04 November 2007

Utterly Transformed

The last time I wrote, 'twas the eve of A French-Inspired Noël and I had said I didn't know how everything was going to get done before morning. Somehow, miraculously, it all came together and we opened on time Thursday at 10 AM to a bevy of smiling customers. Of course, we'd only gotten ONE HOUR of sleep the night before, but it was worth it. All I can say is, you know you've worked too long when at 1:45 AM, you speak the words, "I'm just going to lay down on the floor for a while and use this pizza box as a pillow." And then you actually do it.

Now that our weekend soirée is just a beautiful memory, I can post a plethora of photos here with captions. Thank you to all of our beloved local customers who came out to spend their hard-earned money on what we think is a pretty great selection of holiday and giftable finds. Thanks also to our new friends from all over the country who visited us through the blogosphere via The Inspired Room's French-Inspired Satellite Party. Gracious blogger Melissa co-hosted this satellite event with us and invited her blog readers to don their holiday finery (at home), contribute one stellar hostess gift idea, pour themselves a glass of something bubbly, and settle in for some online fun! How exciting for us to read all of your kind comments as our party whirled on through Saturday. We wish we could have met every one of you in person. Lucky for us, we did get to meet one of you! Elizabeth from Lovely Little Cottage actually hopped in her car (sweet husband at the wheel) and came on down to see us. You'll see the picture we took together a little later.

So I invite you now to grab a mug of something hot and satisfying and join us for a little tour of A French-Inspired Noël.

I love the way the shop looks at night so much--so warm and sparkly--that I'm considering adding in some more evening hours for the holiday season. What do you think, local friends? Should we? And what nights would you be most likely to shop? Our friend Erik snapped this glowing shot for us...

(above) We went with a white-and-light celestial theme for the windows that flank our front door. Madame Fiori looks truly out of this world in her vintage corona and feathery angel wings.

Close up on an angel...

My mom Debbie shares a smile with Dawn, one of our dear regular customers.

Our friend and hostess Jamie, a shopgirl and entrepreneurial woman in her own right, caught here in a positively pre-Raphaëlite moment.

Our new friend and sales rep Tina selects a Santa.

An arty little shot. See über-hostess and experienced retailer Zoey in the background? Not only are we thankful to call her a friend, but she also taught us an easy way to hang a picture this weekend--much easier than the way we've been doing it. Yes, you learn something new every day.

Another arty shot, courtesy of Lindsay.

Speaking of Lindsay, here we are. As girls and teenagers, the two of us spent this time of year rehearsing dozens of hours each week for The Canton Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. My freshman year of high school, I actually got to dance the role of Clara! But I'm no dancer today. It's been years since my toes have felt the important pinch of a pointe shoe.

One of the highlights of my weekend was an unexpected visit from Erma Smith, my third grade teacher from Clarendon Elementary School! After the hugging and the tears, we were able to catch up for a while. This beautiful, classy, and warm lady has made such an impact on my life to this day. She was one of the very first people to encourage me as a writer and help cultivate my interest in it. Mrs. Smith (below, left) consults with our friend and hostess Ingrid.

Holiday alley.

Dream a little dream with us...

Coté Bastide, our new French apothecary line, is trés irresistible in two fragrance collections, Ambre (Amber) and Lait (Milk).

The French tree...

My favorite hostess gift for this season: one of our Peace on Earth or Merry and Bright soy candles. With delightfully fun and modern packaging and a box of matches tucked inside every chunky box, these candles perfume the whole room.

A view of the shop from our cash wrap.

Silver Tannenbaums and grooved mercury glass candle pedestals complement our fantastic new line of pillar candles, Tatine. More about Tatine Candles and their fabulous designer, Margo, in a feature post on some of our small and up-and-coming vendors, coming soon!

Our Atelier (Studio) is well-stocked with grabbable little goodies for stockings, co-worker gifts, holiday stationery, and fripperies for mailing and packaging.

Our whimsical little winter village, complete with a hippie van bearing home its own bottle brush tree.

These French architecture sketches on canvas are going over well with our customers.

