Building a tribe ~

Closing my doors at Blue Star Collections this weekend hosting a two day “Sale A Bration” event I drove away feeling so proud to have such a great “Tribe” supporting me with my business. It warmed my heart seeing your faces standing outside the doors of the church in the chilling temps waiting for the doors to open in anticipation of finding a few new Blue Star treasures.

Knowing my tribe supports me even at a last minute pop up sale is pretty powerful! No matters how busy our life’s might be, supporting each other is big and makes us all feel special.

Definition of tribe: A social group composed chiefly of a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest.

It was 2003 that I became inspired to start my own company, Blue Star Collections. Junk markets were making their way into our culture with recycling, repurposing and repainting home furnishings and more. Working full time at the Minneapolis Airport for several years, I felt the pull of being more creative and doing my own thing.

After holding several sales in different locations, it was time to have our own space. In 2011 we purchased a run down 107 year old church in the small community of Superior, Iowa. We immediately got to work restoring the disbanded Methodist church that was in need of a little tender loving care. Many of you watching our progress, honking your horns of approval as you drove by gave us such encouragement and several smiles.

Yes, it was a risk moving the Blue Star to the small community in Superior having a population of 250 but the highway presence was certainly in our vision. Several of my shoppers and bystanders wondered why I was taking my Blue Star to a remote location? At the time I didn’t really think much about it but my motto was always, build it and they will come. I stayed true to my heart and followed my dream.

Once we got the old church back in shape with new roof, lots of paint, moving the birds out of the bell tower, steadying up the foundation it was time to hang the Blue Star.

We got busy pulling stock out of our trailers and stocking the floor with unique pieces and making it a fun stop to shop. The rest is history, over the last 20 years we have had around numerous sales in this location and the tribe continued to grow!

Today, thinking back of the early days of Blue Star Collections, all I wanted to do was create some great pieces of furnishings, pay my bills having a few bucks leftover to buy a new pair of shoes every now and then and meet some new people.

That’s when my tribe was formed. I had girls approach me to help Blue Star Collections with whatever. Painting, help with shopping, moving junk and working the shows. Little did I know I would meet such awesome women!

Not only was I blessed with such a great group of workers, but my tribe remained loyal to Blue Star Collections as well. They drive from all areas near and far looking for some fun and maybe a treasure follows them home as well.

Themed shows have always been a part of my shows. WE always have good time with everyone getting involved with the fun! Our “Fifty Shades of Gray” ~ “Three Cheers for Mama” ~ “For the Love of Junk” and “Junk for Joy” added to the sale and enticed our tribe as well.

So as I drove away from Blue Star Collections yesterday after closing my doors from the two day sale, I was most grateful and proud to have such a fun, energetic, loving Tribe. We all would not be where we are today without each other. For that I thank you for being in my tribe and for your loyal support!

A very thoughtful friend of mine made a special trip over to Blue Star Collections during the sale to bring a beautiful bouquet of flowers celebrating my Blue Star Collections “Sale A Bration”. What a lucky gal I am to have such beautiful friends. I celebrate each of you everyday for being my “Tribe”!

Chasing the sun and more ~

Ever wonder why we are all so memorized with sunsets? Beyond just being a natural phenomenon, the setting of the sun symbolizes many things to a variety or people and cultures. The setting of the sun represents the completion of a day’s work, so it represents the opportunity to rest.

Living in Florida these last few months it was often easy to catch a sunset on the beach. As our countdown was clicking away to leave the beach on the Gulf of Mexico before heading back to the Midwest, we decided to take in one more sunset on the beach. It felt like we were at a rock concert yelling out for the the band to play “one more song”.

As we arrived the beach, we immediately found the waters so calming, magical and hypnotizing our thoughts. Noticing only a few sunset takers, we zoned in to search for the perfect spot to perch and quickly setting up our beach chairs to claim our viewing spot.

We parked next to a jumbo motor home filled with several friends and family playing the day away. The kids along with adults were splashing in and out of the water as their laughs echoed along the beach. Quickly we learn the family was from Israel on holiday when one of their a balls flew into our space. We both commented that this family was having such fun on their journeys.

Shortly after our set up, a vehicle pulled up on our other side with three young adults getting out with fishing nets and a bucket in hand. Of course we were curious and kept an eye open hoping we might witness fish being caught.

Sitting patiently for the sun to go down, we were being entertained with the family from Israel on one side and two netting fishermen on the other. Simple pleasures and great fun as we enjoyed watching the activities with both groups.

Over hearing the fisherman’s conversation we realized it was a training session from one friend to another on how to net fish. Details were shared on how to hold the net, stretching the net out just right and when to release for the throw. Both guys would laugh as they would try over and over again to land that perfect throw.

