Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

LUCKY HILL is twinkling with little white lights and garland adorns the banister and armoire.  While I'd like to say the little elves came in one night and did all the work, unless the elves were named Dan and Kristin that wasn't the case.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE decorating for Christmas.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas.  I love the holiday so much Dan and I had a December wedding.

The interior was decorated just prior to Thanksgiving.  I've always been a stickler about not decorating for Christmas too's always so disturbing to hear Christmas carols playing in shops before the kiddies have even been around for Halloween.  We have a rule in our carols until at least the day after Thanksgiving.

For the last few days, I've been wiring greens into garlands, swags, and onto the wreath frame for the front door.  This year they will be adorned with pomegranates, apples, petite pine cones, pods, dried hydrangea blossoms, berries, and cranberries.  Two small Christmas trees with white lights now grace the antique urns that flank the front door.

Last night after everything was in place outside, I helped our dear friend Michele carry packages out to her car.  As we stood chatting and laughing, it started to snow. doesn't get more perfect than that!!!

Here's a glimpse at what's in store for the holiday at LUCKY HILL

Maileg mice are nestled in their matchboxes for a long winter's nap while the juniper, clove, and clementine aroma of Paddywax's Charles Dickens candle wafts through the shop.

It wouldn't be Christmas at LUCKY HILL without a GurglePot or two....who would have thought they would be hanging on the tree?  GurglePot has created ornaments in Bright Red, Cobalt, and Kiwi to keep you smiling.

Maileg pixies frolic on the top of one of the garden half rounds......

and mice and a pig on the other

Sydney Hale Co. candles celebrate the season amid foraged berries and remind us that the holiday is about giving back as they donate 10% of their profits to animal shelters.

I grew up with advent calendars, but nothing as magnificent as this one from Maileg.

A rainbow of GurglePots are flanked by Oh, Little Rabbit organic cotton flour sack Christmas tea towels.  I especially love the one of the vintage Woodie with the Christmas tree on top.

The armoire is filled with bamboo nighties and PJs from Yala in silhouettes and colors perfect for Christmas Eve.   

Gift baskets laden with Big Paw olive oil and Mary Judge Designs dipping dishes are ready for holiday giving.

Our first holiday window with boxwood outside and glass icicles suspended from the famous white birch branch.

And little elf who puts up with a lot of holiday decorating nonsense from me.  Doesn't his look say it all?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday

I am proud to be a small business owner.  No matter how many times I see the Small Business Saturday commercial by American Express I still get butterflies in my stomach and say to myself, "that's me!"   Our business truly is the "old-fashioned" idea of a small business...Dan's art studio is in the back room, we live upstairs, and the shop and gallery are in the front of the house.  And if that wasn't perfect enough, we're located on Main Street.

I am immensely fortunate to pursue this dream with Dan.  He's not only my husband and life partner, he's my business partner.  We are invested in this....together.  He believes in my retail vision and I believe in his art.  While this isn't the easiest of career choices, there's something comforting in being in it together.  There are long days, endless conversations about strategy and buying, and great uncertainty.  But with that comes the thrill of creating something new and the hope of nurturing the venture into a thriving business.

My first foray into retail was over a decade ago.  Interestingly, if you ask me what I remember about my years owning and operating Grandiflora my memories don't have anything to do with actual business transactions, but rather customer interactions.  My greatest compliment as a shop owner came one day when a woman walked into the shop and immediately announced, somewhat apologetically, she wasn't there to buy anything, but rather was having a bad day and needed to go someplace that would make her happy.  My little shop filled with flowers, lovely scents, and fluffy duvets was her happy place. 

It's pretty safe to say we understand the likelihood of getting rich as small business owners is slim to none, but I'm at an age where as long as Dan and I have our health, a roof over our head, and get to do what we love everyday our "wealth" is greater than anything that can be calculated in currency, stocks, or gold.  Every morning when I flip the sign from "closed" to "open", unlock the door, and put out our "open" flag I realize how lucky I am to see my vision come to life.

We're not just a small business located in your community, we're part of your community.  Small businesses are the heart and soul of communities.  They are the historic foundation of our country and a vital part of the American dream.  And while I hope you'll head out to the small businesses in your community today....Small Business thank them for adding vibrancy and life to your Main Street, I also hope you'll remember them on all the other Saturdays.  And what about all those days you don't need anything?  A wave as you walk by or a quick "hello" works too.

