05.31.06

Shop Dogs! (and one feline)

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main at 9:51 pm by carrie



I was asked today if our pup Nutmeg would ever be a permanent shop mascot and it got me thinking… it really could work now that she’s all grown up and has really mellowed out. She loves people, including energetic children who tend to smother her, and she actually listens to commands (finally). So, maybe if I feel the urge, I’ll bring her up for a day and see how she does :)

We’ve had a few dogs and a cat come into the store over the past few months. I adore animals and encourage these things :) Here are a few pictures…

I’m not usually fond of chihuahuas, but this one is absolutely adorable. They named her Tinkerbell (I don’t think it had to do with Paris Hilton, I’m assuming her 8 and 10 year old owners like the Disney pixie) and she is usually sporting a little dress, outfit, rhinestone collar or is in an adorable carrying case. I coddled this dog for a few minutes and she is the sweetest, most attentive small dog I’ve ever met. She looks up at you lovingly and craves affection. When Beth comes in without her I always ask her playfully to go home and get her. Beth also has a few other small dogs, one named Bailey that I have offered time and time again to take off her hands, she will have nothing to do with it ;)
Here’s me with Riley. The owner was amused how much I liked her dog… enough to go to her car, get her camera and email me this picture. Riley is a llhasa apsos mix and sweet as can be. If you put him down he dances at your feet to be picked up again. He’s so happy… I hope they come back soon!
We’ve only had one kitty in the store. Cleo wasn’t thrilled to be there… but we kept her still long enough to snap this picture.
Lulu and Otis have never been to the shop, but their owner emailed me this pic so I would be sure to see their new Dit La Fille Collars :) I’m low on these handmade collars, but they are very lovely. They come in a little handmade pouch and some of them come with matching key rings. Lulu has the sweetest little face… I’m a sucker for lab puppies:)
Here is Samson asleep in Michelle’s lap. He’s all grown up now, but here I think he was 12 weeks old. Such a love, but with tons of energy! Samson belongs to Suzy and Amanda but he was passed around so everyone could hold him. I think he’s a malti-poo.

So, if you have a cute, well-behaved pet… come on up and visit :) I also adore puppy pictures… so if you are a friend of the shop and have a dog, send it over and I’ll post it next time :) (doesn’t matter if you are in the shop, I’ll just post it anyway! hehe)

05.28.06

The blushing bride!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, outings at 11:03 pm by carrie

Alicia and I got together to attempt to make her veil. Alicia found a website on how to make a veil, and it looked easy enough. But, 10 hours later, and we still aren’t done. I can’t sew to save my life… any kind of fabric just annoys me because it won’t sit in one place while you attempt to cut it… especially tulle… looks great, a bear to handle. Now give me a saw and something solid to cut into… I can get into that!

While in Joanne’s Fabrics, I took this pic of Miss Alicia, with my cell phone camera (so it’s not that great):

We got home… cut a few pieces out and then pinned a few pieces to her head to see how she liked the length. We walked into the bathroom and when she saw herself in the veil she realized that she was actually getting married. It hit her like a ton of bricks… she started welling up and she wanted me to run and get Scott. I don’t know what he told her but she was just fine after that. They are so great together! (insert “awwww’s” here!)

Their wedding is in just over a week and there is still a lot to get done. I have a few tricks up my sleeve and I hope that they love the outcome of it all! Fingers crossed and glasses raised to Scott and Alicia!

yay! :)

Red, White and Violets are Blue…

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main at 12:57 am by carrie

Sort of corny, but it’s better than the roses are red thing… :)

We’ve received a few patriotic 4th of July items and I must say… I have never done a full red, white and blue display before. I’m also not too fond of the color combination when you are trying to mix indoor classy home decor and stars-and-stripes forever… I found this to be a huge challenge.



As I was hanging the bunting in the window (yes, bunting), all I could hear was band music in my head (and hummed it the rest of the afternoon)… you know the song I’m talking about because it popped into your head now, too. They use it in mattress commercials, car commercials… must be public domain. Anywho… I hung 3 large scalloped bunting american flag things in the main window. Up against my pastel periwinkle and lilac walls, it overwhelmed those colors, just a wee tad. So, I’m going to go with it… have all the really really red, white and blue items to the right, and then bridge it over with some of these lovley blue ceramics by Rosanna, then mix blue and green… then be done with it all and be happy because a solution has presented itself :)

There are also these lovely teacups and a book of postcards of women in blue dresses from the Laughing Elephant. They are the most lovely family-owned and operated company (the Darling family… too perfect)!

