Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blogging Has It's Rewards (Awards, Actually....)

Somebody pinch me! (Well...not literally.)
In less than a week I have been blessed to receive not one but TWO blog awards from some really incredible fellow (sister) bloggers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The first award, called the "Sisterhood" award, came from sweet Suzie Naso who's blog is called My Sid Dickens Addiction (too funny!).

For those who may not be familiar with Sid Dickens, he is an artist who creates the most beautiful decorative dimensional tiles that have a cult-following

Aren't these tiles incredible? And trust me, these designs are only two of countless (thousands?) that Sid Dickens has created over the years.

So, Suzie thoughtfully passed this "Sisterhood" award on to me. Aww....Suzie, THANK YOU, "Sis!"

In the spirit of now passing on this award to other very deserving blogs, here is a listing of some that you really must visit -- they are truly part of the "sisterhood of bloggers" and you'll be very happy to discover them if you haven't already:

1). Heidi from DREAMS INTERTWINED - We sort of found each other through Etsy (don't get me started -- I should start another blog called "My Etsy Addiction"...). I purchased some things from her Etsy store and then began following her blog and I found she also follows my blog! See there -- sisters! :)

2.) Andrea from EVERYDAY BEAUTY blog -- this blog is absolutely gorgeous. I'm so drawn in by the design/colors/etc...And she always has such unique crafting ideas, etc. You may know her online store called One Hundred Wishes -- yeah...another fab addiction to start...
3). Jeanne from A BUSHEL & A PECK blog -- oh how I've loved getting to know this "sister" in blogging. More and more that we have in common continues to be discovered and her blog is a true joy. Its also been fun being "Facebook Friends", too! Jeanne has an Etsy store as well and makes such beautiful aprons and picture must check it all out!

4.) Tracie from MY PETITE MAISON - this is one dreamy blog -- I am officially in love with her huge but sweet white dog, too. This blog is like being in a fairy tale over and see what I mean...

5.) Lis at LA MIA CUCINA -- If you love to cook (or just love to look at goreous foods someone else has cooked) you MUST visit this blog. With a focus on Italian fare, this blog never fails to make me want to head straight to the kitchen and get cooking. She makes everything look so yummy and so easy!

6.) Carol of RAISED IN COTTON - Wow. My oh my oh my...I love this blog and I love her store. 'Nuf said.

7.) Ruthann of WARM PIE, HAPPY HOME - I want to just step into my computer screen and into her kitchen/home. If anyone has actually achieved the ability to step back in time to a simpler, kinder life, this incredible woman seems to have done it. You will absolutely love this blog.

8.) Cindy at MY ROMANTIC HOME - What a pretty, pretty blog with the lovely picture of her creations and her romantic home -- and Cindy is another Etsy shop owner (uh oh, again with Etsy!). Please take a moment to visit both her blog & her Etsy site!

9.) Lidy at FRENCH GARDEN HOUSE blog - Well, my new friend Lidy and I are "sisters" in another way this year...we were both included in the Feb. 2009 issue of Romantic Homes magazine's listing of their "Romantics" for the year. She was the first person to congratulation me -- by email, on Christmas day!! We have really connected and her blog is beautfiul, as is her heart and soul.
10.) Jamie of SIMPLY ME ART - Okay, I'm admitting it, this is ANOTHER Etsy store owner/blogger...I promise you, I do not spend every waking hour on the Etsy site! Really!
Her jewelry creations are totally unique and have that wonderful vintage/funky appeal.
Well, there you have it. My 10 nominees for the "Sisterhood" blog award.

If you're on the list above, won't you take a moment at some point soon to bless some other well-deserving sistahs out there in blog-land? Its as easy as 1,2,3!

Here's all you do:
1. Put the Sisterhood image/logo on your blog -- be sure to link back to the person who bestowed this award on you somewhere in the post (that would be me...). :)

2. Nominate about 10 blogs which possess the spirit of blog "sisterhood", linking to each of them within your post as you mention them.

3. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Thank you, again, Suzie!!!

