Thursday, August 28, 2014

Antiques 101---The Misadventures of Floozie and Hurriet

When I set out to write this series of helpful hints, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to share, but all that went out the window as soon as I realized I'd probably be preaching to the choir.
Y'all have heard the same advice over and over.  I knew to help you, I'd have to be honest...brutally so...and I didn't know if I could do that.
Not that I have a problem with being honest. As I've talked about before, the most important thing I want folks to take away from our booth is a honest deal. We've staked, as well as built, our reputations on honesty. We've never purposely hidden defects in anything we sell to a buyer. If it's been repaired...we say so. If we're not sure of the provenance of a piece...ditto. We've lost sales because of it, but we've also gained loyal buyers for the exact same reason.
We can buy replacement merchandise all day long, but at the end of that, or any day...our reputation cannot be replaced. We won't short sell our word just to make a sale.
So class get out your #2 pencil and as my mother used to say...this is gonna hurt me a lot more than you.
I can't tell you what to buy, but I can advise you as to how.
You are first going to have to decide what you want to sell and how much you're willing to invest in the beginning. Only you know your start-up budget, but be prepared to keep good records. I didn't at first and there's no telling how much of our own money we poured in before I started keeping track.

If anyone ever writes a book called Bookkeeping for Dummies...I'd be the first in line to buy it. Even after all these years, I am still the messiest record keeper on the planet!
Now that you've got an amount in your head that you feel comfortable with, let's move on to the next order of business...and no, I don't mean buying.  While I know it's the best part of the business, you're not ready yet. Just so you don't go all antsy with me, I'll tell you now. That's a future topic. Okay?
Before you start buying, you have to decide what you want to sell. Sounds easy...right? I'm here to tell you it's not.
Some will say to buy what you love and that's good advice, but I would say buy what you know.
And if you don't know anything...start learning!
Get out and visit shows, malls, anywhere there is selling going on. See what catches your eye.

If you find yourself spending a lot of time drooling over the palest of pales or hanging out in the tent full of repurposed items, you may have found your niche.
If you can't get enough of the painted furniture or glassware curls your toes, by all means, take note.
Look, see, touch, feel...learn!
Also, pay attention to what is selling...and the area in which it is selling. What sells in Texas, might not in Timbuctoo.
Let me add one other thing. Although small, there is a distinction between junk, vintage, and antiques. Deciding which you want to sell will be part of your homework.

Don't tell anyone I said this, but for the's all used merchandise no matter what the age. And with that in mind, remember crap wasn't made just yesterday and not always in a foreign country. (Where do you think the word shoddy comes from. Google it and learn.) It's been made for hundreds of years and with that comes the possibility if it was crap a hundred years's still crap. All things don't necessarily improve with age. Heck, even some wine will turn to vinegar.
Point is, if junk is your thing, be prepared to buy the best junk you can afford. Same goes for vintage and antique. My advice is to try and buy as unique as possible. You want your merchandise to stand out in the sea of sameness from time to time, you'll find yourself surrounded by.

One thing I like to do is buy and sell in piles. Some call it bundling...others bulk. I like the word piles. Law...y'all ought to see the looks I get when I say I have piles!
One sad little milk glass bud vase, sitting on a table, all on its lonesome, will often get overlooked. BUT...10 different little milk glass vases, each with a flower tucked in them? How can anybody miss...much less resist...those I ask you? It's a service as well as a marketing technique that hasn't failed me yet. I've resisted the temptation to sell just the one and instead waited and spent the time gathering an instant collection with a wow factor. Yes, half the fun of collecting is in the hunt, but some people don't have the time to chase down enough vases for an upcoming wedding, shower or special event. Photographers have bought my piles to use as props for styling shoots. (I can't wait to see my wedding cake macrame' hangings gussied up in an upcoming wedding and the toppers styled in yet another wedding...both in October!)
 Simply put, I've done the leg work and saved them a ton in aggravation, tires and fuel. I call that a win/win for all involved.
(FYI...A. Being unique in your offerings is the first step in branding. But we'll get to that later! B. Most of these items featured have already sold. I rest my case!)
Feel free to mix the three if it floats your boat. I personally prefer a dark eclectic look. Actually, mixing things up is a good beginning for more than one reason. It appeals to a broader range of  customers and it keeps you from getting trapped in the cookie cutter vortex. Plus, the mixing of trends is extremely popular right now in decorating.  And lastly, it will give you the chance to find what works and sells for you before you invest too much money and time in dust catchers.
Speaking of trends, I feel myself trending off subject. Hopefully, I've given you some information you can study on and filled at least one page on your Big Chief tablet.
Until the next time when we'll be discussing trends...
Class dismissed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Antiques 101

