Mar 30, 2009

So Much For Going to the Gym...

(Above is a how Me, Debi, and Carolyn looked after a day in the Bermuda Triangle - read below for clarification...)

A week ago Thursday, I am in my office, working away, trying to get 90 things done at once and accomplishing none of them, the phone rings mid-morning only to hear on the other end of the line, "Hey girl friend, whatcha doin'???" I immediately knew the southern twang - it was Debi Mattingly, the Junkin Yaya, of Yaya Chique in Houston. She is wanting me to go with her to Warrenton and Roundtop (Texas) antique show with her this year and of course I can't because I have a zillion things to do, but we chat anyway and catch up. She tries one more time to convince me to go shopping with her and so I ask her, "So when is the antique show this year, anyway?" And she replies, "Tomorrow." She thinks nothing of the fact that it is already almost noon, and I live in St. Louis, and the show is near Houston, Texas. She continues to entice me and I continue to say no.

But, I haven't been in several years, and I didn't really want to do the 937 things that I was trying to do in the next two days, but not accomplishing any of them anyway, and so I quickly called up my handsome barber husband and ran it by him, to which he happily agreed that I needed a break and gave his blessing (actually, practically booted me out the door because I think he wanted a free weekend of hanging out, eating pizza, watching guy movies as loud as he wanted...but I digress...). So, before I know it, I got a plane ticket, I am driving to Walgreens to buy travel toothpaste, shampoo, skittles, and People magazine, when only two hours earlier, I was just sitting in my office, minding own business, doing my work and wondering if I could find time to go to the the gym while also trying to convince myself that if I didn't go, I would be saving the environment by not driving the car and causing pollutants to fill the air....but packing for a quick trip to Texas was just the excuse I needed to procrastinate my work and so much for going to the gym....

The next morning, Friday, I was on the plane and was greeted with a "howdy" by Debi and her Texan hubby, Greg, and off we went talking, catching up, eating, more talking, lots of driving, and oh, did I mention talking? Greg offered to be our chauffeur for the day and drove us 72 miles to Warrenton. We made a couple of stops to hunt for antiques along the way and right away I met up with some people who knew me who knew someone who knew my friend who knew my store friend's sister who knew my cousin's dog walker who reads my blog who also has a blog.... and so I am going to be upfront right now before I go any further.

So please hear me loud and clear:  

I am the WORST (and I mean worst) when it comes to remembering names, places, blog names, and faces. If you don't believe me, ask my very good friend, Sharon Derry, of Secret Leaves, who worked for me for almost 5 years. She has told me many times that she has never seen anyone as bad at remembering names or places than me. Just to give you an example, I had met a woman in Warrenton (will tell you about her later) and only MOMENTS later, I went back to her, and I said, "I'm sorry, did you say you liked to go by Christy, or Christine?" And thankfully she gave me a friendly smile and said, "Neither, I go by Joanne." And we cracked up laughing. So, I only tell you this because I am dreading showing photos of people later in this blog because I know I will get blog people wrong, faces mixed up and even locations - so I may just be vague and let you figure it out - or let someone leave a comment and correct me. But just know I loved meeting everyone and it was great, great fun getting to know the people that goes with the blogs, the readers of my blog that I met, and the wonderful vendors and artists. If I get you all mixed up it isn't because you weren't spectacular people, it is just the wiring in my brain runs a little short in the name/face department.

Okay back to the adventure.
No sooner than did we arrive and parked in the field did I tell Debi to watch out for the cow patties. And I would say it took her only about 30 seconds to find the biggest, juiciest, cow patty to roll her shopping cart right through. Greg, her ever devoted husband, was glad to point out the evidence for all to see in blogger land. (He also was a sweetheart and washed off the cart for us when we got home so our cart would be patty-free for the next day.) 

We looked around and wondered how the vendors would fare with the high winds and threatening clouds. Having done shows before (actually that is how I started out), I know how hard it is to set up and when weather acts us, it can just throw off an entire show. I hadn't been to this show in several years, and I was very surprised at how few shoppers there were. Of course, this was the first day, and I wasn't there for the following weekend. The vendors seemed to have good spirits though. 

I got the opportunity to meet and befriend Carolyn Westbrook, of Carolyn Westbrook HomeShe and I hit it off immediately. 

Of course I love her look, her bedding and her style. I was going on and on about her look and her set-up in her space and she said, "Of course, Elizabeth you love my look, it is a lot like yours!" I laughed and said, "Well, you obviously have good taste!" We seemed to spend a lot of time at Carolyn's area, which I named "The Bermuda Triangle" because I couldn't seem to get out of a 100 yard by 100 yd triangle for most of the days there. And when I did make it out, I got sucked back in again and again.

