Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's Better in Glitter...

I love seeing my patterns stitched!  Especially when someone goes a little out of the parameters of the project and puts their own little spin on it.  Check out this sensational mastery of my New Girl TV show pattern by likeolikeh:


Just lovely in a teal cloth and light purple metallic thread.  Try it yourself here or here.  Also, today is the LAST day to purchase my Orange is the New Black Cross Stitch Pattern with the FREE alphabet.


Just think...this could be you!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Featured Fabric - Barkcloth is Back!

It's been a while since I've posted a featured fabric, once a mainstay of the blog.  Believe me it has been quite a summer and honestly I have SEW much to tell you on changes we've made to our business in regards to fabric and sewing, but we'll save that for another post and another day!

What I want to tempt you with is this...


Gorgeous, vintage barkcloth!  Probably from the 1950's, maybe as early as the 1940's.  It's a certain blend often imitated but not really in production any longer.  Barkcloth has a crepe like appearance, in fabric terms, it is because of its momie weave.  Usually a blend of cotton and linen, with newer fabric introducing rayon, this was a thick fabric typically used for draperies and upholstery.  Personally, I like to make tote bags and pillows out of the pieces in my stash.  This sweet, large scale print of Peonies is just lovely and I have 2 yards currently.


Not to be out done is this sweet pair of barkcloth drapery pair; yes you could just buy them for the fabric alone and do as you please - but honestly they are in great shape and if I had just the right window they'd be mine!


More is to come so keep checking back in my vintage linens section of Etsy!

Oh, and one last thing since we're talking vintage and sewing...this just came in to the shop this week!  Vintage reproduction sewing boxes just like Grandma's!  I may snag one for myself...I couldn't think of anything better for keeping nearby for hand-sewing or embroidery.  And the sweet blue calico print - gah!


***Updated 9/11/13 - I received a message via Etsy the other day that the first fabric referenced is probably a rhododendron.  While I'm still amazed someone took the time to correct me (ahhm...sarcasm), I certainly did not want to lead anyone astray if you really wanted peonies and were shocked to find pink rhododendrons instead.  I hate when that happens.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Missing New Orleans...


Sunday, through the intermittent rain showers that you just expect this time of year in Louisiana, we made our way across I-55 over the swamp to New Orleans.  A week earlier, C had seen the obituary of an old friend on the side bar of NOLA.com.  It had been years since we saw Alan; I actually had only met him once at the bar he worked.  We had just started dating back in 2003 and it was a fun evening - dinner at La Crepe Nanou and then drinks at Feelings.  I remember distinctly, I wanted a chocolate martini and Alan had never made one...but he made it for me that night. 


A couple years ago, we found ourselves down in the Faubourg Marigny once again, this time for a concert at NOCCA.  It was our anniversary and decided to visit Feelings once again and catch up with Alan.  We knew something was wrong when we asked for him and they sent the owner.  With very little detail, we gathered he was sick and had been sick for some time.  C got a phone number but despite trying to find him for years, we never did.

 

I know the anniversary of Katrina is in just a couple days and it hasn't been quite 10 years yet ; amazingly, though it feels like this time stamp on New Orleans still has its pull on its people.  Sunday was a remembrance of Alan at Feelings.  We finally gathered up the details of his last years through his good friends and brother and like most people there, he just never quite recovered from "the flood".  He was ill before, but afterward it seemed like a downward spiral that ultimately sent him far away from his adopted home of New Orleans.


But true to its people and their love for one another; it was a beautiful and fitting remembrance of a life well lived.  It was even noted that it was during a Saints game and the place was still packed!  I hate death, I typically go out of my way to avoid any type of funeral or memorial especially since going toe to toe with it in 2011 with cancer. New Orleans and its people though, have away of making you feel like no one is ever really gone; ghosts are most welcomed.  Most moments were filled with laughter, a recall of funny stories, even a poll of who had seen him naked - it was a better part of the entire courtyard and adjacent bar!

 

Leaving, we wondered what it would of been like to have stayed after the storm.  How would our lives be different?  What would we be doing?  It was debatable if things would be better or worse.  New Orleans is still an incredibly beautiful place with a rich culture and people who are just the most perfectly imperfect souls on the earth.  There is an awful nick-name "The City That Care Forgot" and unfortunately, it's true.  Long term, another storm is possible but the daily pervasive poverty, mental illness, and crime that plague the city are cracks in an already shaky foundation.


I happened to find on HULU Sunday night, the locally made documentary, The Big UnEasy.  It's fantastic and gives a very good primer on why New Orleans fell during Katrina and why it can not truly get back up - most importantly tho, it makes a good argument of why we shouldn't give up on this special place and its people.  One of those, one of New Orleans most colorful residents and best bartenders is remembered here if you needed just one more reason to love New Orleans.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Boo Y'all

Last night, after a long but busy day at the shop, I silk-screened one of my favorite designs - this adorable Halloween Boo Y'all towel.  I've screened it for a couple years, but this year I could not remember what blank I had used or where it came from (I'm sure I wrote it down but where???)  Anywho, I definitely found an upgrade to last year's towel - a nice thick orange cotton towel measuring a hefty 20" x 28".  Love it!  These are now listed on Etsy, our Nest site and of course, available in store.

