Friday, April 20, 2018

A Few Countdowns

What a crazy busy time we are in at the moment!

With two days left of the Best Kept Secrets Tour, Eight days until Jon and Darcey's wedding, and Seven days until I see great friends from Maryland and California.  These are all enough by themselves but when you put them all together... wow, just wow!

The Best Kept Secrets Tour has been fabulous!!  Our new location serves so much better than our last.  One woman recalled our last place as "the one you could barely move in".  Obviously she arrived when many others did during the last tour.  But she was right.  It was tight when there were more than four people in the shop.  So far we have had four $25 winners.  I believe there are still two winning plastic eggs out there.  Filling 2,000 plastic eggs with either .25 or $25 has proven to be a winning promotion.  We have gotten SO many of these eggs back.  But I remember filling those buggers in January.  That is a lot of eggs.  In case you wondered.

I found the dress to wear to the wedding.  Chelsea helped me and Warren approved it this morning.  So, its a keeper.  It's super comfy...a couple of sizes too big because it is all they had in stock...but since it is a maxi it just makes it a bit long.  I'll have to wear some heels.  Oops...there goes the comfy.  Haha.

I'm blessed to have extra hands coming to help with the rehearsal dinner preps.  My Aunt Naoma and cousin, Regina, are headed our way to attend the wedding.  They are already offering to do anything they can. I have company coming from Maryland and CA Friday morning, I'm going to have Aunt Naoma and Regina peel and cook the mashed potatoes and make the stuffing.  Our menu is turkey and dressing, roast beef and mashed potatoes, a huge salad...made by Georgia, rolls, and baked beans.  I'll probably do some other veggie as well.  But that is optional.  Next up is finding some cool themed napkins and plates.  By the way the menu for the rehearsal dinner was chosen by the bride and groom and will be served at the wedding site at some point during rehearsal and set up.

The other BIG thing is the cake.  I'm making the wedding cake.  Can't wait!  It is going to be a design I've never done before but it's going to be very cool.  We have already been watching YouTube videos to see various techniques to get the desired results.  Chelsea is baking gluten free cupcakes for those guests who can't enjoy the cake.  It is so sweet to have this event include the entire family.

This little guy is doing great and has cut two bottom teeth.  He is obviously uncomfortable sometimes but over all deals well with the painful process.  We don't mind the extra cuddles that help him get through it.  Nope.  We don't.

For now, I'm taking the morning to catch up on Etsy orders...write this post...and pay our sales tax before heading to the shop by two.  I have a hard time not being at the shop when it is open but know that Mom and Chelsea do a great job.  I just hate missing the fun!

Most likely the next time I post we will have wedding rehearsal and/or wedding photos to share.  Yikes!  Then all of our kiddos will be married.  That's pretty awesome!!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Family, Shop and Springtime Winter Weather

Enough already is what I'm not only thinking but also saying about the snow that is completely covering our yards in this neighborhood.

I spent a few minutes pulling icy snow off our "spare" car this morning.  It was Chelsea's car but they have downsized to just one since they moved to Lititz and as it needs some work it is currently still snow covered in the driveway.  It is a reminder that the weather this Springtime is not cooperating fully.  However, I have heard that the 50's are finally headed our way.  That is hopeful.

Since I last posted, Sight and Sound has opened it's newest production, Jesus.  We really enjoyed the Friends and Family evening there.  We have less family members working there now but four that still do.  :-)   Quite the representation.

Loving the blue sky against the lighted theater.

Mikey and his Grandma Georgia

Emily and me
In case you were wondering....Jesus the fantastic!!

We have had a lot of neat family events happening of late.  Friday was a surprise Bridal Shower for Darcey. It was Star Wars themed.  Her friends are so creative and even had a pin the beard on Jonathan game where they had cut out all of the beard styles from the movies and had a huge picture of Jonathan for us to pin the beards onto.  We loved playing the game but even more Roy enjoyed touching the photo of his uncle.  He loves pictures of the people in his life.  Darcey received very nice gifts and everyone enjoyed  tacos and ice cream.  Yum!!

