Thursday, May 30, 2013

Graduation Day!

Seeing your oldest grandchild find joy in a such a milestone is rewarding. My tall, handsome and talented, accomplished grandson, Max Taylor Olivier graduated from high school today. The service was motivational and impressive. Max was in the upper tenth percentile in his class of 320 and certainly one of the most poised and confident. The world awaits and he is anxious to go forth.

Michelle and I spent yesterday baking and preparing for a dessert bar to honor him, having inviting his classmates, neighbors and family. If it is chocolate or peanut butter in flavor, it will pass the bar for all of the Oliviers! So, after careful thought and review of the Petersen family favorites as well from the annals of my darling moher's recipes, we came up with this menu:

Double Chocolate Fudge Pound Cake
Chocolate Eclairs
Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
Charlotte's brownies
Peanut Butter Pound Cake
Charlotte's Old Kentucky Nut Cake
Peanut butter trifle with whipped cream and chocolate ganache
Salted Caramel Cheesecake

That's a lot of baking in one day! 7 pounds of butter and 3 dozen eggs later, not to mention a quart and a half of heavy cream and several jars of peanut butter later, this is the end result.

Max is a fine and accomplished musician, a cellist and pianist. I brought with me a vintage book of sheet music from 1946 ( which he promptly recognized and told us about the composer)! Lettuce, kale , and an oversized succulent seemed perfectly natural to fill this large trophy vase. I added two rolls of the vintage music pages into the mix for added Interest. Max's graduation announcement ( designed by my daughter, Michelle) was mounted on pages from the music as well and framed...I added a graduation card " Congratulations" along with two vintage music flash cards into the mix for perfection.

Chocolate Eclairs, Trifle and Salted Caramel Cheesecake...

Old Kentucky Nut Cake , Peanut Butter Pound Cake, Double Chocolate Fudge Pound Cake, and brownies in the background...You might recognize the Kraft paper table runner from my store, so cute!

I tried to get a more complete shot of the spread!

A shot from the rear or the centerpiece. Note a favorite sycamore log that made it into my luggage !

Congratulations dear Max-man. I loved being with him for this milestone. He's got the world by a string.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Magic happens...

Did I mention that I was so happy with the new floor change and rotation?! There are actually times when I hate to see the old come down...sometimes I'm just not tired of a certain story yet, even when it changes with slight rotations to fill in sold items. I'm just not ready to see it go.
But this floor change seemed to be the best of the best. The change was refreshing, open, new and really perfectly placed. Black-eyed Susan fans know that Thursdays is the day to come in for fresh inventory and fresh looks. That said, many times Thursdays is not the best day for my mood, seeing a long night of work quickly picked over and a new night of work required to once again bring the sales floor back to pure style.
I can only say that is is a darn good thing I took some great snapshots of the store around midnight when Ann and I finished...because first thing this morning, a frantic designer prepping for an installation tomorrow came in and in about an hour and a half disrupted most of the surfaces we had so painstakingly detailed just the night before. $7000 dollars of inventory can clear things out pretty fast!
So...It was what my sister calls " happy sad". The creative venues I had been so pleased with just the night before we're depleted and lack luster...the cash drawer all the better for it. Not more than 10 clients had been able to soak it all up and be inspired. *sigh*
I did my best after the crew left, but I'm here to tell you, it wasn't the same. I'll need to get to the purchase orders to see what we can release soon for shipping!
I'm going to share a few more photos of the store as we left it Wednesday night. Selling your cool stuff isn't always good...just sayin'.

Several weeks ago, while visiting my daughter in Charlotte, I harvested handfuls of interesting plant cuttings to press. Ann and I spent a good part of the evening clipping old book pages, maps, sheet music, birch mats, etc. and filled frames of all sizes and shapes. Some of them are so so cool. Mind you these are largely to give you, the customer, the vision and ideas to do the same with the frame of your choice from my back room!!
The above is a close up of the sweetest lime green fern. Is that not just the most darling thing ever?!

Here is the entire frame from a bit further back. Love. It.

With a good deal of effort, Sneelock and my son, Ryan, moved the Tall Order cabinets across the showroom floor. I booked them together instead of pulling them apart as they had been. What drama! I actually tried to sell one of them to one of my interior clients several months ago to use for her Jimmy Choo and Valentino shoe collection. Great idea, right?!

