Sunday, January 27, 2013

Congrats Jon Jensen !

Hi Everyone,

It is very late Saturday evening and I am trying to unwind after the most grueling show day we have experienced in a long time. And I needed a good laugh. Looking at these nuts makes me smile big time.

For months, you have heard stories about how 'interesting' showing at the Indy Vintage and Arts Market has been. We had absolutely the worst weather all summer long yet the show continued grow, customers came out in droves and it ended up being a great venue all summer.

The show is organized by Jon Jensen, a true visionary in the market field and he is just amazing at accomplishing the impossible. Not that he goes looking for it, it just shows up every single time at Indy. Kinda' like a bad relative, you just deal with it.

All of us were thrilled that Jon found an indoor place to keep the Indy Market going during the winter months and our November show was just great.

Today was our second date for the gathering. The original plan was that we could start setting  up inside the building on Friday nite from 7 PM til 9 PM and then finish our set ups from 7 AM til 10 AM on Saturday morning, with the show starting at 10 AM. That sounded great.

So we all packed up our trucks, trailers, vans and cars and braved winds, ice and snow and made it to Indianapolis about 6:45 PM Friday nite.

At 7 PM, we were informed that the previous group meeting in the building was supposed to have left at 5 PM, giving Jon and his staff plenty of time to get ready for us.

Well apparently, the group(we won't let Verizon think we knew who was responsible) didn't finish up until 6:40 PM and only then could Jon and his staff start the room set up.

Uh oh. This isn't good on so many levels.

Hence the picture above. Some of my goofy vendor friends wishing we could get in and start setting up. We were all trying to laugh and joke about time slipping away and we were just standing around waiting.

And waiting. And telling jokes and horror stories about daily life as a vendor. Can we all say Naptha? Inside joke.

And then we were let in. People were moving at the speed of sound, even tho we lost a whole lot of time, the building staff was adamant about us leaving at 9 PM. Wait we're not set up yet ! Yikes.

So early this morning we all showed up again, worked like fiends and got ready before 10 AM.

Jon Jensen works tirelessly to promote this event and for this show he had gotten the local paper to do a feature article on us and how cool this market is. We all read it and thought, wow, let's hope that a few folks read it and come out to see us, especially seeing how we had jumped through many a hoop to get a great looking show put together, despite all the hurdles.

Not only were our prayers answered, they were beyond anything any of us expected. From 10 AM on, the place was jammed packed, shoulder to shoulder folks and merchandise was flying out of everyone's booths. It was amazing. Early guesses are that we doubled November crowds. Unbelievable.

It was so busy that none of us had much time to keep up with straightening and display work. My poor coffee bean bag display is usually nice and straight on its cart and this is what it looked like most of the day.

Half on, half off and it needed to be refilled twice! All the new folks that showed up today apparently had never seen such cool coffee bean bags we discovered and insisted on going through them, fighting over them and taking huge quantities home with them. This poor thing never stood a chance against the masses, LOL!

The day flew by, not much socializing got done but we all agreed it was one fantastic show.

Jon, Lisa and Laurel worked their magic and turned some pretty big obstacles into huge blessings for all of us. In case you didn't get enough of us saying it earlier folks, THANK YOU for a great event and we can't wait to do it again in March. Note to staff: Maybe just a bit less drama tho? What do you think?

I have said it before and I will keep saying it, this is truly a great show to shop or show at and am so grateful that we get to show here.

Just wish I could have shopped today  . . . darn ! Saw some incredible pieces being carried out.

Now on to the Indie Wed show in Chicago next weekend. Lots to do, including making a whole new display. I will try to get pictures of it to post.

Until then, I am going to be a bit busy,

the Muze

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Candy, nothing but sweetness for AMM

Hi Everyone,

It had occurred to me today that I hadn't told you anything about a huge part of the behind the scenes here at AMM before now and I really should have. My sincerest apologies.

Here's to my sister Candy or Candace Marie, as she was called when in trouble back in the good ol' days of our youth. And there were plenty of those days. I digress, I'm sorry.

Candy is my talented, younger sister, just ask her she will be glad to tell you there are tons of years between us, NOT, but that isn't what she'll start the story with.

