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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The big day...revealed!!!

I've decided that August 16th is the big day!! I'm going to turn the front room of the upstairs gift shop at Sweet memories into the Halloween lovers dream!! We got 3 huge boxes in, yesterday afternoon, and spent the better part of this afternoon pricing everything...if we add in everything else that has already come in, I think the 16th is a realistic goal! We tried to take pictures...the teaser pictures...as we priced. We'll get some on here tomorrow...great stuff, again!!! I'm still waiting for other things, too...so it might be a work in progress! You will want to come in often...or miss out! (You DON'T want to do that!!) I am pretty sure the Halloween Byers' Choice will be in this week, too! I may have Fall and Halloween on the brain...but I always think there is a difference in the air once we hit August...even the early morning light is different. I'm not saying it won't still get hot (although I hope we don't have anything like this last month...) it just seems different to me!! Anyone agree??? Well, all of my Fall Fanatics...now you have a date...circle Tuesday, August 17th on your calendars!! The calendars might say "August" but you'll know where to find October!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How important is creativity???

How important is creativity in your life? If I were to answer that question I'd have to say "very"!! I don't understand the phrase "think outside the box"...because I've never been in it. I don't like to be like anyone else...I like to drive the bandwagon...not jump on it!! It makes me sad when people don't have enough confidence in themselves to try something new! We all see the articles about "new" trends, "new" products, "new" businesses...but, more often than not, none of it is really "new" at all. It's just a safe re-invention of another persons idea. I love when we have our gingerbread house classes. Every year, without fail, there is someone (sometimes more than one someone...) who says they aren't creative...they sit and look at the "blank canvas" of gingerbread in front of them...afraid of making a mistake. I always tell those people...just start, trust yourself! You can't do anything that can't be changed...and, every year, without fail, each and every house is unique and special...there are NEVER two alike...and everyone leaves knowing that they ARE creative after all!!! It would be great if life worked that way too! Find your own path...and take your own risks. At the end of the day it is so much more rewarding to know that you're someone special, with great, original ideas..not just copying the guy next door..Try out those creativity muscles...and take my advise...make a gingerbread house! We have the classes scheduled for this year...give us a call and sign up!!!

What were we talking about??/

Well, we are fast approaching the end of July! I'm saying "thank goodness"...this one will go down in the books! Anyway...the end of July marks the beginning of the Fall and Halloween season at Sweet Memories!! I have to prepare myself and the shop...it's a lot of planning and organization that needs to happen in my head before it can happen in the store!! I am expecting a few, big, important orders any day...that, actually, helps to put me in the spirit..so I hope they get here soon! The funny thing is...I am also expecting some Christmas...and, yesterday, some way over-due garden things that I was expecting weeks and weeks ago showed up! If all of this isn't enough to think about...I met with one of my reps, yesterday, and ordered a few more things for your Holiday pleasure...just because they were SO cool and unique ( I'll tell you more when they come in...keep you in suspense!!) the 1803 candles in the Fall and Christmas scents, some really different things that can best be described as "garden" to add some wonderfulness AFTER the Holidays and a bunch of other great stuff for AFTER the Holidays that will make your home cozy and happy this winter!!! So...to sum up...at any given moment I am either thinking about the garden, Halloween, Christmas, the up-coming classes, what kind of scones to make, what to put on the menu for Friday night supper, next winter, the current drama in my kids lives, my grandson, my son's birthday (coming up), my orders...I'm sorry, what were we talking about?? If I ever give you the "what" look when you're talking to me...please don't take it the wrong way...I'm just in my own head...(a very scary place to be!!!) It, probably, sounds like I'm complaining...but you guys know me better than that...I wouldn't have it any other way!!! Just, please, be patient with me!!! In the meantime...enjoy the rest of your summer...we, still, have great stuff to make it wonderful...including a few NEW things!!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Celebrate Summer...cause Fall is on it's way!!!

Well...this weather is more like it!!! It, actually, makes you want to go outside and enjoy the summer!!! We haven't had much to enjoy, lately...so I think it would be a good idea to take advantage NOW..while the good weather is here!!! We have all kinds of great stuff to help you make the most of the rest of this season! We still have things for the garden...birdhouses, signs, cloches, bee skeps...but we also have some pretty dishes, napkins and tableware...just because you eat outside, doesn't mean the table can't be pretty!! I try, really hard, not to rush the seasons! I don't like Christmas trees in September, either! However, I have very serious Halloween collectors who are, already, looking for the goods...so it's a fine line! I am going to give summer the spotlight for about 2 more weeks...and then...here comes the Halloween...So, if summer is your season of choice...celebrate now! If Fall is your favorite time of year...give me a couple of weeks...you're in for a real TREAT!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Secret of a happy life

