A peek into my mug cupboard. If you’ve been in my shop you will know I usually have mugs for sale. I only purchase for my boutique things that I would actually buy. And that goes for mugs.
I don’t have a matched set of mugs in my cabinet. I think I have two of my favorite hydrangea mugs but all the others are just one of each design. My criteria for a mug is not if they go with my other dishes or decor. Some were given to me like my Grandma mug (which I love!!), others I bought because I liked the design or the message or, and this drives my husband crazy, seasonal mugs.
My mugs makes me 😊. I love that part of my morning routine is opening my cabinet and choosing a mug. Looking at my mugs reminds me to be positive, reminds me of the loved ones in my life and reminds me of special moments.
It’s a little thing but like everything in our life - it’s the little moments that make up our life and the ones that make our lives special.
I had planned something much different for my post this week. But with everything happening my mind is in a much different place.
Just last week I was getting orders, planning our Spring Open House and very excited to show you all our new beautiful things. I left Saturday never thinking that on Monday I would be putting all orders on hold. That I would be faced with the decision of closing my shop.
Just a few days and our whole world has been turned upside down. I know many people who have been laid off. Many business owners having to close their businesses, making some really tough decisions and facing the reality that once those doors close that they have no money coming in. I along with all small businesses, am in the same situation.
There is a part of me that is really frustrated and anxious and another part of me that is hopeful and thinking all I can do is the best that I can do. So I am working really hard to keep a positive attitude, to not dwell on what I can't change or fix. (I am a big fixer) To look for the positives, there are always positives if you really look for them, and to help in any way I can.
To those of you who are in a situation to help small businesses I encourage you to do so. I am not saying this just for me but all those businesses that are affected. There have been so many posts about small businesses and one that I see repeatedly is "remember the businesses that you always ask for donations - now is the time you can give back to them."
It's human nature when things get difficult to hunker down and make sure we and our families are ok. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it should be our first priority. And in this situation, with social distancing, necessary. But in this day and age we have the ability to stay connected even if we aren't physically going out. This means we can still support small businesses - order on line from them, order take out, buy gift certificates, take advantage of curbside pickup, leave a big tip.
Sending all of you hugs, healing thoughts and wishes for good health.
Beautiful things and practical don't seen to go together. It's my nature to be practical and not waste anything. I think I got this from my Dad. My Mom, while I won't say she was wasteful, didn't hesitate to throw things away and she loved to shop. More on that a few sentences down. My Dad on the other hand would hold on to things forever. He would get every last drop out of something or keep an article of clothing until it really needed to be thrown out. He had a pair of work pants - he would do yard work in them, and they were so old and decrepit that my Mom threw them away a couple of times, but each time my Dad went through the trash and took them out. I remember he had a pair of sneakers that fit this category too. This makes my Dad sound cheap or that he didn't have good clothes. But that wasn't the case. He was a civil engineer and went to work everyday in a suit and tie. We didn't want for anything. He was just practical. He was a saver and a big believer in a budget. He didn't buy cheap things but always thought it was better to buy quality over quantity, hence everything would last a long, long time.
What did I got from my Mom? A love of shopping and I inherited her artistic talent. She was an artist, a photographer, a gardener, a crafter, an animal lover and a registered nurse. Her love of healing led her to be a pioneer of eating organic and living a healthy lifestyle long before it was popular. I can remember growing up in the early 70's and eating some pretty strange things. She was not really practical and never got the hang of a budget but she helped to make everything is little more beautiful.
I really take after my Dad - personality wise - I love being practical, making a budget and I have his calm under pressure manner. But I do have some of my Mom's traits too as you can tell. I really love to shop. So sometimes the different sides of my personality clash. I love beautiful things and sometimes beautiful things are not practical. That's probably where one of the guidelines I use when buying product for my shop came from - it must be useful in some way and beautiful too. I have found that there are a many things that fit that category!
Dad, thank you for sharing the practical, the power of budgeting and how to manage people. Mom, thank you for sharing your love of beautiful things and how important they are in life too. Beautiful Things is a direct reflection of you both!
How did I start my business? Did I have a well laid out plan? No. But I believe that the universe gives you what you think about. Looking back I now realize that that’s what happened.
18 years ago I gave my notice as general manager of a local restaurant chain. I didn’t really know what I was going to do next. But circumstances were moving into place even though I was unaware of them. I was already renting a space that I used to work on different creative things and assemble gift baskets. My best friend and I would go to craft shows and sell out of our gift baskets. At one show, right after I gave my notice, my girl friend suggested that I open up a gift shop. I thought, ok why not. The space I was using as a studio was perfect for a retail location.
December 2, 2002 I opened the doors of Beautiful Things, filled with lots and lots of gift baskets. While I had lots of experience running a business and lots of creativity I had lots to learn about the gift shop business. Where do I buy products? Wholesale vendors - how to find them? Advertising? Budgeting? Busy times verses slow? Paycheck? Learning the whole new world of entrepreneurs - and finding it very different from being an employee.
It was the best decision I have made. While it hasn’t always been easy I love what I do. I get to be creative and have found along the way that being an entrepreneur suits me. I have learned a lot about myself and have challenged myself to move out of my comfort zone many times. I have also learned that I could not have done this without support - my husband is my biggest supporter - I know I drive him crazy sometimes but he’s in this 100%. Thanks so much honey!
It has been a long time since I did a post! Over a year. I can't believe it's been that long.
