Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Journey

I will never forget the feeling of my first half marathon. I remember standing at the starting line minutes before the race was about to start, almost in tears from anxiety about what was before me. This was last January. Just a month prior to the race, I had severely rolled my ankle. It was bruised from my pinkie toe to my heel and all around my foot. My ankle was about the size of a tennis ball. I couldn't walk on it for two days and wasn't able to run for three weeks. The weekend before race day, I put in a 10.5 mile run with my running partner Stephanie at which time I was verging on puking, pooping and crying all at the same time (TMI???). There was no way. NO WAY I was going to be able to run 13.1 miles in a week.

Race day arrived, I had a professional grade brace on my foot and mentally prepared for the fact that I might have to walk some of it.

We ran the whole thing. Finished the race in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 59 seconds.


By now, you're wondering why I'm writing about my running journey. Call it inspiration from some of my customers. I've talked to a lot of our BAZAAR vendors over the past week about their personal anxiety over selling in a public forum. "What if my stuff isn't good enough?" "What if nothing sells?" "What if I don't have enough stuff?" I see a parallel between my running journey over the past year to the painting journey of some vendors.

Every artist starts with their first piece. Every runner starts with their first mile.

My husband and I started running 5k's a little over a year ago. We did our first one together in about 45 minutes. Mainly because there were so many people that the course bottle necked all over the place and we were forced to walk.


We ran three subsequent 5k's over the course of the next six months.


Then I started running more consistently with my neighbor and dear friend Stephanie. I won't ever forget the first time she said, "let's run four miles today." Madness I tell ya!

We ran our first half marathon in January and immediately signed up for another one so that we would stay on a consistent fitness tract.

 
 
Destination San Luis Obispo. Rolling hills and beautiful vineyards.
 

Our 2nd half marathon was last weekend.


My cousin, Kelly signed up for the race with us and we were killing time taking selfies at 5 am.

Stephanie and I trained for this race. We did progression runs for three months, established hilly courses around town to strengthen our hill running and even managed some strength training. The goal was to best our first race time. I didn't think we would do it. This was a much harder course. And, I rolled my ankle...twice the week prior to the race.


We finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 10 seconds, besting our time by over five minutes!

Hosting the BAZAAR has provided me a unique opportunity to talk to many people about their artistic journey; the reservations some of them have about putting their work on public display.  Just as one doesn't decide to run a marathon without training, one doesn't just start selling in a 10x20 booth at the Rose Bowl Swap Meet, or open a retail shop having never sold an item. It all starts with that first finished piece...that first sale...that first mile and that first race. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and take a risk and "go for it!"

The April BAZAAR was overwhelmingly rewarding for me as I witnessed first hand individuals who didn't think they had what it would take set up a great booth and others who have grown their home based businesses ten fold since our last BAZAAR. I observed success, both mental and financial in a short eight hours during the event. Some of these individuals started a year ago with nothing more than a single painting workshop or a simple vision for their business.

It's not that different from my running journey. It started with a pain-staking mile, worked up to 3.2, ran faster for 4, experienced set backs from injuries or busy schedules over the months in between, yet perservered despite my reservations to finish 13.1.

(And, for the record, I will not be running a full marathon...ever...ever, ever. Remind me of this if I ever say, "I'm gonna run a marathon.") 

So, maybe it's time for you to take the plunge and put your work on public display. If it's too late for May, we still have the June BAZAAR! It just might be the perfect place to test the waters and improve for next year's spring event.  

Just sayin'.






Tuesday, April 29, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR-The Dynamic Duo

If you live in Glendora, shop in Glendora or work in Glendora, it's more than likely that you have run into Barbara and Dennis Hart.

I first met the Hart's when Dennis took one of our Chalk Paint® Workshops. I still remember the chair he painted with a bold two-color distressed finish layering Greek Blue and Provence. It was awesome when he finished it!

Dennis and Barbara have a double-wide booth at this Saturday's BAZAAR and their set-up is a must see!


Barbara and Dennis fall into the shabby cottage flavor of shabby chic home decor. She loves florals in the home and masses of blooms in the garden. And, at the BAZAAR on Saturday, you will find a wealth of home and garden accents in addition to Barbara's beautiful quilts. 


Like so many artisans, Barbara and Dennis have been crafting and creating for as long as they can remember. While Dennis calls Barb's quilting, "buying fabric, cutting it in to small pieces and sewing it together again," he is as supportive as a husband as anyone could ask for. Dennis helps Barb match colors and designs and (pay attention men!), even helps iron material.


