Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Fat Lady is Singing

The holiday season is behind us. We're dwindling down the Christmas decorations; we've even put away one of the three trees! We've changed the windows to a more generic "winter" look. We're even receiving new merchandise! Spring merchandise--YIKES! Okay, there are some transitional items, but I did see a few bunnies.

My sister, Nikki, and her family just pulled-out for their long journey back to Northern Virginia. It boggles my mind that they're willing to drive that distance, those hours, to join the chaos we call home. (I mean look at these nuts!)

I, naturally, fell very ill during their visit--sleeping most of Thursday away. Then it was Haedyn's turn. We're all crossing our fingers for a healthy return trip for the Campbells.

In two weeks, Kendall and I will head to Atlanta to the Home Furnishings & Gift Market in search of new items for Hodgepodge. I've got a few things in mind and I'm making notes as I think of them; but it's always exciting to just get there and see what you didn't even know existed--let alone that you must have it! It's an exhausting experience, but I admit it's fun. I get in trouble though--it's too easy to spend. If you all would just promises me you'll buy it all . . .

I'm in the midst of determining if I'm going into the framing business. My neighbor/tenant Neblett's Framing Outlet wants to sell. I've offered to buy, but I'm not sure how it's all going to happen. I've cut mats and glass before, but not only am I pitiful at it, I most certainly could not charge for it! Know anyone who can frame? Actually, you don't have to frame--just cut mats and glass. I'm serious. Let me know. Better yet--know anyone who wants to own a frame shop? Call me! It's cheap!

In addition, I'll be expanding into the new space (currently the frame shop). I truly have no plan for making this happen. So, bear with us while we grow--painfully.

We've decided to put-off our building renovations--it's just too much to take on right now. We're still considering other possibilities--such as artist studio spaces. Again, if you're interested, let us know.
Okay, back to relaxing--I promised Darren.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Busy, busy, busy . . .

Too busy to decorate it seems, but it's not Christmas for me until I decorate my banister. I am fortunate to live in an historic home, which I think is wonderful. I, especially love my staircase--I love it even more when it's pimped for the holidays!
As will almost any decorating project, I approach this in layers (Christopher Lowell just had the good sense to get published first!).
Here are the pictures to tell the story.

Okay--I thought to take pictures after I had started.

Here I'm adding the pine garland--very inexpensive garland, but I have two layers of it--at least as far as one can see from the entry.

Then I add about 300 lights.

Here I've added the gilded grapevine garland. Next year--or I may even add it this year--I'm adding real grapevine, as well.

Then I add the ribbon.
Last year, I tried using and inexpensive, wireless ribbon, but this year I splurged on the french-wired, sheer ribbon you see here. The other ribbon shredded as I took it off--thus costing more in the end.

Next are the pine cones. They are tied together with raffia--so they dangle at each end. Sometimes I tie two together--sometimes, three. Then I drape them over the banister. (Probably the easiest part of dismantling it, too!) I bunch several of them around the newel post.

Then I add about 20 - 25 picks of a red berry.

And a bow.
One of these days, I'll add dried hydrangea and other garden accents, but that will have to wait until there are fewer little hands and less traffic up-and-down the staircase--believe me . . .I'm in no hurry. I can't imagine the day when we don't have those bare feet "tip-toeing" down the stairs Christmas morning.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Thanks so much for reading.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gifts for YOU!

I hear it all of the time--"I shouldn't be buying this . . ."--"It's Christmas, I'm supposed to be buying for others." My answer to that is give yourself a break! This is the time of year when you're out and looking more than any other--you're naturally going to see and want stuff for yourself. I mean, who's the easiest person to shop for? ME! That's why Hodgepodge now offers a Wish List gift registry. While you're looking around the shop for gifts for your sister, jot down the items you'd like to receive yourself and we'll keep the list at the shop for your friends and family to reference. Now, Christmas being only three days away, what do you think you'll find under the tree with your name on it?
May I be so bold as to make some suggestions? (Feel free to share this with your spouse, mother and friend!)

Any piece of our one-of-a-kind jewelry made out of vintage china is perfect! These items are hand-crafted and set in sterling silver--marked with the hallmark of a certified silver smith. We have everything from little charms to the mother (literally, Mother Mary) of all vintage china jewelry. Prices range from $28 to $490 and are worth every penny!
Why not ask for a purse that won't break the budget or your back? We have a variety of purses, but my favorite being the purses from Dana Herbert. She chooses lovely, durable fabrics for her construction. They're well-sized and not weighed down with a bunch of heavy metal.

