Thursday, December 31, 2009

A sobering thought... and Happy New Year!

A Bend bender: I'm so riled up over the story about the Bend woman who led police around on a drunken driving escapade on Christmas day, then did it again a few days later. It's not the first time. Although the linked article below doesn't specify this next fact, it was reported on the local news last night that she has already racked up 62 DUIs this year. Say WHAaat? If that's true -- even if the number is a lot less -- would someone please put this witch in jail and throw away the key? BEFORE she kills someone? If she's averaging 5.16 DUIs per month, when does she ever have the time to work and earn $10,000 for bail (each time?). Probably someone else caves in each time and writes the check. A lot of money gone to waste. Not to mention taxpayer dollars for police services, judges, jail, and everything else.

Ugh. Shake it off. Shake it off. 2009 can just go away, please.

Please be happy -- and careful -- tonight. Bend has good cab service. All it takes is a phone call.

Happy New Year, everybody!

[later: I realized this all sounded a little too righteous, especially considering we're a store that happily passes out our own delicious Pometini (etc.) recipes -- serves 'em, too, sometimes. Big distinction between enjoying and overdoing... now I'll get off my soapbox.]
http://www.ktvz.com/global/story.asp?s=11731962

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things you need to say Poof to 2009.





Champagne? Check. Good friends? Check. Delicious little small bites? Check. What else do you need for a fun New Year's eve? We love these accoutrements from Tops Malibu, over in Eugene. First of all, these are GOOD products, not cheapo China swizzle sticks. The sparklers, for instance, burn really clean and long and bright. You can wave them around (inside or outside) and not worry about burning anything (your fingers or the house). Secondly, they are all made by hand: the owner/designer provides Oregon jobs to the developmentally disabled to make these wonderful goodies.

Aside from sparklers, we have Wish Papers (roll it into a tube on a plate, light it, make a wish, and it gently floats upwards while granting your wish {?}), little bubbles in a wee champagne bottle, and our absolute favorite, favorite party toy: the Poof Balls. The Poofs are little paper balls (dog/kid safe) that you shoot out of a Poof shooter. Sort of like spitwads, but without the yuck factor. The kids will get it right away; the fun is to give them to adults and watch them turn into goofballs. Even the most straight-laced person in the room will fall apart and have fun. Each pack has six Poof shooters and about 100 Poofs, which you can gather up and reuse. I can tell you, it's very satisfying to be able to blow one of these little balls across the room and whack your best friend in the back of the head with it. The only bad thing: you'll be discovering little paper poofs under your sofa for months. Oh well.

Also pictured, hard to see: a pair of authentic, never-been-worn spats (in original box), circa 1920s. You might not have the gumption to actually wear them, but they sure would look neat set up on your bar!

Last but not least, what girl doesn't want a lovely pair of sparkly earrings to set off her outfit on New Year's eve? Whether dressing up or putting on your most comfy jeans and fleece top (that would be me), you can turn it up a notch with these Swarovski crystal earrings... made in Paris ... very reasonably priced. Yeah, let's get rid of 2009 in style. Cheers to you!

p.s. we're open today 10:30-5:30 and tomorrow 10:30 to 4.

Champagne flutes

Our favorite champers flutes are featured in today's Real Simple "Daily Finds." We have a couple of sets in stock (including another series that has a delicate, ferny green botanical). Don't buy them online, okay? Because: A) there's no time to get them, B) ours are priced at almost 10% less than online (and no shipping!!), and C) buying them at Pomegranate supports one of your local shops, and keeps a teeny tiny bit of the local economy humming here in Bend. Call us if you want to reserve, or make sure we still have them: 541-383-3713.

Here they are:

http://www.realsimple.com/magazine-more/inside-website/daily-finds/champagne-flutes-00000000026975/page2.html

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Christmas! Recap.

For retailers, Christmas is fun, exhilarating, high pressure, non-stop, wild and wonderful. Also a bit weird. I say that with a happy heart. It's only weird because we wind it up and up for the season at the shop (and it truly is joyful and lots of fun), but we ignore ourselves until the very last minute. We don't even know what day it is, most of the time. Way back when I was in the corporate world, the holiday season started at thanksgiving and slagged until the new year. It's not that we knocked off work or goofed around. Heck no! But client projects were fewer and work on the table was generally less. It meant the occasional, guilt-free two-hour lunch with girlfriends, or a little time out for shopping. A long weekend. Peace. Rolling down softly to land with a thump at the end of the year.

It's the exact opposite if you own a store. Holiday time is our make-it or break-it time. Black Friday and all that. You work seven days a week without even knowing it; you dream and think of nothing but your little business; you walk into another store and strange as it seems, you just start to realize it really is Christmas time. You shovel down a couple of bites of cottage cheese or yogurt at 3:45 and call it lunch. You finally get your own tree two days before Christmas [at 8pm when the guy is about to close down the lot], and quick, slap some stuff on it. [Okay, we did far better than that: I have to say our little tree is gorgeous]. I'm not complaining: just 'splainin', Lucy.

But, we got to reconnect with customers, meet some new ones, and have a grand old time. Everyone was in a good mood: I have to say, our customers are so dear, and they really came out in droves. If some had ratcheted down their spending, it didn't matter. Still fun to have someone ooh and ahh over a $12 item. If it made them happy to have something unusual they could afford, it made me happy. And there were those who just bought what they fell in love with. Add to that a few unexpected phone call purchases from Vermont and Michigan and I don't know where else; people who had found my little blog or our website. We had a wonderful open house day early in December – equal to several years ago – and gave 10% of our gross revenues to Saving Grace (a check for $460; the math is easy).

This year, we just wanted to know if we'd still be in business next year. Did we pull it out of the hat? Yes! As I said, this season was just perfect, all things considered. It's nothing like it was in 2006. Maybe it never will be again. And that's just fine. Having just one store now is bliss (for the last six years or so, we've had two stores to deal with). Financially, breaking even or even being a bit up from last year is a miracle – that part is a good omen and we're fine with that. But the stress level has dropped by about 90%. Maybe more, and that is worth gold. Everybody asks us if we miss our downtown store, and we do, but with all the demands and high rent downtown, we were literally on the edge of bankrupcty. And I was on the edge of falling apart. I can say that now, with a little distance between Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (2008) and regrouping (2009). Take some of the drama out of it (I wasn't exactly falling apart, just a temporary departure from my usual even-keeled self) and you have the retailers' reality. Think about it if you have any wild thoughts of opening a store right now. Or come talk to us.

We got our little baby through this very uncertain time. Although it can always be better, I'm happy with our merchandise decisions and our sell-through. As we did last year, we ordered the just-right amounts so that we're not left with a lot of unsold seasonal merchandise. What we do have in ornaments and holiday décor is all half off right now, but there's not a lot. The store is a bit stripped down, as you would imagine, but we have more coming all the time. It's all good.

