Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Moving In: Phase I

Dear Reader -  Well, the last few days have been the start of what I'm sure is gonna be an endless whirlwind of activity.

Here's some of what's been happening behind that butcher paper in the windows . . .

I recycled the paper that'd been covering the "new" old floor (see result center), Rehoboth Home Services moved my very heavy boxes of books from the Sorting Room to the center of the shop (see result left), and we assembled the first of the bookcases that Dan and Paul brought back for us on their way home from work in DC (see result right):

Scott and his fellas from Rehoboth Home Services also brought over the little couch that's been living under a sheet in our kitchen (Miss C and our two kitties are dismayed - don't know how they're gonna function from day to day without it) and a couple of comfy chairs:

I put a couple coats of urethane on the old built-in shelving at the back of the shop, so that the books won't stick to the new semi-gloss paint:

I removed all of the old can track light heads and yellow fluorescent bulbs, replacing them with simple, exposed hallogen lights (dig the new fans that Dave from Seaside Electrical Service put in for us):

And we received our first card order from our friends at Borealis Press up in Blue Hill, Maine:

I know that looking at a pile of cardboard boxes doesn't seem particularly sexy or exciting, dear Reader, but watching them roll in the door got my toes to wigglin', kinda like Blossom Dearie's wont to do:

Happy  - Jen

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another trip downtown (a further exploration of Lewes, Delaware)

Dear Reader -  So the next spot I thought I should travel in looking at downtown Lewes is the back hall of my own little building. This mid-19th century beauty houses a few homes upstairs and three stores down. Biblion faces onto Second Street, while its two other shops, Two Friends and the Beach Jetty, face onto Market:

You may remember, dear Reader, that we visited Two Friends once before, when we learned about Joan's high school days working at Britt's in the 50s. But we really didn't take the time to explore the shop's offerings that time.

Two Friends is awesome. To say that it has a friendly sort of vibe is an understatement, as the shop is owned by two friends (Carol, who happened to be there when I stopped in, and Marylou, who happens to live next door to me at home, too) and is run from day to day by two friends, too (the aforementioned Joan, as well as Jean, who was there unpacking new merchandise when I popped in the door).

(Please note, Reader, that I tried to snap pictures of the ladies for you, but most of the women whom I visited that day were not keen on having their photos taken - ah, well.)

The shop is filled with beautiful things to decorate and enhance your domicile. Here they have the last of their Christmas offerings at a happy markdown:

And a few steps further on is a cute display of some of their Valentine's gifts:

The Valentine display offers a great representation of the breadth of what you'll find at Two Friends, from their lovely collection of Mariposa to their clever coffee table books to their two rooms chock full of the latest Vera Bradley styles and colors:

It really is hard to pick a favorite thing amongst it all:

But, if I had to choose, my lover-of-words-and-phrases self would make a bee-line to the clever signs that are scattered around their walls. I adore them:

Like art, words can add a real sense of personality and warmth to a home, and that's what Two Friends is full of: warmth and personality.

My next stop was the Beach Jetty, which is owned by Maryanne. She recently moved into the building, expanding her very successful boutique on Second Street by opening this second location just steps away.

The space is darling, truly. You enter at street level and make your way down the steps to find her lovely array of moderately-priced fashions and accessories (I got my dress for Taste the Fruit of the Vine from her this fall, and it was a huge success for the event and for my wallet):

Maryanne was down at the Second Street shop, so Claude (pronounced like ode with a cl on the front) was kind enough to show me some of their newest offerings, like this cute jacket that'd just come in, with its happy balance of structure and comfort (my friend Nathalie needs that jewel-toned blouse on the front of that rack):
And then she showed me these bags, embellished by local artist Esther Ingram - enchanting:

I'm not much of a handbag sort of gal (as evidenced by the frumpy black one that you saw when we visited Circa Home), dear Reader, but I'm a sucker for good design.

