It doesn’t have to be all or nothing…

My husband is a very smart man. He knows me so well, and when I get to the end of my rope, he knows how to grab hold and pull me back to get my footing stabilized again. Like now…

In my quiet time this morning, I was reading in a book by Kevin Deyoung, Crazy Busy, and stumbled (quite purposefully, I’m sure) across these words: “…busyness can ruin our joy.” He first described busyness as this, “…we are distracted. We are preoccupied. We can’t focus on the task in front of us. We don’t follow through. We don’t keep our commitments. We are so busy with a million pursuits that we don’t even notice the most important things slipping away.”

Ouch. Mr. Deyoung just described my life of late. And although the description was dead-on accurate, it didn’t make me feel any better. He had just put onto paper exactly what is happening to me at present….I am allowing my joy to be ruined.

This is how most weeks look in my world….a truck full of furniture and “fun” things heading into my spaces at the Marketplace on Locust. It is in this space of time each week that I am content in the moment. I love designing spaces that people can wander through, finding joy for their own day perhaps by being in a place that offers smiles, friendship, good deals and lots of home decor items just waiting to be discovered. But when I get worn down, worn out and simply worn to shreds (due to my own doing/overdoing), my joy flits away as fast as it came. And then I go searching for how to create more time in my days….to do what I love to do.

Like baking – (and oh, by the way, take notice of that cake plate! I bought it from a vendor at The Marketplace on Locust!). I used to stop my “work” everyday around 3:00 and head to the kitchen where I would begin prepping dinner, making desserts and getting ready to entertain friends or family.

And it was never ONLY about the food! Notice the dishes those delicious goodies are settled on….items hand-picked from antiquing with my sister, or shopping on my own at thrift stores. I love a good find, whether I’m bringing it to the shop for you or taking it home for myself!

And then there’s that “other” thing I’ve come to enjoy…upholstery! I see fabric now as an opportunity to move my design skills to a different level. Not only do I like coming up with the perfect pieces for my spaces, but my brain starts flowing in colors, patterns and setting the perfect scene for you to come explore at The Marketplace on Locust. Which then involves shopping, which then leads to painting furniture to go with the fabric I’ve just discovered. The cycle of busyness is moving rapidly in a downhill motion, picking up momentum….

Until I head outdoors into our yard and catch a glimpse of a quieter kind of beauty. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathe deeply child. You’re about to have your joy unraveled by all the things you love doing. And you. Don’t. Even. Realize. It.

Relationships are being put on the back burner. And for what gain? More fatigue? More money? More accolades of your creativity? More exhaustion of mind, body and soul?

That web was spun overnight in our yard. With one swift sweep of my broom, it was gone. All that hard work, yet some spider was suddenly homeless. (I know, just writing that makes me feel bad all over again.)

So maybe all my hard work won’t be swept away overnight, but….it could be. And then what do I have left? Broken relationships? Unmet friends? Bruises on my arms and legs from carrying furniture too heavy to be lifted by a little ‘ol lady (me)?

And his voice comes back to me, ever so gently…”It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, Connie.” And then I pick up my book from my morning quiet time and read: “Margin is the space between our load and our limits. Planning for margin means planning for the unplannable. It means we understand what’s possible for us as finite creatures and then we schedule for less than that.”

Me? Schedule LESS? (I need some air, a paper bag to breathe in, anything!) “Yes, Child,” my Father assures me.

The view was something I could not have planned. But I was still enough last night to notice it. And to breathe it in.

So here is my declaration, the way I purpose in my heart to get back to the things God has given me to do instead of doing all the things this world expects me to do….

  1. Spend time with God daily. He is my life. It is because of Him that I have breath in my lungs and can create anything from a good home to a good booth space. And in my busyness, I have neglected the Giver of Life.
  2. Spend time with the people I love….my husband and children first of all, because THEY are the first gift God gave me when He gave me the desire of my heart to be a wife and mom.
  3. Spend time cultivating relationships I have abandoned. My parents, my siblings, my friends. They matter.
  4. Write, write, write. Not because I think I have anything important that the world needs to hear but rather because by writing I often tell myself things I need to hear. I have pushed that creative and God-given outlet off the stove altogether (never mind putting it on the back burner!).
  5. Keep creating the spaces I love with zeal and new insight, but stop letting those spaces “take on a life of their own”, as my husband knows all too well that I can do. When that creative outlet comes before the first 4 things on this list, I have flung my joy totally away. I crash. And others get caught in my spinning out of control. Nobody wins that race. But we all get hurt in the crash.
  6. Last, I am giving up social media altogether. (It’s okay, really.) I have let other people’s comments (or lack of comments) drive me to places I would rather not admit that I’ve gone. I won’t miss my own rants, and truthfully, you likely won’t miss me! If you enjoy my blog posts, then subscribe at the bottom of this one. You will be notified whenever I write. And my writing will still include the pictures and stories of my time at The Marketplace on Locust, but I pray it will also include far more important things that awaken your senses to the hope we all have available to us by a life with Jesus as your Savior.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. But margin is important (that space between our load and our limits).

