A Dreamy Evening With The Dreamers

The Gathering at Round Top

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Months ago Tara Royer asked me to share my story at The Gathering At Round Top on September 22, 2016.  What was I going to say?  NO?  Of course not, it was such a privilege and a great opportunity.  I was a nervous wreck.  So, I spent months writing and rewriting what I’d share.  Then I spent hours practicing and making changes.  The day of I kept asking myself, “what are you so afraid of?”  Well, it turns out I had nothing to get worked up over.  It was actually fun overcoming a fear and to be surrounded my SO many kindred spirits.  It was a dreamy evening with the DREAMERS.

Thanks to ALL who put in countless hours preparing for The Gathering!  I love that you all cared so much to give of your time!!!!  Your love for sister/dreamers inspires me.

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Thanks to Beverly Martinets {owner of Bel Sole} for videoing me!

Words I meant to share

I skipped over a few details in my rush to finish.  I forgot to say that I actually got the job and didn’t let Jeff down.  🙂  However, it only lasted six months.  I can’t be caged to a desk or clock in.

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Hello!  My name is Tiffany Eckhardt, owner of Flown The Coop in Burton just 9 miles down the road.  FTC is an antique store specializing in Vintage, Industrial and Homestead Goods.  I also love to feature a variety of local products and my entrepreneurial friends!  My work IS dedicated to those who can’t be caged.  I hope to inspire kindred spirits to go for their dreams despite the directions others have taken.

I am so honored to be asked to share my story.  It is humbling to stand before so many rock stars in business.  There are so many stories I could share!  I have Forest Gumped my way through life.  It’s true.  Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.  If I’m brutally honest, I struggle with fear that I don’t have what it takes to succeed.  I don’t have a college degree.  I didn’t come from money.  AND I often feel like the underdog.  But God has given me a stout heart that perseveres.  The truth is I only become defeated when I compare my journey with others and allow my limitations to define who I should be.

It has taken me a long time to figure out what God had in mind for me. This road to RT has been a long one.  I am very determined and usually choose the road that is uphill both ways.  I am NOT afraid to try anything and get more motivated by being told it can’t be done.  Although, the older I get the more I am learning to lean into God for direction.  In hindsight, I can see how he used each time I thought I had failed or that the deck was stacked against me.

If you get anything out of the stories I share, I hope it’s that… If I can do it… you can too.

I was born in a beautiful suburb of Columbus, Ohio and grew up in a wonderful old house.  I am the child of very hard working parents, Robb and Rose Landon, who instilled in my sister Gretchen and I the importance of working for what you want.  My Dad is a retired fireman and my Mom drove school bus while we were in school.  My Grandpa, his father, owned his own insurance company when insurance was just a developing industry.  I believe I get my entrepreneurial spirit from him.  One of my earliest memories is standing in the doorway of our kitchen while my Mom was making dinner and making the proclamation that I was going to own my own business some day like my Grandpa.

We were a frugal family.  I grew up shopping thrift stores and loved going to garage sales with my Grandparents who religiously went every Friday morning.  I learned to negotiate watching my grandma asking for a better price, even when it was cheap enough.

After graduating high school, I decided not to take the college path and enlisted in the Air Force as a reservist.  I was hoping to begin a new adventure…  It is in Tech School that I met my future husband Jeff Eckhardt.  We lived in the same dorm and became best friends.  After training I went back to Ohio and Jeff went onto Florida for more training.  We stayed in touch and after traveling back and forth several times, until I moved to Florida.  We married in 1989.

After Florida we were stationed at Columbus AFB in Columbus, MS. where we started our family.  We have 2 children Emily and Hayden.  I thoroughly enjoyed staying home with my children.  Being a Mom was the best job ever!  I fed my entrepreneurial spirit with a couple direct sales opportunities.  And Jeff and I stayed busy renovating historic homes.

After 9 years in Mississippi, we moved our family to my hometown Westerville, Ohio. While my children were in elementary school I took over my parent’s drive through coffee shop called Rosie’s Java Hut, which was fun for about two years.  I learned the importance of great customer service during that experience.  My customers loved that I had their drink ready for them by the time they pulled up to my window.  And all of them thought I did it only for them.

