Saturday, September 28, 2013

New in the Nest...

Day by day, new and wonderful treasures are showing up at our brick and mortar, Nest Interiors.  It's sounds pretty magical, but actually it's entails the very nice UPS man carrying a really heavy box or two in the shop, nearly running into a cabinet filled with glass, all while the dog barks incessantly (how do they always know it's a delivery guy -- and furthermore, why is this so upsetting?).  And after I slit open a dusty box - there it is...the magic!  New and fun goodies to fill our shelves.  Here's a sampling of what's new:
These mini mason jar ornaments are super cute and I wish I had ordered more - I just sold a few while writing this!  They actually open so you can add a bit of tinsel or trim - gah!  So cute!
I stocked a new line of greeting cards from Violet Cottage; everything is original art work and hand glittered.  What sold me?  This Marie Catoinette card!  No matter how many chihuahuas I love - I'll always be a cat lady first!
And lastly...this didn't come out of a box at all!  It's a new silkscreen design from me on my lightweight jersey knit scarves collection - a new colorway in a rosy shade of pink with a sharp black fleur de lis.  I kind of want to snag one for myself (I probably will!) - I've been using the other styles as a head scarf, partly because its still too darn hot to wear a scarf and secondly they are so lightweight and easy to tie your hair back.  These are available through both my Etsy shop and the store.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Featured Friday Fabric - Batik!

This week I wanted to show off this pretty, pretty cotton batik.  I never luck out and find batiks!  This one I particularly love with a bird interspersed throughout the highly detailed pattern.
If you are not familiar with batik fabric, most originates from Indonesia and it is created from a wax-resist dye process -- typically done by hand.  That's part of the reasoning that a real batik can be hard to find and a little pricey.  This one actually still had a tag from Indonesia attached to the fabric - with the name LOJITEX; I can't find it as a source which might make this pretty fabric all the more rare.
Look, even the selvage is decorative!  If you'd like a yard of this for your very own - please visit right here.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

We Be Yammin'

We made this awesome vegetarian Sweet Potato Hash over the weekend.   It's part of our efforts to be healthy and to begin to eat more plant-based.  Of course, when you tell people this they immediately frown and back away slowly.  I know - I totally get this.  For two years before my cancer diagnosis, I ate primarily a vegetarian diet and it was actually really hard and generally everyone in my life was like this:

So, after cancer and with the temporary loss of my taste in my mouth, I gravitated towards meat - it was the first thing I could taste, it was delicious, and solid after close to six months of liquid food.  Of course every time I ate bacon, I felt a little like everyone was hating on me like Micheal Douglas lighting up a cigarette after his cancer.

I had to come to a place where changes in my diet were actually fun and not a penalty or reminder that I've been really sick.  A couple things have really help reorient my food thinkin' - one is Kris Carr; she is phenomenal and such an inspiration as a fellow cancer chick that completely changed her fate by changing her plate.  Secondly, the documentary Forks over Knives - lots of good info on changing your attitude of thinking eating plant based is radical compared to a variety of surgeries and medication that has become our norm.

Starting slowly, we've stocked the house with lots and lots of fresh veggies and fruits (honestly, we had no excuses living in Louisiana with long growing seasons and lots of availability).  I've been preparing menus and pre-packing snacks and meals - so, no excuses - real food is always at hand.  Also, I downloaded Kris Carr's latest book Crazy Sexy Kitchen - over 150 plant based recipes that actually sound and look like real food!  And this is where we pluck this gem of a sweet potato recipe!

