Why do we make plans? Why do we bother? First we are going to....no, we're not. Once again, Mother Nature let us know who is boss! We had the front porch, at the shop, restored 2 years ago. It was quite a job. The floor boards were in really bad shape (there was carpet on them....through no fault of mine!! I DO NOT recommend this!!!!) so they replaced the whole thing with mahogany. It is really pretty....but it sees a LOT of traffic (yeah!!!!) So it gets scuffed up. My husband "oils" it every Memorial Day. We are closed AND there is no mail delivery...so I don't have to worry about the mailman walking on it!! The plan was to go over early, before it got too hot. I had some more herbs to plant in the garden and some more plants to pull out. So, we both had our "assignments" and were ready to go. And then....the thunderstorm....unexpected, out of no where....certainly not predicted!! Now the porch is all wet...change of plans!!!! We were heading down to my favorite greenhouse (after we were done at the shop....) to try to get all of the plants I need to finish the gardens at home (NEVER this late.....again, that Mother Nature....) so we went down there first and then to the shop. All in all I guess we got a lot done, but with the heat and humidity, it felt like I was in slow motion all day long!!! And, because of the change in plans, I now have plants EVERYWHERE that need to find their homes. Guess what I am doing after work.....all week long!!! :) ~~~~ My sister-in-law has the picnic for Memorial Day...one of my nieces does the 4th of July and another one does Labor Day...(we do Christmas breakfast!!!) I don't think we have ever had a "nice" weather picnic for Memorial Day!! It's either raining, cold or brutally HOT!!!! We all have a great time, though, and that's all that matters!!! This particular Holiday has some extra "remembrance" for our family. We lost two members.....too young and too soon....right around Memorial Day. So, in addition to remembering Heroes, both in the military and here at home ( I don't know if you have ever had to use Hospice....but those people are heroes, too!!!) we remember two people who should be eating hotdogs and playing ball with us....we miss you!!! I hope you all had a fun and relaxing day...now, back to life!
Isn't it amazing? We complain and moan about the Springtime weather...wonder, out loud and with some frequency, if we will ever see the sun....and then, just like, that we are thrown....a little harder than necessary~~Thank you~~ right into Summer!!! Oh the glorious heat and humidity of July....oh wait, that's right, it's only May!!! Whatever!!!~~~~ These are baby peaches on my super cool purple leafed peach tree. All of the trees in our "orchard" (we have 20 something fruit trees all together....I am not sure what the definition of "orchard" is...but that qualifies as far as I am concerned!!) are looking great and are full of fruit. Peaches, Apples, Pears and Asian Pears. There are going to be some AMAZING treats at Sweet Memories this year....well, as long as we get it before the wildlife does!!! There is something very appealing to me about making food from produce that we have grown. Peach pie tastes 100 times better with homegrown peaches and the same goes for apple pie and applesauce!! I get the same little thrill when I use my own herbs in dishes both at the shop and at home. I know I said this before...but if you don't grow any herbs...please add a few to your garden this year!! They are very easy to grow and will reward you both with their culinary contributions and with their aroma!! Makes all of your problems go away....well, not away actually, but easier to handle!! I am going to bed and I am going to hope that I don't have a migraine when I wake up....2 in one week is enough for anybody!!! Maybe I should have put a little lavender under my pillow....or maybe a whole plant!!! Good Night!!
It's official. It's Spring in the gardens at our house. My son and husband (mostly my son....) have "fixed" the pond. It is a rite of Spring...the rocks will need to be moved and rearranged just as surely as the...well, I was going to say "sun will come up"....but, let's just say the rain will fall instead!!!! It is a hard and heavy job. I know that we could affix the stones using various methods and then we would, more than likely, not have to do this....but the idea of the "creek bed" is for it to look like a creek bed....and I, personally, have never seen a creek with concreted stone. This used to be my job. My husband would help with the moving of the rock...but, for the most part, it was my job. Somewhere along the line, though, my son took over. He has a real knack for it. He looks for just the right stone....shape, color and size...and gets them in "just right". He is as determined to make it look natural as I am, but still have it running the way it needs to to keep the fish happy (they "play" in the waterfall...) I am not well known for my ability to hand over power...of any kind! Delegating is not my strong point....but I am very happy to hand this job over...those rocks are HEAVY!!! I am, especially, happy to hand it over to my son. There were times when I worried that I had fallen down on the responsibility of instilling the work ethic in him. Both of our daughters work for us at the shop....and they WORK. He did a short stint...very short...and will come over and help when it's necessary...but the shop was never his "thing". I am OK with that...but that didn't get him off the hook when he lived at home. You are part of the family....you do your part. Period. But, he has always been a smart kid....he had ways of getting out of all kinds of jobs. He never particularly cared for manual labor....or getting dirty....so, it does my heart good to see him, up to his elbows in mud and pond water....thoroughly enjoying his contribution to our gardens. Thank you, again...you did a great job....and the water level is right where it should be!!! Now...I am looking forward to the day when my Grandson decides he want to help too. He is a smart cookie....just like his Daddy....I think I'll have to have a little talk with him and let him know, up front, that I know all the "tricks"....and, while I hope he comes up with a few new ones at home (....all you parents know this as "payback :)...) they aren't going to work at MomMom's!!!!!