Who doesn't need a red holiday top hat? P.S. We don't expect you to wear it.

Self-portrait of Lindsay. A customer told her she looked "Frenchy." To that we say, "C'est vrai!"

Our European cherub statuary is a perennial favorite, and never more so than at the holidays.

Our friend and graphic designer Rebecca in her chic, festive finery.

Goodies aplenty. Janice, my boyfriend's mom, baked seven dozen of four different types of cookies for us, plus four trays of fudge. That woman can throw down with the best of them! Our customers raved over her every confection. If she had been taking orders this past weekend, I'm sure she would've gotten at least a dozen!

Our kitchen is well-stocked for holiday entertaining. We've got eclectic and elegant glassware, lovely trays and tiered servers, and dessert plates galore.

Holiday VOTIVO. We've got to reorder already! Christmas Sage is going fast.

Our collection of Elements/Jill Schwartz in all of its modern vintage-y, off color, collage-y glory. There's no time like the holidays for a statement piece. Or, if you're like me, you feel the need to make a statement every day! Who says three-inch long earrings and an oversized cocktail ring don't work with jeans?

I have to have a bold, graphic pop somewhere in the store. Crisp, clean black and white is easy on the eyes. I find this vignette mesmerizing.

(above) Tuck one of our sweet pom-pom towels into your next hostess gift and make someone smile the whole season through.

Fuschia, burgundy, and platinum dahlia wreaths to crown the season bright. Yes, Jamie, I said dahlias. :)

Jewels upon jewels.

And a close-up on the same...

More kitchen wares for those who can never seem to get enough. Back when I had a little place of my own, I could never find a reason to turn down a pretty new tea towel. Everybody has their "thing," and I guess tea towels were one of mine.

Cobalt blue candles, fleur de lis glasses, and our Moroccan kitchen accessories are effortlessly French in style.

Our hardware area, where people love to linger.

Now's the time to stock up on rich skin care products to ward off the dry skin of winter.

French eau de toilette in Art Nouveau-inspired bottles and the best lavender lotion EVER by French General. Thanks, Kaari!

Our Thanksgiving dinnerware is now significantly depleted. What a beautiful table that will make for one lucky family. Anyone need a fabulous copper glitter glass Thanksgiving tablescape or a Thanks garland?

Oh, yeah. It is still pumpkin season, isn't it? Excuse me, we seem to have skipped right over November around here! Our gold and silver metallic pumpkins are a nice reminder of Autumn's still-to-be-partaken-of bounty.

Elizabeth and I. She's the lovely person who drove a considerable distance to visit The Blissful for the very first time after finding us through The Inspired Room's satellite party. What a sweet lady. We had fun chatting.

Arty shot number three.

Sun-dappled bed.

Soft focus on the bedecked mantle area.

And finally...whew! This is my first, only, and precious niece Lexi. She's eight months old, she just cut her first tooth, and she was quite the little attraction when she visited our soirée with Grandpa on Saturday.

Thanks for coming along on our tour. We're taking the rest of the day off to catch up on some much-needed rest. We'll reopen the shop with a flourish Monday morning. If you didn't make it to the shop this weekend, we hope to see you this week while there's still a great selection of new goodies for you to discover. Merci and "bye-bye" for now!


Jill Flory said...

Oh Abby, it looks sooo fun up there! I'm coming as soon as I can work out the details!! You looked great! I can't believe you only had 1 hour of sleep Wednesday night! You certainly didn't look like it! Thanks so much for all the great pics! I've been checking several times a day so I get to them promptly when you post! Get a good long beauty sleep now!
jill flory

melissa @ the inspired room said...


First of all, you looked beautiful! I would've had the baggy-eye, dark circle effect had I only had one hour of sleep!

Just when I think I have seen the most glorious photos ever, there are more and more and more! I feel like I have been there, taken part in the festivities and eaten those cookies!

It was wonderful sharing the event with you in our own crazy way! LOL!

Thanks for being such a gracious hostess, even across the miles and for two parties no less! You made our 100th post party a smashing success, I know I had a great time!

