Monday, November 23, 2015
I believe that 100%. I believe that we all need to enjoy the journey a little more....and I really believe that this philosophy applies to Christmas!
We have been ready for Christmas, at the shop, for the last few weeks. And....just like always....we have heard a few "already" and "what happened to thanksgiving" comments. Not everyone...most of you are full of the Christmas spirit and really in the mood to shop for your little pieces of magic (there are things that are, already, sold out!!!) but, I must say, the negativity....however sparse....is really puzzling to me.
"Christmas already" is not a phrase that I would EVER utter!! I love Christmas....everything...every, little, thing about it!! I love Christmas lights, Christmas movies, Christmas songs....and I feel that a few measly weeks of all of that magic and wonder just aren't enough!!
When you are a little kid...the magic of Christmas is all tied up in the gifts. But, once you are an adult, you find yourself with the "responsibility" of Christmas. You have to do the decorating, the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking....but, as far as I am concerned, that is the journey. I guess you can get caught up in the "work" that the Holidays cause....but I don't see it that way.
We get the shop ready at the beginning of November because....well...we are a shop. The retail world dictates that, if you are going to survive and live to see another holiday season, you need to get in the game!! But I am all ready, here at home, too. I spent my whole "day off", last Monday, decorating the inside of our home. Because of what we do for a living our "enjoy the holidays" time is limited....so I try to get as much out of it as I can!!
There is nothing that makes me happier than coming home to all of our collections and decorations and all of the memories connected to each of them. I tweak and shimmy for days....until I get all of the displays just right. Each display that I create tells a story....and underneath that story is a glimpse into what I love. The whimsy and the nostalgia of an old-fashioned Christmas.
This year try to enjoy the journey...take every opportunity to create the magic and the wonder that you remember! As you sit down, this week, to enjoy that feast...don't think about all of the dishes and cleaning up that will need to get done. Enjoy the people that are enjoying it with you!! And when you haul all of those decorations out....enjoy yourself! Create a wonderland that you can't wait to come home to...find your magic and wonder!
The destination will be here before you know it....get all you can out of the journey!!
Posted by A piece of cake at Monday, November 23, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
The sun is shining and the Fall colors are really starting to "pop"....but it's also COLD!!
At this point, as far as the weather goes, I think we have all come to expect the unexpected. But a big change in the weather....however short lived....really is quite a reality check! Summer is in the rear view mirror and the Holidays are right around the corner! Time marches on...sometimes at the speed of light....and we all need to take at least some time to enjoy it all!
For us....enjoying life is about hearth and home and family. We create a haven in the Summer....a place where you want to sit and enjoy all that Summer has to offer. In the Fall....we decorate every nook and cranny of our home...inside and out...with an amazing collection of whimsical, wonderful vintage inspired Fall and Halloween decorations that we have been collecting for years!! When Christmas comes we strive to make our home just as magical as the Holiday itself. Our Christmas decoration collections are some of our favorites....beautiful things that bring back special memories....and that's what Christmas is all about!
Is it all a lot of "work"....of course it is! But we love it....we love "the work" as much as the results. We love coming home, each and every evening, and sitting in the wonderland that we have created! Our family, in addition to working together every day, gets together with some frequency. No matter how many times our kids have seen the decor, for all of the seasons and Holidays, they still love to see it all make it's appearance. And now....there is a whole new generation to enjoy all of our "hard work"! There is nothing better than watching a little one stare at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree!! You can actually SEE the magic....practically touch it!
At Sweet Memories....we work really, really hard to fill our shops with that very same magic! When I look for, find and purchase the merchandise we carry...I look for special, unique and wonderful pieces that I would (and often do...) add to my own wonderland! When you decide to spend some of your time perusing our shops....we want you to feel inspired, excited and happy. We want you find those special pieces that will help you create your own special "Sweet Memories".
I know there are some who are trying to "downsize"....who don't want to decorate because it's too much work. I am going to be honest....I don't understand. I hear an occasional customer talking about "getting rid of stuff" and not wanting anymore to dust. I am afraid I don't identify with that. Yes.....when you plant a garden you have to take care of it.....and it's work! But just think of all you miss when you don't do it!
As we bundle up, today, and find ourselves starting to think about the wonderful fun and special memory making opportunities that are right around the corner....I just want to remind you that the shops at Sweet Memories are the place to be! We still have terrific Fall and Halloween decor....but the Christmas magic is starting to make an appearance, too!! We would love to play a part in all of your special occasions....and if you love to make those memories as much as I do....there really is no need to shop any where else!!
Posted by A piece of cake at Monday, October 19, 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Basically, what that means is it has been a very long time since I have written my blog!
