Sunday, July 11, 2010

Making Lemonade

Making lemonade has been on my mind these past few days. For several reasons.

It's summer on the other side of the world - weather made for celebrating outdoors. Lemonade and ice cream are abundant in the creative parties I have spotted recently. So sweet and refreshing. So uncomplicated.

Soon my Ava will turn 4. She adores Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue (the characters, not the treats - they are for me to adore :). And as you know cartoon character birthdays are not our style. So I'm thinking of twisting up the theme into a little `Strawberry Lemonade' soiree.

And perhaps not least, because over the weekend we were handed a couple of lemons. Only small ones, in the scheme of lemons. But a lemon is a lemon is a lemon and this one tasted, well, sour.

On Saturday as I was preparing our scheduled Hooray(s) for Saturday post, I digressed to check in on our site traffic and discovered a new referral. As a store owner, this is usually exciting. But the name made me curious. Very curious. And my stomach flipped over as I waited to see where the link might connect me to.

And I found this. . . .

Did you click already? Wow, the launch of a pretty new blog, created by some BIG names in the US paper and party industry. Admired for their creativity, revered for their originality. They are our idols. And, yes, they still will be. We don't do grudges.

But for now the taste lingers. They know we exist. We follow their other businesses on twitter. Within days of their launch, they have linked to our store in a post (and for that we say thanks!). We have even (very shyly, I may add) emailed them directly with submissions for parties featured on our blog.

Now, beside them and their accolades, we feel LITTLE.

And this is how LITTLE works. Vanessa works full time to help make ends meet for her family and helps in the business late at night and on weekends. I work from home running our little dream store, and sometimes our ends don't meet. I pack orders on our dining room table, drag my kids reluctantly to the post office in the afternoon for our customers who are in a hurry, and somewhere between nappy changing, school pick up, and goodnight kisses we dream BIG.

When it comes to parties, we forget to take the butter out of the fridge in time and so have to stay up late whipping the buttercream for the birthday cake we made. We have hubbies who roll their eyes at the mention of a party - goodness, they may have to mow the lawn! And we are lucky to have generous parents who help us clear dishes, make dinners, entertain kids while we do the cutting, sticking, pasting of invitations and goodie bags. We take photos of our kids, of our parties, with an outdated digital camera. We have Photoshop on our PC - but get overwhelmed by its options. We love Pretty but are not so good at Perfect.

And so we might be LITTLE. But we have BIG hearts. And we play fair. If it simply didn't share our name, we too would be shouting Hip Hip Hooray - one more gorgeous party blog to follow. But Hip Hooray is our LITTLE piece of BIG. Here we have shared, laughed, connected in ways we once would never have imagined possible. To us, it is more than just the name of a blog - we dreamed it might become a brand and stand proudly in its field. I guess we were just not ready to have to share that.

We do know that there is, of course, room for all of us. That is the wonderful thing about blogs - no need to return one to the shelf in order to take another home, no need to donate the other to charity when you get the upgraded model, right?

And in case you're wondering, that's why we are introducing you through this post. Because we know that you will find this blog. And love it. That's OK. We do too. But we have manners and think it is the right thing to do. We wanted you to know that we know they have arrived to the party (way after it got started over here!). We wanted you to meet them and avoid any confusion over the nametag pinned to their lapel. To welcome them and to make sure you benefit from the wealth of experience, amazing creativity and resources they will share.

Hip Hooray is our happy place. We hope it is your happy place too. And in that spirit we have pondered whether to share with you even a taste of how this made us feel. We hope you did not mind that we chose to.

Besides after all this, let me tell you, this week has had some sweet lemonade moments -

  • my Dad celebrated his birthday and the kids and I took him cupcakes and toasted marshmallows together in my parents open fireplace - just as we did when we were kids;
  • school holidays meant my six year old was a constant companion - I took her to her first play, Tashi, and was reminded of how much I love - and miss - going to the theatre;
  • I planned, prepped, created a mini photo shoot for a national magazine feature we have coming up - such fun;
  • the big girls went for a sleepover to Nannas and I delighted in using the time when I would normally lie with them, tell them stories of when I was a `little dirl', and tickle their backs (with three kids this is 2 hours most nights!!) to eat spicy thai takeout with my hubby and curl up with Dear John on the DVD;
  • Vanessa and her beautiful boys arrived home from the US yesterday lugging a little `extra' in their suitcase - stay tuned for some new pretties in the store and a couple of fun giveaways;
  • And together with 9 generous, creative souls, the light of a very special little angel and the big heart of her inspiring family, we have started the journey to launch a `beauty-full' project - we can't wait to share.

On Saturday night when I crept into bed, a little sad, my hubby woke and immediately thought of the ultimate lemonade moment - their traffic might inadvertently become our traffic! Hopefully they will stay a while and enjoy the read.

So without question we are going to `Make Lemonade'. And still dream that one day LITTLE will grow up to be BIG too. Hey we might even get a gig as a `Contributing Editor'! xo

P.S. If you feel like making lemonade too, there's a recipe over here

P.P.S sorry Hooray(s) for Saturday went missing. I got writer's block after I clicked that link :) Back this weekend.


Cakewalk Baking said...

I think you're being rather BIG about the whole situation. I love your blog and will continue to support and be inspired!

Amanda said...

I enjoy your blog and will continue reading your great posts and gaining some great ideas from all that you share!

My little package of goodies I won in your giveaway arrived last week and I love them! Thank you so much for the extra bits and pieces you added to the package - I was thrilled and it was a nice unexpected surprise to arrive on my doorstep. Thanks again x

Adelina said...

I've been following your blog for a while now & its the first time I felt I needed to write a comment. Your blog is great. You are a very generous blogger as you share so much, which is great for us non creative types. I did check out the other blog & I'm not saying that I won't ever visit it again but your blog is better and it relates to us Aussies. Keep up your excellent work and I look forward to your next blog.

Siobhan. Vanessa said...

Ladies, thank you ever so much for your support. It means a lot to us. More of the good stuff to come :)

supajulo said...

I love you guys. Have bought lots of stuff from you (and will again), met you at Mathilda's Market in Brisvegas, spoken to you on the phone and received much inspiration from your blogs. I realise the whole blog thing is a sharing community and it is a great medium, but is there not some kind of copyright against someone else using your name??

Renee Bugg said...

I am fairly new to all of this, but I just wanted to add that I love your blog, your business, your ability to combine home and work into something you love. One day I hope to add my little business into the big world, in the meantime, it's the little businesses with big dreams that will continue to inspire!

Steph Bond @ Bondville said...

Hi ladies - you've both been so generous with this post. I feel for you and I know that things like this can be disappointing, but I love the making-lemonade-moment, because I think it's true! I've seen so many Aussie designers being ripped off this year (and I've even had some folks rip off whole posts + pics from my site!), and there is one little piece of advice that helps me out: sometimes it's great to be copied as people may think the copy is yours (good for your brand), or may think it's a poor imitation (good for your brand). And while all this copying is going on, it gives you a chance keep one step ahead and evolve to an even greater brand. Good luck to you both; I love your blog, your store and your guts xxx