Just last night, I received another blog award, this time from Heidi of Dreams Intertwined (listed as #1 up above as one of my choices to receive the Sisterhood award). I had already designated her blog to receive the Sisterhood award in planning for this post, and low and behold last night she contacted me to tell me she was passing on an award to me! Now THAT'S amazing! :)
Heidi passed along the Este Blog award, awarded to bloggers who invest in the PROXIMITY of space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. Wow. Thank you, Heidi! That is SOOOO sweet! :)
Listed below are my nominees for this wonderful blog award:
1.) PAINTED WHITE BY ALICE - Wow. One talented lady. A shop, design services, and a great blog.
2.) Lisa of URBAN FARMHOUSE blog - Lisa was also included in this year's Romantic Homes listing of "Romantics" for 2009. Her blog and store are incredible eye-candy and I so wish I lived closer to her store!
3.) My dear friend Jackie Cate of WREN'S NEST - I think I first discovered Jackie through Flickr and being involved in the "Shades Of Inspiration" photography group. We are also Facebook "friends" and just "friends" in general. I love Jackie's sense of style -- we both adore all things French -- and her blog is always full of gorgeous photos and ideas.
3.) Tina from CHERRY HILL COTTAGE - WARNING: Do not got to this blog if you are hungry or on a diet! I am going to burn through an ink cartridge just printing recipes from this incredible blog!! Thanks, Tina!
4.) Molly of PARIS MARKET blog - Molly has taken photos from her European travels and transformed them into the most beautiful designs on tumbled marble tiles (of all sizes) and even transferred the photos onto gorgeous calf skin handbags made by generations-old craftsmen in Italy. If these sound familiar its because early last year I discovered Molly and her wares and have been offering them in my shop! See the tiles HERE and those fabulous handbags HERE.
Well ladies -- just like the "rules" for the Sisterhood award, please find a moment sometime soon and pass this award on to some other deserving blogger out there, linking back to this post as well as to your nominee's blog.
Thank you for BOTH of my awards. Who's luckier/happier than me? NOBODY!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Number Pillows, TONS of New Items....Get Comfy...This One Could Take A While.


We've got your number! Number pillow, that is.
I am beside myself right now (bursting at the seams, actually) with my very own creation, another new range of pillows I've playfully dubbed the "Mathematicus" pillow collection.
Actually, it all started when I photographed our big 2' square burlap pillow next to a "number" pillow I had personally (a gift to my daughter for her graduation from a friend).
The picture on our site that "started it all".
I put the little #34 pillow in the photograph just for fun and because I loved the contrast between the textural quality of the burlap and the finer, contemporary look of the number pillow. That was all it took. I began getting calls and emails asking if I sold the #34 pillow in the picture. I knew I was on to something and the rest, as they say, is history....
These new pillows have been in the works for months now and apparently the timing is perfect, because all we're hearing about in the decorating-trends world is how "big" graphic designs and NUMBERS in particular are going to be in decor this year! SCORE!!
In fact, a few issues back, Romantic Homes magazine did a whole feature on the coming trend of numbers in all manner of home decorating. I couldn't believe it when I saw the feature, since I knew what I already had in production (the number pillows) -- I was thrilled to see that for once maybe, I was almost ahead of the curve! ;)
There are three fabric/color styles for the three numbers we offer and they coordinate quite well together -- which is good because if you haven't already figured it out, when placed together, the three pillows "equal" 123456. How about that?

Probably the most modern/casual pillow is the white denim #34. A step "up" might be the khaki linen #12. The most "formal"/handsome/dressy pillow might be the menswear fabric #56.
They are each real work of art and extremely well-made. I was so fortunate to have a master-seamstress agree to work with me on bringing my vision for this collection to life. Thank you SO MUCH, Karen!! :)

And definitely take note: the numbers are not merely printed on, they are expertly and beautifully embroidered onto each pillow. Yet another way we took these pillows up quite a few notches in detail.

Its no secret that I have a real "thing" for numbers -- they're scattered throughout my home in any number of forms and places. No real rhyme or reason to them, I just can't seem to get enough of their bold, simple but strong statement in a room.
French Bistro Plates (featured as an editor's pick a few months back in Romantic Home mag!)
In any given room in my home you are inclined to spy perhaps vintage price tags of all kinds, antique metal numerical store signage, etc. I even took one of the vintage price makers and placed it in a teeny-tiny gold frame that wasn't in use. No reason. Just because.

So, if you have a passion for grahic style and numbers in particular, please, please don't delay -- these are already selling fast (and they just hit the site this past weekend!).

