Archives for posts with tag: New York

ozWe are headed to New York next week to be balloon handlers for the Wizard of Oz balloon, and I couldn’t be more excited, which is funny considering that when I was a kid, and the Wizard of Oz played just once a year on one of the three channels available at the time, I would watch all the way up until the Tin Man finished his song and dance in the apple orchard before packing up my pillow and heading off to bed.  I hated the scene where the witch appears in a puff of red smoke on top of the cabin, so year after year, whether all the kids in the neighborhood were at my house, or I was at theirs, the Tin Man would toot his hat, and I would immediately vanish into whatever room I could find to escape what came next.

I am not sure how old I was when I managed to make it all the way through the movie, but now I have a shelf lined with vintage Wizard of Oz books, I can recite the dialogue and the songs verbatim, and a few years ago, when I first moved to North Carolina, I went to the Autumn at Oz festival in Banner Elk as the very first event I ever attended in the state.  deniseatozI felt like a four year old kid when I got my ticket to this year’s parade in the mail; I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, and I am pretty sure I won’t sleep the whole night before the parade.  I also plan to push my luck by ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and visit Santa at Macy’s to fulfill a lifelong dream.  I’m only slightly embarrassed that I am 54 years old and still want to sit on Santa’s lap, but since Miracle on 34th Street is my all time favorite movie, I am going to suck it up and go for it.

On the subject of Serendipity, there are two stories I want to tell.  The first, is that when we were on the road a few weeks back, we stopped at a Walmart in Palmyra, Pennsylvania to get some food and supplies before checking into our hotel for the night.  We put everything in the back of the truck, and I made a loop with the shopping cart and the trash before climbing into the cab.  We arrived at our hotel eight miles later, but when I went to check in, I discovered that my wallet was missing.  I’d put it on the bumper of the truck, and had completely forgotten about it after dumping the cart and the trash.  We’d been on back roads, in a construction area, and on the interstate going 75 miles an hour.  I knew the chances of finding it were miniscule, but we called the Walmart to ask if the wallet had been turned in, then immediately retraced our steps. By the time we’d made it back to the interstate, I was on the phone cancelling all my credit and debit cards.  I spent a sleepless night worrying about identity theft, since there were business cards with my name and phone number on them,  ID cards, and other bits and pieces of information about my life.

The next morning my cell phone rang.  It was the general manager at the Pilot station across the street from the hotel telling me she had my wallet. We hadn’t stopped at the Pilot station, just stopped in front of it, and how on earth the wallet chose that moment to fall off the bumper is beyond me.  I immediately got dressed and ran across the street to collect it.  The only thing missing was $11.00 in cash, and considering that I would have given a substantially larger reward to get it back, I felt I came out even in the end…..

20131118_131824The next story involves Michael’s new RV business, which has exploded this fall.  We have been working out of a Geo Tracker, or a Ford F150 4×4, which was like working out of a giant Rubics Cube.  You had to move the bucket of caulk to get to the toolbox, and put the moving blankets and the plastic tarp on the front seat to get to the gas sniffer.  He started looking for a Dodge Sprinter, but they are too expensive for us to afford right now.  Last week we were on our way to an RV job, when a Sprinter passed us with an For Sale sign on the side. It was the right length and the right height, but we were going the opposite direction and couldn’t chase it down.  When we finished the RV job, we headed to our next appointment, but instead of taking the freeway, Michael decided to take surface streets, and there the Sprinter was, parked right beside the road.  We stopped to look it over just as the man who owned it showed up.  We took it for a test drive, and when we got back, asked him how much he wanted for it.  Even though the price was reasonable, it was still way beyond our means. I found myself saying, silently “Okay God, now what? How are you gonna pull this one off?”  The man then volunteered that what he really wanted was a Ford F150 4×4 truck.  We traded vehicles this past Monday, and its already proven to be worth the exchange.

Finally, I want to talk about the Happiness Project.  Gretchen Rubin wrote a book on the year long project she undertook to see if it was possible to train herself to be happier.  A person’s ability to be happy is largely dictated by genetics, but Rubin decided to see if happiness can be achieved through practice until it become a habit, so I have decided to embark on a similar project.  After all, life is short, and I want to spend as much of the rest of it as I can being happy. So expect to hear some about this in the future, because I will need your input on what makes YOU happy.

So…what DOES make you happy?  I would love to know…..

Much has happened in the last week or two; most of it has been really great, but some of it feels like I am in slogging my way through quicksand.  Despite appearances to the contrary where the bags are concerned, patience is not my strong suit.  I am ready to be the next Judith Leiber NOW….but, the universe evidently has other plans, because for every step forward I take, I seem to take two steps back.  Or as a friend of mine so aptly puts it “if you want to hear the sound of God’s laughter, tell him your plans”.

