Saturday, February 28, 2009

MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND FINDING JOY

Every morning before my kids head out to school I run down a list of instructions:

Don't forget your homework.
Take your vitamin.
Brush your teeth.
Make a difference in someone's life.


The first few instructions are pretty self explanatory but on occasion I've had to explain what I mean about making a difference in someone's life. I teach my kids that it doesn't have to be a profound moment. I'm not talking about saving someone's life, or discovering the cure for cancer while they're at school (although that would be great too!). I just try to get them to see that simple gestures of friendship, kindness and warmth toward someone can make a difference in their day.

Yesterday at the bank I waited in a long line of customers before it was my turn. There were only two tellers and I started to notice one seemed to be really chatty with her customers and the impatient side of me started to get annoyed. I had a long list of errands I needed to get done and so I wasn't too crazy about being delayed by a teller with seemingly all the time in the world to chit chat with her customers.

When it was finally my turn to take care of my banking it was her post that was open. I walked up to the counter with a tiny bit of an attitude at having to wait so long and rather quickly explained my transaction to her. And as she went about taking care of the business at hand I noticed she never stopped smiling. It totally threw me off and I started to laugh! When she asked me why I was laughing I told her it was because her smile made me realize how ridiculous my impatience had been. What difference did it really make in my life if it took five minutes or ten to get my banking done? It didn't matter.

So, I slowed down, took a deep breath, and just asked her how she was. She looked me in the eyes, the smile never leaving her face and answered, "I am so blessed. How are you?"

My answer? "Me, too!"

It was the perfect example of how one person can make a difference in someone's life in a small, sweet way. The teller turned my negativity into joy through her smile and blessed appreciation of her life. And for that moment, she made a difference in my life. It was a perfect example of finding joy in everyday living, and you can bet I plan to tell my kids about it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Dream House


This is a house I drive by every Wednesday on my way to a weekly auction. It makes me sad every time I see it because I wonder what happened to the family that lived there. Who were they? Where did they go? Why is the house abandoned? In my mind I can see it as the beautiful farmhouse it must have been, situated at the end of its long winding driveway, perched on a small hill, softly shaded by the giant oak tree. Every time I see it I dream about buying it, restoring it and keeping it as a weekend retreat. It is such a hauntingly beautiful house, just waiting for me to rescue it, to bring it back to life and make it a home again.

Friday, February 20, 2009

JOYFUL FRIDAY #3

What brought me joy today was spending the entire day with two of the other barn girls out hunting for treasures for our upcoming sale at The Barn. (Antique wicker, a fabulous vintage birdcage, enamelware, etc.!)

I'll tell you what will bring me joy on Tuesday though is if I win my friend Amy's give-a-way. You have got to go check out her blog, The Maisy Report, sign up to be a follower and enter her amazing give-a-way. Maybe I'll give away a gift certificate to the Barn sale! Hmm, what do you think?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We're Adding Treasures!

I thought I'd share a few photos of the treasures we've been accumulating for the cottage themed room we're putting together for the upcoming barn show.

I only buy something if I absolutely love it and it's funny because I'm loving everything the other girls are buying too! I'd love to find out what kinds of things you look for when you're out hunting for treasures and what you think of the stockpile you see in the photos!




Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Barn Show Preparations Continue

I've been busy working with the other Barn Girls getting ready for our spring show, April 3 - 5th, in Gambrills, Maryland. The show is held in an old horse barn and so far we have a few themes forming for the six stalls: Paris Flea Market, Cottage Chic and The Lodge. Everything is coming together!

Friday, February 13, 2009

"WHAT BRINGS ME JOY" FRIDAY

"" A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
- Arabian Proverb


When I am with my friends I am myself. There are no false pretenses, airs, or fear of judgement. My heart is safe, with no longing to fit in. I'm already there.

And it brings me great joy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

HOLY COW!



I recently realized I'm not very cool, at least with the lingo. This really shouldn't come as a big surprise to me though considering I'm in a 12 step program to kick my seasonal sweater habit, I drive a minivan and wear extremely sensible shoes. (But hey, in my defense when you're already 5'10" tall three inch heels aren't really something you need!)

But I guess I never realized just how, oh, I don't know, midwestern I really am until a few weeks ago. I was out shopping with a friend and she was sharing some details of her life I never knew. No deep dark secrets that would have been better shared in a confessional, just more like tidbits new friends share with each other as time goes on. And you know what my comment was to everything she said? "Holy Cow!"

After five or six hours of non stop references to eccliastical bovines I finally heard myself and could not believe my ears. I felt like I had just fallen off the turnip truck! (No offense to the growers of that fine vegetable, it's just "Holy Cow" doesn't seem very cool.) Why couldn't I have said something more sophisticated, like "Oh, how interesting", or "Fascinating", even "Tell me more"? "Holy Cow" is the linguistic equivalent of "Golly, gosh, geewillakers!" and it's not very cool.

And now that I'm aware of it I realize I say it all the time! I can't stop! Trust me, I've tried, but it just blurts out all day long! Holy cow this, holy cow that! A friend suggested I start saying "Holy $h!t" instead, but I just can't do it. It's just not right. You can take a girl out of the midwest (I've been gone for 20 years!) but I guess you just can't take the midwest out of the girl. Holy cow!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day Two: The Barn and The Flu

Well it's day two of the flu and living my dream. The flu part is yucky but the dream part is wonderful. My blogging friend Amy at The Maisy Report left a comment on yesterday's post about having the flu on my first official day as a "barn girl" that summed up how I feel perfectly. She said it's amazing what we can do when it's something we love and noted if it was a dental appointment I had to go to I would have canceled it! (She is so right!)

