As I sit sipping my second morning cup of coffee at 6:30 on this dreary Sunday morning, I’m thinking about the fact that my recently-developed habit of rising early in an effort to get a few extra hours of website development in, has lingered a ways beyond the actual launch of our new site a few weeks ago. I’m also thinking how I’d love to sleep in late, like I did when I was a teen. I so fondly remember how easy it was to do so.
In case you wondered – this is where I sit during my morning seizing-of-early-morning-moments…
…in this bland, blue chair, with a quilt on my lap and a sunny, orange, boy-cat named Copernicus at my feet. Although he had several different wingback chairs as I was growing up, this chair was my grandfather’s last one, which came to live with me when he passed 19 years ago last month.
There’s certainly a matching foot stool that went with the chair, because there was always a matching foot stool that went with the chair, but the one that goes with my (now) blue chair lives eternally in the storage room downstairs, since it never really fits in any room the chair has lived in since they both became mine.
Full transparency, friends: This is the arm of the blue chair I sit in every seize-the-moment-morning:
Even though we’ve had it cleaned numerous times, it never seems to look cleaner than this. Yet in all the years I’ve been sitting in it and all the years my ‘Granch’ sat in it before me, the sturdiness of it has remained exactly the same. Good bones, I guess. Now if only my early morning seizing-of-moments can live without it long enough to recover these good bones with fresh, clean upholstery fabric. I’m working on that. Imagining the style too.
Seizing-of-moments. I’ve learned that these early moments of the day, when much of my world is still fast asleep, are moments worth seizing. My brain is fresh and my thoughts are less weary, since the distractions of the day haven’t yet had a chance to creep in and make them so.
I’m now posting this late Tuesday, if you can believe it (of course you can, because your weary heart knows mine, since we’re both trying our hardest to be less weary).
Time flies that way, doesn’t it? Of course it does. I’m wishing you a Happy Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, etc. too, and hoping you’re finding it within you to seize; or at least – trying your best to. I know it’s hard sometimes…but I hope you’re managing…from your own (maybe dirty) blue chair, with or without a matching foot stool beneath your feet. Let’s hang in there, shall we?
Are you as shocked as I am that I’m actually posting a second CLH blog post in one week? Throughout the course of the last *almost* year since we opened Serendipity Woods Fabric Shop, it’s taken me some time to get my sea legs about me with respect to the preservation of the origins of my interest in quilt fabric at all – QUILTING! It’s been hard to carve out time, but that’s changing!
Finally, I’m finding a better balance between the shop and sewing; actually creating pretty consistently once again. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means I’ve got more things to post that will hopefully be a bit more inspiring you, to my friends here. What it also means is it’s about time I officially claimed my blog at Bloglovin so it’s easier for people to find. That’s why I have to post this little ditty here:
Moving on…I got a little inspired by Magpies last week.
One of my favorite things about sharing my creative space with our fabric shop is that I’m often pulled by one fabric, then across the room to another fabric, which somehow seem to want to be connected. The Magpies above, have long been a favorite of mine since arriving in our shop. Of course they belong to a larger collection which, in an of itself, is intended to coordinated in such a way that the fabrics bring out the best in one another. Until, that is, some fabrics within the collection sell out, leaving others to fend for themselves and…well…find NEW friends. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes they have a little help.
Anyway, without getting too wordy since I’m still not finished with my project (plus I’m technically on vacation with Superman for a little something called our 25th wedding anniversary) – I found this scrummy little bundle of bolts on my studio table early one morning last week.
The coolest part is that these fabrics originate from 5 different lines/4 different manufacturers – YET, aren’t they so sweet together? So after doing a bit of design work, I started cutting…
Then I spent some time whipping up some HST’s and a couple of the 16 blocks I’ll need for what I’ve decided to call my Marvelous Magpies quilt.
Truly, I’m so excited to get back to it, but for this moment – I’m just going to celebrate being a really lucky girl. Stay tuned for more about my little magpie friends, a bit more about the other fabrics above too, and a tutorial so you’ll be able to make your own Marvelous Magpies quilt too. Go ahead – say it with me…SQUEEE!!!
Sans the two ponytails (which have never represented a good look for me, ever), the even-across-the-forehead bangs (which never exist for girls with cowlicks), and the fresh wrinkle-free face (but let’s pretend mid-forties aren’t accompanied by laugh lines and a deep crease between my eyes because I’m inclined to communicate with great expression) – this is what I imagine I look like at 7:22 am on this fresh, new Tuesday morning. The past three months as a new quilt shop owner have been quite a whirlwind of activity, and though I’m exhausted for many reasons, I’m happy to report it’s a good sort of exhaustion, because doggone it – I feel more solid every day that we’re moving in the right direction.
