Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Hi Everyone,

Another preview here of some of the new slipcovered journals that we are taking on the road. It is nearly impossible to get these photographed before they go flying out of our booth. Since each one of these is a one of a kind, it is a time crunch to grab their debut photo or the opportunity is gone. So many uses and so little quantity.

Here is Journal 1:
Love those little doilies with pearls.

Journal 2

A little bit Parisian

Journal 3
I am glad I got to grab them. One that didn't make the photo op was a slipcover that is making the news down in Zionsville Indiana for a show highlighting The Vintage Farmhouse Enchanted Spring Market on May 24 and 25. It was gorgeous and we are thrilled to be highlighted on the Indy Style show. AMM on TV, what could possibly top that?

I will catch up with you soon I hope. We are about to head to 'our' market in Midland Michigan and it is going to be unbelievable this year. But first we have to build it. Hence the 8 day visit to Midland.


the Muze

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Makes you go hmmmmm . . .

Hi Everyone,

While we are having a great time in Zionsville IN at the Spring Market hosted by The Vintage Farmhouse, our neighbors to the South of us slightly, Indianapolis are gearing up for the Indy 500. Thank goodness we leave here today before it gets any more crazy.

Case in point.

Yesterday the DH, Mr Wonderful volunteered to run and get sandwiches for several of our show neighbors as they had no way of getting out to get anything to eat other than the pizza truck that was on site.

On our way to the hotel, he mentioned that he had seen gas was $3.69 a gallon at the Speedway we were going to pass. I told him since that was .40 cents a gallon cheaper than home, we needed to fill up.

As we pulled up to the pump, this is what we see on the fuel island, you know where the trash can is and people toss the occasional Mickey D's container.

Here's what we see,
which raises a whole slew of questions . . .
Who carries 3 - 4 liter boxes of wine in their vehicle to begin with? That's almost 5 gallons worth!
Seriously, 3 boxes?
We started laughing trying to figure a logical explanation and couldn't come up with a single one.
"Honey, I'm taking the trash out to the Speedway, be back!"  Huh?
"Okay guys, give me all the empties while we fill up?"
There simply isn't a good one!
Back on the road to Michigan this afternoon,
See everyone at Allegan tomorrow,
the Muze 

Friday, May 24, 2013

432 cubic square feet of . . . .

If it's Friday, it's time to play, 'Who packed all this stuff anyway and do we really need it?'

Yes, 3 shows in 7 days and I am damn sure we forgot at least one item or thing we need.

Wouldn't be a normal road trip without that drama.

Top to bottom, side to side, this puppy is jammed packed with all sorts of great new finds and handmade goodies. 432 cubic sq ft of stuff. 

Yep, that's ours.

More later,

the Muze

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Speed Bumps

Hi Everyone,

I first have to apologize to my wonderful friend Julie from Fragments, an incredible artist and fellow vendor. We got to see her this past weekend at NA DA, where once again she had the best looking booth inside the barn. She is a magnificent free hand artist and the backdrops and canvases she paints are truly beautiful works of art. We are always so in awe of her talents and her sweet wonderful presence.

We physically hadn't seen each other for several months and were catching up while she so graciously helped us unload our trailer in the 30 mph prairie winds that were whipping through. As we were catching up, Julie mentioned something about this blog. I filled her in on some of the details about our lovely Iowa excursion and she said to me, "you absolutely have to start taking more pictures, people just can't believe some of the things you encounter on your travels".

But Julie, sometimes you can't take pictures.

Here's why. Not once but twice this weekend we encountered the dumbest people in the world at the oasis when stopping for gas.

First off, I thought the world had come to an end because gas was .20 cents a gallon cheaper at the oasis instead of where we were headed, (middle of nowhere). Go figure only in Illinois.

On our way home, tired and sick, we stopped once again to fill up and found ourselves behind Harold and Maude, two of the dippiest (new word) senior citizens in the world. Because we are pulling a trailer, we are kinda of limited as to where we can get into at gas stations, so we usually end up in back of someone and wait.   

And wait, and wait. When we first pulled up, Maude was digging in the trunk, for God only know what and produced an empty Good and Plenty box, which she slowly walked over to the trash can and deposited. As she was walking back, I said to DH, "she has her credit card in her hand, why doesn't she at least start pumping her gas?". 

No, she walked around to the passenger side and started rummaging there. She got through there and headed towards the drivers door and we thought we were about to get lucky again but no, she opens the drivers door, leans in and does more searching.