My load has become too great, and my limits have been met. I am turning back to the Source of my strength and my creativity. In that place, I will find again my joy in this journey. And be sure I will be sharing that with you.

~Blessings,

Connie

In the gardens of Burlap & Lace

I can never tire of this picture…the sign made by my son for my brick & mortar shop graced by the assortment of coneflowers, planted by another’s hands bur which I was blessed to tend for two years. On the day I closed my shop on Main Street, I collected some of the flowers and later spread the seeds into my home garden, thus taking a bit of that place home with me.

My absolute favorite flower is the daisy. They make me smile, inside and out. Clean and white, dipped with a dot of happy yellow smack dab in the center, they will always be in my gardens.

With Spring quickly approaching, I can honestly say that the thing I am missing most about our last home are the gardens we lovingly cultivated over the years. Don’t get me wrong….we have gorgeous plantings at our new home as a result of the master gardeners that owned the home prior to us. But I don’t yet “know” those plants and how they bend in the sunshine. And I want to give my own personal flare to the gardens with what my husband kindly calls “yard trash”….the hundreds of insulators I’ve collected over the years, the birdhouses inviting the chickadees to again find a home each spring, and the dozens of vessels that will carry the amazing florals indoors.

This Lenten Rose was one of my first surprises at our new home….they bloom right through the winter! There are several scattered about our yard so I can’t wait to see what else pops up here!

Part of my routine in late February/early March is to find all the “fun” yard items that I’ve stored away over the winter and start getting them out and ready to fill our gardens. For me, that always includes clay pots, galvanized watering cans and odd architectural items that end up gracing our yard. As you work on creating your own beautiful yard spaces, think outside the box! What can that rusty shovel now be used for rather than digging? Or that window frame with the broken glass you were taking to the dump? Or that old washing machine you found at the antique store but had no idea what you would do with it? Take a peek into my own yard….

Better yet, come join me at The Marketplace on Locust March 18-20 for our Spring Open House. The entire store will be full of inviting Spring and home décor. You will find furniture for the yard, porch and patio, tableware for a springtime family dinner, and even better, tons of designer ideas on how to use those pieces you love but just can’t figure out where to put them in your home or garden.

So as you await this amazing event, start gazing out the window a bit more than usual and see what your own home patio and yard are inviting you to do as the weather warms. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get started! Until then, I’ll keep planning and dreaming. How about you?

~Blessings,

Connie

Accepting the challenge

February has been a cold, wet and dreary month. As a result, I have caught up on some reading of other’s blogs which has prompted me to accept the challenge of a “no spend February” from Miss Mustard Seed’s blog (love her!), using my time to declutter our home rather than spend more money on things I don’t need. That being said, I’ve spent the first two weeks of February sprucing up my Marketplace at Locust space and planning for our Spring Open House upcoming, so now it’s time I got a schedule together and joined others inspired to “take the plunge” and get organized this month! Needless to say, my organizational efforts will be carried into March since I am getting a late start!

Those were the days, my friends!

I’ve always been a pretty organized person, but probably like you, sometimes I need a specified schedule to “deep clean” my home. I learned the most about deep cleaning in my employ at Bed & Breakfast on Tiffany Hill, located in Mills River, NC. For me, that was absolutely a dream job. As a three year old girl, all I wanted was to be a mommy and a homemaker (my mom did it so well and I wanted to be just like her!). In late 2013 I met Selena Einwechter, proprietor of said B&B, while interviewing for a job. Every year she left her B&B in the capable hands of her staff and headed to Florida while we closed the Bed & Breakfast for a month and a half and did our Spring Cleaning. I still incorporate that learned habit into my own home cleaning. No better time than now to pick a couple of weeks and dive in! (Next year I will totally have to take the full month to do this properly!)

We moved into a new home (four doors down from our old home) in July of 2020. Suffice it to say that much of my time since that move has simply been in painting and doing some remodeling, all the while maintaining my space at Marketplace on Locust, so I haven’t had a lot of desire to spring clean when I didn’t even have all the boxes unpacked! COVID helped with that as I have literally been organizing as I go! But as I was painting yesterday, I realized I really could use some days for organization….

