Howdy! Before we get started, you might want to grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine here, as I tend to ramble a bit...First of all, let me tell you a little bit about the reason for this blog in the first place. You see, I have another blog called, "365 Days Of The Year." Four years ago, I started it as a challenge to post a photo a day on it for a year, and I did! When my year was up, I thought I could just drop it, but I found I missed it. So, instead of the pressure of taking a "picture worthy picture" every day, I just started to post random thoughts and stories of my family and friends, with an occasional picture. After each year, I would have the entire year made into a hard cover book, to some day give to our son Landon. I also have a handbag business that I do on the side from my full time childcare business. Occasionally, I would post on my blog, things about purses or shows/expos that I was doing and it just didn't feel right. It was business and my blog was for family, friends, and my place to go to vent or just tell my little stories. I would also post a bit about business on facebook and that didn't feel right either. Now, I have started to dip my toes in a little crafty stuff. Nothing major, but a little something here and there and I needed a place to put it along with my purses that felt right. That place is here. Here I will post things about purses, re-purposing, flea marketing, or maybe just take you along on a few road trips with me. Wherever it takes us, I hope the trip is as much fun for you as it is for me. Ready to ride?
I know. I know. The length of that purse site link is insane! But, when I created it, I couldn't think of anything short and cute that wasn't already taken, like... "The Swedish Cowgirl." Ha! By the way, I am 1/2 Swedish. On the other side it's a bit Heinz 57. English, Dutch, German, Irish, Chinese and Indian! My dad's side was the wild side! So, it is what it is. I am what I am.
When Landon was a baby, I used to LOVE Christmas. He would get all giddy and excited when I would bring out the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. We would plaster them all over the house. Fill every room. It looked like Christmas threw up in our house! But, we loved it. Now that he's/I'm older, the excitement has worn off. Tim isn't much help either, so like probably most homes in the country, Christmas is up to mom. (me.) I'm not diggin' it so much these days. I don't enjoy hauling all those boxes up and down the stairs. I enjoy having the decorations out and about for about 3 days give or take, after that I am so ready to pack it all back up and have my house back. I also don't enjoy vacuuming up pine needles daily and cleaning up pine needle puke. (We have three cats that think they are suppose to eat and puke them up, daily.) Since Landon doesn't believe in Santa Claus anymore either, (I still make him hang up his stocking along with mine and Tim's. I want my Christmas candy, darn it!) even that little joy is gone. So, if it wasn't for Landon, I could easily do away with the holidays all together. I know, I know. I sound like a scrooge. But honestly, my dream plan would be to go to church on Christmas Eve, then drive to the airport and take off (With Tim and Landon) to some warm country until it was all over. But, I have a husband who won't fly and a son who still wants a real Christmas. So, on I go. Last night, Tim and I made a quick stop to Menard's to pick up a Christmas tree. (I had gotten rid of our artificial tree a few years ago. I was DONE hauling 4,567 bags of fake tree branches that poked through and ripped my arms apart to the bones, every year! Done, I tell ya.) Every year, we pick out a big ol' tree that takes up half our living room. It takes 45 hours of turning it so, "the good side shows." 67 hours to decorate it and I pick out needles from the carpet all year long. This year, I told Tim I wanted a smaller tree. I guess I was thinking, "skinnier" and he was thinking, "shorter." I had just done a purse show and was really tired, so I told Tim to just go and pick one out, while I went in search of a few other items we needed. We left it in the van last night and today, when Tim brought it in and set it up, I immediately didn't like it. I didn't hate it, but it was sooo short! So, I started looking around and thinking of what I could do to make it taller. I decided to set it on my new/old trunk table and added a few coffee/grain sacks and other items and called it good.