Then there's our bedding. With most of winter still ahead of us--who doesn't want to crawl into a luxuriously comfy bed, layered with beautiful quilts and creamy, soft sheets? Talk with us about putting together a look that you'll love. Quilts start at $140 for full/queens.
It's too late to custom order for Christmas, but I do have one "I LOVE YOU" typewriter key bracelet in stock. If he doesn't get the hint--you may wish to remind him that Valentine's Day comes up quickly! $150

I love entertaining. I especially love when I can set a beautiful table. Why not ask for--or treat yourself to--some vintage or vintage-look dishes? We have a wonderful selection to help you set a beautiful table.
Our "in store" TAG sonoma dishes and bubble glass bar ware continues on sale--20% off thru Christmas Eve. Time to finally buy?

Another year round treat could be these gold mercury glass candle sticks. Coming in at under $60 for all three--these accessories are perfect for almost any decor!

Well, the way I see it is . . . I'm the easiest person I know to shop for . . . why not do what's easy? You deserve it!
Thanks so very much for your indulgence!
Merry Christmas~
PS We're open Christmas Eve 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Friday, December 21, 2007

ho, ho, hoooo noooo!

Well, I don't know about you all, but things here haven't been going very smoothly. My eldest has been home for the past two days with a stomach virus--missing exams. I forgot what time I was to pick-up Darren at the airport; then, on my way to the airport, I had a blow-out. God was watching over us--as we were traveling in the left lane around 70 MPH in the rain--and were able to pull over safely! Under an overpass, too! Kendall and Terry, my sister and brother-in-law, came to our rescue and we were back on the road quickly. We're finally home and hopeful that we've seen an end to the mishaps!

What do I owe you? Buffet decorations and a few gift ideas for yourself. It's the eleventh hour and I hope to wrap this up, so hold on . . .

By the way, I'm baking cookies and it's 6:41 am--the day after I started this! I also know that this is mot my unique situation! You're probably reading this while baking cookies at 11 p.m.

As I mentioned earlier, for your buffet or sideboard arrangement, you can "biggie size" it. This is a place where your imagination is the only limit.

If you have an old sled--like the Comet sled in my window display or if you're lucky enough to have one of those wooden European sleds--use it as a riser on the table--you'll actually use the sled as a secondary serving surface . Add a simple arrangement of pine, holly and/or magnolia boughs in an over sized vase--a galvanized bucket would be great! Or just use a mini tree--a red tinsel tree would add some flair! Continue the theme with last year's suggestion of using mittens for your utensil holders (roll-up place settings of flatware in napkins and stick them in a mitten). Drape a scarf through the arrangement. You can add individual packets of hot chocolate as "ornaments" for your tree and invite your guests to take one home when it's time to leave.

Another arrangement, with a more formal feel would be to use pedestal cake plates of varying heights--stacking them if necessary to achieve at least three heights--topped with a candle hurricane. That's the basic arrangement--now you can decide where to go, by determining your color theme. Winter white? Use white, clear or silver cake plates. Fill your hurricanes with ordinary play sand--about an inch or two on the bottom. Use white pillar candles and, if you like, add some of that fake snow everyone says they've seen at the mall, but I happen to know you can find downtown, too. It won't melt, even in close proximity to the candles. You can add it around the the candle inside the hurricane or around the hurricane on the cake plates. You can easily change the color theme with cranberries or kumquats around the candles; change the cake plates to red (hard to find, yes--but red glass paint--easy!) and add red or gold pillar candles.

The buffet is a great place to feature some garden statuary, too. It's over scale presence will lend a sense of grandeur to your arrangement. Pull in the stuff from your garden--removing the mulch and other loose items, but leaving the moss. Angels are a natural choice, but don't overlook the other items. Urns make great wine/champagne coolers; place your bird bath next to the buffet and add your punch service on top. Continue the natural, garden theme with greenery cuttings, terra cotta pots filled with pine cones and candles, etc. The pots are great to invert and use as risers for serving surfaces, too. You may wish to cut a little piece of that non-slip stuff you put under area rugs to prevent your serving plates from slipping off. This arrangement is the perfect place to add my favorite flower arranging device--our french market vase with candle holders. We've created some fabulous arrangements using this vase and encourage you to take a look at them when you next visiting Hodgepodge.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

gifts around $25

These are great gifts for your friends, sisters, sisters-in-law, anyone you like to do just a little more for . . .

Choose from our extensive selection of bath & body products from Archipelago Botanicals. The milk based products are high on the lists of dermatologists recommended products for winter skin. $7.50 - $30

Also from Archipelago Botanicals is our ever popular soy wax candles--they come in a variety of scents including: Wasabi Mint, Moroccan Incense and Sapote Persimmon. $22

How about the classic spoon ring? These rings are made from vintage silver plate flatware and are engravable! Only $18

Cathy Penton vintage ephemera, sterling silver frames charms, can help you show how well you understand the gift recipient--we have a nice selection of charms available. $26

A new addition to Hodgepodge this past Fall were these lovely glass images from Fringe. Some come filled with candles, others are trays or coasters and others are votive holders. Current inventory ranges in price from $9.95 - 27.95

For your wine connoisseur--a vintage doorknob wine stopper. $28 - 30

He would also enjoy these wine and cider carafes. $18 - 20

Start her out with a few place settings of this versatile flatware. $17.50/place setting

They'll set a lovely table with a set of these chargers; available in silver, pewter and copper. You can give four for $20 or six for $30! What an impact that will have.

