Wednesday, August 31, 2005

tickled pink vase

Isn't this a lovely vase?

Let me tell you a little story about this vase. Shop, etc. Magazine featured this very pretty vase in their pages a while ago. I was very excited about this publicity (you know how I love getting press). Well, I bought way too many of these vases.

It is regularly $35...but for you it's just $27.50. Just use this coupon code in the checkout form: promo101 is only for a week or (crossing my fingers) until I sell out.

Check it out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

stock room blues

I am trying very hard to get my disorderly stock room back together. I've neglected this part of my business for way too long. Now it must be tended to before I break my neck navigating unsteady towers of boxes. What I would really love is a beautifully organized stock room decorated cheerfully with color. My surroundings should match the love that I put into my orders, right? I imagine how lovely it would be to have a table and chairs...a comfy easy chair...a colorful rug...and a tv! I would love to have a tv. Right now, though, I really just need to put things away and sweep and that sort of thing. I can daydream about a tv later.

Oh, but how nice to have something like this...

That's doable, right?

This is Parlez Vous Cards' owner Julianna's studio. She has the yummiest site... check it out

splish splash

Here's my nephew Seth with a Santa beard of bubbles.

I made this layout and the next using Mo Jackson's doo dads. Click here to visit her site...she's going to have some exciting news soon.


How cute is this? My nephew Seth's favorite activity when visiting was taking a bath...he took two in one day! Here he is with my shower cap on.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

witchy poo...

This witch's order button was accidently is indeed available. And only $6. Click here to order.

on the newstands...

Look for us in the latest issue of Budget Decorating...on the shelves now until December!

Our sweet friend Emily Reaman has just left Woman's Day. Losing that great contact has spurred me into thinking that I need to put together a press kit and send it out. I love having Inspire Company featured in the pages of magazines!

Sunday, August 21, 2005


My parents are coming for a visit next week by train and they are bringing my sweet nephew, Seth. I am so excited! If it's not too hot, we'll visit the zoo but mostly we'll have fun playing games and eating strawberries and raspberries (his favorite foods) I'll keep you posted on all the fun things we do.

This layout was created using Mo Jackson's delightful doo dads. Click here to visit her site

Saturday, August 20, 2005

camping cancelled...

The camping trip was cancelled this weekend for two reasons. Rich is sick, poor dear. Also the forecast had called for rain and strong storms. Although I am so very happy to be sleeping in my own nice bed tonight, I do feel sad for my sweetie. His whole family is right at this moment gathered around a campfire, telling funny stories and toasting marshmallows.

We missed last year's camping trip (Niagara Falls) as well. I had just had surgery and wasn't up for it. Before we knew that we wouldn't be able to go, we bought a new huge tent. We also bought something very over-the-top...something called a "gourmet camper's kitchen". It's a portable countertop with a sink that is operated with a foot pump. Isn't that funny? We haven't used it yet and now I guess we won't use it until next year. Here's a picture of the set up...


I just made a ton of happy updates to shopping categories, some new products, lots of good things going on. I hope you like it.

Here are some new things...

I'm excited about using this French Yule Log as a fabulous gift would be so darling filled with some sort of nostalgic wrapped candy.

Doesn't this look exactly like something you might unearth from Grandma's attic? I love the idea of adding this to a wreath.

I love the idea of filling my little pedestal pressed glass candy dish with a handful of these little fruits.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

ribbon heaven

My new friend, Joan and I went out yesterday in search of a ribbon store Joan knew of but had never visited. When she first told me about the store, of course I wanted to go right away. I was so excited that I didn't really hear her say the name of the town it is in. Even when she sent me an email with directions to the store, I didn't pay attention to where the store was. It was only when I printed out the directions on my way out the door to meet Joan that I realized this store is very far away.

But what's a couple of hours when you're travelling with a friend? ;)

After the long road trip and a few wrong turns...and some creative problem solving (we had the wrong street name for the address!) we arrived there at the outlet for Offray ribbons in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Oh my goodness! What a place! Ribbons spilling out of bins everywhere you can look. When our eyes adjusted to the magnificence of it all, we had to clean off our glasses and then rub our eyes to be sure we were seeing the prices correctly. 100 yards of the most beautiful grosgrain happily polka-dotted ribbon for five bucks??! And it just got better and better. From the photograph above you just can't appreciate just how much of each of these ribbons I bought. Hundreds and hundreds of yards. And I love it all!

My favorites? I love it all but I especially love the learning to knit ribbon...I bought 70 yards. I also love the retro Santa ribbon...would you believe 40 yards for $2???! I didn't leave out any zeroes there...two bucks for 40 yards of ribbon! Holy Moly!

