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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do you believe in **magic**......

If there is magic in this world....I could sure use some. I am having technical meltdowns....left and right...and I am not too sure how to fix them. When Apple first came out with the IPad....I decided that it was the "portable" computer solution that I was looking for. I needed access to my e-mail and the web at work. I didn't want to get a whole computer "set up" though. Too much space....too much hassle....but I thought this would be the answer. I went up to the Apple store... did a little looking and a whole lot of asking....and bought an IPad. All was well, for a little while.I could take a picture....maybe of something new in the gift shop....maybe of some desserts right out of the oven....and post them on my Facebook. Presto.....there they were for all of you to see....like magic!! Then I could take even more pictures and e-mail them to myself so they were at my disposal, here at home, to be used on this Blog....again...like magic. I was able to keep all of you informed and entertained with the very essence of Sweet Memories....any time...day or night... **magic** !! Well....the magic isn't working. My pictures will not post. If I just write a post....without a picture....you can see it in your "news feed"....but if I add a picture...it just shows up on Sweet Memories home page....but you don't see it in your "feed". And...all of a sudden....I can't seem to send the pictures to myself, either. I e-mail them.....but the **magical** B-R-ing noise isn't there!!! The other night....we tried to load them directly to this computer....and that wouldn't work, either (too much explanation.....) Basically....almost all of the things that I bought my IPad for, to begin with, are not functioning. I have contacted Facebook....nothing....and I am being advised to go to the Apple store and let them take a look at it....but I don't think they can fix Facebook....and I have a feeling this is a combination problem. So much frustration. I don't need this. What I do need is to believe in the magic....and for you to, periodically, check in on the Sweet Memories homepage.....so you don't miss anything!! What DID we do before all of this technology??? (and the stress that goes along with it????) I don't know.....but I'll bet it was **magical**!!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Are you "Pinning".......

Are you "pinning" ???? You really should check this out if you haven't already. The first time I checked into it...I thought it was interesting. But, I will be honest, I didn't really understand how it worked. Then....when I had a little time to REALLY check it out....I started to look at what other people were doing. You have to ask to be invited...and then there is a little anxiety....will they ALLOW me to "pin"??? But I was allowed. Then I had to navigate my way around all of the technicalities. But....with a little trial and error....that is no problem. Then you sit and stare at your blank boards and wonder what you should "pin"....and maybe even why. But....with a little web surfing....you start to see things that you think are interesting....or cool....or beautiful...and you find yourself wanting to "share" them. So....you start to "pin"....and then pin and pin and pin. (It's really easy to get lost in this, by the way....) But then, something really interesting happens.If you go back and look at your boards and all of the pictures...collectively...you see yourself. These boards can be "real" pictures of real parts of your life....or they can be "dreams & wishes"....you know....what your "dream" kitchen would look like....what you "wish" your garden looked like. It's not very often that we can have our dreams & wishes right in front of us. It's kind of like a diary....but of your daydreams!!! I am a believer in positive thinking. This takes it another step. You are positive pinning!!! Once you see those pictures of your "dream kitchen".....maybe you will start to take the necessary steps to make it a reality!! And....once you see those pictures of what you "wish" your garden looked like....maybe you will find yourself just digging in (the pun is intended :)) and learning how to make it happen!! If you would like to see what it's all about....you are more than welcome to follow me....pinterest.com/sweetmemories3....or you can just click on the button on the left side of my blog. I would love to hear your opinion and input on this subject!! You can leave a comment on here....or on my facebook page!! And as the "Pinterest Team" says....Happy Pinning!!!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Accumulating.....and proud of it!!!!