You can give four of these lovely etched wine glasses: $28

Or four of these wine or water glasses: $28 for the small or $32 for the large

We still have a few holiday decor items for those who look forward to decorating for Christmas all year long.

I hope these ideas spark something for you.

Later today I'll get up those much anticipated buffet ideas--I know, I know.

Tomorrow--it's the big gifts and/or ideas for you!

Thanks for your indulgence~


Monday, December 17, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I hope you all are enjoying your days leading to--for Christians--the day commemorating the most precious gift of Jesus Christ. For Christians and non-Christians alike, I hope you are experiencing the joy and good will which seems abundant this time of year.
I will be heading out today--with Christmas Lists in hand--to attempt to fulfill the desires of my children. I sure hope Santa comes through for them, as I'm rather doubtful of my own success!
Today I thought I'd share some ideas about centerpieces or decorative accents for your sideboard and/or buffet.
I know it's a challenge to come-up with something decorative, yet practical. I mean, what's the point in inviting guest to your holiday dinners if you can't even see them across the table? It's important to be able to arrange a centerpiece you can see over and around OR you can easily remove. Arrangements on your buffet can be a little more elaborate and larger in scale--so maybe that's where you can get a little more creative.
For the table, the obvious choice is candles. Just bear-in-mind that this is not the place for your wonderfully scented candles. Another tip, with regard to candles on the table, is to to be sure to surround your tapers with a bobeche or a hurricane because, no matter how "drip less" the candle--they're still susceptible to drafts and bumps which can cause them to drop wax. Pillars are a good choice because it's more difficult for the wax to escape the top of the candle. These beaded glass pillars are a wonderful options as they provide a glimmering shimmer, lit or unlit, to the table scape. The mercury glass finial--also pictured here--provide a nice compliment, without taking-up a great deal of visual space. They provide vertical interest, but it's important to place some items close to the surface of your table, too. On this table, you'll see a two-tier server in the center, loaded with a selection of related ornaments, and encircled with an ethereal white feather wreath.
The centerpiece shown here it tall, but narrow, so your guests should be able to see around and through the airy placement of peacock feathers and sequined trees. A simple, low setting with high impact is the use of a silver tray--like the one with your Grandmother's coffee and tea service--as the base. Place several different sizes of wine glasses--as many as you like--on the tray. Surround the base with cuttings of pine and other evergreens, as well as some fruit (oranges, apples, etc.) Fill the wine glasses about half-way with colorful or plain sand--to protect from the heat of the tea light you will then place in the glass. You could substitute some cranberries for the sand--or red hots candies.
Later today, I'll add some ideas for the side boards and buffets, as well as some gift ideas.
Thanks for you indulgence~

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Did someone say "contest?"

Yup--it was me. I hope you enjoyed--perhaps even found useful--the decorating tips and gift ideas. There are more to follow! Check back often.

As for participating in the contest--all you have to do to be entered into this contest is add your comments to at least one of my blog entries (during the month of December). If you make a comment, make sure you don't use some code name--or if you do, send me a separate email to decode it for me--so I can toss your name in the hat.

The prize? The prize is the good feeling you'll have for letting me know people actually read these things! Actually, the prize is a $50 gift certificate--for Hodgepodge.

The purpose? I want this to be a dialogue not a diatribe! Let me know what you're thinking about, let me know if there are some new or interesting products you wish I carried at Hodgepodge, let me know if you have a decorating dilemma (I'll see if I can find someone to help)--let me know you're out there!

This is me typing my little fingers to the bone--I usually use two hands.

And this is my happy face upon reading your comments! (It took about twelve self-portrait shots to find the angle without all the chins!)

Well, have fun and leave those comments!
Thanks, as always, for your indulgence~

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fresh Ideas

As promised, it begins.

First, I thought I'd share some ideas for your Christmas tree. Most of you already have your trees set-up in front of the window--adorned with lights and ornaments. So, today's suggestions/ideas are for those of you overcome by events or otherwise delayed in decorating for the holidays.

