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Vesela Art

We have just received a new shipment of Vesela's artwork!

It's going fast!

Come in soon to check it out for yourself.














Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Clearance Sale

August Clearance Sale

First Fruit Collection will be having a wonderful
clearance sale for the month of August. Our new
merchandise is arriving and we are running out
of floor space to show all of the new things.

We have marked lots of the floor samples,
discontinued items, and overstocks with
incredible savings. Be sure to look for orange
tags throughout the store.


SATURDAY STORE HOURS

First Fruit Collection will begin Saturday hours
beginning September 10th. We will be open
11:00 - 4:00 every Saturday. Be sure to mark
your calendars for this special day and we look
forward to seeing you.

So sorry it has been a while since we blogged last.
I am going to try to go back to a regular weekly
blog now that I have gotten my mother settled in
at Kirby Pines. I appreciate all the prayers during
this difficult time.



Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, August 1, 2011

New Artist and Estate Sale!


First Fruit Collection presents:

Vesela Art

Growing up painting used to be my way of escaping reality by emerging into a world where everything is possible. During the communistic regime, there was not too much place for originality and freedom. It was not easy to be an artist. So, after I studied art in the University of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria, I decided to go in a different direction and abandoned my painting for years.
I returned to painting in 200
8 when I found myself being a stay in home mom. It was amazing how quickly I become obsessed with creating new paintings. I felt so happy, so fulfilled. I returned to where I always belonged.
At the present I’m working from my studio at Adamsville TN as a full time artist.
My paintings create positive, hopeful feelings. I like color, texture, palette knife, big brush, big canvas, I like freedom.


We love this new tulip painting! So happy

This dog painting just makes us smile!

Come into First Fruit to experience her art up close!
There will be more of her art to come soon!


Also, First Fruit Collection will be having an estate sale.
Saturday June 18th starting at 7:00 AM.
164 Washington Street (right off the town square)

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June Special

Have you ever dreamed of having that beautiful home
you have seen in a magazine photo, show home, or maybe
just a room you have in your mind? Can you just imagine
it, but somehow never really seem to achieve it in your own
home? Have you made costly mistakes that you are now
having to live with and try and somehow work with?

If this sounds like you . . . we have a plan! For the
first time in First Fruit Collection history . . . . drum
roll please . . . we are offering a free one hour consultation
with one of our Interior Designers.

In this one hour consultation, one of our degreed designers
will visit your home and recommend various ways you can
transform your home into your dream home. They will
make suggestions on paint colors, furniture placement,
window and floor treatments, accessories, lighting, etc.


Once they have visited your home, they will be happy
to meet you at the store to assist you in suggestions
that will help you achieve your decorating goals. You
will receive a $100.00 gift certificate towards any purchases
made on this or subsequent visits with your designer.

We are looking so forward to visiting with you in
your home to help make your home “Happy”. Please
call First Fruit Collection any time during the month of June
to schedule your appointment with one of our designer.

Note: This offer is valid for new clients only. Clients will pay $75 to
the designer at the time of the consultation. You will then receive a
$100.00 gift card to be used with your designer upon a store visit. This
offer is valid for the month of June 2011 only. Gift Cards may be redeemed
for a period of 30 days from the in-home consultation. Designer must be
present at time of redemption.

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Does this look like a mess at First Fruit Collection?
Well . . . it is not . . . it is our 1st INDOOR SIDEWALK SALE!
We have worked all week gathering one of a kind, discontinued,
and some really great stuff for this incredible sale. These items
have been marked down from 50 - 75% off our regular prices.
Come early for best selection! You won't believe how much
stuff has been gathered for this event . . . we found stuff we
didn't even know we had. We know you will find some things
you just can't live without.

SEE YOU SOON . . . DON'T MISS THIS!

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, April 28, 2011

I have always dreamed of a perfect family . . . one
with a mom, a dad, two or three children, an a dog
or cat . . . or maybe both. A happy family with a
home with a white picket fence and the sound of
children laughing, the smell of bread baking
and the scent of fresh cut grass.

My memories are quite different when I think
of my home life as a little girl. I did have a mom,
a dad, a sister, but no dog or cat . . . only strays
that somehow always disappeared. I do remember
the smell of fresh cut grass, but I was the one mowing
the grass . . . . at an age that is unimaginable in today's
world. I grew up in a different age and time, we worked
from morning til night with all the chores that my parents
could find for us to do. I remember breaking bushels full
of green beans, (I always told my mom I liked the store
bought ones best) peeling peaches, apples and tomatoes
to can. We had a two acre garden that we had to "work"
so that we could eat in the winter. I truly think there is
still some food somewhere that we canned . . . we could
never have ever eaten all of the food we "put up".


We were made to scrub floors, toilets, walls, and anything
else that needed cleaning. My sister and I were my
mother's dishwasher . . . when people would ask if
she had a dishwasher, she would respond "I've got
two . . . Jan and Lisa". I also cooked a big portion of
the families meals, complete with salad and dessert.

I remember begging to go and live at the Children's
Home. We would pass by and all the children were
playing out in the yard and it looked pretty good to me
as a child . . . no work . . . just play. Somehow she
never did drop me off, no matter how much I begged.
I also considered running away from time to time,
but couldn't think of anywhere to go. So I stayed.

I married very young to escape my home life . . . there
had to be a better life for me out there. I didn't even
think about loving the person I was committing my life
to . . . but saw this as an opportunity to escape this
home I felt trapped in. As I left the home for the last
time . . . on my wedding day . . . I remember my
mother, still in her nightgown, waving goodbye and
good luck! Oh my . . . to think of this behavior now
is appalling.

So over the past 30 years I have isolated myself from
this past that I have tried to block from my mind, with
occasional visits to my mother over the years, becoming
more infrequent as the years have gone by. Every time
that I am around her now, the memories of the past are
resurrected and I am so thankful that God has given
me such a better life. I have always desired to have
that perfect white picket fence life for my family.

The past couple of years, my sister and I have noticed
the phone conversations with my mother become very
repetitive and sometimes not making sense at all.
This has progressively gotten worse and we made the
decision to go to see her and evaluate her condition.

We surprised her for her 81st birthday on April 9.
She was worse than we had anticipated. Her income
taxes were not filed, she had no homeowners insurance,
no idea of how much money she had,and didn't remember
much of anything about the past at all. We were convinced
she had to have some help. One of us, my sister or I, had
to bring her back with us to live. Well, to make a long story
short . . . she chose me and Memphis. In two days, we
listed her home with the real estate, changed her address
with the post office, signed over the Power of Attorney,
went to two different banks to change all necessary
information, cleaned out her refrigerator and all the
closets (with all the clothes she has ever owned)
hired a lawn man to take care of her yard, packed
her clothes, and brought her home to live with me.

So, my mother, Nell, is now living with me. We have
toured retirement and assisted living places, taken
her to two doctor visits, and tried to adjust her to
living with us.

I have noticed a complete role reversal. I am now
helping her dress, fix her hair, make the bed,
reminding her to eat and take her medicine,
explaining things over and over to her. It is
like having a child all over again. I feel guilty
leaving her alone, tip toe around the house so
she won't be woken up, fix her plate and encourage
her to eat all her food. We even gave her a "Clean
Plate Award" one night after she ate all her dinner.

This has been one of the hardest things I have ever
had to do in my life. I have my mother living with me
who really doesn't remember much of anything at all.
Maybe, just maybe I can have the perfect family I
always wanted after all. . . we both just will not
remember all the bad.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa


Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, April 22, 2011

I have never been interested in fine jewelry. The
only fine jewelry I have owned has been my wedding
ring. I haven't had to worry about safety deposit
boxes or my home being broken into and all my
fine jewelry being stolen. I had always worn
what I called "Junk Jewelry"which was always
purchased to go with a particular outfit.

My daughter, Ashley, has other interests.
If it is shiny, gold, silver, diamond, ruby,
and expensive . . . she loves it. She has
always loved jewelry . . . she spent hours
playing "Pretty, Pretty Princess" when she
was a little girl. She always loves sparkle and
flash . . . I remember a gold metallic bikini
at age 4 that she would wear with her plastic
red sparkly high heels. She would parade up
and down the street in this outfit with a popsicle
in one hand and a purse in the other.

Anyway, she has encouraged me to "invest" in a
few nice pieces of jewelry and has thrown away
all of my old jewelry. She started last Mothers
Day with a pair of diamond stud earrings. Then
a few bracelets here and there, a small strand
of pearls and a monogram necklace for Christmas
this year. I have enjoyed these pieces and see
the value of a few good pieces.

This all has led to my wedding ring. . . it is a wide
band, yellow gold with a single 6 prong setting with
a single diamond. My husband gave it to me for
our 15th anniversary. Well, that was 15 years
ago. I thought I was happy with it . . . a classic . .
right?

Well . . . think again. I purchased another gold
setting to change my diamond out with . . . thinking
that this was a good thing . . . WRONG!

Ashley Toney informed me, as we walked to the
jewelry store, that maybe, just maybe, I may want
to consider changing to a white gold or a platinum
setting? Really? 30 years ago no one would ever
consider white gold! Now . . . was I out of style?
Well . . . the answer is yes, as the jeweler told
me that my jewelry would only be used for
"scrap gold" that no one would want it unless
they were wearing orthopedic shoes?

What had happened in the jewelry world? I
felt like I had fallen asleep for 30 years and just
woke up . . . where had I been? All the rage
is now the antique pave (Not pronounced
pave . . . like asphalt) but paaaa - veigh
(oh so fancy).

Well, I had better get with it, I can't be
wearing a gold setting in this day and age.
And I certainly am not ready for orthopedic
shoes . . . although some days they would
probably feel pretty good.

My jewelry quest had begun. This was the
beginning of the worst shopping experience
of my life. The jewelry world is a different
world. I felt like I was in a foreign country
and a foreign language. Oh, this is the
retail price . . . oh, what is the price?
Oh, no one really knows. I found
that the people that work in the stores
don't even know the price. How am I
supposed to know if I can afford it if I don't
know how much it is . . . why don't they
put a price on it, a price that it would
sell for if I wanted it? Is that too much
to ask? Why are all the tags turned over
in the case . . . what are they trying to
hide . . . not the price . . . because they
don't know the price.

My opinion is that they would sell a whole lot
more jewelry if it had a price on it! How
could I stay in business if I didn't know how
much anything was in my store. You wouldn't
want to shop here . . . would you?

