08.29.06

Are you sick of this wallpaper yet? :)

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main, sidenotes at 2:12 pm by carrie

So, a slow progression… but I got everything unpacked! yay!!!! It’s not all priced, but that’s another story.

Here’s my progression…

Although not the best pictures… it’s coming along nicely :)

I must point out… we’ve had the greatest people in here today! Today, everyone has been encouraging and excited to see the decor all up! It’s always a nice pick-me-up to receive praise and well-wishes! And I’ve gotten a few requests for information on that wallpaper. This link to the wallpaper auction on ebay won’t last forever, but here’s their ebay store.

One of my most fabulous visitors has recently started a daycare… please check her out if you are in the La Crescenta area! :)

Well, I must get back to work but I had to share my progress and say a loud “Thank You!” to everyone who has given me a great day today! :) (And Lupe, if you are reading this… you are a part of that “good day”! I can’t thank you and Roy enough for the help with the wall hangings and for your happy feedback today! yay!)

08.27.06

Sweets bracelet…

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, sidenotes at 3:04 am by carrie

Quick sidenote… I have this bracelet on ebay and I LOVE it… I may have to keep it for myself :) Cathi Milligan (who is going to be on DIY for the 4th time!) made the beads and I assembled it… There are 2 slices of cake, a cupcake and two little petit fours!

So, this is just a “share” session…

Happy Sunday everyone! Toodle-ooo! :)

We *heart* Ina!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main at 2:56 am by carrie

So… as you know… we’ve been obsessed with the Dish Network yadda yadda yadda.

Personally, I’ve been watching the food network. I must say… the Barefoot Contessa and the Ace of Cakes are my favorite. The other night… I made…

Filet of Beef au Poivre with parmesan and roasted garlic smashed potatoes. I set the table with my favorite linens, cloth napkins and my favorite plates with the “Blue Heaven” pattern. (Oh my… I just checked out that page… must. collect. them. all. eek! A new obsession! But… I have the iced tea glasses, never to touch human lips again, a teapot, and many of the fire king pieces. I think I grabbed them when they weren’t as expensive as they are now… I got my first plate for 50 cents…)
We got our meat from our local “specialty meat store” (they do sell kangaroo, rattle snake and turtle meats… but we’ll stick with what we know for this adventure!) Harmony Farms. They are awesome! The meat was fresh and the guys there really know what they are talking about. Their chicken is wonderful! You ask for one breast, and you really get enough for two.
We washed it all down with unfiltered cranberry juice and some merlot. Although, we’ve seen Sideways… remember:
Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.
Miles Raymond: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any f*****g Merlot!
What a gentleman… both of them actually. Although a strange film, we really enjoyed it. The merlot wasn’t THAT good… I used the rest the next day for some chicken I saw on Everyday Italian…
I digress… again….

Friday evening, Alicia and I baked a cake. I burned it… but we did some strategic cutting.

6 sticks of butter and 4 pounds of sugar later… we had something that was quite edible. Pictures will be shown soon as I wanted to be sure to mark the momentous event of my first cake building session! yay!

08.26.06

Door-to-door Vendors and craftspeople

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main at 3:49 pm by carrie

Okay… I have to start out by apologizing… this is going to be a little bit “ranty” but I just have to…

I’ve posted something similar to this but I must do it again… if only to vent and put it out into the universe. What has really inspired me is Alicia’s post from her experiences. Alicia has a wonderful way with words… if you are getting ready to sell your items, please read her post first :)

If you are “crafty” or know someone who is crafty or selling anything… even if it’s the next “pet rock”, please please please make an appointment to see me and do the following:

1. Have pictures of your stuff to leave with me. I’ll explain why…
I have done my purchasing for the year. I am on a budget when it comes to purchasing more items, even just a few low-priced items… and I have a “wish folder”. I put items in the “wish folder” and make a list of what I’m going to be buying next. Retail is a strange animal and the funds that are available to me month-to-month change dramatically and are completely unpredictable. Also, trends change. I may start a new display and think to myself… “didn’t I see a pink who-see-what a few weeks/months ago?” That’s a great A-HA moment… to know you have a great item on file. I get daily postcards, catalogs, pictures and letters from companies, individuals and artists. I WISH I could look through everything with a fine tooth comb , but alas, I cannot. But I can keep these things on file and I will remember the person who sent the nice pictures with a little note. Small and simple. I do appreciate one or two samples if you come up, but pictures are the best by far.

