Thursday, September 25, 2008

There's BOLTS and then there's BOLTS

Hey hey one and all,

Funny little story for you before I depart for a lovely weekend of camping in Bar Harbor (and, as luck would have it, the ONLY weekend in these last two months that they are forecasting RAIN):

Yesterday, when Oliver came home from work, he popped into the shop to say hello to me. His timing was impeccable, as there were a TON of new boxes of fabric that had just arrived. All of these boxes needed to be opened, unloaded and then broken down, and I don't know if you've ever noticed this but a bolt of fabric is HEAVY (Especially the 54" funky stuff that we have been ordering lots of lately). Sooo, I employed the doe-eyes and the pouty lips and the "blink, blink, blinking" of the eyelashes and successfully cajoled him into helping me with this whole process.

I am working away on my pile of boxes and Oliver is working away on his pile of boxes when all of a sudden I hear him say "Hey, I found a bolt!!!" I'm thinking "Well, I should hope so because I've just found 5 bolts of fabric in the box I've opened, myself." I look up from my box-cutting, expecting to see Ollie pull out a new bolt of fabric, but NOOOOO: Between his thumb and index finger, Oliver is holding a huge, rusty metal bolt that he found in the box.

You have to laugh. 100% of my daily recommended dose of irony supplied by this tiny, metal screw that somehow shanghaied it's way to Maine from MODA's HQ in Dallas, Texas.

Have a great weekend and think of Ollie and I as we set up our tent in the rain. If we need a bolt, I TOTALLY know where to find one.



Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kaffe Fassett BOTM

Hello hello,

BOTM stands for Block Of The Month, by the way...

We have truly lost our marbles because we are going to tackle the "Post Card" quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book Quilt Road. But seriously, folks, I think this quilt is an excellent candidate for a BOTM project. It's big, it's intricate and most's gorgeous. And it uses Kaffe fabrics. Sounds right up our alley, n'est-ce pas?

We will be making the Postcard Quilt "Round Robin" style. That means we will start with the center medallion design of the quilt and then each month add a border all the way around until one year later... voila!!! Le quilt c'est fini!!! And even though this may not be the easiest Quilt that we have ever tackled I do think that breaking it down into small increments is the key to it's successful completion. Again, this is where the BOTM format comes in handy.

How can YOU get in on this BOTM action??? Easy!!! There are three different ways to participate in the Postcard Quilt:

1) You can take The Postcard Quilt BOTM as a class, which means you will come into the shop every second Saturday of the month to pick up your fabric kit and complete your borders in a classroom setting. You'll get lots of extra help and tricks and tidbits of information. You'll also get to see the same people once a month for an entire year, which perhaps would scare the heck out of some people, but we think it's kind of neat.

2) You can participate in the BOTM by picking up your fabrics on the second Saturday of every month here at the store and then complete at home, at your leisure, or...

3) You can participate via mail-order! No matter where you live you can get some Kaffe Fassett goodness once a month in your mailbox. No decisions to make, no fabrics to shop for... it all comes to you. That's a first for us and a great opportunity for those of you who are "from away" to get your Alewives fix.

Hmmm... what else should I be telling you? You can choose between 2 colorways: either choose Hot Reds or Cool Blues (or both!). Hot Reds will be those very "Kaffe-y" reds and pinks and magentas, while Cool Blues will be periwinkles, turquoises and lilacs. I'm psyched to be choosing the fabrics for this project and luckily we have an amazing source of Kaffe fabrics at the store to draw from.

Everyone will need the book Quilt Road, which is of course available at the store, and you will need to hook us up with some information (Credit Card number, e-mail address, phone number, color choice, etc.) but other than that you can sit back and piece, piece piece to your hearts content. This won't be the easiest thing you've ever done but I know it won't be the hardest, either. I equate this project to reading a really good book: you don't read it to be finished quickly, you read it to be somewhere in the middle. In other words, this project is all about the process. It's about enjoying the piecing and always having something to fall back on. Hopefully, one year from now I will be sitting pretty, with my own completed quilt top and pictures of lots more that I can post right here.

If you have any questions at all then feel free to e-mail me at the store or even to call us (we love the phone calls!) The BOTM action starts Saturday, November 8th.

Hope to hear from you soon and check out the new fall classes and workshops listed on our website's class page.

Talk to you soon!



Friday, September 12, 2008

Quilt Shop Baby

Hello, hello...

Well, today is certainly "brisk" here in Maine.

I'm torn between my love of the cold weather and my fear of the oil bill.

It would be great to crank up the heat just for a little bit to take the chill off but not so great for the invoices to start rolling in.

Still... five little minutes wouldn't hurt...

But enough about my love/hate realationship with the cold.

I have something MUCH more interesting to blog about today and that is our unofficial Alewives mascot and his name is Reuben the Dog.