My advice, for what it is worth, is that the jewelers
need to be straight forward, honest, with realistic
accurate prices on merchandise so that I would be
able to go in and buy what I see. I think I would
buy a whole lot more jewelry if this were the case.
This is just a thought . . . my opinion . . . but this
is the way I wish it could be.

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wall Covering

Do you have a horror story about wall covering . . . how you
have spend hours, days, even months steaming, scraping, picking,
peeling, sanding, and floating your drywall? Have you sworn never
to ever paper again? I have been there, several times as a matter
of fact . . . swearing to never hang a piece of wallpaper again!
You wonder what you were thinking . . . all those ivy vines
and marching geese of days gone by. What was I thinking?

Well . . . . to be honest, I love wallpaper . . . just the smell
of the book sets my heart to spinning . . . oh the possibilities.
I do love wallpaper in small baths, laundry rooms, and other
small areas. Especially on the ceilings of small powder rooms.

Well, I say all of this to let you know that First Fruit Collection
is now a Thibaut (Tea Bow) dealer. Thibaut has always been
my favorite brand of wallcovering and fabrics. They have colors
that are so clear and true . . . there is nothing like it.
We also have a complete line of their fabric books . . . they
are so amazing. We oohed and aahed the day they arrived.
You would have thought it was Christmas!
Our prices are also the best in town. We are committed to
offering you the best price around . . . better than online.
My laundry room at home has a collection of bugs scattered.
Coordinating fabric for the window treatment.
Cute powder room paper . . . more bugs.
My green toile dining room with the matching toile fabric
on the drapes and chair cushions.
A custom window topper covered with wall paper and drapes
made from the matching fabric.
Don't be afraid to use wall paper in your home. Just be sure to
size the walls properly before you hang and you won't have the nightmare of removing it later. Sizing will help it release when you go to remove it.

I hope you rethink wall paper for your home. It is kind of like
childbirth, you hopefully forget all the bad and only see the beauty.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, March 4, 2011

Beautiful Bedding!

Sweet Dreams

If you have visited First Fruit Collection lately, you probably
noticed all of our new bedding collections. We currently have
seven complete bedding groupings plus three more in the making.
This means that you could have a new bedroom today!

There is nothing like custom bedding! Bed in a Bag will
never do for us! Custom bedding is lined, tailored,
detailed, down filled, and just the quality you don't
find in a "bag".
Most of our groupings are priced between 999.00 and
1299.00 for everything. That is dust ruffle, spread, euro
shams, regular shams and decorator pillows.

Now, that is a wonderful price for custom bedding.
Our workroom does a beautiful job creating these
masterpieces . . . you have to come in and see
these for yourself. They are amazing.

Cute full or queen size set for that special girl.

Beautiful red check silk with toile. So yummy!
Taupe and aqua bird print with wonderful
washed aqua quilt. So soft!

Amazing coral and taupe queen set . . . the latest colors.

We also have wonderful solid color quilts in many colors for
you to chose. These wash beautifully . . . almost look better
the more they are washed. Prices start at 99.00

Since we are talking about bedding . . . this month, March,
our store special will be 20% off any bedding grouping.
Also, all bedroom furniture will be 20% off this month.

Come by and let us custom design a bedroom you will love.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, February 28, 2011

HUGE Upholstery Sale!



All of our market orders are coming in fast,
For the first time ever in First Fruit Collection history
we are offering all in-stock Upholstery
25% off
All special order Upholstery will be
50% off MSRP

Hurry......
This sale will only be good through the end of February

*sale items not included


Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, February 14, 2011

Look what's new!

We have been as busy as little bees here at First
Fruit Collection. Our new Spring merchandise
is beginning to arrive . . . we are so excited with
each box that we open . . . it is all so wonderful!

We also have a new artist from Jackson, TN
who makes wonderful pottery pieces. We have
her angel collection . . . they are amazing and
so unique. You must come by and see these,
but don't delay . . . they are going fast.


We have received some great new crosses from
"Keep the Piece" and they are amazing. You
must stop by and see these . . . they are going
fast. We have had to place another order
for more since these were so wonderful.


We also have received a shipment of scripture
blocks from another one of our local artists.
They are only $10 each and are amazing.
A new piece of original art called "Reflection".
The colors are so soothing.

We are so excited about all the new merchandise
in the store . . . stop by and see us real soon.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, February 11, 2011

Ugly Sofa?



Do you have an ugly Sofa?

If you do, this contest is for you!


Do you have the ugliest sofa in the world? Is it worn out, flattened out, stretched out, faded or just plain ugly fabric? If so, you can enter our contest.

Photo entries will be accepted during the month of February at First Fruit Collection. Bring us a picture any time during the month. All entries will receive a $100 gift certificate for a new piece of upholstery.


There will be the following prizes awarded:


Grand Prize: $1000 gift certificate

2nd Place Prize: $500 gift certificate

3rd Place Prize: $300 gift certificate

(The gift certificates will be redeemable for a new sofa.)


Contest Rules:


  1. The sofa must be in your residence. This means you cannot go to Goodwill to take a picture!

  2. One entry per household.

  3. All photos become the property of First Fruit Collection. Would you really want it back?

  4. Entries will be judged by our panel of designers. All decisions will be final.

  5. All photos will be on display for everyone to see!

  6. Prizes will be awarded the first week of March.

GOOD LUCK!



Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, January 31, 2011

I got my first manicure when I was about 33 years old.
My friend Cathy gave me a gift certificate for a mani/pedi
for my birthday and I just about let it expire before I used
it. Finally . . . after much coaxing from my friend . . .
I made the appointment.

It was kind of nice to sit in the tall chair with my feet
soaking in the mini jacuzzi. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted
someone looking that closely at my feet . . . this was
years before I had my bunion and hammer toe surgery.

I have always had the ugliest hands and feet. Oh, it is
nothing I have done . . . I was born with them.
My sister used to call me “Turtle Toes” because my toes
reminded her of a turtle with the dry wrinkly skin.
And my hands always looked like a grandma with
dry, wrinkled, deep lines and the rough texture. When
I was a little girl, no more than three, we had to hold
hands at the close of the church service one Sunday.
I remember the woman on one side of me telling my
mother how rough my hands were. And it went
downhill from there. All my memories of my hands
and feet in my life have been people telling me how
old they look . . . for my age.

As I have gotten older, my age has kind of caught
up with my hand age. They don’t stand out as much
as they used to when I was younger. Now, at age
50, you would expect liver spots, translucent skin,
bulging blue veins, bony fingers and wrinkled skin.
So I guess things are looking up in this area of my
life . . . one good thing about getting older, my
hands look more normal.


Anyway, there is a point to me telling you all of this.
My designer friend, Brenda Crowder, came in and
did some shopping the other day. I mentioned my
ugly hands in our conversation . . . and she said
the sweetest thing . . . something I wish I had heard
earlier in my life. She said “They are not ugly hands,
they are crafty hands . . . there is a difference you
know.” Her words were so sweet and so true.

My hands are crafty hands! Over the years I have:

Sewn, scrap booked, cross stitched, painted, smocked,
french hand sewn, made hair bows, covered lamp shades,
embroidered, painted, floral arranged, made jewelry, gardened,
cleaned toilets, tubs, walls and floors, refinished furniture,
textured ceilings, removed ceramic tile, grouted ceramic tile,
hung curtains, pulled weeds, trimmed shrubs, defrosted
refrigerators and freezers, planted gardens, painted fences,
baked, kneaded dough, rolled out pie crusts, chopped nuts,
cut up chickens, chopped onions and celery, killed bugs,
cleaned windows, and many, many more things.

But these hands have also:

Held a crying baby, held a sick child all night long, held the
hand of a dying friend, waved goodbye to my last child
on her first day of school, opened them to my grand baby
when she took her first steps, fixed many ponytails, french
braids, and prom and wedding hairdos, cut everyone’s
hair, wiped tears and noses, tied and buckled shoes,
nursed scraped knees, elbows and chins, brushed teeth
while singing my own “Brush your teeth” song, petted
my dog, and loved my husband for almost 30 years and
folded them in prayer.

So you see, the way I see it . . . these hands are pretty
special to the people I love. Thank you Brenda for
helping me to see this so clearly.

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Away to Market we go.....



We are back from the Atlanta Gift Show
We seemed to have endured the ice and the snow.

Our flight was on time even with the bad weather
Our luggage was not at all as light as a feather.

Our first stop . . . our favorite Christmas store
All they had to offer was such a bore.

Their decor was shiny and polka dot with a lot of pink
What would we do . . . what would you think?

What were we do do . . . our
spirits were low
What would we do . . . where would we go?

All we were seeing was seen once before
We can't have that . . . we wanted something more.

Shopping, searching, pondering, where was
our new look
Nothing was appealing . . . we still searched the book.

Finally we found a showroom with our new style
Myra, oh Myra put this in our file.

We had shopped for twelve long hours that day
Our new look is starting to come togeth
er I must say.

Begging our vendors for customs . . . made especially "just for us"
This needs to be longer . . . it is simply a must.

HA HA HA the Chinese man did say
But Lisa kept insisting, it must be this way.

A new look was found for these three tired girls,
Ashley, Myra and Lisa had lost all their curls.

Next Christmas you'll be happy and glad
That we shopped so hard . . . it wasn't so bad.

Market was fun . . . but we sure are tired,
Next year when it arrives, you will stand and admire.



Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome Back

Welcome back to our "Your Home Can Be Happy".
I have missed y'all so very much. I hope your
Christmas blessed and many memories were
made to be cherished for years to come.

Christmas with my first grand baby w
as priceless.
She is now 18 months old and enjoyed Christmas
very much this year. Having a child to enjoy all the
magic of Christmas with is one of the highlights of
the holidays for me this year.
My
youngest daughter Ashley became engaged this
Christmas as well. We are so excited for her and our
future son-in-law, Cannon Smalley. She is so happy
and busy making wedding plans. When? . . . well,
we are working on that. More to come about all
the details later.
Also, we wanted to let you all know that our money
from our Christmas Home Tour went to a girl whom
God laid on our heart to help this year. Her family
has had a hard year this year, and God laid her on
several hearts as the person to help. It was a blessing
to us to have the opportunity to spread joy to her this year.

Now, let's get down to business. Did you make a New
Year's resolution this year? Was it to lose weight, be
more organized, stop smoking, or exercise more? Most
people make them, but few keep them! Studies show that
if you can keep them until Valentine's Day, you will most
likely achieve your goal. It takes 6 weeks for something
to become a habit. Now that is not very long . . . is it?
Surely you can keep it going for 6 weeks . . . can't you?

