Thursday, October 28, 2010

Haul out the Holly! . . .

. . . and the magnolia wreaths, and the glittery floral picks, and the boxes and boxes of sparkling ornaments, and the army of Santas, and the yards and yards of ribbon, and the forest of trees, and the breath-taking table-top accents, oh—and did I mention the silver tinsel tree sporting miniature pink sparkly shoes, feathered birds, and polka-dotted balls? Whew! It makes me tired just thinking of it—oh, wait a minute—I am tired!

Thanks to my handpicked Christmas Set-up Dream Team (and our combined total of roughly 150 man-hours since Monday morning) the store’s holiday transformation has begun! I knew it would be a bit more of a project this year with a larger store to bedeck; I didn’t quite realize what a difference the addition of nearly 9,000 square feet would mean to my aching feet. When I see everything start to come together, however, I quickly forget about my sore extremities as the excitement of season and the anticipation of sharing all of the beauty with my customers keeps me going.

While there there hasn't been
much time f0r blogging, I did want to share a bit of what we've been working on this week. So here's my pictorial review of the progress thus far, but trust me--you have to see it to believe it!

It all begins in the stockroom. The crowded, glittery, and magical stockroom.

Then the piles—oh, the piles! Merchandise is stacked everywhere throughout the store, making it difficult to walk anywhere.

After the unpacking and sorting, the creative work can begin! With six trees to decorate, we've got our work cut out for us.

Whoever said you can't have shoes that are both cute and comfortable?

Then there are mantles and table tops to adorn. One room at a time, girls. One room at a time.

All of the furniture has been moved to create new inspiration for holiday style.

Back in what we've dubbed the Williamsburg room a beautiful magnolia garlands graces the mantle.

Here's a closeup of the aforementioned girlie tinsel tree!

And here is the elegant mantle that will be featured on the cover of Suburban Life

By Wednesday evening our shoes were off as we continued to work into the night.

We were wishing we had life-sized versions of these cute slippers on the champagne and red tree!

We have to chuckle when we see this common sight throughout the store—a half-empty bottle of Diet Coke sitting among the decor.

We've still got a busy few days ahead, and the store is still in a bit of a mess, but things are starting to come together. Come and see the holiday magic!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Labor of Love

My beautiful niece, Charlotte Jane Wood Wilson (now!), was married on Friday, Oct. 22. Josh is the lucky man, and I was the lucky aunt who designed the flowers and the event hall. The wedding took place in Denver, so the long distance floral design had its challenges! Luckily, my right hand assistant was my ever so darling and hard working sister, Denise. Together, we put together a spread of drama like never before.

Colors: Hot pink and orange!

Location: Quaint event center in the foothills of Denver, Colorado

We arrived late Tuesday night, had a short night's sleep, and headed for the wholesale florist where I had placed my order

Loading the supplies and goods at the airport...

Picking up the order placed several weeks ago at the supplier.

I wasn't disappointed! Just look at these colors.

Once again, perfect colors in the gerbera daises!

...taking my breath away

I examined the mix and made my plan...

After about 11 hours of work, we had centerpieces for 19 tables...

A bridal bouquet for a princess...

(Closeup for your delight!) I just love this one.

We came up with a unique bouquet holder while I worked on the finishing touches! It was a large bulbous vase from Denise's home. Perfect!

Denise's next door neighbor was out of town and kindly offered her home for our studio! This is the refrigerator stocked with both bride's maids nosegays and guest drinks alike!

The quaint event center being prepared with Chinese lanterns and centerpieces...

Closeup of lanterns

One of the centerpieces, each one an individual design.

I think this is the prettiest wedding cake I've ever seen. And check out the cake topper!

On Saturday morning, after a long few days of designing and party going, we repurposed Charlotte's bridal bouquet at her namesake's (my mother, Charlotte's) graveside.

A perfect ending.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Susan's "Crowfiles"!

"Crowfiles"...such an appropriate title! This year, as always, I purchased most every cool crow that I came across for the Halloween season at Black-eyed Susan. My cute sales/inventory specialist/event buddy/techie, Kara, aptly tweeted about the "Crowfiles" to be found at my store! I loved her coined phrase. Perfect. Creative. Stylish. Great work, Kara! I'm holding on to that one for sure.

