Monday, August 27, 2007

MARTA 101 and other cool tips

If ever there was a Kodak moment for Valerie and I, it was yesterday. So here's the story, no pics I'm so sorry! We set out for a fun day with the children (minus Mailey because, well those who know her probably know why) for a fun day in Atlanta at the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival. I'd found a write up for it in Lifestyles and thought, heck let's go! So, here's how it went. It's long and extremely detailed, but I just could not resist. It's a good story, so follow along......

Valerie, Brice and Olivia got the truck from my house sometime while we were Sunday schooling and picked up her finds from the auction Saturday night in Hogansville. She then came to Cornerstone Church to pick up William and I at 12:15. (I've gotta set the tone and TIME for you at this point). We were hungry enough, so we ran through ZAXBY'S to get some good ole' fried chicken and fries(and sauce). We head back to my house to drop the now full truck and get her suburban to take on up to MARTA, because I remember saying, "Let's don't waste time going and unloading it now." Let me preface this next scenario with the fact that Valerie thought that it would be an "adventure" to all ride MARTA to this Grant Park art festival together and not have to worry about finding a place to park. I of course agreed to the adventure and went along for the ride! Timeline check: 12:30 leave Jenni's house; get gas in suburban: 12:35; head to MARTA: 12:45; get to College Park MARTA: 1PM. We are a happy 5 some: 1:05pm. In our heads we'll be there by 2PM ready to join the festivities. This is Valerie, Brice, Olivia, Me and William that is. We get our Breeze tickets and wander down to the depths below to catch the MARTA train. And we wait.......and we wait. It's okay though, we are up for an adventure!

Finally the train arrives and we hop on! We giggle and watch the scenery. William asks why so many buildings have art on them, I say it's "graffiti baby" and don't even think about trying it I think to myself! Olivia and Brice are just as wide-eyed and excited for the day's agenda. We get off at Midtown, the junction for the east/west train and get over quickly for the east train. While waiting, we view a map and decide we should get off at Decatur to get a bus to Grant Park. You see, we sort of thought we knew how to get there. I asked Billy and he said he thought we should get off at King Memorial, Valerie looked and it said bus 31, the map said J7. I'm telling you, we were lost. Finally (20 min+) the east train came and we hopped on. We went to Decatur only to find out from a nice gentleman that we'd actually gone too far and we should have gotten off at King Memorial (like Billy said) and taken the #32 bus to Grant Park. Well *@#%^$%^, we get off, and head back towards a west train. Off course at this time we ALL had to pee (except Valerie because she's a camel, but that's another story). So we ask a MARTA cop for help and a key to the potty. She let us into the potty only to find out that once we went out where the potty was, you had to pay to get back in again (of course this was after we'd crossed the line). But since it was our first offense she said she'd let us back in. By the way did I mention that the next train was running west in 20 min? So pottied, and back in, we found our way back to the westbound train with time to spare. We got back on, got off at King Memorial and then....well did what any white woman in downtown Atlanta with 3 children under the age of 8 would do, asked a gay black man! He said to take, get this, the short bus #32 and it would go straight to Grant Park and it was probably down there right now! So we all ran down three flights of stairs to the street only to find several regular bus riders watching and laughing under their breath at us white women and kids. Not seeing the short bus, Valerie ran back to the nice man who gave us initial instructions and he bee bopped right over, introduced us to the nicest woman in the coolest shades and said, she'll show you what to do. Get on this #32 and it'll take you to the back side of Grant Park. So we waited.......waited.......then it arrived! We hopped on that air conditioned #32 MARTA full of people going who knows where and rode until we were kindly told, this is your stop. The bus driver told us exactly where to be to get picked back up and that it ran every 50min. Have a I mentioned a time...well it's like 3:15PM. But there it is....Grant Park.