Good Morning!! Just a quick thought. At the moment...I am "covering" the gift shop on Wednesday....soon my niece....who teaches at a pre-school...will be "off" for the Summer and she will take over. I spend the day....on Wednesday....changing displays, re-arranging merchandise, looking at new merchandise options, pricing new things....if they happen to come in....and listening to the customers who come up to shop. For the most part....what I am hearing is "ohhh....that is SO cute" and "Oh, look at this..." that is a good thing. I get a lot....and I mean a lot...of compliments on the merchandise that we carry and the way it is all displayed. This makes me happy. It is always nice to know that you are appreciated. And....most of the time....everyone finds something that makes them smile...and that is wonderful! It is, after all, what we are here for. But (you knew it was coming....) sometimes I hear people talk about how they don't decorate for Holidays, anymore....too much work. Or, occasionally, I hear them say that they have given all of their things away....because they don't want to dust....(this statement is usually followed with how much they would hate to dust our shop.....no comment!! ) this makes me sad. Well....to be honest....my first reaction is usually "then why did you come up here...." If you don't want anymore "stuff" (their words...NOT mine!!!) then why did you decide to visit a gift shop?? But, once I get past that....it makes me sad. I LOVE my stuff. All of it. It is part of who I am. I love my Holiday collections, my handmade quilts, my pictures, my books, the special coffee cup I use every morning....all of those things make me smile....and make my house a home. We all have to dust....no matter WHAT you have in your "nest"....dusting the "stuff" you love makes it a little more enjoyable!! I say.....treat yourself.....buy a few more things that make you happy and make your home a cozy, comforting place to be....(and I am NOT just saying that because I own a gift shop!!!) Accumulators of the world.....Unite!!! I think I'll start a new collection!!!!!!!!!!  :):):)

Monday, April 16, 2012

It is Hot!!!!.......

So....it would appear that Mother Nature is testing us....again. The calender says April....but that thermometer says something else entirely!!! It is hot. Thankfully this isn't supposed to last....and then we will get back to Spring. This is a good thing...just the other day I was thinking how much I like Spring. I am, very much so, looking forward to my gardens in June. I love when they are full and lush and enjoying the summertime....but there is something really special about the world in the Spring. The colors are much more subdued....the greens are lighter and the colors more pastel....but they are peaceful...and hopeful all at the same time. The trees aren't in full leaf....but they are just as pretty when they are starting to bud....and there are no roses, yet, but the promise of what is to come is exciting, too. There are a lot of empty spaces in the gardens....where the annuals and summer bloomers will be....but it gives you the chance to enjoy what is blooming now...and we should. This is the time of year when we kick it into high gear...and try to do too much all at once. So much to do....so little time. Every Gardener is the same....we all want the "perfection"...and the sooner the better!! The irony here is that there is no such thing as "perfection" and every seasoned Gardener knows that the garden is never DONE. There is always something else to do....always. Sometimes we just have to remember to enjoy the day....look around and see the beauty in the process.....because it will always be a process. And, if the truth is told, the most efficient "slower-downer" in the world is a hot day......hey....maybe that Mother Nature knows what she is doing after all....how about some lemonade????? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stressed spelled backward...

Happy day after Easter!!! I hope it was wonderful!! We are celebrating ours today. Due to scheduling issues....we could get more of us together today than yesterday. This is what happens when the kids grow up and have lives of their own....and it's all OK. In fact...it's more than OK....if I had to choose between sitting down and eating Easter dinner together....and their happiness....I would opt for their happiness!! To tell the truth....my husband and I were still recovering from Saturday....and I was much too tired to cook a big meal yesterday!!! You know....there are very funny cards and signs that say "Stressed spelled backward is Desserts" which is true.....but, in my life, Desserts spelled backward is Stressed!! Let me explain. Many, many years ago I started down the road that has led to Sweet Memories....I baked (and baked and baked...) all kinds of custom cakes and desserts for an ever growing list of devoted customers. I knew what I wanted to accomplish....but I also knew that you have to walk before you run. Starting small....and accumulating success one step at a time... is the key to reaching your goals. "Overnight" success is short lived....it has no foundation underneath it. That said....I have spent the better part of 20 some years doing what I love with the intention of getting where I want to be....and I am there. Where I want to be is baking, from scratch, in SMALL quantities....the old-fashioned way. The best way. I want all of the goodies that leave our store to be fresh, taste awesome and look like they are "homemade".....because they ARE....(just not in YOUR home:):) ). I am not...at all....interested in doing large scale baking. Now, having said all of that....we come to the "stressed" part. We have grown...and grown and grown....over the last 17 years that we have been "Sweet Memories"...this is a GREAT thing....and I am beyond thrilled. The problem is....I am not willing to change who we are and what we do to get BIGGER....physically. I still want to, personally, bake all of the desserts that leave our store. In order for me to do that...I have to know my limitations...and I do. So we take orders....and some of my customers place them MONTHS in advance....until I feel stressed....until I feel like I shouldn't take any more for fear of not being able to handle it all and get it all done. And then we STOP taking orders....and tell you all....very honestly....that we are "booked"....that we are "full"......that I am at my limit. We always schedule the "pick up" between 2:00 and 5:00....and I am, usually, done....or almost done....by that time. Not this Holiday!!!! I had more than one person waiting for their cake....sometimes simultaneously. Yes....that's how many orders we took this year. So.....now that it's over...and I can see straight....we will be changing the "pick up" time for the next Holiday to between 3:00 and 5:00....to give me a little more time.....because I don't want to take fewer orders....but I, also, don't need the stress. And....now that it's over....and I can see straight....I am pretty confident that each and every time we answered the question "You can't do just one more cake" with a "no".....(and we said that A LOT) that it was the right answer!!! Like I said...."Stressed" spelled backward is "Desserts".....but, for me, it's the other way around! Of course, I wouldn't change it for anything.....and I don't plan to.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fiestaware....and memories!!