So now my Mr. Wonderful is saying things out loud like, "Gesh lady, start pumping your gas!" and "If you find Jimmy Hoffa, let us know".

About this time, we see an elderly man headed towards this vehicle and we surmise he had gone inside to pay for the gas. Meanwhile, DH sees an opening on another set of pumps, backs up the trailer and we get into a pump. 

I am still watching Harold and Maude ( kinda like a car wreck, you just have to look) as now they are trying to get his credit card into the gas pump. He tries his three times and looks and looks at the screen and she is yammering away at him. Finally, she tries her credit card, that has been in her hand the entire time and again a lot of time is spent trying to read the pump. At our pump, DH has paid for and pumped our truck full and we are about to pull away when H & M finally get the nozzle in their tank. We start laughing as we watch him then reach in the backseat behind the drivers door and pull out 3 movie size boxes of candy.

There's the culprit, those two were on a sugar high and couldn't do much else.

Julie, I would have taken a picture but I am afraid of offending the kids of these two, knowing that their parents are on the loose like that.

You just have to laugh about it and smile, just like when we heard compliments this weekend.

We had one customer tell us we had the best booth hands down and another said I was the sweetest vendor (that was highly inaccurate as I am battling a huge mold allergy attack and am under the influence of Benadryl, so I know I was an ornery smart ass the majority of the time)

Stuff happens sometimes.

But the funniest one was the gal who found us from the Gordyville show, over 1 1/2 years ago. Her comment was we were the only real vendor at the whole show. She was actually correct but it was nice to hear that she thought we outshone all the rest. She loved NADA and was so glad she had made the trip. We were glad too, that she stopped and visited.

We are on a short leash this week trying to get ready for our 3 shows in 8 days.

I will try for more pictures, if I can, no promises!


May  24 - 25  2013  - The Vintage Farmhouse Spring Market  9180 Hunt Club Road Zionsville IN

May 26  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

June 1- 2  2013 - The Shabby Experience @ Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

June 30  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

July  6  2013  -  Indie Arts and Vintage Market,  Glendale Shopping Center Parking Lot, Indianapolis IN 

I have to cut runners today so toodles!

the Muze

Monday, May 20, 2013

Just a pickin' and a grinnin'

Hi Everyone,

One of the sheer joys of doing a show on Friday and Saturday is that it leaves Sunday morning open at home, which translates to 'pickin time'! 

There is a true junk flea market about 30 minutes from our place and I have been secretly training some of the vendors there into searching out what I need.

And it's working.

Today as I was making my rounds I had 3 of my regulars calling out to me, eager to show me their 'finds'. You get really strange looks from other customers when a vendor starts getting exuberant about their junk finds.

And boy, were there finds to be made.

Let's see, frames, buckets, ladders, porcelain basins, rakes and wires. It was a great pickin' morning and all before 9 AM which was a good thing, as it got really hot today and being out in the bare sun pickin' isn't fun.

I just wish we were home on more Sundays, there is a real thrill finding pieces that that can be reborn.

More thing to do, like unpack that vehicle . . . 

the Muze

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hearts and Tag

Hi Everyone,

Out here in the middle of nowhere, aka,  NA DA Farm, I thought I would take a second out and grab a pic of some of our newest additions. This new iPad takes pictures that can be cropped on the Pad! Yes, no more sideways pics, something I will not miss at all.

First up is the new embossed hearts I mentioned earlier. I love these on our little edged bags. Simply clip one on and spectacular gift wrap. Kinda' like spontaneous combustion for gift giving. (Guess who was up too late last night?)

 Then I made a couple of small accent tags, one stenciled and one stamped, that also made the trip.

We are praying the weather holds out, wouldn't be NA DA without some rain I guess!

I wil try to grab some pics of the new jewelry boards we finished last night as well as the new memo board.

See you at the farm,

the Muze

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First you take a hundred yards of . . .

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for all the questions and prayers about the Mother unit, as we refer to her around here. 

Here's the update: She is home, resting, feeling a bit feistier than usual?, and a handful right now. 

The good news today was the nurse that checks on her after each hospital stay deemed she was a bit stronger than she expected and that I should indulge in a glass of red wine at night to help lower my newly discovered, slightly high blood pressure. Before you all go off the deep end on me, yes the Dr knows and we both contribute it to the added stress of her illnesses of late. (3 hospital stays in 9 weeks. There isn't a nurse or facilitator I don't know on a first name basis at this point) So, she will be monitored and I will be monitored and we will go from there.

