30 September 2007

New Blog & Website!

Today's the day! We've moved our blog to a new URL. Please visit us here, and please be sure to bookmark our new blog site for future visits. Our blog is now called Lettres from The Blissful, and as you will see, we've re-styled a few things! The blog you are currently reading will remain active and will serve as our archives.

Also, when you have a moment, please stop by our new website at theblissful.com! As anybody who has created one knows, designing and building a website is a labor of love. I am so pleased to make its debut.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to visiting with you on our new sites!

24 September 2007

No Longer Under Wraps

Waiting for the moment when everything will be unveiled!

I admit it. We've been savoring a secret around here. It's been a little tough to keep under wraps. And today, after many, many months of dreaming, planning, and behind-the-scenes work, today is the time to debut it.

Many of our local customers may have caught the item about our shop in Diana Rossetti's Boldface column in yesterday's Canton Repository (click on the highlighted link above, then scroll all the way down to the bottom to read about us under Omnium-Gatherums).

While the final touches are still being prepped for our Big Reveal ("officially" scheduled for October 1st), I think now's a good time to bring you all into the loop!

As we approach the anniversary of the opening of our brick-and-mortar location here in Jackson Township, we are simplifying the shop's name. As of October 1st, the shop you have known as The Blissful Home will now be called, simply, THE BLISSFUL. Our new tagline, French-Inspired Finds & Furnishings, completes the package. As you know, I frequently refer to the shop in print as The Blissful. Now we are "officially" simplifying for two reasons: 1) to better reflect our Euro sensibility (with the new tagline), and (2) to better reflect the breadth of our offerings. Our scope stretches way beyond the home; not only do we offer accent furniture, art, lighting, mirrors, and home accessories, but we also have an array of apothecary, candles, jewelry, stationery, gourmet products, unique gifts, and ladies' apparel and accessories. THE BLISSFUL reflects our lifestyle approach to appointing your home and yourself.

Over the next few weeks, watch for our chic new storefront signage to be installed, as well as our new sign on the corner of Fulton and Dressler. Our gorgeous new website will go live on October 1st at http://www.theblissful.com/. There's nothing there yet, but please bookmark us for future visits! (For all of you who have asked, we are adding online commerce in January.) In addition, our blog (which you are currently reading) will be re-styled and make its home at a new URL, to be announced in about a week. Check back here for one last post, which will lead you to the new URL. The blog site you are currently reading will remain active and serve as our archives.

Local customers, please watch your mailbox in October for a personal invitation to THE BLISSFUL Unveiling & A French-Inspired Noel. This weekend soirée will feature shopping promotions, gourmet food and drink, and of course all of our wonderful holiday decorations and new finds perfect for gift-giving or for keeping! Please save these dates: Thursday, Nov. 1st, Friday, Nov. 2nd, and Saturday, Nov. 3rd, during regular store hours. Watch for our next post!

13 September 2007

We're Going to the Fair!

I love fairs! Love almost everything about them: from the temperate weather of early autumn in which they're usually held to the people-watching to the fair fries and caramel apples...the ones with nuts. There is something about an outdoor festival that brings people of all ages and types together. The air buzzes with a feeling of community spirit, and whenever I can be, I'm right along for the ride. If there's a carousel around, I'm probably riding that, too.
On Sunday, September 30th, I'll venture for the very first time to The Country Living Fair, sponsored by the beautiful and always inspiring magazine of the same name (maybe you've heard of it? :)) This year, the Fair will be held in Morrow, Ohio, at The Workshops of David T. Smith from Friday, September 28th through Sunday the 30th. Over a hundred artisans and craftspeople will show and sell their specialty wares while visitors wend their way through booths and stands chock full of the best of what's around. Among them will be our friends and fellow shop owners Kara and Darcy from the "petite department store" in Greenville, Ohio, McMaster & Storm. Perhaps next year The Blissful will be persuaded to set up a booth of our own!
Making the trip with me will be my new, dear friend Rebecca, a designer with an eye for detail like nobody's business. What a pair we'll be: a designer and a boutique owner together at The Country Living Fair! You can bet we'll be lavishing in all of autumn's splendor and the creative handiwork of all the artists. I'll be taking my camera and will be sure to report back on the blog in full-color detail.
Stay tuned!

Photo courtesy of CountryLiving.com

06 September 2007

Welcome to Autumn

Our much-loved French Doormats are back, this time in spiced-up colors for fall.

Sorry to all of you hot weather lovers out there, but we are so over summer here at The Blissful! We're fall and winter weather people anyway, and we love how these shorter, slightly crisper autumnal days make us feel like nesting. How about you?