The display is not done yet, but I’m trying to get inspired. We only received about 1/3 of our shipment from Bethany Lowe Designs, as did everyone else who ordered from them. Great stuff, but I’m not going to get it until after the first week of June (grumble grumble). I also have high hopes that I’ll get it together enough to make some of my handmade plaques as well, wishfull thinking, but I’ll keep it on my list of things to do. The look I’m going for, overall, is americana, July 4th in the park, apple pie, fun old advertising (I just got new tony the tiger and kellogs’ ads from the 50’s… they are awesome!) and a few roosters… kind of look. Well, it’s in my mind anyway. I have some great glassware with primary colors from the 40’s and 50’s, some old pot holders, cooking and baking items, a wonderful new paint-chippy chair and flour sack items with red polka dots. It’s going to be a party in the front window!

I actually am very fond of the glittery turn-of-the-century handmade paper items from Bethany Lowe. Wonderful black and white photos mixed with assorted papers and lots of glitter. Always festive and timeless. I’ll post more pics once everything is up, I just felt the need to share in case someone had any ideas or could relate somehow… like, “I had to wear an orange bride’s maid dress, a color I’m not happy with, and now I’m forced to make curtains with it…” or something like that. I know, get out of your head! I’m psychic!

next blog… or, soon… my new light tent and the exploration of the perfect jewelry lighting! Krikey!

05.27.06

here a post, there a post…

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main at 1:09 pm by carrie

I posted this the other day but pulled it to do some editing. That’s what we do around here, edit, shuffle, re-do… never satisfied! :)

After waiting about 7 month to hear fromRomantic Homes Magazine, we have learned we aren’t going to be in their magazine this go-round :( I was sad to hear it, but on a happy note the photographer, Mark Tanner, sumbitted his scouting photos of Babs’ house and the shop to another magazine…

They are coming out one saturday in June with a stylist to do the real shoot at my Mom’s house! We’re going to cart over as much stuff from the shop as humanly possible, paint things all the walls and furniture, add other touches of art everywhere, put bows on the dogs and possibly create pretty food to set out (although the stylist would be doing this… I love to do this sort of thing!) They are going to mention the website and our shop… ummm… website, as most of you know, is non-existant at this very moment… So, I best be getting that website up. And if they are using pics of us… that treadmill with dust on it in the living room… may be put to good use… like, starting tonight. Although… I don’t live with her so… me in the picture might be odd… Breeze in and say… “hi, I just popped in for the photo shoot sporting a really cute apron, a tiara and a tray of brownies… ” It could happen. They don’t really date their magazine so I’m not sure exactly when it will be out… but I’ll post it and I’ll be the first to buy a gazillion copies and pass them around! :)

in other news… I got a new camera. My nikon coolpix is nice and all… but it doesn’t give the nice quality my new Canon will. I’m scared to handle it. It’s got so many bells and whistles… Nathan is becoming a pro at it tho… so, I guess he can share the knowledge later on :)

Also… tonight I am taking pics of cupcake necklaces and cupcake EARRINGS!! I’ll have those up on ebay by tomorrow morning! (if you are reading this Marissa… please check ebay on Friday!) ***I’m adding this at 3:00 am… the cupcake stuff IS up on ebay … I listed 12 necklaces, some with cherries!!! and 2 pairs of earrings… I can barely keep my eyes open as I type… mr. sandman has cometh…)***

05.25.06

Violet Cottage

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main at 12:39 am by carrie

What do you do when you already have enough to do? You start another business, that’s what!!

Crafting has always been second nature in my house but I started really selling jewelry when I was 16 and then started making bath products when I was 21 or so. I even got named “soaper of the month” from one of my suppliers… ha! The picture on that link… is… well… old.

So, I was known as Violets are Blue… and bath products. Once we got the shop opened I just didn’t have any time to make soap. So, my supply dwindled down and I just figured it would never really start up again. Then I met Cindy. She only had one business too, imagine that, and thought it would be a great idea to start another. This is how we handle having idle hands for just one second… business #2, Violet Cottage, LLC. This logo was swimming around in my head for a very long time :)
Really quick sidenote… I was always changing my logos… you can see here how violet cottage and violets are blue used to look. One reason I would change it around a lot is because people would steal my ideas! (I’ve gotten used to it) For example, the logo on the bottom was found on another ebay seller’s store front page as their logo… hmmmm… looks familiar, doesn’t it? :)

So, Cindy and I have put together 7 scents that all come in glycerin soap, body lotion, shower gel, scoop-your-own bath salts and candles. We’re looking to expand the line into salt or sugar scrubs, hand cream and cupcake bubble bars.

