Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

See you in 2012 with some BIG changes at the shop... so excited to share them with you!

Tomorrow night, Ollie and I will be just up the street with our buddies, doing the wish lantern thang again.

(I can't wait).

However you celebrate the new year, here's to a wonderful 2012!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Nani Iro brushed cottons in the shop!


Oh so in love with these three new Nani Iro brushed cotton fabrics that came in.

If you are a Nani Iro fan you will totally die for these.

They are even prettier in person and soft as a cloud.

Brushed cotton and flannel are, if I am not mistaken, the exact same thing, but I think "brushed cotton" probably sounds a bit more high-falutin'.

(Does anyone out there know if there is a difference? I've always heard that you make flannel by "brushing" the fibers in the cotton.)

I wish I had bought more yardage of these three fabrics.

These would be perfect for a cozy and heart-breakingly lovely simple quilt or even a super luxe nightgown, but it's officially wintertime in Maine and I would love to make myself a Tova top from one of them.

I would be so warm and comfy and fashionable.

I even have the pattern and everything... hmmm...

I don't think these brushed cottons will be around for very long, so if you like them it would be a good idea to pounce.

Nani Iro's have a habit of disappearing quickly and then not coming back in stock again for a loooong time.

The Brigadoon of fabrics.



Monday, December 26, 2011



That's the number of new classes we are offering over the next few weeks and you can view them in all their glory on the classes page of the website.

I highly recommend the Winslow Market Tote class.

Or the Superstar quilt class.

And not just because I'm teaching them, but because... umm... yeah...



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Around the house: Christmas edition

It is very gray and very cold and very icy out today, but I am happily installed by the wood stove with a roaring fire, feeling a bit Christmas-y and nostalgic.

Wanna be nostalgic with me?

When I was in grade school, I had the kookiest choral teacher ever.

I was a bit young to appreciate his kookiness at the time, but now I look back on those crazy, wacky lessons with fond memories.

One of the kooky things he did was to re-write his own version of "We wish you a Merry Christmas" so that the song went a little something like this...

We wish you a Merry Christmas,

We wish you a Happy Hanukkah,

We wish you a Blessed Solstice

And a Happy New Year!

Now that I am 32 I really appreciate that whole sentiment and think he was on to something.

With that in mind on this first day of Hanukkah, with the Solstice and Christmas very near, I thought I'd share with you some photos from around the house...

Last year for Christmas my friend Julie gave me a single vintage ornament and she has NO idea how much I loved it...

This year I was on a mission to get some more lovely little vintage ornaments.

They are super-easy to find and not that expensive (especially compared to NEW ornaments) so I highly recommend starting a little collection.

And of course the vintage ornaments, they needed their own tree.

The needle-punch Santa pillow is from my friend Nadine. It's handmade and it's stuffed with balsam needles and I love it. A lot. It's one of those things I look forward to getting out of the "Christmas Box" every year.

A couple different garlands and some mistletoe for smoochin'...

These are some vintage ornaments I got from my friend Meredith this year (she gave me permission to open them early) and they are the COOLEST things ever.

I don't think you can really tell in the photo, but there are the most intricate little winter scenes inside each of these ornaments: European villages, snowy woods, skating ponds.... good stuff.

I'm trying to decide what to do with them, just hang them on the tree like regular ornaments, or maybe I can make some kind of a fun display with them... we shall see!

They actually remind me a lot of the Jake Day dioramas which are a REALLY big deal in my town and one of my favorite Christmas traditions is to go at night and check out the dioramas.

If you are local, you should mos def go see the Jake Day dioramas with your family. They are free to go see and have no "hours" (but it's the most fun to go and see them at night) and you will definitely love them: they are really special.

I didn't realize it until just now, but some of my favorite ornaments are in this picture:

The handmade bell was the favor at Betsy and Andy's wedding (Betsy and Andy are the friends who introduced me to Oliver so they will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart... they actually missed our wedding because their baby girl Hadley was born that day, which is the most excellent reason to miss our wedding ever!).

The dove was handmade by my friend Chris a couple of years ago. It was such a lovely surprise and I truly treasure it and think of her when I see it.

The turquoise bow came from my best friend Kristine at our first ornament swap among our little group of friends five or six years ago. This year she got my ornament at the swap and we didn't even cheat! I like that she has a little bit of "me" on her tree and I have a little bit of "her" on mine.

The origami paper crane is from one of my first Christmases in my own apartment when I was super poor and super single. I enlisted my brother's help with his MAD paper-crane-making skills. My brother can make a paper-crane from the teeniest, tiniest scrap of paper ever. He always leaves them at restaurants as his "calling card."

If he were a criminal, he'd be the "paper-crane bandit."

5 bucks worth of origami paper, some gold thread, a couple strings of white lights and a tree that my Grandpa chopped down for me was all I had that year, and of course I look back on those first "independent" Christmases with very happy memories.

And lastly, the pottery angel: an ornament I bought the first year Oliver and I spent Christmas together as a couple. I got it to remind him of his mother.

And speaking of Ollie, he took this photo of Reuben and I laying down in front of the tree the other night.