Moving our family to Urbana, Ohio is a great example of my willingness to go for it.  Jeff was working for a traveling CatScan company.  The kids and I would travel with him to explore the museums and parks in the area where they sent him.  I will never forget driving down Scioto Street in Urbana for the first time and falling madly in love with the stately historic homes.  I told the kids as we drove down Scioto St. that I would love to live there.  I’m sure they thought uh-oh, knowing their Mom was a free spirit.  That day I found a home that was up for silent auction on Scotia Street.  Jeff and I went to look at it on during his lunch and decided put a bid on it.  The next day we got a call that we won.  In a matter of weeks we moved our family into our fourth renovation project.  This time the kids knew what to expect and were not thrilled.  I tried making light of our adventure the first few months by reading them the book Onto Oregon by the fire before we went to bed in our pop up camper in the back yard.  The kids quickly made friends and it ended up being a great small town for them!  I jumped into volunteering, serving on a the Main Street board and founded First Fridays.

Later when the kids were in high school I became a realtor.  I loved showing off the historic homes in Urbana, until 2008 when the market came crashing down on us in Ohio.  Eventually I couldn’t afford to market homes that didn’t have a chance to sell and had to step away from my first real career.  I was crushed.  So, I did the only logical thing to do:  I sold my car and went to Costa Rica for a month to find myself.  Thank God my husband is totally supportive of my need for adventure.  I went to a language school and stayed with a host family.  It was a great experience, but I didn’t find myself.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was glad to get back to my family and figure out what my next step would be.

A funny story after I got back: A friend of mine in real estate went to work as a sales manager for a local manufacturer.  He called and asked me to apply for an inside sales position.  I went to an interview and thought to myself that I would be a shoe in…. Wes knew my work ethic and I had done sales my whole life.  He and I had several conversations about how it’s hard to teach sales, you either have it or you don’t.  Well, I was called back for a second interview.  I was totally annoyed.  I did not see the point.  On the way out the door the morning of the second interview, I asked my husband for some advice.  I never really held a corporate job.  He turned to me and said, “All I can think is this is your one chance fancy don’t let me down.” I got the job, I worked for the man all of 6 months.  I just couldn’t be caged to a desk or clock in.  I worked there long enough to save for a trip to Italy… Which was a dream Jeff and I realized in March 2011.

I may not have had a job, but I was never idle.  I was trying a variety of opportunities to figure out my “muse.”  I had a blog and had learned how to promote businesses using social media.  I had founded a group called Weekend ReTweat.  We were a group of ladies who had met on Twitter and then later in person at Tweetups in Columbus.  Weekend Retweet used our various social media platforms to collectively promote B&Bs and area attractions. It was fueling my need to travel and my passion for marketing.

I had also become friends with a Brenham native, Kristie Herlong, who had moved to Urbana and opened a cute little shop called the Green Owl.  We had the bright idea to put all our stuff together and do the Springfield Flea Market in the month of July.  Kristie was really good at merchandising and we were both excited.  We had no idea what we were doing, but were having a blast and felt like we were making a killing despite being an off month. That weekend hooked us into this crazy business.  We later named our little business Flown The Coop.  Mainly because we both wanted to get out of the house to JUNK.  Kristie and I had done Round Top together.  We set up at the Antique Depot (which is now the Stone Cellar).  Funny thing is when we did that show I never in a million years would predict that I’d be living in this area within a few years.

Jeff and I had been married about 20 years when he shared with me his dream to move to Texas.  Our kids had graduated high school by this time.  So, he told me that it was his turn to live near family.  I hate to admit it, but I was devastated by the idea.  I couldn’t imagine moving away from my kids, family and friends.  I was frightened by leaving my projects behind and starting completely over.  It took me several months after Jeff moved to finally join him.  I moved and took the name Flown The Coop with me.  Flown The Coop took on a new meaning for me.  Most families send their kids off into the world…. Jeff and I flew off and left the house to the kids.

This was really hard for me.  I am a small town girl who moved to Houston, the fourth largest city in America.  It took months, but I gradually found my groove doing the Canton Flea Market once a month and Round Top twice a year.  We found a cute little house to rent in the Heights and I rented a booth space in Chippendale Eastlake Antiques on 19th St.  I quit Canton to take care of my booth and set up at Round Top 2x a year.

One of the best things that happened to me during this time was befriending Brian and Melonely Russell, owners of The Seedbox.  They were rock stars in my eyes.  Both of them are extremely talented, generous and took me under their wings.  I helped them with Urban Market in Houston and the Dallas Gift Market.  I learned so much about merchandising and ways to look at the business from them.