Today… I was so excited to get in the mail…..

Bath Bombs!!! They are so pretty! They are made with our distinct Violet Cottage scents, so they are a great accompaniment to the soaps and lotion. They smell great and after you take a nice long hot bath with one, you feel like you’ve been covered in a light moisturizing mist. I can’t explain it… but I get really dry hands and feet… this helps tremendously and you just feel light and fluffy after you get out of the bath. So, for all you bath girls, watch for these at the shop! If you only “do” showers… ummm… I guess wait for the scrubs?? :)
The bath bomb fizzies look like large colorful easter eggs… I wanted to sprinkle them around the store so someone could get excited when they spotted it! ;)
Here is a half-shot of our mix/scoop-your-own bath salt bar. We offer large tubes and little scoopers so you can layer up your colorful salts and view them (with glee!). The kids make a mess back here… but I would have, too. I used to do the same thing with colored table salt… until I spilled a very large jar all over my 4th grade classroom during show and tell. Traumatizing? Yes. Pointing and laughing was involved. I still remember it well and yes I still like creating colorful strata-like things in jars and tubes! :) This is why I do not get upset when kids spill the salts on the floor. I was a spiller. (I can feel Cindy cringing right now).

So… that’s Violet Cottage in a nutshell. Oh, and one little side note… I’m pretty good at dissecting scents now. I can pick up a perfume and pull out at least 3 or 4 scents and identify them on the spot. I can do that easily with fabric softeners and household products. hehe. It’s interesting, I think…

I think seashore is my favorite scent, it’s clean, watery and citrusy… and I love the colors in the label, and the cute little seahorse with the pearl frame.
Above all… I think I like ocean-y colors with a hint of early 60’s mod (like the ginger jar lamp). I have to curb my purchasing when it comes to blue and green hued items. (Someday… when I actually clean and finish painting… I’ll show you pics of my house… I think only one room has warm colors… and it’s a very bright bubblegum pink!)

Tomorrow and Friday… shop pets and father’s day! :) Oh, and my friend Alicia is getting married in 11 days… I’m putting together a mini-surprise for her, can’t wait to post it all! (fingers crossed it all works out). We’re traveling to Las Vegas for this one… She’s a tad freaked out about the whole thing… happy thoughts her way!!!

05.20.06

Violet’s 3rd anniversary party

Posted in Events!, Fun Stuff, Main at 11:34 pm by carrie

Our party was a success! We gave out almost 60 little goodie boxes and I took home 6 cupcakes out of 48+ that Cindy brought in today. She also made little orange and cranberry scones, blueberry scones and lemon pound cake. We also served assorted munchie-snacky things, iced tea and my Mom’s famous spa water.



I got to the shop at 10 minutes until 10. I think it is impossible for me to be early to anything. We barely got started setting up and people were coming in! After everyone realized they were edible, Cindy’s cupcakes were flying off her little cupcake stand. I really think she did an amazing job with them! :) (everyone thought that they were candles because they looked so perfect!)

Our little giveaway boxes were very well received… I think we may do this again :)

We got a lovely surprise from our friend Patsy who brought up the most fragrant lilac bouquet! Thanks Patsy!!!

Rachael, was of course, picking out something green :) I tried getting more photos of friends at the party but everyone hid behind a wall, counter or floral arrangement… some ducked. *sigh* I will get you all on here… soon! hehe
“Spa Water” has become a tradition at all of our events. We usually slice up citrus fruits and add mint leaves or strawberries, plenty of ice and pour water over it all. It is so refreshing, looks great and it’s easy to do!
Thanks to everyone for making our birthday party so lovely! :) We are so glad you could come share a cupcake with us and celebrate!

I love planning events but I always forget how much work is involved! I’m exhausted!!! Many thanks go out to my Mom and Cindy for all their help and hard work today! I better get an early start planning our Halloween party… a late night witches’ tea party! If you go to just one of our parties all year… this is the one to be at ;) I’m going to bed now! phew!