But then....(Sorry. The story's not over.) The nightmare began. We usually get a short needle tree, but this year Tim decided to get a long needle one. Have you ever tried to hang ornaments on a long needle tree? It's like trying to wipe snot off your hands, with your hands. It just doesn't work! So, I had to "set" a few snowflakes and little light ornaments in the tree where I could. They kept sliding off, and I had a few choice words that just seemed to escaped my mouth somehow. I swear at that point, I had no control over it whatsoever! But, since everyone disappeared when I announced it was time to decorate the tree, I had no one to offend and nothing to worry about. (Because of the cats, I can't decorate the bottom quarter of the tree. It wasn't that I gave up, it's just I didn't want to put up with cat tennis this year.) As if that wasn't bad enough, after spending 45 hours trying to get the lights to stay on the tree, half of them decided to quit working! Of course it wasn't until after I had the lights and ornament's hung/set up in that darn ol' tree, that they decided to do that. Then I wanted to use my new camera to take "beautiful night time, twinkle light" photos. Not gonna happen. I tried every setting on the darn camera and all I got was big blurs of blobs of color. UGH!!! So, I flipped on the lights and shot a couple of ol' blurry regular shots and stuck them up here. Done. Last year, I had a few little red signs, with white letters that I sold at my holiday craft shows. They said.... "This Is As Merry As We Get." So, like those signs....this year....This Is As Merry As This Momma's Gettin'! Merry Christmas and to all a good night! (Don't worry, I'll come around after the stress of today wears off, and all will be merry and bright once again! Until I have to fight the crowds to go Christmas shopping that is.)
I posted my little "special friend" story on my Swedish Cowgirl facebook page and the response was overwhelming. I am still in shock. To me it was just another one of my little stories, but boy how it seemed to touch a lot of people. At the present time, I have almost 80 likes and I don't know how many comments. All of the comments were sweet, positive and wonderful! There were several compliments that I had received myself, that just blew me away. It wasn't my intention to get compliments when I posted that story, I just wanted to share my "special friend" with everyone as she had really made my day. It was the first real story I've posted on there, and unlike my blog which doesn't have a place to comment, I wasn't prepared for all those comments! It is so nice to know there are so many nice people out there! Because my S.C. page is public as it is a business page, I didn't even know many of the people who commented! Through those comments, I found out that my special friend's name is Evangeline Elmquist (Funny thing here, she reminded me of my grandma who passed away with Alzhiemers and whose last name was Lindquist. Hmmm...maybe grandma was just saying hi through Evangeline?) and she is a published poet! She had a twin sister who she lived with all her life, but sadly passed away. I was able to find a site that has one of her books of poetry for sale. It is a tribute to her twin sister, May.
I encourage everyone to purchase this book. It's just a nice thing to do and I think it would make Evangeline happy. Who knows....it might make you happy too!
I went to Hoffman today to do a purse show. Over the years of doing shows, I have met 7,767 people and remember about 5 of them. O.k. maybe a few more than that, but it's mostly a sea of nameless faces. My memory leaves much to be desired! But, every now and then, someone comes along who leaves a really big impression on my brain and on my heart. Today was one of those days. Whenever I do holiday shows, I have a little bowl of mint candies sitting on my checkout table for my customers to help themselves to after they check out. Today, I decided to put some of the candy in a basket and pass them out to the people who were in my booth, while they were still looking and deciding. Candy makes everyone feel good, and I thought it was not only a nice gesture, but it might be a good business move too. (It was!) As I was chatting and passing out candy, something bright and colorful caught my eye. It was the sweetest little ol' lady, dressed in the most colorful, floral dress. She had a long strand of pretty pearl beads hanging around her neck, a lace shawl over her shoulders, flowers in her hair and bright red lipstick applied just, oh so right. She was with another younger woman who was either her daughter or maybe her helper. (I am not sure if she was mentally challenged or a victim of Alzheimer's.) As I started to walk towards her with my little basket of candy, she spotted me and held out her arms towards me. She excitedly proclaimed to her companion, "Look! Look! It's my special friend! I missed you special friend. I'm so happy you're here. Are you happy?" Now this sweet lady had never seen me before in her life, and even though I can't remember everyone, if I had met her in the past, I never would have forgotten her! But, in that moment, at that time,to her I was her special friend. So, her special friend I would be. But before I could answer her questions, she suddenly got really quiet, grasped both of my hands in hers, and in a whispering voice she asked me, "Did you miss me?" She look so sad, as if she thought I was going to tell her that I hadn't missed her, and I gotta tell ya, it was heart wrenching. So, in my most overly excited voice, I reassured her that yes indeed, I had missed her. She clapped her hands and laughed and smiled a huge bright smile. All was well in her world once again. I loved what she said, and so to all my special friends out there...."Hello special friend. I 'm so happy you are here. Are you happy?"
