Monday, September 29, 2008

and the winner is....


Thank you to each of you dear ones who commented, coveted, and chimed in on how you love to use your ephemera in everyday life. Since I had no idea what to expect, I was thrilled at the success of my very first giveaway!

So let's all congratulate Michaele and wait with baited breath for this Thanksgiving banner she's hinted at! (Michaele, please email me your mailing information at your earliest convenience. I want to get this sent out before Holiday Prep ramps into overdrive.)

Now do not fret..... because EVERYONE who commented will be receiving a gift certificate to be used once the online shopping goes live at Alice Adair! So please email me ( with the primary email address where you would like your promotion code sent.

And to tide you over until then, here are some pictures of my ephemera stash just waiting to go online! It really is just the tip of the iceberg!

winding down...

Just a few more hours until the drawing for the first ever giveaway! I've extended the deadline for you to comment on the post below until...

5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time!

So... tell your friends, spread the word... and keep your fingers crossed! The winner will be posted tonight!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

hearth and home giveaway...

So I had totally planned to blog about the state of my worktables downstairs today. To show you piles and boxes and bags of scrap and ephemera of all sorts. Until a certain someone (Heather) put the idea in my head about hosting a giveaway leading up to the launch.

Then fast-forward to me digging through all my piles and pockets searching for items for a custom collage. See me diverting from the task at hand and pulling things that make me think of Fall and hearth and home.

Then see me decide to put it all together in my very first giveaway!

What You'll Win

2 Sets of Vintage Sheet Music
(Sounds from the Ringing Rocks, The Road to Home Sweet Home)

A glassine envelope

2 1930's Bird Scrap Cutouts

4 black and white photographs
(two houses, one family, couple in the woods)

Large portrait photograph in it's original folder

A beautiful decorative page from an antique photo album
(The pale orange is simply delicious and the scrollwork is on both sides)

3 Postcards

Scrap with a young boy and a turkey

An amazing poem card with Chinese lanterns and chrysanthemums
(With the original gold lined envelope)

A 1909 Grade Card

Letter with Envelope
(The handwriting is so distinctive!)

An adorable colored illustration of two children feeding a squirrel

Each of the music sets have multiple pages and I'd added the silk leaves and berry sprig for photographic effect, but I'll be adding those in too. The lace panel I spread over my canvas-topped table -isn't- included. (So sorry to disappoint!)

Just looking over the pictures to make sure I've listed everything gave me lots of ideas of just what could be done with it all. Could you imagine having glass cut for your dining room table for Thanksgiving and serving your meal over a collage of leaves, photos, and momentos? So adorable and with nothing to launder when someone invariably spills gravy. My mind whirls at what so many of you artistic ladies could create with these supplies.

To be entered in the drawing for the giveaway, please post a comment with your favorite way to use ephemera in your daily life (decor, art inspiration, etc). The giveaway will be open for three days -- so that you have plenty of time to post.

I'll be spending the rest of the weekend sorting and situating the ephemera parcels that will be going on the website and wishing you all the best of luck! Check back Monday for the winner to be posted.

Monday, September 22, 2008

a perfect start to the new season...

blissfall: [blisfawl] n. the experience of supreme happiness, utter joy or total contentment on a day in the season of the year that comes after summer and before winter.

Since I know so many have been cheering on this day, I doubt that any of you have missed out on the fact that today is indeed the first day of Autumn. Or Fall. Or Harvest. Shine on, shine on harvest moon, up in the sky....

And for the record, I make up words, so you won't find blissfall in any dictionary. Yet the term perfectly sums up those moments in the oncoming season that just make you let out a long lazy breath and stand firmly rooted where you are until the experience has passed.

