Friday, December 17, 2010

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

Friday, December 10, 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,


Monday, December 6, 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.

We hope you enjoyed the tour! We enjoyed you!
Happy Decorating,

Wednesday, December 1, 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

Tuesday, November 16, 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

Wednesday, November 10, 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!

Thursday, November 4, 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,


Wednesday, October 27, 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,

Friday, October 22, 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

Thursday, October 7, 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

Monday, October 4, 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!

Friday, September 24, 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

Happy Decorating,


Tuesday, September 21, 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

Enjoy, happy cooking,


Monday, September 13, 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

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.

Wednesday, September 1, 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

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

Wednesday, August 25, 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

The Painted Door
194 Washington Street
Collierville, TN 38017
(901) 417-1864

Thursday, August 19, 2010


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