First thing we do...get Margaritas! Kids get fabulous Italian Ice Cream and we are off! The atmosphere is fabulous music, white little tents as far as the eye can see... we are set. We putt-putt at the 92.9 tent, view some way cool art, get some great ideas and then.....then we hear the thunder......and then we head for summer shade trees......and then the bottom falls out. We stay under the tree for a bit and then I mean the bottom really falls out! So we all run under an artist's tent and wait until the rain dies down. (5ish) Meanwhile we are all soaked, and giggling because what else is there to do, really. The kids have been so great, never once complained. Finally the rain dies to a sprinkle and we mush on. We find several great art inspirations, especially for our jewelry displays, a great found object artist and then head for the kids art making area. We eat, walk some more and decide with the impending rain beginning to fall more rapidly, perhaps we should head for our bus route. Dippin dots, lovely local brew and another fruity delight in hand we stand at our bus stop for fear of the bus riding right past and not stopping. Did I mention it's RAINING? And we are the only fools at the stop period on a Sunday in the rain without umbrellas? Well, the bus was running nice and on time (of course we had to wait about 20 min), we hopped on, tried to pay...think we did it right and got off at our King Memorial. We bought more MARTA Breeze tickets and waited again...this time playing 20 questions to pass the time. We even gained a few players while waiting. Hopped on the west train, then waited for the south train....then got off at College Park. Down to the suburban where there was no ticket this time on the dashboard and headed for home around 6PMish. Ahhhh good old 85 south. Orange barrels, here we come!

So warning for the MARTA wise.........Sunday they run a single track. What does that mean? That means it takes a heck of a lot longer than it ever should to get somewhere! Grant Park Summer Shade Festival was a real winner and a definite return venue for the Flea Chicks! Next time thought, we'll drive a flea chick truck up there! Wanna come?

PS MARTA ended up costing about $30, so driving would have been cheaper, but no where near the adventure for us and the kids! So no regrets for us!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New to the Flea Decor

Just in time for your fall decorating, we have a new line of "tuscan" inspired landscape paintings, rooster and chicken ceramic figures and dainty topiaries. These items would be a great addition to your kitchen or dining atmosphere. And priced the "flea" way, they won't break your budget either! Valerie also made a series of 6" and 4" marble trivets with roosters you can use as hot trivets, decoration on easels, house warming gifts or for that special hostess. As always, we order in small quantities and don't re-order, so hurry by to pick up one of these great finds.

Got the time? We do! Just check out this wall of clocks. These are light-weight and ready to hang in just about any spot in your home.

Sneak a Peak....

Many of our regular customers have been asking when the big "reveal" of our Halloween merchandise will be. Well, we've set the date and have big plans for a "Ghouly Open House" on Tuesday, September 11th. So be sure to mark your calendars and be checking your e-mails for the official invitation to this special night. You are all in for special treats both for your tummy and your wallet! Here is a little tease of the piles of stuff we will be unpacking and setting out this year. Each box is full of haunting decorations. We have several new lines to introduce to you as well as some handmade goodies! We are very excited about this holiday season.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Candle Debate

Those of you who have been with us as customers since the beginning know this candle line has been our staple. We've tried a couple other labels, but this has always been a line we carried. This past spring we found Nouvelle candles however. They are the ones in the most fabulous ceramic urn, their smells are most divine. This fall Nouvelle also offered to start putting our logo on the packaging. This opportunity for our own labeled candles at first tickled us pink! Second, it made us think twice about offering other candles in the store. So we put all the candles on sale, even sold the half burned testers and were done, so we thought. We've had SO many requests for Paddywax again that we thought we'd have a bit of fun with it this round. Listed below are some of the 24 scents they sell. If you would, leave a comment for your top two scents. At the end of about 10 days from now, we'll place an order for the top 5 scents. Here they are: eucalyptus, key lime, limoncello, plumeria, rosemary, lavendar, new mown hay, olive tree, chamomile, mango cilantro, blood orange, peony, mission fig, cassis and verbena.

My favorite is New Mown Hay, Valerie's is Olive Tree. We've never had the eucalyptus, but I bet it is a great one, especially on those months when the sniffles come around! It'd be my second choice. Thanks for commenting. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Artfully Displayed

We are trying a new look for our windows. I took these during the day with a bit too much sunlight, so they don't show them as well as I'd like. You have to all promise to ride by at night to see the windows all lit up in the evening. Valerie's husband, Albert, came in Monday evening and said he had to take a second look to make sure he had the right store! These are pretty cool looking. I bit of art we think. Hopefully it'll make you want to come on in and feel right at home. The left window is a tribute to back to school, the right one is full of little nesting birds. We talk so much about nesting, we thought it would be appropriate to fill the window with little sparkly birds ready to nest.
As the season changes, I am sure the windows will too, but the heart of the store will always remain the same. From our house to yours, we welcome you. Come stay awhile and be inspired.

