Sunday, June 27, 2010


By tomorrow morning (maybe even in about an hour) I am probably going to regret I posted this but right now, I have to. This morning as I opened the store I went outside to add our open sign and a funky porch chair we keep out front was accidentally left out overnight. I look down and see a scribbled note attached to it and a comment on the tag, this is what it says:

Whether a person agrees with my chosen inventory, aesthetic or style is one thing, but to take the time to write a note so brutal is another. I cannot help believe it is a rival; jealous or not or just someone who loves to point out things that make them angry.

I have shopped this nation for antiques in every kind of venue, from junk store to high end, and in the zillion times I have turned a tag over I have chuckled to myself often at the price a dealer may put on things- WE ALL HAVE. Do I leave a note? Never. Do I say to myself, "Good luck getting that price!" Sometimes. One thing I am certain of, this person is not a retailer.

I do not share much personal info on this blog, it is none of your concern how I am doing emotionally, spiritually or financially but today I will make an exception. Small business owning is tough. More tough than anyone who has never done it will ever realize. (Just ask one of them.) Surviving in this economy with hundreds of online options for customers to choose from in a click of a button is insurmountable. Just because this store has gotten a blessing full of national press does not mean we are flying high- or any other business you may think of. We live and breath by the results of the cash register every single day. We keep smiling and working along waiting for the next great day, next holiday, next good customer, next election, whatever it may be- wondering if that will help. Nobody, and I do mean nobody knows what is going to happen to retail in this new electronic age and economic downturn. The mom and pop shop or your favorite little boutique is surviving one day at a time. Even when the owners may tell you with a smile, "We're doing ok"- they're not. We have all learned to suck it up because, heaven forbid, the rumor gets started this shop is hurting or that place is closing... all of us are keeping up appearances because it would be tragic to tell you the truth, tragic to not appear as fabulous as you think we are, tragic to be human.

We try this product, that gimmick, this trick to see if it will help. We order another item, buy a different something, have another sale but customers are not only holding on to whatever money they might have, they are simply not shopping like they used to. There is a depression in the air; a lack of national encouragement, positive outlook or overall hopefulness. Then I see a comment that breaks my heart and adds another layer to my struggles of shop keeping and it makes me feel that it is not going to take much more for me to say, "I'm done."

On the other hand: To all our lovely customers and fans that continue to support us, you will never know how much we adore you; how we talk of you and how grateful we are for your
visits, your encouragement, and your purchases. You may not like every item we carry or our prices on some things but you manage to find something to love and a good word to say. It means everything to all of us and it is you that keeps us going for another season. Thank you so much!

Now I have to see the landlord about our surveillance tape!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Patriotic Five

Below, my favorite Etsy finds to help us salute the 4th.

Good reading from Nonfiction

Rhinestone Eagle @ PastSplendors

Snappy tunes from MarvaMost

Modern Patriotism @ Piecin' Love

Honest Earrings @ Schmutzerland


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We received our first shipment of Christmas items this month! Egads, I won't scare you with the details as it is 95 degrees outside and no one is ready to hear about glitter and reindeer. As I wondered around the store to shoot these pictures I was taken by our luscious linen coverlet that just begs for a summer bed. Light and cool with only a single layer of whisper thin fabric but it could easily be doubled or layered over a favorite duvet or quilt.

We are lucky to be in the Midwest and enjoy each and every season although Spring and Fall always seem half the length of Summer and Winter. No matter what the weather it's always fun to gather wonderful objects, comfortable home goods and personal accessories to get in sync with the season. Enjoy what we have gathered for you and please make a stop in this month as we start cleaning house and preparing for the leaves to fall- but not just yet!

Fun kitchen timers.

Silver, silver and more silver frames.

My new favorite: Lavender filled initial sachets and large alphabet pillows on black denim.

Whimsical porcelain pill boxes.

Love this! An older iron trim mirror.

Fork and spoon easel, great for the kitchen.

A real wow necklace: multi strands of tiny pearl beads, silver and crystal. $88.95

Re purposed vintage side chair. Glossy white paint and linen cushion.

Flower cocktail rings.

A wonderful floral print duvet stolen from an antique original.

This is the way to layer your bed! Whisper linen queen size throw,
vintage crochet coverlet and a white eyelet dust ruffle.

This is what I am talking about... I just want to wear it! $295 Shams $108-$125

Pillows to layer with the summer bed.

Another shop wow: our new tufted headboard. (This can be ordered in any fabric we have.)

I love the raw cut rosettes.

New green print pillows with abstract leaf pattern.

Wonderful grey distressed hanging baskets.

How fun is this? Doggie style watering can.

Green glass cloche, 3 sizes. Large $36.95

Punky goth journals from artist Emily Martin.

Red metal circus letters. Hang as-is or add lights inside. 7" high, $12,95 each.

Please call the store for anything you need:
913-432-8969 or email:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Five from Etsy

I think we all know the internet has changed everything. Not only is the state of retail changing because of it, but more and more people are working solo from home; designing, creating and trying to make a living doing what they love via the computer. I have been a fan of eBay for 11 years now but lately Etsy is starting to take it's place as the artisans are a plenty with any craft you can imagine.