Since my last post (about two weeks ago), there’ve been great things going on, and also not-so-great. Because I pride myself in the eternal wonderment of a glass-have-full attitude, it’s only logical for me to focus on the good since there’ll be plenty of other opportunities to share some of the not-so-good (if the mood ever strikes, that is). For starters, people are really starting to find our little shop, and EUREKA! They’re liking what they find! I can’t help it – the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about that is this image from the 1985 Oscars:
The bottom line for anyone starting a business such as this is that we’re faced with assembling things to sell that we think others will like. At the beginning, there’s this grand imagining that we will know exactly what people will like, because we ourselves like it (right?). But lemme tell ya – the apprehension soon creeps in, and I start thinking, ‘What if I have horrible taste? What if I haven’t the first clue what others will like?’ I must admit, the hardest part has been in reminding myself of the fact that ours is a new store, therefore virtually unknown to shoppers out there. I’ve had to shut out the self-doubt and just go with my gut as I’ve shopped. So far, so good, and I’ve had lots of help. Most of you know that my husband (affectionately known as Superman around these parts) is also my business partner. He’s been extraordinarily supportive (if not slightly hard to keep up with). I have to admit, I can’t remember the last time I made a really well thought-out dinner, but mostly he’s a better cook than I am anyway, and the kids are pretty tolerant about such things.
A few recent shop updates to share…
The above fabulously fallish fabric from the Forest Frolics line (oooh, that was fanstastically fun to say!), was an unbelievably hot item in our shop last week! Because the little hexies are just the right fussy cutting size for 1″ hexies, and I just happened to mention the fabric on an English Paper Piecing page to which I belong on Facebook, we actually sold out of an entire bolt in one day! Fortunately, I was able to secure more the next day, so I now have enough that it’s continuing to sell comfortably with several other fabrics in the line.
Also new in our shop and selling well are something we affectionately call, ‘Happy Little Bundles.’ Essentially, this is a growing new shop section that is comprised of fat quarter collections of fabrics that just look really nice together. What you should know, however, is that these happy little bundles weren’t exactly my idea. Mmm hmm. More helpers.
It all started one day when I began to enter my studio in the mornings to find the bunnies and also other things – let’s just say, askew. For instance – each of the bunnies that lives in my studio (and there are many) has a specific spot in which they generally live. Some of them like it atop the big window because they are able to see all around the studio.
Others live upon another adjacent shelf.
Or by Sophie and her delivery bike (and her mouse friend, Meg), atop my file box.
The weird thing though, is that I’d begun to notice that the friends weren’t always in their usual spots on some mornings. For instance…
The above is Daisy and her friend, Jack. They usually sit together on yet another shelf. Recently though, I have found Jack (more than once)…
…on the floor, nearby my fabric racks. Maybe he just fell, right? Totally conceivable because his usual shelf is right near this as well. But then another day…
Erin and Cecil (whose usual shelf is waaay across the room) were also on the floor right nearby my fabric racks. Then the day after that, the bunnies were all where they were supposed to be, but the fabric wasn’t.
All these fabrics were on pegs the night before, folks. I swear.
A few mornings later, I discovered my always-neatened-the-night-before cutting table was adorned with these:
Fortunately, someone is wise enough to close the blade on my rotary wheel.
Well – I had my theories, but it wasn’t until I walked in one morning to find Poppy, definitely NOT on her usual shelf across the room…
…that my suspicions were validated.
Caught red (rather, Pink) handed.
Now that you all know a little about the curators of the Happy Little Bundles (and this post has obviously taken me all day to finish), I think I’ll just share the link to our Happy Little Bundles Shop Section.