So to my “list” of items yet to wade through…

  • Basement Workroom
    • Go thru fabrics and toss/donate items that will not be used
    • Organize scrapbook materials/send unwanted stickers to grandkids
    • Clean out paints/toss old or dried up cans
  • Kitchen
    • Clean and organize all cabinets inside
    • Clean outside of cabinet doors
    • Go thru pantry items (spices, etc)/toss out of date items
    • Clean out refrigerator/magic eraser!
  • Laundry room
    • Go thru cleaning supplies/Recirculate cleaning supplies throughout house
    • Organize batteries/lightbulbs/sliders/lunch boxes
  • Dining room
    • Organize napkins, table linens
    • Organize tablescape items and decor
  • Downstairs deck area
    • Build/relocate potting shed area
    • Wash pots to be ready for spring planting (should have done this at season’s end but we had just moved!)
  • Front deck
    • Pots organized for spring plants
    • Windows cleaned
  • Screened porch
    • Scrub down furniture
    • Replace rugs
    • Wash windows/screens
    • Stock pie safe with outdoor candles and table linens
  • Front gardens
    • Add yard art
    • Add mulch/prune and spruce up
  • Screened porch
    • Scrub down furniture
    • Replace rugs
    • Wash windows/screens
    • Stock pie safe with outdoor candles and table linens
  • Master BR closet
    • Weed out clothes not worn in a year
    • Clean out purses and bags/donate
    • Move ironed table linens to linen closet
    • Donate unworn shoes
  • Master Bath
    • Clean windows and blinds
  • C3’s office
    • Organize greeting cards and journals
    • Donate unwanted organizers, notebooks, etc.

Ambitious, aren’t I? Let’s get busy and get organized! Spring is on the way!!!

~Blessings,

Connie

Reflections…on 2020

The truth of the matter is, we’ve been masking ourselves – our true selves, our inner selves – to the world for quite some time.  But in March of 2020, COVID-19 hit our world, and the masks we began to wear were no longer hidden masks of our hearts.  They became (to me) a physical reminder of the deeper heart wounds that we try to hide everyday.

Four months into the virus, I found myself (probably like the rest of you) needing a haircut.  It was in that pandemic struggle that I found a person who was willing to share not only her skills in hairdressing, but she bore her heart, and I found something so precious and so refreshing that I sought her out more than once in the months that followed.

As I sat in her small one room salon, Erin shared many truths with me.  My heart sang at having found a sister in Christ to talk with…someone that shared my faith and love of Jesus, and who was unashamed to speak of that love.

On the wall across from us was this painting.  As I inquired about it, I learned that Erin was indeed an artist in more than one form!  This piece, called “Caged Beauty” spoke a story to my heart as she unfolded what she had painted, and why.  She practically breathed life into the creation as she recounted her affection and heartache for children caught in sex trafficking.  As she described this piece to me, I could envision clearly her portrayal of the children’s’ beauty, but the tragedy of them being trapped behind a world of lies, deceit and fear.  The story spoke so personally to me that it became my first purchased piece of true art for our new home.

As months passed, I learned of Erin’s new art studio space in downtown Brevard.  It was in my visit with her there that I felt a tug on my heart to purchase Erin’s pieces and to sell them at Burlap & Lace’s space within the Marketplace on Locust in Hendersonville, NC.  I loved her heart that was sketched into every piece, and I wanted to help expose her work to others.  In that vein, I asked Erin if I might video her telling of her work in her own words, and she was readily agreeable.  I also took notes (so glad I did!) in case my videoing skills were lacking.  As it turns out, my skills didn’t fail me, but this blog site has.  Video additions are not part of my “free” package.  So to the best of my ability, I will share Erin’s paintings and her stories behind them with you. My words of description will be as much hers as mine, as I wrote down exact quotes from her. And just so you know, her work will be offered for sale in my space after Christmas so spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends and on your personal pages.  And please understand….these are not Hobby Lobby reproductions and will not be priced as such.  They are creative, expressive, works of Erin’s heart.  Galleries will soon be promoting her work, and I am more than ecstatic to have her pieces gracing the walls of Burlap & Lace!

On the day I visited Erin in her studio, I knew I wanted to purchase all that she had available.  Above was the last piece I purchased from Erin that day, but the first to share with you here.  She calls it “Most Cunning”.

Many things struck me about this piece, the first being that it is entirely finger painted!  Erin told me that she painted this during the beginning of the quarantine period of the pandemic, having no foreknowledge when she began of what she would paint.  As she swirled her fingers on the canvas, she was meditating on the truth, the fear, the confusion and the heaviness of 2020.  That the serpent manifested itself was NOT her plan.   As she prayed and painted , she began to see the manifestation of the serpent and was shocked, as she didn’t want to paint something scary.  She remembered at once that although Satan is the most cunning of all creatures, yet the promise to every believer in Jesus Christ is that he, the serpent, is under the heel of the believer, and that God is ultimately in control of all that has been happening this Covid year.

This acrylic and mixed medium canvas painting is $895.

