Downton Abbey in Needlepoint!

May 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Gah!  It’s my cross stitch pattern, Down with Downton Abbey – modified by Elpoo in needlepoint AND a tea cozy!  She even added Lord Grantham with his dog and detailed the castle with a brick stitch.  Bravo!!

And a special thanks to the local news team of Action News 17 and reporter Joan Davis for picking up the story of my flag for the To Boston With Love project.  I hope it inspired a few more flags from my region!  Time is short if you are interested in making and sending a flag – find out more here.  Also, I saw that my flag (the strawberry print heart) made it to Boston and is being prepped with other amazing flags for the show this Memorial Day!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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From Berrytown to Boston with Love

May 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

Somehow, miraculously I was able to squirrel away a couple hours this week to sew.  I’ve been following along with the To Boston with Love project; a now international makers event that is gathering these darling handmade flags with images of hearts and messages of hope to fly over Boston at a Memorial Day event at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

It’s such a tiny flag, 8″ x 6″ and it took just two fat eighths to complete.  I chose the scrappy heart and picked a couple strawberry fabrics as it is my town’s official fruit (we have an official fruit!)…I freehand-stitched the back with my town and state (that took the longest, especially since I had forgotten a hoop at home).

All in all, I am so delighted with the finished flag and so happy to have taken part of this project.   It feels like being part of one very large but quiet conversation; I hope all who visit the installation will be inspired, uplifted and encouraged to make the world better no matter how small the contribution.

if you are itching to stitch one yourself, the deadline is now May 21st.  All details are here including other flag designs.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Missing Your Mark

April 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is probably not the best way to start a post…but I’m super aggravated.  After we all had that collectively bad week watching Boston try to rise up from horrific and senseless violence, yesterday, not even an hour after I arrived at my shop I receive a frantic text that a shooting occurred near the high school in Ponchatoula…a mile or two from the store.  The high school was unaffected thankfully, but one  person is dead and the suspect is still on the run.  No one has instituted a lock down for our town similar to Watertown, but some of my fellow shop keeps have locked their doors today.

image courtesy of Very Berry Kerry

Right now a spring rain storm has washed a hush over the town as I keep watch over the door.  And my frustration lies in all these miserable acts of violence.  All last week we wanted to know why?  And similarly, us townfolk are asking the same today.  But what does it matter?  Do these pricks really think whatever their cause du jour or motive is that we will be convinced by their dreadful deeds?  Maybe crazy inspires crazy; I just don’t know, but what I do know is they (the bad guys) have missed their mark.  You can see it in the defiant survivors and those rushing to their aid in Boston; even in this little town I’m not locking my shop doors even though a manhunt is underway.

image courtesy of Happy Sew Lucky

I read a really beautiful post from Alicia over at Posie Gets Cozy (all her post are wonderful) where she touched on the importance of creating amongst so much destruction.  It mirrored much of what I had been feeling last week and so on this week.  Goodness knows I’ve been sewing, crocheting, and cross stitching like mad.  So, yesterday by way of instagram, I came upon a collective quilting effort for Boston; To Boston With Love to be specific.  Coordinated by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, a collection of quilt block flags will be collected and made into an installation in June, I believe.

I’m new to sewing and I’m not positive I’m up for the pattern posted yet (tho it is darling)…lots of people are posting alternates to tie in with the standard flag.  I encourage all my sewing adept readers to give it a try and to create something amid the chaos.

***UPDATE 4/25/13 – the manhunt is over in our tiny town; the suspect was wounded in a gun fight (eerily similar to last week’s Boston case).  People are out and about and traffic is already a buzz outside the shop – so hopefully we can lull ourselves back into the sleepy little Southern town that is Ponchatoula.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Socks for Sandy

November 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

My lovely friend Laura, who just happens to be located in one of the worst areas in New Jersey hit by Hurricane Sandy is mobilizing an amazing effort to get some of these people basic items like socks, hats, gloves and scarves.  As a Katrina survivor (and Gustav), I know how great this need is, so if you have any winter items just sitting in closet, please put them in a box and mail them to Laura; her address is listed on this post on her blog.  For those of you near my shop in Louisiana, I am collecting items thru the week and mailing for you on Friday afternoon.

