Tuesday, July 30, 2013

introducing two new Mr and Mrs's

Hi Everyone,

Back from a soggy Allegan Michigan trip, trying to dry out (again) and my Monday just got a whole lot better. Actually fantastic!

We have done a load of wedding items in the past few years, thousands of pieces and the one drawback is that I do not have action pictures from them. Out of respect for the couple, I will not post any pictures ahead of time just in case someone should see them so I have to rely on someone sending me just one picture to let me know how things turned out.

About a week ago there was a wedding in Michigan at a ski resort. It gave me some new opportunities to be a little more creative, ski lift anyone? just for starters. The couple, Pete and Mary Ann were not kids getting married and from the beginning were a joy to work with. Cool venue, mature adults and super agreeable with just about any suggestion I made and boy, did I make suggestions.

The weather for the few days before their wedding had been horrific, real hot, really humid and stormy. I held my breath until Sunday morning when it turned out to be a breathtaking gorgeous day, mild summer weather.

I sent a text to the bride Mary Ann on Sunday morning stating, "You are going to have beautiful day, enjoy every minute".

She replied , "Thank you! Just finished yoga and champagne! Can't wait"

You couldn't believe how  surprised I was when the next morning after the wedding I received this message, " It was perfect. Absolutely perfect". What a great text to receive, I was over the moon.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I was still secretly hoping to see what 'absolutely perfect' really meant and low and behold, that showed up today.

This morning I received an email from the new groom, Pete that read,

I just wanted to echo Mary Ann and tell you how happy and grateful we both were for all you did to make our wedding day magical.  I'm enclosing some iPhone and Facebook pictures that don't do your decorations justice but just to give you a flavor of the day.  We had so many people at Crystal Mountain tell us our wedding decorations are the best they've seen all year, and they were amazed at all the tables. everything turned out perfectly.

We'll be sure to get some professional photos to you when our photographer sends them to us..

It was a special and fun day and we really appreciate all you (and George, of course) did for us...

All the Best,
Pete & Mary Ann

It simply doesn't get any better than that, well almost because he did enclose a couple of great pictures.

Our newest Mr and Mrs banner is done with six different lace backgrounds but there is so much more on their bridal table. There is our burlap and lace runner, our mason jars for the floral centerpieces, our French marriage document and burlap silverware pockets, votive holders and the keys to a great marriage as well. That is what I see so far. I am hoping the new pictures will have even more detail.

But the cutest picture he sent, and by the way, isn't he just the sweetest thing to write his own thank you note? Just love the both of them, they were so cool to work with. Back to the cutest picture . . .

the other new Mr and Mrs, 

I present to you Mr and Mrs Peter Dow 
Love the expression on his face and isn't she stunning in that gown? Can not wait to see the rest of the pics.

It truly was a beautiful day and they made it more so. Thanks guys for including us and letting us know, we were thrilled everything was to quote 'absolutely perfect'.  You deserved it!


the Muze

Monday, July 29, 2013

beauty part deaux

Hi Everyone,

Funny thing about only being home a couple days at a time, you simply do not realize what an independent little bwitch Mother nature can be.

Case in point.

We use the back door to our home . . . a lot. Always caring newly made items from the house to the truck and trailer for transportation to a market. So not having gone out the front door in several weeks and not seeing it on a daily basis, boy was I surprised to see how the Echinacea plants had taken the rest of my flower beds hostage. 


This was a single plant. 
 I now have hundreds of plants and more than 10 feet of thick bed coverage. Uh oh . . .

They sure are beautiful, don't you agree?
Not to be out done, across the bed is a single Shasta daisy plant that is larger that Vermont
It goes on and on with beautiful heads all standing proud and tall in the sun
I can not fathom how much better they would be had I actually attended to the needs. 

God, I love perennials!

Allegan details coming soon,

the Muze

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Hi Everyone,

You know that old expression,'Take time to stop and smell the roses'? Well, that doesn't happen often enough around here.

Our schedule, especially summer months when there is a huge overlap in show schedules, doesn't give us a lot of free time. To be perfectly honest, it doesn't give us any free time. When we are home, for that 96 to 120 hour time period, it is jammed packed with prep work to replace items, create items, find new items and attend to other family matters. It is a huge juggling act some days.

I have often spoken about my Mom and spending my days with her. Sometimes if she is up to it we create together or she will help with detail work until she tires out and heads for a nap. All this takes place at the place where I grew up, our family home. I am so glad she is still there as it really grounds me to see things I grew up with. Our home has several garden areas that keep us in flowering beauty for all the seasons.

