Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric

Vintage Fat Quarters

Take this as a sign of new things to come...this week's Friday Featured Fabric is a great vintage set of fat quarters available now.  I never waste any fabric; so, all my odds and ends are finding themselves a home in fat quarter packs, charm packs, and scrap bags that will be available in early 2013!  Keep me in mind when you need something special for any new projects!

vintage fat quarter

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric

vintage winter scene barkcloth

This week's highlight is actually a remnant of barkcloth from my personal collection.  It's a winter scene with so much to explore.  I was going to fussy cut this for a winter pennant banner and C stopped me, telling me this was the most beautiful fabric and I just couldn't.  I kind of have to agree as I can just get lost in each little scene running into one another; I'm thinking a long narrow pillow for the couch?

Here's some shop news:

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12

12-12-12 sale on anything and everything in my Etsy shop!

All day long it's 12/12/12 and that means it's also 12% off everything in my Etsy shop!  That includes all my cross stitch patterns (including Downton Abbey), vintage linens and fabrics, and my silk-screened towel collection.  Just use the coupon code TWELVE at checkout.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Filling My Stocking...

I feel like I've been channeling a bad Grumpy Cat meme (who I just adore btw); so, I decided to get my holiday bah-humbug under control. Yesterday morning I finally gave into a couple things I've been wanting...desperately!  I can't tell you haw many times I've admired this pretty set of notecards offered by Ravelry, I think I will frame one.



Next, I settled on a book - it seems forever since I actually sat and read.  My hands are always busy; well, until my hand injury.  So, I settled on a Christmas themed book from the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley I Am Half-Sick of Shadows - it's one of my favorite series!  If you like English novels set in grand homes and gardens with a bit of intrigue...this is the book for you, plus the eleven year old heroine is someone your grown-up self will admire quite a bit.

Lastly, I surprised myself when Craftsy had a flash sale last night and I enrolled in stupendous stitching, which is an exploration on textile surface design!  I probably won't have much time for this until next Summer...but I couldn't pass it up!

Ok, my stocking is full now...and I think I might just be able to brave the holidays!

***PS...Thanks bunches to the Contented Sparrow for featuring my Downton Abbey Cross Stitch Pattern Duo - xoxo

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Everything is Shinny...

christmas parade

The Christmas season is well underway in our small (and balmy) town of Ponchatoula.  Last night was our annual Christmas parade; it was a beautiful night and the parade passes right in front of our shop - which makes it awfully nice considering what a loooong day it had been.  I opened early to start rearranging tables and shelves...as lots of items had already sold this season (yea!), part two of a quilt class was in full force by noon in the sewing area of the shop, sales were good throughout the day but this time of year I feel like I do more entertaining than business.  Including one customer's husband that decided to lay down on the ground with my dog and have a smooch fest (Chico totally hated it btw)...I'm glad people feel comfortable to be themselves in my shop but sometimes I wish they'd be a little less...especially when I'm having to step over them to assist other customers.  Oh and the children...I should preface this with, I'm not generally a "kid" person, but I do really feel for kids that get drug into the shop; the first thing you hear from mom or grandma is a stern "don't YOU touch anything!"  Honestly, how can you not help yourself...everything is shinny.  Even mom and/or grandma has their paws all over everything that within moments of them leaving, I'll swoop in to put the lid back on the candle, fold the shirt they threw on top of the pile, find the doo-dad that fell behind the shelf they didn't think I saw.  Anyway, I had pretty much enough of hearing children's hands being slapped, yelled at, then yanked one armed to the car...you know for being children.  C came to help out around 2:30 and I finally sat down and just sat there dazed.    Today I'm off; C volunteered to open on our normally closed Sunday, so we could keep up the holiday momentum but also, to give me a little break.  I'll catch up on a few more silk-screening projects, and if there's time complete a sewing project...even though what would really do me some good is putting my feet up and watching sappy Christmas movies.