I’ve spent most of my day off today collecting items to ship; first at the thrift shop and then digging in my own closet.  (Believe me, in South Louisiana, you collect a lot of winter gear that never gets used!).  It’s been a bit emotional for me as I thought a lot about the Tumblr blog NOLA to New York, and the stories of my fellow New Orleanians sharing what Katrina gave them.  For me, if I had to single out one lesson, it would have to be “survival”.  I learned a lot in those early days, months and yes, even years in recovery from so many people that when I was diagnosed with cancer five years later the idea of not surviving just wasn’t even a fathomable option.  So, carry on New York, New Jersey, and affected areas…better, stronger days are truly ahead.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Revisting the Katrina Fleur de Lis Knitted Washcloth Project

August 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s hard to believe it was 6 years ago today that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi.  I rode out the storm 50 miles north of New Orleans and as I thought “hey, this isn’t SO bad,” the tree in front of the house split in two!  It was 10 days later that we got power back and we realized the full extent of the storm.  I am glad to see things have changed in that time and even for smaller storms like Irene, people take things more seriously.

With the anniversary today and one major hurricane under our belts this year, I thought I would share the Katrina knitted washcloth that was designed and created by Noelle Dempsey.  Noelle explains:

This cloth design was originally written for the Cloths for Katrina drive which took place in 2005 and organized sending handmade washcloths and bars of soap to comfort evacuees of hurricane Katrina. Samples of this cloth are now housed in the Louisiana State Museum and tour schools to teach students about crafting for charity.

It really is a very simple pattern that she has made available thru her blog or Ravelry, all she asks is if you sell it commercially that the profits go to a charitable cause.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Handmade Blankets for Tornado Survivors

May 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

In late August 2005, I witnessed the awesome power of Mother Nature: Hurricane Katrina.  In one day, thousands lost their lives; even more their homes, jobs and way of life.  It took three weeks before authorities would allow me to enter my neighborhood a little north of New Orleans (fortunately only minor damage at my home); however, my office where I worked had been decimated by wind and water damage.  It took years for me to resettle my life, eventually pulling out of the New Orleans area and making roots (or as I like to say it…a Nest elsewhere).

Now, when I see natural disasters on the television or online, I know exactly the desperation and heartache they are experiencing.  And like you, I want to reach out to help but often I am unsure of what is needed and how I can help.  That’s why I love Craft Hope.  Craft Hope is a voluntary organization connecting crafters with those in need.  Their purpose is simple; promote a love of crafting while instilling a desire to help those in need.

Right now, Craft Hope is running a new project: Project 13, creating security blankets for the tornado survivors of the recent deadly outbreak in the Southeastern U.S.  They are asking for any handmade, machine-washable blanket from infant to adult sizes.   A 26” x 28” blanket is perfect to swaddled a newborn and if you need a quick template, here is an easy one off their site: Take Along Quilt

The deadline for this project in June 15th

Please mail all completed blankets to:

Jessie Rayot
255 Centre St Apt 6
Nutley NJ 07110

And if the craftvism bug has caught you, please check out Craft Hope’s book for more fantastic ideas and tutorials to give back to those in need.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Welcome to Cottage Nest

May 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Hello!  My name is Lisa and I am building a community that embraces what it truly means to craft a handmade life; I welcome you to join me and my friends on this path.

Life is messy, far from perfect, but those that carve out and create meaning in what they make and how they live, know the value of each day.  For some of us, a handmade life is about crafting, gardening, cooking and even music; some may find that businesses may even blossom out of our everyday wanderings.   Here is where we share those stories, advice and connect with each other.

An interior designer, by trade, I have always been fascinated by creativity and design; however, it wasn’t until I opened my own independent boutique, Nest Interiors, in 2008 that I really embraced the handmade community.  Disappointed by my first trips to market and seeing an over-saturation of cheaply produced mass marketed junk, I began creating my own items out of necessity and began making connections locally and nationally to support handmade artists.  Beyond my business, the friendships and mentors I have gained within the handmade community have flourished and really given my life purpose (sounds awfully corny…but SO true).

If you would like to contribute to our community, be it as a writer, sharing a tutorial or requesting handmade product reviews, please contact me: nestinteriorsllc [at]

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