My Secret Hobby

When I was in college I worked in retail, as a clerk and window decorator. I loved decorating the windows. Recently Stampington had a contest on their blog.  I knew I had to enter...

We’re inviting you to be a stylist for a day and give us your best shot (pun totally intended) at snapping a styled photo of your favorite August Stampington magazine.   

Daughter and I had recently been back to school shopping. While she was trying on outfits, I was stylizing stores. As I grabbed items to stylize the August magazine Where Women Create  I was reminded of when I started this hobby.    ....A new thrift shop had opened up in our neighborhood. My daughter was a few months old and I hadn't lost all of the baby weight.  I was in need of some in between clothes, till I could fit back into my favorite jeans.
Everyone knew each other, by name. It was in a quaint strip mall, at a nice location.  As I was browsing around...I found an outfit I really wanted, but didn't have the $ to buy it and the in between clothes.  I decided to stage it.  As I set it in a visible spot...the owner rounded the corner and caught me.  I could feel the heat and still can rising in my face. I have always blushed easily.  "Oh, what is this" I heard her say.  I told her I wanted this outfit, but couldn't wear it just, yet.  I thought maybe someone else would like it, so I left it put together. 

 She says in her southern drawl, "Oh, honey been there done that. It is fine. You know what, this is really pretty...I'm going to use it.  I'll put it over here."  She went and put it in a more prominent place.  The heat in my face gradually subsided.  I handed her the items I wanted to purchase. " I will let you know about your outfit, she smiled n' winked at me. I use to do the same thing."    When I was brave enough to show my face again in her shop, she announced the outfit had sold, within minutes. She told me, she couldn't hire me, but I was welcome to stylize a few outfits and leave them. Yes, she enabled me to secretly style and I haven't stopped.  I even style Lowes.  I recently told my daughter, who decided she wanted to try out my elf like hobby, "it is about having fun, we are just trying to make things more appealing."  We left pillows on couches, decorated coffee tables, left personal touches.  

Hubby reminded us, "You know you are on camera."  Yes, but I wait to redo that place.  The business thinks it is an isolated incident, lol.   (So, I hope)

When I stylized this issue I wanted it to reflect the woman on the cover, Rachel Ashwell. She is know for her Shabby Chic style.   She has taken comfort and time worn pieces and made them fashionable.   She is all about finding beauty in imperfections~
What a great philosophy, she has!

 I used a faded silk rose, a small pillow from my daughter's bed, a table cloth and vintage linens from a thrift shop,  and Lavender I had purchased from ETSY.  Tomorrow I have to run errands.  I just might have to go downtown, ;D    I wonder if the park could use some stylizing, perhaps fortune cookie sayings in the trees and a poem or two written with colored chalk!  


Melissa Bradley said…
This is beautiful, Ella. I used to decorate the windows in the travel sore I worked at. My fave window was Christmas when I could use all the vintage travel ornaments on the tree. There were hot air balloons, camels, biplanes , ships, trains, camels, horses...I also decorated a window with a Travel China theme with huge swathes of red, gold and black. And I took the demonstration Great Wall 3-D puzzle and put it there. I had picture books, vintage trunks and I also found some paper lanterns.
Cynthia said…
That is a pretty picture. Reading your post makes me better appreciate the work that goes into setting up window displays. It must've been fun for you to create window displays for fun times of the year like Christmas or the summertime.
Mary said…
That was really fun to read, Ella. Neat to look around in your surroundings and think about ways to display the 'wares.' I also think you found a really good way to highlight the magazine you photographed. You have a special gift.
The photo is great!
Your story is funny. You're like the style Ninja - secretly making the world more fashionable.
Shelly said…
You're so interesting.

Hugs and chocolate,
Anonymous said…
Once again you open your heart and share your stories of life and guess what ... we relate.
There was a time when I voluntered in a charity shop (the equivalent to your thrift store but run by a charity such as Red Cross, Oxfam, etc, etc - this one was Barnardo's (a children's charity). Anyway, I loved to stage the store, I was the youngest by far (some were in their late 70s) and it was such fun and it was appreciated by the Manageress.
You staged this issue not only so beautifully but you hit the right note to capture Rachel's philosophy.
Ella said…
Shelly-Thank you! You are so cute ;D
I love your book! Grandma is the star~ :D Passing back the chocolate, but I'll take the hugs, lol. (I really want it, but I have hives). Chocolate n' I have a love/hate relationship!

Alex-I love that Style Ninja :D
Thank you so much~ Maybe I have a Style Ninja segment on my blog, lol. I will give you credit for the name~

Mary-Thank you so much! My husband says I'm crazy and my daughter thinks I'm fun. My son hasn't decided, yet. ;D

Cynthia-Thank you! Yes, it was so fun. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to change my major in college. But I didn' I am a secret stylist instead! lol Thank you!
You should check out these photos:

Melissa-Sounds like you have a gift! How fun, your window must of been the best in town! It sounds gorgeous! My favorite window was the one I did when the owner was coming. He owned 5 stores. I remember my boss saying do something special. It was June and I went with nautical. A lot of trends at the time were this style. I had so much fun. I took fishnets from home and used them in the display, draping and hanging them. I had a fish mobile I cut up and wove the fish through it and then hung the outfits around the nets. I also used shells and other items(from home).
Oh, you remind me of when it was my turn to dress Sam the Man(mannequin)! I will share that story soon~ I love what you did,so glad you shared~ Thank you!
Margaret said…
Love this and what a lovely job you did. I think it is visually poetic.
Ella said…
Thank you so much, Margaret :D
Monica said…
Congratulations, Ella! I smiled BIG when I saw it in Post Script!:And I immediately thought it was so shabby chic :)
Big hugs,
Monica x
Ella said…
Monica-I loved yours! It was so fun~
Big hugs to you :D @>-----
Vicki Sheehan said…
love, love, love this idea! how fun :)
Ella said…
Thank you Vicki :D
It is fun and it doesn't cost a thing, just time! My daughter n' I had so many laughs and found unique ways to stage items. We transformed a bland space into an inviting one!
Let me know if you try it :D