2. If I say no…
Please do not insult me. Please do not try to go around me and somehow talk to my partner. I usually make the final decision when it comes to bringing things in here to sell. I agonize about the look of the shop (see my umpteen hundred layout sketches for displays) and I’m super particular about what comes in here. I’ve made exceptions and I have accepted things I wasn’t jumping up and down about and sometimes the items sell, sometimes they don’t… but I HAVE to go with my gut. I may have not taken your item because I just don’t think my customers will like it and sometimes I have actually turned things down because the person on the other end was insulting to me. I’m also a craftsperson and I will do my BEST to make you feel comfortable and appreciate your hand work, but if you insult me or my choices, I’m done. Please do not take it personally, but if you are not nice on our first meeting, I can assume and expect that you will not be nice the next 5 times I see you. It’s self-preserving and instinctual, really.

3. Realize there are other fish in the sea…
Just because my little shop won’t be carrying your items doesn’t mean other stores will say no. Keep trying and I can guarantee that if you send pictures and respect their time, someone will accept your items. I’ve done some pavement pounding in my day and it’s hard… rejection is hard. It’s hard to dish it out and take it. But each shop owner knows what they can sell. Please respect that. It has nothing at all to do with you or the quality of your work, it has everything to do with what we are trying to accomplish, and that is a very particular thing. I don’t know how exactly, but we know what we want to sell, almost instantly.

I’ve been told “no” on MANY occassions. I’ve had people say:
“THIS is your WHOLESALE price?!?”
“This is just way too common (and/or plain)”
“We’d take it if you had more than one”
“We’d take it if it came in red”
I’ve also gotten blank stares, a store owner who didn’t even put down her magazine as she talked to me and I’ve been walked to the door and told “Honey, you need to make an appointment”.

Because I have had experience pushing my wares I do my best to be empathetic. But, after almost 4 years of doing this, it’s getting quite tough.

I respect that you are excited about your item. I understand you take pride in your work. But I’m still asking that you please respect my time, my shop and adhere to the above guidelines. I can honestly say I don’t think it’s that unreasonable.

Another huge thing to point out… I do the buying and decorating mostly by myself. It takes one person that much longer to get this all done, and this all takes me a VERY long time to do. I love it, but it is still “work”. I do get help on occassion, but I don’t think there is one person in the world who keeps the odd schedule I do and is inpired at 2am like I am. I like it this way. Sure, displays will take longer to put together, I let my paperwork pile up, if I get sick then the store is closed… but it’s okay. This is an extension of me… I love it here. I’m not walmart… I like to inspire people, awe people, give people a relaxed place to come visit… and because of this, I am picky. I am the one that has to stare at whatever it is that is on the shelves the upteen hundred hours I am here. Can you see why I would be SO particular about something coming in here? I live here… this is my home… my heart and soul dwells here. If I do not want 6 dozen of whatever it is you are selling… it’s not you, it’s me. I wish I could get that across in a kind way. It sounds so selfish and close minded. It’s coming from a good place and I hope that everyone that is reading this can understand that.

I feel like I am constantly defending my position when it comes to consignment and buying items from people who walk in. It’s not like I walk into the gap and the salesperson says “Why don’t you want to buy these flip-flops? Are they not blue enough? Why must you hurt me by not buying my flip-flops?” In this case, if I do not purchase your item, it has nothing to do with you as a person. I like people… we all have different tastes, I like that we all have different tastes… it makes the world more interesting. There I go again… trying to explain and defend :) Perhaps I just need to grow a thicker skin but it’s been super hard to deal with this. I’m very sensitive and the second I feel someone getting pushy or emotional about me not wanting to purchase something or take something on consignment… I shut down. So, do me a favor and please be light, fluffy and bring pictures. Help me help you :) I want to build a relationship with my vendors and craftspeople… and I feel like I’ve been building a wall lately. I don’t like walls.