Welcome to my gardens....unfortunately, I haven't gotten to spend as much time in them as I would like. This has been one lousy Spring!!! Every time I start to feel sorry for myself, though, I turn on the news and see the devastation that some part of the country is dealing with and decide that all of this wet doom and gloom is really not so bad, after all!!! Monday, Monday...our only day off....I had big plans!! I, really, wanted to hit a couple of my favorite garden centers and work on getting some more stuff in the ground. We had a meeting, this morning, with someone from our pool company....(there are cracks in the steps that shouldn't be there...and they are going to fix them...)...but he was VERY late, and we had another meeting scheduled with one of the sign companies that we are getting an estimate from....and he was early!! It all worked out, though, and should not have had any effect on my day....but the humdinger migraine that I woke up at 4:00 am with DID!!! So....most of my day was spent in bed trying to feel better. These, almost, always come on a Monday....which (not going to SUGAR coat this...) sucks!!! So...here we are at the later part of my big day. No new plants...nothing, really, to show for my only day off!!! It is, currently, not raining....so I am heading out to pull some weeds before we eat dinner....the headache is FINALLY leaving....I just wish this lousy weather would leave, too!!!! Have a great night!!!
Oh my God....she's at it again!!!! Yes, this is another Halloween picture in May!! I just created a facebook page for the event we are planning in October. The page is "1803 House A Very Merrie Halloween" so I have Halloween on my mind.....besides, I have had to order all of my Halloween merchandise and candy the last couple of weeks (and, actually still have a couple of VERY important orders to place... still fine tuning them!!!) so it's on my mind anyway!!! Any time you start something new it's a challenge. Especially if you want it to be amazing. All too often events are not properly planned and are rushed into...not the way to go as far as I'm concerned!! If you want a quality, much anticipated event you need to plan, plan, plan!!! I think it is more important that each step is taken (no skipping over anything...) and each decision is thought out, than it is to just get it done. If it turns into a frustrating and amateur-ish show....no one will want to return!!! The plan, here, is for this to become a calendar "circle-er"...you know, one of those things that you wouldn't miss for anything....If you are so inclined I would appreciate it if you would go to 1803 House A Very Merrie Halloween on facebook and "like" the page....that way if I have anything important to tell you....I can tell you there and stop putting Halloween pictures on here in May.....Hahahahaha!!!! Have a great evening!!!
Both of these pictures were taken at the shop. One (the top one) is on the upstairs back porch and is two baby doves in their nest. The other one is of a Robin's nest that is under the back porch...downstairs. I would like to believe that it is a testament to how comfortable we make everyone that comes in to the shop (or, apparently, outside of the shop...) because we try to make everyone feel "at home"....or "nest" whichever the case may be!!! We have been experiencing some really depressing weather here in southeastern PA of late...I thought these pictures would make you smile!!! If we were to be perfectly honest the thing that would make ALL of us smile would be a little sunshine....let's keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow!!! The combination of rain, rain and more rain and the full moon has made a lot of people grumpy....or grumpier!!! I have been trying to keep the bakery case full...it is a known fact that sweets help to put us in a better mood, and judging by the very, very brisk sales...I think I am brightening moods all over the place!!! :) We did have one lady who was not too happy with us this afternoon, though....we were out of whatever she was looking for. It's a shame that she didn't just call a couple of days ago...she could have ordered anything she wanted and I would have had it done for her. Oh well....I try my best, every single day....I don't think anyone can do any more than that!!! ~~~~ I did a little more ordering today. I have some really fun things coming in if you are a "Fairy Gardener"... some more things to add to our Fall and Halloween displays, Fall and Halloween candy (great stuff!!!!) and the Christmas candy that is in the "pre-sell" catalog....that's the stuff that you have to order early or it will all be gone and you will be out of luck!!! In a couple of weeks I will need to do the rest of the Christmas candy order! I, also, have some more great kitchen things coming in....really cute cupcake papers and cookie cutters....I felt like a ping pong ball, today....bouncing all over the place!!! Hahahahaha.....do you all see how much I love you....I will even sacrifice my own sanity to make your time with us wonderful and your shopping experience great!!! Like I said...we work hard to make you feel at home!!!! Have a great night!! ....and smile....this weather CAN NOT last forever!!!!!!