I hope you are happy and that you have someone to miss and to miss you, whether it be a spouse, child, or special friend. Life is short. Be happy.
Now you know I didn't let that sweet lady leave without a picture! Her helper/daughter took the picture with my phone, so it isn't the greatest. But, you sure can see the happiness pouring out of my special friend's face. She's happy!
I've come to another crossroad in my life. Yep. Another one. I probably have had more irons in the fire than I care to mention, but that's me. I have to keep busy. I can't just sit and play with kids all day (even though I love them!) and I can't just sit and watch t.v. all night or go fishing all weekend. (Even though I love Tim and Landon! I just can't!) I've always loved old funky junk and I love to create fun stuff out of it. I also love just having it sitting around to look at. It makes me happy. (I was so born in the wrong era.) Last summer, I decided to try my hand at repurposing/upcycling cool old stuff to sell with my purses. I told myself, as long as it was fun and enjoyable, I would keep at it. I had a ton of fun digging through antique shops, thrift stores, flea markets, and people's trash. (I did ask for permission first on the trash digging and washed my hands really good later! ha!) Then I set up a booth at our local farmer's market for the little stuff and took the bigger stuff to craft shows along with my purses. Our town isn't big on the junk thing. So, there wasn't any point in dragging the big heavy stuff to the farmer's market. That's a lot of work!But if you head north a little where there is an antique store on every corner...well, that's worth the extra work! At first, it was a lot of fun to decorate my booth and see the looks on people's faces when they checked out the things I had made. (They weren't all weird looks.) It made me feel good when someone loved their junky treasure as much as I did. But....after awhile it started to feel like "work." While I loved to create cool stuff for my own home, I didn't enjoy "having to" come up with new stuff to fill a booth at a show. It was a lot of pressure. So, I've decided to take a side road here, and see where it leads me. Since I love the hunting/shopping for treasures part so much, I am going to continue to do just that. I am in the process of setting up an Etsy store and I am going to "try" and sell some of the treasures I've found and will continue to find, for someone else to enjoy/make something out of. When I started selling my purses, I didn't have a clue how it was going to go. I remember ordering boxes and boxes of purses and Tim standing in the living room surrounded by 5,466 boxes and telling me that "this had better be good!" My first Open House was at our house. I had over 400 purses set up in every room on the lower level. It was jammed packed! I even had a few cowboy hats back then. (Hmmm...I kinda miss those hats. Might have to do that again...) Anyway, I had put an ad in the paper and I hung fliers around town. The day of the Open House, I kicked Tim and Landon out of the house and waited. The show started at 8:00 A.M. and at 8:10 no one had showed up. I called Tim almost in tears to tell him, it was a big flop. I felt just sick. I had so much money invested and as much as I loved purses, what the heck was I going to do with 400 of them?? BUT, then the cars started to pull up. And up! And up!! People were showing up!! They POURED into my house! It was crazy!! It seemed like every woman in town was at my house buying a purse! And eight years later....I'm still the bag lady and I still love purses. So, while I haven't a clue if this Etsy business is going to be a dead end or another beautiful scenic highway....one thing I do know. I have to try. Ready to go for a ride?
I have to admit that I am a little slow when when it comes to checking out new technology and new websites and such. I at least a year or two behind everyone, and I'm o.k. with that. I'm not fancy. I like what I've got. But, the one time that I wish I hadn't been so slow to check something out, was recently when I discovered (Finally!) PINTEREST! Man....where has that been all my life? If you are on of the last 2 people in the world who haven't checked it out, I urge you to do so. It's fantastic!One of my favorite things to do when I crawl into bed at night, is check out a few (or 2,333) pages of PINTEREST. Puts me right to sleep! Anyway, as you all know, I've been busy taking pictures for my upcoming Etsy store. (I am thinking it will be ready by the end of this month! Yee haw!) I was struggling a bit with all the light bouncing off the windows. I couldn't go outside with all the dc (Daycare) kids here to take pictures in the "natural" light, like you are suppose to and it was too bright in the house in the daytime and too dark in the house at night. So....PINTEREST to the rescue! I happen to stumble across a pin about making a "light box" to take nice pictures in. You can buy one for $200 to $500 it said, or you could make one out of a cardboard box. I made one. Here are the pictures. It is pretty self explanatory, but if you would like to ask any questions, just shoot me an email or check it out on PINTEREST. Just type in homemade light box. Love my box!
