It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the first of April!!! Not only because it seems like I JUST welcomed March....(and in retrospect I wish I had said "no thank you"!!!) but because it sure doesn't feel like a typical April here in Pennsylvania. This month can be a little unpredictable....but, seriously, this is just the pits!! It actually saps your energy!! Usually, by this time, we are all raring to go on all of those outside projects that we have been planning all Winter. I don't know about you,but I am not raring to go on ANYTHING!!! If it isn't too cold, it's so windy you can't stand to be outside....and if, by some stroke of luck, it's not freezing...it's raining~~AGAIN!!!!!~~ Oh...where oh where is the April weather we all know and love??? I know that all of this moaning is not productive..or helpful in any way...but, sometimes you just can't help it!!! I am going in to work to make my famous April Fool's Day cupcakes that look like spaghetti & meatballs and mashed potatoes...I am going to try to look past the immediate weather forecast and welcome this month...~~~~ So the first class of our Spring schedule was last night. My friend Kay came and showed everyone how to rug hook. All of the ladies made flowers...first you "hook" the middle, then the outside "petals" then you finish the back and attach a stick for the stem, tie a set of wool leaves to the stick and you have a primitive Spring flower!! They are SO cool when they are done!!! Almost everyone in attendance, last night, had never done rug hooking before...and everyone did a GREAT job!!! It was a new experience and they all rose to the challenge!! When they needed a "break" everyone decorated cupcakes with "flowers" and then we boxed them up and they took them home to enjoy!! It was a lot of fun...and I think we may have "hooked" a few new wool artists!!! Kay is going to participate in the "A Very Merrie Halloween" show and festival that we are planning for this Fall...I wanted her to get some attention ahead of time...and, speaking of the Halloween show....if you know of any Halloween Artists or Craftspeople who would like to apply....PLEASE have them contact me at the shop!!! This thing is going to be great...and will get better and better every year!! The kind of event you circle on your calendar WAY in advance and look forward to all year!! We need amazing people....like Kay...who love what they do and, of course, loving Fall and Halloween doesn't hurt either!!! Have a GREAT day everybody!!! Think SUNNY thoughts!!!!
I am hearing the "S" word again!!!! It is just the "icing on the cake" for my day, today!!! It was just one thing right after another....and when your day starts that way, you might as well just hang on 'cuz it's going to be a bumpy ride!!! The best part of today is that it's, almost, over!!! And then the weather people start to use that "S" word...really???? How can this be??? We are almost at the end of March....Friday is April 1st....yeah!!! Right??? Well not if Mother Nature plays yet another cruel joke!!! Enough, enough, enough!!!!~~~~ The camera is all charged up and ready to go...I will be taking pictures of our class, tomorrow night!!! I promise to post them as soon as my technical adviser gets them on here....(I don't really have a technical adviser....it's my daughter...) This is going to be a great class and a great way to kick off the Spring Classes!! I am looking forward to it!! At least my "less than wonderful" day was today....and not tomorrow!!! I pride myself on my optimism and positive attitude...Tomorrow is a new day!!! I am going to type up the recipes for the class....have a great night!!! And remember...THINK SPRING!!!!!!!!
We went to visit our Grandson, this morning. I don't think there is a better way to spend part of your only day off!! He is so funny...and has discovered a love of mini marshmallows!!! A love he shares with his PopPop...he is, also, quite fond of Curious George and Taylor Swift. It's hard to believe he is 13 months old...not a "baby" any more, that's for sure!! This Easter will be fun, he loves to be outside and, with any luck, it will be warm enough that we can enjoy the day outside....but, with the way it's going, who knows?? Old Man Winter may have decided to re-visit but the signs of Spring are everywhere. The daffodils are blooming and the forsythia is ready to pop...robins EVERYWHERE...so this weather can't go on forever!!! The birds are, frantically, claiming all of the birdhouses in the yard...is it to start their families or stay warm...now that is a good question!!! I would love to go out and start to work in my gardens, but it is still too cold for me!! I don't mind the cooler Spring weather...especially to work outside...but this is just TOO cold for me!!! These are the birdhouses, we carry at the shop, that are made of gourds....right here in Pennsylvania...pretty cool!! And they look great hanging in the yard. I grew these, one year...I had some that were positively HUGE....but growing them is the easy part, getting them to look like this is a whole other story!!! Our first Spring class is on Wednesday night. "A Walk in the Garden"...we are going to learn how to make wool flowers from a friend of mine. She brought some for me to "display" and they are SO cool!! This is really going to be a lot of fun!! We are, also, going to decorate cupcakes to look like flowers...staying in the garden theme...it may be too cold outside, but it's going to be "Springtime" in Sweet Memories!!!! I am really looking forward to it...keep warm thoughts everybody!!!!
