In honor of 2014, I figured it was time to update a few things around here.
Starting with Our Castle.
In honor of 2014, I figured it was time to update a few things around here.
Starting with Our Castle.
So I decided 2013 would be The Year.
The Year I finally got my rear in gear and had some kind of advent calendar up-and-running by December 1st.
Truth be told, I probably decided 2006 would be The Year. And then 2007. And what eventually became 2008. And so on.
But I am elated to announce that I only procrastinated for the first six or seven years.
Pinning has taken on a whole new meaning since my college days. (Okay, after my college days, which are waaaaay back when…)
Now that I spend a lot of time sitting around doing nothing except providing my newborn daughter nutrition, comfort and maternal bonding, it’s nice to have something to do with my hands. I call it iNursing. (Thank you, Steve Jobs.)
But there are only so many times you can refresh Facebook within a given minute before you start to look bored. You might find yourself trying to telepathically urge your dearest friends to increase their social media presence: “Post something. Post now. Post something please. PLEASE.”
And you eventually realize your friends have jobs and families and other pursuits that preclude them serving as entertainment while you’re stuck on the couch for
an hour twenty minutes forty-five minutes no thirty-minutes how ever long your baby chooses to keep you occupied.
Cue my new distraction.
Okay, I’ll try.
Pinterest is sort of a virtual bulletin board for all the different things you’re interested in. Home decor, fashion, books, crafts and DIY, architecture, art, recipes, snarky humor — my personal favorite. It’s all up there, along with just about everything else. You create your own boards and follow your friends’ and/or strangers’ pins.
It is probably the best time suck on the internet to date. And I mean that in a good way. It’s a black hole. If I didn’t have three young children, I would sign on to Pinterest and stagger back into public view hungry and bleary-eyed about three days later. Maybe.
If you care to follow my boards, use the handy-dandy link in the right sidebar. (Disclosure: My boards are a mess, but it seems backward to reorganize my virtual house when the real one is still a disaster. Priorities.)
Dead tired, that is.
Because I’m sure I will be after I make my way through (part of) this building.
This is the World Trade Center (WTC) building at Dallas Market Center. Fifteen floors of, well, everything. All wholesale goods, from all over the world, for all kinds of stores.
I get vertigo just looking at this picture. And there are three more buildings besides this one.
More about me: I grew up in a smallish town. Within a driveable radius, there was one “cool” mall, one decidedly uncool mall and a few standalone stores. There was no Target, no GAP, and no one had heard of the internet. It was entirely possible to view and consider every single option for, let’s say, a pair of ladies’ shoes available in the vicinity. In other words, you could exhaust every possibility before making a decision.
Dallas Market is the antithesis of that concept. It’s just not possible to see it all.
I only wish I’d known that the first time I went. That was two years ago. I’m older, wiser and significantly pregnant-er now. I’m aiming to take manageable bites out of Market this time. It’s no small feat for a pregnant woman to
walk waddle through 5,000,000 square feet. So I won’t.
I’m planning my attack by floor. I’ll be visiting some of my current vendors to see what special deals they might be offering and scouting out new vendors or ones I remember from my last market trip.
I’ve penciled in WTC for Floors 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 13. There are two floors of the Trade Market building that also made the list. I’m guessing that puts me somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 million square feet. I may spare a waddle for some of the other showrooms, but that’s a little doubtful. Because after I make my way through wholesale Xanadu, I have a couple of retail stops to visit.
First of all, Cost Plus World Market. Or is it Market World Plus Cost? Or World Plus Market Cost?
I can never get it right. Maybe because we don’t have one here.
Anyway, ever since Joni Webb highlighted Market Plus Cost World in her several posts on Kooboo wicker chairs, I’ve been in all a-dither to visit and see them for myself, even if I don’t buy a thing. Any store that snakes Pottery Barn by offering something just as nice for less is a must-see destination on my Reality Bus Tour.
And finally, I’m making time to stop into this cute little Swedish boutique — maybe you’ve heard of it — called IKEA.
All in all, if I make it home without needing permanent bedrest — or a second mortgage on my home — it will be rather an accomplishment, don’t you think?
Considering the ambitious nature of our shopping expeditions, I haven’t planned any sightseeing. My only other must-do in Dallas is to eat at Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. For the whole weekend, really.
I crave it. It’s a sickness. Like Homer Simpson and donuts.
But I can’t eat there for six meals in a row. That would be inconsiderate to the needs of my traveling companion. And my arteries.
