June 17, 2016

Orlando Strong and Polka Dot Flea

It's been a tough week here in Orlando.  

Thank you to those that have sent messages and encouraging words.  It has taken a few days to wrap my head around what has happened in my community and to be able to share it with you.

It's a whole different feeling when terrorism strikes in your back yard.  The mass shootings occurred 7 blocks from my home.

3am Sunday morning I awoke to helicopters flying overhead, which is not uncommon since I live close to Orlando Health, a huge level one trauma hospital.  Their life flight helicopters are a common site and sound.   I was awoken again at 5am and this time I heard many helicopters and sirens.  I turned on the local TV station and could tell the newscaster was almost breathless, she said there had been a shooting downtown and there was a huge police presence, but they did not have any information. 

I was interested, but not alarmed, since there were no details and I was anxious to get to the second day of my Polka Dot Flea.

  In total oblivion I headed out, all I could think about was how fun the first day of the Polka Dot Flea had been.....Oh, what a difference a day will make.

We had lines around the building
And then a buzz of happy shoppers and sellers

It was a fun and festive atmosphere...So, why would  we think Sunday would be any different??

 When we got to the the Polka Dot Flea early Sunday morning, which is 7 miles from the shooting, there was a little talk from the vendors that had stayed at downtown hotels and saw all of the police and activity

Then news started trickling in......

...50 killed
50 wounded
7 trauma surgeons called in
In need of blood donations

State of Emergency...
What does that mean?  Should we close, evacuate?

The mood at the Flea changed dramatically, confusion, tears, anger, fears....All of the sudden the Polka Dot Flea was covered with a dark cloud.

We finished the day in sadness and some vendors started packing a little early, we understood....They just wanted to get home to their families

 5 days later the streets are still closed, the helicopters are still flying over head and there have been many vigils and gatherings.  

There is a silver lining, and that is how the community has pulled together.  I went to my bank yesterday, 2 doors down from the Pulse night club and they have opened their lobby to emergency respondents, media, local and national politicians, and anyone in  need of a cool retreat from the chaos.  They have free food, snacks, and beverages.  They said much of it was donated by Target, McDonald's, customers, and pretty much anyone that wanted to help.

 The blood bank is a couple blocks down and on Sunday as thousands lined up to donate blood the community jumped in and made sure the blood donors wanted for nothing.  The local Publix grocery loaded up their trucks and brought water and snacks, Chick fil A, who is never opens on Sundays, brought in workers to make and deliver sandwiches, local pizza shops delivered pizza by the car load, canopy's were bought in and even port a potties were delivered......

The Greenwood Cemetery, about 6 blocks from my house has donated burial plots to the victims.  My neighborhood website said there will be one burial today and 3 tomorrow...With many more to come.

 In the face of tragedy...So much love!

We are... 

 I don't want to get into politics, but I do believe we are at war.  I don't have the answers, but I pray that this will be a wake up call!

God Bless The USA


May 31, 2016

The Polka Dot Flea Is Less Than 2 Weeks Away!

Where have I been?

With the Polka Dot Flea less than 2 weeks away, I've been a busy girl!

Saturday and Sunday
June 11-12, 2016
Central Florida Fairgrounds 
 indoors/air conditioned
Orlando, Florida

 Right now it's all about the vendors! 

We have been busy getting the vendors registered, answering emails, doing the booth layout, keeping them in the loop with Polka Dot Flea newsletters, assigning load in doors, making booth signs etc.

When I start the Polka Dot Flea 3 years ago, I knew I wanted the "Best of the Best" vendors and I wanted them to be treated like royalty.   We don't have a show without our amazing vendors.

We have one staff member with a walkie talkie for each 5-6 vendors. 

Our staff is the most amazing, fun, and hardworking folks and getting them all scheduled is like a major jigsaw puzzle!  We added 3 dedicated porters this year that will move and load large items for our customers at no charge. 

 When the vendors arrive on Friday our staff directs them to one of 6 unloading doors closest to their booths in the 21,000 sq ft air conditioned venue.  Then a hostess that takes them to their booths.

And they enjoy snacks and beverages to keep them energized while they set up

 While simultaneously getting the vendors squared away we have been busy getting on every available event site and distributing posters and 15,000 postcards everywhere in Orlando and the surrounding areas

 When the vendors arrive at the air conditioned venue on Friday they start their magic...Constructing amazing, eye catching booths

Here is some vendors from past shows

We are also excited that once again "Sisters On The Fly" will be joining us.

“Sisters on The Fly” is the Largest outdoor women's group in the United States. When they heard that there was camping at the Polka Dot Flea, they decided to pack up their amazing vintage trailers and head to the Flea for the weekend. If you come to the Polka Dot Flea don’t be surprised to see some great vintage trailers right outside the venue, including Little Miss Pitstop!

 So, back to the question on the beginning of this post
 "Where have I been?"  
I've been busy as a bee getting ready for the...


And in a few short days the amazing, enthusiastic, Polka Dot Flea shoppers will be lining up with their friends...

 ...For 2 day's of party like fun, shopping in blissful air conditioning! All the while, Oohing and Ahhing over the amazing products and booth displays by vendors from all over Florida and beyond.  

The best part:

I am the very lucky,beyond blessed girl,that gets to organize, promote and host this amazing party!

So.....Who's coming to the Polka Dot Flea party?????

Happy Creating!