Nesting is Done!

Our newest treasures were delivered first thing Monday am while Valerie and I were already in the process of a big "nesting" stage. After two days, our bodies tell us its' time to rest, and the store is beaming with a new look. We can't thank our Julie enough for walking into the craziness and diving right in without hesitation today. She always sees our vision without question! Here is a sneak peak of the re-arranged store. Thanks to all of you who came on by during this period of, well, the best word to use right this moment is a MESS! But through this mess came together a fabulous new look. We hope you see something in a new light that has to make it's way to your home asap! This little area is a little slice of the Bahamas I think. The china cabinet is full of capiz shell plates and soap dishes as well as soap and more shells. The gauzy canopy over the chair gives you the feeling of a cozy night on the beach. Makes me want to curl up and read a great novel by Hemmingway!

This chair is from the 1940's. It has this fabulous men's suit hounds tooth fabric on it. It had a matching sofa, but Sylivia came in within an hour of it being in the store and just had to have it for her craft room!

These adorable dresses have been in for awhile. We think they'd make great fall wardrobe additions. Add a little shrug or sweater hoodie and you are set for chilly nights. The cool thing about these dresses is no one in the Coweta/Fayette area is selling them but us.

Do you see the round table behind the wooden theater seats? This little baby has a beautiful leather top and the bottom, it spins around!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mart Inspirations

Here are a few pictures from our trip to the mart as promised. This is a past vendor we decided to try again. They have fabulous white pieces we intend to use in our Christmas theme this year. We also love the tiered tables, very Star Provisions. Ironically, the showroom loved Star's so much they had some made just like them! We are now on the hunt for some similar for our displays.

This was a showroom we wandered in just for their displays! This one is a bit hard to see, but the cans are pork-n-beans. The bowls have corn husk liners, dried black eyed peas and spam in the center. Look for us to re-use this idea come father's day!

This is a vendor we really like but have never ordered from. They have fabulous displays however and let us take a picture of this for all our Halloween spooks. Now to just find two matching bookcases! By the way, for those of you itching to know what Halloween jewels we have in store for you this year we are planning a sneak peak preview party for the second week of September. Be sure to get on our Flea Bite newsletter list for this exclusive invitation!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"You Talkin' To Me?....SOLD!

Many of you wander into our store on a regular basis and always comment about the constant changes we make to the store layout. We do this for several reasons... for practical reasons we rearrange so you see something you may have missed last time around and most importantly we get restless and bored with the store staying the same all the time! We do buy new merchandise all the time. From where is always the fun of owning a business like ours. We dive into every antique mall, junk store and Goodwill we can find. We also buy from the mart in small quantities of products we'd love to have in our own homes. Keep in mind when you see these products, that if you fall in love with it, you should buy it then, because it might be a one-of-a-kind find and we don't reorder on mart items. All this to tell you the best part of owning a store lately has been the fun we've had at the auction house. This past Saturday night there was a local auction we were hesitant on attending for this and that reasons. So Mailey, Mom and I headed down to preview it to see if it was worth our attending. Five minutes into the preview I called Valerie (who was at a jewelry making class, can't wait for you guys to see her newest talent!) and said, hurry back, we gotta buy! This auction is run by a really fun family and last night was the brother/sister team all night on the podium. We've been at this auction before for up to 7 hours waiting for our last item to be placed up for bid. Last night there were some real treasures, and during the biding, he was cracking us up with this line "You talkin' to me?" to get bidders into the game. They appeared to be a bit short handed with spotters, and were packed with bidders, so this line came out of his mouth at least a million times. Valerie made a quick video for you to listen in case you've never attended an auction.

It is LOUD, fast paced, and really fun. We lost out on a bunch of stuff we really wanted, but knew our customer and jumped ship before prices got out of hand. Before we knew it though, we'd racked up about $1000 worth of treasures and our ears ringing from the auctioning team of the night. We headed home about 10PM talking the whole way home about where we'd place this and that. So, if you want first dibs on our newest truck load, it should be delivered tomorrow by early afternoon! My favorite personal buy was a piece of pottery, Valerie's were these cool prints of dogs in orange and black posted up top. Hope to see you in the store real soon!