Monday, December 31, 2007

So far, so good...

2008 has been killah so far.

Bonfire, fondue, champagne flowing like bath water, and the best friends any gal could ever have. I know, I know: I talk about it ALL THE TIME, but I love these gals so much. They are my posse. And I like all of their gentlemen friends as well, which is a miracle in and of itself. But, sometimes in life you get lucky and end up with a group that is truly fabulous. I wasn't the coolest girl in high school, but I did have plenty of friends (they were just of the nerdy, "theater-flunky" variety), but now look at me: to me, these are the golden years. High School ain't got nothin' on late twenties. And the best thing is, I know they (my friends) feel the same way about me.

But enough mushy-mush. This was a New Year's Eve to remember, complete with custom ordered snow-storm (good call, Kristine, let's do the snow-thang again next year, huh?), Kir Royale (May, you left your Chambord behind... finders keepers!!!) and luminarias lining the driveway ( who knew you could have so much fun with paper bags?). And baby Renner sneezing/throwing up on me. That's the thanks I get for saving him from a wet diaper? Yeesh... no respect, I tell you. Oh, and Michele's boyfriend Brian (whom I've known since my High School days) "THINKING" I was Michele and mistakenly (yet lovingly) patting my behind. Which I take as a compliment, because Michele's a total hottie.

Anyways, it was a grand night: everything a New Year's Eve should be. Thanks so much Kristine and Jeremy for "sponsoring" such a great shindig! Let's do it again tomorrow at Alison's house.



Happy New Year

Like General Custer, 2007 makes it's last stand!!!

Happy New Year to you and yours...

The store will re-open Wednesday morning with a few surprises,***wink, wink***

See you then!


Monday, December 17, 2007

"Last Minute" Shoppers Unite!!!

No, I am not a last minute shopper. I would say I am more of a control freak, all-year shopper who is type A-plus. I may, on occasion, purchase a select few items dangerously close to D-day if for no other reason than because they fit the bill for some of my "harder to shop-for" friends and family. BUT, I know that there are last minute shoppers out there a-plenty, and have I got good ideas for you:

First off, there is the ever popular "Gift Certificate." Always a good choice. The "Savings Bond" of Christmas presents. A safe, dependable return on your investment. We happen to have snazzy new G.C.'s this year (designed by Yours Truly) and I personally know several gals (and guys) who would be thrilled to find this little gem under their tree this year. I suggest wrapping Gift Certificates (of any kind for that matter) in a funkily-shaped box or bag of some sort. You know, just to throw the recipient off of the scent. Perhaps the old cardboard toaster box from last year's Christmas present. Maybe put a few rocks or old magazines in there so that the box is not suspiciously light for a present of that scale. Then, when the recipient opens said present and sees the tell-tale envelope containing the G.C., you can quietly snicker to yourself that: heh, heh, you put a little ROCK 'N ROLL into Christmas this year.

Next up, the Class/Pattern, Class/Book combo. This has been very popular lately. Think of it as a well seasoned stock that you know will pay a good dividend: The recipient is going to enjoy the prospect of taking a class, and has an actual item to un-wrap (the book or pattern that accompanies said class), yet still has a few choices to make independently (such as which fabrics to use). Sign yourself up for that same class while you're at it. Then you can watch your loved one enjoying the present you gave them and do a little bonding at the same time.

And finally, may I suggest the buying of FABRIC. This would be the high-yield/high risk item in your portfolio. I mean, you have to TRULY know someone to confidently buy them fabric (the same also applies to shoes). If you pick the wrong fabric to match a person's personality it has the potential to actually be insulting (You bought me 30's repro prints??? Don't you know anything about me??? I'm a batik girl through and through!!! Sniff!!!),... But. If you choose fabrics correctly, I guarantee the results will produce a near euphoric state for your loved one, returning the most yield for your investment in the shortest amount of time (Joel Dewberries? Amy Butlers and Heather Baileys? Kiss me, you fool!!!). Risky? Yes. But that is where we Alewives Girls come in. We cannot boast 100% accuracy, but we know our customers so well, the odds are definitely in your favor.

If you are someone hoping to receive one of the above mentioned presents may I suggest printing off a copy or two of this post and then, ever so casually slipping it into your gift-buyer's favorite newspaper or magazine. "What's this?" They will say. "OOPS," You can say, "How did THAT get in there. I must have been daydreaming about all the great stuff at Alewives again..." And then, instead of removing the print-out, feign a (mild) coughing fit and remove yourself to get a glass of water.

The establishment will be open right up until noontime on Christmas Eve to help solve your Last Minute shopping dilemmas. My ladies have been briefed and are eagerly awaiting an opportunity to point you in the right direction.

Until next time, darlings!!!



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gifting & Giggling

Hello one and all,

Guess how little ol' moi spent her day off yesterday???

Wrapping presents, of course. But, as evidenced by these photos, I can't just wrap presents like normal people do, because being a Graphic Designer means that how a present looks is possibly even more important than what the present is. It is, after all, all about the presentation, you know.

This year I am particularly proud of myself because a lot of my gifts are homemade. I'm not going to get on a soapbox and rant and rave about how "commercial" and "consumer" Christmas has become, BUT I do like the idea of giving someone something because you KNOW they'll like it, as opposed to giving someone something because it's Christmas and you know you HAVE to give them something. I think I've done a good job of the former this year, and I should hope so, because I've been collecting presents and wrapping stuff since this summer.

And speaking of the wrapping, how cool do these presents look??? It's all done with recycled stuff, too: old magazine pages and strips of fabric. I spent most of the day yesterday in Christmas-wrapping bliss, with a movie on in the background and sun pouring in the window after a beautiful snowy start. Come to think of it, the day started AND ended with snow yesterday. Gorgeous. And just what the Dr. ordered. I can't STAND it when it doesn't snow before Christmas.

Then I had Bikram Yoga with Kristine, Michele and Alison. I LOVE the yoga. I mean, I kind of hate it when I'm actually DOING it, and thank goodness I have three other gals going with me, because otherwise I KNOW I would skip it all the time, but when it's all over with, I truly feel terrific. I shouldn't say I HATE doing it when I'm there, because that's not true, either. There are just some poses I like more than others: For example, I like the twisty, pretzel-like poses, and the bendy-backwards poses, but the poses that work your hamstrings BURN!!! And I like the dead-body pose, too, which is where you just lie still like a corpse. That I can handle.

The best part about yoga is being with my friends. I'm so lucky to have made such good friends through the store that are now my friends even when we're doing stuff like yoga that has nothing to do with the store. And every week we have what Kristine calls "Apres Yoga," which is where we go out to eat and drink wine together and probably un-do all the great things that we just did for our bodies but oh, well, because it's sooo much fun and we laugh and laugh and laugh and that has to be good for your abs, right?

Anyhow, I must go and wrap some more presents and then make the tough commute over to the store for sewing lounge. Some of the presents don't make it to the "wrapping" stage. Especially the ones labeled "chocolate." Funny, I have NO clue what happens to those particular presents. This one in the last photo has even LESS chocolate in it now that when I took the photo.

Hope you're getting into the spirit of the season, no matter what you celebrate!!!



Friday, December 7, 2007

Another Top Ten (that has nothing to do with the store)

What can I say?

I like Top Ten lists... and I like sharing my opinions on completely arbitrary things.

Tonight's topic???

Sad songs.

I believe it was Charlie Brown who said "Happiness is a sad song," and I subscribe to this camp. There is nothing so exquisite as the melancholy "Boo Hoo" of a sad and haunting tune.

Here goes:

10. "Lost Cause" by Beck, on the album "Sea Change." Beck is of course known for more bee-boppy electronica, but this whole album is a melange of musical moroseness after a breakup with his girlfriend of nine years. Best lyric: leave you here/ wearing your wounds/ wave your guns/ at somebody new.

