Dec 12, 2008

"You're Not in Kansas Anymore"

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 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 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,


*The Beautiful Life* said...

Without a doubt -- with regard to your space/booth at the show -- THAT is what my space/section in heaven is going to look like. Period. :)
P.S. I, too, have pretty much that exact same "Big Bertha" dress form, as well as an uber-small sized Adjust-O-Matic dress form (I mean impossibly small!) and I can swear at times I hear my Big Bertha (I've named her Vivienne) muttering unspeakables at the little skinny form -- can't blame her. :)
Great post, Elizabeth. Now...its back to work for me (thankful for the business, trust me!).
Merry Christmas to you and sweet Randy!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

"Big Bertha" has indicated that she would love to meet Vivienne someday! (I told Bertha that she is called "Big Bertha" because she has such a big heart...she has tender feelings and I couldn't stand it if she knew the real reason...our secret...)


Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, It was a treat to be there; thanks for the behind-the-scenes look! Mary

LP Vintage said...

My dress form is now grumping at me because I haven't given her a name. She's pretty but a little wobbly and at some point in her life, a child drew a crude picture on her with a wax crayon ... I'm going to give some thought to a name for her. I'll post a photo of her on my blog when I christen her.

I agree with you, Ruth - this is how my heaven is going to look too! I had to remind myself to take deep breaths so I wouldn't faint while browsing all the wonderful photographs. Thank you, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Well LP, it seems as though our dress form has been through a lot...she is wobbly....graphic graffiti....and no name either. She sounds a little disgrunteled - with reason too! Once Christened, I think she deserves a day of pampering....can't wait to meet her!

Elizabeth :-) said...

All your hard work certainly showed in the results! I appreciate everything you did to make our sale so lovely.

cathypentonatelier said...

Fabulous my friend...Everything looked so amazing...How about Australia later in the year???(LOL)....Love ya Cxxxx

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Oh Elizabeth I can so relate with what you go through to do a show. Here I am in Austin tonight as I type, trucks (yes 2) are loaded down in my son's apartment building (I'm sure the tenants are wondering...are they moving in or out or headed to the junk yard?), getting ready to set up tomorrow to do a one day show on Monday!! But, I love it! The show just looked fabulous as always. Can't wait to see your next show in April.

Peggy said...

Sounds like a great time. I wanted to come but had my grandkids. I don't think a four hour drive with the three of them sounds like fun.
I live in St Louis city i think pretty near you so I will keep my eyes open for a place for your studio and storage. (my garage is too small darn).

delighted heart said...

Awesome looked like ya'll had a ball! thanks for the behind the scenes dress form was my mothers from the
1960's ... one of those dial-a-matic change your measurments kind! Very versatile but not as cool looking as your really vintage ones but you can't tell with clothes on her! Anyway thanks for the great post....
Oh, and Congratulations on your marriage! It and you looked beautiful....great job!
Patti (in Texas)

Nancy said...

I am still totally amazed at how quickly you all were able to get such a wonderful event accomplished. Crossing my fingers to be able to come to the April event. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures.

Beth Leintz said...

"My creative spirit soars higher than my doubts"- love that motto!

Thanks for all the late nights and hard work you put into making Miss Frenchie's such a great show. Looking forward to April in Paris.

Myrna said...

Oh THANK YOU- THANK YOU- THANK YOU!!! For sharing your pics and commentary! Being waaaay out in California I appreciate the little peek at all the eye-candy. sigh.

And you have no idea how
"My creative spirit soars higher than my doubts" blessed and ministered to me...may I quote you in my next post? You'll understand if you read my current post...

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Yes, Myrna, please feel free to quote the risk at sounding "overly spiritual" I fully believe when once in a while I type (or say something) that inspires others, I can't take the credit....I fully know God is working through me, and for that I am blessed! Thank you for reading my blog - take care!


Jenny Danna said...

I am a new blog reader. I have really enjoyed reading about all of your accomplisments. I would love to see your wedding photos. Do you think Romantic Homes will publish your picures for us to enjoy? I can't wait!!

Charlene said...

WOW I am just sick that I missed the show! I hope to come to the Spring one. Let us know exact dates ASAP PLEASE so we can get hotel arrangements made!!!!! Can't wait. Thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays!

Kasey said...