So you see, I have helpers, helpers everywhere, but strangely, not a soul to help me to finish a blog post I started at the crack of dawn this morning (remember the blinky-with-bangs at the start of this post?). Anyone want to know why it took me all day to get through this blog post? Well, it looks like this:
As you may have noticed, I’m in process of merging my previous (which will remain in place as soon as construction is complete) website, Serendipity Woods, with my new blog here at Charlotte Loves Henry. What I’m really saying is that my SW blog will be replaced with this one, and Serendipity Woods will stand as our website and eventual online storefront. With all of that being said, a good many of my blog posts there, will simply drop off into the abyss of irrelavancy; except some that mean something to the realm that is Serendipity Woods as we propel our little boat forward. Enter Throwback Thursday. Therefore, the following post is actually a repost, with which I think many of us can identify. Enjoy 🙂
Pincushion Hygiene, aka – the Liberation of the Pin People
This morning whilst guzzling – err, I mean, sipping – my first cup of coffee and planning out my day, I happened to glance over at the pincushion beside my sewing machine. The glance turned into a double take, followed by a long stare which involved leaning closer and closer, which was then followed by a not-so-flattering facial expression, and an even-less-flattering (rather disgusted) gasp. All in an instant, I realized what a catch-all this formerly pretty little studio accessory had become. For starters – I hardly EVER use T-pins, and when I do (for macrame’), I only use one which is already pinned neatly to the top of my macrame’ board that lives nearby the pincushion. So why then, are there two standing like dictators in the middle of my center button?
Then I noticed a little matter of safety pins; four of them, standing one on each side, surrounding my little happy pin friends like guards. I began to feel sorry for my otherwise cheerful (now dreadfully imprisoned) little sewing companions. The thing is, since my discovery of a handy little lifesaver called Quilt Basting Spray, I no longer use safety pins to baste my quilts together, so their presence in my everyday pincushion is superfluous. How about all that dust? (I won’t share another picture…that would push us all over the edge, straight into repulsion – which might keep us from sewing ever again). My point? I’ve been neglectful. Fortunately, the inhabitants of the little island known as my pincushion have staged an uprising (with the help of my morning companion, Mr. Coffee, to catch my attention). For starters, the T- Pin Dictators and their Safety Pin Guards have been sent to live in the land of the Spare Marble King. He’s a kind ruler, with much experience as the guardian of the Safety Pin People, without the need for additional rulers or guards. A quick once over from the Vacuum Patrol, and the island itself sprouts new life! Now all that remains is the return of the Pin People to live out their useful days in harmony. Incidentally, the previously unmentioned Sewing Needle People have been allowed by the pins to reside in the button previously occupied by the T-Pin Guards – as long as they don’t get bossy. Their accompanying Tangled Threads, however, have been banished to the bottomless pit called the Wastebasket, never to return.
In honor of Mother’s Day, today seems like the perfect time to begin the process of sharing some now and again ‘flashback posts’ I’ve written over the years at my former site, Serendipity Woods. As we get to know one another here, I want to share with you that though my childhood was not what I would consider terribly remarkable, it did involve a fair bit more instability than I think is average. That instability was stabilized, however, by two people that made a most incredible impression upon this young girl and her big sis: Our grandparents.
Though I’ll surely share some flashback posts about the awesome guy that was my granch (our word for grandpa, which originated with my sister), today I want to share this one about my gram, which I hope will distract her (in heaven) from rearranging furniture, relentlessly cleaning what is already spotless, and uttering the words (for the fifty-millionth time), “Tom, the telly is too loud, can’t you just turn it down?”
For the sake of painting a picture of her, I called her gram because as I grew older, I began to realize that the moniker ‘grandma’ made her feel elderly – which until she was well into her nineties, she was definitely not.
Without further adieu folks, Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing, crafty moms and grams out there, and to my gram especially, who gave bouancy to my imagination without even knowing she was doing it.
My grandmother was a neatnik. She had this incredible ability to whip up a room, sparkly fresh, organized to the hilt, in a matter of moments. Yet I grew to know her processes were not always just about neatness. One of the fondest memories I have of her is how she neatened my stuffed animal friends. One would think with her inability to tolerate clutter, a bin with a cover in the corner would be her first choice for a little girl’s stuffed animals; but no. She arranged them upon my bed, every day, in comfortable positions, facing out. Particularly, their faces were directed toward the door, where I would inevitably enter to see them all, happy and joyful together, waiting just for me to come home. It was that she felt them needing her to respect their identities and spirits, as if they were real. More than that, I think she did it because she wanted me to feel them REAL. I did, and still do.
Fabrics inspire me in serendipitous ways, but clothing items especially grab me in a unique way because there’s something so meaningful to me in making something new out of something that’s almost never too old to just toss away. Beyond that, giving that item a face, an identity, a REALness, matters deeply to me. In fact, as I finish each face, I’m always seeking one common elocution to bloom in my mind: ‘There you are!’