We were raised in a very active, talented home by our Mom who made sure we were involved with cooking, sewing, needlework and arts. We crafted a ton, sewed almost all of our clothes, made projects, helped with canning, gardening, always something with her. Our first involvement with selling crafts was my Mom and her dolls, Fran's Bebes, handmade rag dolls. They were truly beautiful works of art and we would show them at different venues. Candy and I wanted to get in on it so we started making cross stitch pieces. Hundreds of them. We have never stopped, just kept changing and growing. We have been creating things ever since. We sew, crochet, knit, paper crafts, you name it, we have tried it or are still doing it. 

As we got older, each one of us started narrowing down our passions. I stuck with sewing early on and Candy stuck with crocheting. Mom was all about sewing and knitting so among the three of us, we could always whip up something when needed.

While dealing with Mom's health issues of late have left both of us stressed out, Candy has been crocheting at night to help her 'relax'. I look at what she does and can't find any link between relaxing and crocheting, but she does. For years, so many of us have been the recipient of one of her afghans or throws, beautiful and oh so warm on our cold Chicago nights. I have no idea how many babies have received a  blanket she crocheted for a group called the Linus project, too many to count. Literally hundreds of them over the years.

When I first showed her my new line of slip covered journals last year, I mentioned I was having trouble finding old doilies to work with. In the next couple of days, she started sending me text pictures of what she was sitting and crocheting, asking if they would be of any help. I jumped for joy, they were absolutely perfect.

Now I get bags, full of these wonderful little pieces of art like these
Different patterns she makes up as she goes along. I have been putting them on journals and just today came up with a new idea.

There is a larger one for the base and a small one for the center along with a bit of lace and gauze. I had cooked lunch for her and her co-workers today and when I delivered lunch, I took this pin with me to show her. I think she was surprised to see how they worked up so beautifully from being little pieces to a layered flower. And leave it to Mom to ask if I thanked her. Of course, and I will say it again. Thank you, thank you, thank you,  they are just perfect. 

But then she turned back to being my ornery little sister again and left this for me at home, thinking it was just perfect for the DH to do for me for V Day.
Seriously? The place that can not get a special order straight at the drive up or the any customer service at the counter is going to offer a romantic tableside experience? ? ? I started laughing so hard and told her I was taking her and we would leave the menfolk at home. And that's when it hit me. It's the laughter we share that makes everything else work. She can be a whole lot of laughs and fun and I really do appreciative that, all of her talents and her. 

She also was working on a brochure today for the Indie Wed show coming up in a couple of weeks. Anything that has ever been printed for any of my businesses or projects over thirty some years, she has had a hand in. I can sketch anything, explain anything or suggest something and she can make it come alive through type and paper. Just brilliant and so very patient with me as I tweak and tweak and then tweak some more. All my logos over the years, business cards, invoices, brochures, calenders, you name it, she's made it. Just another one of her incredible talents. 

So if you have one of our 'burlap' business cards, you can thank Candy.

Thanks Can, they are perfect just like you . . . sometimes!

Your sister

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Hi Everyone,

O T stands for off topic, or the way I conduct my daily life sometimes I swear. You just deal with whatever comes your way.

Winter has finally arrived somewhat here, really bitter cold at night but no snow as of yet. My Mom has a daily quip about the farmers being in a lot of trouble come Spring. Yes I agree. As long as it is not on a show weekend. Over and out. My off show time is furiously getting ready for Indianapolis and then our Indie Wed show in Chicago. Here comes the Bride and the Groom and anyone else that wants to get involved.

The last few days has also served as a reminder as to why I love what I do so much. The phone lines and emails are flying back and forth from several of our vendor associates and promoters and we are all working so hard to build the business and each others businesses at the same time. I am so proud to call them friends as well as business associates. They make me laugh, share their stories and encourage me when I need it the most. I only hope I do the same for them. This whole thing wouldn't be near what it is without them in it. I just love and respect them so much.

I am also cooking up a storm. And looking at food blogs. Mmmmm, look what I found today . . .
 Just felt like I needed to share.

Back to work, new wedding things about ready to make their public debut. Stay tuned please.

the Muze

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One of them

Hi Everyone,

In the past I have made several references about the incredible people we have the privilege of meeting and interacting with along our travels. Some leave us smiling and some leave us laughing hysterically.

Meet Brian B Cup. He was in the latter group.

I will not be going into detail about the name, suffice it to say the picture says it all.

