Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pulling Together a Christmas Decorating Theme - Part Two


Once I had all of the elements pulled together, I realized that I wanted another fuzzy ball garland.  I went back to Target and they were sold out...went to another Target, same story. The shelf was empty.  So, thank goodness for the Internet and Target.com!  I had it in my hands within two days, and they had a sale going, plus free shipping, so those were some unexpected surprises!


I started with the dinner table, which we finally brought back inside.  Hubby is much happier, except that now it's hard to actually eat at the table because his wife is playing around with place settings, decorations, etc.  Nothing can be touched while I'm playing and taking pics--I know the family needs to eat--they just have to find another spot until I'm finished, then they can have the table back.

The first "look" was a little more formal than I usually like.  You see, I've never actually liked the look of a formal table with a tablecloth, but I decided to purchase a red one anyway, because, well, I felt like I needed it for Christmas. Keep in mind that you could use a tablecloth in any color that's in the established palette of colors...remember the fuzzy balls? Lots of colors there.  I was trying to use one of the colors from that palette that would best make the red transfer ware shine.  I was thinking the red would do it, but once I got it all set, I didn't like it....at all.  I did take pics though so that I could share with you that it doesn't always work.  

So, what exactly is it that I didn't like?  The red tablecloth just felt too heavy...I'm thinking I would like a white tablecloth, maybe topped with a strip of burlap to add that dichotomy that I love so much-a little rustic-ness opposing the fancy.  I also don't care for the tan napkin that I used.  I did try to add a little bit of whimsy to the overall look, but the little angels are sort of getting lost and the fun factor doesn't really show up much at all.  


So, as sometimes happens when you're pulling together a theme, you pull it all apart and start over.

Here's the second look...


I like this one so much more!  

I started with just a simple table runner as opposed to a tablecloth.  This one was made to look like an old grain sack, but it's a new piece from Target.  I kept the large ironstone pitcher filled with greenery, and just started adding things again.  This time around, I'm using plain white plates with the green bowls.  it's much more casual, but still has a few fancy touches--I kept the gold rimmed glasses at each place setting.  Bringing in the rustic vintage textile mill spools to use as candle holders knocked the fancy feeling down a bit, too.  This time, I played up the red with the candles, but then I hung the cute little angels around the candles so that they wouldn't get lost on the table surface.  



I added vintage glass ornaments in colors from my established color scheme at random places around the center of the table, and for a little unexpected fun, I dropped some peppermint candies into the mix.


I decided it was going a little too much towards the rustic side, so for a little more shine, I pulled out some gold chargers to set under the white plates.  They look nice against the wood tone of the table.


Being happy with this look, I decided to carry it to other places in the kitchen by setting up the top of the chest with the glass drying rack and a wooden drawer, which was once a vintage glove box.  I placed the clock on top of the drawer and filled the open drawer with more peppermint candies and napkins that match the entire scheme.  I placed matching glasses on the rack so that they are within easy reach.


The gorgeous red transfer ware that I love so much is in the cabinet.  Still looks pretty there, but I'll have to play with some more settings to get it so that I like the way it looks on the table for an actual meal.  I'm sure you will see it again!


I also switched out the candelier with crystals with one that is more simple.  I now need to find some candles to use there... When I use candles up there, I will probably not use the tall red ones on the table.  I'll replace them with some small white votives at that point.


Yes, this is much more me....but, I'll still be playing around more.


I hope I've helped you just a little to understand the way we pull a look together...it's so much like just getting dressed and pulling the accessories out to go with the outfit.  Same process.  Sometimes you put on a pair of jeans, then the top, and something just doesn't look right, even though you thought it would...you simply change tops!  Same thing with dinner table decor, or home decor.  It doesn't always look like you thought it would, so you just shuffle things around until they are pleasing to the eye.  Starting point is always the same though...you find that "idea" piece, or focal piece, and start from there...determine your color scheme from that piece, and just pull together a mix of old and new bits and pieces--then play!  Have fun!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pulling Together a Christmas Decorating Theme-Part One


Hello everyone!  I just realized that I have not posted on the blog since September! If you've followed me any length of time, you know that I am the organizer of a couple of vintage market events each year, and they are a lot of work, so that's where I've been.  As soon as the Vintage Market Days of Mobile event (where I was a vendor) was over, I was running around pulling together the Down in the Delta Vintage Fall Market.  It was a great event, and I'm doing so many things now, it's hard to write about it all, but if you would like a re-cap of how the market went, just look at the home page of the website (The pics have been moved to the Gallery Page, Fall Market 2016.) where you will see lots and lots of pictures.  Now, I'm on to other things-specifically, Christmas decorating...so, come on, let's go!