Beginning today, I am sharing my Five from Etsy series which I will post now and then. Although I am still a huge supporter of buying local from your shop around the corner (and restaurant and hardware store and gallery) the sheer volume on Etsy is always worth a late night stroll- if only for the ideas.

Take a look around...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Designing TV

As the stereo is always on in a bachelor's house, the TV is always on in mine. Once the dinner is made, the beverage glass full and the mail skimmed through, I plop down to do my usual multi-tasking with the computer on my lap and the remote control at arms length. The DVR is always programmed to record my favorite shows and once I look that over, I am usually scanning through for whatever favorite movie might be on.

Years ago I was an HGTV fan. That was when Mary Emmerling did her country show every morning and right after that Joe Ruggiano would walk us through some amazing interiors from around the globe. On Sunday nights they also had a show called The Good Life where they interviewed people who left their routine corporate lives to follow their artistic dreams. That show usually left me in tears as I was fantasizing for the day I wanted to open my own store. Ah, to dream... But then somewhere between Trading Spaces and Design on a Dime, something went awry. Suddenly TV hosts became anyone next door and the "You can do it!" mantra ran amuck (and the results even more tragic!). From American Idol to Design Star I know you are with me when you stare at the TV and say, "How did that person get on this show?" Such is not the case of my favorite must-see-TV, Sarah's House.

I discovered Canadian designer Sarah Richardson years ago hosting her first show on the Fine Living channel called Room Service. The show was good enough with Sarah starring solo showing small room makeovers and a few how-to projects. Her style was clean and fresh and she had a pleasant ease on camera. Then a few years later she and her design team launched a new show called Design, Inc. where you could see the work of an interior design company handling larger makeovers and some serious remodeling projects. This year I stumbled upon Sarah's House and it blew everything else she had done out with the bathwater.

The after picture of her 60's style split ranch complete with new windows and landscaping.

The side entrance from the car port!

The Canadian HGTV seems to have it going on with hosts like Sarah, Candice Olson and also my new favorite Mike Holmes of Holmes on Homes. Who wouldn't want this guy to build your dream home? The production value is so much better than our U.S. versions and the talent seems to be, well, real TALENT! Professionals with good, polished skills and education in their craft. What a concept!

What I learned: A soft pink accent color looks fresh and modern
when mixed with tan, not white.

Sarah's House (season# 2) starts with Sarah searching for a house to buy and renovate. Each episode walks us through a stage of the process one area at a time. First we see her finding the right property and hiring the contractor. Then, each episode tells the story of the design concept, construction and decor of that room; whether landscaping or backyard pool, living room or kitchen, laundry room or car port. From tear down to rebuild we watch her deal with unforeseen construction problems and quick solutions. But the real fun begins when Sarah and her design partner Tommy start the pretty side of interior design as they find fabrics for inspiration, hunt for antiques for furnishings and gather the usual cool objects to complete her trademark style. Unlike Candice Olson who uses all new materials, Sarah and Tommy love to dig for antiques and unusual lighting fixtures and their comic banter while shopping is also fun to watch. I am also jealous as hell as how they have such a plethora of facilities to choose from: the perfect upholsterer to not only recover but spray paint any piece, the cabinet maker to transform that vanity into a sink and someone else who can make any object into a lamp. But, she is an interior designer and you must have an arsenal of craftsmen at your fingertips if you want to serve your customer.

What I learned: Using a lighter color cabinet on top and a darker color on the bottom
helps warm up the kitchen and make it seems less utilitarian.

Although she uses a lot of vintage objects her aesthetic is clean and modern and more importantly: finished. She (like Candice) polishes her work to the nth degree. There is no crafty shtick going on here: no ridiculous paint colors or using glue guns instead of sewing machines. She's a pro and it shows and these are the how-to lessons the viewing public need to learn. She's a supporter of using the best quality where it counts (windows, floors, plumbing, tile) and cutting costs on some cosmetics (pre-fab cabinets, inexpensive fabrics). She is constantly concerned with the budget and openly talks about it on camera (in Canadian dollars) and for the last episode of each series she brings back the real estate agent to reprice the property to see if she could list it for more than she put into it. All in all, entertaining, stylish and so educational.

What I loved: A nursery with adult colors!

What I learned: Use the more expensive tile on one wall.

What I learned: Good design should be everywhere.
Don't overlook any room you use a lot.

What I learned: Resell value can be added everywhere.

BUT THEN! In her 3rd series she redoes a country house on 50 acres and another version of Sarah's style shines. The before and afters are amazing and watching how she and Tommy design the space honoring the country style but with her modern spin is really wonderful to see.

What I learned: Pay more to replace any original exterior design. (New windows).

What I learned: Unmatched chandeliers make a boring space fabulous.

What I learned: Build out a wall to add needed closet space.

What I learned: The salvaged barn wood ceiling adds texture and
wood strips help break up the wall height.

What I learned: Antique dark rugs look great with fresh white furniture
and the washed wood ceiling helps to keep it modern.

What I learned: Use the color grey somewhere if you have stainless appliances.

What I learned: The right fabric can create the right emotion.

The shot above from a restaurant design Sarah did.
What I learned: Home Depot chandeliers!

Now as I was gathering pictures for this post it looks like series #4 has been shot and will air soon: Sarah's Cottage! Set the DVR as I think you'll love it.