It seems a question I get a lot, especially on the road is how we actually 'do' handmade things and stay on the road. These people would freak out if they knew the half of it. One CHF patient, one heart patient, one very full time business and then, there is everyday life. I am thinking about trying out for the circus in my next career change because I can juggle like no one else!

The other secret tho is planned quantity.

Like one of tonight's projects.

I have needed to replenish some a lot of items on our Elements board. You know, that skinny board with all the cool tags, ribbons, naked runners and embellishments on it? 

Well, here is the secret,


Yup, like today's adventure. I needed scrunched ribbons so I took 400 hundred yards of ribbon, added the secret sauce and started the process. Tonight, while catching up on Scandal, that show is insanely intriguing, we got 'bundles made'.
Tons and tons of beautiful bundles just waiting to go on the road for our 4 shows in 3 weeks program. They are going to look so good.

Just shoot me now . . . please! They are going to look a whole lot better than I at the end of this next leg.

Now I need to stop typing and finish the new embossed hearts I am working on. Maybe a picture before Friday for NA DA, maybe not. Who knows these days. It would also help if I had the foggiest idea as to how to finish them right now.

Here's that schedule, you read it, it drives my blood pressure up I think,

May  17 - 18  2013  -   NA DA Farm Event  2423 South Woodlawn Road, Esmond IL 

May  24 - 25  2013  - The Vintage Farmhouse Spring Market  9180 Hunt Club Road Zionsville IN

May 26  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

June 1- 2  2013 - The Shabby Experience @ Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

June 30  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

July  6  2013  -  Indie Arts and Vintage Market,  Glendale Shopping Center Parking Lot, Indianapolis IN 

I do know sitting quietly at night, creating magic does indeed lower your blood pressure. I think I will move over to my other desk now, if for nothing else, health reasons and the sheer joy it still brings,

the Muze

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Little and big blessings

Hey Everyone,

It's late Saturday evening and we just got off the road from our unbelievable stay in Allendale Michigan, more about that in a moment.

Since we were only home three days last week, I was unable to correct the huge boo-boo on my last two posts, so here goes,

On our way to beautiful but oh so cold Iowa, we encountered a snow storm worthy of Chicago standards as pictured below
Couldn't see 10 feet in front of the truck and trailer in the middle of ABSOLUTELY nowhere. pitch black Iowa.

We finally check in at the hotel to get our much needed rest, thinking this is a freak thing and will be a distant memory in the morning when we see
Yes, everything coated in snow. So we head to breakfast to see these fine folks
who had driven over 400 miles for the tulip festival in the next town over (Iowa speak for 23 miles away)! Tulip festival cancelled due to the fact the tulips refused to show up, didn't blame them one bit.

So we head off to the flea market we had driven all night to get to and it was the worse disaster we have done in a long time. I am sure under different weather conditions this would have be fabulous but we encountered a snow covered, already soggy county fair ground. This ends up in the worse mud I have ever tried to navigate. Tractors are everywhere pulling huge trucks and SUV's out of the mud, me and a whole lot of other folks are covered up to our knees from trying to get between the buildings and praying out loud that you didn't fall on your behind and did I mention that it is now POURING down rain? 

After 2 hours, I was so cold, wet and sore from trying to walk in the muck I take my cold, drowned self back to the warm truck and trailer where you know who is waiting, ("go ahead honey, I'll wait here with the trailer) and we now head to the market in Indianapolis for the show the following day.

7 hours later of driving in RAIN, we arrive in Indy and collapse. The next day it is cold and overcast but never did rain. I figure there wasn't any water left because it had all fallen on us the day before.

We were home 3 days before we headed out again to the Shop the Barn Boutique Sale at our friends the Grzybowski's in Allendale Michigan.

This was so worth all the effort. We had seen bits and pieces of this fabulous new/old barn that they were building and it was so great to be part of the first boutique sale there. Wednesday and Thursday were so hot and humid during setup, I foolishly said,"Gee I wouldn't mind if it did rain a bit to cool things down, we'll still be fine"

Open mouth, insert foot.

Overnite it dropped about 45 degrees or so and we froze our backsides off. Oh and yes, it RAINED, both days! And then the sun came out an hour before we closed. Figures.

Customers still flocked in, enjoyed some of the hundreds of fresh homemade cookies and a cup of lemonade (should have been hot chocolate!) that Michelle and her fabulous kids whipped up, and that was on top of the 40 or so loaves of fresh all natural, hand ground wheat bread they made for sale. And did I mention, Karis, my favorite cat was a new mother to four kittens? So we had baby kittens to love as well. The perfect event.