One of the most shocking things happened during the DitD Fall Market, which was held at our home, Pimperl Place-people wanted to come inside for a tour!  As you can imagine, I had been so focused on prepping the outside where the market would be, that I had totally neglected the inside, so we were not going to go there, but it did plant an idea in my mind for possible inside tours later on down the road. I have done the local Christmas Tour of Homes for our Kiwanis Club in the past, so the idea is not totally foreign to me-I just have to decide when I'll open my home again for tours and plan for it.  

I also recently did a small holiday event (as a vendor) where the event organizer complimented me on my staging abilities and wanted to watch me put my display of merchandise together. She wanted to try to understand the process, how I get things to look like they do.  She was intrigued as I talked her through the process from beginning to end.  It always surprises me when people ask me to show them how to get a certain look..I guess it's somewhat of a gift that I was blessed with, so I don't really give it much thought...it sort of just happens in my mind.

So, I decided to blog about exactly how I approach decorating, or more specifically- Christmas decorating-each year.  I always do a different theme or "look" annually, mostly because us creative types just get bored using the same things over and over again.  Now, don't get me wrong...I do save and re-use my things over and over again, just not all of them at the same time. Once I come up with my look, I pull from what I already have, and then I add to that.  I am fortunate in that I have a warehouse for my business, so it doubles as a great place to store holiday decorations from year to year, and I do have lots to store as I've collected for over twenty years.  

I will attempt to put everything into steps now, which is strange for me to even think about, because I usually just start throwing things together, but I need to organize my thoughts in a way that will be easy for others to follow and understand...so here goes.


1.  How I determine my "look" or theme.  As I've already told you, it's always different every year. Some of my themes over the years have been:  A Hard Candy Christmas, Wooden Toys at Christmas, A Peppermint Christmas, Peacocks and Rustic Forest, and sometimes, it's just a color story theme that starts with a tablecloth or piece of fabric that I like. I used some of the same elements in A Peppermint Christmas that I had previously used in A Hard Candy Christmas, so that's the way I re-use. Sometimes the themes overlap

So, you will need to find one "something" that you love and you will build around that.  That something, ideally, will have several colors to make an interesting color scheme, although a monochromatic color (one color) scheme could just as well work too.  There always will be an exception to any rule that you can think of!

This year, I started with some transfer ware dishes that I picked up at an estate sale.  I really wanted to use these, so that was sort of in the back of my mind as I looked at other things.


It has lots of red, but other colors, too.  The other colors will now become part of the color scheme.

I should tell you that I also need to consider that my dining room chairs are turquoise (this year!), so unless I want to use slipcovers, I will also make that one of the colors in the theme. I will show you some pics here of my kitchen area where there is a lot of turquoise, so that you can see how hard it would be to remove that color from the scheme.

My existing current kitchen colors...

Existing chair color...

So now, to make it all work, I will take the colors in the plate, plus the turquoise, and I will go from there adding and subtracting elements until I have a pile of things that look nice together.

2.  Adding additional elements  I went shopping recently...Down in the Delta Vintage Market, several Christmas Open House events, local estate sales, and my birthday weekend in Laurel, Mississippi.  Shopping with the holidays in mind, I picked up some more fabulous white ironstone (which will work with anything!) and some new Christmas pretties...At this point, I still had not determined my exact theme or color scheme...just bought things that I liked, keeping those red transfer ware dishes and my ever present turquoise in the back of my mind...

White ironstone-always a good choice!

Estate sale glasses-$1 each!

Detail of a new cake pedestal/dessert server

Italian Florentine box from estate sale
                                         
3.  Look at everything to determine what will work together.  So, now that I have a good collection of things pulled together, I look at it all and see what "plays well" together.  I might have to edit some things, but maybe I can use them in another room...


At this point, I can see it coming together, especially since I found the fuzzy ball garland!  It has all of the colors already established, plus more, and that's a good thing.  This now becomes my piece that all other things will relate back to.  If you're a decorator, you have a "story board" that shows how it all works together-this ball garland will become that reference piece for this decorating project.  Now, I can start picking out wrapping paper, tablecloth, napkins and ornaments.  I will draw from my collection and make new purchases as needed.





Can you look up, back through the pictures and get a feeling for what Christmas will look like at Pimperl Place?  It's a very colorful, eclectic look, that includes some fine vintage and antique pieces, as well as some fun and funky, playful bits.  That's me in a nutshell!  