If your goal is to be more organized in 2011, here are
some things that may help:

Label boxes with TRASH -DONATE - STORE

Take on one closet, drawer, or cabinet a day.

Put items in one of the boxes. Keep in a handy place.

NOTE: If you want to keep an item, but only use it once
a year, store it in attic with similar items. Put shelving
in your attic to neatly store these item.

If you haven't worn or used an item in the last year,
get rid of it. Don't save clothes that don't fit . . .
chances are . . . they never will. Don't save
them for a tacky Halloween costume either!
Don't save clothing waiting for them to come back
in style . . . if you wore them when they were
in style . . . you will be too old to wear them
when they come back around again!

Hope this helps you in your quest for organization.

This month our store special will be:

Tell the clerk at our store "My Home will be Happy in 20ll"
and receive 20% off any one regular price accessory this month.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa


Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas is just around the corner . . .

Christmas is just around the corner . . . can you believe it is
just one week away. Are you ready? Have you finished all
of your shopping, wrapping, baking, card sending, decorating,
and everything else you wanted to do this year? There seems
to always be something every year that I wanted to get done,
but never seemed to find the time. It used to disappoint me
and make me feel sad that I didn't accomplish all I had wished
for the perfect holiday. But now, I have come to realize that it
really only mattered to me, my family didn't ever seem to notice
what didn't get done. They always seemed to always just enjoy
all that I did. . . . the decorating, baking, gift giving, etc.
You see . . . . I have learned that my family is the most important
part of Christmas . . . spending time with them . . . and what didn't
get done wasn't really important. So, please give yourself a pat
on the back for all you have done this year . . . and enjoy it
with those you love.


We have been busy as little elves at work. You see, in the
retail world, Christmas is over. We have started decorating the
store with all the new merchandise we bought at the October
market. We have been painting and redecorating our vignettes
in all the latest colors and fabrics. Just look at what is new:A cute monogram treatment we designed with a scalloped edge
panel . . . oh so cute!

A cute new settee that also works as a bench or banquette
at a long farm table. Don't you love this new toile?

New linen sofa with pleats and covered buttons. Don't
hide this cute sofa against a wall . . . it is cuter from
the back side!

A wonderful new pine sideboard . . . I am just loving
reclaimed pine pieces . . . I guess you could say we are
going "green".

One of our new vignettes with Sherwin Williams paint
called Rainwashed . . . a new favorite of mine. You
will love this look . . . so peaceful!

Oh, just to let you all know our Christmas merchandise is now
50% off . . . so please come by and take advantage of this
wonderful sale. And, don't forget about asking us for
your "Merry Christmas discount" of 20% off any one
item. And, last but not least, our store will be closed
the week between Christmas and New Years for a
needed rest for all of our employees.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and many
blessings for the New year.

The First Fruit Collection Team

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas is almost here. . . . just two more weeks
until the big day . . . .and good news for you all who
are waiting for a great deal. All of our Christmas
merchandise will be 30% off on Monday, December 13.
Be sure to come early for the best selection.

We are also offering a 20% off any one regular
priced item to all of you that are reading this blog.
Come in and tell the cashier when you are checking
out "I want my Merry Christmas discount!"

Looking forward to seeing you all next week.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Home Tour

What a wonderful time we had with all of you that came to our


First Christmas Home Tour. Thank you for taking the time to


come to our homes. We were able to raise $1800.00 for our


charity . . . . we are still praying about that . . . . but we will be


sure to tell you when we decide.



We have photos on the link listed below for those of you


that missed the tour or for those of you that didn’t get


enough of the tour on Saturday. Please take time to look


at these.



Many of you asked if there will be another tour next year.


We will definitely try to do this again next year, but we have


decided that it will be in the middle of November so that you


will have time to incorporate many of the ideas you see in


your own homes.



We will also post the pecan crisps and coconut joys recipes


on an upcoming blog for those of you that asked. The goodies


were divine. We have a very talented employee, Amy Murray,


who is also an excellent cook as well as hostess. Thank you


Amy for helping make Saturday so special for so many.



Also, a special thanks to Brooke and Brian Sparks for opening


their home. They were so gracious to all of our customers by


letting you enjoy their beautiful house. And a big thank you


to Ashley Sparks Toney for all her help in decorating this


home. You are talented beyond your years.


http://firstfruitcollectionhometour.shutterfly.com/



We hope you enjoyed the tour! We enjoyed you!


Happy Decorating,


Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, December 6, 2010


Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love to see


all the decorations that have been packed away for


almost a year. They are like old friends that I haven't


seen in a while, each one holding a special memory.


There are special ones that my children made when


they were small, a snowman won at a very dirty Santa


game (I always remember the Sunday School party)


and a cute wreath given to me by an old neighbor.


I always try to do something different each year. I


love to try finding different purposes for my decorations.



This year, I am opening my home to let you see how I decorate


for Christmas. This Saturday is our first Christmas Home


Tour. There are two homes on this tour. The invitation


is at the end of this blog.





This is a sampling of some of the decor you will see this


weekend. This is my husbands "man room".




This is my stairwell chandelier. I just had to make a new


shade for this. So, so cute!



My new stone nativity on my entry table. I just love it.



My entry kissing ball. Don't get caught under here,


unless you want to. Oh, by the way, please bring


your husbands this weekend.



My Habersham cupboard, all dressed for Christmas.



We would love for you to come this Saturday.



First Fruit Collection

Cordially Invites you to a Christmas Home Tour


December 4th, 2010

From 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Suggested donation of $10.00

All proceeds will benefit charity




We will begin our tour at the home of Brian and Brooke Sparks

Decorated by First Fruit Collection Designer Ashley Toney

298 Schilling Boulevard

Collierville, TN

At this home, you will purchase your ticket


Then you will continue the tour at the home of Vince and Lisa Hood

140 Alloway Cove

Piperton, TN

At this home you will receive a special gift from First Fruit Collection

and be treated to holiday sweets





*We kindly request no children under the age of 12



Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Tour

First Fruit Collection

Cordially Invites you to a Christmas Home Tour


December 4th, 2010

From 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Suggested donation of $10.00

All proceeds will benefit charity




We will begin our tour at the home of


Brian and Brooke Sparks

Decorated by First Fruit Collection Designer Ashley Toney

298 Schilling Boulevard

Collierville, TN

At this home, you will purchase your ticket


Then you will continue the tour at the home of


Vince and Lisa Hood

140 Alloway Cove

Piperton, TN

At this home you will receive a special gift from First Fruit Collection

and be treated to holiday sweets





*We kindly request no children under the age of 12

Posted by Meagan Walley at Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hey, Hey Hey,

This is your Lucky Day!

First Fruit Collection will be open this coming Saturday,

Come on over, and don't delay!

Christmas is coming, it is so near . .

We are ready, there's nothing to fear!

Ornaments, tree skirts, stockings and more . .

And lots of fun things to hang on your door.

Stop by and see us at the store,

You'll see Christmas and a whole lot more!



Saturday Store Hours: November 13 10:00 - 5:00

P.S. If you mention this blog by telling our clerk at checkout the phrase
"My home is HAPPY!" you will receive 10% off all regular price purchases.
SHHHHH! . . . . it is for blog followers only!

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Gifts!

We have added Elf on the Shelf to our Christmas shelves! We had so many requests for this
item last year, we simply had to buy it when we found it at market this year. This is an excellent
gift for that special child on your list. The elf comes to visit your home during the holiday season
and reports back to Santa whether you have been good or bad. He gets into much mischief during his visit. Our cost on this great gift idea is $29.99.
Another great gift idea for children is a a nativity set made to be played with. It is made out of
smooth painted wood ideal for small hands. The cost on this item is $44.00
We have added this plate and nativity set to our collection of Christmas plates. We actually
designed this set and the matching plate in conjunction with Burton and Burton. While we
were at market in January, we mentioned that we would like a plate with this verse and a
matching nativity, in happy colors of course, with sweet looking people. After many design
changes and many e-mails, this is the end result. The nativity plate set is $28.00 and the
single plate is $10.00. This has been our most popular series of Christian plates and
accessories for the past 2 years, and this year we have all the new designs including a new
Happy Birthday Jesus plate for $10.00.
New this year is a Christian countdown to Christmas with the nativity scene and a star that
marks the countdown to Christmas day. This is a great gift for children as well, with a Christian
message. This item sells for $18.00

These are just some of the many great gift ideas we have added this year. Come by and see our
complete collection.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, November 4, 2010

Look what we made!

As a designer, I tend to see the world different than most people. When I go to a restaurant I am typically looking at the wall art, carpeting and lighting before I ever glance at the menu. When ?I stay at a hotel, I sometimes wonder what year they decorated the rooms or why they chose a particular color scheme. At church this past Sunday, I wondered if the carpet was blue or green . . . and the paint on the walls was a bit too taupe for my taste. I guess all professions have the same problems . . .does a hairdresser always think of new ways for strangers to wear their hair? Does my dentist look at people’s teeth and wonder when their last cleaning occurred? It is something to think about . . .isn’t it?

In my own home, I sometimes need a second opinion. I realize you might find this hard to believe, but it happens more than you can imagine. I know something is not quite right in my room, but cannot figure out exactly what is wrong. To the average person it would appear fine . . but I know something is missing. This happened with my living room in my home I have livedin 15 months. Something was not quite right . . . and I couldntquite figure out what it was. At first, I removed the rug . . . I thought it was too busy. I ordered a solid rug. Then I took out the chairs, moved them to the den. I replaced with some chairs from the attic . . . big mistake! Too Small! What was wrong?

I called for HELP! I asked Ashley Toney for a “house call”.She came immediately and stated that everything was up on legs and I had nothing skirted. That was it! She also looked up and told me that I needed to replace my light fixture . . . I hadn’t noticed it until that very moment . . . now I am so embarrassed! I must get a new one! She also suggested a skirted table and a skirted ottoman to replace my “leggy” coffee table.

Well . . . . . . I immediately got started. I could make one.Vince said he would make a frame the following weekend. On the way to work on Friday, I spotted a “Garage Sale”sign, and the rest is history. They had a country “coffee table” that I knew was the right size for my ottoman. So, at work on Friday my workroom got busy making the skirt, over skirt etc. for my creation. And . . . . for less than $100, we made this ottoman. It took about 2 hours in sewing and stapling . . . but it turned out very cute.

Is there something at your home that could be re-purposed
for something else? Take a look around . . . the possibilities
are endless.