And if the calendar wasn't enough to inform me, my inner body clock has been steadily nudging me forward. My hands have lingered over my denim jacket wistfully waiting for the temperatures to dip. Gone are the cravings for sun-brewed ice tea or lemonade, apple cider and hot chocolate eager to take their place. The kitchen is changing too. Baking is appealing again, with rich nutty flavors and lots of cinnamon. Ever since I made that pot of chili, I'm been making "good meals" as J would call them. Comfort food. Like the pork chops and noodles I baked last night with cream of mushroom soup, then served with lima beans and cranberry sauce. Or the zucchini parmigiana my dad made that I had for lunch. Yum.

My blissfall moment came today as I spied a bunch of red buckeye pods littering the side of the street by the shop. The fallen branches had been picked up by the city workers finally, revealing a carpet of this yellowish gold 'fruit' in the grass. Red buckeyes tend to be larger than the variety that grows in my front yard and the pods do not bear any spikes. So there I am, in the grass, opening up all the pods that won't ripen on the tree to extract the buckeyes. Why? Because of how great they would look scattered across a table, or in an apothecary jar, or.. or... any number of possibilities. I even thought about using them at Thanksgiving and writing each family member's name on one in a fine-tip gold paint pen. It could serve as a place marker and a gift (my granddad always said that carrying a buckeye brought good luck). So as I stuffed my pockets and then used the front of my shirt to corral all the leathery brown orbs, it dawned on me that this was the first of many more blissfall memory moments to come.

There are clear snapshots of time as I think back to years past, other Autumns:

  • Standing around a bonfire with friends, soaking in the glow of the flames and the laughter reminiscent of childhood when we were all on break from college. The sound of drum cadences echoing in the air as the marching band leads the way to the football stadium.
  • Finding the perfect red leaf resting on my windshield (when there are no red-leaved trees anywhere around), like a little present God tucked there for me, a reminder of the pristine clarity and purpose of creation as fingers traced minuscule veins and the paper-thin surface.
  • An open expanse of grass where I would lounge on a bed of quilts and read to my hearts content, warmed by the sun and your favorite layered long tee shirt and hoodie. I lived in Cincinnati then and can still feel the chill of the earth through the fabric. My friends and I would congregate on our favorite hill to spend Sunday afternoons together in silent community while we read or studied, taking breaks to laugh over something silly, finally playing Frisbee once we grew too cold and needed to get the blood flowing again. And all the while the city sprawled out before us like a glorious backdrop.
  • A sunset over a ridge of beech trees that seemed to set the world in flame and caught me by such surprise, I had to pull over and watch it. I still mourn the fact I didn't have a digital camera at the time.

The emotion that permeated each of those memories flooded my day today. Tonight I'll be dreaming about what will get added to that internal scrapbook that defines this time of year.

{ Photos courtesy of Flickr. }

Friday, September 19, 2008



Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.
ralph waldo emerson

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret;
it is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.

antoine de saint-exupery

For those of you who have known it was coming or wished for it... or even figured it out from previous posts: Alice Adair is going online!

The super talented Heather of Bluhm Studios, whom I've mentioned to you before has gone above and beyond in capturing the feel of Alice Adair and the vision I have it. And as a complete bonus, she's become one of my favorite people. Ever since stepping out on this dream, God has truly led me to incredible women that are as inspirational and beneficial to my spirit as they are influential in helping me get one step closer to that image in my head. Do you know that type? The kind of woman that wants you to be prosperous and successful just as much as you want the same for her. One who understands that there is enough in the world for everyone and that living in your own skin is far better than trying to be all things to all people as my mama would say. Anyway, that's a tangent and will bide for another post in the future someday.

While the banner is just a teaser for greater and grander things to come, I hope it whets your appetite for what I am scrambling to get prepared for the grand opening. Right now the online launch has been slated for the the first week of...

... to coincide with our annual holiday event (to be named later) at the shop, and the debut of our new ad in Romantic Homes Magazine. I would love to show it to you, but if I did it would ruin the big (still somewhat secret) reveal. Think of it like a present wrapped in beautiful paper and ribbon. You can see it, but can't open it just yet. But oh, when you do...