I began to think about the number of crow-themed collectibles I own.

This year, my Christmas set-up team consists of my cutest sister, Denise, her dear friend (and soon to be mine!...) Linda S,and my dear friend and business cohort, Linda G. Add in my regular staff-Connie (that is, if she doesn't hold to her threat to quit), Kara-inventory know-it-all, and Sneelock.

My home will be stage central, and I guess it might be the closest thing I have right now to that coveted Bed and Breakfast I aspire to own. The guest rooms are prepped-sheets ironed, tissue stocked, towels washed with "fresh grass" scent in the rinse, bathrooms cleaned, and Advil/Tylenol placed around in candy bowls to keep the aches and pains at bay.

Now here's where the "Crowfiles" ties in...

I seldom take the personal time to rifle through my storage room, sort and unpack the fall/Halloween items, and put them in ideal places to enjoy for the month. It just doesn't seem like a priority in the hectic scheme of things.I love what I have collected. I delight in seeing them. I smile when remembering where and when each one came from (er...from BES, of course!).

Well, this year, anticipating having a house full of friends for the week, I decided to make the time to do just that. It's been quite a few years since I indulged in the personal time to do this, and in the process, realized just what a collection of "Crowfiles" I have!

Take a look...

Glitter silhouette crows (remember, glitter crows are at the top of the list!).

A personal favorite; glitter crow on wood pile. I also have miniature ones like this that I like to display in a trio.

Glitter crow atop Casper pumpkin, "As the Crow Flies". My mother would love this one!

Lovely chartreuse pumpkin man, riding on a crow. Not sure which I like best here, the chartreuse, or the crow!

A primitive girl sculpture, riding on a crow. Apparently, crows can be bridled.

Tight shot of crow collection...

Wide shot of crow collection...

So, for this year, my collection has found it's way off the storage shelf and onto prominent spots throughout the house. All for the coming guests to enjoy...and me to smile at.

Here's to "Crowfiles". Yep, I like it.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I just want to share with you the state of my stockroom...

Needless to say, there are a lot of tired bodies walking out the door at the end of the day, sometimes too long of days.

Although we have about 8 times the space in our new location, the stock room is fairly comparable to my former Yardley historic basement! I guess we've gained a bit of height to work with, but all in all, it's downright crazy in that back room!

There is hope around the corner. I guess I should say hope coupled with overwhelming pressure or time, effort and creativity. In one short week, the magic begins. My fabulous team of 4 creative work engines,+ Connie + Kara+Casey+Natalie+Mariah , puts the Mission Impossible in motion.

I'll be documenting the progress, so stay tuned.

In the mean time, I'm heading for Denver for the wedding of my darling niece, Charlotte Wood. You'll be hearing more about that too, as I'm the mission impossible team (along with my sister, Denise and several other helpers), for the decos and flowers. I return on Sunday and the holiday setup begins on Monday. Mercy!

New arrivals + trash...dumpster full. This happens within an hour of each pickup, really!

Some progress...a tiny path to the back door.

But not for long...another shipments is dropped. Connie threatens to quit.

Priced inventory goes on a shelf by color. This will help the sorting process prior to set-up. Ladders, please!

Another dumpster pickup, please. Now. Please.

Santas are patiently waiting...all colors, white, cream, gray, red, green...many, many Santas.

Bottle brush trees fresh from the tree farm!

Paper whites, anyone? Hanging paper whites in "water" cute.

Plenty of cloches! All sizes and shapes.

Green magnolia blooms, white snowy hydrangeas and burgundy "something"!

Check out these coral ranunculas potted in vibrant mercury glass containers. Several of these down the center of your holiday table should do the trick!

...more progress=more trash. Trash, trash, trash, and more trash. Connie threatens to quit again.

And that's the pictorial of the behind the scenes drama at Black-eyed Susan. One more week till D-Day. I'm pretty sure Connie will give her notice at least 8 more times. Maybe 20.

Hang in there, Connie. Kara, keep up the good work. My team is awesome!