And while the Holidays are on the brain, here are some specials just listed or reduced you may want to take advantage of:

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

A New Project

I know I said no new projects before Christmas!  I couldn't help myself, ok?  Since I've not been able to embroidered or crochet because of my hand injury, I'm rediscovering some of my old loves like sewing and silk-screening.  A few months back, you may recall when I introduced my new fabric collection with Spoonflower, Julia's Kitchen, based on Julia Child's fleur de lis motif in her book the Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I took the design in a new direction and began to work with it on some small silk-screened runs.



Here's a peek of Julia's iconic fleur de lis trio incorporated in these fun citrus towels.  I had planned on screening this design on crisp white towels but they are back-ordered until January.  Initially disappointed, I am so glad it pushed me to try something different.  These are certainly more lively, just like Julia herself!

purchase one of these limited edition towel right here.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric

vintage boy scout flannel cotton fabric

A lot of people ask me where I find my vintage fabrics?  Some come from my own collection of my Grandmother's stash, others are sometimes thrifted, but the best is when some very kind person says "hey, you want four bags of vintage fabric I can't stand looking at anymore"...that day was last Saturday.  Thankfully, one of my wonderful friends couldn't keep storing her mom's stash...and she had just combined it with more vintage items belonging to her aunt.  When someone says they don't want fabric, I happily accept whatever the condition!  So, basically Christmas came early!  Tons and tons of barkcloth, chintz, and just this little piece of flannel...that I've chosen as Friday Featured Fabric.

vintage flannel boy scout fabric

This is a fat quarter sized remnant; featuring great images of boy scouts camping with their logo and mottos interspersed.  I showed it to one of my shop vendors and sewing buddies, Darla, and she thought it would be great cut up in appliques.  I see it as one side of a camping pillow?  What would you make??

Available here.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Downton Abbey Framed!

 

Downton Abbey Cross Stitch

Finally!  I think it's just been under a year that I completed my Down with Downton Abbey cross stitch pattern and yesterday the stars and moon aligned and allowed me to stick it in a frame.  I framed it myself using an Ikea Ribba frame and loosely used techniques from Posie Gets Cozy.

Almost daily I've been receiving e-mails that sort of go like this..."your pattern is just precious but I'm much TOO busy and could never figure out to do this SO can you just make me one in time for Christmas????"  Um, in a word "no".  First off cross stitch is totally easy (yeah, I'm talking to you - you can do this!) but it can take a loooong time.  This took over a month and I stitched between 4-5 hours a day.  Not to discourage anyone; I love that an embroidery project becomes a part of your life for a period of time but I'm not interested in producing these finished.  I really like connecting with those that are stitching along with pattern...that has been the most rewarding thing that blossomed from this venture!

And of course there is this...I'm on a forced break from stitching.  I formed a ganglion cyst in my finger (probably from too much stitching).  I haven't stitched or crocheted in over two months, I think (ugh) but it's actually going down now.  So hopefully, I will be back in business in the New Year (which is good because I've got quite a bit planned)!

If you're not totally dismayed to attempt this pattern, here is a little encouragement.  One of my star customers from The Teakettle Corner sent me a picture of her finished work on a pillow...I would not have even thought to do this...but I have cats and can't have anything nice!  She also shares a tutorial on how to make a similar style pillow here.  Her blog is great and shares her work on many projects, so you can get a feel for just how long some of these projects can take...and how rewarding and pride you have when it's complete!

downton abbey pillow

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric

Vintage Cotton Blue Rose Fabric - 1 yard

This week's pick for the Friday Featured Fabric is a vintage bit of yardage with blue roses that I Loooove!  Seriously, if I didn't have a project in mind, I wouldn't have it up for grabs!  This is a cotton fabric with a good weight...maybe cotton duck...might be a little bit more lightweight than that?  Anywho, I would recommend it for totes and handbags.  Also, someone painstakingly fringed the edges of this remnant which makes it a perfect ready to use small tablecloth or dresser scarf.

