“Pickin’ on the Prairie” Antique Show & Artisan Market . . . It’s almost here!

  • By Brenda Buckingham
  • 08 Aug, 2013
I can’t understand it . . . I try and try to be like them but I can’t.  You know who I mean.  The blog queens that seem to be able to update their blogs daily and always have amazing new things to show you.  It isn’t because I DON’T do amazing things . . . I think some of my primitive pieces of furniture are quite nice . . . it is simply I don’t know how to do amazing things and still have time to do constant posts about the amazing things I do.

So, to be honest . . . this will probably be my last post until after “Pickin’ on the Prairie”.  This is our show we have on our farm.  Last year was our first year and it was a great success.  By the responses so far, we expecting even higher attendance this year.  But putting on these shows takes a lot of time.  I suppose if we had moved to a brand new property that was fully landscaped, that could be different.   But getting ready for these shows isn’t simply about sitting around counting the money as it comes in from vendors.  In fact, if anything, it is figuring out how to stretch that money.  It is creating ads for various publications, both online and in print.  It is creating posters and fliers and posting them EVERYWHERE within a couple hundred mile radius.  I go to other antique shows and become one of  “them” . . . you know . . . the unseen gremlins that put propaganda on your car window while you shop.  So everyone attending that show, now knows about our show.

I order event insurance and honey buckets, we trim the trees and cart of dump loads of limbs to the dump. Signs are designed and ordered. Once they arrive they are mounted on sandwich boards. We fill in pot holes in our 115 year old drive with fresh gravel. Flower beds get weeded and plants get planted. Yesterday, we brought home hay bales to decorate with.  Last year we had gotten straw.  This hay was simply a loan from a friend, so we decided to do that. Not thinking about the fact that hay weighs much more than straw and that it is scratchier, I bucked these hay bales in short shorts . . . a lesson I have now learned for the rest of my life.  My legs this morning are covered in little scratches and bumps from the hay . . . in some spots they even bled from the constant rubbing as I tried to heave these big old bales into the trailer.
There is parking in our pasture for both vendors and customers.  This means we need to run stakes and 100’s of feet of flagging to keep the cars out of the wheat and our neighbor’s property.  We live in an area of  old farmers . . . our next door neighbor is 92! These neighbors love quiet and are not quite sure about us “young whipper-snappers” bringing such an event to the prairie.  So we try to appease them as much as possible and keep the chaos of this show to a minimum.

Tables and chairs must move and be set throughout the property for customers to sit and eat lunch or sip on a drink in the shade.  The ticket booth needs set up . . . tables and canopies . . . lots of fun farm decor. And then, there is my own “spot” during the show.

Perhaps I overdid this year . . . well, definitely I overdid.  I will not only have half of the inside of our 1500 square foot shop full and open for shopping, but I also will spread out in front of the entire 50 feet length of it.  I have been painting up a storm . . . old primitive cupboards, antique dressers given an aged finish.  A vintage dining set has been given a farm fresh paint job and now sports wonderful old potato sacks on the backs of the chairs.  I have redone shelves and side tables, potting benches and more. My fingernails are permanently stained with briwax. and I wear many different colors of paint in my hair.  I love signs and have made several fun and original signs. And then there are my “smalls” . . . primitive old wooden bowls, enamelware, old dog figurines, linens, retro kitchenware, funky lamps, punched tin and so much more!  This year, I even have a rack of wonderful “farmgirl fashions” and several pairs of cowgirl and cowboy boots.  And, of course, we are selling our T-shirts.  I wear these shirts all the time . . . they are so comfy and I love the designs. 

The day before the show, I will run around marking everyone’s spots.  We give our vendors generous spots . .. we want them to have room to display their amazing pieces well.  With lime green spray paint in hand and a long board measured to the length of the booth, I divide up our property into little rectangle grids.  I spend quite a bit of time thinking through where each vendor will go.  So and so, recently had chemo and can’t sit in the sun . . . this person sells jewelry and shouldn’t be placed next to another jewelry vendor.  This vendor has little kids and needs an area her kids can sit and play.  So many little, never ending details.

Every now and then, someone will say to me, regarding our show, “I should just start my own show”.  They say it really nonchalant and as if it is simply a matter of putting out the signs.  I simply smile and say, “That would be nice.”

