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Birthin’ an Antiques Map

Unlike Prissy from Gone With the Wind, who “didn’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies,” the Round Top Register team—with the exception of Kurt who is in charge of humor, commas and testosterone—are veteran baby birthers. Collectively, we have 12 kids. Over-achieving Shannon had all three of hers at the same time.Round Top Register Drivin' Guide Antiques Show Map

Yet all of this experience was for naught. Giving birth to a tiny human, even one like my son who came into this world with a cantaloupe-size head, is a lot easier than birthing a map of the wildly popular Round Top Antiques Show.

Conversations with frequent visitors to the show convinced us there was a need for an easy-to-use, easy-to-read map to help people navigate the fun-filled chaos.

We thought, “How hard could it be?”  Most couples probably have similar thoughts when they start a family. Our team, like most couples, probably should have put down the champagne and asked that question out loud to each other—and then really given it some serious consideration.

We closed on the Register just 15 days before Christmas. The Round Top Antiques Show kicks off in mid-March.  Our first edition was due to the printers on February 18. Did I mention we were redesigning the magazine, planning an advertisers’ party, launching a blog, and updating the website simultaneously? The map had to be ready to print by magazine deadline.

Oh yeah, our real lives (and other jobs) didn’t stop. In my case, our daughter had surgery to remove a benign tumor and her tonsils on Dec, 22, which also happened to be my 50th birthday. Thankfully, the surgery was a success, but there were no party hats, very few Christmas presents and the distinctive scent of looming deadlines, which interestingly smell an awful lot like cedar and burnt cinnamon rolls.

Then, there was the fact that people associated with the show only knew us as the new kids in town. Fortunately, Katie and her trusted sidekick Judy, who comes to the rescue when we need her, are good on the phone and on email. Venue owners and managers, with the prompting of a few not-so-subtle reminders, responded with a truckload of information and welcomed us to the community.

Unpacking and organizing the information was a chore. Of course, it was nothing compared to fitting 20+ miles of road and almost 70 venues on an 11”x17” sheet of paper. The design had to make sense, look good and be scaled for digital download and printing.

The momentous map challenge fell to our insanely talented designer Jennifer.  Her instructions: “Make it awesome.” She did, but the path to awesomeness wasn’t straight or easy. The map was born in fits and starts after a long, hard labor.

Round Top Antiques Show Map in Progress

Jennifer is a night owl. Katie and I are country girls who get up way before the sun rises. I’ve been known to fall asleep before the sun sets. Our out-of-sync biorhythms created their own set of communication challenges. Remember, this was the first time that we’d all worked together, and we’re separated by 362.9 miles of Texas. I lost track of the revisions and do overs.

Despite all of this and more, Jennifer plowed ahead. She was gracious enough to cuss us under her breath instead of to our faces.  Each version was better than the one before.

Then on Feb. 18—its due date—the baby was born in all its glory. We oohed and aahed and celebrated. It, like babies do, came out just right.

Consider this your hand-delivered birth announcement. The Backroads Guide to the Spring 2015 Round Top Antiques Show got here safe and sound. (And its younger sibling, The Drivin’ Guide to the Fall 2015 Round Top Antiques Show just arrived.)

Round Top Register's Original Back Roads GuideUpdate:
This first appeared on our blog site,, in early February. While the second edition of the map came into the world with a little less drama than the first one, we will never forget the miraculous birth of the older sibling. Hope you enjoy the story of its birth—and the latest addition to the family.

The Drivin’ Guide incorporates suggestions we heard from spring map users. Unfortunately, we can’t address traffic or cell phone coverage but we have added other information such as parking options and locations where shows can be accessed in groups.

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