Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Catching Up...

I am really not sure where the month of July went?  Summer is nearly over and so many of the projects I just knew I would finish are still at the bottom of an ever growing pile.  ugh.

I can show you a few bits and pieces coming thru my studio...

A new chicken scratch embroidery design for Halloween!  It actually is embroidered with glow in the dark floss...gah, it is a-maze-ing!  However, my camera pooped out during our vacay and I'm just not sure how I'm going to capture that after dark glow with an iPhone??  I hope to finalize writing the pattern this week because Halloween will be here before you know it!

At a snail's pace, I am still trying to keep up with the Craftsy Block of the Month.  This is June, recently completed in the month of July.   *sigh*  I love the block, the Lamoyne Star; but hated the technique of Y seams.  This was actually my 2nd stab at completing it.  The center points still are off but closer than the first try.

And here is July's Tumbling Blocks all cut out.  If I complete it today then I will have caught up...but alas, I seriously don't feel like sewing (more Y seams *sob*)...not to mention all the other things to do.  I really do need to assemble it soon as just yesterday a sales rep came in threw a bunch of his stuff on top of all the teeny tiny pieces.  What numb-nuts does that???  Seriously.

Believe me, he was just as annoyed with me.  This is where modern day Southern collides with the "Grand Ole" South.  Generally, I do not like sales reps to just drop in; I even have a nice note on the door to schedule an appointment.  No one ever reads it; so when "grandpa" strolled in and asked if I was too busy to see a bunch of stuff in the trunk of his car.  I replied "yes, I am - do you have a line sheet or website listed on your card"  First I noted an air of disbelief that I was truly busy and then he seemed surprised that I would ask for something of this nature.  A line sheet is a pretty common offering to leave with your clients.  He was already teed off, but I was curious - "what other stores do you sell to in the area?"  He wouldn't tell me, he just slyly prodded "who you worried about, honey?"  No one - I just don't want to carry the same sh*t my neighbor sells.  Anyway, hysterically - he told me twice before he left - that I could call him to set up an appointment.  For what?  I still have no idea what he sells?!  Ahhhh, retail!  It does keep life interesting!

Ohhh, and before I forget!  I'm so excited to say that just about a week or so ago, the HGTV Design blog featured my Downton Abbey Cross Stitch Pattern in a fun post about TV based DIY crafts.  Yay!  Check it out!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Experiments with Dyeing Fabric

I know, once again, I've been MIA for a little better than a week.  I've been uber-absorbed in a fiber art class given by the Hammond Art Guild this week.  I have been fascinated with hand-dyeing for awhile (and now really want to move into step at a time tho!) and my teacher, Rosemary Ydarraga, was fabulous, giving us a detailed, well-rounded launching off point into the world of fiber dyeing!  Here's a few of my  experiments:

This lovely set of fat eighths explores the color wheel.  Three basic colors of blue, red, and yellow created this rainbow palate!

Examples of utilizing shade and tint!  These are using Procion dyes in Fushia (left) and Scarlet Red (right)...which might be my favorite colorways, right next to turquoise.

Discharging fabric...simply misting with bleach and setting it with a vinegar solution.

Fabric stamping with fun metallic fabric paint.  Isn't this awesome?!?!

I had SO much fun and had plenty of time to work on a few personal projects like dyeing evenweave for cross stitching and cotton yarn for my crochet work!  My head is still spinning with all the avenues this can go in regards to the many, many types of fiber work I enjoy.  Right now though, it's time for me to refocus my efforts at the shop.  I feel like I've totally goofed off this week but at least I have a ton of great fabric to add to my stash!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

North Carolina - Part One (Squirrel Edition)

I'm backtracking a bit but I wanted to share some of the unique places we found ourselves last week on our Summer vacation.  I like quirky places and there is none other than Brevard, NC...home of the white squirrel.  Uh yes.  Not an albino, but an actual squirrel that is white.  Brevard is home to the largest group...most are found behind the university ( arts and liberal squirrels).  The town's focus is undeniably this unique critter with gift shops dedicated and plush white squirrels smiling out of shop windows throughout...but beyond the squirrel, the town is amazing.  A lovely bustling downtown with interesting shops, restaurants and even a museum about...white squirrels.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] Brevard is definitely nuts about its squirrels[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] one of the more unique shops actual toy store with vintage toys and games![/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] lunch at Hob Nob! Delicious mushroom soup and yummy croque monsieur.[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] for the cross stitch fan in me...yes, you can stitch your own squirrel[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] This is the only REAL squirrel we saw...sorry he's dead! I wish I had captured the sign below that said "please don't touch our squirrel". lol.[/caption]

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Atlanta Market!

