Sunday, December 27, 2009

Coming Soon

Just a few more days until the end of the year and the start of 2010. Are you ready? I think I am just about there with only a few more days of "packing it up" and waiting for the truck to appear to take these last things away. The phones will be down, the computers disconnected, the credit card terminal shipped, and all the final dusting and sweeping will be done. And then,.....what?
With the November Novel almost finished (the rewrite or "making sense of it all") and ready to be put to bed, I will have the time to devote to the blog and to the website. The poor website has gone through some troubled times - mainly just neglect - as I was trying to get the shop closed and make all the arrangements for the inventory. And then we had the holidays which are always a good excuse to just stop working and start partying. And now it is time to celebrate. So with Best Wishes for a great 2010 I close out this final year as a storefront retailer and look forward to beginning a new adventure. Stay tuned for the next chapter......

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Chapter

It is such a relief to finally be able to answer the question "What are you going to do now that you are closing your store?" with something resembling a plan for the future. I must admit that it is rewarding to know that your friends are concerned for your future and well-being. Some of my dearest friends are also my greatest customers and they have been on a crusade to find a great location for my "next store." It took a long while for me to convince them that I wasn't looking for another location - that there wasn't going to be a "store" the next time around.

I must confess that once retail is in your blood, it is no easy feat to just turn and walk away. Not only is it not easy, I suspect that it is impossible. So with that in mind, I just kept drifting towards that deadline when I had to have the premises vacated and all the utilities and communications services terminated. It is a funny thing, but the greatest things to come my way have always been "out of the blue" and not something that I set out to find. And so it was that I came upon this next adventure.

As I was leaving Whole Foods one afternoon I picked up one of the local social interest publications and started reading through it. I happened upon an article about a venture that was new on the horizon - a marketplace opening up in a different area of Baton Rouge. Hmm... this could be interesting. The article described the new marketplace and then went on the discuss the concept and the fact that the owner was calling for local vendors and retailers to join. Might this be the answer to my questions of what I would be doing and how and where? After a few emails and phone conversations and site visits I was sure this was something worth the effort! And so, ....

New Orleans At Home is moving into My Favorite Things Marketplace! I will have a presence among many and varied vendors and retailers in this new space. The location is perfect for it is in an under-serviced area of our city that has a population with the needs and the ability to buy what we are presenting. It will be exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is that I will be able to still do all those things that I have loved about being in retail. And I will no longer have to deal with all those things which I liked least about being in retail! Sometimes things just work out that way - not often, but sometimes.

So I am now in the process of closing down my store. Each day that I break down another display I remember how much I loved making this place what it is today. There is just some form of magic in building a display that showcases a product in a way that mimics art and enables a potential buyer to see this same item being used in their home to add to their enjoyment. Retail sales is not so much about selling something to someone, but rather in showing them a product and the many ways in which it can enhance their everyday.

By the end of 2009 I shall have closed and locked the door for the last time. I will say good-bye to Mid City Baton Rouge and the many friends I have made there. I will hope to see them again in our new location where we can visit and catch up on all that is happening during the holidays and look toward the new year with hope and best wishes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Happened to Summer?

Now that August is almost over, I am wondering just what happened to my July! Of course there was the usual July 4th fun and frolic with children, grandchildren, out-laws and assorted pets. And then there was the "bomb" - a major health issue that came out of nowhere. And then in August we experienced a tragedy that still has us and many dear friends reeling from the shock. And a major decision about "the business" closes out the exciting "what did you do on your vacation" spiel.
After 15 years at this retail game, which I dearly love, I will be closing the shop and moving into a new phase of "the career" which means more excitement and hoopla. But first, I now get to experience the adventure of actually closing a business. A customer asked me why I was doing this and that started me really thinking. I have been through the start up, the moving of a store into renovated quarters while trying to remain open for business, the name change and focus realignment, a major hurricane and aftermath for 16 months, a move from one city to another with accompanying selling of buildings and finding new quarters, putting 6,000+ items into storage in a flood ravaged city and getting them delivered out to another city 2 months later, attempting to bring a business built on customer loyalty to a new venue, and lastly, just trying to get all other aspects of "after Katrina" put to rest. And that is how I get to where I am today! A long trip to be sure, but one I wouldn't change if I could.
So, now --- what happened to that summer? Well, for those of us here in South Louisiana summer isn't over until Thanksgiving at the very earliest. Football season isn't the signal for us that cool Fall weather is around the corner. If we are lucky, we may be cool for Christmas -- or maybe, just maybe, it will snow again like last year!! I dream of such things.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1st and Vacation Begins Here

It's a wonderful feeling to know that from now until July 31 it is officially "vacation" and that I don't HAVE to go to the shop. Which of course means that I probably WILL go to the shop, just not to do any heavy lifting or floor mopping.