9. "Love is a Losing Game" by Amy Winehouse from the album "Back to Black." Amy's personal life is a lesson in irony. "Losing Game" is how EVERYBODY feels at least once in there lives: the quintissential doo-wop heartbreak. Best lyric: self professed profound/till the chips were down/ know you're a gambling man/ love is a losing hand.

8. "So Cruel" by U2, from the album "Achtung, Baby." This song was written about the Edge's breakup with his ex-wife, the former Mrs. The Edge. Bono wails and weeps and moans but my one complaint is that there isn't enough of Edge's creepy, soothing falsetto. Bono gets all the glory, and don't get me wrong, I love him dearly, but I am most definitely an "Edge" gal. Best lyric: the men who love you, you hate the most/ they pass right through you like a ghost.

7. "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, but performed by Rufus Wainright, from the "Shrek" soundtrack. Sooo sad, this one. I know some people prefer the Jeff Buckley version, but for me, Rufus sounds just like I imagine angels sound like. Rufus does pathetic so well, it's ridiculous. Best lyric: maybe there's a God above/ but all I ever learned from love/ was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.

6. "Burn" by Ray Lamontagne, from the album "Trouble." Oh, Ray. What are we going to do with you? You're a tortured soul, indeed, AND you're a native son from Maine. What's not to like? There are sooo many sad songs to pick from his repertoire, and if you've ever seen him perform live you probably knew you were in the presence of greatness. I picked "Burn" because it's so raw. Like sushi in sad song form. Best lyric: oh, so kiss him again/ just to prove to me that you can/ and I will stand here and burn in my skin.

5. "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, performed acoustically by Pete Yorn, from the B-Sides to the album "Music for the Morning After." Don't laugh. If you wrote down the lyrics to this song and could erase the tune from your mind to just focus on the words you would see how very sad this song is. Pete Yorn's version is so lonely and frustrated and haunting. If you've ever seen the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's," where she describes what it's like to have the "Mean Reds," THAT is what I think of when I hear this version of "Dancing in the Dark." Best lyric: I ain't nothing but tired/ and I'm just tired and bored with myself/hey baby I could use just a little help.

4. "Another One Goes By," by The Walkmen, from the album "A Hundred Miles Off." Sounds like Dylan, but no, it's Hamilton Leithauser from the Walkmen, I assure you. The guy in this song totally needs a hug. Best lyric: sometimes when I walk outside I see it standing right in front of me/ silhouette of something sweet and so bright.

3. "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing," by Jack Johnson, from the album "In Between Dreams." Jack Johnson usually writes happy stuff, but this one is sad and frustrated and lovely. Jack, I didn't know you had it in you, but good job. Mahalo! Best lyric: keep playing your part/ but it's not my scene/ want this plot to twist/ I've had enough mystery.

2. "My Sexual Life," by Everclear, from the album "Sparkle and Fade." This song's title is a little misleading, but the lyrics are the most desperate I've ever heard. I just like them, what can I say? For me, they hit the spot and make me eversad. Best lyric: you always say you want a simple life/ you and me both know that you are a liar/ you always say you want a simple life/ hey, hearing you talk just makes me tired.

which brings us to the number one sad song in Rhea's little list of lonely:

1. "Aint No Love," by David Gray, from the album "Life in Slow Motion." David Gray was put on this planet to make gorgeous, haunting music and hands down, my favorite song of his is this little gem from his latest album. His voice is like an instrument and it's infused with emotion like a good cup of tea. I want David Gray to sit outside my window in a giant birdcage so he can sing this for me whenever I want to have a good cry. It's a short song, sweet and low, and I'll be the first one to confess that I have absolutely NO idea what it's about. Maybe that's why I like it, though: It's so open to interpretation. This song has it all: the chilly, poetic lyrics and the howl of David's voice that is at once soothing and arresting. The whole song is so short and deliberate, it could be a nursery rhyme. But do yourself a favor and don't EVER watch a David Gray video: I don't know who's responsible for those things, but they are consistently HIDEOUS. Best lyric: give me your ecstasy I'll feel it/ open window and I'll steal it/ baby like it's heaven sent

So, this is the mood I'm in tonight: enjoying the sad songs. What does that mean about me? I dunno. I'm sure there are some excellent songs out there that got left off the list. How about you: what are your favorite sad songs???

Alright, must go and cry myself to sleep now...

Just Kidding!!!



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Big Changes at the Little Store

Okay. So, I know that Alewives Fabrics is not the biggest store in the world. It's probably not even the biggest store in the Midcoast Maine area. However, having said that, I definitely think that we hold our own in terms of keeping up with the times and thinking "Outside of the Box" (Whatever THAT means), and along these lines, I wanted to share with you some of the changes that are coming around at the shop. New Year's is when most of these changes will take place, but with the anticipation of the new year comes the ground work for some pretty awesome plans that have been (some of them) three years in the works.

First, a new logo for the store. We've had a GREAT logo, and having spent the past three years at Graphic Design school (and most of my life before that being a frustrated Graphic Designer), I think I am qualified to declare a logo awesome. The red building has been our logo for the past 32 (that's right, 32!!!) years, but it has seen it's day and it's time for something a little more fun and accurate for our new energy. This logo is, of course, of my own creation, so I'm partial to it, and the logo will be appearing on sweatshirts, t-shirts and canvas totes so that you, too, can take a little piece of the "Alewives Experience" with you wherever you go. I want satellites all over the country declaring their allegiance to the little store that could. Say it loud, say it proud: I'm an Alewives Girl. Or Guy (Because there are LOTS of Alewives "Guys" out there, too, believe it or not).

Second, all the fabric will be in the "Big Room" from now on. Why??? Keep reading:

Third, our last gallery show is currently up and running, but come December 1, we will no longer be holding shows for local artists in our gallery. We will still have artwork on display throughout the store, and there will still be a "Gallery" aspect to Alewives Fabrics, Gifts & Gallery, but the designated gallery space will have a different use. We are turning the Gallery into a classroom. A big, spacious classroom that can accommodate more people, more comfortably and more efficiently. Fortunately, we have outgrown our current class space and feel that the Gallery room would be much better utilized as a classroom.

I'm sooo excited about this. It's not a spur of the moment decision, but something my Mom and I have been thinking about for a long time. It's going to be a great space, with all those wide open walls for "Designing." No more crawling around on the floor, guys and gals, but "back-friendly," proper design walls. I have to admit, though, I'm going to miss having a "Design Floor," but not everyone is physically capable of the "Uppy/Downy" thing that we've got going on right now. If you've ever taken "Turning Twenty" with me, you know of which I speak.

Fourth, the "little room" is being cleared out to house 3 (Count 'em, 3!!!) Cutting Stations, at least 2 Ironing Stations and a whole slew of "Cubbies" for people to leave their stuff in. Now, don't go fighting over who gets a cubby. You know who you are, all our regulars and sewing loungers, and you get cubby priority. I am particularly psyched about this addition to the shop, because each of us gals who work at the store get a certain amount of "cubby" in our work space and MY cubby is being very generously shared by myself with no less than 5 other people at last count. Now, you get your own space, and "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/ Anal-Retentive Rhea" gets her nice, organized, space back.

Fifth, (Yes, there's more!!!) We've had so much success with Sewing Lounge, and seen such a huge pattern of young mothers coming in with their little ones, that we are adding a THIRD sewing lounge on Wednesday mornings. But, there is a catch. The third sewing lounge is going to be a "Mommy and Me" sewing lounge where all you gals can come and toss your kids in a playpen with lots of other kids and sew and not worry about them re-arranging the bias tapes or eating the fat quarters. Plus, you get to spend time with other big girls like you. Sound good??? We hope so. I saw this pattern of women coming in with their babies on their hips and not being able to peruse the fabric like I knew they wanted to, so I thought, Hey, why don't we help each other out and then everybody wins. And, if you don't have a little baby you can still come to sewing lounge. We're pretty accepting and low-key around here, just as long as you're the same.

And, I think that's enough big news for one little post. Let me know if you approve of the changes. Sometimes change is hard, but I think these are all changes for the better and I, personally, could not be more thrilled.