The above piece is called “Sanctuary”.  How often have you longed for a place of retreat?   A place where you could fall on your face and feel no condemnation, no shame, only comfort?  Erin found such a place at a time when she was not a believer.  Her Catholic grandmother, she remembers vividly, would always take her to church when she was a young child.  And although she laughingly (and somewhat fondly) remembers those cathedrals as much “greater” than what she has painted, the portrayal for her was the peace she felt when in that place.  It was as if somehow she knew when she was inside the church she was on holy ground.  Later, she explains, in some of the darkest times of her life, she would get down on her knees and pray, even though she didn’t believe.  Her faith began to grow through those hard times, and she stated that she began to paint a series of church paintings, always white and always bright.  Although painted some years ago, I’m so thankful she had this one left for me to purchase!  As with most of her pieces, this is an acrylic/mixed medium on canvas.  And with all of her canvas paintings, they are perfect stand-alone pieces, or would be stunningly attractive encompassed by a frame of your choosing.  This piece sells for $225.

Look closely at this next painting…I had to!  It’s called “Love Wins” and is again an acrylic/mixed medium on canvas.  When at a local art show, Erin saw a bronze bust with a glass rose coming out of the chest.  Erin was drawn to the bust, and explained that at the time, she was going through a divorce, which to her was the equivalence of a huge death that lasted several years.  It was during this time that she first began to paint, and to feel her grandmother’s gift of painting being passed on to her.   She wanted to paint a rendition of the sculpture she had seen….this is her first bust painting.  She indicates that the rose symbolized to her something beautiful….that she was going to recover and come through the darkest time of her life, all the while honoring her Father in heaven and remembering that love ultimately always wins.  Thus, the naming of her piece, which sells for $425.

Called “Grateful”, Erin’s most recently painted work came about as an excited, bright, happy and hopeful circumstance occurred in her life….the rental of the art space studio that she now occupies in downtown Brevard.  Erin recalled to me such an explosion of joy from her heart over having a designated space in which to do her art.  With my own love of flowers, and with the brightness of this work, it will be a favorite to display in my shop.  This acrylic/mixed media canvas painting will be offered at $395.

Unlike all the other purchased pieces that day, this gorgeous painting, done on wood, is likely the one that draws me in most to the story behind it.  And I might add here, that this is the video clip I hope to put on my IG or FB page soon, so look for it.  Erin’s heart speaks so clearly that I really want you to hear her words from her own mouth.  But until such a time, I will do my best to recount her story of this painting to you….

Being outside in her yard, setting up her easel, she had a birds eye view of the church that rents her home to her.  She unashamedly admits that on that particular day, she was dealing with her own emotions and feelings of anger, frustration and fear.  For a long time, she had been praying for a home that no one would be able to take from her.  She was angry at her circumstances, afraid of the church and feeling very frustrated as she began to paint.  What she felt  flowing outward from her heavy heart was nothing like what was unfolding onto the wood before her.  Erin very clearly recanted to me how God began to show her that she was to be aware of her feelings, but that she was to let her reflection be one of beauty and light, not darkness and fear.  Selling for $795,  I might add that when you buy Erin’s art, you are witness to a piece of her heart that is woven into every creation that pours forth from her fingertips, or from her brushes.

There are two more paintings that I walked away from Erin’s studio with that day.  Suffice it to say, neither will be seen at Burlap & Lace as they are now gracing the walls of our own home.  As you visit Burlap & Lace in 2021, my hope is that you will come to gaze upon these pieces (and hopefully more!), celebrating as I have that something so clearly speaks to your heart that it then becomes a timeless focal piece for your home.

May you be blessed as you spend time in the Reflections of 2020, understanding that God has gifted each of us in different ways.  Let’s choose to celebrate those differences as we move into the new year of 2021, sharing what we have to offer with those we meet along our journey.

~Blessings,

Connie

Changing your view…

Am I the only one who finds comfort in the familiar? We have been blessed with this view for the past 15 years….and though it changes daily, there is consistency in it as well….like when the clouds begin forming over the mountains and the fog sets in, we know the rain is not far behind. Or when the morning begins with heavy fog, we know that soon it will lift and we can see all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Consistency brings comfort.

When God appointed a new leader for the Israelites, He instructed them: “Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be afraid of (the enemies in the new land); for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6

I would do well to remember that. New lands can be both exciting, and discomforting. Why? Because of the loss of familiarity and our own uncertainty about what may lie ahead.

A new table is being set for us….one of anticipation, celebration and freedom. We are entering a new time in our lives….

We are approaching a date set for celebrating our country’s freedom; yet, there seems to be so much unrest and uncertainly all around us. What can we do to keep our focus in the midst of the changes we are undergoing?