We're back from market!

Wow!  It was a great show.  Not a ton of surprises trend has actually helped me stay above trends by having a strong foothold in the handmade movement and being active in places like Etsy and Craftsy.  What I did see was a renewed enthusiasm from both buyers and vendors - I think everyone is ready to shake off the doldrums of austerity and let loose...a little.   Okay what did seem to be on trend?  Here's my short list:

  • nautical anything - anchors, stripes, knots, rope - even saw an uptick of mermaid stuff

  • woodland inspired - from cute creatures, to activities of fishing, hunting and camping.  (mushrooms were the big item in this trend and owls continue to thrive)

  • bold geometrics (such as chevrons).  Neon for kids and slightly muted for adult accessories and decor

  • vintage - duh.  reproduction linens, ball jars, anything you've seen on Etsy in the last three years.  (the hot trend was to retrofit vintage baskets, ball jars, even cheese graters into light fixtures)

  • handmade-ish knit and felted wool creatures either for children or morphed into home decor/gifts for adults.

  • accessories.  nearly every gift line is dabbling in jewelry.  We found some neat things to mix into the shop.

  • succulents - this doesn't directly apply to gifts and decor - but they were used in many showrooms.  Look for items such as terrariums or glass orbs to help display customers' collections.

Now for a little seen and heard...

  • Kurt S. Adler snagged the licensing for a line of Downton Abbey ornaments.  I totally wanted to order but C said no...too many of our customers prefer Duck Dynasty to we got this:

  • Also, at Kurt S. Adler, I walked in on a buyer's total meltdown.  OMG!  They usually have buyers for large stores and apparently none of the true decision makers were in the group.  Drama ensues and someone (some guy) nearly cried..."guys (choking back tears), I just don't want you to think I'm not pulling my weight!"..."Jeffery, just write a proposal and he will review it" - what what?  Y'all know we're shopping for Christmas ornaments, right?

  • Magnet Works probably lost my business 4ever.  I've been ordering for a while, like years.  I go to their booth, and it was like tumbleweed.  I'm greeted and the specific questions I ask are barely answered...okay, I ask for a catalog so I can look up the answers.  Nice lady grabs one out of a cabinet of 200-300 catalogs.  I'm flipping through it and trying to navigated their booth - which is a hot mess - stuff too high to sort through and a really awkward astroturf/stepping stone path that I kept tripping on.  "Can I just bring this catalog home tonight and give you a written order tomorrow?"  since this was just taking too long.  She asked for a business card and it's the ONE thing we forgot.  I explain; she scowls.  "No, sorry I can't"  "Really...I'm going to place an order, a reorder"  "Oh I guess"  Um yeah, retailers/vendors please take note!

  • We got kind of caught up in Building 2's upper floors of 16 through 18.  It's a lot of huge showrooms dedicated to rep groups.  So ultimately, millions of little booths...a bit of a headache to navigate.  We ended up finding these super precious items from the Aspen Companies, we found ORE products (a friend and I had had success with them in the past in another venture)...I don't know if they were exhausted but they had a little trouble identifying their best sellers...eek.  I looked into Sloane Ranger...I've been watching them for a while as they have adorable fabrics used throughout their bag collection, its just the zippers are HUGE and the labels...ridiculously huge, like someone driving 50 miles an hour can read it's a Sloane Ranger bag in detail as you walk along the street.  They had a few modifications in the zippers that I liked but the damn labels!  Then the very twee sales girl shows me a case of jewelry (see everyone is into accessories)...and she picks up these very twee anchor charms and seems mesmerized in their tiny, special, twee-ness and I don't even know what else, picking up each one and then repeating in the same order - saying little but how tiny and special they were. Everything was telling me "abort, abort"...I ask what the minimum is and she says $500 - uh bye.

  • I fell in love in the back room at Raz.  Well, with their closeouts. How long has everyone known about this???  Some of the case lots were ridiculously large (not as large as Sloane Ranger tags...but almost).  As one lady shopping next to me put it when she couldn't touch the case lots offered on most items  "My husssbannd sez wer smaall potatoes"  and yeah, I guess I am too.  But I got some fabulous finds and a good price I can pass on to my customers.

  • We made into the Market Buyers Club...Oh yai!  The Buyer's Guide detailed that based on our past attendance we now had access to two specialty lounges - ooh la la.  However, they were never on an actual floor where you would possibly want to shop.  Oh well, we were excited with the extra little mention on our we were big small potatoes, or something. 

