Connect the Dots

The BEST Pumpkin Bread Recipe! October 25, 2018 12:59

Fall is my favorite season and I've been making this pumpkin bread since before I got married, so over 20 years. 

It is the BEST, in my opinion and it comes out perfectly every time.  I also omit the nuts, since my family doesn't care for them, but either way is so good! 

This is a copy of my original recipe, stained and tattered.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! 

 


Fifteen Things I've Learned over Fifteen Years in Business September 24, 2018 08:26

The world of retail is changing fast and we're trying to keep up by offering unique products and unparalleled service. That will never change. 

I love what I do and I hope to have another 15 years doing it! 


Graduation Thank You Notes....What to Write April 29, 2018 08:29

You sent the Graduation announcements and now the mailbox is brimming with cards of congratulations and GIFTS!  You've worked hard to earn your degree and people are generous and kind. Be sure to thank them for their kindness with a handwritten note! 

We've put together a collection of graduation thank you card messages that can help you get started, but add in your own personality! Try to write the note as quickly as possible after receiving the gift so they know it was received. 

•As I graduate, a new journey begins I thank you for your kindness, thoughtfulness and prayers.

•During my graduation ceremony it was so wonderful to look up into the crowd and see you sitting there smiling and supporting me. That was such an important day for me, and I’m so glad you were there to share it. Thank you also for the handsome picture frame. I will select a great family picture taken on graduation day, and take it to my new job so it can grace the desk in my office.

•Graduation reminds me of everyone who has touched my life. The gift of your presence and acknowledgement is truly appreciated.

•Thank you so much for the generous graduation gift. It will be well-used on my trip to Europe this summer. I was going to bring along my old backpack but now I’ll be able to get a new one with all the bells and whistles. I can’t wait to pick it out. It was so thoughtful of you to remember me on my special day.

•I am so happy that you were able to share my graduating day with me. Either by being there or remembering with your generosity. Thank you so much for being part of my graduation celebration.

•I can’t believe I’m graduating. I’m so excited and wanted to stop and tell you how much I appreciate your help over the years. You were patient, inspirational, and actually made things fun. Thank you so much for everything. I won’t forget it.

•I just received your lovely gift in the mail today. Thank you so much for thinking of me and remembering my upcoming graduation. I wish I had more than just four guest tickets to my graduation ceremony so that I could invite you and all of the other family and friends that are so special to me. Thank you again for your thoughtful present.

•I just wanted to thank you both again for coming to my graduation ceremony. It was great to have such a loud cheering section. I know I heard you for sure. Thank you also of course for the generous gift. I can certainly use that money right now. I truly appreciate it. You are too kind.

•I want you to know how much I appreciate all of the time and energy you put into helping me throughout my college career. I consider you to be one of my most important mentors. It was a wonderful feeling to know that I could always count on your encouragement, support, and guidance. You give great advice. Thank you so much for attending my graduation ceremony, and being such an incredible influence in my life.

•I was really happy to see you at my graduation ceremony. There aren’t many times where you can sit back and feel like you’ve accomplished something. I’m so glad you were able to be there to help me celebrate this moment for me.

•I was so happy that you could attend my graduation party. And thank you so much for your thoughtful gift. I will use the corkboard to create a fun photo collage of my family and high school friends. When I hang it on the wall of my college dorm it will remind me of you and all of those special people back home who love and support me.

•I would like to thank my family, friends and school faculty for the wonderful memories you all have given me.
It was a really awesome moment for me to see you there an my graduation ceremony. Not only was it awesome that you were able to attend, but you made my day by gifting me such a great book.

•It was wonderful of you to share my graduation celebration with me. Thank you for your good thoughts, your generous gift and for being there. It means the world to me that you care.

•One bit thank you for the graduating gift, and another for the thought. A dozen thank yous couldn’t tell you all the happiness they brought.

•Thank you for coming to my graduation ceremony at the college. It was such a lovely day to have all my friends and family there. The weather held out so we could have the ceremony outside rather than crowded in the school gym. That made me so happy. I also want to thank you so much for the wonderful gift you gave me, it really wasn’t necessary, but is well appreciated.

•Thank you for coming to my graduation party. It was so nice to see you both. I appreciate the money and plan to put it towards decorations for my dorm room. I’m going to have fun shopping.