 I believe the wedding is 33 days away now.  But who's counting?  Jonathan...that's who.  He shared the digits with me last night.  Wedding plans are coming together very nicely.  The thing that is super hard is finding housing.  That is still in the works.  Prayers appreciated as time is growing short.  There is a place they would love to rent but they are waiting to hear if they were chosen.

Yesterday was Roy's Dedication at church.  

They attend a different church than we do. It was special for all of both of his sides of the family to be able to attend.  It was so neat to have all of our children, the grandmas and Chadd's entire family there.  Roy was sooo good as the Pastor took him and prayed over him then presented him to the congregation.  He just looked people right in the eye and was calm as a cucumber.  One never knows about an eight month old.  Making it even more special was that Chadd and Chelsea's dear friends, Kevin and Heidi, had their son Sean dedicated at the same time.  Both boys were precious and no tears were the babies.  I was a teary mess all morning.  Having the next generation raising their children to follow Jesus is not something I take for granted.  It is a real gift.

The shop is growing and taking off.  It is not an easy thing to relocate and get settled but we are feeling much more at home.

The strangest thing was having more than one room to fill and oversee.  The first few times people came into the shop and left our line of sight felt super strange.  But we have been able to relax about it and every once in a while we make the loop to see if anyone has questions or would like us to hold something for them.  For the most part we leave them alone to look after offering to answer any questions as we greet them.  We are finding that the shoppers in Lititz are less likely to be drawn to the same things they went crazy over in Strasburg.  We aren't sure if that is because we aren't there to talk artisan items up or if they are just looking for different things.

My brother was awesome enough to go find another kind of mushroom to use for art
since it is the wrong season to harvest conks and we had sold out of the ones we had.
These are found on Black Locust trees.

Our friend, Sonia, made the fabric eggs at my request.
They are beautiful!

I loved how Sheila's Petals from Paper went so perfectly with the eggs.
Hoping some of both of these are sold this week to add to someone's Easter decor.

Chelsea's bath bombs are quite popular.
She has fans who come back time and again for more.

 We are also in waiting mode to see if tourist season lends itself to more artisan items selling.  But in any case it is an interesting new study.!!  New challenges every day!

The ladies of Lititz are super supportive.  Introducing themselves and warmly welcoming us.  We are so thankful.  AND our dear friends from Strasburg are making the drive to Lititz as well.  Double blessings!!

Chelsea's gift for display is commented on nearly daily.  I always love to hear it.  She just has a way of seeing things.  Kind of like a photographer sees a frame around certain views....Chelsea just makes things pretty.

Roy has started doing something that amuses us.  When customers come in we greet them.  As they leave we thank them and say goodbye.  So now when the door opens he kind of makes this "haaayyyy" sound and when people leave he does the same.  It's what he thinks he should do.  Our little greeter.  They learn so much so early.  He also dearly loves to be down where the action is and gets frustrated when he can hear people downstairs if he is upstairs.  Funny boy.

Roy is such a blessing.
We all love him to the moon and back...
as that saying goes.

Hope all is well with you and yours.
Would love to hear from you.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Roy came all the way downstairs to visit me in the shop yesterday.  

This is the LIFE!!

Since we still don't have a sign hung outside 
we had the door open to get a bit more attention 
so I was wearing my coat.

Had to wrap the little man up!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Shop has Moved!!

You didn't really think I could just talk shop, did you?
Look at my precious buddy, Roy.
He is so much FUN!

Roy and I played with some camera time while Chelsea worked at the Strasburg shop one day.
He is in, and on,  some of our display pieces.

What a crazy week we had.  Beginning a week ago, Saturday past, we moved Chelsea and Chadd into their new home above the new shop. 
Early in the morning on moving day.
We were there to take them to breakfast before picking up the truck.

