Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Project (and Post!) of 2010

Ahhh, where do I begin?

2010 has been a great year.

There were the usual time-markers for me (The arrival of the Alewives and the Fish Ladder Festival, Sales, Craft Swaps, Quilt Shows, Giant Pumpkins, Soulemama Giveaways and the like)...

As with all years, there were some low-times (a three day power-outage, and the biggest loss of all was the passing of my Step-Grandmother, Margie)...

And like all years, there were some high-times (Meeting Heather Ross and Liesl Gibson, and of course there was that whole "getting-married" thing)...

And there has been a lot of sewing this year (Simplicity 3835's, Museum Tunics, Sandlewood Jackets, Winslow Market Totes and La La Log Cabins)...

Which leads me to my last sewing project of 2010: my very own Schoolhouse Tunic!

I finished this tunic on Wednesday night and have pretty much been wearing it ever since.

I made the tunic length from one of Anna Maria Horner's "Innocent Crush" voiles, in the Mixed-Signals print, Cornfield colorway.

Like most projects with me, I can't wait to make more.

This pattern was really fun to make: I love that there are no buttonholes, no zippers, no darts, barely any markings to make, something you can just cut out and then sink your teeth into and sew.

I love the way the voile washes up: I can't recommend it enough. And the prints are gorgeous.

I always use a size 70/10 needle with the voiles and with the new lawns, too: a nice, new, sharp one that will slice right through the tight, fine weave of the fabric.

I cut the pattern pieces out one night, and then over the next two days worked on the Schoolhouse Tunic here and there.

Before I knew it, I was all done!

I was anxious (and optimistic) to see how the School House Tunic would look on me.

The split bodice is not always a busty-gal's best friend.

But I was so pleased with the finished results and I was very careful to take my measurements and check them against the sizing on the pattern.

According to the pattern, I am a couple sizes larger than I normally admit to being, but my measurements matched up with this sizing perfectly, so I cut out that size and in the end found that the garment fit me perfectly.

Which reminds me of a story I have been meaning to share with you all. Here goes.

A few years ago, I taught a couple of teenage girls a private lesson on dressmaking.

The girls were using a Vogue pattern, and the first thing I made them do was tell me what size of jeans they normally bought.

These teenage girls were both a size 2 jean, I believe. Or possibly a size 4. I can't remember. The point was, they were teeny, tiny little things, these teenage girls.

(I have never been a size 2, except when I was 2. I have vague memories of being a size 8, but that was a looong, looong time ago).

"Okay," I said.

Next, I taught the girls how to take their measurements: holding the tape-measure tight, but not too tight, measuring across the fullest part of the hips and bust, measuring at the waist where you naturally bend, etc., etc., etc...

Then I had them write down their measurements and compare them to the measurements on the back of the Vogue pattern.

Then I sat back and waited for the hollering to begin.

As if on cue, these size 2 teenage girls started shreaking and eventually one of them screamed something that sounded like "O.M.G...This says I'm, like, a Size 10!!!," but what she was really saying was "O.M.G. I'm so fat and no guy is ever going to like me and my life is over!"

I shared a look of duplicity with the girl's mother (it was then, I think, that I realized I had officially become old).

Next, I asked the girls to take deep breaths and reminded them that some people wished they were size 10's and that size 10 was in fact pretty small, and that just because the back of the Vogue pattern said they were size 10's didn't mean anything at all.

It just meant that they had to follow the size 10 pattern pieces while they cut out their dresses in order to get a good fit.

The girls asked me why their sizes on the Vogue pattern were so different from their jeans sizes.

I told them I wasn't officially sure, but I imagined that standard off-the-rack clothing sizes have changed quite a bit over the years, but Vogue pattern sizing had not changed so much over the years, and that virtually anytime you are cutting out a "traditional" (Vogue, Simplicity, McCall's, etc.) pattern, or any pattern for that matter, you had to take your measurements, check them against the pattern's sizing and unfortunately it will probably be a blow to your ego every time.

My size has always been larger when cutting out a traditional pattern than my off-the-rack size is.

I made peace with that little bit of information a long time ago.

And where I am going with this whole story is to tell you that I had a similar experience with the sizing of the Schoolhouse Tunic.

Once I got over the initial shock of "You say I'm a size what?" and cut out my pattern pieces and made the whole garment I was so pleased with the fit.

I think this is one of the comfiest, most versatile patterns out there and flattering, too!

(Even on an insecure, curvy, busty, slightly neurotic gal like myself!).

What a success for my last 201o stitches!

If you want to make a Schoolhouse Tunic with me, I am teaching this class at the shop starting Sunday, January 9th.

This class is geared towards the absolute beginning garment sewer: someone who knows how to use their machine, but who wants to learn how to take their measurements, cut out a pattern, mark pattern pieces, set-in sleeves, hem and construct the garment, all of the above.