I thanked Claude and headed out to find Maryanne down the street (note: I forgot to take a picture of her second storefront in the moment 'cause it was bitterly cold, and it never occurred to me to removed my gloves and snap a shot - so Miss C and I rolled down our window and caught one this morning - that's Miss C giggling in the rear view mirror during our drive-by):

Maryanne is intentional about keeping the selection at each of her locations distinct - each boutique is a unique shopping experience. Her Second Street location features the beachy staples of her Fresh Produce and Life is Good collections:

She, too, had some great sales going on. My favorites were these charming mittens and hats:

As I said goodbye, I realized that no trip to our building would be complete without a trip to Aquamarine:
(Note: I caught this picture one day, and I just realized that I didn't move far enough out into the street to get the sign in the shot - I'll work on remedying that.)

Aquamarine is owned by Maureen, who first opened it downstairs where the Beach Jetty is today:

Maureen has been hugely successful, filling a need for a slightly higher price point in the Lewes women's fashion scene. The gorgeous clothes and accessories that she finds garner her regular followers among Lewes locals, as well as the DC set and beyond. And now she's moved her boutique to roomier digs in another one of The Beneficent Mr. Ted's buildings at 114 Second Street:

In addition to her gorgeous clothing lines, Maureen also carries some unique jewelry, shoes, and accessories:

This bag reminded me of the one I carried when I lived in Vienna:

Maureen knows how to do most everything in style. Heck, she can even make trash bags look inspired in her window story:

I bid her adieu and headed back down to biblion, where the window washer'd just visited, allowing me to finally get some paper up on my windows so that I can ready the space:

Which, dear Reader, I need to log off to do. Onward!  - Jenny

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why God Invented Perfume and Ponytails

Dear Reader -  You know you're having way too much fun starting your new business when the furniture assembly folks from Rehoboth Home Services call at 9:30 on a Thursday morning to say they're 15 minutes out, and you realize that you still haven't been able to get to the shower. In fact, you're wearing the same clothes that you put on two days ago:
Thank the stars above for Coco by Chanel and my trusty hair ties. I feel just like Elizabeth I.

Luckily for my friends, I burned my togs while dinner was baking last night. I feel much better now:

And so, before my own mind goes, I'm off to finalize the orders for my last three card lines and sing at Marcia Gibb's funeral. Have a good, clean Friday, Reader.  - Jen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Flooring 3.5

Dear Reader -  While it looks like the Meili's still have a fair amount of clean up and touch up work to do on the beautifully-painted baseboards and walls and such (so we're not quite at level 4.0), the floor (as seen from the door 'cause I'm too neurotic to walk on it, yet) looks lovely:

In honor of the "no shoes allowed," we're singing along with the late Kirsty MacColl this morning:
Bestockinged  - Jenny

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flooring 3.0 (or, that's an impressive grit you got there, Jenny)

Dear Reader -  So when I stopped in at the shop in Friday to check out the floor's progress, they were just getting started with the first sanding of the original floors. Because of the mind-bogglingly ample quantity of glue used to hold down that "vintage" commercial carpeting, it was taking a more impressive grit than I'd ever laid eyes on before to the the worst of it off:
(Please note the pretty new electrical plug in the background, dear Reader - I'm really, really happy 'bout all my new electrical devices that Dave Cannon from Seaside Electrical Service installed for me.)

The glue residue was sticking on everything, even folks' shoes (ick!), but it was, to my delight, coming off:

And while you can definitely see a difference between the vintage wood and the new stuff, Greg and Kristy Meili did a great job of getting the floors to match up as well as I imagine they could:

The floor to the left, that's more red and evenly colored, is the new stuff. Greg and Kristy are thinking that the darker stain color that I've chosen with Mr. Ted will really help to blend them.

I hear that the final sanding is done, the gaps are all filled, the stain is down, and the finish should be sock-walkable by the morning. I'm using all my big-girl self control to wait to see it 'till it's fully ready. But I'm planning on padding over there to snap a picture or two for you first thing, Reader.