Happy Decorating,
Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leave a Legacy

I was sad to learn of the death of Barbara Billingsley this past week.
I loved to watch Leave it to Beaver every weekday afternoon. June
Cleaver was the perfect Mom. She kept a spotless house, cooked
full course meals, and always looked beautiful. I am still amazed
how she managed to do all her chores in those stylish dresses,
high heels and pearls . . . .with every hair in place. I was also sad to hear of the death of Tom Bosley this past week.
I also loved to watch Happy Days on Friday evenings. Howard
Cunningham was a devoted father, a loving husband and earned
the respect of all of Richie’s friends. He was an All-American
Dad ready with wise advise.

I started thinking about their lives and all the good that followed
them to their death. They impacted so many lives through their
television characters and instilled many morals and values in
our lives. They shaped a part of who I am and what I believe
to be good and wholesome. I will miss them both and am grateful
for the wonderful memories of time spent in front of our console
black and white television with the pull on/off button, complete
with 3 national and 2 local channels. Those were the days. No
remote controls, VHS, DVD, Dish, Cable or

I also wondered about the impact of my life on those I came in
contact with . . . my family, friends, employees and all the other
nameless people I meet as I shop, work, worship, exercise, or
live around. What kind of person do they think I am . . . what
message am I sending to them as I keep my busy schedule?
You know . . . that is something I will never know . . . we never
really know what people really think of us . . . you know they
are not ever going to be completely honest.

Therefore, I need to live every day as if it were my last day to
touch the lives of the people I come in contact with. . . considering
what impression my words and actions are saying. I sincerely
desire to be a blessing to all the people that are put into my path
on a daily basis. I realize this is a hard and possibly impossible
task . . . but it is my desire . . . to be more like Jesus every day.

I want to leave a legacy . . . like Barbara and Tom . . . being
remembered for all the good in my life . . . this is my prayer
and my desire. May God give me the ability and the strength
to make this a reality.

Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, October 22, 2010

Christmas sneek peek!

Elf Hats for Tree Toppers, we also have the matching shoes to set beside the bed or on the hearth , Oh So Cute!

Cute ribbon and door arrangements! Amazing at always!
You will love our Grinch Greenery, what a find this year at market!
Spectacular ribbon wreaths . . . . Soooooooo AMAZING!
Christmas is a magical time of year. I always look forward to getting out the boxes of decorations and reminiscing about where I got a particular ornament. Oh, that was the cute snowman I won at "Dirty Santa" at our Sunday School party, or look at the cute elf I found on our trip to the beach several years ago, remembering that cute Christmas store . . . . oh the memories. They are all like old friends that I haven't seen in a while . . . . slipping my mind completely until I see them again . . . . and then a smile . . . . I love them just as much as ever. I never see it as a chore as some people do, I absolutely enjoy every minute of it. I love finding different places in my home for my decorations each year, mixing it up and always adding something new to make me smile. As many of you know how we do Christmas at First Fruit . . . . it is always HAPPY. It is whimsical with lots of polka dots, harlequins, bright lime green and true red. It is not serious, rich, sophisticated or stuffy. Our Christmas style is one that will transform all ages to a child like state and make even the most grumpy person smile. It is guaranteed to transform any Scrooge to a cheerful elf. Speaking of elves, our elves have worked so hard for the last several months painting, sewing, ruffling, appliqueing, designing, pricing, storing, wrapping, and everything else it takes to have a beautiful "Open House." Our ideas are amazing . . . I think you will love what we have in store for your home this Christmas. We are even carrying "Elf on the Shelf" this year . . . and we have a special "Elf Tree" that is amazing. We have went a little elf crazy . . . but it is Oh So Cute! We are looking forward to seeing all of you next week at our annual "Open House". Merry Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, October 7, 2010

Christmas Open House

First Fruit Collection Christmas open house will begin October 11th and go through October 15th. Please come by and check out all the amazing Christmas decor!

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, October 4, 2010

Little Miss Muffet . . . .





Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet . . . . . we are
now making these simply adorable footstools,
ottomans or hassocks . . . . . whatever you choose
to call them.

Our workroom staff is always busy coming up
with new ideas to make your home happy. And
you can't deny that these are H A P P Y!

We will do them in the shape and size of your
choice, you choose the fabric and finish on the
legs . . . . . and we'll do the rest. Prices are
starting at 239.00.

The best part of this idea is that we are
not limited to a size or fabric choice
offered by our furniture lines

We are able to do whatever creative idea you have
and make it Oh So Cute! Come by and
take a look at our samples we put together.
We will be happy to make one especially for
you.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, September 24, 2010

We had many requests for my cornbread recipe last week,
so I have tried to put this into measurement form:

MaMa Chamlee's Cornbread

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup butter

Heat together in an iron skillet while making batter


1 cup white cornmeal
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons self rising flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1 egg

Mix together dry ingredients. Add egg, milk and water and stir
until smooth. Pour hot oil and butter from skillet and mix
thoroughly. Pour into oil coated skillet and put in hot 400 degree
oven for 20 minutes. Brown top on broil setting the last few
minutes.

Enjoy, happy cooking,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This past summer I taught my daughter and her newly married friend
how to cook. We called it "Cooking School with Ashley and Ashley".
I would theme our menus like Mexican, Italian, or Home Cooking.
On the night I taught Home Cooking we prepared :

Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Breaded Okra, Black-eyed Peas,
Cornbread and Banana Pudding.

Yum Yum . . . . . . it was so good. I would always write down my
recipes on cards so they would be able to make the dishes on their
own. I started to write down my recipe for my cornbread. I am
not bragging, but I make wonderful, melt in your mouth cornbread.
But . . . . I don't have a recipe . . . . and I didn't make good cornbread
until I asked my Grandmother if I could have her recipe.

My Grandmother looked shocked when I asked her for her recipe . . .
she claimed she didn't have a recipe, that she just threw it together.
I asked her if I could watch her make it . . . . if she wouldn't mind.
She put an iron skillet on the burner with a little butter and oil in
it and claimed that it was to be very hot when you pour the batter
in. Then she pulled an old aluminum bowl from the cupboard
and took her little wrinkled hand and measured out a little flour
and a little cornmeal and threw it in the bowl. I asked her how
much she used in cups . . . . she held her little hand out . . . and
said "Oh, about this much" referring to her cupped hand. I
tried cupping my hand . . . trying to imagine 1/3 or 1/2 cup?
I kept watching as she added baking powder, salt, beaten egg,
buttermilk and water and she stirred until it looked about as
runny as "So" and then she poured it in the hot iron skillet.
I still remember thinking she was about to burn down the house
with that skillet smoking . . . I don't believe her home had a
working smoke detector or I'm sure it would have sounded by
now. She put that hot skillet into a hot oven and said "That's
my cornbread" and added, "but, you must watch it in the oven
and turn it on broil the last minute to brown the top til it's
crispy." She didn't know how long to cook it . . . . she told me
to wait til the center was level with the sides . . . . and it would
be about 20 minutes or so.

That was about 25 years ago I enjoyed that afternoon with my
MaMa Chamlee . . . . and I can still make the best cornbread
in the south. I only learned from watching her and standing
right beside her the entire time to learn her secrets. I tried to
teach Ashley and Ashley her techniques, and I did fine tune
the recipe to about so much of this or that to try to make it
easier for them.

Have you ever tried to do something that was impossible . . .
that it never ever turned out like you had planned. You try
and try and just end up frustrated. It may be gardening,
sewing, painting, cleaning, or mothering. You may need
to find someone to stand along side to learn the secrets.
It may be as simple as asking someone for help. I'm sure
there is someone out there more than willing to help you
in whatever area you are experiencing failure. God has
placed other women in your life to be there to guide you
through whatever you are facing. It may be your mother,
sister, friend, or neighbor there to help you with your
burden.

We need to be willing to share our gifts with others
and guide those who need a helping hand. Our gifts
are not meant to be kept to ourselves . . . we are not
truly blessed until we give them away.

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, September 13, 2010


I remember the way Christmas smelled as a child. . . . . . cinnamon and fresh cut
fir brings me back to my childhood every time. . . . . . I love to burn candles with
these scents around the holidays.

I remember the way my Grandmothers house smelled . . . . cedar paneling . . .
mixed with made from scratch chocolate cake . . . . . and the scent of Dove
soap in her bathroom. I always remember my MaMa when I open a new box
of Dove soap.

I remember my favorite Sunday School teacher in 3rd grade at Trinity Free
Will Baptist Church who taught me the books of the Bible . . . .she always wore
dresses with invisible zippers and she always smelled of Estee Lauder Youth
Dew. I always think of her in the department stores when I pass the cosmetic
counter.

I remember my father . . . . he smelled of a mix of cigarette smoke, coffee with
sugar and cream, and oil. I can't stand any of these smells to this day
and am instantly taken back to my childhood when I smell any of these. Not
the happiest of days . . .

The sense of smell is one that evokes memories the most. . . . over sight, sound,
touch or taste. It can instantly take you back in time and stir memories that
are associated with particular smells. Good or bad . . . . they cannot be erased.

One of my favorite scents to use in my home . . . the only scent I have ever used
consistently is Claire Burke Original. It is a spicy and floral smell that has never
been duplicated. It outsells all other fragrances for Claire Burke. I have always
purchased this at a store here in Collierville called Pot Pourri. The store closed
a few years ago and I have been lost. I have searched everywhere for this scent.
I have a friend who has kept me supplied from the naval base in Millington.
They sold out . . . maybe due to my obsession . . . so back to the search.

At market this year, we decided to carry this wonderful product. If not for any

one else, but for me. I am delighted to introduce this scent to you . . . if you
are not familiar . . . come by and take a smell . . . hopefully you will love it as
much as I do.

We carry the room spray, candles, plug in fragrance and refills, and the diffusers.
Hope to see you soon. Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Big Plans!

I have never been a stranger to a paint brush or a can of spray paint. I love to change the color of something to give it a fresh look. Some things in my home have been many different colors over the years and used in different rooms. I remember about 15 years ago, the Verdi-Green iron finish became popular. I learned how to achieve this finish by painting metal black and then doing a color wash with very thin aqua paint. I Verdi-Greened everything I could get my hands on. My outdoor light fixtures, patio furniture, pots on my porch, and concrete statues. Years later, the oil rubbed bronze finish replaced the verdi-green finish. Thus, I mastered the oil rubbed bronze finish on all my metal finishes. You start with either black or brown and do a color wash in the opposite. I have crackled, distressed, wormed, waxed and used silver and gold leaf. I have stripped, sanded, sprayed, brushed, glazed, and antiqued. No one ever told me I couldn’t do it. Things always didn’t turn out as I imagined, but I would keep trying to get the finish the way I wanted. Eventually, I usually achieved a successful end result. I love to repurpose a discarded item and give it a new look. This has helped me in our business at First Fruit. If we ever had an item that wasn’t selling due to the color, I painted it. If something had damage, we fixed it and painted it. If I had a customer that had a lamp, piece of furniture or anything else that needed to be a different color, I painted it. Over the years we have painted light fixtures, lamps, chairs, tables, beds, children’s furniture, baskets, candlesticks and many other items.