Remember that in the end…it will be worth it. Everything we are going through is causing us to determine where we put our hope, our faith, our trust. We have opportunities like never before to be kind, to think of others more than of ourselves, to love unselfishly.

This was the first sign I ever made, and it hangs worn and scuffed on the door of our shed. It will go with us to our next destination because it’s a daily reminder to me of truth. Love….is perceived as many things. But for me, it’s simply this: “For the love of Christ compels us (it leaves us no choice), because we judge thus: that if One (Jesus) died for all, then all died; and He died for all that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corn. 5:14-15

Love IS all I need. God is love (I John 4:8). And because He has loved me so much, I want to live my life for Him and not for myself. And I choose to celebrate the freedom I have in Him….everyday!

What in your life is worth celebrating today, even in the midst of the world pandemic, even in the midst of the riots and injustice, even in the midst of pain? God is not surprised by any of this. In fact, I dare say He wants to get our attention. Perhaps we’ve been living too long for ourselves, wanting what we want, when we want it, without consideration of how our wants may affect someone else’s comfort.

Life really is a dance you learn as you go. Who can boast that they have done everything perfectly? Who can honestly say they haven’t made a mistake or two, or treated others poorly?

My husband and I took dance lessons before our eldest son’s wedding. And I learned pretty quickly a couple of things: (1) Trust the one who has the lead (and oh, by the way, it’s not me!) and (2) Don’t look at your feet! Looking down always makes you stumble. You have to keep your eyes on the one who is leading you, lest you stumble and fall. and (3) You will make mistakes and maybe even fall. But you have to get right back up and try again. “For a righteous man may fall seven times, and rise again…” Proverbs 24: 16

“…don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Eph 4:26

At the end of the day, changing circumstances may be causing us to change our perspective a bit. I’m putting myself up for the challenge….to be a sweeter spouse, a more loving friend, a more empathetic person. If I haven’t yet walked in your shoes, or you in mine, we just might be called to one day. I pray we walk wisely, and kindly.

~Blessings,

Connie

Celebrate Life

It’s a new day in your life….the life you are writing in invisible script. So how will your story unfold….today? For eternity?

I’ve pondered the same question, more since this pandemic began than ever before. For suddenly, I don’t go….anywhere! Or see….anyone! For this extroverted person, I have at times felt I was literally going stir-crazy! So I have decided to get back to some basics…things I used to enjoy but have stopped doing, and I also decided to learn some new skills during this stay-at-home time.

And what of putting some things of meaning in our lives?

The sign above is made from my dad’s old drafting board and then covered with the pages of an antique book: Tom Sawyer. Seemed fitting for me….between Tom’s story and that of his friend, Huckleberry Finn, I would say that I often think of my life as a huge adventure, much the same as those two had! And then I ran across this quote….and it fit. I’m hoping to hang this in our loft space when it gets remodeled (soon, I hope!)

If it’s in our home, it’s because it means something to me and my husband. I have been spending hours with Joanna Gaines’ book Homebody, drawing out one room at a time as we are beginning to remodel our home. The book is perched upon my great-grandfather’s old tool trunk, turned upright and nestled in behind our loveseat. The small sign is a reminder to me of two things: (1) that God commands us to be still (Psalm 46:10) and to know Him and (2) that my friend, Melissa Ward, took a chance on me a long time ago and invited me to set up a booth space within her shop. Thank you, friend!

So since we are home more these days, I decided to start learning some upholstery skills. This sewing stool was a gift from my parents upon my college graduation. As I tore off the old, fading fabric, it wasn’t without finally seeing the labor my mom underwent in upholstering it for me some 30 years ago! And she didn’t have the tools we have today, so indeed it was a labor of love! I hope to use it also in our loft space.

Another love I have is to refinish old furniture pieces to sell in my booth space at Marketplace on Locust in Hendersonville. That was my intent with this sideboard/buffet, but it may just stay at home with me a while longer!

Can you say that your home has always been a gathering place? Ours has been….from our family, to our son and his friends during college, to home group gatherings to neighbors stopping by. We miss those days, but truly believe “there’s no place like home”. Soon, we will get back to the gatherings. Until then, stop in and shop my space at Marketplace on Locust and start getting your own home space ready to receive friends and family soon too!

Years ago my husband and I put together this sign depicting places we or our kids had lived, or places we might as well have lived as we’ve traveled there so often. During this season in our lives, it felt good to paint it again and bring it back to life. And to give thanks for all those places, and the people that we met there.

We might be getting older, but also getting wiser! We have chosen to enjoy nature so much more during this pandemic time! Our oldest son built this birdhouse with his grandfather (my dad) years ago. And every year since he was about 11 (he’s 35 now!), we have hung it and had birds nest in it. This particular year, we watched the parents feed their babies nightly and were present to watch the fledglings leave the nest. Had we been in our normal crazy routine of life, we would have missed that! What have you witnessed during this time that you otherwise would have paid no attention to?

