Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Kid on the Block

There's a new kid-o or two on Greenville Street this week! This is our buddy Michele with her baby pug, Ally. She works down at Boulignini. Lily was a bit jealous because Michele usually comes to get her and love on her! She kept trying to get Michele to put down Ally to hold her! She's not so sure of her new neighbor. Look how HUGE she looks compared!
Donna with Interior Repeats is keeping her grand-puppy this week. She is the cutest little Toto dog. Come to find out Martha Ann with Panopoly often brings her large puppy to work and Beard and Company has "Bear" their large lab puppy laying around their store too!

By the way, Lily made a bee-line for the great outdoors on my dear friend Lisa yesterday when she came for a shopping visit, so I am not sure the status of her position as cute store dog right now. She may have to hang with the four cats at home more often!

Hop on Over

Hop on over for a fun selection of Easter decorations. These cutie-patooties are made of papier mache. I think they're cute enough to sit out all Spring! We also have chocolate bunnies, mini-ornaments, mini feather trees, vintage inspired foil eggs and baskets and more!

Georgia Bound!

It's Saturday and we are headed home! So far we have to make one stop on the way back for pick-ups and miscellaneous stops for more exploring. This is one of the happy places we actually passed, drove down an exit and came back to. This spot may be our new little secret! Pictured here is one of the sheds on the property. It was extremely windy this day and over my head you can see what I think are boat anchors dangling from the ceiling. Every time the wind would blow these daggers Valerie and I would squeal and run into a bay! I am holding Mary for protection! Some prizes from here were two old hand trucks, a bucket of white dishes and The Portrait of Mary. In another bay I found some killer red cowboy boots ($5.00), a cart for art supplies ($15.00) a tripod for a future lamp ($15.00) and a few old pulleys for my growing collection. Like I said, this may be the new spot! We were a site for sore eyes on the way home in the truck. The truck bed was full, extended cab full, my floorboard and between our seats overflowing! We almost left our suitcases so we could get more stuff! If you look around the store you will see all the cool finds. Can't wait to share them with you!
We also found the HUGE balls of yarn we have on display in the store now here. We saw balls of yarn at Heart of Country for up to $200.00. I am embarrassed to tell you what we paid here! Who knows, maybe we'll take a field trip up here soon and take you guys with us! We definitely plan on returning. I dropped Valerie off around 6PM and headed home to make a quick change, grab my hubby and head to a cocktail attire casino night with the Junior League. Valerie was in buying mode and headed to the auction in Hogansville. I think Sunday we both crashed after meeting to unload the truck. It was quite an adventure in Tennessee! So where to next? We are taking all the kids to the beach for Spring Break. I think we'll take the suburban and the truck, just in case!

Main Street Franklin

After viewing the Tailgate show, we decided to spend our afternoon in Franklin,TN. I had visited there once a few years back to visit Amy Hill and remembered it being a quaint little historic area alot like Newnan. Well, just like Newnan has expanded in the past 5 years, so has Franklin! We pull into the downtown area and are immediately drawn to the entire look of their historic area. The sidewalks, street posts, landscaping and lights look alot like Newnan's. The main difference was the how the streets radiated off a round-about, not a courthouse. The round-about appeared to have more of the non-retail businesses and the long streets had the retail stores. We were excited at the number of adorable retail stores they had! The other detail we immediately noticed was the parking signs (See picture above). Those of you who have visited us and received a ticket know why we put this here. We walked in and out of a wide variety of stores. Our favorite had to be The Iron Gate. After a yummy lunch and some more shopping we headed to another antique area. By the way, 3-hours was enough time to shop and eat! A few cool finds and hours later, we were lead to The Factory. Man, if Newnan had one of these, we'd be drawing people to our community from all over. This place had retail, banquet halls, dance studios, karate studio, artists working studios, antique mall, restaurants and more! It was awesome! We headed back to our hotel with a notebook full of ideas and inspirations!

