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Behind the Scenes/Planning for 2014

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This time of year, I often have people ask me how business is going and my current answer is “slow but busy”. Meaning: slow sales but busy behind the scenes. Like most people in retail sales, the majority of my sales happen in November and December which leaves a whole lot of year left to cash flow.

Rosette Capelet

Rosette Capelet Fall/Winter 2014

What to make?

For several reasons, deciding on plans for 2014 has put me in a bit of a conundrum. Because my products don’t sell year round (mostly due to being cashmere and wool), I am often asked why don’t I come up with a product that sells in the warmer season?  It seems like the perfect solution, but putting it into practice is more difficult than it sounds. I’ve expanded my business beyond a hobby type business and the demands on my home, time, and physical stamina are already quite high. I’m already going through 1000+ sweaters a year so carving out more space, time and stamina for another raw material is near impossible. Thus, I have concluded that a summer product line isn’t going to happen this year.

Ruffle Afghan

Rosette Afghan Throw Fall/Winter 2014

I’m really not going anywhere with this except to give you a bit of the behind-the-scenes of a mother-run home based business. :)

Rose Cape

Rose Capelet Fall/Winter 2014

Another factor that plays into designing for 2014 is that we may decide to move in the coming months. It is sad to say that “outloud” as we have enjoyed our 6 years here and moving would be bittersweet, but our current location in the very rural mountains of NC is near impossible for my husband’s line of work. We are scouting out possibilities in cities near us (and a few far from us). Moving 300+ bulky pillows would be silly so like I mentioned recently I’m phasing out the pre-made pillows and working toward custom order pillows. Check out the sale section for drastically reduced pillow prices!

Placing my typical order of 1000 wool/cashmere sweaters would also be silly if we have a move coming up. Thus, I’m focusing on smaller products in 2014. Thankfully, this plays well with my current raw materials. I have mountains of scraps piled up from last year’s products. By producing small products this year, I can use up those materials and not have large products to deal with if we move. Win-win.

Afghan Old Made New

Afghan Throw Blanket Fall/Winter 2014

And finally, because we are a little up in the air regarding our location, I decided not to employ help this year.  I will be doing the sewing. All. By. Myself. Eeks. It didn’t seem right to employ someone knowing that I might not supply work for much of the year. With pregnancy and newborn days behind me I think it is doable to sew myself. One nice thing about doing the work myself is that I will have the opportunity to do small runs of specialty products rather than the large amounts of main products we produced the last couple years. I’m excited about the new products shown in the photos of this post. They are among some of the small run products I’ll be making. Watch for variations of them soon appearing on the website!

So to sum it up, at Old Made New this year you will find:

1) specialty products done in small numbers (unique afghans, capelets, purses, etc)

2) small products which will include some past products (scarves, coin purses, hair accessories, hat, mittens etc) and new products to be announced

3) all items made by me!

4) all items will continue to be made of recycled wool and cashmere sweaters

Spring abounds with optimism doesn’t it? I’m really looking forward to the year, no matter what it brings. Making old new is never an easy process is it?

Warmly,

Angie

 

Custom Pillow & Special Order

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Late winter and early spring are my busiest for pillow orders. Thanks for all the orders! Many of you must be taking advantage of this indoor time to do a little redecorating! I just sewed up this gorgeous large yellow pillow in the ombre style for a customer and thought I’d take the time to take a photo and blog just a bit as a reminder that I do take custom pillow orders!

Yellow Ombre Pillow

I try to keep a good selection of pillows on the site but I’m moving more to custom pillow orders these days to cut down my inventory levels. For a while, I had so many pillows built up that shelves lined one entire room in our house! Thankfully, you have helped me get them down to a manageable level. They only line half that room now. ha.

ombre rose pillows

I especially enjoy making the ombre style pillows myself. Like the yellow one from this morning. I keep all the scraps from previous pillows and once enough build up, they make beautiful ombre pillows. The ombre style pillows are one of my favorite products because you just aren’t going to find anything like it at a store. You might find a round rose pillow in a scratchy synthetic fabric but nothing in cashmere, merino, angora or lambswool like mine! Plus the variation in color, give my ombre style a lot  more uniqueness.

custom pillows

Currently, I am well stocked up on various scrap colors and could produce just about any color ombre pillow (though I’m a little short on yellow due to that large pillow this morning). The photos above show past pillows. Check the ombre pillow page first to see if the color you need is already premade. If not, send me a note using the contact form about placing a custom order. I’ll need to know the size and color you are interested in, in order to check my fabric stash. I’d love to work with you!