05.19.06

A very merry unbirthday…

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main at 5:25 pm by carrie

to me! Actually, it’s my real birthday smack-dab in the middle of June and it’s the big 3-0. I normally don’t do much to commemorate another passing year, but I wanted to do something big for this one. Even if it’s a tad belated. Belated because I want to make it a spectacle, and you can’t do that in 3 weeks. I need at least 4… hehe.



I want to do a mad-teaparty/alice in wonderland themed party. I know I know, I’m not turning three, but I have always wanted an Alice party. I want one of those tipsy whimsical cakes (with a cupcake topper) and each table to be a different theme! I’m actually going to attempt to build a large teapot and using my fog machine, I want to emit steam from the spout! The drawing below gives you a vague idea of what I’m trying to do.



The tables in the yard should have all different colored tablecloths, brightly-colored chinese lanterns strung across from the tree to the gazebo, a cheshire cat etc and so on. Each table will have a different theme:

  • 1. Queen of hearts – all black, red and white. Cards everywhere, red and white roses and tiaras!
  • 2. Tweedle Dee and Dum – those beanie hats with propellers, swirly lollipops and other candy
  • 3. Mad hatter – teapots and teacups everywhere, topiaries etc
  • 4. White rabbit table – carrots, fake pocket watches… ummm… other bunny related items?
  • 5. Cheshire cat table – all pink and purple things (a la disney… just love those colors!)

For the buffet, I need to come up with some food items! But I know I want to have graduated pedestals with cookies that say “eat me” and little bottles with tags that say “drink me”. I have a TON of these little highball glasses that I got from overstock.com. I’ll make cheshire cat coolers, mad hatter iced tea and I think one drink should be called “off with your head!” That one will have plenty of booze in it ;)

Here are some tippy cakes that I want! This one is my absolute favorite… with the Cheshire Cat on top… but how could we eat that? I am posting quite a few cake pics because… I adore fun confections. Always have, always will… and hey, who doesn’t? :)
This one looks like it’s 1/3 cake and 2/3 frosting.
cute :)
I think this one is my favorite after the chesh cat one. Stripes, polka dots and harlequin… the busier the better :)

Where did this love of Alice come from? Not sure… Alice in Wonderland images have always been smile inducing, but it wasn’t until they put them onto little pieces of metal that I felt the need to collect them. Collect them all.
I’m a recovering pin addict. There, I said it. Back in 1998-ish the pin trading phenomenon started at all the Disney parks… I got hooked in 2000. My first pin… a cheshire cat. After that, it was a huge blur and my last count (before I unloaded them all) was over 2500 pins. (Average price, $6.00 each.. you do the math!) But… I started selling them on ebay and trading so it became somewhat of a business where I could pay for my habit selling my habit. So, I would drag family members and friends down to disneyland at 5 in the morning to get in line for the latest limited edition pin because each guest was only allowed 2. That buzzword will forever stick with me… someone says “limited edition” and I nearly trample people getting to whatever that item may be. The pin trading/collecting created an even deeper need to collect Alice in Wonderland items. I got rid of 2400 pins, but the last 100 consists of Alice, lady and the tramp and nightmare before christmas pins… but mostly Alice pins.

The art from the Disney movie is wonderful… the characters, the enchanting colors and attention to detail… simply delightful. I also fancy the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel and carry a few necklaces with his alice images on them up at the shop (they have sold so I’m a tad inpired to create a whole “mad teaparty” alice themed room for everyone’s shopping pleasure!).

I’ve been doing research for my party today and I’ve found the most amazing websites! I’m not the only one obsessed with Alice in Wonderland… I guess there are quite a few fans out there, fans that do actual research :) A lovely lady named Lenny has the best website chock-full of Alice info, complete with a bio of Lewis Carroll, pictures from the disney movie, tenniel illustrations and even access to a Lewis carroll font… wow! If you have any interest, you should check her site out :)

Another site I found is dedicated solely to disneyland postcards of the past. They are so cool! Because we frequent Disneyland so often, it’s easy to spot the major differences, and entertaining to see how the park has changed over the past 50 years. I also found out that the alice in wonderland ride opened on the same day as my birthday in 1958. Coincidence? I think not!!!