This will be the time to get everything ready for the big re-opening August 1st, when we will be getting ourselves ready for the next transformation. As some wise man once said, "if you aren't changing, you aren't growing." We will definitely be growing and changing that is for sure.

Now I have to take the time to work out the logistics and get the timeline finished. It will be a sad but sweet ending to an almost 15 year part in the retail world. I have certainly been entertained, delighted, perplexed, rewarded, and bamboozled by the experience. It will be sad to try to close something that just makes me happy - happy to work at, happy to look at, and happy to think about. But too much happy can be a bad thing - even I know that. When you start thinking of other things that you could be doing and start wondering how you can do both --- well, that means the handwriting is on the wall.

So, for the next few weeks I will be moving things around, consolidating, practicing web skills, doing a little canvas shuffling, and trying to figure it out. In the meantime I will try to do some creative blogging that can be my "to do" list, my game plan, my dreamscape, and my touchdown at reality. Until next time, take the advice of Coach Les Miles and "Have a Great Day!"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Good Advice or Idle Random Thoughts?

It was such a lovely vacation and I did so regret having to pack it all up and head home. And somehow I just can't seem to get back into the hectic pace of business everyday. My mind keeps balking at all those chores that you have to do on a daily basis just to keep a store open and alive. I keep seeing those cloudless blue skies and the beautiful white sand beach and thinking about going back to stay!

Alas, it seems that even before the week was done the storm clouds came rolling in. You know how that can take over your perspective on just about everything. It seems that everywhere I look now I see business articles geared to giving advice to just keep on keeping on during the downturn. You have to get more customers through the door, add on to your sales, update your inventory, advertise in new ways, increase email, re-train your staff, and keep a good attitude.

Now that is a LOT of advice and to be really truthful, it can tire you out before you even get to reading the articles . I, for one, have taken an oddly distanced reaction to all of this and I am attributing it to my current frame of mind.

I have just recently spent much quality time "doing nothing" and enjoying it immensely. I lolled around all day at the beach reading a huge stack of good fiction that I have been saving for that rainy day with nothing to do. I have been giving a lot of thought to the retirement scenario. My lease comes due for renewal in a few months and I have been asking the age old question "what would happen if I just quit?" And I have been making all the lists of things that I would have to do to make it happen ( or not happen depending on which way you view it) so that I could close the door at the end of the year and have no regrets. Is there anyone else out there mulling over these same things?

I just found out that my next door neighbor's store was burglarized over the week-end. And the really great part about it is that they found a wallet left behind with a driver's license and all sorts of identification. Now, the first reaction has to be "what a dummy", but then you think that it must be a frame-up job. Surely no one would be that stupid or careless. Or would they. I guess we won't find out until we hear back from the police. But this just added one more item to the list of reasons why I don't need to be doing this anymore. Who really needs the emotional stress of worrying about a place 24/7, rain or shine, 52 weeks of the year?

I will be doing some hard thinking in the next few weeks - I've allowed myself to the end of the month to figure it out. What would I do if I weren't doing what I've done for so long? My family says "Ha!" - you are never without something to do!!" And they are right. I have never lacked for something ( or many somethings) to do to keep myself occupied and happy. I know that there have been a lot of things that I have had to say no to doing that I would really have liked to have done. And I could certainly learn to enjoy living in the world of "spare time" that seems to always elude me now.