Brian and Meloney encouraged me to add Urban Market and the Dallas Gift Market to the list of shows I did a year.  I quit my booth space and was so proud to set up seven times a year at shows.  To say it is hard work is an understatement.  I have a deep respect for the dealers out in the fields.  I got better at merchandising and figuring out what works for my booth with each show.  But honestly, I was not happy.  Jeff could not do this business with me because he had a REAL JOB that he loved.  And I haven’t figured out how to be his Sugar Mamma.  Traveling away from Jeff and toting all the heavy industrial pieces I love was taking a tole on Jeff and I. I started dreaming of a property that we could live in and work at.  I had specific ideas of what I wanted life to be like.  I wanted to walk to live music.  I wanted to be in a community of creatives.  During the show I would drive around Round Top and wish I could have a store here.  Jeff and I began looking for warehouse space in Houston and drove around the country looking at options.  Everything seemed way to expensive and totally out of reach.  I was tired and discouraged.  During the Fall Show in 2014 I remember telling God that I something needed to give.  I had just finished unloading our truck and setting up my booth.  I was exhausted and just couldn’t do it anymore.  During that show my friend Meloney came to our booth one morning and asked me if I knew Old Glory was selling their little property in Burton?  I remember my eyes getting big and told her that I had to have it.  I had been to the property several times and knew the past two owners.  I called Jeff to tell him the news and expected him to say that I had lost my mind.  Instead he said, “Let’s make an offer!”  I immediately called Brian Kuhn to tell him Jeff and I would like to make an offer on his property.  This was on a Friday and we agreed to meet him on Monday.  That weekend was so hard for me.  I knew that I’d be heart broken if it didn’t work out, I’d have to start all over again figuring out what to do with my life.  Jeff and I went by the property on Saturday evening after we closed my booth.  When we got there we saw a double rainbow over Burton.  It was a sign.  I called my daughter Emily about the property, she told me, “you know it will work out Mom, you didn’t have time to think about it.”

We signed the papers to close the deal at the end of November 2014, our year of jubilee.  This is the first home we moved into that didn’t need a renovation.  And we love Burton!  It is the obvious choice for me, off the beaten path with so much scope for the imagination.  Flown The Coop has become everything I dreamed it could be.  Thank God for Social Media!  I’m convinced that no one would know about Flown The Coop without friends talking about it on their social networks.  I couldn’t make Flown The Coop happen without the constant support of my husband Jeff!  He’s been making my dreams come true for 27 years.

My Mom always liked to say, “go with the flow and your sure to grow.”  I think my stories illustrate the importance of being willing to go with the flow, work hard, show up, never give up and talk about what you want. I am dreamer, but I also believe that you have to keep trying until the perfect solution presents itself.  I talked to God a lot about it.  Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses:  For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future. After the 2008 crash “the year from hell”, I was convince that he was not even on my side.  But He knew what I needed and recaptured my heart in the process of pursuing this dream.  And HE knows exactly what you need and can lead you to it.

I couldn’t be happier developing my little piece of heaven.  I’m so thankful that my journey led me to Texas and especially this area.  I love being involved in Burton and watching this secret town develop into a creative haven with several new businesses opening this month, one being the Burton Roadhouse where I can walk to hear live music!

So, I leave you with the words of Steven Tyler…

I know nobody knows where it comes and where it goes.  I know it’s everybody’s sin.  You’ve got to loose to know how to win.  Dream on!  Dream until your dreams come true!

DREAM ON!!!!!!

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky

 

 

 

Exploring The Back Roads

The Local Experience

I love to travel, preferring trips spent exploring back roads and discovering local hot spots.  No matter where I go, I always spend the trip wondering what it would be like to live there.  Several years ago Jeff and I realized a dream trip to Italy.  One of our best decisions was renting an apartment in Naples for a week.  We thoroughly enjoyed walking to the neighborhood markets and bringing food back to prepare in the kitchen.  Every evening we saw the same couples strolling down the street as a part of their daily ritual.  By the end of the week we felt satisfied that we immersed ourselves in the local experience.

Back Road Dreaming

As a dealer who set up in Warrenton at Bar W twice a year, I often wondered what it would be like to to be a local in the Roundtropolis.  I found it was difficult to immerse myself in a local experience.  I was there to work and had so little time to get away from my booth.   After a day selling junque, my friends and I would go to our favorite local restaurants, which were always packed with visitors and dealers.

I woke up early some mornings to spend time exploring before I had to head to my booth.  On those early morning road trips, the back roads seem to be calling this road warrior to the country.  A dream to open my own store in a small community was developing.  I was willing to answer the call, but the dream felt just too far out of reach.  And really, did I want to be “caged?”  Could I live in the country?  What did locals do for fun?

