Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas List.....

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Okay, Enough, Already

The snowstorm of 2009 in a nutshell:

Day one = excitement is in the air!
It's going to snow!
Should we cancel our party?

Day two = It snowed!!!
Yippee!!
20+, beautiful, fabulous, fluffy inches of winter fun!
Big fat fun, lots of shoveling, snowballs, and sledding!
Life is cozy, beautiful and warm in front of the fire!
What the heck, we'll just postpone our party!

Day three = The snow has turned on us.
It's losing its luster, turning brown and ugly!
The natives are getting restless
Hubby's getting CRANKY
The kids don't want to play outside anymore
And
For God's sake how many times do I have to tell my G@d da#n@d! kids to take their boots off before they come into the house!?

So, how's it going at your house?









Saturday, December 19, 2009

La Joie De La Vie

The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful!

This is where you'll find me today, enjoying a great fire in between shoveling the snow!

It's one of the "Joys of Life"!



Thursday, December 17, 2009

TIME FLIES!


Time flies!

I got so busy I never had a chance to post more photos of last weekend's Chartreuse sale!

Time flies!

Today is my 21st wedding anniversary!

Time flies!

I'm scrambling now because suddenly it's two days before my annual Christmas party and the decorating still isn't done!

Time flies!


And it's not going to stop, so I better get busy!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)





Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This Weekend at Chartreuse


This is the last weekend we'll be open at Chartreuse and Co. until the third weekend in January.

We've decorated the owner's 1898 house, inside and out for the holidays and everything's for sale!

Stop back tomorrow for a sneak peek of what's inside!








Monday, December 7, 2009

Barn Girl

This Barn Girl is getting tired!
Our two day holiday show at The Barn was last week.

And five weekends down with one to go at my other barn,
It's been fabulous, with great sales and happy customers, but I need a break!

I'm looking forward to focusing on the holidays!
(Not to mention cleaning my house!)


That mirror I'm pictured in?
It's an awesome 75 year old door I turned into a mirror.
It's SOLD!
The new owner is going to attach it to the wall and put a sink in front of it in her powder room.
Way cool!




Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Barn's Holiday Show

I've been so busy I forgot to mention we're having a two day holiday show at The Barn tomorrow and Thursday!

The barn is loaded with lots of great gift ideas, jewelry, antiques, architectural salvage pieces, etc.

Send me an e-mail if you'd like directions!




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

When It Rains It Pours

It's been a rough week:

My husband and youngest son were in a car accident.

(I'm thankful no one was hurt.)

His car is not drivable.

(I'm thankful we have two vehicles.)

But now my two year old mini-van needs a new transmission.

(I'm thankful it's under warranty.)

Now we have two cars in the shop.

(I'm thankful our friends have a spare van we can borrow.)

Our dog is prone to ear infections - another $160 at the vet yesterday.

(I'm thankful she's on the mend.)

We're now two days late going to Ohio for Thanksgiving while we wait for my van to be repaired.

(I'm thankful I have a loving family to go home to.)

I went shopping with my sons yesterday for new shoes and clothes.
I hate shopping.

(I'm thankful I have children.)

Giving thanks for my life, today, and every day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

(I'm thankful you took the time to visit my blog today!)



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leo's Birthday


Today would have been my dad's 75th birthday.

He passed away too soon, six years ago.
And I still miss him.

My sons were seven and five when he died and
I worry that their memories of him are fading.

So, I talk about him, alot.
To remind them of who their grandfather was:

The baby of the family (like me)
Tall! 6'4"
That he cried at commercials.
And when he watched "Brian's Song" and "Something for Joey" he bawled like a baby!
He was a big man, with a soft heart.

He was a star baseball and basketball player.
Who refused to coach until his own sons were out of little league.
Because fathers should cheer instead of coach their kids.
He coached countless other kids for over 20 years.
More than a few of which told me he was the best coach they ever had.