But forget all of that! When we did finally get our moments of peace, it was more beautiful and focused than if we had had days to enjoy it all. Most of all, our little family was all there (some just by phone). My mom visited (it's a six-hour + drive, and has been a long time since she could drive up, or we drive down), and we had such a good time. I'll remember us standing in the kitchen, cooking two soups together. Mostly, she did it. A most outstanding squash and pear creamy soup with layers of delicate flavor (yep, I could just stand over that pot and eat the whole thing) and a split pea soup from my childhood. It doesn't get better than that! Our two sweet old dogs and their feeble, half-deaf antics were funnier and more precious than ever. Friends and family came over; we had a wonderful Christmas dinner and the gifts were perfect, even if we just did low-key, practical things this year.

And a dear friend who was desperately ill from the swine flu (I hate those swines!) pulled through and is slowly recovering. Recovering. That's a happy word. We got to talk to him on Christmas day, and that was the best gift of all. Boy, that kind of thing sure slaps you out of your self-inflicted trials and tribulations in a second. We're thinking about you every day, Mike.

Hmmm, now I need a tiny bowl of that precious soup.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last minute goodies? Open today, with bells on...

Well, we won't exactly have bells on, but Robert has on his favorite Dalmation-spotted santa hat. It's really goofy, but I've got to give the guy kudos for wearing it. Cute. Anyway, we're open (till 5, or later, if need be) and bustling, fully stocked with great last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers. And we're serving champagne, hot spiced cider, cookies, and egg nog (your choice, spiked or not). Come by and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ode to a tea towel



















We love tea towels at Pomegranate. They always make a great hostess/couples gift, especially when you pair one with some of our gourmet savory jams or fabulous French salts. That's the kind of gift everyone loves: something you can use and savor.

A little background: tea towels are essentially dish towels. They got their name from the English tradition of serving tea (and accoutrements) on a nice tray, lined with a tea towel to keep spills from hurting the tray. And it looks nicer. These days, you can do so much with them. Some ideas:

• Use as a nice guest towel in the bathroom. Layer over a terry hand towel, or just use it by itself. They just get nicer after washing (some might need a little ironing).

• Lay one out on your buffet, table, or counter/bar area, and use it to define a serving area. You could line up all your glassware, or plates and flatware, or set up appetizers atop.

• Use as an oversized napkin for those special BBQ dinners. I have to use one as a bib, usually.

• Group them for an informal café curtain. Run a rod through the tops for an instant window covering or shelving curtain (like inside the knee space of a little vanity, or in front of your handbag collection to keep the dust off).

• Dish towel. Just hang it, use it, appreciate it. They add color and texture to your kitchen. By the way, the French have specific uses for each kind of towel, and a traditional household would have a three-hook rack for their towels, with a hook for cotton (for dishes), linen (glassware), and terry or waffle (hands). Don't mix 'em up chez grandmère!

Some ideas for wrapping:

• Fold and lay one across a gift basket and pile up the rest of your goodies on top. Just wrap ribbon over it all and leave it natural.

• Use it as wrapping itself: just center your other gifts inside and gather it up. Wrap a beautiful wide ribbon around it all, or do as one of our customers did the other day: slip a napkin ring down to the neck and let the top edges flop over (very clever). A nice green way to wrap.

• If you're adding some nice serving spoons, tongs, etc., lay those down the middle lengthwise, and wrap the tea towel around them like a Tootsie Roll. Just roll up, and tie nice ribbon at each end. It's very festive and cute.

We sold out so quickly on some of our newest tea towels; reorders just arrived. "Keep Calm" and the bee are white cotton with black embroidery (very inexpensive!), and our jacquard Twiggy Bird in gray is made in Belgium of a nice, substantial cotton. Bad photo, but the gray background goes so nicely with granite and slate. Plenty in stock now; come see us, or give us a jingle at 541.383.3713.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Think vintage for Christmas


While we're well-stocked with wonderful gifts for everybody (women, men, children, hostesses and hosts), we're really known for our revolving collection of great vintage items. Come see us at Pomegranate for something really unique. Such as this wowie set of eight vintage French hand-painted apothecary jars [just four shown]. Oh my.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Votivo: back in stock, going fast

Your favorite, our favorite. Votivo candles just arrived at Pomegranate and they're flying out the door. Red Currant in stock in the original collection, plus a gorgeous new holiday version in a lovely gift box. Lots of other candles, too, ready for gifting or lighting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some favorite objets de bébé (& kids)





Just got a new shipment in yesterday from one of our favorite vendors for kids. Sturdy flash cards, party games, stacking lightweight block towers, and wall art that goes beyond baby [see counting birds cards on left, which we mostly sell as home décor, because they're so stinkin' cute]. The wonderful graphics on these are what does it for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More retailers' anxiety dreams

Yesterday at Pomegranate was really busy [we live for days like that!]. On top of lots of customers, we had more merchandise arrive (tripping over boxes), and we were trying to finish and pack up some stuff for our own families. There was a bit of chaos, but I have to say, every single customer was so dear and patient while we wrapped up a storm and helped them with their purchases. So I have nothing to be anxious about, right?

Yet I spent the night tossing and turning, dreaming about wrapping gifts. Duh. The bad thing was, each customer wanted me to design a special card or tag for their packages. One guy wanted a kind of Asian fish collage stamp design on watermarked paper, and I actually stood there and did it for him while other customers waited. Insane! Only in my dreams. Another fellow I don't know (but who visits my dreams regularly) always falls down in the store (in the dream, thankfully), and it's always up to me to help him up. He's twice my size and I've devised ways to brace his foot and yank him up with both hands. Dude: please stop visiting my 3am dreams!

Finally, finally, I had to think about going to a happy place in my mind. Sea Ranch, Calif. Will talk about that one of these days. Thinking about it did make the stupid dreams go away, and now I'm refreshed and ready (huh?) for another day.

But don't worry – I LOVE to wrap gifts, and will do it for you happily at the store. Robert likes it too – he's well-versed in the art of the package. Just don't ask me to design an exclusive art tag for you... with five people standing in line behind you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Earth & Vine = divine


Here's a holiday gift with which you can't go wrong: a little selection of Earth & Vine all natural savory jams and marinades. A) they are delicious, B) versatile (use as a glaze or marinade, or atop cheese), and C) all natural and very clean (no junk, no corn syrup). My favorite appetizer is a cracker with a little whipped cream cheese and dollop of one of these savory jams. Apricot Chili Pepper Jam is the newest addition, and it's wonderful.

As always, we'll wrap up whatever combination you want and make it look great (do it in a gift basket with our gold paisley cello wrap). Stop by Pomegranate on your way to the party and be a hero. Or stop by for a taste. Yum.