But will this love of the retail game, the excitement of design, and that thrill of creativity win again? Will I be here still trying to keep it all in line? Will I miss those buying trips to Dallas, Atlanta, and New York?? Will I miss the excitement of greeting the UPS man with my box cutter and scissors in hand, ready to open the first arrivals of the new season? Of course I will. But I can't help but think that there will be other exciting things to witness, other fun adventures to experience, and new friends to meet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Once Around the Store

I love doing these once around the place posts - gets me moving and looking at what needs to be done. Today I am here at the store and snapping some pictures before I go about changing the displays and changing out some display shelving. It helps to have something to reference so that when I decide I can't stand what I just did I can always fall back on the old plan and do an update instead of major overhaul.

It seems to me to always be a major undertaking to try to compose a display. I know that all the retail gurus say that in-store signage is a must, but I somehow manage to ignore it. I know that I shouldn't, and this time I am committed to doing something about it. Instead of just making nice looking vignettes, I am going to actually put the maxim to the test.
So, this is what we look like right now - before! The next post should have some subtle changes as well as some dynamic ones complete with signage. Of course, I will be taking a small holiday in between, so maybe that will impact what you see when you return as well as my attempts at first-class merchandising!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Once Again Around the House

You may have noticed that there hasn't been too much going on around the house lately. I must confess that I have been a little distracted (again, already?) for the last week. Taking advantage of a challenge thrown out by Susan at I submitted pictures of my "laundry room" as an entry in her Help This Home project. This is indeed an exciting adventure and I want to share with you what has happened so far. But, before we start in on the project, I'd like to take some looks at the rest of the homestead so you won't fall down in disbelief when you see the Laundry Room!

Here is a rather placid view of the family room, pretty common set-up, not a lot of fuss or muss.

And from here we can go into the kitchen - getting closer to disaster area but not quite there yet!

Behind this door lies a sight to behold. You will either kill yourself laughing, or immediately sign me up for ADD-Anonymous. So here you go!!

Now! What could I be thinking? I was obviously thinking that this is a walk-in dumpster!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Once Around the House

Okay, we started out with our walk on the patio and then I jumped the fence there to include that daylily. Let's get back to what we have here. Dr. Deeds specializes in "pots" - anyplace that he can fit a pot he puts one. I, on the other hand, like to place them with great precision. What with the ADD, I can only stand so much visual confusion in one place at one time. My newest project is to secretly hide some of the pots and see if anyone notices. Until then, let's take a look at what currently resides in some of them.

Pink is a special color for the patio at this time of year. In fact, we have some very lovely "weeds" that are a delightful pink. In fact here is a picture of them -- in a POT!

Next is a lovely variety of Hydrangea that will really be beautiful in a few more days of this high 80's-low 90's temps we've been having. I know that there is some magical stuff that you can do to change the color of your hydrangeas, but I really like these just the way they are.

One time Dr. Deeds brought home a lovely exotic plant for beside the pool - naturally in a pot - that is a lovely shade of yellow and orange. I am not sure what they are, but they certainly lend an air of the tropics (or maybe the desert?) to the poolside. What do you think - and better than that, do you have any idea what they are?
Probably my favorite right now is the bright pink Bouganvilla. We used to have one that grew all up the side of the house. It was just tremendous and didn't even look real. I'll check to see if I have some old picture of it for camparison one of these days. In the meantime, here is what we have to look at right now!

To finish up this pink story I took a picture of this fine plant. I don't know its name either. Did I mention that Dr. Deeds also is an avid gardener and never met a plant he didn't love? He is so crazy about them that he just has to bring one home - or two, or three. I have lately taken to telling him I am stealing his Lowe's chargecard if he brings one more plant home (but really, it could be worse, right). We now have an entire slew of these beauties - some white and some pink. Don't worry, we'll get to the white ones later. Remember, we haven't even left the back patio yet! We have an acre of so to cover before we get to the dog days of summer and an entirely different roundup of blooms! You can see by all of this that I almost never lack for a flower to make "everyday special".

Pick a Favorite?

What's your favorite color? What do you think the chances are that we can find it out here in the garden? Betcha a donut that we can! Now, let's take that walk around the yard we've been promising ourselves while we get in our workout and stake a bet. Okay - ready to go?

First, I think RED! Yes we can still find some red out here if we look closely enough. Actually, red is a pretty common color in this landscape. I hadn't really noticed before. Right here on the patio are two really nice "reds." The first is a really lovely vine and I notice this one and a few others of different shades. We'll snap a few pictures of them too, and add them to our "colorlog." Next we find a really beautiful "tree" - well at least it looks like a tree to me. Or maybe a bush. Think I need to start some research and study into floraculture?