So where else do we eat? Thoughts? Recommendations? Warnings of imminent diabetic shock? Please share.
Mother trucker. Spit. Son of a pitcher.
Stupid comment function. Or unfunction, as the case may be.
Thanks to my ongoing and seemingly insoluble troubles with the comment function of this blog — which I have still failed to replicate, despite hundreds of attempts — I missed a comment today that I will never get back.
A comment from one Joni Webb.
Joni Webb of Cote de Texas.
Cote de Texas was probably the first design blog I ever read and — probably the reason I’m still reading design blogs with a dedication tantamount to obsession. Joni “introduced” me to Layla Palmer and Brooke Gianetti. Her Top Ten Design Elements series is responsible for my conversion to curtains. Her posts on Belgian design are the reason my keyboard has drool-stains on it. Oh, and then there’s the Sally Wheat kitchen phenomenon. Don’t even get me started.
Yes, Joni Webb.
You see, yesterday I left a comment to her post about a reader’s renovation on a foreclosed home in Houston.
She tried to leave a comment on my blog. My blog.
And the mother trucking blog failed to accept her comment.
I don’t have a lot of brushes with celebrities — I met Amy Grant buying donuts in a Florida grocery store at 7 AM one summer — so this kind of thing cuts me to the quick.
I could have had a bonafide Joni Webb comment on my blog. Alas, ’twas not to be.
Instead, she sent me an email — I’m thinking about framing it — responding to my comment and (gulp!) complimenting me on my destination blinds.
Of course, the magic was tempered by the knowledge that I have no clue how I’m going to resolve my Bermuda Triangle issue with comments on this blog. WordPress is a free blogging platform (God bless ’em!) but I keep hoping to find someone to whom I can pay actual cash money to find and fix the problem. Hello? Anyone? Please, exploit me. I’m getting desperate.
In the meantime, I’ve removed “email required” from the comment form, just in case it’s the culprit, which will probably mean lots and lots of
but better that than zero comments. It’s awful lonely out here in Blogland. I need the feedback.
On that note, please take this as my personal invitation to comment early and often. Your comment doesn’t even have to be relevant. Favorite song lyrics? Sure. Next week’s grocery list? Why not?
If, in the course of posting your preparation method for Blowfish Sashimi, you should have trouble in leaving your comment, please take a mo’ to email me and let me know. There’s also a hefty bounty on any screenshots that help me identify the problem.
Until then, I will try to tantalize you with frequent and compelling posts that will leave you powerless to avoid commenting. (Or at least emailing me if your comments fail. Which they seem almost sure to do.)
Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Not that November didn’t try very hard to kill me. December had a whack at me, too, come to think of it.
Nevertheless, I have emerged on the other side. Tired, disorganized and cranky, the chatelaine of a disheveled palace, and the mother of wild, scruffy, utterly descheduled children who can recite every line of dialogue from Toy Story 3, word-for-word in its proper sequence.
Oh, and lately my husband has been calling me “Amy.”
I suppose I should have a cure for some terminal disease or, at the very least — and probably more true to my character — an exhaustive plan for world domination to show for my long absence.
Well, I don’t.
Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
So, sometime back, I got inspired. Before very long, I made something I wanted on my own wall, my very own Tulsa destination blind.
With encouragement from a few friends, I experimented with selling a few of these creations. The result was encouraging but by no means overwhelming.
I’m not really a gambler by nature. I don’t know what came over me.
But I bought a ton of supplies. The UPS man delivered six enormous boxes and I started hyperventilating. Thirty-six canvases. I was obviously insane.
I hid them in an upstairs closet and spent a few weeks engaged in a mental kickboxing match, chastising myself for following an impulse — a whim, really — with such a price tag.
You. Stupid. Idiot.
To make matters worse, it occurred to me, in my full-blown dementia, that I couldn’t make a booth with just destination blinds. So I bought other stuff.
And then my computer crapped out. Cha-ching. I started to panic.
I did eventually start painting, realizing that maybe I could cover at least some of the supply costs (never mind the new computer, but whose counting?) by selling a painting or two.
Or a kidney. Either way.
By the time Holiday Market rolled around, I had used and abused my friend Neil, who shares my mania for all things cottage, for painting help, pricing advice, merchandising and even a little last-minute babysitting . Thanks to a cadre of Junior League volunteers, I managed to throw together my booth just before the market opened for Preview night.
As I watched shoppers flood through the doors, sick with anxiety, I remember muttering to Neil:
“I just hope I sell a painting.”