Also, in other fabric-y shop news:

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Home Preview

Here's a peek of what's going on at home...we started unpacking the Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving and decorating in earnest.  Still some things to do...but its a lot of fun setting it up.  Christmas is such a kid centered holiday, but growing up, I couldn't wait until I was adult and could have my holiday, my way.  In fact, in my college dorm, I was the one with the fully decorated tree, including presents beneath, with hot chocolate brewing in my mini microwave...I've always been a nest maker - trying to build roots wherever I went.  The store can be a bit traditional for my taste, so at home I have free range.  Most of what I like is candy colored and packed with glitter.  I have a lot of vintage ornaments that I've happily married with new acquisitions from the shop.  A lot of people ask me what's my decorating secret at the store and home...um, here it goes...see an empty spot?  shove something glittery in it.  (and that's 4 years of design school talking!)



The one challenge at home though is cats.  We have three - and basically, in years past, my tabletop tinsel tree is just a big ol' giant cat toy.  We've stopped putting anything breakable on the actual tree and moved those types to a garland over the doorway - which everyone raves about to me.  So far, the tree this year has been knocked over 2-1/2 times...not by the cats...by me!  I say 2-1/2 because I caught it once...so, I guess this is a good system for the clumsy.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Successes...



Today was great...even better than great.  We had a record number of visitors and sales for Small Business Saturday in the shop.  It's funny that this whole event is spurred on by the credit card company, American Express and we only had a few use their card.  The majority just wanted us to know they supported us and wanted us to remain open...that in itself is huge, where on most any given day - retail loyalty can be...meh.  For me, its been an emotional couple of days; today, two years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer.  I left the doctor's office, went to my store and opened it; not saying a word to anyone...just doing my job.  And even though time has passed, anniversaries like this make me wonder if I'm moving away from diagnosis or toward recurrence.  It's something I haven't been very good at putting feelings into words but let me just say days like today are gratifying and a visible reminder that all these days, hours, and minutes have been productive and meaningful.
And, by the way...I have the best dog in the whole world.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Stitches From The Time Vault...



Sorting through some of my old toys (that are now considered vintage...ho hum), I came across this cross stitch kit for kids that I did many, many years ago.  I completely forgot about it!  I may have had a little box too that I stitched the lid.  It's labeled Fisher-Price Toys 1981 on the back, so I would have been 6 or 7 depending when I received it.  I think I can almost remember working on this...what a fun find and a bit humorous that I didn't really veer to far from my past!  Happy Monday Y'all!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric



This week's pick for the Friday Featured Fabric is a pre-cut kit from Moda/United Notions.  Made especially for those new to sewing with an interest in quilting, I absolutely adore this kit.  It includes a fun, vintage style charm pack of (52) 5" x 5" printed cottons, coordinating bias tape, yarn, a needle - as well as step by step flash cards!  All in an adorable red floral canvas tote (I love bags, so this sold me!).  When finished you will have a 36" x 26.5" quilt top!  I know, you'll probably want to keep this all to yourself, but it really would make a sweet gift for a daughter or granddaughter...think of the memories to be made; besides a cute patchwork quilt!!  Get it here or here.



--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here and There...

It's that time of year where the store is just rocking!  Which is always wonderful but equally exhausting.  I've been trying to squirrel away time here and there when I can.  Two weeks ago I took a day off and went back to Jackson, MS to do some serious thrifting AND I found the loveliest restaurant tucked away in a boutique hotel.  Seriously, if you ever should find yourself in Jackson, try to find the Fairview Inn and their in-house restaurant Sophia's.  I had the Amberjack with a chipolte-coconut broth and black bean mash potatoes.  Next visit I'm tempted to try the Mississippi Hot Brown...it sounded intriguing!



This past weekend I went to the Three Rivers Festival in Covington, LA and was really blown away with the entire show.  I found some unique wood turned utensils from the Spoon Mill and then a bread bowl I just love in a bright violet from Clement Clayworks.  Here's my pumpkin bread I made yesterday (one of the seven included recipes).  It's really good with coffee!



So between the day trips, lots of new things have come in at the shop and online; right now I'm working on a special holiday gift set that will be a freebie for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday that includes these "Heaux Heaux Heaux" pencils...that's Ho Ho Ho in Cajun!