Yet another type of hinged frame- we put vintage garden plans in as our backdrop and overplayed pressed specimens from my collecting. I added some burlap to hang them from and used the round headed "designer nails" to add the perfect finishing touch. Sooooooo cute. I need some now.

Next, we filled these miniature Bakelite looking frames with the tiniest cuttings I had. Old music, dictionary pages and even yellowed pages from paperback books are good choices. Come get your frames ($7-10) and get busy! Better hurry before Connie buys them all!)

We finally got around to unfurling this cool printed paper runner. Oh. My! It is sold by the roll ($38). There is enough for multiple runs/uses. Just in time for graduation and holiday gatherings. Again, I saw Connie tucking her purchases under her arm soon after spotting the new display. Did I say, hurry?!!
I'll save some more inspirations for another night soon. And no, the store doesn't look as darling as it did just a day ago...but what can I goes with the territory of having a stylish store full of lush inspiration.
There's always another Wednesday night right around the corner...

Wednesday night magic...Wow!

I gave you just a glimpse of the chaos last Wednesday...spilling into a very late, or should I say early Friday am! Ann and I completed the floor change on Saturday in between clients and retail advice. Tonight we spent our time in a rather leisurely fashion ( very nice)! We added interesting accents and small details, tweaked and then did a little self - congratulating on our end result. This was one of those times when I could look around and find interest and perfect placement in every direction. I love the new look and hope you will be inspired too.

We finished a bit early tonight, and I will share a few of my favorites over the next few nights. I find it somewhat easier and less time consuming to post via my iPad, as well as frustrating to not have the same options for control. I guess in the lateness of the hour, the speed and convenience wins.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

I plan on writing a book on mantles. I'm well known for creative and a bit outside the box thinking when it comes to them. Classes regarding the how-tos and visionary thinking are among the most popular. You will always find some inspiration as well as complimentary help to do your own when you visit my retail store. Bring your photos, measurements and surrounding area visions. Either I or one of my staff will give plentiful ideas and layout direction! Snap a photo of the custom design and go home armed with the goods to create your own. * love the ceramic cherry* Come in on Saturday to see the white shadow boxed frames filled with inspiration!

Another mantle-like design. We created an entire organic room in the quaint stone fireplace room. Ann filled this oversized birdcage with a large clock, mirror, books and additional cool organic objects. It's all the rage, really. Mix it in with your traditional accents to make an interesting look.

Enlarge this to see a large trough like container that I filled with logs and cuttings from the woods around my home! I tucked in a few succulents, a small clock, some rolled birch matts and some favorite ceramic , stylish taupe vessels. Add the ephemra ( document printed) lampshade, a small bust of Napoleon and some loose book pages and the story sings. The acrylic art of printed vintage books is part of a triptych . I split it up due to height restrictions. It's totally quirky, and I love it!

Sometimes a console can stand in for a mantle in a room without one. This mirrored and antiqued rustic console is the setting for a library feeling collection of globes, standing photo frames, coveted book collection and oversized pendulum clock. I added a glass cylindrical vase with the most realistic artificial basil and pussy willows! (Really, you didn't think of that?!). I love the oversized paper art behind it. Interesting, organic and neutral.

I had a hard time getting the perfect angle on this foyer mantle. I couldn't get far enough away straight on. The impact focal point is a collection of 8 of my private botanical collection as photographed by Fred. Always classic, always fabulous and perfect for any room...dining room, library, office, great room or powder room. In all, over 80 original images to choose from . There is a great story and history behind them. A lantern filled with interest, oversized clock, lamps, herb topiary s and of course the magic of books completes the scene. *ahhhhhh*

That's it for tonight. I have a lot of other inspirations for you, yet to share.

Stay tuned!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quick change...did I really say " quick"?!!

There is so much to keeping my retail and design studio fresh and inspiring. once every few months, we flip the entire store...basically the front goes to the back and the back to the front. You might say everything old is new again!

The effort involved is monumental. Our D day was Wednesday and Thursday this week. My team of five worked feverishly to get the work done. Sneelock, Ryan, Ann , Patty and myself donned our work cloths and with pad in hand from last weeks brainstorming session set out to make the change. Two long nights ahead.

It's a bit of a puzzle or Rubix cube to get started. Rugs were switched, sofas and chairs got new homes...consoles and tables were moved. Some of my rooms have small and restricting doorways. Floors are uneven. Even in late spring it is a hotbox. And, even with the best plan for such an overwhelming task, it is a tiger by the tail!

