Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just In & Just In Time!

LOVE these little guys!
(We have the larger versions of them, too!)
These holiday mini-bingo cards are the perfect size for gift tags or even hung from a ribbon as tree ornaments! You'll find plenty of fun ways to use them (or their larger-sized counterparts) this Christmas!
The mini-cards come as a set of 6 (one of each style) and the larger cards are sold individually (we do not have Noel or Give, sorry!).
Oh, how you'll love, love, love these....
These are just some of the items we wait for all year long from our favorite Italian paper and leather goods manufacturer...
Gorgeous gift tags with images from the archives of the Italian manufacturer -- lightly sprinkled with glitter.

In addition to these things, we've also got wonderful retro-style holiday gift stickers and tags -- the ones you've come to love over the years (for many, these tags and stickers are almost a holiday tradition in themselves!).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Little Inspriation In Case You're In Need Right Now...

Someone I've come to know who has what sounds like a VERY fun business in France (buying trips, antiques dealer, etc.) just sent me a link to an auction she has on ebay for a fabulous French plate that has all the perfect elements: black & white, great graphics, and the BEST saying (printed on the backside)!

I'd buy this plate just for what it says:

*Chez beaucoup de gens l'esprit brille au dépend du coeur.*
(For a lot of people the mind is used at the expense of the heart.)

Wow. I love that...And how true.

So...what might you be using your head too much about right now, at the expense of your heart?? I already know that for some, the very idea that you could 'use your head too much' might sound perfectly ridiculous. Not so fast...I really do think we can "think" something to death - even "reason" ourselves out of a dream that just might otherwise come to fruition.

Now, I'm not talking about making reckless, wholesale changes and decisions with no thought given at all. I think you know what I mean here. How much more would you really, truly LIVE if you were to lead a little more with your heart vs. your head? I'm just sayin'... :)

Lets take a look at what two otherwise perfectly intelligent and rather accomplished men in history have said about such things:

"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live." -- Mark Twain

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." (Guess who?)
-- Albert Einstein

And the MOST intelligent man who ever lived, Solomon, writes this:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
-- Proverbs 13:12

Oh please don't give up on your dreams. Its easy to get impatient and frustrated, I know! They may be still just a distant echo. A far-away mirage. Pursue them as far as it is practical to do so now, but never - ever - put them away, on a shelf. A dream - even just one - is at times all the fuel we need to keep moving some days.
This one's for you:

Hurry up and wait
So close, but so far away
Everything that you've always dreamed of is
Close enough for you to taste
But for now you just can't touch
You wanna show the world,
but no one knows your name yet...
You wonder when & where & how you're gonna "make it"
You know you can
if you could just get the chance.
But in your face the door keeps slamming.
Now you're feeling more and more frustrated
And you're getting all kind of impatient waiting
So we live and we learn to take one step at a time,
there's no need to rush...
It's like learning to fly
or falling in love
And it's gonna happen when it's supposed to happen
and we find the reasons why...
one step at a time.
You believe/and you doubt.
You're confused/you got it all figured out.
Everything that you always wished for
could be yours,
should be yours,
would be yours
if they only knew...
You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
You begin to wonder when
and where
and how
you're gonna "make it",
You know you can if you get the chance
But in your face the door keeps slamming
Now you're feeling more and more frustrated
And you're getting all kind of impatient waiting
So when you can't wait any longer
And there's no end in sight
It's your faith that will make you stronger
And the only way you're gonna get there

Dreaming Right Along With You,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award & A Baker's Dozen "Quirky" Things About Moi...

Isn't this one of the most beautiful blog awards??
It was awarded to me by what I predict will be one of the web's fastest rising "stars" (just wait, you heard it hear first) -- Cheryl of Cheryl's Fascinating Finds.

Cheryl's home was featured on The Old Painted Cottage website's "Cottage of the Month" and rightfully so! Check it out here!

Thank you SO much, Cheryl! I'm so glad we found each other and you can bet I've become one of your loyal blog followers!! I've already been looking for ways to implement some of the ideas I saw in your home pictures into my home! Thanks for so much inspiration and for this award!

Part of this fun award is that I am supposed to tell you a handful of fun, little-known, quirky facts about me.
Here goes:
1.) I wear a lot of black. No. I'm not goth - just love black. Its simple, elegant, and timeless. Believe me, I've tried to buy & incorporate more color into my wardrobe, but more often than not, I'm still reaching for something from the BIG section in my closet containing that smooth hue -- ebony. When my sister was helping us move into this house, she ran downstairs from my closet in our house where she was packing up my things and yelled "RUTH! You have like 45 pairs of shoes! AND THEY'RE ALL BLACK!" Yeah? Your point is? You say that like its a bad thing...

