Inspired….but tired

No one could possibly know the planning that went into the event. The ideas had streamed endlessly, waking her before daybreak on more than one occasion. Sketches were made of the layout, backdrop was hammered and drilled by her skilled husband, furniture had been carefully hand-picked, painted and properly distressed. All was ready and months of hard sweat and labor were about to be put on display.

Vintage Market Days….for three 12-14 hour days she worked the event, restocking each evening and each early morning redesigning the space. Daily she went home tired, but inspired. And to all who have never experienced the event, and to those who have, you know the reason why she did it…..

Simply – you.

I love this bit of wall art I added to my space at The Garage on 25. It speaks volumns about the “why” behind what I do. God designed us each so individually, and His own creativity in design is what inspires and spurs me on daily.

Flowers are my fancy. I could spend hours in the yard pulling weeds, fertilizing, planting….you name it, I love it. One of the greatest gifts God gave me was my little slice of heaven on earth….my brick and mortar shop on Main Street. So many days I miss that place. It was my happy place….a work place I enjoyed going to daily, open or not.

It was a season that has now passed, but lingering on is my love of creating and designing spaces. Maybe it’s no longer in that perfect little house with the wrap-around porch and creaky wood floors, but I am blessed still to now occupy two spaces in different locations, each with their own unique blend of style and curiosity. I specifically design each to be a place you long to go…..and to linger in.

So I may be a bit tired after the Vintage Market Days event has passed, but I am even more inspired to create, using my own personal design flair to intrigue your sense of style for your home, office, studio or dorm space.

You can find my wares in two locations (see Where to Find Me page), and I hope you will visit often, and stay long.

~Blessings,

Connie

Focus….and be still….

My hopes for Spring are not dashed by today’s ice storm. God knows what He’s doing. And yet I feel very much like I imagine this bud of a flower must feel, if a bud had feelings. I’ve been anxious to push ahead to what must surely be “next” in my life, without the slightest clue what that may be, yet certain it will involve something of a bloom rather than the prick of thorns I’ve felt of late. Surely….. hopefully…

If you know me at all, you know I write things down so I won’t forget them. Or to put it another way, I write things down so that I will remember them!

This scripture verse has been over my desk for months….and I would do well to memorize it! For I know that the Lord is a light for me, and the “darkness” I have felt in this season of my life will surely pass. The things that were meant for my harm, God has used for good. And I praise Him. So instead of pushing ahead to “make things happen”, I choose to wait. I choose to be still and allow God, in His time, to reveal His plans for me. Ah, but waiting is hard, because waiting involves patience, and for me, patience is one fruit of the Spirit that I seem to have trouble allowing to grow and mature in my life. You see, patience often means I wait ….. expectantly…without arguing (“But God!”), and without whining. In stillness. Hushed silence. Much like that accompanying a new-fallen snow. Peacefulness. Calm. Quietness.

I buy candles and light them to evoke smells of spring forests. I add faux plants to give “life” to the dreariness of winter indoors. And I laugh at myself, because though these things make me feel like I’m doing something, the something I am actually doing is waiting. Waiting on God. To move, or move me.

And I would be wise to consider that waiting does not mean inactivity. No, while in the waiting room of life, we keep doing what we know to do. We continue the work already given to us to carry out. Eagerly. Expectantly. And for me, in this season of my life, it is….

…being the best HomeBody God has created me to be, all the while being the best wife, best mom, best Nana, best friend and best whatever else I’ve been called to be!

And so I keep hunting for the treasures that make our home a place we love to be….despite my HubE’s efforts to keep his shed “his” space!

And I paint and repurpose….to offer home furnishings to you so that you can make your home a cozy and inviting space.

I walk down memory lane with my mom as she recounts story upon story of the days of her youth….

I eat at favorite restaurants with friends and share stories of heartache and triumph…

I watch the chickadees as they make their home with us again this year in a home more shabby and chippy than I ever imagined they would enjoy!

I keep collecting the things I love and the stories they inspire…

And I realize that even when Spring finally does arrive, there will be “home work” yet to be done, and more lives to touch and be touched by, and I will know that the wait was worth it. For God is faithful. And no matter the season, He will still call me into times of silence, that I might know Him and be known by Him.