Easter is just 4 weeks away!!! That is so exciting!!! I am trying to figure out what to put in my Grandson's Easter basket and I need to look for some plastic eggs to "hide" (he throws them, so I'm thinking that real eggs might not be a good idea...) and, although it doesn't seem so now, the warmer weather will be here by that time. All in all I am really excited....but, right on cue, I am consumed by what I am going to do in the gift shops once all of the Easter merchandise is gone!!! It's a sickness...excessive planning syndrome!! I don't have a choice...I mean I HAVE to think about it and plan it....but I would love to spend some time in the moment, too!! I was thinking about so many different issues at one time, this morning, that I thought my head was going to pop!! I've decided that the one "magical" object in the Harry Potter books that I would like to have is the pensive...I want to siphon all of my jumbled thoughts into one place where I can go back to them when I need to!!! Wishful thinking, I know...and, for all of you who haven't read the books...(WHY not by the way???) Sorry....I am sure you are wondering what the heck I am talking about!!! Well...all of the thinking has paid off, somewhat...I have some ideas in my head for what to do after Easter. The problem with "after Easter" is that it is....well, after Easter! There isn't much direction...I mean, once you get to the end of August...we have Fall, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, snow, Spring, Easter and then....Summer....see no direction. We all have plenty going on in the summer, but what should you carry in the gift shop?? See what I mean?? No worries...I think I have it figured out (at least until tomorrow, when all kinds of new ideas will fill my head!!!) In the meantime...I am going to try to enjoy the moment...Night All!!!
Yesterday was just....weird!!! Snow in the morning, off and on drizzle and just plain yuck all day, pouring rain in the evening, thunder and lightning and then sleet....and some snow, again, this morning!!! OK...we get it, Mother Nature, you are in charge....enough already!!! One of my Reps called me, yesterday afternoon, to gently remind me to get my order together (he is VERY good at that!!!)....the order is for Christmas cards!!! How appropriate!!! This little garden shed was at the flower show...it was so cute!! The little white picket fence and all of the Spring flowers....at this point I would settle for a little sun!!! There was something so wrong and depressing about the snow lying all over my poor little pansies....and there are a few "Easter Egg Trees" on my way to work....they were all covered too!!! So sad!!! Oh well...it melted by the end of the day, and I am confidant that this new "sugar coating", that we got this morning, will do the same!!! We took the tables and chairs out of storage, last week, and put them on the front porch at the shop. We have to take them inside every night and then back out every morning (or they would get stolen!!!) and they are heavy. Needless to say...I am regretting the decision now!!! That's Spring for ya!!! I am going to continue to have a positive outlook and wait, as patiently as I can, for the "real Spring" to get here....I think some flower shaped cookies, chocolate "nest" cupcakes (to go with the "nest macaroons"...) and some strawberry-rhubarb tarts are in order....COME ON SUN!!!!!!