It didn’t take us long to get acquainted with these three young, gregarious adults. Alicia, Trevin and Mika were all having fun and just as curious about us asking several questions with small talk. Trevin encouraged us to give the net a throw. We were both much obliged but enjoyed taking it all in from our beach chairs. We both laughed and thought we would probably get caught in their net and then what!?

Soon the Israel family got in on the fun and we had a show going on! The birds as well were flying in to check out the catch and had hopes of snagging one or two fish from the bucket when no one was looking.

Mika grew impatient with his lesson on netting fishing and thought cracking a few jokes might suit him better. We all laughed realizing it’s harder than it looks to net fish. Untangle, spread and release. Oh sure it sounds easy doesn’t it, but smooth coordination looked to be the success. Neither one of us thought we had the confidence to throw the net, after all we had front row seats to take in the show.

Kids and adults stopped by the bucket to view the catch. Laughs and giggles were heard by all. One by one they approached the bucket to catch a peek of the fish caught and it was shortly followed with their ewww’s and ahhhh’s.

The parking lot began to fill up and the noise of car trunk after car trunk opening and closing. Sunset viewers pulled out their chairs and if they didn’t have chairs made great use of the trunk for a bench. It was a simple and easy set up with no expectations by anyone. Many sat quietly just stopping by for a daily bit of gratitude by witnessing a beautiful sunset.

Ready ~ set ~ relax ~ and the countdown begins.

And then it happens, the sun fades away into a gentle disappearing act celebrating yet another beautiful day.

The sun set, the audience picks up quickly and fades down the highway. Counting our blessings, we both agreed a good time was had by all and simple does have its pleasures.

After reading about netting fish, who is up for learning how to throw the net? I did a little research and picked out a tutorial to help you along. I’m not sure about you, but I think I will still stay ashore and watch the pros throw the fun. One thing for sure if you give it a whirl, you are sure to have an audience.

In closing with my words, I leave you with a little song we probably all have sang along with a time or two. I hope wherever you are, maybe you too were witnessing a beautiful sunset. It’s a “come as you are” setting that allows each of us to sit back and enjoy the little slice of beauty that is offered to us all everyday of the week. It’s free, relaxing and magical.

Thrills on Blueberry Hill ~

As life is passing by, I find myself becoming more and more a creature of habit. Each morning hopping out of bed after tiding things up it’s time for coffee! French, Bold and Robust with a splash of cream. With coffee in hand I quickly catch up on the current events as well take in a bit of the local happenings.

It was a week ago I was well into my coffee when the local TV channel featured a blueberry farm inviting you to come out and “pick your own blueberries”. My ears perked up, we both love blueberries. I didn’t know the first thing about picking blueberries and I was curious.

I quickly got online and googled the Blueberry Bunch Farm featured on TV. It’s lovely website caught my attention and it continued to pull me in to want more. I was ready to go pick blueberries!

Reading the time and place I was next setting up a date with my husband to go pick blueberries. Noting the hours and location we decided to go the upcoming Friday. After gathering all the details of where and when I anxiously awaited for the gates to open for blueberry picking!

2754 Howard Rd, LaBelle, FL 33935

Blueberry Bunch Farm U-Pick season will be opened Friday March 4th 2022 and will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 2pm. We were told they will be open until May 2nd but for further information, they encourage you to find them on Facebook for sthe latest updates!

It was now Friday and with our coffee in tow we headed out to LaBelle, Florida. We were amazed arriving shortly after 9:00 am the parking lot was filling up and traffic was coming and going. WOW ~ we weren’t the only blueberry pickers!

The signage was great and showed you the road to fun picking!

Checking in at the stand we shortly were set up with buckets and a harness if you so choose to keep both hands for picking. Of course we wanted harnesses! We wanted as many berries we could get in our buckets.

Mr. B quickly got in the berry picking mode and started filling up his bucket! Shhhh ~ please don’t tell but we tasted several berries while picking to make sure these were the real deals. Sure enough, they were the read deal and we just hoped we didn’t have berry stains all over the front of us with our taste testing. The blueberry plants were so full of big, beautiful berries and just dropped in your hands.

Mr. Blueberry stood tall and mighty with a welcome wave to greet everyone upon entering the blueberry fields. Laughter and giggles were heard up and down the rows with families picking berries together. Young and old ~ what a fun and healthy event for all.

The rows of berry bushes stood tall and luscious making it fun to pick a bucket full in no time at all! I had no idea berry picking could be so easy.

Blueberries are a healthy, stress-free food. You get fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium in every handful of blueberries – at just 80 calories per cup. They’re also low in sodium and have virtually no fat. It just feels good to feel good about what you eat.

Not only adding a punch to your well being, they certainly can spruce up any fruit tray, bowl of cereal and offer that appeal to the eye.

