31 January, 2009


i just found this photo as i was cleaning up the image files on my desktop.

my friend francisco sent it to me -- it's one of my hand towels hanging in the bathroom of his loft.
so cool! (thank you, fran!)

30 January, 2009

happy day

i've got a little mention today on design sponge.

click here to see it.
(thanks, grace!)

29 January, 2009

can only make me cry with these words

danica, of comfies/slowprogress sent me a message to let me know that she did a little post about me and my work today on her blog. wow. i teared up when i read it. her words really touched me.
thank you, danica. i'm sending big smiles and kisses and hugs and thanks to you and to all of you other readers out there who check in on me regularly and, in all your various ways, support me and what i am doing. please know that your messages and your comments and your etsy purchases and your visits to my blog are wonderful, powerful inspiration and motivation for me. i tend to lock myself in my little bubble of dreaming and making and sometimes, when i remember to breathe and look around me, i get scared that i'm living more in this dream than in reality. that is probably true to some extent. (and good in some ways and bad in others...)
um, what i am trying to say is, it feels really good to know that other people appreciate what i do. it makes me feel okay to keep on keeping on.
thank you.
thank you.
thank you, all of you. xo-kj

king me

i've completed my goal. finished my quest.
here they are -- the pillows:

i'm happy with them - very much so. i was really nervous about how they were going to turn out. i'd never worked with piping before and i was afraid it'd be a nightmare. ha! this is why it took me so long to finish these -- even though they've been in the works for WEEKS, i kept putting off the finishing because i was afraid i'd mess them up. it took two pillows before i got everything exactly right, but that ain't so bad. it actually wasn't even the piping that messed me up, it was the sizing -- the first two were just a little bit too big. but now the rest are all just right. i feel good about them -- they're pretty boss.
i've just listed them in the shop.

and, there are more photos of them on my flickr site -- click here to see them.

28 January, 2009

king zips

yesterday i was going to work on the pillows, but i got side-tracked and ended up making a pile of new zippy pouches instead. i know i probably say this about every new thing that i make, but i am really excited about these. i spent the morning (after shoveling lots of snow -- which, maybe strangely, is a task i really do enjoy) trying to photograph these in a way that does them proper justice --
i tried them on the studio floor:

i tried them on the cork background in the great morning light of my bedroom:

and i tried them against black in the soft subdued light of the bathroom:

i'm not satisfied with any of the photos! aaaah! grrrr! seriously, these new pouches are SOOOOOO good-looking. i printed them yesterday morning and was a little bit frustrated that the prints came out kinda light and faded looking. but then, once i sewed the first one and turned it right side out and zipped it up, i was PSYCHED. i think i actually said out loud, "oooooh, they look expensive." haha! but really -- they do. i think they look very RRL (or maybe whatever a british equivalent to that may be). the faded-looking prints are just right and the zippers -- OH, THE ZIPPERS! they are awesome. i used these great big chunky TALON zippers that i had scored somewhere a while ago and was waiting ever since to use. they're all different, all totally cool -- really strong and substantial looking:

i dont yet know how i'm going to list these in the shop -- because each one really is so different; but yet, i don't want to create a separate listing for each one..... ah, i'll figure it out. if you've got any suggestions, though, send 'em my way!

here's the one i'm keeping -- it's the most faded-looking print of the bunch, but i LOVE it:

i love the zipper on this one, too:

here's the only photo from this morning's shoot that i really like:

and here's the one pouch that i'm putting in the shop right now:

okay -- pillows next!

27 January, 2009

poppytalk, pillowtalk....

thanks so much for jan for posting on poppytalk today about some of my new chez-sucre-chez work.

hooray! i love her blog -- such a good site for inspiration, motivation, and beautiful visuals. and have you seen her de-design? it's lovely! go to it, click here.

so, with all the postive feedback i've been getting on the crown motif lately (thanks so much for the comments and emails!) i need to get my butt in gear and finish the other projects i started with these crowns.
today i'll be making more of these:

i've got a little more refining to do, but for my first attempt at pillows (and piping!) i'm rather pleased.. they'll only get better, then some of them are going into the shop...

26 January, 2009

creating a cloudy forecast...

...for portsmouth, new hampshire

as the clouds gather here for another round of snowy weather, i'm packing up a selection of my silver-lined clouds to send to the ellO gallery for inclusion in their upcoming show. i'm super-excited and flattered to have been invited -- my very first time being a part of a gallery show! i'll definitely be posting more details in the weeks to come.

