Barn Chic Antiques

Barn Chic Antiques

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Yay! It is almost March, and I always anticipate this month's arrival just as much as I do December. When I was younger, the big excitement might have centered around my birthday (which is on the Ides of March - anyone out there remember their Shakespeare? "Beware of the Ides of March!"), but March also signified the eventual end of long winters. I am sure it snowed plenty during March, but I definitely remember breaking out the shorts. I hope the end of February is also the end of winter jackets, close-toed shoes, and the use of seat heaters. 

Two other things I look forward to in March now: spring break and spring sales. I never thought I would be a teacher and I remember mourning the loss of a week-long spring vacation after college when I was a first-time member of the real world. I would definitely say I am still a member of the real world, but teaching does have a few perks, one of which is spring break. March is also the start of the Round Top/Warrenton Antique Show, and though it is not until the very end of the month, I am already counting down the days!  

Now that it is spring, I figured it was finally time to take down the Christmas cards that were hanging on my screen in the kitchen - it looked so bare and lonely without all those smiling faces! I have a plan in the works for adding life to it, but for now I am housing these letters here since I didn't have room in the booth. 

Nothing says spring like a blooming Mountain Laurel! The fragrance is heavenly. 

Here is the other great sign my mom made for us:
I think I need a wreath for my door too, but this will do for now. 

So it is official - the signs of spring are here! I hope to see some great Texas bluebonnets soon!

This is the second week in a row that I didn't leave town to shop...but I did make a quick stop at Uncommon Objects on South Congress in downtown Austin. If you ever are in the ATX, this is definitely a place not to miss. 

I don't go very often, and I was quickly reminded why - parking is a nightmare, especially now that they have the 'back-in' spaces, and the place is mobbed on the weekends. I might also mention that SoCo attracts the uber trendy, so exploring Uncommon Objects tends to make me feel like a claustrophobic dweeb. But I do what I can to bring my readers the best of central Texas antiques. Though my photos aren't the best and the displays I was able to capture through the crowds are limited, the talent here is obvious.

I ended up buying this little tabletop cabinet. Felt justified taking a picture of it.

Didn't sell any bigger items this week, but I did end up taking in the new cabinet and rearranging. It always works - I sold several things today that have been sitting in there for months!

It is pretty cute in its new space! But it would be cuter in a new owner's home!

Happy spring to you!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Forest or Trees?

My first career after college was that of an event planner for the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Though the main branch of this amazing life-saving facility is in Memphis, TN, I was based out of the Dallas office and spent two years traveling all over the southwest and LA coordinating radiothons, Dream Home raffles, and various other fundraisers. I met wonderful people and had such great experiences with all the travel, but if there was one thing I learned about my event planning, it is that I tend to see the big picture over the details. I vividly recall the volunteers being frustrated with me at one event for not having any paperclips. That is just one of many examples! 

Though I have grown professionally to be better at details, I still tend to focus on the forest over the trees. However, having this antique outlet has helped me give some attention to the finer details. Take wrapping presents, for example. In the past, my idea of wrapping was to find a gift bag and stick some tissue paper out of it (I can do a great 'fluff' thanks to all that retail experience). I wouldn't even write on the bag tag as I wanted others to be able to reuse it later! OK, I might still do this. But if I actually did wrap a gift, just putting the paper on it and getting it taped shut was all that mattered to me. Sometimes my lack of measuring would mean that the ends of the package weren't even covered by the paper. But this year, I focused more on presentation; not only did I find precious gift tags, but I even put some BOWS on packages! Here are a few examples:

This is my sweet cousin Brittany, who said upon receiving the gift, "You didn't do this yourself, did you?" Obviously she has gotten a few of my presents before! I was quite proud to let her know that I did, indeed, wrap that package.  

It occurred to me last weekend just how much my 'big picture' lens extends into my antique shopping. When Rachel and I were treasure browsing, she would find something she liked and show me. I would tell her I liked it too, and then she would respond with, "Yeah, well, I'm not sure what I would do with it." I, on the other hand, don't pay a lick of attention as to what purpose something I like will play in its new home. I guess it plays the role of a piece of decor I admire and would like to display, either at the booth or in my house. For the most part, my selections tend to blend and fit well with their surroundings, but I don't consciously think about that at the time I buy it.  