The good news is that several of my bags have been accepted into Julie’s Art to Wear in New York.  One of my best collectors brought this amazing boutique to my attention, having been a patron of the store for many years.  Julie Schafler Dale practically created the art to wear movement, and her store, on Madison Avenue, is an institution.  And no, NOT the kind you would expect me to be locked away in, thank you very much!

I also finished my first jaguar bag.  I have done jaguar evening bags before, but nothing this elaborate.  It has 23 carat gold leaf on the front and back of the bag, which is also lined with a matching print. It comes with a  jaguar print hand made clutch as well.

I finished my first Mah Jongg bag…this one is a tote, and I am already in discussions with the head of the American Mah Jongg League to take samples to their next competition for the purposes of selling these new beauties to a captive audience.  The image on the front of the bag features the flower suite, and the handpainted symbols on the bottom are Chinese for…what else? Mah Jongg!!!!!

I have been wait listed for two shows; the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, and the Palm Beach Craft Show in Palm Beach Florida.  That’s not so good, but its better than being told they don’t want you at all, right?

The trade show in Florida didn’t go as well as anyone would have liked.  But on the other hand, I am in discussions with a boutique in Maryland that looks promising.

I was named the Handbag Designer of the Day by

And finally, I made my You Tube debut as promised.   I’ve gotten 336 hits so far in the first week alone, and a spam email from someone trying to sell me on signing up with their service to help promote the segment.  How did I know it was a spam email? Because whoever wrote it told me I had “an amazing voice”.  I would have clicked on the link if he would have said I had an adequate voice.  After all, there IS still such a thing as truth in advertising, isn’t there????

Don’t forget that I am offering 20 percent off any handbag on my site until December 1 along with free shipping.  So let me know what you want for Christmas and I will have my elves get right on it.  But first, I probably need to find some elves…..

When I was twenty, I knew exactly what I wanted out of life.  I wanted to “be somebody”, but I didn’t grow up in a home where ambition was encouraged. My parents were hardworking people; my father was a mechanic and my mother stayed at home until my sister was in her early teens.    I don’t think they intentionally dissuaded my passions, they just didn’t see the world the way that I did. Frankly, there is no reason they should have.  Everyone has a different path in  life, and I wanted mine to be an uphill climb, straight to the top.  But as I sit here today, thirty years later trying to say precisely what is on my mind, I am forced to realize that the path I chose was more like a rollercoaster ride than anything else, and it was all my doing.

I have avoided testing myself for thirty years because I have been afraid that if I took a chance on myself, and I failed, I wouldn’t survive.  It seems absurd to be saying this when so much in the world has gone haywire (I am reminded of the line in Casablanca “the problems of  (one)  little (person) don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world”, which is true, by the way), but as I began to wrap up preparations for the Accessories Show at the Javitz Center in New York this weekend, a strange thought occurred to me.

I have been preparing for this moment all my life.

If it works, it works and if it doesn’t, then I will at least know I did something so far out of my comfort zone that it took three decades to work up the courage to do.  That may sound silly, but the fact is, I have worked myself like a show pony most of my life trying to skirt around this kind of  investment.  The small voice inside me that doubted my decisions, my “position in life”, my choices, setbacks, challenges,  lessons, and even triumphs, were all because I told myself, I don’t know how to do this. I’m not even sure that I should.

Then,  something interesting happened last week. I invited the Guinness beer heiress, Daphne Guinness to become a “friend” on facebook.  And when she accepted, I not only felt “validated” as a designer, I started to think about how different her life is from mine.  How I have always given “people like that” credit for getting where they want to be because “they” have the resources and the upbringing to know how to go about it.  But what occurred to me, more than anything, is that Daphne Guinness, whether she knows it or not, has been an inspiration to me, simply because of the fact that she has no “fear of fashion”.   And it isn’t because she is widely considered to be one of the best dressed women in the planet (although she is).  My new collection may not be the most original line in the world, but its an amazing line, and I know it.  I don’t need to be afraid to take it to the market, even in this kind of economy, even though the bags are expensive and are designed to be that way.  Because I have been working toward this moment my whole life.

Its time to find out if this is truly the path I am meant to be on or not.

By the way, I did something else this week I thought I would never do. I succeeded in revising my website, myself.  Have a look.  I think you will like what you see…

Just in time for my debut at the Accessories Show at the Javitz Center on August 1!  I love seeing my name in print!