I hope to get back a bit more often in the next couple years.  The trip actually confirmed for me that I'm still offering something of value to my customers and community.

So keep your eye on our main website for all the new market finds!

***not all pics are mine; each is linked back to their respective home on instagram.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Christmas in July

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="449"] image courtesy of the Ponchatoula Chamber[/caption]

This weekend we're celebrating Christmas in July in both my tiny town of Ponchatoula and my shop, Nest Interiors.  The idea is to get a head start on holiday shopping...uh whatever, right?  No one will question if you totally decide to splurge and treat yourself.  We'll still have you covered last minute for the, you might as well go for it as no one will remember you like tiny embroidery scissors that look like a stork, or honey scented bath bombs, or even a little rubber duck with devil horns?

The entire shop is 15% off including sale items (excluding our silver monogram line of jewelry).  Can't make it - that's ok,  the website is open and the discount is yours through Sunday - just enter HOHOHOT at checkout.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Featured Fabric

Ready for a little Christmas in July?  How about this beautiful collection from Moda designed by French General?  New for this holiday season, Esprit de Noel; reminiscent of a French Christmas (though these are gorgeous enough to stand alone in any season).  I've offered up a tiny bit in my Etsy shop; chunks of charming fat eighths.  Plenty enough for small projects to begin the holiday season.

Right now for a limited time, these sweet fabrics are shipping FREE!

Back in stock:


--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Tote-ally Awesome...

My goal this Summer has been to mercilessly work though my stash of fabric, yarn, and blanks and make them into useable and sell-able items for the shop.  So far, so good!  I dug out a brand new package of canvas totes from, ahem, 2009!  Gah...those babies were silk-screened in a blink of an eye. 

silk screened in an over-sized pink neon fleur de lis, these tote bags are just tremendous!  A great carry-all for a trip to the market, library, the pool...check out just how big these bags are:

This is a limited edition (don't wait - it took me 4 years just to do this!  HA!) and each sells for right under $10!  Woot!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seen and Heard

I am SO inspired by the next three artists I'm about to share with you.  All I found searching hashtags in instagram and each does something special with one of my three loves: cross stitch, fabric and yarn (specifically crochet!)

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] image courtesy of hookaway[/caption]

How about some faux taxidermy???  Adorable, unique and yes a little a good way.  This Etsy shop opened up just last month and already is nearly empty.  Check out sold items as this artist accepts custom request.  I need a unicorn, just sayin'

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] image courtesy of The Humble Carnival[/caption]

An A+ for packaging as well as a tremendous overall concept of beautifully crocheted animals with accoutrements.  All wrapped up and sure to be a treasure for any child.  Visit this Etsy shop often as these one of a kind creatures seem to sell quickly.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] image courtesy of Kate Blandford[/caption]

Ermahgerd...last but certainly not least is Kate Blandford.  She is just awesomesauce...cross stitch fabrics through spoonflower and note cards, patterns, and embroidered items through her Etsy shop.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Final Thoughts...

The Steotchalong has finally come to a close.  Finishing any cross stitch project makes me a bit sad, I have to admit.  It's one of those time consuming (but totally worth it) crafts that it just sort of becomes apart you.   No one knew who or what this would be in the beginning days as it was a mystery; kudos to Steotch for putting together an amazing event and challenging pattern.  It turned out to be Samuel L. Jackson's character from Pulp Fiction.  I was kinda hoping it was this guy...

I have no idea who he is, but I'd like to think of him as sort of my fairy godfather of embroidery work.  Anywho, I remember seeing Pulp Fiction in my college movie theater back in the day.  It was the most high profile movie they had had in long time and I think at $2 a ticket.  That was still a deal in the mid-nineties; that being so,  I nearly was trampled on as they opened the doors to crazed  students flooding  in to snatch the best seats.  Afterwards, beyond being nearly trampled to death, I was actually troubled by the whole movie and remember not being able to sleep a wink that night.  And it wasn't so much that it was scary or gruesome, but that I actually really liked it.

If you'd like to stitch your own Pulp Fiction cross stitch, the patterns are currently available on the Steotch website and you can stitch at your own pace.  The last pattern available is the quote to the right...three choices are available; I picked the faux biblical quote (it sort of matched my mood du jour) - though, I made the "L" a bit more swoopie to mimic the "A".  And, if you do stitch the pattern or have been stitching, please be kind and donate a little (or a hella of a lot) to Steotch in the linked post.  Take it from someone that writes patterns, this is quality work and should be rewarded.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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