What a year last year was - we moved our shop to a new location, my Mom passed away in the middle of renovating our new shop, and I was crazy busy with weddings.
It took over 4 months to transform our new home for Beautiful Things. New floors, every wall repainted, new bathroom and new lighting. I am still in the process of putting my office together and there is still one room my husband has to finish, but, finally I feel it all coming together. There was so much to adjust to last year, especially Mom passing. You never are really ready for your parents to pass away, no matter how long you have them for.
So one of my goals this year is work on my blog! One post a week ....
Trash picking, dumpster diving, yelling "stop the car", I've done it all. So much, that my husband cringes when he spies a piece of furniture on the side of the road. He hopes I won't see it. But the funny thing is, is that he is the one that brought home the piece you see above. It sat in our cellar for quite a while. I think it was actually part of cabinets that were in a kitchen. It was the perfect piece that I was looking for!
I had been wanting an old bureau to plant flowers in. This has been something I've wanted to do for a while and I love the way it came out. The piece is in pretty bad shape but is perfect for this. It was painted the green and somewhat distressed. So I asked my husband to really sand it, take it right down to the wood in some places. You can tell it's been painted a couple of times - there is even a pale pink that shows through on the sides!
All I had to do was add flowers - I even left the flowers in the pots they came in - so easy and so pretty.
It's the first day of summer! School will be out very soon. The beach is calling. Flip flops are the perfect footwear. Eating outside is best way to enjoy a meal. Staying light later makes the summer evenings last just a little longer. What is it about this glorious season that says "Summer is Here" for you?
For me, it's not summer until I make my first pitcher of ice tea. So cooling & refreshing. Ice tea is my go-to drink for the beach. It's so simple to make! I just have to share my recipe with you.
I use Lipton's Tea but any kind of tea will work. I like my tea a little tart so I use 2 lemons and only 2/3 cup of sugar. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar, but I find it too sweet.
I wish I knew where I found this recipe but I can't remember. So we call it Whitley Ice Tea.
Whitley Ice Tea
12 tea bags
2/3 c. of sugar
8 cups of water
Put 2 cups of water in a small saucepan.
Add the tea bags.
Bring to just before boiling.
Let the tea mixture steep for 15 minutes.
Squeeze the 2 lemons into a pretty pitcher.
Add the sugar, the steeped tea and remaining water.
Stir well, chill and enjoy!
Like everyone I know, it seems like my day never ends. There is always one more thing to do. Do you feel that way?
I noticed that, as I got older, my energy was lagging and more aches and pains started to appear. Uggh! Not that I really mind getting older - not that much :) - but I don't want to act old!
So I decided to do something about it. While I know a lot about eating healthy, I have to confess I didn't always eat that way. And fruit, well I hardly ever added it to my diet. Vegetables are different, I don't mind them at all. But, I knew I wasn't eating enough. Add in my crazy schedule and that fact that I am not 20 anymore, well my body started to tell me I needed to change my eating habits.
I started to juice and I have to say that within a few days I saw a difference. My energy increased. That was the first thing I noticed and then other subtle changes. I have even added spinach and other vegetables. I do have to say they taste really good. My granddaughter even asks for one every time she comes over.
I am not writing this to promote juicing and healthy eating. I am writing this because as busy as we are every day we have to take time to listen to our bodies, to take time for ourselves and to do something just for ourselves. Every woman I know needs to do this - we usually put ourselves last.
So while juicing is a little thing, I make time everyday to make one. I have made it an important part of my morning routine. I even make one for my husby. Then the crazy day can begin!
It's the new year, and I'm sure like me, you are thinking of better ways to organize yourself.
From my closets to desk and of course my never ending to do list, I am hoping to find a system that really works. Better quality of life would be nice too :)
I found this notepad, called My Fabulous Day Pad by Karen Adams. It's just what I need. It not only helps me organize my day, there are spots for your to do list & schedule, but it reminds me to take some time for myself everyday. I know this is important, but I never really schedule it into my day, pretty much leaving it up to chance. This hasn't worked out too well.
It also reminds me to thankful! There is a spot for a Daily Gratitude. I love the way the page is setup and the gentle reminders that go along with a fabulous day. I also use it as my mouse pad too!
Who thought a notepad could do all this!
What's your routine when you get home for the evening?
One of the things I love to do, besides changing into my cozy clothes, is to light a candle. I love scents, as anyone who has visited my boutique knows. I have my favorites, and for me, there is no better way to reflect whatever season it is than by a specific scent. So I tend to select candles that coordinate with the time of the year.
Right now I am burning Christmas Sage by Votivo and at my shop Mistletoe by Finding Home is the scent that greets you when you walk in. (today that is, it might be another scent on a different day)
Candles are just another way to make your home your own. Rituals are another way and for me, lighting my candle is part of the ritual of arriving home. Leaving the day and it's happenings behind. Kind of like a big sigh!
Whatever your ritual, I hope it is one that you look forward to. Happy to be home!
Welcome to BT Style & my creative world! Boutique owner, designer, gardener, grandma. I love designing - events, weddings, spaces, stationery, displays, floral .... the list is a long one. And I love beautiful things! I hope you enjoy what I share here in my blog - it could be something I've designed, wedding or event advice, entertaining ideas, stationery designs or anything that catches my fancy as long as it is beautiful &/or creative. Maybe I will inspire you to look for the beauty in everyday life and help you discover your creative side too!