Monday, January 28, 2008

paint and more paint . . . then some paint!

well, the icky carpet is gone! hurrah! and, as expected from any 130 year old building, we found beautiful, wide plywood floors! oh well, i think somethings happen for the best. it wasn't a difficult decision to paint it . . . as it may have been if i had found beautiful hardwood floors. the floor is solid, but clearly sloping toward the center of the room. there are huge gaps around the edges--between the floor and the base boards. i prefer to think of all of these imperfections as "character," but i'm sure my husband's eyes will go straight to the aforementioned issues and wonder why i proceeded without first correcting them.

so the floor is creamy white and the walls are no long dark, almost black, green, but (surprise, surprise) the lightest shade of blue (like the rest of the shop). this is the area that will become our garden shop. this weekend i found some new stuff from a man specializing in custom-made furnishings. so i present for your approval our newest offerings:

please remember, too, the runnning theme for this new addition is the framing boutique. we can help you preserve your precious mementos, certificates, family photos and, of course, prints or original works of art. we'd love to have you share your best memories with us.

another movie night . . . practical magic--for the sound track, if nothing else--but because it has a great love message. it's actually very romantic. and, oh my gosh, the house! the aunts house and garden--to die for! i remember when it was featured in victoria--a geat magazine.

speaking of magazines, please pick-up at copy of romantic home this month. so many great ideas and features. i happen to know you can find it a hodgepodge, for 20% off of the suggested price!
thanks for your indulgence.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

january "down time"

well, it's january and the predicted "down time" has yet to manifest itself.
i haven't noticed any time to "recover" from the holidays. sure, sales have slowed--compared to the holidays--but they've not come to a stand still. we've been working to get inventory done--yuck! then there's new stuff arriving daily--so we're busy unpacking, pricing and displaying. then there's the incorporation of the mezzanine level (formerly known as the frame shop) into the rest of the boutique. that's definitely the biggest project.
we still need to pull-up the nasty carpet--not knowing what we will find--pull down the peg board, then paint--the walls and hopefully the floors. i thought we'd get some of this done this long weekend, but it's not to be. i guess i'll be hiring some help.
i look forward to setting up the garden shop and hope my choices at market will be as wonderful as i imagine them.
this new space is a challenge, but not as much of a challenge as taking over an existing business and incorporating it, its employees and faithful customers into the business known as hodgepodge. i really thought it would be transparent, but a lot of the folks whom have been patronizing neblett's for lo' these 20 or so years are confused. i have to assume, however, they were confused when ray moved his business to the rear of the building we purchased from him two years ago. we still have people walking into 125 franklin street looking for the framing shop--which moved to 124 legion street (the rear of the building) 2 years ago. obviously, one doesn't get something framed very frequently, but 2 years without noticing this move? time flies. well, those folks will be heartily geeted and directed to the rear of our building--easily accessed by our open staircase.
all I know is this taking more time than i anticipated. i've had little time to plan for or do many other things which i'd rather be doing. i don't think i've worked on the floor of my shop in about a month. thank goodness for patty and jennifer--they're doing a great job of keeping up and covering my short-comings.
i should be planning another "how do they do that" seminar. maybe we'll get something together for february. is there anything you've been wanting to learn? let me know, i'll see if i can put something together--find an instructor, etc.
alrighty, let me get to some of that dreaded paperwork and bookkeeping.
thanks for reading--thanks for your indulgence.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


as i'm sure you've been checking in hourly to read the next installment i promised regarding the renovations i thought i'd get busy writing.

in case you didn't read the earlier posts, i'll bring you up-to-speed. we've purchased the frame shop that was located behind hodgepodge--formerly known as neblett's framing outlet--on the legion street side of the building. we now offer the framing services once offered by neblett's. you can now access hodgepodge from legion street as well as franklin street.

if you can see toward the top of this picture, you'll notice the white lights surrounding the newly opened window to the mezzanine level. the staircase is on the right--through the gazebo. other plans for the newly acquired space include adding a garden area. there is so much to do and so little free time these days. yet, i am blessed--this i know.

and now for a random thought . . . is there a movie more beautiful, more moving than out of africa? watching it now--don't want it to end.

more pics . . .

the new nursery furnishings--custom painted. can you stand those cute fabrics? and they're as soft as they are cute. again--you choose the fabrics

Some Valentine's . . .

okay . . . bawling like a baby. karen and dennis are dancing in her empty house.

oh, and hey . . . we have many new permanent markdowns. stop in soon for best selections.

well, i guess i've dragged you through enough and it's late.

thanks for your indulgence.