Where The Back Roads End

You know the story… dreams do come true!

After a full year, I can honestly say that living on a back road is more than I could have ever imagined!  Our friend Abbey Road coined the phrase, “Where The Back Roads End.”   Burton IS where the back roads end!  Life travels at a slower pace out here.  It is not uncommon for people to stop by The Coop just to shoot the breeze.  I love the sense of community!

We are supported by the most generous and hard working people.  The business owners of the Roundtropolis understand the need to promote each other, which has been helpful in growing Flown The Coop.  I showcase several local entrepreneurs, a local author and a local artist in The Coop.  The creative community is flourishing on the back roads!

Our social calendar is never boring.  I am so grateful to live in Burton with so many kindred spirits who enjoy life!    Here’s one of my Facebook posts from February 8th:

For those who wonder if country life is boring… We started the weekend Friday at ROYERS ROUND TOP CAFE and then dropped by a friend’s house to sit by the fire for a bit. After another great day at The Coop, Saturday evening we went to Saddlehorn Winery for wine tasting and sang carpool karaoke on the way to a Mardi Gras party at The Stone Cellar. Sunday I worked in my garden (this weather is awesome) and then went to a Super Bowl party at The Cottages on Mill Creek-Round Top Lodging.

Exploring the back roads for yourself

Wether you need to recharge yourself in the quietness of the country or you’re in need for an adventure, exploring our back roads will not disappoint.

When you hit the road, I hope you make your way to Burton.  We are located half way between Houston and Austin on 290.  It’s where the back roads end.  If you want the local experience, stop by The Coop to ask for directions.  I would love to visit with you!  I try to keep up with what is going on, where to eat, nice places to stay and who you need to meet.  I’ll point you in the right direction.

You never know what you’ll discover off the beaten path.

Happy Trails,

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

TIME FLIES

It’s true!  Time flies, much like a gen.u.ine FREE spirit.  Since opening The Coop on March 25th, we’ve had so much fun nestling into our Burton home.  We honestly LOVE the community and all our new friends.  Thank you ALL for making our first few months in business a tremendous success!

Hard to believe we are weeks away from another Texas Antiques Week!

Getting Ready for the BIG SHOW

Jeff and I will hit the road again for a buying trip.  I already have a large load waiting to be picked up!  I am super excited to visit my favorite dealers to see what they’ve uncovered in their latest hunting adventures.  This promises to be epic!

Flown The Coop will be closed August 30 – September 22.  The Coop will undergo a complete redo to prepare for Texas Antiques Week.  During this time we will bring back our new treasures and create all new vignettes.  Sorry, no sneak peaking…

The Burton Antiques Market

September 23rd – Kicking off the Burton Antique Market

Flown The Coop will throw open the doors September 23rd at 9:00 am.  Be the first to grab the newest treasures from our buying trip and one of our BRAND NEW gen.u.ine FREE spirit tees.  Don’t forget to snap a pic in front of our gen.u.ine FREE spirit mural.  Tag us #2flownthecoop so we can highlight your pic on our FB and Instagram accounts.

Later that night we have a BIG treat for you…  Flown The Coop will open our backyard stage from 7:30 pm – midnight for Kountry Chic Karoake & DJ.  Bring your lawn chairs and BYOBeverages!  It will be a fun evening under the stars with Denise and our favorite local karaoke stars.

 September 26th – White Linen Night 

Several months ago the idea for White Linen Night came to me while dreaming up events for Texas Antiques Week.  I saw a throwback picture on Facebook from one of Theresa Cano’s Blogger Parties.  All the ladies showed up dressed in white.  The idea popped into my head:  Burton needs a White Linen Night, much like the New Orleans and Houston Heights tradition celebrating the arts and surviving another sultry summer.   So ladies and gentlemen, get out your favorite white outfit and join us on September 26th from 6pm – 9pm for Burton’s FIRST EVER White Linen Night!

Flown The Coop is teaming up with Market Realty/ Rita’s Antiques to sponsor White Linen Night.  Artists, creatives and makers will line Live Oak St. in front of Flown The Coop.  Live music will be on the porch of Market Realty.  Food by the Burton Volunteer Fire Department will be located in front of Market Realty.

There is still room for artists, creatives and makers to join White Linen Night!  Email me at eckhardt.tiffany@gmail.com for registration!  

Check out the White Linen Night Fabebook Event for the updated list of Artists * Music * Food * Fun.  

