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.  

Follow me on Instagram for instant updates as they happen!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Using Vintage Treasures as Storage Solutions

Hi everyone!  It's so blazing hot here in our part of "The South" that I've been run inside to the air conditioning...I never did finish the landscaping projects outside.  I will pick that back up when it cools a bit.  I figure none of it's worth a heat stroke...

So, I'm inside working.  I was cleaning my pantry and decided that you might like to see how I use vintage and unusual containers to store everyday items.

First, I should tell you that my house is very unconventional.  We designed it ourselves, and did so for the way we live.  I did not want traditional cabinetry in my kitchen, but we would need some place to store dishes, containers, food, and everything else necessary for a kitchen to function, so I decided to add a walk-in pantry to the floor plan.  In the kitchen itself, I do have a custom built island with some cabinetry on the kitchen side of it. It was also built with storage in mind.  I'm going to focus on the pantry today and we'll come to the kitchen another day.

Looking into the pantry

Most houses would probably have some type of door going into the pantry.  I chose to use a netted curtain that I found at Ikea.  I like the sense of mystery that it brings to the decor...everyone always wonders what's inside there. 

The first major storage piece that you see straight through the door is the old black cabinet that once served as my parent's china cabinet.  I have their entire dining room set, which is now all painted black, and scattered around different places in the house serving different purposes.  I removed the glass doors from the cabinet so that I could have easy access to the items inside it in the pantry.  I absolutely LOVE the look of this piece mixed with the very contemporary metro shelving units that are also used in the pantry.  You could get the same look by mixing old and new furniture pieces in unexpected places.

On the top shelf of the black cabinet is a picture of my mom.  I lost her almost five years ago, and I like to see this whenever I'm working in the kitchen.

These jars make great storage solutions for dry baking goods.  See the large jar? That one came from my mom.  It was given to her by her sister many years ago. My uncle had a gas station when I was a little girl, and in these jars he had snacks for sale.  I remember going by there with my parents and he would always let us pick something good to eat from the jars. You can buy reproductions at Wal-mart today.  I purchased the two smaller ones there to match the vintage one.   

From this shot you can see a basket hanging from the ceiling.  I keep empty baskets handy to grab in a hurry if I need a pretty container for fresh fruits, vegetables, or to take something somewhere to a dinner, etc.  That white basket is a vintage one that actually held flowers at the funeral of a relative.  It's special to me, and I think of that person every time I use it.

Here, I'm showing you how I've used an old wire plant stand.  It's a tall one.  I put a wood salad bowl into the top and it now serves as a handy spot to store chips and snacks.  If I decided to use it for salad, I could bring it out table side, still in the plant stand, and toss a salad right there as part of a fun dinner experience!

If you've ever worked in retail, you are probably familiar with slat wall.  I love the versatility of this material, so I wanted at least one wall in the pantry to have it.  You can purchase the wall board and all sorts of gadgets to hold shelves of different sizes, hooks, etc. at retail supply warehouses.  As you can see, I have put a top shelf of glass (that I picked up from an estate sale) and I have hooks under the shelf.  On the shelf, I used a hat box (not old...from Hobby Lobby) to hold little cocktail napkins.  I'm addicted to pretty little napkins, so I have lots of them...I also keep vases and home decor items up there that I need infrequently.  I do keep a step stool in the pantry for when I need something from up there.

The paper towel roll is simply stuck onto one of the long hooks in the slat wall...This hook is what would have garments on hangers hanging on it in a retail space.    It's so easy to just reach inside the door, grab a paper towel and go.    It's also easy to change out rolls when it's empty.  As you can see, I keep disposable cups there in a handy spot just inside the door too.  It's hard to see in this pic, but there's also a bottle opener on that cabinet.  When hubby grabs a beer from the fridge, that opener is about two steps away. 

In the pic above, there's an old wooden bowl that was painted by an artist friend many years ago.  I use it as wall decor, and to hold many different things-fruits, vegetables, pine cones, magazines, etc.

Here, I've taken another old outdoor plant stand, added a basket, and use it as a potato and onion basket.  I lined the bottom with parchment paper to catch any dirt, onion peels or whatever could fall through the cracks in the basket.  When it gets dirty, I just throw it away and put in a clean piece.

The utility room is right next to the pantry.  I have had this old board/hook for years and years.  In my house in Virginia, it was actually on the kitchen wall and I hung aprons on the hooks.  Here, I've used it to store things that I use outside when I'm gardening.  The little basket holds scissors and twine, and you can see my floppy hat hanging on another hook.

This idea, I shared this morning on Instagram.  This vintage wire basket has been used in many different ways.  Today, I was trying to figure out a way to store plastic bags from the grocery store.  I previously had them just crammed into another bag, and it wasn't very pretty.  I came up with this simple idea, and it's so much better!  I simply pulled them into a long skinny shape, then bent it around and arranged the bags so that the bent loop can easily be pulled through the wires in the basket.  It shouldn't pull anything but thte one bag, but I'll see how it works...

About those plastic bags.  I really would rather not use them at all, because they're not very earth friendly, but we figure if we at least recycle them, it's not quite as bad.  We have cats, and when it's time to clean out the litter box, we need something that's going to hold the trash. These plastic bags are perfect for that.  I do take unused bags back to the recycle bin at the store.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of my pantry and maybe picked up an idea or two. Let me know if you see an idea you can use and I would LOVE to see pics of what you've done.

