Thursday, November 06, 2008

Christmas '08 Reveal

.The (snow) dust has finally settled on our Open House weekend and even though I left the city for St. Louis on Saturday (for Elizabeth's wedding- WAIT until I post those pics!) the crowd just kept on coming. In the end we were blessed with 16% more business than last year- Praise the Lord! The staff is wiped out but it is also energizing to see the reactions of all our customers. The staff helped many regulars and greeted newcomers all the while bagging, straightening and still bringing out items we couldn't get to because of the sea of boxes. I have finally been able to sit and load the pictures I shot before we opened the doors, so take a look at our Christmas wonderland. Many items have come and gone and newer product has appeared. Check back for more pics as the month goes on. Whew... It never ends really. I am already planning Christmas for next year!

From the 'What was I thinking?' category: When the paper icicles I wanted to cut for all the windows didn't work out, I had an 11th hour thought to order peel and stick snowflakes for the windows. When they came, they were half the size I expected and they were not completely punched out. I had to peel off and pick out holes (with a seam ripper) of 640 plastic #%@$#&*!! snowflakes.
After an inspirational dinner at Peasant in New York, I decided I wanted four cords of wood piled by the front door as customers entered the shop. On the day of the Open House the guy I had ordered it from never showed. I called every guy with firewood on Craig's List that day saying, "Uh yea, I need to rent wood for six weeks and can you deliver it right now"? They all thought I was nuts. But I finally found a good 'ol boy and his fiance who made two trips to load it in before the guests arrived. I may keep it all year I love the look so much.

Above, the famous 10' zinc covered oyster shucking table from New Orleans I schlepped back from Round Top. All the hurricanes were from a customers wedding I helped with. I had this vision months ago and it is exactly as I had wanted it. The chairs were frantically found over the weekend and the angel wings were a last minute thought of mine as we were setting up. The table and all the wings sold in 12 hours.

My special room of Thanksgiving Americana.

THE LODGEI called this the Ralph Lauren room for months until all the elements started to come together. It was not nearly as polished as Ralph would have done so it ended up being called the Lodge! Last minute cowhide rugs and an antler chandelier were borrowed from Tracy at Cactus Creek. Below, a faux fireplace I found on the curb.

THE GARDEN SHEDWith six of us manning the ship, we carefully moved the garden shed to the middle of the store and prepared it for the outdoor snow palace I had envisioned. Donnie was responsible for putting this together with Jess by his side.

A custom scent designed for us by local Pickwick Candles: First Snow.

THE SNOW CASTLESMy famous football benches from home came in to display our house collection.


To add height everywhere, I went overboard making banners for the store. Above, this Peace On Earth pennant I made from our flag wrapping paper; cut into sheets, letters added through the printer with glitter edges glued for sparkle.

The toy piano and majorette hats also found at Round Top.


Thick felt snowflake garland hung over the bed with last years favorite polar bears.

Special signage I made throughout using our postcard art.

The French flag shown in back I also made for the Junior League show.

FRENCH MARKETAbove, our new fabulous item: Bamboo mats with Spencerian script.


I was really happy with this pennant: Religious sketches screened behind the words EMMANUEL. In the reversed area, a scripture quote about the birth of Christ.

This great blackened antique angel from a friends stash.

My year long project: Collecting antique crystal and silver salt and pepper shakers, wired as ornaments and then adding the verse.

ANOTHER REASON FOR THIS SEASON! Below, my glorious, hardworking staff. Thanks a million you guys. It would not have been possible without each and every one of you! I am blessed.
Back row, L to R: Ruth, Abby, Heather, Dana, Cindy, Katy
Seated: Jess and Donnie

As usual in the first week of November, the store is full, inviting and magical and I am so pleased to walk around and see the variety that is offered this year. We have traditional greens and wreaths along with glitter or snow items to change things up. I am also happy with our large supply of jewelry, accessories, books and objects for gift giving- and more is still on the way. Please add us to your list of 'must see' shops this month.

This week I am on the midnight project bandwagon as I prepare a van full of merchandise to showcase at the Silver Bella Show in Omaha this Friday night. This is the brainchild of Teresa McFayden and followed by many fans of Somerset Studios. I was fortunate to get a booth after a cancellation and will be taking a great variety of goods from the store for a Friday night Market Fair. Hope you can make it.

Above, from the Open House, my friend Amy Barickman (aka Vintage Workshop see Women Entreprenuers, Country Living, March '07) will tag along with me to Silver Bella to help me set up and scout for new talent.

Also, we are thrilled to announce a special event Saturday, December 20 featuring Sally from Widgeonwood Farms. She is known in KC for her Marche 'de Jour farmers market that is offered every Saturday, March- October. Sally and her husband produce homemade quiche, cheeses, breads, chocolates, gazpacho, mixes and organic goods. I have been begging her to move her business to our center and this March she is! But every December she chooses a store to do a special Holiday Market of homemade goodies and I jumped at the chance to host this event. The store will clear out an area for her presentation along with our array of entertaining paraphernalia. This will be the last minute place for fresh gifts and entertaining foods. Mark it down.