But while in "Berumda, Texas" I did get meet Chris Brown, of Urban Prairie Refueled and photographer, Cheryl of Stash Studios

Those of you who may not know of these two (and if you don't, you should! :-) they are talented beyond words. They have an edge and an eye that most of us don't and they see things in a way that only by visiting their sites will you understand why I admire their work. I had never met Chris nor Cheryl in person until now, and it was an exciting moment for me - I have been a long time admirer of their talents and Chris honored me a couple of years ago by featuring me as one of many artists on his blog.

On Sunday, I discovered that there is Blog Party, hosted by Theresa of Garden Antqs Vintage who provided lots of wine, cheese, fruit, but mostly a gathering of women who loved to laugh. I met many wonderful women that I am sure I will forget some names or mix up some names but here are a sampling:

I believe I have this correct, and if I don't someone will correct me. From left to right: Amy of Whisper Wood Cottage, Theresa of Garden Antqs Vintage (our fabulous hostess), Mindy of Primitiques 'n Poetry, Shelly from Sweet Pea, me, and Theresa of Time Worn Interiors

Do ya'll magazine junkies remember a couple of years ago that article in Country Home magazine (or was it Country Living?) with the trailer home that was all done up very, very cool, in Shabby Chic style, but even better? It was a fantastic article - anyway, if I don't screw this up, Theresa, the woman in the blue skirt, is the owner and designer of that trailer! I hope I got this right, but I was very excited about meeting her and I loved that article. I am a firm believer that with some imagination - space, location, and size have nothing to do with making a house a real home and Theresa proved that.

While at the blog party, I look up and I see a very familiar face with a look of disbelief, then curiousity, then, frustration, then finally a half smile - I think? Can't tell, she is too far away, but at least she is waving - yes, that is Debbie of Curious Sofa, waving at me - I don't go near her because I am pretty sure she is stronger than me - I may be faster, but she looks stronger and I didn't tell her I was in town. I didn't tell anyone for that matter - I didn't even know myself. Actually I am kidding about Debbie - she came up and gave me a hug and we caught up some and basically we both know we are all business when it comes to antique markets. I have no doubt she and Carol of Raised in Cotton, found some great stuff. They flew and then rented a truck and drove back. Carol, Debbie, and I will be doing Ms. Frenchie's Market in Kansas April 17, 18 - more on that later.

Debbie of Curious Sofa waves to me in surprise, but hugs me below - or is she squeezing me to a slow death for not telling her I was in town? :-)

I also had the opportunity to meet with Sue Whitney and get an autographed copy of her third book, Junk Beautiful, Outdoor Edition. We had a nice chat and I was inspired to work even harder on my own book (yes, I really am working on - more than you think - more on that later!) Below is me, Sue, Carolyn, and Debi.

I also had the fun opportunity of meeting and running into friends and people who either knew of me, heard of me, or has read my blog. I am always so flattered when that happens (not that it happens often, but it amazes me how thoughtful and kind you are). While sitting at Carolyn Westbrook's table in the Bermuda Triangle, two women were walking by and stopped and were trying to decide if I was who they thought I was. I was totally unaware of this, because, I was gabbing with Carolyn (what a shock, me talking). Suddenly, these two women just start to scream and scream in delight, and Debi, Junkin Yaya, almost spilled her tea as she walked past them, and these two women, with huge sunglasses on, standing about 15 feet away kept screaming at me and yelling, "It's us! it's us!!!" They were jumping up and down and so happy, and I was happy too, but I had no idea who they were. Finally, they took their sunglasses off, and jogged my memory, and reminded me that about 7 or so years ago, I painted Janet Cox's kitchen black, who lives in San Antonio, TX, and her friend Joanne's bathroom, aged ivory. I did these two projects under the gun, right before I left for St. Louis and have never seen them since. They were so kind and told me how they followed my blog and read everything I wrote and I was so touched by their sincerity. What touched me the most was that they went on and on about my writing long before they complimented me on my design work - which meant a lot to me because I have been doing a lot of writing "behind the scenes" so to speak (more on that later). But below are my two biggest "fans" from Warrenton and they made my day with their genuine sincerity, and while they said how much I inspired them, it was them that really inspired me and encouraged me more than they will ever know and I want to thank them so much for taking time to talk with me.

Oh - remember how I said earlier how horrible I am with names and places? Well, at one point, I was pulled away from our conversation and when I got back to them, I asked, "Now, please tell me again, do you go by 'Christy' or 'Christine'?" And she looks at me blankly and says, "I go by Joanne" We all just laughed and I think they realized that some things never change.

