The Greenbelt in ATX is the place to be as the temps climb!
Mother Nature is in full bloom.
And that means bluebonnets!
Even the beach is an absolute joy in March.
Happy spring, y’all!
*All photos were taken by and belong to me. Use of them is prohibited without expressed permission. Thanks, y’all. 🙂
Since we’re just starting out, I feel like I need to introduce us a little bit more. 🙂
I think hobbies and creative interests are great things, if not downright important things to have in your life. I am a crafty little individual by nature, as are the parents, so we do other projects outside of the crafts that we sell.
Maybe you’ll find a new interest?
My favorite not-for-sale craft is scrapbooking. I’ve mentioned that in another post, but it’s worth mentioning again. I have made one for every year of high school, one for my graduation trip, and I make one for every year I’ve dated my boyfriend (yes, that’s very cheesy). I am a very sentimental person; I have boxes, photo albums, and scrapbooks full of memories and mementos. Scrapbooks take more work love and are so pretty! Buying new scrapbooking paper is an absolute joy for me. I like playing with colors, patterns, and layouts, as well, but I enjoy doing that with anything. I’ve been told I have a great eye for design and color schemes.
You can totally still hit me up for a scrapbook. They’re perfect for baby’s first year, vacations, anniversaries, etc. 🙂
A lot of my crafting is determined by the time of year. My favorite crafts are ornaments, but I also love Halloween crafts. It seems like nearly half of my decorations are handmade, which, I think, is how it should be. Many, if not all of, my crafts are for decorative purposes beyond just holidays, like reupholstering cushions.
One of my first hobbies was knitting. I taught myself how to work with needles when I was in the eighth grade by watching Youtube videos and reading tutorials on Pinterest. I’m not great at it, but I like to make scarves and mitts. I’m about to start on a swimsuit cover-up. I also love to sew; I learned when I was about ten. I learned to sew through 4-H, but my grandmother is amazing with a sewing machine. I love making quilts. My goal is to have one quilt for every season and holiday! Right now though, I’m working on a quilt for my bed.
Dad is great at working with his hands and building things. One of his best (in my opinion) hobbies is making knives in his forge. He uses scrap materials, like rasps, antlers, wood, scrap metal, etc., to craft these beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and perfectly functional knives. Sure, he sells some, but he does it mostly for fun, and he’s super talented.
Mom is I think where I get my craftiness.
Her big thing is crochet. She’s a great little hooker. Recently she made a mermaid costume for out neighbor’s granddaughter, and it turned out so cute! She does blankets, scarves, jackets, stuffed animals, or whatever is tickling her fancy.
She’s also an art teacher, which means she’s constantly coming up with new ideas and trying out all kinds of new techniques, media, and projects with her students, many of which she carries over into her home life. That could be painting, mixed media sculpture/art, or anything, really, that she can adorn her house with. Her niche, kitschy taste is so fun and cozy at the same time. You can totally tell, at the markets, which things are hers!
So, readers that I hope exist, what crafts do y’all do? What would you like to start doing?
This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!
Today, we are talking about Warrenton. Warrenton is the mother of all Texas markets and antique shows. Fifty years running, it’s one of the biggest in the country.
Antiques Weekend is twice a year in Fayette County. All throughout Round Top, Fayetteville, Warrenton, Burton, Carmine, and all along the roads, 600 vendors set up shop in barns and tents selling antiques from all over, straight up junk, crafts, furniture, clothes, jewelry, and more.
Every show, fall and spring, 100,000 people go junkin’.
Fresh coat of nail polish, second cup of coffee, and $40 in my purse, I was off to Warrenton.
Let me tell you… this place is HUGE. It’s crazy. I went on a Saturday in September- a gorgeous day- morning lows in the sixties, high in the eighties, not a cloud in the sky. I parked for $5 in a field and hit the road, only to return two and a half hours later, and I had only seen maybe a quarter of the show.
I started at the first big barn on the right-hand side of the road. I saw piles of old tools at one place, tons and tons of signs at several places, cute suitcases and trunks that I wanted really badly, some (imported) Mexican yard art, clothes, a junk store (you could buy buttons, scrabble letters, door knobs, little clocks, and butter dishes, to name some things), and a cowhide rug place (I would have bought had I enough money), before I finally made my first purchase. There was a lady set up on the wrap around porch of a house, where many other vendors were, selling soap- Elner Austin at ElsSoap.com
I bought a small bar of “Leather and Lace” beard soap for my boyfriend and a small bar of “sweet wood” charcoal soap for my sister (she loves charcoal everything). Soap is one of those things I almost always buy at markets. For one, it takes a lot of work, and I want to support the people that do that work. Two, it smells damn good- nothing like what you’d buy at the store. Three, it’s made with natural ingredients, and four, I can’t make it myself. I could, but I don’t really have the materials or the time or the want-to to try to make it from scratch. I’ll stick with my soap kits from Hobby Lobby!
My favorite things were this front porch swings made out of the tailgates of old pick-ups.
