Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wonderful Start, Wonderful Day

Okay--that's already a lie. It wasn't a wonderful start. When my son's alarm--set for his weekday schedule--went off at 5 a.m. this morning, there was no going back to sleep. My eyes flutter open even as my mind hits 60 m.p.h.--and that's just the on the on ramp--wait until I get in the fast lane! I decide to get up--brush my teeth (now I'm really awake), tend to the dog (back gate is open!). Go watch the news--no satellite connection! Cat shares the contents of her stomach . . .

That was my start. I promised to be at the shop at 8:30 a.m. for a Daughters of the King meeting--I'm not a DOK--they asked if I would open early for their meeting. I'm so flattered they ask--of course. This is when things start looking up! What a lovely group of ladies--I knew them all--save one--as we attend Trinity Episcopal together. Now, I even know the one I hadn't met before--Barbara--DELIGHTFUL! I listened in on their discussion about the origins and differences in the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican rosaries (didn't even know we--Episcopalians--had a rosary!). This is all very timely and appropriate to me, as I've had a recent fascination with religious icons and rosaries.
But, even before the discussion, things had begun looking-up, because I found my keys--which I was convinced had been inadvertently picked-up by a customer or sales rep yesterday (not just simply, misplaced)! There they were, stuck down in between the mat boards, just below the last place I remember seeing them. Odd though, I looked there several times last night--I'm sure of it. The point is, something which was consuming me, occupying my thoughts, even in the background was solved that quickly. Done. They're found. I think, though, I wouldn't have found them if I would have continued the frantic search. They appeared once I stopped the frenzied, panicked overturning of stuff and the verbal self-loathing for my absent-mindedness. There they were.
The rest of the day continued to climb out of the hole where it had begun. Friends and customers--often one in the same--stopping in, buying things! (That helps a lot!) The problem is that I need the shoppers, but get just as much satisfaction from the visitors. Well, I had a little of both and it felt balanced.
I just wanted to share my observance of a well-balanced day. Start it with chaos, calm it with prayer. You'll find lost items, you'll be able to pay bills, you'll come home to a clean kitchen (courtesy of your 16-year-old daughter), you'll hear Handel's "hallelujah chorus."
Life is good.
Thanks for your indulgence.

Monday, February 18, 2008


How can you get to know someone without asking them any questions? I mean, really know what they're about--their likes, loves, interests, goals and ambitions. Well, I have a theory. I think you can learn a lot about a person by looking at their nightstand and (in my case) the area around the nightstand.

To support my assertion, I'll offer up as evidence a photograph of my own bedside area.

There it is--I've just bared my soul to you. What will you find when you look at my nightstand and the surrounding area? Current and back issues of my favorite magazines: Romantic Homes, Victoria, Country Home, Country Living, Home Companion and Bon Appetit. Then you've got the selection of books I'm reading--When I Need God the Most; The Martha Rules (not very enlightening); The Care of the Soul; Eat, Love, Pray; Simple Abundance; and, Blue Christmas are out of sight--they're on the bed, where they were left when I fell asleep (my husband is away and the entire bed has become a work space. You'll also find the latest Americasmart guide, a measuring tape (just in case?), pens & pencils, a nearly empty journal, a picture of my husband as a child, an ink drawing of a cross by one of my favorite local artists, Peggy Bonnington and a spray bottle of Caldrea's Lavender Linen Spray. Oh, and a broken clock--but it's too pretty to trash and too cheap to repair!

So what do these items say about me? Well, first and foremost, there is every indication that I require a twelve-step program to cure my addiction to periodicals. I cannot help myself! I just recently cracked the bindings of the November and December issues of most--not having time to peruse their content during the all-important selling season! Bon Appetit is a throw-back to the days when I had time to explore new recipes and plan parties with interesting menus. Now, we entertain, but it's always well within my comfort zone--very few recipes have graced our table in the past three years. Second, are the books--almost all related to self-improvement, be it spiritually or fiscally--I'm sure if we dig deep enough, there's something in there for my physical well-being, too. I don't read novels anymore--I listen to them. I am trying to read "Blue Christmas" upon my cousin Stacy's recommendation--guess she thought I could relate to the heroine--a snappy, successful and fabulous boutique owner, but it's a reach! (First of all, she attends antique auctions--I'm afraid of facilitating yet another addiction, so I don't do auctions.) Third, the odd-botts indicate all of the contingencies I'm prepared to face--pen and pencils, measuring tapes, et al. The nearly empty journal--an indication of my inability to commit to anything which might provide introspection (just ask Thomas Moore--he's been waiting for years for me to finish his book!). The cross--to remind me every morning and night of the true and meaningful blessings I've been graced with in my life--and Who gave them to me!

How about your nightstand? Willing to share? Do you agree with my "window to the soul" theory?

