Last week we shared with you some pictures of our exciting and successful show at the Nutcracker Market in Houston, Texas and the finished product, so to speak.  We thought we’d share some of the insight, preparation, and details that lead to the final results.  Markets like this from the east to west coast, over the years have been an incredible “live and learn” process, and stepping stones for Sandstone Gardens, as you know it today.   

 “Set-up” for the Market is a three-day period in which all merchants must start and complete the construction of their exhibit space (booth).  Our booth is a 40ft wide x 14ft deep space.  In a venue and setting that is constantly horizontal, we do everything we can to be as vertical as possible. 

Carlos and Dale start assembling one of five 10ft high x 12ft wide display sections. 

Carlos and Joel secure the top supports to each section.  This will allow us to display more products on the top of the displays. 


Carlos starts securing all the display sections together for adding stability.  This is essential with all the weight that will eventually end up on them with product and visual effects, and at this market we brought an abundance of tree limbs that will be attached to them as well. 

Jose is attaching the A frame peaks to each of the display sections, another layer of visual effects. 


Dale and Carlos are attaching wrought iron gates that will flank the back and front center displays. 

As we are creating a visual wonderland, we take in to consideration the stability factor… These iron gates not only provide an intriguing backdrop for merchandise, but also lend a hand to secure the tall display sections.  Again in the picture below, a cast-stone stable is used to secure a portion of the back display, along with providing a large space for products. 


Joel and Carlos place the 3pc demi-loom table which will anchor the middle back of the booth. 


This china cabinet anchors the back center wall as another visual layer to the table shown above. 


Two more stone tables are added to this same back center display for more layers.  Again, adding stability to the display sections and being utilized as another visual layer for merchandise. 


Jose starts wiring and screwing the tree branches to the west end of the booth. 


Though anchored to the display, Vicki has Jose start them where they will lend the illusion of coming from the urns, then more color and greenery will be added. 


Jose is wiring more branches, and more branches…  The booth had at least 12 to 14 places where gatherings of 3 to 5 branches were placed. 


Dale and Jose start hanging antique windows from the center front display. 

We brought 12-15 of our antique windows that we purchased at the Brimfield, Massachusetts Antique Fair in the past years.  The windows make a great backdrop in the back displays, and serve as a room divider as well in this front center display.  We felt the windows would be a nice added touch, and knew the vintage look is very accepted and used in Texas. 


The flocked Christmas tree starts 6 feet from the floor to give us a height that we need to extend up over the left side of the front display. 


This stone urn and pedestal start another flocked tree at 4 feet from the floor for yet another layer in the front left of the booth, and these new mirrors work great flanked on the front gates.  A wrought iron table with glass top lends yet another layer. 


This lantern display is on the top center left, and Jose wires more branches, and more branches! 



A console table, stone capitol coffee table, and these burlap covered chairs lay the foundation for the front center display.  The wooden cubes behind each chair will allow us to add more layers. 


Things start taking shape in this same front center display.  What a difference it makes by just adding the wreaths on the windows and lamps on the table. 


Fast forwarding a little ways in the setting! 


A mirror and table from reclaimed wood, along with a wrought iron trellis flanked by vintage looking shutters supply the backdrop for the west end. 


More layers take shape on the back left tabletop, with the large mirror framed in reclaimed wood, and the abacus from reclaimed wood as well. 


This right back tabletop has a large chalkboard and smaller mirror in reclaimed wood with an even taller mirror behind. 


The outer east end of the booth taking shape. 


Scottie hanging ornaments at the east end of the booth. 

As you can see up to now, there has been a central element and theme in this so far…layers, layers, and more layers, not only in the tabletop displays, but in the booth as a whole.  Once the eye starts at one level, there is a visual “ladder of layers” to keep taking it to the top of the displays…there is really no stopping point. 


This lends us the chance to display more products and also in a venue this large, allows us to be seen from a great distance.  If a potential customer sees our merchandise in the hands of one of our customers and asks “where did you get that?” it’s easier for that customer to point to the 16 to 18’ crystal clad branches extending from the skyline, than to remember that we are booth #1401! 

At this point the foundation of the booth is in place, and the layers of this winter wonderland keep coming in. 










After 4 days of doing our best to keep up with the customers, the show ended at 6:00 Sunday night.  What took three long days to set-up has to come down in one short day. 

The crew worked until Midnight, and then back at it at 8:00 the next morning.  Monday afternoon all the trucks are packed back up and on their way home to Joplin, so we could start to get ready for Candlelight shopping.  

We hope you enjoyed this little bit of insight into what has always been a part of Sandstone Gardens.  A special thanks goes out to Dale Doty, Jose and Carlos Perez, and Joel Ponce for their hard work and commitment to us over the years.  We couldn’t do it without them.

5 Responses to “ Shining Bright in the Lone Star State Part II ”

  1. Sandy says:

    Enjoyed the process through the pictures! Often people don’t realize all the planning that goes into the final result. Beautiful decorations, hope to visit SSG soon!

  2. Gwen Wilburn says:

    First I am just amazed of the unique ideas and the overall concepts that you come up with in all of your designs! And I am overwhelmed with your display at the show. I really enjoy and look forward to receiving the newsletters and blogs that you send. Sandstone Garderns is my favorite place to visit and shop!

  3. vikki hudson says:

    I would love to have seen your showcase at Dallas! I have visited your store once, my husband and myself. To be honest with you we were so overwhelmed with the beauty and vision of it all, we didn’t buy one thing. We just looked at each other and said okay we’ve got to come back and be focused on what our yard can use when we do!! Awesome! I never dreamed there would be a “store” like yours!! The Master Gardeners for the state of Arkansas will be touring our garden in June and we must come back way prior to that to add to our statuary for that event and because, also, yours is just so awesome. So far in our backyard, we have Minerva, Athena and Adam, also a Venus. They want friends. Do you arrange for delivery??

  4. Scott Palmer says:

    I spent a year with Sandstone 1999-2000, it was the most amazing time! The places the people the product the creativity of Max and Vicki were amazing! The work that goes into the displays is quickly rewarded once people begin to shop and are blown away. Best wishes to all in the Sandstone family!

  5. Lisa McKenzie says:

    How beautiful!

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