I know the splash page probably isn't live JUST yet as Brian has been traveling. But go ahead and bookmark it and check back often. Who knows... maybe a special "treat" will come your way earlier that you think.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

~ Thomas Jefferson, Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774)

I woke from a dream this morning of "that infamous day" seven years ago. My shadow splayed against the brick of the commons as I made my way to art history class. Voices echoing off the building as the news begins to trickle through campus. Fidgeting in my seat that entire hour, only to exit the room and find myself face to face with banks of televisions projecting the horror. The acidic taste of vitamins as I raced into the bathroom and retched.

Images whirled behind my eyelids until I realized just how much time had passed, the morning being orchestrated by coverage of the memorials on all the news channels. I had to pause getting ready because I was crying my makeup off faster than I could apply it. Haunting voices of choirs singing requiems to the skies. Nearly two hundred men in uniform unveiling the bench and memory pool of each individual victim of the Pentagon.

Over the past seven years, I've listened to one particular song on this day as my own private memorial... and now I'm sharing it with you. It is from John Rutter's Requiem, "The Lord Is My Shepherd". It has always had sentimental significance to me, because I play the oboe and have performed the piece before. But in light of today, it is only that much more important. I've included the best video I could find of it on YouTube and have given you the lyrics.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd: therefore can I lack nothing. He shall feed me in a green pasture: and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. He shall comfort my soul: and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me. Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me: Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.

But Thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


The piece is from Rutter's Requiem Mass and although I am not Catholic (to the disbelief of all of my Italian family), I find something comforting about the timbre of the Latin, the platitude of the prayers offered in it. In fact, my CD was so scratched I downloaded the full album so that I could put it on my iPod.

This is my prayer for those whose lives were taken, those who laid them down, and the families left behind....

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may light eternal shine upon them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

home and hearth...

Ahhh, September in Ohio. Is there anything quite like it? Mmm, I don't think so but then again, I live here. Although my imagination tells me that autumn in Boston or Nova Scotia is nothing to sneeze at.

Speaking of sneezing, I should buy stock in Kleenex for all that I'm a-chooing. This time of year is always a killer on my allergies. Which means I need cardigans and pants with deep pockets to stock with tissues. Since they are all in storage, I will be swapping out my closet sooner rather than later. Yikes. Just thinking about all that needs to be done at home, not to mention the shop, makes me cringe.

The coming weeks are going to be full of new things though. Sorting through product, new upholstery for the showroom, a brand new baby in the family, that top SECRET project. Not to mention that we are now at the threshold of my favorite time of year. Even as a retailer (translation -- sleep, eat, breathe your shop), there is something magical and warm that dwells in the heart of dipping temperatures and shortening days. It's all about coming home. Making things snug for those we love. Dragging out the goodies and recipes we've packed away. The memory contained in the scent of a bonfire or the cadence of the high school marching band on a Friday night.

So I might cringe at the work and shiver with the cold if I don't get that pesky closet turned around... I love it. It feeds my soul and invigorates me. So while I can't wait for the crunch of scarlet leaves beneath boots or to make huge pots of my famous chili, I'll have a cup of hot chocolate and sit out on my porch to enjoy the final days of those glorious hanging baskets that made my summer dreams come true.

Here are some snaps I took of them tonight. Check out how huge the geraniums are in my wicker planter. I love my local greenhouse.

hello, my name is adair...

... and I am a book addict.

Yes, they say admitting the problem is the first step in recovery. But I am not so sure that this is necessarily something I want to escape. I just need more shelves. Lots and lots of shelves.

So last night I went to a sale, and while browsing the table nearly fell over when I peered into a box tucked far out of the way and spied leather, marbled papers, and gold letters. OLD BOOKS! But not just any old books. Rather the just-came-from-the-library-at-Monticello-I-need-to-have-these-yes-I-do old books.

I waited all night for them to come under the hammer, fidgeting in my seat to keep my nerves down that someone else had spied them and would want them as badly as I did.