I am going to apologize....but we had such a nice Summer....and I was enjoying it...so my apology may not come across as totally sincere!!
It wasn't the kind of summer that is spent indoors because of the heat and humidity...it was a sit outside, enjoy the time working in the garden, swim, have a picnic, have a party or two and find yourself sorry to see it go kind of summer! But....go it must...and I am afraid it will be any time now!
I feel like I need to "catch you up"....since it has been so long!!
We had a bumper crop of peaches, this summer. I made an awful lot of goodies for the bakery case with those peaches....and even had enough, left over, to make two batches of jam!! But now....the bumper crop of apples is getting ready to be harvested. My head is spinning with ideas for more goodies in the bakery case! And, of course, it's pumpkin time!!
Parts of the garden are starting to look tired....but that's okay...because I am getting tired, too!! I
replaced a few worn out flowers in some of my big pots...we were getting ready for my daughter's baby shower! We had it outside...and it was beautiful! In just a few weeks our second grandchild will be here!! We have a wedding coming up, too....lots going on in this family!!
Last week we packed up all of our summer decorations....and cleaned....and now I am anticipating unpacking all of my Halloween decorations. Without a doubt one of my favorite things to do!! Once that gets done...it is officially time to start celebrating Fall!!
Once again....Sweet Memories is THE place to be when it comes to celebrating the season....ANY season!! Our shops are full of unique and special Fall and Halloween decorations....no one else does the holidays (all of them!) like we do!! We have been super busy and so many treasures have, already, found new homes!! I have been searching for all kinds of new merchandise....and the wonderful merchandise that I ordered months and months ago is on it's way!! I WILL keep you all posted!
With less time spent outside...I will do everything in my power to get back into the routine of
blogging! With all of the excitement of Fall upon us....and Christmas not too far away....I am sure I will have lots to tell you....so stayed tuned!!
Posted by A piece of cake at Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Do you remember what Summer was like, when you were a kid? Long days with no responsibilities (at least not school related...) the possibilities were endless!!
Summer has always been a time for big projects, for me. I know it's when most people relax...take vacations. But, for me, the endless possibilities were always so enticing.
The Summer when I was about 14...my MomMom decided to "recruit" me to help in the garden. She stirred my interest by telling me we were going to make it look like the ones from Williamsburg. I was very interested, even then, in "Colonial" living...so that was her "hook'. I must say...I was NOT the dedicated gardener that I am now...and she had to work pretty hard to get me out of the pool to help maintain that garden...but it was, definitely, the beginning of my love for gardening!! It was in the Summer when I taught myself to cook and bake, too. I made desserts, dinners, bread, jams and jelly, pickles...even my own ketchup!! One Summer I decided I wanted to make a quilt...and one Summer I crocheted an afghan!!
While those days of "no responsibilities" are long...long...gone, Summer still holds all kinds of possibilities! Every year I try to make my gardens even better than the year before. We, always, have a project (or twenty..) that we want to accomplish! Some of them are maintenance...replacing, rebuilding, painting etc....but we, usually, have a fun one up our sleeve, too. The treehouse for our Grandson, last Summer, the new addition to our poolhouse (aka my "she shed") this Summer.
Don't get me wrong...the fun and relaxation has it's time, too. After all...I don't want to do all of this work and NOT take time to enjoy my labors. But...the real "fun" of Summer, for me, is creating the space that I get to relax and have fun in.
While the calender says it will be Summer for quite a while...I am, already, looking to the next season. It is part of the job when you are in retail!! I am, already, laying out the displays (in my mind and in my "notebook"!!) for Fall and Halloween. And still placing orders for Fall AND Christmas merchandise!!
July is going to be a busy month! First of all....we, here at Sweet Memories, will mark our 20th year in business!! TWENTY!! Crazy...right?? To all of you who have been with us from the beginning...thank you!! And for all of you who are just finding us...where have you been?? Just kidding!! We will have all kinds of sales going on...I will call them "Christmas in July" simply because I think everyone likes that...but, really, it's more customer appreciation!! That...and inventory reduction...I want to make room for more, great, amazing, wonderful merchandise!! Also...just a reminder...we will be closed Saturday July 4th and Sunday July 5th! And...we are participating in the "Where's Waldo" scavenger hunt again this year!! (If you would like some more information...let me know!!)
Yes...those days of no responsibilities are long gone...but the possibilities are, still, endless!! I hope you all have a wonderful Summer...and be sure to stop in and see us!
Posted by A piece of cake at Monday, June 29, 2015
Monday, June 1, 2015
That's, actually, okay!! We have been working like crazy to get the rest of the planting done, at home, and we have a few other projects going on! A little cooler (and wetter!!) is better for all of the baby plants...and cooler makes US more productive, too!!
