Big News! :)

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main, sidenotes at 2:40 am by carrie

I knew that a few days of being flustered would pay off ;)

My Mom called me at about 8pm to announce that she got the Cottage Style magazine featuring her house in the mail this evening! yay!!!!! (update… if you want to order a magazine, click here and you can buy one on the website!)

Click on the small picture to take you to a larger picture… and when you get to that picture, you’ll see a magnifying glass pointer… use that to make the image larger so you can actually read it :)

Now… for some commentary :) This is her dining room and adjoining living room. The napkins and the chandelier are from the shop, the napkins are from the 50’s. All that pink glass belongs to my Mom. The stylist brought in the tablecloth and the flowers. I find it amusing that there is a lamp on the table :) It looks great, but there isn’t a plug in sight! hehe. Hard to see, but there is a little cubby in the dining room on the right. That used to house a collection of bunnies, but it is now a collection of birthday angels from the 50’s and 60’s. I think a line of cards is in the works featuring the birthday angels. They are so cute!

Notice in the living room… There is a great old-fashioned looking white phone (pottery barn) on top of a table that I made :) It can hold the weight of a phone and a vase, but not much more (thus my desire to learn how to make “real” furniture). The little rose on the front is a cutout that my Mom painted.

The living room… The birdhouse in the corner was made by a local artist and purchased at a local shop called Country Classics. It was made to look like the outside of the house. We’ve already had one request for information on the slipcovers… The lady who made those is close to retiring and resides in the North Hollywood area. I seem to remember my Mom picking out the fabric, buying yards and yards of it and then we spent an evening at the laundrymat washing and folding it all before it was cut up and put together into the slipcovers. A neat tip… my Mom put different fabric on the backs of the seat cushions so you could turn them over and have a totally different look! The couch used to be pink and white striped and the chairs were solid powder blue. It’s amazing what slipcovers can do!

I love this kitchen! I’m surprised they didn’t show the stove… it’s an old o’keefe and merritt stove with 20 burners (I joke) and pictures of Doris Day, Rock Hudson and others cooking with their families :) The teaset over the sink is from the shop, the sink drainer… a mystery. I know it used to be black and I think it came from Target. **UPDATE** The dish drainer came from Ballard Designs! Here’s a LINK to the actual product! YAY! Also, the pink glass drawer pulls and knobs have been for sale at the shop, but I’m currently out! I’ll order some over the weekend and I should have them by next week. If you would like me to let you know when I list them on the website, send me an email :)
Over the doorway to the breakfast room are some cool plates that we carry up at the shop that have pictures of old-fashioned cakes with recipes on them. The vase, cake plate, chandelier and hanging pictures came from the shop. I’m proud to say the hand-painted sign hanging on the door is an original of mine :) I sold it not a week after the photo shoot so I need to make more! It says “Pocket full of Posies” and it’s in shades of lime green, pink and powder blue. I’ll have them on the website by the middle of next week :) Both of the valances in the kitchen and breakfast room are made of the same fabric as the slipcovers o the couch and chairs in the living room.

In the Garden room, she has another slip-covered love seat and that end table came from a local swap meet. I remember carting it out one Saturday morning :) I love the piece in the front, it’s an old rubbish can with hand-painted flowers on it. The make-up girl is from the shop (on the front little end table), the three tier server on the coffee table is also from the shop. I think that wicker green chair came from OSH and the various hand-painted signs are finds from Ebay :) I should post some pics of her back yard, it’s really pretty! The lighting that day was exquisite! I came in after work at 6pm and they were wrapping everything up. I wish I could have been there all day. I have to say, I was so nervous to be around the people from the magazine… I was so impressed with them and the stylist was amazing! I would love to be a set designer, stylist or decorator someday! :)

The bedroom is a beautiful shade of periwinkle that just glows and emanates calmness. My Mom has collected turn-of-the-century hand painted plates for years and you can see a few sprinkles throughout her bedroom and vanity area. The vintage-looking head on the vanity is an ebay find and she is actually new. My Mom has a few of these heads around the house… they take some getting used to, especially if they are near a chair or at eye level… I’ve actually said “excuse me” to the one at the shop once when I was exhausted :) The acrylic blue lamp on her night stand is from the shop, but we’re out of them :( Her bathroom is amazing, too! Lavender, orchid and black tiles and decorated in all violets and black and white photos of celebrities, mostly Doris Day :) I’ll have to post more pics from the bathroom so you can see the light sconces, chandelier and the bathtub nook… really cute and unusual.