2.) I have a propensity for giving people nicknames immediately. You wouldn't be around me long before I'd either be calling you or referring to you as some other name. Not just some random name, but one of a dozen variations of your name or something that would describe you... My poor dog answers to so many names, its a wonder he's ever figured it out. Ditto for my sweet daughter, Olivia (a.k.a. Peach, Nani, Nanda-Wanda, Knocky, Liv, Livvy, Punk, Button, Opie, Shorty, Shorts, etc...). And yes, she's going to kill me for writing this.

3.) I go through vacuum cleaners like others go through, I don't know, disposable razors? Don't know how this happens or why, but I have been known to have to replace my vacuum three times in one year. They just poop out on me. Either that, or they've just died from exhaustion... Okay, well...that sort of ties in with #4...

4.) I'm a compulsive tidy-er. My hubby has to guard his drinking glass with his life or it will suddenly be whisked away by me to the kitchen, dumped, rinsed out and put in the dishwasher -- all while he has just been gone from his seat during a commercial break. Ditto for the newspaper. You have to read quick around here! I could be late for an appointment but I'll spend an extra minute or so on my way out the door cleaning up, putting things away and even stopping to survey a room, thinking to myself "Gee, that chair would look great over in that corner, hmm..." My daughter has been known to almost drag me out of the house when she sees that look in my eye like I'm about to just move this or that around just a tad -- all as we're supposed to be bolting out the door!

5.) Its very hard for me to sit still through a movie. My husband has long given up on this. I'm up and down a hundred times during a movie. Going in to get a drink, getting up to do laundry, up again to let the dog out, then up again to let him back in... "Oh and then he might want a treat afterward (the dog). Gee, probably should check my email... OOPS, that's right, I'm supposed to be watching a movie." Last Sunday, while getting ready for church this quirk about me really showed itself in sick way: I begin to brush my teeth, then I notice a few things on the bathroom counter that need putting away. I proceed to gather them up and head out of the bathroom with them, one in each hand, headed to the closet, and the other areas where these things belong...Then it hits me. My hands are full now of things to be put away. Guess where that leaves the toothbrush...Yeah, beautifully hanging out of my mouth (not a pretty sight) and it hits me...this is CRAZY. Can't I even just complete the task of brushing my teeth without also having to multi-task a billion other things? Anyone else do this? (C'mon -- say you do. Please. Even if you don't. Misery loves company!)

6.) I wear 3" high heels (and those are my "flats!) 99% of the time. I absolutely ABHOR sneakers and cannot see how anyone can call them comfortable. Give me my heels and I guarantee I'm way more comfortable than if I'm wearing those awful, confining sneakers!!! YUCK! I don't know why but the minute I put on a pair of sneakers, I feel like a boy and every fiber of my being is dying to rip them off my feet.
EXCEPT FOR THE LAST MONTH....This has been THE worst month ever for me. I broke a toe by slamming it into a very stationary ottoman after letting my dog back into the house (guess I should have kept my seat, huh?). Crazy thing is, I waited a week and a half to go get it xray-ed, revealing a rather nasty break. So, I've been feeling very un-like myself lately wearing the one pair of flats I could tolerate for the last month (BLACK flats of course) . BUT, I am on the mend and eyeballing my closet-full of BLACK high heels again!

7.) I watch very little TV -- if I had to choose, I'd choose my music playlist over a TV any day. Which is a good thing, I guess, because since we've already determined that I can't sit still long enough to enjoy a show (see #5). I'm better off with music which doesn't demand you sit there staring at it!

8.) I adore baking -- I actually look for reasons to have to bake so I can "get it out of my system" and then give it away to family/friends. I have all manner of cool accouterment to present my baked good in, too: beautiful glossy baker's boxes of all sorts/sizes/colors and whatever I give away is always presented in one of the boxes all tied up with beautiful ribbon and usually embellished with a sticker of some kind (usually something French...). As Martha would say, "Its a good thing." (I blame her, by the way, for this 'perfection-neurosis".)

9.) I have an "affinity" for numbers and really most anything with a bold, graphic theme (words, numbers, letters, etc.). Visitors to my home don't waste any time commenting on the vast array of and unmistakable trend of numbers or words throughout the house. This also ties in with the fact that I've just finished designing my own, new line of decorative pillows which I've named Mathematicus - and they feature: NUMBERS! *They'll make their debut in the store in a couple of weeks, just in time for Christmas!*

One of my daughter's friends dubbed me a "numeric-phile" yesterday (lover of numbers). I like Francophile much better...