They had a lot of help.  We had a lot of delays due to the former owner having too much stuff and not enough time.  But we finally got in.  The group of friends who were able to help with the move were amazing!  Such fabulous attitudes and a willingness to wait with us through the delays.  In fact, at one point we were all on the floor of the old apartment playing games.  Weird moving day.  I'm so used to ones where you are moving a top speed until it is complete.  But it was the most fun moving day I've ever experienced in that way. 

Chelsea, Emily and Chadd painted the kitchen.  It is serene and pretty in blue and white.
Because the kitchen is in the common area Chelsea was sweet enough to set up a coffee/tea
station for everyone who works in the shop.  She also has a bowl of fruit for us.
We will all contribute to keeping it stocked.  It has already come in handy as we are working long hours.

Wednesday we had our real estate settlement on the new location.  Later that day we went and emptied the Strasburg shop, cleaned it and headed back to Lititz.  With a painter coming the next day we had to be somewhat choosy where we put things.  Nothing could be set up until later.  Only now are we beginning to set up the boutique area while our painter completes his work on Monday and Tuesday.  However, finally, we have enough freedom to begin unpacking and placing display pieces in tentative places.

Our friends Amy and Annie of Fresh Vintage by Amy and LaneyBell Designs have begun setting up their space.  It is absolutely beautiful already and they have only just begun.  We are a bit jealous that they are as far along as they are but know that we made the decision to paint and are paying, in time, for that decision.  However, in the long run we are sure that we will be pleased to have done so.   It is looking so clean and fresh.  Amy is covering most of her walls with merchandise and display so it is working well for her as it is. 

On Saturday we emptied the storage unit, so if you are counting, that is like move number three within those seven days.  We have a lot of stuff.  But it is going to come together so beautifully.  Our space is delightful.  I'm currently looking for window treatments and other little details. 

Today at church I could hardly keep my eyes open and so we came home to eat lunch and then I caught a nap before now watching "some football game".  lol  Actually I am a recent fan of Nick Foles, the Eagles quarterback. I saw his testimony shared online and I am always happy when someone getting the publicity he gets isn't afraid to share their faith.  However, as far as sleep goes, I may not make it until the end of this game.  The eyes are heavy again. 

You could pray with me about something.  I have an appointment with a specialist on Friday morning regarding high pressure in my eyes.  They are concerned about developing glaucoma.  I wouldn't be surprised as I have noticed issues with my peripheral vision over the past couple of years.  It should be treatable if it is what the Optometrist feels it is.  Not that I would get lost vision back but that I should slow or stop future vision loss.

Before I go, here's a sneak peek at the color and theme we have chosen for the boutique area of the shop. 

The color is all through our three areas....but the themes are different for each room and the porch. 
It is going to be SO much fun to set it all up.  And then rearrange and tweak.  If our fondest dreams come true we will actually open on Friday.  It is second Friday in Lititz and the weather is to be perfect.  There is soooo much to do and some snow in the forecast.  I may end up staying overnight midweek so as not to miss opportunities to work.  How blessed that this is an option!

Alright.  Signing off.  So much is left unsaid.  But I hope you've enjoyed seeing a bit of the things happening around here.  It has not been dull and I am physically exhausted from doing a big project at my age.  O.k. so I can't use age as an excuse.  Mom and Georgia are totally hanging in there and working hard.  They have been amazing.  So...I'm just tired.  Mentally and Physically.  But soon this part will be over and the customers will come.  I will be rejuvenated and filled up to the top.....customers have that effect on me.  Can't wait to meet them!!!  And see our favorites from the Strasburg shop visit us!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Random Photos

11:00 pm New Year's Eve.
Someone was late to dinner.
Daisy was so funny just looking at us as if we were 
in trouble for not providing a plate of food for her.

A sweet vignette from The Lampeter Cafe.
This place is sooooo me.
Love everything about the restoration of the historic building
to the classic and simple decor.
It is warm, with fireplaces and comfortable seating
and the food is really good.
Admittedly anyone coming for the first time could be surprised that it 
is not a full service restaurant.
But you quickly come to appreciate the pricing and quality of everything
about this cafe including the amazing brisket.
I'm telling you!

