Thursday, October 06, 2016


Come see me this weekend as Curious Sofa sells inside Top Hat Mercantile. We have a new owner and the shop is getting a fresh look with updated items and more vintage goods. I have brought out just enough Halloween to wet your appetite along with 14 other vendors with unique items too. Shop with us Friday & Saturday 9-6 and Sunday 11-4. And now open Second Saturday too, October 15th, 10-5.


Monday, April 06, 2015


For those of you that do not follow me on Facebook or receive my emails, I am copying recent news below.

March 11
Prayers please for my beloved Pearl. A random vet visit ended in a day of x-rays and tears. Tomorrow it continues with an ultra sound and a biopsy. Diagnosis to come.

March 13
To all my pet loving friends:
I cannot thank you enough for the outpouring of love and concern over Pearl. I am so torn over what to write about her as I believe in miracles and will not give up on what God can do to answer my prayers and yours. Writing anything about this precious baby seems so silly here on Facebook because she is a huge part of my life as many of you know (have you ever seen me without her in the last 13 years??!). I have cried more tears than I knew I had in me and want to just hide from everyone until this nightmare is over. But I believe God answers prayers and can preform miracles even on our little furry friends, especially when "his people call his name" (and you know who you are).

Yesterday, after they did an ultrasound they said, "I don't have good news". She has a large cancerous tumor on her heart. Dear God, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Could anything be worse?? It is too far gone and delicate to do surgery and I guess chemo is a waste of time at this point. There are other details that are beside the point but you can imagine what the effects are going to be as it progresses.

Who knows how much time she has. A week? A month? 6 months? I am clueless. She is already slowing down, not walking as fast as she should. Not taking stairs like she usually does and all the little activities I have seen in her are diminishing. The brightness in her spirit is fading which breaks my heart more than anything. All I can do is continue my unconditional love on her, make her comfortable and try to continue daily life as we know it.

I took her in for a standard teeth cleaning on Wednesday and an hour after I left they called to say "This is not the dog we saw an hour ago". Before they did anything they were checking her over and saw her gums were white and her breathing labored. This made them do a heart x-ray and that's when everything started. I assume now she must have had a mini stroke or something. Then I was told to go to a specialist for an ultrasound yesterday for more info.

Although she will turn 13 on April 16, Bichons can easily live to be 16 or 18 years old. Never in a million years did I think I could lose her to cancer. Not this kind, not this fast. I have never had a pet this long or had to make that tough decision on their life- and I am not ready now. Are we ever?

For now, I seriously ask for specific prayers of complete healing. Prayers to dissolve the tumor, prayers to restore her to complete health. Our God can do this. In the meantime, she will continue to be with me every moment of every day as always and I will try and make it as comfortable as possible. We have plans to travel to Round Top for the Texas antique show later this month and I hope it will be an easy one.

Thank you so much for your love and concern for both of us. It means everything to know how many lives she has touched. If things change, I will let you know.

March 17
Rest in peace, my sweet baby girl.
Pearl died in my arms at 10:30 this morning. I have no words, just a broken heart. Thank you for your outpouring of love and prayers. I know it got me a few extra days with her.

March 21
For all my local Curious Sofa fans, it is with more sadness than I can express that I have lost my precious baby on March 17. Many of you will not recognize me without her as she was constantly by my side; from opening three retail stores to shopping all the flea markets and antique shows from Kansas City to Minnesota to Texas.

In just 6 days I learned of a tumor on her heart and suddenly she was gone from what I believe was a heart attack. She passed in my arms as I thanked her for her perfect love and the special life she gave me. I wish for all of you the love of such a dear friend as I was blessed with from my little Pearl.

April 6
Today is not a good day. That is how I seem to be summing up my daily life now. One day I can shower, work, go to dinner and watch TV (with moments of crying in between) and feel I am slowly healing and somewhat normal. Then the next day, I cannot even get out of bed, look at myself or talk to anyone. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and endless tears unlike I have ever known. This is surely what pure grief is.

Every day now someone new finds out Pearl has passed and a comment, an email, a note, a call, a look will start it all over again. Everyone is heartsick for me and I am blessed with many, many friends that are hurting for me but no one can do anything and it is just an awkward situation.

One moment I can't even remember her face and then the next I am sobbing in my car thinking of the millions of moments we had. I have never loved something like this. I have never had such a loss to my soul as this. I cannot even put it into words what I am feeling. As one friend said, "There are pet lovers and then there are pet lovers". She also added, "You gave Pearl a perfect life and in return she gave you perfect love". Yes, that is what I am feeling. The separation of that perfect love.

Every night I would pick her up off the sofa and say, "Let's go to bed" and she would lay her head over my shoulder like a little baby who was tired from the day. I would then gently crawl into bed with her still in place and lay down carefully; her neck over my neck and every night I knew this was a perfect moment. A perfect moment of pure love. Her warm body, her soft fur, hearing her breathing slowly in my ear, waiting to see who fell asleep first.