I have been doing my very best all day to ignore whatever it was that the weather people were saying...my theory being that if I ignore it...it will go away. I just checked the forecast and they have down graded the 4-8 inches (that I have been hearing all day long...) to 1-3 inches. SEE!!! If I continue to ignore it, perhaps, it will miss us completely!!! So...to that end...another picture of Spring for your viewing pleasure!!!~~~ We had a whole bunch of new merchandise come in, today...always exciting!!! We found homes (actually just rest stops before they go to their REAL homes!!!) for all of the new Byers' Choice pieces that we picked up, yesterday. Then the UPS man came and brought a big order... primarily garden decorations, then the FedEx man brought another order later in the afternoon. I would tell you all about what was in that order...but most of it sold off of the tables while I was pricing it!!! There are some new, really great, pictures though....I hung them in the hallway...but I'm not super thrilled with the placement...so I will, more than likely, move them around tomorrow. There is one of this little girl playing "this little piggy" and one of a little boy feeding ice cream to his dog...SO cute!!! I think that I will make some Springtime goodies for the bakery case, tomorrow, too....I am trying to do my part....trying REAL hard!!!! Here's hoping that tomorrow will bring sun...the "S" word that we all LIKE!!!!
We are back from our Byers' Choice adventure!!! It IS an adventure, too!! When you get down there for one of these retailer's events, you are never really sure what to expect...and today was no exception. We went in to the emporium first. We had a 1:30 appointment and we were early, so we went in to see what was "new". They "refreshed" the gift area...put in all new hard wood floors...and changed things all around....so we went and checked all of that out first. Then we went and "checked in"...they give you your name tags and a read out of all of the merchandise that you have ordered....either the stuff that you have received recently or the things that you are scheduled to receive shortly...this is a great tool to have because you are "let loose" in the warehouse and it is really easy to forget what you are supposed to be doing!!! Especially if, like me, you are a collector too....then you can REALLY lose your head!!! After you pick out all of your merchandise...it heads over to Joyce, who signs EVERY piece...very cool!! Then you go back to the cafeteria and wait for a phone call that your order is ready for pick up!! They always have all kinds of food in the cafeteria and you can help yourself while you wait. This time, however, we got to go back to the "floor" where all of the Carolers are made and help to make one!!!! It was so cool!!! We could have made the woman with the vegetables or the man selling candy canes (in this picture...) but, we decided to make the woman selling "bumpershoots" (the British term for umbrellas...) I will tell you what...it is not an easy thing!! I am sure that it just takes some time to get all of the techniques down...but, when you are first timers...it's a little intimidating!! All of the newest pieces came home with us and are waiting to be unpacked tomorrow...if you love these guys too, make sure you come in and see us...we'll even show you the one we made!!! OK HELPED to make!!!
This is one of the pictures from the flower show. The day we went was a pretty day...but very windy and on the cold side. When you get inside and see and smell all of the flowers the Spring fever that hits you is overwhelming....there is nothing in the whole world that you want more than to see these flowers in your own yard and to have a beautiful Spring day. Who would have thought that just a few days later....we would have it!!! I went to the garden center yesterday...bought some pansies...cleaned out the "double washtub" planter on the front porch and planted little purple violas in it. The bulbs, from last year, are already coming up in it so, before too long, we will have Spring growing on the front porch!!! I still have to get my planters at home done...but it was a start!! It was quite a thrill to pull in the parking lot of the garden center for the first (of many....) visits of the season!! They have pallet after pallet of unpacked merchandise, and inside (where they have all of the non-growing stuff...) was full of boxes in various stages of unloading!! It's a big job...I'm sure...but I was still very happy to be there!! Go out and enjoy today...we all know that March and April can be fickle. I am hoping that today is a good indication of what is to come and that the cold weather is over. While the 70+ degrees will be a nice treat, I have to be honest, I ENJOY the 50's and low 60's that lead up to the 70's....so it can go back to "normal" and I will be OK with that!! It is a whole lot easier to do all of the "Spring clean up" and the harder physical stuff that comes with early Spring when you are not sweating profusely!!! But, for today, let's welcome this weather and celebrate the fact that we "made it" through another winter in PA!! Now...bring on the flowers!!!
