Oct 26, 2011

What If?

What if we never changed and never had a chance to look beyond tomorrow with the hope of something new? What if what you are doing right now is all that you would ever be doing - ever.

Sound okay? Content? You would no longer look down the road and never again wonder "What if?" Some may love that. Security. No more wondering. All is done. 

There is nothing wrong with being content with what you have and what you've worked for - in fact, I am a huge believer in that. I feel that is the key to happiness. But I believe most of us, while we may strive for certain goals, and then attain them, we continue to look for adventure. That is how I see it...adventure.

Welcome to my new header. My blog title stayed the same as I will always have adventures. But I changed my header (for now).  I am discovering that I am finding my creative self in many more wonderful places, doing more interesting projects, outside of my office...that...and I am tired of looking at my mug on my header! 

Over the years, my adventures have changed a lot, but they are always, always interesting. However, I have discovered something along the way, especially in the years after I made the decision to close my store. It took a while for me to see what others were feeling as well.

I have come across many, many other creative entrepreneurs who, like myself, who started on one venture, only to find themselves questioning whether or not they wanted to continue. They question and doubt themselves about their decisions. Did they make a mistake? A poor choice?

Like them, I too, had doubts when making my decision and it wasn't until a few years after many experiences did I realize something so obvious. My owning a store was not the end all, be all. It was only a stepping stone to get me to where I am today. My store opened all sorts of doors for me. It took great risks and a lot of courage to open a store and it took a lot of risks to close it so I may pursue what I felt was calling me to do in my heart.

Our lives are like this book. We can remain shut and all locked up, safe, once we feel we have it all figured out and written and completed. Or, we can bust open that lock, and start writing new chapters just when we felt our book was darn near complete and comfy. Personally, I find a worn out book, is a book that was really worth reading...again and again.

I have received quite a few emails of late from very talented ladies going through "the change." No...not THAT change. But a transformation. A change in their lives where they had made a decision years ago to seek out their passion and "went for it." And I so applaud that, as we all know what a scary thing that is! But over the years they discovered that their passion either faded or they discovered a new one. But now they are finding themselves in a quandary. They feel like a "failure" to use their word. They put so much time and effort and money into a venture only to feel like they failed. And...they have well-meaning friends and family questioning their decision as well. Somehow, along the way, they have convinced themselves that all because they devoted so much passion and energy into a venture or project, that somehow, that was a life sentence. Yes, what was once a passion can feel like a life sentence when our heart begins to sing another tune, but we feel stuck to "stick it out" for fear of looking like a failure or for jumping ship. There is a lot of pressure from customers, friends, and peers to "succeed" in their eyes. But what about succeeding in our own eyes? 

I see it very differently. I never see failure. I see only ventures. And I feel that when we seek out what our heart is calling us to do, and if that calling is good and encourages others along the way, then the calling is coming from The Original Creator. He (Christ) is giving us a chance to have an adventure. And unless we take it, then we won't discover all of the other wonderful things just waiting for us from that first venture. And it just may be THAT second (or third, or fourth) discovery that came from just taking that very first adventure is what your heart will truly discover to sing about in the end.

I had many readers from my other blog, Shop Talk Series, request that I should share with you my latest posting about this subject. Most of you don't read this little blog of mine, as it is geared toward shops owners and the ups and downs of running a shop and some tips. But this latest post, I am told, would have been good for my main blog, so I decided to share it with you.

I hope you don't mind a "re-run" but know that if you are at a point in which you feel that some choices you made have you feeling that you are at a dead end...I don't believe in dead ends. Because with every single dead end, you can always look up for wisdom on how to turn around.

Guest post from my Shop Talk Series:

Sept 08, 2011


I ran into an old friend recently and I hadn't seen her in a long time. We could only talk briefly, but it was good to see her. It had been about year or so since we last had contact and longer since we actually had seen each other. Actually, we were friends of a mutual friend, so our circle didn't cross too often, as our mutual friend had moved out of town.

As we leaned against our cars catching up on each other's life's happenings, it amazed us both how our lives had taken so many twists and turns in such a short amount of time. Some twists were put upon us, unexpected. Some turns, we made by choice. Our lives could not be more different. She: a mother of one, works in the corporate world, a new grandmother, newly divorced, a budding nail technician! Me: married, no children, free-lance photographer, writer, designer, stylist, and whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.