Thank you so much to everybody who supports our business and makes a point to tell us we're doing a good job. We can't do everything we want to at once, but sometimes we get stuff done. Hearing people say how much they love the store makes it all worth while. I mean, that's why we do it, and I've made some of the best friends of my life through this little store we call Alewives.

Most of them are cubby-worthy... *wink*

Okay, enough mushy stuff. See you again soon.




Thanks, Erin (of fame), for the great photo of our fabrics!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

I coulda been a contender...


I am nothing if not a champion eater, and yesterday, I tell you, I was a true contender. My Dad has the BEST food at his house for Holidays:

Turkey, of course, but not just any Turkey. This bird is stuffed, then outfitted with a little rope "jumpsuit," hung in the fireplace of a bee-hive oven (made with re-claimed colonial bricks) and seared to perfection. But, because the Turkey is dangling in it's little rope jumpsuit over an open flame, you have to "spin" it. One of the best things about T-Giving at Dad's is sitting with a glass of wine in front of the fireplace and "spinning" the Turkey. Occasionally a little piece of stuffing might fall into the pan that's waiting directly below to catch the drippings, and of course, it is the job of the spinner to eat said stuffing. Very important work, and I take it very seriously.

Whipped potatoes, squash from their own garden, green beans with lemon dill butter and shallots, candied yams (conspicuously absent this year), stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce (which is surprisingly easy to make), ambrosia salad (a nod to the 50's Thanksgivings that my Step-Grandmother used to put on), rolls and gravy. Yum. Just writing about it I'm ready to do the whole thing over again. I didn't eat at ALL yesterday in anticipation of the magic moment of 4 o'clock where we dug in.

And of course, there were the pies. 2 apple, 1 pumpkin and 1 pecan. And my little, 6 year old brother Jonah said, when I asked him what type of pie he was going to have, "Apple, Pecan, Pumpkin and Apple." Very cute. I keep telling Dad and my Stepmother Sheryl to get that kid an agent and he could pay his own way through college. He's got spunk in spades.

Anyways, the day was just great. Great company (just me, my Dad, Sheryl, and my brothers Israel, Elias and littel Jonah), great food and lots to be thankful for. Afterwards we all watched Spiderman 3 together. And I mean, really, what Thanksgiving would be complete without your friendly neighborhood Spiderman?

Anyhoo, I am thankful for my readers and hope YOU had a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you were!!!

Now I'm at the shop RHEA-arranging, so for those of you who are local, good luck trying to find stuff the next time you come in!!!



Sunday, November 18, 2007

If you didn't think I was wierd before...

*Warning: this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with fabric or the store, so read at your own discretion!!!*

Hello one and all.

Am suddenly able to steal wireless from some poor, un-suspecting soul in the Mills who has no clue that they are providing me with the means to update this blog more frequently. Whomever you are, God bless you and keep up the good work!!!

So, as I was driving back from my parent's house tonight, my mind wandered to one of those subjects that I've been meaning to write about but never actually gotten around to doing. The subject? Eyebrows. (Eyebrows?!?). EYEBROWS.

Why do I want to talk about eyebrows??? Well, I'll tell you. I was having dinner with some of my friends and we got to talking about our "things." You know what I'm talking about: some people have a "thing" for a cute smile, or for feet, or for a nice tush. Well, my "thing" is eyebrows. I melt for a guy with a nice set of eyebrows: I'm talking big, huge, manly, creepy-crawly "caterpillar" eyebrows, too. Not those Adrian Brody jobbers. And then I got to thinking about all of my most favorite eyebrows and I just had to get them out of my system. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, you have to be the means by which I get these eyebrows out of my system.

So, without further adieu, I present the first ever (I believe) best eyebrows Top Ten list (Dave Letterman's shaking in his little suit, I just know it...)Here goes:

10: Jakob Dylan- lead singer of the Wallflowers, and yes, Dylan's son. Fine set of eyebrows there.

9: Benicio del Toro (Circa 1995)- Have you ever seen the movie "Excess Baggage?" I must insist that you watch it... Benicio, Christopher Walken, Harry Connick Jr. How can you go wrong? And while you're watching it, admire Benicio's lovely little slabs of gorgeous on his forehead, because they didn't last long. Sometime around the movie "Traffic" (Also a great movie), his face began to cave in. Now you'd need a St. Bernard to find those things. RIP, Benicio's eyebrows...

8: Pete Sampras (Also circa 1995)- When I lived in France, all of us kids would rush home from school in the spring to watch the French Open at Roland-Garos. Most of the kids were rushing home to watch the tennis. I was rushing home to watch Pete's eyebrows. They were (and I'm afraid I mean this pun with every ounce of my being) a "Love-ly" match. Unfortunately, none of Pete's hair is in abundance these days.

7: Humphrey Bogart- How can you not love this guy? I mean, have you seen "The African Queen?" Favorite scenes are when he was imitating a hippopotamus to impress Katherine Hepburn, and when he had to crawl out of the boat and carry the Queen through leech infested waters. When he climbed back onto the boat, he had great big leeches, which kind of look like eyebrows, crawling all over him! Way to go, Mr. Allnut!

6: Sean Connery- NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, arches an eyebrow like Sean Connery. It's true what they say about this guy: He's just gotten better with age. His eyebrows are no exception.

5: George Clooney- Of course. George is one fine piece of man, but to me, his best feature will always be his eyebrows. They made Batman and Robin bearable.

4: Kevin Anderson- I think that's his name. Anyways, he's the "Kevin" of Backstreet Boys fame. Hey, I didn't say I liked the music... but I am totally a "fan" of his eyebrows.

3: Ice Cube- There's something about Ice Cube. "Little boy" meets "Rapper Thug" equals "Family Comedy Actor." Through it all, he's been sporting a pair of curvaceous eyebrows that are scarred just enough to hint at his bad boy past.

2: Alan Rickman- Also known as Professor Snape. If you don't believe me just go rent "Sense & Sensibility," and try not to melt as you watch his eyebrows emote so much heartbreak in Kate Winslet's direction. Interesting side note: Alan is also on my "favorite voice" list. I'll save most of it for another post, but I would literally listen to him read the phone book.

And the grand Finale:

1: Mike Lowell- World Series MVP and Boston Red Sox third baseman. Hands down the BEST eyebrows I have ever seen. If Martin Scorsese's eyebrows had a love child with Giselle Bundchen's eyebrows, the result would be Mike Lowell's eyebrows: In other words, larger than life, perfectly manicured and groomed, salt and pepper gorgeousness. And that's how I feel about THAT. Mike, you're a silver fox with those things (even though you're only 33 years old). Your old man eyebrows are like masterpieces hanging over your little boy chocolate sundae eyes, speaking of wisdom sooo beyond your years. The Florida Marlins were INSANE to give you up, and there loss was our big, bad gain. Not so much for the 2 World Series, the Golden Gloves, the team leadership, nooo, but for the brows.

Soo, that's my top ten. Thanks so much for letting me get it off my chest and I PROMISE, the next post will be fabric-y.



Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Art", "Moving In" and "The Art of Moving In"

Greetings one and all,

I'm writing to you from MY HOUSE which is in no way, shape or form finished, but after having lived here for a month and then moving back OUT for a month, I'm back to stay. The house, for those of you who don't know, is situated right next door to the World's Greatest Quilt Shop, and will eventually, some day, be a Quilter's Retreat: a place where a small group of friends can come and stay and quilt and be.

So, it need not be said that half of the fun of moving into a new home is the DECORATING that takes place: the personalizing of your very own space and the unleashing of all those nesting instincts that have been growing inside you ever since high school. For me, this is another way to play with color and express my individuality. And of course, fabrics from the shop and from my stash are playing a huge role in this decorating-fest. I've been preparing for this moment all my life, and now the home decor has begun!!!