"One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous, small treats.."   We all have stress! That is a fact. Some of it is just day to day stuff...some of it is serious. I think the way we handle it all says a whole lot about us! I think this quote is important, because it holds the solution to handling the stress. We all live our lives looking forward to milestones and celebrations...sometimes even living FOR them! You plan birthday parties, showers, graduations, anniversaries...weddings (there are even reality shows about those) not to mention all of the Holiday planning!!But what simple pleasures are you missing out on? All of those celebrations are important...but the everyday stuff is too! Treat yourself! That is one of our "tag lines"at Sweet Memories because I really believe it's important! Take the time to enjoy things...don't just plant the flowers...smell them!! When was the last time you had an ice cream cone? Go to a farm stand and get some local peaches...Take your coffee outside and sit on the patio (instead of the 50 things you are doing while you drink it!!) Even the everyday stuff can be more pleasurable...buy the detergent that smells like lavender...put some music on that makes you happy while you dust the house...make something easy for dinner, but serve it on pretty plates!...and when it's time to do the dishes, use really pretty dish towels ( the one in this picture is a flour sack towel...and we have a ton of others, too!!!) The secret to a happy life IS continuous small treats...I'm not going to tell you that you can find, exactly, what you need at Sweet Memories...you already know that!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Clearing the air...

So...we have all been, pretty much, held prisoner in our own homes! We serve supper on a Friday night and that is all anyone could talk about tonight! It has been so hot and uncomfortable, everyone was saying that they are doing the bare minimum (mostly trying to keep our gardens from suffocating...) and then retreating back into the house to get away from this heat!! Even the pool is not as refreshing as it could be...the water is so warm...it's like the bathtub!! Nobody is enjoying this weather! I thought I would take this opportunity to give you a little hint...burning candles helps with the air-conditioning "stuffiness"...we can't open the windows to let some fresh air in...or we'll let some of the all important cool air escape!!! (and then we would have to start the cooling process all over...that's not a good idea!!!) I am going to have faith that this is almost over....please!!...and try to have "cool" thoughts! In the meantime...we carry great candle lines to help you get through...may I suggest a lovely PUMPKIN....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing recipes...not a lost art!!!

I needed to order gift certificates, and I just started to carry this line...so I called to place my order and added these great items, too! (You all know I can't resist anything with cupcakes on it!!!) The graphics in this line are really nice...and what great little hostess gifts! This is just a small sampling of the different designs. Every once in a while I "experiment" a little. I have a thing for terrific artwork...and I love notepads and greeting cards etc. But, I wasn't sure, in this age of blogging and facebook and everything at your fingertips...just a google away...if anyone would buy recipe cards! Well, I'm happy to say, they are a really good seller!!! The tradition of writing down recipes is, in fact, not lost!! I'm very happy about this! I have so many things, recipes and letters, that are in my grandmothers handwriting...they mean a lot to me! As convenient as it is to hop on the computer and find...everything...try to take some time to write things down, too! Someday, someone will be glad you did...and stop in to Sweet Memories for the recipe cards (and notecards, too!)They just got some in and they're awesome!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cool thoughts and fun events...

This heat we are having is the pits!! I don't remember wanting to see the end of summer...in July...ever!!! Well, my herbs are happy!! They are the only thing that's happy....but what can you do?? Look forward to Fall (probably more than ever!!!) I am trying to schedule my classes, right now. I am, about, 90% sure of the dates and the topics...I just need to cross examine my schedule and make sure there are no conflicts! Once I am sure, I will let everyone know...I know you are all waiting, patiently! I am, also, thinking of some other events that I'd like to have this Fall and Holiday season...It is all in the "thought" stage, right now. I'll let you know if and when it gets to the "reality" stage...the things I have in my head would be a lot of fun! I would love to do a real, old-fashioned Halloween celebration and a cozy, homemade Christmas "shin-dig"...we'll see if I can get it together!! In the meantime...it's helping to keep "cooler" thoughts in my head...Pumpkins, witches, ghosts, trick-or-treating...Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, snowflakes, ornaments...see...it works!! Maybe just for a little while, but we'll take what we can get...right???

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just for Baby...

If you have (or are going to have) a little one in your life...you need to come in and check out this new line! It is really cute and unique...two very important criteria when I order merchandise! My Grandson will be 5 months old on Saturday....unbelievable!!! I am finding myself taking more of an interest in things for baby! Don't misunderstand...we are all about "Sweet Memories" and they don't get any sweeter than babies! I have always been drawn to adorable ornaments for Christmas, I love books, coloring books and stickers...IF they're unique... and, no matter how determined I am to resist the temptation, I ALWAYS wind up ordering stuffed animals (they look at you with these eyes...) but this line is really different for us...and just adorable!! Some of the things would just be perfect for a shower gift, and there are some things for the Holidays,too! If a first birthday is on the horizon...make sure to get in and see this stuff, first...there is a bib that has a birthday cupcake on it and a CROWN!!! A not to be missed photo opportunity, right there!!! It all goes by SO fast...we need to make the most of it, while we can!!! Fellow "MomMom"s out there...are you with me???

