Saturday, April 24, 2010

Something to talk about

What do you want to talk about?
I've arrived at that point again where I have so much going on and so many details to tackle that it's really just easier not to discuss.

Next time I don't write in my blog for more than a week, you'll know what's up.
The main thing SHOULD be the planning of our upcoming craft show. I mean, that's the fun thing on my list, but other junk is really getting in the way.
Like volunteer junk.
Ugh. I hate it.

Makes me want to hug my knees and rock.
That's not a bad idea actually.
Maybe people would quit approaching me for stuff.

Anyway. Enough of the Debbie Downer bit.
A high point in the last 2 weeks was definitely my trip to Toronto for our aforementioned girls weekend.
It was a relaxing weekend of walking and shopping and eating and drinking and chatting.
I have become totally obsessed with Sarah Richardson of late and was on a mission for some fabulous fabric to inspire my less than inspiring bathroom.
So I was really thrilled to have a chance to hit up EuroFab on Queen West - a place that totally didn't get me excited while I lived in Toronto, but that I have a much greater appreciation for now that I can't find anything nearly as cool here in Ottawa.

Not everyone was as pumped up about decor shopping as I was, but that's the nice thing about having such a big entourage. There's always someone who's on the same page as you.
Both Marie Lou and Kim bought new homes that week (weird how that happened) so they were all about window and wall furnishings, and Josie's nesting phase has her dreaming of polka dotted handmade pillows so I had some buddies to shop with.

Marie Lou is thinking of outfitting her dining room in some of the most gorgeous wallpaper known to woman. I'd like to say I encouraged her, but the girl needs no encouragement.
She shreeked "I LOVE flocking! I love flocking!" over and over as she flipped through the pages of one of their wallpaper books.
Totally oblivious to how that might have sounded to bystanders.
One of the many, many reasons I {heart} MLG.

So did I buy anything you're wondering?
Yes. Yes I did.
I definitely exercised a LOT of restraint though and settled on just one break-the-bank yard of some funky Chris Stone fabric who's job it will be to inspire my ugly bathroom.
Before and after blog post to follow!!

While we were in TO we went to this super adorable little Cuban restaurant called Julie's Snack Bar. We're talking turquoise shelves and twinkle lights adorable.
I would like our craft show to look something like Julie's Snack Bar. But craftier.
Whatever that means.

I stole this less than great picture from their website.
Because although I take my camera everywhere, it doesn't always remember to leave my purse.

When we got home Colleen and I hosted our Sock Monkey workshop on both the Monday and Tuesday evening.
Oh. My. Gosh. It was fun.
Long. But fun. Exhausting. But fun.
Neither night finished before 10pm which is way way way too late after a full work day.
So basically Brad played "Single Parent" (one of our favourite games around here) from Friday until Wednesday.

The first night especially got a little rowdy and raunchy.
I think the trouble started with "and then you stuff the crotch" and it just snowballed from there.
The end results were all a little different (some anatomically correct, some not) but all equally loveable.
I think I recall someone saying "Now this is a sock monkey only a sock monkey's mother could love."

Who knew monkey making could be such serious business?

Here are a few of our new pals.
Karen (aka total nut job and my new favourite workshopper) even sent me a picture the day after demonstrating her monkey practicing "safe sox" while driving.
Good girl.

Believe it or not we're actually doing the pendant workshop again.
But I promise we'll move on after this one.
Colleen is off for a week or so and we'll get right back on track once she's back.
Any ideas?
I was thinking I'd like to try some glass etching, but we're open to suggestions.

Also, the weather has been particularly nice lately. Unless you count today when it snowed.
But who's counting today?

Clemmie and I have been taking full advantage of the sunshine and have gone on lots of walks this week.
A month ago she wouldn't have kept those shades on for more than a few seconds. Now she insists upon being accessorized to the hilt before she'll go anywhere.
The little glamourpuss.

(okay so maybe she's just amusing her mommy)
Note the HBC Rewards card.
Because you never know when you're going to have an opportunity to rack up some major points on that thing.
Cha ching!