And then, there is this Day Lily (daylily?) out here behind the pool stuff. It sits here amongst a sea of yellow cousins standing out like the brave soul it is. There is just something really lovely about these lilies that "make everyday special."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another Look

Well, for the past few weeks now I have been a bit busy and not really posting here as usual. I got myself involved in three online courses, a major store spring-cleaning, a photography project, and a migration of three websites. I have been a bit pre-occupied to say the least. And now I am planning the coming week and making lists and lists and more lists. I almost always make these lists - don't you do that too? And then I actually do try to work my way through them - it's just that I can get really distracted really quickly. So I am telling you right here and now, this time it will be different. This time I have a real determination to get through them all because they are the blueprint for the future, so to speak.
It is time to take a look at what's been happening and all that I have been trying to do, and make some sense of it all. For starters, after tonight's post I am going to work on a few design tweaks to the blog site here. Nothing radical - at least not at the beginning. But it is time for some change, and change is almost always exciting and certainly a lot of fun. I have pages and pages of sketches and definitions of "ftp stuff"and html and all that techno-talk. What it comes down to is this - we won't know what we are getting until I hang it out here. So it may be changing on a regular basis until I get it right!
So take a good look at it now, because with the next post it will surely look different, maybe even better (depending on how you look at it.)

PS And did I mention that I have been having a real bang-up time over at Twitter also? That, my friends, is the place to really learn some stuff!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Something's In The Air

Something is in the air just about now, and it isn't just the music that will burst forth from JazzFest over the next two week-ends. No, this is something that's been around long before JazzFest was a dream in Quint Davis's eyes. I am talking about the flowering plants that are all over the city. Just walking past one will immediately take you "back home" no matter where you live now.There is just something magic about the way a scent can transfer us back through time and space. What am I talking about here? Well, for any of you who go around with weepy eyes and sniffly noses, you know exactly what I am talking about. Let's see what it could be.........

First on the suspect list is the famous ligustrum bush that bursts into bloom all over the city and countryside. Ligustrum has a very fragrant scent and I have been told (although I have yet to authenticate this fact) that it is a relative to the lilac plant which also evokes some of the same reactions from folks with an allergic factor at work.

The next culprit may well be the beautiful and sometimes undiscovered "sweet olive" plant. I am not sure what its real name is, but anyone who has lived in New Orleans knows exactly what I am talking about here. I once actually thought that a candle with the scent of sweet olive would be wonderful to remind me of my home town. I gave up on that and adopted the Magnolia instead and I am sure all my friends are thankful.

Rounding out the trio here is the Jasmine plant - I believe that this one may well be the variety that is called Confederate Jasmine, but don't hold me to it. I will have to go and research this for us. Right now though, I am using the names that were bandied about the neighborhoods where I grew up.

Is there any plant that you remember from your childhood that makes you remember things you had long forgotten? Another that I am waiting for is the ginger plant - butterfly ginger grew right under my window and I still look forward to its blooming today! Go take a stroll around your garden and see what memories you can conjure up!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thinking Green Again

As I walk around the shop my eye scampers from one scene to another, and I realize that it is following the path that "green" has laid out for it. Green has long been one of my favorite colors despite the fact that a fellow "painter" once took a look at the canvas I was working, and said "yuck - I hate green and that is all you have on there!" And it was.

Green for me has many different personalities. It can be tranquil, exciting, romantic, surly, vibrant, and almost always has a hint of sarcasm and wit about it. When you think about it, green is almost everywhere we look. It is one of nature's "neutral colors" - whatever that is supposed to mean. I guess it means it can go anywhere, and it often does. When you get right down to it, what doesn't harmonize with green? Almost every color known to man is seen in some flower or other. Green can serve as the background, or the accent color when you vision down on a scene. And it almost always calls out to the eye when we are "fast forwarding" through a space or a photo, or even a memory. And being the "in subject" not just for fashion and interior design only adds to its lure. Everyday there is a headline somewhere calling us to just "Think Green."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Time to Move On

This 3/50 Project has been in the spotlight now for over a week, and it is time to move on. You can read the Project post at any time by clicking the keyword 3/50 Project. We don't want to lose sight of such an important project and concept, but it is time for us to get moving here!