Funny spellings on Craigslist

There's probably a whole website already dedicated to this, but the odd spellings you find on Craigslist are just too funny to let go. I usually only look at the "business" and "garage sale" sections, so there's likely another whole world I don't even know about. Here are just a few good ones:

naughty pine cabinet [you know you're saucy!]
rot iron bench [looks good; just don't sit on it]
entirpurnur [just extrapolate from the first and last letters]
easy paking [if you're parking at Harvard Yard]

What are your favorites?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A first for us



If you've been to Pomegranate, you know our little homestead is charming and old, and a bit rough and tumble around the edges. It's still in great shape for being over 100 years old, and one of Bend's original working homestead ranches. It's across from the north end of Macy's... but it ain't Manhattan.

So I was surprised the other day to see a stretch limo pulled up alongside our humble little abode. Oh, hmm, must be lost, or taking a break, I thought. But no -- it was there for a group of delightful women who had won a raffle for a day's outing with it and were having a wonderful girls' day out shopping and dining. We were so pleased that they had chosen Pomegranate as one of their stops. Really fun.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

And how cute are these?




Why use a boring brown clipboard when you can have one of these? Now at Pomegranate.

Friday, December 11, 2009

How cute are these?


We've been getting in so many new orders lately at Pomegranate. Every time I open a box, I'm like a kid at Christmas (even though I ordered it, and I know what's in the box -- it's still a happy surprise). My phrase du jour is: How cute are these? I'm probably driving Robert crazy with the repetition, so decided to just mutter "h-cat!" every time I pull something out. Going to try and post some pictures of the new goodies... every one of them great gift ideas, and all of it is really reasonably priced. Shown: little vintage style cardboard house ornaments are great on a tree, but so cute on packages or next to place settings at your holiday dinners. H-cat!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Favorite things {a few}


So much new merchandise rolled into Pomegranate last week (this week, too). Thought I'd try to keep up with it by posting pictures of some tempting gift ideas (one for you, one for me...). Remember, we offer free gift packaging (we have a cardinal theme going this year, very sweet), hot spiced cider and cookies to keep you warm while you shop. What fun!

On the left: gorgeous tray by Fringe Studios. Same collection: candles, little trays, vases with deer and amaryllis. The little square ones are a perfect hostess gift, good for holding candles, jewelry, soaps, chocolate truffles. On the right, a gorgeous big candle for your coffee table, mantel, kitchen island. It's called Winter Birch; all hand-poured with a landscape of twigs, leaves, bark and berries. The scent just sends me into orbit (maybe it reminds me of something from my childhood). I'm not at all fond of some of those super-scented winter candles: they should be delicious, but not cloying. If there's too much faux cinnamon, gingerbread or pumpkin scent, I run the other way. But this one I love, love, love. And it's so beautiful. Wait 'till I post a shot of its cousin, the Sweet Bay Bird candle. Mmm.

Wreath tricks

For some strange reason, I'm not a big fan of wreaths. I know. Bah humbug, and all that. They just hardly ever do it for me, unless they're those big grand numbers with tangerines wired in, etc. And then you have to have a big, grand front door to put it on. But I do like wreaths used flat, as shown above. Trader Joe's has these very simple ones that you can embellish yourself (if you wish to embellish at all). I did this little arrangement in about 3 seconds out in our [frozen!] barn at Pomegranate. Flat wreath, popped in a potted plant (wouldn't an orchid be lovely?) and threw some dried pomegranates around the base of the plant. You could do the same with apples or pears or chestnuts, walnuts, pinecones, or christmas balls. I could have done a little better here by wrapping the plastic pot in some nice paper, or building up the base a bit more, but as usual, I was running around like a speed monkey trying to get our open house ready. Oh, and it was something like 0 degrees. A friend does this same thing, but uses a small garden statue in the middle of the wreath (could be St. Francis, a frog, a bird... maybe with a necklace of cranberries to add a pop of color). Or, you could just pile a bunch of those tangerines in the middle, and let people take one to go after your party. The best dessert of all.

What's your favorite wreath trick?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday soirée and day of giving back


Today/tonight is our annual Open House and Soirée at Pomegranate. Our little homestead is all dressed up for the holidays, we have tons of new merchandise in (we unpacked about 45 boxes just yesterday), and we have lots of treats and goodies for you, all day long and into the evening (until about 7:30). Best of all, 10% of all proceeds today go to charity: our recipient this year is Saving Grace. Stop by, eat, drink and be merry. And shop for a cause.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Audrey styles

Every kid has her movie idol, and mine was Audrey Hepburn. Ohhh, how I wanted to be like her. At age 9, behind the glasses and the goofy haircuts my mother gave me (sorry mom, but I know you haven't figured out that world wide web thingie yet), I thought I saw a glimmer of an emerging Audrey. Yep. Didn't happen. Yes, she was beautiful and elegant and graceful (and grew old that way, too, dang her!) but more than that -- unless she had some dark secrets behind the mask -- she had a generosity of spirit and energy and dedication to good works that you don't often see.

Here's a great post about Audrey from another blog that I love: Paris Breakfasts

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuscan style Christmas lighting

The dear hubs always sets up my favorite lighting at Christmas, although calling it "tuscan style" might be stretching it a bit. If you've traveled in Europe at all, you know how dramatic and truly enchanting all the uplighting is at night. Every important building and ruin, it seems, is bathed in warm light in the evening. It's indescribably beautiful.

We've adapted the look for Bend for the season, and place uplights under a few of the large pine trees on our property. I honestly enjoy this more than the miles of lights wrapped around every house. Robert gets the outdoor ground lights at Home Despot (they're staked and ready to go). He uses outdoor spotlights (not floods) in each one, and recommends two or three per tree, close to the trunk, shining straight up inside the tree. He puts them on timers (you don't want to forget and have an all-night light show), and it's absolutely lovely. Not too bright or obnoxious (because we all love to look at the night sky), but a subtle way to decorate your landscape for the evening. So far beyond the blinking Santas.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More music picks

I've been on the search for new music offerings for Pomegranate, and have found some great new CDs, arriving in a few days. Meanwhile, in an October post about the poor music industry (not talkin' about Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga here), I promised to share some unusual finds that you can only get via iTunes. It's just my weird taste: you might take a listen and think I'm Lady Caca!

So, my latest love is Plus de sucre by JP Nataf. I don't who this guy is, but he's really good. It doesn't even matter if you don't understand the lyrics (all in French). The last song on the album is a little bit stoned-rocker for my taste, but what the hey: it only costs $9.99 to download the whole CD. He has one delicious song that was chosen for the Acoustic France album by Putumayo, which we carry and sell a lot of (hey guess what? someone at Putumayo thinks we might be the top-selling store nationwide for their Paris album -- hard to believe, but we do love it and sell plenty). Anyway, it's worth checking out the whole album. I've been playing it a lot while working on the computer. Then I switch to the all-baroque radio channel in iTunes. See? A bit odd.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hey baby: this sale is yours

Yesterday I did a little flipperoo* in our tiny, but sweet baby department upstairs at Pomegranate. Realized that we needed to kind of rethink that whole area and start fresh... so, I went around and marked down almost everything in the baby department -- by half or more. Yep, it's almost all on sale, except for our adorable Jelly Cat dogs that just arrived a week ago. Good time to shop for baby gifts (love the little organic cotton knit pants and tops, soft soft baby blankets...). Stop by and see!

