Friday, October 30, 2009

Look In My Window!

How can it be the end of the month...again?! I must agree with my mother that"time is accelerated..." as it seems next to impossible that it is only days before November 1st.

I've had a goal to document my window changes each month, and as of tomorrow evening, the "Ahhh! Fall" window will be changed (it is clearly a Halloween theme) and has been very well received be the fans.
So, take a look. I did quite like the presentation and will miss the simplicity with punch that it offered.

The right window was sponsored and paid for by Jim Thompson Fabrics, an exclusive high-end fabric line. They approached me to do a window using their fabrics exclusively,and provided the fabric for the backdrop and the chairs! The chairs are vintage. I painted a small french chest the exact color of the chair fabric and accented with the green apples, green and purple hydrangeas and darling small lamp purchased just for the cause.

While I am not a huge fan of this dark eggplant, it is trend for this fall. The look was great and read well from the street. The signage, also furnished by Jim Thompson, was a little small and only easily read by walkers-by. It reads, "Jim Thompson + Black-eyed Susan = Style.

The left side of the windows featured these "floating" witches hats, with a backdrop of a witch flying through a full moon. Of course, a large glitter crow guards the flock of hats. To marry the two windows, I painted real pumpkins in the paint color I purchased to paint the small french chest, stenciled the white letters and painted them with acrylic craft paint. I think it was pretty effective!

So, there you have it! I'll try to do better next month with a little quicker documentation.

As I have indicated in prior posts, changing the windows is a love/hate relationship! But, I'll give you a hint that I'm thinking of a very simple change for the Halloween theme only. Jim Thompson needs to stay a bit longer.'s time for Christmas windows.

By the way, I'm up for suggestions!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

900 SQ. Ft.....Packed!

Each time this year, I wonder how I can possibly fit what needs to be merchandised into my small retail space. This year, it's even more of a challenge! I recently took one full room of the retail store and a good portion of another for my design studio. What was I thinking??!!

While it's proved to be quite the impossible task, I thought you'd like to see how I have squeezed four selling seasons and my design studio into 900 square feet! We've had to divide several of our events into two sessions to accomodate 12-15 people at a time. Now when was that addition to the building going to be approved??...

Everyday accessory merchandise can be found for those who have needs for a quick library or family room accent.

Always, a few books tucked in with baby maidenhair ferns...and who wouldn't need a small butter pot for a prize moss specimen? Again, everyday merchandise.

Fall still abounds! My vintage scale can be found with assorted pumpkins just ready for your selection--- to be painted in our famous gilded finishes. Gourds, fall candles and rusty red florals fill up the fall display.

Halloween has a small's getting smaller (!) but there are still a few fabulous finds, and all at 50% off now! We had a good laugh on Saturday when one of our favorite regulars told me that he "just wasn't into the black partidges"! These glitter crows made the cut for the second year in a row for me---way cute!

It is true that most of my space is taken with Christmas right now. It's a beautiful sight, and very well received by those who anticipate our introductions each year. The classes have been packed and I'm thankful that everyone is patient with our cramped quarters!

Shatterproof kugels! A new introduction this year. Take a close look and you'll see we hung them with a garland of crystal baubles instead of our usual fancy ribbons. Great look and great bling!

Another corner of the store is filled with this flocked tree filled with aqua, teal and crystal to delight the eye. Magical.

So! Four seasons in our small 900 square feet! Everyday, fall, Halloween, Christmas.

Sometimes, it pays to be a magician.

Monday, October 19, 2009

About 50 trips later...

In between our Holiday setup, I staged the Slate River Farm for the Trinity House Tour. The tour was last Saturday and even though the weather wasn't fabulous, the turnout was , and about 700 people came through the house.

I gave you a preview of the charming cottage prior to our staging, and here's a little view of what we did. My friend, Lisa, her husband Rob, and Sneelock were my right hands. Linda and Bill Lowe filled in every other blank, as they were the liaison for the house tour committee. Thanks to all!