So, really I should be working right now, but doing research for my Alice party has taken over! We had an odd morning, graffiti on the wall coming from the parking lot (which to my surprise, came off with some scrubbing and un-diluted cleaner… I think it’s high school kids with nothing better to do, it was a green bart simpson look-a-like which is OH so classy… Matt Groening they are not) and lots of ants in here… going after nothing. I hate to spray them, but I must :( So, writing about teapots is a lovely distraction.

Pictures from our 3rd anniversary event should be up in a day or two… we put together goodie boxes with a coupon for your next visit, we’re going to have food, drinks and a sale. I think I’ve already mentioned all that. I found out today that many of my customers have been reading this blog! (but nobody will comment!!) Thank you so much! I noticed that we’d had over 600 hits, I didn’t realize we had so many readers, I thought I was just refreshing it too much throughout the day ;)

So, for those of you reading… you should comment! I’m encouraged by such acts and may write more ;) I would love to know what you all think!


Take care everyone, and have a happy weekend! Back to work with me!



05.16.06

The anatomy of a window display

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main at 8:35 pm by carrie

Someone asked me how I come up with the window displays… it’s a bunch of different factors!

I usually start with a drawing and a list. I list out all the new products coming in and anything I would like to highlight to the world passing by. I think of each grouping in colors, themes and uses. For this particular window I wanted to reflect the look of our latest postcard we mailed out. Part Mother’s Day and part Baby. So, I figured out we were getting assorted colored aprons, purses and gloveables for the Mother’s day display and assorted Baby items on the other. I wanted to “bridge” the colors of the two displays so I used pink and yellow as my core colors and then added onto each section depending on what was there to fill in the gaps. The odd products that did not go in the window were the darker colored items, so I had to create a floating display for them. Some of my techniques are more obvious in other displays, this one isn’t so obvious :)

I started with the little clotheslines by taping ribbon to each side of the window frame (which fell today because of the heat! I’m going to have to find a way to drill into the aluminum frame or something!) and used products that would match hung with clothespins. Bunnies by the bay has the cutest little baby items in yellow and pink, so I mostly used their stuff.
So, on the other side I hung Carrie’s aprons and the gloveables in corresponding colors to the baby side of the window.
On the inside, you can kind of see the entire display. Along with “Harriet” our display head. She scares me… every time I walk by, out of the corner of my eye, I think someone is sitting at that desk staring at me blankly. yikes! So, Harriet got a vintage hat in the same pinks and everything on the yellow and pink desk/vanity has pink/yellow with green accents. On the center display I did all teacups in pink and yellow with sort of burgandy and green accents. At the very end is the baby display with the cute little cut out wood letters spelling “giggle” on the wall.
Here’s a close up of Harriet and the desk display with the purses, gloveables and aprons. I actually sold an apron and had to change everything around because of it. so, this is the display, take two.
Here’s another cabinet to the right of the display… same feel and colors.
I love cloches. You can showcase things inside them and it looks so elegant and gives you that old world botanist’s study feel. I put two spaghetti poodles in one and jewelry in a mini-birdbath in another. You can’t see my other candy dish and bell jars on the other side but we filled them with jelly bellies and carefully placed jewelry on top. I love candy in displays, it always brings more interest, bursts of color and texture… but hopefully, not ants!

That wasn’t the best example of how I do my displays. I want to do a step-by-step with a pile ‘o items and a blank space and the different ways I shuffle things around. It usually takes me a solid week to do one full room, depending on how much I change it up. I tend to change the whole store around about 6 or more times a year. And every holiday gets a whole new display as well. I try to keep it different in here. Who wants to come into the same stale shop time after time? I wouldn’t!

In other news… Violet Cottage (my little side business with Cindy) is thrilled to announce that our new bath bombs, candles and hand creams are almost here!!! We’ll get the bath bombs first and they are so awesome! They have a ton of moisturizing oils in them so when you get out of the bath, you smell great, skin feels great and it is quite refreshing! And, I’ve tried other bombs… they either stain your tub, leave little bits of stuff that clog your drain or make your tub slippery. These bath bombs won’t do any of that! :)


Lastly… our party is almost upon us. I’ve been frantically trying to order a few things for the giveaways and come up with a little snack plan. I think we’re going to serve cupcakes, scones, little quiches, assorted finger food items and beverages. The gift boxes I’m giving out will be a surprise but everyone gets something really neat and special :) I hope it’s not blazing hot out that day!!! I’m excited to see all the familiar faces and meet new ones!

Thanks for reading, have a happy week!

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