Last night, I covered two old pillows and two new pillows (gotta love the recycling!) with some fabric from my stash and now have a lovely bit of red (my favorite color ever!) going on in the living room. Phase 2 will be acquiring red accessories, like books, art, vases, etc., to pick up this color and sprinkle it throughout the whole room. I'll know them when I see them, but for now I'm so jazzed about the pillows it's ridiculous.

In the bathroom, for the past three months, a lovely little piece of fabric has been serving as a curtain. Not a curtain with an actual HEM and CASING, mind you, but a piece of fabric waiting for it's life as curtain to begin. What's that they always say about the shoemaker's children never being shod? ("Shod" is a totally wierd word, don't you think?) Someday, little piece of fabric, I will turn you into a lovely little curtain. In the meantime, the greens, browns and oranges (sounds hideous, but trust me, they're lovely) match the bathroom walls and the antique Japanese Geisha print that JD got me for Christmas so perfectly it's scary. Almost like I know what I'm doing...

In the Green, Green bedroom of mine I have splashes of spice brown and little teeny, tiny bits of pink here and there, as evidenced in this photo taken near my window. I have a quilt that Michaela made as a table centerpiece at her wedding folded over the rocking chair that the house's previous occupant left behind. I do believe this is one of my favorite places in the world: I sit there with a quilt in my lap, putting the binding on, the radio playing softly in the background, and I am in heaven. The only other place where I feel like that is during the summer months, when I go to my Grandparent's cottage on the lake, drag down to the dock on the lake my canvas and wood beach chair, a good book and a SOBE juice, wear my huge "Paris Hilton" sunglasses, slather on the pina-colada smelling sun-block, and I lie in the sun and am sooo happy. My Grandfather tells me I look like a movie star when I'm down there. Now that I have a winter time equivalent, I'm set for life. From this spot, because the leaves have all fallen off the trees, the sun beats into the room (making it so very different from how it looks in the summer time) and I can see the entire Salt Bay and the train when it goes by. It's good for my soul, I just know it.

And there are still several rooms to be furnished, plenty of fabric to do it with. They keep coming out with more every day, you know... I love the new stuff, but it does feel good to use up the old stuff.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The girl who does yoga

Good afternoon,...

Namaste! I just started bicram yoga class last night with my gals and it totally agrees with me! I feel like a million. Plus, I am one of these people who is always cold, so in these winter-y months ahead of us I will very much look forward to the 100+ degree temperature inside the yoga room at Synergy studios.
Joan, who is my new teacher is really a kind soul and a great instructor. And of course, I love spending time with Alison, Kristine and Michele (The ORIGINAL "Alewives Girls"). We are a crazy group of women (1 Marine Biologist, 1 Dr. of Audiology, 1 future Lawyer and 1 designer- that's me!)and I like it that way. We sweated in places we won't talk about at parties, but this morning I feel great. Have already had one man tell me I looked (and this is a direct quote) "sort of... radiant." How cool is that? Sign me up!

Oh, and this has absolutely nothing to do with bicram, but I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention our new show in the gallery! From now until November 30, we are very pleased to have photos by Leon Vanella in the gallery at the shop. Leon's photographs are from all over the world AND from right here in the Mills. They are truly unique: not your run-of-the-mill "lighthouses" and "lobsterboats" (no offense to anyone who takes/enjoys photos of said subjects), but really different stuff. You can see his work online at, or even better, you can stop by his Opening Reception this Friday night from 6:00-8:00pm. Leon AND his photos will be here at the shop.

That's all for now.
Have a namaste!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

The scene: Interior Alewives Fabrics, this morning, around 11:30 am:

Erin (To Rhea, who is dressed as Meredith Grey for Halloween):
You need to update your blog!!!

Rhea: No, what I need is to get Wireless Internet so I can update my blog as frequently as I'd like to.

Erin: How hard is it to get wireless?

Rhea (Defeated): Not very.

End scene.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, I am one of those people who complains about not having wireless, but who has not actually taken any steps toward getting it. Why am I so inactive about the whole thing? Excellent question. Sit down, get comfy cozy and I'll tell you.

Now, my friends are ALWAYS telling me that my life is like a movie. Strange, ironic and wonderful things happen to me, just not always in that order. Take today, for example. I am all by myself at the store today, looking forward to a nice, productive stretch at the sewing machine, capped off by a couple of friends swinging by around 6:00 to help me hand out candy. Is this how my day goes down??? Nooooo. Far from. It's more like this:

9:45: Get to store. Notice pretty new fabrics. Notice pretty new fabrics have no price on them. Look for pen to price fabrics with and packing list which tells me what price to write down.

10:00: Remember halloween candy. Unwrap candy and put it into a big basket. Toss candy like salad to insure even distribution of hershey's, kit kat's, reese's peanut butter cups and snickers. Notice renegade Kit Kat has abandoned basket and is lying on the table, looking all scrumptious. Eat Kit Kat to celebrate successful tossing of candy.

10:05: First customer of the day comes in. Customer needs 4 yards fusible fleece. Notice we only have one lonely little yard. Ask customer if she can wait for said fleece, as I ordered fleece last week and it should be in any second. Customer agrees to purchase one lonely little yard of fleece and come back for more later.

10:10: As customer is still browsing, Fed-Ex man shows up with order containing fusible fleece. Hallelujah. Proceed to sell customer #1 remaining 3 yards of fleece. Also flirt a little with Fed-Ex man. Example: Me:would you like some halloween candy, even though you're NOT wearing a costume? Fed-Ex guy: Yes. And I AM wearing a costume. I'm dressed up like a Fed-Ex guy. *roll eyes*

10:30: Start un-packing rest of notions order

10:45: "9 months pregnant Rachel" shows up to visit.

11:00: Erin and her 1 year old, Elizabeth stop in to visit. Elizabeth is dressed as little Red Riding Hood in a costume her mama made for her. I tear up the store trying to find my camera so I can take a picture. Erin harrasses me about not updating my blog more often.

11:45: Erin and "9 Months pregnant Rachel" go home.

12:00: Resume un-packing notions order. Realize that I haven't checked the store's e-mail yet. Begin the looong process of booting up computer/dialing into the internet to check mail.

12:30: Decide I am hungry. Make Ramen Noodles.

12:45: Am eating Ramen noodles/cecking e-mails. Michaela stops by to drop off the birds and elephant she sewed for us from the new Last Minute Patchwork Gifts book by Joelle Haverson. Decide birds are super cute. Abandon e-mails, yet still eat Ramen as we decide where birds should hang.

1:00: Hillary brings in her son, Scotty, dressed in Optimus Prime Transformers costume. Scotty demonstrates how costume actually does "transform." Peak at her daughter Izzy, dressed as a chicken, asleep in backseat of Hillary's car. Again, search for, but am unable to locate, camera. Cry a little.

1:30: Hillary and crew leave. Michaela and I begin search outside for real live tree branch to hang cute little birds on.

1:45: Locate branches. Bring them inside and hang birds throughout the store.

2:00: Am visited by Amanda, who have not seen since high school. Spend next hour catching up on last 10 years of our lives.

2:45: Amanda and Michaela leave.

3:00: Resume checking e-mails/checking in notions order/eating halloween candy/waiting on people/writing this blog.

You see how my life is, Erin...? At which point am I supposed to do the whole Wireless Internet thing? But I'm soooo not complaining: I have the best job in the world. And, P.S. I found my camera!!! Talk to you again soon... and with pictures, I promise!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Eats and Treats

Yesterday afternoon, after a lovely visit with my friends Kristine and Allison and Kristine's beautiful kids Maxin and Renner, I returned to the shop for sewing lounge only to find the parking lot full of cars. Out of one of these cars stepped my friend Natalie, who screeched at me, "You're LATE!!!" This was true, I was supposed to be there at 4:00 and the combination of fresh baked cookies, tea, friends and babies was sooo hitting the spot that I didn't want to leave. So, as Natalie reminded me, I was late. After screeching at me (There really is no other word for it), she added, with a smile on her face, "I brought you an Italian sandwich..." Now, anybody who brings me food is on my good list. And that brings me to today's topic of discussion: people bringing me things at the shop.

