Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Living Vintage: Jewelry Display

vintage jewelry display

I have the fortunate (and sometimes unfortunate) luck to live in my grandmother's house.  She passed years ago, but each member of my immediate family has lived in this house for a period of time...including their belongings.  Items from my grandmother, are just awesome...costume jewelry, vintage kitchen wares, sewing notions; other items like my brother's Vanilla Ice poster (swears its not his) hit the trash.  Sometimes, it can be troubling to know what to do with it all...I myself, brought a considerable amount of "stuff" into this already full house.  So, for the last few years (and future, I suspect) I go through and sort - keep, sell, trash.  I really try to make use of any existing items I can.

So, for what it's worth, here's an idea for a jewelry drop spot.  I had a lovely vintage 3 part tray from Grammie collecting dust and crowding a cabinet; at the same time...as much as I tell myself in the evenings to put my jewelry away in the box - I don't.  Volia, I put this pretty tray to use - collecting my most frequently used jewelry...and it actually looks awesome too!  If you've found yourself re-purposing vintage items in new and creative ways...drop me a note in the comments with a link to your post!

*Cross Stitch Geeks - if you're noticing my "Kitties Will Puke on Everything You Love" sampler...it's free to stitch here.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Road Trip: Biloxi, MS

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, or maybe months that no matter how positive you set out to be, someone is just determined to knock you down?  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but the building our shop resides in is also owned by us too...it's a beautiful, historic building from 1925!  We have a few additional tenants that share the building with us and in the 6 years we've been landlords, we've treated them like family - in many cases their living and work conditions at the building are better than mine at home as I always put the building's maintenance before my own.  We've been so lucky with good people; now there is a rotten apple spoiling the entire bunch.  So, basically it's been a madhouse there and I haven't slept much in a week and this week I'm sure will be no different as we are gearing up for part deux.

Roughly about the same time I had received a postcard to attend a small gift show on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Half-heartly, I showed C; figuring I'd hear a big "No!" and "Are you crazy, we can't do that with all this insanity," instead she actually thought we should get away if even for the day.  It really was just the thing to take my mind off our troubles even if it was "work related."  The show was small but had a nice variety of items plus shopping at a market always makes me feel hopeful.  I found some really unique things for all my venues - from the brick and mortar to Etsy.  Namely, some chevron print burlap (it is the coolest and I'll will be heartbroken if its backordered!), some amazing new candle scents from my existing vendor, Fairhope Soy and some beautiful pewter pendants.

biloxi, ms

Afterwards, we couldn't miss a walk on the beach when visiting Biloxi!  Some of the beach front still has damage from Katrina and we explored some beach front ruins and waded a bit in the calm waters.  It was actually warm enough...in January, I know, right?!  Then we stumbled upon a beach front restaurant, Shaggy's; the sign at the entrance said "Now entering island time."  That sounded good to me!  I ordered the crab cakes and they were amazing, plus the view of the Gulf right from my table was amazingly healing.  I decided to take that tiny piece of paradise with me to revisit in the coming weeks even if it is just a memory.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Featured Fabric

Today I am featuring "Cut and Sew" fabric - a usable printed pattern to cut out and begin sewing, typically on one or half yard-goods.  Once the rage in the 1970's and 80's, these fabric panels are regaining in popularity again; a few current manufacturers still produce these, and a wide selection of indie designers have popped up all over Spoonflower with fresh new designs; however, there are still plenty of great vintage "cut and sew" panels available!

This set is from my personal collection; Henry and Henrietta, a beautiful example of all you can create from just one yard of fabric!  Each makes a primitive style chicken softie, including clothes to make...and my favorite...tiny baby chicks to stuff in their pockets.  The best "cut and sew" panels have all the instructions printed along side with the pattern; truly making it an all in one project.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Silk-Screened Linens

I sold out of, I believe, nearly every silk-screened towel I make during the holidays.  First, I was like "Whoa!" and next I decided I better get to work.  In the last couple weeks most of my blanks have arrived and I was able to get a few listed online.  All towels are Fleur de lis motifs currently; I do have other designs in my collection (plus I'm developing new designs); however, here in Louisiana and particularly at my shop...this is the hot commodity.  As one customer put it when describing how much Louisianians love the fleur de lis, "it's fleur delirium."