Finally, I’ll close with this… (cheers from the people in the back…) I wanted to create at atmosphere like (don’t laugh) Disneyland. A place where people could come in and escape from the everyday… a happy space that is welcoming, pretty, exciting, constantly changing and most of all, friendly (and if only I could sell mint juleps, mickey head balloons and “fantasia” ice cream). I pride myself on good customer service, being personable and do my best to have a smile on my face. But if that door opens and a *woosh* of negativity blows in… if I sense it, I may sort of run and hide if not just clam up immediately. Life is a series of ups and downs… I’m here to help you feel happy and to surround you with pretty things… please do not step on that.

I am now stepping off my soapbox and returning to the wonderful world of pricing chinese lanterns with scary cats on them.

Thanks for listening :)

08.24.06

Call me sensitive…

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main, sidenotes at 5:55 pm by carrie

“you’re sensitive!”

But… with the store in disarray the way it is… I take it personally. Kind of like in E.T. that “kid friendly” movie we watched over and over when I was eight and it scared me to death (I had a t-shirt with his scary little face on it, see… I’m still scarred… hehe). Elliot and E.T. share emotions and are linked together… remember… Elliot releases the frogs. The store is feeling chaotic and it’s giving me a headache… I need to release some frogs.

That said… I think that everyone coming in here feels it, too. I get disappointed sighs that the new holiday decor isn’t up, I’ll hear them dig through a box or trip over one, I haven’t decided which is more embarrassing. The other thing… I’ve had a LOT of odd requests for things I have never seen before. And I feel like I haven’t done my homework when someone walks out of here empty-handed after scolding me that I don’t have a what-see-do or a who-see-waddle. I didn’t get the gold star AND a note may go home for the parents to sign. Bad me. Bad, bad me…

So… this be a lesson to anyone wishing to open the doors to a lovely shopping mecca… think about all the shopping-treks you have embarked upon and what you wish you could have found or what made you go “that’s clever!” I have yet to go through many of life’s milestones (50 year anniversary, grand kids, a quinceanera, retirement… just a few examples) and come up with the perfect token gift for such an occasion, but really… keep a little journal. I’ve started one. Start with… frames for every occasion. Now I’m remembering a company that had one that was a magnet frame and you bought the little words and letters to personalize it… a-HA! Must give my rep a call. He’ll laugh at me because I passed on them the first time around.

I’m totally rambling… another sign of your alien-bond/friend being surrounded by chaos.

Okay, so here’s the wallpaper up and my back drop foundation has been laid. At least that is up. I like it… I get lots of “double takes” with it where it is.
When the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping… I ran downtown on Monday and got some fun new jewelry pieces. Lots of turquoise again this season… dust it off ladies, it’s back in fashion! ha! :)
In accordance with Feng-shui reports, I have re-done parts of the store to have a better flow. Cathi Milligan exclaimed (her arms flailing) “I can feel the energy better already!” Side note… I know absolutely nothing about Feng-Shui. This is the new kid section… but just one side of it. It’s multi-faceted now :)
I’m going to start naming and theming rooms I think… perhaps this will be named “the blue room”. I feel I may have to serve cocktails if I start doing that tho… I’m not cool enough to name rooms… but I’m good at making stuff up! “This room used to be made of a rare lime-stone which was blue during the winter months when the mixing pollen of that tree over there hit the colder air… you usually see this in the Scandinavian countries so this is quite the rarity for La Crescenta”. Dry wall… it’s only dry wall.
Well, at least I cannot be accused of not having enough teapots anymore! After moving stuff around, I could have a teaparty for dozens and dozens of people.
pink and green… and a Sommer Designs apron peeking out at the bottom :)
If you didn’t already think I was nuts… I was unpacking all the Thanksgiving items and strange… I’m missing a large white ceramic male pilgrim. The female pilgrim is all alone. I decided to surround her with some friendly woodland creatures… happy little squirrels, to keep her company. Is this how they came up with Snow White?