First, let's address the lights. It doesn't matter if you're a clear lights purist or a colored lights advocate--please, please make sure you have enough lights on your tree. The basic rule of thumb I try to adhere to is a minimum of 100 lights per foot of tree. A four foot tree deserves at least 400 lights, a seven foot tree gets 700 lights, and so on. Be sure to follow the basic rules of safety listed on your lights--for instance, mine suggest only three strings hooked end-to-end. You might start by winding an extension cord up the trunk of the tree. I love this new cord I found--it's green with three outlet extensions and an on-off switch. It provides three location to hook-up the light strings. There are several different methods of placing the lights on the tree. Darren and I have finally decided the best method is to start at the tip of the trunk and wrapping each branch as we work our way down the tree. It takes longer, but oh-so worth it!

Second, the garland. Again, so many different approaches, but--in my opinion--necessary part of the process. What can you use for garland? Well, you have the traditional, now "retro" tinsel garland. There are beaded garlands, homemade garlands of popcorn and/or cranberries and ribbon garlands. Another idea is to use garlands usually used for decorating around a door or on the mantel. What an impact a garland of magnolia leaves on a traditional tree will make! I've used garlands of gilded grape leaves and I've used a grapevine garland. The iced, long-needle pine garlands I have at the shop would make a great garland! (You might see that on a tree at the shop next year.)

Okay, as I said, it's probably too late to apply any of those ideas this year, but maybe you can file them away for next year. But here are some gift ideas to help you out this year!

Today's ideas are dedicated to the stocking stuffer, office friends, bunko group friends category of around $10. Here we go:

If you need a special card, why not give some local art, too? We have a large selection of cards from several local artist for $5 or less!

Boll Weevil Soaps make a great stocking stuffer. At $7 per bar, this all natural goat milk soap is great for dry winter skin and smells great, too! Check-out our special selection of holiday scents, like "Christmas Cabin."

Same is true of our french milled soaps from La Lavande--the oldest soap mill in France. These wonderful all natural soaps come in three sizes--$7 or less. You could also put-together a little gift bag of our heart shaped soaps--a favorite for little hands!

The perfect hostess gift: our embroidered guest hand towels.

We have a selection of the most popular initials in stock or you can special order the initial you need.

Eventually, we'll have some winter weather! When we do, wouldn't your office buddy love to warm-up some hot chocolate in the break room microwave? Easy enough if you've given them this cute mug and some hot chocolate from Gourmet du Village--together, still under $10.

Know anyone who has a lot to remember? They'd likely love one of the Website journals--a place to write down your favorite websites along with the log in and password information. Or you can offer your favorite "winer" a journal for notes about their favorite wines. Got a bird watcher in your family? We've got a journal for him, too! All for about $5.

Another great stocking stuffer is this package of berry flavored lip glosses with light tints in various shades. You could even break-up the package and drop a ball into a gift bag of other goodies.

Another great drop-in gift is a travel tin candle from Paddywax--small in size, but huge in scent! With about 16 hours of burn time, these little guys pack a wallop of a pleasant fragrance. New this year: Almond Cocoa and Tangerine Clove--yum!

Speaking of "yum" I come to one of my favorite items we offer. This super emollient lip gloss from Archipelago Botanicals come in Mango White Sugar and Brown Sugar Vanilla. It's rich in good stuff for you lips and looks great, too!

Then there's my huge selection of Sonoma Dishware from TAG--not a piece of it over $10! (Well, other than the serving pieces.) But the dinner and salad plates, cereal and soup bowls and mugs--all under $10! Oh, and I should mention it's all 20% off for a limited time.

So, I hope that helps. Believe it or not, but there are many more gift items under $10. Not the least of which would be any of our ornaments--the perfect choice for your office ornament exchange. Come in and let us help you make your selections.
Contest instructions coming tomorrow!
Thanks for your indulgence~

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Twelve Days of Hodgepodge

I've been trying to determine if we'd have a Twelve Days of
Hodgepodge this year and, if so, how I'd present it. I feel as though, between Hodgepodge news and Downtown Clarksville news, I'm constantly filling you email in boxes. Twelve days of emails might be enough to push us both over the edge, so I've decided to focus on using my blog. That way, those of you who wish to read about some decorating ideas, gift suggestions and more stuff--like a contest--can visit the blog at your leisure.

Here's what we'll do. I'm going to make an effort to come-up with new decorating ideas and gift suggestions for a variety of shopping budgets. Somewhere along the way, I'll tell you about the contest and how to enter. So, yes, you'll have to suffer through some of my diatribes, but I'll try to limit these entries to useful, relative and somewhat original ideas.

Don't forget about our How Do They Do That? class on Monday, Dec 10th, 6 pm - 8 pm. We'll meet at the Lovin' Spoonful Cafe, where owner, Jane Burney, will share some party planning ideas and recipes. I, being unable to sit-down-and-shut-up, will have a few things to say about decorating ideas and table settings. Call or email to reserve your spot.

Well, there it is--a plan. We'll announce it with one email and then it begins.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your indulgence.

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