First order of business...
I'm not going to apologize for not blogging since Hector was a pup...nor will I offer any explanations as to the whys of my extended AWOL.  Life happens.  Especially when one suddenly has an ol' tom (Translation: a retired Cat Daddy) hanging around the back door caterwauling to beat the band.  New rules have to come into play before I get to play.
One thing I have been up to my armpits in alligators is preparing for The Greatest Show on DirtY'all have heard me pi$$ and moan prattle on talk about how much goes into doing a show of this size ad nauseam, so I'm not even gonna start to bore you with a repeat performance of my own brand of caterwauling.  What I will say is Oh Mylanta!
(Inside Zapp Hall Spring 2014, poster courtesy of Zapp Hall Antique Show)
What we're bringing to Antique Week is probably the most unique load we've ever had and probably the most expensive load we've ever had to pay for.  For the record...I'm not no!  Putting aside our pride and vanity of the mantra go big or go home, we gave up our big tent and chose to downsize our space by moving inside Zapp Hall.  I truly believe this was acccording to God's plan and because we listened and obeyed, He has led us to things we would never have found left to our own devices.  By downsizing our space, He allowed us to upsize our merchandise. We've ate a lot of beans and taters to pay for putting this inventory together, but for the first time in a long time, I can honestly say...I cannot wait to get there and see it all together.
Which brings us to the topic of day.

                                  (Zapp Hall Spring 2014, photo courtesy of Give Me Props)
"How to keep it fresh when it's going stale."
The man and I ventured into the antique business in the late 80's, which doesn't sound all that long until you calculate the years...25+.  During this time, we've seen a lot of comings and goings in the business. We've seen the sales of cookie jars and lunch boxes pay for college educations, Beanie Babies bought, sold and traded in a frenzy to match the NYSE and Fire-King Jade-ite soar through the roof, simply because Martha said "It's a good thing".
(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props)
With an abundance of reference books like Kovell's, anyone...with enough time, patience and willingness...could learn to recognize and price antique glassware, furniture, primitives, etc.
For the first 15-20 years or so, we watched as shoppes opened left and right. Antique malls were booming.  Shows like the Red Barn, Zapp Hall and others had waiting lists of folks just itching to get in.
(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props)
I have to admit, it was a heady time.  Never knowing what long forgotten treasure the next garage sale or auction held kept us on the prowl.  There was an abundance of merchandise just ripe for the picking and always at a great price because those who weren't in the business couldn't have cared less if Aunt Hortense's worn friendship quilt was going to keep me in groceries for a month. To them it was just used and worn out old stuff.  But then along came PBS with Antiques Roadshow and suddenly, everybody was an expert and their crap complete set of Dallas Cowboys glasses was worth at least a gazillion dollars...maybe more!
(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props. Jennifer will be at Zapp Hall for opening weekend Sept. 26-28th only. If anyone is interested in having her photograph their space, please contact Jenn on her Face Book page to schedule an appointment.)
That one show...and the copycats that followed...changed the rules forever.  It also required us,  as curators of the old, to change as well...which albeit the point of this post.
(Photo courtesy of  you know who!)
For those of y'all who are new to the business or are thinking about diving in, I was thinking maybe I could share what I've gleaned from my years of being a Ye Olde Keeper of the Krap and perhaps help you avoid some of the moats I fell into over the years.
What say ye?
Yay or Nay?
(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props. All styling done by moi!)
I must warn you, I am quite the gasbag and when I get really wound up...well you know!  And if you find yourself trapped in my seemingly endless tail tale wind?  Well then...don't say I didn't warn you.
(Feel free to pin any of my images. All I ask in return is please be sure and give credit to Give Me Props as photographer. Thanks so much!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Got a minute?