Reading Joni Webb's post the other day made me laugh out loud - cardiac arrest! In our house it is a standing joke - "cardiac arrest" is when someone gets so really crazy, silly for something that their heart stops dead in its tracks and just a gasp eeks out of their voicebox . Poor Joni - I can just picture her driving like a madwoman to beat the clock back home to get her checkbook. And then that return trip to Tara Shaw's to retrieve her chairs. It would make a great YouTube!

Well I must confess right here and now, that any ADD worth her salt goes into cardiac arrest at least five times a day, if not more. I get that very exact same feeling when I first walk into the library, a book store, an art supply store, oh good grief even Whole Foods! It starts with a slow acceleration of the breathing pace, then heightened awareness of sounds and colors, then the real hyperventilation begins. Will I have enough time, enough money, enough energy, enough mindspace to see it all, feel it all, read it all, hear it all, DO it all.

You see, I think there is a sub-set of the ADD diagnosis. It is ADD-OAD. That would be Attention Deficit Disorder - Overload and Ambitious Dreaming. Now tell the truth, can you visit a blog or open a cookbook without your mind starting to race at about 100 mph? I start with the pictures, run through the printed word at breakneck speed, then check for any personnal comments or hints - all the while my poor little brain is thinking - " I could do that - and then I could do this to it, and add that, and paint it this color, and use it for such and such, and then put it right in that place, and then and then and then." Get the idea? Just plain crazy cardiac arrest.

So today I am starting a new project! (Hmm, another one of those ADD-OAD symptoms is tons and tons of started projects that lead to other projects that lead to new projects until.....cardiac arrest again!) This one will be to make a schedule for daily adventures into the land of "visually pleasing blogs" so that I don't forget which ones I want to see. A big problem with blogs is that there is almost always a list of that blogger's personal favorites - and off we go again. I get lost and forget where I started. My backtrack key fails me at least five times a blog. Not good.

So here are some of the blogs that I will put on my list to get me going in the right direction and of course there is a list that is always up here so you can see where I am surfing most days.

My short list of "must see today" blogs includes:

1. Visual Vamp of course for it's excitement and just plain fun

2. Cote de Texas for Joni Webb's wonderfully entertaining and educational trips into Interior Design

3. All the Best for a glimpse into the internationally known places, events, and edge of the envelope design personalities

4. Tobi Fairley for a designer's perspective

5. Jo Emmert Interior Design because Jo is my friend who has a wonderful eye for color and design

Now these five blogs are certainly not in any particular order (for an ADD personality there is no such thing as specific order as far as I can tell) nor are they the only ones that will be on my list. But I have to start somewhere, so this is the basic 5 for today. I hope that you enjoy them and let us know what you would add - what are your favorite five that you just have to check in to evey day?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Do the 3/50

RetailSpeaks CEO Cinda Baxter is spear-heading a campaign to help local independent retailers and the communities in which they are located. It is a grassroots campaign that is gaining speed and national attention as everyone becomes more familiar with the concept. It started as a post to Cinda's blog and an email from one of the members of the RetailSpeaks community. From there it has grown and literally exploded.
Please visit the website of The 3/50 Project and see how you can become involved also. You can catch some of the action on FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We welcome any and all to join us and help from the bottom up as the business communities across the country try to keep local doors open.
I suppose the most relevant question to be asked is this: What would you do if your favorite restaurant, shop, local bank, bar/grill/music spot,snowball stand, museum, arts market, or grocery store had to shut its door because of the economy? Would you then wonder if maybe your spending $50 a month at local shops would have helped stop the shuttering of entire sections of your city? Do the "3/50" and become involved in something that is win/win/win.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not Just Any Saturday Night

It's not much these days that can get me on the road for a Saturday night out in New Orleans. After all it IS an hour and half just to the parish line, for goodness' sake. However, this past Saturday was an exception. My friend Valorie (of Visual Vamp blog fame) was kind enough to issue an invitation to a lovely gathering in her home for cocktails. And this was just the perfect way for her to introduce us to two friends from her beloved NYC. Eddie Ross and his partner Jaithan Kochar were in town for the New Orleans Home and Garden Show, where Eddie was THE star and main interest for the entire lollapalooza.