Remember my previous set of Julia Child inspired fleur de lis towels; they are now gone but I made a small run of these super thick red striped cotton towels.  They really do have a French feel!  Grab them while they are in stock!

This is one of my most popular designs and a historic one as well!  I paired it with a pretty linen/cotton blend guest towel.  Makes a super gift; I'm so pleased how they turned out!  Check them out here.

I just listed this pretty blue and white striped set; I picked another favorite of mine, the "wheat style" fleur de lis - screened in red to give a nice contrast to the overall design.  Just a few made in this run - here they are.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Patience is a Virtue

It's just Tuesday and a lot has already happen this week!  But first, I have to tell you about the conversation I had with my friend, Darla, last week.  Her "resolution" this year is to accomplish two ready made projects a week...so far she's on track and has created a number of items for Fall and Christmas already!  It really inspired me to get going on a lot of dream projects and also scratch off some of those have-tos for the shop.  So, if it's in my stash (yarn, fabric, ...whatever!) I've been plotting a way to make use of it and produce a lot more inventory.  So, that brings us to this week!  I began two big projects; however, it's going to be awhile a before I know how each will turn out.

First, Darla came over to the shop today and we both did our own version of the Craftsy Block of the Month.  Yes, I'm finally making a quilt!  The 2013 pattern is a sampler of lots of different blocks (we'll one learn each month and put it together at the end of the year to form a quilt!); I wasn't quite sure of the overall design of the finished quilt as it seemed a bit geometric and modern for my taste,  I chose an almost monochromatic palate of black and white...I added a bit of red for accent in hopes that will pull it together conceptually.  All my fabric is out of print yardage or vintage cottons I've collected.  This month BOM is a version of the Log Cabin block...here's mine:

craftsy block of the month quilt

Next, (warning: you might think I have some rare form of bi-polar disorder for crafters) C and I made soap.  Not just your regular melt and pour soap...we tackled cold process soap!  Cold process soap has been one of those pipe dream projects I always wanted to accomplish but never thought I could overcome my fear of working with lye.  What's great about this soap is that YOU control every ingredient from oils, fragrance, colorants and yes, even the amount of lye.  It went okay, we had no idea how quickly we needed to work and then we added fragrance and oh my, it accelerated the entire process.  We just got it into the mold...minutes too long and it might not have been workable.  Because if the lye, we can't use this for 6 weeks...patience is a virtue, right?  I was able to cut it last night and it smells heavenly...a lavender vanilla blend.  I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and I still have a healthy respect for lye!

cold process lavender vanilla soap

So...what are you making this month???

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

More Downton Abbey Cross Stitch Love!

Now that I'm back from my trip to Houston, C and I finally found a night this week to catch up on both episodes one and two of Season Three...oh poor Edith! Will ANYone marry her - it's like she's Meg from Family Guy? Oh well, the more drama, the better right?

I did get some news this week from two of our stitchers...both completed one of my patterns and included the design as part of a pillow (I am totally loving this idea!)

downton abbey cross stitch pillow

Karen from Where's My Seam Ripper stitched out the original pattern and made a really stunning pillow...mad sewing skills, I tell ya! Love the flange she added to border the design. Also, note; she dropped the wording and it made it nice and square. Great job!

downton abbey alphabet cross stitch pillow

One of my favorite ladies, Karyn over at Teakettle Corner has completed the second pattern, the Downton Alphabet, also included in a pillow (oh my - love the dog, btw)! She has a nice tutorial on how to make a similar style pillow here.

If you're interested in stitching with us, my patterns are available on both Etsy and Craftsy (instant download) - but the best deal I offer is to purchase both patterns as a bundle from Etsy right here.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friday Featured Fabric

vintage sheer cotton floral fabric in pink

This week I wanted to feature one of my new acquisitions...this absolutely gorgeous vintage sheer cotton floral in a salmon colored pink.  It just glows in the sun...so pretty!  I think it would make perfect draperies in a guest room or reading nook.  It would probably look amazing as a kaftan too!  I have plenty to share at 4 continuous yards!  So, dream up something fast because I think this one might go quickly (partially because I adore it and I can't figure out what to do with it...yet!)

vintage sheer cotton floral fabric in pink

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Local Flavor

It's been rainy for weeks it feels like here...(I know, I know...much better than shoveling snow, Northerners?).  I took a pause too as it was time to make the haul over to Houston and get my head examined for the umpteenth time at MD Anderson.  All clear - I even joked that after so many MRI's could I get this one free...no one laughed.  Oh well - I guess you just can't make cancer funny!  I never start anything or order anything for the shop a couple weeks before the big trip just in case I ever receive bad news - there's nothing like returning to project and realizing this is the cross stitch or crocheted scarf you started before you knew you had cancer.  So I just don't chance it...and now I'm super behind with everything!  But I am happy I get to stick around a little longer in good health and feel well enough to tackle this mountain of busyness!

