London. Paris. Rome. Canton, TX.
What was that? One of these things is not like the others? True. But just because it isn’t a far-flung, exotic destination doesn’t mean it ain’t worth the trip, y’all.
Wow. Did I really just say that? Hang on, let me just tuck my Texas back in…there we go.
We who live in the real world can’t always take off for the glamorous cities of Europe. Time and budgets constrain us to stay closer to home most of the time. But hey: travel is travel and getting away for a fun weekend once in a while is definitely on my To Do list. So, off to Canton we go.
Why Canton? Because of First Monday Trade Days, that’s why! Imagine: acres of shopping, with everything from home decor to craft supplies, antiques, clothes, jewelry, holiday decorations, repurposed/upcycled vintage material, old architectural salvage, you name it! You never know quite what you’re going to find. And they do it every month!
This shop is full of vintage and reproduction fabrics and crafts made from them. It’s wonderful to see these beautiful things get a new lease on life.
Who likes china? Here’s my favorite:
Danna’s Home Decor, located in Arbor Boardwalk 1, has the most beautiful displays of china you will see at Trade Days. This is where I first saw the Spode Woodland pattern and every time we go to Canton, I pop in to pick up a piece or two. Lucky for me, she often has them on sale. This stuff is absolutely gorgeous, and it makes me laugh just a tiny bit. English china with golden retrievers on it? Yes! You should see my platter featuring the Atlantic Salmon. He’s one handsome devil.
This is a big shop for a single Trade Days vendor, occupying not one but two spaces, and it is jam packed with fantastic china, as well as beautiful accessories and ornaments for your home. They have several lovely chandeliers at the far end of the shop. You will almost certainly find something there that you can’t leave without. Ms. Cindy and the rest of the ladies running the place are absolutely the sweetest and if you can’t fit all of your gorgeous china purchases in your wheelie bag, they’ll hold them for you until the end of the day. Go see them and tell ‘em I said hi.
My friend Traci and I go to Trade Days a few times a year. It’s really fun to see what the trends are: one trip it was great big monograms on everything, another time deco mesh wreaths and garlands were all over the place. It’s always fun to go before the holidays, too. Not only will you find super cute decorations and fun gift items, but you can just feast your eyes on the beautiful vendor booths and displays, and get some inspiration for things you can do yourself, if you’re the crafty type.
And I AM.
Now, the October Trade Days are not to be missed, because you get all of the awesome seasonal Fall stuff, as well as a good amount of Christmas stuff. The weather is generally pretty nice, too.
Vintage was the big trend for Halloween items. We saw a TON of retro/vintage-style Halloween decorations. Several vendors had baseball ringer t-shirts with vintage Halloween images screen printed on them, too. One of the best things about the vintage trend is that it brings back the excitement of Halloween you felt as a kid. Remember how much you looked forward to wearing your costume and going to parties or trick-or-treating? I LOVED Halloween as a kid, and these old-school decos are sweetly spooky.
Some vendor displays will just knock your socks off, like this one. No matter the season, their shop is just gorgeous.
We found plenty of Halloween craft supplies and decorations outdoors, between the Arbors buildings and the antiques. If you are a fan of deco mesh wreaths and beautiful, sparkly stuff in general, this shop is a must.
How adorable are these witch legs? We saw them sticking out of pumpkins and Halloween wreaths. So cute.
In Arbor Walk III, we found a new shop called Twinkles, which has the most fabulous hats you will find anywhere. Ms. Linda, the owner and creator of these fantastic creations, is just the nicest little lady. Traci and I had SO much fun in this shop, trying things on.
If a full-sized witch hat is too much for you, go with a smaller version on a headband.
I bought the one on the left, with the silver sparkly spider and maribou feathers. I feel like the Princess of Halloween in it.
Traci bought a headband topped with a sparkly haunted house, which actually lights up inside. It is beyond fabulous.
Speaking of fabulous, let’s just have a look at some of the spectacular Christmas displays we saw at Trade Days.
Look at all that wintry white fabulousness, so snowy and sparkly. This was in the shop with all the witch legs and cool wreath-making stuff. So was this:
There’s a tree somewhere under all of that red and white cheer. I think.
One of the big trends I noticed at Trade Days and have seen in almost all of this year’s holiday catalogs is wide ribbon looped in among the ornaments on Christmas trees. It’s like a big ribbon garland. Two- and three-inch wide ribbon with holiday sentiments are especially popular. My favorite is the chalkboard-style ribbon done this way. I was really tempted to bring some home from Trade Days, but I worried that the black would overwhelm our tree’s silver-and-gold palette. It was really cool, though.
We also loved this mix of traditional Christmas plaid ribbon with this grey and black, almost Addams family-style stripe! This is so much fun! Add this eclectic combination of old-fashioned and modern to the stag head silhouettes we’re seeing on everything lately, and there is definitely a playful, rustic trend happening in holiday decor this year. There were a lot of stag heads at Trade Days this trip. A LOT.
There were also a lot of the time-honored, traditional symbols of the season, of course. We saw a ton of adorable snowmen in lots of different materials. Here’s a whole tree devoted to them.
Now, those people who said that ‘getting there is half the fun’ weren’t talking about Canton, let me tell you. It’s a long, boring stretch of nothing* on I35 from Austin to the turnoff for Trade Days. That’s why you’ve got to take a friend.
*The exception to this is the very lovely Collin Street Bakery, which is really a mandatory stop if you are anywhere near it. Stop there for lunch and get a lemonade and a freshly made deli sandwich. The staff is incredibly nice and friendly. Then, before you go forth up I35, make your way on over to their great big pastry case full of BEAUTIFUL, DELICIOUS COOKIES, CAKES, BROWNIES AND PASTRIES. You can’t go wrong no matter what you choose. Trust me.
There’s so much more I could tell you about Trade Days, but this post has been long enough and you really need to see it for yourself. Not only are you sure to find some great things, you will meet some lovely people. Half the fun we have every time we go comes from the encounters we have with vendors and other shoppers. There are certain vendors we make a point of visiting each time we go, and you know what? They remember us!
So, ready to head for Canton yet? I’ll see you there in the Spring.