At this time of the year, my Mom and I disagree BIG TIME about a little perennial that I have loved my whole life, her tiger lilies. The irony is that I absolutely can not stand being in the same enclosed space with Easter lilies, stargazer lilies or any relation to them. But her tiger lilies are my weak spot. Must be that color thing that I am so drawn to.

For the past couple of years, Mom has tried to dig up her bed of lilies until I find out about it and put a stop to it. I am on a one person save-the-tiger-lily campaign.

The original bed was about 2' X 8', jammed packed with hundreds of plants. This is what has survived the massacre.
The crop this year has already received death threats and I fear when I return next week they may be gone, so I snapped some pics today. I saw the guy next door that does Mom's dirty work watching me. He must already have his orders.

They are just now coming in
And whatever you do, do not touch the brown stamens as they permanently mark whatever they touch. I have lost plenty of clothing over the years due to these little buggers.
The color and beauty is not even close in these pics. They are breathtaking gorgeous.
But I did get to spend a few quality minutes earlier today admiring their strength and perseverance to my Mom's wishes of elimination. 

It's the little things like this that remind us everyday about the natural beauty around us, everywhere we look. So remember to take the time to stop and appreciate it.

Hopefully I will get to see them again when we return from Michigan next week.

Until then,


the Muze

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sights from Midland

Hi Everyone,

Trying to recover from the more than interesting time in Midland last weekend before we head back up to Michigan again for our beloved Allegan Market. Lots of things to get ready and pack up for our customers waiting for us.

I did want to share a couple of fun things that we saw over the weekend. Yes, there were a few fun moments despite the weather woes.

First was a customer that was an artisan herself, not showing with us but she had the most interesting handmade skirt on.

This was the front
isn't that cool? It was from t shirts and my eye immediately caught the phrase 'Are you junk drunk'. What a great shirt let alone skirt.

this was the back
I just loved that phrase 'Michigan is handmade', too cool for a vendor to wear. She said a lot of people, regular folk as well as fellow vendors had stopped her and made comments and then there was me, 'Hi can I take a picture of your skirt'. Never a dull moment in our booth, no siree!

Another fellow vendor came to say hi to us and wherever she goes, her loyal and incredibly well behaved pal Binky goes with her. When Mom starts talking, Binky resigns herself to waiting patiently for Barb to finish, so she plopped her petite little self under my ironing board.
Isn't she adorable? She follows right along side of her Mom when walking, no leash, no wandering and then is patient while waiting.

I could not even fathom taking Jack and Ass anywhere like a market.

This was Lige watching for us to return back home, blinds be damned. Nope, they are definitely not market kitties. No way, not ever gonna happen.

Here's the next couple of weeks

July 28  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

August 10 2013  - North Shore Flea, Highwood, IL 

August 25  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

August 31 - September 2  2013  -  Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace with Warmfest at Broad Ripple Park, Indianapolis IN



the Muze

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The other side of things

(due to the electrical outage this post was delayed by several days)

Hi Everyone,

Things are more than interesting here in Midland today. The heat hadn't broken yet and we knew we were going to get some rain but were nowhere prepared for what actually happened.

Our drive in everyday, all 13 minutes is breathtakingly beautiful as NADA is literally located in the north wooded area of Midland. The brilliant pine trees make for a peaceful but very quick trip to the fairgrounds.

The winds had picked up to between 25 and 30 miles per hour after we got there and it was getting more and more difficult to keep our tents on the ground let alone right side up when all of a sudden we looked to the west and saw the most violent rolling black clouds moving incredibly fast towards the fairgrounds.

George grab a cart and headed for the trailer with all the paper and fabric goods and I started anchoring down the tents even more when all hell broke loose.

The news said we were hit by a microburst but it sure felt like a tornado to me. They reported 60 to 70 mile per hour winds. George and our friend Terry jumped inside our trailer and not 5 seconds later, this came crashing down where they were standing.
This thing would have killed both of them as that is exactly where they were standing before they decided the trailer was a better place to get into.

Meanwhile, I was trapped inside our tents pushing against the winds with all my might and in just 45 seconds when it was all over, came out to survey the damage. 

We were lucky. Some vendors lost everything. We got bombarded with tree branches and limbs but were still standing.
Such is the life of an outdoor vendor, we are just looking for a couple of great days with no wind and no rain and a whole lot less humid heat.