So may I focus….and be still….

And may you do the same….especially while we are in the waiting room of this life. Shhhh….I’m expecting something wonderful to be born out of this time of waiting. And I can’t wait to share it with you! So come ….. be still with me.

~Blessings,

Connie

Finding my place

I’ve felt about as scattered as these Fall leaves….praying consistently for the last several months about where to “land” with Burlap & Lace. I have longed to blog again, and until now, the time has not allowed for it. Time I’ve spent in other arenas, doing other things….

A team of three met together in August with the owner of a local florist and began building a dream she had of reviving her shop of 30+ years and turning it into something new. That dream came to fruition in October as the Co-op of Roosters & Hens was born (a division of Country Creations Florist). And the goal was that the three of us would revitalize, work and give our time and resources to the shop owner for a period of three months, then meet again to see what was next for us all.

Those three months ended with the close of 2018, and with the launching of a new year came the close of my time at the Co-op.

In weighing out my options through prayer and daily discussions with my HubE, we knew that 2019 was to be about scaling down….as that was the original goal in closing my brick & morter shop last August and helping someone else redesign theirs. So where, you ask, does that take Burlap & Lace, and what will this scaling down look like?

To be honest, I don’t know 100% but I’m excited to see where God leads me!

To be sure, it’s been a learning process for me these last few months….one that I’m confident is not over. I long to get back to writing…something I love and have neglected. And for sure I long to continue my design efforts, accepting new and more challenging opportunities to do so.

You will soon find me in a new location – The Marketplace on Locust in Hendersonville, NC while I will continue at The Garage on 25 in Arden as well, although my space will take on a new look soon as I continue my journey toward scaling back. Too many spaces has caused a disconnect between my brain and my body (meaning less creativity caused by a strain to be in too many places doing too many different things).

I don’t plan to leave my love of vintage. (My children still remind me that I AM vintage!) And you will likely always find me bringing nature indoors in my design antics. I’ll still search for the lost and forgotten treasures to see how I can bring new life and purpose to these timeless beauties, but you will begin to see a breath of “new” popping up in my designs as well. It’s nothing new to me, really, as I have always taken on a bit of an eclectic look in our own home. It just suits me….mixing the old with the new.

So here’s to winter’s passing and the looking ahead to fresh, new beginnings as we roll into this New Year. May you and I experience a renewal in our minds as well as our bodies as we seek to be all that God has created us to be. It is, afterall, all for Him.

~Blessings,

Connie

Finding the new normal

IMG_2851I feel a bit like that baby chick in the picture above…hiding and peeking out into the world to catch a glimpse of what it’s going to find….perhaps a bit unsure, and a bit curious all at the same time.

A chapter in my life’s journey ended as I closed the door of the shop last Saturday.  But another chapter was already being written, its complete revealing unknown to me as of yet. But still I journey, curiously yet cautiously.  Constantly clinging to the One Who wrote out the story of my life long ago.  “For (I) am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that (I) should walk in them.”  (Eph 2:10)

Walk on, Connie.  Walk on.  “For (I) walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corn 5:7)

IMG_9848The shop at 244 W Main Street may have closed, but Burlap & Lace is still going strong. Vintage Market Days of Asheville is just around the corner and I am busily preparing for that event.  August 17-19 at the Ag Center in Fletcher you will find 100 vendors from all over the US boasting vintage and farmhouse wares such as you cannot even imagine.  But that’s not all!  There will be soaps, candles, food and so much more.  I am anticipating seeing many of you there!

IMG_6263My sweet sister will be with me again at VMD, and may I remind you that without the “lace”, the “burlap” would be lost!

IMG_3516And while you are waiting for VMD to arrive, find me at The Garage on 25 in Fletcher.  Well, not me personally, but my booth space.  New items are going in next week!

IMG_2989Look for where this sign may pop up next, for the dream is ongoing of places where I can meet with you again and share this amazing journey we call life.  But until that time, I leave you with…

~Blessings,

Connie

 

 

 

 

No crying allowed!

IMG_2884She thought she was ready for the day until….she wasn’t.  It was a big move.  A change.

Life does that to us, you know.  Brings change.  And I am learning it’s not the change that is the problem, if there is to be one.  It’s our attitude toward the change.