New arrivals are showing up weekly as we make Le Grand Slide into autumn and [gulp] winter goods. Don't worry--we're not rushing things. Come in and see our new soy candle line (in chic, chunky boxes complete with matches!), our Bibliotheque Bangle bracelets, beaded candelabra, and extra large 2008 wall calendars by Cavallini & Co., among lots of other great finds.

Much, much more is in store, as I've got a storage room, a warehouse, and a living room, dining room, and basement full of boxes. All of the contents will make their way into the store between now and December...there's only so much we can pack in each week!

P.S. If you are in need of a beautiful fall scarf, stay tuned, because we've got a new shipment in that hasn't yet made its way onto the sales floor.

Enjoy the good sleeping weather!

23 August 2007

A Plethora of Sid

Look carefully at the reflection in the mirror...they're baa-aack!
Our much-awaited large shipment of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks has arrrived! The newest collection for Fall/Holiday 2007 will arrive in the shop in October. We can't wait to see the new ones, either!
As our local customers know, we sell right off the wall, but often we will sell out of a particular Block and need to order it for you. In a few weeks, we will issue a "last call" for orders that need to be delivered in time for Christmas, in the likely event that we will sell out of certain styles. Order now to be sure you receive the ones you want to give as Christmas gifts! Your requests can be reserved with a 50% deposit.

20 August 2007

Make Way for Autumn

Yesterday we traveled down to Columbus for another visit to our regional tradeshow. As I have shared before on this blog, we don't shop this market frequently, nor do we buy deeply from its offerings. The predominant 'look' purveyed in most of the showrooms is not quite us. However, we do consistently buy from a couple of them, so we make our way down two or three times a year to take a peek at what's new.


And are we ever glad we went yesterday! We picked up a new tabletop collection for fall/winter, spied out a second one we may decide to bring in, put in our fall/winter VOTIVO order (yes, we will be carrying Christmas Sage and Joie de Noel in their ready-to-gift holiday packaging, as well as Gingerbread in a holiday-ish chocolate brown box). But our best score of the show was a fabulously well-made, perfectly on-trend, and ridiculously well-priced ladies' accessories line which I am keeping under wraps until it shows up in the store. I have to confess that I didn't think a line like this would ever turn up at the Columbus show...or maybe I underestimated the Columbus show! It's fun to find new things to offer, and nice and convenient when you can see them in person without having to get on a plane.


In addition, for all of you who have complimented the "5" necklace I wear very often, we are now offering two other styles from the same collection, both of them with 5's. Come in and see!


And one last thing: our big fall shipment of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks is due to arrive this week, while smaller shipments will arrive periodically throughout the fall. This is our grand attempt to stay well-stocked through the holidays. Please keep in mind that this is one of our most popular collections, and we tend to go from well-stocked to spotty rather quickly. If you have your heart set on some particular styles, I recommend you reserve them now with a 50% deposit rather than take a chance. The second Retiring list has been released, so stop in to see which Blocks will soon become collectors' items (read: once we are sold out of the Retiring blocks, we will not be getting more, as they will no longer be in production after December 1st).

15 August 2007

We've Finally Arrived

The day before yesterday, I received in the mail for the first time an invitation to the Maison et Objet show in Paris! Now mind you, they got my name from a list of retailers somewhere, undoubtedly because I am registered for some of the domestic tradeshows. But still. The thought of me being included on this list, period, was a little thrill, one that I wanted to share. I am still new enough at this shop owning thing to stand back and say to myself, "Wow. I'm a shop owner." Three years ago, doing anything retail-related was so far out of the realm of anything I ever expected to do with my life that it's funny. I mean, I never meant to do this. And here I am, loving (almost) every minute of it.


The almost part is the one exception I have to make for a couple months back when, moving a heavy box in our storage room, my shoulder accidentally nudged our fire extinguisher off of its wall mount, deploying the thing and sending pungent-tasting (yes, I forgot to close my mouth for the first five seconds or so) white powder flying all over our storage room, our boxes of merchandise, our window treatments, and...all over me. Of course. It was real fun cleaning that up.


And so, thanks to a glossy little leaflet that arrived in my mailbox straight from France, I feel, this week, that I've finally arrived.