Warmly,

Angie

DIY Wood Ombre Wall Hanging

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As part of our kitchen overhaul, I hung artwork and promised a quick how-to regarding the wood ombre wall hanging we made. Here ya go!

My dad comes up with some interesting things and I love how these wood ombre wall hangings that he helped Cora and I make look in our kitchen. I think these would also make a fun trivet if you don’t have wall space. Or think about what you could do similarly with paper or fabric.

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Wood ombre art

1st: Cut strips of wood. I think our wood was a scrap of 1/4″ plywood and each strip is about 14″ long and 3/4″ wide. You can do as many as you like. I used 16 pieces for mine and Cora used about 12. Hers turned out a little smaller than mine. The more you paint, the more you have to play around with.

2nd: Paint your strips. Cora did a variety of colors for hers (wow, look how little she was back then!) and she even did a little pattern on a few of her wood pieces. For mine, I mixed a round of colors in a muted rainbow scheme.

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3rd: Glue the strips tightly together. The color order in which you glue them will change the outcome so play around. I went by how the colors appear in a rainbow but you can get really graphic and high contrast also. We used thumbtacks stuck into our work surface to hold the wood strips together and weighted it all with a brick. It is important for it to be as tight and flat as possible. Try not to get any glue on the front surface.

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4th: Once dry, cut the wood strips the opposite way. See how the new strips contain a section of all the first strips painted? Dad cut these somewhere around 1/2″ wide this time. Careful, it will be fragile.

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5th: Move your strips around, staggering the joints however you like (I lined mine up brick-like) and then repeat the glueing process. Again, we used thumbtacks and a weight on top.

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6th: Once dry, I really liked the random edge so decided to leave it that way (rather than squaring them off to fit into a frame). My dad had a few he had framed hanging around his workshop. Either way works great for use as a wall hanging.

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If you leave it staggered like mine, you might like to seal the back to add structure. Otherwise, the glue joints might get tested too much. My dad spread a thick layer of caulk all over the back (and stuck a little hanging wire into the caulk before it dried). With kids and my fumbly hands, it is nice to know the caulk might help in case it gets dropped or bumped!

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Let me know if you try it or a variation of it!

Warmly,

Angie

 

 

 

Kitchen complete: Before & After

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We finished the simple overhaul of our kitchen! It didn’t take much since the previous owner had put in custom cabinetry and such.

navy kitchen wood cabinetsIn summary: We replaced the floor-tile backsplash with white subway tile and gray grout (I chose to use the partial bag we had leftover rather than pick a different color and am thankful it looks fine), painted the walls a deep blue (Indigo Streamer by Valspar), made new curtains (more on that in a minute), and hung a bit of artwork (keep reading for more on that also).

I think it looks pretty sharp. With white kitchens being all the rage right now natural wood cabinetry is out of fashion, but the navy paint and subway tile really modernizes what we have. I’m really happy with it. Even the countertops fit right in. This is nothing like what I would have chosen had we designed the kitchen from scratch so it is a very happy accident that I like it so much.

Here is another before & after. Notice that it wasn’t grouted yet and I didn’t have the curtains up.

wood kitchen blue paint

Clearing off the counters helps alot, but most of the “visual clearing” happened with the removal of that partial piece of formica on the backsplash. See how you can see the shiny sink hardware now? It looks so much cleaner.

I’m thankful for that extra electrical outlet because we were able to move the coffee pot and toaster to that side so they are a little more tucked away.