Taste of Bavaria

Right before we left, we did take some time out to have breakfast at one of our favorite local jewels...Taste of Bavaria.  Totally a destination, this restaurant has been around since I was a girl on the opposite side of town; you drive up to a few quaint cottages that resemble a German village...just adorable.  The food is always good, German fare...no fast food either; it may take a little while as everything is  made to order but plenty more time to enjoy the ambiance.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"]Taste of Bavaria Here I am...actually trying not to think about the trip to Houston![/caption]

Anywho, I'm such a proponent of Shop Local efforts in town and with my customers, I realized on my way home one night when I saw a new sign they erected, "Please Support Our Local Business," that yeah - it had been a better part of a year since I had eaten there.  I know first hand how frustrating it can feel to create a lovely business that donates to most local charities, entertains it's tourists and pays local taxes, to not feel appreciated.  Patronage (i.e. spending some money) is the only way to let businesses know you value them and want them to stay a vital part of your community.  *stepping down from my soapbox*

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"]Corn Beef Hash at Taste of Bavaria Corn Beef Hash with Poached Eggs[/caption]

Breakfast is their specialty and it was awesome!    I ordered the corn beef hash and C got the Hopple Popple (one of us had to order that because I just needed to say that out loud!).  Both were just perfect for a cold and dreary morning.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"]Hopple Popple at Taste of Bavaria The Hopple Popple! A delicious omelet with bratwurst[/caption]

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Featured Fabric

vitnage french newspaper fabric apron

For this week's installment of Friday Featured Fabric, I am asking for a little help on this one!  Right after the holiday, C and I went on a little day trip and I found this gem...a vintage cafe style apron - which I love, but the fabric, the FABRIC.  Oh, it is just darling...French newspapers wrapping bouquets of fresh Spring flowers.  Anyone, know it's origins???  It appears to be a really nice and supple cotton sateen.

vintage french newspaper fabric apron

I'm letting go of this one in my Etsy shop, but I sure would love some yardage of this sweet fabric!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It might sound strange but my New Years Resolution (if you can really call it that) is to master nothing.  After a lot of reflection of the past year and now approaching my fifth year in business, I see a pattern that if I don't feel I succeed (or am succeeding) - I stop, give up...rather than fail.  Seriously, there was a year I took up yoga and in my first class I decided I would get a certification, open my own studio, and be really bendy - I guess.  Another year, I was so enamored with roses, I decided not only to have a garden of at least 30 varieties - I would hybridize my own rose.  What can I say - everything interests me and I aim high.  This year, though, I want to keep that adventurous spirit and I am giving myself complete freedom to try any whim but no hard feelings if things don't work out.

Some things did work out in 2012; which were utterly surprising to me.  For one, Etsy; I've had a shop for a while but had not previously invested a lot of time - I made the time and it paid off, plus the connections I made have been invaluable.  I know a lot of people complain about Etsy for one reason or another but I still think they attract a buyer that appreciates handmade and vintage from truly independent sellers better than anyone.   The next surprise was cross stitch...and specifically my Down with Downton Abbey cross stitch pattern.  For me, it just began as an image I kept seeing in my mind that I needed to create and cross stitch seemed a logical means to an end.  Anyway, it's been a blessing and a lot of fun connecting with so many people stitching along all over the world!  And lastly, building my collection of vintage textiles has been so much fun...this too, I had no idea just how many people would positively react to this.  There's just nothing like using the "old stuff" (as I've been told).  For me it's part sheer excitement of finding something unique and secondly saving something that's a part of history.

I have some new directions to follow in 2013 and "cleaning house" to do at the shop (more on that later)...but I see no reason why 2013 can't be even better than last?!

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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