Our last day at the shop didn't happen.
Turns out we caved to the winter weather which turned the roads to 
slippery messes.
So...our snowman waved goodbye all by himself.
Now begins about 45 days of first rest...
then craziness of packing and starting over.
I will work in the Lititz shop about once a week in January
at the gracious offer of Karen, the current owner, so I can 
meet her regular customers and become familiar.
WHO does that?
My sweet friend, that's who!

And another picture of Daisy.
She doesn't always look angry as she did in that first photo.

I didn't take one photo of people during the New Year weekend.
It was all animals and greens.

It was a great weekend.
Yesterday was spent at church and then with family ALL day.
The younger crowd played Dirty Marbles for hours and hours
while the older crowd rested, played with a sweet baby boy
and chatted. 
We eventually watched some football.
We kind of ate a lot.
I made poppy seed chicken and rice for our main meal.
It came out yummy!

The evening came to a close just after 11pm as we headed
down the street from Mom's house to ours.
I was snoring at midnight.
And so began 2018 with a fervent intent....
to get some sleep.

So far, so good!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas 2017 and a Couple of Big News Items!!

 I'm having difficulty with this post because there is so much to share.

I mean, way back at Thanksgiving our oldest son
got engaged to his best friend, Darcey.
It was a huge event because they drove out to Illinois where 
her family is so that he could ask in person....
both Darcey....and especially her parents.

He was super nervous but determined.

We are extremely proud of him for caring so much that 
he do it in a way that was respectful.

They got engaged on her Grandma's porch
where Darcey would have chosen to have her wedding if
they weren't getting married here.

We have yet to go out and take engagement photos.
I asked them if I could do it informally.
They can see if they want more when we are done.

This was the two of them as they came to their family 
engagement party.
He began the evening wearing the hat....
she left wearing the hat.

They are so fun!

The wedding date is April 28th!
Details are beginning to come together.
Darcey and I got the basic Rehearsal Dinner menu planned
in a few minutes on Christmas Day.
I will have fun making 
and serving it at the wedding location.

Some photos from the engagement party taken by Chelsea:

Chelsea made the cupcakes.

These three.
They continue to make us proud.
Roy is a very well behaved little guy who is interested in
everything around him.
Christmas was so fun because he was so engaged.
Each new toy was thoroughly examined 
and enjoyed. 

This photo was taken at the Chrismas Museum while we were out with friends
recently.  Sean, Angel and their two daughters came to visit us.
Roy loved the girls.  

It was his first Moravian Christmas Service, of course.
And he got so chatty he spent most of it in the entryway.
But he was very good.

Since Jonathan will be a married man next year I opted to get him his last 
kid toy this year.
He loves porgs and this Wookie came with a nice one.
Love the Wookie.
It makes Wookie sounds when you squeeze it.

Michael and Emily are doing great.

photo by Chelsea

Mikey is really into camping, his bike and kayaking.
Emily is really into kayaking, her job and her nephews.
Here she and Roy read a book.

He loves both his Aunt Emily and Uncle Michael.
Mikey loves Roy too.

Our other big news?

Pebbles & Lace is MOVING!

We are headed to the big town of Lititz.
As you are likely aware....
I've been supplying the shop called Back Home Again
with my candles for many years.
6 or 7 years.
The owner, and my friend, Karen has decided to be a stay 
at home mom to her blended family.
We are scheduled to open on February 15th!!
That will be one year from the date we opened in Strasburg.
After much back and forth we have decided to close the 
Strasburg shop.
Long story short on that... I am too much of a control freak to 
let someone else manage that one while we open the 
other so Mom and Chelsea voted me down
about keeping both.

We will close the Strasburg shop at 5pm on Saturday and work
like crazy to be ready to open in Lititz in February.

So many awesome things are falling into place.
There will be more on all of it later.