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The kitchen also looks bigger now because the blue paint extends onto the walls to the right and left of the kitchen. We stopped it there in the corner by the front door (and similar place on the opposite corner where the basement door sits). It was hard to know where to stop the paint and I am happy with the decision.

navy kitchen subway tile

For artwork, I rehung a canvas of the kids by the front door. Also, the fruit bowl is a huge handmade bowl by a guy name Jay that I went to college with. I took a lot of pottery classes as part of my degree and met so many creative people. The blue tone goes perfect with the new wall color. I keep fake lemons in the bottom of the bowl…since it is so big it needs the lemons to boost up our real produce. Ha! We could never keep it full otherwise.

white subway tile gray grout

Back in the corner of the kitchen was a perfect spot for a couple wood pieces that Cora, my dad, and I made during a visit to my parent’s house a couple years ago. They are really neat and have an ombre/mosaic/chevron look.  Totally trendy without meaning to be. The next photo shows them hung on the far left wall, though it is hard to see there in the shadow. It shows up better in person.

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Now that I look at it, it mimics the subway tile also.

Maybe you can figure it out by the pictures and quick description way down below if you want to try it for yourself. I decided to give the wall hangings their own post here as it seems a worthy project you might be interested in trying!

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Wow that blue looks bright in the photo above. It is very deep blue in real life. The kitchen is hard to photograph with the bright light on one side and dark shadowy area in the back. Both the cabinets and the paint look so different on one side compared to the other in photos.

Finally, although I wanted a graphic navy and white fabric for the curtains, I raided my fabric stash and came up with a second-best option. The navy and white fabric I loved most was $25 a yard and currently out of stock. Maybe I will save up my pennies but free works well right now. I whipped these curtains up out of a yellow floral. Yellow and blue is always classic. And the floral isn’t too in-your-face floral. I had to OK it with Jeff because he is not into flowery fabrics.

kitchen cafe curtains

The little ceramic owl mobile in the center of the window always hung in Jeff’s Grandma’s kitchen. It reminds us of her…special lady. And it just happens to be glazed in navy blue.

All in all, I’m pretty happy! For about $100, it feels like we have a new kitchen. Now to keep it clean…

Warmly,

Angie

 

Shiny New Tile

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Boy it was frigid last week. 40 degrees the last couple days has seemed like a heat wave! I’m glad we have had a project to keep us busy and from getting too stir crazy. We are still clearing away the dust and painting the walls, but I already can see that everything is looking just how I had hoped in the kitchen. We are loving the new shiny subway tile backsplash and are kicking ourselves for not doing it 5 years ago.

Installing Subway Tile Backsplash

That floor-tile-on-the-wall situation should have been remedied long ago.

DIY tile backsplash

Jeff did much of the work while I helped cut tiles (and kept the 1 year old out of the way). The backsplash was completed in one day (around errands and breaks even, so not even a day).

Dremel tool cutting tile

The dremel tool is pretty slick for cutting the tile (we practiced the first one indoors but it was dusty so Jeff cut the rest outside).

Install Subway Tile

I drew the cutting line on with a dry erase marker which wiped right off.

Cutting Tile with Dremel

We used a simple tile cutter for the straight cuts and it almost always made a nice clean cut. We barely wasted any tile so this was a pretty inexpensive project. I am hoping to come out around $100-$125 for everything including artwork and curtains.

Cutting Tile

Quick reminder of what it looked like before:

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At the end of the day, we had this:

White Subway Tile

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Jeff did a perfect job. I don’t think it would look better if a pro had done it. We will choose the grout color after we get the paint done (2 coats in…one more to go and I’ll share photos).  I’m loving the deep navy color we picked!

Warmly,

Angie

 

 

 

 

 

Subway Tile Backsplash

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We have broken out the hammers for the first time in 2014 and moved into the kitchen for a quick overhaul.  With Jeff working from home the past few months, our house has gotten a little more love than usual. And I’m loving that!

We have lived in this house for nearly 6 years, but haven’t touched the kitchen. Mostly because we wished to wait until the funds were available to replace the countertops at the same time. The formica countertops were new when we moved in but the dark red faux granite look was an unfortunate choice by the previous owner.

After 6 years though, it seems like new countertops aren’t going to happen anytime soon, and because they are in good shape we are going to move forward with the backsplash. Might as well work with what we’ve got and make it look as best we can, right?