Business was good but nothing topped getting to spend quality time with all 8 of those incredible young people of theirs. We were privileged to share several meals with them and just interact on a daily basis. Each and everyone is so uniquely individual, have wonderful talents and the best manners I have ever experienced. Just a cool group to be with and this is coming from a person who is not fond of misbehaving children. (Mildly stated)

They even have a built in entertainment.

And he is only 5.

If you remember correctly, I tried to steal him away back in October last year and I tried again this year. This little one is pure gold.

One of the great thing about Brian and Michelle's parenting is that they have raised these young people with a great sense of responsibility. You need to do something, there no shortage of young folk asking if they can help, we never had to ask, they just instinctively show up, willing to do anything and never a cross word and disapproval. And if it happens that you are not needed at that particular moment, well, you find a seat in the middle of the chaos and have yourself a snack.
This is Elijah.

We never knew what great one-liner was coming from him and he kept all of us in stitches all weekend long. He has perfect comedic timing and he's only 5.

When we were packing to go, he had to be included with the big boys helping load, so the very last thing was my purse. He was positive he could carry it, heck I have trouble carrying it!  I handed my very heavy bag and told him to put it in the front seat of the truck. Off he went, up the hill with my bag.
We had to laugh at him, so determined to make it up the steep hill and after a couple of minutes, he succeeded and couldn't have been more proud of himself. We congratulated him and his reply was that great grin, like he knew all along he would make it.

So to Brian and Michelle, we were honored and thrilled to have had such a great weekend christening that gorgeous new barn and participating in your fabulous event. Thank you from the bottom of of tired and cold hearts for all your hospitality!

To Luke, Joshua, Isaiah(Bill), Josiah, Victoria, Sarah Grace(Mary Clare), Isabella and Elijah, Thank you to each and everyone of you for all of your hard word and kindnesses you showed us this weekend. We think all of you are just the best and can't wait to see in you in Allegan in a couple of weeks. Help Mom as much as possible because she sold almost ALL of her furniture! and will need new pieces to show. 

We are home for a couple of days to get ready for the NA DA Farm Event this coming Friday. It is the only Illinois show we will be doing for the rest of the year, so come on out if you can.

Here's the rest of the schedule:

May  17 -18  2013  -   NA DA Farm Event  2423 South Woodlawn Road, Esmond IL 

May  24 - 25  2013  - The Vintage Farmhouse Spring Market  9180 Hunt Club Road Zionsville IN

May 26  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

June 1- 2 2013 - The Shabby Experience @ Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

June 30  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

July  6  2013  -  Indie Arts and Vintage Market,  Glendale Shopping Center Parking Lot, Indianapolis IN 

off to bed, I am really tired!

the Muze

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Heading to Allendale Michigan

Hi Everyone,

Just a brief reminder that we will be at Michelle's Shop the Barn Boutique Sale over at Re-Imagined Just For You starting Friday.

We are giving away 3 gift certificates and if you haven't entered yet you can go here

http://reimaginedjustforyou.com/temp/blog and click on the sale banner..

See all of youI in Allendale,

The Muze

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First, we start in Brazil . . .

Hi Everyone,

I am actually in the middle of sorting a new load of our wonderful coffee bean bags from Intelligentsia and thought I would share a bit about them.

We refer to our friends at Intelligentsia as a real coffee company based in Chicago who really is a repurposing, recycle green company. Their coffee is so superior in flavor and taste and we love when the people we meet in our booth hear their name because we always hear the following words,"Ohh, Intelligentsia, we love that coffee". 

So I thought i would show you why we love this coffee as well.

It all starts with a container that arrives from any of the 13 countries we have bags from. 

Today's container is from Brazil. Top to bottom, side to side, full of huge bags.
Each one of these bags weighs about #150 -160. Gentlemen 1 and 2 pick a bag up and Gentleman 3 body blocks it so it will sit on the pallet, nice and straight. A job I couldn't even think of doing on a good day when I was younger.

What incredibly hard work!

Then the full pallet is picked up by our sweet Dan, he is the one that emails me and nicely pleads for me to get the several thousand bags out of his way on a regular basis. "Uh, Susan, the bags are overflowing and we need you to come get these bags out of here!"
There are literally thousands of these full bags everywhere you look. And because they are in close proximity to the massive roaster, the entire warehouse is a scent not to be believed. Fresh roasted coffee beans is right up there with one of the greatest scents of all time. And they always have a fresh pot brewing for visitors. Sweet!