If it seems early to even be thinking about Halloween, oh I'm sorry...you must have a normal life and not be in retail.  Ha.  Having the store for a number of years, I find I live in exactly two different worlds all of the time - present day and future.  I have to have a hand in what's current and also an eye on the future.  I even caught myself yesterday reaching into the fridge and thinking about Easter...of next year...and why in the refrigerator (random - maybe I was getting an egg?) 

It's actually been fun planning this year's Fall look.  I have a lot of items to cross right over into Christmas so it should flow very nicely as the seasons change (pics to come!)  Also, this year too, I added another "Boo Y'all" product...this time in my embroidery pattern collection - my new Boo Y'all Chicken Scratch Embroidery Pattern.  I love it...it's so Southern in gingham, Y'all and all.  We actually staged this picture at our house and I ended up leaving the Halloween decorations up...ahhh, it'll save time, right? 


--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Living Prairie Style

When I was young, I use to love watching Little House on the Prairie...it was this idyllic primitive dreamy landscape dotted with skipping through meadows, crisp wrapped packages from the mercantile and warm nights sleeping in a loft under a handmade quilt from Ma.


Ugh.  Our water pump broke this week and unfortunately, I could not embrace living without indoor plumbing for a minute longer.  I'll always love my handiwork but, yes, give me an iPhone, microwave, and...most importantly, running water.  I guess I'm a thoroughly modern girl that could never cut it on the prairie.  Ahhh, dreams die over a long, much needed hot bath.


Now that the water is back on, I can refocus on business and being clean.  A lot of people are starting to stitch the new Orange is the New Black cross stitch pattern and a few have taken advantage of the special offer on Etsy that includes the entire Alphabet I designed for the project FREE!  Look what one of my customers, @RageWynn, created with the alphabet!  I love it and as a cancer survivor, I totally want to make one myself!  Awesomesauce! 


Time is running out for the free alphabet pattern included within my OitNB pattern; It's available until the end of August - so grab it before its gone!


--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Orange is the New Black Cross Stitch Pattern



It's time to celebrate with some Chicken Kiev and a little hooch; because my cross stitch pattern, celebrating new show Orange is the New Black is now complete - stitched, framed and now listed on the usual suspects: Etsy, Craftsy and Meylah (all offer an instant download option, the choice of which venue you prefer is up to you.)



Starting today, to celebrate, I've added a little sumthin' sumthin' to sweeten the deal.  If you buy the pattern through Etsy now through the end of August, you'll receive the complete alphabet I created for this project.  I'm kind of enamored with it myself.   It can be used to modify this project but would be fun to use on just about any project.  Sorry this is excluded to my Etsy shop - it's the only place that allows multiple file downloads.

Also, if you have already ordered the pattern...and some of you have, thank you - you should be able to grab the new file - if not, message me and I'll forward your copy.  Remember, after August this add on pattern will go away and may not be up for parole for quite a while.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Looking Up...



We installed our new "old" shop sign this past Sunday.  I just love it; it incorporates reclaimed bits of tin and wood from my Grandpa's old barn.  I'm glad to have a piece of him watching over us as he's been the spark to my bird-nest-lovin' fascination.  I remember being very little and running out to this very barn to greet him.  He had a special surprise for me...he held me up and high and on a shelf was a well formed bird's nest with three small bluish eggs.  I was smitten ever since.

The weekend proved to be a bit better too as it finally seems some of our new marketing strategies are enticing people to come inside the shop.

And I officially finished my Orange is the New Black Cross Stitch Pattern.



It took exactly 44 hours within 8 days to complete...that's an average of a little over 5 hours each day.  So, when I was finally done I spent about two days doing exactly nothing.  I did at least finish writing up the notes and uploaded the PDF with the computer generated pic (hated that!).  But, I was just useless.  Yesterday tho my malaise began to pass and I hand washed it and framed it up a bit later.  Now, I just need some real pictures and we're all ready to celebrate for our official launch of August 15th!  Good things to come - so keep watch!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Out on Good Behavior...



Ahhhhh...I'm 40+ hours into test stitching my new Orange is the New Black Cross Stitch Pattern and it seems totally conceivable I will finish well before the launch date I set for August 15th.  Awe Yiss!  Squeezing this into about a week in half has felt a wee bit like solitary confinement.  And when you do a chunk of monotonous work days on end, your mind certainly goes places you haven't been in quite a while.   I revisited last meetings with friends who have passed, saw arguments and injustices long ago in a new and slightly wiser light, I even contemplated my value and place in life presently.  It's been WAY intense and I so welcome finishing this and launching this baby in the world!

Today, though as I was finishing some details on the border and keeping watch at the shop, I was reminded of another prison drama.  A young lady (spitting image of Gretchen Mol, I swear) strides in clad in workout spandex and barks across the store "you gift wrap?"  I explained we do...sort of...if a store labeled bag is ok with a smattering of tissue, then yeah.  She ignored me, and I continued helping someone else.  She comes to the counter with a vintage tea set; darling for sure...total bitch to wrap for someone in a hurry.  So, I'm protectively wrapping each lid and vessel and oh. my. god. she starts to advise me on how to expedite this.  Remember Brooks from Shawshank Redemption, paroled and fumbling around as a meager bag boy?  That was me!