So here is what we have started with:

kitchen before

And this is the photoshopped version of where we are going:

subway tile backsplash

Deep cobalt blue walls and simple white subway tile backsplash. Notice that I photoshopped out the light fixture. One day, it would be nice to put in recessed lighting but I don’t think that will happen this go-round. Our pockets aren’t very deep. I do think we have the funds for patterned cafe curtains and artwork though. Maybe something like this:

subway tile backsplash

So far, Jeff demo’d the old formica and tile backsplash (just getting rid of that silly 6″ formica piece makes a huge difference…I’ve never understood those),

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tile demo

DIY Backsplash

had an electrical switch put in where one was lacking,

backsplash demo

I picked out dark blue paint and white subway tile (the fun job!),

tile preparation

and Jeff replaced and mudded the torn up sections of drywall. tile preparation

Well on our way! Next up is tile and paint, and I can’t wait to see how it comes together. Are you doing any home projects this winter?

Warmly,

Angie

Red Heart Pillow for Valentine’s Day

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Nothing better than sewing up bright and cheery red heart pillows on this cold wintery day. My facebook fans were alerted to this new product late last week but I forgot to mention it here.

Red Heart Pillow

So sweet and perfect for Valentine’s Day, these petite ruffly red pillows are made by yours-truly in a mix of true reds. Each is about 12-13″ and would be adorable in a kids room or a pop of color anywhere. If you are like me, a pop of color is welcome since we are spending more time indoors during winter.

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I’m making these upon order, so allow about a week (I’m trying to get them out faster but can’t promise it). Order a heart pillow by the end of January and it will arrive in more than enough time for Valentine’s Day.

Heart Shaped Pillow

Introductory low price of just $20!! Get them here.

Heart Pillow

Warmly,

Angie

January Scarf Sale

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Heads up! Tomorrow all scarves will be at their 10-50% discounted sale price by 10 a.m. eastern. It won’t be just some. All scarves will be marked down.

cashmere scarf sale

As a reminder, every one of my products is handmade of recycled cashmere and/or wool sweaters. The textiles used are such high-quality, making my products both luxurious, on-trend, and eco-friendly. Go take a look at what you might like to watch for during the scarf sale tomorrow: cashmere ruffle scarves, rose scarflettes, regular rose scarves, rose infinity cowls.

Warmly,

Angie

January Pillow Sale

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I mentioned in my last blog post that every January I set to work organizing my business. From the accounting, to the new year plans, to the products, it all is getting organized for 2014! Exciting times.

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I decided quickly (upon seeing the 4 shelves of floor-to-ceiling pillows taking up much of my useable workspace) that the first order of business has to be a pillow sale. As much as I like keeping a large selection of colors on hand at any given moment, it sure takes up a lot of room to store 300 pillows. So I’m hoping a pillow sale will scale them down as well as help with my other new goal: to only have 100 or so pillows on-hand and focus more on custom/made-to-order pillows.

So get ready! Tomorrow all pillows will be at their sale prices by 10 a.m. eastern. It won’t be just some pillows! Even the brights and rarer colors and ombre styles will be on sale which I have never done before (they are hard to keep in stock).

Each pillow is one of a kind unless it was part of a batch. In which case, I try to note that in the listing in case you want two or more matching pillows.

Go take a look at what you might like to watch for at the sale: handmade rose pillows.

Warmly,

Angie

 

Happy New Year!

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Hi folks! Happy entrance into 2014! This is my first official workday since the last day of the Southern Christmas Show.  The show was just before Thanksgiving, so I admit to taking a nice long break! Besides shipping products out and Jeff doing a little work for his own business, we did next to no work and thoroughly celebrated Christmas: Christmas plays, music recitals, grandparent visits, cooking, church events, decorating, gifts, and fun! We ended the year with a trip to Michigan and minus the stomach flu, flat tire, and coming home early due to the weather, we had a great time catching up with family, sledding, eating, and ringing in the new year.

It has been a whirlwind and I have to admit that after all that, it is nice to be getting back into a regular routine. I hope your December and New Year were great! A quick wam-bam collage of December events to wrap up 2013:

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What do you have planned for 2014? It is rare that I make any resolutions but like most people, January is a planning and organizing month here. Our goals are to finish up the 2013 bookkeeping, plan out business priorities for 2014, and physically and mentally organize everything to do with Old Made New. I’m an organizer by nature so it feels exciting to start fresh again after a great 2013.

As the first part of my product organizing, I’ll be back this afternoon with a quick sale announcement of products I want to move out to make room for new…stay tuned!

Warmly,

Angie

 

 

Christmas Card Photo Fail

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Happy Advent!