I have a birthday coming up and with each passing year, I find my self getting stingier and stingier with my time.
Y'all know how it is.
It really has nothing to do with age, but more with perspective.
When I was young, I believed myself invincible with nothing but time to blow through. Now time blows through me.
The thing is, I really don't have any less time now than I did in my twenties. It was running through my fingers like sand through an hourglass at the same pace it is now. The difference is at 20, 30, heck even 40, I didn't have the sense God gave a goose to realize I'm only promised a certain number of days, each containing the same 24 hours.  I was in too big of a hurry to realize regardless of my age, it's the same less. What I know now that I didn't know then is I have to focus on today and stop fretting tomorrow. This day, today, is what I've been given. Today is my promise and tomorrow is only a possibility. It's all in God's perfect timing...not mine.
Are y'all picking up what I'm laying down?
A girl of 23 never stops to think it could be over in a heartbeat...but it could.
A woman of 63 knows a heartbeat is God's promise for just that day.
A day is a gift, the best kind of gift, and one of incredible value.  It arrives with an invisible eraser, allowing us to change what we don't like and keep what we do.  And no matter how hard we try, it can't be hoarded.  Try as I might, I can't squirrel it away in a safe deposit box and pull it out for rainy days.  Once it's's gone.  It has to be emptied of all contents by the "best used by" date before it expires at midnight.  As much I would like to, it can't be frozen like last night's chicken. No returns, no exchanges.
It's mine to use as I see fit. It can be frittered away or it can be judiciously guarded. It can and will be used to take care of business, but happily, it can be used for play. The important thing is to use every single tick of the little hand, giving it a sound wringing at the end of the day to get the last drop.
It can be shared or given away, but never borrowed nor stolen.  Sharing our time with those we love or even those in need only increases its value, but giving it away can oftentimes cut it short.  Time is too valuable to throw away, much less give away. It needs to be spent on something or someone worthy of it.  And if it's our business time being asked for, we need to remember it can't be replaced and charge accordingly...even if it's friends and family. Sadly, even bills have to be paid in a timely manner. Hard as it may be, we have to regard our time as the precious commodity it is.
Squirrel Alert!
I hope y'all are still reading along. I know I can be a bit of a gasbag and your time is valuable, but I really do have a caboose to this train of thought.
I have a confession to make.  I hate a calendar. It serves as a reminder of how few days there are in a year. When I see penciled in events, I cringe simply because as I get older, I'm jealous of my time. I want to spend it doing things that make me happy and not going to the dentist or other equally mundane things.  But that's the sad part of time. So much of it has to be spent taking care of our lives, we are left with so little time for actually living. So I decided this year, I would not be a slave to a calendar. I'll start each day taking care of what needs to be taken care of and spend the rest of the day in pursuit of what makes me happy with my Cat Daddy topping the to-do list!
(Insert wink and a smirk here!)
I simply refuse to let a calendar on my desk dictate my time.
This past Sunday was Mother's Day.  I told my children I didn't need Hallmark to tell me they loved me or because the calendar said so in red.  I told them to stay home with their families. All I asked for was a quick phone call simply because I love the sound of their voices as much as I love (maybe more) my own. I wanted Jenn to get to enjoy breakfast in bed served by her children. I wanted Joey to smother Misty with love as he looked at Graycie. They deserve to be pampered if for no other reasons, the gifts of the Bella Baby and legacy. The last thing I wanted was for them to feel guilty or worry about hurting my feelings.
I'm not selfless and sure hope I'm not giving that impression. My motives were less dramatic, but a result of my days as a young mother. I was expected by my own mother (God love her, but Helen Marie could be a pill at times!) to drag myself out of bed and take her out for breakfast on Mother's Day...and no was never an option. Mother being Mother, she would not hold still for excuses...short of labor pains. But even then she'd ask how far apart the pains were to see if there was time for a quick trip to the Champagne breakfast brunch served at the hospital. I never had the luxury of being waited on hand and foot for a day and I believe every mother of a young child deserves it. Not to mention the joy it brings to the kids to spoil their moms...and make a mess while making a memory! Why would I want to cheat those kiddos out of a blessing? I love them and their parents too much for that.