06 August 2007

'Twas Four Months Before Christmas

I spent last Wednesday and Thursday evening sprawled out on the family room floor, watching So You Think You Can Dance (go, Sabra!) and zipping open box after box of holiday merchandise with my box cutter. Yep, holiday merchandise! Generally the goodies for "fourth quarter" (in retail lingo, that's October, November, and December) are delivered to the shop in mid-to-late summer. This year, we've been receiving all of our big holiday shipments at our warehouse, then taking them home so I can open and inspect everything, ooh and aah over it, check it against my purchase order, check it off my invoice, price it, empty the boxes of a superfluity of packing peanuts (we hate these static electricity-charged little buggers so much we sometimes call them "hell peanuts"), repack the boxes, seal them up with packing tape, load them back into my car (I see an SUV in my future), and take them back over to the warehouse. Were our warehouse comfy and well-lit, I could do this all over there, but what warehouse do you know that fits that bill?


I hope it's not too much of an abomination to be writing about the Holidays when it's only recently been ninety-plus degrees outside. Before I was a retailer, I would feel disgusted and even slightly offended when I'd walk into the mall in October and see snowflake garlands dangling from the ceiling and oversized red bows adorning every surface. Gimme a break, I'd think. Way to be mercenary. Now, though, I must admit that I eagerly anticipate the holiday season, and not just because sales go way up. Heck, to tell you the truth, I'm ready now! For me, the holidays are the best time of year to be a retailer because we get to participate in helping customers bring comfort and joy to their family and friends. This is the one of my primary motivations for having a shop. I absolutely love to entertain, but with my current lifestyle and the fact that many of my friends live out of town, I'm not able to do it half as much as I'd like. Through appointing my shop with all sorts of delectable finds, I like to think I can extend that same delicious feeling of being a hostess to you.


And let me tell you, do we ever have some pretty and fascinating things for the offering this holiday season. As my mom and I unpacked, we could already tell which items we probably hadn't ordered enough of. My caveat to you will be shop early, because as you know, we are a small, independently owned boutique and not a big box retailer or a franchise, so quantities are always limited. You'll have to wait a while longer for a sneak peak! It is still only August, after all.


I have a notebook in which I record all of my fantasy ideas for future vignettes, display stories, category themes, etc. I have recently begun jotting notes on our Holiday Open House! As soon as I have the date finalized, I will put the word out. Until then, I'll keep all of my glitter glass-adorned and mica snow-filled fantasies stuffed up my sleeves and I'll let you enjoy the rest of your summer!

01 August 2007

Paper Freak

Our Wine Cork Cardholders keep your pretty paper things in place.
With back to school just a few weeks away (sorry, teachers, to break into your summer reverie!), I thought it was high time for a post on paper.
I'll begin with a confession: I am a paper freak. Have been since childhood. From the age of three into early elementary school, I wrote and illustrated my own stories on the inside front and back covers of my Little Golden Books. My parents didn’t mind. They supplied me with plenty of scratch paper, but my crayons, and later on, pens, gravitated only to what paper was between two perfect bound covers. I guess I knew from an early age that whatever I had to say, whatever characters my mind could generate, whatever witty dialogue I could spin, it was supposed to live inside the two covers of a book. When my mind (and word count) outgrew Little Golden Books, I moved my writing life into spiral bound notebooks. Lots of them. Like, one for every story. Because for some reason, it brought me a great deal of discomfort to scrap an idea, turn the page, and begin anew with a fresh idea. With each new idea, I needed a new notebook. Rest assured, the idea of simply ripping out a page and throwing it away occurred to me. But I didn’t like how the pages would then bear the imprint of the words I’d just rejected as too “dumb,” too “babyish,” too “superficial” (yes, this was me at seven). The imprints of my discarded story still were legible, as if they had been written in invisible ink awaiting a milk decoder formula. I felt that my new ideas deserved an unadulterated landing place that had not been marred by what came before. For each new idea, a new notebook. A spanking clean little tome whose paper smelled of possibilities.

Winsome handmade card by calligraphy artist Helen Lewis of Illuminating Words.


As you might imagine, by the end of high school, what I had were lots of empty notebooks with the first few pages torn out. Back then, I wasn’t a finisher.

Handmade notebooks and sketchbooks from Illuminating Words.

Then came college, where finishing made the difference between completing a workshop course and not. So I had to learn to follow my characters until the end of the stories they wanted to tell...or at least until the end of the page requirement. Usually I was long winded (no kidding???). We usually had to write stories that were ten to twenty pages, though this was more of a suggestion than a rule. Mine generally ran more toward the forty page mark. Single spaced. They wanted to be novellas. For one workshop, I had to submit a five page story, double spaced. Not four, not ten, five. This particular assignment was an exercise in compression, elucidation, extracting only the essence of a moment, an idea, a character. We were to be like poets writing in the short story form. Only the choicest words and details would do.
I won a prize for that story. Go figure.