I would like to thank our friends and customers who have welcomed us so warmly to our new home and supported our small business, LUCKY HILL.  You know who you are!  You're the friends who stop by with your Goldens to say "hi", the "white tornado" who taught me to knit so I don't go crazy in the dead of winter, the sweet potato who comes in to check and make sure we're okay and joins me in the "chop chop" chorus directed at Dan, the doctor who brings in the article on the correlation between chocolate consumption and cognitive brain function as he buys three chocolate bars, my banker who is my BFF, fellow retailers and merchants who understand this crazy existence, and everyone who comes in to share a laugh ("pokin' the bear") and a hug.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  We might be a small business, but we have a big heart. 

And now I get to do what I love the shop for the day.

Love and Big Hugs,

Friday, November 9, 2012

ten under ten

Our "ten under ten" list is just that, ten great products under $10.  This offering makes for sweet stocking stuffers, lovely little gifts for co-workers, and perfect presents for Secret Santa exchanges.

From Wooster & Prince, a collection both lovely and useful:
1.  Emery Board 3-Pack ($5.50)  Lovely artwork meets everyday function in these emery board sets.  Packaged in a protective vinyl sleeve with flap closure, the pack of three can be taken anywhere for a quick manicure.  Available in seven print collections.
2.  Travel Tweezers ($5.50)  These precision slanted-edge tweezers are printed on both sides.  Each pair comes packaged for transport in a reusable vinyl pouch with flap closure.  Available in five print options.
3.  Listpads ($6.50)  These lined listpads make the perfect shopping companion  Each shrink-wrapped pad has 60 tear-off sheets on a magnetic backer card.  Available in four print options.

From Rifle Paper Co.:
4.  Pocket Notebooks ($10.00)  This set of two pocket notebooks is the perfect size to pop into a purse.  One notebook is adorned with a lovely floral print, the other a simple cream on sage pattern.  Each notebook is 4.25 x 5.5 inches and has blank interior pages and a saddle-stitched spine.

From Saipua:
These soaps are carefully crafted in small batches using food-grade vegetable oils, butters, herbs, and extracts.  Each bar is handcut, air dried, and cured in the Saipua workshop.  The family owned business, based in the Hudson Valley, continues to produce their soaps in small batches to assure quality and sustainability. 
5.  Tea Soap Collection ($9.00)  Available in Chai, Jasmine, and Green Tea fragrances
6.  Essential Oil Soap Collection ($10.00)  Available in Coffee Mint, Cedarwood, Basil, Lavender Oatmeal, Mango Butter, Saltwater, and Gardener's Soaps.  For a limited time, the holiday fragrances of Winter Citrus and Balsam are also in stock.

From Kala Corporation:
7.  The Paris Bouquet Floral Collection Soaps ($4.00-$6.00)  Since the turn of the 19th century, shea butter soaps have been used to soften the skin.  This collection of exquisite French soaps are available in five fragrances each captured in an antique design.  Top notes include rose, lilac, daisy, lily-of-the-valley, and multi-floral.

From Paddywax:
8.  The Library Collection Travel Candle ($8.00)  Celebrate your favorite writers with this 2-wick travel tin candle.  For all the bibliophiles in our lives, each fragrance is formulated to be evocative of the writer whose name graces the label.  Available in Edgar Allen Poe (Cardamom, Absinthe, and Sandalwood), Henry Thoreau (Cedar, Moss, and Juniper), Walt Whitman (Grass, Thyme, and Red Clover), Oscar Wilde (Cedarwood, Thyme, and Basil), and the holiday offering of Charles Dickens (Tangerine, Juniper, and Clove)

And to ensure lips will be in tip top shape for any mistletoe encounters.....
From Worker B:
9.  Lip Balm ($5.00)  Working with local, Minneapolis-based beekeepers with pesticide-free hives, this small company uses only organic products and no fragrances or added color in any of their products.  This lip balm contains beeswax, organic olive oil, organic almond oil, organic avocado oil, raw honey, and propolis tincture.
From GAL Collection from Spain:
10.  Lip Balm ($6.50)  Fashioned in Art Nouveau tins, these balms capture the rich milieu of life in Europe. Each one offers an ambrosial fragrance and a natural, moisturizing shine that lasts.  Available in limited quanities of Red Currant, Orange, and Strawberry.