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Candy cane time!!!

Sometimes it's hard to live in the moment when you are in retail!! We had such a mixed bag of orders come in this week. Halloween and Christmas...and a little "everyday" too. Add in the 90 plus heat and the lovely humidity...it makes for a very strange, almost surreal, existence! I have had most of my Fall, Halloween and Christmas orders in for months. I will usually do a little last minute fine tuning..just to add a little "extra"...but the "important" stuff needs to be ordered early, or you risk a lot of sold out merchandise! While the merchandise orders are in very early...the gourmet foods for our "gourmet market" are done later in the Summer. The candy, however, for our Candy Shop, needs to be done when my brain is screaming " it's too hot to be picking out candy cane flavors!!!"...which, of course, is now!!! I know, from experience, that the candy canes are one of our big sellers...and I, also, know the filled candy canes are the BEST (we get them from a company that makes them all by hand...) unfortunately, in this heat, I can't remember which of the filled flavors are the favorites...so I'm cheating, a little, and asking for opinions on facebook. Please feel free to leave your comments and opinions...Chocolate filled cherry...chocolate filled raspberry...chocolate filled peppermint...or cream filled cinnamon...i know it's a dirty job, but I shouldn't have all the fun!!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where are you cool air???

How are all of you handling this heat??? I am not handling it well at all!!! I am hard to please. I spend all of January, February and March looking forward to Spring...then I spend all of April looking forward to the pool opening and my herb garden looking like it does in this picture! Then, the next thing you know, we find ourselves in this soup-like weather and I am looking forward to Fall!! I think the lesson to be learned, here, is to live in the moment and enjoy what you have...because, all to soon, it will be gone! I'm going to be honest...at this moment, I DON'T CARE!! I hate this weather and I want it over with!!! I guess I am hard to please...but I'm, also, cranky and exhausted!!! I want to live in an October moment...a cool, crisp October moment to be exact!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nesters Unite!!!

Are you a nester??? Do you love to decorate and re-decorate your home? Do you collect and love to poke around in little shops? Do you go antiquing?? Do you get excited when the holidays are coming...and do you always look for new things to add to your decorations?? Are you crafty...or have an appreciation for people who are?? Do you consider yourself to be creative?? If you've answered yes to any of these questions...you are a nester!!! I know I am!! All of the merchandise I buy for the shop and all of the displays I create is part of my "nesting" just as much as the things I do in our home! I try to make it fun, easy and interesting for all of the other nesters out there!! When I buy candles to sell in the shop...I only buy the kind I would(and do) burn in my own home! I think Gooseberry Patch books are great...so we have them all! I am really picky about greeting cards, dish towels, garden decorations, soaps and lotions, kitchen gadgets...you get the idea!! There is a reason we are getting a reputation for Halloween and Christmas collectibles that brings people from far and wide...Holidays(all of them) are VERY important in MY home...so you can be sure to find lots of goodies at the shop!!! If you are a nester...be proud of it!! (...and come in and shop at Sweet Memories..we can help you add a feather or two!!!!!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garden work....time to tame the jungle!!

We just got home from working in the garden at the shop! There are plants in there that I don't want...unfortunately, they are there to stay!! Take my advice...don't plant mint or lemon balm in the ground! Also beware of black eyed susan...which I love, but it comes up everywhere!! Plant it somewhere where it can naturalize, and won't take over! Every Spring I think I can live with these plants in harmony. I rip out quite a bit, knowing that I'll never get it all....but I tell myself that that's OK, and try to work around it. Then, every Summer, (around this time..) I walk around outside and realize that I can't live with it, after all, and get in the mood to start over...and we start to pull, and prune and, ultimately, replant with more cooperative plants!!! Then, like magic...(well, no...no magic...work and sweat...) it's a new garden that looks awesome! I am much happier...(and, consequently, so is everyone else..) and I can think about something else, for a little while (or until next Spring!!!!) ...actually, I think I'm going to get the urge to do this a little earlier, next year. Maybe, then, the garden club will decide our garden is as charming as everyone else thinks it is...and we won't be over-looked, yet again!!! I'll take the camera to work, tomorrow and get some pictures...it really DOES look good...now, out to my gardens here at home!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The burlap curtain pictures, as promised!