--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Socks for Sandy

My lovely friend Laura, who just happens to be located in one of the worst areas in New Jersey hit by Hurricane Sandy is mobilizing an amazing effort to get some of these people basic items like socks, hats, gloves and scarves.  As a Katrina survivor (and Gustav), I know how great this need is, so if you have any winter items just sitting in closet, please put them in a box and mail them to Laura; her address is listed on this post on her blog.  For those of you near my shop in Louisiana, I am collecting items thru the week and mailing for you on Friday afternoon.



I've spent most of my day off today collecting items to ship; first at the thrift shop and then digging in my own closet.  (Believe me, in South Louisiana, you collect a lot of winter gear that never gets used!).  It's been a bit emotional for me as I thought a lot about the Tumblr blog NOLA to New York, and the stories of my fellow New Orleanians sharing what Katrina gave them.  For me, if I had to single out one lesson, it would have to be "survival".  I learned a lot in those early days, months and yes, even years in recovery from so many people that when I was diagnosed with cancer five years later the idea of not surviving just wasn't even a fathomable option.  So, carry on New York, New Jersey, and affected areas...better, stronger days are truly ahead.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric



This week's pick for the Friday Featured Fabric is a unique 1960's pop floral number that is so fun!  It's in amazing condition for a lightweight cotton of it's age and because of the large scale pattern, I imagine it's very versatile.  I see it in a quilt or maybe a handbag...you might want it for a new dress pattern you've been dying to make?!  Well, not only is this a truly cute fabric, I'm lucky to have a good bit of yardage...currently 4 yards at 4.95/yard.  Adjust your quantity in the Etsy checkout to receive a nice continuous cut of this beautiful fabric while it last!
Check each Friday for my latest newsworthy fabric offering!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Vintage Christmas



Less than 2 months away from a visit from Jolly St. Nick!  Are you ready?  Yeah, neither am I!  But I've begun to roll out some great vintage items in my Etsy shop that are guaranteed to add merriment and joy to your holiday!  Here's a sampling:

I'll be adding new items online and in the shop throughout the season...so be sure and keep a look out for these one of kind treasures!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Undercovers...

We've been transfixed the last twenty-four hours watching the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; how weird it feels to be on the other side of a tropical system.  Here it's strangely clear and beautiful...and a bit chilly.  Yesterday, my day off, I went to early vote.  I waited nearly an hour and I was so glad I grabbed a sweater before I walked out the door...unfortunately it was covered in pet hair (so I was that person in line).  Further disappointment, was when I didn't realize an hour wait, standing in line would wear me out for the entire day.  Sometimes, I forget it's only been a year and half since I went through radiation treatment and I try to behave like any other 30 something year old.  C fussed at me when I got home...why didn't I sit down, tell someone...I don't think I realized, myself, until I poured myself back in the car to go home.



Back home, I had planned a lot of "to do's"...lots to make for the shop, clean the house so it looks as good as everyone else's in their blogs, fix an amazing dinner...none of this happen.  I went straight to bed with a persistent headache and snuggled under a warm couple of quilts, joined through out the day by at least two dogs and two cats who peacefully slumbered while I treated myself to a couple foreign films on Netflix and perused the Craftsy online class catalog .  Sometimes I have to remind myself to step back because fortunately even though I'm healthy, I don't always have the stamina but I do have tomorrow.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric



Hard to believe Christmas is just two months away and lucky for you, I've just marked down some totally, knock-down gorgeous holiday fabrics in time to make treasured items for yourself or one of a kind gifts for friends and family.  I'm offering up to 40% off on a selection of holiday fabrics - mostly Robert Kaufman Holiday Flourish with a few other dazzlers in the mix.  Keep checking my shop back as more offers will be added in the coming weeks!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

BOGO deal from Spoonflower

If you've been waiting for an opportunity from Spoonflower to snag some great fabric at a fantastic price, the wait is over!  Now thru October 31st, all fat quarters are 2 for 1.