* professional retail term: to move everything and redo

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shop locally, shop small: the antidote to Black Friday

Wild horses couldn't drag us to a pre-dawn mob scene at one of the big boxes. I don't care how popular Malibu Barbie is!

But we are opening at 9am today at Pomegranate, with mimosas, hot spiced cider, donuts and treats. It can be your little respite in a sea of madness. A place to come and enjoy shopping, listen to music, take your time. We have lots of new things on our shelves (vintage and new goodies), plenty on sale, and, we are happy to gift bag or wrap your purchases in our wonderful holiday papers and ribbons. For free. Doesn't get better than that.

If you're out shopping this weekend, shop locally.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday decorating: article in the "Bulletin" today

So excited! Article in today's Bulletin ("At Home" section) about creative holiday decorating, featuring three local shops/designers, including Pomegranate. Happy happy happy. Get a copy or (hopefully) click here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lovely and inexpensive holiday linens




These are flying out the door: linens for your holiday table. Runners, toppers, tea towels, tablecloths... all are really well-priced. It's a quick way to add a little spark to your settings. The snowflake design is sheer enough to layer over another tablecloth (or just leave it as is -- love it!). The woodland/swedish christmas design (with stitched reindeer) is one of those amazing pieces that can go rustic or modern (only a few left, however), and the bold graphics on our brand new damask cottons add a pop of color and pattern wherever they go (the aprons are fab, too). Try a runner on your entry table or sideboard to change it up a bit. If you do put a runner down the middle of your dining table, remember that it doesn't have to go over the ends; in fact, I love the European style of using runners across the width (rather than length) of the table and treating them as placemats for two (there's even a name for that: "tête à tête"). A smallish square topper (say, 36") looks great placed as a diamond shape over a larger table. Stop by Pomegranate for some ideas!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hanging in the balance



We're lucky to have a shop dog (our wonderful Mollie) and a shop squirrel (or two). This is the view from Pomegranate's picture window behind the wrap desk. This guy (along with hundreds of birds, a few deer, and a sparrow hawk with a broken wing (but no loss of accuracy in obtaining his dinner) entertain us all day. Add to that Mollie's noisefest when she spots the squirrels, and you have quite the cacaphony. Needless to say, we buy tons of bird seed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shopowners' design disasters: floor coverings

So you'd think two people who own a home accessories shop would be able to ace their own choices in things like paint and floor coverings. I'm here to confess that it doesn't always happen that way. When it comes to your own choices, it's different. You're too close to it, maybe. We've learned the hard way on several issues.

First, carpet. When we moved into our house, the carpet was more than ready to be replaced. It was icky beige, standard-issue builder's carpet. It's cheap. It's non-committal, it's one-size-fits-none.

After we moved in, the carpet was further sullied by an unfortunate series of dog-related accidents. Dog went on medication and we thought it was safe to shop for new carpet. Our preference would have been to put in hardwood floors, but we just couldn't afford it. Mistake Numero Uno! It's never good to settle for a cheap substitute for what you really want. This is not to recommend that you overextend yourself, or overdo it for what's appropriate in the space, or not make some compromises towards a good solution.

Let's compare this to, say, buying a coat. You see one at a discount center, marked down to $50 from $150 (supposedly). You try it on, no one helps you because they don't do that, you buy it because it's 'okay' and wow, it's cheap. You wear it for a few weeks and decide that it doesn't really go with anything... and then your husband tells you how nicely it accentuates your butt. I'm just makin' this stuff up (but it happens!). You repeat the process, buying another coat at some impersonal discount box where you have to dig through racks of random stuff (and my god, they light the place with cheap fluorescent tubes): another compromise because you think you'll just make it work. Then you go downtown to one of our great little boutiques and see "It" – the cutest coat you've found, in just the color you want. The staff there helps you find the perfect size and fit and you feel like a million bucks. But you've already spent $130 on coats, and now, since you've found what you really want, should you spend another $100+ or so? Can't answer that, but I can say: you should have waited, and just spent that money once. Sigh.

So it goes with floor coverings, too. We felt we couldn't stretch for the hardwood floors, so we bought more carpet. We didn't want it too dark. Didn't want beige. Didn't want it too 'flecky' or shaggy. Took home a bunch of little samples and looked at them against the paint color and furniture; studied them during different times of the day for the effect of light and color. Remember, we know what we're doing with this stuff. We've done it before. We ended up with kind of a pale stoney mushroom {not beige}. None of that weird pinky/peach overcast. But when the guys came to install it, they kind of tsk tsked and raised their eyebrows when they rolled it out. It was white. A white (okay, maybe just off-white) carpet in a household with two black and white dogs. "Do you have little kids, too?" they asked. No? Well, that's good, anyway. Maybe there was some hope for the carpet.

Things always look different when seen in great quantity. We know that! Carpet often looks lighter than you imagined, and paint color usually ends up looking darker than you thought. A little piece of busy fabric gets much busier when you cover an eight-foot sofa with it (not that ever I've done that!). This is Design School 101 stuff, and we ignored it in our own house.

It was gorgeous, however. It was the perfect contrast to furnishing and walls, and we reveled in its luxurious comfort on our bare feet, and in the way it lightened and brightened up the whole downstairs. We reveled for a few days, maybe a few weeks. Then Weasel the dog (true, it's her name: I had nothing to do with it) began having urinary issues again. More meds, more pee, off and on for months, until it was determined that she needed a $2,000 operation. Right now. Okie dokie!

Weasie was cured (well, the bladder stone problem is gone, but she's old and creaky and half-blind and slightly psychotic -- nothing to be done for all that). We cleaned the carpet, again and again, but it just wasn't going to work. So we started shopping for hardwood floors, aided by offers of 12-month financing with zero interest.

There are a lot of options out there, as you know if you've done any looking. Of course, what we love is vintage, reclaimed flooring... but that can be an expensive proposition. There was a bit of oak flooring in our kitchen, which clashed with the alder cabinetry. What were they thinking? The oak goes kind of yellow; against it, the alder casts a peachy tinge. So the oak had to go (plus we wanted more continuity in our smallish footprint – it was odd how the flooring was all dissected). We wanted something more environmentally friendly, and ended up with bamboo. I like the long grain bamboo, where you get some of the character of the wood, but not the roundish bits you get when it's cut in cross-section. This flooring is stained a deep espresso, with striations of nearly black. It's lovely and dramatic. And very dark. I really love it, but those two dogs we have? Shedding all over the place. And you know how the dust in Central Oregon is ferocious and ever-present? We forgot about that. The dust settles on the floor (even half an hour after we vacuum!) and you can see every fleck of it.

What's the answer? Get dust-colored, dog-colored flooring unless you're the kind who likes to vacuum every day.

