Walls that speak…

I love reading a good story…..something that makes you laugh, or cry, but that lets you into the lives of the characters.  Likely, that’s because people mean so much to me.  An old song floats through my brain….”photographs and memories”….and my walls at home are covered in both.

With a new year beginning, perhaps your walls need an uplift as much as your spirit!   So let’s take a tour of some of my favorites here this month…

IMG_0742Laundry is something that we all have to do so why not jazz up your laundry space with a tin photo in a shabby frame?  Let your imagination go with me….Sally’s mom was so busy today!  Leaving her doll on the floor, Sally grabbed her dolls and toys and set out to work alongside her mother.  Surely those dolls needed clean clothes too!

IMG_0757Betsy stretched her small frame until she stood on her tiptoes.  Still, she couldn’t reach the knocker and she wondered how she could deliver her  mother’s freshly baked bread to their sick neighbor?  The aroma wafted upward toward her nose and she wobbled unsteadily, trying her best not to dump the loaves on the ground with her stretching.  Feeling defeated, she spied the wooden bench next to the door.  Perhaps she could leave the loaves there?

IMG_0755It had been a long season already, the winter claiming the trees with its icy breath.  Carol turned toward the window when she heard a familiar chirp.  The birds were back!  Perhaps spring was coming sooner than she had dared to hope! It was in that moment that she turned toward her wall hanging and knew its truth:  her own nest had become a place of rest and retreat for her during the winter months.  But with the chirping outside her window, she realized that the time to spread her wings had come….

Where did I put that letter I meant to mail?  If only I had a place to clip all those notes to myself so I could remember to do the things I wrote on them!  Sure would be nice if that recipe was clipped on the wall where I could read it!  Maybe I could clip the mismatched socks here in the laundry room and the kids could collect them as they needed them?

IMG_0763Oh, for a touch of spring to put on my porch!  Wait!  Didn’t I see a great idea at Burlap & Lace last week?!?

IMG_0761It was time to turn the doldrums of the day into a memory.  Taking the soapy hands from the sink, he turned her to him and whispered, “May I have this dance for the rest of my life?”  Her heart melted beneath the strength of his arms.  The dishes could wait….

IMG_0752Ridicule always awaited her…simply because she was different!  She didn’t care anymore.  With a determined sense of abandonment to all that had previously held her back, she walked out the door and faced a new day of opportunity.

IMG_0735With the sun streaming in the window, the rims of the bicycle glistened and she smiled.  Seeing the flowers in the basket and smelling the fresh air of morning wafting in through the open blinds, she swung her feet over the side of the bed and onto the wood floor.  An adventure was awaiting her today….

IMG_0741Some things are just to make you laugh….

IMG_0737Others are to make you live what you believe…

You get the picture!  So let me give you a few other ideas for your walls.  Maybe these don’t tell the stories we’ve just discovered, but they add fancy and fun in other ways…

Mirrors are great pieces to make any room look larger.  You will find quite a selection here, and don’t be surprised if they are not hanging!  I like to lay them on a table and add decor to the top!

Shutters and frames make excellent wall decor.  They can stand alone or in a grouping, and don’t be afraid to add a touch of greenery or to wrap a piece of art in a frame!  Shutters are excellent ways to add a rustic touch to any room, and the slats are perfect for slipping in cards received or bills to be paid!  Or even a photograph or two!

Use decorative plates and chargers, old gate pieces or fences, and even old oil pans filled with plates or flowers to give a unique flair to your space.

Want art gallery pieces without paying art gallery prices?  From abstracts to more modern pieces, you will certainly have stunning pieces to choose from.

For the garden enthusiast, you’ve met your match!  Anything metal, rustic, wood or floral grabs my attention.  I’ve been known to splash these items throughout home and yard alike!

IMG_0725Sandy, don’t look so sad!  You got to wear your blue dress while sitting for this portrait!  But Connie, YOU got to wear the blue tie at your neck!

Only my sister will understand that last one!  But you get the point.  Wall decor can be fun!  So enjoy the journey of sprucing up your spaces this month and don’t forget to let your imagination enjoy the journey with you!

~Blessings,

Connie

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Welcome touches of class….

IMG_0594The pattering rain on this ‘ol house’s tin roof brings a certain comfort to the chill of the day.  January is upon us, which translated means….a new year on the calendar, a year older for this shopkeeper, new venues to create, new challenges ahead, new friends to meet….the list is long.  So let me back up a step or two and bring you back to a couple highlights for me from 2017.