Please take this opportunity to check out two of my newest collections: Hootie Cutie, a fun, whimsical owl print in 6 colorways and Julia's Kitchen, a lovely fleur de lis print paying homage to the great chef Julia Child in 5 colorways.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Holidays Fleur de Lis Holly Cross Stitch Kits Are Here!



They're here!  I've assembled just a few kits of my new holiday pattern, so please do not wait to order as I doubt I will have time this season to assemble more.  Each kit includes the pattern in color with symbols, all embroidery floss needed, aida cloth, and a needle.  I have even included some basic cross stitch instructions if you would like to give this to someone with little or no embroidery experience.  The only items you will need additionally are a hoop and scissors.   The pattern alone will remain available from Etsy and instant download from Meylah and Craftsy through the holiday season.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Featured Fabric



Here's a new feature...Friday Featured Fabric!  I love vintage fabric and I'm also so excited to have expanded my business to carry new yardage, that I want to take nearly each Friday to showcase some unique pieces I am offering.

Today I want to highlight these sweet little pre-cut charm packs I'm putting together with vintage scraps.  This set is the first of a few in the works and its bright and colorful in red, yellow and blue.  My favorite is the pretty calico rose print; however, the Raggedy Ann and Andy print is probably the most unique and most rare.  To coordinate, I chose a vintage gingham and a little bit newer blue polka dot.  Each set has 25 pre-cut squares measuring 5" x 5".  I only had enough to cut for two packs (one left!), so if you would be interested in one or both, please visit my Etsy shop.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Owl Regret This...



Is there an intervention for embroidery/crochet people?!  I think I need to be first in line!  I was just checking in on Ravelry the other day and happened on this adorable pattern for an owl tote bag.  Of course, with the shop getting busier by the day and all of the other items I'm making for the shop I totally don't have time to make this...um yeah, I bought it.  And I just couldn't wait to start...so here's one owl nearly done!  7 more to go...unless something else distracts me.  All joking aside...this is an excellent pattern (take it from someone that writes them) - well described step by step with lots of pictures.  Get your here or here.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Holidays Fleur de Lis Holly Leaf Cross Stitch Pattern Now Available!



Yay!  It's done and the pattern is now available from Etsy and instant download from Meylah and Craftsy.  I love, LOVE how it came out!  Next on the agenda is to prepare a few kits for this pattern that will include most supplies (everything other than a hoop and scissors - is my plan).  Hopefully, I will get to it today; however, I keep getting myself side-tracked.  Its as if I have craft ADD.  I have 3-4 crochet projects on going - I just printed a tutorial to make pot holders for Christmas -- because someone, somewhere said they needed them...and I thought it was a good idea.  Thank goodness I've taken a break from needlework but I guess my brain has been waiting to cram everything else in that interests me!
***UPDATE 10/20/12 - kits are here!  Snag yours now as I only assembled a few.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Persimmon Pecan Bread

We've ended up with quite a healthy crop of Pecans this season despite Hurricane Issac, so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate them into my recipes.  Also, down South, it's Persimmon season...a weird fruit similar in shape to a tomato but very sweet when ripe.  They really aren't commercially available because as they ripen the fruit is so tender it tends to break and ooze pulp; you really have to have your own tree or know someone with a tree (and most people are quite accommodating as the fruit spoils so quickly).  I usually try to freeze a good bit and I always use this recipe I adapted from an old 1982 Southern Living Annual Recipe Cookbook.  It's delicious and one of those rare recipes for Persimmons that I find people who love or hate the fruit, love this bread equally!



Persimmon Pecan Bread

  • 6 tablespoons of butter, salted

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup persimmon pulp

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 cups unbleached, unbromated flour (all purpose is ok but the first choice is best for breads)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (for Pensey's fans, I'm using Indonesian Korintje)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (for Pensey's Fans this is West Indies Ground)

  • 1 cup chopped Pecans


cream butter, gradually adding sugar - beat well.  Add your eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a separate bowl combine the pulp and soda and let it sit and dissolve.  Blend in the rest of the ingredients with the butter and sugar mixture; stir well.  Add pecans and pulp mixture and beat well.

