Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SHOPPING ONLINE!

 This year, 2020, will be remembered for a lot of things, mostly bad but a lot of good as well.  This year became the year that online shopping really took off!  It's been talked about a lot in previous years but no one thought it would be the preferred way to shop for many who previously had to go in person.  With the entire nation cooped up in our homes, online shopping became a way of life.  

Today I want to review a shop that I found while perusing Facebook places.  Its called The Lofty Fig and is located in Port Charlotte, FL.  You can read about them here https://theloftyfig.com/pages/about-us

The Lofty Fig has a wide variety of unusual and quirky gifts modestly priced!  Twenty pages worth!  With the gift giving season coming up, we can't always find an inexpensive perfect for that person locally.  While perusing the shop online, I noted several things I could buy for special people in my life.  Lots of socks for Dads and Golfers, kitchen mitts for Mom's and Dad's, candlewarmers, food packages and more!  

Owning a gift shop is an experience in itself.  As an interior designer with a shop I ventured up to the Atlanta Merchandise Mart in January many times.  Here there is 24 floors of shopping in three different buildings.  You can shop fashion, gifts and furnishings!  I always enjoyed shopping during market but was more interested in the furniture, accessories,  and flooring showrooms.  I liked perusing the gift market but in gifts, you have to buy x amount of the same product.  

I admire The Lofty Fig for the variety of products they have.  Something for everyone.  When you go to market, there are thousands of shops available for you to purchase your wares.  The best ones would be the ones who will actually send a rep to your shop to help you with purchases.  But they don't all have reps.  So going in person is the best way.  There are minimums so if you like a set of oven mitts you will have to purchase a dozen of the same mitt.  If it doesn't sell to your clientelle, then you eventually put that oven mitt on sale to get rid of it.  

There are seasons to shop for, because if you come into a shop In July and its decorated still for Easter, you won't be inspired.  The shop owner has to change the vignettes and merchandise constantly to keep a fresh look.  And when you go in January to Market, you need to be prepared to shop for Christmas orders.  Yes, it takes that long.  Its a whole business in itself just keeping up.  

I'm impressed.  We used to have a great gift shop in our town but the owners retired a few years back. They tried to sell the business but that didn't happen.  I used to run into them at Market in Atlanta.  We miss that shop because you could always find the best and appropriate gift there. She had all of the football teams, AL, UFl, FSU, AUBURN, LSU. In our area you must have all of them!  

Thanks for reading.  When I need a unique gift from now on, I'll likely head to https://theloftyfig.com/pages/about-us online to find the best!  

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

WHY LINEN IS EXPENSIVE!

I found this video this morning and I absolutely loved watching it.  The fellow is from Scotland and even though he is speaking English it is very difficult to understand what he is saying!  We lived in England for 3 years with the USAF and sometimes you wondered if we were speaking the same language.  Thankfully, this video is visual and some subtitles are provided.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFuj7sXVnIU 

Then on to the next video where its demonstrated how to spin the flax into fiber! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUeYJKOYrSk  My goodness I'm surprised that anyone could afford to buy any fabric back in the old days.  

And here is another video of a more modern way to make linen!  You can actually understand this woman!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZrZZefkohE  It looks a whole lot easier.  I hope you enjoyed this tour!  


A NEW LOOK FOR FALL!

 Most of you know that I follow Jo Kramer and her daughters on their blog https://www.joscountryjunction.com/a-day-with-kelli-and-kayla and todays post was definitely a bit of eye candy.  Jo and her daughters Kelli, and Kayla took a road trip to Green Springs Wisconsin to visit Country Sampler Quilt Shop.  OMG I want to go there but going to Wisconsin isn't exactly on my schedule right now. So I did the next best thing!  I read Jo's blog and admired all the pictures and then went to the Country Sampler Website.  You can find that here http://www.sgcountrysampler.com/jeannes-blog-2/

Well I just had to sign up for their newsletter and blog.  Kayla suggested that the decor of the shop might be a cross between French Country and Primitive!  I think she might be right, definitely Primitive and probably leans more toward French Provincial.  So all of this led me to the internet to define some of these terms.  

According to Google, French provincial colors are inspired by the landscape with warm gold, earthy greens, cobalt blues and russet reds.  The Country Sampler folks have achieved this color palette nicely!  Combined with grey backgrounds,  these colors play well!  Who would normally think about combining golds and browns with grey?  Is it grey or gray?  Gray is more common in the US and grey in the UK, like Earl Grey Tea.  I use them interchangeably having lived in both places.  