Designers, shop owners: what kinds of boo boos have you made in your own homes? I know it's hard to fess up to any of this, but it's fun to hear about it. Besides, hardly anybody will actually see it...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Anniversaries, slightly random


Just found this postcard: San Francisco, 20 years ago last month (photo: Fred Larson). Can't find any of my own photos that I snapped wandering around the city during those days following the quake. Doesn't seem that long ago that the walls were coming down...

Yesterday I was listening to the Brandenburg Concertos: maybe one of the most glorious pieces of music ever written. Then it hit me: Brandenburg... concertos... gate, and the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. What an amazing piece of history.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Design tips and disasters, part one (the shopowner's home)


Pomegranate customers often ask us what our own house looks like, assuming, maybe, that we get to take home whatever we want (and that our house looks like a showplace). Theoretically, that could be true. But it doesn't always work that way. In fact, sometimes it looks like a warehouse. Thought I'd share some of the good and the bad here. Maybe a little series!

First, let me say that I love our house. Except for the #]&^! teeny closet of a laundry room, our house is lovely, and perfectly suited for us. Oh, there are things that really bug me that we'll deal with someday, like the vestiges of Builder's Delight Brass Fixtures. When were these things ever in style, and how did they worm their insidious way back into our homes (weren't they banned as eye pollution in the 70s)?

We have a brass and glass hanging pendant light in our entryway that is so flippin' ugly that I'd like to shoot it. If I had a weapon. Fortunately, it's way high up in the air, we never turn it on, and no one ever sees it, so it's on the bottom of the "to do" list. Plus getting up there requires a very, very tall ladder. It's not going to be easy. Meanwhile, here's a picture of a shiny brass towel rack in our master bath that has no business being on earth. Not only is it brass, but totally useless. It's located in this trapped space behind the giant tub (which I don't like either), and no human could ever reach a towel hanging there, unless you catapulted yourself into that deep space behind the useless tub. Why don't I take it off the wall? Because it will leave holes and unpainted spots, necessitating a paint job, also somewhere down near the bottom of the list. Why don't I just put a towel on it and pretend like it's useful? I don't know. The towel will just get dusty and I can't reach it unless I fling myself across the back of the tub.

For the record, I also detest the tile border, sort of a quasi-southwest desert sand abomination. I bet there's a lot of that here in Bend: somebody had a trainload of it and sold it to every builder in town. Fortunately, it's limited to just a few small spots in the house, and I will someday take great pleasure in ripping it out. Hopefully not just before we start thinking about selling the house. That's a mistake so many people make: you live with something for years, decide to sell, then make those upgrades you know you should have done years earlier. Why not do it now and enjoy the changes? This falls into the "do as I say, not do as I do" category.

My only other lament (the last one I'll share anyway so this doesn't seem too whiny) is white tile countertops in the kitchen. Granted, it's better than the cheapy blue laminate in our last kitchen, but white tile with white grout in a kitchen is just bad news. Unless you don't cook.

Back to the idea of taking home what we want. I cannot, in good conscience, complain one little bit about comfort and decorative objects and nice surroundings: we have all that. But there is sometimes a small case of the cobbler's children having no shoes. Or Family Hold Back. We often take home the poor waifs that get broken, that no one wants, because they're scratched or damaged or otherwise unsellable. If I want a new candle at home, I'll take the one that someone took out of the box and dropped. Or a tester. Dishes? A mishmash of colors that didn't sell so well, so we took home the leftovers. It's a nice mishmash – I do like them – but not my heart's desire. I think this is true of many retailers: it's really not about denying things for yourself, but more about wanting every bit of merchandise on the shelves for customers. I figure if something sells well and we place reorders for it, then eventually I will have earned the right to take one home. Why, yes, I DO want several new Maruca handbags, one in every new color, but that would just be so wrong. Somebody slap me before I do it!

My true, awful nature is that I would love to flip and change and move things and bring in new things all the time. I am the shopping monkey, afterall. But like everybody else, we've got a slim budget to stick to, and really, our shop is the priority. If there's any money available, we need to sink it into more inventory, not a linen slipcovered sofa (sigh).

Well, I didn't give you any tips this time (except for the notion that you should fix up what you can early in the game, and not a month before you sell your house). But stay tuned. There's so much more to talk about...

Monday, November 2, 2009

The anxiety dreams of retailers

Our life is rather predictable right now (work, work work); even our dreams relate directly to the shop. Robert was tortured last night by a two-part Pomegranate dream. First, he went upstairs to our little kid's area, and found himself knee-deep in thousands of large puzzle pieces. Someone had unwrapped every single puzzle (strangely, we don't have any right now, but I've got a shipment coming that he doesn't even know about!) and thrown all the pieces everywhere. Little Mermaid mixed with Peter Pan mixed with geography pieces. It would takes hours and hours (maybe days) to put it all together again. Anyone who's ever worked at a clothing store has dreams about piles of mixed-up T-shirts that must be folded before closing time -- it's all part of the same anxiety/dread retailers have.

In the next dream sequence he had to deal with an irate customer who had picked up our sewing machine cover and wanted to buy it as a cat cover. She had her cat with her, and kept showing him how nicely the cat fit inside the cover, and demanded to buy it. "But I can't sell that!" he said. "My wife would kill me; it's the cover for the sewing machine!"

"But I WANT it," she insisted. I think it ended badly, with her slamming the cover down on the counter and storming out with Fluffy in her arms.

Heh: maybe that's a good idea for a new product. Cat Covers. What do you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where do you get your music?

One of our little categories/offerings at the shop is music. Old-school, plastic-wrapped cds that come with cover art and sometimes lyrics inside. The ones you can hold in your hands and study. The ones that have irritating sticky strips that take five minutes to remove.

It's kind of a dying vehicle, those factory-fresh cds. There are so many online, downloadable options now, not to mention the totally illegal practice of burning cds for friends. We love music (love!), and will continue to search it out and offer what we think is noteworthy. And we thank that loyal group of customers who like what we like and buy much of their music from us.

But here's the thing: the time spent sourcing/vetting new music is a wee bit excessive (but I'm a night owl and don't get paid by the hour, so who cares?), and the wholesale prices we pay are high. Very high. On top of that, some of the more esoteric and interesting artists are not readily available from the distributors. Like everyone else trying to stay alive today, distribution houses are focusing on mainstream offerings -- the stuff that sells.

I guess I'm in a bit of a funk about it. It started a few days ago with the release of the new Pink Martini album. Big fans, we are (although we don't love everything they do). I had the release date on the calendar, to be sure to have the cds in stock. Then I listened to it, or snippets anyway. Eh. Some really, really good songs interspersed with a couple of clunkers (four clunkers, to be exact). Perhaps we're too critical, but when you play the album in a store, you don't want to listen to anything that's too weird or bad or frantic or irritating. Or off pitch. It puts shoppers in the wrong frame of mind. We only play cds that we have for sale; that way, you get to walk around listening to it before you buy it. So it has to be good all the way through.