But for now I have this morning off and need to get 
bills paid, groceries purchased and errands run before
watching my sweet grandson while Chelsea works this afternoon.
Someone has to do it....LOL.
Can't wait.
He's a charmer.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Whew!  What a whirlwind this year has been so far.  A delightful, sweet, awesome, blessed and over the top joyful year.  When I look back to January 17th when we learned our friend was making a shop space available and we were invited to take it over I had no idea what saying yes was definitely the right thing to do!

It is so great to work with my mom and daughter.  We all have different gifts that come together so well in the shop.  I would be a mess without their constant cleaning and organizing.  They would go nowhere without my big picture..."Hey!  Let's do this thing!" and the shop would have very limited success without Chelsea's display giftings.  She just has a knack!

I'm Thankful!!

Here are some photos from the shop.

On the day we took possession.
You can see uncertainty....I think.
But excitement.
The last photo in this series shows us very recently.

The shop as it looked for our Grand Opening.

Random shots from the time we've been open.

 We are so super pleased for our friend, Annie, of LaneyBell Designs. 
Her business has exploded with large, large accounts.
You will begin to see her work in amazing places.
We are so thankful that she is not forgetting us in the process.

We have already had a turnover in our baby accessory artisans.
Only because of health issues.  Not due to any fault on either part.
But our former artisan was so kind and to suggest another and it was a super 
smooth transition.  We are thankful!!

Before the Strasburg Halloween Parade.
We are still standing and still smiling!

I think you see relief and a comfortability with where we are
today in this photo.
We now know that we CAN work together and that we enjoy it.
We have settled into our roles.
We have met AMAZING people...both artisans and customers.
We have found our space in the Strasburg business community 
and look forward to growing in that.
We have raised money for Breast Cancer Screenings in younger women
after learning of the need.
We have been pleased to offer a HUGE selection of Vintage Feed Sack fabrics.
Our feedsack ambassador.  Her Great Grandmother is our collector/consignor.

We have sold all but one of the Conk Mushroom Art pieces
that Allan was able to provide for us.

We have ALL grown, so much.
And we are THANKFUL!!
Stay tuned for a huge announcement...
if God wills it!

 Then to have the birth of our precious grandson on July 26th.  I've joined the sweetest and best club on the planet...the Grandma club.  Lately I've been holding him way more than taking photos but here are "a few" from me or stolen from Chelsea. 

Jonathan met Darcey this year.  They were set up by co-workers and are so sweet together.  It is so much fun to see him grow and have new experiences....such as driving 13 hours to her family's home for this Thanksgiving Day.  We will miss having them here but are excited for Darcey to spend time with the loved ones there.

Michael and Emily have made the smart decision to split up Holidays and alternate each year.  So this year they are spending Thanksgiving with her family and we will have them with us for Christmas.  They chose this year for those holidays because my brother and Bev also alternate and this falls in line with their schedule.  So, we will be a smaller gang tonight when we have our Thanksgiving dinner but Pastor Mike, Jenny and her mother will join us and it will be sweet.

My Mazda Minivan died recently.  It had a crazy amount of miles on it.  We found a Ford Escape of the same year, 2003, but with 100,000 less miles on the same engine.  I love it!  And it is red!!  Seems like lately we kept finding white vehicles between us and our moms.  So...I'm breaking the mold with my RED Escape.  Against my better is a photo of me with it.

The candle business continues to thrive and keep me up late at night and awake early to make candles before heading to the shop.  It is something I'm mentally to the wisdom of working so hard all the time....but for now am committed to getting through this busy season.  It still brings joy and even today as I make 85 candles for Sweet Grace Ministries it has purpose.  Deep purpose.  I will not mind one little bit spending that time on something that helps even a little bit for people who will suffer loss in the months to come. 

I hope that you and yours will embrace the good and the bad you have experienced over this past year. We come to understand that everything works together to make us into the people we are.  If we are smart we lean hard into God when the bad things come and we reach out to Him in extreme gratitude when things are going well.   There is no other way to experience the full JOY of life and become all that HE has for us to be.  As most of you know we have been to the depths and we have stood on the highest mountain.  Both have been so important.....I happen to like the highs sooooo much better.  Won't lie.