Country Sampler says they specialize in these things:  reproduction civil war, primitive style folk art, and trending vintage farmhouse design.  These three things translate well into their decor and I just wish I could transport myself into their shop to see it all together.

As an interior designer of 35 years. I can appreciate combining all of the above styles and colors into a cohesive look.  The shop also carries a great line of primitive cross stitch which I also adore.  There are a lot of country design styles, English country, French country, and American Country.  With each, you get similar looks and colors but a definite variation in each countries interpretation.

We had a Director of Design with my company that absolutely loved French Country.  In the 90's there was a big trend of using yellow and blue and white along with toiles, both formal and informal.  Toile is a name for linen type fabrics but usually depicts a pastoral setting in one color on a white or cream background.  


 There are many pastoral scenes including Asian, Country, French Provincial and more.  A toile is a beautiful design element for any room.  

I enjoyed this tour through the Country Sampler Quilt Shop!  Or Shoppe as the English would say.  Hope you did too!  

Saturday, October 10, 2020

TOO MUCH FABRIC?

 


I was reading Jo Kramer's blog this morning and she started with the above image!  You can find here blog here  https://www.joscountryjunction.com/something-to-ponder/.  Which led me to my own sewing room and answering the question.  No, I can't have too much fabric!  However, the idea is that you must use the fabric you have and try not to buy new very often!  

I'm not posting a pic of my sewing room.  Its certainly not as big as Jo's.  But just as messy.  And I have 3 visible projects going on right now.  

One is the Sewcialites blocks that come out each Friday from Fat Quarter Shop https://www.fatquartershop.com/sewcialites and Pat Sloan.  Or you can google the name and it will come up with the information.  There is a you tube video from fat quarter shop where she showcases all the blocks, 40 I think in 3 different sizes and Kimberly sewed them all with pressed open seams.  I rarely press open, too much work.  I press to the dark and use Bonnie Hunter's method of spinning the seams.  A few years ago, I had signed up for a BOM at the local shop and never accomplished any of it.  I recently stumbled on about 6 yds of Kona off white that was supposed to be used in that project.  So I pulled out all of the purple and lime green fabrics from this project and I'm using them to make the blocks.  Probably wont put a dent in it but it feels good knowing they have a purpose.  

The second project is Moda's stitch pink 30 blocks, one for each day in October.  Here is the link for their facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2695033510717246.  For this project, I knew that I had some pink ribbon fabric left over from a few years back and found it in my pink container box.  That box is overflowing and I pulled out all of the BOM fabrics from above that were pinks to add to it.  Here is my progress thus far.  I've made a few more after this photo.  


My third project that I'm working on simultaneously is quilting Beaded Lanterns which is a free pattern from Christa Quilts https://christaquilts.com/freepattern/.  Here is my version.  


Its really a lot prettier than this pic shows.  Fabric is Shiny Objects and there is a lot of gold and silver in it.  I'm about 3/4 finished with it and I'm loving the quilt pattern I'm using of straight lines.  I'll blog more about that when I finish.  

So like Jo, I have 3 projects going on right now.  And I'm keeping up with them.  I have a couple more I've started but set them aside for now to do these.  I'm so happy to be able to use my pink ribbon fabric for a quilt designed for breast cancer month.  I had BC in 2018.  So appropriate.  

So yesterday I went to the LQS not intending to buy anything but I needed to get out of the house.  The shop had a whole section of Quilting Treasures short bolts for  $5.99 a yard.  I kept saying I don't need anything and then, a grey with white snowflakes and a bit of teal in it jumped into my arms.  Jelly Snow Flake called my name.  This will be perfect for Pat Sloans' Jelly Snowflake quilt.  Sigh.  

Thursday, October 1, 2020

PRINTED FABRIC!

I've been absent for a while but I got inspired today!  Its fall in Florida which means we are still wearing flip flops and shorts but its cooler.  Not so sticky hot as in summer, the best time of year on the Gulf Coast.  I stumbled onto a You Tube video about printed fabric production which I will share here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuR2x0lorLg   Its 17 minutes but if you are a quilter or a designer and you love fabrics, you might want to spend the time viewing this video.  It makes sense as to why fabrics cost so much.  