Featured in the photo above are a few things I beg you to notice.  First….the sign on the far left, though funny and certainly feels real every morning, the truth is that JESUS makes everything possible.  If you don’t know Him personally, I pray this is the year you do!  He has taken me out of a heavy, cumbersome boot after a broken foot and I am (for the 4th day now) walking in two shoes!  Albeit, I walk like I’m a toddler just learning again due to having worn that boot for so many months, BUT I am walking, and to that praise I thank Jesus for His healing work!

Now, please entertain yet another of my stories just bursting to be told….

Early in 2017 as I was opening my shop on Osborne Road, in stumbled Lynn Driver.  You can read more about her in a previous blog, but let me suffice to say this….Lynn is a local artist whose work is becoming more and more notable not only here but in other states.  To have her work grace my walls is almost too sweet to believe, but believe it you can!  Lynn has been terrific to allow me to describe my “wants and wishes”, and then somehow she magically creates even more than I could have asked for.  As she and I met last week before I reopened this year, she brought me a few of her pieces that – honestly – before when she has mentioned them to me I haven’t given them another thought.  Mostly, I didn’t feel I could give them the attention they deserved.  But with the help of another remarkable lady, by George, I think the three of us have done it!

Scroll back up to the picture….my words to Lynn’s painting are simply “stunning”.  Perched above a beautifully painted buffet, I want to scoop up the entire setting and transport it to my home!

 

So let me tell you the story of the buffet…

Late in November as I was hobbling around the shop in my boot, in walked Stephanie Schuster.  Here again, you’ve read about her on another blog of mine, but let me say this about meeting Steph.  I am more than sure that the Lord brought her to me at just the right time.  You see, that silly boot had me unable to bend enough to paint, not to mention that I was not allowed to move, pick up or tote anything of any weight, and so my furniture supply was dwindling toward the end of last year.  Having seen (and purchased!) Stephanie’s work at Country Creations, I was elated that she was willing to have me showcase her work in my shop as well!  I am not the easiest person to get along with because I am very picky about my style, and to be completely honest, some days I don’t even know what it is I am looking for.  But Steph’s work is art in itself, and I am thrilled to add her pieces here.

 

Adding in an abstract piece of Lynn’s to my den setting made the whole room pop!  And the addition of Steph’s upholstered chair to her beautifully painted and stained desk?  Well, I’d so put that set into my kitchen for a place to sit and pay bills, make out my menus or make my daily “to do” list while sipping on my hot coffee!

So help me in welcoming these two artists to Burlap &  Lace.  I am blessed to have their work here, which means that from time to time I am also blessed to have them here!

IMG_0663As we pop our heads out to the porch, I don’t mind admitting that I am having an early case of spring fever!  My sister has always loved blue, and so for some reason (maybe she has been on my heart a lot lately!),  I decided to bring in touches of blue and yellow throughout the house this month.  And I don’t mind saying that wicker has become a new favorite of mine!  This love seat has got to be the most comfortable piece of furniture I’ve had grace this porch!  Sold as a set (cushion included), pair it with the oval table and you’re ready to sit and sip lemonade!

IMG_0664I’m loving this metal table and chair set…perfect for the porch, deck or to use inside!  Remember how it was showcased last month?  Let me remind you….

IMG_9723Ok, back to January’s offerings….

IMG_0658Chippy meets burlap meets rust…..huh?  This old rusty spring is my new favorite piece!  I had it as an umbrella stand last month.  This month?  Perfect for faux florals to soften the corner of the room!

 

So with all the guests in for Christmas, I found that the first week of January was mostly spent doing laundry at my home, which inspired me to do two things….(1) create a laundry room at Burlap & Lace and (2) listen to my customers’ requests for picture frames!  You see, I have pictures of my family in nearly every room of my home, so why not add them to the laundry room as well?  Seems we spend a lot of time washing and folding the clothes of those we love so why not see their smiling faces gracing our room as we work to serve them?

IMG_0642I’ve also created a linen closet for those of you who – like me – love finding linens to use on your bed, your table, or anywhere really!

 

And the garden room is open again, springing up with lots of new, fun finds!

 

I promise you surprises at every turn, and new merchandise added weekly, so don’t let the dreariness of winter keep you indoors.  Come on out to Burlap & Lace and get a breath of spring.  It really is on the wings of winter!  Until I see you again –

~Blessings,

Connie

Telling the “why” behind what I do…

M and Mom  cheek kissAugust 2014 will always be sweet in my memory.  This is my moma….who I swear has NEVER answered the phone when I called without a smile to her voice, and who – as I have been doing some soul-searching this past week – is a huge part of my story of “why”  I do what I do.  Simply stated – she has inspired me over the years, not so much by what she has said,  but rather by what she has exampled before me.Dad's b'day #3I just celebrated my 57th birthday two days ago.  And if you know me at all, you understand that I am a processor….I think (and speak) out loud a lot of the time when I should be quiet and ponder before opening my mouth.  But in the end, if you know me, you understand. That’s just the way God wired me.  And it takes a lot of grace to love me!