Monday, January 14, 2008

My Return from "THE MARKET"

Well, I'm back and I'm more excited than I thought I'd be. A pleasant sensation, to say the least. As mentioned in the earlier blog about market--it's a little pleasure mixed with pain--physical and mental. They don't allow rolling carts anymore--except of a certain small size (which I refused to buy another rolling cart)--so you end-up carrying about 30 lbs of catalogs through this gagilliion square foot market. By the time I left Sunday afternoon--I was taking ibuprofen on the four-hour-cycle dot! My hips are killing me!
Let me say, first and foremost, how wonderful it was to return to Hodgepodge looking so great! After Christmas is always a let down--putting away all of the lights, trees, ornaments and other fanciful decor really leaves the place looking empty. Not this time, however. Jennifer and Patty did such a great job of rethinking the boutique--it looks great! I'm so fortunate to have them. Also, Kendall has been ticking away at our inventory--a stinky, thankless job--so THANK YOU, KENDALL! And, my brother-in-law, Terry, has been working to make access to the upper level of the newly renovated (but still in the process) Hodgepodge. (More on the renovations later.)

I bought lots and lots--everything from Spring to Christmas. I'll be introducing several new lines, beefing up some tried and true and cutting back on others. Contrary to popular opinion--you don't bring a trailer load back with from this market. There are cash and carry markets and a few that offer cash and carry at this market, but I haven't ventured to those markets yet.

I did, however, carry back some of the broken china jewelry. It's amazing! This new cross is one I've been wanting ever since I started buying this line, but, as each item is unique and hand-crafted, I never knew when I'd get it. So, I bought the one I wear (almost daily), as I'm somewhat impatient when I get my heart set on something, and waited for the Last Supper cross that you see here. The artists are soooo busy at their studio that it can take months to fill an order--so I've come to realize that I must purchase these items at market. Here's a sampling of the latest additions:

The pendants below are made from carnival glass--the color is amazing and changes at every angle.

What else? Let's see--I found another great vendor for European items for the garden--including authentic beer garden chairs and tables--wunderbar! Beautiful candle sconces and amazing chandeliers. All from a new-to-the-USA Belgian company. Too cool! A great compliment to the other European supplier I secured last Summer. The best part? They are--as you know if you priced my statuary--incredibly affordable! Then you'll see much, much more from a company specializing in farmhouse chic--I introduced them in the Fall. Most of that inventory is gone already. I've ordered a new line of personal and baby accessories--most of which won't be here until July, but we'll offer a small sampling in a few weeks. Then we have a few other suppliers for home and garden accessories, as well as personal adornments.

Specifically, for your personal accoutrement--tah dah--we'll be offering a Hodgepodge line of clothing (just t-shirts to start). A t-shirt which will reflect your sense of style, while nodding at your practicality. We're working with a local screen printer, Active Screen Graphics, on our design. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

what next?

As a wise friend responded . . . "Don't ask!" We've had an adventurous couple of days--to say the least!
Darren and I had a wonderful trip to Chattanooga. We stayed in the arts district at The Bluff View Inn; very, very nice! Amazing food, great things to do--so much to choose between. We were amazed at how much there was to do--they live like a city so much bigger than they are--only about 40,000 more folks than Clarksville! Anyhoo, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
While we were gone, however, we received a call from the home front. Seems we had no water flowing in our building. Most likely, frozen pipes. Well, we tried waiting for the thaw--which came Saturday morning--through three floors of the building and into the shop! As the same wise friend said, "I'm so glad this happened while we were here." (My wise friend, by the way, is Jennifer.) Thanks to some quick action and the shutting-off of every valve in the building, damage was minimal and quickly contained. Kendall and Terry quickly responded to my bat signal; thankfully, Darren was still here so he came running (albeit reluctantly); Carol Lynn (former Neblett's employee) was quickly inducted into the chaos of Hodgepodge! The damage was thankfully minimal
It did slow down our start on our renovations. We've opened up Hodgepodge to incorporate what was formerly known as Neblett's Framing Outlet. So, yes, that means we now offer framing at Hodgepodge. It also means that you can access Hodgepodge from Franklin Street (as always) and now on Legion Street, as well. We're expanding our space and our offerings. You'll find more of what you've come to expect from Hodgepodge--which I hope sounds appealing!
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Kendall and I will head to Atlanta for market this Thursday. This time of year always brings a mix of feelings for me. We've just come off a great holiday season--better than I had hoped for, even--but now is the transitional down time. It can't be Christmas all year long, but I sure can dream, right? We've dented, but not depleted the inventory; yet, now is when I head to market to spend more money on more inventory. I'll actually order Christmas '08 while there, but I'll also order some Spring, Summer and Fall things, as well. For those of you who think attending the market would be "fun" I want you to know you're right! It is fun, but it's also exhausting and a more than a little daunting. There is so much to see--it's easy to find stuff I love, but it's hard to decide if it's something that you'll love (and will want to take home!), too.
In preparation for the trip, we need to move some stuff! We're having an unprecedented 50% off of Christmas merchandise sale in the shop! This sale will last two days only. We're also taking some permanent markdowns on other merchandise. We already have some new stuff in the shop and look forward to many new boxes arriving--so I hope you'll help us clear-out the old for the new!
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