But we both had one thing in common: We took our twists and turns in life and opened that door to see what was on the other side. Sometimes we swung that door wide open with anticipation and sometimes, we slowly, carefully (maybe even begrudgingly) creaked it open and only peeked out of fear. 

But mainly, we were just amazed at all the changes we had made in a short time. And that made me think of you readers. I know over the years, I have grown and experienced a lot passions that I thought about for long time, and finally, I just stepped out and started to do them. For a long time, I did just a little "here and there" but I wasn't satisfied just doing a little "here and there" with my passions, I wanted to explore them more fully. So, I made the difficult decision to close my store and pursue these new adventures. 

I realized what was keeping me locked up for so long was that I felt I "should" carry on with "what I started." But now I have learned that was silly. What I had started was an adventure! And that adventure led me down an exciting path that opened a lot of doors which showed me ways to express myself in different mediums. Design, photography, writing, styling, and so on. It was time, combined with taking a lot of risks by choosing to experience a lot of situations outside my comfort zone, that led me to discover many things about myself. I mainly discovered that I truly enjoy and have a passion to photograph, write, and style vignettes that inspire others to see something beautiful that may not be apparent, or photograph something in such a way that it evokes a positive or reflective thought in its viewer.

But my problem was for some time was that I didn't trust myself and I listened to too many well-intened "advisors" who kept telling me I should be doing "this" with my store. Or that I should think about trying "that" because I am so talented. Or I should never go "that" route.... Basically, I was living (or trying to live) their dream, their vision, their expectations of what they felt my abilities were. And it is easy to listen to people when you are so very tired, and when you are doubting yourself, and when you have poured so much of your soul into your work, and when you have bills staring at you in the face...and besides...you have no idea where these passions will take you, right?

What we tend to look for when get this way is security. We want to feel secure in our decisions. But then there is that "damned if you do, damned if you don't" deal. I felt damned if I stayed and worked and worked, and yes, it was great, by my heart was longing to explore what I felt was truly calling me to do. And had I not opened the store in the first place, I would not have discovered these passions. I reasoned that perhaps the store was only a stepping stone to discovery, not the end all be all. But I was damned if went forward, closed my store, and sought out new adventures and "started all over" and what if it didn't work out? Well, again, I reasoned, I had that exact same question and risk the moment I made the decision to open my store and that didn't stop me then, now did it?

I share my thoughts and experiences with you because I know of several friends "in the business" who are at a crossroads right now and I can't help but feel that maybe you are too. Maybe there are feelings of "what will people think" or "did I just waste all those years and energy" or "did I make a mistake..."  And if I could sit and have coffee and sour cream pound cake with you, I would give you a big hug and say "NO!" You learned a lot, and now you are about to take all that you learned about yourself and move on to the next step in your wonderful life and see what is about to be on the other side of the door! How exciting! No regrets, just excitement.

So, if you are currently at a crossroads in your business and are wondering if you should pursue a newly discovered passion, talent, or skill that may seem off your current path...think again. You discovered this passion while you were on your current path. Perhaps your current path is just a stepping stone? Or maybe it is time for a new adventure? Only you know and you will only find out by opening the door of the opportunities and at least check it out a little bit. 

Aren't you just dying to know what is behind this cute little door? 

If you were standing in front of it, like I was when I snapped this photo, wouldn't you open it? Do you think I opened it? OF COURSE I DID! And I am not going to tell you what treasures I found behind it either...that was my adventure...now go discover you own!  :-)

from my house to your house,


Oct 21, 2011

Here and There and Back Again!

Hello, hello, hello!

I have missed you all and hope you are all in good health, happiness, and gearing up for a good weekend.

I have been running around so much, but I think I am back for a bit and I can actually sit here, eat a few skittles and type out a post!

I hope I can remember all that I want to chat about, and keep it in order, but don't count on it. But I will do my best. I may get some things out of whack, but I will get to it all, I am sure. I may write it as I remember it.

I chose the photo on the left because the "take one" really reminds me to "take one day at a time" and to take tiny bites of life as life can come in huge gulps sometimes and can choke you if you aren't careful!

I took this photo at The Creative Connection Event in St. Paul, back in Sept, which I will get to in a moment or two. 