This is my favorite picture… because the boys are in it! I’ve blogged about them before, I really love these guys… they are so spoiled rotten!! You flip thru home and cottage magazines and wonder if the dogs and cats are real… I’m here to say, yes they are. It’s strange, Biscuit formed a bond with the photographer and posed for him, it was too cute. They felt right at home with the crew and I bet you it was actually hard keeping them out of some of the shots, they are little hams ;) You can see a few vintage dogs from my Mom’s collection of many, there’s another hanging violet picture.
Also, we’ve had a few inquiries on the desk in this picture… The desk was part of a set she had custom made by a local retailer here in Los Angeles. The name of the store is “Country Classics”. The owner’s name is Mark and I just talked to him. He said that desk has a “gingerbread” look and it was custom made to fit a certain wall in my Mom’s house. You can call and give him your dimensions and they can put something together for you. The piece is quite heavy (and sturdy) and made really well! I think they made it, painted it and delivered it. Country Classic’s number is: (818) 957-5156. Please tell them Violets are Blue sent you, then they’ll know what desk you are asking about ;)

I think all-in-all her house looks a lot like the shop… similar colors and themes in the different rooms. Oh how I would love to have the dogs here on a daily basis ;)


The trials of owning a shop…

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main, sidenotes at 3:53 pm by carrie

It’s almost 4 pm… and I’m just sitting down to have lunch and I’m so hot and sweaty from running around that I could just scream!

This is sort of a pity parade in my honor so there is no need to read this, especially if you are in a happy mood! ;)

I shouldn’t have jinxed the register last night with my last post. I got up here today and the register was completely fried. I think there was some sort of power spike, and although it was on a power strip, something got to it. It’s frozen and no amount of unplugging or banging on it will make it work :( I’ve been doing manual receipts all day and trying to keep sane in the process.

The wind blew in all sorts of leaves and debris which has been left for the cleaning fairies… I was unable to even get to that this morning! I’ve been bombarded by calls all day, and asked them all to call me back. I think I sounded a bit rude so if you on the other end of the receiver this morning, it’s not personal, I’m just having a bad day :)

So, between the sneezing and the trying to put back the merchandise from the home show this weekend, I’m trying to imagine myself on a tranquil, quiet beach. Ahhhh….

Luke warm salad… mmmmmm….

What do you do when someone returns a damaged item from a company that has disappeared and doesn’t return your calls? hmmmm….

On the bright side, I get to go cash register shopping tonight and our bookkeeping is done thanks to Tami. Cindy has been a HUGE help with my frequent calls and whining while she looks up registers on costco.com. Thanks everyone :)

Now, back to my warm salad…

Comfort Food a la Ina

Posted in Main, sidenotes at 1:03 am by carrie

The Santa Ana Winds are kicking up tonight, my allergies are going crazy and we just spent the last 90 minutes “battening down the hatches” at the shop. The wind really comes through the foothills whirling and wreaking havoc on everything in its path. We put up a guard on the door so it would only open out and not blow in, I watered all the plants down and made sure the little trees were secure and we changed the batteries on the cash register. Why do I do this? Well… during our last wind spell the power went out for a long time. (WOW… as I typed that, the power just went off and on… Nathan has an UPS, or interruptible power supply so the computer didn’t do anything but the lights are flickering… yikes!)