As you can see by the pictures below, I was lucky enough to bring them home. To hold them and marvel at the illustrations only to have my mother pluck them from my grip and claim them for her office. When I lifted my voice in protest, I got the "But you're my best girl..." (never mind the fact that I'm her ONLY girl) "... and you know what's mine is yours, don't you?" How could I argue with that? All I would've gotten was the huge awkward labor story. So now they sit nestled quite cozily in her office.

Tutter's Practical Philosophy, Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, The Waverly Novels: Book Twelve by Sir Walter Scott

See the marbled covers... love the marbled covers. Let sighs of happiness overtake you.

This book of sermons was published in 1831 and is signed by the first owner, John Lloyd, with the date June 10th, 1832. Don't you just ADORE the handwriting. Such distinction.

I'm looking forward to having kids someday just to be able to pull out the labor story at will on them.

Anyway, Karin posted today about some old books she had found recently and asked for opinions as to whether or not she should tear them apart for use in her artistic endeavors.

The advice I shared with her is what I will pass along to you. It pains me to think of lovely, old, rare books being torn asunder -- but like the rest of you, I love tucking old pages here and there in my vignettes. Here are my quick rules-of-thumb...

Never tear a book apart if it is...
a) part of a complete set that you have in your possession. The fact that they've survived together needs to be honored.

b) rare and/or valuable. Look for clues such as engraved illustrations, the quality of binding and materials, the subject matter, the publication date, and any signatures or "history" included in it's pages. Sometimes you will find newspaper clippings, letters, etc tucked inside.

c) falls into category a or b and is in good condition. The spine is tight, the pages are complete and don't show signs of loss or severe water damage.

d) of sentimental importance to you. Whether it was something passed down in your family or a treasure you unearthed in your travels -- it's irreplaceable.

There are plenty of books of varying ages at thrifts and garage sales that would be perfect to tear apart for projects without sacrificing anything. Look for antique books that have severe condition issues. This way you are using something that might possibly have been thrown away without you rescuing it. Or even consider taking more modern books that were mass-produced (I'm thinking from the 50's and 60's) and giving their pages a good dose of artificial age or weather.

So... in honor of fall's cooler weather and perfect days for curling up on the sofa with book, go get lost in some pages while I plot on how to get more shelves.

Friday, September 5, 2008

eye candy...

Some quick snaps of what's in the shop right now... Enjoy!

perfect strangers...

"We're so happy, we do the dance of joy!"

When I was younger, my brother and I simply loved watching the television show "Perfect Strangers". The main characters, as pictured above, were Larry a mild-mannered newspaper reporter and his highly hilarious cousin from a Greek island, Balki. In my recollections, it must have been on Friday nights because it was always one of the last things we were allowed to watch before bed. Anyway, when ever something really wonderful happened, Balki would turn to Larry and grab him by the arms with this line: "Cousin Larry, we're so happy, we do the dance of joy!" After which lots of happy grinning, bouncing frivolity would commence. Have you ever had one of those moments?

This week, I have. And lots of them. But I'll just tell you about two.

The majority of them have all been courtesy of Heather, the creative Co. of Mr. Doodle and Co.. I simply cannot tell you how much I love working with her and how much I look forward to working with Brian (aka Mr. Doodle) to make it all a reality. Since contracting them to do some work for me for the very SECRET (but probably discernible) project which will be making it's debut rather soon, we have been talking just about every day. And now that I am bringing the new laptop to the shop, I've been able to touch base with her as needed with questions, opinions and lots of ideas. In fact, the bosses have started making note that whenever they can hear my laughter from the back of the shop, they know I'm in a "design consultation long distance".