I think this is a good stopping point for today.  I will pile it all up together and start getting a plan in my head, and of course, I'll try to remember to take pics along the way so that I can share each step with you.

I will share another tip before I go though.  Holiday decorating time is a good time to pull furniture out, move pieces around the room and do a good thorough cleaning.  I have just decided that I would like to bring our big dining table back into the house and move the round one to the porch.  The round one is okay for four people, but I have a feeling I will have lots more than that to fit around the table during the holidays, and anyway, hubby has been complaining about the smaller one for a couple of months now.  He doesn't like it at all! It's time for the big one to come back in.  Now, I need to go make use of a mop and some wax when the table goes out...

Getting ready to switch out the table with another one...

I'll be back for part 2 within a day or two.  


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Vintage Market Days Experience-Part Two

To read My Vintage Market Days Experience-Part One, click here.  That post mostly focused on my Down in the Delta-The Traveling Show shop at the event. Today, I will talk about the big picture...

I was so excited when I learned that Vintage Market Days was coming to Mobile. Mobile getting something like this in our area?  Something BIG. I signed up immediately to be a vendor.  

When filling out the application, one thing I needed to explain was that I had my own market, and with this being a franchise, they have certain rules, regulations and policies that each owner must follow, so I had to sign a form saying I wouldn't compete with them.  In reality, my Down in the Delta markets are really not much like this at all, and I don't want it to ever grow into something this huge.  (That would just kill me...I watched how hard LaDon was working!)  I already have my branding established, my website, and the way I do things, so that shouldn't be a problem.  I am also in Baldwin County and mine takes place in the countryside rather than an urban exhibition or convention hall. Also, my two events per year will always be scheduled at different weekends from this market.  As an example, the next VMD is scheduled for March, 2017 and the Spring DitD Market is scheduled for early May. Honestly, some of the items on the form I filled out, I didn't fully understand, but I knew that it was reasonable, so I didn't have a problem signing it. I think I only got into trouble one time...I had DitD Market cards out for customers to pick up, and they told me I had to remove them from view.  I figured if I just followed what the other vendors were doing, I would be okay.  I saw that they had cards out, so I put mine out.  When I asked about that, they explained that those were all VMD future shows that these vendors were participating in.  I had not noticed exactly what was on the cards, so now that made sense to me.  It's just part of participating in a franchised event...the organizers have to follow the rules in place.  She told me I could put them on the bags of customers, so I removed them from the counter top and did what she asked.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am honest to a fault.  I'm the kid who didn't open my mouth in school for fear I'd get in trouble, and the employee who couldn't sleep at night if I accidentally brought home a pen in my pocket and couldn't wait to get back to work to return it. I think I blushed when she called me out on my cards...I really don't want to do anything that gets me into any hot water.  I hope I wasn't too much trouble and they'll let me come back in March.  Live and learn...now I know how it works.  

I couldn't do half of what I do without my sweet husband (of almost thirty years, but that's another post!!)  He took a vacation day from his real job to help me set up. He did all the heavy lifting, and I did the rest which took a total of two days.  He then swooped in with the truck and trailer at 5:00 on Sunday to take what was left back to the warehouse.  I love my man and appreciate him for the way he wants to help me follow my dreams.

My set-up...It took me two days to get set up and ready, but I was pleased with the way it all came together. It had my gypsy style stamp all over it!  You always learn from every time you set up and tear down. What I learned:  Buying two spaces was the perfect size for me, I need more grid wall to go around all three sides, and I'll make more banners next time.  I will set it up in generally the same way with a loop for patrons to follow through the booth.  That gives me four nice focal point areas to display-front center, back center, and the left and right sides on the front. I'm already visualizing it in my head.

Once the doors opened, it was so busy with literally thousands of shoppers that I could never leave. I had my daughter-in-law, April, helping me on Friday and I couldn't have gotten through that first day without her.  I was writing and she was wrapping...as fast as we could move! On Saturday, my youngest grand-daughter, Leah, helped.  She was so cute and is actually interested in what I do, so it was fun having her there.  She ran around and got lunch, brought me water, shopped for me, and whatever else I asked her to do.  She was worn out at the end of that day, but she was happy because it was a paying job, so she had money to shop some, too.  The last day, I had no help, so it was the hardest one to get through.  They had a system in place to call the organizer, LaDon, and she would come and stay in your booth for you to leave for a bit, which I did once, but I hated to call her for that because she had a lot going on.  I'm not complaining here, because we all know this is the kind of problems you hope for as a vendor at a market! Just sharing my experience...