Anywho… where was I… oh yes… cash register… it was a bear setting that bad boy up. It has a very counter-intuitive way about it. Even Nathan, programmer by day, had a hard time with it. And I learned all about it this last spring! It dumped all our information, sales categories and running totals. I used paper receipts until I could figure it out, and everything started from square one at that point… argh! So, those of you out there in the market for a new cash register… see if you can get one with a wonderful backup system, because mine… ain’t so good :)

So, on to comfort food. Because I’m freaked out about getting a wake-up call regarding glass windows and the like, I started craving something warm and fuzzy. My first thought… chocolate pudding! (of course!) So, I just whipped up Ina’s Recipe for Double Chocolate Pudding :) Here is her recipe, from the food network website:

Remember My-T-Fine chocolate pudding? It’s the ultimate comfort food. Well, I like to take something familiar and bump up the flavor with high-quality ingredients. This pudding gets its flavor from good cocoa powder and imported semisweet chocolate. It’s the real thing and, surprise!, it’s not much harder to make than the packaged kind, and it’s sooooo much better.

6 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons very good cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 cups milk
1-ounce very good semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and thick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed. On low speed, add the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan and, with the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the chocolate mixture. Combine well, then pour the mixture back into the pan.

Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until thickened. If the mixture begins to curdle, remove it from the heat and beat it vigorously with a wire whisk. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and heavy cream, and mix until the chocolate and butter are melted.

Pour into serving bowls. Place plastic wrap directly on the top of the pudding, and chill thoroughly.

I left the plastic wrap off since I kind of like the skin (eugh, I know…) but alas, it didn’t really have any sort of top layer to speak of.

Meanwhile my eyes are itchy and watery, the wind is howling outside and all I can think about are our little trees and windows getting the brunt of the wind :( Stay strong little trees!

Next time… I shall make enough for everyone ;) That means you, Tyn!!! :) hehe!


Our Halloween Party!!!

Posted in business-a-go-go, Events!, Fun Stuff, Main at 1:38 am by carrie

Our little party last weekend went off without a hitch! It was super busy and lots of people went home with new little spooky friends from the store :)

We decked out the front counter with some fun black garland, carved pumpkins and skull heads. We had tons of treats and goodies!

We were lucky to enough to have some assistance from the neighborhood kids who helped us spread cobwebs all over the front of the store. It looks a little bit like snow but I think I like it better that way ;) The little purple lights twinkled nicely… along with the fog machine blowing smoke out the front door, the passers-by had a lot to look at! :)
More fun spider webs on the outside!
We had ample treats for everyone. Graycee provided us with chocolate, vanilla and spice cupcakes with fun frosting designs! We had swirls (a-la Tim Burton!), lots of sprinkles and fun little spikey topped cupcakes! We started with 4 or 5 dozen and ended the night with about 10 cupcakes.
There was one cupcake casualty… I’m not naming names, but the person who dropped it… you know who you are ;) hehe
Susan T. brought in the most amazing cranberry and jam scones! We called the jam scones the “mystery scones” because for some reason, we didn’t find out what kind of jam they were… they were delicious and pretty with little purple and black sprinkles! I think these are the best scones I have had… ever! This may be a hint that she should open her own tea house, especially since I’m told she has quite the teacup collection ;)
First thing in the morning I got the most wonderful delivery from our good friend Pat who manages another local gift shop. These beautiful flowers were delivered to us by a local florist and they looked and smelled divine! It was the sweetest gesture and it really put a smile on my face. It was kind of funny… I started talking to the lady who delivered them and mentioned her flower shop is down the street from my house… she asked which street it was and it turns out we live 3 houses away from each other… small world! She even came back later in the evening and shopped… very cool :)
Anyone who owns a shop or has had to put together some sort of special event knows how stressful it can be… after talking to Pat in the afternoon she said “I know how hard you work and I wanted to let you know that it is appreciated!” Again, I have to say… if I had to close the shop tomorrow, I would still be so incredibly grateful for the friendships I have made and how much I have learned about business and, as dorky as it sounds, about myself. I have uncovered some talents I never knew I had before as well as what my weaknesses are (paperwork!). I have met people that will stay close to me for the rest of my life… people I would have never met if I wouldn’t have opened these doors. And I’ve created other friendships by introducing people to each other as well. It makes me very happy to think about it :)
Our friend Joe (another great friend from the shop!) made this wonderful black garland by spray painting plain green christmas garland with black and gray spray paint. He added large twigs and spiderwebs and even carved some little pumpkins to stick in, too! We had these white glittery skulls so I stuck them in. All lit up, this looks great from the street :)
If you look carefully, you can see the elusive Babs, wearing a witches’ hat and hiding behind the counter. See how she blends in with the holiday decor nicely.

