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Monday, March 25, 2013

Traditions.....

Twas the week before Easter....(although it doesn't FEEL like it around here)...it's ALMOST time to don that Easter bonnet!! I don't know if it's the weather or the fact that Easter is early this year but I think it started to sink in this past week!!

All of a sudden everyone is scrambling for the candy, cards, gifts and decorations!! Once you have been in the retail business for any length of time....you know the patterns. My Halloween collectors start to look for their treasures early....VERY early!! Christmas is a steady seller all through November and December (and...June and April and.....) Spring sells early....because we all have a case of "please make it get here..." but Easter is, usually, a "Oh my goodness...it's the week before"....kinda Holiday!!

I work the gift shop part of the business once a week....I mean...I "work" it all the time...it's a very important component of Sweet Memories....but I am, physically, working IN the gift shop one day a week. I had some very wonderful conversations this week. Those conversations made me realize how many of you consider Sweet Memories to be a part of your traditions.

Let me clarify....I KNOW that we are part of your birthday traditions....I have made some of your cakes every year for a LONG time!! I know we are part of your first and last day of school celebrations....your "get together for this or that" celebrations, your baby shower and bridal showers....and, for a lot of you, your "it's Friday or Sunday" tradition every single week :)....but the conversations I had this week were about the gift shops. They were about the decorations that make all of the Holidays special. That Christmas ornament, Santa or Byers' Caroler that you have to have...that special Halloween piece that you, specifically, come in to our store to find....and that special Easter decoration that will make you, and your family and guests, smile this Sunday!!

I just want to take a moment to tell you guys....I love my job!! I, also, want to say "Thank You" for being our loyal customers....and, more importantly, friends. Thank You for making us a part of your Holidays, celebrations, traditions.....and family!!~~~ I hope this Easter is filled with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, peanut butter eggs.....Springlike temperatures....health, happiness...and "Sweet Memories"!!!!!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring classes are on the way.....

It's almost time. It's almost here. The Spring classes are starting at Sweet Memories!! Just two weeks to go....and THEN we will KNOW Spring has arrived!!

I must say....I have struggled a little bit with this schedule! I start to feel like a broken record....like we have done it all!! So I decided to hand the responsibility of coming up with the "subjects" back to you!! On one hand....the responses were very interesting!! Soups, casseroles, cooking for two....my secret recipes (nice try!!) on the other hand...they were kinda all over the place....and I found myself back to square one. The problem is....I NEED to have a "theme"....I NEED boundaries!! Anyone who knows me...well...knows that I don't, necessarily, play by the rules....I march to my own drummer...but I am, also, a control freak who needs to have everything planned.

So.....I decided to call this set of classes..."Celebrating Spring". A series of classes all about this most wonderful of seasons!! It will give me creative control....I can incorporate the subjects that you guys requested without having to "fit" them in any particular "theme"....and everyone is happy!! ~~~ As it turns out....that is not true!! I NEED a theme....I NEED those boundaries!!!! Hmmmm.....Guess what I did for part of my Monday??? I now have three "themes"....Each one will celebrate Spring....as promised...and I will fit ALL of your requests in...(except my "secret recipes"....nice try!!) and NOW everyone is happy!!

There is a VERY little bit of room left...if you are interested in joining us....call NOW!! For all of you who have, already, signed up.....and WANT to know the themes....too bad!! :) I want to keep them a surprise!! I will tell you, however, we are going a little "old school" (hahaha...get it??) and the "tablescapes" will be back!!! We are gonna have a party...(well...THREE parties!!) and we are gonna "Celebrate Spring"....come hungry...and ready to take notes and ask questions.....school is back in session!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How does your Garden grow??........

Just a few days to go!! And then.....SPRING!!!
Are you a Gardener?? If you answered "yes" to that question then you know what a wonderful....and yet frustrating...time of year this is!! Your mind is racing....you have BIG plans...you want to move this, rebuild that, add the other thing....but, most of all, you want to go plant shopping!!! But, the bottom line...it's too early!! We have had a couple of "teaser" days....days that were warm enough to get a little clean up done. But, let's be honest, although we know all of that HAS to get done....it's just not curing the Spring fever!!

So....let's try to distract ourselves!!~~~ What KIND of gardener are you?? Flowers, herbs, vegetables.....all of the above?? Do you have a big space...a small space...pots on the patio?? All of it qualifies!! Some people assume if you say "my garden" that you are referring to a plot with straight lines full of tomatoes, peppers and carrots....and that IS a garden!! But....so is a bed full of roses. A border of iris. Marigolds lining your front walkway. The pots full of hummingbird flowers on your porch.~~ These pictures are of my herb garden....just one section of my "garden". I have roses, old-fashioned flowers, flowers for hummingbirds and butterflies, woodland shade lovers, magical plants and flowers (in my magic/fairy gardens...) and lots and lots of herbs!! It is my hobby, it is our "vacation" spot, consumes all of my "free time"....and I love it!!

