Friday, December 6, 2013

A Wee Bit of Christmas Magic!

On this early misty Friday morning my cute friend and staff member, Patty, And I set out to do a little Black-eyed Susan "elf magic" ! It is always rewarding to do quiet gift giving of time and talent and who better to be the recipient than a long time, loyal and favorite client who has supported us year after year as a retail and design client as well.

Lani is an example of the ultimate refinement. Having been raised by a mother who was the vision of refinement in every way, I had an immediate tender spot for Lani from the beginning!

We set to work in a gentle mist, so grateful for an answer to prayers for a relief from the pouring rain. ( I have a vain streak when it comes to hair...)! Pruners and work gloves in hand, we put ourselves to our creative work.

A bit into the project, we realized that we were slightly short the amount of greens we needed. looking around the yard to take a visual inventory of the evergreens on site, Patty took off with pruners in hand to give a gentle "shaping" to Lani's trees!

We added to our own supply and ended up with glorious , full urns made even more perfect with the cuttings from the yard! Pinecones and a few shatterproof ornaments from past years completed the look!

We added favorite ribbons to several areas, the mailbox being one of them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This antique compote that was in my car turned Out to be the perfect scooping implement to retrieve some needed soil from Lani's beds for the urns! Perfectly refined use for such a lady!

Merry Christmas, sweet Lani. You've been a treasured part of the Black-eyed Susan Christmas for many years and a wonderful example of friendship and beauty . We love you.

Susan and staff

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My darling little protoge!

Along with another successful event last night, a darling friend and long time follower, Amy, came in with her ever so grown up and stylish daughter. Rachael has been shopping in my store since she was a toddler and many a cute thing has gone home to her room and her mother's home!

Rachael was the youngest guest to attend and one of the most attentive! The class was the annual and well attended (25+), "Tray Chic". We talked and walked the store discussing many trays that I had designed with holiday themes. Silver trays, metallic leather croc trays, rustic trays, metal trays, basket trays, mirrored trays...just to name a few!

Rachael was on a mission! She scoured the store for her favorite things, assembled them on a silver tray that she had brought in with her, and asked for my opinion. There wasn't a person in the store who wasn't totally taken by this darling girl's ideas and talent! (BTW, she has announced that she wants to work at the store in due time, and my thoughts of retirement nearly went by the wayside in anticipation!)

We snapped this photo of her displaying her creation and I thought you would enjoy seeing it!

So there you have it! We talked and I made the most minor suggestions for change. Rachael had her own opinion about scale and placement...all good! 

I'm thinking this young follower might be worth waiting for!

She was, indeed, the hit of the night.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Annual First Peek Event!

I had my annual First Peek event tonight to reveal my 2013 Holiday Collection. It is a most anticipated event and throughout the day people were calling to sign up...we had 50+ friends and new customers attend and it kept us all on our toes ! I had a great team of helpers, Ann, Kelly, Janie, Lisa and myself.

We took a short tour of the store and started shopping, gathering piles. Baskets with names appeared everywhere and we all ran all over the store locating that certain Santa, tree or spray that were being sought.

Tables were bare, mantles stripped, trays emptied and baskets hoarded by the end of the night. Long long lines of patient friends...something good to eat and plenty of places to take a seat. Wow. What a night! Some of my favorite things sold friendships were made while waiting in line and plans to come back for something else were overheard.

It was a great culmination of hours and hours of work by all my cute staff. You'll need to stop in to see what you missed!

Looooooong lines...

Piles of favorites ( we sold three of these large square mirrored trays!) with name tags attached...

Reflection of bags waiting to be checked out....

More lines wrapping around the cash desk...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Empty tables needing tender care..

My favorite giant pine cones stripped from the mantles...

...tray gone and contents scattered on the table...

Cloches emptied...

Lanterns bare ...

Someone here was musing their selections...

Bags were filled and waiting to checkout...

Tables stripped of details...

Pretty much the entire store had to be filled in and primped! Thanks to a talented and dedicated staff, we put the store back together...but the stockroom is looking empty! If you want a selection of santas, burlap deer, giant pine ones or shatterproof ornaments in fabulous citron and berry, you'd better come right over.

I don't see it lasting many weeks!

A good time was had by all. My clients /friends are darling...staff too. And now I'm ready to snuggle into my covers. * sigh*

Come see the magic.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First Retail Reactions!

Opening day after the Christmas setup is complete is always full of mixed emotions. After the nearly impossible number of hours it takes to design and implement the holiday collection, it is hard to see it depleted and "disturbed" if you will by purchasers!

Today was no exception...

This was a favorite color story for my 2013 Christmas collection...chartreuse and white, punctuated with several blues from teal to navy. We did not design a tree in these colors and purchased tabletop inventory only. In January 2013, it was certainly not the thrust in design that we saw in the October 2013 furniture market! We just happened to come up with the colors together. In hindsight, more of a collection would have gone over well...

Friday at the end of day, a client came in and purchased a good bit of this impact color...those who know me well know that I was both reluctant and disappointed to sell the new offerings so quickly!