And then this mob of people rounded the corner.
Within six minutes of the market opening, I sold seven paintings. Three of them were bought by one lady. I could have spent the next two-hours-and-fifty-four-minutes shrugging my shoulders in disbelief.
But I didn’t have time.
I was too busy. Selling. Twenty paintings. In three hours.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday passed. When the smoke cleared, I had sold 48 paintings. Along with lots of other items, both handmade goodies I’d cranked out and the ready-made things I’d bought.
I took these photos on, I think, Sunday morning after every painting except one had already sold. (This was my first attempt with the iPhone camera, and in poor lighting to boot, so be kind.)
Supplies covered. Computer paid off. I even paid for the iPhone I “had to buy” when the venue’s WiFi went on the fritz.
I don’t know how to spell “relief.” But I know what it feels like.
Bar none, my favorite part of the weekend was hearing people speak well of the things I’d worked hard to make or chosen with care.
You see, Tulsa is “French Country” Country. Home of Charles Faudree. Home of toile. Lots and lots of toile. Some time before Holiday Market, I did a little market research to see what was selling, and “cottage” wasn’t it. Not even close. I started questioning my instincts. Do I stock things that seem to be popular even if they’re things I would never buy for myself, or do I stay true to my own style and possibly not sell anything?
In the end, I decided to stick with what I loved, knowing that if I didn’t sell anything, at least I wouldn’t be unhappy with the inventory. Can I say how glad I am that I did?
If half the battle of making a sale is getting people to stop at your booth — and it is — the other half seems to be offering merchandise shoppers haven’t seen anywhere else.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
One lady had seen one of the blinds on a morning show TV spot and told me the only reason she came to Holiday Market was to buy one.
While I was inhaling an infrequent meal in the cafe, my booth was visited by an interior designer who loved the blinds and said she had clients who would be very interested. Neil confided in her that we were a little afraid cottage taste was anathema in French Country Country, whereupon the designer told her we were just “ahead of the curve.”
I got lots of encouragement to open a store of my own — uh, thank you, but no — and the great compliment of having a couple of people try to knock off my designs and method.
I’m not the sort of person who needs constant reassurance to function, but I have to admit: having people say nice things about your work for four days straight was a heady experience.
As for where I’ve been lately, if this were a (very long) story math problem you might have noticed I didn’t have 48 blinds on hand. Which means I’ve spent the last two months finishing the other 12 paintings I sold at Holiday Market — along with another 14 I sold after the market ended. I finished the last batch on the Tuesday before Christmas and have been in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber trying to recover ever since.
Lessons from this little jaunt?
I’ve managed to get all my destination blinds on my website and hope to add the rest of my merchandise soon. But the most pressing issue at the moment is unearthing my house from the debris. It’s ugly. I think I’ve already been reported to Hoarders.
In summary, for those of you who visited my booth to cheer me on — and buy things — thank you from the bottom of my heart! I would be remiss in my gratitude if I did not also acknowledge the help of my amazing friend Neil and the dynamo Junior Leaguers who put on such a fantastic Holiday Market. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Last but most importantly, my sweet husband did things like staying up four hours past his bedtime to help paint, watching the kids by himself for three days straight, and putting up with a spate of Crabby Abby-ness unparalleled in recent history.
Honey, thank you for your help. And your patience. And your support. And your patience. And your love. And your patience.
I love you. And your patience.
P.S. My name is Abby. Not Amy. Remember?
Let’s say your phone rings on a random Tuesday afternoon.
The voice on the other end asks: “Will you drop what you’re doing and meet me on the side of the road right now to help me lift something heavy, dirty and awkward into my car?”
What would you say?
I’m too busy.
I don’t do manual labor.
I don’t really like you that much.
Who is this?
All of the above?
Or, as my friend said: “Can I bring my mother?”
Um, yes please.
Those who know me well know that I’m not too great at asking for help. I’m getting better about accepting help when it’s offered, but I’m still more likely to slog through on my own — even if it kills me — than admit I’m not Supergirl.
(Or Wonder Woman. I always liked her better than that cocky blonde Kryptonian anyway.)
Which is demonstrated by the fact that I did try, at first, to lift and load this behemoth on my own:
Honestly, I didn’t even expect to need help. I assumed this thing would already have been scooped up by the roving hoards of furniture gypsies who seem to get every other CraigsList “curb alert” I’ve ever seen.
But when I drove up, lo and behold. A nine-foot-long, solid-wood primitive church pew. For free.
