Barn Chic Antiques

Barn Chic Antiques

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A colorful Thanksgiving

When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was obsessed with fish starting somewhere around 3rd grade when I got my first puffy-eyed goldfish, Jacque. Eventually my little fish bowl evolved to a ten gallon tank with lights and a big algae eater. I bought books about fish, wished I was the Little Mermaid, and planned to go to college in Hawai'i to study marine biology. Just one problem - I'm not a swimmer. Sure, I took lessons and learned how to swim, but I am just not any good at it. I am also pretty dainty around open water. So it's a good thing my fish obsession ended sometime before I needed to start applying for college. 

I was drawn to fish because of their vibrant colors. I am fascinated with the electric colors of the sea. I'm not big on museums, but the one place I could spend hours was at the Shedd Aquarium. Now, as an adult who doesn't live near any open water or aquariums, I don't think much about life under the sea... until Andrew and I were lucky enough to spend this past week in Maui, Hawai'i. The instigator for our trip was the Texas Longhorns' participation in the Maui Invitational basketball tournament. Andrew is a *huge* UT basketball fan, and the team's bid for this tourney only happens once every 7 years or something, so we decided to go for it.    

I traded in my flip flops for some flippers one afternoon. Andrew was interested in going snorkeling, and as someone who isn't very confident in the water, I was reluctant. I thought he meant just to swim out in the ocean with the little plastic snorkel gear. But turns out there are professional tours that take you to amazing reefs complete with guides, equipment, lunch, and 'beginning snorkeling.' Reviews looked good, so I booked us on an afternoon boat. Typically the afternoon is the less desirable time to go, because the winds pick up and the water is sometimes too choppy to get a good view, but we went with it (had to plan things around those darned basketball games!). Turns out it was such a beautiful day that the afternoon group got to visit the Molokini Crater, which is supposedly superior snorkeling. 

Here is an online pic of the Crater:

Looks pretty awesome right? Well, here is what the crater looked like for our view:

I did notice that the water was super blue and clear where we docked. After getting a quick lesson on how to snorkel and getting all our gear, I leaped off the boat into the sea. Just kidding. Here's what really happened:  I rented a wet suit top, found a 'ski belt' which is a waistline life preserver thing, and even took a boogie board - I was so buoyant that I'm surprised I was able to put my face in the water! The boat had a 'no fins on deck' rule, so I had to sit down on the stairs to put my flippers on before getting in. And then, I awkwardly climbed down the stairs wearing excessive flotation devices to enter the water. I later discovered that Andrew captured this moment on our rented underwater camera. At least it wasn't a video camera.  
So I'm finally in the water. I put the snorkel tube in and attempt to breathe through it but I didn't have it on right so I got a mouthful of salt water. Then I tried again, put my face in the water, and saw the most magical scene! It was like I was Ariel in my own Little Mermaid movie! OK, if you have snorkeled before, it probably isn't that impressive to you anymore, but this was the first time I have ever seen the beauty of sea life in its natural environment. Un.Belivable. 

One of the first guys I saw was a bright yellow guy like this: 

Look at all these fish!
 I LOVE these beautiful bright colors!
At this point I am in complete awe. I am not even noticing that the water is freezing or that I am swimming -out in the ocean. Parts of the reef were only about 7 feet deep, so it didn't seem like open water. The area around the crater was very protected with little waves or wind. I swam closer to the shore to see more detail of the coral, and then, I ran into this guy:

SHARK!  He was probably less than two feet long, but I wasn't sticking around.
I'm glad Andrew got a picture of him though. He is much braver than me. 

It was awesome being the only boat there. In the morning, there are up to 25 other boats there..and our boat had 1/3 of the snorkelers that the morning trip does. I can't imagine having so many more people there, as I had a few run ins with other snorkelers and we were able to explore more of the reef.

So I know snorkeling doesn't have much to do with antiques, but while I was in the water, I thought about just how much I love COLOR. And my early love for fish may be the reason I am still drawn to bold brights in my wardrobe and my decor. Sometimes Andrew refers to our home as a rainbow house because there are lots of colors on the walls and in the furniture and accessories. Even in my booth, I incorporate color. Neutrals are a huge hit in the shabby world, but I love an unexpected pop of color to bring a more contemporary yet natural touch. And my favorite colors with which to decorate? Blues and greens - the colors of the sea and land! 

I am thankful for so many things, but this trip helped me recognize the value of curiosity and discovery. I felt like a kid again seeing something new for the first time; Mother Nature is truly marvelous. 