I am so coming to Kansan in April.
done deal.

delighted heart said...

I left you a post last night but tonight I left you an award. Drop by my blog to get the details....I know you are a busy lady but I wanted to show others your blog. And you really deserve a Kreative Blog award! You are such an inspiration!

LaurieAnna's Vintage Home said...

Hi Elizabeth! Sweetheart fellow blogger, Debi (A Journey Ahead) sent me to your page to see the clever on the chandie. Your photos are wonderful as is your writing. Thanks for putting into words all that goes into shows and this biz....if they only knew!

Your displays are amazing! Such talent! Thanks for sharing!

Glad to have found your page!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Everything was absolutely beautiful!! I love your style.
Dianna Castner

Kathie Truitt said...

I asked this question already, but can't remember where I posted it, so can't see if you answered me ((crazy)). I was wondering where you shop for clothes. We have the same taste in clothes and I'd love to know where you shop. Living in DC it's very hard to shop for 'unique' things. I mostly go online and just wondered where you found most of your things.

By the way, saw your wedding photos on Curious Sofa. Where did you get that dress?? LOVED it!!!


Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you everyone for the lovely comments - I so enjoy reading them. I am still working on the wedding photos - I promise I am!
I find your question cute and funny because I am not sure which clothes you mean...but I am really flattered that you like them, whatever they are. My wedding dress, I designed, and the skirt is made from an antique table cloth. I went through some of my posts to see what kind of clothes I wear - and I didn't see a thing that stood out. But I will tell you that I love comfy, suede cowboy boots, Anthropolgy clothing store (but I can only get items on sale, too expensive for me), vintage stores (I wear vintage jackets), ruffly winter scarves, and anything I may happen across that (usually at a craft show or vintage store) that just speaks to me. I don't mean to vague, but your question stumped me! :-) Thanks for the compliment - so flattering, but I can think of zillion other women who really know how to dress in style much better than I do - as I age, I find that I give less and less time to the way I dress (not a good thing) and just dig in my closet for something I don't have to iron that day! :-)

Take care

Maison Douce said...

The transformation is absolutely unbelievable!! You are truly a bunch of talented gals!! I will have to come back when my eyes are not so tired and click (and drool) on every single picture!!

Anonymous said...

LoVe that you are back in action ....with a bang. You can't go wrong when you and Debbie hook up. I have to pass on my first encounter with Romantic Homes magazine...Last tear this time, I was browsing the mag rack looking for something new and inspiring for my shop. The January 2008 RH caught my eye... A Moment In Time, Creating a New Year's Eve for Two... by Elizabeth Maxon. I savor the eight pages. Your style of decor and writings are absolutely Beautiful. You are a huge inspiration for me, so I thank you and Romantic Homes for your productions. Lori

MJ Ornaments said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I just came across your blog, and boy do I love your style! I could look at these photos all day, but alas I haven't done any Christmas shopping so can't. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.
Take care,

Gypsy Fish said...

You all are so talanted and everything you touch just seems to glitter and shine....even if it's an old worn leather suitcase...thanks for the eye candy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the amazing "before" and "after" photos of the show. Don't know how you guys do it! And I'm happy to know that I'm not the only person to have an oversize/"larger" dress form. Mine is called "Big Mama" after the Big matriarch that oversaw one of the cafes in Paris that I used to go to when I lived there (we used to call it Big Mama's Cafe). Which reminds me, I would love to go to the "April in Paris" show...

Glamarella Junk said...

Wow! You keep on going Girl! Just Breath Taking! Love your style AGAIN!!
Check out my New Site....Change..Change..
GlamarellaJunk.blogspot...Formally Prairie Home typepad

Jeanne Oliver said...

So beautiful. Everything looks like a dream. Thanks for sharing all of the photos.

Anonymous said...

I started reading your blog over a year ago... and I have followed you through all the ups and downs.. And always wondered at how on earth you got done all you get done!!! Thrilled for you.. the marriage, the counseling you are getting and that you are happy with yourself. What book are you writing?? Arletta Rue

Rose Campagne said...

Happy new year !!!

Debra Howard said...

I just found you & hope you don't mind that I stopped by. What an awesome blog. Enjoyed my visit.

Vintage by Crystal said...

Oh Lordy! I'll need a mop to wipe up the amount of drool these amazing photos induced! :)

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