It is so great that dads, husbands, boyfriends, fiancees, or sometimes brothers get what we do here. We are after all just a little bit feminine. So when a decision couldn't be made Sunday as to which of Victoria's messenger bags they wanted to purchase, viola`, we have ourselves a  real life fashion model. And he was really good about it as well.

This is why I love what I do.

the Muze

PS. I am accepting future modeling gigs for him, just contact our agent. LOL !

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Those Fabulous Gryzbowski Boys

Hi Everyone,

Here's a  little more about Grand Rapids and what it took to make all of it happen.

When Michelle and Brian from Re-Imagined for You said we could show a few pieces of theirs, the best part was what 'extras' they included. They have a self contained moving force that comes with their furniture and accent pieces. I can only dream . . . 

When I first met all of them back last summer, I was so impressed on how they did their set up. The truck pulls into their area, the back opens, a chair comes out for Michelle and she sits down with her pre-done diagram and directs them as to how to do the setup as the pieces come off the truck. They fill about a 30' X 40' at Allegan every show and everyone pitches in to make it work. When the show is over, whatever is left, if anything, Dad helps direct the repack and again it goes like clock work. And then they are gone, just like it never happened at all. And we are talking about a lot of furniture involved.

If you remember from back in October when the entire G clan drove over to Hastings to help us load in and load out, I had mentioned then how great they were. This past weekend they were in top form again. Ah, youth. We had the privilege of having these three.

Meet some of the fabulous Gryzbowski boys, numbers 2,3, & 4 I believe out of the 1-9 of all of the young people.

These handsome lads are from left to right, Isaiah, Luke and Josiah Gryzbowski. I am hoping I have all the names correct, please forgive if I messed up yet again. The make hurricane Andrew look like a gentle spring rain. I am not joking. There is no discussing what will be done, no plotting how to do anything, just pure doing it. Just stay out of the way. They can safely and cautiously move furniture, boxes, ladders, crates, you name it, in a matter of minutes. They are a force to be reckoned with. Respectful, polite and courteous, they have it all. Oh and did I mention a wicked sense of humor to boot? They kept me on my toes.

It was almost impossible to have things ready to transport they moved so quickly and having their younger sister Victoria helping me get things ready and packed up for them, helped out  tremendously. We were out and done in record time. I want to borrow them on a regular basis. Dead serious about that.

I wrote their Mom Michelle this morning and told her what a joy is was to have them around and sincerely meant it. We laughed, joked and worked, really hard, really quick and really efficient.

It simply doesn't get any better than this, and for that, I am truly grateful to them.

Til later,

the Muzeeet 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

With a little help from my friends

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back to as least part two of the Michigan show.

I didn't mention that when I first listed this event it was called the Grand Rapids Antique Market and when the show opened on Saturday, it's name had changed.

For the better, I might add.

Let's hear it for updating the show by changing it's name to the Vintage Life Expo. Yea! Good going Cecily.

About two weeks before this show, I got a phnoe call from the promoter, Cecily the Magnificent and she was wondering if we could 'spread' a little when we set up.

This happens to us a lot. Either someone cancels or they change the floor plan, they have some extra space and heavens knows that's a bad thing for a promoter at the last minute. Blank empty space at a show, not good at all. Spreading for some dealers is a piece of cake. For us, it's not. We are pretty static with our fixtures so spreading another ten feet or so is a real challenge. 


Remember how I said we were going to get to see our friends, Brian and Michelle? Well I called Michelle and said 'Congrats, you have just won a chance to show some of your wonderful things right next to me if you like, since you and you items are only a few minutes away."

They said yes, thank goodness and came in on Friday with us and we set up a gorgeous booth, if I have to say so myself. Take a look. Yes, I figured out the YouTube thing. Will miracles ever cease?  LOL ! ! !  There is also a sneak peak at the fabulous Amy from  Butterbean Antiques, our friend and neighbor. It was a killer aisle as many of the customers said the same thing to us.

All My Musings at The Vintage Life Expo 

Most of the signs, accent pieces and that fabulous chest in the front of Michelle's all sold on Saturday and they made a special trip in to restock for Sunday. Victoria's hand sewn messenger bags disappeared as well. It was great.

It is always amazing how each show takes on a different appearance with each venue and how it changes again in just a few hours.

