Monday, May 17, 2010

Your Birthday Gift?

So, I know we just finished celebrating the obligatory Mother's Day.  As a mother, and as a woman who has a network of close friends who are also mothers, I have to be honest and tell you the day is not all it's hyped up to be for us.  Yes, we love our children, yes we love that they try to make this Hallmark moment for us that inevitably fails because what most mothers want for Mother's Day is quiet time ALONE!!!  (yes, it sounds terrible....but I'm not going to lie about this very important subject)

Therefore, I have an idea for all you children out there.  (yes, even grown up children.....your mother is still your mother and will always be your mother even if she's 102 and your 82!)  Why not give your mother a gift on your next birthday.  We are always receiving birthday gifts every year.  But, did you ever stop and think...."uno what?  I should be giving my own mother a gift for giving me life, for enduring months of physical and emotional torture, only to have hours and sometimes days of intense, excrutiaing pain, then years and years of dealing with my crap....." 

So, for your next birthday....don't be telling everyone what you want for your birthday...come to Mally's Cottage and pick out a nice gift to give to your mother.  SHE deserves it more than you!

:) -MA

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tis the Season....

In the mountain of North Carolina, 'Tis the Season has a second meaning besides Christmas.  It also means the beginning of Spring and Summer.  Our lifeline time of the year. 

Mally's Cottage is now officially sprung into spring, and is looking forward to summer.  We are open six days a week now (closed Sundays) and we have been receiving our new shipments every week.

Come check us out!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PRESENTS AND PROMOTIONS

So, I believe I have told all of you previously that I have been a very busy bee this winter by expanding the services Mally's Cottage offers.  I have already shared with you the launch of Mally Moo's - the adorable aprons and koozies (remember???) 
Today in the Laurel Magazine, three advertisements came out for Mally's Cottage. 
1 - MONOGLAMMING.....we all know what that one is.  It is advertising my store front in Cashiers, NC. Where you can find awesome gifts that can be monogrammed or personalized. (Note - NOT ALL THINGS IN LIFE NEED TO BE MONOGRAMMED, but it does add a little extra pizzaz)
2 -  INVITATIONS - We now offer same day printing on all our stock invitations.  So, no more waiting weeks to get your cute printed invites for your party, shower, event...I'll do it for you.  BUT...we do offer custom and specialized wedding invitations, announcements and stationery.
3 - SCREENPRINTING, EMBROIDERY AND PROMOTIONS - Mally's Cottage does in-house screen printed tshirts (up to 20 shirts), and large order shirts and uniforms.  We also do awards and promotional products.

SO WE NOT ONLY STARTED THAT MAJOR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN, BUT HAVE ALSO LAUNCHED OUR WEBSITE TODAY....WHOO -HOOO!!!! 

I'm still working on the kinks, specifically so that you can just go to mallyscottage.com, but for now...
http://mallyscottage.logomall.com/  Here you will have the ability to search a database of over 550,000 products (yes, that was FIVE HUNDREN FIFTY THOUSAND products) from over 35,000 (yes, that was THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND vendors)  Coming soon you will be able to view and purchase all items in the Mally's Cottage store front...

It's all very exciting stuff!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lovin' the Warm(er) Weather!!!!

I am actually wearing a skirt without tights today and I am loving life!  I have the door open wide, Sale items outside and a Diet Coke in my hand.  All this nice weather makes me think that we just may make it out of the slush of winter. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Can we say CUTE?

So we have received the long anticipated Mally Moo's Reversible Aprons and Koozies and can we say CUTE!!!!!!

One Side....To wear while you're making your Pre-Dinner Cocktails...

Side Two for your After-Dinner Cocktail (can you tell I don't cook?)

This is TOTALLY the thing you need to perk up and get your spirits soaring and ready for spring! 

What about a cutey-pah-tootie koozie for your "water bottle" while your working out on the treadmill?  Or, ok, more likely, to hold your beer while your chillin' at the beach. ahhhhhh can't you just imagine it? 

(I just had a moment there....I'm back now...)

Check these out.....

 
This is the reversed side...



and now here is the initial side....cute, huh?

