Thursday, March 31, 2011

{My Birthday} Love & Envelopes Thank You

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Are you part of the Love and Envelopes Birthday Club?
Thank you Lindsey and Megan for putting the club together
I have had fun sending cards and a treat for the last two months to the Birthday gals names I have received. This month it's my turn to receive something fun from the club, and Alli at Ferguson Finds received my name for my April Birthday.  I was so surprised when I opened my mailbox to see a package, and then to open it to find a super fun Birthday gift from the club inside.  How great are these Salad Servers made out of 100% organically grown Bamboo!! I love them.  Thank you Alli for such a great gift and making my Birthday great.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Palm Springs & a Celeb

Pin It One of the trips my fmaily took while we owned our toy store was to Palm Springs, CA.  Our Annual convention for the Learning Express was held there - pretty fancy, huh!  Well it was beautiful and because it's so secluded we also had celebrity guests staying at the resort with us.... Lisa Rinna and her husband Harry Hamlin and their children!

Click to visit all the snapshots

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Monday, March 21, 2011

My Toy Store {Owner/Operator} Blogger to work link up

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Take your blogger to work……
Let me first say I have worked the gamut, my first job was on a farm, then Bloomingdale's, Kay Jewelers, Gap Kids, Limited Express, Tallhimers Dept. Store, Champs Elysse jewelry store….. See a pattern? RETAIL, is my thing. I did work for a few years in property management, managing apartment communities but that was the only job outside of retail.

It seems forever ago that I “worked.”  11 years ago I gave my notice and 30 days later gave birth to my Daughter, Shea.  When she entered preschool I worked part time at a toy store called the Learning Express and continued working for about 4 years.  While there I said to my husband, also a career retailer in loss prevention, we could do this, run a store of our own.  And so it goes – We became toy store owners of our own Learning Express.

Our storefront during construction

We purchased a franchise, we found a retail space and had to do the whole build out from soup to nuts, hire a staff, train our new employees and be ready for opening day.
This is how it started, an empty box

My Daughter, Shea amongst the shelves!

We had thousands of boxes delivered over a two week period to stock the store.

The kids loved Elmo and he visited often!! 
The Corporate advertising department even used ME in our moving add.

We traveled to NY City to the annual Toy Fair in 2008, and you can only imagine.  Every retailer was there with huge displays to capture the shop owner’s attention – to purchase from them!!  It was three days of toys and information overload.

Weeks after we opened, in October 2007, the big scare with lead in toys was all over the news and toys made in China being harmful to children, we panicked, but make it through our first Christmas season...............and then the gas crisis in the summer of 2008, then the election, then the stock market, then the housing market, we even moved our store across the street in the shopping center we were in to try and save our business. But the economy got the better of the parents, and grandparents, shopping for toys and we sadly rang our last sale and closed our doors on April 30th 2010.

To touch on some of Gina's questions:
Growing up I wanted to be a Vet or a Nurse.  I certainly did not plan to own a toy store, but in College I majored in Fashion Merchandising and minored in Business. My first several jobs were in retail so I did want my own store but what kind of store I was not sure.

I learned how to manage people, critique and give constructive criticism, time management, Purchasing in volume.  Imagine sending a catalog to your customer base, we had to have the product to support it, especially at Christmas, 100's of a toy in the stockroom, storage, my 3 car garage or in my dining room, whatever it took be ready for the shoppers. We did it all , it was our store, from opening and closing every day to ringing sales on weekends.

I loved the toy store and our employees, they were great and allowed our family to be away sometimes.  Our store was 59 miles from our house ONE WAY - so times 2 about 120 miles a day round trip in Atlanta traffic = 3+ hour commute a day.  My husband and I would trade off days going to the store so one of us was home for Shea after school.
So after April 30th 2010 it was back to life as we knew it.  My husband got a job in his field, loss prevention, I was back to a stay at home Mom, my daughter was thrilled to have her parents back again.

Please hop on over to visit Gina's blog, Hiya Luv.  She has put together this great day to learn a little about who we are and where our experiences come from.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sir Sebastian

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This is Sebastian's first time appearing on my blog!! 
I shot all the photos in {M} Manual after really gaining an 
understanding yesterday in my photography class. 

I have linked up to Yellow Songbirds Saturday Snapshot - go take a peek
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Helping Japan - Let's send a Shelter Box

Pin It My friend Gina over at Hiya Luv posted yesterday about ShelterBox.  ShelterBox was founded by Tom Henderson, a Rotarian and former Royal Navy search and rescue diver.  He saw that the aid response to most disasters was in the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath.

Little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.

Boxes are already on their way to Japan

Whats included in the box?

Would you like to donate?
All donations are welcome and volunteers too. 
$1,000 will send a finished box to those in need.

Visit this link to a secured Shelter box Donation form.  
Directly on their site.

click for the main site

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Creative Space

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I've wanted to post about my creative space but that meant cleaning up a bit and putting things back in their space.  I tend to have a mess here and there in my room.  Years ago I saw a feature with Becky Higgins and her scrapbooking room.  She had these green boxes in her scrap room and I had to have them, I searched high and low to find them.  They hold all the little stuff.

In the above photo on the left sits my sewing machine, and in the right photo is my embroidery machine.  I have a desk in the middle of the room so I can work around all sides.  Its a tiny room maybe 10x10 so it's cozy!  The wall unit I purchased on line from Martha Stewart's Organization Catalog years ago and the white cube unit underneath is from Michael's, again years ago.  From a distance it looks like it goes floor to ceiling and it's all together.

Here are some flowers and my Crabapple photograph that are for sale in my Etsy Shop. Some reference books and my grandmothers Smith Corona typewriter.
Oh, and a Littlest Pet Shop pet creature to the right of the typewriter LOL!!
Across the top of the cubes I have jars of sand and rocks from the beaches I have visited and other fun things like my Kodak Brownie Vintage Camera :o)

I love fabric and here is a small collection displayed, and the cotton webbing on the right is my supply for my key chains that I also sell on Etsy.
 The Create vinyl on the wall is from Shelly, you should visit her blog House of Smiths.  Her Wonderfully Wordy Vinyl can be seen here.

Thanks for visiting my crafty space.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

{Saturday Snapshot} Link up party {Yellow Song Bird}

Pin It What a fun opportunity to look through past photos and link up to Yellow Songbird's blog and her Saturday Snapshot link up party.  Your photo can be anything you want, join the fun!!

These photos are of my daughter Shea and me wearing these crazy Bold Mary hoops skirts we got at the Virginia Highland Festival in Atlanta two years ago.  The hoop can be taken out and then its a regular skirt.  The hoop is a long plastic tube with connectors - just like a glow necklace.  If your attending Creative Estates you might see me wearing it!!

I'm having a sale in my shop
Use code craftylove15 for 15% off your purchase this weekend.

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