Pour into a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We've Expanded...

I know I've disappeared for a while now but it's with good reason, I promise!  We've expanded our shop to now include fabric and notions by partnering with our local quilt shop.



Everything happened quite by surprise.  Nearly a year ago we were shopping our neighbors' store and C said by the off chance you ever decide to leave think about moving into Nest.  Low and behold, they called the first week in September and wanted to scale back their retail operation and focus more on producing quilts (which are amazing, by the way).  I've been itching to really get into fabric and it's made for a unique opportunity for me to apprentice, in a way and also to help keep and build their clientele.  Also, they never ventured into online sales and I've agreed to assist with that...throughout October I will be building the inventory on my site; so check often as I list about 5 to 6 new fabrics a day.



So, for a straight month it's taken all our efforts to really get them moved into their nook or sewing center, as I like to call it.  Most evenings we leave the shop at 7 or 8pm, eat dinner, bathe and then fall fast asleep.  There hasn't been much time for anything else, i.e. blogging, but I'm making a very concentrated effort beginning this week to get back to some semblance of normal (like I ever was to begin with!)

Oh, and an early observation about "sewing people" - they seem to be quite the introverts.  Sweet as can be, they each walk in shyly clutching a partially made project...I almost have to coax out what they need.  On the other hand the yarnies that knit and hook are all extroverts.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cleaning Vintage Linens



I know a lot of people get especially nervous when you talk about cleaning vintage linens and yes, sometimes you do have to be cautious.  However, if you know what your fabric is, it makes it a lot simpler.  So, I wanted to impart a tip on cleaning vintage cotton since most of us are handed down pillowcases, quilts, and towels and we actually want to make use of these treasures and incorporate them in our daily lives.

The fantastic thing about old cottons is that they were made to last; most items, like large quilts, can take a quick tumble in the washing machine on delicate.  It's preferable to line dry these items, but if you must place in the dryer I would leave out the fabric softener and then use a hot iron.   For small pieces, you may want to opt for hand-washing.  I use a 1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt to every hot gallon of water.  Soak up to 48 hours, occasionally swishing the fabric about and then line dry and iron on hot  for best results.  Not all stains will come out, especially rust, but you will see a marked improvement over yellowing and linens will be soft...ready for you to enjoy for years to come!

***This vintage pillowcase set pictured, is available in my Etsy shop and was cleaned in the "salt" method.  A great find for the collector or anyone with an interest to begin collecting vintage linens.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Work in Progress: Holiday Cross Stitch Pattern



For a couple weeks now, I've been stitching this new little pattern for the holidays.  It promises to stitch out pretty quick...I did us all a favor and have no fractional stitches whatsoever, time keeps getting away from me though because big changes are afoot at the Nest.  (tease -- which I'll be announcing very soon!)

This year I have released five cross stitch patterns thus far and I've never stitched so much in my whole life.  I do love it but I'll be taking a little stitching R & R after this new holiday pattern is released.  Especially as I woke up the other morning and found I slept the night on top of embroidery scissors - I'm such a hard core stitcher.
As I put the final stitches and edits to my last pattern of 2012, I am thinking of not only releasing this as I normally do in PDF, but creating a limited amount of kits with supplies included.  I know how challenging the holidays can be, so gathering supplies will be one thing I can help cross off your list.  And if you would like to give it as a gift to a fellow stitchy friend, its a ready made kit to give.  I'll keep you posted on my progress and also keep watch for a big announcement in the coming days regarding my retail location...ahhh, another tease!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, September 21, 2012

New Fabric Design: Julia's Kitchen



I've been searching for Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One for a few years now and I finally scored a copy (dated from 1971).  Not only was I super excited to thumb through the recipes but I was quite taken with the book illustrations, namely the fleur de lis motif on the book jacket.  I immediately thought it would be a wonderful fabric, as it is a small vibrant design and wouldn't it be charming with the historical significance attached to Julia Child?  I began working on recreating the covers of both Volume One and Two (which are the reverse of each other) on Spoonflower.  Then I began playing with the colors and created three additional colorways...a tomato red "Ratatouille", a yummy chocolate "Souffle", and a black and gold "Bon Appetit"  (which is a bit of a nod to New Orleans and it's take on French cooking).