See it's like this. I know they love me. I see it in their faces and I feel it in their touch all year long. They honor me in the way they are raising their children. They give to me constantly in the smallest and biggest of ways...and not just on that one day a year. I ask you now...isn't that how it's supposed to be?
Their lives are just as busy as mine so we share time together whenever and wherever we can. Time should never, ever, ever come with a guilt trip attached. I'm just that vain y'all. I want my kids to spend time with me because they want to and not because some FTD florist or Russel Stover's commercial says they have to.
Remember earlier how I said time can't be squirrelled away in a safe deposit box?  It can't, but the memories we make while spending time wisely can. They will last a lifetime and I pray be handed down to generations to come.

I seem to spend a lot of my time talking about time, but y'all know I'm just the typist. I write what He tells me to write and if it seems repetitous, I've got me a hunch. He wants to make one thing perfectly clear. He's the owner of our time clock and we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking otherwise.  
Now...I don't know about y'all, but at the end of her day (in the far, far future), this old gal doesn't want to be caught with any time left on her hands. I fully well expect to cram as much as I can into every single minute of every single day, and as I exit left, laugh myself silly all the way to the memory bank.
And that my friends, will be time well spent.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Time In a Geritol Bottle

Funny how time can change your whole perspective.  Too little is frustrating...too much, confusing.  But sometimes, in the words of Baby Bear, it's just right!
As y'all all know, in the past I'm almost always by myself for the better part of the Greatest Show on Dirt.  Not that Cat Daddy didn't want to be there...he did.  It was just his pesky job always got in the way, but this time he was able to stay for the whole time.  Retirement, along with other changes, does bring certain advantages in the form of ticks on the clock.
(All photos...except for the crappy ones...are by Give Me Props.)
Antique Week...or should I say weeks since we were there for 15 glorious days...was crammed jammed with excitement. Frivolity, food, and fortune met us at every corner. Not ones to waste time, we celebrated and savored every moment.
Frivolity in that I don't think I've ever laughed so much for such an extended period of time...sometimes so much so I forgot to breathe. I truly believe I have the most comical friends on the planet.
  Food 'cause I ate so many different things I can now speak two new languages besides Twanglish...Mouthful-ian and More-ese! Happy that I can now say pie in many different flavors AND am justified to add multilingual to my resume!
And last but not least...fortune.  I don't mean the kind you bring home in a bank bag...although the show was a success.  More like the fortune in memories you bring home in your heart at an exchange rate no Fortune 500 could ever hope to match.
There's much to share with y'all about the show.  There was a whirlwind of activity from the moment my feet touched down until the last tub was loaded back on the trailer.  So much so in fact, I'm going to have to break it down into several posts.  Expect quite a few to come out of this keyboard over the next couple of weeks.  At my age, I can't wait too long or I forget what I want to say and the he saids/she saids.  I like to think it's a wise woman who keeps her facts straight to avoid any unfortunate incarcerations in the future!
For the time being though...this chubby lady has a man whining crying pleading inquiring about clean underwear. Think it's about time to introduce him to the washer and dryer.
And for the record...I also speak Man-ese fluently!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Promissory Note

Here it is y'all...just like I pinky sweared!

Now would I go and lie to my little honeys?


