Thursday, April 12, 2012

More March Madness

March Madness is a big deal in my husband's family. With four brothers and basketball loving parents to boot, you can imagine the ferocious competition that ensues over Tyrell, the traveling trophy (bought at a garage sale along the way somewhere because he was sporting shorty 80's shorts). We all play, even the kids and babies, and the method of children's choices has to be documented so that no one has more than one bracket. It's kind of hilarious actually. And while I like a few weeks of college ball mayhem as well as the next brother,  my own March Madness involved chalk paint, a field trip, and one crazy-ambitious idea.

The day after my parents left, I packed up "A Shift in the Season" and took it to it's new home in Leesburg with my friend Erica. This little day trip had been planned for weeks, as I found out there was an Annie Sloan stockist within 10 minutes of Erica's house. What could be better than delivering my first completed paper collage, buying more paint (the Leesburg stockist carries sample sizes) in all the "crazy" colors, and spending a day shopping in Lucketts, VA with a friend I hardly ever get to see ?

The first stop was Erica's house. This is relevant for two reasons: first, Erica is the proud owner of "A Shift in the Season" and has been waiting for this piece to show up for about a year. So it was an exciting moment for both of us when she tore open the paper covering the long awaited picture. I think we both got a little misty. She loved it. I was completely relieved.

The second reason is that Erica is an artist. In fact, she's the artist that designed my logo for Branches, my barn sale without a barn.

Isn't it the classiest? This is a paper cutting, folks! I love it. I drew her a pencil sketch and this is the beauty she created. Talk about exceeding expectations.

Anyway, I was walking around her house, all blissed out about the picture, and I stumbled on this pretty little thing:

Don't you just love it? The grey band on the bottom is actually a kind of  brushed silver paper. I think the trees were all cut/carved with an exacto knife from the same sheet of black paper. It is completely luminous. You can feel the winter air just brushing your face as you stare at it. I seriously wanted to slip it inside my shirt and smuggle it into my car to sell in the November barn sale. Sadly, I was wearing a fitted t-shirt and would never have gotten past the family room.

Erica has been holding out on me apparently. She has several pieces in the works. I want them all, but she assures me that "my" piece is coming. Actually, paper cutting works like therapy for her. She's a budding novelist and when writing and home schooling and momming and wifing and life all become too much, she heads for her exacto knife. In a good way, of course.

And don't worry, I am ALWAYS asking her to let me sell her stuff. Eventually, I know she will cave. She loved getting paid for the logo. And you can't blame her. There is nothing quite as validating as being paid for something you created.

Anyway, back to our field trip. We left the kids with a sitter and headed for stop #1, On a Whim, a cute little shop made out of an old barn and grain silo painted pink with black polka dots. (Click here for their web site.) I have never seen such an amazing selection of refinished vintage furniture. It was like I had died and gone to heaven. White chalk paint everywhere. Dressers like clouds. Such pretty lines, just the right amount of crackle and distress. Celeste and her other artists are quite the gifted group. And the prices were so reasonable, I thought about buying something refinished, rather than going to the trouble myself. (Which if you know how crafty/cheap I am, is a true testimony of how reasonable these prices were.) Here's a peek of one of the rooms: (see their website for more pics)

I still have no idea why I only took one picture of this amazing store. This is a small room to the right of the main store. The entire interior perimeter is covered with vintage prom dresses in chromatic order. And just as an example of reasonable prices, this solid wood full sized bed frame was $350. No, that is not a typo.

Here's the only other picture I took of this marvelous shop:

I love the finish here. Can't you see this on some chunky wood side table?

Anyway, I left On A Whim with less cash, but with hands full of a happy pair of bags full of Annie Sloan chalk paint and a collection of funny vintage lidded glass bottles that I have big plans for.

Our next destination was a short drive through Leesburg, to the Old Lucketts Store. (see their website here) It's one of Erica's very favorite haunts of  all time. I had come here with her one other time, but we had the kids with us, so it was a bit more distracting.

I really love this place. You just can't believe it's real, if you are a natural born "picker" like me. Ironwork and shutters in the yard.

 A side house full of everything rhinestone. A porch full of bargain priced antiques and vintage pieces.

The main store is in an old house:

See all those windows? They are chock full'o goodies that delight and cause you wallet-based angst. There are 3 floors of glorious shopping. This is the stuff Pottery Barn copies and sells, but it's the real thing here.

Sadly, I had to leave them all there, as I had blown my wad at On A Whim. But there really are some great finds. I yearned over a 60 inch round dark wood table for $69 in the sheds outside and another medium wood table with a carved apron for $88 in one of the upstairs rooms. Oh, and the big carved wood mirror for $135. I almost forgot about that one. I was aching over that one. Great. Stuff. Here.

And if you need design ideas, this is the place. Here is a ceiling treatment from one of the upper rooms. It's painter's cloth:

And displaying things on cake stands and stacked trays. I love it!

Our field trip held one more stop. At the shop across the street, Really Great Finds (Their website is here). I was standing there when I took the picture of the Lucketts Store. I was in front of this staircase to the porch. Now tell me, who could resist a weathered blue metal warthog?

The store was closed, but we couldn't help taking a look around. It was kinda like estate sale meets flea market meets Mexican or Chinese marketplace.

Killer right? Someday I will go in this one. Maybe in May when I hit the Lucketts Store Fair. (Here is the event website. There are even pictures.) I can't wait!!! That's what I am wanting for Mother's Day, the next Saturday off to go play with my girls and meet a few of my favorite bloggers.

As all good things must come to an end, my time with Erica had come to it's close. The school bus was coming and I had a 45 minute drive back to the city ahead of me. But not before I got one last picture of Erica and a chicken in all it's glory:

Why else do we have friends, but to publish pictures of them standing near giant metal chickens?

I almost forgot the most important part! The crazy-ambitious idea. As I was driving home from this lovely outing, I thought about a conversation with another friend who had suggested I do a spring show. I had told her she was nuts....that there was no way I could generate enough stuff by myself to do a spring show. But as I drove away from Erica's, I thought...."hmmm...a spring show....I might be able to swing it...."

So come see what I've whipped up. I actually did it. I'll be ready with plenty of really great stuff.

Branches: the Barn Sale Without a Barn Spring Show - One Day Only!
May 5th from 11am-5pm

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