Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In For A Penny

This is what started it all - for years I have wished for my own business but several things have held me back, not least of which was picking a name. How can one word sum up a whole intention?

One day in my sewing room I was thinking about our trip to France and how much I like the French language and what fun I had trying to remember everything I had learned in school when "recherche´" popped into my head. It was a true "A-ha" moment. Recherche´ means (among several meanings) to seek that which is special and that is what I have tried to do for years with my needlework. A doodle on a post it note later and I had the name - and from that followed clarity. You see, it wasn't just a name, it was also a definition, and there is an old saying that when you name something, it becomes real.

Serendipity lead me to a young woman named Lauren who designed the banner you see now, and a button which I am in the process of trying to add. I think you will agree she has done an amazing job with my request and I am thrilled with the look she has created. The snail is her own drawing and you can see him just behind the lettering on the right. There is of course a story there...

When Marc and I were on our trip to France last year we went for walks in the evenings while staying in Provence. That was the time of day the snails would leave the grass and vines and venture forth onto the warm roadways. Marc was quite concerned for their safety (a valid concern considering the number of snail fatalities we came upon!) and so he would gather them up and gently toss them back to the grass. There were so many there was no possibility of saving them all but we did develop a fondness for the little creatures through the effort of trying to save them!

Anyway, they are quintessentially French and are evocative of "slow" and I thought an appropriate symbol of what needlework and quilting are for me - an outlet of creativity that allows me to take the time to make things that are truly special where the process is more important than the final product (in snail talk that would be the journey matters more than the getting there!).

And so that is how recherche´ came to be.

And there is more to come...

A New Look!

I don't have time this morning to go into detail as I am working at the shop today, but.... my blog has a new look! 

I'll explain everything in tonight's post - I just couldn't wait to add my lovely new banner!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm So Excited!

Today is a busy day; I have to start nailing down the projects for my Christmas Cupboard  classes as well as the corresponding recipes. I am making pretty good progress in narrowing things down, especially as we have cut down the number of classes. I am hoping to try out a few new techniques I am developing that will make things much easier for the fiddly little ones and one involves freezer paper - just another way to combine quilting and the kitchen! (And no, it isn't applique...)

I have to come up with a runner, cards, ornaments, gift bags and table decorations and get the samples finished by the end of August. Yikes! (I promise to post pictures on here as I complete them) I am thinking the runner will be a type of snowflake runner so people can use it for winter rather than just Christmas. There is a strong trend in the design world toward that and I think it's a great idea, especially for us Canadians who "celebrate" winter. The rest will be quick projects with lots of variations so they will hopefully appeal to all levels. And if I hope to have all this done in just over a month I had best get busy...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Storage Solutions

There is a lot of discussion in the quilting world about how things are stored, especially thread. I have tried various spool racks over the years and spent too much time trying to figure out ways to keep the dust off and still have it visible. (I like to see the colours!) 

After spending a lot of money on these "trials" I finally found, what is for me, the perfect solution... candy jars. How appropriate is that? The colours come through and the thread remains dust-free; the jars decorate my sewing table with all the pretty colours contained inside. I have them sorted so one contains all my hand quilting thread and the other has regular sewing thread. When I am looking for a particular colour I just pick up the jar and twirl it around in my hands until I see what I am looking for and then fish it out. I haven't had any problems with tangling as I ensure that the ends are always tucked into the gripper on the end of the spool before dropping it back in the jar.

Aren't They Pretty?

I especially like them because they were cheap, look nice and solved the dust problem - one less thing to vacuum!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yesterday I took a machine quilting class offered at the store by Chi Chi and in addition to thoroughly enjoying it, I learned a lot. She uses and teaches a Stop-Start method that certainly works for me - so well in fact, that I didn't even notice I don't have the needle down feature on my sewing machine! That has been a sore point with me since the first day I slid a quilt under the presser foot and started quilting. She also has a way of maneuvering and quilting large quilts on home sewing machines that I am anxious to try on the quilt I have been working on for my mother - it's 15 years in the making and has been at the quilting stage for 13 of them! I may just surprise her at the end of the month when she gets back from holidays....

In my last post I mentioned a give away so here we go. The first person that comes into the Sewing Basket on Friday, July 10 and tells me what method Chi Chi uses for machine quilting gets a gift from me!

By the way, the store opens at 9:00 am...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Making Progress

I have been busy today! Here it is, almost done. I have only to layer and quilt it - I think I will do a quick turn rather than binding and once I write out the instructions we can make the kits. It is of course much prettier in real life!

I like small projects like this as they work up fast, but since I was "designing" it (I am using that term loosely as it is adapted from another quilt pattern) there was some fiiguring things out involved. Really, just a perfect summertime project for all of you who would like to get a head start on Christmas things but aren't interested in tackling anything too involved. 

And now for a couple of new things. Firstly, although I have lots of ideas for the Friday Demos I would really appreciate hearing what you might like to see - so - leave suggestions in the comments (I promise to read them all) and if I use your idea you will get a gift!

Secondly, starting with the next blog, I will pose a question and the first person to come into the store on Friday and give me the answer will get a prize! (It has to be Fridays because that is the only day I work every week, and the question must be answered in person.) So - Friday July 10th will be the first one and we'll continue that throughout the summer. I think I'll call it "Fun in the Sun"...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Here it is July 1 and I should be thinking in red and white and instead I am thinking Christmas! A customer was in the shop a few weeks ago and loved the Holiday Chorus quilt we have hanging as a kit sample. "Wouldn't that make a lovely table runner?" she said. And we agreed. So..... I'm sure you know the rest of the story already.... here is the work in progress!

A Good Start!

So far I have completed the centre block and picked the two panels. I fiddled around for half an hour last night and again this morning trying to decide what to do with the setting triangles as the quilt pattern has some lovely piecing for that area but it creates awkward areas when making a runner. After much carry on I have decided that plain old triangles will be best and then I can mess with the border a bit. Unfortunately I don't have enough of the right fabric (and it is just right!) so the whole thing will have to wait until the store is open again tomorrow. The good news is that there is lots of the "right" fabric left; the bad news is I promised the customer it will be done for Friday. 

I suspect I will be busy, busy, busy tomorrow.

Oh, and I promised the pattern would be ready too!