This is the "greenest" picture I have in my stash...Happy St. Patrick's Day!! This is one of those "fun" holidays...no stress, no pressure, no gifts or huge amounts of work necessary. Just the chance to enjoy the day and make it a little special...because you deserve it!! I think we need more days like that!! I don't know what the rest of the country is experiencing, weather wise, but we are going to have "the luck of the Irish" around here for the next two days!!! I am going to head to the garden center for my pansies at some point this afternoon...I am very excited!!! I am, also, going to go in to work and make some Irish soda bread....I worked on that recipe for some time until I got it just right. I don't think you are supposed to mess with a traditional recipe...but my philosophy is...if you can make it better....you should!!! I'm not a big fan of making food that shouldn't be green...green...however, I make an exception when it comes to "mint"...I made chocolate cupcakes with mint chocolate chip cheesecake filling...that's as green as I am going to get!! I have a cake ordered for today....they ordered my coconut cream cake...but I have to tint the icing green...it should be interesting!!! Like I said...it's a fun holiday!! Have a great day and go out and enjoy yourselves!!!
So...the house is all done and decorated for Spring and Easter. I will make sure that next year my decorating day does NOT fall on daylight savings time weekend. I unpacked all of the bins ( I think there are 12...) and it looked like a "flower shop exploded in the house" ( that's what my husband said as he was planning his escape...) and then had the overwhelming desire to go back to bed!! Luckily I soldiered on and now it's all done....I am still not used to the daylight savings thing...but the house looks happy and Spring-like...it helps a little!! I did not get to the garden center for my pansies. They close at 5:00....and so do we...I have an appointment, this afternoon...so maybe I can duck out for a few minutes and run up there tomorrow afternoon. ~~~ My meeting later today is with one of my Reps...for Christmas!!! I had one yesterday, too...Bunnies, Santa Claus, Jelly Beans, Candy Canes....it's all good!!! ~~~ The date of our first class is fast approaching....and I have it, very much, on my mind. The first one is going to be a new idea for us...we are collaborating with a friend of mine....she is going to teach "woolen flower" making and then I am going to teach easy and fun ways to decorate cupcakes with "flowers"...it's a "Walk in the Garden" and we are going to have a blast!! When it's all done, you will have flowers to add to your Spring decor and pretty cupcakes to share with your family...I want the "cupcake decorating" to be fun and simple...but still impressive when they are done!! That's what is "cooking" in my imagination right now. I have a little girl's birthday party, shortly after this class is scheduled, and we are going to decorate cupcakes for that, too!! I have cupcakes on the brain!!! I love this time of year...so many fun things coming up!! If you haven't made your reservations for the classes yet...give us a call...they are filling up, quickly!!! Have a great day!!!
What a busy weekend!!! Add in the daylight savings fun and it makes for a very tired me!!! I have been planning to spend the day decorating our house for Spring and Easter...and that is what I am going to do....regardless of the fact that I am so tired I can't see straight!! I know that, in a week or two, I will be glad that it stays light past 5:00...especially when I start to work in my garden (which I can't WAIT for!!!)...but right now, I am so MESSED up!!! It happens when we "turn" them the other way, too! I know it's coming...but there just isn't anything that you can do to make it any better....especially when you work long weekend hours~~Oh well....complaining never solves anything either. I am hoping that reuniting with my bunnies and chicks and my wheelbarrow collection (among MANY other things...) will give me energy for the task at hand!! I am, also, hoping to go to the garden center, later, because they are getting the pansies in today!!! I LOVE pansies....and I want some for on my porch!! So those are my motivators for today!! With any luck I will sleep tonight and then things will start to get back to normal....well, as normal as they can....that is not a word I would, necessarily choose for us!!! Let the Spring countdown begin...have a great day!!!
Ahhh...the garden when it's green!! We live very close to the Little Lehigh...so this rain storm has caused some unwelcome stress in our lives!! Today is a new day...the rain is over, the sump-pump is doing it's job, there are only a couple of inches in the basement...no big deal....the creek only came up to where I expected it to....and then you turn on the news and hear about the earthquake in Japan and the resulting Tsunami...and that rain sort of doesn't even matter any more. If you know anyone in the path of all of this...the whole world is waiting, watching, praying and holding their breath with you!!! I am beginning to wonder what it would be like to have some "normal" weather. I think that the first warm and beautiful day will be a day of celebration. I am not sure what we should do...but since the quiet and serene weather seems to be such a rare thing....I think we need to do something!!! Have a peaceful, worry-free Friday!!