To sum up quickly the past few months to catch you up, then I will get to some details...all summer I spent shooting a special project that really took a lot out of me due to the heat. It was a great experience and I don't have permission yet to let you know what it is, but soon I hope! But basically, I was hauling a lot of props and working in an abandoned building, shooting, unfortunately, during that horrible heatwave....but I really loved the work and am dying to share it with you as soon as I get the okay.

Then RIGHT after (maybe a week or so) I just completed that shoot and wrapped up the photos, I literally was off to St. Paul for The Creative Connection for a week and met some of the greatest people ever. 

If I have it correct: June, Jacie, Judy and Nancy Soriano...I am so horrible with names! But this group of women are just about as good as is gets.

Then no sooner than when I got back, literally only days, another project came up and I found myself in the car driving 15 hours down to Texas to Round Top antique fair to take care of some business and did some shooting there and it was 102, 103 and 104 degrees most days and I just about died in the heat. I was not used to walking around with that heat! I was there a whole week and then drove all the way back home again.

This was only the back lot, about 1/8 of only one side of only one road on one very HOT day. I hadn't even made it to the FRONT lot area yet (to my left, out of sight of my lens)  and you can already see all the goodies just waiting for me...

I was home literally only days when my barber husband zipped me away for ten days to the Lake of the Ozarks for rest, fishing and naps. And we did a fishing tournament together as well!  We got skunked, but we had a fun time. And I just got back this week and have been trying to catch up on dozens of things that have been put on hold since June. 

So that has been the past few months in short. I haven't even told you about what is to come in the next few months yet, but that can wait for now.

So, back to St. Paul. The Creative Connection Event.

For those who aren't familiar with it, real quick, it is a creative conference for women who gather for several days and take classes, listen to panels and key note speakers have dinners and learn and make great connections with other artists, bloggers, crafters, photographers and so on. It is a way to get your crafting, foodie, blogging passion to the next level if you wish or just to make connections and network. Jo Packham and Nancy Soriano are the founders.

Below are some photos of the event and I will try to remember people and names and who they are, but if you have been reading my blog for even more than a day, you will know that I am THE WORST at remember faces, names and connections. I did get to meet Tina from St. Louis, of all places. We have been trying to meet for months and just haven't been able to...and so we meet in St. Paul! Mary Beth Hunt introduced herself to me, she had read my blog and we became friends as if we have known each other for years. I met the best volunteers ever who made me laugh and helped me to remember OTHER  people's names! Oh...how I LOVE NAME TAGS....I think it should be a law that we all are required to wear name tags. 

That was the one thing I loved about being in the military...name tags and rank. If I couldn't see the name tag, I could just call someone by rank...Hey there Sergeant, Hi Colonel....Hello Chief....it was great...never missed a beat, never got it wrong and what was even better? Their unit or squadron was on their uniform and with a glance I could even match up the face, where they worked and "remember" where I met them and how I "knew" them and I always seemed like I knew what I was doing....but now? I have no cover....I am outed....sigh....but I digress....

Oh wait...just thought of a funny story...right at the beginning of us setting up, this pretty and artsy looking woman comes up to Jo with a huge smile and says really loud, "HI JOOO!!!!" And gives her a full body hug and sways her back and forth. Then she turns to me and looks me in the eye and says, "HEY!!!" And gives me a huge hug like she knows me and I haven't a clue. And I am thinking, Oh God, here we go....already....I have no idea who she is and she recognizes me and I will feel so bad if we have had tons of conversations....and I am not remembering her...how awful of me! And she stays for a minute talks to us both, all happy, and excited and then she just leaves. And as soon as she leaves, Jo turns to me and lowers her voice and says, "Okay, who was that woman, I have to know her name, I feel so bad that I don't know her...." And I say, "I have no clue, I feel so bad too..." And then Jo starts saying to the staff where all the inventory is boxed up, she says loudly...."NAME TAGS!...we must get the NAME TAGS out NOW!!"  And we all started to laugh because we are both so clueless about this woman and we are like the blind leading the blind.

Well, later we find out that the woman was a HOTEL staff member who was just assigned to us, someone we have NEVER met before, and who was just super friendly. But she freaked us both out...hahahahahaha.

Okay, I am done now...I will get on with the photos....

