Thursday, July 31, 2008

And we just keep adding things....

You know, we never truly get "done" shopping, do we. Same thing when you have a store...

Just when I think we're good, I see more things we simply "must have"!
One of the things I'm most excited about (and I'm thinking some of you out there will be, too) is the addition of some really beautiful ribbons we're now selling.

In particular, the black & white French Landmarks ribbon is one that many customers will be glad to see offered for sale! For years, we've gotten raves and requests for it once someone receives their order in the mail with their goodies wrapped with the ribbon. I've had people place repeat orders JUST TO GET THE RIBBON on their package of items!! :) So...we took a hint and are now offering it for sale.

Another great new "find" are these hinged, fold-up organizers crafted from vintage recycled wood! Just look at all the little nooks and crannies you'll have to stash desk or craft supplies in (can't you just see rubber stamps, stamp pads, tags, etc. in it?). The coolest thing is that it actually can fold up to the size of a large shoe box...Not that you'll probably ever have it closed ('cause it looks so great open!), but its just a cool feature, I think!

Enjoy the slide show above for a small sampling of some of the very newest items just added to the store, BUT THERE IS EVEN MORE COMING IN EVERY DAY!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

GO AHEAD -- "TIE ONE ON" (an APRON, that is...)

Ever wonder what it would have been like to be June Cleaver from the Leave It To Beaver show?

I sure have... then I get real.

I mean, with her ever-present apron, high-heeled pumps and strand of pearls -- all while doing her housework, she was the quintessential "domestic engineer" !
But for me, instead of pumps its bare feet, and instead of a pretty frock and cheerful apron, it yoga pants and a t-shirt (usually my husband's!). And not a strand of pearls in sight!

Well, here's a super quick and easy way to take those household chores up a notch or two!

We've just added a bunch of FUN, FUN, FUN aprons of all kinds! Something sure to please ANYONE.


We've added so many aprons, in fact, that you could have a fresh, new one for every day of the week!!

I'll bet even little Miss June Cleaver didn't have THAT many!
AND all the aprons even have bright, colorful matching kitchen towels available, too!

So ladies, with this new array of aprons and towels, there should be absolutely no reason why you shouldn't look every bit the "vision" that June-baby did!
And you can be sure that these new aprons are 'not your grandmother's aprons' to say the least -- I'm sure even June never had a selection so hip to choose from!

C'mon, gals!

Let's get that mixer and recipe book out! Its pot roast and chocolate layer cake tonight!

Sunday, July 20, 2008



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Now THIS Is What I Call "BOOK-SMARTS"!

We've all got one (or more!)... That "plain vanilla" lampshade that came with the lamp. You know, you loved the lamp but that shade...well lets just say no imagination went into that choice...
After years of tolerating one such shade on a favorite lamp of mine, I now have my "dream shade" -- and its SO perfect for the room it is in (the "library")! Plus, anyone who knows me, know my love of paper ANYTHING and especially vintage ephemera, so this project was a ringer for me! (Confession: lately, we've used vintage book pages and papers so much around here that I think my hubby must fear at times that if he stood still long enough, we'd cover HIM in it! ) :)
Just look! That sorry old plain white shade is now festooned in perfectly cut pages from a vintage book! Yes -- I cut up an old book - so what. :)
Before I go any further, I need to give credit where credit is due...My sweet and off-the-charts talented daughter did the labor for me on this one! I'd been saying for months that I wanted to do this project but as busy as I am all the time, I think she knew if she didn't spring into action I'd still be looking at that white lampshade ten years from now (can anyone else relate?). evening my Olivia walks into the kitchen as I'm preparing dinner and has two fists full of perfectly cut pieces from this old book I had. Normally, you wouldn't encourage your kids to cut up books, but in this case I was thrilled! Being the do-er (and not just a talker like her mom) she set about the task of taking all those pieces of paper and gluing them down to the lampshade.
Many, many hours later, I had what may be one of my most prized possessions in my house. Partly because of how AWESOME it looks and very much because of how much time my sweetie's little hands spent making that for me. What a kid!
I think she almost wanted to choke me when I casually strolled into the kitchen whilst she was a couple hours into the gluing and excitedly suggested:
"Hey! This looks so awesome!! What if I buy up a bunch of plain shades and old books and we can make them and sell them!"
If looks could kill.... Keep in mind, I was not the one sitting there gluing piece after piece, row after row, slowing becoming hypnotized by the process...
Yeah. So, suffice to say I won't be taking any orders for custom-papered shades anytime soon...
So instead, here are some shots of the "BEFORE" and "AFTER" so you can get the idea of how its done. As you can see, the only key is keeping your rows nice and neat and even (unless of course you mean to have a "swirling" affect when you're done).
As you can see, even though the shade had raised areas (ribs), this didn't affect the outcome, so really any shade is fair game! We (oops....I mean, Olivia) used plain old white school glue like Elmer's or whatever. Just a thin stripe of it at the top of each page piece did the trick.
And below is the finished product. I love, love, love it!! The mellowed/aged color of the pages is so wonderful with the bronze/rust color of the metal lamp base.

I do still have lots more ideas for variations on this project --

  • Using vintage ledger paper instead of book pages -perfect for the desk where you pay your bills!.
  • Or, using pieces cut from gorgeous vintage wallpaper - beautiful in a bedroom or bath!
  • I'd also like to experiment with different shapes of paper like incorporating circles as well as squares/rectangles.... many of you believe I'll really ever do any of those things I just mentioned above? Yeah. Me either...
Hmm... where's Oliva? Surely she's not busy right now.... :)
We were just looking at the shade again last night just before turning off the light and admiring it...I told Olivia again how much I loved it (and her!) and appreciated all those hours she put into doing this for me. I declared that it was now one of my most favorite things I owned -- like, if the house were one fire it would be one of the first things I'd grab on the way out.
She looked at me, totally dead-pan, as if to say "It better be! If you don't grab it, I will!"
Gee, all those hours must have really taken a toll!