My next post… I used one of Ina’s (Barefoot Contessa) recipes the other night and it was glorious! Nathan took pictures and evidentially, is encouraging this cooking habit. I wonder why? :)

08.15.06

The Dish Network Distraction…

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main at 2:07 am by carrie

For the first time in about 5 years… we have TV that does not require bunny ears and tin foil to watch.

Behold… Our Dish has arrived.

So, I’ve been mostly watching the food network and I’m hooked on a few shows. Mostly, The Barefoot Contessa. Nathan even watches it with me… lots of great ideas, you may see posts of our food attempts, soon! I haven’t even started watching HGTV, DIY or any of those… we can only record 2 shows at a time. I may have to take Scott and Alicia’s advice… his and her Tivos.

You’d think watching a lot of fun TV would be inspiring and I would be whipping up all sorts of things but alas… I got a nasty headcold (or something) and I’ve been lounging around, sipping fluids, watching tv and complaining about everything that is not getting done. I have this grand wonderful plan for the shop for our new fall/winter decor… here’s (yet another) sketch of the infamous Halloween corner:



I’ve created more work for myself. But, I think it is something that can be modified and used over and over. The wallpaper was supposed to be done this weekend but distractions of family coming into town, tv and the sniffles has kept me at home. I have one strip of wallpaper up. Only 11 more to go! ugh.

Quick funny story on the first strip of wallpaper. I thought to myself… hey, it’s a slow day, I’ll get the wallpaper wet and get it up! Start smoothing the top out and *bam* 7 people come in. Then 5 more… then 2 more. At this point, the wallpaper is dry, 1/2 on and 1/2 off. So, with a little help from mr. white glue, I got the bottom half up. Don’t try this at home.

I’m also putting thought into our “4th annual late night spooky tea party”. We have a sale, open house and goodies. I love this party… I get to drag out the ol’ fog machine and spooky sound CD.




Spiders with party hats, with a cupcake. Anything scary can be cute with a party hat!

So, off to try to get some sleep, sore throat & fever be gone!
Big attempts will be made tomorrow to get some drawing, jewelry making or anything done… argh! But in the meantime… that music from the Barefoot Contessa still haunts my mind… Those of you with cable… how do you not sit up at night for hours on end watching this cool stuff??? :)

08.07.06

Green with Envy…

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main at 2:53 pm by carrie

I received this email on friday…

Subject: Hello from Frankfort, Kentucky

Hey gals!
Just wanted to let you know that Sam and I are on the trail of the 450 mile yard sale! I’ve always wanted to do this and this trip we are! We just got here – about 2 1/2 hours from Windwillows. It’s on Route 127 that runs from Cincinnati, Ohio through Kentucky, into Alabama and I’m not sure where it ends (or starts depending on your point of view). Sure enough the minute we hit Rt 127 there were the signs, everywhere! We hit a few even though it was already 6pm. Can’t wait till tomorrow!
I’m thinking of all of you as we embark on this adventure!
xxooxx
Sue and Sam T.

They went shopping on the first day at 6pm. *sigh*

I’ll ask Sue nicely if she’ll let us share in her treasure-hunting experiences… perhaps I’ll be able to post a picture or two of her finds??

I am going to go to this next year… who’s with me? :)

08.05.06

Now that I realize it’s August…

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main at 1:07 am by carrie

another BBQ perhaps?



This is from last year’s bbq invite and I really think it was a good time… I really enjoyed doing the art and making labels for everything (the food, drinks, party favors…) honestly… I’ll find any excuse to rent another moon bounce jumpy house thing ;)

Cathi left not too long ago… we took pics of her finished jewelry. With her permission, I’ll post some of those later.



I’m thinking a line of hawaii-ana stuff… I named this guy Surf Pooch… hmmm… idea, perhaps we can teach Meg to surf? That would probably require learning how to surf ourselves first so… that would be a firm “no”.

Aloha! and goodnight! :)

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