A BIG GIANT THANK YOU TO CAROLINE (SUGAR CHILDREN'S CLOTHING) FOR PRODUCING THESE OH-SO-AWESOME MALLY MOO'S!!!

Oh, Wait There's More.....These are done in-house at Mally's Cottage.  Choose your ribbon, choose your font and color and BAM....Great Fun for your Keys


As always...come check the other cool stuff for spring at Mally's Cottage.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Easter Ideas.....

I LOVE to browse through Pottery Barn catalogs.  But, I, alas, never buy from Pottery Barn because, quite frankly, I just can't afford it.  I was looking at this month's catalog and was not surprised by some of the cute ideas they had for Easter.  If you're like me, you like to steal their ideas with less expensive versions of the same item.

One of the cutest ideas they had was lined gingham Easter Baskets with names monogrammed on them. Can you guess where I'm going with this one?  Go to Michaels, Marshalls, TJMaxx, whichever is your fav, and get an inexpensive lined basket then bring it to Mally's Cottage and get your baby's name put on it.  SAVE LOTS OF MONEY!!!!

Don't believe me?  Go to http://www.potterybarnkids.com/shop/kids/easter/easter-baskets-liners.   Their basket liners are $12-$24 without the monogram or the actual basket.  Add an extra $6.50 for the monogram and an extra $24+ for the actual basket.
Now...go to Target.com, WalMart.com, etc. (or better yet, just go to the store and save on the shipping costs)  They have the seagrass or wicker baskets WITH the gingham lining and usually in set of two or three for $19.99.  Bring it Mally's Cottage and get it personalized for $8.00.  So, now you have a personalized Easter Basket that you can reuse by putting toys or books in after Easter for only $28.00 versus $50+ from more expensive places like Pottery Barn. 

I really don't mean to dis Pottery Barn.  I am a huge fan.  I'd probably buy most of the products in their magazines if I had the money. But, since I still like cute things but I'm on a major budget - I can at least hijack their ideas, can't I?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Short and Sweet

Yeah Yeah Yeah ... I know..every Friday, right?  Well, all best plans....

The good new is we've been brainstorming..yet again.  This always makes for a long afternoon when I get in brainstorming sessions.  BUT...The new and the greatest...Mally's Cottage will soon be offering "Party Pails" and "Pail Packs".  It's the same idea as gift baskets, but alas, Mally HATES the overflow and storage of baskets.  So...I thought to meself.."I love pails...there fun, easy to store, great for storage and we can personalize it with vinyl and decoupage"  So look soon for your:

Ahhh Spa Pail....
Welcome Home Warming Pail....
Hospital Boredom Pail....
Birthday Play Pail...
Date-Night Pail...
Oh the Holiday Pail...
Pa.. Pa..Party Pail...
New Mom ER-Stat Pail.....
Hostess with The Mostess Pail...
Bride's Survival Pail....
Wedding Guest Survival Pail....
And whatever else I think of.  I'm still defining EXACTLY what each pail will entail.  (hey that rhymed..)

Ideas?  I love Ideas...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Argh...this snow! My sincere apology....

I know I don't have a huge following as of yet for this Mally's Cottage Blogspot...but to those of you have become faithful followers of Mally's Insights, Ideas and Etiquette - I do apologize for my recent lapse in posting.  I have no excuse except that it's winter time and I've been working deligently on our spring collections in the store.  Not to mention, the launching of the Mally Moo label.  (Soooo CUTE!!!)

So, as it is always a good idea to make goals for oneself - I have made a goal that I will post on my blog every Friday.  So, please look forward to this Friday's blog post all about Hostess Gifts!  Ideas and MUST-DOs for anyone throwing a party in your honor, or even a small dinner party that you're invited to. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hmmmm....Calling Cards?

This history of calling cards is buried deep in the social rules and etiquette of the upper class.  To "Call" on one's friends, or come for a social visit.  The card itself spoke volumes of your social identity.  The texture, engraving, fonts, color - all were an important indication of your status amond the social elite.  A lady, or more likely at the time - a gentleman, always had his/her card on their persons to streamline the introductory process.  They would present their calling card to the greeting servants to give to the masters of the home. If the person wasn't home, the servant would leave the card to indicate whom had come to call.