Burton Antique Market

Putting Burton on the Antiques Show Map!  Burton will roll out the welcome mat for pilgrims of Texas Antiques Week September 23 – October 3rd.  Our charming little secret town has even more new Antique Stores and will host a few events you will want to be aware of during this bi-annual event.

September 26th Burton Trade Days, because it’s nearly impossible to have a garage sale in the country.  Located at The Railroad Details from 9am – 5pm.

September 23 – 25th Volunteer Fire Department will serve BBQ at the Fire Department under the water tower.  11am – 7pm

Flown The Coop will be open daily September 23 – October 3rd  9am- 7pm

The BIG FUN will be here before you know it… I can’t wait to see all my friends I’ve made over the past several years! #TexasAntiquesWeek #BurtonAntiqueMarket #BringmetoBurton

 

A gen.u.ine Free Spirit

I’m here to tell you that wild and crazy dreams come true.  The day Jeff and I put an offer on our new home, I woke up with a vision for March 25th.  We were going to have a party! I envisioned live music, food trucks and fun.  Months later, I can’t stop smiling over all the tiny details that I envisioned fall into place.

For example, several months ago I began searching for an artist to paint a free flying mural on the outside wall of The Coop. The vision for it was vague.  As time ran out on hiring a talented artist, I realized that this would have to be a DIY project.  Could I really do this?

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky.

I sat down to my computer and played with different ideas until the mural emerged.

YES!  It is exactly what I hoped for.  With help from Jeff, a borrowed projector and the talented Stephanie Jarvis {who gave the mural wings}…. my vision took flight.  A gen.u.ine free spirit!

Let’s kick off this party with a photo contest!  It’s easy as 1.2.3!

1. Take a photo of yourself flying free in front of the gen.u.ine Free Spirit mural.

2. Post your photo to Facebook or Instagram with 3 tags: #2flownthecoop @2flownthecoop and #BringmetoBurton

3. The photo with the most likes wins a $50 gift card to Flown The Coop!

Contest rules: Contest runs March 25 – April 1.  Winner will be announced on April 2.  Winner will receive a $50 gift card for Flown The Coop merchandise in The Coop with no cash back.  No purchase necessary to win.  All sales are final.  I will monitor Facebook and Instagram for photos using #2flownthecoop @2flownthecoop #BringmetoBurton only.

Can’t wait to see ALL YOU gen.u.ine free spirits!  NOW LET’S HAVE A PARTY!  

My secret town

Burton, Texas is often overlooked in guides written to navigate Texas Antiques Week.  In fact, Burton has managed to be the best kept secret among the dealers who enjoy getting away from the crowd without the crazy lines.

In 2011 I was invited to join a group of dealers to eat at the Burton Cafe during the fall show.  Ludmil and Linda Marcov of Willow Nest lived in Burton at the time.  After dinner our group walked a block to their homestead for a chance to tour their shop and home.  It was love at first site.  In my wildest dreams I could never imagine that in four years I would call this magical property my home.

I pinch myself everyday!  The best way to get to know a new hometown is to become a tourist in your own town.  Here is what I’ve discovered about this secret town….

This community is alive!  It didn’t take long to get to know people and feel apart of this wonderful community.  A quick look at the Burton Chamber of Commerce calendar for March gives a glimpse of the numerous events and opportunities to interact with our neighbors.  The energy put into events is admirable.  The chamber of commerce and area businesses have been extremely supportive of the Burton Preview Party and the Burton Blogger Party events planned for Texas Antiques Week.

There are three restaurants within walking distance and literally within view of our little white house.  The Brazos Belle Restaurant, with an authentic french fare, was recently featured in Texas Highways magazine.   Burton Cafe is a wonderful german restaurant where we discovered german pancakes and the red rueben.  The Burton Short Stop is a local favorite.  They make the best hamburgers and finger licking fried food.

This sleepy little town rocks during the weekend!  Every Thursday night the locals come out for Karaoke with Denise the Country Chick Karaoke & DJ at The White Horse Tavern.  On Friday and Saturday nights it is fun to watch two stepping couples let their hair down to live music at The White Horse.  I wish I had known about the White Horse when I was a dealer in the field.  It would have been a great way to unwind.  In addition to nightlife, it is not uncommon for motorcyclists and classic car enthusiast flock to Burton for day trips.

The rolling hills of Washington County is known for the numerous wineries.  I was thrilled to learn Saddlehorn Winery was only four miles away!  Another relaxing destination I wished I had known about during Texas Antiques Week.  The winery and tasting room are located in a renovated horse barn with scenic views of their vineyard.  Jeff and I joined their wine club and have enjoyed pick up parties in their fantastic event room.  Saddlehorn just announced construction on their outdoor patios.  I will toast to that!