From the time she was a baby I started to say, "A thousand kisses a day" and that is what I would give her. At any time, at any moment, from the time we got up, to driving in the car, to working at the shop, or sitting across the room I would say out of nowhere, "I love you. You're the best baby ever". I must have said that a thousand times a day too for the last 13 years.

When you live and love something so much, your routine starts early; I do this, then she does that. She knew when my hairdryer came on we were going to leave the house soon. She knew when we turned a corner on a particular block, she was going to the park. She knew that once we were in the shop, she could nap for a few hours. She knew when I went into the grocery store that I would, "be right back". Now I am avoiding the places we would frequent because everyone knew her. I just can't do it right now.

I have been single all my life but I can honestly say I have never been one of those women that ever felt lonely. I think being a creative person helps this because my mind is always thinking of something to do, invent, make, fix, research or plan- until now. Now I feel lonely. My baby is gone and the house feels like a tomb. There are no sudden barks, yawns, stretches or sounds anymore. It's just me, thinking, crying and feeling the emptiness in the air and in my heart. I wonder every moment when this will end. When will I be able to depend on a normal, routine life again? Only today I realized this grief has affected me not only emotionally but physically and in my relationships and now my work. I cannot function normally and am about to lose a big design job because I cannot focus on doing it properly- and I don't care. I told my niece, "I wish I had the money to go away for three months and just hide", but I don't. Life goes on and I just pray for more good days than bad.

From the beginning Pearl was a serendipitous gift. I have to be thankful for this precious pup that came into my life and showed me what love and loyalty is. She was by my side for 13 years. I never left her alone for more than a few hours only when I might see a movie or go to dinner with friends and even then she was always on my mind as I felt guilty for leaving her. When I returned home she would be sitting by the kitchen door, waiting for me. I always wondered if she laid there the entire time I was gone or if she had heard my car. She would then jump and jump and whine with joy and kiss me as if I had been gone for days. She was healthy and happy all her life. I never had to watch her struggle with arthritis or go blind or hurt with age. I prayed for the Lord to prepare me for the day when her life was up and I believe that first vet visit was his answer to that, although only 5 days prior. I prayed I would never have to make the decision to end her life and I didn't, she died in my arms naturally. How can I blame God for any of that? For now writing this is helping a bit I guess but I will forever miss my little white shadow, my child, my Pearl. She was the best baby ever.

Monday, July 14, 2014


On July 4th, Curious Sofa returned to a new type of brick & mortar. Top Hat Mercantile opened on Independence Day to a line of customers waiting to see what all the fuss was about. I am happy to report we did not disappoint.

After 9 weeks of constant remodeling as well as buying new and old goods we were able to get down to what we really wanted to do- SELL SOMETHING! Take a look around at Curious Sofa's new home and as their hired Creative Director, allow me to brag a little about the design I am so proud of:

THE AFTER! A newly designed exterior with old school doors, transom window, larger than life sign and an iron deck with stairs and a ramp.
As you enter: A website search inspired me to design these silhouette heads and add the Beatles quote. Pam Renner tackled the project perfectly.
As you leave.
A Pinterest image inspired me to ask Paige Jenson to make this overhead lighting fixture from bicycle wheels for our entrance.
I ordered these top hat signs from a source I had then added our own signage. The guys secured them to our checkout counter.
Dealer April Spencer tackled the bathroom remodel by adding an industrial cabinet base, copper penny backsplash and another custom fixture from Paige made from plumber's pipe.

An old overhead projector came in handy as I painted this Mona Lisa on our back doors.
More signage for our downstairs departments.
The stairwell was lined with vintage photos with everyone wearing top hats and another graphic I designed to guide customers downstairs.
Pam found these metal lights which worked perfectly illuminating the stairwell.
Another found image of a circus group framed to hang in the stairwell.
Our best selling t-shirt of this dachshund is also painted on the lower level exit.
Random graphics of Kansas City landmarks were painted throughout. I asked my sister to do this one!

Top Hat owner Michael Renner showed up with his amazing new purchase which I have aptly named Red Rita. Look for her outside the shop every First Friday!

I couldn't help but add a little patriotic flare to the entrance.

I am especially proud of offering a Top Hat Gift Shop. It was fun curating this and ordering the custom signage.

And my Curious Sofa space goes neutral- of course!

Above, the tags I designed for my newest brainchild Tobacco Road: rustic workwear for men and women with some home goods tossed in.

A customer wandered by and we had to take this shot for Facebook!

 And below, a sampling of the graphics I designed for Top Hat.

This postcard using an old Victorian cabinet card portrait (yes! of a dog wearing a top hat) announces our arrival.

Another feminine version was designed as well.

The first Top Hat business card with our calendar on the back. These will change every season.

One of 5 Facebook ads I designed.

Top Hat tote bags.

I had the most fun gathering vintage t-shirts, then took to a local printer to do four different designs.

Our front door signage.

Large 24" signs were hung in the lower level showcasing our departments.

Fun tags we add to our Boneyard dept showing deep discounts.

Our return policy sign.

2" buttons all the dealers wear during the show.

And my baby, wondering when we're going home. Her third store opening!