Now, about those French architecture sketches...please do tell me more about those when you have a moment. They look right up my alley!



Garden Girl said...


I hope you are enjoying a restful day after all your hard work! Your pictures are beautiful!

Thank you for including me in this blog entry:) The visit to your shop was the highlight of my weekend!

I forgot to ask when I was there....What was the wonderful music that you had playing? I know it was French;)

I'll keep reading your blog and I hope to visit the shop again soon!


The Blissful said...

My dears--

Well rested? Please know that all of the photos of *me* on this blog post happen to have all been taken on Day THREE of the soiree, after two nights of really good, really deep sleep. Trust me--I was a bit slack-jawed and incoherent on Thursday. :)


dahlias said...

Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! You did a fabulous job recreating your shop and making it into an amazing winter wonderland...I can't wait to hear some more details! And of course LOVED the dahlia wreathes! BTW the wedding is this coming Saturday...I'm sure we'll talk before then though:)

Talk soon!


Debe said...

I so wish we were going to visit my husband's family in Poland (just outside of Youngstown). I would definitely find myself coming your way. Next time we do visit, YOUR shop will be on my list of places to visit. How exciting it all way! Congrats on a tres fabulous holiday opening!!

Fleurish said...

Your shop is amazing!! Thank you for posting these gorgeous photos, your hard work really paid off! So many beautiful things and so beautifully displayed, I wish I lived in your area!!!

McMaster & Storm said...

hello abby! well, you go girl! great job! Everything looks lovely, lovely.
I'm sure everyone had a ball.... we'll talk soon!
xox & blessings,
kara & darcy

Michael Wesley said...

So Inspired. I'm Pouring over every detail of these photos.You have amazing talent and a beautiful shop, I wish I could see it in person.Great blog keep posting b/c I'm in love with your shop.

Paige Thomas King said...

It's lovely.
I hope I can find your energy and tap into your inspiration when I tackle Hodgepodge.
You're an incredible talent!

Joy said...

Wow, your shop leaves me speechless! Everything is so beautiful, truly. I have to say I am most intrigued too by the French architecture sketches. They look lovely!

Sweet Remembrance said...

Blissful indeed!

Laurie , owner of the french hen, essex, ct said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie , owner of the french hen, essex, ct said...

You have provided me with much needed inspiration to get my shop sparkling for the upcoming holidays. I appreciate all of your efforts and look at your blog daily waiting for a new posting...I love it that much! This last one, all I can say is GORGEOUS!!!

Cre8Tiva said...

okay i love the hippie van and the french architectural prints...i will be back to shop soon...blessings, rebecca

Teresa said...

Love your style and everything looks fantastic! Too bad Washington state is so far far away, it would have been a pleasure to visit your store in person, but I am for sure looking forward to your online boutique!


Tracie said...

Hi Abby,
How beautiful your store looks. Everything sparkles I can feel the snowflakes falling, but not too cold!

Ooh how I wish I could be there in person, but how nice to be able to see and share in the festivities. I do believe I'll have to place a call and see if there's anything left in the store. I do have my eye on a couple of items, better hurry!

So nice - it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The Tattered Nest said...

you deserve a rest! you must feel so relieved after all you've achieved! your niece is precious, she looks a lot like my niece, same curls, same age, same pacifier!

Cheryl said...

WOW! It was all so amazingly gorgeous!!!!! Congratulations on a grand success. :)
hugs, cheryl

Sleepy Hollow Craft Company said...

I had such a wonderful time at your noel! Thank you for inviting me! I am in love with my glass glitter "Wish" sign, it looks perfect on my wreath hanger! See you soon!

KarenHarveyCox said...

Your shop looks so gorgeous. I wish I lived nearby, but I look forward to your store on the Internet in January. I love your Christmas decorations. Good luck this Christmas season, I am sure everyone in the area is so excited about your shop. Karen

Pear Street Studios said...

Where oh where can I get myself one of those silver glittery Merry Christmas signs??? I just love it? Do you have any left??? :)

joannebird said...

may i order from u on-line & how can i find the prices of the silver pumpkins? please put me on your mailing list!