I don't know what it is about me, but people bring me little offerings at the shop. Completely un-solicited, too, I might add. I've had people bring me a rainbow array of goodies, including chicken soup, pastrami sandwiches, brownies, cookies, christmas ornaments, books, a stained glass quilt square for my new house, gourmet chocolate (Green&Black's), not-so-gourmet chocolate (Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Pumpkins), and my personal favorite was a Strawberry Daquiri made with freshly picked local strawberries, still in the blender cup (Thank You, Allison!!!) How do you like those apples? And now, Italian sandwiches. I told Natalie that I liked it when people brought me stuff at the shop. I said it made me feel loved. She screeched at me AGAIN "Of course you're LOVED!!!," like that was the craziest thing she'd ever heard.

Anyways, I guess the point is that sometimes I feel so lucky to do what I do and I appreciate it when people kind of "take care of me" back. So, this really has nothing to do with anything, but for all those people living so far away who read this blog to keep up with the goings on in Damariscotta Mills, or for anyone who's not lucky enough to live in Maine in October, here's a little, unsolicited treat for YOU... the foliage around here lately has been ROCK STAR quality and I thought I might perhaps share with you. And to everyone who's ever brought me a little something something at the shop or elsewhere...keep up the good work, will ya?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Playing Tourist

Fall has finally made an appearance here in Midcoast Maine...

There's a quilt at the shop that's called "Finally Fall," and I know that "finally" feeling. The last few days have been hotter than I ever could have imagined possible for Maine in October, but today, it's raw and chilly outside and you actually merit that cup of tea (or cocoa or coffee or cider) in your hands as beverage-slash-handwarmer.

But, during this hot, hot weather, I had some great adventures. My "glamorous friend" Kalinah was visiting me from Boston and we ran around doing "Maine Tourist-y" things. We went out on the Schooner Olad in Camden (Hi to Captain Erin!!!). My Mom and Grandmother and I have been sailing out on this particular Schooner at least once a year for the last five years and the Captain always remembers us. I was anxious to see if he'd remember me "out of context," that is to say, there with someone other than my Mom and Grandmother, but he totally did and we had such a good time. If you're ever in the Midcoast area with friends a ride on the Schooner Olad is a must-do. Sure, there a bigger boats that sale out of Camden Harbor, but the Olad is hands-down the best (And believe me, I know of which I speak). What makes it so great? They have cushioned, open-air,
cockpit seating that is totally conducive to hanging out and being mellow and schmoozing with fellow passengers, and Captain Erin is the best. He has the best stories. Some of them I've heard before but I love them all the same. Sometimes he just talks about life and it has nothing to do with sailing or wildlife or the harbor, but it's always fun to hear him tell stories, no matter what the subject. He's just a cool guy. AND they take a picture of your group and give you a complimentary copy. Plus I just like sailing. I like when the boat gets really tipped to one side and you're convinced it's gonna tip over and then you tack and come about to the other side and you're convinced it's going to tip over the other side. But, then you get used to it and it's just fun. Those boats can't go fast enough for me. I guess I'm just a speed demon crazy gal trapped in the body of a quilter.

Kalinah and I also poked around Pemaquid point. This was a repeat "Tourist-y Thing" from her last visit to Maine, but this time we did a photo shoot for her clothing line on the rocks. I took the pictures, then she would run behind one of the big boulders and change her outfit and we'd do it all over again. We also got to go INSIDE the lighthouse, which, as a local, I have NEVER done before, and the view from up there is RAD. Very fun day. Oh, also, there were HUNDREDS of monarch butterflies whizzing around. Apparently, it's a good year for Monarchs,as evidenced in these photos. That, and all those fuzzy caterpillars that are SUPPOSED to be orange and black are JUST orange this year. What's up with that? If anyone knows the answer or has a theory, would you pretty please clue me in, because I'm convinced it can;t be good. My friend Rachel's Grandfather says it means it will be a snowy winter and it's going to snow ALL of November. One month after 90 degrees it's going to snow? I just can'tbuy it. But, hey... stranger things have happened and Nature is a crazy thang.

Last tourist-y thing we did: Eat lobsters (HUGE lobsters) straight off the boat from a local lobsterman friend of mine. "I know a guy..." I told Kalinah. It was great. We had a really good time. Now she's gone home to Boston and I'm settled back into my comfy little life.

The Red Sox swept their playoffs, so now they're on to the next round. My friend Shawn hopes they don't have to play the Yankees, he just wants them (the Yankees) out of the equation altogether, but I say, the playoffs wouldn't be the playoffs if we didn't have to step on the Yankees on the way to the top. Isn't that what we all secretly want? A little action? Drama? Entertainment? Heart-Pounding, bottom of the 9th, edge of your seat nail-biting baseball? Me, yes. But I'll settle for a win in any way, shape or form.

At any rate, I'll mozy...
Be back again soon with new stuff

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Happy October!!!
Or, should I say Soxtober??? I come back from a particularly satisfying night at Sewing Lounge and turn on NESN to find that my favorite Red Sox have taken Game 1 against the Angels. Sweet. And the best part? I know that my lovely little Grandmother will get the paper tomorrow morning and check to see if the Sox won or not and when I go visit her for tea, she'll say "I noticed your team won last night." She's the best. She reads and saves articles about Mac computers and Graphic Design (even though she doesn't particularly care anything about them, nor the Sox), because she knows that those are the things that I like. She takes good care of me that way.

My friend Kristine had her baby on Monday. Renner was born on October 1, 2007 and he's a gorgeous 10lb. baby boy. I went to visit her in the hospital and got to hold him and he fell asleep in my arms. I fell in love. He's great and has a fabulous Mom and Big Brother Maxin and Dad Jeremy. They are a totally cool family. But you know what? I'm a little terrified because 10lbs. is awfully big. I thought he might look small in person but that baby is sooo big for just one day old. Yowzah, Kristine. Way to go. You deserve a push present more than anyone I ever knew.

My friend Jessica is making a Turning Twenty out of her own hand dyed silks. She makes gorgeous silk jewelry that she sells at and I cannot sing her praises enough. She's so talented. I'm lucky enough to own one of her pieces and it's become my favorite accessory. I had to post a picture of her quilt squares as she was laying them out.

So, that's all for tonight. Just a quick woot woot for the Sox and all the awesome people in my life. Look for more very, very soon.


Rhea Rhea

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some things never change

Good Morning to everyone,

I don't know why, but I'm in one of those totally annoying, "Today Show" era Katie Couric, good moods. Why? I have no clue. Honestly. Must have had sweet dreams last night and gotten the magic amount of sleep or something. Also, the weather has been AMAZING lately. Perfect fall, Maine weather. Kristine's having a baby ANY MINUTE now (I'm just waiting for my phone to ring with the news that "the Eagle has landed"...) We won't talk about the Red Sox today.

Anyways, I have these pictures to share with you... I don't know how many of you know the shop's history, but the building we're in was once upon a time a Carriage House for the big yellow house across the way, which is now where Dr. Friedland (Our family Dr./photographer/neighbor) and his family live. In the meantime, it became, around 1933, a general store, owned by Mr. Ernest McGray. Ernest McGray was actually my great, great, great uncle. He was my Grandmother's uncle, in other words, and my Grandmother used to work there when she was a teenager. She pumped gas and helped people buy penny candy and bananas and soap flakes and all that old-fashioned-y stuff. In the meantime, it was sold to the Hallowell's (another old, Maine family) and then sometime, about 30 years ago, it became a fabric store and has remained a fabric store to this very day. My Mom bought the store 3 years ago (even though I've been working there for over 10 years) and she turned it into the fine establishment that it is today. In other words, she put the FAB back into FABRIC.