That's it for now.
See you on Mill Street!

xo Em

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Bird Day

About last Friday's party.
It was awesome.
Totally exceeded my expectations as far as traffic and enthusiasm goes.

I mean the Christmas party is a no-brainer. Everyone needs something for Christmas.
But Spring? Maybe you could use a doormat or a new wreath for your front door, but it kind of ends there in terms of what I thought people might be looking to purchase.
Not so!
We sold a little bit of everything here on Friday.
Also, we know how to throw a party.

We had live music courtesy of some kids from Notre Dame high school in Carleton Place.
They were awesome. I need to hunt them down again so I can ask if they want to perform at the craft sale in November.
Honestly. They were so good.
Exactly what I was looking for. (thanks to Tony for hooking me up!)

Tony's lovely wife (and one of my Mill Street merchant friends) Cynthia, of Appleton Gift & Basket supplied yummy truffles.

Charlene Santry of The Santry Pantry provided loads of catered goodies that were to die for.
My only complaint was that there weren't more leftovers.

And, of course, the cupcakes.
Get a load of the cupcakes.

I mean seriously. Could they BE any more amazing?
The big ones were actually filled with buttercream icing.
I bought the polka dot liners online to match our polka dot tissue paper (because it's all in the details you know).

Speaking of details, I was trying to think of an interesting way for customers to draw for their discount.
Originally I went trolling for lollypops that I could colour code the stems of, but when that proved to be more difficult than I imagined, I went to the dollar store for inspiration...and came up with this:

My little discount garden.
I glued scrapbooking flowers to the ends of sticks and painted the bottoms in different colours that translated into discounts of 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35% and 40% off.
Total hit.
And yes, someone did get the 40% flower. So that was fun.
Well for them it was fun.
For me? Not so much. :)

I thought it might be fun to add a little healthy sales competition into the mix and Colleen, Emily and I all decided we'd pick an item that hasn't sold in a while.
The deal being that if they sold it, I'd fork over a cool $25 to the person who's name was attached to it.

I chose a wooden candle pillar that was once part of a set of 3.
Colleen chose a cushion that simply no longer fits in with any of our colour stories (for the record it's still a perfectly adorable pillow).
And Emily chose what I thought would be the most difficult to sell of all - a bachelorette party game with the word "Sex" emblazoned on it.

Why I even bought this game in the first place I don't actually know.
I'm sure it's loads of laughs to play (okay so I have played it with my girlfriends before, and it is pretty funny), but it doesn't quite fit with what we've got going on here at Blackbird you know?

So you can just imagine the smug look on Em's face when a customer brought her precious little item to the counter.
Actually, you don't have to imagine.
Shawn took a picture.

Could you just smack that $25 grin off her cute little face or what?

I really enjoyed myself and, as usual, was totally overwhelmed by the amount of support that I get from this little town of mine.
Not only did my customers come out to shop, but many Almonte shop owners did too.

Tammy in this picture owns Nordic Star across the street.

Brad and Clemmie even took time out of their busy bath time schedule to come give me a hug.
How nice is that?

Thanks to everyone who came to fill up my tank with love.
I need it sometimes.
And I certainly appreciate all of you.

On a totally different note, my friend Melissa has recently taken up photography and has taken some amazing shots around my old (her current) stomping ground Kensington Market.
I am having a few of her bicycle shots printed and framed to sell in the shop for Bicycle Month.

I would highly recommend checking out her Etsy shop if you've got a few minutes to spare.
She's a talented girl.
She designed our reusable Blackbird bag and is currently working on a logo for our upcoming craft sale - Handmade Harvest.
That's right kids.
If you're going to be my friend, you're going to have to be prepared for me to take full advantage of your talents.

Until we meet again,

ps. Sock Monkey Workshop is 100% sold out!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Sock Monkeys are coming! The Sock Monkeys are coming!

Just a quick post about our next workshop.