I learned that I needed one person to help me through the entire three days, rather than a different person each day.  Each vendor gets an armband for one helper.  I thought that we would have a necklace badge/pin for one helper each day in your booth (because that's the way it's been done in other shows that I've participated in and how I do at DitD) but the armbands are meant for one person to wear the entire event, and you're actually supposed to purchase extra tickets/armbands for each different helper in your booth.  I was thinking that they wanted you to purchase extra tickets for each helper if you had more than two in your booth on any given day. Anyway, they were very nice and understanding about this. This event made me a little smarter about how much help I need next time, and that it should be the same person all three days unless I want to purchase extra tickets, which is not a big deal, but I just needed to understand how it was supposed to be done.

Now, for a couple of pics...this first one is the cute "office" out of which the owners, LaDon and Hannah Paige work.  Each vendor filed into the little space to check in and get squared away before setting up.  I thought it was a restored little trailer, but it's actually a brand new reproduction...now it's got me wanting one.  It's decked out on the inside with all of the modern conveniences they need.  


Like I told you, it was so busy that I didn't have much time to walk around and look, shop, or take pictures, but I did get a few before the doors opened.  I will say that I have never seen so many vendors go so out of this world with their set-up!  To relate it to a circus, this would have been like Cirque-du-Soleil.  Several businesses travel from VMD event to VMD event, and they go all over the country.  They are all friends and it's like a little sub-culture.  They have it down to a science and are the most organized people I've ever seen. A lot of them were packed up and out before we were!  And I'm talking about taking down amazing structures and then packing up their merchandise!  Here are a couple of pics I snapped.




Here's a shot of my friend, Linda, from Coastal Charm Interiors.  Linda is not only one of my very dear friends, but she was also my neighbor at the event.  (Thank you LaDon!)  Linda's space is always amazing and very popular!  She had her hubby helping her during most of the event and they couldn't even get a break to eat lunch!  


Several of my other friends were also set up and some of them also participate in my market.  I never had a chance to get by to take pics of their spaces because they were a good distance away from where we were set up.  My friend, Corinne, was set up way down at the other end (right beside my friend Ellen from Alice in Wonderland) and she gifted me with a piece of her fabulous art-a mermaid.  She said I was the one who got her going on the mermaid thing, because for those of you who didn't know, I am a mermaid!  I have the best friends, and it's true what they say- Friends are the best treasures. Here's a pic of the fabulous mermaid that she painted and gave to me.  I will treasure it and her friendship always.


This post is getting long, and I don't want to lose you, so I'm going to wrap it all up by saying this:  If you are a vendor of antiques/vintage goods or anything else that's very high quality with nice staging abilities, you need to apply to participate in this event.  It was very well organized and is owned by two of the sweetest ladies you will ever want to meet.  LaDon and Hannah, thank you for making it such a pleasant experience, even in the Mobile heat. That was out of your control, and you were promised a cool building, so it's my opinion that the city of Mobile-The Grounds, needs to get their act together and add some air conditioning to that hall so that they don't let this amazing opportunity that you ladies brought to Mobile suffer.  Overall, if I'm grading this event, it gets an "A."  LaDon and Hannah should be proud.

Monday, September 26, 2016

My Vintage Market Days Experience-Part One

Wow!  What a week...there was so much anticipation and excitement leading up to the big Vintage Market Days event.  When set-up day finally arrived, vendors flew in like a tornado...and created a wonderland of vintage and antiques treasures.  On opening day, the shoppers crowded into The Grounds of Mobile in huge droves and shopped.  After three days, just as quickly as it all came together, it was over, and all of us in our sweaty glory tore it all apart and went home... already planning the next one.  I now know how it must have felt for the carnies and circus performers who traveled around from city to city in days gone by. (I would have been the Gypsy Fortune Teller!) It was a good kind of tired.

So, I've already given you a hint at what my little shop looked like.  Did you catch it?  If you know me or have followed me much at all, you know I'm fascinated with all things "gypsy" and that's just naturally the theme that I pull together...It started with my banners that would show my logo and business name, but with markets that are away from home, it becomes "The Traveling Show."  The large banner that was on the back wall right in the center featured a gypsy lady setting up housekeeping under a tree.  She was putting out her washtubs and a bird in a cage.  I design my signs to go with what I'm selling, and in this case it was a pair of ninety-year-old chairs with their original berry colored fabric.  To pull it all together and tell a story, I bordered the banner with that same berry color.  To complete the vignette, I added the bird cage on a stand, wash bucket, basket, and a broom, among some other things...greenery was then draped over the top to give the appearance of the tree under which the vardo was parked. 