I'm so pleased how my samples came out!  Now comes the hard part...what do I make first?  Pot holders or an apron?

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Owloween...



A few weeks ago I ordered a little bit of my Hootie Cutie fabric from Spoonflower, in Bibbity Boo, a special Halloween colorway.   I wasn't really sure what to do with it, I just knew I wanted to use it for something!   At some point inspiration hit...which is usually right when I wake up, taking a shower, or driving to work (places where I can't write down a thing!); fortunately, I remembered and decided to make a couple treat bags with a matching black cotton in my stash.  They are just adorable!  If you would like one, I've put them in my Etsy shop or stop my in-person at Nest.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, September 14, 2012

A Downton Alphabet



I failed to mention over the past couple of weeks that I had FINALLY finished stitching my second Downton Abbey inspired cross stitch pattern.  I'm partly relieved and a tiny bit sad as it went everywhere with me the last month, including my trip to Houston.  This grew from a request from one of my customers that asked for smaller "Downton" images.  I wanted to create something that would work nicely as a whole but fun to break apart and do what you like.  It was a lot of fun designing and there are few images from both seasons one and two that true fans will get like evil sugar and Mr. Pamuk (who looks like a zombie because he sure wouldn't go away in season 2 for a dead guy).  Also, you'll find subtle references like a violet, the namesake of the Dowager Countess and items you would easily find of the time like a trifle, needle and thread.



The pattern includes a detailed color chart with symbols referencing DMC floss and a floss count (which is awesome...so you know exactly how much to buy!).  I've made this available on Etsy and Meylah (which allows for instant download, and you won't have to wait for me to e-mail you) of the PDF file.  Also, as a courtesy to my customers - as so many of you wonderful people have been purchasing this new pattern and the original first pattern, I've combined both in one listing at a discounted price here.

Also, I invite all my customers to share their progress and finished work (especially if you have reinterpreted anything) in our Downton Stitch Flickr group.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Being Unremarkable...

This is actually a very happy post, so do not be concerned.

Nearly 2 weeks ago, we traveled back to MD Anderson for my latest round of scans.  First off let me say it was all good news.  I've come to a point after my diagnosis and successful treatment, that I don't let the fear of recurrence plague me like I once did...until it's scan week.  (sounds like shark week...and they both bite!).  I went in for my MRI and the delightful tech mentioned I would have a longer test than usual because it was a new machine with more cuts.  I think I obsessed for an hour in the machine that now with the added detail they would see something new.  The next day, was "doctor day" where they review your progress and let you know informally how your scans look.  This is what I love about MD Anderson...they are fast!  At 7:30 in the morning the very next day I went into the eye doctor and the first thing she told me was; "I saw you had a scan yesterday, and though it's not my area, it looked good!"  It was a blessed relief!  Then we continued on with the eye exam and as she commented back to nurse taking notes for my chart, she looked into each eye and said "unremarkable".  I've never been so delighted to be ordinary!



Cancer schmancer...so, I know what you really want to know...what did we eat?  Oh Houston, you are evil to my waist line!  We visited one of my old haunts during my radiation vacation, Gio's Flying Pizza in Dickerson, TX.  For whatever reason, their Blanco Pizza was the only thing I could minimally taste after I lost my taste buds during my treatment.  Now that they are back, oh my, this place is de-lish!  My friend's five year old son loves this place because they toss the pizza in the air and this time he recommended the raspberry chocolate cake.  He was right...but he barely let me get a bite!