This kind of an event is always creatively inspiring for someone who loves details and old homes...but does not come without extracting dues of hard work (to paraphrase Anne of Green Gables!). We spent a few days doing the setup and today tearing it down and replacing the accessories back in my home.

I might add that I really felt a loss during the week that my home was depleted of my favorite things, including art, collectibles, books, favorites of all sorts...while replacing them today, I enjoyed handling and loving each one again! I'm really hoping that someone in my family will want to love them as I have when the time comes!

Black-eyed Susan's signature guilded pumpkins graced the kitchen island.

Vintage books are always a part of interesting visuals, anywhere, anytime!

This silver tray of old door knobs caught my eye at one of my favorite vintage haunts. It was the perfect touch for the library coffee table. Oh so cool!

Another shot of the coffee table, complete with old ledgers (a pheasant feather for a bookmark!),

maidenhair fern and standing magnifier flanking the silver tray of doorknobs. Love it!

A collection of globes completes the remaining deep sill in the library. A few old books and one open on the right side seems to be perfect here.

We staged the laundry room to be more of a potting room, with trays of orchids in the dry sink, birds, nests and a personal favorite original framed piece of art, this toad! The setting was perfect for this vision. Complete with ferns, used clay pots and straw hat. Charming!

Deep window sills everywhere provided the greatest surfaces for all manner of collectible accents. Check out this great lamp that I recently reinvented with paint and a new shade! And for me, a personal favorite, old trophies and an unusually thick old leather book!

The library mantle made perfect with this collection of old books, trophy urn and Susan's moss!

This original equestrian painting was enhanced with an old clock, matching urns, an orchid, and, or course...books! I later added a boxwood sphere to each urn! Just imagine them there!

Lisa and I deemed a small sitting room off the master bedroom "the Ralph Lauren room". Riding boots, riding hat and old suitcases seemed to set the stage. We added these vintage homing pigeon trophies (!), a framed hound, and what else...books! I love these trophies!

The master bedroom was cozied up with the addition of a lamp, natural linen shams and cases, a beautiful coverlet in cream,and a tea tray with Paris themed dishes and chocolate transfer ware.

I could be totally happy in this room!

A small area at the top of the second floor landing proved perfect for an inspiration area for a would-be writer, Lisa perhaps! This old typewriter, old letters, photographs and multiple collections of small books brought the area to life. (That blotter is pretty bright!)

Here's a view of my van with the last trip from the cottage. Sneelock and I figured collectively, we all made about 50 trips from the cottage to the automobiles to load everything to return...that's the real truth!

I'm really glad I like my work. Creativity is indeed, rewarding.

That being said, I don't think I could have done 51. Until next time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

130 Hours Into It.......

The official setup has begun, actually nearing the end, and I would be kidding everyone if I didn't admit it seems harder each year...I guess my years are showing! Linda seems to be coping well, and is a wonderful companion creator and entertainer!

We figured out last night that our combined man-hours total 130 in four days! Holy moly, that's a lot of Christmas!! Each night as we turn out the tree lights, vacuum the glitter and snow yet one more time, gather our giant soft pack lunch bag with enough sustenance for the day and night, put on our shoes that we have taken off the last few hours of the day, and prepare for the 2o minute ride home.We take a look around to see the progress, congratulate ourselves or laugh at something we should rethink for the next day, sigh at the chaotic stockroom and head for home. Another day behind us, another day ahead!

While it is exciting to see the goods that we planned and purchased last January, it is also quite daunting to create the stories, find homes for the important details that support the color stories, and continually clean up and shuffle inventory around. All in all, it's rewarding and creative.

So, here is a sneak peak at some of the vignettes we've created so far!

Check out these glitter clip-on birds we have on our flocked tree. So sweet! We also have some in soft aqua. The theme of the tree is shades of aqua, crystal, and silver. Loads of glitter highlights and a beautiful flocked full tree as the backdrop. It's magic.