It only took me about seven minutes to breakdown the interior config of our Odyssey so that I could fit nine feet of pew and still have both children securely belted and in rear seats according to law.
But how to load nine feet of pew into said minivan?
I did ask my five-year-old to help me. It was worth a try.
[Insert Desperate Phone Call Here]
My friend Neil has already made an indentured servant of herself as I plied her with zinc place cards, soap dispensers, monogram stamps and artwork in hopes she’d help me out with all of my market events. (She did.)
It’s not like the woman hasn’t done enough.
But the impossibility that I could carry both ends of this beast while loading it into the minivan prompted me to make said desperate phone call even though I knew, in the end, she’d probably be busy and I’d be able to do nothing but drive away, benchless and in defeat.
Cue the trumpets: she came.
She never hesitated. Admittedly, I primed her with the words “old wooden church pew” — there’s a certain magic in those words for people like us — so that may have helped. Regardless, I feel decidedly blessed to have a friend who is willing to bail me out when I get in over my head. (Again.)
As for the church pew, it’s now sitting in my dining room awaiting a spell of warm weather so I can drag it outside and perform a little Spanish Inquisition with the PaintEater. Judging by the copious amount of pet hair — a little bonus, if you will — it’s most recent life was outside as lounging furniture for a pack of feral dogs. The elements did their work: it’s distressed, cracked and weathered. Or, as my husband might say, firewood with a superiority complex.
Oh, but the glimpses of wood under that peeling dark paint are tantalizing. It’s a thing of beauty. At least, it will be. Picture it: weathered raw wood with that gorgeous horizontal planking, banked with plump grain sack and ticking pillows and flanking my dining room table. Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee.
Neil, I can’t thank you enough, dear friend.
There was a little girl
Who had a little corner
Right in the middle of her foyer.
When it was filled,
It was very, very filled,
But when it was empty, it was boring.
I bought a little stand this week in an attempt to fill a glaringly empty space beside my front door.
I bought the stand after brewing on it for a few days. I knew it would fit and I love the look of it, but something made me hestitate. Which I figured out as soon as I put it in the corner. It just doesn’t seem to work, does it?
It seems boxy. Too square of a stand for this square of a corner.
I have another home for this little guy and he was only $17.50, so no harm done, except that I’m back to the drawing board on my corner.
I might be persuaded to go with a column. I’d rather have a little hidden storage, but needs must. Maybe something like this would work:
Oh, and I need to pry that pesky alarm keypad off the wall. But one thing at a time.
While I’m sure no one’s world has stopped turning because I’ve haven’t posted, I don’t want anyone to think I don’t appreciate you. Or that I’m not wracked with guilt.
Because I am. And I do.
But until Holiday Market is over, the time to post anything intelligible — or even profanity-free — is going to be scarce. Nevertheless, exciting things are being made as we speak.
As you can see from the (admittedly crappy) photo above, I’ve been designing and painting up a storm and I can’t wait to share the fun! If you’ll be in or around Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the weekend of November 4th through 7th, I hope you’ll come on by. Find event details and purchase tickets here. I am by no means the only merchant at Holiday Market, so it’s well worth a trip.
In the meantime, you can follow more timely posts with the inside scoop on my Facebook page. I’ll be posting updates about new items, plus a series of TICKET GIVEAWAYS, so stay tuned.
Until we meet again “or the case is solv-ed,”
Only is some bizarre universe inhabited by Hoarders alone could I be considered a neatnik.
Still, I have certain areas about which I am incapable of tolerating disorder. Among these rarefied OCD nuggets of my personality is the world of computer cords.
No mishmash of power cords, printer cables, USB extensions or network cables intertwined into a technological magpie nest for me. Cords should be organized, freed of the encumbrance of each other, neatly looped and bound by zipties. If you’ve ever had to plunge into a Gordian knot of cables — unplugging and untwisting as you go — trying to extract one stupid cord for the thing you need to unplug, you have my sympathies.
Now that I have a laptop and a little cord society has come to live on my desk, I’m even more inflexible. I have no less than twelve devices that connect to my computer via a USB cable and I have to be honest: I no longer have the gray matter to remember what plug goes with what gadget.
[Getting older sucks.]
But one good OCD turn deserves another.
Is there something odd about using your label machine to label the box you keep the label machine in? If there is, don’t tell me.
Sigh. I feel much better now.
© 2006-2017 Abigail Prescott, All Rights Reserved.