Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Two days in a row? Don't fall over. I'll make this quick.
I received these today. January at the Market focuses on you and your home. You know-after you take the Christmas tree down, your house just feels blah and so do you. My original intention was for these to be with the pretty office supplies to help you organize bills, photos, and whatever miscellaneous crap accumulates at your desk.

Then, an aha went off in my head after I found a necklace while I was looking for tape in my junk drawer.

The perfect jewelry organizer. I tacked this to the wall in my closet and now I can see what I have. It's made of wire so the little curly frame bends to accomodate for the chunky bracelets and the rings open really wide for the big baubles.

The reoccurring theme of pearls, charm necklaces, rhinestones, and beads. I really need to branch out one of these days.
One more unrelated picture---scraps of textured wallpaper? Yeah, it makes the prettiest wrapping paper.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Disbelievers and Freaks on a Whim

Christmas is over-I have a food, snow, and cooped up in the house hangover that I've been nursing with a needle, some fabric, and a little bit of fire.

Google Reader has been overflowing with blog goodness from all the "crafties" I adore--their projects and handmade gifts, the glitter, the bling. I couldn't stand it. These few days off would never come...Ah, but yes, they did.

My reward for wrapping all the presents was to allow myself the time to make these. Tutuorial here (yes, fire is involved.) These are so much better than pulling artificial flowers apart--you get to pick the color and the shape.. You get to play regular old Mother Nature for these.

I added tulle in between the layers of some of mine and of course, not complete in my world without some vintage bling for the middles.

I had a hard time parting with this rhinestone button. I often wonder what the original garment looked like that this was salvaged from.

The green looks sage in these photos--in the real world, it's a vibrant silky lime color.

I've been a sucker for rosettes on anything for the last year or so--if there are flowers, it automatically visits my closet.

I am fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) to have some very close family (Sarah, this is you) and friends who- I'll just say it-think I am the biggest freak ever. (A freak in the most loving way, but still...)

They are just people who need to have a reason for things. They have no use for "pretty" without a purpose. Things cannot just "be"-they must have function.

I, on the other hand, have purchased dish soap for the fragrance, really gross salsa because it had a cool label, pounds of paper just because I loved the design, and a magazine subscription for a magazine written entirely in French (which I don't speak) strictly for the pictures. Yes, you can say it, f-r-e-a-k.

Well, for my loving sister who was sporting a Kum & Go sweatshirt (apparently, this is a gas station chain in Iowa) and reluctantly, my flower pin for good measure this Christmas AND my practical friend who just needs minor usage inspiration-a bit of help....

Yes, that's the First Lady sporting a flower pin, and the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker. JCrew also believes me and so does Anthropologie. These are definitely not "matronly"---(Sarah's word, not mine) little sister. Where did I come from?

If the flowers weren't bad enough, you can about imagine what Sarah would think if she saw these? I actually spent time "glittering" clothespins.

The uses are many--to hold your wishes. (Be careful what you use it on...)

A book marker? (Is that one word or two?)
A magnet to hold a favorite photo?
Pretty can have function or just be--it's possible. It's also possible that I may have a small freakish problem with aesthetics.
See you soon at the Market-wearing and believing in pretty.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Tour....

I've been so busy running here and there-getting the shop ready for December sales, that I got a very late start decorating my own house. So much that the Christmas tree sat un-ornamented until very recently.

As always, we hang all the oraments we have collected throughout the years--not matchy-matchy, not professionally coordinated, not full of glamour and glitz. To anyone else's eyes, it looks like a cluster of junk, a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs. But to me, our lives are hanging in this 9' artifical pine.

A few of my favorites....

This first year we moved to this little town.....

...we left that little town.

Litte Miss trecked her way across Europe, brought her mama back a momento.

Little Mister's kindergarten ornament, love this lumpy little thing.

Our first Mexican vacation with the kids.

There are a ton more but I won't bore you with my sentimentality. Agh, where do the years go?