•Thank You for joining me on my special graduation day. Your generosity and thoughtfulness were very much appreciated.

•Thank you for remembering my graduation. Your card was so sweet, and I certainly am thankful for the check you sent with it. I will be buying many things for my new dorm room, and a laptop for school work, so your gift is much appreciated and will be put to good use.

•Thank you so much for attending my graduation ceremony. I know what a long trip it was for you, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your driving down to be there on my special day. And thank you so much for the lovely engraved pen set. Once I land my first job, I will take the pens to work with me and use them at my desk.

•Thank you so much for giving me my first watch for my graduation. I have always wanted a mechanical watch, and I plan to wear it daily for years to come.

•Thank you so much for paying my tuition. I never thought my dreams could com true without you. This is something I would have never been able to do on my own. I don’t know how I can ever thank you.

•Thank you so much for taking the time to come to my graduation ceremony. Words can’t express how happy I was to see you sitting there when I walked onto the stage.

•Thank you so much for the desk lamp you gave me. I really appreciate this useful and practical gift. There are just so many things that I will need for my freshman dorm, and now I can cross the desk lamp off my wish list. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness.

•Thank you so much for the generous graduation gift. I know we’ve talked about what college will be like for me, so I appreciate you realizing what a help a bit of cash will be. You’ve been a close family friend for a long time, so it meant a lot to me that you could be there when this chapter of my life finished. I’m looking forward to catching up with you when I come home for breaks. Hope you have a great summer.

•Thank you so much for the graduating gift. I really am glad you could make it to my graduation party. That was the real gift. Looking forward to seeing you again.

•Thank you very much for your Financial Gift. I have added it to my college fund and will use it for tuition fees. I cannot tell you just how much this will mean to me. I was delighted to get some time with you at my party and hope we can meet again soon. Once again, many thanks for the graduation gift. Best Wishes.

•Thanks a ton for the graduation money. It will help me immensely in college when I need a little extra spending cash. I promise I won’t spend it on beer like my dad said I would.

•This brings sincere thanks For the lovely graduation gift you sent, I wish to tell you just how much it meant.

•Words can never tell you what your congratulations and generous heart has meant to me during my Graduating ceremonies.

•You brought joy to my special graduating day. Thank you for your thoughtful graduation gift.

•You have truly enriched my life by your kindness and generosity. Thank you so much for sharing my Graduation day.

•You nearly shocked me when I opened my gift. I couldn’t believe what you’d given me. You knocked my socks off. I’m so grateful to have a friend like you.

•Your generosity is absolutely incredible! Thank you so much for the gift of money. It will really come in handy as I shop for a few nice outfits that I can wear to interviews. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness.

•Your graduation gift was extremely generous. I will use the gift card to purchase some of the many items that I will need for my college dorm. Thank you so much for thinking of me on my graduation day.

Need some note cards? Go HERE to see some great options....


National Card and Letter Writing Month! March 30, 2018 15:09

The U.S. Postal Service officially designated April National Card and Letter Writing Month in 2001 “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.” We love that there's A WHOLE MONTH dedicated to cards and letters- Long live the Snail Mail! 

Writing and sending cards and letters makes people feel good. And everyone deserves to feel good. It's such an easy thing to do, yet it can have such a big impact on someone's day.  The PDP team is dedicated to sending out a letter every day in April- that's 30 days of sending happiness in the mail! Won't you join us? We would love to flood the mail carriers with pretty envelopes! 

Here are some helpful tools for National Card and Letter Writing Month:

  • We put together a list of 30 different reasons to send a card or letter-use these as prompts to help you or make up your own! Any reason is a good reason to send a card or letter.
  • It's a great excuse to get out your favorite pens, fancy stationery, and craft supplies. 
  • Hallmark gives us great advice about what to write in any greeting card
  • And here is a great article explaining etiquette for addressing envelopes

That's it. Grab a note. Grab a pen. Send some love. Tag us on Instagram (@thepolkadotpress) and we'll send you a Snail Mail club sticker! All the cool kids have them.


What does my child's teacher REALLY want for a gift? March 29, 2018 19:53

It's a question anyone with a school-aged child will face at least once a year...what does my child's teacher REALLY want? 