Joanne (aka Christine) me, and Janet of San Antonio

Okay, below are a mix of photos that I have been trying for over 30 minutes to load in order and it isn't working, so I give up. I will try to notate, but just enjoy!

Shadow box above from Willow Nest.

Linda from Willow Nest with me. 

Debi behind her counter at Yaya Chique.

Had to take this photo in honor of my husband, the fantastic barber!

Blog party!

I have more photos but I am pooped!  I do want to close with a few thoughts...

I enjoyed my time at Warrenton and meeting so many people. I didn't get to shop nearly as much as I normally would, but the Bermuda Triangle was in full force!  :-)  I did learn a lot about myself though. I learned that I have grown more than I gave myself credit for. I learned that I am really okay with where I am and what I am doing with my life at this point. While in Warrenton, I actually enjoyed being on the sidelines and watching others "do their thing." I didn't have anything to peddle and I actually enjoyed that! I didn't have store to sell, or a booth to empty (not yet at least), or a show to promote, or a product line to market, or brand to get out, or a book to push (hopefully some day though), or anything going on that required me to get out there and get my share of the pie so to speak. And the best part of all of that is that I am truly okay with that. I didn't have any little nagging voice in my head telling me I should be doing more, creating more, selling more, getting on-line more, starting a facebook page, twitter, flicker, or whatever. Whether this is good or bad for my business, I don't know, and I really don't worry about it at this point. Maybe later I will, but that is later.  Being around all the vendors and all the store owners and all dealers made me realize that while I admire their talent, hard work, and creativity, I am very happy to be on own path right now. Going to this show gave me the validation that I needed that I am exactly where I need to be right now and I am making all the right choices and I am very happy about that.

I am happy to share my path with you as I discover all its twists and turns. So far, it is good. Very good.

Happy trails to you too and may you discover that your path is actually leading you to an exciting destination...

From my house to your house,

Mar 27, 2009

Soup Kitchen to Super Kitchen Part One


It is amazing how the time passes and how much I think of you all and I often wonder if time passes just as quickly for you as it does for me. I get so many wonderful emails asking me to write more often and I am so very grateful for the encouraging words - as I miss writing very much! Thank you for your concerns and taking time to write me. It often boggles my mind how I let life interfere with my true love - writing.

This will be a quick update and when I return from my very sudden "surprise trip" I will update you more on what I have been up to. My year began with my need to turn our "soup kitchen" into a "super kitchen" on a limited (very limited) budget. Our kitchen will be featured in Romantic Homes' June issue, but below is a sneak peek at the process. It is just a cosmetic make-over.

One morning, after staring and our studying kitchen (again) I mentioned to my handsome groom, Randy, that something just had to be done with our kitchen...I could no longer allow it to remain in this state of repair...I mean, this was no matter of differing tastes, but rather a matter of torn tiles, cracked walls, and burnt counter tops. I am pretty sure the kitchen hadn't been touched since 1940's. I bet him I could re-do the entire kitchen for less than $500. So, being a very competitive couple (remember, we met running in the park while training for a marathon), he took me up on the challenge. Actually, I wasn't so sure I could do it, but I was willing to try.

Actually, as I thought about it some more, I realized that there must be some other people out there in the same position: what does one do when a kitchen needs a total gutting, but the funds are yet a few years away to do it properly and one can't stand to look at it one more day? I was sure I could find a way to do our kitchen cheaply, quickly, and end up loving it, even if the results only lasted a couple of years. Besides, if we do get to gut it and put in a new kitchen like is really needed, I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time or money on it right now anyway.

I won't show you very many "after" shots, but below are some before shots. You will have to check out the June issue of Romantic Homes to get the full deal. I believe it will be a fairly long feature. I do explain the "how to's" and give tips.

I would like to add a personal note about doing our little kitchen. When some of my girlfriends had seen it, they all expressed how much personality went into it and how they couldn't believe the change. While I appreciate their comments and compliments, what I think they were experiencing was something that we all have the ability to include in our homes...and that is our own personal touch. Whenever we take the time to add that little "something" that is truly ours and ours alone, that is when we turn our houses into homes.

Yes, I love my little kitchen, but what I love even more is hearing my handsome husband tell me each morning how nice the kitchen looks. And I enjoy watching him crack open his little soft boiled egg in his little German egg cup,while he is sitting in his Barber uniform, and watching him scoop out the soft yoke with his tiny spoon and he then looks up and smiles at me and says, "I just love having breakfast with you in our little breakfast room...." Beginning our day with our little breakfast, in our quiet, little breakfast room, is the little personal touch that makes our house a home.

Enjoy the sneak peek of our kitchen and more photos of the finished kitchen soon to come!

Also: next posting: More info on the April in Paris show in Kansas City - don't miss it!

From my house to your house,




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