There won't be any homework in this workshop: the class spans three Sundays in a row so there will be plenty of time to do the work in-house.

Students will need to select their fabric and have it washed and dried before class, so if you would like to join me that is the only thing you will need to do ahead of time.

We are closed today, Saturday and Sunday for the holidays, but will be back in the saddle again on Monday morning.

Enjoy these last few moments of 2010 and have a Happy New Year!



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So Long To Ya 2010

I like to keep things light here and not touch on anything political, but I saw this on CBS Sunday Morning last week and I figured if they showed it on CBS Sunday Morning (Which, for the record, I watch with my Grandmother), it couldn't be too bad for my readers!

Click here to see "So Long to Ya 2010!!!"



Monday, December 27, 2010

Well Timed Blizzard

If you're gonna have a snowstorm, it might as well be tacked-on to the Monday after Christmas Weekend, don't you think?

Ollie has the day off today: we've already ventured out in his big 'ol truck (which has excellent snow-tires and 4 wheel drive) and kicked around town and nabbed some breakfast.

Everything looks really beautiful and the snow should still be falling for a few more hours, then we'll have to forage out again.

Now I'm off to find something good to watch on the computer and I'm going to spend my day SEWING (hooray!) and watching the snow.

I hope wherever you are that you got something nice for the Holidays and that you're snug as a bug in a rug.

Enjoy the day!



PS: Don't forget that December 31st is the last day for online customers (or local customers!) to use their soulemama or madebyrae promotional codes for 10% off your entire order (excluding shipping). Get those last-minute orders in!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We wish you a Merry Christmas!!!

From all of us at Alewives Fabrics: Merry Christmas!

Alewives Fabrics will be closed starting at 1:00 pm Christmas Eve and will re-open at 10:00 am Tuesday, December 28th.

Have a relaxing Holiday!

(That's my plan.)



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Funny Poem (AKA What happens when Rhea is left at the shop alone)

I'm sitting in the shop and it's getting real late,

But I'm not to be leaving the shop until Eight.

Tonight is Alewive's local Men's Shopping Night,

But the weather outside is a terrible fright.

All the men, they came early, going home to their wives-es,

And I'm here at the shop left to my own devices.

I'm looking at all of the work I should do,

Like uploading fabrics for people to view.

I uploaded some, could not get in the mood,

So instead I've been sitting here eating all of our food.

I have called husband Ollie to bug him from next door

And I've cranked up the music and danced on the floor.

Perhaps I have played a wee bit of tetris,

I forgot just how nice having time to myself is!

But to tell you the truth I think it will be great,

When I get to go home and the clock says it's Eight!

I'll be back again before Christmas with something more "professional," I promise!



Monday, December 20, 2010

Virtual Christmas Open House winners announced!!!

Hello hello and thank you so much to EVERYONE who attended our very first Virtual Christmas Open House!!!

Without further delay and with the help of the random number generator, here are the big winners (I hope you see YOUR name in there!!!)

• The winner of the $50 gift certificate to the shop is:

MG said...

Following your blog now--officially, that is.

• The winner of the free space in my next Virtual Turning Twenty Class is:

Anonymous said...

please throw my name in Santa's hat for a a new quilter, this would be the best pressie ever!

blrohloff at aol dot com

(Rhea says: Looks like this is going to the perfect recipient!!!)

• The winner of the Indigo Icicles fat quarter set is:

jenifers said...

I also subscribe to your blog!

Aaaannnndddd, I have two surprise gifts to hand out!!!

Moda-rep was here this past week and he loves me sooooo much that he gave me two charm-packs of Liesl Gibson's newest line "Modern Workshop" to give away!!!

These fabrics won't be available until next spring, so the lucky winners are extra lucky indeed!

• The two winners of the "Modern Workshop" charm packs are:

Tina @ Squirrel Acorns said...

Just tweeted about the open house (@tinasquirrel). I think that was the first time I actually did one of the tinyurl things. It worked! (I am not a very avid tweeter.)

(I am so pleased that this charm-pack is going home with Tina: not only is she a great quilter and a very good friend of mine, she was also in Liesl's workshop this past November!!!)


katie devenish said...

I'm keen - Just tweeted you

Congratulations to all the lucky winners!

I have contacted everyone who won by e-mail, so if you see your name up there but haven't gotten an e-mail from me yet, check your in-box and/or send me an e-mail and I will hook you up with your goodies!

Now remember, even if you didn't win one of the bigger prizes in the giveaway, you still win a free fat quarter with your next purchase. Keep an eye on your in-box, all of you Virtual Open House attendees, and you'll soon be receiving an e-mail from me ( with your super-secret-free-fat-quarter-code.

If you "attended" the Open-House 4 times, you can use the code 4 separate times, but only one free fat quarter per order. In other words, you will have to spread the free fat quarter love over your next four orders, which is a great excuse to buy fabric all year long, I say!