I think Reuben heard a reindeer and got up to investigate, which is why he looks "whooshy" in the picture.

I will be back after the holidays with tales of my handmade gifts that I have actually remembered to document this year.

It's funny, of all the things I bought for gifts, I am the most excited to give my handmade items, and of course I am excited to share them with you all as well.

In the meantime, as Mr. Wingard would have said(sang):

I wish you a Merry Christmas,

I wish you a Happy Hanukkah,

I wish you a Blessed Solstice

And a Happy New Year!



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Virtual Christmas Open House Winners announced!

Hello and thanks so very much to everyone who "attended" my Virtual Christmas Open House on the blog on Saturday. What a lovely crew we had: I truly enjoyed reading through each and every comment to hear about your wonderful Christmas traditions!

Without further adieu, here are the winners of the "big" prizes from the Open House...

Tamie said... Merry Christmas and thanks for hosting a virtual open house for those of us who are too far away to be there in person.

(Tamie, you win a $50 gift certificate to!)

Barb said... Merry Christmas to all! The best part of any holiday is decorating the tree and remembering something special about each ornament and then sitting back and enjoying the beautiful tree full of so many memories.

(Barb, you win a "Kew Gardens" fat quarter bundle!)

Rene said...

Working on the next Craft Swap project and a Winslow Market Tote is under the tree for my Mom. Be sure to try out the new Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips from Nestle - they are to die for! The day started out at Popham Beach and has ended snuggled on the couch with Hank by my side. Cheers!

(Rene, my local girl! You win a "Flurry" by Kate Spain charm pack... you didn't leave me an e-mail address, but I know I will see you in the shop so I will set it aside for you!)

And to everyone else, as long as you left me your e-mail address, you should be checking your in-boxes for an e-mail from me with a super-secret code for a free fat quarter with your next order from

Thanks again very much to everyone who attended and I will see you all again soon with some more holiday cheer!



Friday, December 16, 2011

Virtual Christmas Open House is today!

Comments closed! Thanks very much to everyone who attended... winners will be announced shortly!

Welcome to the 2011 Virtual Christmas Open House!

I'm so glad you could make it...

Come on in, pull up a cushion by the fire and settle in.

If you were here last year, you know the drill.

If you're new, let me show you around...

Just make yourself at home, leave me a comment with some holiday cheer (and your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you) and you'll be entered for a LOT of great prizes.

You might win a $50 gift certificate to, a stack of fat quarters, a set of charm squares, or any number of fun surprises.

Everyone who doesn't win one of the big prizes will receive a promotional code for a free fat quarter (up to $3.00 value) in their next order from, so remember to leave me your e-mail address so it's easy to contact you.

Need some inspiration for your commenting?

Tell me...

Egg Nog or Cocoa?

Tinsel or no tinsel?

White lights or colored lights?

Naughty or nice?

(That's what I thought!)

Please enjoy each other's company and let it be known that all of us at Alewives Fabrics are so thankful to our wonderful customers for a fabulous year (even in a not-so-fabulous economy!) and I, personally, am so very thankful for my wonderful blog readers.

I will be back in here on Tuesday to announce the winners... good luck (and don't forget to leave me your e-mail address)!

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for attending the 2011 Virtual Christmas Open House!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Some sure-fire last minute gift ideas

If you are starting a handmade holiday gift in the next few days, I'm with you.

I always have the best of intentions, if not the most realistic.

And personally, I would not exactly classify the second week in December as "last minute" (guess I am a bit more literal... and a bit of a procrastinator...).

So I don't want to send anybody over the edge, but aid my fellow dreamers in their hour of need, so here are some fabulous ideas for those of us who are still adding to (rather than taking away from) our to-do list:

No shocker here: the Winslow Market Tote will always be a fave, last minute or not! Free pattern available here (thanks, Kathy!). Lots of our in-store customers have been stocking up on fat quarters lately to make these for Christmas gifts. You can make one of these in just a couple of hours, and all you need are five fat quarters and 5/8 yard for the lining. If you substitute some of our cute twill tape or cotton webbing for the handles then you could skip the whole "handle-making step" and things would go even more smoothly. The Winslow Market Tote is a great gift on its own, but you could always toss in some lotion or a cute little pencil case or a nice pair of gloves to sweeten the pot.

And the knitting bug continues with these super-cute, super-easy, super-quick mug snugs from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern Knits book. I can get one of these done in about a day, working on it here and there when I have a spare moment. Just one ball of DK would make quite a few of these mug snugs, making this project extremely affordable as well. And I love a chance to show off a cute button or two. What an awesome gift this would be with a pretty mug, some tea and maybe a gift card to a local cafe thrown in? Totally do-able!

Hope that is helpful to you all: good luck in your last-minute crafting endeavors... see you again on Saturday for the Virtual Christmas Open House!



PS: don't forget that tomorrow is the online men's shopping day! Tell any of the special fellas in your life to shop with us online tomorrow, Wednesday December 14th, and use the code MENSSHOPPINGDAY for 20% off his entire purchase (does not apply to shipping).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Men's Shopping Day and Christmas Open House for both online and local customers alike!