I moved on and grabbed a quick bite to eat before getting lost in some gorgeous furniture. See, going to these places makes me want to buy a house and get married so I can buy pretty furniture and decorate it with Mr. and Mrs. pillows, and when I come to terms with the fact that that’s not happening anytime soon, it’s depressing. Alas, I continued to look at what else Warrenton had to offer. I saw funky mannequins, ornaments, white linen gowns, rusty horseshoes, tons of windows and doors that I could do so much with, old outdoor furniture, beautiful clothes, more old beer and car signs, quilts, dishes, forks and knives, black and white pictures of strangers, lamps made out of propane tanks, a metal cut out of Bigfoot, golf clubs, Army surplus, lots of bicycles and wagons, cages of all kinds, fences, Christmas trees made of pallets, coat hangers, pumpkins made from anything and everything, bird houses, and my favorite- porch swings made with the tailgates of old pick-ups. I did make a couple other purchases as well: a $5 clipboard to use for work and a small block “H.” I could have made the “H” myself, but the lady I bought it from (her business is called Vunkology) told me before that she sat down at her dining room table and made every single letter. Mind you, there were 20-30 of every letter of the alphabet and the ten single-digits. She had so many other things for sale, too, that I can’t imagine the time and effort she put into everything. I had to buy a little something something.
Plus, when you go to these shows, it’s obligatory that you buy crap. You’ve just got to. You can’t go to these things with a smart shopper mindset.
Being smart can actually hurt your fun. It did for me a little bit. I’ve always been a crafty person, and in the last few years, I’ve really gotten into doing things myself. I see things at shows that I like, but then I realize that I could make that easily. If I can’t easily make it myself, then yeah I’ll buy it if I want it enough. Otherwise, though, I’m not going to pay a bunch of money (because in this business you can charge the hell out of someone. It feels unethical, almost, so I charge low, but if I wanted to, I could sell things for three times their worth) for something I could do myself. I’ve been to several markets, too, so I can also tell what’s authentic and what was mass-produced. The Chinese have gotten real good and making fake shit look real. For example, I love Mexican yard art. I want a yard full of colorful metal animals, but there is only one lady I will buy from. She is middle-aged go-getter Mexican woman that I always see in Wimberly and Fredericksburg. She’s awesome. She is quite the sales lady, and she knows her product front, back, upside down, and sideways. She and her crew make everything in Mexico out of recycled metal, like cars. She could point to every single one of her pieces and tell you what it was made of. She showed me one (I think it was a pig or something) that still had the Mercedes-Benz logo on it. She’s the real deal. Other vendors (I asked) have them imported. That’s fine, someone had to make it, but I personally prefer that authenticity and humanity, like the Mexican lady. So yeah, just knowing how to make things and being able to tell the real from not-real takes a little bit of the fun out of it, but not totally. I came away with lots of ideas both for my business and (mostly) my future dream home!
By the way, if you do make it to Warrenton, I suggest making a trip out of it. Seriously. That part of the state is beautiful. Honestly, though, what part of our state isn’t? Anyway, nearby is La Grange, which is neat for you ZZ Top and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas fans.
There are also the Painted Churches in Praha, Dublina, and other areas. These churches were built by Czechs that immigrated to Texas in the mid-nineteenth century.
Further east of Warrenton and Round Top is Brenham, which has a super cute downtown area with more antique shops and this place called Must Be Heaven, and they have the best pies! They also have a Blue Bell factory that you can tour! A little bit further yet is College Station, if you’re an Aggie. If you go about an hour and a half west of Warrenton, you hit Austin.
I hope you feel inspired to go junkin’ now! It is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures.
WHOREHOUSE MOVIE POSTER via Google Image Search:
How we make crosses.
Just to be clear, I didn’t make this. My amazing dad did. I just told him how big I think they ought to be and helped make some of the aesthetic decisions.
Making these crosses is somewhat easy. It’s just a matter of getting it right.
I suppose that’s true of everything, though, isn’t it?
So anyway, materials. We used thin pieces of mesquite (my dad cut this wood in the ‘80s), oil, and glue.
First, he cut the strips to the length that we wanted. Then, he cut out an indention on the long piece that was the width of the crossing piece. This way, they fit together like a puzzle.
Next, he treated them with an oil, like tung oil. This protects the wood and makes it look pretty.
Actually, on a couple of pieces, he took a torch to the ends of the cross to give it a beautiful rugged look. Then he treated them.
Once the pieces were treated and designed the way we liked them, he glued them together. I say glued, but it wasn’t that easy. The oil kind of made it harder to hold, but we made it work. Screwing the pieces together would work fine, though it might not look as nice.
The last part is just “decorating” it. We left one of them plain, just because it looked so pretty and rugged. Another one we added fifty-something year-old barbed wire to.
I call it the “crown of thorns” cross. I got the idea when I was sitting at church one day, and on the priest’s robe was a cross that had a circle running around it in the middle with print down the length of it. It hit me, right there in the middle of Mass, that I had to make that cross!
So anyway, that is how we made our crosses. Get out there and try it yourself! See what designs you could come up with!
Rainy Pickers Patch… here’s how we managed today anyway!
Today was our first day at Victoria’s Pickers Patch. Despite our amazing new things and super cute set-up, it was not a great day, unfortunately. Not just for us, but for everyone.
For one, it rained all day. Just an ugly, steady, soaking drizzle. All of our stuff got wet, which is terrible for any of the linens and fabric-y stuff we have. My signs got damp and a little warped… It was no bueno. Everyone was in the same boat, though. Three hours before it was supposed to close, several of us vendors were packing up.
Also, attendance was slow today; probably due to the rain, the county fair, and another market in town. We just didn’t have the results that we wanted. I marked down my prices (permanently!), rearranged displays, tried talking to people, and anything doable I could think of, but nothing was working, though it didn’t seem anyone was having much luck.
Damn this Texas weather!
We did manage to sell some things, and I was VERY proud of our new set-up and displays. Months of hard work went into today, and I’m happy with how everything turned out.
Hopefully y’all can join us in a couple of months in May at Ganado’s Farmers Market!