By the way, thanks a lot, Josh! ;)
P.S. For the record, Josh can call me whatever he wants (within reason!) because he's been known to show up at my door bearing hot Starbucks and that will cover just about anything!

10.) I will always, always prefer form over function (refer back to #6 for proof). I don't care if something is impractical if it looks beautiful, has meaning, or gives me great satisfaction. That's probably why we have several old, vintage-style black (uh oh, there's that color again...) telephones in the house -- the kind with the rotary dial and NO CALLER I.D...Love 'em! I do draw the line at my computer, though. Though I'd love to say I still work on a vintage, black cast-iron Royal typewriter, But I would LOVE to own one to display!!

11.) My parents had me later than most have their children these days, so I was blessed with parents who could give me the treasure of music styles and old sayings that my peers never even heard of. My father married in his 30's and he & my mom proceeded to have 8 kids -- me being the last. So now, as a 45 year old, rather than having parents in maybe their mid-60's, my dad is 92 and my mom 83. This has yielded much in the way of hearing and learning history in ways that no one else my age that I know can appreciate. I love that. I love that I adore Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, big-band swing music because its what was played while I was growing up. I love that I grew up falling asleep listening to old-time radio shows like The Shadow that they had on recording from years past. I love that my dad has a way of saying things like they did back in the cool movies from the 30's & 40's -- you know, they had that cool way of talking that you just don't hear anymore... So now, I'm as likely to genuinely want to listen to 40's music as I am to newer electronic sounds. I would bet that no one has a more varied iTunes playlist! :)
Its as though I've benefited from two time periods -- the best of my parents' era and the best of the current time. Rich, indeed.

I also have a way of having a song for anything -- I can be talking to my daughter and she'll say something or make a statement and I'll immediately quote a song title that fits. This sort of ties back in with #7, above, doesn't it? Ever notice how after a new blog post, the first song on my blog music playlist (at the bottom of this page) is directly fitted to the subject matter of my post, if at all possible?? Coincidence, or not??? Not. I'm sure it gets old, and she is a trooper (as with the nicknames above). She requested I list this particular quirk -- it must really drive her nuts... I always say "Music is the soundtrack to life..."

13.) In high school, I had hopes of being a doctor, maybe a lawyer. Never happened. Later, after being married for a few years, I enrolled in Interior Design classes at a very good local school. Just days later, when registration fees were due, I found out I was expecting my Olivia. The rest is history. Never returned to the school, but no matter -- look what I have now: a beautiful family, a beautiful store, a truly beautiful life. This, and a cup of Starbucks, pure heaven...

Now its on to nominating a few other blogs to receive the Kreativ Blogger award...

Lisa, at Urban Farmhouse definitely gets a shout-out! LOVE her store!! Oh how I wish I could visit there in person! Until then, thanks Lisa, for the virtual eye-candy!

Jennifer Grey at The Old Painted Cottage. Wow. How she manages to do so much, cover so many bases, I'll never know. You'll her blog -- it features homes across the country -- like the best home decor mags in one place! Plus, she has an online store, etc... Hat's off to you, Jennifer!

Debbie Dusenberry of Curious Sofa Diaries is next up -- oh what a blog, oh what a store. Another store I would give anything to visit. I think she may be the decorator-in-charge in heaven when we get there...

Well, thank you again, Cheryl, for my award. You were SO sweet to think of me and I hope you ladies will stop by Cheryl's and the others' blogs/stores. You're in for a real treat!!

Every Girl's A Princess -- If Even For Just An Evening

One embellished paper crown - $18.00.

Dinner for birthday girl, friends and family - $300.00 (I'm guessing here...)

Airfare to the important event - $800.00 (Yeah, guessing once again...)

Making your only daughter's 30th birthday a night to remember -- PRICELESS.

One of the things I love most as a shop owner is the rare occasions when I get to really connect with a customer on a personal level and sometimes even get to know a bit about what happens to the things they've purchased once the customer receives them.

I obviously choose my inventory carefully and though I wouldn't go so far as to say its all like my babies, it is nice to know how the person who gets the item is enjoying it and using it. On that note...

I just got a the sweetest email from a wonderful customer who I now consider a friend.

We've chatted on the phone about our daughters and what they have in common and where they are in their lives right now, etc... We both have just one daughter and though our girls are not the same age, we're watching them experienece many of the same things that young gals go through. Seems when you begin talking about your kids there is an immediate bond, don't you think?

So, my new friend has a daughter turning 30 who lives on one coast and mom is on the other. Mom is planning a trip out for daughter's 30th. Mom plans ahead and orders one of our gorgeous paper birthday crowns and has it shipped ahead to the west coast to be held in safekeeping with her daughter's friend....