Yea, sure, that's gonna happen,



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The luxury of our life

Hi Everyone,

After a very long and very hot and humid trip we have made our way up to Midland Michigan for the next 5 days or so. This is the middle show for the Michigan Anitique and Collectible Festival which means I am not producing The Shabby Experience and The Industrial Way pavilion. 

We will be a regular vendor here and making plans for our huge show in September when the pavilions return. A whole lot of planning goes into that show and we are right in the middle of it.

One of the things I look most forward to here in Midland is where we stay. The Northwood University in Midland runs a hospitality program at their school and run a very intimate, I mean very intimate 37 room hotel. The customer service is off the hook, every single employee is professional, courteous and knowledgeable. The rooms are wonderfully appointed and you never want for anything.

Especially if Taryn is on duty. Taryn is one of those individuals in life that will be hugely successful at what ever she chooses. I honestly believe she doesn't even know how to say no, to anything you ask for. It is always yes and she always delivers. Always. 

Today on our way here, I called the hotel to make sure we were all set for our stay and to make sure my deliveries made it safely. Whille on the phone, Taryn asked if I had remembered to bring my pillow from home. I laughed and said no and remembered what had happened during our last stay in June.

After a particularly grueling rain day, I couldn't get comfortable enough to go to sleep. I called the front desk to see if there were any other pillows available and little Miss Perfect showed up three times with pillow selections for my approval. The third time the pillow showed up with a steaming hot cup of chamomile tea. I am telling you this girl has got 'it'. In spades as the expression goes.

So after we checked in tonight to our home away from home for the next 6 days, here is what I first saw as we walked into the bedroom 
There were not one but two of the extra soft pillows plumped up on the bed and upon further examination
one of our postcards for our show this weekend. We started laughing at the details this young lady remembers. She is just amazing. Wonder if I could persuade her into moving to Illinois and working for us? 

Hmmm, I am going to have to see about that.

I am heading for a shower and trying out those pillows. I will post from the show set up.


the Muze

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The answer is 2

The answer is 2.

Boy am I going to hear about this post, forever. Too bad, it made me laugh and that was a good thing!

Hi Everyone,

Back from a day of oppressive heat and sweltering humidity, our North Shore Flea was busy and packed. We saw a bunch of great customers we hadn't seen in a year or, so it was old home week as well.

But that heat, it was just awful. If you blinked your eyes, you sweat. Turn your head, sweat some more. It took for ever to pack up and and leave just cuz we were so tired and worn out from the heat

And from laughing.

We had the best time visiting with two of my dearest friends and fellow vendors Kathi and Annie from 3 Wrens. We joked around, sat and sweat together and just made the best of an incredibly tough weather day.

Then to top it all off, we got a great laugh in at the very end.

The question is . . .

How many 3 Wrens does it take to get one itty bitty little 10 X 10 tent back into it carrying case at the end of the day?

The answer is two, these two trying their darndest to get it in
We laughed so hard, Annie looks up and sees the DH snapping pictures and the threats start flying, "You had better not be taking pictured of my backside George", all the while I am snapping away on her other side. My answer would have been throw that thing in the car and hope it makes it home in one piece, who cares about a carrying case! ! ! 

Such an incredible fun day with them. Wish we had more and we just might get that wish come October as they are coming to the new market in the suburbs. I couldn't be happier.

Annie, thanks for the hours of bagging help in my tent and for sharing Mom as well. You girls are a hoot! We were honored that you drove in from Wisconsin to show with us.

We head to Midland MI this coming week to do their special 45th Anniversary show, complete with all sorts of celebrations. See you all there.

Here is the rest of the schedule,

July 20 - 21 2013 - Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

July 28  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

August 10 2013  - North Shore Flea, Highwood, IL 

August 25  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

August 31 - September 2  2013  -  Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace with Warmfest at Broad Ripple Park, Indianapolis IN

See you soon,


the Muze

Sunday, July 14, 2013

take a memo . . . go to North Shore Flea TODAY! ! !

Hi Everyone,

Displaying all the new journals, shabby bags and this lovely item here in Highwood this AM . . . 
I was able to repurpose this incredibly gaudy memo board into a wonderful shabby accessory for an office, kitchen desk, bedroom, you name it. This beauty will go anywhere and be a heavy duty work horse for you.

The coffee bean bag fabric (Honduran coffee originally) is accented by heavy jute ribbons and topped off with soft chiffon roses. A perfect accent for anyone.

On display for only a short time,(positive thinking here) in our booth at the North Shore Flea, downtown Highwood IL from 9 to 5 today only. 

