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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Roll up those sleeves!!!!

It's time to say goodbye to July 2013. It has been a month to remember!! Some of the most horrible Summertime weather....ever....and, without a doubt....some of the BEST!!! A crazy, busy month...that's for sure!! A month of wonderful happenings...like our daughter's wedding....and a month of some not-so-wonderful happenings, too. Yes....July 2013 will be remembered!

But....no matter how you feel about the coming of Fall...no matter if you love the idea...or hate it...the time has come to give it my undivided attention. Does that mean Summer is over?? No...of course not!! I am hoping to get a lot more swimming time in...a lot more sitting and relaxing and enjoying, too. But you know how the old saying goes....first we work, then we play!! And we have a lot of work to do!!

Not only do I want to get the ball rolling on our Fall and Halloween displays....I have big plans for room makeovers!! I have some new display pieces....and I want to move things all around in every room of our gift shops...BEFORE we start to unpack the goodies!! By the time we are done....shopping in the gift shops at Sweet Memories will be a whole "new" experience!!

We have some of the best (and I say that every year)...Fall and Halloween....(and Christmas, too) merchandise that we have ever had!! I am so excited for all of you, my fellow Halloween fanatics, to see what we've got!! The ideas for displays are, literally, keeping me up at night!! But there is more....much more....to the coming of Autumn around here!! We are, also, just weeks, really, from "The 1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween" event. It is time to get the details together for the Haunted Gingerbread House class....we need to make them even better than last year....although that might be a hard task because they were AWESOME last year!!! I know you guys are all wondering about the Christmas Gingerbread House classes, too. Lots and lots going on!!

Like I said....I am not saying goodbye to Summer....but it IS time to roll up those sleeves and get going on these huge projects!! The sooner I make all of these "keeping me up at night" thoughts and ideas into reality....the sooner I can go sit by the pool and enjoy the rest of Summer 2013!!

Stay tuned....I will let you know as soon as I can about the gingerbread classes....and the BIG reveal!!! Oh my...but this IS exciting!!! Have a great day everybody!!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Best....

To everything there is a season...and a breaking point. I think last week's weather leveled the playing field!!

I have had Fall and Halloween on my mind for weeks...granted it was in the "way back" part while we were getting ready for the wedding....but it was still there!! It's part of my job. Just like magazine writers and editors are months and months ahead....so, too, are retailers. You have to be. But...up until the inferno that was last week....I didn't have all that much company. Now...I think the boat is full!!!

If we never have that much heat and humidity...all at the same time...ever again...it will be alright with me!! But...it sure made getting into the "Fall spirit" very, very easy!!! I have displays and plans rolling around and around in my mind. I want to change everything....really mix things up...and make this the best Halloween and Fall season ever. I am even thinking about an open house. Well....MY kind of open house...I will keep you informed!! I have new display pieces on the way...a few more orders to place....and a whole lot of work to do!! I'm just not happy unless I have BIG projects in the works!! I want the gift shops at Sweet Memories to be, not only the best that they can be, but the best....period!! I want to be your go-to place for gifts, for Holidays, for yourself....just because!! That doesn't happen without work!!

Yesterday....a good portion of my BIG Halloween order came in....very exciting!!! It's, also, a great motivator. I want all of you...my avid Halloween shoppers...to get to see all of the amazing new goodies, too. So....the process has begun. It's a slow process...so don't expect to see Halloween this weekend. However....if there is something that caught your eye in our upstairs gift shops....get in here and get it!! Any day now the witches, pumpkins and ghosts will show up....and Summertime 2013 will be just a memory. And, let's be honest, after last week....who will argue???

Monday, July 15, 2013

They did it...their way!!!!!

You talk, and plan, throw ideas around. Look for pictures, shop, change your mind. Make lists....lots of lists!! Plan some more....change your mind, again. Work, work, work. Allow inspiration to guide you...try to be flexible. Make some more lists. Change your mind, yet again!! Plan some more...throw around a few more ideas. Work, work, work....weed, weed, weed....cook, cook, cook....and then...it's over!!

This was a "non-traditional" wedding. I used that term a thousand times whenever I was asked the "traditional" questions. If you know my daughter....and her HUSBAND (that will take a little getting used to!!! teeheehee!!!).....you would expect nothing else.

I HIGHLY recommend a "non-traditional" wedding!!

There is something SO wonderful about being exactly who you are, exactly where you want to be....surrounded by exactly who you want to be surrounded by....dressed exactly the way you want to be dressed, eating exactly what you want to be eating...and laughing with exactly the most important people in your life!!