25 January, 2009

doing the can-can

my sister, picking up a tip from my little readymade magazine spread, gave me this lovely little trio of succulents for x-mas:

and today, i just got around to repotting them.
partly because i'm too broke and time-strapped to be going out and buying proper planters, and partly because i'm a maniac for using resources wisely and responsibly, i opted to plant them in tin (aluminum) cans. my town doesn't recycle these - which really burns me up - so i saved these from the garbage, washed them out, coated them with spray paint, put some rocks in the bottoms for drainage, and called them planters. i originally thought i was going to wrap them in twine, too (laying it in the can ridges), but i tried that and ultimately preferred the simplicity of the white.

yeeeeeeaaah home crafts!
(thanks, nerdy! xo.)

24 January, 2009

valentine time

i really do love valentine's day. i love it for the pink and red and ribbons and sugar and hearts.
and i love it for all of the silly little puns i made up this year to accompany my valentine-inspired x-stitch pieces.

i listed these as little ready-to-give gift sets. they're in the shop, if you're interested...

23 January, 2009

holy kits!

i've just stocked the shops with all new kits!
okay, the first one isn't really ALL NEW. i've had this kit in my shop before, but it sold out, and for this batch i've made an even prettier, larger drawstring pouch to house the kit contents.
introducing, the new crop of "owl always love you" kits:

here's a shot of the new and improved project bag:

ooooh, pretty fabric, right?

and then, the new product is the "puppy love" kit:

it's got all of the supplies (and the patterns) to stitch up not one, but two chez-sucre-chez original cross-stitch designs! yeaah! woo-hoo!

it, too, comes in a pretty drawstring bag:

and here's a little extra fun --- there's enough hot pink embroidery floss in the kit (left over from the hearts, as long as you dont get it all tangled up!) to give the doggies collars if you want!

(i credit my friend mary for inspiring this one: through her company, collier leeds, she makes and sells SERIOUSLY nicey nice fancy dog collars -- check 'em out here.)

so -- as i said, the new kits are now in the shop. go on and check them out here.

22 January, 2009

miss august 2009

hey look!

my copy of the 2009 whipup calendar arrived the other day. seeing this in person is so cool -- it is a really beautiful calendar and i'm thrilled to have been included. (remember, quite a while ago, i told you the story... )
look at me, miss august (okay, so it isnt ME, really -- it's my handiwork):

lovely! the work featured on the other pages is super-duper cool, too.
see more info about the calendar here. i'm pretty sure you can still order them here; if you don't yet have a 2009 calendar, i recommend this one!

21 January, 2009

hangin' with the locals/z-town love

here's a post dedicated to some of my favourite locals:
so, about a year ago, i moved back to this magical little town where i spent my college years. it was countryside and the promise of more natural, organic, closer-to-the-land, back-to-basics living that drew me here, really. i was seeking a change from my past twelve years of city living. anyways, when i made my plans and the move out here, i knew that there were people like me who were inexplicably besotted with this region and that some friends and acquaintances had returned (or never left) and were living in the area. i did not, however, know for certain that i would find SO MANY seriously awesome people right here in the same town (or less than twenty minutes away) and that i would find myself in the company of so many inspired, motivated, talented and all-around good people. wow. i am so glad it worked out this way.
to make things even more awesome, i've found myself a part of this special little group of ladies here who are all doing their own crafty thing and are all making things happen for themselves.
check it out; we've got a little blog/site kinda thing to represent: (click here)

i seriously do love these ladies.
and, while on the subject of the z-towners (or z-townies? mmm, it sounds funny anyway you say it...), we've got a little write up on the all-new all-PA crafty-blog, handmade in PA. check it out here:

thanks, tara!

19 January, 2009

crowning moment

new crown tea towels are in the shop!
this is the new motif that i am working with and i must say, i quite love it. i've got the little red heart in the center there as reference to my little heart-outline tattoo on my wrist.
i've been tracing and stitching and carving and printing these crowns a lot this past week and a half.
here are my new shipping envelopes; i printed these last week:

(a poor photograph, taken at night as the envelopes were all drying on the floor of the studio.)
i kinda like them better without the heart...

there is still more to come...

let her sail

hey hey hey --- i've just kicked off a little clearance sale in my online shop. i have been working on SO MANY new products that i must must must clear out some of the old in order to make room in my little world for all of the new.

i had to set up a little photoshoot in my mama's kitchen for all of the pret-a-porter (okay -- porter isnt the right word... ) already stitched-up monogrammed tea towels that i have on offer. these were ones that i stitched up for my chez-sucre-chez banner and for examples for product shots. i don't have any need for them now, so i am offering them up at the bargain price of $12 each. if you see one of your letters here, go on and get it! click here and check out the sale items at the bottom.
(and if you don't see your letters/initials here with the ones pictured, you can still order one that i will custom stitch just for you. click here for stripes or here for solids.)

also on sale are the shoat totes, silver-lined cloud totes, piggy hand/tea/dish towels, silver-lined cloud towels, piggy onesies, and silver-lined cloud onesies. get 'em now if you want 'em, 'cause i'm not making any more!