You'll need to snag a copy of the book yourself for the full recipe (the download thru a kindle or iTunes is a bargain price) but here are my modifications.
  • instead of Fakin' Bacon, we opted for Morningstar sausage patties - thawed in a skillet until they crumble (this is not gluten free)
  • instead of smoked paprika - my go to smoky hot is Penzey's Northwood Fire (it has chipolte)
  • I used a few of these sweet peppers instead of the full sizes called for in the recipe - they are also yummy with black beans.
  • and personal preference - I switched the parsley to cilantro.
  • due to the volume of the sausage added to the dish - double the cooking time.
Here's another take on this recipe - she also made the tofu scramble that this dish is paired with in the cookbook.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fearless Bunnies

Meet my cousin-in-law, Tianne!  She's absolutely adorable and always amazes me with not only how clever she is, but how without any fear, she just jumps in and makes her ideas happen!  (She will most likely kill me when she finds her picture on the internet too.)
A week ago, she called because we were all meeting up for a family wedding.  She especially wanted to chat because she had an idea for a baby blanket (for another family member's shower next month) and she wanted my opinion because somehow I've become the family's go-to sew-person in charge, or something like that.  I told her to bring me what she had and to my surprise she brings in this crazy cute blanket she appliqued by hand!  It's based on Astro Bunnies , a book she and her son loved when he was small.  It does look ridiculously cute.

This is from the book description:
Looking suspiciously like toddlers in "feety" pajamas, these inquisitive bunnies launch their rockets and zoom away. Measuring comets and gathering moondust is nothing compared to floating weightless and meeting the three-eared bunnies from another planet! But no matter where astro bunnies roam, they will always come back home, especially when it's time to snuggle down for the night
I'm totally not surprised about how great a job she did with little sewing experience, everything she does is always just right.  I'm more surprised that she just doesn't have this internal censor I have that keeps telling me conditions aren't just right to make whatever I'm dreaming.  Sure, I sew, but there is a lot I want to do still and have brushed to the side because I figured I wasn't good enough to do this or that.  So - lesson learned: we should all be more like cute bunnies unfettered by cans and can'ts - willing to explore new worlds & galaxies - because, after all, it's really about the journey rather than the destination, right?

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Thursday, September 19, 2013


This may resonate with you if you, like me, are a retailer...especially of a boutique.  It seems weekly we get a pair of ladies, god lovem', that just go bananas over the shop.  It never fails, they walk in and literally gasp, one turns to the other "Oh.My.Gawd,"  the other, "I know, right?!"  Then it begins for no less than 15 to 20 minutes:

"oh my gawd that's cute"
"look at this, it's cute"
"you know what's cute?  this."
"no, this...this is cute"
"oh my gawd"
"hey do you remember that time we went on vacation and saw that other store"
"yeah, that was cute."

Ahhh, sometimes they buy, sometimes they just leave cute wishes for me to sweep up and carry out with the night's garbage...which is also cute.

This week we actually have gotten a lot of squeal worthy items, that are getting just right amount of "OMG, that's cute"

New!  Olive Bucket Lamps
Vintage Reproduction Mushroom Paper from Cavallini
Also from Cavallini - Christmas Birds Mailing Kit
Musee Bath Balms - still popular & freshly restocked
One of our fellow artisans is opening her own boutique soon in Tullahoma, TN!  We wish her all the best and hope everything is just as cute.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Walk in the Park...

This week makes 10 years...10 YEARS...C and I have been together.  In that time, we started two businesses, went thru Hurricane Katrina, and dealt with my cancer surgery and treatment.  We hope within the next 10 years we can add marriage to the list *fingers crossed*

To celebrate we chose to have a low key day (especially since the last 10 years have been a bit busy) at the Fountainebleau State Park in Mandeville.  It's right near where I grew up and I often visited it as a child - so I was excited to see it again!  It's changed a bit for the better and I was really happy to see so many people still using and enjoying the park as well. 

We took the shorter of the trails (though we debated on the 4.8 mile one - uh, who are we kidding).  The nature trail, a little over a mile, was just sufficient as we each went through a bottle of water and devoured our trail mix like we'd never see civilization again.
The Nature Trail has a bevy of indigenous plants and trees to admire attracting just as many birds and butterflies.  I brought baggies and collected a few native seeds of swamp mallows (a type of wild hibiscus)  and the seed from a wild bean plant - it looks a bit like a yellow sweet pea.  I could see a lot of native iris along the trail and I am definitely putting this trip back on the list for early spring when they are blooming.  The Alligator Marsh Boardwalk was still closed due to Hurricane Issac - a bummer as it was one of my favorite park spots as a child.