In the meantime, I'm keeping myself chilled out with the album that Rocco DeLuca and Burden did with Lanois in '09:

Have a happy evening!  - Jen

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Profile Picture: Sharyl Weinshilboum, the Enduring Miss Frost, and the Watergate Trials

Dear Reader -  I've been getting several inquiries about my profile picture. Everyone asks who the little girls are:

The one to the left is a third grade me, giggling up a storm with my best buddy from that year, Sharyl Weinshilboum, on a Girl Scout trip to Joyland in Wichita.

I loved Sharyl. I loved her wit and her creativity and her daring. And we had a blast and a half in third grade, coming up with one wacky project after another, like the intricate miniature animal display that we created for a school-wide fair; or the "Thom Boys Club" that we established in my back yard, replete with a big ol' used tire of my daddy's that we half-buried in the ground to be our club house's toilet (yep, everybody had to do something interesting in the tire in order to be in the "club"); to the extended election campaign that we organized, pitting two of my largest stuffed dogs against each other and getting kids from all the grades at recess with us to vote on which one they thought was "best" (oh, heavens, we talked poor Steven Rudy into being the campaign manager for "Big Snoopy," who was roundly trounced by my man, "Big Greeny"); to the time we both came home from school completely coated in mud after having thrown it at each other for a good, hilarious half hour or so, ruining a ball diamond in the process.

Like I said, we had a blast and a half.

But then came fourth grade and Miss Frost.

Miss Frost had been a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary since the beginning of time.

Miss Frost had been Sharyl's dad's teacher, so we knew she was really, really old. And while she turned out to be my fourth grade teacher, she wasn't Sharyl's, which was a sad thing for me. You see, Miss Frost started every day off with the Lord's Prayer, and Sharyl's dad made sure that her little Jewish soul didn't have to endure it as he had.

Miss Frost was sweet. She was the kind of teacher who bought a box of Girl Scout cookies from every girl, who never, ever got pissy, and who always came up with simple, enriching things for us to do (I still remember being "Juanita" in our makeshift Spanish class). I loved her, and of course she loved us, too - heck, I still have the note she wrote to me when I graduated from high school - what a dear.

Here's Miss Frost and our little class:

Miss Frost was also the kind of teacher who stopped to answer most any question that we threw at her.

Well, it was 1974, and Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, and Mr. Magoo had all been preempted in their after-school timeslots by the Watergate trials. I remember going home, turning on the television with its four stations and finding every single one of them trained on these seemingly deadly dull conversations. So one day I up and asked her what it was all about.

Miss Frost, of course, took the time to explain it in detail to us. She said that cities in the Middle East were built with walls surrounding them, and that there were gates in the city walls for various purposes. She reminded us that the Middle East was very dry and that water was a hot commodity, and she said that there was always a water gate in each city where they brought the water in. And the trials? They, of course, were about a water dispute in the region.


I was thrilled, finally knowing what all the fuss was all about. I went home, turned on the television, and immediately made up a song about the whole affair - dancing around the basement, standing up on the cabinets at the back of it to look out with a sense of power and knowing at the big cedar gate in our back yard. It was a happy day in Jennyland.

Sharyl moved away after fourth grade, and I think that I only got to see her once after that. Imagine my delight when I searched for and found her on the facebook thingie - just feels happy to know that she's still there, now with three gorgeous and impish-looking children of her own!

All of these 1974 remembrances got me to thinkin' about the music of the day. I remember that, like my Watergate ditty, I was more than a little fond of the story-telling songs. And these three flew to mind, along with the Grand Funk Railroad number (which sticks with me since I wrote to them in third grade for a class project and got a really cool fan packet back with a dozen 8x10 glossy photographs [I thought that was cool, but it didn't come close to the handwritten note that Keven Miller got back from Billie Jean King]).

I don't need to say anything more about these songs, Reader - they (and their grooming/fashion) speak for themselves.