This is a picture of the inside of our pool house. These are the burlap curtains I made on one of our vacation days...when it was ridiculously hot!! They look good and are working out very nicely!! That is the only "bare spot" in the landscaping around the pool. One of our pine trees grew a little funny and the bottom is sparse...this was a great solution!! I promised pictures of this project...took them, but needed to charge the camera before I could get them on here... I've had a crazy, short, week back, so far...and didn't know what else to blog about...We did, finally, have some rain today...thank goodness...hopefully the extreme heat will give us a break!! If it does, this is where you'll find me...I'm in the middle of Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban...I re-read all of the Harry Potter series every summer! This is my reading spot of choice...unless it;s 100 degrees....then, not so much!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's for dinner???

         Our vacation was very nice, in spite of the ridiculous heat we are having...but it was really nice to get back to business, today. We were very busy...so I think everyone else was glad we were back, too!! It is a challenge to come back to a, completely, empty dessert case after a vacation break...but I like a challenge!! I called in an order, after lunch calmed down, for the newest batch of Gooseberry Patch cookbooks...if you've never looked at one...you should! I am a cookbook junkie. I "read" them like I read novels. I have a collection that numbers in the high 100's. I love the Gooseberry books and have all of them! These recipes are the kind that anyone can make...no special equipment (or training) no exotic ingredients. Just tried and true, made and served over and over, can't mess it up, sure to be a hit recipes. Most of them have been handed down in families for years! The Farmers Market favorites is pictured here...but the spinner is just out of view, upstairs in the "kitchen" of our gift shop, and it is full of lots of choices...come in and check them out...you were wondering what to make for dinner, anyway...right???

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summertime...and the living's easy???

I, always, get in a "create" mood in the Summer. No, I didn't mean creative, although I guess it's that, too. I need to create things. Today, I made the burlap drapes for the poolhouse. It helped with some privacy issues...and they look cool!!! As I was sewing, with the hot, itchy burlap on my legs, I thought of all of the projects I've taken on in Summer's past. I sat there thinking "why do you do these things in the hottest part of the year?" It's not that I don't create all year long...it IS part of my job and life every day. However, this need goes way back, before Sweet Memories was born!! I learned to crotchet in the summer. I learned to cook and bake in the summer. I learned to quilt in the summer. I have hooked rugs, baked bread, made jam, hand painted all kinds of things, learned everything I know about gardening (no choice, there...) baked pies, made candles, one year we had a Christmas craft show in our house and we had to make all of the things we sold in, you guessed it, the summer! I just find it amusing that I can't take it easy...like you're supposed to in the summer...oh well! Now.....what can I do next???

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peach-y memories....

These are some of the baby peaches from one of the trees in our orchard. Hopefully they will show up in some wonderful dishes and baked goods at the shop...but we really need a little rain! I have some great "peach" memories...when my Grandparents bought the property that would, eventually, capture my MomMom's heart, and lure us to the Lehigh Valley (away from Bucks County..) there was a line of peach trees at the top of the hill. They were loaded with fruit that was, almost, ready to pick. My MomMom lived through the depression and grew up in an orphanage, after her mother died from the influenza outbreak. My PopPop was scottish, and she always said she had the scotch "thrift" too...but I think it came from going without, rather than from marriage!! Those, almost, ripe peaches called to her and she HAD to use them up! The house on this property was a weekend house...and for several of the weekends, that summer, we made peach jam!!! We had so much jam, we had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner...but it was awesome!!! When we are lucky enough to get a "crop" from our trees, I remember that summer!! I, however, am more likely going to make tarts, scones, cakes and sauce for Sunday brunch...but that jam is still one of the sweetest things you can do with homegrown peaches!! (maybe just a jar or two...come on rain!!!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stay-cation....

We are, officially, on vacation. Everyone always asks where we are going...the answer is here!! This is a picture of our pool and poolhouse where I'll be spending the better part of the next 4 days! If you need me, now you'll know where to find me!!! I have a whole stack of new cookbooks and magazines that are calling my name!! (there is, also, some yard work and a set of burlap "curtains" that I want to make for this poolhouse calling me....) I am a homebody...so this is where I WANT to spend my time off! Going "away" does not appeal to me...but going home does!!! Hope you all have a great July 4th!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Problems, problems...

     Big, crazy problems with my internet connection, this morning....my son came over to save the day....and he was stumped, too!!! After many long and frustrating attempts, he fixed it!!! We really become dependent on these things! It, really, is very inconvenient when our conveniences don't work!!! It was a fluke, and not my fault!! I was beginning to wonder....All is well and back to normal. I didn't come up with anything clever to write about, because I wasn't sure it was going to get fixed!! So, I'll give this some attention and see what I can do for the next time!!!