I will see you again soon with another post!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Virtual Christmas Open House is Today!!!

Comments now closed: Thanks everyone for attending our first ever Virtual Christmas Open House!!!

I will be back in a little bit to announce the winners!!!



Welcome to our first ever Virtual Christmas Open House!

Come on in, let me take your coat and get you something to drink... please make yourself at home!

To thank our wonderful customers for a fantastic year at, we are giving some goodies away!

Everyone who "attends" this open house will win something great, but a lucky few are going to win some especially great items.

How do you "attend" a Virtual Open House?

It's easy: just leave me a comment on this post!

But, you can leave a comment more than once and increase your chance of winning one of our special prizes.

You can leave a comment once just for visiting the post, but you may also leave additional comments if you link to my blog, subscribe to my blog, follow me on twitter, tweet about this post or link to this post on your facebook page. For each of these things you do, leave one comment, and each comment will earn you an entry for some fabulous giveaway items.

Everyone who leaves a comment will receive an e-mail from me in the next couple of days with a top-secret code for a free fat quarter ($2.50 value) with your next order, so be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment! You can use the code for as many times as you comment here on the post, but can only use the code only once per order (In other words, no more than one free fat quarter per order!).

But, you may win something even better than a secret code for a free fat quarter with your next order: you may win a free fat quarter bundle, a spot in my next Virtual Turning Twenty class, or a $50 gift certificate to the shop. If you win one of our big prizes, shipping is on me and I will send out the giveaway winner's prize right away!

Comments close at Midnight EST on December 19th.

Thanks very much for reading this blog and spreading the Alewives Fabrics Word and thanks for attending my Virtual Christmas Open House!!!

Happy Holidays and I will be back soon to announce the giveaway winners.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giveaway on Made by Rae!!!

Edited to add: I would be in BIG trouble with my customers if I didn't mention that we got our order of Soul Blossoms today... the wait is over! The rest of the Home-Decs and the Laminates will be shipping before Christmas, and tomorrow Jessica and I will be uploading bundles from the collection. Thanks for your patience!

I was so pleased when Rae Hoekstra (of Made by Rae fame) contacted me and asked if Alewives Fabrics would like to be part of her Fa La La La Fabric giveaway series... Rae is a doll and I do believe we are members of the Mutual Admiration Society.

I first met Rae this summer when I went to Weekend Sewing in Vermont with Ollie. We had a great time talking it up at dinner together... geeking out, I guess you might call it. The way only fabricophiles can!

She later contacted me via e-mail to say that she was very sorry she pronounced my name "Ray" (like her name is pronounced) all evening long.

I thought "Honey, you can call me whatever you want!"

To summarize, I have been a long time reader of Rae's blog, and being part of this giveaway is quite exciting to me. So, if you like free Alewives Fabrics you should get your virtual butt over to Rae's website and enter the giveaway. Then get your virtual butt back here on Sunday for our Virtual Christmas Open House (or your real butt if you are local) and you can win some free fabric (and other goodies!) there, too.

The "Indigo Icicles" fat quarter set: I pulled it together just for Rae's readers!!!

In other news, one of the best parts about Christmas this year has been the use of Vampire Weekend's song "Holiday" on the Honda (?) commercials.

The worst part has also been commercial related: the frequency of those ASPCA commercials with the abused animals and Sarah McLachlan singing in the background is killing me.

Now they have one with Willie Nelson singing "You Were Always On My Mind," too.

I'm not sure which one is wors-er.

It's not that I am pro-abusing animals (quite the opposite, I assure you).

It's just that if you know me AT ALL, even a little bit, you know that I am a crier.

I am a crier and it's getting worse as I get older, so naturally every time I see those commercials I lose it.

But then again, I can't even watch coffee commercials at this time of year without crying.

Or "Home Alone."

So, by all means please enter one - or both - of these giveaways, because if you don't, that will probably set me off, too!



PS... for the record, it's pronounced "Ree," but I'm not picky: I'll answer to anything!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Virtual Open House Details

Before I talk about the details for the Virtual Open House, I want to remind all of our internet customers that Virtual Men's Shopping Day is coming right up on Wednesday December 15th... Make sure the men in your life know about it and are prepared to do some online shopping on your behalf! Tell him REAL MEN buy fabric (or gift certificates for fabric) and that you find a well-executed gift to be super-attractive!

Hello one and all!

It's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas if you are slammed with invitations and trying to fit in last minute crafting and wrapping and shopping and shipping and the like...

Since that is the situation I (happily) find myself in, and suspect I may not be alone on that, I thought I'd better get going with details for the "Virtual Christmas Open House."

Here's how the Virtual Open House will work:

On Sunday, December 19th I will type a new "Virtual Christmas Open House" post here on the blog... It's gonna be great!