Reproduction vintage French "cahiers" (notebooks). Just enough pages for a stirring little epistle.

Triptych of Scrap Journals by Secret Leaves.

Today, as a boutique proprietor, I get to lavish (hi, Becki) in all of the notebooks, journals, and wonderful paper products I can find. Yes, I’ve finally gotten my fill of paper. Here are some wonderful finds at The Blissful to whet your own writerly whistle (Off-rhymes are purely unintentional, I promise.)

Sharon and Ann at Secret Leaves custom-designed these French-inspired Scrap Journals for us. For an inside look at the design and construction process of another type of journal (it's fascinating), go here to read their blog.

Send out all your correspondence and packages with our Tour Eiffel-embellished mailing labels.

Small enough to fit into your handbag or any roomy pocket and fat enough to fill your palm, our little travel notebooks will inspire you to record your dreams and observations when you're abroad...or right in your own backyard.

With a former English teacher at the helm, you can be sure The Blissful is full of interesting titles to help you while away the hours and learn something new.

In lieu of a beach read, take along "Entre Nous" by Debra Ollivier, a cheeky page turner about the qualities of mind, habit, and character that give French women that je ne sais quoi. A must-r ead for Francophiles and aspiring Francophiles alike.

In addition to what you see pictured here, we've got pretty file folders, beloved paperweights, decorative correspondence sets, stationery, labels, cute erasers, and much, much more. Going back to school this year? Sending someone off in just a few weeks? Ease the transition back into the paper-loving way of life with something from the shop. Or buy your favorite teacher a little something to start off her schoolyear on a sweet note.


And don't forget to pre-order your Sid Dickens Memory Blocks in time for holiday gift giving! I have been taking phone orders from people around the country (how cool is that?), so they truly are booking up fast. The artist just released the first half of the 2007 Retiring list, so stop in to see which Blocks will no longer be in production after December 1st. The second Retiring list will be released later this month. Oh, so much suspense! You've got to love a line with such mystique and cache surrounding it.


A bientot!

18 July 2007

Sneak Peek at Sid

In order to help get your wheels turning about which Sid Dickens Memory Blocks you want to reserve in time for holiday delivery, here's a sneak peek at the Fall and Holiday collections! I wasn't able to get to the big show in Atlanta this past week, so these photos come courtesy of the wonderful Sue from Traditions Unlimited, a retail shop in Erie, PA. Click here to view her photos of the new blocks, snapped in the artist's booth.

Once again, Sid has outdone himself!

Oh, and the number five? Only my favorite number. Did you know that the blocks are available in any letter and in digits one through nine? Here's a unique way to personalize a room: spell out Le Bain on your bathroom wall or your child's name above his bed. As a wedding gift, give the happy couple the numerical date of their Big Day. Possibilities, possibilities...

17 July 2007

Get Your Sid

Every shop owner loves it when a new line goes over so well that she actually has to worry about replenishing it as quickly as her customers want it. We are happy to say this is the case with our Sid Dickens Memory Blocks. As many of you have discovered, this is a beautiful, exciting line of handmade, hand-stained decorative plaster tiles. One block makes the perfect gift for the person who has everything. Many blocks comprise a work of art on any wall you want to make especially memorable. You can double click the article above to read the artist's story.


Due to overwhelming response, we are now taking Holiday Orders (yes, I said it: Holiday Orders!) for all Sid Dickens blocks, including the new Fall and Holiday 2007 tiles. These new collections have only recently debuted and have received an awesome response. The artist has been inundated with orders, so to ensure you receive the tiles you want to give (and receive!) this holiday season, reserve your tiles at The Blissful now with a 50% deposit. Ship time on active tiles other than the new collections is approximately 6 weeks, so it would be a good idea to pre-order those, as well. To view the active collection, stop in and see our in-store vignette and our color catalog, or visit the artist's own website here. As of the date of this post, the Fall and Holiday collections are not yet online, so please stop into the shop to view photos.


The Fall and Holiday collections are gorgeous and not to be missed. Some of the blocks are available in a new finish, which uses the purest form of silver there is. That silver is then aged, giving the blocks an Old World finish beloved by Sid Dickens fans the world over.


Please contact us for pricing. We can be reached at the shop at (330) 492-2500 or by e-mail at theblissfulhome@yahoo.com. Pre-holiday ship dates are booking up fast, so place your orders as soon as possible to guarantee delivery in time for gift-giving.