Home sweet home....where I like to spend my time off. This is the other conversation that I find myself having all the time!!! Lots and lots of concerned and well-meaning customers try to tell me that we need to take a vacation. I had this conversation, again, the other night...and, actually, I had it today, too....It starts out innocently enough with the question...."Do you ever take any time off?"....If I make the mistake of answering that question with a "no"....I am in big trouble!!! The truth of the matter is that we are not all the same as far as our opinion of "vacation" time goes. The bottom line is if you own your own business...and it is successful....you just don't get to "go away". The upside to this...you own a successful business!!! I am OK with this. I made the choice....many, many years ago to work for myself. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Do we work long hours....yes. Do we work hard....yes. But it is all our choice. I don't have "sick days"...I don't have "vacation" days....we don't get paid for time off. We do have the last word, the final decision....the pay off if it all goes well. We also have the satisfaction of knowing that we are in charge....and that includes deciding when we are closed!!! I don't need a beach, I don't need a spa, I don't want to ski or go boating....I don't even want too many days in a row with nothing to do. I love my job, I love my yard and home and I love having a day, every now and then, to kick back and enjoy what I have worked so hard to achieve. I am good. If you are one of those people who think we need some time off....thanks...really....but I'll just take a little "home sweet home" and I'll be fine!!!
We're getting there....but it sure would be nice if Mother Nature would cooperate....whenever I have a little time (and it is always a LITTLE time ....) to work in our gardens...it's raining!!! Here we are...Monday morning....and it's miserable, again!!! Well, let's face it...none of us are made of sugar (although I sure am covered in it enough..Hahaha...) So a little rain won't make me melt....you gotta do what you gotta do!!! ~~~ Crazy busy week and weekend...it was a slightly condensed version of Mother's Day...love it!!! When we are really busy it makes me feel like we are doing something right...maybe even more than one something!!!! I had several interesting conversations this weekend. First...I had a conversation with a couple of young ladies about our identity. This is one we have had many times. It usually starts with "Do you consider yourself to be a Tea Room"....the answer "No"....I don't want to be a Tea Room for multiple reasons....I don't like the image for one thing. I have a tendency not to do things the way everyone else does...I make my own rules...and there are defined rules in a Tea Room...not my thing. (This is not to say I don't like Tea Parties....because they are just whimsical enough to interest me...) I am getting off track...the reason I brought this up is because the next question is, usually, "well....what would you call yourself?" I would like to answer that with "so unique there is no name"....but I don't want to put anyone off and that does come across a little pompous....which I am NOT!!! I think we need to come up with a good answer to this question.... any thoughts??? I told them if they came up with anything...to let me know!!! I saw a reference a while ago that I really liked....someone referred to a bakery as a "boutique bakery"...I thought that was very apt....maybe we should call ourselves a "Boutique Eatery, Bakery and Gift Shoppe"....what do you think???? Go out there and make it a great day!!!
The last couple of days Blogger has been acting up!!! I would find myself with a second or two to write this blog...and I couldn't "get on".... I don't know what that was all about and I really wanted to share some pictures with you!!! These are some of our brand new goodies...they are really cool baking "pans"...all different sizes and shapes!!! You can use them to make "gift-sized" baked goods....wrap it all up with cellophane and tie it with a pretty bow....COOL RIGHT???? I am so excited about these!!! They would make banana bread look all gourmet and expensive!!! You really need to come in and check them out!!! ~~~~ My goodness this has been one VERY busy week!!! I was in the garden, at the shop, at 6:00 this morning to get a little bit of "color" in the flower beds. Something I have been planning to do all week....but then I ran out of week!!!! This weekend is the historic house tours and our building is on the tour....and, of course, being the self-proclaimed "type A" that I am, I need it to look really great outside. If I am being honest....I would have liked to paint and have had the new sign up before this thing....but I decided to settle for the garden looking amazing...but then I couldn't find two minutes to do that....so 6:00 am worked!!! I got it all done before it started to drizzle....and I was pretty proud of myself...and then I realized the part of the tour that involves our building is tomorrow!!!!!! Hahahahahahaha.....oh well....it's all done!!! I wouldn't have been able to do it on a Sunday morning anyway!!! Way too much to do for our big Brunch crowd!!! Pretty funny though.....I know the weather we are having this weekend is not the greatest for outdoor plans....but it is wonderful for new plants!!!! Have a wonderful-what's-left-of-it weekend!!! And come and see the garden....