Back tomorrow with Brian B cup. You will love this one, I promise.

the Muze

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Life with a side of love

Hi Everyone,

The last ninety six hours hours have been such a jam packed whirlwind, I really hope I get it all covered. You are all in for a treat as I think it will take at least four posts to get it done.

When we first started All My Musings, it was a simple goal. I needed to be kept busy since my semi retirement and we found ourselves in need of another income because George had been laid off again. They had said he 'might' go back to work around 2015 and I said, (in a heartbeat) 'uh, NO!'.

My creativity was still firing all most all of it's cylinders on good days and I was having fun. That was all that matter in the beginning. Oh, and we were getting by.

As we grew and started expanding our exposure in various markets, our life started changing as well. If you read this blog at all, you have heard me say that we are constantly amazed by the folks we meet and show with along the way. We now have this extended road family that expands seven states and hundreds of friends and thousands of customers.

On Thursday of last week, we had been given the opportunity to visit a new venue to scope it out for am upcoming show. Even tho this was just hours before we were due to get on the road and drive a couple hundred miles to Michigan, we wanted to travel the extra time and head in the opposite direction, of all places downtown Chicago. Don't get me wrong, I love the city and wish we had more leisure time to visit and enjoy it. So we left really early Thursday to go visit the Ravenswood Event Center in the city. This is where the cool Indie Wed show will be held February 2, 2013.

On a normal weekday, this jaunt can take anywhere between an hour to an hour and forty five minutes depending on rush hour traffic. 

Oops, apparently everyone is still on Holiday break and we buzz down in a brief 50 minutes. Just a tad early.

We located the venue and walked to the main office to see if we could possibly get in a bit early. The young lady in the property office was so sweet and said if we could hold on a couple of minutes, she would be glad to walk down with us.

As we walked along, she looks at us and said, "Don't I know you from the recent Lycee show in Chicago?"

I was horrified that she didn't look familiar and was trying desperately to recall what happened during the three days we were there. That show was only 2 weeks after George's heart attack and I was in full blown hyper mode trying to set up a show with strange help and keep an eye on George and do the show. I am applying for a juggling job with Ringling Barnum and Bailey next time they are in town.

Not easy or enjoyable. We were swamped and it was a tough show for me.

So she goes on to explain, that she was with her fiance, they talked to me about a shabby/vintage feel wedding and how she loved everything in our booth. Her friend walks up and she says, 'Remember that cool booth I told you about at the French Market, this is them'.

I am feeling pretty amazed by now and then a third woman walks up and starts the same type of conversation, 'Didn't I see you at NA DA farms this past October?" Yep, we were there too !

George and I started laughing after all this died down and agreed we had better start taking better notes on who we talk to at each venue, cuz' we aren't remembering as much as we would like too. It felt pretty doggone good that people knew who All My Musings was.

Now this reason I am relating this, is that it got sooo much better a couple of days later. Fast forward to a nice drive up north, a gorgeous venue, the DeVos Center in downtown Grand Rapids, MI, a wonderful setup, we got to park in an inside garage to unload and the actual venue was beautiful.

The first thing I noticed was all the handshakes, hugs and kisses that were happening around the trucks, trailers and vans being unloaded. So many of our vendor friends hadn't seen each other for some time, some as long as 4 or 5 months, so it was a huge family reunion of sorts. You could over hear statements like, 'the family is doing well and we had a great Holiday or It sure is good to be back at work". Tons of laughter but very caring, very sincere and warm, they are such a great bunch to work with.

On the first full day, we were busy from the get go and as the morning moved on, we sold out of the new runner collection, the new pins and several customers from Allegan stopped in and chatted, we stayed really busy.

Then it happened. I got my heart handed to me.

A bunch of people were in the booth and several conversations going on at once, (completely normal for our place!) when one of the ladies piped in and said, "That's why I am here, I read about it on your blog". I stopped cold in my tracks and focused on the voice that was speaking, not believing what I heard.

Let me digress for a minute here. I have always hoped someone was reading this other than family and friends, not that I don't absolute LOVE my family and friends that read this. I DO ! ! !
But when a non family member stands face to face to you and says out loud where others can hear, "I love reading where you go, the shows you do and the places you visit. I kinda' live vicariously thru your travels"  and goes on to relate several details about past postings, ( remember the $2.88 gas price from November piece?) that was it. It hit like a ton of bricks. My eyes welled up, I stumbled and stammered for words trying to thank her for coming out to the show and for reading my blog. It was blubberly to say the least and probably a little sappy on my part but I didn't care.