Everyone knew him!
He cared little for possessions,
Was a veteran of the Korean War.
And was proud of his Irish heritage.

He was not without faults!
(There were many!)

He hated all of my boyfriends except one.
And that one became my husband.
He loved him!
He loved my children!
And he loved me!

So I keep his memory alive with my children!
But, still, I miss him.

(Photo of my dad, Leo Meenachan and I, 2002)
More memories of my dad here.






Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Chartreuse Ladies

One of the things I love most about being a part of Chartreuse and Co., is that I've made a bunch of new friends!


They're an incredibly talented, creative group of women that turn an old dairy barn into an amazing shopping experience the third weekend of every month.

We kicked off the holiday season last Thursday night and it truly was a magical evening.

I'm so proud to be a part of the group!

That's me in the chartreuse sweater in the back row.
Yes, the one with her eyes closed!
And that's Molly to my right.
The super talented artist I call my partner in crime at Chartreuse!

For the holidays we'll be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until mid December.
I hope you can stop by!




Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kicking Off the Season!

Yes,I know it's only been five days since Halloween, but the holidays really are right around the corner!

Chartreuse and Co. is all decked out for the holidays and we're kicking off the season with our gala grand opening tomorrow (Nov. 5th) night!

We'll have chartinis, appetizers and lots of great shopping!

Find a comfortable spot, sit back, relax and check out some pictures of what we've put together here!

Oh, and that gorgeous settee pictured above?
It's French, fabulous and available this weekend at Chartreuse!
I hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween!
My kids have been:
A cowboy
A frog
An elephant
A clown
Two cheerleaders
Anakin Skywalker
Daniel Boone
Men in Black
Hula girl
Fisherman
Jengo Fett
and this year?
Mario and his Gangster Friend






Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who I Am

I come from a long line of volunteers.

My mom was the room mother my entire academic career.
(To this day she can't believe college freshmen don't need room mothers!)

She was the PTA president for years.
(Her photo is in my high school yearbook more than mine!)

My father coached little league baseball and football for over 20 years.

My mother never met a committee she didn't chair.

So, it's not in my blood to be anything different.

I volunteer.

I've been my youngest son's room mother his entire academic career.

I've never been involved in an organization I haven't ended up a board member of.

It's just who I am.

It's a family philosophy I believe in:
"You take your turn, you give back to the community."

But lately, I feel a shift in my thinking.

Things have happened where instead of feeling good about volunteering I'm starting to feel resentful.

Taken advantage of.

Maybe it's because my life is fuller now and I don't have as much free time as I used to.
Maybe now I'm just more protective of my spare time.

All I know is that I don't like feeling this way and I don't know what to do.

What I do know is that quitting is not in my blood.





Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drive Time



My drive to
Chartreuse and Co., takes an hour and 15 minutes and I usually go about once a week.

I look forward to the drive.

Because I am Alone.

Which is not a state I'm in very often.

But I love it when I am.

It's comfortable.

And usually quiet, unless I'm belting out my favorite song.

No other voices, or thoughts to contemplate but my own.

Some days the drive feels too short.

I long for more time on the road because once I stop the car everything starts again!


Today was no exception.

Just a few more miles would have been perfect.......







Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Little Work and Then Some Fun


Today, I'm heading up to Charteuse and Co.
to meet Molly to get our space ready for this weekend's sale.


And while Molly's holding down the fort this month, I'm leaving in the morning for this beach in Maine.

I'm going to my friend's family cottage on the ocean for our annual girls weekend.
Wine.
Peeps.
Beach.

Just what I need!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heartbroken

My heart has been broken.

Again..

It happened just as I predicted here.

My latest love is leaving me.




I'm happy for it.

Really I am.

Who wouldn't want to live in an old, beautiful, renovated farmhouse?

Why couldn't it be with me, and my farm house?

I have to stop falling in love........

with the pieces I buy to sell at the barn!

It's just hard to part with some things.