Except for the newly sprouting buds and those sweet chirps from the birds, we would have thought that Spring had passed us by. Sad to say, but in a way I always gauged Spring by my merchandise at Marketplace! It is absolutely my favorite time of year, and I missed not decorating there, but I chose to use the time to decorate and enjoy our home instead.

I’ve had my own struggles during this time….just ask those closest to me. But as always has been the case in my life, God has proven to be more faithful than any trial I feel I am passing through.

Businesses are beginning to open back up, and I have to admit there’s a part of me that is ecstatic and a part of me that is mournful of that fact. The obvious exciting part (if you know me, you get this) is to see people again and to get out and about. But the mournful part of that is not being able to hug them, and just be who God created me to be in that way. That part will come, but bear with me as I do my best to refrain that part of my personality. It’s just not like me to see you and not squeal and let a hug pass between us.

In the days and months that follow, I pray we will all be kind to one another, enjoy the smallest of moments as they come, embrace the one(s) we share a home with and don’t be afraid to offer up a smile. I’m looking forward to when we can be together again (so brace yourself for that hug!). Until then –

~Blessings,

Connie

Cottage designs & Farmhouse finds

“Settling in” is definitely something that brings a snug and cozy feeling to my heart, and that is exactly what I’ve been doing in the last few weeks of February at The Marketplace on Locust. As I have moved into a larger, one-room space, I am creating a one-of-a-kind, ever-changing space for you to come enjoy and to gain inspiration from. Every week will usher in fresh new ideas, inspiring vignettes of how you can stage your own living spaces and a surplus of home interior goodies – everything from furniture, to art work, to lamps and every imaginable piece of home decor. Let’s take a tour of the “firsts” that have been designed with you in mind!

Every home needs a desk….whether in a living space, an office, a bedroom or a loft….creating a space that is both unique and functional is important! This kidney-shaped desk is all of the above, complete with a bookcase built into the backside! Plenty of room for a computer, desk pad, calculator or whatever makes your office space “work” for you!

This coffee table is a re-purposed antique piece with so much character and charm that it barely made it into the shop instead of into my own home. Solid wood and tall enough to house beneath it a basket of throws for those cold winter nights or a magazine basket. Stack a few old suitcases beneath it for appeal and extra storage!

This charcoal grey table works well in place behind a love seat or small couch. Would make a nice server with space to house dishes and silverware within the cabinets and drawer. Or what about a TV perch? Use the drawer to store remotes and the side cabinets for those candlesticks you never have a place to store!

There are several antique trunks in my space this month….all restored and perfect storage as well as just pretty pieces to adorn any room.

Spring is on the way so why not start thinking of ways to outfit your home with some of the beauty of the season? This antique basket of lavender is guaranteed never to lose its shine! Use it outdoors or in….And the cloche is a perfect way to transform your dining table or side table from season to season. Seen here with a few antique plates and some white birds to welcome in the season. And how about hanging these tin pieces filled with succulents on a porch or in a bathroom? These beauties will never need watering!

The vintage love in me just can’t help but come through! Try a dress form in a corner of your home and transform it seasonally to keep vintage appeal alive and fresh. Seen this month in linen white fashioned with touches of silver necklaces – all for sale! And this scalloped bookcase is meant to fold but has purposefully been screwed in place to avoid mishap! Just keep that tidbit in mind when looking….easily stores should the need arise! Don’t you just love the chippy patina!?!

Buffets used to be standard fare in homes “back in the day”, and they are making a comeback as more and more we turn to entertaining in our homes again. And even if entertaining isn’t your idea, these pieces are the perfect landing spot for an over-sized TV or for your music ensemble! This particular piece, however, is perfectly outfitted with dividers in the top drawer for your utensils.

Seating options for your home and porch should include both style, fashion and comfort….so expect to always have a choice at Burlap & Lace that meets all three of those criteria!

Try styling a guest dresser with a vignette of vintage pieces perfect to delight the eye and entice the guest to a good night of sleep. This styling is brought to life within a vintage hat box filled with old gloves, an antique book, some greenery and of course, ironstone! You could even add fresh flowers to the bottle vase for your guest!

Don’t forget to adorn your walls with fun, interesting and decorative items! From this whimsical cow painting to the birds nest candle mount or the wooden arches or mirrored door, nothing charms a home more than a bit of wall decor. I try to incorporate a bit of architectural salvage accompanied with practicality in every room of my home. Unsure where to begin? Ask Ilse, the owner of Marketplace on Locust, for help as you browse through the entire store. She is a designer like no other and always ready to help you put together the perfect ensemble for any room in your home or office!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 28….the Spring Open House will be from 10-6 at the Marketplace on Locust and everything in the store will be 10% off! Can’t wait to show you what’s coming to the space of Burlap & Lace for that Spring event! Until then…happy shopping!