Lots of artsy and stylish women waiting in line for their Star Bucks who was a  sponsor and gave out a pound of coffee to everyone! The stylish woman in the hat is Jenny Pfanenstiel who is a Couture Milliner. You can find more of her great hats at www.fromeonlineshop.com  She wore a different hat throughout the days!

I didn't grab her name, but loved her skirt and she said her mom whipped this together only the night before!

This book just came out! I interviewed and wrote eight of the chapters. I met some of the coolest people writing for this book. That was one of my fall and winter projects that kept me very busy. Ashley English was there and I got to meet her little Huxley. She was pregnant when I interviewed her for the book. You should check out the book - it really has great recipes and photos...Jo did a great job with it!

There was an autograph party as part of the event. There were 50 authors there to sign books! 

Well, you got a little peek at what took place, but I like showing a little of the "before" and give you an idea of the venue, how beautiful the Crown Hotel is and how all these halls and chairs quickly filled up with happy, gabbing, talented, passionate, and very smart women for several days!

This is where The Market Place was being set up and vendors' items being delivered....

Beautiful pool, but never had time to swim in it!

Working down to the wire!

Setting up for registration

Lots to unpack and set up!

Registration packets - lots of women attending!

I have never seen so many signs that needed to be put out....

Vendors Indigo Junction setting up and doing it with a smile!

Beth is helping a vendor set up - so much to do!
Below are some random photos I took between some events that I attended:

Would you believe that this is a McDonalds table display? They sponsored breakfast and this is what we wake up to!

These two ladies brought their two daughters (below) and are just about the sweetest foursome you could have ever met.

These two friends are 6th graders, crafters, and have their own Etsy Store already!

Before I continue, I have the winner for the year's subscription for Where Women Create and Where Women Cook! Remember I said Jo would offer this gift if you would comment or post about

The Creative Connection Event Contest

Congrats to Stephanie of Bungalow Marriette for Winning Where Women Cook

 And Dore of Burlap Lux for Winning Where Women Create

Below is The Cooks of Crocus Hill cooking school. We had several classes taught there and it was a blast. It was a beautiful school and I would go back in a heartbeat!

Sarah and Carolyn came all the way from London to teach for us. They were Princess Diana's chefs and are known for their pastries made with rose petals. They were adorable to watch and learn from.

Jo Packham, Christina Ferrare and Loralee 

Mary Jane Butters

Christina was a hoot to watch and such a genuine soul.

We learned about food photography from Diane Cu and Todd Porter, the photographers that shot Christina's cookbook.

Some of the goodies the British chefs made...tasty as well as beautiful!

And that brings back to our little finger sandwiches...one bite at a time...take one day at a time...but in my case...I went from one day right on to the next day as soon as I got home and went from the North straight down to the South.

These are so good. Don't know if I have the patience to make them...but I will eat them :-)

So as you can see...the Creative Connection Even was busy, fun, and non-stop. I get home, and tell my barber husband that I am so excited to just rest and "do nothing for a whole week." Then, literally, only days later, I get an email, about a possible project that requires me to go to Texas right away (and I don't have enough details about this project to talk about at this time....darn it!!) and I haven't even unpacked from St. Paul...and I jump into my truck and drive down to Texas. Eight hours to Oklahoma City, spent the night. Then almost eight hours to my sister's house in Austin. Then the very next day, another hour and half or so to Round Top and hour and half back again to my sister's home. And I do this for an entire week. 

But mainly, it was the HEAT...the FRIGGIN HEAT that I hated so much. 102, 104 degrees on some days. The LAST day, a "cold front" came in and cooled it down to high 80's which was nice, but I was leaving! The heat really took a toll on me and I ended up doing little shooting, as it was just so hot to carry my camera around my neck. SO HOT to just walk around and I was just not acclimated at all.

But I did get some photos and so here you go! I did stop at a place outside of Austin before entering Round Top and bought me one of these Olive Buckets.

I found myself completely fascinated with these wagon wheels. I will try to locate the business card of this place. I know I have it, but can't find it. Hopefully the lovely lady that helped me will read the blog and let me know the name of this location.

Marburger Farm

This photo and the next four are from French Vanilla that were at Marburger Farm. They had one of the cutest booths and the best prices. I loved their space.

This cute couple is from California. They own Euro-Linens and have the real deal. www.euro-linens.com I discovered that the wife and lived only two hours away from each other in Germany!