When she "gets me" and transforms all of my ideas into the perfect visual, I want to do the dance of joy. Oh, and when no one is looking -- I do. In fact, even though we've never met and are technically "strangers"... we share so much in common, our friendship is the perfect -click-. Early on Brian called and relayed that he was waiting on something until he saw that Heather and I were on the same page. We were chatting while he perused the emails we'd exchanged back and forth. He said, and I quote, "But yeah, I can see that you are." Classic, no?!

On other fronts, yesterday was an absolute whirlwind. Clients, customers, the super-talented Tami were all in the store at the same time that I was trying to flip-flop two sofas... and everything that I wanted to do seemed to have an audience or something else needed my attention first. Yikes. Sufficed to say, by the end of the day I was absolutely wiped when a sales rep dropped by without an appointment.

Normally I wouldn't have spent the time to sit down and look through his lines, but boy am I glad that I did. Ralph showed me incredible things. Lamps, art, mirrors, the whole gamut. I'm so giddy about one line that I've shifted some other orders to change the feel of the holiday. Perfect timing? Check. Dance of Joy? Check check.

So go find some Dance of Joy moments of your own. Fair warning though -- it's exhilarating.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

looking ahead...

A thousand and one apologies for getting lost in the scenery as this spring and summer has absolutely raced by. Between my brother's wedding, the shop, my cousin's first baby, and putting out household emergencies (like the plumbing letting go in our bathroom and dripping into the kitchen or the transmission in my car going belly-up), I've been absolutely swamped.

Not that I don't think I'm somehow alone in this little pickle. As women, we are dealt a fair chunk of responsibilities and often sign up for even more on top of those! I know we're all busy and I'm quickly learning the easiest way to keep it all under control is organization which is not at the top of my list as far as gifts and talents go. But I'm learning and getting better every day. Baby steps through the clutter. Baby steps into routine. So... the particulars of my lull aside, let's look forward to what is in the pipeline for this fall.

1) Artisan Originals: We are currently featuring the creative talents of some amazing women in the shop. Semi-precious jewelry by Jackie, African trade bead earrings by Robyn, custom and one-of-a-kind collages from A Vintage Design, and more goodies arriving in just the next couple of weeks. More jewelry! Adorable boxes with vintage papers! The most charming clocks you've ever seen! I'll post photos soon, but be sure to stop into the shop and finger all the delightful goodies in person.

2) Frames and pictures and mirrors -- oh my! There is nothing faster to give a wall a new punch of personality than a piece of art. Whether you go for the less is more and want ONE stunning piece to showcase or you (like me) would collage your entire wall in frames and images of all sizes -- there is quite a cache of goods in stock. Now if only I could contrive a way to get more wall space in the shop so I could put them all out. And as always, if there is something you are longing for, please let me know. I'll gladly keep my eyes peeled for whatever it is that tickles your fancy when I'm out to market.

3) Solid Rock Photos! Suzanne and Denny have put their studio in our building. Browse their galleries and trust me, I know you'll be blown away. They have such a fresh, journalistic approach to photography. They've even brought a few seniors out for shots on our upholstery and in the greenhouse! So adorable. I cannot tell you how much I wish they could've shot my senior photos. Then I'd have something cute instead of those huge styrofoam numbers. Yikes. Anyway, moving on from that flashback... could you imagine having a great family portrait done and then mounting it in an antique frame?

4) Holidays! Yes yes, I know few of you are counting down to Christmas yet or even culling through albums for the best "shop-mix" like I am... but it will soon be here. It will be arriving on 2nd Street with it's usual flourish and fanfare -- so be sure to mark your calendars for the first week of November. More details to follow, but let me tell you.... there will be goodies and delights GALORE, not to mention a very special, exclusive SECRET that will be unveiling in the next couple of weeks. If I whet your appetite too soon, you might be overcome with anticipation

I'll be rearranging the store this week and working with my sister-in-law to begin the process of transitioning away from the book work (can you see my mega-watt grin from here?!). But never fear, now that I have a new laptop, lots of inspiration, and some slivers of time -- more posts will be coming, I promise!

But first... baby steps through the filing.