Around The Mulberry Bush

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It's Official!!

And you're one of the first to know!

Big things are starting to happen and I can't contain myself any longer!

My line of aprons is on its way to The World!

It's a little scary to even think about
but the aprons are so, so cute that every Gal Pal needs one!

So, my big news is...(drum rolllllllll...)

I trademarked the name this week!

And here are just a few of the...
"Apronality" aprons!

Isn't the name just GREAT!?! (Thanks Tif!--my tuition dollars at work--grin)

Every apron makes you feel so cute & sassy!
And they come completely lined, and include an organza petticoat underneath the coordinating ruffle, AND...Best of All...a CELL PHONE POCKET!!
How clever is that?? It's SOOO handy!
('Cause we girls never go anywhere without our cell phones!)

I've been selling them at my store in Canton for about a year now but until I could trademark the name I didn't want to 'go public' with them.

So while I was at Dallas Market last week I spent some time looking at showrooms and talking to sales reps and other vendors about launching a new line.

Everyone at Market was so helpful but there's so much more to know!

Any other suggestions or words of wisdom would be much appreciated!!

I also visited some fabric warehouses with my sewing contractor so I could find some really great fabrics (because right now I'm not able to mass produce aprons of the same color due to limited fabric choices).

So the 'one-of-a-kind' aprons will be listed on my website The Mulberry Bush until I'm able to handle larger wholesale orders--which should be very soon.

It's my plan to exhibit at the next Super Market in Dallas in June, 2008.

Keep me in your prayers and I'll keep you posted!

This Little Piggy...

...went to Market!
Whewww!! What a whirlwind week!

I headed south to Texas on Monday to spend the week shopping at Antique Malls, Fabric Wholesalers, and Dallas Wholesale Market. So much to do and so little time!!!
I stopped in Waco to visit my parents' new home. Yeah, go figure...I LEAVE Waco and THEN they decide to move there. They've moved out to the country and it's JUST BEAUTIFUL there! Check out the view from their back yard!...

I didn't want to leave and stayed a day longer than I'd originally planned. But I HAD to get to Dallas for Market...time was running out!

So off I went. Determined to see every showroom. To scour every nook and cranny to find unique items for the store. HAH! WHAT WAS I THINKING??!!??
I've been to Market before, I know how GYNORMOUS the place is. But I'm such an optimist. I just KNEW I could do it. (HAH!! Again!) Take a look at the task I'd put in front of me...

This is the World Trade Center in Dallas. It houses 15 floors of showrooms. I don't know how many square feet it encompasses but I CAN tell you IT'S A LOT!!

My friend Linda and I 'hit the ground running' on my first day. I had a spring in my step and determination in my mind. We walked, browsed, walked, shopped, walked, and (did I mention...walked) to search as many showrooms as we could. Wait...It's time to leave already? Okay, well, there's always tomorrow.

And tomorrow came SO quickly! I was out of the house again at 5:45am because Dallas Traffic SUCKS!

I was alone today and I REALLY covered some ground!
I only sat down one time all day (I'd better have lost some weight with all this walking!) and, once again, the day slipped by way too fast.

Although I didn't get to every showroom I wanted to see, I did find some great products and I brought the girls back on my last day for their help in the final decisions.
I'm really excited with the items I found and can't wait to get them in to share with you on my website and in the store!

Stay Tuned!

We Shopped 'til we Dropped

Who doesn't love a bargain? Or the search for trash to treasure items?!? It's my ABSOLUTE most favorite thing to do.

Isn't 'the hunt' is about as much fun as the end result?

And hunt, hunt, hunt we did!
It was New Year's Day, and we were off, so Sandy, Amy, I went thrift store shopping FOR SEVEN HOURS!! Can you believe it? We had SUCH A GREAT TIME! We only quit because our guys were getting a little tired of being home with the kids--and without us, of course!
We shopped, and shopped, and shopped. Yep! Seven hours and 4 thrift stores later this is what we came home with...

(I'll let you in on a little secret...there were about half again as many bags still in the back of my car). ssshhh...don't tell Billy

"What in the World??", you say.

Well, we got clothes for the kids and ourselves, and everything else was either to be sold on ebay, sold at the antique mall, or fashioned into a new treasure or altered art.

It's all home and sorted now. I've been busy cleaning, pricing, and listing. Once that's all finished then I get to 'play'. Time for creating treasures.

I'll post projects as I complete them (in my 'spare'--what is that?--time).

Meanwhile...I leave Sunday for my next adventure!!! Dallas Wholesale Market! More to come...

It's Cookie Swap Time!

Here it is! Finally! The long-awaited
"Cookie Swap Blog! "

It's really quite a lengthy blog. And I apologize for that.
But it was just So, So, So wonderful!
I had to share every moment!
And I know it's a little late (most of you know by now that I lost my first hour-and-a-half's worth of work on this post and had to start over again).
So bear with me (Amy), 'cause, "I'M JUST ONE GIRL!" ~grin~ "AND I'M GONNA' BE A GRAMMA!" (sorry, I just HAD to say that again!)

Anyway, it's no secret that I'm indebted for life to Sandy, Billy, and Amy for many things.
But most recently for making my vision
of the 'best cookie swap ever!' a reality.
I'm truly blessed to have such a great family that I also enjoy as friends.

