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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Unicorn Believer Rainbow Heart Cross Stitch Pattern

April 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

After the horrific events of yesterdays Boston Marathon, you know what y’all…it’s time to launch this pattern.

Rainbows, Hearts, and Unicorns – f*ck yes!  I’ve spent the last couple of months slowly plotting away on my unicorn believer pattern, sometimes watching the news from the aftermath of Newtown, an ineffective congress on gun reform, and the debate on whether we should ALL have equal rights.  Some nights all I could do was look away into the happy silly face of my stitched unicorn.  And as silly and fun as my patterns can appear, to me they always have a deeper meaning than just face value.   Believe me, as a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper toting child of the 80’s, I grew up wishing unicorns were real (and that I was Madonna too).  Now, I know sometimes on rare occasions we can see actual unicorns…from people changing their Facebook and Twitter profile pics to equal signs to a brave few running to smoke and screams.  Let’s all remember to be the unicorn when the opportunity arises…someone needs to believe in you.

This is my first pattern that allows for customization; included in the pattern is a full upper and lower case alphabet to put your own message within the 30 spaced banner…great for something as uni-corny as “my other ride is a unicorn” to the names of a couple to be wed.   Also, this pattern encourages you to pick a contrasting color of aida cloth (Stitchnmomma has some nice hand-dyed options); you can even vary a bit from the selected floss colors.  Make it your own!

The pattern is currently available through three venues:  Etsy and two instant download sites Craftsy and Meylah.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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March 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Here’s a sneak peek of a new pattern I am currently developing.  The pattern is mostly complete; I just like to stitch everything out to see how it will finally look and oh yeah, I’m complusive!  It’s been several months since I’ve stitched and it feels great to be creating something new again.  Over Christmas I had developed a small cyst in my finger (no cause for alarm) but the amount of stitching I was doing (and the speed) really, really aggravated it.  It’s still there but, so far, I’m not having a bit of trouble.

So, last night, all I have is one hour, one measly hour, to stitch.   Everything is set, the house is quiet, my work area set, and my hulu queue set with (I am so embarrassed to say) The Carrie Diaries.  Or what I like to call the perfect crafting storm…hit play and realize my white embroidery floss had been pinched.  I suspect the cats.  Anywho, I moved on to another color and grumbled a bit.

Hopefully, I can move on a bit faster through the weekend.  I need a new TV series to bridge my time through the stitching.  I’m not sure if you’re like me, but I have to have something on while I work (even in high school I had to have a TV on while I studied).  But it has to be just the right kind of show or movie; nothing too good or interesting to draw you in and simple enough to follow along in case you miss a bit because you aren’t really paying attention.

The last two weeks I found the Netflix series House of Cards; I love Kevin Spacey and I love politics…but everyone in it is just an absolute train wreck and makes for excellent crafting tv.  I made a ton of jewelry for the shop through 13 episodes including these totally sweet and innocent wire wrapped bird nest pendants in the midst of episode after episode of power grabs, deception and fairly self-destructive behavior!   Whoever said you can’t be productive while sitting for hours watching TV was wrong!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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January 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

It might sound strange but my New Years Resolution (if you can really call it that) is to master nothing.  After a lot of reflection of the past year and now approaching my fifth year in business, I see a pattern that if I don’t feel I succeed (or am succeeding) – I stop, give up…rather than fail.  Seriously, there was a year I took up yoga and in my first class I decided I would get a certification, open my own studio, and be really bendy – I guess.  Another year, I was so enamored with roses, I decided not only to have a garden of at least 30 varieties – I would hybridize my own rose.  What can I say – everything interests me and I aim high.  This year, though, I want to keep that adventurous spirit and I am giving myself complete freedom to try any whim but no hard feelings if things don’t work out.

Some things did work out in 2012; which were utterly surprising to me.  For one, Etsy; I’ve had a shop for a while but had not previously invested a lot of time – I made the time and it paid off, plus the connections I made have been invaluable.  I know a lot of people complain about Etsy for one reason or another but I still think they attract a buyer that appreciates handmade and vintage from truly independent sellers better than anyone.   The next surprise was cross stitch…and specifically my Down with Downton Abbey cross stitch pattern.  For me, it just began as an image I kept seeing in my mind that I needed to create and cross stitch seemed a logical means to an end.  Anyway, it’s been a blessing and a lot of fun connecting with so many people stitching along all over the world!  And lastly, building my collection of vintage textiles has been so much fun…this too, I had no idea just how many people would positively react to this.  There’s just nothing like using the “old stuff” (as I’ve been told).  For me it’s part sheer excitement of finding something unique and secondly saving something that’s a part of history.

I have some new directions to follow in 2013 and “cleaning house” to do at the shop (more on that later)…but I see no reason why 2013 can’t be even better than last?!

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Wordless Wednesday

December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Holiday Home Preview

November 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here’s a peek of what’s going on at home…we started unpacking the Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving and decorating in earnest.  Still some things to do…but its a lot of fun setting it up.  Christmas is such a kid centered holiday, but growing up, I couldn’t wait until I was adult and could have my holiday, my way.  In fact, in my college dorm, I was the one with the fully decorated tree, including presents beneath, with hot chocolate brewing in my mini microwave…I’ve always been a nest maker – trying to build roots wherever I went.  The store can be a bit traditional for my taste, so at home I have free range.  Most of what I like is candy colored and packed with glitter.  I have a lot of vintage ornaments that I’ve happily married with new acquisitions from the shop.  A lot of people ask me what’s my decorating secret at the store and home…um, here it goes…see an empty spot?  shove something glittery in it.  (and that’s 4 years of design school talking!)

The one challenge at home though is cats.  We have three – and basically, in years past, my tabletop tinsel tree is just a big ol’ giant cat toy.  We’ve stopped putting anything breakable on the actual tree and moved those types to a garland over the doorway – which everyone raves about to me.  So far, the tree this year has been knocked over 2-1/2 times…not by the cats…by me!  I say 2-1/2 because I caught it once…so, I guess this is a good system for the clumsy.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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