First --- YES, Valorie's home is all that you would expect it to be and ever so much more. While we have all enjoyed her pictures, they really do it no justice. As soon as you cross the threshold you are instantly aware that exciting things happen here! And there can be no doubt that creative and fascinating people dwell here. Valorie and Alberto are two most gracious hosts and envelop you in their lovely aura as soon as you arrive.

One of the things that I have always loved about my old home town is that you almost never know what to expect when a front door opens and you enter. New Orleans has many characteristic architectural designs and you can find many examples of each in almost every neighborhood in the city. Valorie and Alberto's home has all the charm and elegance you would expect to find as well as that impish quirk that we of New Orleans like to call "our style." What this means is that each one of us is absolutely certain that any style worth it's keep is of our own doing. Translation: " I love it, it must belong here!" I know that each of you can picture what a house full of "Valorie style" would be -- and you would be correct!

We were treated to a demonstration from the Tango Queen when Valorie and Alberto showed us just why they are so well known far and wide for their dance. Made us all wonder out loud how come our dance lessons didn't do that for us. No one wanted them to stop - it was just so glamorous and so beautiful to watch and, well, just so Valorie!

So now I am sitting here remembering all the wonderful new friends I met, the excitement of having Eddie and Jaithan there with us, and the absolute delight at being a part of it. Thank you Valorie!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guest Soap

Guest soap. What exactly is a guest soap? Well, it must be a soap that a guest will use. Or maybe it is a soap that a guest has brought along with them. Or it is a "new" or "guest" soap that hasn't been in the soapdish before. Or - it is a smaller than average soap that will last just about as long as the guest's stay in the guest room. If that is the case, then sometimes the guest soap is a great big giant sized bar of utility soap. Other times, it can be a small, delicate round or bar that easily slips into a guest bath soapdish.
When selecting a particular soap to fill the need for a guest bath it is fun to let a little whimsy play into the game. Something to make that special guest smile when she sees it and uses it is a good thing to hunt. And then of course there are the stand-by choices that are the perfect size, not too much perfume or scent, a good "hand" to them, and that get the job done.

Next time you go looking for a guest soap, remember that these are some of the things that make your guest's Everyday Special!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A rose is a rose, unless it's a............

Soap Dish or a soapdish. No matter how you spell it, it's still ...

A Soapdish! What? Well, exactly. What is a soapdish anyway? We all have them hanging around somewhere. If not on our bath countertops, then at least in the "powder room" as the little ole ladies call them. Anyone in the retail sector that sells such things knows that really good ones are often few and far between. In the past, we have been known to just go digging around and picking up things that should be soap dishes even if they aren't. The only hard thing about that is convincing a customer/potential owner of said dish that, YES, you can use it for soap. Here are some bona fide, made especially to be, officially manufactured as and labelled as soapdishes examples of the real deal.

Notice the drain holes in these examples of soap dishes made in France. That is another question that often goes unanswered - should a soap dish have these holes and why? If you vote no, then you get a soapdish full of watery scum after a few handwashings. If you vote yes, then you have a puddle of scum draining onto your countertop or sink. So, I am thinking it doesn't make much matter - you have to de-scum something either way!

In our "powder rooms" and guest baths we are often inclined to use a little more whimsy than in our own where everything gets lots and lots of hard use. In the guest bath are most likely those charming little things called Guest Soaps. That opens up another entire discussion which we will revisit later. But for now, let's just assume ( I know........) that you have a few of those cute things hanging around that you need to put somewhere. A "holding box" is sometimes as critical as the actual soapdish itself. A guest needs to be able to find the soap first, then think where to put it after using it. So here are some examples of neat ways to store them so that they can also add to the decor.

If you are in any way adventurous, this is where the fun comes into play. Walk around your house and pick up the cute little things that you love that maybe have been pushed to the back of the cabinets. Things that you love that have lost all the rest of their family, have been gifts received but never found their "right" home, or things that you just want to be able to use somewhere for something. Below are some of the ways we have come up with to solve the soapdish problem when we could find nothing that had any charm or saving grace that was a real soapdish.

I am sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that you can find endless possibilities hiding on your own cabinet shelves. Go on, have some fun........after all, it's only a soapdish!!