If you have a free moment, you too, can have a book wreath. Made from an old book (or a new one if you must..) and some styrofoam.
Ran across this tutorial out in blogland (Living with Lindsay) and was compelled to give it a shot. The texture it adds is amazing and it looks great pinned in the middle of our entryway mirror. (Yes, Urban Market shoppers--this was hanging in the shop this December.) Easy peasy, give it a shot.
Have a blessed holiday season--enjoy the magic.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Inspired by the Banner

I love the shop, but I also love creating. The shop has "trumped" creating on more than one occassion but sometimes, well, it just takes over. These little ornaments were inspired by my blog banner. The little boy is my favorite. I have a picture of little mister with the same expression. Have you heard of the Graphics Fairy? The vintage kids are hers.

I am also loving the color scheme--what is it with these colors?

They remind me of my childhood, I guess.

Prairie Dawn, from Sesame Street; a blue winter coat that wasn't a hand-me-down; pink Rocky doll's dress, and Big Bird's eyes.
Speaking of Prairie Dawn-I was looking for a picture (she was much brighter on a 1970's television) and found this--I had no idea she was so cool.
Prairie represents more than the "girly-girls," as she is versatile and creative, not princessy and sparkly.Prairie Dawn was a proud, hard-working girl before it was politically correct to include them. Prairie is a mature voice of wisdom (and freak outs) on Sesame Street, a child with determination and a hard-working attitude. Prairie Dawn knows what she wants, and she's ready to grab it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cheap and Easy

To me, there is nothing like a blank piece of paper, a new sharpened pencil, and a mind full of ideas to write down and mull over.

Here's a cheap and easy, but oh so la la la gift for a teacher, a co-worker, a sister, a girlfriend, a budding entreprenuer or for any creative freak who loves pretty things and needs to sort out her thoughts by writing them down. (Ahem.....)

So your supply list (which cost me all of $5) my guess is that you'll have most of the stuff in your junk drawer;

-some paper (the thinner the better); a favorite stamp set {mine are from Cavallini and available at the shop if you love them} (or your own handwriting/artwork), some pencils, a few embellishments, some tape and a tin can.

1.) Rip sheets of paper roughly 1.5" x 4", leave the straight edge of the top and bottom of the sheet in tact. It will make it easier to line up the paper with the eraser if you have a straight edge to work with.

2.) Stamp your strips of paper, or draw, or write a message on your paper. I found that the designs are more legible if you stamp them with the design running the length of the 4" strip.

3.) Tape the back of all 4 sides of your paper--make sure the edges are completely covered in adhesive. Run a strip down the middle for good measure.

4.) Place your pencil on the adhesived side of the paper. Line up the bottom of the metal of the eraser with the straight edge of the pencil.

5.) Simply roll the paper around the pencil.

I hot glued little embellishments that I found in the wedding aisle at Micheal's. You could use ribbon or leave them sans froo-froo. They look great either way.

Now, just cut a piece of paper the width of your tin can, tape the paper to the can. Embellish as you like.

Done. Cheap and Easy. I'm going to put these in the shop so if you'd rather just purchase, they'll be there.
Next open dates are Thursday 12/10 from 10-5pm, Friday 12/11 and Saturday 12/12 from 10-6.
Happy Creating!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Secrets of a Shop Owner

What do The Urban Market, Lillians, Moon Goon, The Shop Around the Corner, and Real Deals all have in common?

First, in my biased opinion, they are all shops owned by driven, creative, retail savvy women who have a desire to own their own businesses and share their visions with others.

The other commonality is that they are all Occassional Shops. A what? Yes, let's talk about it.

An occassional shop is literally, just that. A store that is open occassionally. It's not as simple as that since most occassional shops have dedicated hours and days that they are open for business. So maybe we should rename them, "open on the first weekend of the month and random special events throughout the year" shops. Since that is a mouthful, we'll stick with what we have.

I'm fortunate that those of us in this little town who own these curiosity shops, work together to promote, grow, and bounce ideas off of each other. Since I can't speak for them, the rest of the secrets are strictly from my point of view.....

If you shop at any of these stores or have them where you live, you've probably been either frustrated or curious at how and why we do things. I'll clue you in-I'll share.

1.) Why aren't you open all the time? I want to shop at your store but you're always closed when I'm in town.