Nostalgically yours  - Jenny

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A trip downtown (or why I decided to open a shop on Second Street in Lewes, Delaware)

Dear Reader -  As I mentioned in my This is not a dream . . .  post back in December, one of the reasons why I chose to open a business in Lewes is because of its thriving little downtown, faithfully supported by locals, who love that the shops are open year-round, and favorite of the off-the-beaten-track brand of resort visitors. And I want to show you a little more of why biblion fits so perfectly in this spot, penning a few posts on some of my neighbors.

I stopped down at the shop to check on the progress of the floor yesterday (I'll give you a full, heapin' helpin' of that in a later post). And while the Beneficent Mr. Ted was making his way back from Lowes with a floor stain sample card, I took the opportunity to wander down Second Street a bit.

I made my way just across the street to one of the little shops on the ground floor of the Hotel Rodney, Circa Home. This unique home accessory shop is owned by my friends John and Bill, the second of whom was there to greet me warmly:

Circa Home is a tiny little shop, but there's much to be seduced by if you take the time to linger in it a bit:
(Side note: See that frumpy black handbag and pile of files on their beautiful chair? That's mine. Bill and John don't sell frumpy black handbags. Heck, Bill and John don't sell frumpy anything.)

John and Bill have been in business here in Lewes for about a decade, where they've become one of the mainstays of a Lewes shopping experience. In fact, it's worth noting that Circa Home is the reason why little Lewes swarmed with Secret Service agents a few years back, when First Lady Laura Bush made a stop in town to visit John and Bill's shop at the behest of one of her friends. They then crossed the street for lunch at Agave, the best Mexican food at the beach with a stellar tequila bar (boasting over 100 varieties to try).

Bill and John are both beautiful men, and their shop reflects this. It's gorgeously appointed and arranged, with a curated collection of found objects that are assembled in a loving and thoughtful manner, such to inspire. Visiting Circa Home is a sensory delight. They are also excellent buyers, resulting in very fair pricing for their antiques and artful finds.

I'd stopped in the day before and John showed me these gorgeous bookends (they're a tiny bit out of my girl-starting-a-new-business price range, but I still enjoyed imagining them on one of my future client's bookshelves):

I fell seriously in love with this little English dessert set:

And as the chairwoman of a local art show, I was also drawn to this primitively-painted box:

Bill gave me an equally warm goodbye (note the lamp shade to his right - that's a lamp shade "slip cover" that they offer - it's a lovely and affordable way to resuscitate a failing shade or blend one with decor), sending me on my way to their next door neighbor, Sally, at The Cottage:

Sally was on the phone with her contractor when I entered (she's opening an additional shop out on King's Highway called The Old Screen Door, where she'll be selling her sought-after "shabby chic" furniture items). See her back in the right corner?:

So I puttered around a bit while she finished up.

Sally's shop has mix of vintage, one-of-a-kind items, like these jaunty hats:

Or this Baptismal gown:

Blended with unique contemporary items, like these darling artichoke tea lights:

Or this cute, fish-shaped serving dish:

She also has some seriously fun and funky jewelry to offer, and, much to the delight of all of the local Soap Fairy fans, she carries a complete corner of Soap Fairy products as well.

She's been in Lewes now for three years, loving every minute of it. She was nothing but encouraging and enthusiastic about biblion, freely offering a wealthy of newly-in-business wisdom. I'm certain that I'll be back to visit her again in the wintry days ahead:

She waved goodbye, and I made my way back to biblion, where I was thrilled to see that Teresa and her brother from Quillen Signs had already stopped by to put up the window signs:

I loved the red prior to this, but now I'm loving it even more - it glows happily, catching the eye from down the street. Teresa's advised that I repeat it on the store's side sign (just visible in the upper right hand corner) - I'm gonna follow her advice, perhaps considering a switch over to the three-dimensional lettering that Thistles had after we get established.

While I'd love to turn right around and continue our virtual tour, dear Reader, I need to get back to work. Heck, I gotta ensure that biblion lives up to the wonderful standards that her Second Street neighbors have set, right?

Onward!  - Jen
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