Thursday, July 10, 2008



Our new endeavor, the Uganda Neclaces-For-Hope Project is now off the ground!

The necklaces are now in-house and ready to ship! You are going to love them! And I have a feeling you are going to love even more the feeling of truly being a blessing to someone you will never even meet even more...

The necklaces will vary in color and length but they're all wonderful! Since no two are alike, you'll understand why we ask that you let us simply reach in and pick one (or more!) for you.

Each necklace is $16.00 each (a deal!) or 2 for $30.00 or 3 for $39.00. We even reduced the price of giftwrapping from $4.00 to $2.00 to encourage you to share these with friends as a gift. If you do, be sure and print out the entire story behind this project from our website and tuck it in with the necklace gift -- this will make the recipient even more appreciative of their gift!

Below (in blue) is "the story" and it is also detailed on the website. My hope is that you will read this, take it all in, and never be the same...

These women are real. They woke up this morning just like you and began their day with their children and family's welfare in mind. But the burden they shoulder every day is enormous. There are no "getaway" trips to Starbucks or the mall for them. The stress is unrelenting and constant. BUT! By learning a trade and (EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY) having an avenue through which to consistently sell what they make, they now have hope. How can ask for more than that?

So again -- 'Can a necklace change a life?' You bet it can -- read on:


Unbeknownst to most of us, there is a population of women a world away in Jinja, Uganda struggling just to survive.

Each day is a struggle to dodge the devastating "bullets" of malaria, hunger, water-borne disease, sheer poverty, and AIDS. For many, if not most, they are fighting a losing battle...

We have become aware of and are now taking concrete steps to help a group of women living in Jinja, Uganda, by being part of their efforts to learn a trade and then sell their works.The women are being taught viable trades such as sewing (see the pictures of the little shorts made from paper concrete mix bags!) and jewelry-making.

They go to a sort of shed-like structure, all open-air, each day and are taught these trades and are given opportunities to sell what they've made. Mainly, they count on tourists to buy a few things here and there. As you might imagine, though, tourism to Jinja, Uganda is not exactly a bustling industry. These women need other avenues of commerce besides just the occasional tourist there locally.

This is where The Beautiful Life has decided to become involved. Can you think of a broader avenue of commerce than the world-wide-web?? And, what better product to offer to you women than one made from a fellow woman who is in dire need? You get a beautiful, handmade piece of wearable art and in turn, you help change her life -- her world.

A trip was made in June, 2008 and at that time mosquito nets (to help prevent malaria) were handed out as well as bed sheets (to cover the grass/hay mats they sleep directly on!) and also travel-sized toiletries of all kinds (a real luxury for them!) and flip-flops, etc. It was like Christmas for them!

From the trip in June, we have necklaces only, but another trip to Jinja is planned and we hope to have beautiful dangling earrings brought back as well! As you can see, the necklaces vary in color and length, etc. so we ask that you allow us to simply reach in and grab one (or more!) for you. We know you'll love whatever you receive. You'll love the feeling of helping a fellow sister across the world even more!

How many can we send you???

Friday, July 4, 2008

A woman is a woman is a woman -- no matter what continent she lives on...

The Beautiful Life is almost ready to reveal

The Jinja Jewelry Project

It may not change your life, but it just might change the life of a Ugandan woman and her

Coming soon...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Can a necklace help a group of women a world away? You bet it can!

She could be me. She could be you. Normal women, just like you and me. Except their lives are so very different from ours. Their daily existence would try the souls of the average 'Western' woman who is so used to conveniences and freedom.

But, their future is looking bright! These very ladies that you see in these photos are being trained to learn a craft, a skill, that will allow them to earn a living and thereby break the cycle of poverty and give their families a better chance of survival.
In this case, among other things like sewing, etc., they have learned to craft old posters of all kinds into jewelry! Isn't that amazing? They somehow cut and painstakingly roll the paper into beads and fashion them into this beautiful wearable art!
ABOVE you see the ladies showing off the beads and jewelry -- many finished sets are hanging up to dry. In the picture is my dear friend Beth who has just returned from spending time with these women in Uganda and has, at their request, brought back some of their jewelry.
Beth stayed among the women and got to know them and their stories and has come back a changed person. She can't get them off her mind and out of her heart and knew somehow she wanted to do something for them.
Enter The Beautiful Life and my agreement to offer the jewelry made by these beautiful Ugandan women to the beautiful women who frequent my store, The Beautiful Life...
BELOW are many, many finished necklaces -- many of which will now be available to you through the website by next week. I don't know how many we'll actually have to sell (I'll find out tomorrow when I meet with Beth to get them and start photographing them), but however many I can sell for them, I'll be thrilled and so will these beautiful Ugandan women.
Beth is going to continue to be involved in the lives of the Ugandan women indefinitely and will be able to continue to supply me with various new creations (earrings, bracelets, etc.) as she makes her trips back and forth to Africa.
With a large percentage of the proceeds from the sale of each of these necklaces being funneled directly back to these women in Uganda, it is truly an amazing trade off that happens: You get to enjoy and wear the beautiful handwork of another woman across the world and in turn, you help change her life and empower her like never before. Sounds like a win-win trade if ever there was one.
The ladies you see here had one parting word/request for my friend Beth and this was it:
So...A necklace purchased by you becomes the start of a new 'Beautiful Life' for a fellow 'sister' thousands of miles away -- worlds away in many ways. Its a good thing.