OK - so, us modern folk ain't so sophisticated....or better yet, the majority of us can't afford servants.  (oh-to only have a butler.....)  So the calling card takes on a different meaning and usage in 2010.  Especially since we have SO much information to give.  Most of us have business cards, but on the business card you only have your business information.  Your calling card would have all of your pertinenant personal info.  Your personal webpage or blog, personal cell phone, email, mailing address and maybe even your very on qoute to live by.  The nice thing about calling cards are that they are so personal.  As in the early 19th and 20th century, the card itself was a material indication of one's status, these days the card can represent your personality.  You can have a cute card, plain no nonsense card, funny card, pictures, no pictures, etc.  The other nice thing about calling cards are that when you're giving someone your email address, there is no room for error.  (was that an underscore 12354 at .net or .com?)  Total confussion and error elimination.

What about calling cards as a gift?  What a wonderful gift to a new graduate.  They can simply give out their 'card' when they are meeting new people.  How many times have we given out email addresses or phone numbers in college (on campus, of course....not at the bars)  OR, I'm sure the new bride would love a card with her new information on it, since Lord knows she'll be changing most of that info (ok,ok-fairness, not all brides change their names and info)  I'm know from experience the new mom will need a quick give out to give for playdates and babysitters.  Especially since she won't have the hands available to stop and write down her info.

With all that said.....yes you can get calling cards at Mally's Cottage.  We can help you choose a design that fits your personality and print them for you.  OR, there is, actually, a really cool line that we carry if you just don't want to commit to a large quantity of a card because you're not sure what style you like, or what mood you'll be in.  You can order a stamp that has all your information on it (and the ink comes in many different colors, and the stamp in many different styles)  Simply stamp your stamp on the many different styles of pre-printed calling cards, all designed to fit the stamp.  If you have the stamp, it dosen't stop at calling cards, you can stamp the stock fold-over note cards, thank you cards, list pads, note pads, wine bottle toppers, etc.  If you get a stamp for someone as a gift, you always have another gift to give by replenishing their pre-printed products.  So, next time you have a graduation, wedding or baby gift to give, think outside the box and let your receipient know you really thought ahead and thought about something they could really use, rather than just another trinket.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yay - It's Friday! Let's talk about Thank You Notes!!!

Ok, ok - I am constantly getting harrassed by my girlfriends for my obession with prompt thank you cards written on personalized, or at least high-quality, stationary.  Not just from myself, but I require this from my children as well.

Maybe I'm from the old school, but it seems to me in this time of immediate gratification and communication there is something vintage and special about sitting down and writing a note to someone.  And what better time to do that than after someone else has taken time, thought, and money to do something nice for you or to give you somthing nice.  (Even if you know, cousin Sally regifted....at least she thought of you)

It really isn't rocket science to write a nice note.  Actually, if you follow a simple formula, it can make getting through LOTS of thank you notes easy and you'll be done in no time.

1) Greeting - Greet with pleasantries.  I actually believe it is nice to greet the giver by an informal greeting if it is a close friend or relative.  Do they have a nickname?  Use it...  Especially those friends that would be perfectly content if you sent them an email thank you....BUT, if this is a gift from Great Aunt Hilda on your husband's side of the family, or your boss' wife - PLEASE be more formal.
2) Start with a very simple "thank you so much for the (adjective) (gift).  It is very important to name the gift that has been given.  It makes the giver know that you know that they know that you know what they gave. :)
3) Make a reference about how you will use the gift..... (I am so excited to wear my new polk-a-dot sweater to my friend's birthday dinner...)  Try to be sincere, even if it's not exactly what you'll wear to your friend's birthday dinner.  Don't lie, of course, just try to be vague if you're not so excited about the gift you received.
4) Make reference to the occasion in which you received the gift, and reference to the future (It was so nice to see you at the reunion, I can't wait until the next time we meet)
5) Thank your giver again....(Again, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generosity)
6) Conclude - this is entirely up to the familiarity you have with you giver...(much love, best, sincerely, in appreciation........blah blah blah)

See....now do that a couple hundred times after your wedding and you'll feel like such a resonsible and well mannered adult.  Your Mom will be proud....

