Thursday, March 26, 2015

Greening up...

Ahhhh...this is such a nice time of year in Louisiana.  That brief moment when both wisteria and azaleas bloom in concert, with vibrant pinks and purples that just have to be experienced in person because you just never can capture their colors truly on film.  I feel we've missed out on it a bit as we've been running back and forth to see our twins in the NICU (8 weeks this week!).  We did get our blue bird box up...chickadees have moved in.  Hummingbirds are back and this guy, the blue-headed vireo is probably saying his goodbyes as he travels north.
Something wonderful happened...I was gifted quite a bit of beautiful merchandise from one my favorite craft vendors.  These lovely wooden thread organizers for embroidery and cross stitch.  Too too many for just me to squirrel away.
My favorite...the owl!  The mustache is a close second.
and then these miniature travel sized fob thread organizers - gah!  This is to launch their new Belle Epoque line and to get it into shops to test the new designs.  Here's how I lucked out, the contest gave three obscure clues and through this rare blend of smarts and my Art History minor (it did pay off!) I looked up from the computer screen, scratched my head and said "Belle Epoque"  Oui, oui!

Honestly, this is more than I'll ever use and I'll help them test out the new line by slowing adding it to my Etsy shop by next week.

Speaking of cross stitch, if you are an enthusiast like myself, but with better time management skills you might be interested in joining the Bust Magazine and Subversive Cross Stitch Stitchalong featuring a darling pattern with the Broad City ladies!  This is a perfect starting place for newbies and seasons one and two of Broad City are now on Hulu...treat yo' self!


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dog is My Co-Pilot...

After last week's lackluster sales and collection of visiting weirdos to the shop, I decided to beat those blues back with my best buddy.  Yes, our own VIP (very important puppy), Chico.  She always puts a smile on my face.  Even though its been a busy day, its been really nice to have hug here and there from someone who cares for you unconditionally. 
I've been working on our accessories nook for a couple days now.  New scarves in, a tote bag here and there...and lots and lots of jewelry.
I made these; Native American brick stitch earrings.  I've actually made these off and on since high school (we don't have to talk about how long ago that was).  They were a bit of the rage back then and I remember begging my mother to take me to the bead shop in this nearby speck of a town called Lacombe, Louisiana.  I'm not sure how I knew this was the place to find out how to make these pretty turned out to be, yes, somewhat of a bead shop but also the home of a young Native American woman (who I thought was just lovely with long thick black hair).  Of course, I must have been the hundredth adolescent girl that had landed on her doorstep in reference to these earrings.  We came all that way and she was pretty put out; told us "no" she didn't have any books, patterns, or supplies.  I must of just looked heartbroken, and perhaps it convinced her I was honestly interested.  Exasperated, she said "just wait" and went to the back of the house and retrieved a small booklet.  I've treasured it for years.
It takes me about two to three hours to make a pair; I'm not sure I should admit that I'm such a slow poke.  Most of these were made while I was pregnant and it was good fun when I couldn't do much of anything else.  Currently these are available in store; if I can find the time, I'll add them to my Etsy shop.


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Friday, March 13, 2015

Keeping it 100...

This week has been cray-cray at the shop.  First off its rained nearly non-stop with foggy mornings and humid, soggy one has thought much of coming out to town period.  Those that have ventured through town seem a bit touched (as a way to put it).  All week what foot traffic I did get asked for the most bizarre things -- the highlight: an hourglass; that's a first for sure.

Then yesterday, we had a couple ladies come in and pinch a couple of nice items.  I won't go into detail of how we had been had; I never like to broadcast how someone got one over on us.  But for other retailers out there...even after seven years in business - they sure caught our attention and changes are already being made.  I highly recommend reading this post from the Specialty Retailer...great points that I knew, but I needed to be reminded.

Today has not been much better...the first person in asked if I could give them gas money...seriously.  Then a telemarketer that I refused, decided to be a smarty pants and call back repeatedly for spite.  By the time a couple of solicitors came in this afternoon, I was in a mood and sure ripped them a new one.