Now...my next question is.....HOW does your garden grow?? What is your style?? I like controlled chaos!!! Everything has a place....and a reason for being where it is....but then I like the beds to be full and "natural"....I don't use hedge trimmers....I prune by hand. I have no problem with things that self seed....although I DO get pretty aggressive with invasive and uninvited guests....and I move things if they have taken up residence where I don't want them....and I don't have "rows" of anything!! I am, also, a firm believer in "decorating" the garden. As much as we want visitors to see our plants...and all of our hard work....the periodic disruption that focal points add MAKE your garden and give you the opportunity to show your personality! The new "flea market" gardening trend is really popular right now (of course....we have been doing it for 20 years...) reuse, recycle, re-purpose...but anything that speaks to you...and adds some of YOUR personality makes your garden special!!

Because I am so passionate about my own garden...I spend a lot of time trying to find wonderful things (to carry in our gift shops) that will make YOUR garden the talk of the neighborhood!! And....the orders are starting to show up!! This is ALMOST as exciting as plant shopping!! Fairies and gnomes, bird feeders and bird baths, decorative thermometers, rain gauges, plant stakes, bird houses, mushrooms, signs....even the lock and keys to the secret garden!! I sure hope that you plan a visit (actually...more than one would be a good idea!!) with us this season!! There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing you with a "treasure" that makes you smile!! I would love to hear about your garden plans, see pictures of your treasures in their new homes....and maybe even swap a few tips. While all of us might have different styles and ideas about our gardens, we do have one thing in common....we LOVE to talk about them!!! I'm right....aren't I?? :) Please feel to leave a comment below....or post some pictures on Facebook....I would love to know..."How does your garden grow"!!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Looking UP!!!!!!

I am an optimistic person. I try to deal, immediately, with whatever problems come my way....and try NOT to dwell on negative thoughts (or people) any longer than necessary. It is a very helpful....perhaps even essential...asset when you own a business (and have to deal with the public)...but it is beneficial in every area of life. This week was a great example!!

We have no control over the weather. Period. I do think, however, that there needs to be some control over how the weather people tell us about it!! This time last week they were predicting a "major" event here in our neck of the woods...which turned out to be a big flop (surprise, surprise...) but there was just enough media hype to scare the crackers out of you....it made for a very challenging beginning to the week. Both of my daughters live just far enough away that getting to work is considered a "commute"....and the media was, basically, telling you to stay put (you know...the typical "get your milk and bread...you will be housebound for days" stuff!!) so they did. This left us with a VERY skeleton crew....(if you were one of the super sweet patient people who joined us on Wednesday...you know what I am talking about!!!) a problem...yes. Deal with it and move on!!!

We had another challenge a few days later....my husband had a little eye surgery. We are a small (intentionally....) family run business. When parts of that small family that is running the business is out...well...I don't know if you have ever tried to drive a car with a missing wheel...but that is as good an explanation as any!!! Lots and lots of challenges....problems if you will....deal with them as they arise...try not to dwell!!

But then....just as sure as there will be problems and challenges....they are over. We move on. Things get back to normal....and the light at the end of the tunnel is right in front of you....bright...and COLORFUL!!! My daughter finished the transformation of our chandelier!! I have always disliked this lighting fixture. I have, on more than one occasion, tried to find something cool, funky and unique to take it's place. I expressed this desire, yet again, during our recent re-decorating projects....and she suggested attempting to paint the crystals!! She has been doing it...a little at a time...for a few weeks. Taking a few down at a time (when time would allow!!) and painting them all different colors!! And this is the end result!!!

So....what IS the lesson learned?? There is no point in dwelling on the negative....take one problem on at a time....do your best in every situation....and ALWAYS know that, eventually, things will start to look UP!!! And....the next time you come in to visit with us....make sure you do....because there is a REALLY cool lighting fixture that will, definitely, make you smile!!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Garden Fantasies.....

Tea with Alice.....does it get any better than that?? We went to the Philadelphia Flower Show, yesterday. This year the theme was "brilliant"....because we were in England!! Of course....there are things that you expect to see....the yellow submarine, a British phone booth, something from Hogwarts, a little Beatrix Potter....but somewhere along the line you realize that no matter what the theme is...you are there for the fantasy!! Everyone who gardens starts the season with a fantasy. Perfect flowers, perfect weather, no bugs, no pests, no weeds...but, of course, reality sets in!! You find yourself watering and watering because it's just not raining enough. That flower that you wanted more than anything doesn't like where you put it. Those strawberries that you worked so hard to grow were much appreciated by the birds!! And, no matter how much you weed....they are always a few steps ahead of you!! When we go to these flower shows....we are looking for ideas....we are most definitely looking for Spring....but we are also looking for the "perfection"....for just a few minutes we get to live out our fantasy and see what the garden would look like if everything were healthy, where we wanted it, weed free and blooming...all at the same time!!!
Oh Yes....I would love to have tea here!!!