Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Golden Rule

This blog entry can probably be quickly analyzed by anyone with a minor in psychology--heck, anyone who took a course in high school--as to the motivator.

About three weeks ago I received an email from a customer. Seems she was in my shop about a year ago, while visiting her son who was about to deploy from Ft. Campbell. Apparently, the shop (and, perhaps, I) made an impression on this lady. In her email, she mentioned she had enjoyed shopping at Hodgepodge, as well as talking with me (my, how kind). She told me that she was really taken with our merchandise selection and was wondering if I would mind telling her about my vendors. It seems she has recently moved to Memphis and was helping a friend get her shop up and running. She was hoping to help this friend set-up something similar to Hodgepodge. Am I flattered or what?!? I asked her a few questions, to clarify which items she liked the most--then told her the names of the vendors. I also offered to come by the shop while I was in Memphis for my daughter's gymnastics meet. Unfortunately, timing was not on our side, so we didn't meet-up.

About a week later, however, I had a memory flashback. I had nearly, but not completely, forgotten about a similar circumstance--one where the proverbial shoe was on my foot. I had been in search of a particular item I wanted for the shop--one I had ordered, but then the vendor didn't fulfill due to lack of orders or something of the sort. I couldn't find it or anything similar through any other vendors; numerous google searches; a thorough search of the Americamart website; and many more methods of attack. A little over a year later, as I was perusing the blog of another boutique owner--there it is! I was astounded! All of this searching and there it was! She had found it and was offering it at her shop (in another state--over 500 miles away).

I thought about it a day or two, but then I decided to send the shopkeeper an email. I explained everything as I did above and asked her to kindly let me know the name of the vendor where I could find the elusive item. Now mind you--this was not our first communication. I had made several complimentary comments on her blog. Heck, I had even ordered something from her. You know what she said?

She said, "No."

She explained that, as an independent shopkeeper, she works very hard to find her "unique" mix of inventory and for that reason she knew I would understand why she never divulges her "sources."
Well, she couldn't have surprised me more if she had nailed my shirt to the floor! The most insulting part of her email? The part is that she assumed I would understand. Nope. I didn't and still don't.

A year-and-a-half later, when I get this request from a one-time customer, I didn't hesitate to provide her with the information she needed. I'm also proud to say, I've provided similar information for several others before and after my deflating encounter with this otherwise impressive shopkeeper.

I like to think of it as living by the golden rule--you know that little suggestion once made by an influential man--do unto others as you would have others do unto you. (Matt. 7:12)

So, if that's the case, why am I whining about this now? Consider it a much needed cathartic release. I could say a lot more . . . trust me! But that wouldn't be exactly keeping to the golden rule. Would it?

I can tell you this though, I had the pleasure of reporting to the intrepid shopkeeper that I was able to find my elusive quarry, the VERY next day, at our local Borders! Can you believe it?!? Her unique boutique inventory item right here in Clarksville at Borders. Guess it's a good thing I didn't find and order it.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Friday, January 23, 2009

what I should be doing . . .

things i could be doing, but i'm working on the computer instead:


organizing my magazines;

filing paperwork;


planning for the "how do they do that" program;

cleaning Haedyn's room for our house guest (arriving Monday).

things i could have done while at the shop today, but i had to do computer work instead:

filing paperwork (recurring nightmare);
merchandising (i rarely get to do that any more--thank goodness for Patty!);

planning for a class i'll be teaching in march;
taking pictures for the website;

merchandising (i miss it).

so what's the solution? toss the computer(s)? my husband would tell me to prioritize--which i think i'm doing, but i don't' feel like i'm getting to any of the good stuff. i use to make lists all of the time, but i don't make them anymore. maybe i should get back to that habit.

if organization is the key . . . i've lost mine.
how do you do it? do you make lists? do you limit your time in front of the computer? any recommendations? i look forward to your guidance . . . help me obi wan--you're my only hope.
thanks for your indulgence,

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Time for Renewal

Are you excited? Oh my gosh--I am giddy. I'm watching the Inauguration Celebration--U2 is currently performing. How appropriate . . . In the Name of Love. I think the most astounding part of this is the enthusiam of our Nation. When is the last time we saw our President on a t-shirt worn by teenagers? How lucky are we to see this? To be part of this? Ooh, hold on, he's going to speak . . . the man can give a speech!