So with that in mind, I have decided to make a celebration out of a difficult decision to move out of my brick and morter shop and into a small booth space again.  And that decision has made all the difference.  So no crying allowed!

Sure, I’m sad to leave behind an amazing shop space that God granted me a year ago (truly the desire of my heart and answered prayer), but I am keenly aware that we have life seasons and this season I’m currently in is ready to give way to the next.  So here I go!  And I’m getting very excited about it all.

Welcome to The Garage on 25!

I moved in this week, and although you will see some of the same wares you saw at Burlap & Lace on Main St, I am excited to be showing you these things through a different lense.  Go check it out!  There are some amazing vendors there and you will fall in love with a whole new store!

IMG_3481For the rest of this week and for Thursday – Saturday next week, I will be at Main St waiting to give out hugs and smiles!  And my friend and fellow-vendor, Stephanie Schuster of Stephanie’s Creations, has kindly merged her wares with mine into the downstairs of the house so that we still have amazing, sweet finds for you!

IMG_3558Like these end tables!  Perfect for a bedside or by a chair….$184.95 each or $340 for the pair!

IMG_3572This antique dresser with beveled mirror is marked at half price – was $324.95, now $162.95.  So beautiful that I chose not to paint it!

IMG_3555Drop leaf table just $224.95.  Set of 6 chairs for $100, or $36.95 each.  And that sweet little black desk and chair in the background?  Just $75!  Help these pieces find a new home this week!

I’ve opened back up the dining room and kitchen this week in preparation for our July 28 celebration so there are plenty of “small” items to choose from as well.  Let’s finish this journey together and thank the Lord for all He has done in this place this past year.  What a journey it’s been!  Stay tuned in because there is still more news to come as I journey one….step….at…a…time.

~Blessings,

Connie

Goodbye is the hardest thing to say….

IMG_1245It’s raining….figuratively.  Blessings have a way of doing that….pouring down on you when you least expect them.

Such was the way of God when He led me to “this old house” on W Main Street.  And I’ve been dancing here for a year now….literally dancing!  Dancing with joy over the news of babies being born and weddings taking place.  And I’ve embraced a few storms along the way, dancing all the way through them because of your prayers and hugs and words of encouragement.  For those reasons alone, it is hard to say good-bye to this dream-become-reality.  And yet it’s time.  Because God has something else in mind for me now.

As early as next week, I will be moved into The Garage on 25, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m not closing Burlap & Lace, but I am relocating it to a smaller space where I will be “one” among “many”.  And I am inviting you to come find me and discover others within that amazing space.

And it would honor me if you would be my guests on the very last business day in this location – Saturday, July 28 – 10:00 – 5:30.  There will be music, and maybe some dancing even!  There will be tons of last minute deals so you will want to shop those as well.  There will be ticket giveaways all day for Vintage Market Days of Asheville….so come on by and enjoy the party!  And above all, let me give you one final hug on the front porch, and a bottle of water as you continue on your journey.

Thank you for making this last year something very special.  I hold each of you dear in my heart.

~Blessings,

Connie

To everything there is a season –

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

A new season has come to Burlap & Lace…one of addition, change and excitement.  But sometimes with change, assumptions are made incorrectly.  So let me set the record straight before going any further with this blog post….IMG_2307This lovely telephone table sets the stage perfectly for my story to unfold.   When I was a teenager, we had this amazing thing called a telephone (no iPhone or cell phone).  This device had a cord that was attached to a wall plug and a shorter, curly stretch cord that attached the receiver to the telephone, enabling conversation with those you had likely just left minutes before on the school yard but felt you just didn’t get enough time to talk things over.  (No texting with that “last word”). And you certainly couldn’t do anything else while you talked because the cord wasn’t long enough to allow that! So you had conversations that were fully involved in every way and you needed a place to sit still while you talked! Tables like this were “the thing” to have in your home.  Now, they make perfect conversation pieces about “the good ‘ol days” as well as bringing functionality to your home.  Imagine this piece with a reading lamp, magazines or school books tucked inside where the phone book used to go and an evening of uninterrupted reading (or sewing, or homework. ) You get the idea!