So then our bags, still full of their great beans make it over to the roaster and packaging areas.

After they are all emptied and put aside, our friend Jason then brings them by the pallet load to our trailer.
As seen in the photograph above, a few may end up outside the trailer during transport. Oops. I never said this was a perfect operation on our part.

Then our precious bags get man handled by the public . . . 
and hopefully look gorgeous one day as something like this . . . 
 or this . . . 
 or these. . .  

Pretty amazing, huh?

We think so.

Our thanks to everyone at Intelligentsia for letting us grab pictures and explore the warehouse, while they worked around us at a high speed efficiency. Such polite, courteous professionals, we love having them as our partners.

the Muze

Friday, May 3, 2013

Okay, someone always has it worse off . . .

All of these folks drove 400+ miles for the tulip festival in the next town over.

News update: tulip festival has been cancel, flea market is still open


It is still snowing like a banshee outside.

Oh, boy

Meanwhile . . .

It is May 2, 2013 and in BFE Iowa, IT IS SNOWING!

Stay tuned, this can only get better.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"You write well" and magnolias

Hi Everyone,

These next few weeks are going to be daunting to say the least, lots of shows, lots of work needing to be done and lots of Fran Care.

The other thing I haven't written much about is a big change coming soon in our business. I hinted about it a couple of weeks ago and we will soon be making an announcement about it, but not just yet. In getting ready for 'it', on top of everything else going on, I am doing tons and tons of research. Most of it online and some of it way over my head. While I will be the first to admit I am a bit of a tech nerd, so much of it is way beyond my comprehension when it comes to the behind the scenes stuff, programming, IT and so on.

This morning I read an article about encryption and was so shocked at the end of the article that I actually understood what was being said. Now for those of you who know me, you know I am the first to reach out and thank someone for making anything I have to do easier. So I took a moment out and sent off a short email to the author of the article.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I opened his return email. This is a professional IT person, 35 plus years, a published writer and he was grateful that I had written to say thank you. I get that part.

Then he wrote:

I visited what I believe is your blog site and it was fascinating. Everything I know absolutely nothing about. And, I see that you are one busy lady, who happens to write well. 
Kind regards, 

OMG! ! !  "who happens to write well"? I am floating on cloud nine. Thank you Michael, you made my day and I now understand about encrypting my files before I send them to the cloud. A huge win win all the way around.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, it is finally spring at my Mom's gardens. I am trying to get her outside every day, even when it isn't quite warm enough to enjoy these gorgeous babies.

Hold on to your shorts, we are back to sideways pictures, please shoot me and put me out of my misery.

Rows and rows of gorgeous jonquils, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, all in their glory right now.

So I bundle up Fran and we go out to the gardens. Believe it or not, she is having a good time.

And then we move to the front where it is MAGNOLIA time. I wait all year long for these unbelieve works of art.
All of the trees in our area are in full bloom.
 Just hundreds and hundreds of beautiful blooms.

So while I was out enjoying floral and fauna, the DH was in the workroom working on our newest addition to our line.

For years I have had a soft spot for the hardest substance one could ask for, iron. Brackets, sconces and my all time personal favs, finials.
If it weighs more than paper, I am all for hauling it from show to show. The heavier the better, at least that is what he says! Seriously, these are going to be spectacular as accents. They will be making their debut in Indy this Saturday as we begin our outside shows in beautiful?, (it is going to rain again in) Indianapolis. Really, every single outdoor show in Indy last year was rainy and it looks like it is going to rain AGAIN on Saturday at the Glendale shopping center. Let us not break with tradition.

Oh well . . .  So is the life of an outdoor vendor.

On the road again.

May  4  2013  -  Indie Arts and Vintage BACK OUTDOORS ! ! ! Glendale Shopping Center Parking Lot, Indianapolis IN update IN THE RAIN bring your umbrellas!

May 10 - 11 2013 - Shop the Barn {boutique} Sale @ re-imagined just for you, 10545 78th Ave, Allendale, MI 49401
May  17 -18  2013  -   NA DA Farm Event  2423 South Woodlawn Road, Esmond IL 

May  24 - 25  2013  - The Vintage Farmhouse Spring Market  9180 Hunt Club Road Zionsville IN

May 26  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

June 1- 2 2013 - The Shabby Experience @ Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

And for everyone who has emailed me about Brilliant Reuse from JdL, we have plenty coming in, so contact me about yours today.

the Muze