Okay--you don't tune in to hear/read me wax poetic (I flatter myself--poetry?) about our President Elect.

Have you guys confronted the emptiness of your house with all of the Holiday decorations put away? It's nice, isn't it? Do you enjoy the peaceful clarity of windows unobstructed by wreaths? Of mantels cleared of stockings and pine boughs? Of . . . oh me either. I miss the decorations. I miss the way my house feels when it's adorned with trees, garlands, and ornaments. I miss the cozy feeling I have when the Christmas tree provides most of the light we'll need all evening.

So, I drag it out. I put away the trees first, but I do keep up the mantel decorations and the stairwell decor for a while longer. If we had more outlets in this house, I'd leave up strings of lights all of the time. As it is, however, they're a tripping hazard and, quite likely, a fire hazard--strung through several extension cords as they are.

Yet, there is something to be said of a clutter-free, simplicity. I've recently come across some blogs that share my same propensity for furnishings that show wear and tear, but they have blended it seamlessly with such a calm color palette that it speaks of serenity and peace in a way that I'm sure I could never achieve. Here's a link to one of the sites. You'll see what I mean.

Do you decorate like Lotten (of the above-referenced blog) or do you have a little more stuff going on? What do you think about this style? Do you want to try it in your house? I think I'd like to try one room. I think, actually, if memory serves--I have tried it, but I just can't keep the color out.

Remember when "Shabby Chic" hit the scene. Rachel Ashwell's style was--still is--all the rage. I still enjoy reading her books; I reference them frequently for her guidance, but I just can't stay within that pale, pastel palette she avows. I love it--I find it very attractive and appealing, but I always end-up with more color. I believe she's expanded her perspective of late (at least in her retail line), but I'm not sure if she's mixing-it-up herself.

So, back to you. What's your style? What's your favorite color to use in your house? Do you yearn for a simple, organized decor, yet find yourself in a chaos of colors? Or do you enjoy being surrounded by your things, patterns and colors?

Or are you simply happy to not have to pull that tree skirt out of the vacuum cleaner?

Thanks for your indulgence.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Valentine's Day "How Do They Do That?"

Let's set a date for another creative get together.

How about Tuesday, January 27th, 6:30 pm - until we're done--my place . . . to make these:

Class size is limited to the first ten participants who reserve their spot with payment for their supplies. I first made these topiaries for an Officers' Wives' Club luncheon (yes--it was long time ago) in Savannah; it's been a favorite of mine ever since. I keep it in my bedroom year 'round, but it's the perfect Valentine project. If you agree--come in to reserve your space around our tables.

Cost will be $20 to cover the supplies. You'll need to bring a glue gun and some glue sticks. Everything else (including refreshments) will be provided.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks for you indulgence.

Friday, January 9, 2009

January Art Walk

(Sorry--thought I posted this the other day.)

If you didn't join us for Art Walk tonight it was your loss, because Pat and Cathy Finney brought their beautiful fused glass creations to Hodgepodge, but you're in luck. Their items will be on display and available for purchase for the rest of the month.
According to their artists' statement, "strip construction is a large component of (their) work. Precisely measured strips of glass are cut and then fused together to surround an aperture pour inclusion. Each piece of art has been through several processes before reaching completion. The artwork may have to be fired several times, slumped, cold worked, and/or sandblasted to achieve a final design. "

All that being said, I can tell you this . . . it's intensely colorful, detailed and stunningly attractive.