Like the apothecary chest.

It was the first thing that sold at last weekend's barn sale.

And it's going to a good home.

With someone who loved it at first sight.

Like I did.....



Tuesday, October 6, 2009


SOME PICTURES FROM THE BARN SHOW



We had alot of great pieces made out of architectural salvage materials, like this birdhouse.


Charming vignettes.


And best of all lots of customers, including my old friend Michelle (on the right) that I had not seen in 15 years! (Her visit made my day!


More to come!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Barn Show - Day 1

Here's a synopsis of today's barn show:

FABULOUS!

More tomorrow (day two). I am not kidding when I tell you we ran out of parking spots! I was directing traffic out on the road, which brought back memories of my time spent working here when I was in college.

It was amazing!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

WELCOME TO THE BARN SHOW!

The Barn Show opens tomorrow morning for our fifth annual fall sale!

The barn is loaded with antiques, architectural salvage pieces, awesome chalkboards, accessories, jewelry and vintage finds. Everything is in its place and we are ready to slide open the barn doors and show everyone what we've been up to!

A few sneak peeks:






Doesn't the apothecary chest I told you about a couple of posts ago look absolutely fabulous in the barn?! I have a feeling my heart is going to be broken over this one!

I hope to see you at the barn!
(Located in Gambrills, Maryland)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

KEEPING CALM!


Okay, so it's three days until the Fall Barn Show and I'm feeling a little stressed! Not so much about the show, because the other barn girls and I have been kicking it into high gear to get everything ready. And we're in pretty good shape.

It's all of the other stuff that needs to get done. The normal every day life stuff.
Laundry, helping my kids with homework, providing balanced meals.
(The food pyramid is so over rated!)
It doesn't help that my husband left yesterday on a three week military deployment to the other side of the world!


So, my motto this week?


Need your own Keep Calm and Carry On Sign?

Stop by the show this weekend and pick one up; we'll have a few to choose from!

Just curious though, does cereal for dinner count as a nutritional meal?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm in Love

Every now and then I fall in love at first sight.

Madly, deeply, passionately!

I can't help myself,

I'm a hopeless romantic.

But, sadly, it never lasts.

My heart's desire always leaves me

And finds its way to another.


But, until then, I savor the time we have together.

Dreaming of how we'd live forever

In a pretty little house with shutters by the sea.

But, knowing, forever never comes.


And I have to let go.

It's always hard to say goodbye.............

Meet the new love of my life:




I spotted it in an Ohio field.

And my heart leapt!

Who could blame me for falling in love?

Have you ever seen a more amazing apothecary chest?

36 drawers!

And those numbers!!



It came from an old country store in Indiana.

It came home to Maryland with me.

And it will be stealing more hearts

at my next barn show on

October 2nd, 3rd and 4th

in Gambrills, Maryland.

But, until then, this love is mine!





Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'M "HOME"



I drove to northeastern Ohio today to meet up with my mom and sister to go to the Country Living Fair. We'll drive to Columbus in the morning.

But tonight, I'm "home".

My mom has lived in this house for 47 years.
I'm in the room I slept in for 20 years of my life.
So much has changed since then.

It's hard to believe six of us lived in this house.
Now it's just my mom.
Sometimes it makes me sad to be here because it feels too quiet.
So different from when I was a child.
But tonight, it feels good.
Safe, comforting, and familiar.

I live 325 miles from here.

I don't see my family as much as I would like because life just gets in the way.

My mom and I sat in her living room looking at old photos of my babies, of happy times and relatives that were still with us, vibrant and alive.

And I'm keenly aware of the passage of time.

Again.

It seems to be a constant on my mind these day.

I think about that and wonder why.

Alot.

I don't know if it's melancholy or worry.

My dad passed away six years ago. My mom is getting older.

My kids are pulling away from me as preteen and teenagers tend to do.

My life has become so busy lately.