It’s only natural to mention the parks.  Lake Somerville is a short picturesque drive from downtown Burton.  There are a few campgrounds to launch a boat, camp or have a picnic with the pet like deer.  Behind the Cotton Gin Museum you can explore the Indian Creek Nature Area.  This little nature preserve is a labor of love by local members of the Texas Master Naturalist.

Photo Credit: Heidi Jaster

I love that Burton’s charm has been preserved over the years.   The town is filled with historic homes, the official Texas Cotton Gin Musuem, The Burton Heritage Society located in the historic Burton Railroad Depot and established downtown businesses.  The Nesting Co Flourist is a lovely business.  Heidi Jaster is not only an accomplished florist, but a talented photographer.  The Burton Bridge Ministry Thrift Shoppe, located in a historic corner gas station, is a mission of Burton area churches and another best kept secret.

Photo Credit: Heidi Jaster

In recent years visionary businesses have fallen in love with our secret town.  Old Glory Antiques established their Old Glory Texas pop up shop in the 3000 square foot dance hall in the spring of 2014.  Their bunkhouse adjacent to their shop was featured in the October issue of Country Living.  This spring Texas Antiques Week will usher in two new businesses.  In addition to Flown The Coop, Joel and Shelby Geshay will open Bayberry’s on East Texas St. on March 25th.

The biggest joy of our new hometown is in our backyard!  Jeff and I have really enjoyed country living and so excited to open Flown The Coop in this wonderful community!  We’ll be kicking off our new venture on March 25th during the Burton Preview Party.  This will be a city wide celebration with food trucks and live music.  The party will continue on Friday, March 27th when Burton rolls out the red carpet for the first ever Burton Blogger Party.  Click through the Burton Preview Party and the Burton Blogger Party links to see details on the events.

In 16 days the secret will be out!  We know that as people become more aware of Burton, it will be a favorite Texas Antiques Week destination and a day trip destination all throughout the year.

Hope you stop by and see me!  When you come be sure to tag any posts to Facebook or Instagram with #BringmetoBurton so we can see Burton through your eyes.  I also use #2flownthecoop, #secrettown, #BurtonTX.  Search these hashtags if you want to see what has been posted recently.

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Check it out!  Recently published Social Marketing on the Fly, a guide to social marketing on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Hard Work Pays Off

“Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.” J. Paul Getty

I did NOT strike oil. I struck a sweet spot in the field, loving my new spot at Bar W during Texas Antiques Week. This was the best show I’ve had yet. I contribute the success of the show to location, improving my selection of merchandise and hard work!

I arrived with a twenty foot UHaul, Miss Dixie (my truck) and the trailer packed and departed with a small trailer load. It was so fun to see so many of the pieces I hand picked go to excited new owners.

Living the dream

Hard work does pay off. My lifestyle of flying free is hard work and not at all glamorous. The field is not for high maintenance girls. I’ve gotten stronger lifting furniture and moving displays around. I’ve been covered with dust, mud and sweat. I’ve loaded and unloaded trailers, sometimes by myself. I’ve driven long hours between Houston and Ohio hunting good junque. All the loading, unloading, cleaning, repairing, loading up for shows, unloading, merchandising, marketing, book keeping, etc can take a tole. Thank God for Mr. Flown The Coop, who is extremely supportive! I believe in hard work, and am excited to reap the sweet rewards!

Time to play

We have fun in the field too. If you follow me on Facebook, you saw the daily Miss Ivy pics. Did you see her precious Drink Stand? Setting up with Brian, Meloney and Ivy of The Seed Box Designs, is always a treat.

The Kansas City girls (Brenda, Abby and Joe) were delightful neighbors!  Brenda was Miss Ivy’s first customer.

I love the friends I make from all over the country!  It is always fun to hang out with Don and Peggy Abrbenz, owners Down Home Antiques in Orange, California.  I’m only sad that our go cart racing got rained out. I met Megan Thomas, owner of Salvaged in Austin, who had some really creative repurposed pieces. Wendy and Lia from Thelma & Louize were a hoot! These two chics bring the fun to the field! I’m only a little jealous of Wendy’s Vespa!