Of course, it always makes it more fun to write your notes on stationary or card stock that fits your personality.  That's why it's a good idea to go ahead and get personalized stationary for yourself, your household and for your children.  When my boys were born, I got them stationary as a birthday gift and I was able to use that stationary for all sorts of occasions: baby gifts, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc.  Now my twelve year old is tortured by writing thank you notes, but I know he'll grow up to be a true gentleman because of the torture.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy Thursday, January 21, 2010 - APRONS

Today is a day for taking the LONGEST time to do the simplist task.  And, naturally, it all revolves arounds technology.  Tyring to link this blog with other bloggers, facebook and all that good stuff. I think I've figured most of it out though.  We'll see....if not, be sure to tell your friends to follow this blog and don't make fun of me for not knowing what I'm doing. :)

The word of the day: APRONS!!!  Mally's Cottage will be unveiling (that sounds so sophisticated) the exclusive Mally's Kitchen line of hostess aprons.  They will be a truly unique item because I made the design, a local seamstress will be sewing them, and the fabrics are unbelievable!  I have a source that I'm buying fabrics from that are absolutely incredible!   You will never see another apron like these in the world. And, of course, you can have it personalized to make it extra special.

It's actually kind of funny that I'm designing aprons, because everyone knows I not only don't cook but CAN'T cook. (Ask my husband.....it's embarassing)  But, I do like to look cute and pretend....And I can make a MEAN cocktail, which does require apron use!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here we go.......

Hello out there in internet space.  This is my first official blog post.  A huge accomplishment for me.  I've never really blogged before, but this certainly seems like a great forum to start.  So, bare with me as I learn how to do this. 

Here we go...the intro...dum dum dum -

The purpose of this blog will be to give you creative ideas on gift giving, etiquette on gift giving, monogramming, invitations, etc., and what ever else happens to come up.  We are always researching new products and updating our existing products, so this forum will also be used to keep you up to date on what is available to you as a consumer. 

BUT - First and foremost - my name is Mary-Allyson Henson.  I own Mally's Cottage in Cashiers, NC - a small mountain community.  I purchased this business in August of 2009 on a spur of the moment decision and I'm past the freak out stage and onto the next stage of focusing and streamlining my merchandise and services.  Hadley's Cottage, the previous owner's name for the shop, became an immediate success in Cashiers.  Gay carried the cutest merchandise and she did in-house monogramming to personalize.  Considering that Cashiers, and nearby Highlands, have no other businesses that does that, the shop became the favorite place to go for all gift needs and to treat oneself to a fun item, of course. I was addicted to the shop long before I bought it.  (ask my husband, neices and nephews - all their gifts came from Hadley's Cottage) 

After months (or years one might say) of soul searching and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, the opportunity to buy this shop and make it my own livliehood was a God-send.  I have a degree in Industrial Chemistry, and have done NOTHING with it.  For 12 years I've worked as an independant contractor doing small business bookkeeping and payroll.  I was SICK of it (although I do still do that to make ends meet while I'm building up the business, of course)  SOooooo, long story short - here I am and I am excited to be bring all sorts of new inventory and services to Mally's Cottage.

In later post I will give more detail, but just so we all know, in addition to gifts "for everyone on your list" (don't you love that cliche?) I also still do the monogramming and embroidery (my merchadise or bring your own in), I do screenpressing - small or large orders, uniforms, promotional products, awards, etc,  I have beautiful engraved sterling silver jewelry, engraved stone and shell jewelry, soaps and candles.  Vinyl cutouts for your car, cell phone, computer, what ever....  INVITATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS for weddings, showers, parties, luncheons, etc. 
I try to use local artists and seamstresses whenever I can.  I believe that we have enormous talent in our community and I'm proud to showcase their work in Mally's Cottage.  It certainly makes for unique and special gifts.

To keep this post short and simple, that's all I'm going to say today.  I will try not to post long and cumbersome