Today he called to request the rest of the collection...really??! A weeks worth of hard work and my favorite visuals gone...before my First Peek event even happens...good grief.

We also had this cute client (being helped out by one of my new employees, Brian), who made the 2 hour trip just to shop and be inspired by the new holiday collection just out. That's quite a few bags I must say! Both she and I wished she lived closer!! After filling her basket with multiples of my favorites, she spotted one of our hand glittered branches. I had tucked it into a vase with other greens and branches and she begged to purchase it. Linda sought my blessing...again, with some distress. But after all, driving two hours is quite an honor for Black-eyed Susan.

I guess more glass glittered branches will be forthcoming for purchasing!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

All in all it was a very good day with many accolades for the hard work and long hours of the past week.

I guess I'd better get used to it. The perfect stories and beauty lasted only a few hours from the time the key locked the door late Friday night until Saturday morning at store opening.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Friday, November 1, 2013

Done. Almost...

It was with a sigh of relief and an early departure (9:45pm!) that we closed the door behind us. We reflect back on our week and collectively clocked 196 man hours of brainpower...manpower and creative moxie. And that doesn't include Sneelock's countless hours, or the combined dedicated efforts of 6 other supportive staff members.

Tonight as we were wrapping up, I made the comment to Linda that it was a good thing the work involved and the pain at the end of each day was similar to childbirth, in that by the time it is time to do it again next year, you have forgotten it and can face it again! She laughingly said that she had just been thinking the same thing last night!!

The store looks beautiful. Garlands galore, wreaths unmatched, trees dressed, lanterns filled, mantles draped, windows looks beautiful.

Here are a few last photos to tempt you to visit is, the most wonderful time of the year at Black-eyedSusan. come see the magic.

Cropped shot of a favorite mantle...

Linda's glitter encrusted branch fastened to the ceiling and draped with glass icicles...

Document art with organic inspired garland, pods, snowy pine one spray and twigs...

One of dozens of sizes of glass cloches filed with snowy birds, an ever popular motif.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A personal favorite pine branch and drapey evergreen housed in a beautiful mercury vase.

Mirrored tray filled with holiday objects that becomes a centerpiece....

Oops! We left this glittery swag "Noel" in attached and in a heap...perhaps tomorrow.

It's been a long week. Tomorrow we will check in first thing in the morning, tweak the final finishing touches and head for the Airport for Linda's flight home. I could never have done it without her.

Here's to the start of an inspiring Holiday 2013 season. It's a beauty.

Another late night...

We are tired.

So tired, I can't think of a clever title...

Check list;
Complete orange room
Details in organic section
Fill buckets with sprays and organize in place
Review rug market order
Plug in trees for easy reach
Vacuum again
Buy a robot for trips to the stock room
Clear the display window for tonight
Primp trees for display window
Lighting plan for window
Glitter branches for inside display
Hang lights in display window
Hang giant snowflakes in window
Head for home

A the end of the day, we began the main display window. Linda and I designed the window last January and we always look forward to the execution of the long awaited plan...

We opened and studied the recommendations for the exlarge to medium hanging lights we ordered...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Here is a shot of the grove of trees waiting to be placed in the window...

Here is the grove of frosted trees beginning to form...

From the inside, a look with lighted globes Nd giant flocked snow flakes! So cute. It's really better in person. Come see for yourself!

check list completed.

...clock on dashboard upon arriving home...Oh. Dear.

One more day to reach completion...Nd most likely, one more night...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

" To bed, to bed said sleepyhead..."

Wow. A busy and long day...Linda and I left the store at 12:06 am...we both ache all over from lifting, climbing, toting, bending and's been a long 5 days. Every morning it's a bit harder to arise and each night our beds seem more inviting.

I did not take a single photo all day...what?!! Well, I did Instagram the time on my car clock as we were pulling in the driveway...

Today was this first day I felt a small light at the end of the tunnel. We had a great productive night with help from Ann and Lisa. Tomorrow should be the turning point towards completion. Ahhhhh.

Photos tomorrow I promise.

Goodnight. I'm headed for dreamland. Dreams of sugarplums, no doubt.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Santas and soup

My darling friend and former staff florist, Shannon, brought a crock pot of delicious soup for the staff today. It was a welcomed lunch break and gave us the energy to complete another days work towards the completed Christmas setup.

Linda dressed several windows with snowflakes and mercury glass ornaments while I worked with Ann to complete the organic section by the stunning tree Linda did last night.

Santas, nests, moss spheres, lanterns, trees, banners and garlands, many with a burlap common factor. Garlands were hung, more mantles dressed and box after box was broken down for recycling. Quite the day. Somehow, after three days of the late late shift, I'm rethinking the excitement of decorating my own home...we'll see.

Glitter jingle bells...oversized, in a beautiful bowl. Tie these in a wreath and listen for rave reviews.

Linda tied these beautiful real reserved moss wreaths on each side of the entry mantle. Simply beautiful.

I decked this mantle with my extra large pine cones housed in these large lanterns. A few ornaments and half a bag of snow later and they are the centerpiece for this design. Books, giant sugar cones, mossy spheres and a realistic giant pine garland later,voila!