I have a full-time job in addition to running the Urban Market. The "occassional shop" business model works with my life. It gives me the stability and benefits of a full-time job but allows me to pursue a dream without giving up the security of a guaranteed paycheck. The "occassional model" is traditionally a store that changes each month. The inventory changes, the aesthetic changes, it's all about being fresh and new. To completely change a shop (and find the time to sleep, eat, and have a life) into something new each month is impossible to do when open every day.

The newness is the best part. Each month, the store morphs itself into something it wasn't or didn't have the month prior. It's exciting for you as a shopper and really for me,as a business owner, to completely recreate myself each month. There are stores open every day that you know what they have, who they are, and what they offer. At our stores, you need to get there early, get there often because you just never know what we'll have. We serve a different purpose than an everyday shop. You know it's always new, its always there for a short period of time, and it's always something different. Diversity makes the world go round, right?

2.) How can you make money being open just a few days a month?
Well, retail in general is probably not a business you would select if you wanted to be rich. Especially with the economy the way it is today. So although not striking it rich, the shop is able to sustain itself. I may be only open to the public a few days a month but what you don't see behind the scenes is that I am peddling my wares elsewhere, hosting events, negotiating prices and margins, finding artists who will consign with the Urban Market and a whole lot of etc. to create revenue lost by only being open a few days a month. I'm still new so I'm learning everyday how to manage this but it can be done.

Think of it this way--How many times do you go to Target in a month? Let's say you go 3 times and each time you spend $50. It's $50 each time, but for the month you have spent $150. What if Target were only open once a month? You would probably stock up and spend $150 in one day to get everything you needed because you knew you couldn't go again until the next month.

It's not for everyone and for some, it just doesn't make sense. For others, it's entertainment, the thrill of the hunt, the unique nature of the items we carry. I love the change, my customers who pop in monthly, the idea that I can have my cake and eat it too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

Book Junkie, yes. 50% of personal purchases are made on some type of reading material. I select by title, by cover art, by flipping through the first chapter and reading a bit, by the "summary" on the back cover.

I've picked up "The Secret Life of Bees" a few times and have always placed it back and selected a different book.

I was thrifting the other day and came across the book again. Ok, yes.

I know a book is good for me when I want to reread it again, with a highlighter.

I won't spoil it but it left me obsessed in some strange way with Mary. The Mother of God-Mary.

This quote from the book sums it up better:

"When you're unsure of yourself...when you start pulling back into doubt and small living, she's the one inside saying, 'Get up from there and live like the glorious girl you are.' She's the power inside you, you understand? And whatever it is that keeps widening your heart, that's Mary, too, not only the power inside you but the love. And when you get down to it, Lily, that's the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love--but to PERSIST in love." (August Boatwright, p. 289)

(I'm adding this book to my "church's" required reading list..that particular discussion was way back here..)

I struggle with my own internal power and using it. Big on anything that motivates that power to move outward.

A customer stopped in the shop last week to chat and she had this (or something like it)on. I wanted one in the worst way. I told her my latest obsession and even borrowed her my thrifted copy of the book.

Well, the bracelets, I found. Math was never a strong thing for me, I only wanted 12. I got 12 dozen. I'm going to chalk this up as something other than an addition error.

Guess where they'll be? At the shop, for sale. Ready to remind you..ahem, it's in there.
Leave me a comment, and I'll randomly select one and send them their very own Mary bracelet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lookie Here...

Lookie who's little shop made the local paper?

My little elves (a.k.a Stacie and Debbie) and I also got our photos in the "Friday Fun Facts" newsletter for the Chamber of Commerce.

We had a great day--thanks to everyone who visited, shopped, supported, wore your boa, and helped make it a fantastic Saturday! (I'm still finding feathers around the shop.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Goodies and Emily

A beautiful day today, a "make you thankful that you are alive" kind of day. Maybe it was the extra hour of sleep?

I spent most of the weekend reorganizing the shop getting ready for this weekend. New goodies need new spaces. All went surprisingly well until the moment I went to enter all the new inventory in my computer--dead.

Wouldn't even turn on-not a circumstance a new business wants to be in. I'm crossing all 5 fingers that this can be fixed without the loss of any data AND without forking over a ton of money. Say a little prayer to the technology gods for me....

When I buy for the shop I envision how products can be put together to make a great gift. Sometimes, we could all use a little help doing this.