And even though we have a kind of contemporary feel to our fabrics in our old-fahsioned building (the best of both worlds, n'est-ce pas?) every once in a while something happens that reminds me of the days of 'yore. About a month ago, I hear the un-mistakable sound of Nick and his horses coming up the street, and they stop at our store for a little rest and an apple or two. Well, the horses had the apples, Nick had a Klondike bar or two. It was so cool!!! I had to run out with my camera and take a picture. You don't even have to try that hard, looking at these pictures, to imagine it's 1933 again.

XOXO Rhea Rhea

Monday, September 17, 2007

No place like home!

Michaela got married just fine, it was truly a wonderful wedding and she and her man spent the honeymoon in lovely Nova Scotia. And, do you know where I myself just returned from??? Just a little old place called FENWAY PARK where I watched the Red Sox completely spank the Yankees 10 to 1. Nevermind that this spanking was sandwiched in between 2 absolutely heartbreaking losses... they won when I was there. I MUST be a good luck charm. Now all I can think of is going back to another game: they need me. I'm completely addicted now: it was the most fun thing I've done in a long time. AND I got to share this experience with my little sister, which made it even sweeter. Her assimilation is now complete: I have succesfully cloned a "mini-Rhea".

And since I mentioned in my last post that all of my friends are either pregnant and/or getting married, I thought I'd show you a little somethin' somethin' that I made for my friend Rachel who's having a little baby in November: It's the Weekender Bag by Amy Butler. This is my second attempt at the bag, folks. My first attempt came out okay, but I was feeling very much held back by my inferior machine (brand to remain nameless). Now that I have inherited and taken advantage of my Great-Grandmother's old green Kenmore I am UN-STOPPABLE. If you can get your hands on an old, heavy Kenmore, you'll never go back. That thing sews through ANYTHING and I can't say enough about how much I love it. Thank you, great-Grandma (whom I never met) for your sewing machine and thank you Grandma (who I still meet every morning for Tea) for MAKING me use it, even when I said I wanted something new. Grandma's are great things.

So, I'm very pleased with how Rachel's Weekender Bag (Which she requested as a Diaper Bag) turned out. I added pockets to the interior for bottles and thangs and made her a matching changing pad. Welcome to the world little Sarah-Mae!!! Your stylish mama can't wait to meet you. Neither can your Auntie Rhea-Rhea!!!

P.S. Thank you, Erin for taking the lovley photos!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Michaela's getting married in the morning...

...Or, more accurately, at 4:45 pm in the afternoon, but who's counting? I'm sooo happy for my Chaela, who found a truly great guy and deserves one, because she's a very nice person, too. And I can't wait for tonight's rehearsal dinner and the big shindig tomorrow.

I've been working on a dress for the wedding... kind of a kimono style number... but I've had SOOOO much trouble with the neck. I'm pretty sure I cut the neck and the neck bands out of two different sizes, so after many sessions with monsieur le seam-ripper (OR "Jack the Ripper," as my friend Liz calls him) I have decided to start over and make the bodice section all over again. Nothing like the last minute, n'est-ce pas? I REALLY want to make this dress, though, and conquer the pattern so I can make lots and lots more and wear them through the fall with my boots and sweaters and things. But, enough of my wardrobe dreams...

I have friends here at the shop right now picking out pajama pants and message board fabric and her little boy is dressed like a ninja, hopping all over he place, and that TOTALLY merits my attention.

Wish me luck with the dress!!!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Return of the prodigal blogger

I know, I know, I know....

Am worst blogger ever. Two months is a long time with no posts. Sorry if you missed me, but I think you will have a little pity on me when I tell you that the little toggle on my digital camera (which switches the darn thing between "taking picture mode" and "viewing picture mode") is BROKEN. So, in other words, I can TAKE pictures... I just can't download them onto my computer. And I'm an all or nothing kind of gal, so if I couldn't post with pictures, I was going to wait until I could really do it right. BUT... it's gonna be a little bit before I get my camera back in working order (Very involved, long drawn out process with the mucky-mucks at Canon)so in the meantime I decdided that a blog with no pictures was better than no blog at all.

In the meantime, my friends are all either pregnant or getting married, which is great but keeps us all busy. And the classes!!! We'e been going crazy with the classes at the shop. Not to mention the regular dailies of running a fabric store and oh, yeah, there's the whole "making quilts" thing. There was the quilt show in July where we debuted our Floorcloth patterns and kits (Debuted and SOLD OUT OF by Saturday at noontime, thank you very much). We've even started wholesale-ing the instruction booklets so look for little Alewives Fabrics satellites all over the place.

It was my friend Kat's birthday so we all went out to eat at the Great Impasta in Brunswick the other night. We were celebrating her birthday...and her birthday was back in June, so you see, the blog isn't the only thing that's been neglected. I do believe I'm settling into the easy organization that is fall. Even though I'm out of school (yippee!!!) you kind of can't help but re-organize this time of year. But anyways, back to Kat's bday... we went to see "Stardust" at the movies, and we all LOVED it. If you are at all a fan of "The Princess Bride" then you should most definitely go and see this movie. It was a great night and we laughed and ate and had good movie, so what's not to like.

I know what's not to like... Eric Gagne of the Red Sox. I'm not too happy with him at the moment, but it's okay, Eric: I know you've got it there in you somewhere. Anytime you feel like turning up the juice, you go for it. In the meantime... I'm waiting.. not too patiently, but I'm waiting. There are worse places to be than 4 games in front of the Yankees.

Alright, I've got to go and hit the pavement downtown to rally support for the Clamshell Quilt Show in October and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. We're collaborating and putting breast cancer quilts in the windows downtown: the merchants just don't know it yet;) So wish me luck!!! I need it!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer People, Summer Not...

I have been having THE best time at the shop lately. Everyone who has come in has had a smile on their face and been very complimentary of the shop and our fabrics and our projects and it's so nice to hear. Thanks so much to ALL of you who make this job so darn FUN.

And, I had a lovely time in Massachusetts. My floorcloth class was full of the same brand of people and they all made gorgeous floorcloths and were very fun to teach. I was talking with Rina about teaching the other day and we both agreed that so much of teaching is not about "teaching" but about "translating." So, I have pictures of the gals from Massachusetts with their projects: First there's Marlene, then there's Shauna and her mother Sallie, then MaryBeth and Marguerite, and finally Arlene and Linda. Thanks, ladies for being such a fun, sweet group and for putting up with my hoarse voice!!! Your floorcloths look Fabu!!!

And speaking of wonderful people, we have this new friend at the shop named Elizabeth and she takes our fabrics and does the neatest things with them. I cajoled her into letting me take a picture of her latest project, which are these throw pillows you see. Aren't they the coolest, most fun and funky things ever??? I'm in love with them, and inspired to make my own throw pillows to go with my decor when I move into the house.

Oh, and speaking of the house!!!... It's coming along great!!! In a few days, I will actually be moving in. That's not to say that the house is completely done and finished and ready, because it's not, but the bedroom and living room are done. My HUGE closet is done and the bathroom will very soon be done so when the bathroom is ready I'm moving in for good. In the meantime I'm moving bits and pieces of my stuff and preparing to take George up on his offer to build me all kinds of shelves and things in my closet.

In other news at the store, we're having a great time in Michaela's Machine Quilting Class. I earned the title of "Speedy Gonzales" when I actually completed my baby flannels quilt last night. It's sooo soft. And I've finished a couple of Turning Twenties that are going to be kits as soon as some fabric comes in that I need. I've started a new batik quilt that is going to be so pretty I think I shall cry. I'm keeping the machine quilters in business, I tell ya. Of course, we have the batik sale coming up. You DO know about the batik sale don't you??? June 30 through July 7 all batiks are buy 3 yards get 1 yard free. So, if you've been jonesin' for some batiks now is a great time to stock up. We've got an incredible selection. WAY too many to put on the web. And all kinds of 108" batik quilt backs and rayon batiks that are great for garments.

Fabric, in general, not just batiks have been pouring into the shop lately. It's like Christmas for us and we don't know what to make something out of next. Happy, happy days.