Someone new then started the "you have a blog?" conversation and we were off onto another part of the topic.

But the first part didn't get lost on me. I thought about it the rest of the day, it was discussed at dinner and retold to as many of my fellow vendors that would listen. 

It was a truly magical moment that I will talk about for years to come. Thank you again as I know you are reading this and that short term memory thing is acting up tonight and I can not remember your name. But you promised to comment, so please do so I can say thank you properly.

For the first time ever, the entire space got videoed as well this trip so if I can get the YouTube thing straightened out, there will be video tomorrow. That may or may not happen. We will just have to see.

In the meantime, I am beat, it is late and tomorrow is just a few minutes away.

Thank you to each and every one of you that stop here, I really, really appreciate you.

the Muze

Thursday, January 3, 2013

On the run -ner

Hi Everyone,

Another treasure we are taking to Grand Rapids this weekend is our new runner collection.

We had done a handful of simple flat runners out of standard burlap before the holidays and sold out of them. So after listening carefully to all the feedback from you all, we are ready to introduce our new runner line.

The runners offered on our Elements Board will be about 16" wide and 71" in length made from our famous 11 gauge woven jute burlap. It is hemmed on all four sides and is ready just the way it is or take one and embellish it your way.

The second batch of runners are going to offered already embellished. Like this one done with two layers of vintage lace.

I think everyone needs at least one runner for flexible tablescaping. It is the perfect jumping off point, great by themselves or a good foundation piece to be layered and accented with placemats, tablecloths or other linens. We have several vintage linen and doily runners as well which also work well, either sewn on or layered up.

So many possibilities and so little time. What's a person to do?

Well, I have to get back to packing for Grand Rapids. Look out Michigan, we are loaded for bear!

the Muze

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Everything for 2013

Good 2013 Morning Everyone,

I read somewhere, in the past couple of days on a blog I can not remember, oops!, where the writer looked at January 1 2013 as a first page in a brand new book she has yet to write or as I saw it, yet to live and fully experience.

2012 was an incredible year in so many ways, some really good and some really bad for us personally. After DH's heart attack in Oct, our whole world changed drastically. So, we are looking for a really good 2013 as Lord knows we have seen enough bad in 2012, personally and globally.

We are busy working on the Grand Rapids show here, still, and looking forward to seeing some of our friends, a couple of outstanding ones we met in 2012. 

You remember the Gryzbowski family? Those heavenly souls that drove an hour to help us set up for show they weren't even in when George was ill. Well, we are actually going to visit with them and their wonderful barn where Michelle creates all of her beautiful pieces for Re-Imagined For You. Michelle, we can't wait to get there and see everyone. I am practicing the names every days so as not to forget anyone.

If everything lines up correctly (there's a bet I wouldn't put money on) we are also headed to visit one of my favorite antique  / industrial / vintage stores in GR, Lost and Found. 

Lost and Found is owned by my wonderful friends Mark and Christian and it is truly a step above your ordinary antique shop. If you live in the US, you need to visit. Mark is a true visionary in his field, always seeing something more in a piece than the normal eye. He brings the coolest things to a show, always something new and cutting edge and you couldn't ask for a kinder, more fun soul. He will be at the GR show as well.

As for us, we will be bring all the new creations I have been working on, including these new pins.

A new gauze rose with pearl and rhinestone center
Each one has a different look as this fabric takes on new appearances each time you work it up.

Then I added laces to the gauze and came up with this beauty
I can see these on purses, bags and books. Hopefully others will too ! LOL One can always hope.

I would also like to take a minute and acknowledge my friend Kathi, who has sent the most comments on this blog in the past year. She and her family are 3 Wrens Street, All Things White and The Dancing Wren. Can we say busy ladies(and gent, sorry Dad!)? But Kathi takes the time to comment quite frequently and I am truly touched by her generosity. Thank you Kathi, you have spread sunshine here many a day.

We are looking forward to new adventures, new friends and new challenges this year as we start traveling this week. Hopefully the road will be as entertaining as usual and it will be a good business year and a great personal year.

See everyone this weekend,

the Muze