That's why I'm so happy to be home.

To reconnect with my family.

To strengthen that bond.

To create new memories.

To remind myself of who I am.

Where I came from.

And how I got to be the person I am today.

I feel so happy!

To be home.







Wednesday, September 16, 2009

OFF TO THE COUNTRY LIVING FAIR



My suitcase is packed.

I'm leaving Maryland.

I'm leaving my kids.

I'm leaving my husband.

I'm off to Ohio (which also happens to be the "MOTHERLAND" for this native Buckeye) to go to the Country Living Fair in Columbus.

The rest of my family still lives in Ohio so I'm picking up my mother and sister and we're driving to Columbus for the show!

I can't wait!

Don't worry, I plan to take lots of pictures and will post them when I get back!

(You didn't think I was leaving forever did you?)

I'm so excited!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall is in the Air (at least the barn)!






Chartreuse and Co.,'s monthly barn sale is this weekend and Molly and I decked out our space in fall style. The funny thing is before the barn was a fabulous venue for monthly tag sales, it was a working dairy farm. So, the second floor of the barn was loaded with hay for over 40 years! It took a ton of work to clear the hay and get the 2nd story ready for us and the other dealers to move in.

So, what did we do? We loaded our space up with hay for this month's sale!

It's a barn!

Fall is definitely in the air and hay is all over the floors to prove it!

So, if you live in the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area you definitely need to check out this sale!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's Just Not Me

Yesterday morning, I set out all by myself, excited to go to an annual antiques market in the rolling, country side of northern Virginia. I had never been to the show before and was excited to shop a new venue because I'm gearing up for both of my barn sales this month and need some pieces to fill in what I already have. So I set out looking for things that appeal to me.

I didn't have a plan for what I was looking for - I never do. I guess it's the auction girl in me; you just never know what you'll find so you can't go intent on finding something in particular.

Well the antique market was down a gravel road, in a beautiful field, and surrounded by mature oak trees. As soon as I drove in, and took in the scene, my heart started racing because I was so excited to embark on the hunt. Once the gates opened, I ran in and beelined it to a tent that looked promising. And that's when the disappointment set in. The prices were outrageous! Sky-high, ridiculous! But that didn't deter me, I just moved on to the next row of tents, but quickly discovered the prices were the same.

I'm not kidding when I tell you a small painted step stool was $125. A gilded mirror was $6,000. A feedsack covered chair was $1,250!!! A gilded birdcage was $7,500!! Don't get me wrong, there were absolutely beautiful things there. Fine, heirloom quality antiques. The kind of pieces you see in museums and homes like the DuPont mansion.

It's just not me. Maybe I like my "antiques" like I like my friends. A little less pedigreed, chippy, time-worn, but still full of life, well loved and with a deep soul that speaks to me. Nothing spoke to me yesterday. It was all spit and polished. Beautiful condition. Gleaming like they've never seen the inside of a real home. Because the stuff inside "real" homes, at least in my world, gets used, loved and treasured.

What I saw yesterday was only what you look at. Not to be touched. How can you love something like that?

Take me to a junk sale, flea market or country auction. That's where I feel at home.

Monday, August 31, 2009

CRAZY BUSY!

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, it's just I've been crazy busy since then!

I discovered vacationing at the beach is exhausting! The sun, sand and surf can really wipe you out, so I needed a week to recover from that!

But alas, the kids went back to school (Boo, hiss!) and I've been busy getting back into the swing of things with that.

Not to mention the fact I had my monthly barn sale at Chartreuse and Co. and I'm now preparing for my other barn show's sale which is the first weekend in October.

But the best news is that I'm getting a new blog design! I just started the process and I can't wait to see how it all turns out!

The Kramer Angle.

New and Improved.

I can't wait!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beach Bound



THE BEACH
+
Family
+
Friends
+
Kids
+
Boogie boards
+
A tote full of decorating magazines
+
Great food
+
Frozen drinks
=
BLISS

We leave in the morning.....