  •      Gift cards seem so impersonal.
  •      I can't risk a Pinterest-fail.
  •      I want to give a thoughtful gift, but I have to buy for 8 teachers. 

So what's a mom to do?  

Here is a list of FIVE great gifts that any teacher will love:

1. Gift Cards. I know I just said they seem impersonal. BUT, there are ways to make it much more personal and thoughtful.

Get to know the teacher's favorites- favorite restaurant, coffee shop, nail salon, etc.  If that information is not available, no worries.  Who doesn't love Target or Amazon?  Don't worry about the dollar amount- It's a gift and he/she will appreciate anything! A $5 Starbucks card buys a coffee! 

These Gift Card holders add a thoughtful touch to this simple gift.  It's intentional and cute. Win, right? 

     

 

 

 

2. Food. I mean, does this one even need an explanation? We all HAVE to eat, right?

Baked goods are always appreciated, especially around the holidays. A box of homemade assorted cookies could be a welcome relief to the teacher that has to work up until a few days before Christmas.  OR, put together a box of cookie ingredients, icing, sprinkles, etc. to save him/her a trip to the grocery store. 

Think outside the (bakery) box.  Do you have a homemade soup recipe that is family favorite?  A casserole that freezes well? A homemade tomato sauce that you can wrap with some pasta?  Creative wrapping and tags can go a long way in the presentation of a food gift. 

3. Personalized Stationery. Teachers make lists. Teachers write notes home. Teachers probably don't spend any money on personalized notepads when they could buy extra supplies for the classroom.  Treat them to something special with their NAME on it.  So simple and thoughtful.

4. A Funny Gift.  OK, now you have to know your audience with these ideas.  BUT, if you have a great relationship with that special teacher and you know he/she would appreciate the humor, you may just find the perfect gift below. (They are some of our best sellers, by the way, so you are not alone). 

Our stemless wineglass is just fun and funny. 

Our wine wrappers are a unique and fun way to give a bottle of wine. They simply tie on the any bottle! With a wine glass or all by itself, it's a fun gift. 

5. A Handwritten Note.  Sometimes, the sweetest gifts are also the most simple. I've talked to so many teachers over the years and they always say that while gifts are wonderful, they really don't "expect" anything. A touching letter or card about the positive impact that they have made on your child is a wonderful gift. Teachers work so hard, and often for little money or thanks, so sharing your true appreciation is a gift that costs nothing, but will absolutely be appreciated.


St. Patrick's Day Fun March 11, 2018 11:52

St. Patrick's Day is one of those fun holidays that just pops up in the middle of March and we love it as an excuse to celebrate all things Irish, Green & RAINBOWS. There are many ways to have fun with the holiday from the simple to the extravagant. Here are some fun facts and ideas to help you find your inner-Irish. 

FUN FACTS:

St. Patrick's Day celebrates the Roman Catholic feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick died on March 17, 461. But did you know that he wasn't even Irish?

The shamrock: According to legend St. Patrick used the three leaf clover (or shamrock) to explain the Trinity.

Dyeing the river green: The practice of dyeing the river green started in Chicago in 1962, when city officials decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green.

Corn beef and cabbage: This is an Irish American dish. Irish Americans were so poor they could not afford certain meals. On St. Patrick's Day, the best meal they could afford was beef and cabbage. It became a staple for the holiday.

FUN IDEAS: 

You can set the tone for a fun-filled day by serving up some GREEN pancakes! Jamielyn over at i heart naptime has some super cute breakfast ideas that are easy and fun! 

Since SLIME is all the rage, why not help the kiddos make this adorable Shamrock Slime? Minimal mess and hours of fun....Amy over at As the Bunny Hops gives you the complete recipe and instructions. 

Shamrock Slime

Hey! What about the grown ups???? Have no fear- the folks at mix that drink have provided us with 17 (see what they did there?) St. Patrick's Day cocktails! 

Green cocktails is something we can get excited about. 

Want even MORE fun St. Patrick's Day Inspiration? LUCKY YOU! We've put together a Pinterest board full of even more Irish fun! No need to be GREEN with envy- we'll share! 

 


In the beginning..... March 01, 2018 19:54

How it all started…..