These snowy birch branches with icy snow are absolutely wonderful. The giant sugar cones are in and starting to sell through quickly. I love the sugar pine cones for just about every area of the house-mantles, center hall tables, bookcases, windowsills, basket...and that's just naming a few. That's one of the giant sugar cones in the background, with a smaller iced snowy one in the foreground.

I realize some of my photos are a bit out of focus---a bit blurry. But then, that's the way I'm seeing the world this week as well! This tree is chocolate and olive/chartreuse. The assortment is divine with large and small ornaments to please the eye. There's my sugar cones again!

Another peak at the flocked blue/silver tree. So much glitter! So little time.

These great natural oak glass cabinets are perfect for displaying tabletop trees and collectible Santas. Just perfect!

Another vignette promotes vintage reproduction mercury glass. Can you see the hint of that fanciful wreath in graphite and silver?!

Our window display along side the flocked blue/silver tree. We hung assorted kugels and ornaments down into the window frame. This can be done in any window frame, but the deeper the window the more interesting! Color, size and placement are paramount. Until the first buyer demands one of our treasures,it's nearly a perfect window!

A personal favorite! The basketful of "snowballs" with glittering snow causes one to pause for an examination. You'll find them throughout the store. Cool!

I'm not sure which is more unique---the tall, skinny nature of these carolers and Santas, or the sophisticated color pallet-charcoal/taupe/cream. So calm. They're super tall and that really what Santa should look like? Yes or no, I like them!

You'll find this extra large footed bowl (almost a punch bowl!) cradling an assortment of chocolate and lime ornaments. Shatterproof ornaments in many colors and size-fabulous invention! I also have the best assortment of tiny 1" glass ornaments in dozens of colors this year. Those sugar cones keep showing up!

Two tired girls. One young, one old...

Well, tomorrow's another day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fa la la la la!

Well, the craziest week of the retail setup has begun. Linda is in town and the stock has been prepared for months by the retail staff for this week. It's a very long week! Early mornings and late nights, where has the last year gone? Didn't I just detail the 2008 setup a few months ago?

While the week is filled with exhausting hours, it is always creative and fun. Just having Linda to entertain and comment as we create the store together is a pleasure. Everyone should have a friend who is as fun and supportive as she is. She keeps up with the effort that I give, and that is really wonderful. It is rare indeed, to have someone who is willing and able to match efforts.

So, you'll have to keep checking my reports to get in on the entertainment! I realized we took no self portraits today...I'll try to do better!

Holiday 2009...I'm always happy when this time of year rolls around again and I am ready for the task, and, even looking forward to it.

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Okay, let me just say that it is a work in progress! (Note the leaning flocked tree, waiting to be attended to and dolled up with pale aqua and silver, clear, and snowy ornaments). In the foreground the total disarray of the store "fall stock" and more. This is where the overwhelming part begins!

There is plenty of basement stock in small 1" glass ornaments in the most delightful colors. We'll show you a fabulous variety of ideas for these darlings!

Many of my retail clients have been asking the staff what the color stories for this year are. They include a great deal of citrus green in every shape and size. Here are a few in beaded fruit assortments. Beautiful!

All dressed up and no where to go.....tall paper mache santas almost saluting the Holiday! And, that cute green santa almost sprinting toward the front of the line. These mache santas are some of our favorite new items for this year. Better run for the best choice!

We laughed at this one santa that looks like he's had it! Oh, don't we feel that way at times during this crazy set-up week. But, the green glitter suits, to be desired!

How about this family of carolers? (Don't forget that these photos were taken while on the basement stock room shelves...not in cute visual display mode as they will be in a few days!) You really must see them in person to see how wonderful they are!

Just another angle of the mache varietys.

That's our first report...don't worry, we'll keep you posted.Come see the magic!