Several weeks ago, I found a pair of doors that we had in our inventory that had not sold. I took a look at them and decided that they were not selling because the hand painted fruit basket thing was strange looking, with odd colors and unidentifiable fruit? I had paid quite a bit for these, possibly another poor purchase like “Scary Bunny”. I decided to paint over the fruit motif with Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. Then I decided they needed a monogram on each one. My head was swimming with possibilities. I could hang them in my master bedroom on either side of my armoire, one with my husband’s monogram and one with mine. I was so excited. I commissioned Dylan (my Graphic Designer Son-In-Law), to come up with the monogram for me. Well, actually, he took over back at the Sea Salt paint point up above. I think a customer needed me . . oh well . . . he hand painted the monogram, a brown stripe along the edge and glazed them with a wax/stain finish. They were amazing. I love them, they are one of my favorite things in my home.Every customer that saw them also loved them. People were wondering if we had any more doors that we could paint for them. I had an idea. What if he could do our painting, fulfill all my ideas that were swimming around in my head . . . . .all the ideas that were there . . . . .with no time to bring them to fruition.I was thrilled with my idea . . .I just hoped he would be just as excited. Good news . . . he was. Thus the birth of “The Painted Door”.

My son-in-law and daughter (Dylan & Kara) are no stranger to paint brushes either. Kara as an artist and Dylan as a Graphic Designer were constantly exploring ways to use their talents together. Perhaps you have been in First Fruit and seen their custom painted signs and picture frames. That adventure started in May 2009 when they made a sign for me for Mother's Day. That turned into special orders which led to an open door for Kara to stay home full time when their daughter Maggie was born in June. A year and a half later here they are, opening "The Painted Door". As they have grown their business to where it is today, they have perfected their art of painting, distressing, and antiquing furniture, as well as embellishing pieces with hand painted monograms and motifs of all kinds. Currently they are working on repainting lamps, trumeau mirrors, a restaurant bulletin board with the restaurant's logo and a kitchen Vent-A-Hood Cover. They are also painting/monogramming children tables and chairs and painting/finishing kitchen tables and chairs. So do you have brass lamps that are tired and outdated? Let them transform them for you. Have a piece of furniture you need a different color? Let the experts paint, distress and antique it. The Painted Door would love to help you achieve that custom look for your home. Below are examples of their recent work.

Happy Decorating
Lisa

The Painted Door
194 Washington Street
Collierville, TN 38017
(901) 417-1864
painteddoorfurniture@gmail.com

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Changes

We have been as busy as little elves at First Fruit Collection. For those of you that have visited us in the last two weeks, you have noticed all the changes.

We replaced the yucky 9 year old carpet in the original space:

We tore out our old counter and installed new cabinetry and countertop:




We removed wallpaper (3 layers) and painted and put our logo on the back wall:





And . . . . . we did it all ourselves in one weekend! We started at the close of the day on Friday evening 5:00, and were basically complete by the open of business on Monday at 10:00. A big thank you to all of you who helped make this project possible. We couldn’t have done it without all your help.


We would love to move into a larger space and add more merchandise, but we love the Square too much to move. So we decided to go ahead with some much needed improvements to our existing space. We just love to buy and pack our store full of pretty things, but our space is limited. . . . . especially now. . . . . we just failed our Fire Inspection . . . . he didn’t think our aisles were wide enough? Imagine that! I guess he just doesn’t appreciate pretty furniture. Don’t worry, we made the mandatory changes . . . . so if the place goes up in flames . . . . we can all run for the door . . . . side by side . . . our aisles are now that wide! : )

Happy Decorating

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, August 19, 2010


Contrary to popular belief, the business of interior design is not glamorous. I don't know how many times I have told people what I do only to hear them say, " Oh, how glamorous . . . . . an Interior Designer!" That comment is usually followed by "my mother, sister, neighbor, dog and
my cat have taken design courses." They always help me with my interior design. I bet other professions, like an accountant, orthodontist, lawyer, engineer, or scientist, ever get this reaction when asked the same question. Why do women think of the profession of interior design one they can dabble in? Is it because they are women and think interior design should go along with their role as a woman?

I don't think I will ever have the answers to those questions. I only know that the profession of an interior designer is a business, and a tough, multifaceted one at that. I spend most of my days getting filthy dirty. . . . . lifting heavy boxes and furniture, wondering why they forgot to ship the shades with the lamps, pondering if I should sell the pictures as a pair, digging in the trash for harps that were thrown away by mistake, running back and forth between our two warehouses, cleaning the public restrooms, pricing and inventorying all the merchandise, and everything else that goes on behind the scenes.

Don't get me wrong . . . . I love what I do. Most of the time, everything falls into place and everything goes right. But time to time, the career can be frustrating, tiring, and not very glamorous. Whatever is going on, I know it will soon pass and we have to always praise God in all circumstances. He has given me this gift and I will continue to use it to bring Him all the glory. My goal is to always give our customers the best service and product we possibly can. I enjoy every one of our customers and they are a blessing to me. You are what makes First Fruit Collection what it is and what it will be in the future. Thank you all for all the business over the last 11 years. We have big plans for the future. More about that to come. Happy Decorating,

Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, August 12, 2010

Southern Hospitality: Brand Your Dishes

I received some sad news this weekend about a friend of mine who has been battling colon cancer. Her cancer is back, this time in her lungs or her liver, my friend wasn’t sure which, and it doesn’t sound good. She has been on my heart and I have said many prayers for her since I heard
the news. I have thought of her husband, son and daughter and again prayed for them as they face this battle with her.

I immediately wondered what I should do, Facebook her, call her on the phone, or I could take her a meal. Would she need a meal now, or possibly when the necessary treatment begins. I wondered if I should even call, what if she is not ready to talk . . . . I pondered over what to do. Well, I could always send food. That is what southerners do. We carry food.

Like most women, we brand our dishes, especially our casserole dishes. We either use masking tape, red nail polish or a permanent magic marker. Otherwise, we’d never see our dishes again! We also save old butter and cool whip tubs just in case we need to carry something to someone and we say “Keep that . . . it’s throw away.” But our good dishes are definitely branded. There are many modern day beautiful monograms that you can now purchase to brand your dishes. Somehow I think they would lose their beauty with my Sharpie “HOOD” faded on the back of my french white corning ware.

I once took a “Five Hour Stew” to a friend at church who was recovering from surgery and I never saw that square cornflower blue 3 quart casserole again. That was 15 years ago, and I still remember that I never got it back. I asked her about it the other day, and she was amazed I never got it back. She had me describe it, which I did, in detail. I was sure she would produce it, but instead, she claimed all dishes were returned to the church kitchen. So . . . there is someone at First Baptist Church who still has my dish. I would look for it at the next pot-luck if I were still a member.

At pot-luck suppers, reunions, and fellowships, we can always spot the good dishes. You know the ones that are made from scratch, not wrapped in a plastic box from the grocery store (they are always the last to go). You can always spot the good stuff, the fried chicken, cheese cake, layered salad and deviled eggs that come from the experienced chef’s kitchen. We come to know their dishes, or we watch them walk in and make a mental note of what they brought. We hope and pray there is some left when it is our turn in line . . . oh Pat Jackson’s cheesecake . . . . so good and always gone!

For women who prepare the food, it is a labor of love. We do not do it because we like to spend all our time in the kitchen, but because we want to say to a friend in good times or bad, you’re part of us, you can count on us. It is one of the simplest, purest, most unselfish forms of friendship and compassion you will ever find. As I have watched women over the generations brand their dishes, grate coconut, sprinkle breadcrumbs over many a casseroles, save a gallon milk carton to carry some sweet tea, go through miles and miles of tin foil and plastic wrap, I have reached one conclusion: If your name is on your dishes it is probably written in The Book too.

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, August 9, 2010

Sofas


How is a consumer to know what is inside the sofa they wish to purchase? Is it eight way hand tied, sinuous spring construction, or does it have a web construction? Is the frame solid wood, kiln dried, blocked, screwed and doweled together? What are the cushions made out of, are they foam, down, spring, or a combination of these? Is it tuxedo, camel back, rolled arm, lawson arm, T-cushion, attached back, pillow back, or a chesterfield. Is the fabric a print, a solid, a woven or something else. Has the fabric been treated with Scotch Guard, Fabric Coat or something else.

Are we confused yet? Have I used terms that sound greek to you? How are you to know if the upholstery you are looking at is a quality piece? You can’t X-ray the piece to know what is inside. You must rely on the knowledge of the sales person you are dealing with. How do you know if they know all the answers? From my experience, very few sales people really know their product. You need to have some knowledge when you are going to shop for upholstery. I will try to give you some information to help you decide what is right for you.

First, let’s deal with the construction of a sofa. This deals with the frame. High quality frames are made of seasoned hardwood, kiln dried to prevent warping. The frame is joined using dowels and corner blocks that are screwed and glued together. Legs should be extensions of the frame and not attached with screws. Center legs can add additional support.

Next, let’s talk about springs. The spring systems in upholstered furniture are either hand tied coils or sinuous constructions. Eight way hand tied springs are the highest quality. These funnel-like coils are tied with twine to each of the eight adjacent coils and attached to a heavy-duty webbing underneath with steel clips. This type of construction gives even comfort and prevents “bottoming out” of the seat no matter how heavy the sitter. Sinuous springs are S-shaped, flat wavy bands of steel that are fastened to the front rail and run front to back a few inches apart. These have a firmer feel than coil springs and are often used in lower price lines. This type of construction is typically found in medium price lines of upholstery and will usually last as long as the fabric, typically 7 to 10 years.

Now, on to the cushions. The frame and the springs are the foundation for the cushions. A good frame is padded with cotton or poly-dacron so that the upholstery fabric never touches the wood. Quality seat cushions and loose back cushions consist of a combination of down and other feathers wrapped around a polyurethane foam core, or loose down or feathers for back cushions. Test the quality of a cushion by lifting it. If it feels light, it may be made of poor materials. A 2 x 2 foot cushion should never weigh less than 2 pounds.