March 13, 2016

Mary Lou's Lounge At The Polka Dot Flea

Mary Lou's Lounge
The Polka Dot Flea is just 3 months away! 
It is held in 21,000 square feet of Air Conditioned bliss! This will be the 3rd annual show I have organized....You've all been on this journey with me...Can you believe this is the 3rd year?
I am in high gear now and have a "To Do" list 2 pages long.  I can now cross this off my list...Furnishing "Mary Lou's lounge" 

 With each year I gain knowledge, what works and what doesn't and try to find ways to enhance or simplify the Polka Dot Flea.  I created a lounge last year and it was a huge success, a place for people to meet and greet or maybe
 "Sit A Spell" during the show
My Mom loves to take breaks and "People watch"  So, I named the lounge after her "Mary Lou's Lounge"
Here she is in HER lounge last year at the Polka Dot Flea...You can read about it HERE
Last year I used all of my personal outdoor furniture to furnish the lounge

It worked great but...We needed to increase the size of the rental truck to haul 3 outdoor tables and 10 heavy iron chairs, not to mention the sweat involved in loading and unloading.
After much thought I had a EUREKA moment....Instead of hauling all of my outdoor furniture, why not rent chairs from the fairgrounds and make cute chair covers
Then for the tables, cover those cheap particle board tables with the screw in legs....Yea!...It's easy to transport, attractive and the bonus.....I had so much fun making the chair covers
I bought chair covers 10 for $20 on line...What a deal!  Why didn't I get some years ago to cover my folding chairs I use for big gatherings?
I just happened to have a lot of polka dot fabric....Are you surprised?

Let the fun begin!

Ruffles, sashes, and bows...Oh my! 

The flowers could be used on a tote, pillow, clothes or.......Chair covers
I cut out the leaves free hand then sewed them together and gathered at the base of the leaf.  Next I folded over a thin strip of fabric, gathered it and rolled it all together.  I hot glued the "Flower" on to the the leaf and then onto the sash
Now, instead of filling half a rental truck with chairs and tables I have one plastic bin filled with everything needed to set up "Mary Lou's Lounge" 

 A great place to meet friends or perhaps just..."Sit a Spell"....And you never know who you might meet at "Mary Lou's Lounge"!

Whose coming to the Polka Dot Flea?

Happy Creating!

February 7, 2016

Giving The Patio A Facelift

Finally we have some cooler weather in Orlando
 The perfect time to spruce up the patio

In all honesty, I seldom use the patio in the summer, it is just to hot. So, when the humidity and temps fall to the 70's like last week, it was perfect time to do some outdoor work

How embarrassing is this...

 ...Yep, my patio chairs....Falling apart

About every 3 years they totally disintegrate due to the Florida heat, humidity, and sun.

I cut out 6 plywood circles

And used a couple different outdoor fabrics to recover the 6 chairs

Blue is my new favorite color, inside and outside of my house. I now have a blue bedroom, blue living room, blue bathroom and .......Blue patio

I potted new flowers.  I was limited on the flower choices since there is not many plants that flower in the winter. 

A new faux flower center piece

And a fresh new pillow for the rocker

 The perfect place to sit and enjoy my afternoon cup of creme brulee coffee.

Happy Creating

January 12, 2016

Getting Ready For The Polka Dot Flea

It's that time again...
I'm busy organizing the 3rd annual

To catch up any new readers..I (Along with my son) organize and promote the Polka Dot Flea.  Three years ago I decided to start the Polka Dot Flea for a few reasons.  Foremost, there were no vintage shows in Orlando.  If I wanted to shop (Or be a vendor) at a large show, it was about an hour in any direction from downtown Orlando.  When I asked around, I noticed interest from other vendors looking for a local, indoor, air-conditioned venue.  Like me, they were thrilled with the prospect of not having to fight rain, fire ants, dirt, heat and driving to and fro.  So I knew there was a need, but someone had to start this local show...

Why not me!!!

Three years ago I carried out my vision of a local, indoor (air-conditioned) show, with the best of friendly dealers in a fun, vibrant, atmosphere.  It's a well organized bonanza filled with fabulous finds of vintage, rusty, quirky, shabby, industrial, and repurposed goods.  Our vendors find or repurpose an item to make it chic or funky...and people line up to buy them

We could not believe our eyes when we opened the doors last year and they were lined up as far as we could see!

The first year was a one day show and such a success (The only complaint on Facebook was that it was to crowded) so the second year we expanded to a two day show and went from 7000 sq ft to 21,000 sq ft of fabulous vendors!

We have no plans to grow the show any bigger, this is it, a once a year show with a 100 well chosen, best of the best, vendors... We love our vendors, they ARE the show and we are so honored to have them.....

.....We have a large, energetic staff, all equipped with walkie talkies who's main goal it is, to make the Polka Dot Flea the best experience possible for the Vendors and Customers alike

So right now, we are knee deep into the planning....Sorting through vendor applications, organizing staff,  working on props....This year it is a Vintage Circus Theme, how fun is that!!...Making name tags, working on the Polka Dot Flea lounge...

...Ordering posters and postcards, marketing, etc. etc. etc.
Yep, we are taking care of all the details...

...So come on down, we would love to see you in Orlando, Florida
 June 11-12!

If you would like to be a vendor we are now taking applications at the Polka Dot Flea website Here

I am truly blessed to be able to watch my vision come to life and to  call something 
I love doing...My job!

Happy Creating!