Because I had caring parents, my conversations with my friends had time limits set on them because…..perhaps…..someone else might want to use this wonderful device too!  I confess that as a teenager, my conversations were more about “that boy”, or “did you see how she was dressed today?” than anything of substance…..and truthful as I hate to admit, they were little more than gossip.  Yep….that thing that destroys friendships and parts people without cause.

Today we have many ways to gossip…..too many….Facebook, Instagram, text messages, phone conversations in Ingles or Walmart where the whole world is privy to “did you know what she’s done now” type things, and it is that which I wish to set straight.

IMG_2367In a world of flowers and beautiful things (did you notice that print above?  It’s the world in floral design!),  sometimes our motives are totally misunderstood.  Like mine….of taking in two new vendors.  Yes, you heard correctly, and I could not be more excited!

And the comments of “she’s closing up shop” and “she’s taking from other store owners by inviting them into her shop” couldn’t be further from the truth. I remember so well the days of my small beginnings….a pole as a booth space in a local shop here in Brevard.  Someone “took a chance” on me, and I fondly remember them daily for that act of kindness.  And then 4 others did the same for me over a period of 6 years as I opened booth space after booth space.  One thing I wanted was to have multiple spaces in different places so that I had more opportunities of my wares (and truthfully, my name) being discovered.  Makes sense if your goal is to be a business, right?

Same is true of Stephanie’s Creations, who has joined Burlap & Lace with intention and with the blessing of Country Creations owner, Sheila McCall, where you can also find Stephanie’s Creations in the front window space.  Sheila and I have been friends for years, and we help one another out as we can….with ideas, with inventory, with help toting and moving and cleaning and working….isn’t that what friends do for one another?  And while it really is no ones business to know that, we do live in a small town, and some of my customers have seen me “working” at Sheila’s shop and have witnessed her at mine as well.  And who would have imagined the stir that has caused?  Certainly neither myself nor Sheila!

So let me put a stop to the rumors and gossip by saying first of all that neither Country Creations nor Burlap & Lace is “going under” and closing.  We both share a love of Stephanie and her style, so now you can find Stephanie’s Creations in two places in town!  And for Sheila and me, that is a win/win.

Stephanie brings with her a mix of French Country styling and farmhouse design.  And her expertise in her painting and decorating style happens to be one of the things I was drawn to immediately.  Like the country song, “she’s a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll”, I think Stephanie is “a little bit french country and a little bit farmhouse style”!  She’s English, so she brings in a completely different feel than I ever could, and I love that about her!  She simply is who she is and that honest, sweet personality is evidenced in her pieces.

IMG_2370Take this music-covered table for instance.  Stephanie’s clever design would be perfect for the home of the music enthusiast! It has plenty of room for a lamp, a drink, books or….music!

And talk about farmhouse styling….check out these adorable pillows!  Smaller in size, they tuck easily in a basket (such as seen here) for pulling out for the grand-kids, or to toss on a bed or in a chair.  Lots of designs to choose from!  And that green canister set!  For real use or simply decor, these are top of my list of pics from her room at Burlap & Lace!

IMG_2365Stephanie’s furniture speaks for itself.  She makes her own chalk paint and does easy distressing on all her pieces to create that farmhouse style we have all come to love.

Now let me show you some of the things you will find in Stephanie’s Creations booth space at Country Creations!

While you settle on the new discovery of Stephanie’s Creations at Burlap & Lace, let me introduce my second new vendor to you….Elizabeth Beasley.

Elizabeth also brings a unique styling experience…. Vintage style mixed with antique discoveries.

I love that antique dresser with glass knobs!  And the marble top makes for a quick clean up if makeup spills on it or you over-water that plant gracing it!

IMG_2347

Elizabeth’s clothesline full of linens draws me back to days of summer breezes….ummm….soon to come!  But until they do, come see the wares she brings with her to Burlap & Lace!

One other thing to note at Burlap & Lace is that spring has finally settled in and the porch area is beginning to show small steps of that floral beauty….

There are several vintage planters on the porch, but don’t forget to take stock of the yard!  New planters have been added, some with plants and some without.  So take a walk around the yard on your next visit.

Lastly, I leave you with some of the whimsical style of Burlap & Lace that you’ve come to know so well….