Tailgating without the Beer

On Friday morning we woke early with anticipation of the day's adventure. We were off to a great start at breakfast having been given a free pass by an older couple to attend the days' tailgate. In the south, tailgating usually encompassed a buffet of food, a chair and a cooler full of beer prior to an SEC football game on a fall Saturday. Having attended Auburn University, I attended a few as a student and too many to count as a devoted alumni. We had been told stories of the tailgate show and had in our minds what this adventure would entail. This tailgate included with the price of admission a yummy doughnut and a warm cup of coffee. It also promised hours off looking and dealing with some great people from across the USA! Above is the picture of it so you get a better idea. Basically vendors from all over the world rent these hotel rooms on the first and second floors. They completely convert the rooms into mini stores. They also use the parking lot, railings, patios, you name it, they cover it. The tailgate lasted from Wednesday to Sunday I believe. We piled up with Dad in his truck and arrived with much anticipation. From the looks of it, we thought we'd died and gone to a huge Lakewood heaven! We started walking around and found the prices much too high for our customer back home. The vendors had some fabulous finds, but like I said, for you guys we want to find great deals, and there where none here to be found. After a couple hours of looking, gasping and finding a few favorites, we decided to go a different route for the rest of our day. After catching up with the rest of our gang, who had more mature pocket books, we mentioned heading to Historic Franklin for the afternoon. They mentioned some great malls along the way and other spots to hit and we were off!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Star Struck in Nashville

Valerie and I enjoy a road trip. Sometimes we've been known to take a road trip so far, we've actually flown to get there. (New York, Portland, It's what gives us that recharging we need to make our store fresh and new. When we can't go for a long trip, we head to Anthropology for inspirations. We all have our muses, and we flea chicks know that a good road trip is the ultimate muse of all. So off we went in the truck with stars in our eyes for Nashville.

Heading to Nashville seemed a bit out of character for us both. Neither of us are country music fans, or particularly interested in the Grand Ole Opry. I'll admit when I saw the billboard size Gibson guitar all lit up like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation I got a bit giddy. So why Nashville? Well, this where the Heart of Country antique show is held every year in the most fabulous hotel, The Opryland Hotel. My Dad and his wife were attending and wanted us to come up to the premier show with them to check it out. Dad had warned me early that it was pricey, but a great experience and well worth the trip.
So, we get all dolled up me in a black silk shirt and boots, Valerie in her prarie skirt, mustard blazer and boots (both pairs of boots were Lakewood finds by the way!) and head over to this gorgeous hotel for the premier night of the show. It was as Dad had mentioned, pricey, but well worth the hours spent walking and touring the beautifully displayed booths of mostly Americana antiques. We saw some fabulous ideas, which we of course wrote in our handy dandy notebooks to bring back and reuse in our store. The food, music and drinks were a delight and added to the evening's ambiance.

Now Valerie and I were creatures of habit at Lakewood. We'd check our favorite vendors, hit the donuts, tour some more booths, then hit the margaritas at the Firehouse. So, it seemed only natural that we would choose this route, only in finer clothes and fancier booths having a margarita in our hand. While stopping to sip our beverages and nibble on some treats, Valerie exclaimed, "That's Mary Emmerling over there at the Country Home booth. She's signing her new book, Crosses." "What, nooooooo. Really.....Oh should we go......." I exclaim. Sure enough, we walked over and this way cool dressed blond was Mary, Creative Director of Country Home magazine AND author of only about 20 books on decorating and such. So like two teenage girls in Hollywood we asked if we could get a picture with her please. She was dear, so approachable and nice. We told her a bit about ourselves and she immediately grabbed her friend from Roswell and introduced us. We gave the friend our card and said please come see us. Somehow, in our conversation we also mentioned having had a margarita. Mary was like, "What, they have those here?" See, we asked because they had a full bar and we didn't want wine or champagne, and like I said the ritual thing... We said our goodbyes and hugs and walked away grinning so big you could have used our toothy smiles as piano keys! As we walked away on cloud nine at our encounter with fame, we looked at each other and as though reading each other's minds said, let's buy Mary a margarita and give her our card. So we did, and she was thrilled. She even put our card in her, well let's just say a safe place! We left the show full of great ideas and stars in our eyes.
Nashville surprised us, and it will forever be the place we met..............Mary Emmerling. She's not Shania, or that American Idol girl that beat that other country girl at the CMA Awards, or Dolly, but to us, she is a star amongst stars in the Nashville sky!

