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 www.bluebirdbaby.typepad.com 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 www.leonvanella.com, 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!