We woke to a perfectly photographable day on Saturday. It seemed an ideal day to take a family photo (to use for our Christmas card) while we picked out the perfect Christmas tree. The first inch of snow for the year had fallen. That snow, added to the bright blue of the sky and rich green of the trees, made a perfect backdrop for our family photo wouldn’t you say?

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You’ll just have to imagine a perfectly posed little family in the photo above because imagining is all that happened.

Between the wrangling of the toddler who only wanted to taste the snow, big brother getting all Paul Bunyan on every tree in the field, and me waxing frustration on big sis because she found something wrong with every tree we looked at, we quickly nixed the idea of trying to take a family photo.

By the end I think I even said “just pick a tree, any tree”. Oh boy. I needed a nap or a time-out. Please tell me that I’m not the only parent that fails Parenting 101 again and again? Thankfully after that, we got the tree home with lots of laughs and only a few tears.

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Thankfully, our tree is perfect despite ourselves.

I hope your advent celebrations are just as memorable as ours. ;) Any tree chopping stories to share?
Warmly,

Angie

 

 

2013 Tote Bags Added to Site

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I have had many people ask if I will be updating the site with tote bags and other new products. Thankfully, just enough tote bags and stockings are left after the show to put on the site so I have been working on that this afternoon. First up…the totes. In each tote category, you will find new bags. Each is one of a kind so keep that in mind as you are browsing. Items are selling quickly this time of year.

2013 Old Made New Tote Bags

I have the bags separated into categories to help you browse. All long handled bags with a flower, whether big or small, are in the rosette tote category. Prints, stripes, cardigans, and solids are similarly categorized. Finally, the handbag style which has a short handle a tapered shape are in their own category.

Some of my favorites from this new round of tote bags:

Sweater Tote Bag

Upcycled Tote Bags

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It was fun to hear the conversations among the women at the Southern Christmas Show as they picked out bags to purchase. Each bag has a unique personality and I think you’ll find one perfect for all the women on your Christmas list! If I can help you pick one out, please let me know using this contact form.

Warmly,

Angie

Thanksgiving 2013

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thanksgiving

Recently, I read somewhere that if we are a people of gratitude than we are a people of joy. The article alluded to the idea that no matter your circumstance, good or bad, you can have joy and it comes through thanks-giving.

It is our belief that if we are thankful than there must logically be someone much bigger than ourselves who receives that thanks. Our thanks runs deep in our soul and though we are grateful each day, I love that Thanksgiving gives a day to really play it up.

We celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with a feast like no other. A great day of cooking together, laughing together, doing dishes together, stuffing ourselves silly together, and (most importantly) giving thanks together.

I hope your thanksgiving was full of gratitude and joy!

Warmly,

Angie

We survived the Southern Christmas Show

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We have more than survived the 12 days of Christmas mayhem at the 2013 Southern Christmas Show! We have been back for two days and spent most of the time unpacking and sleeping. Ah! The recap? It was near perfection. I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone better or more smoothly.

Southern Christmas Show

Early wednesday morning we pulled out of our driveway with both our vehicles and a U-Haul trailer. It was tight to get everything in but we managed. Hundreds of tote bags and pillows take up an amazing amount of space! We made the two hour trip, only stopping to tighten the tarp once and to grab coffee and breakfast.

Southern Christmas Show

When we arrived it was a mad-house. Many businesses had been there for a few days to set up and were putting final touches on their displays. And others, like us, had just arrived. These photos make me smile. The painters working. Us assembling. Undressed mannequins. The entire place was in utter chaos mere hours before the opening night.

Southern Christmas Show

We scurried around and were set up right on time. After finishing we ran over to our rented townhome to unload our suitcases, food, high chair, pack-and-play, etc. Anyone else weird like me and take photos of the places you stay? I want to vividly remember the past 15 days.

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Then Kathy (Jeff’s rock-star of a mom), Cora, and I literally threw on some different clothes and headed back to the show with minutes to spare. This photo reminds me how crazy it was. I look a tad frazzled. ha!

Southern Christmas Show

Overall, I was happy with how our booth turned out. It changed and evolved over the course of the 12 days depending on which product we focused on each day but overall it looked somewhat like this photo below.