As soon as I start putting a dent in this supply, I'm ready to head back. Maybe even sooner if my mother or sisters visit. We'll have a hayday all over again.

Thank you, Joan, for a wonderful day! I'm in ribbon-heaven!

Monday, August 15, 2005

great things to come...

I am going to rework a few things at Inspire Company...little tweaks here and there. I think (hope) that it'll make things work even better.

I've decided when I make these changes, I will add a holiday section. I know it's early to think of the holidays but I have so many wonderful things. Frankly, I just can't wait to show you.

Just you's going to be wonderful!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

nicol sayre

This is my favorite of all of the Nicol Sayre Originals my friend Debbie just put on Check them out...they are going quickly and are so lovely.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

mr. smith goes to washington...

Do I have a story to tell you! Remember that Art Smith event that I told you about at Wegmans? It was last night.

Just before I headed out I decided that I would like to give Art a gift.

I wrapped this up just as pretty as you please and went on my way.

The first thing I see when I walk through the door at Wegmans is a big sign that says "Meet Art Smith" with a banner across it that says "Sold Out". Uhh. I did not have a ticket. I did not even know there were tickets to be had. Evidently the event was advertised in Miss Winfrey's magazine...needless to say the 100 tickets available were gone in a blink of the eye.

I met Donna, the book buyer for Wegmans, at the display set up for the event and I asked if she would give Art the gift. She encouraged me to wait in the area of the event and maybe I would see him and be able to give him the gift myself. Also she said that maybe I would get lucky and some of the ticket holders wouldn't show up. Okay, I think, I'm game.

When I went to the upstairs area where they were setting everything up, I saw a very nice lady who quickly became my friend, Joan. We talked and talked about just about everything and before we knew it, there he was walking up the steps. I went straight over to him, handed him the gift saying "This is for you". He thanked me and disappeared into a back room where they were setting everything up.

Soon after all of the golden ticket holders started lining up and were seated. Just before the event started, Donna told my friend Joan and me that there were seats left over! Oh how happy!

Art demonstrated two recipes...a pasta salad and coconut cupcakes with ice cream. While he cooked he shared the loveliest and funniest stories. We all got samples of the food (just like at Oprah!) Fun Fun!

At the end of the demonstration, Art held up the cup that I gave him and went on about how wonderful it is and how much he adores it. Can you imagine how big my smile was? Ear to ear, I tell you!

We all lined up to get our books signed. Joan and I ended up at the end of the line. We continued to talk as if we'd known each other forever. We met two delightful of whom, Reine, is an artist who creates lovelies. I gave her my card (my last one) telling her to send me photos of her things. You know I'm always trying to find more wonderful things to share with you!

As the queue winded around slowly, we all talked and laughed and had a very nice time. Finally we were close to Art and there he was holding up my cup and telling how wonderful it is. :) My new friend Reine gave him my card and told him that I sold it at my store! He told me that they are taping an Oprah show at his kitchen soon and that maybe he would have the cup on the set!!! Can you imagine? I need to call Jim and Sandra of Beehive and let them know. I think they will be excited too!

Here's what he signed in my book: "Dear Amy, Thank you for the beautiful cup. Oh the cup is the most precious measuring cup I ever owned. Love you for thinking of me. XOX Art Smith" I went to shake his hand and he said "Oh get a kiss!"

Cloud Nine, I tell you, cloud nine. I'm still there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

naturally curly...

My hair is very thick and very naturally curly. I've just discovered a range of products that are so wonderful and make my curls defined and bouncy. If you have curls too and you're tired of fighting the frizz, try using Jessi Curl products.

Monday, August 8, 2005

new pink and blue!

The toile notes have done so well in green and red so I'm pleased to announce they are now available in the prettiest pink and blue hues as well.

A trend in stationery is to have personalized notes for baby thank-you's...imagine how darling the pink would be with baby's sweet name on the front...especially if baby has a name like "Olivia" or "Grace"

My friend Kim who has a pajama store in Carlsbad (website is in the works...I can't wait!) had these toile notes personalized with her store name...I just love that idea!

Art Smith

I am so excited about this....

Get a Taste of the "Kitchen Life"

He's Oprah's personal chef and has cooked for celebrities and heads of state. Now it's your turn! Art's new book, Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families -- Even Yours caters to every situation. Whether you have a new baby or teens in the house, he'll help you create a better pantry and cook more efficiently, and deliciously. There's also more than 150 great recipes from this James Beard Award winner. This is your big chance to see Art in action demonstrating a few of his recipes and have him sign your copy of his book. Book signing to follow demonstration.