After our endurance of over mile (cue the small children handily running past us), we tucked into one the park's covered picnic area - it had just started to rain briefly.  I packed my famous hummus (well, maybe eventually famous) and we snacked on fresh fruit - trying to start the next 10 years healthy! 

Clear skies, we went to the beach -  yes, who needs Florida when there is this pretty beach along Lake Ponchartrain.  Back in the day, I couldn't swim in it because of the pollution but now it's safe and a success story.

A thicket of cypress borders the beach front and makes it nice to cool off in the shade.  I took a wee nap under the trees, listening to the waves...quite a nice place to end up 10 years later. 

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ikea Hack - My New Gulort Owl Tote!

Back in July, when we traveled through North Carolina, we popped into Ikea and among many, many cute things...I found these stinkin' cute owl pillow covers.
I really didn't need another pillow but I thought, another tote bag couldn't hurt?  Pan to September already and my idea spark finally took shape this week.  Somehow I squirreled time here and there all through the week to complete my new owl and feather tote!
I interfaced the bag to give it a sturdiness; then took the cute feather fabric on the back of the cushion cover and used it as the lining and handles - it's reversible - so TWO looks for the price of one! 
I think it makes the perfect craft tote for all my WIP's but not too big to still be an everyday handbag.  Like it?  Well, you are in luck - I made a couple more to share.  It's listed on Etsy and available in store at Nest Interiors

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Featured Friday Fabric - Nursery Rhymes Cut and Sew

I like cut and sew fabrics a lot!  If you are not familiar with them -  most encompass all the fabric you need in a yard or 1/2 yard to accomplish a project.  A fabulous idea and many are still in production today.   I'm highlighting today two vintage fabrics from Spring Industries based on nursery rhymes. 

First is Humpty Dumpty - one of my favorites and I even think I had this softie as a child?  or one really similar - that I adored!   

Everything is here to make your own giant Humpty Dumpty softie - including a small soft book.  The graphics are precious and the entire project fits on one yard.  Grab it here.

Next is The Three Little Pigs, another nursery rhyme favorite!  This cut and sew includes all Three Little Pigs, the Wolf and a house to construct - a playhouse that works double duty as a carry-all!
Hopefully this week's featured fabrics will inspire you to try a cut and sew project - the holidays are right around the corner and both fabrics would create a special present!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Seen and Heard

Here's a few things I am loving right now...

This Union Jack Pac Man Cross Stitch Kit, Save the Union, from Urban Cross Stitch is truly amazing!

And just in time for the holidays, an Ugly Christmas Sweater Sweatshirt featuring cross stitch cats from The Bold Banana!

This adorable mini Halloween Bunting is a cut and sew offered by Heidi Kenney on Spoonflower with a fun tutorial on her blog.  I actually ordered four - giving myself exactly 3 chances to mess it up!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Featured Fabric - Chevrons!

Who knew quilters and sewing enthusiasts alike could succumb to peer pressure...ahhhh...yes...Chevrons!  Everyone's doing it!

This week, I just receive a few fat quarter packs of Half Moon Modern Zig Zag from Moda.  It's a really nice scale (a tad smaller than Riley Blake) and great quality you've come to expect from Moda fabrics.  Each fat pack comes complete with 12 cuts - each a different colorway, giving you a broad rainbow spectrum to create and incorporate in your next projects.

For a limited time, I am shipping this bundle for FREE within the US.  Yay!

Also, if you need a little inspiration, I just signed up for a Craftsy class,  Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple with Camille Roskelley (if you've ever heard of the Swoon block/quilt - this is it!) You'll also have an opportunity this month at the shop to take our first Fall craft class - A fun chevron block (see - it's catching!) that we'll sew into dish drying mat. Supplies are included, fabric pre-cut - just bring yourself and your machine!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rare Birds...

I go through periods were I have to watch a movie before bed; maybe I'm regressing and want to hear a story?  This week is turning out to be one of those times; I clicked on Netflix, and as much as I wanted to watch the new Portlandia episodes, I was afraid I would binge watch the night away. 