But here is the weird thing . . . for all the work that comes with doing these shows . . . I love it!  On Friday morning of August 16th . . . when the vendors are begin arriving . . . it is the most exciting thing on earth to me!  It is like ushering in the saints through the gates of heaven.  They come driving up, with U-Hauls and trailers stuffed with goodies.  They are full of anticipation and wearing huge smiles.  As I direct them in to our little piece of paradise, they gush about the beauty of Orchard Prairie.  And I must agree, we do live in one of the prettiest places on earth. Throughout this day, as they unload their treasures, I get to drool over their wares, chit chat with them and grow new friendships.
On the morning of the show, Christmas arrives once again . . . my heart pounds with excitement as I see the line grow huge.  All these happy customers coming to our little farm . . . it is very humbling and something I don’t take for granted.  I am so very blessed to have the opportunity to even do such a show . . . especially in such a beautiful location.  When 10 a.m. comes, Ron and I will run down our long driveway, ringing our cowbells, to welcome the guests.  It is a silly thing I guess, but the guests love it.
Throughout the show, I am busy manning (er, womaning?) my own booth (if you can call my large area a booth) so my wonderful husband Ron is the busy beaver who runs around putting out fires all day.  The garbages need emptied, the honey buckets need more toilet paper, oops . . . why did the sound system just skip that last song.  My brother and sister-in-law welcome the guests and handle admission.  If they need a break, Ron covers them.  He directs people in the parking area.  He loads out furniture and fixes a vendor’s canopy.  I could never . . . and would never . . . do this show without him.  He is not only my best friend and husband for nearly 23 years, but he is also my business partner who keeps me grounded.
If you are in the Spokane area, do not miss this show. It really is a fun day for all . . . we work hard to make it a special event!  We have some of the most amazing vendors around . . . from antiques and primitives, farm decor, jewelry, paper art and collages, soaps, wool and so much more, there is something for everyone.  There will be great food and great music.  And our views are lovely . . . acres and acres of rolling wheat fields with views of the city off to the southwest and views of the beautiful mountains to the Northeast.

For more information on our show, check out our event page:  

I will chat with you some time after our show . . . we will be going on a much needed vacation shortly afterwards.  I know my blog will not be getting awards for being consistent and sharing creativity daily.  But we are busy living life and sometimes taking the time to write about that is just not something I have been able to figure out well.  So in the meantime, enjoy living your own lives as well . . . live them well . . . for your loved ones and families . . . laugh a lot, smile more . . .  determine that each day is a day worth doing right.  And above all, thank God for the life you have . . . for the people that love you, for giving you another day to make a difference in the lives of others.  It is so easy to get so busy that we forget to be grateful.  Today, I choose to be grateful and I would challenge you, sweet friends, to do the same thing.  God is good all the time!



By Brenda 07 Jun, 2017
I am so happy to finally be able to blog again!  As many of you may remember I kept hiring website designers that for reasons unknown, kept dropping off the face of the earth.  Finally, in frustration I got the world's thickest Wordpress book and taught myself enough to get my site up and going.  But things kept changing and some plug ins would simply stop working.  My blog wasn't letting me add the fonts I wanted.  More and more issues kept creeping up.   In January, when we ran an ad for one of our shows, a digital code was added to our website to drive traffic.  Not realizing the power of Spambots . . . I hadn't even known what they were before this . . . this code now opened the world to these robots to place spam on my page.  Before we finally switched over to this new site I had . . . get this (almost worthy of a drum roll!)  30,000 spam comments waiting to get on my blog posts!!  It was so incredibly frustrating.  Finally, we went to our team of amazing experts (Katie, Kelly, Melissa and Casey) and had them recreate things.  There were certain things I wanted to remain.  I am abnormally attached to my turquoise barnwood.  I needed my pig logo.  I wanted a similar look and feel to my old page . . . but cleaner and easier to use.  They listened.  They made changes that I wanted.   And they created "captchas" . . . which is where you have to click a button declaring that you are not a robot . . . see apparently Spambots don't have fingers . . . or at least not coordinated fingers . . . so they can't click buttons.  So today I am finally able to blog.  So many changes and exciting things happening here . . . but for today I just want to say "I am back and I am glad you are here, visiting my page."  And I want to say I am grateful.  For something so simple as being able to blog again.  The evil Spambots have been conquered!  Life is good!
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