Now that we have discussed quality of construction, we are on to style. The rest is personal preference. Some people like attached back cushions, some do not. If the back cushions are loose, you can fluff and alter their position to achieve maximum wear from the fabric. If they are attached, they do not move, therefore always staying in place. Therefore, there are arguments either way, it is merely whatever you prefer.

There is also a choice of one, two or three cushions. The one cushion fabric can get stretched resulting in a more relaxed look to the cushions. The two cushion always puts the seam in the middle, and no one ever likes to sit on a seam. But, if only two sit on the sofa, this is a good choice. And there is the three cushion . . . now we have two seams, but better placement for 3 people to sit on the sofa. And then there is the “T” cushion. It is when the two end cushions fan out where the arms stops short of the front of the sofa. Some people like this type of cushion, but I feel that it looks a little dated and also makes the arm too short for sleeping on the sofa.

Fabric on upholstered furniture is broken down into a range of price levels, called grades, of fabric choices. These grades are determined by the price of the fabric, not the quality. An important factor to consider when selecting upholstery fabric is durability. In general, tightly woven fabrics wear best. Fabrics with the pattern woven in wear better than printed fabrics. Look at the reverse side of the fabric. If it has the same colors as the face, this fabric has been woven, and this typically wears better since the color goes all the way through the fabric. If the pattern is printed on the face side, the pattern can wear off with use.

Natural fibers include cotton, linen, wool, and silk. Natural fibers are the most comfortable to the touch and can be very durable. However, they can stain easier, fade in sunlight, and wrinkle more. Wool must be moth proofed before use.

Synthetic fibers have been developed as alternatives to natural fibers and are often blended with them. Polyester is strong and easy to clean. It withstands direct sunlight and is flame and abrasion resistant. Rough in texture, it is often blended with natural fibers to soften its touch. Oleflin is used to create heavy, textured fabrics. It is a coarse and bulky fiber that is strong and stain resistant. However, it does no wear well under direct sunlight. Nylon is the strongest and most soil-resistant fiber. Recent developments in nylon give it the look and feel of wool, It, too, is
sensitive to sunlight.

Now that you know about construction, cushions and fabric, you will be an informed shopper and be able to make your purchases with confidence. Never judge the quality of an upholstered piece solely by the fabric you see on it. The frame and support system is what is underneath the fabric, and this is what really counts.

At First Fruit Collection, we carry Temple, Highland House, and C.R. Laine upholstery lines. All of these are 8 way hand tied and hardwood frame construction. There are many levels of cushion choices in each of these lines, but all are excellent quality. I hope this has given you an inside look at upholstery. We look forward to assisting you with your next upholstery purchase. Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Balance

Are you symmetrical? Do you like things in balance? These are questions I often ask my design clients. Sometimes I get a confused look instead of an answer . . . . and then . . . . a slight shake of the head . . . . What?

I am a balanced girl . . . I like everything symmetrical. If I put a lamp on one side of my sideboard, I put the matching lamp on the other side. If I put a topiary on my mantle, I put the matching topiary on the other side. I feel at ease when things match.

My daughter showed me a pair of earrings on the Louis Vuitton web site that she liked. They were small studs, one with the flower from the logo and the other with the diamond shape from the logo. I commented to her, “Why don’t they match, do you get two pairs?” She laughed at me and claimed that would not bother her at all. I told her I could never wear these because they do not match. How could someone, especially Louis, make something to be worn in balance, not match? Then I looked at the price and REALLY wondered why someone would pay that much for earrings that don’t match.

When I was a little girl, my clothes had to match. I would frustrate my mother because I would always bring shorts and a shirt to her and ask her if it matched. She would tell me it didn’t matter, that I was only going out to play. But, it did matter . . . they must match. I would continue to bring her ensembles until she found one that matched. Oh, the patience of my mother, bless her heart.

Being symmetrical or asymmetrical is neither right or wrong, it is just what makes you feel balanced. It is okay to use a floral arrangement on one side of a sideboard with a lamp of similar size on the other. Or on the mantle, to use a candle holder or a grouping of candle holders with the topiary on the other side. Both are great options, it is simply a personal style choice.

When decorating asymmetrically, there still needs to be balance. For example, you would need to use an item about one third the height of the item on the opposite side. If you placed a 30” high lamp on one side of a chest, you would then use an item (flower arrangement, topiary, candle holder, etc.) of approximately 20” on the other. Then, in the center of these two taller items, you would need to place an accessory that is wider and lower. You could use a box, bookends with books, or a low bowl with spheres or fruit to fill the center space on the chest.
This is a decorating guide that I like to follow, probably because I am balanced. I hate to see a huge lamp on one side of a chest, then a little bitty picture frame on the other. It makes my head tilt to one side at the thought of the imbalance. Oh . . . the perils of balance.

Look around your home. Are your chests, mantles, and rooms in balance? If not, what would it take to balance them out? If you have questions about a particular spot or room in your home, take some photos and e-mail them to me a contact@firstfruitcollection.com and I will see what you have going on. Or you can bring the photos in with you to First Fruit Collection, and I will be happy to help you with your balance.

Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Atlanta Market Trip

I have attended Atlanta Market many times over the inception of First Fruit Collection. This is the gift and accessory market where we find many of our lamps, pictures, linens, and all of our Christmas merchandise. It is held in January and July of each year.

I always look forward to seeing what is new, what is the latest trend or color, and all the shopping. It is a rush like no other. It is definitely work as you ponder what to buy, what color and how many to buy? Whenever you hear me say at market, "There isn't a number that is enough", that means I love it! Like last Christmas we sold the Santa hats to cover the backs of kitchen chairs ... that was an item that I claimed there would never be enough. Sure enough, we sold over 400 of them in two weeks and there were many of our customers that didn't get them. Sorry! :(

How many of an item to buy is one of the hardest decisions I face at market. I ponder how many people will like it as much as I do. I wonder if anyone will like it, if I am the only one that thinks this item is great. A good buyer will make or break a store! I have definitely learned that over the past 11 years.

The last two markets I have taken a new young addition, Ashley Toney, with me to market. She is 20 years old, newly married, and pursuing her degree in Interior Design. She has been so helpful to me in buying for the store ... she is amazing. she is teaching me what her generation is looking for in home furnishings. I realize the success of the future of First Fruit Collection is keeping our look fresh for all generations.

Ashley can communicate with me just with her facial expressions ... she doesn't need to say a word. I can tell if she likes an item immediately. Last market I purchased "Scary Bunny", as Ashley named him, and he still hasn't sold. I don't know what I was thinking, but there is something cute about him, right? Anyway; he will be marked down tremendously this week, so if you find yourself attracted to him, come see me this week and I will make you a deal!

Scary Bunny ........ Please take him home!

















The items we purchased, with her input, last market .... they sold out immediately and we have reordered many times on these items. She has an eye for product that is amazing. She has a God given gift in Interior Design and we are very blessed to have her working with us. I look forward to seeing her blossom in this field.

This is a photo of all of us girls waiting for our delayed plane in the Atlanta airport. We finally flew out around midnight. A big thank you to all of the girls that made this weekend unforgettable.

















You will see First Fruit Collection transform into a new store in the next few weeks, we came back with a new inspiration and look. Don’t worry . . . you will love it. First thing to do today . . . BIG SALE . . . we need room to put all our new finds. So, starting today, we will be marking down lots of merchandise. Be sure to come by and find a great bargain. This will definitely be our biggest SALE ever. The next step will be . . . . oh you’ll have to wait and see. First, we must move all this sale stuff. Then the changes begin. Stay in touch.

Happy decorating. Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, July 19, 2010

Outdoor Living Spaces

Like most Southerners, I love my garden and outdoor space. I find myself entertaining more outdoors than indoors, especially when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. We eat on our patio almost as much as we do in our kitchen in the spring, summer and fall. I love to read, nap, sunbathe, pull weeds or practically anything if it involves being outside.

We have been in our current home barely a year and our yard and gardens have been a constant project. We began with the beds around the house and we put in an English garden at our side entry. We planted trees and shrubs, installed a brick and stone walk, created planters with stacked stone, added wrought iron pieces, put in a water feature, all with the help of Mike Omar from Morgreen Landscape. He is a joy to work with and a master of design of outdoor spaces.

This year we installed a pool, added a waterfall, created more stacked stone and blue stone beds, added an iron fence and gate, installed more walkways and added an arbor to extend the back patio. The pool was done by another wonderful man named Jay West, of West Pools. His vision for the pool was amazing. He was also a joy to work with and we are most pleased with the project.

I really think that my outdoor space is now complete, except for a few more plants I would like to incorporate over the next few years. I just have to be patient now to let the new plants mature. It looks so beautiful now, I cannot imagine how it could look any better in years to come, but I am sure it will amaze me.

I love to entertain in our outdoor spaces. Having an outdoor area to eat, sit, talk, or play can expand the square footage of your home. Take a look at your outdoor spaces. Are you using them to expand your living space? Do you need to replace furnishings, cushions, or add a table and chairs? What could you do to improve your space and make you want to spend time outdoors?

There are so many options now for outdoor furnishings and fabrics. There are fabrics that resist fading, mildew and water. There is wicker that looks just like the real thing, only it is a vinyl product that will last for years. Outdoor aluminum never needs to be painted, it is very lightweight and comes in many colors now. This time of year is a good time to purchase outdoor furnishings, many stores have items on clearance now. Maybe you could use an old discarded table and chairs and paint them with an outdoor paint to use outside. Imagine how cute it would be with a big sunflower painted on top of the table and each chair painted a different color. So many ideas and so little time!

Here are some pictures of my outdoor living spaces, I hope you enjoy them. Stop by and have a glass of lemonade and I'll be sure to show you my tomatoes that are almost ripe.

Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, July 8, 2010

Home and Hospitality

My first childhood friend was imaginary. Her name was Tracy and she was invisible. Tracy and I played together for years. She made me brave when I felt afraid, was my playmate when I needed a friend and always let me be first.

When my family and I moved to Collierville about 15 years ago, I started my search for a new friend. I was invited to a neighborhood Bunko group, and I thought this would be the perfect time and place. I would surely find a friend there. At the first Bunko, I looked at all the women and picked out a few "friend candidates." What a lot of these women had in common was a cute haircut, designer handbag, or stylish outfit. I thought surely one of these women would be my new friend. After getting to know these selected women, I soon found out that they were not the sweet person I was looking for in a friend. They were false friends, women who gossiped, didn't put their husbands and families first and, most of all, claimed to be wonderful Christians when their lifestyle proved otherwise. They were pretty on the outside, but ugly on the inside. So I kept searching.

