Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tutorial: Cross Stitch Vintage Tennis Racket

Here's a fun vintage re-do!  We've been updating our house and put together a small exercise room; never mind that it consist of just a treadmill and pair of three pound weights...we're trying!  I wanted to add some fitness flair to the room and happened on this vintage wooden tennis racket while thrifting.  I was almost certain I remembered seeing on Pinterest a few pins of embroidered rackets...tho when I went searching again, none quite suited the look I was trying to achieve.  So here's what I came up with and how I did it:
First things first - you'll need a racket obviously; I found mine in a dusty warehouse type thrift store for $2 - Etsy has many between $10 and $50.  I used a leftover ball of worsted weight yarn, embroidery scissors and a long tapestry needle.
Cut long 4 foot lengths of yarn and then weave both ends into your tapestry needle, like shown above. 
With your design in mind and spaced out (I chose a heart and eyeballed it - but use graph paper to sketch out whatever design your like best), pick your starting stitch and run the needle through the loop you've made on the back side of the racket.  This is known as the loop method in regular cross stitch giving you a knot-less start (you can also start each additional piece of yarn you use in this manner.)
The funny thing about this cross stitch project is grasping that you are stitching on the outside of the squares to form your crosses, rather than in the box of Aida cloth.  It's a bit of a mind bender but you will get it!
When you begin an adjacent row, come up again on the outside of the square you want to cross and then run it under the stitch of the previous row.  This starts to give your stitches a nice even look.
Ta-da, weave any loose ends into your back rows of stitches and now you are ready to display your very own cross stitch vintage tennis racket!

--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Friday Fabric - Georgia Bonesteel

Earlier this week, I had to drive in to the "big city" of Baton Rouge for an appointment.  It didn't take as long as I thought and I figured I would make the most of my extra hours and meander back home.  Along the way, I revisited one of my favorite thrifts.  It's at the end of a long stretch of highway in a total generic, indiscriminate town.  (oddly enough, next to the most amazing Mexican restaurant with 4 Cuban dishes to die for...but more on that later!)

It actually looked quite picked over, as I walked in.  I surveyed where they usually keep the fabric and there was a mere 1/2 yard.  Kind of bummed, I kept busy looking at this and that - but kept gravitating like a satellite to the racks that usually hold at least a yard of two of fabric.  About my third pass - I see it - poking out...then another...and another!  Lots of yardage of beautiful vintage fabric!  I'm still in the process of sorting and photographing each find - they should all be up on my Etsy shop in the coming weeks.

My favorite, however, was this sweet panel fabric
I didn't know much about it other than I just liked it and it had a coordinate fabric with it!
Sweet and simple, its a cheater quilt type panel (actually, two identical pillow panels are on a 1/2 yard - allowing you to cut and sew one pillow with matching sides or two pillows, using the coordinating fabric.

So, once at the shop - I begun the research process.  The selvage had a name I did not recognize, Georgia J Bonesteel.  Well, shame on me.  She, it turns out, is one the most respected quilters and is still in the game -- she even has a blog!
She had great 80's hair and this quilt - isn't it super similar to the pillow panel she designed!  Photo credit: Flickr
Not only, had I discovered what a legend she is but in my research I learned two things as they pertain to me.
First she designed this pillow panel too...
I grew up with this; we must of purchased it already quilted and made into a pillow.  I remember being so enchanted by this sweet fabric scene.  I think by the time we changed couches and the pillow was cast off, I plucked it for my room (too bad I've lost track of it!)

Secondly, as noted on her website, she had a shop in the French Quarter in New Orleans selling small handbags.  Only a mere hour from here.  It was called Cajun Quilters; I sincerely wish I had found it but maybe that's where my favorite pillow originated!

Anywho, I'm so happy to have a home for these two designs in the shop.  You can find the panel fabric and coordinate in my Etsy shop.  I have a nice stock of yardage of each which pleases me to no end to provide something that I hope will become someone else's favorite pillow and maybe inspire them to a life of crafting and simple pleasures.

 --Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All Days are Earned...

The last few weeks...well, maybe months...have been busy for C and I.  We (mainly me) have been taking each room in our house - decluttering - cleaning - then painting.  I am nearly done; but the "decluttering" phase is not working as well as I had hope, especially when you just put it in another room.  sigh.

C has been busy with a regular job and then filling in for me at the shop when I'm in the throws of working on the house.  So, it was no surprise last night she lamented about what a whirlwind its been this summer...and that she thought we'd be beyond struggling by now.

To me, struggle is living.  It's our perspective in how we walk into each day.  Personally, I like to know each day is earned.  The last two weeks, I've knocked out a few fun projects for the shop:
A new colorway in my silk-screened towels
new! zipper pouches - large enough for projects!
mini zipper pouches too!
crochet pumpkin hats for bebe
crayon wallets are back!
love this fabric combo!
These are the goods that dot my days with pride and happiness.  It is good to be creative, but profoundly better to create.
--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer School: Painted Furniture

Every summer I like to treat myself to a class, whether its a new skill or something a little more in depth that I enjoy doing.  Last year it was fabric dyeing; this year I chose a new class on painting furniture hosted by Pine Lily Retreat.  I've loved painted furniture since way before it was a thing, lusting over Maine Cottage catalogs years ago and getting one of the first inklings that yes, day I would have a store that would sell wonderful things just like in that catalog.  So, a few weeks ago, I see the ad for this class and think maybe its time to give it a go...
Here's the before...a sweet little telephone table given to me by another shopkeeper and friend down the street from my store.  It had been in her store until she closed and in another before that until it made its way a little further down the street to moi.  I love it but it was a bit more shabby than chic.
After we sanded down our pieces a little bit, we gave it two coats of chalk paint that we mixed ourselves...a little more sanding and then finish of paste wax. it is!  It's actually stunning in person.  The finish is so soft and really adds a new dimension to the color.  The original white peeks out too, preserving a bit of its past history.
I'm definitely going to try this again, especially with so many furniture items that come through the shop that sometimes a little something extra!