Wegmans Fairfax
Wednesday, August 10
6:30 PM

I love cookbooks...I have hundreds of them and can't seem to say no when I see a new one. And not only will I be able to get my book signed but I will see him in person demonstrating recipes. Oh! I can't wait! I am going to get there super early...maybe I'll see him around the store or something. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2005

sunday drive

What could be better than to rise in the morning with a smile on your face, stretch, and announce that it would be a lovely day for a country drive to the most delightful inn for breakfast? I'll tell you what...your sweet sweetie nodding in agreement!

So, off we went bright and early with the top down and the open road ahead of us. We headed west on Route 50. We followed every whim that we had. If we saw an interesting site to the right, we turned right. We were amazed at how many luxury home communities are popping up left and right amidst farmyards here and there. Loudon county is the fastest growing county in the U.S. afterall.

We landed in Middleburg at The Red Fox Inn...

"Would you like to have your brunch on the terrace?" Oh yes! Birds chirping, flagstone underfoot, and the best coffee and muffins ever! This was pure heaven. I had eggs benedict which was served with a bounty of fresh fruits.

After breakfast I would have loved nothing more than to stroll the streets of Middleburg and do some light shopping, but we decided to head back home. But not before stopping at one of my very favorite spots...The British Pantry. Owned by a Brit from Watford who longed for salad cream, the British Pantry started in the reception area of her husband's British car business selling just a few bars of chocolate, bacon and sausages, and of course salad cream! Before they knew it every expat in the area (as well as people like me who adore discovering odd groceries) found them and they outgrew their tiny space. It is now a very cute little store that is a lot like old country store meets very orderly pantry. I love it and could spend days and all my money there. Here's the loot I got today:

Friday, August 5, 2005

not a happy camper

I married into a camping family. My husband's family plans at least one--but up to three!--family camping trips each summer. There are varying degrees of enthusiasm for these trips. Most everyone--and especially my dear mother-in-law--adores the idea of spending time with our families. I, on the other hand, look on these trips with a sense of intense dread.

It's not so much the community showers, late night trips through the darkest darkness to use the bathroom, or even the idea of sleeping on the ground (or very close to it) that gets me. No, it's not so much the lack of creature-comforts that makes camping so undesirable for me. It's the abundance of creatures! And namely, bears!

I once made the huge mistake of watching a television program called "When Bears Attack". In said program, a man attacked by a bear said these words which live in infamy for me "All I could hear was the sound of the bear's teeth crunching through my skull." These are the words which play over and over in my head. Ever crunch of branches I hear--and I hear them all00 sends me into a deeper fear.

While I recognize now while safe in my home and in perfect daylight, that there are no bears lurkcing around the tent waiting for a chance to chew on my skull. The darkness of night brings with it for me a certain irrationality.

If I manage to convince myself that there are no bears poised to attack, my second fear is sure to kick in. Axe murderers. The wa I see it, we lock our homes tight ever night. We arm the burglar alarm, we bolt the doors, we lock all the windows. All of this we do to keep us safe so that we can feel secure enough to sleep in peaceful reassurance. But when we are camping, in truth, there is nothing but a thin layer of fabric...and a zipper! to keep every axe murderer out there away. How am I supposed to sleep knowing this?

Add to these (albeit) irrational concerns, there are very real concerns about comfort while camping. Number one issue is sharing a bathroom with hunderds of showers. Something as simple as taking a shower becomes an ordeal while camping. First you have to anticipate every single toiletry you could possibly need and bring it with you. Goodness knows you don't want to traverse all the way from campsite to bathroom only to backtrack once you've discovered you've forgotten the shampoo!

Once you get to the shower, you have the annyance of having to shower wearing flip-flops. You must hang your clothes so that the somehow stay dry hanging just inches from the shower spray. And invariably the shower curtain will not stay closed. When that happens you'll have to shower knowing that anyone who cares to can see all there is to see.

As bad as camping is, and believe me, I could talk on day on the subject, the truth is that I'm destined to camp at least once a year for the rest o fmy life. That's how I'm interpretting the "for better or WORST" part of the bargain. Since it is a reality and it doesn't help much to complain, I'm determined to make the most of this year's camping trip in just two weeks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

bayberry cove sale!

Have you ever been to Bayberry Cove? My friend Debbie is the owner. It's such a lovely online shop...and now she's having a sale on her summer things.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

cheery cherries

Don't these cherries look delicious? This is my new favorite treat. I put them out to munch on while I work. They are just the right combination of sweet and tangy. And somehow I don't mind the pits at all.

Monday, August 1, 2005

rosy little things...

On page 25 of the September isssue of Country Living (just got mine today) is my sweet friend Alicia Paulson from Rosy Little Things. She's spiffied up her site to make it just as cute as it can be. I am going to go now and find something lovely before it's all grabbed up. Surely they will come in droves when they see all the lovelies!

visit alicia's site.