I started my official career in Atlanta after graduating from Florida State University. I joined a Federated Department Store called Rich’s. It was an iconic name in Atlanta, having started in 1897 and with 13 of the 23 stores located in Metro Atlanta along with the Corporate Offices and Buying Office.

 

I had interned at the Rich’s store in Birmingham, Alabama while still in college and just loved the history and culture of the company.  I received several job offers during my last semester of school- The Gap, Burdines, Parisian. But Rich’s just felt right.

 I joined the Executive Trainee program in the Fall of 1989 (wow, I sound old). The program was designed to give new management candidates an overview of the buying office and store management before deciding a path. So, it was typical to work 18 months in one area and then transfer to the other side. I started on the buying side as an assistant buyer in Ladies Swimwear.  I learned so much and was lucky to have a buyer that included me in many aspects of the business.

About a year a half later, I became a Department Manager at Lenox Mall in Better Sportswear- this was a high profile department in a high profile store. An “A” store, it was called.  (We had A, B and C stores depending on volume). I LOVED my time in the store- loved my staff, the customers and the merchandising.  I stayed in the stores for a couple of years and eventually found my way back to the buying office, this time in Men’s Dress Shirts. I stayed in the buying office until my decision to leave and move back to Tallahassee in 1995 to open my first retail store, a baby boutique.

You see, my dad had passed away while I was living in Atlanta and suddenly, my priorities shifted.  I wanted to get back home, be closer to my mom and brother and own my own store.  So, my mom and I sat at her kitchen table trying to decide what type of store I should open…. And we tossed around a couple of options, but we kept coming back to a Baby Store. I had worked at a local baby store while in high school, loved the merchandise and there was a real need for one in our city. So, I spent about 6 months planning the store, figuring out the assortment, finding a location, making trips home on the weekends all while working my full time job.  It was A LOT. And while my friends were going out on the weekends, I was pouring over spreadsheets and catalogs. When it was finally time for me to be in Tallahassee and finalize the store, I resigned from my beloved Rich’s and moved home. I felt this huge sense of fear and excitement all at the same time. I was fulfilling a dream- yes- but I was taking a huge risk.

I remember the night before our grand opening. We had advertised for two weeks in the local paper (this was before social media). We had told our friends and family. We had rented a Peter Rabbit costume for a friend to wear. And I couldn’t sleep at all because I was SO worried that no one would come. What if no one came? What if I had just spent all this time and money and no one even showed up? I was so nervous.

But, they did come. They welcomed us and supported us that first day and I knew it would be ok.  It was a great little store with loyal customers and precious boutique finds. I ran that store for 3 years until I got married and wanted to start a family.

So, fast forward about five years….. My husband and I have one son and I am a stay at home mom, but always doing “something” on the side. I kept other children for a while, had a baking business, cleaned houses…. I did a few things while he was young in order to have a flexible schedule but still contribute to our income.  But then, he starts kindergarten.  And I am home most of the day with not enough to do. I’m still cleaning a few houses and being room mom, but I want more. I am not good at sitting still.

I started playing around on the computer, designing invitations. I designed my son’s birthday party invitation. Then a neighbor asked me to design her son’s birthday invite. Then thank you notes…. It all just happened very organically. 

{The Early Days of PDP....Taking a phone order from my home office}

I started thinking bigger and planned a home show- similar to a Pampered Chef party- and it was a success. Then, I offered “hostess benefits” for friends to have a home show.

{Good Friends and MOM...I relied on both heavily for home shows!}

Home Shows gave me the confidence to do bigger shows, like Junior League shows and larger craft-type shows.  My wonderful mom would help me load up our car and set up our booth…it was very grueling work, but we always had such a positive response.

{ A Junior League Show Booth}

Finally, I took the leap to open a physical location for my stationery business. We started SMALL with a one room "studio" above another store.   

{The first store space...so small, but a good start}

And here we are, 7 years later.

Our assortment has grown to include many different types of personalized products, from cutting boards to bath robes, but the core of the business consists of stationery, invitations and all things paper. I love that we get to celebrate life’s moments with our customers- from high school graduation to weddings, baby showers and everything in between. Many customers become our friends and we get to know them in a personal way. 

{These sweet customers brought us presents before they moved to another city}

 

Our tag line “We make it Personal” is so true.