Monday, August 29, 2011

The Southern Ideal Home Show

I'm kind of a trade show junkie. I love the atmosphere and the opportunity to see what's new and to talk with vendors who are excited about their products. I've enjoyed being a vendor in my professional life, too. Gettin' paid to chit chat, and making friends with other vendors, seeing clients and sometimes meeting prospects in person. And the swag...there's always the swag! When I covered the auto sector for sales jobs in the video production arena, I worked the Press Days for the big auto shows in Detroit and NYC. I learned that they put at least 16 coats of wax on the show cars, and that the carpet was a lot thicker underfoot at the higher-end car stands. It's all about perception and emotion.

 This past weekend my neighbor Bonnie and I went to the Southern Ideal Home Show. She and I are at opposite ends...I moved in a year ago and am "finished" with my major home spruce ups. She just moved in a few months ago, and has some projects on her list.

A family run company called Southern Shows has been mounting trade shows in the South since 1959, and the Southern Ideal Home Show has been a staple since 1985.

There were over 200 exhibitors and 3 stages with demonstrations...the Cooking Stage, the Build It Stage and the Plant It Stage.

Ever see a stonemason in a kilt? "brings the stonework of Scotland to the Carolinas."

I'm not in the market, but there were a few mattress companies and lots of people flopped out.

The Humane Society had some cute pups!

The timing didn't work out for us to see John Gidding from HGTV's Curb Appeal or Heidi Billotto's "Cooking Up a Storm--Taste of local grass fed and pasture raised beef, chicken and pork" demo, but we're taking Heidi's grilling class on Labor Day weekend.

Among all the vendors selling granite transformations, kitchen remodeling, green energy, landscaping and lighting, pools and spas, garage doors, waterproofing, decks, shutters and custom windows, I did find some that were of interest to me.

I got some good advice from the herb lady about what which herbs will winter over, and how to revive my basil which has turned pale from a dry spell. It just needs a few squirts of Miracle Gro.

I had a good long chat with Matt from King Green Lawn Service. Because I'm big on curb appeal, my misbehaving little front lawn (26' x 6') has been a source of disappointment for the past year that I've been here. The single family homeowners have to take care of their lawns, where the townhouses have underground irrigation and landscaping every week. My dues are less than half what the townhouses pay, but after this past year's experiences, I'd pay more to not have to think about lawn upkeep.

Last summer, I mistakenly replaced the Fescue (which had turned brown) with bright green Zoysia, a warm season grass, and that looked pretty good for awhile. I had lawn envy~~my next door neighbors' lawn looked so healthy! It didn't "take" though, and then I found out anyway that the H.O.A. requires homeowners to have Fescue, a cool season grass. #@!%&*%  I had 'illegal grass." The last thing I needed was a letter . That landscaper came back early May and replaced the dead Zoysia with Fescue, which I watered religiously until I went away for Memorial Day. My neighbor watered for me while I was gone, but the Fescue just didn't root properly. I've had a fully dry, brown thatchy 'lawn' since July 1st, well beyond the normal "browning up" look of this grass' summer dormant period. Why do we have grass that turns brown in the summer and gets green for the winter?? Now it needs serious aeration and reseeding, and then more watering. I'll get 2 estimates and see what can be done...the time to do all that is early September, for a successful winter lawn. I'm thankful that the backyard is slate and mulch.

I took a card from a window washing company. They'll do the exterior and interior for $6 per window. I have 29 windows. It's been a year, so it's time. I keep up with the inside and the exterior windows I can reach on the first floor. It's a good thing that I don't have an extension ladder, so I can't be tempted to handle the upper windows myself. I've done more physical labor than most women I know, aside from my sister. It's gratifying and powerful to figure out and to handle the DIY jobs, but there are limits! I've learned to hand off the big stuff and I've shifted my spare energy to crafts and canning! Saw a quote in today's New York Times Magazine that resonates on a few levels, "Because becoming a man is the waste of a woman." For $175, someone else can do my windows!

Another vendor that was interesting to both Bonnie and me was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Annie's two reps were talking about how to use the paint on furniture, household objects, for stenciling and how to make floorcloths.

They give classes and Bonnie and I are looking forward to taking some of them.

Some local vineyards were represented as well as a wine distributor who was putting together cases of "porch pounding" wines (as she called them!) I have quite enough wine at home, but it was fun to taste a few different varietals. There were some food vendors and I picked up some interesting dip mixes that are no carb/gluten free. Also got some flavored sea salt with Cajun and Italian seasoning. Adding salt to olive oil is a good idea for dipping!

With all my major projects behind me, it was fun just to wander the aisles to get some good ideas for general DIY'ing and for the numerous porch parties we'll be having into late Fall here on the "boulevard."

On the calendar...the Southern Women's Show and the Southern Christmas Show. I'm looking forward to both!

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