Everyone who "attends" the Virtual Open House will in the following days receive an e-mail from me ( with a top-secret promotional code for a free fat quarter with your next order (you can use the coupon code as many times as you "attend" the Virtual Open House... we will be keeping track with a virtual honor system!).

BUT that's not all! A few lucky attendees will also receive bonus gifts that will be sent to them on the house... no purchase necessary, as they say!

Bonus prizes will be:

• A fat quarter bundle (I'm thinking this Indigo Icicles bundle would be most appropriate!).

• A space in my next Virtual Turning Twenty class (That's right! I'm doing it again! Details on that juicy tidbit to come after the holidays, so stay tuned!).

• A $50 gift certificate to the shop.

So, if you like freebies and fabric (and who doesn't like those two things?), it would most definitely behoove you to attend the Virtual Christmas Open House!

But how does one go about attending a Virtual Christmas Open House?

Well, I am glad you brought that up!

To "attend" the Virtual Open House, you will have to leave a comment here on the blog.

Each of you can "attend" the Virtual Open House in three different ways...

• Attend by leaving a comment here on the blog (something "Happy Holidays-y" and fun would be great... maybe let me know what you are crafting for the holidays this year, what new items in the fabric world you are looking forward to... and be sure to include your e-mail address as well!).

• Attend by linking to my blog on your blog, facebook page, or twitter account, then come back to leave a comment telling me you have done so (again, please include your e-mail address in your comment!)

• Attend by following me on twitter, or by subscribing to my blog, then come back and leave me a comment that you have done so (and one more time, for the cheap seats in the back, please include your e-mail address in your comment!)

Only comments left on the blog during the day of the Virtual Open House (Sunday, December 19th) will count towards your attendance and your chance to win a freebie, but please feel free to start linking to my blog, or subscribing to my blog/twitterfeed NOW to spread the word... just keep track of your links and follows, then come back and enter them as comments on the 19th.

If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will answer in the comments for all to see.

On a more personal note, I really want to take this opportunity before things get too Holidays-crazy around here, to THANK YOU for being a part of my life and for supporting my blog and my business.

I have had a particularly excellent past 12 months, both on the personal and the business fronts, and I feel very blessed to live where I live and do what I do and to have such wonderful people in my life. You all mean a lot to me!

Alright *wipes tear away from corner of eyes*, that's it for now.

See you back here on the 15th with an update for Virtual Men's Shopping Day for our online customers!



Christmas Open House and Men's Shopping Day & Night

You are invited! And so is your Man!

• First up, for YOU, if you are a local and able to visit the shop in person, please do so on Sunday, December 19th between the hours of 12 and 5 for an Open House!

We had our first Open House last year and it was a big success: loads of fun, and a great way to unwind during the Holiday Season.

We will be having in-store specials, yummy treats, and everyone who attends will get to pick a free present!

Your present might be a free fat quarter, but it might be a free class, a gift certificate to Moonsong Creations Long Arm Quilting Services, or a $50 gift certificate to Alewives Fabrics... the only way to find out is to stop by and pick a ticket.

We would love to see you there to share some holiday cheer!

• Second up, for YOU, that same day (Sunday, December 19th), for those of you who are NOT local and able to attend the Open House in person, I will be holding a Virtual Open House right here on my blog! The Virtual Open House is a bit trickier than the "local" Open House, so I am saving the details on that for my next post. Let's just say that if you like free fabric and giveaways, you will be very pleased indeed!

• Third up, on Wednesday, December 22nd (for locals), for any and all of the SPECIAL MEN in your life, we will be holding our annual Men's Shopping Day and Night. From 10am til 8pm, any men who make a purchase in our shop, will receive free gift-wrapping, snacks to munch-on while they shop AND 20% off their entire purchase. This includes gift certificates, classes, and of course our lovely fabrics, books, patterns and notions.

And because our INTERNET CUSTOMERS need a bit more time to ensure timely arrival of their packages, Men's Shopping Day will happen for our online customers on Wednesday, December 15th.

Remember, the purchases have to be made by a man: it can be your brother, your son, your husband, whomever you would like, as long as they are of the male persuasion. It will be quite obvious which purchases are made by men at the brick-and-mortar shop, but online we will be looking for men's names on those order forms. He won't need a promotional code, just a masculine name.

The idea here is that the men in our lives may need a little help in the gift-giving department, and 20% off (which applies to gift certificates as well, of course!), plus free gift-wrapping may be just the nudge he needs. Of course, it's your job to plant the seed in his mind: just subtle-ly coax and cajole (I know you can do it!), and I'm sure he will get the point.

I think that is it for one night... let me know if you have any questions... it's 10:30 on Sunday night and I might be a little bit (okay, a lot) punchy!



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Playing the waiting game...

Waiting for Soul Blossoms to arrive...

Should be any day now...