(Photo courtesy of Yarnie Spinner - Flickr)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice........


There's nothing I like more than a really great auction.


(Well, okay, the beach is pretty good too!)
And then there's Diet Coke, Chipotle, and decorating magazines....
But, anyway,

There's a weekly auction on the eastern shore of Maryland that I try to go to every week. It's really a lot of fun because you just never know what you're going to find.

A couple of weeks ago my new friend,
LouLou and I met up and spent the day bidding on all kinds of vintage finds! We won some and lost some but had a great time in the process!

Last week, I took my kids with me because my youngest, almost 11, was hoping to find one of these:


He hit the jackpot and had three to choose from!
He was the high bidder ($40) and chose the handsome (in a former life) specimen in the middle! (Don't even get me started about the eyes!)
It's freaky weird!
He was thrilled, my oldest son was appalled and I was happy because he was happy!
(As a side note, we're not a hunting family, so the only way he was ever going to get a trophy deer was to buy one! It's now hanging in the boys' room, and his brother is now begging for his own room!)

Mostly I buy things to sell at one of my two barn sales
Chartreuse and Co., and The Barn Show
but
something usually ends up staying at my house for awhile. I couldn't resist this vintage dress form that's now in my living room:


So if you've never been to an auction before, track one down in your part of the world, go check it out. Or join LouLou and I here in Maryland, we'll teach you the ropes and who knows, maybe you'll end up with treasures like these:





Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Waning Days of Summer

For several days last week none of my family members were in the same state. My oldest was at Boy Scout camp in Pennsylvania, my other son went to Ohio for a few days to visit my side of the family and I don't even remember where my husband (the airline pilot) was on his three day trip.

I know where I was though. Home. Right here, waiting for everyone to get back. It felt strange to be so scattered. A glimpse of the future though, I guess, when my kids will be off to college, my husband will still be flying all over the world, and I'll be here. Keeping things constant, status quo, so home is where everyone wants to return.

Before summer ends I'm going to enjoy the time we have together before things get too hectic. Although it's already starting! My oldest started playing football this week and his team practices five nights a week! But before summer truly fades the kids will sneak in some more pool time, we'll head to the Outer Banks for our annual beach vacation with three other families, and we'll try, as best we can, to enjoy the waning days of summer!

(Image Courtesy of Flickr)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

STOP!



One month from today my kids go back to school.

I'm not ready!

Summer just started.

They're growing up too fast.

My oldest (13) left for Boy Scout summer camp this morning. He never looked back.

My youngest, (almost 11) won't hold my hand in public anymore.

This mama's heart breaks over the passage of time.

A week ago I turned 48.

I look in the mirror and hardly recognize the face staring back at me.

It scares me how fast time is going.

I want it to stop. I want to hold my babies and know our future is ahead of us, that we have all the time in the world to chase fireflies, do belly flops at the pool, and to skip down the street hand in hand.

But time doesn't stand still.

My oldest is so strong, independent, confident and comfortable in his skin.

My youngest is hilarious, adorable, scary smart. The President of his school's student government for God's sake!

My role in their lives is changing.

My husband, their father, is their parent of choice these days.

Who does that make me?

What does that leave me?

What place will I have in their lives when they are gone?

I feel them slipping away............

And I am afraid.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boom Chuka Luka!

Well if you've ever been to a Cub Scout camp then you may be familiar with the "Boom Chuka Luka" cheer all scouters know! Wish me luck tomorrow because my whole family will be starting an all week day camp and I'm my ten year old's den leader for the week!

The kids love it! BB's, archery, crafts, fishing, science, nature and scout skills! It doesn't get any better than that for the kids!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Testosterone and Fireworks



I don't think one exists without the other.

Think about it, how many of you went out and bought fireworks for the family to set off on the 4th of July? I didn't, and none of my female friends did, but all of the men I know did!