I start every day with a list. Before I even open my eyes I am thinking about what I need to get done and the most efficient way in which to do it. It is very unusual that I "stop"...let alone sit down...and that is OK with me. I enjoy being busy, I thrive on a full schedule, I'm not very good at relaxing, and I do some of my best work under pressure. I must say, though, that yesterday....I felt a little like Humpty here!!! We had our "Cake decorating 101" class, last night, and it's the first time I did a class like this one. Everyone had their own cake and I gave a few demonstrations ...and then let them decorate away!!! I am thrilled with how well they all did... and everyone seemed to have a good time!!! However... I was still "prepping" when they were all sitting, waiting for me!!! Oh my....my "type A" nightmares playing out right before my eyes!!! You know the ones...you are late, miss the bus, can't find your homework or open your locker (I had these when I was in school ALL the time!!!) now, though, I run out of coconut, can't get to the oven... you get the idea!!! Luckily...we had the "picnic" supper all ready, so I told them to go ahead and help themselves...that they would be more creative after they ate!!! That bought me just enough time to finish the prep work!!! I made more buttercream icing, yesterday, than I did when I used to make wedding cakes!!!! Cake, cake everywhere....and what a great job they all did!!! I think I see another cake decorating class in our future!!! Maybe a theme...or a Holiday....Halloween would be fun!!! In the meantime...I am happy to report that I slept without any dreams of missing coconut ....so, although I felt like Humpty, I didn't, actually, fall....just a little wobble!!! Go out and have a sweet day!!
Again...I apologize. I have been neglecting my blogging duties. I will beg forgiveness just this once because it was Mother's Day weekend. It will, more than likely, take until Thursday before I stop feeling like a bus hit me!!! (Hahaha....Oh age....ain't it great!!!) It was a fantastic Mother's Day from a business stand point. We were busy from Friday through Sunday night. Very, very limited "problems"...(some people "walked-in" on Sunday morning hoping to get a table....???....and we had one "no call/ no show"...) The bakery stayed BUSY but I managed to keep the case full!!! And all of my "peeps" were on their "A" game!!! During all of this I realized something... most restaurants need Mother's Day. They advertise the daylights out of it and do everything they can think of to get you to choose their establishment for your celebration.They count on that one day...just like retail counts on Christmas...to turn a significant profit. We were a little busier than "normal"....(and full of some of our favorite people....which makes us very lucky, too!!!) but we are, almost, THAT busy EVERY Sunday!!! How lucky are we??? Really!!! So...for all of our wonderful customers (who are really more like our family...) Thank You!!!! You guys ROCK....and not just on Holidays!!! :) ~~~~ Needless to say....my, personal, Mother's Day is the day after!! We went to breakfast with my oldest daughter...then hit some of the local garden centers. I love to go to garden centers like most women love to go to the mall. I must say, though, that I have become hard to please. We went to one, yesterday, that we haven't been to in a while and I was disappointed. I think most garden centers have realized that you need more "going on" than just great plants. Most of them have great garden merchandise, too. This one was always one that I felt had a "great eye" for such things....but, sadly, not any more!! It's a little farther away, anyway, so I guess we won't need to make that drive anymore. I think the competition is as stiff in this retail situation as it is in any other. If you want to stay in the game....you need to step it up!! If you aren't the one the shines....there are a few more behind you polishing their game!!! On that note....I am heading in to work to do a little more polishing myself....you go out and make it a great day!!!
I am trying to put the finishing touches on my Mother's Day Brunch menu....but I am so tired!!! It's a good tired, though!! We have been so, SO busy ( a wonderful "problem" to have!!!) and I have been baking up a storm!!! The gift shops have been hopping, too. I think everyone is ready for some nicer, "let's spend some time outside" weather. Lots and lots of things for the garden are heading home with happy shoppers!!! ~~~ I really need to finalize this menu...otherwise I will wake up in the night and start to think about it....and then I won't be able to fall back to sleep!! I need to be on my "A" game for tomorrow...Mother's Day is THE busiest day of the year, for us. It's a huge responsibility....everyone who has a reservation with us is coming with high expectations....and we will work very hard to make sure that you all have a great meal and a good time....but that will NOT be happening if I don't make up my mind, once and for all, what will be on the menu!!! So....I am going to go and get that done!!! I DO know that there will be fresh strawberries on it, somewhere....but I am thinking pancakes rather than cake!!! I wonder if the chef in this picture is busy tomorrow morning.....we could use a little extra help! ;) Have a great night!!!