I got a big box from our local appliance store and cut it in half so it wasn't so tall.
You can use a small box too, I just needed the bigger one for taller and wider items.
Then I laid it on it's side and cut out the right and left side and the top.
Next, taped tissue paper over the holes.
I have drug this box around the living room 5,677 times
and the cats have jumped on/in it 4,222 times.
So, it has taken a beating and the tissue paper needs to be replaced.
Prop up a couple of spotlights or lamps on the sides for your light.
I like the spotlights because they can be adjusted for different light levels.
Leave the flaps on the box. I cut mine off and wish I hadn't.
I taped a few pieces of card stock up there.
They help keep the light out from all the windows and doors.
A friend of mine was having trouble taking pictures of
hot wheels that she sells. The flash kept making it shiney.
So, I took a picture of one in my box to show her how it works.
I know I just posted about a sweet giveaway, but I just happened to stumble across another one that is too good not to share!! I was checking out Donna's (Funky Junk) blog tonight and she was having a trash to treasure link up party going on. I clicked on a chalkboard tip from a new Blog that I haven't seen before called, Cottage in the Oaks. Not only did I find a great chalkboard tip (and chalkboards!) I also found a really stunning Moen Faucet giveaway going on! You know I love a good giveaway, so here is the link for you to enter too!
Here is a fabulous giveaway you just have to enter! It is Miss Mustard Seed's new book, "Inspired You" given away by Donna from Funky Junk Interior's. I've entered too, but even if I don't win, I'm gonna buy it for sure!!
I've been slowly but surely getting pictures/info together and posting them in my new Etsy store that I am working on. It is a major job, let me tell ya! But, it will get done. This year. I promise. Not everything will be upscaled/recycled/handmade. I am also including some of my fun stuff that I've discovered on my little junkin' trips. Here is one post just to give you a little taste of what is yet to be...
WOW!!! The Wheaton Craft Fair ROCKED!! It was so crazy busy that I wasn't able to sit down even once today. I don't know if it was the warm weather that brought them all out or what, but it was wonderful! Don't get me wrong. Every year is wonderful, but this one was crazy wonderful! Let me share a little of my day with you.
In the morning, the vendors at the craft fair are given a lunch menu and if they turn it in early, the helpers will deliver their lunch to their booth for them. I filled mine out and handed it in. I requested a walking taco and a bottle of water. I thought the taco in a bag would be easy to eat and easy to set down if I was needed. I didn't get to eat it. There just wasn't a minute to spare. (That my friends is a good problem to have!) Luckily, my friend Jackie came by and out of the blue gave me a baggie with my two favorite candy bars in it. (Recess and Snickers) I gave her my taco and made the candy bars my lunch. I was so thankful for them as I was starving and I was hoping the Christmas music I was playing was loud enough to cover up the rumbling in my tummy. She saved the day. I owe her one. (or six)
One of the first things to go (Besides purses) was my sled! A lady came up to me and asked if she could pay for it and would I hold it for her. Because there were several people in line before her, I told her to just pay for it when she came back. About an hour before the show was over, she still had not come back. I was getting a little bummed as after she left, three other women wanted to buy it! Finally, at the end of the show, she showed up! All was well again. Sigh....
The highlight of the day was, my blinged up chalkboard/picture frame. I posted about it a few posts back... A sweet little old lady bought it. When I told her she could erase the Elizabeth Taylor quote I wrote and write anything on it, as it was a chalkboard, she told me that she loved Elizabeth Taylor and was leaving it! (I might be writing that quote on everything! ha!) Then when I told her that the "bling" was two clip on earrings and a dangle pearl bracelet, she said.....(This is the part I love) Shuuuuut Uuuuuup!!!
Yep. The little old lady told me to shut up.
Thank you everyone for making this year one of the best ever. I am blessed and I love you all!!