~Blessings,

Connie

The “art” of inspiration

Beginnings are important….as are prayers and dreams. So I want to share with you the “art” of inspiration….where it has come from for me, and how it plays into my designs.

For years I dreamed of and prayed for a house with a wrap-around porch to house the business of Burlap & Lace….but not just that….I wanted a yard full of flowers…a place to tend the garden and till the soil on slow days….a place to sit on the porch and welcome guests/shoppers/friends. And God answered my prayer in 2017. This was not my first brick and mortar space, but it certainly was the one my heart had yearned for, and believed for. And so it all began….

There’s always a “back story”, and mine is simply how Burlap & Lace was born. I have a sister 17 months younger, and we teasingly referred to ourselves as the Burlap (me) and the Lace (her) through our adult years. I encourage you to find and read the rest of the story (search the Home page of my blog), but let’s just say that the name stuck and has carried me for far longer than the brick and mortar beginnings.

She’s the encouragement I need, the laughter in life’s difficult moments and the one who will “cheer” me on when I need it most. Simply said, I would’t be “Burlap” were it not for her, the “Lace”.

But I couldn’t be where I am without the love of one man….My HubE continues to be my greatest source of strength on this earth, and I thank the Lord that he truly encourages me daily to be all God has created me to be.

And what I’ve yearned to be most since I was three years old is “mom”….and I couldn’t be prouder of my two sons. They married well and gave me two amazing daughters who love me and, better yet, love my sons and make them better men.

Inspiration in home decor begins at home for me. If you see it in my space of Burlap & Lace, it’s because I likely have it also in my home. You will definitely see themes in my decor….things I love to decorate with because they speak to who I am. So let’s look at a few of those things that inspire, but that I’ll likely never tire of….

The written word is powerful….and whether it’s in vintage items that depict that, or in books and signs themselves, you will likely always see those items in my space.

Pitchers and vessels that would hold flowers, utensils or other objects always draw me in. Not only are they pretty, but they’re useful! Try thinking outside the box and incorporating a few of these items into your own home!

Milk glass is timeless. I particularly love the hobnail type, but all of it is collectible in my eyes. If you haven’t noticed, I love greenery and flowers, and milk glass is the perfect vessel for both!

Architectural salvage will appear often in my designs, and I will point you to ways to use the items around your home in ways that are both attractive and practical!

Art speaks to me, telling a story that is special to the heart. You will see items in my space, as well as in my home, that speak to the things that make me smile….children, birds, nature….What inspires you? Look for that and fill your spaces with those things.

Painted furniture is something I love to mingle in with bare wood pieces, and painting antique pieces that I have found makes my heart happy as I think of who will be inspired by the piece and want to incorporate it into their own home.

At the end of the day, if you are a vintage girl at heart, just shine! And don’t forget to have fun along the journey.

~Blessings,

Connie

How to survive a kitchen remodel…

I know we are not the first family to undergo a remodel of a kitchen, but when you are embarking on this journey, somewhere in the midst of the excitement lies a small bit of terror as thoughts arise on how you will remodel the kitchen on a budget and yet eat every meal out for months on end. And what about those wee children and hard-working husbands? Bedtimes, nap times and missed ballgames or meetings for your husband will definitely add to your stress if you are constantly dragging your children to restaurant after restaurant night after night and pleading with your husband to miss his game, or his meeting, to take you out to eat.

I know I’m a bit over the edge Type A, but I am only three weeks into this remodel and I can already tell you some things that have saved us.

I began with “eating down our frig and freezer” the month prior to any work beginning. Simply stating, all that means is ….eat what you have on hand and buy very little else. And if you can make casseroles ahead that will microwave easily (providing you will have a freezer to store them in), that will be time well spent!

Secondly, I began to plan where our make-shift, temporary kitchen would be housed. Although it’s not the best idea to use your sleeping space (particularly if you don’t like to smell food odors into the night), it was the most reasonable spot for us as we have a very small home.

I began by clearing out and stowing away easily movable and small furniture items such as side chairs and tables. I purchased several plastic tubs that I could put our kitchen items in (including food) and began cleaning out the cupboards one by one, filling the tubs and labeling them in case I had to find something later on. I used sticky notes to begin my thought process of where things would go in my make-shift kitchen.

Next, I set up our dining room drop-leaf table in our bedroom, covering it with a beach towel and putting our sink drainer on one end. This area was going to become our dish drying station. On the other end of the table, I placed two plate chargers and a stack of paper plates. (The chargers were to provide extra stability beneath the paper plates).

