It isn’t because I have anything against shopping BIG…for sure. In fact, if you were to ask Joe, he would tell you “that’s a lie! She most definitely shops BIG!” 🙂 But the truth is, the real reason I shop small…I had no idea meant so much, until I started looking around.

Everywhere I look I see friends and a story. I see laughter and good times. Moments shared that are forever in my mind. It could be a story about Fred telling Joe (in his most mischievous tone and with laughter) “Hey Joe, Marie’s down in Joan’s booth…again!!!” (REALLY FRED!!!) Or it could be Eddie reminding Joe that he definitely got the better deal when we brought home a truckload of chairs and he (Eddie) only took home a few measly candles.

It could be a memory of being with my mom, Erin and Amanda as we strolled small town shops on one of our holiday outings and I purchased the mantle (or another Santa) from Becky. It could be setting my drink on a coaster that Toni made and wondering how Dale is doing since his last visit to the doctor. It may be looking up at the sign that John and Jane made and thinking about John Denver and country roads -we both LOVE him! (Kindred spirits for sure!)

And what about the very  first Santa that my dear friend Gay made (especially for me). It always reminds me of the good times we’ve had. THAT SANTA, btw, started my frenzy of collecting them! Gay is also the reason we do what we do. She was my mentor and the whole reason we ever started venturing into art & craft shows in the first place; she was our catalyst. (Thank you Gay!)

Or when I’m cooking dinner and grab a potato that sits in the bin of this beautiful old scale, I think of Cara and her mom, Jan. And the old mirror frame that now is a chalkboard that Kenny & Joe carried for blocks from an antique store (how they were able to maneuver that huge thing into to the van!?) while Christie and I followed behind snickering and snapping pictures. And speaking of Kenny & Christie (my soul sister) the little house they made sits on top of my cabinet and it reminds me of the day we met. I turn the light on first thing every morning and off last thing every night.

And my Santa picture that comes out every year that was bought from Gary and Sandy (have I mentioned how much I love Santa!) And the sign that hangs in our living room from Teri & Don that tells us WE ARE BLESSED (and the one on the deck reminding the boys…NO PEEING OFF THE DECK!) Or my beautiful white Christmas trees purchased in Rockville at the little antique store (Neva’s) where we once had a booth. The sign that sits in Joe’s room that tells him the forecast…warm with occasional beers, from Judy and Dave. And the old porch rail that has a new home over the sink, from Mary’s booth.

And ohhhh….my gypsy case that Jodie spent hours on, redoing it to make it what it is now…beautiful! The dip mixes that are housed in the jar on the shelf. Every time I make a dip I think of my friends Amanda and Megan (I call them my dippy friends…with MUCH love, of course!)

And what about the jewelry that Wendy made, and I ADORE (she’s so talented!) Or the sweater I bought from Jessica and Tjody. And the tunic(s) that Cindy sewed (especially for me, I’m sure of it!) The clothes…the clothes alone…my closet is full of handmade treasures. The scarves…the scarves! Wrapped in love, literally!

I could go on and on, of course, but you get the idea (I guess Joe’s right…I do shop BIG…sigh…). But our home is FULL of these treasures and we are surrounded by our friends and the memories we’ve made with them. I shop small because there’s always a story, a memory, a belly laugh (usually) and I always feel surrounded in love and warmth (especially standing beside the fireball that Bonnie and her hubby made and GIFTED to Joe!)

And yes, I do shop at Walmart and Target and Amazon, but only when I HAVE to. I would much rather buy small and feel the energy of the people I know and love surrounding me. To know that someone made something with their own hands, or to pick up something old and think of the stories it could tell. Or just to know that I have contributed in some small way to someone’s dream of working for themselves, that’s enough.

That’s it…that’s why I shop small.

But whether you shop big or small, old or new, may your home feels as warm and cozy as ours. Wrapped in love, telling a story, and always with a smile (or hopefully a belly-laugh!…those are always the BEST!) IMG_1852 IMG_1854 IMG_1855 IMG_1856 IMG_1857 IMG_1858 IMG_1859 IMG_1860 IMG_1861 IMG_1862 IMG_1863 IMG_1864 IMG_1865 IMG_1867 IMG_0157IMG_1868