So, until next time I guess that's all I've got!!!

See you soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Love that Dirty Water...


I find myself back in Boston. Not as a student but as a teacher: I'm teaching the floorcloth workshop tonight at Cambridge Quilt Shop. The sox are in town as well. They lost last night. Pretty badly. As in, 12-2. But, as Mom says: Oh well, if you're gonna lose, you might as well lose big. And after all, tomorrow is another day.

It was so nice to come back and get to see Karen ( who was my "pretend Mom" and took me in while I was staying here in Boston for school these last three years). She has the quilt I made her on her bed and I can tell she and her husband Dan really love it, which makes ME very happy. I'll never be able to repay them for everything they've done, but making them a quilt was one thing I could do to show them how much they've touched my life. That and kick a little ass while I was at school (I just got my last set of grades: all A's, thank you very much). There was no way I was going to slack off when soooo many people were making sacrifices just so I could have the opportunity to go back to school. You feel very different about school when you're older: you realize how much is at stake and you really want to get everything you can out of it.

AnyHOO,.... I rant and I rave.

I had a very interesting car ride down here. A nice young gentleman in a sporty mazda CX-8 (bright blue!!!) was sending smiles my way on the turnpike: all the way from Kennebunkport to the exit for 495. I, of course, returned the smiles while trying not to get into a car accident. And at the rest stop in Kennebunkport there was a jazz band and all kinds of finger foods set up being served by waiters and waitresses in tuxedo jackets. It looked like a wedding reception but, as I saw no bride and groom I can only assume that they were trying to spruce the place up. Mission accomplished. And I saw Freida from our local jewelry store in Damariscotta. Err, rather, she saw me. I must have given her a blank look because I didn't even recognize her and further more wasn't even sure if she was talking to me, but she cleared everything up when she said "You're from my town!" and I said "You work at STARS!!!" Very funny, random encounter. I wonder where she was going... someplace glamorous I bet. And I wonder where Mr. Blue CX-8 was going. He left me at the Worcester exit, blowing me a little kiss. It's nice to know I still got it. He had a Red Sox license plate on his car, too, which truly makes him the perfect guy for me but I'm thinking he was maybe just a fignewton of my imagination. Either way, it perked the long ride up considerably, and like I said, I was VERY careful to pay attention to the road WHILE flirting.

Anyways, I suppose I should mozy... So many people to visit... so little time. I'm just enjoying this little bit of downtime before the craziness starts. It's going to be a whirlwind trip as I'm leaving for home at 6:00 am. Got to beat that early morning traffic and got to be at a meeting at 10:00 am in Nobleboro.

Wish me luck!!!


PS... these are pix of Dan and Karen on their Harleys. Aren't they just the picture of bad to the bone?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Iris Day

Once upon a time, in my family, when I was 10 or 12 or so, we all had the Mid-winter blahs. It was February, I believe, and all Mainers get a little nutty around February due to the cold/lack of daylight/cost of heating fuel, etc, etc, etc. Anyways, my Mom had bought this little Iris that sat on our table top and never really bloomed, until one day, all of a sudden, in the middle of February, it bloomed a lovely, purpley-blue. My Mom, my brother and I declared it "Iris Day" and made it our own personal holiday and gave each other little gifts. And every year after that (for three of four years, anyways) we celebrated "Iris Day" and used it as an excuse to cheer ourselves up when there was really no other Holiday to look forward to. And all of this really has nothing to do with nothing, except that My Mom has a killer deep, dark Purpley-Blue Iris in her garden now and it blossomed the other day and gave me pause and made me very happy and reminded me of Iris Days past.

In other news, SOOOOOO much has been going on at the store. I know it's been a lil' bit since my last post but the craziness at the store was mostly to blame, and I'm glad it's been crazy. Happy/Crazy, not Crazy/Crazy. If that makes any sense. Here's a picture of our newest friend Lynn with her "Fresh Cut Floorcloth." She was one of the glas in our floorlcoth workshop this weekend. We've had oodles of classes (Machine Quilting, Two-fer Runner, Skrappy Sack, Floorcloth Workshop, and Doggie Leashes for the 8-12 year old set, not to mention Sewing Lounge which could be a whole footnote of craziness) and seen lots of old friends (Most notably my kindred spirit Robina from Vermont, who I KNOW is out there somewhere, sewing something fabu and reading this right now... HI ROBINA!!!) This is a picture of her in a "Turkish Dancer" jacket which she made from a pattern and fabric purchased at a GREAT little shop in Damariscotta Mills that I know. She brought in 2 little sprites (Anne and Olivia) who were new to the whole Alewives/Midcoast Maine thing. It was obvious they were having a magic weekend.

And the house is coming along slowly but surely. George says I will be able to move in in a few days, but I think not, as I'm sure I would have "Unfinished Kitchen" nightmares. I say, I'll move my stuff in and certainly "hang out" a lot more, but I shant be moving in until the kitchen is done. If I have a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen, I'm good to go. Remove one of these three key ingredients, and call me crazy, but it kinda takes the fun out of the whole thing. And when everything (meaning the upstairs, the downstairs, etc, etc, etc) is done (we're talking many more weeks, here, people) then I'm going to have a huge shindig/open house and really warm the place up. I'd love to invite Betty (the home's former owner) but I'm afraid she'd faint, it's so different.

And last but not least, i went to my little sister Johanna's art show last night. The whole school was decked out in everyone's art work. Kudos to her art teacher ( whose name eludes me at the moment) for doing such a great job, and the graphic designer in me apprecciated the way EVERY piece was mounted and matted and presented so attractively. It makes a huge difference and did not escape my attention. There's a lot of good energy going around in Johanna's little school. It sounds cliched, but it really does seem like a family there, and every student gets a lot of praise and support and all the benefits of a small school. Johanna's art work was great. She puts all kinds of little details in her art. My favorites were the clay Oyster shell mobile with dangling seahorse, sea otter, angel fish and dolphin, and the Conch Shell shaped color wheel. Other favorites by kids I didn't know were the Miro inspired "Pig Elvis" and a great take on Munch's "The Scream." There was also an adorable talent show. As a Bonus, on the way home, Mom and I stopped to get cold drinks, and on the eddy near their house there was amazing fog ("sea smoke" Mom calls it) hanging on after a thunder shower. The showers really cooled off the air and the sun came out for a view of the eddy I had never seen before. I had to pull over and photograph it. Just as I was pulling out, our friend Kim and her daughter Avae were pulling over to do the exact same thing.

It was a lovely ending to a lovely day!

Be back soon (I promise!!!) Class tonight with Michaela and the girls... I have to go do my homework!!!



Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here fishy, fishy, fishy...

I mean, what kind of "Alewives Girl" would I be if I didn't post some pictures of the Alewives? So, this Memorial Day weekend was very memorable for me... I had an excellent Friday night with my good friend Michaela and an impromptu barbecue at the neighbor's on saturday... "relaxicab" on Sunday and work at the store and Lobster Rolls on Monday. Was it not the most glorious weekend in recent memory?

Oh, and I helped my Grandmother with my Grandfather's 80th birthday party on Sunday, too. My Grandfather, by the way, is the oldest boy of 11 brothers and sisters, all of whom are alive and all of whom are living within a 30 mile radius of one another and they are ALL full of the dickens. Very funny when that crew gets together. And my sweet little Grandmother, when the party shows signs of slowing and some of the people had gone home, looks at the 1/2 empty pitcher of fruit punch, looks at me and says "probably we should put some Vodka in there, don't you think?" I, of course, said yes, and summarily helped my Grandmother to spike the punch at my grandfather's 80th birthday party. "Big Girl's Punch," we called it and let me tell you, it does not get any better than that.

...Or does it? The Red Sox have won their last 5 in a row and when Trot Nixon came back to town (this time as a member of the Cleveland Indians) the standing ovation he got from the crowd and the smile on his face gave me a serious case of the warm and fuzzies. Then we beat them fair and square. It's a great game. Did you all get your free Mike Lowell picture in the Boston Herald this Sunday? I got two!!!