I also noted on the calendar that a new Jack Johnson cd was being released on the same day. Yay! Oh. It's a live album of everything you've heard before, only with clapping and woo-hooing.

The same day, we saw Sting on The Today Show performing a piece from his new winter/christmas album, If on a Winter's Night. Okay, that's good... like it. It only got 1.5 stars on the general review-o-meter, maybe because some were hoping for the "old" Sting of Roxanne style. This is way more contemplative and soft. English madrigals and ancient folk songs. I thought I detected a whiff of Fairport Convention in there. It's a christmas album, and I'd rather listen to that than most of the hokey christmas fare out there. If you really want to torture me (and possibly inflict permanent damage), put me in a locked room with that god awful new Bob Dylan christmas album, Christmas in the Heart. Oi! I think he should be forced to do about 1,000 Hail Marys for that one... and go apologize to the Wailing Wall.

Back to Sting. The new album is interesting enough that I went to my wholesale ordering site to check it out. Wholesale price is $11.99, with a suggested retail of $16.98. Let me tell you that that's not a very good margin, given that we usually try to lower the suggested retail. And that we have to pay 50¢ to $1 per cd for shipping, depending on how many we buy. And that we have to buy a play copy if we hope to sell any of them. I did the math: we buy five copies at $11.99 + $5 shipping + one play copy @ $11.99. Total: $76.94. We sell five copies at $15.95 for a total of $79.75. That leetle margin is a sneeze towards covering all the expenses a retail store has, not to mention two people working full speed ahead, and those voraciously hungry birds that can go through a bag of seed in a few days...

But here's the real kicker, math and margins aside. You can buy this particular album at a certain big box for $9.99. Yes, less than we pay wholesale. So what do I do? Nix a good album just because big retailers are willing to lose money on it and pay you to come buy it from them (in the hopes that you'll buy something else that actually has a profit margin)? Years ago I was a rep for a distribution company that sold to chain drug stores. The stores would buy Clorox bleach from us for maybe 89¢ per unit and sell it for 92¢. That was a loss leader. The teeny margin didn't add to the store's health, but it got people in the door. This new strategy from the big boxes, buying books for $20 and selling them for $10, why that's just genius!

Now don't go thinking of me as all bitter and grumpy. We're going to keep looking for and bringing in music. A house without music is like a house without books -- unthinkable! We'll do the best we can to find interesting albums we think you'll like. You'll always be able to come in and listen and get recommendations. For the rest of it, for stuff we can't get (or imports that are truly, ridiculously expensive), I'll occasionally post some links for laudable offerings from iTunes. I think it's a great resource, even though I'd rather be selling some of this stuff from our store.

Back to our subject line: where do you get your music? How do you choose what you want and where do you find it? When do you listen to it? What kinds of music do you like?

Okay: here's a little prize for getting to the bottom of this rant. Here are a few of my obscure favorites you can find on iTunes.

Gretchen Parlato: get her self-titled album. We can order her second album (In a Dream) but don't like it nearly as much as the first! Great Brazilian tunes, and a few in English. Sort of a soft, bossa nova/jazz theme all the way through, but not boring. You could play it during any dinner party, and everybody would be happy.

Francoise Hardy, Clair Obscur. Hardy is a famous French pop icon from the 60s and 70s and I find a lot of her stuff to be kind of fizzy and well, pop. But I love this album, and we used to sell it in the store, but because it is one of those dang imports, it retailed for about $22 (and we paid $19.95 for it!). You can get it for $9.99 on iTunes. Speaking of pop, one of my favorite songs on the album (this one belongs at the end of a romantic movie!!) is I'll Be Seeing You, a kind of funky rendition sung with -- don't gag now -- Iggy Pop. Uh, not normally my favorite guy. Iggy Pop, like rum & coke, only remind me of some really bad dates in my youth. Icky.

Last (not least... have to save some for another post), check out this guy named Vinx. Who is he? A revelation (to me; maybe he's well-known?). He's classified under R&B/Soul, but he really defies classification. Love his album, The Mood I'm In. There's this rolling, sweet beat all the way through. Little reminders of Bobby McFerrin, sometimes. An afro/caribbean/brazil percussion section. And a great voice. If nothing else, buy the song You Are My Sunshine. It's got to be the best version ever, with its West African beat, or wait, is that a slow-burning samba section?

Let us know how you like these!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weird stuff (previously) for sale




Once in a while we'll find an oddity to bring into the store. It's usually just for laughs, but sometimes someone buys our oddballs. We always like to have at least one "what the heck is that?" kind of item in the shop. Thought I'd share a few here (even though they're long gone).

They may not look strange, but the metal words "Bend" and "Fun" above have an interesting origin. Years ago, we bought some old signs that had come from the Bend Funeral Home. Clever husband that he is, Robert got out the hacksaw and turned these into several smaller vintage signs that said: "Bend," "Fun," and "Home." We threw out the "eral" part (although we could have made "era" out of it. Dang.).

They sold within a day, although I managed to snag these two for us. From slightly creepy to cool!

On an antiquing road trip a while back, we came across a set of walking canes, the tops of which were outfitted with a salt and pepper shaker. Now go figure! It made us laugh, so we bought them, thinking they might be in the shop forever. But they sold, too. We had a lot of fun speculating on how they came to be. Somebody's hare-brained idea ("We can sell a million of these at the county fair!")? An eighth-grade shop experiment? A Swiss walking/picnic stick? Just think, if you were picnicking, you could reach across several people to sprinkle some pepper on the deviled eggs. How convenient.

I had a personal collection of tiny porcelain doll parts: heads, arms, legs, headless torsos. I'm not much into dolls (was I the only little girl on the block who didn't have a Barbie, and not care?), but these bits and pieces were so charming in their strange way. Alas, I can't keep everything, so we put them in the shop as a kind of oddity. They were all gone within the week. But here's my most excellent idea for the person who got all the parts (or for those of you who hunt for odd things like that): for Halloween, make simple cupcakes and stick a vertical doll leg or arm in the frosted top of each one. Chic creepy, non?

What kind of weird things (we're talking inanimate objects here) do you have in your house?

Monday, October 26, 2009

What's in a (store) name?


A few weeks ago, a news article caught my attention: Donald Fisher, founder of The Gap stores, had died. Long ago, I worked for The Gap for a briefish stint, trying to save up enough to finish my last year of college (I learned a lot at The Gap, too; definitely part of my education). So I knew the origin of the company's name, and certainly knew the company ad jingle, a catchy bit that still sometimes replays itself in my head, ad nauseum (if you're more than, oh, about 30 years old, you know "Fall in-to-the-Gap..."). I had even shopped at the original store as a teenager. It was odd (in that "I knew them when!" way) to see this one, simple idea grow into a mega-chain.