So...have you gone outside to look and see if you have anything coming back to life?? All of my daffodils are up about 3 or 4 inches!!! I noticed them this morning when I was leaving to go to work. It's VERY exciting!! We wait and wait and think it will NEVER get here....and, just like that....the little green shoots of hope are coming to make you smile!!! I must say...I could do without the weather they are predicting for tomorrow, though!! This is how it's been for months, no "normal" weather...it has to be extreme or nothing!!! All I want is to enjoy my garden, again....not watch it get washed away!! ~~~ Isn't this a great piece?? Another example of the charming "vintage storybook" pieces we have for Easter. I love all of the illustrations in old storybooks. The artwork was so great...it's no wonder it inspired so many of the Easter collectibles that we are carrying this year. I, especially, love the old Beatrix Potter books. Her art is awesome!! There is just something so intriguing about animals wearing clothes...so fanciful and whimsical...give me a bunny in an apron or a hen in a bonnet and I am hooked!!! Then if they make desserts out of blackberries and brew chamomile tea...well, need I say more?? I saw a whole collection of her books from the 1930's...in really good condition...on a website. It is taking a lot of willpower not to go back and buy them, let me tell you!!! I have some of the collection...but to get the whole thing....and in such good condition...all of them... whew...a whole lot of willpower!!!
We went to the Philadelphia Flower Show today!!! I have been looking forward to this for....forever. It is a great harbinger of Spring. The Convention Center is loaded with plants and flowers and water features...artistic displays that seem to just get bigger and better all the time...sights and smells...and about 80 million people. Let's be realistic. If an event this huge and fantastic weren't heavily attended it would not be around to enjoy. However...lots of people shouldn't, automatically, mean lots (and lots and lots ) of rude!!!! I cannot tell you how many times I stopped to allow an excited fellow flower lover to get the picture they wanted WITHOUT me walking through it...I would venture to guess about the same number of times someone DID walk right into my shot!!! I also, repeatedly, allowed the wheelchairs and strollers some room to move....but WHY do they bring the "rolling" shopping carts??? Really...why??? Dozens and dozens of them....running right into you!! Seriously??? Regardless ....it was awesome!! If you guys have plans to go...here's a hint. Go left when you go in. People (especially rude, inconsiderate people) are creatures of habit....they bear right. If you go left there will be less resistance... you will be able to see the left side, relatively unhindered...and then you can go back and see the right side when the crowd moves to the left!! Also...don't go into the men's room...no matter how long the line is for the ladies room....(it's a whole other story....but the group of ladies who did it are lucky they didn't get thrown out!!) I took lots of pictures (NOT of the ladies room) ....I just have to get them on here...this picture is of MY garden...it's the best I could do for now!! If you go...I'd love to hear your opinion!! And, also, just a side note....I was looking out the bus windows both to and from and it is my opinion that the grass is "greening" and I see a difference in the color of the willow trees (one of the first to pop...) so I do believe Spring is in the air...and NOT just in the Convention Center!!!