Well, I finally did find the perfect friend. She was at the Bunco group with me on that first day, but I hadn't noticed her. She was very ordinary looking with reddish hair, simply dressed and somewhat on the plain side. I didn't choose her, but God sent her to me. My daughter was in school with her daughter and they had become friends. Through their friendship, we became friends. That was over 15 years and 4 moves across country ago. We don't see each other often, but we keep up through modern technology like Facebook and email. And when we do get to spend time together, it is like not a day has gone by. It is very true that beauty is on the inside. Just like a home. A home may not look perfect. It may not have the newest of everything, or designer colors. Your rug may not match your sofa. The drapes may be old or out of date fabric. But what truly matters is how people feel when they are welcomed inside. A house filled with love, laughter, family and friendship is much more important than one that is perfectly decorated. It is about warmth and hospitality. It is offering a glass of fresh lemonade to a neighbor who comes to the door. It is sharing a slice of pie with a friend. It is a pair of chairs that welcome friends to sit and stay a while. The most important thing is that people feel welcome when they enter your home. Feeling at home is much more important than having a perfect home.


A true friend is like a happy and welcoming home. It is what is in the heart of the friend and the home . . . . . .genuine love and hospitality.

Happy Decorating, Lisa

Photos over the years of my friend Lynn & our girls.

Posted by Meagan Walley at Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Inviting Guest Rooms

The art of hospitality wasn't invented by Southerners , but we certainly have perfected it. I'm sure you all know what a "happy" is . . . . . . you do if you are from the South. Several years ago I was wrapping a little gift for a customer who was traveling from up North. I commented on her taking the "happy" back home to her friend. She looked at me with a very puzzled look and said "Pardon?" I said a "happy", and she responded "What is a happy?" I proceeded to try to explain what it was, something you take if someone is sick, feeling down, having a birthday, or just because. She didn't seem to get it, sad to say. Anyway, I try to always bring a " happy" if I am a guest in someones home, invited over for dinner, or for any occasion that may call for one. There are many occasions to give them, just start looking!

Anyway, I am getting off subject on what I really what to say. What I want to talk about it our guest rooms. It is now vacation season and many of you are probably going to be having overnight guests staying in your homes. Have you took a look around your guest room. Is it a place you would want to stay? Is the mattress one that was discarded because it was old and worn out? What does it smell like? Is it musty and stale? Would you want to stay there if you were a visitor?

A guest room should be a "home away from home" for visitors, and making people feel cared is your job when you have overnight guests. Offer your guests the best room you have! Don't skimp on the furnishings and accessories. Your room should be bathed in a palette of cool, calming colors with plenty of light. A guest room is a wonderful place to showcase unusual or antique fabrics because these are areas that aren't frequently used and won't be subject to so much wear and tear.

Wash the sheets and blankets before your guests arrive. Spray with a linen spray. Thoroughly clean room including the closet. The little touches will make your guests' stay a memorable one. Fill the guest rooms with amenities, such as fresh flowers, a scented candle, bottled water and fruit. Don't neglect the necessities visitors will need for a comfortable stay, such as an alarm clock, extra hangers in the closet, luxurious towels and wash cloths, and extra pillows and blankets. Stock the guest bathroom with petite bottles of hair care and styling products, shower gels, toiletry items, and a hair dryer. Be sure to include the latest magazines that may cater to your guests interests. Above all else, cherish those people that come to stay, enjoy them and devote your time to them while they are guests in your home. God has blessed us with friends and families to share our homes with. Consider these people a gift from Him.

If you are a guest in someone's home this year, please remember to write a thank you and always take a "happy" with you for your hostess!

Here is my guest room in my home. I hope my guests that are coming next weekend will make themselves at home while they are with me. We are always so glad to see them.
A well stocked cupboardSparkling clean bath
Handy luggage rack
Comfortable chair
Luxurious bed & reading chair

Happy Decorating,
Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grouping Objects on Walls

I love groupings on walls . . . . . it just feels complete and well planned. I have always been inspired by photos I find in magazines of different collections. I have a file folder full of clippings I have saved over the years. I can still look at them and each time see something new, something that inspires me to look around my own home and wonder where I could hang one more thing. Putting together groupings takes thought and planning. It is just the right mix of elements that makes it work. Most people are unsure of how to achieve this, so they don't try. They are often afraid the wall will get too busy or cluttered feeling. I see many people will try to fill the wall or space with one big thing, thinking this is the only way to fill the space, when many things would be far more interesting.

Things to consider:


Hang objects that are like together, like a collection of plates or photos.
Think of common elements to make the grouping work, like using plates with a gold rim with a gold framed piece of art. This ties the two pieces together. Then mix in a gold relief to bring the whole thing together.
Using items of different materials, textures, etc. work together as well. Mix plates, iron, floral, and art to create an arrangement that is interesting.
Vary the size and shape of the objects. Round or oval plates with a rectangle picture can soften the edges and also add height and width to a picture.
Using a relief over a picture can add height and make the picture appear larger.
How to Hang a Grouping:

1. Lay out items on floor. Add and take away. Analyze what you have to work with. Do you need something else? Try grouping it many ways.

2. Once you are happy with grouping, make a pattern out of paper of all items. Place on the wall and see if the grouping works in your space. Adjust the pieces if necessary.

3. Hang with appropriate hardware.

Don't be afraid to put a grouping together. If you are unsure of how to make it work, bring in a photo of the space or the element you want to start with and we will be happy to help you add other objects to it. Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Beach Vacation

While I am on vacation this week we have been taking long morning walks along the beach. I have enjoyed this more than anything else this week. We have found some seashells worthy of taking home, found a porcupine fish washed up on the beach, and rescued some shiny silver fish before the seagulls found them, and even rescued a seahorse that we first thought was a worm. Our walks have been very interesting, full of sea life, unusual tattoos, physiques that need larger swimsuits, and lots of sand.

I have been exposed to all the beach decor in all the shops and restaurants, etc. and started wondering how I would decorate a beach house if I owned one. We even picked out one we liked in an area called Watercolor. It was adorable, all the houses were painted pastel colors with large front porches with swings. Everyone rode bicycles everywhere and there were families everywhere with their children. It was like a storybook, it was love at first sight. What would I do, how would I decorate this cottage? Would I have coral, parrots, seashells, palms, fish, boats, and all the other beach decor? Could this decor make this country french girl happy? I don’t think so! I have had a lot of time to ponder this, and I know I would have to put my french touch on it. I wondered if I moved First Fruit Collection to the beach if my style would be accepted? What if I started “flipping” condos and decorated them “happy”? Would they sell, or would I go broke? Oh, the things you think about when you are on vacation.

Anyway, what I would do is keep it “happy” with all my happy touches, but I think I would go a bit softer on the base color. Like keeping everything a soft color with pops of color in my pillows, lamps, accessories, etc. I would do a soft neutral with natural fabrics of soft robin egg blue and cream and taupe. I would pop lime green, coral, and chocolate. Oh my what am I thinking?

I think I have had too much time to dream this week. Don’t worry, First Fruit Collection is safe in Collierville. A girl can dream. I’ll be back to reality next week and back to Collierville.
Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Renewing The Old

Do you have a light fixture or a lamp that needs a new look? Is it too good to discard? Are the lines and form good, but the color not quite right? Maybe you don't think it is worth saving, that it could never be the look you want. Just look at what can be done.

We can make your old lamp or light fixture new again. We have repainted, reshaped, removed parts, or whatever it takes to make old lighting new again. We can recover or replace shades, add fabric or trim to existing shades, cover candle covers or replace old stained covers, make chain covers, or monogram shades.

Custom Painted Chandeliers (Before & After)

Custom Made Chandelier Shades & Candle Sleeves

Take a look at your lighting in your home. Is there anything that could be done to save the old and make it new? Would a new coat of paint or a new shade give it new life? If so, bring in a photo to First Fruit Collection and we'll give you ideas of how you can give life to an old chandelier or lamp. It will be less expensive than a new piece and you will be amazed at what we can do to a chandelier or lamp.

Happy Decorating
Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, June 4, 2010

The Name "First Fruit Collection"

The most common question we hear at First Fruit Collection is "Where did you come up with the name?" We are often called Fresh Fruit or First Group. Many people call to order a fruit basket for a loved one. We are often mistaken for a collection agency. I never imagined that our name would cause so much confusion.

The name of our shop came from the Bible. A definition of First Fruit would include the first of anything, mainly referring to your best. Typically the First Fruit is your best fruit. First Fruits always come from the miracles of God, or from that which was produced by God. Man cannot produce crops. Man can only harvest the crops that God produces and gives to us. In Deuteronomy 8:18 God tells us that he gave man the ability to produce wealth. In other words, God gives us the ability to work and earn a living. We earn that income from our labor. Our labor is not holy. First Fruit offerings only came from God's labor and never from man's labor.

God is definitely at the center of everything that is done at First Fruit. He has blessed our shop with wonderful and gifted employees to help us always bring you our best. That is always our goal, keeping you first and giving you our best. May God bless each one of you as you are truly a blessing to us. Happy Decorating, Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, June 3, 2010

What is French Country?


What is Country French? Or is it French Country? Anyway, whether you call it Country French or French Country, you may wonder what it is? What makes a piece of furniture, fabric, rug, etc. specifically French Country? I will try to help you recognize this style of decorating by attempting to identify some of the key elements of this style. Hint: If you like First Fruit Collection, and our style portrayed in our store, you already like the style.

My first experience with French Country style was about 17 years ago. I had tired of the Queen Ann cherry furniture I had purchased for my home. I started feeling it was too dressy, too glossy and gave my home a very uninviting appearance. I feared using my dining room table with the smooth cherry top. What if someone scratched it, or left a wet glass there too long. It would be ruined for sure! I wanted furniture that I could use, where the scratches didn’t matter . . . but what would give me the dressy look without looking too dressy? I wanted casual elegance . . . I’m still a very polished girl, so I was not comfortable with shabby chic or cottage . . . not dressy enough! Oh, the dilemma I was in. What was I looking for? It was French Country!

I started looking at all the local furniture stores and decorating shops. I searched for over two years. I found a little french furniture, but it was very expensive and not exactly as casual as I wanted. There weren’t any shops specializing in the look I had grown to love. I couldn’t believe
it was that hard to find . . . was I the only one out there looking for this look?