Monday, March 17, 2014

Put Out To Pasture

It's official y'all.
All the paperwork has been completed, signed on the dotted line, mailed and the first pension check has been deposited into our bank account.
Now the way I got it figured and according to the United States government (and since they think they know it all), that translates to we are now retired!
Webster defines the word retired something like this:
1. Having finished one's active working life.
2. Secluded from society, private, quiet.
3. To go away or apart, to a place of privacy.
Beg pardon, but when exactly does the work finish? We're working harder now than ever before and I don't see no finish line in my horizon any time soon. Truth being self is a tough boss with little time off and as far as privacy goes...are you kidding me? Besides...when have y'all ever known me to be quiet?
There is little about us that y'all don't know except the dramas of life we all experience at one time or 'tother...and unexpected retirement. Those subjects I do tend to keep to myself, but only because my mama told me never hang my dirty laundry out on the front porch. God also told me to let sleeping dogs lie and He would handle things for us...and He has. Anytime one gets their first retirement check before the actual confirmation letter shows up proves who really knows it all and is in control.  Once again, let the record show...God is more powerful than even the government.
But enough about that. Let's talk about work...whatcha say?
The Greatest Show on Dirt is just around the corner...and I mean just that.  It's less than a week before we'll be heading down with the trailer to Zapp Hall.  Our show starts March 28th, but we get there early to unload and set up.
In the meantime, we're working like the matched set of mules we are to get things wrapped up here at the Casita de Trash.  Cat Daddy is cramming that trailer full of all the things we have been squirreling away to take to the Mother Ship for the spring show.
And speaking of the spring show...Oh Mylanta!
There are big doings popping up this time around.
The show is always fun, but this one promises all sorts of surprises, special guests, and running amuck, with a dash of mischief and mayhem thrown in for good measure.  For starters, I am shaking like a chihuahua to be first in line for this...
Jo Packham, creator of Where Women Create, Cook, Create shoot fire, do it all and then going to be inside Zapp Hall March 29th, from 2-4pm for a special signing of Where Women Cook. As you may or may not know, our own sweet Head Zapper, Cheryl Lehane, was featured in Where Women Create Business not too long ago. Jo is quite the powerhouse in our world and to be selected to appear/shoot the photos in between the pages of her magazines/books is something to be mighty proud of and rightly so. It's the equivalent of an "atta girl" for working one's fanny off.
With Jo will be an amazing line-up of creative, beautiful women who also are known for working their buns off.
(Get it...Where Women Cook...buns? I crack myself up sometimes!)
I don't have the full list of who all will be there signing magazines, but I do know on hand will be Celeste Shaw of Chaps Diner and Bakery, Holly Kuhn of Old Glory, Gina Galvin of Peacock Park and Ki Nassauer of Flea Market Style Magazine among the featured guests.  I promise y'all up and down, I'll be adding to the who's who list as I get the info...pinky swear!!/wherewomencook
(Celeste's knock-your-socks-off kitchen. Photo courtesy of  Where Women Cook. Did I tell y'all I am beyond the moon in anticipation of meeting Celeste? No? Well then...consider yourselves done told...'cause I am!) 
I have to stop and mention a coupla of things I know y'all are gonna dig, beginning with a shout out to one of my favorite people in the history of ever...Gina Galvin.  Gina is starting a new venue at the spring shows with The Rendezvous. She and her vendors will be located down the road from Zapp Hall on Hwy. 237.  She's promising fun and laughter, along with great shopping, beginning with her hosting Theresa's blog party the 28th of March at 6pm. Knowing Gina...this ain't no empty promise. I have yet to be around this gorgeous lady without smiling my fool head off!
Now if that isn't enough to get your motor humming...listen up. Holly and her husband, owners of Old Glory Antiques in Denver, are going to be opening a new shop in Burton, March 25th. Love, love, triple love her take and talent when it comes to a fresh look for purchasing and using antiques in your homes.
( I should mention I stole...I mean borrowed all the above photos from their FB pages...including this one from Holly's. Y'all know me and  taking decent photos is NOT in my wheelhouse so I have to resort to thievery!)
And if that still isn't enough...tighten up those bra straps...there's more!
Amie and Jolie, Junk Gypsies extraordinaires, will have two locations to shop this time.  They'll be at Zapp as well as their JG World Headquarters. On the 28th, the official ribbon cutting will take place at the JGWHQ's and season two of the Junk Gypsies will be filming.

One word y'all...whew!
I don't know about y'all, but I'm all agog with anticipation of this year's spring shows and all the frivolity that is about to commence!
My only suggestion to y'all is pack your roller skates. I got me a hunch you're gonna need 'em!
As for me...I best get back to enjoying my retirement.
Working like the rented Jenny I am...slightly burnt out but still smokin'!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Undercover Tourist

If I've learned anything in 62 years of living, it's that life doesn't come with a road map.  You gotta be ready for unexpected potholes and detours along the way.  Every day is a journey and if we're wise, we keep souvenirs to remember it by.
That's what I've been dealing with the past couple of weeks...chug holes big enough to knock my plans clean out of alignment.

Cat Daddy had been planning on retiring the middle of this year (yes...gasp...we are of that age), but out of the blue, the planned date of retirement was changed...oops. As a result, I've been hurriedly preparing all the paperwork needed to start his pension as well as attending to all the details that go along with it.