I appreciate YOU and the shout-outs you’ve been giving Burlap & Lace in your Facebook reviews.  Help me spread the news that is factual…..two new vendors have come to the shop and I couldn’t be happier about sharing them with you!

Until we meet again,

~Blessings,

Connie

My Tribute

IMG_1300Meet Wilma.  She was one classy lady…..even in her death.  She was my mother-in-law, but more than that, she was my friend.

On Tuesday, March 13, my HubE and I picked up the Uhaul and began loading out the shop for Vintage Market Days of Asheville.  Months of planning had gone into the event….an event that encompasses 100 vendors from all over the US.  What a privilege to have been chosen as one of those vendors, now for their third show!  Five hours into the loading process we were nearly finished when the call came from Hospice that “mom” was declining rapidly.  We needed to make a decision to go ahead with VMD, or bale so someone else could quickly take my spot.  We decided to be with mom, and I’m so very thankful for that choice we made.  So we spent the next 3 hours unloading the truck back into the shop….in heaps of furniture and boxes spread between three rooms.  Hindsight…what was I thinking????  Somehow I thought all that would fit into a 10 x 20 booth space!  (I’m smiling….)

We arrived in Cary early Wednesday morning and spent the next 4 days with mom, leaving her side only for meals when her dear friends would come and sit with her.  For the first 2 days, she could speak albeit garbled.  But in those days, she gave her son a hug and told him she loved him.  And that was well worth the trip all by itself.

IMG_1296I was able to tell mom the one thing I had always wanted her to know….that she had shown me Christ through her grace, love and forgiveness of me after the years that my HubE and I spent apart.  She was an amazing and kind woman who raised three men to be gentle, kind men of integrity and faith.  Her legacy lives on in her sons, one of whom I am blessed to call husband.

Spring came to the mountains while we sat with mom.   Proof that life goes on.  In the first day we were with mom, I asked her if she was afraid of dying.  Her answer was quick, “Oh no!  I can’t wait to meet Jesus!”  She was sure of the fact that life indeed does go on….even after death.  Her eternal life would be one of peace, and she was ready.

She passed from this life on Sunday morning, March 18.  Just 12 hours prior to her passing, after days of not getting up or moving about at all, and certainly no more speaking, she sat bolt upright in her bed and began the motions of slipping her arms from her sleeves, though her gown had no sleeves at all.  She ran her hand down one arm, then tried to do the other and said to me (eyes closed), “You finish”.  So I ran my hand down her other arm as if helping to remove the garment she wanted off.  Then she took her hand and slipped it over her watch, as if to remove it.   She continued with her wedding rings and then cupped my hand and “placed” the items in my palm, closing my hand around the invisible valuables.  She then said, “Done” and laid back down.  That was her last word.  She knew the time had come, and that was the last thing she needed to do.  I wept.

She was one classy lady….even in death.

IMG_1274Easter is on its way, and though many celebrate bunnies and candy, I will be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of His death and life, all those who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.  Mom is living it up….literally!  And we rejoice with her, though we weep for ourselves.

Through this last month, Burlap & Lace has been closed more than open.  Now you know why.  And I don’t regret any of the moments we high-tailed it to Cary when she needed us.  Sometimes it was for doctors appointments, other times because she needed to physically move her residence, and at moments it was simply because we heard in her voice that it would be nice to have family close by, but she would never have wanted to disrupt our lives.  It was as if she believed her dying process was an inconvenience to those she loved, and far be it from her to let it be so!  We never felt inconvenienced; we felt blessed to be with her.

I’m trying to formulate a plan to reopen….and yet we are still in the process of grieving and saying goodbye.  The funeral is this Sunday so we will return to Cary Saturday.  There are details to take care of regarding vacating her apartment after the service, so for a few days we will remain in Cary.  My hope is to reopen Thursday, March 29.  But to be honest, it’s a tall order I’m not sure I can fill.

This is only a small vision of the chaos that awaits sorting at the shop…. one corner of one room.  And there are three rooms full with only a walk-path between.

I am going to do my best, and I apologize that I can’t give an exact reopen date until after the funeral takes place and I know how long we will be gone.  So I simply ask that you watch my Facebook page for notice of the reopening and spread the word.