Mom arrives at her west coast destination, birthday celebration begins, and mom surprises her sweet 30 year-old birthday girl with her special crown!
(You're a princess no matter what age you're turning -- remember that, ladies!)

Birthday girl wears her crown all evening and a blast was had by all -- including the server in the restaurant! (Do tell, Renee'!)

Hours spent working store each day -- lost count.

Hours spent agonizing over just the right items to carry -- countless.

Budget blown stocking just the right items -- more than once.

The feeling you're even a tiny part of the lives of others across the county -


Thanks -- a million times -- thanks, to all of my wonderful, loyal customers; some who have been with me since I started almost 10 years ago!

Even if I weren't having a blast doing what I do (and let's face it, there are "those" days....) you make my day with the way you've treated me as a part of your family and as a friend.

That is a treasure more dear than anything.

You are loved,


Sunday, November 9, 2008

These are a few of our favorite NEW things...

Our most recent shipment of new inventory is just wonderful and I wanted to share a bit of it with you!

The new items we've just gotten in are so perfect for sprucing up for the holidays (adding a touch of gold here and there) and also so perfect for gift-giving!

More than ever, we ordered with an eye toward gift-giving -- be it stocking-stuffers, like the "Words" bangles or the fun "Twig" pen set, or the the BIG GUNS: the sort of "ultimate wish-list" items like either of the two sizes of cut-glass "Paris" drink dispensers (GIANT and GORGEOUS!!).
You may recognize the picture below from a previous blog post from September, describing my trip to The Paris Market in Savannah. The gorgeous drink dispenser filled with iced tea is the very one we've gotten in stock last week! Ooh La La!

I think we can safely say that we've got you covered on almost all fronts of gift-giving this year and we'll do whatever you need us to do in order to get the goods shipped out to your friends and loved ones in plenty of time for the package(s) to make their debut under their respective trees across the country.
Also, we're so thrilled to have yet another appearance this month in the December issue of Romantic Homes magazine, where our Bistro de Amis plates were one of the editor's picks for great gift ideas. (See...I told you we had the great gifts this year!)

Be on the lookout for information about our gift-wrapping deal (coming soon in another post) and please don't forget to factor in that all of this comes with our standard, across-the-board FREE SHIPPING for all ground-shipped orders.

I'm telling you, this is a deal that NO MALL can even touch: You stay home where its warm, pour yourself a cup of something hot & yummy, grab your shopping list and address book and start browsing!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Sew-Beautiful Idea For Adding Some "Cushion" To Your Holiday Gift-Giving!


We try, but most of the time pictures just don't do our items the justice they deserve. Never more true than in the case of these gorgeous, made-just-for-us pillows. *PHOTOGRAPHIC NOTE: Some of the pix make the pillows appear almost pink -- they're not. They are a beautiful muted red, but not at all pink!

Just in time for holiday gift-giving, our new,
limited edition custom pillows are all finished and ready to go! Since the last update, the Vintage Keys pillow has been reworked and is soooooo beautiful!

Two designs (the large, Regal Crown and the set of Vintage Keys) are available as a square pillow and the elegant Crowned Crest is done as a rectangular pillow. Fashioned from a super-lucky find of antique French ticking fabric (the likes of which we nor our master seamstress had ever seen), these pillows are true heirloom-quality.

BUT PLEASE REMEMBER: we have very few of
these pillows since they were made with what little yardage we had of our vintage French ticking fabric, and when these are gone they cannot be duplicated. They are a beautiful idea for Christmas gifts, and are made from true vintage fabric;
there are none like them -- anywhere.

Another beautifully crafted item we've loved carrying is also selling out quickly and MUST BE GOTTEN BEFORE THEY'RE GONE is our
French-made draft-stopper/bolster pillows. Surely by now you're familiar with these pillows made for us by the "Fabulous Fifi's" sister, Sylvie, in the French countryside.

I can't urge you strongly enough to "get while the getting is good" so you won't miss out on these beautiful, custom creations.

AND! As if value needed to be added to these beauties, for these items, we wrap each one in old sewing pattern tissue, tied up with pretty ribbon and a vintage ledger paper tag. So, whether you buy one for yourself or as a gift, your wrapping is already done for you and in such a clever, unique manner -- ready to set under the tree or hand to a loved one or friend.

Its November already and it is NEVER too early to start your holiday shipping! Let us handle your gift-giving list for you -- with our FREE SHIPPING (ground shipping, usually via USPS Priority Mail) you really can't do better by going to the mall! Save the trip and sit down at your computer in your cozy slippers with a cup of hot chocolate and begin your gift-shopping now! We're happy to accomodate your gift-giving needs in any way we can and we'll ship to as many addresses as you give us -- all for free.