Remember the tornado that took Dorothy and Toto right out of her home and into the land of Oz? "Your not in Kansas anymore" as was told to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The version I heard customers say over and over again at our first French Market was more along the lines of, "This is as close as I will ever get to Paris..." If you didn't get a chance to enjoy the goodies that I brought along with Debbie of Curious Sofa, Carol Spinski of Raised in Cotton, Julie Reed of Reed Design, Karla Nathan of Karala's Cottage, Gwen McClure and Teri Eliott French by Design, and Beth Leintz, then don't fret, you will get a chance to shop "Paris" when we have our April in Paris market in April 2009, located right in the heart of Kansas City on a wonderful historical property, Alexander Majors, with a great home and barn.
It has taken me several unsuccessful tries to upload these photos in a certain order, but the blog did not want to cooperate, so in order to somewhat be "timely" I am just loading the photos, in no particular order and will make little commentary. Since my photos are in no special order, I will note only some, but not all for fear of identifying someone's product or a vendor incorrectly. For those of you who want more than just eye candy, at the end of this post, I give you a "behind the scenes" account of my adventure to Kansas along with photos. Mostly, I just hope you enjoy the photos and I hope to meet you at our next April in Paris show!
I want to thank Debbie for inviting me to participate and I especially want to thank Carol (Raised in Cotton) for her great help and hard work in assisting me with unloading my truck. I want to thank Beth, Karla, Julie, Gwen and Teri for making me feel so welcomed in their group. I also thank my mother-in-law, Diane Benitz, for bringing me some forgotten items and I want to thank all of those who attended, and those of you who sent well wishes. It was a HUGE success and a delight to meet so many of my readers. I look forward to meeting even more of you.
And awning, old post cards blown up to poster size and holiday lights greet the customers with a holiday French Flair!
Now these are my kind of people!! Sylvia, Debra, and Jimmy drove 13 hours from New Mexico just for the show! Debbie of Curious Sofa (on left, with cute hair and gorgeous eyes) and I got a photo of these wonderful people. They drove all night, Friday night, arrived in KS City in the morning, had breakfast, and waited in the parking lot for our doors to open. Debra told me that she saw me pull up in my huge truck and when I got out, she and Sylvia exclaimed, "There's Elizabeth!" I laughed when she told me this, and I noted that although Jimmy was polite, he had an expression that told me that he just didn't understand all the fuss...I don't blame you Jimmy, I don't understand it either, but it sure makes a gal feel good to know that someone thinks she is worth getting excited over! I just love all of my delusional customers/readers! :-)
I have to do a little bragging....my very good friend and former employee, Sharon Derry of Secret Leaves Paperworks, and her partner, Ann Hirshfield, supplied me with some their one-of-a-kind goodies such as these holiday labels and stickers. She also included greeting cards, scrap journals and more. Visit her site to order your own stash - this stash went quickly! It was nice to hear ladies commenting on their items with glee such as "Oh! Look at this journal! I can't believe all the work that went into it..." It was nice to see so many customers who "got it" and appreciate hand-crafted, very unique products such as Secret Leaves offers.
This is the "before" picture of my section. And below is the "after."
This is the "before" picture of my section. And below is the "after."
A GRAPHIC LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES....WARNING!!
This section may not be suitable for all audiences. Realistic content includes graphic tools, no make-up, ugly trucks, and hungry, tired women in a state of confusion as to why they agreed to do this in less than 2 weeks.
My adventure began with my forgetting my personal tool box. I asked Debbie, of Curious Sofa, did she have tools? She pulls out her bent "hammer" and said, "Will this do?" We cracked up laughing right there in her living room and I said, "This is going to be a long day, isn't it?"
But I am getting ahead of myself. Before I even arrived in Kansas City I had a very short time to dig through my HUGE mess of inventory, clean it, price it, pack it, and load it. And in my defense, I would like to remind my dear readers that I JUST got married, went on a honeymoon, Thanksgiving, and JUST (and I mean JUST) packed away all of my wedding stuff when I get a call from dear
Debbie asking, "Wanna do a French Market here in Kansas City?"
My reply: "Sure! When?"
She replied, "Next weekend."
And so the story continues...
For those of you who think I have a great stash in a well-organized warehouse...well, uh, I hate to burst any bubble you may have, but here is a peek of my "well-organized" stash...
Here I am, at 2A.M. wrapping French soap in a dingy dungeon with my ever-faithful "Big Bertha" keeping an eye on me. Bertha was at the show with me. She has low self-esteem issues and to help her out, I keep her close to me,
and don't let those 1880's skinny mannequins harass her. I told her that she has a beautiful spirit in spite of it being surrounded with a lot of padding.
And speaking of dungeons...I am currently looking for a small space for my inventory and photo studio in the St. Louis area or surrounding areas. I am willing to consider all avenues...garage with an apartment over it, warehouse with windows, carriage house...must be cheap and must have good lighting for my photo studio. If you know of anything, please feel free to email me! Thank you!
On with my adventure....after a 4 hour drive in my 16' truck (packed full), I arrive at Debbie's at midnight, where we gab until 2AM, and I am up and out the next day by 10AM. I am tired after a week of digging, loading, cleaning, pricing, and packing then driving. But I knew the real work was about to begin - so I decide to begin with a big grin...
It looked like a huge yard sale with my stuff spread out everywhere. You are only seeing the half of it - the other half is all along the sidewalk...and I like how my truck is near the covered wagon. Can you imagine if I had a store back in the covered wagon days? My poor horses would surely run off at first chance, but I bet I could barter my way out of an Indian attack if I had to...
Carol, of Raised in Cotton, I am sure regretted when she sweetly asked me, "Can I help you unload Elizabeth?" She asked before I opened my back door of the truck...she was a great help, never complained one bit, and was careful with all my items. I REALLY appreciated it so much! She is the nicest woman I have ever met (and very talented too!)
This is Carol and I with an empty truck and surrounded by all our hard work.
Karla of Karla's Cottage, was just moving in as I arrived. It is amazing how the barn, unloading, and upacking mess can turn into such a beautiful event....
Okay, I am only including this photo for bragging rights...I drove that big truck in a field, around the barn and backed it up to the door, between the flag pole and building without any trouble at all. And on top of that? None of my inventory arrived damaged or broken! I have to admit, that surprised me.
Here is Debbie, about midnight, working away at tagging her items. My cream table became the "work and eat" table which is always needed during a show setup. Hence, it is the last item to decorate, display and figure out
what to do with since most items are already displayed. But with Debbie's pile of tarnished silver and
my 2 giant pairs of corbels, we got a great display.
And finally, at some hour in the wee morning, Debbie shows us her "lacy bat" lamp shade. It didn't turn out the way she wanted and we all laughed so hard. We get such lovely emails and comments about how creative we are, but just to let you know, we have our moments too.
Thank you for allowing me to share behind the scenes for you. I thought you would find it interesting to see how "glamorous" our lives are and how, right before you walk through the doors of our show, we are scrambling to make everything "just so" for you, our wonderful customers/friends. We feel very, very fortunate to live a creative life and we don't take it for granted. But I also think it is important to let others know that along with the path we chose, there are very long hours, lots of physical labor, lots expenses, risks, large amounts of time away from family, and true exhaustion after the creative juices are greatly challenged. But, for some of us crazy, creative types, our spirit soars higher than our doubts and that is why we do what we do.
It really is that simple: My creative spirit soars higher than my doubts.
May your creative spirit soar among the clouds.
From my house to your house,