18 January, 2009

that sweet little cupcake miss b.

how awesome is this?! aidyn wrote her name and bella drew these little faces. she's three months away from being three. do you see how amazing these drawings are?!?!?!?! look at the eyes --- she even drew the iris! look at the spacing of the eyes and noses and lips! look at the beards -- she drew beards! and the hair -- she described that as "crazy hair."

additional awesomeness: we made cupcakes.

(seven-minute frosting is so fun for decorating!)

16 January, 2009

shop talk

hey y'all --
paper and pine is a new online shop that just launched and i am so happy to be a part of it.

they are carrying chez-sucre-chez goods.
check it out -- there are soooo many cute things on there.
go shopping! click here to get there.

also -- i've done a little more work on my bigcartel shop.. it still isn't completely ideal -- but it's getting there. check it out -- here.

14 January, 2009

charley in a box

this may not be a product of the chez-sucre-chez studio, but it sure is an inspiration:

my friend jen pointed these out to me.
holy-yes, charley harper products at old navy. i wanted to buy them all, but i ended up getting just these two (to start).
let me tell you a little story about kj and mister charley harper --
years ago, when i worked as a nyc public school teacher, my school library got a grant for a complete overhaul, which it really did need. there were books in there that hadnt been checked out since the 70's (i am not exaggerating). well, i found myself at the head of the committee whose responsibility it was to decide which books stayed and which ones went. there were a lot of gems in that library, and i found quite a few books that the kids were most likely never going to touch, but that i thought were absolutely brilliant from a design or illustration point of view. so, i rescued a lot of those books from the dumpster and took them home to play with. mostly, i cut them up and made collages and postcards out of them. (and you can see some of them in this old post.)
well about a year or two after i had cut up those books, i looked through the small stack of remaining postcards and marveled at these particular illustrations. i decided that they were so great that i NEEDED another copy of that book. so i did the research, found out it was charley harper (whom i had never heard of) and then cruised around on ebay to see if i could find that book.
um, yes, i did find it --- for an average price of $300.
i ended up finding a slightly cheaper weird library copy of the book and i did buy it. and then a couple of years later i also got the gigantic charley harper coffee table book. (the one that todd oldham did.)
and now i am scooping up these really sweet products from old navy.
if you dont know the work of mister harper, i suggest you check it out. it really is amazing. (you can get started here.)

13 January, 2009

making lists

hey -- whatta you know --

chez has made the hot list of etsy's current gift guide. (in the personalized gifts section)
tres cool.
(thank you to those who emailed me to tell me about it!)

12 January, 2009

11 January, 2009

take my hand

i don't really know why i did this:

i really don't. i was stitching on canvas as kind of a practice for my soon-to-be revealed next thing, but i didn't have my image ready, so i did the hand image. and then i decided to put my cat bite marks on the hand. why? i don't know.
i do know, however, that i am still quite enamored with this canvas material. hot damn, i do love sewing with it. and i do know that i quite love the red stitching on the canvas, with the grey zipper:

okay, and then, because i rarely do anything just once -- it's that thing in me that always wants to give it another go -- always trying to make something better, or cooler, or ... (eh, i don't know.. it's just this weird thing i do...) -- i did this one, too:

i know -- pretty gross. why? mmm, i don't know -- i guess i just missed drawing blood drips (like these and these and these and theseand these). i'm obviously quite out of practice; this is one of the most unconvincing blood drips i've done. i'll probably take it back into the studio and give it a little rework...

colonel mustard and lady plum...

...in the studio, with an embroidery needle.

i just stitched these up last night/this morning. they are for a custom order -- the requested colors were "light mustard and plum on a grey background." ooooooh, they look beautiful! wonderful color choice, seana!

10 January, 2009

easier than finding a needle in a haystack

i've stitched up some new knitting needle bags and put them in my shops.

these are like the one that i made for molly, but a little less labor intensive. instead of hand-embroidering the needle decoration onto the bags, i painted them on. i actually really like the way the painting on the canvas worked out. i traced some of my favorite knitting needles onto the canvas and then used textile paint to fill it in.

and then i geeked-out over the photoshoot -- styling them each with coordinating yarn:

(this pink/lilac/lavender one is available in my etsy shop.)

(and the other ones are available in my other shop.)

i'm a big fan of this style of needle bag. i received one as a gift a couple of years ago and it's been in use ever since. in my opinion, these are better than the roll-up style needle organizers, because you can throw in all of your supplies and then have everything in one place, all contained. i tote around all of my needles (circulars fit in there a-okay, too), stitch markers, measuring tape, row counter, pencils, notebook and sometimes a small ball of yarn... okay, enough -- click on over to the shops and check them out.