Visitors are always welcomed! My cousin Tanya and her friend Sandy stopped by to catch up and for our traditional lunch at Belly Laughter. This was Sandy’s first trip to Warrenton. I enjoyed hosting my friends Katrina and Martine, who bunked a night in my shack and experienced Texas Antiques Week for the first time. I had forgotten how overwhelming the twenty-six miles of fields between Round Top and Warrenton can be. It was fun to see the craziness through their eyes.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by! I met some fun customers.  I was in heaven when three Italian guys pulled up in a whirl wind and cleaned me out in about a half hour.  I can hardly believe that some of my picks are headed for New York, California and now Italy!

Check out these gals, who videoed a parade in front of Flown The Coop booth.  You can hear me giggling in the background….

New dreams

This show has allowed me to entertain new dreams.  I NEED a vintage camper (not sure the style yet) and a Vespa for my gypsy lifestyle.  I’m in the market for a  vintage camper that needs to be gutted and restored.  A remodeling project will bring back the days when Jeff and I restored historic homes.  The Vespa would make roaming the fields fun and useful for zipping around the Heights. I didn’t buy the Vespa I found in the field. The dealer didn’t have the title and couldn’t let me test drive it.

The best part about my new dreams?  I don’t need to strike oil.

What was your favorite part of Texas Antiques Week?  Leave a comment to share with us your favorite finds and stories!!!!  

What is next?

Buying trip – October 11- 20th  Follow my flight pattern on Facebook.  🙂

Urban Market Houston – October 26 & 27.  I’ll have a new load to share at Urban Market, located at 9401 Knight Rd in Houston.  Hope to see you there!

Shop Local Parking Lot Sale Event at the Corridor Shops and more on 19th – November 2.  Stayed tuned on Facebook for details about this local event.

Onto the next adventure…  Life is a journey, come travel with me!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

What’s the story?

My anticipation is growing as I prepare for Texas Antiques Week in Warrenton, Texas.  I am thrilled to be in a new location at Bar W under a big tent with my friends at The Seed Box Designs.  This is the first time I’ve had enough junque to fill a 20ft UHaul, my trailer and truck.  I will be ready to get this party started on Saturday, September 21, when Jeff and I roll our caravan into Bar W and unload.

I’m always excited to be surrounded by kindred spirits who share my passion for fabulous finds (aka junque).  Wether you are a customer or another dealer, most of us out in the field have junking in our blood and could tell stories about our adventures.

I come from a long line of junkers.  I have fond memories of Friday morning garage sales with my grandparents.  Grandpa loved garage sales as much as my Grandma.  I loved staying the night with them during the summer when we could hit the garage sales.  We would get up early, with a route all mapped out.  We were normally the first in line and had to wait for the homeowner to open the garage at our first stop.  I learned the art of negotiation from my Grandma.  I inherited my love for thrift stores from my Mom, which I’d never admit as a teenager.  We had our favorite thrifts and discount shops, like Schottensteins and the Volunteers of America.  One of the best shopping experiences I had with my parents was at an Eddie Bauer Outlet sale.  We stood in line at 4 am and left with garbage bags full of clothes.  To this day, I refuse to pay retail prices for anything.  My children grew up thrift and garage sale shopping.  I am proud to say that my daughter is a natural who takes after her Great Grandma, Grandma and her Mother.

When I began to build a home for our family, I remember falling in love with the story.  I had friends in Mississippi who taught me the art of decorating with character.  They would walk me through their homes telling me stories behind each treasured piece.  Their homes were full of fun memories and insight into their lives.  To this day, my home is a collection of adventures and remembrances from my journey.

I am often asked, “So, what is the story?”  I know that it’s nice to know where a piece came from, who made it or what era it came from.  I can usually tell you where or how I acquired the piece, but not it’s origin.  Honestly, I never think to ask the person I buy it from.  At the time I am usually caught up in the moment and excited about the particular piece.  Here’s a glimpse into my world of junking, a video Jeff and I made a couple years ago called “Making magic happen” or better known as “it’s not all fun and games.”  Warning:  it’s not all glamorous.

Click Here (in case you don’t see the video embedded)

I believe the true value of a treasured piece comes from the story you give it.  Where did you find it?  What were you looking for at the time?   Who were you with when you bought it?  What special occasion is it associated with?  What adventure did you have while buying it?  Did the piece “buy you” when you weren’t even looking for it?

I enjoy the idea of helping people tell their stories through the pieces they buy from Flown The Coop.  I love watching the adventure unfold in Warrenton as shoppers hit the fields with their lists.  Years from now, I wonder what stories they will tell their friends when asked about the piece they purchased from me.  Don’t be surprised if I ask you, “What’s the story?”

Is your home a collection of stories to tell?  Or are you just getting started on your decorating adventure?  Tell us about your current favorite piece, and “What’s the story.”

