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

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

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

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