A huge sectional was delivered during the it sits amid disassembled tables, shuffled chairs and general disarray.

When every piece of furniture is moved, every single surface is cleared...where does all that go?! Basically every inch of free space becomes fair game. But, at the same time, a clear path must remain for the big shuffle ahead.

Picture the entire floor surface looking like this...and then magnify it 20 times!

The delivery doors remained open until midnight. It actually was just cooling off as we turned out the lights shortly after 12:00am.

Rugs were rolled, stacked, unrolled and rotated all over the store.

We left the store looking like three tornados went through as we turned out the lights and locked up. Knowing how surprised the rest of the staff would be the next morning made my heart skip a beat for sure. My followers know that Wednesday night weekly is re-merchandising night. But on these nights, unlike this night, all is left in fresh, new looks as if magic elves came in overnight. Not this time! I prepared myself to put my disclaimers on the store and invite my customers to join in the treasure hunt amidst the piles of inventory misplaced in every corner!

That leads me to the following night. I was able to con my son, Ryan, into coming back for a few hours Thursday night. (Did I mention that it was Fred's birthday?!!) In true form, he celebrated with us by hanging, lifting, moving and taking on task after task until he left us only about an hour before Ann and I wearily closed up shop around 12:30 am for the second night in a row. We wished we had some caution tape to rope off the door to the front fireplace room...I'm pretty sure it was fairly obvious caution would need to be taken when entering that room!

I'm sad that I didn't take more photos of the progress...what the heck? Who has time to break from the intensity to do that?! Im happy to say that after an hour or two here and there today and the promise of a Saturday with Ann's help, things should be back to inspiring again. I can stop putting my disclaimers on the state of things to each one who enters.

When all is said and done, it's a bit like childbirth. The pain and suffering is overshadowed by the joy of the new look and ownership of fresh design.

I promise to document a few of the new looms tomorrow. For now, it's just wonderful to be hitting the pillow before 1:30 am. * sigh*

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Salt Lake City Wedding report!

The wedding was beautiful and so was the bride! I scooted over to the venue to begin work while the family attended the wedding. With a team of 5 assistants for the first few hours, followed by Linda, her husband and four children, we finished the setup just in time to make a quick change of clothes and join the party! ( 7.5 hours later!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This is the organdy tablecloth I brought from Black-eyed Susan for the cake table! The table was a tad bit too short to make the tablecloth hang properly,but it was dramatic and stunning. And just take a look at that ombré cake!! On top of being a thing of beauty, it was delicious!!

I plan to rent the table skirt for customer events and weddings.

We used locally cut plum blossoms ( about 100 stems) 48" tall. Magical hanging bell jars with tea lights lit the blossoms with additional votives on each table. The full drama took effect when the sun set and the room was filled with sparkling candlelight.

Linda made the table numbers well ahead...aqua glitter!!

This mantle was behind the head table. You can see the bridal portrait of the bride and groom, surrounded by aqua tea lights, fresh ranunculus, glittered bride and groom cards, and the glamour of an added mirror. I have some other photos taken with my camera that I will share later.

I snapped this picture of the bride and groom and Sophia ( maid of honor and Linda's daughter! ) through the French doors as they were waiting to be announced. So cute!

I couldn't help taking this shot with a bit of a sigh at the end of the night...bridal bouquet had filled its need and was tossed away. * sigh*
What a short lived thing of beauty!

That is a short recap as recorded on my iPad. I promise to give you more photos from my camera and others taken when downloaded.

Weddings...such a mixture of feelings. The bride's father said it best, " A happy day and a sad day all at the same time" .


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wedding Bell Blues

My friend, Linda and I have met up in Salt Lake City, Utah to be the wedding planners for her cute niece, Marrissa! The weather hasn't cooperated the best...actually a bit of snow flurries yesterday as we picked up the flowers from our supplier. nevertheless, it's going to be a beautiful event.

Take a look at the fabulous crabapple blossoms we ordered to transform the wedding venue! Oh, my.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

I brought this totally over the top cake table skirt...I've had to keep it away from Linda, as she has threatened to wear it. I'll post a photo of the cake with it tomorrow!

We're off to complete the wedding flowers. My local supplier has given us the use of her workroom to use which is so accommodating. The colors are Tiffany blue and coral (!) stay tuned for the after pictures and a final report. here is the cute bride the day before...holy smokes!

"She's gett'in married in the morning!!

Location:Salt Lake City, Utah