Through it all, I thank you for loving me and my family, and for giving such grace yourselves by understanding the shop closures this month.  It will be good to see you all again soon.  Until then,

~Blessings,

Connie

He’s not done with me yet!

This should have been me today, but oh no…..I am usually the one you would NEVER find sitting around….always doing the heavy lifting that three men and a boy usually do.  And today, my stubbornness cost me dearly….in more ways than one….

and it’s the first day I’ve cried at Burlap &  Lace.

Let’s just leave it at this….I was trying to help someone by carrying a small dresser to the door for them (and if my husband is reading this I am going to be in so much trouble when I get home tonight!), but as I sat it down and turned around to get the drawers for it all in one swift motion, one of the legs of the dresser was obviously not on the ground well and the piece tumbled off the step and landed upside down.  A piece was broken off the corner of the dresser, and one of the drawers was broken.  Although the drawer was easily fixable and I immediately set out to make the situation right in every way I could, the situation allowed things to be said and done that hurt me to the core.  So I did what every good newbie shop owner would do….I made it right financially for the couple, fixed the drawer and once they were on their way, I walked inside and dissolved in tears.  Not so much because of them, but because of the inadequacy I immediately felt flood through me.

And the day continued on that path with one difficult situation after the other.  I was beginning to let that become my focus until I remembered my morning time with the Lord.  “Give thanks in all things”….

Yes, Lord.  Thank You that I have two feet and I am able to walk.  Thank You that You bring people to my sweet little shop that YOU want to come here.  Thank You for friends who come  in with kind, supportive words and with cookies warm from the oven.  Thank You for those that make me laugh….out loud even!  Thank You for meeting every need I have….spiritually, financially, mentally, physically.  Thank You that at the end of this work day, this is what I get to go home to…..

IMG_9349Thank You for leaves that lay on our grass, bringing awareness to me that the season is changing, and You are still changing me from glory to glory…..perfecting me to be more like Your image every day.

I feel a bit like that broken corner of the dresser with my broken foot in this boot still, but I rejoice that I CAN do all things through Christ Who gives me strength! And while I will keep on believing that I can move mountains, please….until I get both feet healed completely, be understanding and bring help with you to move those great pieces you buy from me.  I really do appreciate your business, but most of all….I appreciate that you know I’m doing my very best to bring you a cozy place to shop and be with friends.  And that is exactly what I consider each of you…friends.

~Blessings,

Connie

Sharing the things you are thankful for

With the purchase of the turkey and the details of the meal being carefully considered, it might escape us to remember why we are celebrating.  Thanksgiving isn’t something taught.  It’s a way of life, a rhythm of your heart if you will.  And I suggest that the best way to celebrate the things we are thankful for is to daily celebrate them, and share them.

IMG_9185Celebrate your family…

This is my husband.   He is my witness to the good, the bad and the ugly in my life, day in and day out.  Nothing escapes his notice…not my attitude (good or bad) and not the way I share life with him and those I meet daily.  He encourages me to be all that God has made me to be….daily.  And so I celebrate him – the integrity that he walks in, the way he loves God and through that relationship loves me well, the forgiveness he shows me when I fail.  He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me!

IMG_9243Celebrate your home…

My grandmother used to tell us, “Little birds in their nest must agree!”  The point was that we all lived within a small space, and we best learn to get along!  Whether your home is a pallet on the ground or a towering home among the pines, celebrate that you have a place to rest your head.  A home is built from the love you pour into it and the prayers you pour over it.  Celebrate your home.  And share it with those that God brings your way.

IMG_8876Celebrate the food you eat…

Likely, you are not among those who have ever known starvation.  Granted, we complain about our weight, the clothes that don’t fit and often the food we have to eat.  But did you just read that?  The food we have….to…..eat.  Celebrate that you have food.  And drink.  Fresh water is a blessing.  And share what you have with others.  You never know who may need what you have to give.

One of the things that I thank the Lord for daily is Burlap & Lace….the little shop that He has given me to share with you.  I don’t take that lightly.  I have said, and mean it, that if you simply want to come grab a bottle of water from the frig and sit on the porch among friends, do it!  You are always welcome!

Until we meet on the porch…

~Blessings,

Connie