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Have a chic week,

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Do you hear what I hear?

I will admit it. I have been listening to Christmas music for over a week now. I held off until after the Barn Sale, and then when Christmas decor hit the booth, my will power to resist was gone. I typically make it through the first week of November before I cave, so this is about average for me. Please don't judge. I at least let Halloween go by before I start my closet Christmas-fest. And I haven't subjected others to any pre-season music or decorations; I don't have any lights up, I won't get a Christmas tree for weeks, I don't have our Christmas cards ordered, I have not done any intentional Christmas gift shopping, and I only listen to the music when I'm by myself driving to work or working late in my classroom. (Ok, so one person, Susan [the computer goddess at my school] was subjected to it briefly today in my classroom, but she said it was her favorite Christmas song, so that was a good subjection in my subjective opinion.) 

Did you know that this year marks the longest possible 'true' holiday season for Christmas (that is if one defines the Christmas season as beginning on Black Friday). Yep, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and this year, November 1 was a Thursday. So November 22 is the earliest possible date for Turkey Day, and that is exactly the day it is this year. This useless fact brought to you by Andrew. So all you Christmas lovers, rejoice! More time to shop, more time to celebrate, and more time to make holiday decorating feel worth all the work. 

I love the details of holiday accessorizing - there is such versatility of colors, textures, shapes, and props. This is the perfect setting to blend handmade, vintage, natural, and new items together to make a unique and festive look. Beyond just the traditional red and green, so many adore an all white scene, and I am loving vintage blues and silvers. I have a hard time picking just one statement for my booth this season, so I sprinkled in a few different genres. 



One of these things is not like the other...

Somebody put some clothes on that girl! Is that a black eye she has? She needs a little holiday makeover.

Sometimes it takes reviewing the pictures of my booth to catch a few eye sores opportunities for improvement. 

Dear Thanksgiving, 

I still love you too. I even have pumpkins on my porch to prove it. And some pilgrim candles on my table. Your meal is one of my all-time favorites. I have lots of great family memories from Thanksgiving. But I just don't know of any good Thanksgiving music. So please don't be offended if I start enjoying the next holiday before we've celebrated yours.  

In sincere appreciation of the meaning of your day,
The Barn Chick from Barn Chic

Have a chic week,

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Barn Sale: Barn Chic's First Show

I can hardly believe that a week has passed since the Barn Sale! The weekends leading up to the show blended into a blur of preparations filled with shopping, making lists of things to do, things to make, things to take, and things over which to panic. I have too much, I don't have enough, my space is too small, my space is too big, this won't all fit in the trailer, will I sell any of it, do I have enough smalls, what should I take from the mall booth, why did I sign up for this again, hey mom can you bring ________, how much cash do I need, should I take a day off of work, will it be freezing cold or sweltering hot, and, most of all, what am I going to wear? 

Yes, of all those concerns, I fixated most on my attire. I had planned for a funky fall look since it had been a bit cooler, but the weather took a sharp turn back to hot and humid for the show. Like high 80's. Great flip flop weather...but there is just something odd about wearing sandals while trying to sell Christmas ornaments and other decor. And my years of experience sitting in sheep barns, coupled with what little practicality I have, told me it was not sensible to wear flip flops in a show barn. Since you are now on the edge of your seat to know what I wore, I went with boots and ...shorts! I hope it looked better than it sounds.

But I started Friday morning with my tennis shoes and work clothes. There was a lot of work to be done - the equivalent of packing and moving a small apartment into a trailer. And I had just the perfect people to here to help me get the job done - my wonderful mom and dad! They drove all the way to TX from IL to help me at the show. This was no leisurely trip for them; they drove 17 hours straight to get here on Thursday, and then they help me pack a trailer full of heavy furniture and endless bags of little things, drive to Gonzales, unload and set up in the Texas heat, sell, and then pack it all back up to unload it one final time. As if that weren't enough, they used Sunday morning to take the chain saw to some of our trees in the backyard, and then they were back on the road home. Talk about an exhausting four days! I cannot thank them enough, and there is no way I would have been prepared for this show without them. So thank you, Mom and Dad! 

I am so glad I changed my UHaul reservation to the largest trailer. 

Here are my hard-working parents moving furniture while I document the experience.
Equally as important, yes? Or not...I got to work after this picture.

I've never seen our garage so empty. It took us less than an hour to fit the entire 'set' in the trailer, van, and back of my SUV. That's right, two vehicles full and a UHaul. 