Many of you have been waiting for this one, so Monday April 19th from 6-9pm (Tuesday's class is already sold out) we'll be making classic Rockford Sock Monkeys.
The authentic red heels are hard to find (let me tell you somethin') and I've ordered these babies in all the way from Michigan, so you know we're not kidding around when it comes to making the real deal.

If you'd like to join us here at Blackbird from 6pm to 9pm, drop me an email at or give us a call at 613-256-9669.

10 spots left!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

People. They're the worst.

I've been talking to more and more people about my blog and I have to admit, I do edit myself on this thing.

I get a lot of (ahem) "material" here at the store that I don't always share because I'm afraid of the repercussions should customers ever read about themselves on here.
And then I think to myself "Oh get over it Emily. Only cool people read your blog."
Also, I'm sure many of you would love me to regale some of my more trying I'll give you a taste of what it can really be like here at Blackbird.

First of all, is it a full moon or something?
Because let me tell you. The crazies are out in droves today.
They're trying to ruin my Saturday, but I assure you, they will NOT win.

I had a customer in the store a moment ago who was on a mission to insult me.
And she was totally oblivious to her rudeness which kind of just makes it worse.
She saw a poster advertising our workshops and said "Oh is crafting coming back? What a riot".
What is that supposed to mean? Has she been under a rock for the last decade?

I proceeded to talk to her about the success of the workshops and asked if she'd like to be on our mailing list so she could keep up with the going on here in Almonte.
Her reply?
"Oh no no no. I don't want your emails. Been there done that." (Been where? Done what?)
"You're going to have to leave now."

Okay. So that's not true. I entertained her for a minute longer.
She asked another question about whether or not one of my outdoor wreaths would withstand the outdoors and I explained that as outdoor wreaths they should and she told me she doesn't have a porch...and then I just stopped caring and walked over to my computer to write all about it.

As I was writing I had another customer ask me if I could smell the urine scent coming from the drawer of one of my antique pieces she was considering buying.
Most people think the store smells "just lovely", and to me the piece smells like a pine tree, but the woman obviously knows her urine.
Who am I to correct her?
I just work here.

They're both gone now so things are looking up.

Yesterday's party was a huge success by the way.
I'll write about it when I get the pictures loaded.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Best Workshop Ever

Best workshop ever.

We had way too many people here (17 people the first night, 18 the second), but it turned out to be a lot of fun regardless of all the accidental butt bumping and swinging elbows going on.
It was a pretty mixed bag of wackos which always makes for a good time. (Carolee - I'm looking at you girlfriend.)

I know you've seen pictures of our workshops in previous posts, but at Tuesday's class we had the luxury of having Shawn (of Mother's Day Mugshot fame) here to take some pro shots, so I thought I'd give you a real insiders peek at how these things go down here at Blackbird.

First, Colleen and I get to be bossy and you get to listen.
This is my favourite part.

Actually I think a lot of these women were critiquing my outfit or thinking about how I must not have brushed my hair that day because I did have to repeat myself on a few points.
Maybe they were thinking about how cute my skirt is.

Then you get to dig through all of the goodies Colleen and I have collected and find the inspiration to get started.

Maybe have a glass of wine...
Take painstaking measures to get things just right...

See that the person beside you is doing something cooler than you are and steal their idea...

And, finally, admire your creations!

(Ok, so there was a half hour or so where we waited for things to dry, but who wants to see a picture of that? I'd rather watch paint know what I mean.)

Did these turn out great or what?!

We've ordered loads more supplies so that we can offer this class again as well as put together some DIY kits for people who want to go it alone and crank these out for gifts.

Colleen (aka the smart one) even dreamt up a make work project for the keeners who finished with time to spare.
Look at the ones Meredith made for her kiddies.
She's such a one upper that girl.
Thanks to everyone who came out so enthusiastically to support me and Col and my little shop that could.
Next week is Embroidery Hoop Art (see a few posts back for details) and tomorrow is our BIRTHDAY SALE!
It's been a fun filled week, but I just might be glad when it's over.
We'll see.

Until next time.