In store news, I have finished my very first self-designed quilt top. It's called a "picture frame" quilt, it's very simple and very pretty and one in what I hope will be a long line of self published patterns. I'll post a picture as soon as I get it quilted. I'm finishing up my Magic Tiles quilt and loooooving it. I also just started a Turning Twenty out of the new April Cornell's this month. I'm discovering that I work very well with two or three different projects going on at once, so if I get bored with one I can jump to the next and have little "palette cleansing" projects and still feel like I'm getting a lot done.

And, the biggest news of all is that Sewing Lounge starts tonight. I'm so jazzed to have the store open until 8:30 as there's a totally different energy there at night (what other Quilt Shops do YOU know that play "My Chemical Romance?"). My project tonight is going to be making a pair of PJ pants out of the blue on blue "Acanthus" fabric by Amy Butler. I made a pair out of her lacework fabric on Saturday and they were so cute and so easy it was ridiculous!!!

Anyways, hope to see lots of people there tonight. If half the people show up who've said they're going to it should be wild.

And now, I must go and mow my lawn.

Enjoy the pictures!!!!


Rhea Rhea

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hot, Hot, Hot

It's gonna be a scorcher!!! 90 degrees today they tell me. Very excited about this... I'll be sick of it soon enough, to be sure, but in the meantime I love the first few TRULY hot days of summer and I bake all the coldness right out of me. And yesterday, the Alewives performed a little fish-y miracle and made an 11th hour appearance. I went for a walk around the Mills and was poking around the tippy top of the fish ladder and saw one little lonely Alewife make it up to the top. I was kind of depressed as I kept walking around the circle because I was thinking "Geez, I guess that was all for this year," and as I came around the bottom of the fish ladder I saw Frankie's car so I thought I'd stop and say Hello. Frankie, for those of you who don't know, is the Alewife King/Guru. he's kind of a local celebrity because every year he takes care of the fish ladder and he knows all there is to know about the Alewives. He's also my Grandfather's brother, which I guess would make him my uncle. Anyways, I don't see Frankie anywhere so I figure I'll just keep on-a-walkin' and just as I'm about to join the road again, who should pop out from in between two houses, but (you guessed it!!!) Frankie. He took me behind the houses and showed me a view of the fish ladder that I had NEVER seen before (about 3/4 of the way up) and showed me that there were thousands of fish that had just come in that morning. It was the huge rush of fish he had been waiting for and we were both so happy to see these fish it was ridiculous. He said the hot water made their eggs swell and that made their bodies bigger and THAT makes it easier for them to get up the fish ladder: it takes them two hours (as opposed to two days), so how do ya like them apples?

In other news, the summer people are REALLY starting to come back. We got back my good friend Donna on Monday and then yesterday my friends Jeff and Liz (The coolest "Quilting Couple" you will ever meet) came back. They got a tour of the house next door to see how the progress is coming along. I've gotten REALLY good at giving tours of that place. I think I missed my calling as real estate agent/museum tour guide.

Anyways, afterwards I sat out on my deck and let the Apple Blossoms fall on me as I read my Better Homes and Gardens and dreamed and schemed about re-decorating. It was the most relaxi-cab moment of the week.

Later on I went to see the third "Pirates of the Carribbean" movie in Boothbay with my friends Erin, Shawn(Y) and Dwayne. For the record, it was a GREAT movie. I was leary, because I loved the first one but the second one, not so much... so I was totally jazzed that the latest one was funny, romantic, action-packed and Keith Richards as Johnny Depp's father was priceless!!! Very good movie... I give it four bobbins!!!

And so.... I guess that's all until next time. Get out there and enjoy that weather!!!

xoxo Rhea
PS Happy 80th Birthday to my Grampa!!!
PPS Happy Anniversary to my Grandparents!!!
PPPS Happy Memorial Day!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Alewives Day and Mini Totes

Happy Monday guys...

Even though there is sooo much construction going on in Damariscotta and I can't even cross the street to get to Reny's to see if they have geraniums for my sweet little grandmother, I'm still happy. Why? Because the sun is finally out, we had a great Alewives Day at the store and I have a brand new mini tote that I made at this weekend's workshop.

First things first: Alewives Day was a huge success and I had such a good time. And the best part is that you guys are the ones who made it successful... all the kids (and adults!!!) who had their faces painted (That's me painting Jennifer Genthner's face in the photo) and all those who came to see the DVD and bought merchandise to support the Alewives, you all did your part and had fun (I hope) in the meantime. So, thanks very much for coming out and it was great to see familiar faces and meet new ones and let's do it all again next year!!! A special thank you to Dr. Friedland (who donated procceds from the sale of framed and matted photographs and greeting cards of the Alewives), John Kennedy (who donated proceeds from the sale of his oil painting prints) and Jayne Dwyer (who designed exclusive Alewife pins just for little old us AND donated proceeds of the sale of her Paper Moon jewelry to the Alewives). I think it was most definitely a success (even though it was cold and rainy and I don't think there was an Alewife to be seen anywhere- except in our gallery!)

And second things second, I had sooo much fun taking (not teaching) a class yesterday!!! It's nice to be on the other end of things and now I know why everyone likes classes so much!!! We had a great workshop taught by guest teacher and real-estate agent extraordinaire Debby Schling, who taught us how to put a wicked snazzy lining into those Classic Mini Totes you get at Reny's. It was the perfect 2.5 hour project (which seemed, for some reason, to shock Debby when the timing worked out so perfectly) and everyone went home with a finished project. Even Mom, who had a sewing machine malfunction and had to "abandon ship" half way through the workshop and use Johanna's "Sewing Pretty with Hello Kitty" machine (which, for the record, is a really good machine) finished her tote. We taught Donna some "Maine" vernacular when Rina described her bag as "some cunnin'" (Donna is from Michigan and had no idea that "some cunnin'" meant "really cute," but she knows now!!!) and I learned how to use a seam-gauge ruler. It's a $1.59 tool that I had no clue how to use, but now that Debby showed me a practical use for it I'm sure I'll never be without one again. Debby was a great teacher and she put a new spin on sewing for me because she's self taught and looks at sewing very differently than I would ever be clever enough to do. She's wicked smaht!!! I am positive this workshop is going to be a keeper and I already want to make more: one $2.99 tote to match each pair of $2.50 Old Navy flip flops!!! Between the shoes and the totes and my $4.00 skirts from Target (which I have in a rainbow array of colors) I am all set for the summer!!! BRING IT ON!!!

Talk to you all again soon!!!


PS... I cananot WAIT to watch the Sox v. The Yankees tonight!!! GO SOX!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hole in the wall gang...


did you ever see such a hole in a wall? My stepdad, JD, decided that the upstairs bathroom in the "Alewives House" needed to be bigger and he wanted NO DOUBT as to which wall needed to come down in order to make that happen. So... the hole. I think he's just a little boy at heart and likes wrecking things and I must admit, there's a certain appeal to taking all your aggressions out on a wall and leaving a nice, satisfying hole in your wake.

In other news, I am all graduated. Last week was gorgeous, gorgeous weather in Massachusetts and I had a lovely late night stroll through the park with my girlfriends after the ceremony. It's a great memory that I'll always have. The next day we went to the Science museum and saw all kinds of great stuff, including a film about the Louisiana Bayou at the Omni Theater and a visit with the butterflies in the butterfly garden. Then we went on the Duck tours so I've had my dreams of being a pseudo-tourist fulfilled. And now that school is really and truly over I am diving in to projects of my own and projects at the shop. There is a great workshop this Sunday that is being taught by my friend Debby. She's teaching us how to put a lining in those cute little mini-totes that you get from Reny's (they look like L.L. Bean totes) so they are personalized to your liking and have little slots for pencils and checkbooks and the like. Very excited about that one. So, there will be more very soon, I Promise!!!

Coming next: Pictures of the Alewives as they do their Alewife-y thing!!!