Southern Christmas Show

It was a nice surprise to be awarded third place for tent design! Seeing all the other spaces gave me ideas to do even better next time.

Old Made New Award

Overall, we did quite well at the show and sold much of the product we brought. We are very thankful! God did so much for us through the week. We were praying that none of us would get sick due to the long hours and lack of a normal schedule and God answered that prayer. It was special to have done this as a family—a memory-maker for sure! Jeff did everything and anything and worked sunup to sundown most days. Jeff’s mother was instrumental. We couldn’t have done this without her. Besides helping in the booth many times, she also stayed at the townhome with the kids and did their schoolwork with them. She also kept us well fed by having good hearty meals ready when we pulled in way after dark each night. The kids also worked very hard. Noah carried many many boxes. Cora spent many hours at the show taking the money and swiping credit cards. Might I brag that she sold out of every single garland that she crafted for the show? So proud of her. And little Judah slept and ate and slept and ate like a good little boy. ;)

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Last, but definitely not least, the women from our life group at church came out for a few hours each…on the busy first Saturday no less. And my good friend, Shelly, spent almost the entire final Saturday helping me. Thanks friends!! I appreciated it very much.

A final thanks to all the customers who came to my booth and brightened my day. I hope you enjoy your purchases and your gift recipients enjoy their Christmas gifts!

Warmly,

Angie

 

Southern Christmas Show Nov. 13-24

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Done. D. O. N. E. Done. As in, stick a fork in it done. Today is packing day and by this time tomorrow our display will be up at the Southern Christmas Show. Whew! The culmination of nearly 5 years of hard work.

cashmere ruffle scarf

After a bit of a fiasco with U-haul, we finally got a trailer and have it, along with the truck pulling it, stuffed to the brim with our display and thousands of products. Next we will pack the SUV with all our personal needs for the 12-day show. Clothing and food for six people takes alot of space! Not counting a high chair, portable crib, stroller, box of toys, and other baby things. I am hoping we can get it all in.

OldMadeNew Products

Oh and we can’t forget the wii. Our boy would be so disappointed if his dream of playing wii for hours on end at our rented vacation condo doesn’t come to fruition. ;)Unique Rose Scarf

Deep breath. We are so close to the finish line. In 15 days I’ll be kicking up my feet while a big fat juicy turkey bakes away in the oven. And we will continue to be so very thankful for all God has done for us and will do for us.

Rose Pillow

I look forward to sharing how the show goes. It feels crazy right now and my stomach is in knots but deep down I know it will all be great. Come visit if you are in the area!

Warmly,
Angie

Note to U-haul and potential U-haul customers: It is terrible customer service to send a text the day before a customer’s reservation (which was made 4 weeks ago) and say the item is to be picked up in the next state over. We had no time to travel to Virginia. Making do with the tiny U-Haul trailer found at the last minute has made our day pretty difficult. We will avoid using U-Haul again.

Remembering Grandpa

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Last week, we remembered and celebrated the life of my grandfather in Missouri. It is the reason I have been MIA for a bit.

It is hard to believe it has been over a week since the woolly worm festival. Last Sunday evening we packed it all up, stopped for our 2nd annual “Eat-Mexican-to-decompress-from-woolly-worm-overload”, and then crashed hard. And then early the next morning, I hopped on a plane and headed to Missouri for Grandpa’s funeral. I am thankful that I was able to get there in time.

Grandpa and Grandma had just celebrated their 65th anniversary a few weeks before, and Grandpa had just reached 90 years of age. Amazing. I thought Jeff and I were doing well at having reached 15 years of marriage! Can you imagine 65? They were together way more years than they were apart, and I look forward to the day when Jeff and I can say the same. The cute moment above was captured at their anniversary celebration while they fed each other cake. Grandma, who I had written about in this past post, will miss him and I humbly ask for your prayers for her days, months, and years ahead.

I remember Grandpa as hard-working, faithful, fun-loving, and God-fearing. Grandma and Grandpa started and ended their day in prayer (Luther’s morning and evening prayer), and they truly relied on God and His daily provision. Fine examples of how to live in this world while awaiting eternal life.

I came back to North Carolina with renewed thanksgiving for my roots in Missouri and the strong faith that my Grandparents passed along.

Until we meet again, Grandpa.

Warmly,

Angella Eisman