Oh, I am having a major brain fart...I love this booth and the gal! I even go to her blog! Hopefully she or Shelly will visit me and help me poop out the name....I can't even imagine what I will be like at 70!
NOTE: Got a couple of keen spotters to correct me! I hope I got this right: This is Time Worn Antiques by Theresa.  www.timeworninteriors.blogspot.com I hope that is right. She and spent time talking and catching up...that is what makes this so bad with my name forgetting thing...and especially since I love her booth so much!

I had a nice chat with Shelly from www.sweetpeahomeblogspot.com 

Long line of cars at Warrenton heading towards Round Top.

 Another Sweet Pea. She doesn't have a website and I LOVE her stuff.

Good Ole Things. They go to all the great shows. He would stop by my store and I would climb into his huge truck and pick stuff out for the store.

Always the lovely Teresa  from Garden Vintage Antiques www.gardenantqs.blogspot.com  She took me to visit Debbie at www.talkingwhitetrash.blogspot.com. Debbie and I sat on her sofa in her booth talking and yakking for quite a while with "Cat Daddy" and had a good visit. It was good seeing Teresa, Debbie and CD. (Cat Daddy).

Makes your heart beat faster, don't it?

Texan women don't mess around with messin' around husbands....they'll hank'em  right off and toss'em in a bin...right after they stomp'em with their cowboy boots 'till they're square... Well...ahem...that's what I heard

Actually, I was eyeing the water...it was late in the day, and I was very beat up by the sun....but I wasn't 100% sure if my tetanus shot was up to date. 

DRY....DRY...home of the skinny cow...

Drought results were sad....

This is how hot and tired I was....see the street in the photo? I never crossed it to go inside. I snapped a photo and kept going. I've been in there...done that....and WANTED to do it again....but too dang hot and tired to cross the hot road. Now THAT isn't hot...that is heatstroke to pass that up!

And that is the end of the tour...with a bus filled with junk inside and out. And nope...didn't go in that either....don't you see that hot, dusty turf in front of it? I have about 1 mile to walk back to my truck and I am dead from walking in triple digit heat. 

I got mixed reports on the sales from the vendors. Some told me it was a bad show for them, very slow. Some told me it was a great show for them. Go figure. Me? I bought only ONE item...an antique creel basket for my honey. And only because it had a strap that I could put over my shoulder and not have to carry it. As a former store owner, it is very hard for me to buy retail and living in a tiny, tiny home, I just don't have the space or need. 

There is an advantage to having had a store for many years...and having to buy for clients....you just don't feel like buying for yourself...and you save tons of money in the end. I know...seems crazy, right?  But buying to me is like work. Because for years, it was. It was a hunt, a goal, a need, a time limit, always-on- a-tight-budget sort of thing. Never for leisure, never really for just the joy of it. Buying the right stuff was a business and I was very, very good at it...but...it was still work. Hard work. 

The quick hunting, the endless picking, the clever dealing, the quick calculations, the standing in line, the actual buying, the loading, the hauling, then unloading, the pricing, the cleaning, the fixing, then getting it in the store, the styling it and then eventually selling it at a profit. Most don't realize that "shopping" for a business isn't "shopping" at all. And it entails tons and tons of work just for one single item. Now multiply that for a store full of interesting items....whew!

BUT... and yes, there is always a "but."  That "work" is a passion that entails a business mind that is always turning, churning, creating, doing, thinking, and moving on to the next idea, the next deal, the next adventure. I enjoyed my work immensely, but, like most...in my down time, I don't want to work. So my joy at these markets, for now at least, is snapping photos, seeing the "art" in the light on objects, the displays, visiting with others, seeing how the business is changing, how the vendors are selling, how the customers are buying, and keeping my ears open for news and eyes open to what is changing and guessing what will likely happen within the next five years. That is my joy for now. 

Add in some good weather, let's say about 75 degrees, and you will see my joy turn into exhilaration! 

And in the meantime...you can enjoy your shopping and buying and support those hard working vendors. And I will keep on snapping photos of what suits my fancy. And we both can try and figure out why those friggin dolls' heads, sans body, show up at every market. 

They are like a train wreck...you don't want to look...but we keep staring anyway.

But even creepier...they stare right back at you.

from my house to your house,

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