So...we went to the book store last night. Anybody who knows me well knows that I am in heaven in a bookstore. I am searching for a magazine that I know is "out"...but I will be darned if I can find it!! I assumed that this was a sure thing...they MUST have it at the bookstore...nope!! However, this visit had two purposes...the other was to find a birthday gift for my soon-to-be 5 year old niece. She is a very special little girl...in more ways than I can explain...so the gift needed to be special too. If you are looking for something really unique for a special kid in your life...I, strongly, recommend hitting the bookstore!! We found some great gifts that are right up her alley...and a Harry Potter cookbook for me!!! Still no magazine....but I can't wait to read the cookbook!!! Like I said...in heaven!! I controlled myself and decided to save the other cookbook shelves for the next visit...now if I could just figure out where to get that darn magazine!!! I could "carry" some of these less mainstream magazines at the shop...but you have to commit to quite a few of them...and I just don't know if they would sell...but, at least I would have MY copy!!! There was a magazine on the stand that I really wanted to get...but it was $15.00...I don't know...I could get a book for that. I understand this "new trend" of the higher priced magazines. They make them as "book-like" as they can with the idea that you will spend eight or nine dollars...but it just seems to me that if they would go the other way...and make them more reasonable instead they would sell more!!??!! With so many newspapers and magazines going under it just seems kinda silly....sort of like going to the movies...if the tickets were cheaper the seats would be full...and then they would make money when they showed the movie. I have been to the movies, more than once, where there were an awful lot of empty seats. I don't get it...but then, no one asked me for my opinion!! ( Of course ..... that's never stopped me from giving it....) Now...that magazine....it probably isn't even all that great...no, that won't work...I still want it!!!
Today's weather just made you happy!! Was it still chilly...yes. And a bit windy...yes. But the sun is different. I don't know if you know what I mean...but the intensity changes as we get closer to "Spring". The light is "happier"!!! Anyone who has lived in this area for any length of time knows that March (and April, too, for that matter...) can be fickle. One day it's in the 50's...the next day it's in the 30's. And we can't rule out the "S" word....shhhh....don't say it!! But if we do see anymore of the "S" word, it will not stick around for long because the sun is different!!! That's why today was happy!!! Get it??~~~~ I went in to work early this morning and finished putting the big Easter order away. It looks great and I am so thrilled with this merchandise!! I won't say anymore until I can get pictures on here...it's just too cruel to tease you like that!!!~~~~ Big, big bakery day (which I love...) the goodies were flying out the door!!! But I had something happen that has NEVER happened before. I finished a batch of chocolate cupcakes with caramel buttercream icing and then topped them with chopped milkyway bars. I put them in the back on the rack waiting to replace the pies...which were disappearing quickly!!! I went back in the kitchen to put a few more things together. A little while later, I went into the back to get something and half the tray was gone!!! I asked where the cupcakes had gotten to...expecting to be told that they were needed to fill a void in the case...instead I was told that they had sold!!! I said "how...they weren't in the case???".... I'm still not sure how the customers knew they were there...but then a little while later I, again, went into the back and now there was only 1 left!!!! Ummmm....someone else came in and asked if we had cupcakes and took all but one!!! THAT has never happened before!!! Needless to say...I am making more cupcakes tomorrow!!! Too funny!!! Have a great night everyone...and pay attention to the "happy light"...you'll see what I mean!!!
The big Easter order has arrived!!! I have about 2/3 of it put away...I am going to have to head over early, tomorrow, so I can get it all done!!! This stuff is awesome!!! Everything from lights and garland for your Easter tree to some of the sweetest decorations we have ever had...the little faces and the detail...you have to see it for yourselves!! I am very excited...I'll be even more excited when everything is where it belongs...I just didn't have the energy!! I do my best work first thing in the morning anyway!!! I put this order in at the beginning of December!! I took my catalog and my copy of the order home with me on Sunday so I could refresh my memory!!! I am very pleased with everything that came in...it's not out of the question that there would be some things that you would be disappointed in when you see it in person....but that is not the case with this company!!! I am always thrilled with everything!!! I will try to post some pictures on here so that you can see how great everything is!! ~~~~ We had another meeting, tonight, for our Halloween event. It does mess with the head a bit....Easter Bunnies, Chicks and eggs...and a jack-o-lantern or two thrown in for good measure!!! We are making some good progress with the planning!! The event is called "A Very Merrie Halloween"...a Halloween art show and Fall Festival. We have some great ideas, not only for this year, but down the road, too!! If you love Halloween (and I KNOW how many of you do...) Make sure you "Save the date"....Saturday October 1st....it's only 7 months away....hey....it only SEEMS like a long time!!! And, again, we are looking for Halloween Artists to participate... if you know someone who would like to be a part of this...tell them to get in touch with me. So many things to look forward to...but, right now...I am looking forward to bed!! Night All!!!