        "Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer." ~~~ Jean de La Fontaine

They didn't have a "wedding party"....they had an amazing group of friends...and family...brothers and sisters, cousins, friends from childhood...and some from not all that long ago...that came together and got along right from the start!! Not only did they help them to celebrate....they helped...period!! Everything that needed to get done....they all pitched in and did it!! Setting up the tables, blowing up the balloons, hanging lanterns, lighting candles, taking pictures, carrying food, parking cars...and getting the flamingos where they belonged (very, very long story!!!) It was awesome to watch....and all of them are welcome in my home anytime!!

We had blue, antique ball jars on the tables...and they were to be filled with flowers. Oh....I went around and around about what to fill them with....I didn't want to fill them with the same flowers that were in the garden (6 inches away!!!)....I thought about daisies...and almost went that route...and then...inspiration!! When the girls were little my MomMom used to stop on the side of the road, on her way up to visit, and "pick" Queen Anne's Lace. They would fill jars with colored water and hope that the flowers would "suck it up" and turn the color of the water!! So....at the crack of dawn..."big sister" (and other future son-in-law :) ) found themselves driving down the country roads "picking" Queen Anne's Lace for the tables!! Just not something you do when you go the "traditional" route. We told her MomMom sent them!!

Yes....I HIGHLY recommend a "non-traditional" wedding!! If you find yourself planning a wedding....please take my advice. Do it YOUR way!! Don't worry about what everyone will think. Don't do things because you are "supposed to"....do the things you want to do!! Surround yourself with the people who matter and make yourself happy!! The sweetest memories are made when you are the happiest....and I don't think I have ever seen her happier!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Keep Calm....and plan on!!!

So....here I sit...on my day off, listening to the rain....AGAIN!!!!!!!! I know there are a whole bunch of you who are die hard Summertime fanatics. I, also, know that right now....this very minute...I am NOT among you!! We will deal with it...we have no choice. We still have things on our to-do list in preparation for my daughter's wedding...and they will get done even if it means getting wet....but I am less than happy with the weather we have been experiencing!!

Now....having said that....I am starting to think "Fall"!! I can hear some of you now...."NO!! Not already!!!" But the plain fact-of-the-matter is....when you are in retail...you are ALWAYS a few months ahead....or out of business!!

I am on the planning committee for "The 1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween" event and I put the flyers out, on the counter, at the shop. I want you to be aware of this event....and plan ahead so that you can attend. It is a great event, it benefits a great historical property and it gets better and better every year. I feel as though NOT giving all of you the opportunity to know about it, and be there for it, is a great disservice to you. The reactions to the flyer have been interesting...and somewhat predictable!! Many, many, many of you see it, grab it and are excited by it. Some of you say "NO!! Not already!!!"

The bottom line...if you love the Fall....and Halloween....you love it year 'round. There is no "season"....or right or wrong time to think about it. I know this is a true statement....because Halloween collectables sell all year long!! The same holds true for Christmas. If Christmas is your Holiday....then you keep it in your heart all the year through (as you should!!!)...and, Christmas collectables sell all year long, too!!

I have had a lot on my plate, recently, with all of the planning for the wedding. It should be enough....but the fact is...I have a responsibility, to all of you....our wonderful customers....to make each and every Holiday special and to carry the most amazing Holiday merchandise I can find!! In order for that to happen I HAVE to be months and months ahead. Period. I have to order and plan WAY ahead of time....or the next Holiday will not live up to your expectations...or, much more demanding, mine.

So, regardless of my own personal schedule, and the happenings in my private life, I pulled out the calendar and started to plan for "the big makeover"...the day when the Halloween would start to make it's appearance. This is no small feat!! This is hours and hours just to get "the bones" (pun intended!!!) in place...and then days and days, afterward, of setting up new displays, tweaking the existing ones and adding new merchandise as it arrives!! I posted the fact that I was checking out the calendar....and starting to plan for the "big day"...and the reaction was interesting....and somewhat predictable!! I just want to go on record, here, and tell you that I am NOT doing it right this second....calm down...I was simply planning!! I think part of the reaction to "the rushing of the Holidays" is the, almost disrespectful, way that the "big box" stores handle the transition. Throw it all on the shelf....the Christmas decorations on one side...Halloween on the other. Let me assure you....that is NOT the case in our shops!!

I treat each and every Holiday as if it is my favorite (because, truthfully, at the moment we are experiencing it...it is!!!) and I try to give all the other "enthusiasts" out there plenty of time to find, and purchase, those special things to add to their collections. I also try to give us all a little extra time to enjoy!! What could possibly be "wrong" with surrounding yourself with a little "taste of Fall"...and treating yourself to a little day dreaming...on a hot day in August?? Nothing!! Does it mean that the Summer is "over"?? Of course not!! It just means that there is something to look forward to...and I don't see anything wrong with that!!