Interesting to note that Mr. Fisher originally planned to call the store "Pants and Discs" with a subtitle of "Levis, Records & Tapes." [Ahhh, 1969. How quaint.] His wife, Doris, came up with the far better name "The Gap." Do you think the store would have become the powerhouse it is with a name like Pants and Discs? No possible way. Forty years later, The Gap has stood the test of time, and is ingrained in our brand consciousness. Whether or not you shop there, you know exactly what it is.

On the other hand, we get used to every oddball name that thrives or goes mainstream. Kinko's was named for the wild, kinky hair of its founder. I bet he did it as a lark, never imagining that it would grow into a national chain. Never imagining that some of us would call it Stinko's.

One of my favorite stores (other than my own, oh yeah) is called Tail of the Yak (Berkeley, CA). There's just so much wrong with that name, starting with "yak." But mention the name to anyone who's ever shopped there, and it doesn't matter. Your heart still skips a beat and you get this warm fuzzy feeling about the Yak. Or how about Bell'Occhio (in SF), another fabulous, inspiring, beautiful shop? Unless you're Italian, you probably can't say it or spell it (and good luck finding it, too). But, it doesn't matter. They went with a name they loved (it means "good eye" in Italian), and bucked all odds to become one of the most luscious (and loved) little boutiques anywhere. You mustn't miss it if you go to San Francisco, but you better do a google map search first, because I'm not kidding: you'll never find it otherwise.

Then there's our own little Pomegranate. When we took over the location nearly twelve years ago, it was called Ice House Trading Post. Well, I'm just not a trading post kind of girl, so that had to go, and even though "Ice House" has a connection to the property (Bend's oldest ice house is one of our three buildings... but no ice anymore), it had its own issues. Although we relied on our small but growing group of sweet, dear and wonderful customers to know what we were all about, the words "Trading Post" and "Ice House" led some people to think we had pemmican and stuffed squirrels and cheap beer. The phone rang all day with such inquiries. Not exactly what I had in mind.

So the search was on for a new name. We had pages and pages and pages of names we had brainstormed. It had to be just right. Not a name someone else already had (I love "Nest" in San Francisco, but it's really bad form and bad business to copy a name, even from a different state). It has to be memorable, spellable, and most of all, fit your image. It has to sound good (or at least, not sound weird) when you answer the phone with it. If you call for Directory Assistance (or google a name search), can you at least get the first four letters right? [That's one small reason why I hate names like Kountry Kollections – oh, don't get me started!] And, does it work graphically when you start thinking about logos or labeling?

As we were in the throes of picking our new name, we ended up taking a long road trip, entertaining each other with stupid name ideas, and pretending we were answering the shop phone ("HellOOoo, Poopsie's!" – that was Robert's idea, shouted out in a high falsetto). My mother was with us for part of the way. She came up with Pomegranate, and it fit. She has wild pomegranate trees on her property, and we were always filling the car with them for decoration at the shop and at home. At the time, pomegranates were still an unusual and exotic fruit. Way before the time when they became part of our diet and vernacular. Before they became part of our cocktails. Pomegranates connect us to the Mediterranean, which we love. And they are ripe (pardon the pun) with spiritual, mythical, and religious iconography, which we learned about later.

Not that Pomegranate is the perfect name. It has its problems. Spelling, for one. We get mail addressed to Pompgranite, Pomogranit, Pamagrante, and every other possible variation. It's also a long name; the whole logo process is challenging (like right now, I'm finally putting a Facebook page together, and if you want to use your logo as your one image, it better fit into a small square, otherwise you're outta luck). For a vertical outdoor sign, I had to use a different font, condensed and squished to fit across. And now, there's the whole issue of popularity: unrelated Pomegranates are popping up all over the place, including another one in Oregon, which should be illegal, but isn't (it's just morally illegal). It just adds to the confusion and brand dilution, and means that sometimes shipments get mixed up and vendors make mistakes. Vexation occurs.

But it's okay. We're just doing our little thing in our small corner of Oregon. Micro mini business, compared to some. We're not going national anytime soon (okay, not ever). Heck, even having two stores was more stress than I could have imagined. Which brings me back to The Gap. To grow like that, to be successful at retail (3,100 stores!), takes money, focus, determination, passion, and really, really good systems. Oh, did I mention money? We definitely have focus, determination, and passion. So there you be.

When phish can't schpell

This little gem ended up in my junk mail box this morning. It's not the spelling so much, but the command of the English language that needs help. The last bit really cracked me up: "Sign, Mrs. Anita Bryan." Is that all you could come up with, you imbeciles of (faux) industry? Mmm. I have a sudden, unexplained urge for some Florida Orange Juice. With a grilled spam sandwich.

BendBroadband wishes to inform you that there is a
congestion in your Chesapeake.Net e-mail account.
This is due to the spam activities going on in the
Internet. You have been contacted personally so that
you can confirm your account to avoid losing it to
Internet spam. Fill the help form below and send it
back to enable us carryout an urgent maintenance in
your e-mail account.

* Username:__________________
* Password:__________________
* Phone:_____________________

BendBroadband Technical Support Unit is opened for
Technology, Help, Information, Support, resources. etc.
Thank you for your understanding. We apologize for any
inconveniences this may have cause you!

Sign,

Mrs. Anita Brian
Technical Support Officer
(C)2009 BendBroadband. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fan us, please

Now I know how my dad must have felt when he used to call me all the time with computer questions. It usually went like this: "Honey, I'm so frustrated. I just plugged that thingie in with the cord you told me about, and I went to start the program, and it's GONE. Also, I created a page with a headline, and now the headline is missing. What button do I push to get it back?" He was writing a music reading book, and trying to compose music for it on a keyboard attached to the Mac.

I just put a Facebook page together, and had some of the same questions. Where did that button go? Why did I just see what I needed, and now I don't see it? Which rabbit hole did I go down this time, and can I find my way back? Did I just kill my website trying to install a link? Did my computer skills stop evolving in 1996?

Anyway, it's up and running, and I think you may be able to click over to it from this blog, using the fan link on the side. If not, you can search for us on Facebook by just typing in Pomegranate Home and Garden. There's only one fan so far (moi), and I'd love to have more and see how this whole thing works. Mom? Mom? Are you reading this? Have you figured out how to get on the internet yet? [silence]

The art (and frustration) of signage


I've been on a signage rampage in our shop. When we first opened years ago, I hand-wrote every tag and every little sign. We even designed and hand-painted our outdoor shop signs. Uh huh, that was fun. I designed them and printed a small copy to stick under a projector: from there we penciled in the outlines onto big pieces of plywood. For evenings on end we worked on those signs, hand painting every little bit -- including some pomegranates -- which we later had to paint over because they weren't allowed under ODOT regulations. Sigh. That's what you get sometimes when everything is DIY.

That was a long time ago. They were in dire need of a make-over, so we designed new shop signage and had them professionally made this time. That was number one priority when we closed up our downtown shop and redirected all our attention to our "off the beaten path" location. Hopefully, they're more visible now. I'm happy with them.