Here’s a sneak peak of the items you’ll find at Flown The Coop during Texas Antiques Week.

Hope to see you there!  Stop by and we’ll swap stories.  🙂

Don’t forget to share your stories in the comment section and follow our flight pattern on Facebook!  Life is a journey, come travel with me.

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!


 

Texas Antiques Week

I am so grateful for the freedom to fly free!

Spring is one of the most welcomed seasons, a time of renewal evoking the senses with fresh flowers and new life. It is a time for me to fly free on my biannual gypsy trek to Warrenton for Texas Antiques Week, also known as Round Top. I spend two weeks in “the field” with my incredibly talented friends buying and selling our beloved junque.

 

Texas Antiques Week, a precession of fields stretching twenty-six miles between Warrenton and Round Top, is a serious shopping event each spring and fall. It is safe to say that Texas Antiques Week is more accurately three weeks long, with each field having their own start date. A shopper can find everything from high end French antiques in fancy air conditioned circus tents, to rusty treasures uncovered only by digging in a pile of junk.

Picture by Antiqueweekend.com

Picture by Antiqueweekend.com

The fields each have their own quirky personalities. The fields of Warrenton can be likened to any typical high school lunch room, an idea I stole from my friend Kim. Zapp Hall is where the cheerleaders and jocks party like rock stars. Renck, Bar W, and North Gate are where the ag students sell their rusty treasures and typical flea market finds. Venturing out to Excess and Clutter you’ll find the hipsters on the fringe of society.

Guess where you can find Flown The Coop?

There is so much to be said about all the marvelous fields within the twenty-six miles surrounding Warrenton and Round Top, but I love the people who add to the whole experience.

Brian and Meloney Russell, of The Seedbox, travel from Missouri with a truck, trailer and a U-haul packed with their sought after, hand picked treasures to sell at Warrenton. Along with their wonderful pieces of vintage furniture, they bring along their adorable granddaughter Ivy, who has become a celebrity in these parts.  It is safe to say that she  has almost everyone wrapped around her little finger, including Bud from Royers Round Top Cafe. She once told a customer at Royers, “You can’t sit in the chair by the door because that is Bud’s chair.” It is precious when she tells customers at the booth, “Come on it and let me know if I can help ya!” Ivy celebrated her fourth birthday during the spring show. It was heart warming to see all the people, who have become like family, stop by the booth to wish her a Happy Birthday.

The talent that is represented in the fields brings buyers from across the country. This trip I had the privilege to get to know some of the buyers from California.  Next fall I hope to join my friends from Orange in what will become the go-cart round-up. I’m sure Peggy will lead the way, or not.

Two memorable events!

This year I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual Private Bloggers Luncheon at Royers Round Top Cafe. A joint event with the Dallas Market Center (DMC), the luncheon combined Royers famous food with a special event organized by DMC. Carley Seale, owner of The Gypsy Wagon spoke to the group about the Round Top experience. Carley spent years shopping Texas Antiques Week with friends and family before she launched The Gypsy Wagon. Having only been a dealer in the field, it was interesting for me to hear the strategies of the dedicated group of annual shoppers. Carley and her friends made years of memories and bought treasures that are proudly displayed in their homes today. Check out Carley’s Instagram at @dragginmywagon for the pictures she shared.

Another highlight of my trip was the Round up in Round Top, an evening soiree hosted by the Dallas Market Center at the new Henkel Square Market. The night was complete with a buffet catered by Royers Round Top Cafe, a fashion show by Rodeo Royalty and a special fiddler performance.  Miss Ivy stole the show as she watched the fashion show paraded in front of her, completely in awe of the models. It was a fantastic evening!

Flown The Coop changes venues

Now that spring is behind us, we are already looking forward to the fall Texas Antiques Week. Flown The Coop, along with my friends at The Seedbox, will be flying over the Bar W field. We are excited about the change of venue, located on the main Bar W Road just passed the office on a corner lot to the left.

What are your favorite memories?

I would love to hear your favorite memories of Texas Antiques Week. Do you love a particular field? Are you a dealer in the field? What is your best find? Any advice for a novice to the fields?

If you are planning to take a dream trip, I suggest you pick up a Round Top _ Warrenton Show Daily Magazine. You can find them on Facebook and their web site. It is the Bible of any trip to Texas Antiques Week. Wether it’s your first trip or you have a biannual tradition, please make sure you find your way to Bar W and visit Flown The Coop and The Seedbox booths!