The weather has been awesome this past week… I keep the front door open and let the cool air come through… it’s great! The other day a bird flew into the shop, perched itself on a little basket to evaluate the situation. I could see its little chest beating so fast… and there was another little bird outside hopping around looking for him. I talked to him (you are allowed to poke fun) and told him where the door was… and he fluttered away. He was welcome to stay but it was far too pretty outside to be indoors.

In other news… I’m currently typing on my new Mac keyboard :) I do like this new computer but I do have to say, there are a lot of differences in the hot keys from my PC. I’m a tad frustrated. I hope Nathan knows that being frustrated has nothing to do with being ungrateful! :) This computer is a work of art!!! I’m a little intimidated by it… I think it can sense my fear. I will master its inner workings soon :)

I’m off!!! More to blog tomorrow as we had a very full week with the La Crescenta Home Tour and other adventures! Happy Monday to all!


*error error… does not compute*

Posted in Main, sidenotes at 4:47 pm by carrie

So… my computer at home broke :( I am currently in the mood to drop-kick it into little bits… The computer at the shop works (knock on virtual-wood) for now but I don’t have my happy scanner etc etc that I do at home :( bummer!

But it’s Nathan to the rescue on a white… errr… imac. I have never had a mac and I am getting one. And it sure is pretty! I can’t wrap my little brain around the idea that I’m getting a brand-spanking new happy computer from a great company with a great marketing campaign! yay! Something that works out of the box and has a monitor that isn’t 3 feet deep!

So, later this week… pics from the open house, more art and other random-ings… as usual!

Happy Monday!!!! :)


Ms. Milligan is Pure Genius!

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main at 1:23 am by carrie

(And has more energy than a toddler! hehe)

My friend Cathi just finished shooting two episodes of Craft Lab with Jennifer Perkins on the DIY Network!

Cathi is on the far right next to the show’s host Jennifer Perkins. (This girl has more links than anyone I’ve ever met!!! Blogs, websites, myspace pages, DIY stuff… oh my!)

I’m not quite sure when Cathi’s Craft Lab show is going to be on but Cathi is already on rotation on the DIY network demonstrating some of her bead making skills!

So please keep an eye out for her in upcoming shows!!! I’m super excited for her!

p.s…. Cathi is the lady who makes all the cupcake beads I rave about on a daily basis ;) And, we are talking about collaborating on some other nifty projects in the future… something about an art co-op and some youtube videos, she hasn’t told me my purpose yet ;)


Go Ask Alice…

Posted in Main at 4:29 am by carrie

Anyone who knows me, knows I really enjoy Alice in Wonderland… anything. Cakes, films, art… But, ironically (or lazy on my part) I have never read the books. Shame on me. I have a few of the books just for the sake of the art, but I really should sit down and read them. Although, the Disney film will always be my favorite ;)

I stumbled onto a few great websites that feature Alice art and fans of the stuff. An Alice in Wonderland Film from 1903, Lenny’s Alice site chock-full o’ info. Lauren Harmen has a wonderful site cataloging the art of Alice. This is where I learned about the golden age of children’s book illustrators.
From the aforementioned website:
“This incredible wealth of talent of book illustration, the innumerable fine drawings and paintings combining fantasy, humour and shear beauty, and the array of masterly pictorial cover designs richly adorned in gilt have never been equalled.”

“The Golden Age of children’s book illustration reached it’s undoubted peak in the decade from 1905 to 1914 when dozens of opulent large quarto gift books with mounted colour plates, and hundreds of cheaper but often equally beautiful illustrated volumes were published every year.”