I have so much to share with you all, so let's dive right in, shall we?

In a (probably useless) attempt to keep things simple, I've written events for ONLINE customers in green and events for LOCAL customers in red... hope that helps you divide and conquer, because there is a LOT of information in this blog post!

First up, I need to let our online shoppers know that this year's Online Men's Shopping Day will be held this coming Wednesday, December 14th. Tell any of the special guys in your life to shop at on that day and they will receive 20% off their entire order (this includes gift certificates!). Make sure to tell him two things: Thing you must tell him #1: he MUST use the code MENSSHOPPPINGDAY to get the discount. Tell him to enter the code into the promotional code field on the checkout page. Only MEN who use this code will get the 20% off, so we'll be looking for a guy's name on the order! Thing you must tell him #2: the 20% discount will NOT show up in his order or his confirmation e-mail, but rest assured, the little elves at Alewives Fabrics are working hard on this end to ship things out in a super-speedy fashion and we will MANUALLY change the price of his order here at the shop. Of course, if he has any questions, ask him to e-mail us ( or call us (207 563 5002) and we'll be happy to answer any questions.

Local gentlemen get their own Men's Shopping Day on Tuesday, December 20th... we will be open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm that day and local men will also get 20% off their purchases (does not apply to clearance items, food items, or long-arm services... but DOES APPLY to gift certificates!). He'll also get free gift-wrapping, food, and lots of shopping help from the ladies at Alewives. However, if your local fella prefers to do his shopping online, he can also shop at on Wednesday the 14th for our online Men's Shopping Day, too! Just make sure he uses the code MENSSHOPPINGDAY and ask him to leave us a note in the special instructions section of the order form telling us he'll pick up his order in person. We'll omit the shipping charges and set his bundle of goodies aside. BUT, if he's shopping online he has to do it on the 14th and absolutely must use the code MENSSHOPPINGDAY... otherwise he'll have to hit us up in person on the 20th!

Next on the agenda: our annual Christmas Open House!
For onliners, the Virtual Christmas Open House was so much fun last year that I have to do it again this year, and it is coming right up! Visit this here blog on Saturday, December 17th and leave me a comment with some holiday cheer. You'll be entered for a number of great prizes, but everyone wins something! A note about leaving comments at the VCOH: I am doing things a little differently this year! In order to keep things "simple-ish," everyone just gets one comment and one chance to win... everyone has an equal shot! A note about VCOH doorprizes this year: I've got lots of great stuff for you! There will be one lucky attendant who will win a $50 gift certificate to, one winner of a pretty stack of fat quarters, and other assorted goodies, but EVERYONE who attends who does not receive one of the larger doorprizes will receive an e-mail with a promotional code good for one free fat quarter (up to a $3.00 value) with their next online order. And if you "attended" last year, you know that I had a few tricks up my sleeve, including some charm packs that my Moda rep gave me to pass along. I *might* have a similar trick up my sleeve this year, too... you never know!

For local-customers, we have a whole weekend's worth of holiday fun planned for you! On Saturday, December 17th from 10:00 to 5:00 we'll be starting a new tradition and holding our first ever "Finish It Up Day." Think of "Finish It Up Day" as an extended Saturday Sewing Lounge to help you finish up your holiday sewing. Our classroom with all it's irons, design walls and table space will be at your disposal. We'll have goodies and fun Christmas music and lots of energy to help you finish up your holiday stitching. "Finish It Up Day" is free and open to anyone who would like to attend: you can come and go as you please, just like a regular Sewing Lounge. If you think you'd like to attend, please try to call ahead so we know what to expect... thanks! The in-store Christmas Open House will be held from 12-5 on Sunday, December 18th. We'll have food, music, holiday cheer, doorprizes (you might win a $50 gift certificate to the store, a lovely stack of fat quarters, a gift certificate good towards a long-arm quilting service, or you might win a free fat quarter... it's anyone's guess!) and as a special gift to you, all in-store purchases that day will be 10% off (does not apply to clearance items, food items or long-arm quilting services). The in-store Christmas Open House has become one of my favorite events of the year: it's just busy enough to put a fun little energy in the air, but just quiet enough to truly enjoy and visit with everyone who attends. (I love this time of year!)

So, I think we have covered the holiday events schedule! If you see any mistakes in there or have any questions, please let me know in the comments. I'll do my best to correct/answer right away!

I have one more blog post in the works for you between now and the Virtual Christmas Open House, so be on the lookout these next couple of days for my tips and tricks and brilliant ideas for last minute gift-giving.

In the meantime, happy holidays and we'll see you around!



Friday, December 2, 2011

I have been cheating...

I've been cheating on sewing with knitting...

(with this yarn and this book...)

And oh yeah, we got our woodstove up and at 'em and I can make one heck of a fire.

And last but not least, Ollie and I have been renting our house for the past 3 years, but this Wednesday, we signed papers and became home owners.

It feels really good to knit by the woodstove in your own house.

See you all again soon...