Trucker Fleas

I am a planner, list maker, and pretty organized person. As a mother, wife and business owner, I have to have these skills to survive my daily routines. So in my planning for our trip to Nashville I of course printed the directions from Newnan to our hotel using Mapquest. I glanced them over and then laid them on the computer table. I did this Tuesday night by the way, and we didn't leave until Thursday. I of course had a vision of these directions still by the computer as we hit I-75 and was asking Valerie where to next. The Mapquest was not in the bag of car supplies. Man, never fails I forget something!

Being an Alabama girl, my glove compartment is full of maps from this lovely state, all from the early 90's, but hey, how much has actually changed since then? So we pull off at an exit to a HUGE truck stop. I mean it was like walking into the ultimate male mall. Cracked me up all the stuff they had for sale. We picked out our map ($6.00!!) and some gum. The rain wasn't upon us yet, but it sure was windy. We hop back in the truck and set our sites out for an antique mall surely within miles now. We are itching to find the junkers heaven, the new spot for our favorite finds. Valerie reaches down in the bag for the map and says to me, "Did you put smokes on the counter for us? Menthol at that?" Now, we both love a freebie, but the smokes put us in stitches for a good bit of our journey north! Look around our store, you might find how we have re- purposed this little green box into a riser, but just in case you were wondering, it's not for sale.

We came upon our first mall stop about 1 1/2 hours north of Newnan. We dropped a small penny in there, waited out the rain as long as we could and mushed on. Our favorite find there was a white Hoosier cabinet which now holds our Paddywax line and an authentic OUIJA board game! Look for this find in our Halloween display! By this time the weather was really bad. Enterprise, AL we heard had been ripped by the tornadoes. So Valerie took over the wheel and moved us northward. Our stomachs were telling us it was lunchtime, so at the next antique mall exit we stopped at another HUGE truck stop. The truck stop made us some super grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, which I have totally got Valerie hooked on.

The next mall had an assortment of junk to sift through, but not nearly as nice as the last. We did manage to find some beautiful butterflies in glass shadow boxes and some other little treasures. We were getting anxious on time and my Dad, who was in Nashville waiting for us was getting worried about the pending weather, so we headed straight into Nashville after this stop. Our ultimate goal was to get to the famous Heart of Country Antique Show. Well, we did just that.......

Oh, and in case you were wondering if any of the stops were the new mecca, the new Lakewood for us junkin' fleas, well you will just have to wait and see!

And We're Off Again!

So here come some journals on our trip to Nashville last weekend. I wish I had more pics of the road trip, because the time in the truck is usually the most special, treasured adventures you'd ever read about. In fact, I should preface this entire trip with a recap our our road trip escapades since first establishing our friendship and business. These memories will forever be in our book as "the best of times, the worst of times". Unfortunately they all happened before the blogging journals, and I never had my camera on me! So I'll be brief in my synopsis of them. I should also mention that during some of the most scary of these vehicular adventures we should have acted like women in distress, but being women of independent minds, spirit, and determined not to miss out on a shopping venture, overcame our mishaps and usually came out with side stitches from the laughs!

In the past two years we have blown a tire in the suburban on I-85 on our way to Lakewood with neither phone charged and time a ticking before picking up the babies. We've locked the keys in the suburban at the Americasmart parking garage. The best story ever is when we left our car in a lot outside the Americasmart, paid the gentleman taking money and came back HOURS later to find the van stolen. Not really, but it sounds better than towed to a parking lot in gettoville Atlanta because we were scammed. Next time you see us, ask about the whole story. I don't want to go there right now! We've taken the scenic route far to many times to mention (aka got lost). I know the suburban ran out of gas with us and the four kids in it, probably ran out in the truck too. With Valerie's 2 kids and her best bud Helen along we had major key ignition issues with the truck in the parking lot of My Favorite Place on Peachtree Ind (another not so nice area). I think it was about 5 hours later and a mechanic off duty that saved us then! Oh, I should also mention that while purchasing a new part for my truck we ran out of gas in the mechanic's suburban we had borrowed, really. I am sure I am forgetting one or two, but you get the idea. Pictured above is Valerie in the driver's seat of my truck. It was raining like crazy the day we left, and I hate driving in the rain. But not to miss out on a thing from Newnan to Nashville Valerie gladly drove us onward!