This was the beginning of First Fruit Collection, 11 years ago. I longed to put together all those things I had been searching for. More than anything I wanted to be able to offer them at an affordable price. So now, all you have to do is come and visit us at First Fruit Collection, if you like French Country.

So, what makes something French Country?

• Bonnet tops on cupboards
• Barrel hinges on cabinet doors
• Carved arches on cabinet doors
• Carved scallop aprons on the base of cabinets
• Rush or cane seats on chairs or benches
• Ladder backs on seating pieces
• Curved legs on furniture, usually fatter than a queen ann leg
• Chicken wire on doors instead of glass
• Toile Fabric
• Provence fabric prints, (small rosettes, paisleys, little ditsy prints)
• French wire pieces, usually fine wire in a trellis pattern
• Rooster motifs
• Mini check prints, especially when mixed with toile or provence prints

These are just a few of the obvious characteristics of what I love. These are the elements that give First Fruit Collection our “Look”. These are the things that turn my head and give me that adrenaline rush. This is what I purchase on buying trips for the store. I hope you love them as much as I do. Happy Decorating! Lisa

Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Monthly Coupon Special!

First Fruit Collection has launched this new blog called "Your Home Can Be Happy." We would like you to visit it to get ideas and inspiration for your home. For our coupon special this month when you visit our blog you can leave a comment using the form to the right telling us what you think about our blog. Once you have left a comment we will email you a "20% Off Any One Item Of Your Choice Coupon".

Your Home Can Be Happy
Compliments of First Fruit Collection

Posted by Meagan Walley at Friday, May 28, 2010

Mixing Patterns & Prints

Check, paisley, polka dot, stripe, hound stooth, toile, floral, damask, or plaid; I love to mix them all, not at the same time, but I think the secret to a great room is interesting fabrics. French design demands it . . . maybe that is why I love french style. I am like a kid in a candy store when I enter a fabric store. I start imagining what I could put with certain fabrics, what would be pretty with this or that. At the furniture market, my salesman is always so anxious to show me the newest sofa frames . . . and I am immediately asking “ where are the new fabrics?” My greatest joy in a design project is choosing the perfect fabric, I often squeal with excitement when I find just the right look.

Many of you are afraid of mixing prints, it scares you to put two prints together, although you love the look when you enter our showroom. You long for the look, but are too insecure to try
it for yourself. You are stuck in the “solid” safe rut. I will try to help you overcome your fear
with knowledge of which prints mix well and ones that don’t.

DO MIX PRINTS AND PATTERNS! I LOVE IT! You can mix any fabric that is a different scale from another and with a common color to tie the two together. For example, a large floral print of pink, red, yellow, green, etc. can
mix well with a mini print of pink and green floral. Also
a check or stripe with any of these colors works too. The
key is scale and common color. Study the pictures and
see how the common color allows these patterns to
work together.

Be sure to repeat the fabrics in a room, like taking leftover drapery fabric on the bed with an accent pillow, or on a dust ruffle. Think of ways you can incorporate many fabrics, like using multiple fabrics upholstering a chair
or sofa. Maybe you could use a little check on the chair back or on the cording? Check is a cute choice for cording because it turns into a diamond pattern when on the
“true bias”
giving you another interesting pattern.

Things to avoid when mixing patterns are avoid using two patterns of the same scale. For example, you would not want to use a floral with a toile of the same size pattern.
These would fight each other. You could use a small scale mini floral print with the toile though and this would compliment the toile well. A check, stripe, hound stooth, or any other geometric pattern should be used only once in a decorating scheme. Too many of these definitely start to make the room feel messy.

Mixing prints is the key to a decorator look. Keep in mind as a rule of thumb, one large scale pattern, one small scale pattern, and one geometric. This is a good starting point, but many
more patterns could be incorporated if desired.

Happy Decorating!

Posted by Meagan Walley at Thursday, May 27, 2010

What is your Decorating Style?

Do you know your decorating style? What do you like, what catches your eye when you flip through a magazine, what makes you say, “ I love that!” Are you:

Shabby Chic, Oriental, Eclectic, Cottage, Traditional, Modern, French Country or Urban?

Most shoppers wander through furniture stores without a clue. They make poor purchases and put a little of many styles together never really knowing what is wrong with their room. They don’t really know what style they really love and how to achieve
the look they long to have in their home.





How to know your style:


Start by collecting photos from magazines of pictures of rooms you love. Compile hundreds of them. Then, look through them an try to find a common element. Are they all a monochromatic color scheme? Are they full of color? Is there antique furniture? You should be able to see a common thread that should lead you to know what you like. Once you figure out what style you like, do research on it. Go to the library and check out books, go shopping to stores that specialize in your look, or subscribe to magazines that cater to your style.

Once you start making purchases and decorating choices for your home, follow the
things you have learned about your style. Keep your portfolio of photos handy to refer to when you are shopping. Try to purchase like items that you loved in the photos.

Most important, once you have determined your style, stick to it. Don’t be influenced by outside advice from well meaning friends. You have done your homework, you know what you like, so go for it. Happy Decorating.

Lisa Hood, Owner - Interior Designer

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, May 24, 2010

Choosing A Color For Your Home

While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about colors we use in our homes, it affects every day of our lives by influencing our mood and thoughts. Colors affect us in many ways so it is important to choose your colors wisely in decorating your home.

To have a beautiful home, don't let current trends influence you. Color trends come and go. You may ask what makes a color a trendy color. A trendy color is a primary color (red, yellow, and blue) or a secondary color (orange, purple, or green) with brown or black added to the color.

Red + Brown = Rust


Red + Black = Maroon

Yellow + Brown = Gold


Yellow + Black = Mustard

Blue + Brown = Teal


Blue + Black = Navy

Orange + Brown = Burnt Orange


Orange + Black = Sienna

Purple + Brown = Plum Purple + Black = Midnight

Green + Brown = Olive Green + Black = Emerald

The mix of these colors create a trendy color. It is best to not use these in abundance in our homes. Your home will date very quickly and you will soon tire of these colors. If you love a trendy color, try to use it in some element that is disposable like pillows, candles, etc.

A color that will stand the test of time are any of the primary or secondary colors in their true form or with white or cream added to them. These would be pink, light lemon yellow, sherbert, lavender, periwinkle, mint, sea foam, celery, etc. Think back on decorating trends in your own lifetime. I remember orange shag carpet, olive appliances in the 70's, teal and peach in the 80's, navy and maroon in the 90's, mustard in the 2000, and now we are seeing teal making a strong comeback in 2010. Trendy colors go in cycles, there are only so many colors out there, so they must come back around again. Try to use these sparingly, please don't chose these for counter tops, toilets, tile, etc. that cannot be changed easily. This can definitely hurt the resale of your home in years to come.

Now that we have cleared up what is a trendy color, lets talk about how color affects your mood. Every color has a psychological value. Think about how a color makes you feel. Where do you see this color being used? Colors can take you from tranquil to rage. Try to create peace and harmony when you make your choices. What colors will help you achieve this mood?

Understand that colors behave in three basic ways: active, passive and neutral, and you can easily match colors to your personal desires and taste and to the room's purpose. Light colors are expansive and airy and make a space seem larger and brighter. Dark colors are sophisticated and warm: they give a large room a more intimate feel.

More about colors:

Red: It raises a rooms energy level. It's a good choice when you want to stir up conversation, particularly at night. It is best kept in a living room or a dining room. It draws people together in conversation. Red is a color that has been studied and can raise blood pressure, speed respiration and heart rate. It will pump adrenaline like no other color can. It can make you hungry, this is why most restaurants have red as a color. Keep red out of a restful area like a bedroom, use only muted shades of this color and only in accents in this room. You will never have sweet dreams in a bedroom painted red!







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Blue: It brings down blood pressure and slows respiration and heart rate. It's calming, relaxing and serene. A pastel blue can sometimes look chilly on the walls, so choose the blue that has warm undertones, especially in a room that has a lot of natural light. Dark blue shades give the opposite affect so stay away from these.









Green: Is considered the most restful color for the eye. It is as cheerful as yellow, it cools things down but is warm enough to promote comfort. It is relaxing and pleasant. Green is also very calming and is believed to relieve stress.









Purple: Can be rich and dramatic, sophisticated with luxury as well as creativity. It works best as a secondary color or used with other shades of itself. Purple is as calming as blue, without the feeling of being chilly.









Yellow: Captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It's perfect for halls, it makes them feel expansive and welcoming. Yellow is a great color to be a main color of a room. Although yellow is a cheery color, babies do seem to cry more in a yellow room, making it a poor choice for a nursery. Yellow is the most fatiguing on the eyes, so choose a softer than a stronger shade.









Orange: Evokes excitement, enthusiasm and is an energetic color. Not good in a bedroom, but a great choice for an exercise room.









Neutrals: Are basics to a decorator. Never out of fashion and always flexible. Neutral calm things down, especially a brighter color. Black is best used as an accent – but a must for every room, it grounds the color scheme and gives it depth.









These general guidelines are a good starting point to your search for the perfect color for your home. Remember color is a very personal matter. You are the one who has to live with the color, so choose a hue that suits your lifestyle. And always remember that a paint swatch is only the size of a postage stamp, so try to imagine floor to ceiling when choosing! If you need help with color, be sure to come by and see me, I'd be happy to help you! Happy Decorating.

Lisa Hood

Interior Designer - Owner


Posted by Meagan Walley at Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Using Our Design Services

Your home; the place you love to be, a place to share with the ones you love and create memories that are not forgotten, a place of refuge where you can sigh and say " It's good to be home."At First Fruit Collection we have a passion to help you transform your home to the enchanted place you've always dreamed about. Our design staff is here to help you realize your dream. We welcome you to come in and let us help you make selections to turn your dream into reality.
Many of you try to design your rooms on your own, never realizing why it doesn't turn out the way you like. I see it every day with photos brought in for me to view. They want to buy something to "Fix" the room. They are working without a plan and without knowledge of design. I often ask women why they are trying to decorate on their own, without the help of an interior designer. Their response is "I can't afford a designer!" My response is "A designer is worth every penny when you add up the money spent on mistakes and poor purchases." Our designers have years of experience with paint, fabric, furniture placement and window treatments that will transform your room into a space you'll love. Come by and set up an In-Home Consultation or let us help you in the store with selections for your home. We love to help make your home "Happy."
Lisa Hood

Posted by Meagan Walley at Monday, May 17, 2010