Haggling as an Art Form?

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The New York Times has a great article today about how to haggle when you go furniture shopping:

Read on:

"But these days, the thinking goes that it’s a buyer’s market for anyone looking to buy anything. And, as it happens, I’m currently in the market for everything, having just moved into a new apartment where the sum total of my d├ęcor is two card tables and an old leather recliner. I may not be a regular customer of the design boutiques of SoHo and TriBeCa, but if there is ever going to be a time for me to furnish my home in high style, this would seem to be it."

Read the complete article

We can't help but put in our two cents on this subject.

Now, we know the economy is tough. It's painful to watch. Too much so actually. The worst part of it is, we know it will get even worse in the next 12 months. But we hope that the consumers will see the OTHER side. As a consumer, you have the option of to spend or not to spend. As a furniture store owner though, you are much less flexible. There's rent, employees, utilities, overhead, advertising--fixed cost that come out of our pockets every month.

As we talk to our colleagues in the business, we find most of them are suffering, big time! Especially the small ones. Many have taken out home equity and/or maxed their credit cards out just to keep the business open. Most do not pay themselves a salary. Many of them are barely scraping by.

So when you do shop for furniture and decide to haggle, think about this a little. Stores have to make a profit to survive, and even though the common perception is retailers mark up like crazy, the truth is that after all the overhead, most of them are lucky if they can end up with a profit at the end of the month.

Here is another NY Times article on the home furnishing melt down.

Yes, do haggle if you can, NICELY. Keep in mind, though, stores need to make money to survive. And they are suffering just as much, if not more, than you are.

Otherwise, there won't be any place for us to shop!

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A Craft You'll Love

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Let's make a sweet little decoration
for Sweetheart's day!

First, gather your supplies. You will need:
Scrapbook Paper
Scissors and Glue

A Glitter Heart
(Package purchased at WM for $1.50, but you could easily make your own)
Artist Canvas (You can find these in any craft store. These were purchased at WM, 3/$2.50 for 8x10 size. They can be also found in 7x9 sizes at the dollar store 2/$1.)Next, mark and drill two holes on one side of all three canvas panels. Then on one canvas, drill two more holes on the opposite side. If you don't own a drill, you could easily make the holes using a hammer and nail to punch through the canvas.Paint the two canvases with two holes. I used spray paint, but any craft paint will do. Or you could cover them with scrapbook paper.Cover the canvas with the four holes with scrapbook paper.
Glue on a large glitter heart.
Cut two large I's and two large U's out of coordinating paper. Stagger the two pieces for a shadow effect and glue them onto the painted canvases.String ribbon through the holes in the canvases to tie all three together.And there you have a sweet, and fairly easy, Valentine's Day decoration!

I love a craft that
you can personalize to your own taste!
You could connect the canvases horizontally to have a bigger area for words, instead of letters. You might choose: Be Mine, Happy Valentine's Day, Hugs & Kisses, to name a few. If you have a passion for scrapbooking, you might want to get more decorative.

If I've inspired you to make this sweet little craft,
I'd love to see yours!

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You've Been Framed!

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I love my foyer table and mirror. I'm so proud of the way I was able to transform them. I'm happy that they look so good together. But, there has always been one little thing that has bothered me. The mirror is just not the right dimension for the table. The balance between the two is off, large table, small mirror.I've managed to create balance by placing large objects like plants and candles on each side of the mirror. Yet, it still seemed like it needed a bit more.
The other day as I sat contemplating my design dilemma, it occurred to me that the solution was right in front of my face.A little tweaking and I had my solution. I love the layers and balance, as well as the repetition of design from across the room. I even like the look of the hanging wire. It helps to tie the two frames together.

Could there be a solution to your design dilemma
right in front of you?

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Anne Selke for Vanguard Furniture

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Do you love colors? We do. In fact, we are totally obsessed with it. To us, there is nothing else that can elevate your mood so quickly, so completely.

We saw the new furniture collection from Anne Selke for Vanguard Furniture and we just love it. Anne Selke is the creative force behind Pine Cone Hill, a very pretty bedding line. Her furniture reflects her aesthetic perfectly. It's pretty, colorful and liveable.

Here are some samples of the furniture. You can see the complete collection at the Vanguard web site.

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Rants and Raves-BoBo Intriguing Objects

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Have you ever been in love at first sight? We have. With an object, that is.

We first saw BoBo Intriguing Objects at the Atlanta Mart last year and we've been meaning to write about it. BoBo stands for Bourgois and Bohemian, and we have to say, that just describes the products PERFECTLY.

We love this line because it takes reclaimed wood and makes them into amazingly beautiful things-- kinda rustic and organic--but in a very refined and sophisticated way.

Here are some samples of their products. They look WAY better in person, we must tell you. You can check out the rest of the products on BOBO web site. They are a little bit pricey, but that's because the quality of the workmanship is so high.

At the moment we do not carry BoBo products yet, but if you are interested in anything in particular, drop us a line.

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More Green for Less Green

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I love to look in popular home stores and catalogs to see what's current. I never want to have one of those homes that an archeologist can date it (or me) by the furnishings and decorations. You know what I mean. Think of that house down the street that still has country blue and mauve wallpaper adorned with geese and a old dusty dried floral arrangement. Your home design, like water, should never be stagnant. My mother taught me that "a change is as good as a rest." And making small changes in your home can really make it a more restful place.
You don't have to change everything in your house to keep up with the styles, just incorporate a current item or two.

(photo courtesy of Pottery Barn)
Recently while in a very trendy store, I noticed these "moss spheres" adorning several surfaces. You know what I did? Yes. I stopped by the dollar store on my way home and picked up a few items. The glue and thread were items I had on hand.I turned on some relaxing music and started to craft. Working in sections, I applied glue to the styrofoam ball and then stuck on the moss. It was a bit messy, but really easy. Knowing that these spheres might tempt the young men in my family (a ball is a ball to them), I took a clue from the original items and wrapped each with green thread to additionally secure the moss.I was able to make five moss spheres for substantially less than purchasing them at the popular store. Won't this arrangement look gorgeous in my fireplace or as a centerpiece for my table?
I promise to light the candles
and not leave them unattended.

I'm pretty sure that fire and smoke damage
is not a new design trend.

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The Scale of Just This

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If you've read my blog at all, you know that I enjoy thrift shopping. I love the thrill of the hunt as well as finding a good bargain! But I know, that for me, this is an addictive behavior, so I try to keep my addiction to a minimum by just this one bargain shopping outlet. I don't shop the classifieds, on-line auctions, or even garage sales. Because I limit myself, it's a bit more difficult to find that certain little treasure I may be looking for.
I've wanted a vintage kitchen scale for several months. During that time I've only seen one at the thrift store....in someone else's hands. So it was time to do a little "networking." Fortunately, I have a friend who enjoys going to estate auctions!
I asked my friend to look for just this one little item. Last week I got a phone call telling me that my treasure had been found! It needs a little cleaning, but I love it.
I highly recommend networking when it comes to finding the little "just this" you're looking for. I also recommend that you keep your wish list to just this one or two items, and that you make it clear that you are willing to pay up to just this amount of money. You don't want to take advantage of your friend. You may even choose to offer your friend a finder's fee to help motivate them to search for your treasure, although for most people the thrill of the hunt is payment enough.
Next time you are on the search for just this one item to complete (or start) your collection, why don't you give networking a try.

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