I "inherited" Reuben (a handsome black lab of 6 years old) when my boyfriend, Oliver, came into my life. I would love to be able to take credit for Reuben's calm, laid back manner and killer smile but it is all Oliver's doing. What can I say, the guy is a good Dad. When we first started dating and I was introduced to Reuben I knew exactly who I needed to make a good impression with: Not Oliver's family, but his dog. Luckily, Reuben liked me from the get-go (Bacon in your pocket will do that every time...) and we have been buddies ever since.

Reuben is a great guard dog. He will bark when people come to the front door of our house, but he wags his tail vigorously all the while. He's just waiting to make sure people are there for friendly reasons. What kills me is when I come home, especially later on at night, Reuben is so excited to see me that he runs and gets his "Duck" toy and brings it over to show me. It's like he's saying "look at my toy! Now that you're home let's play!" I do not know why but I find this to be the most endearing thing in the world. It reminds me of something I would have done when I was a little kid.

Reuben is also very smart. He has figured out how to open doors by their handle (not unlike the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park) and has been known to let himself outside. Once he exited through a plate glass window, but that's another story, and not one of his prouder moments, so we'll save that for another time.

Every once in a while I bring Reuben over to the store with me. He will never be a full time shop dog, because I understand that some people have allergies and some people are just not "Dog" people (including myself at one time: funny the changes you make for men, don't you think?), but a couple of times a week Reuben hangs out at Alewives. He loooves it there. He is admired by everyone he meets and each new customer that comes through the door has "you look like you might pet me" potential.
The cutest thing is when he flops down on the floor and goes to sleep, raising one quizzical eyebrow if he hears a noise, and then dozing off again when he decides it's nothing worth his attention.

I still love cats, but having spent quite some time now living with Reuben, I find that it is so true what they say: You just can't beat a Lab. So, if you see me out walking Reuben or happen to be at the shop when Reuben is there as well, rest assured that he is the biggest, friendliest goober that you have ever met and he DOES accept bribes.

See you soon with new classes and fall photos!!!



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Free Pattern Day!

Hello Ladies and Gents,

Hope you had a wicked good Labor Day.

Myself, I had the "quintissential" Labor Day in Maine experience: meaning lobsters with the family, a visit to the ocean, a visit to the lake and GORGEOUS weather. The store was open, too, and I had a lovely weekend as far as that goes. I am so (I repeat: SO) happy that August is over. Now is my favorite time of year, from September straight on through until Christmas. I literally feel 10 pounds lighter.

In fact, I am in such a good mood as of two days ago that I have a present for you all...

How about a FREE vinyl grocery tote pattern? Would you like that?

My New Year's Resolution was to use fewer plastic bags, and now that it's September I thought I should get right on that. We had this iron-on vinyl at the store that kept calling to me. I thought, geez, I should really DO something with that, and one night at sewing lounge I started messing around and the vinyl grocery tote was born. I wrote up the pattern, took a few pictures, and voila! Instant free pattern for you.

Now, I CANNOT STAND the expression "Go Green," so I'll refrain from using it here. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the environment and the idea behind the expression, I just think the expression itself is probably the most over-used saying of the last few years. If I hear someone say "Go Green!" one more time... but I digress. I need hardly point out that a vinyl grocery tote is an EXCELLENT way to use fewer plastic bags in STYLE. All you need are two coordinating fabrics, 2 1/2 yards of twill tape for the handles and 2 1/2 yards of iron-on vinyl, ALL of which we carry at the store.

Iron-on vinyl is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. We carry some Moda fabric at the store that already has the vinyl adhered to it and it always sells out really fast, so it's totally neat to be able to "vinyl-ize" ANY fabric you want. I made the example totes out of Heather Bailey's new "Pop Garden" fabrics.

To get your free pattern just drop by the store. And don't feel like you have to limit their use to JUST grocery toting. They would also make great diaper bags, toy bags, book totes, beach bags, fabric bags (wink, wink...) Puh-lenty of uses. I'm going to make up a smaller verison in Halloween fabrics for a Trick-or-Treat bag, too. And there are big plans to give these away for Christmas presents.

Also, there is a HUGE choice to make concerning these bags: A decision of such monumental proportions that it could alter the course of your life forever, so for Heaven's sake choose wisely. You must choose between "Matte" vinyl and "Glossy" vinyl.

I think there is great potential for a personality analysis based on whether people choose matte or glossy. For me, it depends on the fabric I'm using and the mood I'm in, but I mostly prefer the matte (This is definitely consistent with my no-nonsense, managerial personality). But Rina, she HAD to have the glossy (being French, she likes every little bit of bling-bling that she can get her hands on). So far, the matte and glossy vinyl have been neck and neck in terms of popularity. Just when I think one is going to edge the other out, there is a come-back. It is forever cracking me up.

What more could you possibly want in a fabric store? Gorgeous fabrics, free pattern AND personality analysis to boot...

So, come on in and get analyzed and I'll see you there.

Happy September!