Let me just say up front that my blog is not going to turn into daily ramblings about The Barn sale I'm preparing for (did I mention it is the first weekend in April in Gambrills, Maryland?) but bear with me for a few more days on this thing though because I'm definitely obsessed with it! It's just so flipping exciting for me to be jumping right into it and working with such fabulous women on it.

The Barn is literally, a barn (go figure!) that has six stalls and each stall gets loaded with merchandise set up into different vignettes. Yesterday we came up with the themes for two rooms that are definitely on their way to being fabulous. The first room is very sunny, with soft greens, yellows, creamy whites, with a cottage look, loaded with lots of architectural salvage pieces (think columns, repurposed shutters, wrought iron) and the second room is all black, cream, red and a hint of yellow - FABULOUS!

Would you like to see some photos as I go along? You can see photos from some of the previous shows by clicking here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My First Day at the Barn

Wouldn't you know it, my first day at the Barn and I'm sick! Sore throat, body aches and general malaise. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world! (What, call in SICK on my first day at "work"? No way!) Even sick I had an absolute ball and loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A DREAM COME TRUE

About three or four months ago I decided to take charge of my life. Now I don't mean organizing the cupboards, or doing the laundry more efficiently (God knows my husband would love that!), but nothing like that, more bigger picture stuff. I finally decided to stop waiting for opportunities to come my way and to start creating them for myself.

I've been a wife for 20 years and a mother for almost 13 and I love it but I knew I wanted more; something that would feed my creative soul. I've always loved decorating my house, scouring flea markets for great pieces and attending country auctions. So for years I have thought about opening my own shop as a way to combine my passions into a business opportunity. As time went on I started to read about women like The Farm Chicks, Sue Whitney of Junk Market Style and Ki Nassauer of Junk Camp in some of my favorite shelter magazines. They're women who are passionate about the same things I'm interested in and found ways to make a business out of it. They've been very inspirational to me.

About three years ago a group of women from my town in Maryland started holding a twice yearly Barn Show and the first time I went to it, I walked in and thought "this is what I want to do". They set up shop in a really cool barn in the community and offer vintage finds, antiques, architectural salvage pieces, etc., and it's a hugely popular event. Well for years I longed to be a "Barn Girl" because I knew I had the passion for what they were doing.

As time went on I secretly hoped they would recognize my talent, realize they needed me desperately and I'd be asked to join them at The Barn. Well, that didn't happen. So, last fall I was sitting around thinking and wishing and hoping and praying that somehow there would be some type of divine intervention that would get these women to see I could be one of them. And then it hit me. Why was I spending my life waiting for others to make my dreams a reality? I could do my own version of a barn show! It was a real ephiphany and I decided to run with the idea. I asked my friends and family what they thought and they all encouraged me to do it. So I started down that path.

Do you know what happens when you voice your dreams and plans to people outloud? You start believing in them. The confidence builds and your entire attitude starts to shift. It's more "I can do this thing" instead of "Oh, gee, I wish someone would ask me to join them!". So, that's how "The Kramer Angle" was born and for the past five months I've been working on planning for my first show. I've been shopping auctions, buying inventory, filling up the garage and considering venues.

And along the way, I kept running into a couple of the women who are part of "The Barn" and so I told them about my dreams, my blog, "The Kramer Angle" show and I even found the courage to tell them about my secret desire to be a "Barn Girl" . But at the same time, I kept plodding away, doing my own thing. Doors were opening, people were helping me, I was excited. (And I was also terrified! Could I really do this thing? All by myself? There's no way!)

And then another door opened, just like that and changed my life. I got a call from one of The Barn Girls asking if I'd like to join them! And I said YES! Just like that, no question about it. Now, truth be told a part of me did question whether I was giving up on myself. But I realized it's still my dream, it's still the "Kramer Angle" because I'm free to bring in the type of merchandise I want to sell at The Barn but now I'm going to be working with five other women who are all fabulous and all bring a unique perspective to a collaborative effort to make The Barn Shows a success! It's all good!

The goal is still the same. I'm still following my passion. It's just now I'm working with other women who are just as passionate about the same things! And it feels good. Really good. You might even say, I'm giddy...........

So, please keep checking back because I am going to be a blogging fool - I have so many things I'm going to tell you about (like when and where the show is!). In the meantime check out these websites:

Click here to find out more about my new venture: The Barn Show
Plus remember a couple of posts ago I told you how I was going to be a contributing writer to a great new blog called Project Create A Home? Well I'm going to be blogging about this new chapter in my life there as well, so be sure to check that blog out too. It's full of great information. Find it here: www.projectcreateahome.blogspot.com.

Thank you so much for your support!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WHAT'S BEHIND DOORS NUMBER ONE AND TWO?

Have you ever had one door open only to discover another one opening at the same time? Well that's what happened to me this week and I promise, I really do, that I'm going to post all of the exciting details really soon. But first, I have to get them worked out! I will tell you this little tidbit: a long time dream of mine is becoming a reality and I'm SOOOO excited!

So, don't give up on me yet, keep checking back and as soon as I can I will post all of the exciting news!

Thanks for your support!