Thanks for hanging out with me a bit today, and I'll see you again soon.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lighting the Way

Last week, I took a little break from the yard work.  I had several meetings that I needed to attend on several different days, so I knew I wouldn't get much done out in the flower beds during the week...but I did decide to go out and look around and see what I could do one evening.  A snake slithered right through the corner of the bed a couple of feet away. Seeing a snake usually puts an end to my yard work for the season, but this year, I have to keep going.  I can't let Down in the Delta's market happen until the yard is all finished.  Anyway, maybe I'll get back to the yard work this week and I'll have something to share with you on the next post.

Today, hubby and I were going to get the mowing all finished, but it was raining when we got out of bed, and by the time we figured it was dry enough to mow, it started raining again!! Oh well...now what could we do?

We decided to take care of some of the small jobs that had been hanging out waiting to be done, one being the new porch light.  It's been sitting in the floor in the box for a couple of months now.  So that's what we did.  It seems so much brighter than the old one, or that could be just because the front porch has been completely dark for a couple of months...Anyway, it's really pretty and I'm so happy something happens when I flip that switch now!

We are deep into the plans for the new gate and fence for the property.  I can't wait to share that with you, but the sharing is probably still a month or so away.  That project is about to get rolling. It takes four different contractors-and that's after we get the power out to the gate.  First, the concrete people come in and pour the footers for the columns that will be on the sides of the gate, then they do the concrete columns.  The stone mason will then show up and cover the concrete columns with some pretty rocks.  (The columns will have lights that match the one we just hung today on the porch- pic below.) Third contractor will be the gate man who will come in and put that in place, and finally, the fence will be put up.  It's a long process, and silly me...I thought we could get one person to do it all.  I'm really excited about the gate, because it will have my Down in the Delta logo trees and duck on it!!   

Here's a picture that I created to give the gate contractor an idea of what I wanted. I found a random gate picture online that looked like I could make it work with my logo.  I then put the logo on front of the gate.  So, if you jumped down there and looked at the picture before reading this paragraph, you're thinking right about now that I have a dog....no...no dog...just a picture.

Now I have these lights sitting around in boxes waiting to be installed...after the columns, and gate, and fence...

Hope you all have a terrific week and I'll see you again when I have something to show you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Garden Shed Gets a Makeover Complete with Snake Barrier

Hi everyone!  Happy Monday.  Another week.  I hope you have a great week, and I hope I get lots done this week...

When I last visited with you here on the blog, I had worked my way around to the back of the house and was going to turn the corner to work on the flower bed on that next side of the house...well, as it happens sometimes (frequently), I got sidetracked.  I looked back and saw the pitiful looking little garden shed that has been neglected for as long as it's existed. It was calling out to me, so I diverted my attention to that little shed.

We had gotten the painters to paint it to match the house, and I had painted the old white door a new bright turquoise, to match the front door of the house.  Nothing had been done beyond that.  Now, it's a cute addition to the back yard.

I wanted to make a little porch/patio thing to sort of act as an entrance, because, we know that every proper garden shed needs an entrance, right?  I had flagstone leftover from the back patio project, so I decided to use that, and edge it with brick. That job took about a week and lots of energy.  When I finished it, I decided it needed a brick wall to fill in the gap between the bottom of the building and the ground.  I guess I should tell you why....

When I was a young child, I was standing on the doorsteps of my aunt's house, which was a wood frame structure set on piers, so it was up off the ground.  As I was leaving, I stopped there to say something to her (she was inside) and when I turned around to step down, a really big rattlesnake had crawled out from under the house and was right beside me!  That did permanent damage to my psyche. To this day, decades later, I still have a fear of snakes crawling out from underneath buildings that are up off the ground.  So, now you know why I felt the need to put the faux wall made from real brick under my garden shed. Now, when I'm about to step down out of the shed, I don't worry as much, because I know there's a barrier between my feet and the space underneath the shed.  

And after all that effort, my very sweet son pointed out that I had left a small hole in my wall, and that a snake would probably still come through there.  There was a water pipe interfering with my brick wall, so I had to leave the hole-my brick-laying skills don't yet include cutting brick, so I had to do the best I could with what I had...maybe I should stick a rock in the crack.... I still feel better when I step down, knowing that if a snake is going to come out under my feet, it will have to come through the little hole.

And I will say that the brick wall was a pain to build!  I had to dig out from under the shed with a tiny shovel and not much room to work, all the while watching for snakes that I was sure were lurking under there.  Then, I had a tiny level to put on top of each brick to make sure that they were level.  That last row was tight, trying to push them in under the building with no room to spare.  It did take me most of a day, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. Not only does it put a layer of protection between me and the snakes, but it's pretty, too! How about that?

I wanted to use something unusual to hold the garden hose...we had removed the plastic, not so pretty one, when the building was painted.  I decided on this piece of rusty fence that I had leftover from another project a few years ago.  It's fine for now, just propped up, but hubby is going to attach it to the wall with a bracket that holds it off the wall about four inches.  That should give plenty of room for the hose to wrap around easily.

For years, we had just "put" things beside the shed that didn't fit inside.  It had turned into a big pile of stuff that was buried in leaves.  When I started digging in to clean it up, I just kept finding more and more clay pots.  Lawd have mercy...why did I buy so many pots?  Now, I'll clean them and store them inside the shed, or maybe I should just get rid of them.  I'll never have that many living plants at one time.  I'm sort of known for my brown thumb...

I still plan to add another piece of rusty fence on hinges to the open part on the left side. Those side board things are used on the truck when we go to pick up large loads of mulch or compost, and they really need to be hidden, just not pretty...

I hung some of my galvanized tubs and pans onto the walls because they needed a storage place, and because I thought they were pretty there.  It just screams "Garden Shed" now, don't you think?  Oh, and every garden shed needs something green, so I planted that pretty tropical looking plant (heliconia) beside the door.  

Now, I need to head back over to where I left off by the house...Stay tuned.