See you here! ! !


the Muze

Friday, July 12, 2013

being creative

Hi Everyone,

Things are really getting complicated here, what with all the wonderful shows scheduled, a ton of weddings taking place with our accents, the new market coming to Illinois and our everyday life, whew, I am tired just writing that. My friend Julie uses a spreadsheet, I think I need the whole Excel program to track it all.

One thing that happens when doing so many wedding orders is that it is more than repetitious. All 150 of this thing have to be identical and for someone who likes to plays with her B O S, all the cast aside pieces of everything, I get to chomping at the bit to just do something different.

Well, I escaped today. After cutting a couple hundred of our gorgeous lace covered burlap bows, I started playing with the end pieces I had accumulated.

This is where I ended up at. I cut several of these 'pouches' from the leftover pieces and found all sorts of beautiful embellishments to go with them.

Here is one of them
A cute piece with a muslin handle and sweet rose accent. I will try to capture a couple of others before they disappear this weekend at the flea.

Now it's back to our regularly schedule program for tonight, 200 pieces of another order. Such is the life of the bridal supplier! ! ! 

the Muze

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

meanwhile . . . back in New Jersey

Hi Everyone,

Now that all of our mentionables are finally drying out, I had a few minutes to recover some of the pictures of some of the things that have been going on here over the last month or so.

Back in June we were able to slip away for a couple of days to the East Coast for a half and half trip, partial business and partial getaway. 

It was divine, this was definitely before the strep incident.

One of the stops we made was Hoboken, New Jersey. I had read about the magnificent architecture at the Hoboken rail station. Back last year when hurricane Sandy went through the East coast, I remember reading about hard hit the station was hit. I really wanted to see for myself, hoping against all odds that it somehow survived.

It did. It is hurting pretty bad, but it survived.

This is a picture taken several years ago of the beautiful Tiffany glass ceiling in the main hall.
It's almost like a glorious ballroom. Today, there is no electric on the ground level yet and those shiny floors are quite dull from all the water damage. All the furniture has been removed and it is a huge open space.

I was able to shoot a close up of the beautiful pattern of the ceiling.
nothing like Tiffany in the world
 I had a chance to speak to one of the employees who told me what they have been going through, how bad it has been. Interesting note, they were only completely shut down for 3 days and once the water rescinded, they came right back to temporary housing of offices and started working back to full operations, which will be quite some time.

After we left the station my eye caught this fantastic site. Since one of our biggest parts of our business is our wonderful frames, with and without poultry netting, imagine how excited I got when I spotted this beauty . . .

This is the Right Angle Frame Shop on Washington and the entire window is framed out in one of the most beautiful frames we have ever seen. All we could do is stare and wonder how in the world we could get it back on the plane ! The store owner saw me snapping the picture so I went in and explained what we do and she was so pleasant and amused that we were in love with her huge beauty. I think it was about 7 foot by 7 foot, just unbelievable.

Our afternoon was made complete by a fantastic lunch at La Isla, a genuine Cuban spot also on Washington that was out of this world. Super staff, unbelievably great food and reasonable, what more could you ask for.

There was a ton of construction going on, condos and apartments going up everywhere you looked but I didn't see as many parking facilities being built. Someone needs to get on that pronto. Parking was a bear.

All and all it was a wonderful trip to Hoboken and we enjoyed it thoroughly, can't wait to go back and see the rebuilding after Sandy.

More from New York next post,

the Muze

Monday, July 8, 2013

News flash about NSF

Hi Everyone,

This is short and sweet but I am so excited about the North Shore Flea Market in Highwood this coming Sunday July 14th, I am about to burst

Why you might ask?

Because I just found out that two of my bestest friends are joining me.

Live from Grand Rapids Michigan, my buddy Mark Miller, Lost and Found Grand Rapids Michigan is coming down and oh my word look at what he's bringing . . .

Old olive jars, handmade farm table and Romanian dough bowls, serious drooling going on over here . . .

anyone need a great work cart / table or cool bins?

Also, joining me will be my sweet buddy Annie and her family family from 3 Wren Street from Wisconsin. Annie is the queen of cool vintage and just unique things. I am over the moon that they are sharing their great stuff with the market this Sunday. It will be so great to laugh with them all as well.

So make plans to come see us, this Sunday in beautiful downtown Highwood at the North Shore Flea from 9 - 5, we will be the noisy bunch outside, laughing and having a great time!

Or on the road . . . 