I am deciding which pieces I'll add to our growing collection of local art. (A true benefit of hosting these artists--first look at their presentations!) I think one of the wind chimes will become an overdue gift for a family member--Christmas comes at a most inconvenient time for this retailer.

I'm also proud to announce that you can find the literary work of another Clarksville resident, Barry Kitterman, at Hodgepodge. We acquired several signed copies of The Baker's Boys and have them available for purchase.I borrowed the following from the Texas A&M University Press Consortium: The Baker's Boy is set in Central America and in middle Tennessee, Barry Kitterman's debut novel gives us two intertwined stories: In the first, Tanner Johnson, nearing midlife, has left his pregnant wife and taken a job as a baker, working nights, trying to avoid a shadowy presence that haunts him from the past. In the second, Tanner relives his painful experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize, where he taught at a boys' reform school nearly a quarter century ago. Haunted by the past, he struggles to find the courage to accept his role as a husband and prospective father. As I don't sit down with books very frequently, I'm hoping to talk Barry into recording it for me--I LOVE my books-on-tape!
I hope to see you soon so I can share the wonderful talents of these--and other--Clarksville residents.
Thanks for your indulgence!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

It's been a while, eh? Sorry I've been out-of-touch, although, I'm sure you haven't even had time to notice. We're all so busy this time of year.

It's a great time of year around the King house. As many of you know, my sister, Kendall, and her family live here in Clarksville; but my other sister, Nikki, and her family live in Manassas, VA. It's become a tradition for their family to travel to TN the day after Christmas and spend a week with us.
This year (or "last year") they arrived early Saturday morning--around 2 a.m. We've had a lot of fun, done a lot of cooking and eating; talking, planning and playing. It's been wonderful having the families together, with the obvious and personally felt absence of Darren.
We did other stuff, but these are the pics I have. Nikki is the picture taker.

He was having fun--really. This was before I sang.

Unfortunately, I need to be a the shop today--so I'll miss our last day together. Always, this is when I think of all the things I wanted to do or discuss while they're here and wish for more days together. (YIPPEE! They stayed one more night--all I had to do was sing like Phil Collins and Bill was putty in my hands!)

Okay--it looks like I may have been having the most fun.

They've been a huge help while here. At the last minute, I decided to have some insulation and a vapor barrier installed under the house (as well as the attic), which meant taking out more stuff than you can imagine which we've stored under the house--then putting back when they were done. They did so without being asked and I am so grateful.
This insulation went in a little differently than I thought it would. They took out all of our old insulation which was installed under the floor boards. They laid vapor barrier on the ground. Then they sprayed the exterior walls of foundation with a cellulose insulation, but nothing under the floorboards. Seems odd, but they say it'll work and it's guaranteed. We've had some cold days, but nothing like the serious cold of last month. It does feel warmer in the house--I don't even have my slipper or a blanket as I sit here--which hasn't been the case since November. We'll see.It all started because of the freezing cold floor at the shop. I have nothing under the shop and feel the cold like you wouldn't believe. The problem is the shop is about 150 feet long. The trap door to get under the building is at the rear--in my storage room. The crawl space is about 18" deep. I feel bad even asking them to do this, but they say they will. A vapor barrier and the rolled insulation for this location. The incentives--a $490 electric bill and aching joints! So, I'll let them crawl under there and gladly pay them for their services. This is truly the
As far as what's going on at Hodgepodge, we've got stuff on sale. The "extra 10% off of clearance" is over, but we've cleared-out a lot and will be adding more to the clearance section. We'll keep the Christmas sale stuff available for one more week--some will go to permanent markdowns. The sale details: 50% off of ornaments or tree decor; 30% off of Christmas accents and florals.
Okay--gotta get his posted. Kept planning to add pics. Nikki and the fam left today. Sad.
I'm probably closed tomorrow. "Probably" because we're attempting the insulation installation tomorrow--don't know if it'll interfere with "normal business operations." Stay tuned.Happy, Happy New Year!
Thanks for your indulgence.

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