--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Something new..

for someone new...
I received a set of these gorgeous cotton/linen blend bibs yesterday and quickly settled on this fleur de lis design.  I chose an almost olive brownish paint, that tends to change depending on the light - a lot of nuances I like in a product.
I've been searching for a nice gender neutral gift for the poor souls that come in the shop looking for a shower gift and are beyond frustrated that the happy couple will not reveal a gender.  These sweet bibs are already listed these on Etsy and my online store for Nest. 

--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Destination: Waveland, Mississippi

Why...why...did it take us this long to find this beach???  Waveland, MS is a mere 1 hour and 15 minute drive from my door to the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.  We squeezed in a brief one day trip after a really busy Fourth of July weekend.

And of course, I was checking out the locals...
Laughing Gull
Common Tern - 1st Summer (I think)
Kill Deer
Brown Pelicans

--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Thursday, July 3, 2014

American Flag Quilt

The American flag quilt that I've had on my to-do list for at least two years, is now a reality!  In fact, it's my very first quilt.  I've sewn a few blocks but never anything large scale - also a first was binding by hand, it's actually quite relaxing!
The idea came from Amy of Diary of Quilter; I thought a basic patchwork quilt would be the easiest to tackle.  I actually, before this project, assumed quilting would be fairly easy.  It is not...that's why quilts are so expensive.  I had some sewing machine issues, one which has now passed on as part of this project...RIP old Singer friend.  And then my general lack of knowledge what a huge hurdle...but doing is learning.
So, far from perfect by a long shot, but I'm proud nonetheless.  Making this really made think of my dad.  Late in life he really got into quilting; he would make patchwork quilt tops similar to this flag and a few older ladies would quilt them up for him.  Everyone in the family received at least one of these quilts, I cherish mine.  He also bought me my first sewing machine...the one that unfortunately bit the dust this week.  It had been problematic already and I had so many work arounds...I just could not let it go.  This though, was like my dad telling me it was ok to let it go and my skills are ready to move up to a new machine!  Anyway, he would of been ecstatic over this quilt errors and all!
And hey, maybe I was born to sew...goodness knows I certainly look like a natural here!  Happy Fourth of July!

--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When 4 out of 20 is Still Too Much...

Since some of what I discuss here is craft related, I wanted to chime in on the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision.  No matter where you stand on the issue or even if you don't particularly care because its only four out of 20 birth control options that are banned...I just wanted to give you an idea of what it is like when your boss is intimately involved with your personal healthcare.

In the early 2000's I worked as an interior designer in New Orleans for a "mom and pop" contract furniture group.  I was in my early 20's, didn't ask many questions, and just felt lucky to have a job.  However six months in, my boss asked myself and another designer of child-bearing age, in front of everyone, if we planned to get pregnant this year because he would like to save on not paying for our maternity benefit.  awkward.  It just got stranger from there on out.  His wife was a doctor and if you wanted to take off time to see a doctor for anything, it was strongly recommended to see his wife.  I flat out refused and often was not allowed time to see my own doctor and would have to sneak out of work to do so.  Eventually, I just gave up going for preventive care check ups because of the hassle...which unfortunately was the time I began to have symptoms of my cancer.

The most egregious overstep was when they some how found out I was a small dose of Paxil.  I had gone through a bad break up a year before and wanted to be productive and get on with my life.  Short term medication was a plan I made with my doctor.  Not only did my boss find out, he told my supervisor, who in turn told a client!  I found this out from a co-worker that was told by said client she did not want to work with that "crazy" girl anymore and laid out how my supervisor had been quite chummy during a lunch and told all she suspected.  From there I chose to get it all out in the open with my boss and supervisor - to which nothing happened, other than me being even more uncomfortable everyday there. 

Here I am taking a bat to my desk.  I sure hated that place.
So why did I stay?  Honestly, I started looking for a new job that six months was hard though.  Not many opportunities were available to me; plus, I was unaware of the reputation my employer had and that was a lot to overcome in an interview.  I did eventually leave and worked at a few other mom and pops.

This experience though, was the what lit my fire to create my own business.  I never, ever want to work for someone that has control over my choices regarding my health...speaking as a cancer survivor and woman.

What can you do if you work for a company like this?  You need to get out plain and simple.  I know it's hard but take stock of your assets, see if you can upgrade your skill set, if you work with other clients - see if they have opportunities.  The rest of us need to boycott these those that not only provide comprehensive healthcare for both men and women equally but pay a living wage.

--Lisa LeBlanc

connect with me: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram | ravelry