05 July 2007

One Luscious Lather

Part of the fun of shop owning is the thrill of the hunt: searching out compelling goods to offer to my customers at great prices. When I find a product I really love that fits with the aesthetic of my store AND offers us all a fabulous value, I get pretty excited.
Above, see our latest find: these delectable Australian cocoa butter vegetable soaps. Handmade and enriched with Vitamin E, these sweet, three-ounce babies fit perfectly in the palm of your hand and create a super rich and creamy lather. They're ideal for sensitive skin, not to mention they give a fantastic fragrance in the bath or shower.

This weekend, I'm taking off for a much needed trip to the ocean with some dear friends. I plan to give these soaps as refreshing after-sun gifts. My scents of choice? Ocean and Milkshake. What will yours be?

04 July 2007

Happy Fourth

Happy Fourth of July!
Thank you to all those serving and all those who have served. Because of you, we enjoy our freedom and liberty.
God bless the U.S.A.!

30 June 2007

Full-On Summer

It's full-on summer here at The Blissful. Here's a peek at some of our inspiring favorites.
While there are still a few shopping days left until July Fourth, we're offering our favorite Franco-American-inspired linens and chair pads for your holiday picnic at 20-25% off.

We almost cried tears of joy when we unwrapped our new collection of handbags from a New York-based designer. These have more of a fall persuasion, but it's never too early to start getting ideas. We can't decide which one is our favorite: the Starry Tartan Tote, the Velvet Jamavaar, or the French Gypsy Bag. Best of all: there's more to come!

Our Chandelier Messenger Bag is the perfect laptop bag, school bag, or (why not?) a diaper bag. No one ever said you had to carry one that was all baby bunnies or firetrucks. With plentiful interior pockets and a detachable mini bag, you can be a chic mama (with or without bébé) with this elegantly embroidered Italian fabric. Available in two colorways.

Our Chandelier Sack Bag is the perfect accompaniment to your going-out-to-dinner ensemble. Jeans, heels, great earrings, and this bag. You go.

The Blissful Home en été.

The Sorbonne Loveseat.

Wine-inspired goodies.

I'm afraid these would make us want to nibble every time we walked into our kitchen.

Our exciting new candle line: Claus Porto. In summery scents with vivid packaging. These clean-burning soy candles give up to 70 hours of the finest French fragrance while slowly revealing their own unique Art Deco-inspired etched-glass designs. Our favorite: Lelite (Orange Amber).

When ticking met toile.

Our Open-Air Market Bags are made from vintage grain sacks. Soft leather handles finish the "I'm not just a tourist" look.

The Blissful will be closed on the Fourth of July. Vive la liberté, la France, et l’Amerique!

22 June 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

"Cafe au lait, please...in a dish."
At The Blissful, we are known for our French-inspired finds and furnishings. But did you know we have an interest in matching up French-inspired dogs with great homes? Take a look at some of our favorite pups with personality.

This little toughie wears his France & Hammer Necklace collar proudly. (Our necklace looks great on two-legged people, too.)

Chien a la Sophia Loren on the Cote de Mer, circa 1955.

This little puppy had an unfortunate accident, but he has a great attitude. Wouldn't you like to make his little day?

20 June 2007

One Item, Three Ways

Yesterday when my customer Ingrid and her friend pulled up at the store, I was outside pinning a $20 bill to a rosebush. Stranger things have happened around here, but rarely do anyone other than my mom and I witness them!
I was staging a photo shoot for my new blog, which I've been devoting so much time to that I fear I've been neglecting this one!
Never lacking for inspiration (well, okay, sometimes lacking for inspiration...but never for long), here is a fresh new post with some inspiration for YOU.
Upon a suggestion from a friend, I thought it might be neat to do an occasional post showing you a couple different ways to use some of our favorite finds. I love using objects in unconventional, not-intended-for-this-purpose ways.
The ideas I'm showing you today aren't all that out of the box, but these little green cast iron pots are too cute not to be included.

Une: The basic use: pop an overblown flower into the vase for a chic meets rustique effect.

Deux: Use as a pencil or pen holder. Or how about for your makeup brushes?

Trois: Tuck moss around a taper candle for some seat-me-at-a-table-in-a-European-chateau charm. Do one at every place setting and let each guest take hers home at the end of the night. Or try one on a small shelf, tucked into a summer windowsill, or on your bedside table for some candlelit reading.

What do you think?

16 June 2007

For the Dads

'King of Hearts' by Sid Dickens
Happy Father's Day!