July  14  2013 - North Shore Flea,  428 Green Bay Road, Highwood IL

July 20 - 21 2013 - Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

July 28  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

See you at the flea!

the Muze

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Indy = Rain

Hi Everyone,

If you have followed along here for anytime, you are well aware of the running joke about our doing the Indianapolis show, Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace and the fact that hands down, for two years running, the outdoor shows have the worse weather record EVER known to mankind. Ever, anywhere.

Saturday was no exception.

When we woke up at o'dark thirty, approximately 3:45 AM, it was misting rain. This did not come as a surprise and had it been any other market anywhere else in the world, we would have called off and said, "NO, can't take the chance in bringing all our paper and fabric goodies out today."

But, this is Indy. And Indy is different. 

We have trained these poor folks into thinking that a little bad weather is so worth coming out to see us that they do, REGARDLESS of weather.

This is not an exaggeration. Last month, it was tornado warnings. Last year it was hurricane weather and a tornado and they still shopped. Doesn't matter they come out to see us.

So we have to show up.

Soaking wet, hotter than you know what because it is now sooo humid you could proof bread in our booth!, but we are there and so are they.

On a good day anywhere else in the country this is what we look like
 Burlap and lace panels grace the walls, people coming and going, a really nice setting.

This is the top of our tent Saturday
See those huge raindrops at the top of the tent face? They and about a million others stayed with us all day long.

And so did the customers
See how covered up the tents in front of us are. Normally we can see our neighbors. Not Saturday. We did see umbrellas in every shape, size and color tho.

Thank you Indy for being such dedicated customers and braving the weather every single month. We will be there, slightly soggy, but we will be there. 

I'm the one that squishes when she walks.

Later, after I dry out, sometime next week,

the Muze

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Medium Sized Blessings

Hi Everyone,

After a full weekend, two shows and three bridal orders and a whole lot of exhaustion, we are trying to get ready for more bridal orders and heading to Indianapolis this coming weekend. See under the heading, way too much to do in a way too short period of time. 

We had a really great Harbor Market in Benton Harbor Michigan on Friday, where we saw a nice crowd of local folk and over 50 vendors that were there to show off their stuff. It has really grown and we are so proud to be associated with this venue. And as promoter Julie Montgomery says, Buy Local. The Harbor Market is every Friday from 11 - 4 and this week there were loads of early summer fruits available and a fresh pasta vendor. This place is just too cool. We will see you all next month, wish it could be sooner.

We headed north towards Allegan for Saturday, busy business day, a great meeting with our website designer. I have finally found an intelligent, non-condescending artist to work with, (more on him later) and then we traveled on to set up at our beloved Allegan show.

Truth be told, we arrived a bit tired from the one day setup and teardown in Benton Harbor and a busy and entertaining morning at our friends, the Gryzbowski home, earlier. 

We laughed and smiled and had such a great visit with all 10 of them and they too were getting ready to leave for set up at Allegan. So we said our farewells and headed off to the fairgrounds.

Shortly after arrival at Allegan, we started unloading, very slowly I might add, when we saw three of the young ladies from the  G family bounding into our booth. General Victoria, she puts orders out to the younger ones, who quickly move to do as dispatched, soon vanished from my sight inside the tent. As I looked around the end of the tent, I spotted this
and then this 
next time I look, I see this
and with a few minutes, our trailer is completely empty. They pitched in, moved items so fast and before we could turn around, we were unloaded. Such a huge blessing!

Ignore the fact this pic is sideways, they were so happy to have helped
Brian and Michelle are raising such great young ladies, self confident, charming, very feminine and each a delight to hold a real conversion with. They just pitch in and never expect anything in return, which makes a form of payment a bit difficult. But this time, I got around that. Ha, Michelle! They deserved so much more.

When we were packing up and keep in mind their family is packing at the same time, when their said duties for pack up was finished at their booth, I would see them running down towards our booth, all smiles and eager to see if they could help. I can not express how grateful we are for all of their help and the laughter they bring us.

I think the pictures are a bit cloudy because they were shot through their little angel wings. Just pure, innocent joy, each and every one of them.

So to Victoria, Sarah Grace, Isabella and Isaiah, who also popped in a couple times to help, you have our undying gratitude and thanks for making things so much better for us. George and I love and cherish each of you more than you will ever know. To Brian and Michelle, thank you for sharing them so freely. They are truly indispensable to us. 

I am still trying to figure out how to smuggle a couple of them home with us the next time we see them.

On the road, still:

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

July  14  2013 - North Shore Flea,  428 Green Bay Road, Highwood IL

July 20 - 21 2013Michigan Antique and Collectibles Festival, Midland MI

July 28  2013  -  Allegan Antiques Market, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan MI

More later,

the Muze