We have been making a lot of progress with our front garden makeover at the shop. There is just one small piece of fence left to put up...and then we just have to wait for the flowers and vegetables to grow!!
I hope you have been able to come and visit...and check out all of Mark's handiwork!! He is creating the fence pieces, literally, one stick at a time. And the new arbor is a one of a kind creation!! This whole "stick" thing started two years ago when our youngest daughter got married and had the reception in our yard! I wanted to replace the arbor, in our garden, with something unique and "organic". It connects the herb garden with the gardens around the pool...and those are my "magic" and "fairy" gardens...so I wanted the arbor to look like it was out of a fairytale! Mark was skeptical at first. He has been "making" all of my ideas...real...for years and years!! But...he is a "straight, square, level" builder....and sticks and logs just are not!
The further he got in the arbor project....the more he enjoyed creating it! Right now, he is in the middle of building an extension on our poolhouse...a whole pergola made of logs and sticks!! This project is full of character (aka crooked, forked and funky pieces!!!) and it's looking great!! I will post some pictures when it's done!! In the meantime...you can come and admire his craftsmanship at Sweet Memories!!
If you are trying to get your "outdoor paradise" ready for the Summer, too, be sure to stop in and check out the shops!! We have great garden decor...everyone's favorite cast iron stuff has arrived as well as fairy garden supplies, plant markers, birdhouses and more!! Lots and lots of good stuff including great vintage pieces to plant or decorate with!! I think everyone deserves an oasis to come home to...a mini vacation everyday!!
And...now that my garden preparations are almost done...I can focus on the Halloween and Fall orders that I need to place!! Crazy right?? (Heck...most of them are already done...and I have received Christmas merchandise!!) Being prepared is important and getting those orders in early (so that I get all of the goodies that make YOU happy!!!) is important, too. Sitting outside, in the garden oasis that I have worked SO hard to create, and pouring through Halloween catalogs...just makes the Summer "sweeter"!!
Posted by A piece of cake at Monday, June 01, 2015
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
I have been spending all of my "free" time brainstorming and problem solving. It's not that I didn't have anything to write about....it's just that I don't think I should fill this space with my "problems"!!
We are fast approaching our 20th anniversary mark. For all of you who have been with us from the beginning....and there are many (actually....you all should have some kind of name....like a "club"...any thoughts???) ...you know how many changes have taken place in those 20 years!! Looking back (because it's ALWAYS a clearer picture that way!!) I would say that every, single, change has been for the better....some even better than others!!!
For a lot of people...change is uncomfortable. I, however, think change is good. I change my wall colors, my furniture arrangements, my Holiday collectible placement....I even change recipes (frequently....) we change the menu (all of them) every week...but keep the "favorites" on to keep our customers happy!! I change the selections in the bakery case, the gourmet foods and candy selection and the merchandise in the gift shops. All good.
We are currently in the process of changing the front garden...yes, it is because someone decided to drive through it and took out half of the existing garden...but, never the less, it will be wonderful when we are done with it..."Better"!!! (just a little teaser...look for something similar to the arbor pictured here!)
Better....that's what we strive for...especially when you own a small business. Twenty years is a long time. I think we have established ourselves...proven ourselves. We passed the "newbie" mark a long, long time ago...we have figured out who we are. After this long...the only "competition" I feel I have...is myself! I want to be the best "me" that I can be...and I want the business that I dreamed up....way more than 20 years ago...to be the best that it can be!!
It would be really easy...and, after this long, maybe we should take the "easy" road...to keep things just the way they are. It would be even easier to look at what everyone else is doing...and do it, too! But...that's the road that others can (and do...) take!! It's not for me. We have always...(and will continue to do so)...marched to our own drum. I prefer tradition to trends.
So...you are probably wondering what all of this means! Well....I have big plans for the gift shops. Some of the changes have, already, started....many others are on the way! It was the primary focus of my distraction. I needed to revitalize them...and me. I can't choose, buy, display and sell merchandise that I am not excited about. So....I decided to make some changes...and choose, buy, display and sell merchandise that I am excited about!! You should come in and check out the steps we have taken...and then come often to see what's new!! It's going to be awesome! I have, also, been adding all kinds of "newness" to the restaurant and bakery end of things. Lots of new menu ideas...fun and interesting stuff!
The bottom line...they say "if it ain't broke...don't fix it" but there is absolutely no reason in the world why you can't give it a makeover!! Check back...I will be telling you all about some of the "makeovers"....soon!! I promise!!
Posted by A piece of cake at Tuesday, May 05, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
I know...Monday is not usually a favorite...but it is our only day off!! We had one very, very busy week...and I need a little break to gear up for the week ahead!!
Don't misunderstand...I have projects to do today...they just don't involve butter and sugar! Hahaha....