My mom is talented at so many things, but she could write a book on how to pack, be it a suitcase or a cargo trailer. Everything had its place and nothing was sliding around in the back.  

This is how my space began (with about 20 boxes and bags filled with stuff off to the side).
Just like the Uhaul, I upgraded my booth size at the last minute (from a 10 x 10 to a 10 x 15) and I am so glad that I did! 

I was on the southwest side of the building so the light flooded in on Friday evening for the early shoppers.

Lots from this picture sold: chicken nester, milk crate, two shutters, ball jars, red scale, crochet snowmen, and, my favorite, the sled. I sold two sleds over the two day sale!

Here are another dozen shots of my space:

Love my sign from my sweet friend Aden! 

This turkey platter was a hit. Glad someone will use it to entertain this Thanksgiving!
It wasn't going to get much use in my house. 

This sexy lady sold at the mall just yesterday! I will miss her but I'm happy for her in her new home. 

A beautiful Texas sunset on Friday evening. 

 My space was in a corner and it got pretty dark when the sun went down - the candles were a great accent in my chicken feeder centerpieces and wooden trays.

See that ladder there in the middle? My dad put that there and it looked great! Good eye, Dad!

Andrew made it down for the show after work on Friday. 

Here's my dad, who even got his own nametag! He is used to being in barns - filled with livestock. 

Love the view of the hay field on the side of the barn!

The sky opened up and poured at about 4pm, just as the show ended on Saturday. While loading, the rains subsided and this rainbow surfaced! A perfect ending to a great show. 

I learned a lot in my inaugural show. The biggest lesson, one that I anticipated, is that a show is a TON of work! So to all you who travel and set up at shows frequently, wow! There is so much preparation from shopping to staging and packing to pricing. I wasn't sure what to expect but I did my best to get ready. Here are some things that worked well for me:

-I staged my booth in the garage the weekend before to see how much would fit and what looked good where. Huge timesaver when setting up since I knew where each piece was going. 

-During staging, I was able to create some color blocking; reds and holiday were near the white shelf, greens and golds by the green table, neutrals by the chair up front, and blues/yellows by the dresser. 

-I had some gorgeous dried flowers from Marburger to place around the space to soften up the harsh lines of furniture and bring in even more color. The candles helped warm the area as well.

-I like accenting with natural elements - coffee beans and dried peas are my favorite. 

-My signage helped announce my space - huge thanks to my wonderful mom and friend Aden for giving me such great signs. 

-Wrap area: my mom brought a really cool old wooden ironing board (many asked about it, but it was not for sale!) where we could wrap items off to the side. 

-Bags, tags, and tissue: I collected tissue paper and brown paper bags with handles for a month and my mom brought bags as well. In fact, she even blew up my business cards and labeled the bags she brought! 

These were great for our shoppers not only for the goods they bought from us, but also to carry the items they got from other vendors. 

-I made just the right selection of words on my spoon pendant necklaces. I stressed so much about these! They were good sellers. 

It turns out I was more prepared than I thought. All that shopping really does give one good insight as to what you need. And I need to credit the experience I gained from working with Karen at the Country Living Fair. She was full of suggestions and reassurance that it would all come together - and it did!

So the big question I get is, "How did it go?! Did you make some money?" Having never done a show before, I had no idea what to expect with sales and profit. I did come up with a rather arbitrary figure that I had hoped to make, but Andrew kept reminding me that it was my first show and it would be ok even if I didn't get there. Well, I am so very happy to report that, despite not selling ONE piece of furniture, I met and surpassed my $ goal! I sold tons of smalls and those really do add up. In fact, they are what keep this business afloat. So while I was disappointed about having to haul back all the heavy stuff, I was very satisfied with the sales, the customer feedback, and the fun of the show. Customers were so generous with the compliments and that alone made me feel that all this work was worth it. I met some amazingly talented and sweet vendors, and I truly had FUN. I can't wait for next year!

Special thanks to Suzanne and Tracy, the girls from Rusted Gingham, for not only taking on Barn Chic Antiques at the Barn Sale, but also for working tirelessly to make this show so successful and enjoyable. I thought it was a lot of work to prepare to be a vendor, but they have been working for an entire year! These ladies have really 'branded' this show as a premiere vintage sale in Texas, and they found 70 great vendors to feature - this barn was loaded with good stuff (more on that in my next post)! And they report that over 2,000 shoppers ventured out to see what was the biggest and best yet Barn Sale...until next year that is!

A big welcome to any shoppers who are now readers too! Thanks for making my first show a great one. 

Have a chic week,


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Barn Chic Antiques

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