Blueberry’s can be ate fresh, put in baked goods, used in sauces and makes wonderful jams and jellies.

After spending only 45 minutes in the blueberry patch we both had 3/4 of a bucket! It was time to check out our berries. Tallying up our total we had seven pounds between the two of us. I knew right away where our berries would go. Half would be used in making jam and the other half we would enjoy fresh.

Pulling up several recipes it all seemed pretty easy. Berries, sugar and pectin of some sort. I choose a recipe using a package of lemon Jello and a bit of fresh lemon juice with a dash of cinnamon. My recipe produced twelve small jelly jars for “give always” and three jars for ourselves. The taste test proved to be a success ~ please note the recipe below.

If pottery is your thing, there was also a gal that sold handmade pieces. The color were stunning, fun and certainly could give a special look to your dish-ware collection.

What a fun adventure! If your in Florida around the Fort Myers area, this Blueberry Farm is certainly worth looking up! It offers healthy benefits in more ways that one to take advantage of. Be sure to pull up updated details before heading out. Once you are there and in the midst of your picking, you will be happy you made the road trip.

In my closing I always love to hum to a little tune in my adventures and projects. This one came to mind thats brings back the saying its an oldie and a goodie! Happy blueberry picking ~ you will love it!

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

Come find your deal ~

Remember back in the 60’s the game show “Let’s make a Deal”? Monte Hall was host that gave lots of opportunities and prizes to many people.

The show always kept our attention because we wanted to know what was behind door number one, two and three.

People would dress up to catch Monte Hall’s attention so they would be chosen to play the game. Lots of creative people and costumes were fun to watch!

Blue Star Collections will also be having some fun “Making lots of Deals” in Superior, Iowa this upcoming weekend, July 16-17

Doors will be opening for only a few short hours so get on your mark, set your calendars and shop! Friday, July 16th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Saturday, July 17th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

What door will you choose? Door number one, two or three?

Set your GPS to 104 6th Street ~ Superior, Iowa

Come join the fun ~ “Let’s make a Deal”!

Is this a “Lost Art in a Changing World”?

How many of you while at the grocery store standing in line to check out your groceries scan the latest magazines? Do you search for your favorite read or do you see what’s new on the stand? Do you cheat and look inside? Do the pictures entice you do the headlines pull you in?

I have a confession, I’m one of those people that has to stop when I go by a magazine stand to see what’s new.

First it’s the cover – I scan it over and if it strikes my fancy I pick it up to peek inside. Sometimes I throw it in my cart and sometimes I walk away after not being impressed with what I seen.

I know it’s bad for me to pick it up and then put it down and I think to myself how really rude that is. But please tell me, I’m not the only one that does this bad habit.

So today, this magazine caught my eye “in her Studio”. I loved the colors, words, and the main titles drew me in. Spaces and stories of creative women.

A Mediative Retreat, A Tiny but Charming Ceramics Studio, The Pursuit of Beauty in an Painters Art Studio, and Soft meets Fierce in a Jewerly Studio. Now who wouldn’t want to read more. Surely one of these stories would be worth a read wouldn’t you think?

So here is another one, Cooking with Cast Iron”. I posted a few weeks ago about cast iron so of course I wanted to see more. I’m is still trying to learn and master the art of cast iron cooking so this too I took a second look at this one. The recipes looked beautiful, easy and it immediately took me to my own kitchen of fixing a few of the recipes.

Staying within the “Cooking” section on the magazine rack I’m now scanning over these next two choices. What to Eat for Life and Mindful Eating. Gezzz you can quickly feel guilty about your choices in these magazines. Cast Iron could be a little bit more fatty in the diet because needing more oils in the pan? Maybe cast iron cooking isn’t the lightest choice or being the most healthiest but oh the pictures made me dream of wanting more. Who could I cook for and entertain when this Covid thing gets over?

My eyes moved on and quickly went onto the decor section, another one of my favorite passions. I just stood there and stared at all the articles than ran through my mind and wonder what I should dive into first. I found myself being memorized with all these goodies to look at. It was like a kid in a candy store deciding what my favorite kind of candy was to buy!

It seems there is so many decorating magazines right now to catch our eye. It’s like trying to pick an ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins that might catch your palette for a certain craving. Cherry, chocolate, vanilla – what’s your flavor? French, Traditional, Cottage or maybe Farmhouse?

DIY immediately called out to me! We all love projects that we can proudly call and adapt to our own look. I loved the throw on the sofa with the BIG balls. The horse on the wall recycling books was another eye catcher for me. How cool was that! It took me back to one of my sales that I did a few months ago that I used an old headboard and screwed old books on the back of the board. It not only looked fun but it made for a great presentation for one of my displays. My recycled headboard sold at the end of the show. I hope today that happy buyer is still enjoying that one of a kind piece from Blue Star Collections.