For my birthday, my HubE gave me a book that has been on my wish list for some time now… and in the first pages of the book, the author asks the question, “What’s your story?  What’s your why?  How did you come up with the idea for your business in the first place?”  With some much-needed quiet after a blessed and active Christmas, I have written down that question on paper, and in my mind, and processed it over and over for the past two days.  And while I don’t have all the answers, I believe I’ve found a few.  So if you will allow me, let me share with you a bit about my story, and my why.photo 1This was the first house I remember growing up in.  I was blessed to have come from a small town where I could walk to school and then home again every day.   When I was a young girl, my mom would allow me to “play office” with her by setting up a card table in my room which was across from her office.  She equipped my “desk” complete with my own adding machine and drawer of paper money.  I would then have my sister come to my “shop” (which was my room) and purchase things.  I wanted her as a customer so much that I even gave her money from my cash drawer to use in “purchasing” my goods!  Thinking about that now, I laugh at how I had to coerce her to play my silly “shop” game.  I believe that experience impacted us both in ways that are still unfolding.

As those early years led into my pre-teen years, my mom owned and operated her own florist business – FANCY THAT – in this same small town.  At the time, all I knew was that my mom and a friend of hers spent their time while I was in school in this downtown shop making floral arrangements for people.  To this day, she has the sign from that shop hanging in her craft room.

As I entered Jr High and then High School, mom and I developed a like-passion for venting our creativity into various outlets.  We spent many a night and weekend making homemade crafts….anything from her floral designs to my cross-stitched Christmas ornaments….with the idea that we would enter into craft shows in our area.  That we did…and we each actually won a few blue ribbons for our wares!

Now let’s fast-forward some 30+ years.Booth 021The year was 2008 and my son was in high school, during which he took art classes.  During the summers, he would often have some project or another going, as would I.  It was during this time that he taught me the fine art of making my own pallet signs.  This was my first one, and I was quite proud!  I used stencils for the design work because I couldn’t paint a lick!  And I used spray paint, of all things!

Not long after I began making these signs, I felt the desire in me growing to have my own space to try and sell my signs.  Booth spaces had become a big thing, and I remember applying for and getting my first space in a downtown shop….The Eclectic Cottage.  It was a huge financial stretch for us at the time….$35 a month for a pole space!  Literally, the space was a supporting pole/wall that was not even 3 feet wide but that went all the way to the ceiling.  For my $35 investment, I could fill that pole with anything I could design.  And design I did!  It wasn’t enough for me to just hang my “wall art”….I decided to purchase a small chest, paint it and get a few Goodwill items to display with my signs.  What I soon learned was that I seemed to enjoy designing the space almost more than designing the art to go in the space! And customers were buying both the wall pieces as well as the furniture and do-dads!

I’ll spare you all the details, but suffice it to say that I went on to larger spaces in more than one venue over the next 8 years, all the while discovering a few things that I truly enjoyed almost more than making my signs.

My first discovery was that I found that God had given me a passion for seeing others overcome their own feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness (as He was surely helping me overcome my own), and He was using this venue to expose me to other women with stories all their own. I found myself being inspired by them all in one way or another.

Secondly, I discovered that God….the Master Creator….had instilled a bit of creativity in me!  I was drawn to designing spaces of intrigue.  I wanted others to be drawn into places of coziness and warmth just by coming into my booth space.  And when they wandered out of that space, I wanted them to leave with their own creative juices flowing!

My final discovery is one that was launched as I opened my own brick and mortar space.  I realized that I was becoming a part of others’ journeys, and I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness to allow that.  You see, whether it is a new bride that comes looking to adorn her first home with candlesticks for her mantle, or the couple that has moved out of their “forever” home into a downsized space for their aging years, I get to be a part of helping them find the perfect pieces to aid in their own personal journeys through the years ahead. And our lives – in a small but significant way – intertwine.  I love that!

I know there will be more discoveries ahead.  In fact, I have spent this week preparing Burlap & Lace with all new rooms for you to explore!  So much new merchandise, and so much more to come in the months ahead.  We have a lot of forward-journeying to do together.  But before we take another step forward, allow me to take a walk down memory lane with you, exploring some of my sweetest designs over the past 8 years.  Here’s to the memories!

Signs…wall art….my humble beginnings.

My sweet sister making pillows for my shop –

And then just a few of my “happy” spaces….

Thanks for being the biggest part of my story…and of my “why”.  I look forward to spending this new year with you!

~Blessings,

Connie