So, finding all these wonderful illustrations and paintings, enjoying them and realizing, there was an actual peak and end of the “golden age” of this movement…I had no idea. New respect… forming.

I’ve got the book on my amazon wish list ;)

Everyone is quite familiar with the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel, but the vast amounts of other Alice art contributors is amazing… I’m just now finding out about some of them. Strictly from doing research on Alice art, I’m finding that these illustrators not only did works featuring Alice (imagine that), but other fun characters such as fairies, bunnies and cats dressed as people and gave us a window to other magical places. Pieces of art that I’ve seen before, but now have a newfound appreciation for.
I’m quite fond of the illustrations of Charles Folkard. Colorful, quirky, whimsical and a few somewhat macabre. I’d like to get a collection of his work and frame it.
Arthur Rackham…

Then… there’s the ride at Mouseland… The more senses you use while enjoying a medium, the better ;) Many of my art presentations in college included food, scratch and sniff panels, light shows, music, smoke effects… okay, was that adding or distracting?? hmmm… My first dream was to be an Imagineer… but now that they no longer exist in their true original form, I will find other ways to amuse and amaze people ;) I’m still looking…

The marching cards…
Detail of the Queen and King of Hearts’ castle…
The ending with the mad teaparty…
The spinny teacups accross the way :)
… and the cheshire cat pointing the way :)

So, I’m going to continue my quest… discovering new art and artists. It’s pure inspiration and completely fascinating to me. It’s our history :)

Although… I’ve been getting inspiration from an unlikely source lately… old cookbooks. Some of that shiney, over-stylized food that looks as far from edible as you can get is strangely attractive to me.

This cake is 10% flour, 10% sugar and 80% food coloring…. mmmmmm… so, naturally, I had to draw it! This will become a board soon, too! :)

Lastly… my Mom sent me this picture tonight… along with this email:
I thought you might want this “logo” you drew when you were about 4 or 5. I had to make a rubber stamp since it was so great — I had a clue then you were going to be very artistic :)

Watch out! The triangle people are coming!

Disneyland can be spooky…

Posted in Main, outings, sidenotes at 3:46 am by carrie

In 2001, I dragged three people with me to the first Nightmare Before Christmas event held at Disneyland. It was a special event with limited tickets, lots of limited edition stuff to buy (pins!) and a sneak-peak of the newly-transformed Haunted Mansion. Tim Burton was supposed to go and we got a last minute call that he wasn’t going to make it, but a few of the voices of the Nightmare Before Christmas characters from the film went and a good time was had by all.

Here is a picture of the stage from one of the nightmare events which started at the Snow White/Fantasyland theatre… disclaimer… I’m not sure which event this is from. I’m sure someone who is more into it than I could, at a glance, tell me exactly the hour and minute this was taken, not to mention the year… but… in any case… it was really cool.
At one of the events, they served rice krispy treats covered in food coloring in the shape of a pumpkin. Tasty, but a little harder than your average krispy treat. I still have some other souvenirs from that night… packed in a box… somewhere… and I think there is halloween themed candy in that box, too… eugh… 3 year old candy.

The mansion looked awesome!

They had Nightmarish characters singing spooky pumpkin carols entertaining us while in line for the Haunted Mansion, with the words behind them on clever large scrolls.
I was lucky enough to get two Haunted Mansion framed lenticulars at the first event.

Why am I bringing all this up? There’s a 90% chance we’ll be heading to Disneyland tomorrow (today, actually) to see how Disneyland has decorated for Halloween this year. We were going to go tonight but I kind of sort of fell asleep and my little “nap” turned into a 4 or 5 hour sleep fest :) We’ll take pictures of our findings and post them… for old time’s sake. I’m hoping I’ll find some older pictures from any of the events… I may even have video footage… it was a more obsessive time in my life ;)

Meanwhile, at the homefront, I’ve been working on some vintage postcard-inspired art for my halloween boards and cards. I should have them done by the middle of next week… glitterfied!