We were fortunate to have a small college-sized refrigerator in our shed, and my sweet husband cleaned it up and brought it and an old work table inside for me. That, combined with some old storage drawer units we had stuck in the crawlspace of our home, created a nice area for our immediate needs.

The next thing was to take stock of what cooking items and utensils I already had on hand that could be used in meal prep without a stove or oven. (Oh, did I mention we were also replacing all of our appliances?) I already had a counter-top microwave so I made a mental note of where that could go in our temporary kitchen.

I also had a crock pot and a rice cooker, so I knew those would be quite useful. We are blessed as well to have a grill and my husband was more than happy to be included in the meal prep, so naturally I would incorporate some good grilled items into my menu planning (but I’m getting ahead of myself!)

I determined that the only other item I didn’t have that would be helpful was a hot plate. When I walked into our local Wal-Mart, however, I found an electric skillet for under $25 and purchased that instead. It’s been such a great find and something I will use even after the kitchen remodel is complete!

As I packed up the staples of my kitchen (salt, pepper, spices, etc.), I left out those that I use most frequently and put all the rest into one of my designated food tubs. Don’t forget to leave out staples such as peanut butter & crackers!

Next I went to work on planning 30 days of menus that would use microwave, grill, crock pot, rice cooker or electric skillet. Oh, I also left out our toaster! I figured if the reno took more than a month, I would simply start over again with my menus! (Yes, I honestly thought we would be done inside a month’s time!)

I brought in some stacking drawer tubs we had stashed in our shed, cleaned them up and stuffed them beneath a plastic folding table I also had in the shed. Those have proved to be super helpful as well for storing some food items and also some glass baking dishes that I use not only to warm food in, but for storage of leftover items. (KEY here is not to plan meals that you actually have leftovers from unless you have a refrigerator to store them in during your renovation!)

How could I forget our coffee station? I found some cute wipe-able place-mats at Walmart for $1 each and purchased two simply to protect our dresser top. Then I brought in a stacking shelf that was in my cupboard and used it to create my coffee station. Works so great!

Be sure to include in your make-shift kitchen area a trash can, liner bags, a recycling area and lots of bottled water! While we don’t have a kitchen sink or a refrigerator with water built in at present, I have found that the convenience of bottled water is just….well, nice.

Okay, the hard work now has been done! Let the reno begin! Let’s see some of the meals we’ve enjoyed during this journey so far….

Broccoli and salmon were prepared on the grill. Beans and tomatoes were heated in the microwave (not as nice as on the stove top where flavors have an opportunity to mesh, but still good!).

Taco salad anyone? I browned the hamburger in the skillet and the rest was easy peesy! Don’t like paper plates? I promise when you get to meal clean-up you’ll be thankful for them!

Speaking of meal clean up, I chose to use a plastic dish tub that fit inside my bathroom sink so that I didn’t have to wash my sink out everyday! (Lazy, I know…). Because I’m not a fan of drinking coffee from paper or Styrofoam or of using plastic utensils, there are always some items to wash, but overall it has been quite manageable.

Keep the main thing the main thing and don’t forget to enjoy the journey! You will get to enjoy the not-so-exciting food prep in your new kitchen soon enough. For now, think…..Camping! You’ve got this!

~Blessings,

Connie

Getting settled…finally

I’ve been all over the place….in my mind, in locations, in my decor antics…but it’s time now to settle in, take a deep breath, and enjoy the work God has given me to do…..again.

From my archives I chose the above pictures to give you a taste of where I have journeyed these past few years. From a window space on Main Street in Brevard, to a brick & morter shop of my own, to an underground basement space at The Garage on 25, and finally back home again….It’s been a journey of more than 1000 miles (you should see the odometer on my car!), more than 1000 smiles and some unnumbered tears along the way as things didn’t go as I had hoped and/or planned. But would I change anything along the way? Not one bit….

You see, I am learning that if I don’t praise God for the hard times, I’m not really praising Him at all. He is working ALL things together for my good because I love Him, so even through the heartaches, “It’s all good!”, as my sister would say.

My final landing place until God calls me to end this home decor journey is at The Marketplace on Locust in Hendersonville, NC. How thankful I am to be a part of Ilse’s own dream-come-true!

Ilse, along with her daughter, Hannah, have made me feel so welcomed here. They never fail to lend a helping hand to us vendors, and they are absolutely, hands-down, the BEST at targeting a shopper’s needs and guiding them through the store to find exactly what they are looking for.

Although the window in front of my space doesn’t boast the words here (I added them for the picture), it should! Step inside and see what I’ve created with you in mind!

January has me celebrating the beginning of my second year at the Marketplace on Locust. And spread the word….I’m blogging again! Stay tuned….2020 is underway, and with it so are my plans for a fantastic new year with you….at The Marketplace on Locust.

~Blessings

Connie