Okay, so like I mentioned before, I decided in November to have my girlfriends over for a Holiday Cookie Swap.
It was going to be SO MUCH FUN!
'Cause I have the best girlfriends EVER! And I wanted them to know it!
Now, because we all know that I can't do anything 'simply'--I don't think that word's even in my vocabulary!--I've decided that I should start things off with a really neat invitation.
And because I'm SO all about Altered Art these days I tried my hand at an Altered Art invite.
I stayed late at the store every night for a week to work on them
but the end result was SO worth the effort.
Now how fun is this?!? Like an interactive invitation! Take a look:
Okay, so the invitations have been sent, the food has been bought, and...Praise the Lord (again) for Billy, Sandy, and Amy...the house is almost cleaned and ready.

But wait! We've still got a day or so before the swap. So what if we were to create a really special little gift that the girls can take home with them.
You know...just a small, little thing (sure!) to show them how much I care.
Something fun and different.
I have to thank my girlfriend Donna in Texas (who sadly wasn't able to come) for suggesting a memory book. It was BRILLIANT! It's JUST the thing! Let's get started!

But it can't be just ANY memory book. Oh no....
my mind is too full of ideas...and I have to do them all!

Why don't we continue with our theme and make Altered Art Memory Books! Yeah!!
Oh, I was in Heaven!!
Sandy, Amy, Kaylie, and I cut, sewed, punched, stamped, and glued
to create the CUTEST little books ever!
You'll see!

And would you believe, we made them out--of all things--paper lunch bags!
Now when we originally started making them
they were all going to be the same.
But Amy got CRAZY on me (I think I've created a new crafter!!)
and just 'went to town' creating all kinds of adorable books!
She was SO GOOD!!

Well, the bar had been set then! We weren't about to be outdone!
We all put our 'best crafter hats' on
and made every one of the 10 books different.

I have to tell you "THEY ARE SO DANG CUTE!!!"

And the neatest thing about using the paper bags is that each bag forms the cutest little pockets! Great for storing photos...notes...or Hello?!?... Cookie Swap Recipes!

It took until 2am to get them finished. But wait 'til you see how they look!
You'll love 'em!

Okay, here they are...aren't they just FANTABULOUS!?!
Okay so it's Sunday and,as I said before, the invitations have been sent, the RSVP's received, the house cleaned, the food bought, and my little gifts all ready for giving.

It's almost time for the Cookie Swap!!!

But Wait!!! I haven't made MY cookies yet! Now how did THAT happen?

"Billy, could you make my cookies for me while I finish up the last-minute details?"

"You can?! Oh thank you SO much!"

"Wait, What?"

"You knew last week that I'd be asking you to make them for me?"

"Seriously?" Hmmmm.

That's amazing! I didn't even know it last week!

He knows me better than I know myself.

That's scary!

What a wonderful man I married! Because when the first batch of cookies didn't turn out quite right he went to the store for more ingredients to try again. I love this man!
Oh! It's Time!! My Girlfriends are Here!!!!

It's "Happy Cookie Swap Day"!!

And Here We Are!
(left to right) Marsha, Donna, Linda, Cheryl, Amy, Nancy, Linda, & Sandy

Oh! And before I forget...we also had two VERY special wouldn't have been the same without them!

Once we sat down to eat, Sandy had each of the girls talk about "the funniest or most memorable moment spent with Cheryl".
Now THAT was funny! And kinda' wierd at the same time--like I wasn't even there!
But in the end it turned out to be the neatest thing!
Because most of the things remembered were things I'd totally forgotten about!
And it was so touching!

Oh, and by the way, of course lunch was DELICIOUS (Billy and Sandy)!!
While I was at work making copies of recipes for Amy
they were preparing a Waldorf Chicken Salad on Croissants, a delicious salad with a Raspberry Vinegarette Dressing, and little individual Trifles for dessert (thanks Mindy!).

As if we needed Trifle!!

Hello!! We had COOKIES!

Each girl brought 10 dozen cookies and 10 copies of their recipe (along with the reason why they chose that recipe) to swap with the other girls.
Since 2 girls weren't able to come (missed ya!) each one of us had a couple of dozen extra cookies to take back home (aren't our families happy now!).

Take a look at the goodies...Can these girls make some cookies or what?!? Mmmm...Mmmm...Mmmm!!! Aren't they GREAT!?!

I have to tell you. We had SO much fun! The time went by SO fast! We should do this more often!!
Why is it that there's never enough time for girlfriends?!?
Whether it's an outing for the day, a pajama party, a brunch, a bunco game
I HIGHLY recommend 'Girlfriend Time'.
There's nothing like it!
God Blessed us with good friends. Let's Enjoy Them!
Thanks Girls!!

More Details

Whew! The crown is all but finished. But I'm not sure if it's what I envisioned. What do you think?

I'm calling it "Crown Molding on a Budget" because we used anaglypta wallpaper border instead of layers of molding to make it look more substantial.
First we hung the border:

Then Billy added the corner pieces so we wouldn't have to make those detailed cuts to the wood. Then he added the top and bottom pieces of wood and painted everything white. This is the end result:

See, I'm thinking that there should be another piece of moulding just under the top piece. Maybe some dental moulding? I'm afraid the wallpaper is too tall proportionately to the top piece of moulding.
I'm really proud of the job Billy did. We learned a lot about what NOT to do so we'll get better with each project.
Any suggestions?