I know what you're thinking...she has lost it!!! Here we are, just days away from Mother's Day and she is posting pictures of Halloween!!! I KNOW we are in May...(although, right now it feels a little more "Fall-like" than "Spring-like"....) but I wanted to get you all to go and check out the 1803 House web site!!! We have been very busy trying to get all of the particulars in place for our "Very Merrie Halloween" this October 1st. Laura has been working on getting all of the information onto the web site...and it's all finished...(Good job, Laura!!!) So, if you, or someone you know, is interested in participating in this Halloween Art Show you can go to www.1803house.com...click on the "events and activities" bar at the top and get an application and information!!! Do you paint, quilt, sculpt in paper mache, carve wood (or pumpkins???) make "spooky" jewelry, create folk art dolls or witches? We are looking for handmade, handcrafted Halloween ( and Fall, too...) "art"....the space will be limited...so if this is something you would be interested in, go to the web site and fill out an application!!!(This is going to be juried...)We would love to see your work!! We have a lot of wonderful things planned....and this event will just get better and better every year!! Get in on this from the beginning!!! Can you tell I'm excited?? If you have any questions...just leave a comment on here or on my facebook page....I'd love to hear from you!!! ....and now, back to your regularly scheduled May....:)
I feel like I am slacking... I really try to post, on here, regularly... but, sometimes, I just run out of day!!! Right now, we are in over drive...Mother's Day is a very, very busy time!! I have a ton of baking to do, the gift shops to attend to ( this is the selection of our 1803 candles...a customer favorite!! We just got a new shipment with scents like "basil and berry" and "strawberry preserves" who could resist that??) and the front garden to "whip" into shape!! We spent a few hours, on Monday, ripping....and I mean ripping...out all of the plants that should never have been where they were to begin with. I don't like to kill anything. I am a gardener. I have a love for plants and flowers....but, I also have a love for order and organization... and an inner eye that can see what I WANT something to look like. Sometimes you have to say enough is enough. I have attempted to "work" with what was there for far too long. Now it's going to look the way I want it to look!!! I have spent the last few years cleaning out the "herb" part of the garden and getting it planted the way I wanted it....herbs, roses and perennials. That is on the inside of the little picket fence. We ripped out the "flower bed" under the lamp post on Monday. I "see" red and yellow annuals...geraniums, marigolds and petunias...in that bed and on the other side of the walkway. That way I can pull them out, after the frost has gotten them, and the front will look clean and orderly throughout the Winter. Now, the next big issue....when to plant?? Our last "frost date" is May 15th....but, other than tonight, the extended weather is showing no signs of the 30's....I'm thinking tomorrow!! I would love to have it looking good for Mother's Day...we will see!! Go out and make it a great day!!
I love polka dots. I love how fun and whimsical they are...they remind me of birthday parties and balloons and cake....and all of those things just make you happy!! There are certain things that I gravitate towards when I am ordering for the gift shops. I love things for the kitchen (there's a shock!!!) I love things for the garden, I love things that are fun and whimsical and I LOVE the Holidays. It is pretty evident when you climb the stairs to our shops that you have entered "my world"... a lot of retail and merchandising experts warn against buying what YOU love. The theory being that not everyone will have your taste. To a certain extent, I agree. My own "personal" style may not be your style... but, when I decide what to fill the gift shops with, I am not deciding what to put in my own home. However....when I am deciding what to fill the gift shops with.... I NEED to love it. I am paying for all of it...and I am sure you'd agree....it is tough to pay for things you don't like!!! And, of course, when it all comes in...I am designing all of the displays...it would be impossible to display something I don't really love (anyone who has ever received a gift they weren't overly fond of will understand what I am talking about....) and then, when the displays are done, I have to "live with" this merchandise until it sells. I don't want to look at stuff I don't like day after day!!! So....as usual....I find myself going against the "popular way of looking at things"...and doing it my way ( again, anyone who knows me well will say...what else is new??) and it seems to be working!!! So many of you tell me how much you love it upstairs....and, in this "kinda tough" economy... the retail part of our business is doing well. I see your faces when you come downstairs with your new treasures...and you all look happy...like you've been to a birthday party with balloons and cake...like these polka dots!!! So...I will continue to order things I love....and hopefully you will love them, too!!!( And...just to let you know...there is a whole lotta love waiting for you right now!!!) Have a great "polka dot" day!!!