To continue the gypsy theme, the front table centerpiece was another banner with a dancing gypsy girl, playing a tambourine.  I had a tambourine that I had purchased years ago on Beale Street in Memphis, and it had developed a hole and was pretty tattered.  I remembered a song about a hole in a tambourine, so I used a line from that on the banner with the girl to tell that story.  Although the table of merchandise did get picked apart and purchased, the star of the day was the actual banner.  I couldn't believe that people wanted the banner!  So, I sold it, along with the tambourine....then I took orders for more.  Funny thing though is that everyone wanted me to find them a tambourine with a hole in it to go with their banners!  You just never know what's going to sell at these events.  Oh, the large one on the back wall sold, too!  And that buyer is wanting me to make more....so, maybe that'll be my "thing"...those banners.  I think I'll make more (three, or four....or five!) for the next event.






As I said, the table of "gypsy goodies" was picked over the first day, so I had to pull together another vignette early Saturday morning so that it would be fresh and pretty for the second day shoppers. This next pic is what the same table looked like the next morning.  It's still filled with things that gypsies would have had in the vardo, but these items could have just as well been found in any farmhouse.



The other side of my little store had more treasures set up in a little vignette on a buggy seat...


Directly behind this vignette was the youth bed which got lots of attention, but no buyer.  It's a great piece with lots of details and folds up to travel or store away when not in use.  I filled it with hay (because it was the first day of fall!) and then added an assortment of pumpkins and treasures...



At the foot of the little bed, I had a turquoise blue chest with original chippy paint. On top of that, I added two tiny chairs-a white chippy one and a stained wood rocker.  Oh, and I had to put some candy down at kid level!

Of course, there was more-ironstone, t-shirts, and some other pretty gypsy style things...






Well, that's a look inside my Down in the Delta-The Traveling Show space at the very first Vintage Market Days of Mobile.  I'm happy to report that I had GREAT shoppers who took home many of my finds to enjoy in their own homes.  I did still have lots of fun things to pack up for the next event, so if you like anything pictured here, just ask me...I might still have it.

That's part one of the two-part VMD recap.  Tomorrow I'll share with you the bigger picture, more about the entire experience.  Hope you'll check back for that.

Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Welcoming Entrance

I'm happy to report that the pretty entrance to the venue, Pimperl Place, is being built!  It looks like a small project, but in reality, it takes a lot of coordination between contractors and time to actually make it happen.  Just to refresh your memory...here's a picture of what I wanted the gate to look like.  I used a picture of a gate that I found online to get the basic shape and then I overlaid that picture with my Down in the Delta logo, minus the words.  This is very similar to what we will actually have.


The first contractor would be the concrete man, followed by the stone mason.  In our case, I luckily found one man who does both, which is unusual!  That saved us a little time and headache, plus he turned out to be really good at both.  If you live in Baldwin or Mobile County and need concrete or stone work, Kenneth Gaines is the man to call.

What slowed the project start was the rain.  We've had so much rain over the last couple of months, that it threw Kenney behind on his jobs that were scheduled before ours.  The rain finally let up a week or so ago and he got caught up, so he was ready to work our job.


Up above, you can see how we took the palette of stone apart so that we could lay it out to easily see the shapes of each piece.  My husband put them out on a long goose-neck trailer. Kenny and his son are hard at work in the next picture.


This picture was taken from the driver's seat of my car as I came into the driveway. You can see the existing old gate in front of my car, and the two newly finished columns set back from that.  We are going to reposition the road a bit, which is why it looks off center with the columns.  Also,  you are probably wondering why the new gate is so far back from the old one.  We own the property all the way up to the existing gate, but the power company has an easement that extends twenty-five feet back, so we just decided to move the location of the entrance back to that line so that they don't have to come and get us every time they want to come down the easement to trim trees.  

This weekend, hubby and I will be ditch-digging and running the electrical service needed to operate the gate, lights, etc.  Then the gate contractor is supposed to come out on Tuesday to get "field measurements" so that the gate is built to fit perfectly.  While that's going on, the tree removal experts will show up to take out some trees that are on the new fence line. Hubby normally cuts down our trees, but these are so close to the power lines out on the highway that we decided it would be better to hire someone who has a bucket truck to do it. Once the trees are down, the fence contractor can then come in and put up the fence that will run parallel to the highway.  

It seems like we've been waiting months to get this project started, so you can only imagine how happy I am to see it finally coming together.  

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