Trying to recover, uh, some dignity, I'm like "Sooooo...are you headed somewhere right now?"  She faltered a bit and finally smiled "uh, yes"..."yeah, you seem a bit in a hurry"  Since I'm a pro (ha ha), I give her a blank enclosure card to fill out, at least keeping her busy while I finish up with the wrapping.  Thankfully, she seemed satisfied as she hurried along to whatever festivities (in her workout clothes - yoga party?)  I'm not mad; it actually is pretty funny.  We move so fast in life, we miss out on the details and tiny interactions with one another.  And if I'm being honest, I am just as guilty, because here I am, a chunk of a week en-massed in stitches...hoping they count for something and to someone.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Strange Days...

This has been a tougher than usual Summer for our little shop; the last two weeks tho have been horrible.  There are days I could of literally sat in just my underwear for hours without anyone ever knowing...as no one ventured in...at all.  All summer we've been trying to come up with new marketing ideas, exciting lines and with our trip to market, we were super excited.  I just launched a loyalty program in store to reward my locals.  First I sent it out in our e-newsletter...I received the most unsubscribes right next to the time I messaged everyone about a charity crochet class to make hats for sick kids...for reals.  I posted it to Facebook (which I'm beginning to agree is useless) and got a smattering of likes.  *sigh*



Yesterday the one young lady that walked in was mesmerized with our new candle display.  I literally had just set it up 2 hours before she walked in and it was filled with brand new, beautiful inventory.  She gets on her cell phone and best I could tell she was having a real dilemma deciding on what to get for someone.  She said a couple times how lovely the candles were to whomever and then I hear her say "oh, yeah, I'll just go to xyz shop" turned on her heel and left.  *sigh*

Despite being quite crest-fallen and wondering if there's some kind of rumor in town that we kill puppies or something (we don't), I was pretty eager to get to the shop this morning.  New day, new attitude!  And shortly after I opened the door an older lady enters...yahoo!  And just like I'm living in some bad rendition of Steel Magnolias, because she's someone locally important's mama - it begins.  She mills around and wants to let me know "no offense, but your shop sure isn't much to look out from the outside"  She must of gathered I was a shade lighter than pissed and tried to recover with Southern charm "I mean its just soooo lovely in here...you just wouldn't know all of this was in here"  This is part where I tell C and she asks..."what are we suppose to drag everything in the store out on the lawn"



I didn't think the front was looking too bad.  I have mentioned before on the blog that I've gotten a few comment on the garden less I forget to weed the front.  Right now we have lantana in bloom and a nice stand of bright sunflowers.  C is working on enhancing our signage too.  And honestly its a rural town, we're not Macy's...and never will be.

And truly, it's not just me that's having a sh*t summer in town.  1 business closed last month, 1 will close this month, and 2 will more than likely be gone in September/October, their landlords just don't know yet.  Everyone wants small businesses, mom and pops, but I don't think the majority realize were an endangered animal of sorts.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Test Stitching OITNB



This is happening y'all!  I knew a few episodes into binge watching new series, Orange is the New Black, that I wanted to show my devotion in the best way I know how...cross stitch.  It's been a while that I've been so taken with a show...not since probably seasons one and two of Downton Abbey...that I've been so wrapped up in character after character.

I developed the pattern in a couple days (some perks to being in retail during the slowest of slow summer months) and now I'm in the tedious test stitching phase...working out the kinks.  Currently I'm 25+ hours in; I feel like I will be finished by Monday, but I'm giving myself until August 15th for the official launch date.



To celebrate I'm offering a pre-order of the pattern - though you won't get the pattern until the release date, I will provide you with a materials list so you're ready on day one!  The pattern will retail for $8.95 and will be available thru my Etsy and Craftsy shops as a downloadable PDF.  If you would like to take advantage of the pre-order, I am offering the pattern for $5.  Woot!  Simply send me a message via nestinteriorsllc [at] yahoo . com and I will hand-process the order via Paypal.

Thanks again for your support of my work!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Looking Fa-BOO-lous



It's here!  My latest gingham embroidery or chicken scratch pattern!  Especially designed for Halloween, this batty Boo Y'all can be created with or without the text...giving you more design options.  I personally like it as a stand alone piece, but the bat by itself would be darling as an embellishment to clothing or home goods.  Also, in keeping with the Halloween theme, I selected DMC E940, a glow in the dark embroidery floss...looks white when the lights are on and then after dark ermahgerd!



Whether this is your first time embroidering or you're an experienced stitcher looking for something new to learn, this will not disappoint you!  The pattern is available thru Etsy and Craftsy as an instant download.  Included in the pattern is detailed information on stitches used, supplies with sources, and helpful hints with photographs.


And if you like this pattern, be sure to check out my fleur de lis chicken scratch embroidery pattern tutorial.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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