit 1.000 wire frames in February. WOW ! That's a lot of frames. Everyone was an antique or vintage piece that was hand finished and meticulously assembled and finished for a clean backside as well. Double picture hangers mean you can hang regular wire frames in either direction, giving you even more choices.

The best part is the fun we have with the phrase 'chicken wire'. Everyone we hear say that in our booth we start a conversation with them that this material is no longer known as chicken wire but now a days is called 'poultry netting'. Guess the duck, roosters, swans and other foul life on the farm demanded equally billing so now a days we use poultry netting.

Yep, that chicken wire has been pretty good to us, just saying. At any given show, we have between forty and sixty frames in stock to choose from and custom requests are never a problem as we probably have close to 2,00 frames in stock.

In the next couple of posts, I will try to show our mixed medium boards. It is difficult to get pictures of the as they sell way too fast when they debut at a show. Earlier this year, we put two boards out that had just been finished and about the second or third customer that wandered in hesitated to actually buy one and said she would be back. I told her we only had the two and they wouldn't last long. Low and behold, the next two customers that came in bought the two boards back to back. We started laughing and saying how that would never have happened normally and if the original customer came back, she would think we were pulling her leg. Sure enough she came back and when I explained that the boards sold right after she had been there, she was none too happy. What's that old expression, you snooze, you lose? 

I will try to get them shot and up on here soon.

I need to go and be creative today.

the muze

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet Louisville

Hi Everyone,

This past weeekend we found ourselves rubbing elbows with the charming and hospitalible folks in Louisville Kentucky.

We were showing at the Winter Fare at TJUC and were OUTDOORS ! ! ! ! yes, it was a balmy 61 degrees and sunny, a great day to be out enjoying art.

As per our usual expectations, I always feel we are the 'unexpected party guest' at these events. Inside the building were the 'artists' , sculpturers, weavers, jewelers and woodworkers. So, by the time they got outdoors, the reactions were hands down hysterical at times.

We were overwhelmed by the kindness and charming visitors who graced our little world. One of our customers was so sweet to return to our booth the following day and present us with an actual horseshoe from the Kentucky Derby. It is so cool and has a story card to go with it. We got invited to lunch and dinner at two different homes, so we are definitely planning on visiting again. Such a great time.

Several new journals made their debut at this show as well.

Again, I can not get the pictures to post correctly, this is beyond frustration at this point. I am so sorry.
This lace and jeweled book turned out so aged looking, a bit of a vintage feel as well. What would lace be without a few beautiful pearls to boot?

We also have a few new smaller blackboards that found new homes, sweet additions to desks or childrens rooms as well.
We are trying to firm up the rest of our year but do know for sure we will be in Grand Rapids at the first of next year at the DeVos center for the Antiques Show. Let's hope the snow stays to a minimum.

I promise to post the rest of the schedule soon. Just not enough hours right this second !

the muze