We'll return in January for hopefully continued good news and yummy eats!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Vintage Fabric Yardage



Did I ever tell you I was a fabric junkie?  About 15 years ago, when I was studying Interior Design at LSU, part of the curriculum required us to take one class in the Home Economics building; a Textile History and Use class.  Most of the design students expressed how "beneath" them this was to be associated with "home makers" (and it was promptly removed from the program the very next year).  But I found it valuable; learning how fabric is made, the difference between man-made and natural, and most importantly how to clean anything.  I aced it!  I even regretted a bit not changing majors and becoming a textile designer (I had already gone from Art History to Veterinary Science  to Interior Design in my first semester so I decided I better finish what I started!)

That class did stick with me and for many years I've collected fabric.  Now that I've gathered quite a collection of vintage textiles, I'm de-stashing what I haven't used in the last few years (hoping they go to good hands that won't procrastinate like me!).  I am listing a couple new each day on Etsy; most are dead-stock yardage I cut and then a few remnants, as well.  All good stuff though, like barkcloth, dimity, eyelet and more.  Browse my collection and keep it in mind when you need that really unique fabric from long ago!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Humming Along...



It's Labor Day in the States today; C went in and opened the shop tho many, many of our customers surrounding the shop are dealing with extensive wind and flood clean up in Hurricane Isaac's wake.  We were so fortunate this time and with each passing storm I learn new things about the resiliency of people and nature.

A day or so after the storm passed I saw a madding number of hummingbirds coming to the windows of the house looking in; a friend had posted on Facebook that they are hungry right now with most of their food source being temporarily damaged.  It took some time to locate a feeder with our limited resources in town; I ended up at Big Lots of all places and got one for $12...best. money. ever. spent.  Within 20 minutes of putting it out a feeding frenzy began.  Every few minutes one passes and takes a sip.  All of us, cats and dogs included, are loving our new feathered friends.  I did a little research and it turns out this is a particularly important time for these tiny birds; they will migrate on a non-stop trip across the Gulf of Mexico soon and are desperate to feed in preparation.



So, today I have a great seat catching all the action as I finish up stitching my new Downton Abbey Alphabet Pattern.  I hope to frame both of my patterns soon; plus I need to get going on a few new ideas before I forget them!  One in development will be for the Christmas holidays...wish I was as quick as my hummer friends!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, August 31, 2012

A Weathered Nest



We weathered the storm fairly well; definitely no Katrina like seven years ago but quite a disaster in its own right...and a looong one at that.  We are 50 miles north of New Orleans and winds picked up Tuesday evening, then torrential wind and rain all of Wednesday, Thursday we saw the tail-end with sporadic showers.  I was finally able to leave and drive to the shop Thursday; everything looks fine.  A little water seeped through under the windows but nothing unexpected after 12 hours of horizontal rain.  I will attempt to open this morning; hopefully my internet will cooperate to process online orders.

Waiting out the storm felt like living in a bubble.  For long periods we had no electricity or cellular connection...it felt a little like the "old days".  I stitched most hours it was light with a dog or a cat on my lap...sometimes both.  We chatted, read, napped.  Occasionally when we would look outside it was like looking out your car window in a car wash.  Only a tiny frog that wedge himself safely in the window of the storm door was our connection to the outside.  I lost a ton of pecans and mourned my future pies; some how my lemons stayed intact and most of my satsumas.  We were lucky in all respects.  Sometimes living in a sub-tropical area is chancy but as a lady put it so eloquently on the news this evening, "maybe one day out the year it's a disaster; the rest of the days it's like paradise"

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, August 27, 2012

When it Rains it Pours.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] Hurricane Tracking Map Cross Stitch Pattern[/caption]

This is not my first rodeo, but I have to admit my heart sank when I saw TS Issac's track shift to almost a direct hit to my home and business.  I've been through Katrina and another less well known storm, Gustav and I know most things can be replaced, fixed and cleaned.  We are prepared as possible; I went in to the shop this morning to process, pack and ship all online orders (thank you SO much!).  We sandbagged near all the doorways this afternoon and then locked the doors and made a wish that everything would be safe and sound.  Now, my focus is finishing preparing my home for the onslaught of rain and wind.  Oh, and priorities...I did get some new yarn so I can keep busy if the power is out and it is still light outside.  Hopefully, I be back in business shortly!

See you when the skies brighten!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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