For little signs inside the shop, I've been experimenting with all kinds of sizes and looks, and have decided that this is an art unto itself. There's a lot of learning to do. What looks good on the computer screen isn't necessarily legible or eye-catching propped up as a little note on a table. It's been a kind of Goldilocks experiment lately after I make a little slew of small signs: "too boring, too fussy, too pale, too dark, too small, too big..." Once in a while it's just right.

I think it's human nature to ignore signs, instruction, labeling, so it takes extra effort to make it attractive and make it work. The other night my dear husband briefly warmed up some bread I bought for our dinner. I took one bite of the doughy, raw stuff and knew that he hadn't seen the big red letters on the package that said: "take home and bake." It's okay. I bought a combo package of what I thought was shampoo/conditioner (one of those big, honkin' ones from Costco), used it for two days and couldn't figure out why my hair was all flat and limp and weird. I finally looked at the package and realized that I had bought a big container of conditioner, packaged with a little container of conditioner. Whoopsie!

For some really great, cutting edge, inspiring, and professional examples of packaging and graphics, check out this website: www:thedieline.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

50% off on Halloween Goodies!


Starting today, all our fabulous Halloween treats are 50% off (this year we've got such fun stuff!). You've got a week left to fluff up the house with some scary bits. It doesn't take much: just adding a few elements to your front entrance can get you in the Halloween spirit. Here's an easy trick we did at the store (and at our house): we cut some bare branches off an overgrown bush, sprayed them black with a can of paint (it turned out more matte black or even gray, which was just right), stuck them into an existing pot (or you could attach to the wall with one nail and a little wire), and added some of the clip-on crows (or are they ravens?) seen above. It's very effective. And easy. We also like our hanging bats on springs for a surprise in the entry way or front porch. When the wind comes up, they start dancing.

So get ready. The vultures, I mean needy urchins, I mean trick or treaters are coming soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

... and the house is truly haunted







Last Saturday we held our first Halloween party at Pomegranate. Don't know why we've never done it before, because the place is soooo perfect for it. It's even haunted, according to legend. The previous owner used to walk in every morning and yell, "Good morning, Grandma!" (just in case). And we have had a few customers start to go up the stairs and stop in their tracks because they sensed something (without any prompting from us). Don't let that bit of info prevent you from going upstairs because a) there's some really cute stuff up there, and b) if grandma's ghost exists, it's a friendly one.

Anyway, isn't Halloween so much fun? It's the one time of year we adults can act and dress completely silly and goofy, and hardly anyone will judge us for it (yeah, your kids might be embarrassed). We had a blast decorating the shop, and next year we'll add even more. We found black umbrellas at the Dollar Store, slashed them up, and hung them in the trees. Robert made headstones out of funky old wood pieces and printed funny epitaphs we found (here's a site with some good ones: www.hauntedbay.com/thelab/epitaphs.shtml). And I had a blast mixing Halloween music and creepy sounds from iTunes.

Here was the best part: Robert cooked up some special potions for our guests. Aside from our delicious Savory Sweet Spicy Nuts (recipe available on our website at www.pomegranate-home.com), we poured True Blood, kind of a take-off of a Bloody Mary, and Brain of Newt, served in a bitty lab shot glass. That was the hit of the evening: one of those drinks that makes you kind of shudder as you down it... because it's so ugly. Let's see: cranberry vodka, lime juice and baileys (the last administered into the shot glass with a syringe)... it all coagulates and you get this disgusting looking drink. But it tastes good! Must have -- he served about 50 of them. Yep, next year we'll really do it up, and encourage everyone to come by as it gets dark (the later the better for spooky effect and the amazing way our little lights twinkled about the house).

The doorprize, a fabulous gift certificate for a custom stamp from Three Designing Women ($48 value) went to Kris H. Congratulations! How do you find out about these things? You have to sign up for our enewsletters and watch for announcements that just go out to our client list. Go to our website (link above) and sign up on the home page.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween sale, party, attack of the birds


Tippi Hedren would be very afraid. Our sparkly bottle brush Halloween birds (and bats) clip on to anything, even chandeliers. Today at Pomegranate, they're all on sale (everything Halloween is 20% off). And, we're having a party at our haunted old homestead (come say hello to Grandma: she's usually upstairs). Open all day with treats, door prize sign ups, giveaways and spooky music; special Halloween soirée from 5-7:30. 541-383-3713. 120 NE River Mall Avenue, just off 3rd.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Haunting at Pomegranate: Saturday, Oct. 17


They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky...

We're working on the finishing touches for our Halloween open house and soirée this Saturday (Oct. 17) at our little historic homestead. It's the perfect place for a halloween party, and the first time in years we've had time to deck it out and throw a little shindig for halloween. I especially love the bats on springs that we've got hanging on the front porch. All it takes is a tiny gust of wind to swing/spring them right into your face. So here's your invitation: tomorrow, open all day with treats (no tricks as far as I know) and discounts and goodies, from 10:30 to 7:30. Soirée starts at 5pm. Kids welcome; costumes welcome (if you wish). We're concocting some spooky, ooky treats... and oh, by the way, all our halloween décor will be on sale.

So get a witch's shawl on,
A broomstick you can crawl on

We're gonna pay a call on
The Pomegranate folks!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Babies love Bach


They do! Especially when it's as soft and soothing as this lullaby album (just in at Pomegranate). New mom and Portland pianist Lori Henriques realized that her quiet piano practice would lull her baby to sleep, so she recorded this lovely album of classical pieces that she specifically chose for their soothing qualities. It's beautifully modulated – no jarring crescendos or sudden crashes. I like it so much better than the traditional lullabies; a cd you can put on every night as baby gets ready for sleep (and you'll all like it). Might be just the perfect thing for a relaxing massage, too. Wake me up later, please.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lollia -- happy happy happy





Ahhhh, it's back in stock at Pomegranate: Lollia hand creams, perfumes, bubble bath, candles (I was doing my little happy dance yesterday when it all arrived). Their newest collection -- Imagine -- is absolutely lovely, in scent and packaging. And we brought back "Wish," a perennial favorite. It's just luscious. Come in and we'll give you a little sample!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Instant walls: updated view of new Kohl's in Bend


We're watching the minute-by-minute progress of the new Kohl's in Bend; easy because it's right across the street from our little Pomegranate. Last week (Tuesday?) I posted a photo of the walls going up. By Friday evening (when this shot was taken) it looked like they were almost done with the whole perimeter. I love how Pilot Butte pokes its head out of the top; makes the whole thing look more like a temple than a department store (that view of the Butte is probably going away as soon as the roofing goes up).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tray crazy





I love trays. A good one is useful and beautiful: as art on the wall, or for carrying tea in the morning (or cocktails at 6). Our new collection at Pomegranate is one of the lines I was most excited about at market. Original art done in a giclée then made into a gorgeous tray, lacquered, heat and moisture resistant, and just plain old fabulous. The only problem is how to choose...