Barbara says the most challenging aspect of quilting is getting colors and patterns pleasing to the eye. She loves moving outside of her comfort zone to try new things and work with new colors. If it doesn't quite work out as planned, well "perfection is over-rated" she says!


Remember to stop by Dennis and Barbara's booth this Saturday, May 3rd. They will be in Space 2 & 3!


The knot too shabby BAZAAR is this Saturday, May 3rd from 7:00-3:00 pm on the corner of Glendora Ave. and Bennet Ave. in the Glendora Village.

Join the official knot too shabby BAZAAR facebook event! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR-May Blooms

We had a near perfect day for the April BAZAAR.


Beautiful, clear skies and perfect weather.


Over 20 vendors and sellers participated.



An array of vintage oddities...


...beautifully refinished furniture...


...done by artists with their unique style...


...jewelry...


...home decor...


...flowers...


...with more scheduled to sell at the May 3rd event.

There are still vendor spaces available for both the May 3rd and June 7th event. 
If you create shabby chic and vintage style home decor, collect vintage clothing or make unique items with vintage flair, this just might be the event for you! 

Sign-up today

Friday, April 25, 2014

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint and Decorative Finishes

It was destined for the dumpster.


The picture doesn't do it justice. This was in bad shape!


The top has a major crack in it.


Veneer was peeling off, paint was horribly chipped and more than one of the drawers were completely broken. 

Dad stopped by and rebuilt the drawers and stabilized some of the structural problems with the desk. 

Honestly, I almost turned this down. But, I always like a good challenge. Plus, I love finding furniture that lends itself to a great decorative finish and this fit the bill.


I lightly sanded the top to smooth the finish (leaving the crack as-is) and mixed a custom color of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint: Two parts Eulalie's Sky to one part Kitchen Scale. 


Most of the drawers had holes for handles in addition to a center hole for a knob. The most expensive investment would be new hardware ($48 for crystal knobs) and I needed to cover the old holes. I busted out an old Thomas Guide (thanks Michelle Black) and decopauged them on the center of the drawer faces. Once the blue was dry, I tore off the excess paper leaving ragged edges.


After that, I made a new batch of paint, except I made it a very thick, goopy paste. I applied the goopy milk paint around the edges of the decopauged drawer faces and then let them sit for about 30 minutes. 

Finally, the desk received a second coat of paint and a stained top.



I used Curio on the top. Once it was applied, I took a wet wash cloth and wiped it down so that the color would be very erratic to match the rustic finish on the base. 


After the drawers sat for 30 minutes with the goopy paint drying, I used a credit card to pull the thickly applied paint toward the center and then let them continue to dry outside in the direct sunlight. 


The heat from the sun caused the paint to lightly crackle. Once it was dry, I used my palm sander with 180 grit sand paper to sand through the paint and get down to the maps beneath. They just barely peeked through. 



I continued working the palm sander across the framework of the desk to get down to the original white paint and some of the wood.


All of the chipping veneer here and there was left as-is...think of it as a living history. One can only imagine what this desk went through. 


It certainly isn't prissy or pristine. But, it is rustically girly. The glass knobs add just the right touch of femininity and elegance on an otherwise rough finish...in my opinion. 


In other news, our BAZAAR is right around the corner! Keep your eyes out for some posts about our featured vendors who will be selling their homemade and redesigned projects. 

And, wish me luck and keep me in your prayers as I travel up to the Central Coast this weekend to run a 1/2 marathon. I'm out to beat my time of 2 hours and 16 minutes. I think writing it down will motivate me to run a little faster when I am feeling defeated and like I can't go on. Almost like I have a group of readers to keep me accountable for not giving up. 

That being said, have a great weekend!

Michele

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Milk Painted Easter Eggs

Easter has always been a pretty low key holiday for our family. Good Friday and Easter Services are the focal point. The eggs, Easter Bunny and chocolates make their way into the mix but aren't heavily emphasized. This Easter Sunday, we will be celebrating my daughters 7th birthday as well. I asked her, what is the most important thing we are celebrating on Sunday? She enthusiastically exclaimed, "NOT my birthday! We are celebrating when Jesus rose from the cross!" I told her that is a very special thing to share on her birthday!

In the spirit of spring, Easter and birthdays we pulled out the eggs this afternoon and hosted an impromptu egg dying event at the shop. 


Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint was our dying medium.


