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APRIL 2013

It's been a while since I went shopping. At this stage of my life I need to get rid of stuff, not bring more things in the house! On the other hand, sometimes I just have the urge to get out and prowl around a bit. So, a few days ago I followed my impulses and, sure enough, there was a tiny little place in a strip mall on Mesa that I had not seen before. It was right next to a Starbucks, so I figured that must be a good omen.

An old-fashioned bell hanging on a golden arched spring over the doorway jangled as I went inside.

"Welcome, welcome," I heard, and a rather intriguing female voice called out to me. "Beautiful day, isn't it?"

"Lovely," I agreed, looking around to see who was speaking.

"Excuse me for not getting up right away," she said.

"My feet are just killing me. I'm Hedda Hopper ...

"... and this is my business partner Harry," she added, gesturing to a fellow slumped in apparent exhaustion nearby.

"My name is Wanna, and I'm so pleased to meet you." I bumped against a large carton. "My, you two look totally worn out!"

"We just got through chasing throughout the entire neighborhood looking for some small members of our family who decided to escape while our backs were turned. We were terrified they would be hit in traffic. I'm still shaking!"

"Hi, Wanna, nice to meet you," Harry said, wearily lifting his hand in greeting. "She's not kidding," he said with a sigh. "Sorry, but we were already worn out from lifting and fetching and carrying for days and just decided to take a little break for some cake when those little idiots decided to take advantage!"

His feminine partner said, "We're just getting moved in, and things are in kind of a mess. Hey, Harry! Get up out of the floor and put the kettle on, why don't you?" She turned to me, "Why don't you join us for a slice of cake and some tea, Wanna?"

"It's plum and dark chocolate with marzipan trim," Hedda said, "one of the specialties we plan to add when our bakery is in full operation."

"We had hoped to be ready before Easter," Harry said, getting slowly to his feet, "but you know how things are ... the best laid plans of mice and rabbits, as they say. And to top it off, having to chase all over the place after those little ..."

".. idiots!" At that he turned and glared in the direction of the display unit. And that's when I noticed all the little rabbits.

I swear they were giggling, but every time one of us looked directly at them, they all froze in place.

"Are you in the market, or just a looky-loo," Harry asked, reaching for the teapot and the tea cosy.

"What do you mean, looky-loo? Harry!!" Hedda cried, indignantly. "Must you be so blunt?"

"Well, actually I suppose I am a looky-loo today, mostly," I confided. "I am not in the market for anything in particular; I just enjoy all the color and fun of spring and Easter."

"That's a lovely arrangement," I said. "And that crockery pitcher reminds me of one my grandmother had when I was a child."

There was another arrangement of lilies in an egg container on the top shelf.

A wild-eyed rabbit kept drumming his legs against the shelf while we talked, or so it seemed...

"I see you have several pieces of Depression glass," I commented.

"We specialize in vintage items," Hedda said, "including that little basket from the 40s. The tiny rabbit is chalkware."

I noticed movement on the bottom shelf, and Harry turned to look, as well. "I saw you playing with that egg, Roland. Don't pretend you had nothing to do with it."

"As soon as we get the eggs arranged in the baskets, he manages to get one out to practice his soccer moves!"

I never thought I would say that a rabbit assumed a "Who, me?" look of innocence, but that one did!

I wonder if that orange egg on the other shelf just fell off the compote, or did Roland leave it there, too?

"You do have a lovely selection of eggs," I said. "Are they real?"

"We specialize in marzipan and other similar formulas, but we also have a variety of chocolate eggs, as well."

"Eventually we will offer hard-boiled eggs for eating, and expect to be serving all kinds of specialty breads and desserts along with hot chocolate and other drinks. Perhaps an array of sandwiches and soups."

Hedda spoke up."In future we will have cascarones, the confetti-filled eggs that are so popular in Mexico during Easter, as well as beautiful decorated eggs like those from Europe and other parts of the world."

I commented, "My daughter Dana brought me a beautiful blown carved and decorated egg from one of her business trips to Detroit where she visited a Polish art and crafts place. It hangs from a stand in a cabinet in our living room."

At that point, the kettle was whistling and Harry made tea while Hedda cut the cake for us. "Simply scrumptious!" I said, as we ate the delectable plum and chocolate cake, unlike anything I had ever tasted before.

"Perhaps you will come again, Wanna, when we have the rest of our merchandise on display, and the little ones are all at home," Harry said, glaring around at all the giggling coming from the shelves.

I believe the only rabbit in the place that didn't giggle or wiggle was the bunny angel, although I am embarrassed to say that at one point i thought I saw the slightest movement of those wings!

"I definitely plan to come back one of these days soon. I confess I have a weakness for specialty breads and desserts!"

"Well, we will have lots of small scale decorative pieces for the home; our entire family is always finding shabby chic things. We have a weakness for pastels ..." Hedda confided.

"Good bye, Wanna. What fun to meet you, and we hope to see you soon."

"Tell your friends to come, too!"

"We'll be sure to locate some of those Polish eggs like your daughter's," Harry hollered.


NOTES: This little Easter project came about when I was getting out my previously-made Easter settings and saw all kinds of wee stray bits, ...

... and nearby was a white bookcase unit that I had bought for my ever-growing collection of WannaBooks.   Remembering my pledge to use up items in my stash, I thought, Aha!

So I went digging for more items that might work with those Easter pieces. Quite an assortment of odds and ends.

In addition to the Chrystnbon items, I found two sets of placemats that might work, along with a couple of teapots.

I wanted to use this delightful rabbit from Alice Zinn, part of her Floppsey Moppsey line. He DOES flop, which is why I pictured him stretched out along a shelf, as opposed to sitting on one. His dark purple bow helped me decide on the purple check, as opposed to the pastel placemats. I figured the stronger check color in the background would be better for the lighter items - themselves in pastels - that would be sitting in front of them.

Also, I liked adding the dark teapot and the dark cake to the pastel items, for contrast.

Now this little one, Pinkey, just begged to be sitting up on the shelf.

I also wanted to use these two pieces, the tea cosy and the bolster pillow. (Gosh, the pillow has somehow gotten twisted.) I have used that print for upholstery and a skirted table, too, over the years.

Here you see it on a sofa, and a coordinating print used as a table scarf. These pieces are in a garden room

When I tried various placements, my DH commented that the supposed pillow looked like a paper towel roll! Oh, well.

The purple checks were looking okay, but more was needed. I found some round scrapbooking elements that reminded me of cabbages, so, cut in half, they formed a backdrop and mat to balance the purple. Yep, I like that.

The white shelves on top did not need a backdrop, considering the items I had decided to place there.

Pinkey wound up perched on the edge of the top shelf, and the bolster pillow is still "being used" even if it's barely visible. Still crooked, too, I see. Oh well; at least it is out of my stash.

And there it all is!

I picked up one of the rabbits I was thinking of using and held it out toward my husband. "Can you think of a good name for him?" I asked.

He smiled. "He's hairy!" And Harry he became! (Aren't we a good team?)

Then as I mulled over names for his partner, I began pairing female names with Harry - Harry and Helen, Harry and Hannah, Harry and Holly, and then it hit me- Harry and Hedda! Hedda Hopper! Surely the famous gossip columnist won't turn over in her grave at her namesake!

So, Harry and Hedda Hopper they became! And then the story followed that ....

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