So, I fabricated my vision and created these. These "sets" are specially priced versus buying what is in them individually.
(Psstt....they are in limited quantities.)

The Powder Room Set contains 2 "ruffled" hand towels, a bar of "glittered beyond gorgeous" TokyoMilk soap, and a "chippy" (we love vintage) white cast iron soap holder. Seperately these retail for $25.50, the set....$20.00. (I don't need to mention they are all "tied up with string" ala Urban Maket style, do I?) A housewarming gift, a thank you gift, a teacher gift, a just because you love glitter and pretty soap gift.

The Office Chic Set---Working might not be that fun sometimes, but the supplies you use don't have to be ugly, do they? This set includes 8 designer files folders-Paris style, a legal pad that is anything but yellow, a pack of matching post-its (again, not yellow), and 2 Japanese gel pens. The pictures are bad, but you get the drift. A gift for a co-worker, your siser who just landed a new job, or a girlfriend who just opened up her new shop. Ooh, what about a teacher gift? They deserve "chic" for all that they do.

The London goodies finally made it here--I was thrilled with all of it. This DIY Felt Doll kit will be at the shop and online shortly. All the supplies, directions, etc for you to create her. Of course, I need to be able to know how it works and a "shop sample" so I gave her a whirl.

Miss Emily (that's really her name) is done. I switched out her star beads for ribbon, but pretty easy as long as you line up the holes correctly (they are pre-punched in all the felt pieces.) What a great gift for the "crafties" in your life.

Along with Emily and her sister, there was also a load of "pretty paper." Started this art project for the walls of the Urban Market using the pretty paper that we sell as the background. A few more in the works, but I'll share the wall when it's done.

You can get the "heads" here if you'd like to try your own.

There you have it for today. Thanks to whomever invented this daylight savings thing--It's pre10:00 p.m. and I'm done posting. Do wonders ever cease?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

14 Years

Today Big Mister and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. For those of you who have known us all of our married life, you'll get a chuckle from these photos. The rest of you, play along we'll take a little journey to the past.

Digtal cameras were not a dime a dozen so I had to scan real pictures. (What?) The quality may not be the greatest but you'll get the drift.
Maybe I should start with a little background. We were y-o-u-n-g. How would you feel if your 21 year old daughter wanted to get married?

Here's the engagement photo. What's up with the 'stache, Mr. Diggler? I'm also loving your outfit-very snazzy in 1993. And me, well, the thought of tweezing my eyebrows never occurred to me. They never became butterflies, but seriousy, where were my friends?

Oh, yes, my friends were here but not a mention of the eyebrows.
A few things; ew,ew,ew on the dresses-what the hell was I thinking? Chiffon scarves, hunter green? My sister still is mad about having to wear that thing.
My brother-in-law who wasn't my brother-in-law at that time (first dude on the left) yeah, someone forgot to mention to him that he's too tall to pull off a "foo-manchu" 'stache.
Beside his 'stache, one more detail stands out in this photo. The little bald fairy propped at the bottom of my dress. Yes, that's little Miss. I tell her often how special she was-not many kids can say they were a flower girl at their parent's wedding.

This photo cracks me up--please note where Big Mister is looking. "Eyes up here, pal."
Some things never change.
Yes, we are still here today-together. For richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health. It's been a fun ride, husband of mine. Your crinkles are deeper, hair is a little grayer but better..really.
Still can't wait to sit on our porch with our sandy feet while the sun is rising ,drink coffee (you'll learn to like it, right?), hold hands, and laugh like hell about our life.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday, Again..ugh.

I feel like I should post, but I've really haven't a thing to say. Some random thoughts until I can muster something more profound to share.

-Attention Dog Food Manufacturers:
Why must we have to use a machete to open your bags?

-Notes on Importing Goods for the purpose of resale
* Don't.
*Simple ink pens fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act. otherwise known as the TSCA.
* U.S. Customs does not know what bunting is. They are also leery of item descriptions containing the words, "vintage", "boudoir", or "creatures".

Dear Target Stores,
You must stop placing anything that contains bling in the perimeter of your stores.