We made a watered down dye using Apron Strings, Eulalie's Sky, Dried Lavender, Mustard Seed Yellow, Kitchen Scale and Lucketts Green. 


We left the eggs in the dye for about three to five minutes.


Mixed them around while they were soaking.


Got bored of the waiting so pulled out the crayons to color the eggs.


The result was a soft color palette of perfect spring eggs.


Definitely not the vibrant color that food coloring offers but some great textured effects from the drying. 



Best of all, we had fun and have a basket of eggs ready for the Easter Bunny! 

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series Part 2

Our knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series is all about selling in "flea market style" events, including our own BAZAAR as well as other vintage and antique shows. Part One was our Top 5 suggestions for setting up a great looking booth. 

Part Two is all about setting up a great FUNCTIONING booth, which arguably is just as important as a great looking booth if not more so!

Last fall, Michelle Black and I set up a booth at the Irvine Antique Market and I was giving her a really hard time because she was in the back corner of the booth hand cutting out individual business cards and then writing her information on them. As for myself, I had forgotten to pack change and didn't have any small bills to change out for the first hour. All that to say that a booth that looks good doesn't mean it is a booth that functions well!




Vendor Series Part Two
How to Run a Booth Like a Pro

1. Price your Product


I can't tell you how often I go to flea markets and come across booth's where nothing is priced. It drives me completely  nuts and this is what happens:

a) the booth is too crowded, I can't figure out who is in charge so I simply give up and don't ask;
b) I find the booth owner to ask a price and get the "give me an offer" remark...and anyone who knows me and how I "pick" knows that my offer nine times out of ten is insulting-it's not intentional, it's just what I'm willing to offer. And, I don't like feeling like I am insulting a vendor and their product. You just never know so I just never (or almost never) offer;
c)  I find something I like and ask for a price which is ten times higher than I am willing to pay. My assumption is that everything will be beyond my price range so I won't even bother to ask about anything else. 

For some vendors, leaving items unmarked is part of their strategy. Personally, I find it a turn off and would rather know what the expectation is and negotatiate the price from there. So, take this piece of advice for what it's worth...

2. Bring Marketing Materials
If this is your first venture into the world of selling, you may not have any marketing materials to speak of. But, if you have something as simple as a business card, be sure to bring them to hand out to your new customers. You never know when distributing business cards may turn into a lead for future business! 



3. Accept a Variety of Payment Methods
Cash is King! People come to flea markets and expect to pay with cash so be sure to have plenty of change from the get go. But, the world of credit card processing has become accessible to virtually everyone, it's not unusual to use a credit card at a flea market. Get a square, or a paypal credit card processor. They are FREE. They can be used with Ipads and Smartphones and the fees are minimal compared to the convenience of providing that service. The last thing you want is to lose a big sale because someone doesn't have the cash on hand to make that big purchase. 



4. Bring a Friend
I hate to say it, but as fun as flea markets are to participate in, they are long and exhausting. It helps immensly to have a friend, relative or spouse to hang out with you during the event. Plus, it makes it all that much more fun. So if you can twist your best friends arm to come spend a day with you or even find a selling partner, the experience will be that much better! I personally wouldn't even consider selling at a flea market without having an extra person to help out, keep me company and watch the booth for those much needed potty breaks (and shopping breaks). 



5. Think About Customers Logistical Needs
If you are selling larger furniture items, your customers may have some logistical concerns. Be prepared for them to ask if you will offer delivery, have dollies or ropes to tie down furniture (these are all things I've asked vendors in the past)! Before you get to the BAZAAR on Saturday morning, think about whether you have the means to provide local delivery. And, bring a dollie and ropes just to make furniture moving and strapping easier. Afterall, isn't it worth sacrificing a $5 rope to sell a $250 dresser?

Eddie let us "borrow" a refrigerator strap most likely assuming he would never see it again. Three months later when I sold stuff in Irvine, I just so happened to have a booth right next to Eddie and remembered to bring the strap to return to him. 

6. Bring Much Needed Odds and Ends

a) Pens and pencils
b) Paper or tags to make "sold" tags 
c) tape or twine to attach "sold" tags
d) bags for customers who buy multiple items
e) snacks and drinks
f) a chair (that you aren't selling)...you're legs will get tired
g) pad of paper to take notes on how to improve your next booth ;)


There you have it...that's my short list based on my selling experiences. Most of the photographs I grabbed from my "Pricing and Packaging" pinboard on pinterest. 

I hope this info helps you to set up a booth that functions more smoothly than some of mine have in the past! 

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