The one place in this Barn Chic Antiques endeavor where I try very hard to focus on the details is on my inventory/expenses/sales spreadsheet. It is hard to know if you are profitable unless you are keeping track of each item's cost and sale! I try to assign an inventory number to all my pieces as I price them, but for this to be effective, I have to then transfer the number into my spreadsheet at home after I return from the mall and then the mall has to input that number into my daily sales report. And many of my smalls have the smallest of price tags, on which I can't fit an inventory number. I just have to hope that the description that the mall enters in the computer will resonate the description I entered. Sometimes they are bigger picture and just enter a phrase like 'ironstone dish.' Since I have about 10 pieces that could be classified as ironstone dishes, this makes it difficult, especially when most of them are listed around the same price. Today, I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out which 'ironstone dish' I sold - because of the blog, I have hundreds of pictures. I looked through all the last few weeks' shots to identify the sold item. Mystery solved, thanks to my great attention to detail  :) 

I was quickly snapping a few pictures today as it was after 6 and the staff was turning out the lights. Can you tell what new piece from last week is missing?    

Whether you see the forest or the trees, may your view be grand! 

Have a chic week!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wintery Weekend

What a great weekend! I was so blessed to have my wonderful friend Rachel visit from the Chicago area. It is hard to believe that we have been friends for over 20 years - we attended the same pre-school (though we were in different classes) and then started our friendship in 4th grade when her teeny tiny country school (think 10 kids per grade) combined with our small school (around 45 kids per grade). We are both farm girls and share a love for lots of the same things - one of which is antique shopping in small towns! I was so excited to hang out, show her the booth, and shop at some of my favorite places.  

Sunday morning we went to the antique mall. She was a huge help at the booth! It is amazing how much one can do with an extra set of hands, especially those as talented as hers. The green mantle that I had for several months finally sold on Friday (yay!), so Rachel helped me cover the exposed wall with burlap. She also used her talents to help me display items in my newest shelving unit - and I sold one of them tonight! If only she lived closer, we could be in business together!   

After we spruced up the space at the mall, we headed out for some good antiquing. My last few trips have had pretty miserable driving conditions. Last week it was pouring rain, and this weekend it was sleet and snow! I could hardly believe it. Rachel started checking the long-range forecast weeks ago and even about a week ago it said mid-60's for Sunday. I was hoping she could take a break from the Midwestern winter during her trip, but instead, it snowed! That is a once-a-year thing for the Austin area - go figure it happened when she was here! But it was about 10 degrees in Chicago, so our 30's felt tropical in comparison.

This picture was taken Sunday around 4pm; 24 hours later on Monday, it was 74. Rachel left at 3 just as it finished raining. I will hope her trip to Florida in a few weeks is beautifully sunny and warm! 

Any guesses on the town we visited?

If you guessed Llano, you are correct! 

We stopped at Finds in Burnet on the way there. I enjoyed visiting with Karen and the other ladies, and we did indeed have some finds! So glad this great store is now open on Sunday afternoons. Guess I was too busy chatting to take pictures.

We also stopped at the Knot Hole but we did knot find anything there this time.

Then it was on to Llano! I had been saving my trip for her visit and I knew Rachel would appreciate the creative vignettes that both Whimsey's and Binky La Faye's feature. Such talent in this town! Here are some of our favorite displays:

Spring has sprung at Whimsey's!

Why I didn't buy these lockers is beyond me....

What a cheerful space! I love that Whimsey's uses color, which is rare to see in displays these days.

While we were at Whimsey's, they were painting a vintage buffet. Rachel forgot they were painting it and put her hand in the wet paint! She left her mark in Llano... 

Next it was on to Binky La Faye's. I just adore their bright and colorful arrangements too!

This picture provided MANY laughs after our long day of driving. I showed it to Rachel and mentioned something about the banner saying "WITH"....notice that the third letter is covered by a tag. I proceeded to get made fun of as of course the banner says WISH. Whatever. 

Look at that chippy blue door! 

LOVE the shades of green! 

Thanks for making the trip, Rachel! I look forward to our next shopping adventure!

Wishing all of you a very happy Valentine's Day!

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