Also, The Beautiful Life will be "setting up shop" at a huge local women's show in a couple of weeks and we plan to bring the new pillows to sell there -- and we fully anticipate not coming back with any -- so again, not to be "alarmist" but....I'm just sayin'.... :)

Its been SO long since I did a post about new inventory and now I almost can't remember what I've told you about and what I haven't, so I'll try to cover as much as possible here, but for a peek at it ALL, just click here: new intro's to the store:

CAPRI BLUE CANDLES: Incrediby FAB new scents were purchased and we added the much-requested "Chub" size to the line-up. You simply MUST check them out! The new scents are Havana, Blue Jean and Tuscan Sun. We also (FINALLY) restocked the cult-following-popular "Volcano" scent. Its all good! No, its all great!

VALENTINE'S BINGO CARDS (regular size and mini-packs):

Cute, cute, cute! We sold out of all our Christmas-themed BINGO cards like these and just for a limited time (and in limited quantity) we have the new Valentine versions. They're perfect for kids' Valentine parties and crafts! The little mini-cards are perfect little gift tags but I LOVE the idea of using them to write sweet little notes on to tuck in your child's (or hubby's) lunch!

Great assortment of cute KITCHEN TIMERS disguised as Espresso machines, coffee pots, toasters, and even a pepper mill!

Brand new crop of some really excellent FRENCH BISTRO APRONS!! Oh boy do I love these! Right down my alley, as they say, from the incredible linen fabric to their bold bistro graphics. There is a half-apron that is just like the really long ones worn by bistro-workers -- perfect for protecting the pant legs! The fabric and color-tones of these new aprons has a sort of natural, more organic feel. They remind me of vintage feedsack designs! LOVE THEM!!

A new batch of our extremely popular SANTOS HANDS -- the small "Petite Pairs" have been restocked (and are already almost gone!) and we added a new style called "Plucking Hands" so named because one of the hands looks like its plucking something. Cute!

New jewelry (some GORGEOUS NECKLACES, perfect for adding a fresh look to your wardrobe),

a new HANDBAG MADE FROM RECYCLED TIRES (yes -- you read it correctly).

Let's just say THAT item is flying out the door and it is probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen. The purse is roomy, its comfortable, and its durable (its made of tires, for heaven's sake!). I used mine (okay, I confess - its really my daughter's, but what's her's is mine, right???) this past weekend when I went "antiquing" because I knew it would hold all my "stuff" and could be slung over my shoulder freeing up my hands for more important things--like buying!! Plus, we all know junking/antiquing is done in some of the not-so-cleanest of places so you don't want to bring a handbag that can't take anything dirt-wise. Again, we're talking recycle tire innertubes, here...a little dust and dirt mean nothing to this purse! :)

NEW RIBBON COLLECTIONS, MURANO GLASS ITEMS, BAMBOO PENS (the Twig Pens have all sold out now), GREAT COCKTAIL PICKS (think SUPERBOWL!), COLORFUL FRAMES MADE FROM RECYCLED GLASS BANGLE BRACELETS, and some old favorites are back in stock such as the RECYCED-WOOD FOLD-UP CUBBY-HOLE ORGANIZER and our FRENCH BURLAP MARKET BAG and giant 2' square BURLAP PILLOW COVER (the very one that started the "number pillow" craze!).

There is also a Valentine's Day gift ideas page for you on the site, as well. Not an exhaustive listing of gift ideas from the store, but enough to get you started. :)

And guess what...there are still things yet to be photographed that aren't even up yet!
I still need to decide what we may just hold back & not photograph and simply bring to the show to sell, and what simply MUST go up on the site (since I'd hate to hold out on you!).
Could there be a more fun "job"? I put it in quotes because for the life of me this just never feels like work! :)

I had a customer call me from Wisconsin (Hi, Denise, if you're reading this!) one night at close to midnight my time and I think I startled her by actually answering the phone that late. There I was, in my office "working" (again, the quotes). I just simply love being there, love being around all this cool stuff and honestly, I feel sometimes like I'm just "playing!"

We chatted about Santos Hands and other things and it was wonderful visiting with a customer -- even that late at night. So who knows, if you try your luck one late evening, you may just find me there after-hours yourself! If I'm there, I'll be happy to visit! :)

Well, this is as much as I can fit in for now....between buying, photographing, shipping orders, and preparing for the our booth at the coming show, who knows when I'll post again. Just keep checking the site - if we've added it lately, it will definitely be on the New Items page!
PSSTT! Don't miss out on the savings on the NEW YEAR'S CLEARANCE page!

Your Friend,
Ruth Harsham