Now, don't get me wrong, I love fireworks. There's nothing better than sitting out on a beautiful July evening, with the family and some good friends watching a professional fireworks show. What I'm not too crazy about is a bunch of husbands, setting off fireworks in the backyard!

Moms tend to be a little (okay, way, more) cautious than dads. If I had my way, my kids would be a good 50 yards away from the person who is lighting the cherry bombs, bottle rockets, M-80's, and such. But that doesn't happen in my house. My husband thinks the kids (future men, which means future fireworks purchasers) are perfectly safe just behind his shoulder, watching, learning life's pyrotechnic lessons.
He thinks I'm a "little crazy" when it comes to worrying that one of them will get hurt.

My 10 year old, told me
"Not to worry. We're men. We know what we're doing!"
Yea, right.
Well excuse me for not being comforted by the proclamation of a boy eight years away from being old enough to legally purchase fireworks!

So, as my friend Laurie and I tried to steer the kids away from the fireworks our husbands were eagerly setting off, it dawned on me.
If there's testosterone involved, there's going to be fireworks.
I might as well get used to it and just pray that no one gets hurt.
It's what men do.
(And fortunately, no one did get hurt!)


(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Gemstone. www.flickr.com)





Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is Chivalry Dead?

I've had a slow leak in one of my tires for a week or so.
Yesterday I drove to my neighborhood service station to fill it up with air. I pulled up to the air pump, hopped out of the car and got busy taking off the cap and checking the tire's pressure.
That's when I noticed the station's three technicians standing there.
Watching me.
Not one of them offered to help.
They're automobile technicians!
I go to that gas station all of the time!

Sure, I can fill a tire myself, but they work there! I expected one of them, just one, to offer to help.
It surprised me.
It made me sad to think chivalry is dead.
It made me go home and have a conversation with my two sons.
Another life lesson to teach. Another opportunity to teach my boys what would have been the kind, helpful thing to do for a woman.
The chivalrous thing to do.
I hope they listened to me.
Time will tell.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Note About Friends



Today was the second day of my first Chartreuse and Co., barn sale. My partner, Molly, and I are having a great time and are thrilled at the response we've gotten from shoppers to the merchandise we've stocked our space with. I have to admit after two full days, and one to go, it's starting to look cleaned out! (And I'm starting to feel wiped out!!!)

As you know, I've been kicking open all kinds of new doors in my life and in the process I'm starting to see who my true friends are.

My family and I live 325 miles from our nearest relatives. It's not always easy being so far from "home". Many of you know what I mean. We no longer live in the same town as our closest relatives due to military moves, job opportunities, etc. And in the absence of family, you learn to count on friends for support, guidance, and as role models for our children when their aunts, uncles and grandparents live elsewhere.

I'm lucky because I have some very good friends. True friends. The kind of friends who drive two hours in torrential rain to support your dream. The kind of friends who call to wish you luck on a new venture. Friends who even though they can't make it, tell me they're thinking of me. Friends who ask questions, show genuine interest, and share in my joy.

I also find it amazing that I've developed new friendships through this blog with women who share the same dreams. I've been lucky enough to meet a couple of them, like Cassie and LuLu, in person. (In fact, both of them drove great distances to come to the sale this weekend!) We're there to support each other, nudge each other out of our comfort zones and cheer each other from the sidelines.

To the friends who have supported me, (new, old and bloggers) I thank you.
You're the best!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Molly and I worked hard today filling in our space at Chartreuse and Co., in anticipation of this weekend's monthly barn sale.

Here's a sneak peek of some of what we're offering!










Thursday, June 11, 2009

At Last



Today is the first day of the kids' summer vacation.


We started it off just right.

Nothing but pool time and frozen icees.

It doesn't get any better than that.

(Oh, and don't even think I actually got in the pool! It's way too early in the season to subject little children to a chubby, pasty white suburban housewife in a swim-mini!)