Good Morning and Happy April!!! This was one very exciting week. We started the classes again....lots of new and wonderful merchandise came in....had lots and lots of new people who, I hope, will become new friends...and, I think the most exciting thing of all, we got new plates!! Yes....it's the little things!!! :):):) I want to tell you a story about the new plates....they are Fiesta. I have a special fondness for Fiestaware. I think I have to back track a little bit. My MomMom was the biggest influence on who I am....it is because of her that I love to garden, to cook, to bake and love, and appreciate, antiques. Now, this is where the Fiesta comes in....a spent a lot of time with my MomMom....a lot. And much of that time was spent trying to coax me to eat.....I was a very picky kid. One of her favorites was "bread crusts make your hair curly" hahaha....I LOVE that one!!! Anyway....most of the "crusted" (as opposed to "crustless") sandwiches were served on her Fiestaware. I always loved these dishes....so, when she was downsizing, I got them!!! :) A little at a time, at first.....a few plates here....a bowl or two there....she would include a few pieces in my Christmas gifts....and my birthday....but, eventually.....I got it all!! And, it has resided in that very prominent location you see in this picture, ever since. It is the built in chimney cupboard of my kitchen....and, what you can see in the picture is a VERY small part of the whole collection.....(there are shelves and shelves above that....) Now....this brings me to this week. I have wanted to use Fiesta at the shop since....I can remember. It just seems right. The colors....the nostalgia....the memories....they all BELONG at Sweet Memories!!! So.....this was THE week. My Husband....the incredibly good sport that he is....ran all over the place to get them. Brought them in (while I was teaching the class....) and ran all of them through the dishwasher so they were ready to use on Thursday. (I just need you to understand that this was no small feat....this was plates, cups, saucers, bowls, little bowls and dessert plates!!!!!!) Both of my daughters have been good sports, too....because the cups are, considerably, smaller.....and need to be on a saucer (for the whole effect......) so they can carry less at a time...and they need to refill more often....so....more running. And....they have had to listen to a tiny bit of back lash from the guys who are calling them "tea cups"....but, I think they love them as much as I do....because they hold special memories for them, too. They have been in that place of honor you see in this picture their whole lives!!! So they remind them of their childhoods as well.....and all of those "crusted" sandwiches.....(and, for all of you who know the girls....I guess you can see which one ATE the crusts :):):) Now you know the story....and now you know why I am so excited about these plates!! We take a lot of pride in what we do....day in and day out. We strive to make your visit with us relaxing, fun, delicious....and memorable. But, above all else....we want you to feel like family....and these new dishes are just another way that we can do that. I hope you are planning to come and visit with us soon....so that you can enjoy these dishes, too....if you bring your "guys".....please tell them NOT to make a joke about the cup...and remember....if you want curly hair....you have to eat the crust!!! :):):)