Next moving into fashion ~ it’s in all our wheel houses of what the latest and greatest trends are and whats the HOT look for the upcoming season. Of course, we all want to know what to buy, where to buy it and in hopes it gives us a jumpstart on getting our own personal look.

Look how these magazines catch our attention. Kamala Harris our new Vice President, we are checking out her new look. Badass Women, wow whats that about? Dating in the middle of Covid with Masks? Oh my ~ all of these certainly catch our eye and make us wonder in more ways than one.

Moving on to more fun, the next two magazines made me giggle. People magazine writing about Queen Elizabeth. What is the Queen is really like? I don’t know how many of you watched “The Crown” but another subject we can’t seem to get enough of. More stories about the Queen can be found on Netflex, PBS and other streaming services as well as at the news stand. The media is working hard to catch our attention and it is working!

And what about this “America’s Scariest Places”. I have to admit, it does kinda make you look twice doesn’t it? Could it be in your neck of the woods or has it been in your last path? It would it be a great place to visit for Halloween don’t you think? 😬😳

So I have to tell you the truth. I spent a bit of time as my eyes searched over all these magazine sections. I carefully read the titles, dreamed a bit and it killed a bunch of time. You see I was in line at a Publix Grocery Store in St Lucie, Florida waiting for my name to be called for the vaccine shot. Yep, I was one of the lucky ones that won the lottery getting my name on the list. Ok so if I’m confessing, it was Brian that so diligently hung in there day after day trying to get me a spot. Bingo ~

I spent several minutes if not just under an hour to just ponder over these magazines. I wondered how many of us found easy it is to walk past this “Lost Art” in our past busy life’s before Covid hit. Maybe I’m showing my age but I still love to touch a great magazine, read a good article, and just plain wanting to be inspired. Yesterday it certainly did all of that for me.

But I do have to share with you one of my favorites. I hope you don’t think I’m not conceited or big in the head, but only because of my Blue Star Collections business was invited and graciously honored to be in a few magazines myself. I have grown to respect our editors, publishers and buyers once my face was put on a cover. It’s tough work publishing and finding the right light, words and what inspires others to buy the magazine.

So meanwhile, when your standing in line next to the newsstand I too hope all these beautiful magazines will take you away if only for l just a few minutes. Also, hope your lucky as I was to be standing next in line for your vaccine.

As always – thank you for taking the time to read my Blue Star Binocular. It gives me great pleasure to share ~

Women that inspire us ~

I am all about lining my “Stars” and seeing where there might take you. Years ago as I began my Blue Star Collections business I knew I wanted to put a “ Star” in my business name.

The Star inspired me to be creative, shine at what I did and see what kind of stars I might find along the way.

I know it’s been like a broken record for us all with this Covid thing. We hear everyday, the four “W ‘s” ~ Wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and wipe down surfaces.wear a mask, wash your hands. Sometimes I find myself slipping further back and yet yearning for some sort of inspiration to snap me back following to my Blue Star.

I guess it had to be mis summer when my dear friend Pat McGill said to me I needed to check out this gal from Milford, Iowa that was doing “Quaran-teas”. Pat mentioned we would have a bit in common.

I quickly did a Facebook lookup and sure enough and I knew right away I was going to like this young lady and I loved what she was doing. Within minutes we became friends and the giggles and the inspiring friendships too off! We did a bit of going back and forth with conversations and of course was cautious about gathering together. You see, I asked her to come set a “quaran-tea” at my house under the pergola on my patio.

The Covid numbers continued to grow so we both opted out, well at least for now. But meanwhile, we chatted often back and forth as she continued to inspire me. Finally I decided I just wanted to Blog about her and hopefully inspire you as well.

So here we go ~ Blue Star Collections peeps out in Blogland meet my new little inspiring friend Krista Kolegraff from Milford, Iowa.

Krista came home from San Francisco, CA when Covid broke out and decided to perch in Milford. You see Krista has always had a creative side to herself and being in quarantine like the rest of us she decided something new.

Krista mother had a special birthday coming up that needed a little celebration. Not just any ole birthday party would do, it had to have a twist. Krista came up with the “Quaran-Tea” party. She would gather up some awesome recipes, her mother’s old dishes and invite a few friends in her mother quarantine bubble.

The table came to life!

As I continue down my own path, there always seem to be a “Star” that appears. Sure enough on the dessert tray, check out the “Star” cookies.

What treat for her mother’s friends. I’m sure it was the “talk of town”, after all we were in the middle of the Covid shutdown. No restaurants open to celebrate, but better yet her mother’s own “Quarantine-Tea” party with her close friends!