Well, I look forward to hearing from you . . . hint, hint.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

keepsake keepsakes

I am enthralled with my latest creation. It's nothing like some of the projects I've observed on other sites--I mean, there are some incredibly talented folks out there. I, on the other hand, a casual observer and one who tries to emmulate the clever ideas of others.

One such recent effort was attempted Monday night during our "How Do They Do That?" get-together. While flea merketing last month, Kendall and I saw an incredibly cool decoupaged suitcase. It was completely covered in vintage valentines. With a price tag of $150, it was a bit steep to bring back to the shop, so we decided we would try to replicate the romantic piece for our February project. We thought it the perfect project for storing your love notes and other special memorabilia.

I've been gathering ephemera and other what-nots for various projects around the shop and home, so we had a good start on items we could use to decorate our suitcases. Kendall is an avid scrapbooker, so she had lots of supplies, as well. We purchased additional items--romantic wrapping and tissue papers,doilies, as well as some clip art we downloaded from a wonderfully creative web site, Here are some pictures of our creations.

We had some trial and error throughout the process. I like Taylor and Kendall's idea to apply items across the opening--effectively gluing the suitcase shut--they will later cut it open with a razor. I think this will give it a really authentic "travel" look.

I'll try to describe this pictures, but the layout is never the same on my blog as it is in editing. (If anyone knows any secrets about this issue, please let me know.) The picture above, left with three of us, Taylor, Hunter (my daughter) and me. Above, right is a close-up of Charly's suitcase in process. On the right, sister Kendall--she and Taylor chose traincases for their projects.

Speaking of "travel," (a paragraph ago) we had a vintage travel magazine among our ephemera choices--this was a lot of fun for me, considering our years spent in Europe courtesy of the USArmy (and you tax payers!). I found several articles and advertisements regarding Germany. Another special note on mine was the page number 235 from a song book--Darren and I were "2" plus "3" kids, now we are "5." (I'm normally not so sentimental, but working on this project, well--it got to where I couldn't help myself!)

To the left (at time of editing) is Hunter's project. She is a talented artist and has an ongoing affection for fairies (encouraged by both of her aunts!). She covered her entire suitcase with a fairy themed wrapping paper--which she tore and collaged on. Now she's working on adding layers. The one below is Taylor's--she's still working on it. We both decided we need another day to finish . . . or perhaps start another. I'd like to do one of the train cases to use in the bathroom for my cosmetics. Below you'll see mine as I start on the second-ish layer.

Here it is nearly finished--everyone else had left my house, but I couldn't stop. I still need to do a little creative work around the metal fittings. I wrapped the handle with a wonderful piece of vintage velvet.

It's almost a week later, so I'm going to go ahead and just post this. I already have my next subject for my blog worked out in my head, so I'll probably add more later today. (Provided I'm able to "borrow" a neighbors internet connection!)

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, February 7, 2008

technology . . . friend or foe?

Well, life is busy isn't it? I'm having computer issues at the house--so I've not been able to access the internet in the evenings. I dropped my digital camera while taking photos at the shop yesterday. Technology is not my friend this week.
However, as I watch the news about the tornadoes in our state and elsewhere, I realize (once again) I need to keep things in perspective!
We have been busy at the shop--unpacking shipment after shipment. New inventory from market is arriving and making a big impact on the shop. We have Valentine's as you enter the door and Spring is bursting out all over the boutique! Hey folks--Easter is about 6 weeks away! Pull out your decorations, take inventory, then head to Hodgepodge for some special items to spruce it up. We've got Nicol Sayre, Jennifer Murphy and Debbee Thibault--to name a few. I encourage you to visit the links I've provided to the web sites for these amazingly talented and gifted women. You'll quickly understand why I decided to carry their incredible creations.
I love our new space on the Legion Street level. We've got a lot more to do to Hodgepodge-ify it, but we're getting there. Remember you can now enter Hodgepodge from Legion Street--so when you're looking for that coveted parking space, don't by-pass Legion Street!
Speaking of which, have you heard about all of the transformations planned for Legion Street? I can't wait! They're going to bury the lines that currently have the street looking like an up-turned bowl of spaghetti. There will be wide sidewalks--which we hope will encourage outdoor dining with our restaurants--a fountain and more! Downtown is finally on the move--I feel justified, as I'm sure many of the other long time business owners do.
We've had quite a few ladies sign-up for our "How Do They Do That?" series for February. On Monday we'll be creating a beautiful keepsake for your keepsakes. We'll decoupage old suitcases with valentines and other romantic materials.
If you haven't made plans yet--you should go see My Way at The Roxy; it opened this weekend. There are two shows on the 14th, otherwise, it runs the normal Weds - Sat through the end of the month--actually Mar 3rd.
Okay--I've been trying to upload pictures for two days now--we're posting without . . .
Thanks for your indulgence!
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