But let me digress a bit.  When I was attending Elon College in North Carolina in the late 60's, I was taking Home Economics classes.  That is what they called it back then, not interior design.  Just Home Economics.  Our instructor took the class to a fabric mill in Burlington NC.  It was so similar to this mill in the video, which is located in Asia.  It was hot in NC and no air and noisy!  The machines made so much noise, clacking back and forth and fibers of cotton floated everywhere.  Health challenges such as loss of hearing and lung disease were probably prevalent.  Remember the movie, Norma Rae?  Or Officer and a Gentlemen where Debra Winger worked in a mill?  

Since that time, mills have closed in most states and fabric production has moved to Asia.  Viewing this video it makes me realize maybe that was a good thing.  Fabric would be so expensive in the USA because mills would have to confirm to stringent safety requirements.  We wouldn't be able to afford it.  

Quilting Treasures is an employee owned fabric company and you can read about it here.  http://www.qtfabrics.com/  Mike Flynn is our area sales manager and he regularly visits the quilt shops to talk to us and showcase the fabrics.  He told us that most quilt fabrics, at least with their company, are made in South Korea.  Mike will come wearing a shirt he made himself with QT fabrics.  Right now, one of our local shops has short bolts of fabric from QT for $5.99 yd.  You have to buy the whole bolt but some are 2 yds on up.  Beautiful fabrics that I perused yesterday and kept myself from buying.  Maybe I'll go back today.  I hope you have enjoyed this information about fabric production!  I sure did!  

Friday, September 11, 2020

SEPTEMBER 11

 There are momentous events in our lives and one that every American ought to remember is September 11, 2001.  As I watched Fox News this morning replay the actual events, I turned to some of the other channels to see if they were also revisiting the event.  Nothing, except a bit on NBC.  Nothing!  Are you joking?  My husband and I remember clearly the events of that momentous day.  WE enjoy our morning coffee with breakfast and the news.  Back then, we usually watched ABC with Charlie Gibson and when the first plane struck, we were awestruck.  Our day was changed.  My husband went to work as he was a travel agent at the time and he was trying to help folks get back home.  It was difficult because planes were grounded and there was no rental car available anywhere.  He kept pretty busy that day.

I on the other hand, stayed home and was glued to the TV the rest of the day.  There wasn't any sense in going to my design business that day and I'm not sure what the rest of the week held.  Probably not much.  In Northwest Florida in the Panhandle, we have two major Air Force Bases and Pensacola Naval Air Station about an hour away.  Our AF bases immediately shut down.  My son was supposed to start a job at the Officer's Club that very day.  That job ended.  The club was closed for a foreseeable future.  You couldn't get onto the base for any reason except a very good one.  

In the following months, I remember our community just died.  We have been through a lot here with a heavily military community, many retirees and active duty.  I remember going to the mall on a Friday night which was usually pretty busy.  There were 3 people in the main department store, my husband and I and a sales clerk.  My business floundered and many business closed.  Without the Military shopping at our stores, we couldn't sustain being open.  Then President Bush authorized ease of getting Small Business Loans and I applied for one.  Thank goodness because that loan carried me through in a difficult time.  When I sold my building in 2008 it was paid off.  

I remember at that time how our country came together.  I'm thinking that many of these young protesters and rioters in our cities now need to be put in a locked room and made to watch the entire events of that day.  Many of them were either small children at the time or not even born.  See what a real tragedy is and how we come together.  Just my opinion.  Thank you for reading.  I'm sure you all have stories of your own.  God Bless America!  

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

BLOCK SWAPS AND DONATIONS!

 In 2019, the Silver Threads Quilt Guild in Fort Walton Beach held a block swap in a box event.  The idea was for each participating guild member to get a box and put your own set of fabrics in it.  Then each month, your box would be given to another member who would make a block for you out of your fabrics.  This went on for 12 months and each month, you were to make the same block with the fabrics and put it back in the box.  It was a lot of fun but when I was putting my box together, I just grabbed this set of older sunflower fabrics and when I got my box back, I knew I wasn't ever going to  finish it up.  

So, I've been following Jo Kramer's blog, https://www.joscountryjunction.com/cresco-ladies-quilts-2/

Jo has talked about the Cresco Ladies in Cresco Iowa as a group who sews tops for charity.  And with the recent storm in Iowa that devastated their surrounding areas, the Cresco Ladies were busy making quilts for those affected.  So I gathered up the blocks from the block swap and some other orphan blocks and fabrics that I had laying around and sent them to the Cresco Ladies.  It felt good to know that I was supporting their efforts and lightening my load of unfinished projects.  

Thank you Silver Threads Quilt guild for sewing the blocks!  The Cresco Ladies made a few more blocks and here is the finished project!