I settled on a documentary, Ghost Bird.  It peaked my interest as it detailed one of the most recent Ivory Bill Woodpecker sightings in recent history.  Growing up in Louisiana, about 20-30 miles from Pearl River, where numerous unconfirmed sightings were reported, I often would keep watch that I too might happen on one (as you can tell, I was a really cool kid back in the day - most kids want to be popular, I wanted to find an extinct species). 

Popularity aside, it wasn't a totally unreasonable expectation - the last uncontested sighting was in Louisiana, in 1944.  The film, though, put a pretty dismal spin on the bird's chances of ever being confirmed; I still found it fascinating to finally really see what one looked like through archival photos, drawings, and yes, even many, many collected taxidermy examples (a possible contributor to its demise).  I realized I probably wouldn't of recognized it had I seen it with my own eyes.  With a wing span of 30 inches, it was a large bird with strange yellow eyes, and for the males, a crown of bright red.

If you need one reason to watch the film, do it for the story behind the rare encounter ornithologist, James T. Tanner had with a juvenile in the 1930's.  A pair of Ivory Bills had been found and even better, a nest!  Once the parents briefly parted for food, Tanner climbed the tree to band the nestlings.  He found one, that clumsily fell out the nest.  Talk about a bad day at the office; the little guy shook it off and proved to be one tough chick.  They captured the cutest pictures (and the only that exist of a juvenile Ivory Bill).  You can read a bit more about that here and see more pictures. 

Perhaps, the Ivory Billed Woodpecker has join the ranks of unicorns, mermaids, even Santa Claus, and will live on in fantasy - extinct but immortalized.  The film quotes Naturalist, William Beebe, putting it best:
"when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again."
--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, September 2, 2013

A Brush with Stardom...

Last night, C and I finally got the chance to see the Butler.  Critically acclaimed, it's already garnering Oscar talk but honestly our interest in seeing it began over a year ago.  Some time in mid August 2012, a movie scout came in my shop to inquire who owned the building.  At the time, I had no idea who he was and at this point, being in retail and dealing with the public for a few years, I am initially skeptical of any inquiry.  Once he told me who he was, who he worked for and maybe, just maybe they might be interested in using my building in one of the scenes for the Butler, I was on board.  Then I googled it after he left and saw Forrest Whittaker and Oprah (freakin' Oprah, ya'll) had signed on to this movie, I flipped out. 

I called C immediately and told her we might be in the running for the movie's riot scene.  Probably the first time anyone ever said "Oh my god, our building would be awesome in a riot!!!"  The scout had left it, that if there was an interest, they would be in touch.  We never told anyone in town at all and I suppose it was a good thing because 2 weeks later one of my fellow storekeepers called to say "you are never going to believe this but the front of my store is going to be in a movie!"  Alas, I could believe it...crestfallen, we were sad to miss the opportunity but glad for our friends and the chance to bring some interest into town.

The day of the filming, it rained off and on; the center of town was blocked off due to the filming, keeping a hush over us and really no through traffic made it down my direction.  The church across the street somehow had bargain to be the central location for costumes and I would watch bus loads of extras convoyed away to the center of town.  To be honest, I was bit aggravated at that point.  Every adjacent business to the filming had been compensated.  I was two blocks off and had only one extra browse through the shop.  I definitely had that waiting in the wings feeling - C and I have always thought the shop one day will be recognized nationally in some way - this was not going to be it.

So, last night, a year later - we finally see what that day captured.  The film actually uses Ponchatoula three times; the first few scenes, unfortunately, shows an epic American flag and two African American men hanging -  that is the largest flag in the state of Louisiana and it flies over the center of town, the second scene is when the main character breaks into a hotel and eventually is mentored by another waiter - these are shot outside Berry Corner Cafe and I think around the Feed and Seed warehouse.  The last jump you see to Ponchatoula has been transformed to the riots of Birmingham, Alabama where the main character's son is an active participant.  These are shot outside businesses within the first block of E. Pine - Chocolate Vine is transformed into Robin's Cafe and you can see quick cut away of Trails End Antiques. 

I wish our building, the Old Nehi Building, could of had an active role in the filming and been immortalized on the big screen, but as they say in showbiz, it was an honor to be nominated.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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