With a bit of extra time on my hands this week, I've been researching other shops and lines.  I landed on one...and I apologize not divulging who as I'm about to be a bit of a snot about them.  They are in a beautiful space, great high end lines, about 3 or 4 years old and already in most retail top 10 lists.  Looking through the incredibly stylized pics - my first thoughts were no one in my town would shop this all.  For one thing, one picture showed a tiny crate of soaps sitting on the floor - no one would bend over in my shop, unless they were stealing.  I asked C her thoughts; how this shop appears to have so much fanfare but in my town would be seen as farfetched and inaccessible?  Her take - money.  She's usually right on about this things.  So who out there in retail is genuine, do we honestly have to pretend it rainbows and sparkles all day long?  Maybe if we're real - we might just teach people this is hard and worthy of them not stealing and taking advantage of us?
All pics are from the shop this week as I've been cleaning, fluffing and preparing for upcoming Spring holidays.  The Happy Keaster towels featured in the last pic are now on sale here.


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Seven and Counting...

This week our shop makes SEVEN years in business!  I actually can't believe it has been that long, but over a quiet weekend - I reflected that, yes, quite a lot has happen in all these years and in these four walls.  I had a nice recap last year here.  This past year I learned how to be a pregnant shopkeeper and waddle thru the displays (knocking over things left and right with my new belly).  This year is sure to bring even more changes once we have our twins here daily.

The best thing that this anniversary brings (at least for me) is space.  I no longer feel so emotionally tied to the business and shop.  It's all grown up, so to speak, and I feel it's okay for me to explore and want for other things in addition to this wonderful little dream of a shop.

So, no big party or sale...I just quietly celebrated with an early Spring walk:


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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Birds...

We lucked out of the Southern snow (and ice) so far this year, but slightly to the north it has been a tough week for our neighbors.  And to no surprise, when the temperature dropped, all week we've had an influx of "snow birds" through the shop.  All are super giddy, love everything, leave with nothing.  ho hum.  On the other hand, online sales have been super and made up for our walk-ins with frozen wallets.

It's par for the course in retail...but, honestly on chilly days like this I'd rather be with my real snow birds at home with a cup of tea:
red bellied woodpecker
northern cardinal
ruby crowned kinglet
orange crowned warbler
cedar wax wings
Also, if you are a bird nerd like me, you will love this podcast about a young girl who has been feeding crows that now gift her odds and ends.  Crows are genius by the way.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Transitional Normal.

We're finding a strange new transitional normal (if you can even call it that) post babies - pre-homecoming (they are still cooking in the NICU).  I'm back at the store - which feels great.  I can't say I'm getting a lot done but I did throw together a St. Patrick's Day table top, basically whatever was green in the store -- its more than I ever do!

We became a dealer for a new chalk paint line, Country Chic Paints...which I owe a upcoming dedicated post.  I wasn't going to go there; I make my own and as much as I encouraged other to do it, I consistently was met with a blank stare.  So, I give up and you know what...this product is actually easier and better than what I was mixing.

Between NICU trips, I've laid out all the accessible thrift shops.  I found this stunner of an Italian leather purse for a mere $4.  I've picked up some sensational fabrics; a few have found their way to my Etsy shop and more are to come.  This past Sunday, one such shop was nearby this now gone and rundown gift shop...honestly the only giveaways that it was a gift shop is the remaining sign out front and now this gift wrap station exposed to the elements and a free range calico (where gift shops go to die).

Also, sadly...I received word this weekend that my Orange is the New Black Cross Stitch pattern was pulled from Etsy due to copy write infringement (according to Liongate).  I've experienced this with one other product and typically it's not even worth my time to fight about it.  The pattern is available from other sources that I won't advertise - since Liongate is sniffing around.  I honestly thought this was one of my most beautiful and intricate patterns and more of a homage to the show rather than a rip off of the show.


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beginnings and Endings

At 28 weeks and 2 days pregnant - I went into pre-term labor with my two little twins. 
This was 2 weeks ago to the day; both are doing well for such a rough and sudden entrance into the world.  We sort of expected they might spend some time in NICU but not months as it may be now. 

As elated as we were, we got a terrible shock when we got home from the hospital.
I found my oldest dog, Pepe, dead, passed away sadly maybe an hour before we arrived home, in my bed on my pillow - as if he was waiting for me.  It was quite a shock to go one minute celebrating life to mourning it the next.  C is handling it much better than me; he was old - we honestly do not know for sure how old and maybe it was just his time.  I still feel guilty that I wasn't with him and I didn't know how ill he probably was.  I am also so sad that my children will never meet him.

So, now we are trying to find our new normal...with no babies at home (yet) and no Pepe.  I am back to work at the store and hope to update the website and Etsy quite soon...we do have some new and vintage items that are amazing and I can't wait to share with you!


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