Ann, working on the organic table, putting the finishing touches on the birdhouse. Expect the unexpected! So cool,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A little long tray gets Fred's log cuts added in with a good sprinkling of artificial snow...and a few mini ornaments from Whitehurst, And all is well.

Now with the clock reading 1:14, I'm ready to refuel for another day tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Organic Christmas!

One of our trees this year has an organic theme! I love it...Linda tolerates it and showed great support to design the tree...I tried to take a photograph of it but it didn't interpret well...if you like the organic craze with burlap and lace, buttons and natural themes, we've got the cutest mix ever!

Day three proved to be a long day with plenty of interruptions (three print ad copies due today, each a different design.)1 Sneelock met me at the store to photograph multiple settings all put together yesterday with the ads in mind. They all turned out great and the final okay was given to Fred just a wee bit before midnight.

Linda worked on the organic tree most of the day between interruptions. I detailed another mantle, prepared for a big delivery tomorrow by clearing the path from bins, boxes, ornament piles and large baskets.

Here is a little peek at some of our creations today;

The front room window always creates a place for drama. One of my lushest garlands graces the mantle dressed with beautiful mercury glass vases filled with holiday green and succulents mixed together. Three center medium sized votives take center stage. I have a bit to do to complete this area but like the look so far.

Ann worked on the front window table using orange and white themed items. I have some one of the prettiest assortments of interesting glass this year than I have ever had. I hope you stop by to see!

These ceramic deer head/busts were a hit last year. Add your own branches for antlers...large or small. There is a wall mount too! I have one in my family room all year round. So cool.

Here you have a shot of Linda's organic tree. It was so fun to buy for, and there was a huge variety to choose from. Burlap, birds, nests, pine ones, deer, an owl or two, and paper document ornaments...each one more of a favorite than the one before. You will be inspired by the variety and ideas of how to use them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Just a little corner of the organic tree...I love it!

Birch and pine ones...

Nests of all varietys !

We made our list of must dos tomorrow and headed for home. Garlands, more tabletop creations, the French display cabinet and window sills Re all on the list for Tuesday. My cute painter came in tonight after I left to paint a dramatic accent wall for me! Who doesn't love a painter who paints for you T midnight to make a quick change. I'll always share his name with you if you ask!

I'm ready to turn out out the lights and have dreams of sugarplums for tomorrow's creations!

Come see the magic!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Haul Out the Holly

Whew! The second day of formal Christmas setup over. We got a lot done today...two trees completed by Linda and helpers while I detailed two mantles, several large tables and moved a gray deal of furniture and rugs with the help of Sneelock.

My joints ache.

But, at the end of the day, we checked off many major things off our list and are ready to tackle several more tomorrow!
Here are a few of the things we did today...

Ugh. It's 12:15 am and the photos from my phone have not many cute things to show and several funny ones! The only one to upload is the one of my new moto boots with seasonal glitter covering them...oh. Dear.

Here is a shot of what we will tackle tomorrow...the organic tree. You will love it. ( I keep telling Linda she will too...there isn't much glitter on that's not her personal favorite!

Here late my boots...sorry, not the best light. But take my word for it, they are a mess of glitter!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

There is la lot to do the next few days. We are hoping to make time to get to the grocery store for essentials ( like lunch!).

Hopefully the remaining photos will upload while I slip into a deep slumber and I can catch you up tomorrow night.

Good night. My eyes are closing.......

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

At least that's what I always think before the 14 hour days start for 7 days of Christmas setup.

When I look around my store, I think it is the impossible task to complete this transformation within the week. I'm so thankful and happy that my dear friend and creative helper, Linda, is here this year. I blogged last year that she was absent due to breast cancer treatment. We have spent this time together for as long as I can recall, back to my first little Yardley store on Stony Hill Rd. I'm thrilled and filled with gratitude to have her back this year.
Her support and encouragement, sense of humor, wit ,and common sense make for a very productive and entertaining week.

We spent the day sorting, unpacking, moving, planning, reviewing and creating...long into the night. As we left the store, looked around at the day's accomplishments and counted the days left to complete the setup, we couldn't help but fret a bit about how much there is to do. Four trees designed to make one sigh...every mantle dressed, garlands hung, lanterns filled, wreaths dressed and tables packed with glittering branches ,snow and ornament filled glass vessels. If we hadn't done this year after year, we would think it the impossible task.

I spent much of the day putting disclaimers on the appearance of the store to all who entered...and this is why;

Box after box of glittering ornaments and branches...'s really overwhelming.

Another room awaits the magic touch...

It goes on and on...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

...and on.

I had a great team today with my staff members to help...Jackie, Kelly, Lisa, Brian, Patty- each one digging in to meet the design deadline. So, we're on our way to the 2013 Christmas Season at Black-eyed Susan. With a wing and a prayer ( and 6 more 14 hour days, we hope to complete the transformation within the coming week.

I'll try to keep you posted with some enticing g photos...come see the magic.