Who decided it would be a good idea to give bitchy brides their own tv show?
3 words for the drama queens-Get. A. Life.

Throw a load of clothes in the dryer. Wait a minute. Run outside under or near the dryer vent. Smell that? Divine.

Why are "titles" supposed to produce awe? Name droppers drive me crazy. Another 3 words I. Don't. Care.

Photos from the weekend--

The bags--loving the shape. The fabric line is "Love" by Amy Butler. Yes, a rather apt name.

Junk jar o' bling.

Attempt at a "creative" calling card for the Urban Market. Button flowers. (Yes, vintage.)
Get to bed--Monday requires all the energy one can muster. (Muster-word of the day.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Help Wanted!

Holy Hannah, I need some help!

Looking for a personable, upbeat person to help at the Urban Market during the Holiday season.

Duties include customer service, merchandising, pricing, and overall management of the shop in my absence.

Hours may vary but I'm really in need of one (or two people 4 hours each) to man the shop on Thursdays from 9 to 5 twice a month with weekend hours available. $10/hr to start.

If you could use some extra Christmas cash, and would like to work in a fun and fabulous environment, please click here to fill out the application.

I would like to fill this position in the next few weeks so don't hesitate if you're interested. Use the contact me button on the right if you have more questions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Homecoming Weekend and Creative Juices

I spent last Friday evening helping Little Miss and her "posse" cook a spaghetti supper before they set out to sit at a cold, cold Homecoming football game.

I give her much grief about her and her friends eating us out of house and home but I do love having her friends surround us at the supper table. It makes me feel like a "real" mom and I'm thankful that these kids feel comfortable in our house-not to mention the "grab before its gone" way of eating reminds me of home. I'm going to miss the girls when they go off to college. (Which isn't that far away..)

Little Mister will just have to bring a "posse" of girls when he and his friends get to this stage.

Since the shop was only one weekend this month, I feel like I have a ton of time on my hands. (This will change once I start to receive some of my November goodies-I'm soooooooo excited to share them with you-a peek later.)

This "excess" of time (I only think I have) was used to experiment with various projects I've been collecting.

I would like to challenge you this year to either a.) Make all of your Christmas presents or B.) shop only local to purchase them.

Here's a start on some ideas:

Two years ago, Little Miss begged for these mittens for Christmas. Expensive,but so cute. Made from recycled sweaters and non-matching. (Horrors for the practical people of the world-non-matching-yikes!) I loved them too.

A favorite cashmere sweater was showing signs of wear, so guess what?

It has been repurposed into these mittens. I have enough sweater left for another set. I dragged Big Mister to "Goodwill" on Saturday to hunt for other abandoned sweaters to transform. Lots of orphaned knits to turn into mittens to be found. Click here for a pattern and directions..

(Repurposed mittens at the shop this month--not my creations because I have a problem with doing things in bulk but they are just as cute.)

On my junk trip to Goodwill I was also on a mission to make these..I'm obsessed with cake plates and these you won't find at Target. They are great display at the shop not to mention they make me want to have a party. What about for your Thanksgiving dessert buffet??

No tutorial but it's really just some repurposed china and glasses and some really strong glue.

These (or something like them) for sale at the shop in November, too.

The yo-yo obsession is still with me, and so are those dang bib necklaces. You know, the ones like this.

I just had to figure out how to roll those damn roses. So here's a video that helps. And my roses below made from silk (in fall colors) that I found at my super secret fabric store.

Right now they are being held together with corsage pins because I still have to figure out how to secure them to something. I ripped the silk and am pleased with the organic way the fabric frays. (I did this one-handed and mastered it after alot of swearing--it can be done.)

Last, but never least..

I have been given the opportunity to be a part of fabulous network of entreprenuers who share my same hopes and fears, who own occassional sale boutiques, who like me, love what they do. This shop is literally around the corner from the Urban Market. When I look at my purchases from there, I instantly smile.

The first month, I bought this little pillow (grandma's brooch was included)--the Michael Miller fabric I fell in love with and of course, if something "blings, I'm done.

Last month, the poison bottles. That witchy thing again.

If you are in the hood, the Shop Around the Corner (yes, that's the store's name) is a must see. Click here for hours and directions.

More again soon....