In the middle of this chaos, came the startling revelation I'm an almost, but not quite, senior citizen.

When did this happen?

More did it happen?

In reflection came another revelation. I suddenly realized my life could be told by the changing of my underwear.

I began life in a diaper and if I'm blessed to live long enough, I'm sure I'll leave this world wearing the same attire.

I progressed to training pants and I'm proud to say I passed with flying colors! 'Course, the older I get and with each little sneeze or giggle, I wonder just how well trained I am. From there it was just a hop, skip and jump to ruffles on my tiny tookus!

I just have to ask why the term "training bra"? Training pants I get, but training bra? Just what the heck are the girls (BTW...I call my girls Mary Kate and Ashley in case y'all were wondering.) in training for...sit, speak, sit up? If it's shake...they'll learn that quick enough on their own. And don't even let me get started on "foundation garments" or we're likely to be here for days! 

By the time I started school, I was ready for my first set of Days of the Week panties. I'm sure a lot of y'all remember those, but do you also remember wearing Saturday on Monday or vicey versey 'cause mom hadn't done the laundry yet?

Why do we say "a pair of panties"? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we just wear 'em one at a time? Kinda like a pair of pants, you know? One at a time...although with the abundance of cold weather we've been having here at the North Texas Pole,  I'm tempted to throw on a couple of more pairs for added warmth.

I loved those panties...especially Sunday. They began my love affair with underthings. Nowadays kids are walking billboards, sporting Doc McStuffins or Spiderman on their little tushes. And grown ups aren't any better. We really should get paid for running around with Juicy emblazoned across our rumps!

And then came the '60's.

Peace, love and goodbye Playtex, hello Vassarette.

Young women can thank my generation for mini skirts, hip-huggers and hot pants...'cause with 'em came the need for bikini underwear and the invention of pantyhose.

Be gone granny panties and garter belts!

With the disco years, came the worry of panty lines showing through our tight britches and wrap dresses.  Thus began my years of going commando. What can I say? I was a child of the sixties and had no filters...and obviously no shame either!

The honeymoon years of my marriage included matching lingerie, but that didn't last long before I entered the maternity years.

For both my pregnancies, I paraded around in Cat Daddy's underwear...except when I went to the OB/GYN.  He didn't need to know my dirty little secret. My ever expanding belly itched like mad and I didn't own a single pair of cotton undies, so off to C.D.'s underwear drawer and on with his Fruit of the Looms. I'd love to be able to tell y'all I returned those back to his drawer after the kids were born, but sadly I did not. It was a while before ol' Deb could fit back into her Lily of France frilly skivvies, resulting in her fancy underwear consisting of control tops and panty girdles.

During the child rearing years, I was buying more Underoos and less lace. Sadly, my cotton britches came three to a pack, hanging on a rack at Sears. Temporarily gone were the lovely tables, heaped high and overflowing with silky drawers, trimmed in soft lace. No little satin rosebuds to distinguish the front from the back, only the annoying size tag scratching my hind end.  But all that changed in the '80's with the opening of a Victoria's Secret at our local mall.  It was as if the clouds opened up and a rainbow of knickers appeared!

Victoria and I became fast friends for the next umpteen years.  When the new catalog arrived in the mail, I felt like that kid back in 1959 and the Sears Christmas catalog was in the mailbox. Cat Daddy and I would go to war over who got to look at it first...although looking back...I now question his interest and/or motives!  All I say to that is five minutes ladies...just five minutes!

One thing you'll never catch me wearing, even if all my undies are dirty, is a thong. I happen to think those things are just plain evil. A thong had to be designed by a man 'cause women have spent the better part of their days trying to keep their drawers from crawling into places said drawers got no place crawling into. Ain't no way this chubby lady is going to buy something designed to hone into...or saw in half...her nether-nether land.

Well y'all...that brings us to the 21st Century and the next chapter in my life. I don't save my unmentionables for special occasions 'cause let's face my age, getting up in the morning is special enough. I love pretty underwear and will wear it until the day I have to slip on my first pair of Depends.  When that day comes, as I know it will, I pray I still have enough wits about me to hot glue a satin rose on 'em. Otherwise, how will I know which side goes in front...and in life as in intimates...that's an all important detail.