I am, officially, booked for my Easter orders. I would like to explain what that means. I am the only one who bakes...I have help...but, I am the one who does the baking. I know, especially after doing this for 27 years, what my limitations are! In addition to the responsibility of having all of the orders done on time...I have the responsibility of keeping the bakery case nice and full for any walk-in purchases as well as the restaurant patrons. A responsibility that I take very seriously....because our customers take their goodies very seriously (teeheehee...)
In addition to this being Easter week...it, also, contains April Fool's Day...which, around Sweet Memories anyway, is a fun "cupcake Holiday"!!! So, while I am totally ready to bake those adorable Easter treats...I need to take a short side trip and get those "not what they seem" cupcakes ready for you, too!!
There is a reason that I am explaining all of this...basically...we are not like everyone else!! And that is the way we like it! I am sure "other" bakeries have no problem taking as many orders as possible...because "other" bakeries have methods in place to accomplish that. We are a small-batch "boutique" bakery (I saw that phrase somewhere, one time, and thought it was a great way to describe us!!) and I bake just like I would if I were baking at home. (I am pretty sure that's one of the reasons that we are SO busy...which makes me very happy!!)
Now...the reason for this explanation...
We have had a ton...and I mean a TON...of new customers "discover" us, recently. And, as you all know, "new" tends to mean you are "learning" the way things are done!! So....I thought a little "refresher course" (or brand new lesson...depending on your "newness" level haha...) would be a good idea!!
There is a lot going on behind the purple door at Sweet Memories (I have been thinking about changing the color, by the way, any thoughts???) we are a restaurant (also small batch, homemade cooking!!!) and reservations are ALWAYS suggested. Okay...I hear all of our "seasoned" (see how I used that cooking term??) patrons saying..."not on a Friday Night"...which is true. Friday Nights we are trying to keep it casual...just come on in!! But...for all of our Lunch, and our Sunday Brunch, services those reservations are a great idea...we TAKE walk-ins...but, if there are no seats left...well, you get the picture!! Now...we are, also, a "walk-in" bakery AND an amazingly wonderful, unique and creative gift shop...(a little horn tooting...) when we say we are OPEN from 10:00 to 5:00...that is the bakery and gift shops. You can come in at 10:00 and shop for whatever your little heart desires...or grab a cup of coffee or tea and a sweet something from the bakery...and those wonderful options apply in the afternoon, as well!! Our first LUNCH seating is at 11:00 and our last LUNCH seating is at 2:30....but we are open all afternoon...so eat (cake, cookies, brownies...) drink (strawberry lemonade, coffee, tea...) and shop til you drop!!!
We stop serving at 2:30 because..well, it's lunch...(as opposed to "Linner")...and it takes a little while to clean the kitchen and prep for the next day, as well as all of the chores that go into running the well oiled machine that is Sweet Memories! Please...by all means...come in at 3:00, make yourself all cozy with a treat and a friend, and enjoy!! Just save time for shopping....because you never know what amazingly awesome goodies you will find in the shops upstairs!!
And...for our last "lesson"...Sunday Night. We serve "Supper" (love that word!!) 2 nights a week. We picked Friday because we wanted something fun and relaxed. We wanted to serve "heartier" food that would appeal to the men folk in our fan club! (Not that you "guys" don't love lunch, too!!) But...Sunday...that's a whole different game. We wanted that old-fashioned, homemade, full of memories food that you enjoyed at your Grandmother's house on Sunday nights...(like the pot roast that we cooked all day, yesterday, that made the whole place smell like my MomMom's house!!) Now....THIS service...I NEED reservations!! I need to know whether we are cooking for 10 or 35. You know yourself how hard it is to judge the amount of food to cook for family gatherings...imagine if you weren't sure WHO (or how many) was coming!!!
Now...to re-cap...and clarify...we LOVE you guys...and we love, LOVE new customers...all we want is to make your experience with us wonderful!! We want to be your "Happy Place"! Your number one destination for treasures for yourself, your home and for that special gift! Your favorite, favorite bakery! And THE restaurant of choice. All we ask, in return, is that you show us some love, too. Call and make that reservation...call and cancel it, in advance, if something comes up...and please, please, please know that the "rules" are in place because we know what we're doing!!(20 years people...20!!!)
There will be a test on all of this later....so study, please!! (I have to say....even some of our regulars may not ace this...fess up...how many of you can't remember that you need a reservation on Sunday night....or think that we "close" at 2:30!!!!) If you have any questions...I am here for you...and would be more than happy to answer them!! Now....pencils ready...start taking notes!! (and, seriously now, any thoughts on changing that front door color??)
Posted by A piece of cake at Monday, March 30, 2015