31 December, 2011

glitter and berries, a bird and a tree

oops! the last day of the year?! well, here's one more holiday season post before we ring in 2012.

glitter+felt stars+cranberries+popcorn = xmas decor:

the cranberry popcorn strings were a bit too much for our little tree, so i hung them up outside on the hedges that flank our walkway. hours later, i awoke to the sound of pouring rain. the popcorn didn't look so good in the morning. oh well, i tried.

and here's our "tree:"

i was so on-the-fence about getting a tree.... we spend the days before, of, and after with our families, so we really weren't going to be around to fully celebrate and enjoy a decorated tree. but still, i kind of wanted *something* to decorate.
the saturday before christmas, i met my new friend jill over at terrain and of course seeing all of the beautiful festive decorations and breathing the smell of evergreen only made me want a tree MORE. and then luck struck.
as i was walking to my car, there was a handsome young man cutting the lower boughs off of christmas trees and, as he was throwing the large green branches into a big wooden bin, our eyes met for a second and we exchanged friendly smiles. i walked about three steps more and then turned right around, pulled out the old girlish charm, and sweetly asked if the boughs were sold after being cut. he said nope and to go on ahead and take them if i wanted. hiphiphooray; that's exactly what i wanted to hear!
so i went home and arranged the the boughs into a wonky treelike shape and felt happy.
with a bird for the top branch and a nest (that i found out in the yard the week before) cradled in one of the branches, i think all it needed were the little sparkly stars.

it only takes little things to make me happy.
thank you, all, for being here with me this year. you make me happy. you keep me going.
let's all hope for an even brighter 2012. happy new year! be safe!

27 December, 2011

spirit of giving

happy post-chrismas, friends! i hope you all had a really lovely holiday. mine was wonderful -- i have such a loving and fun family, and with an eight year old, a five year old, and a teeny little two month old baby, it was that much more special.

this year, i felt super good about all of the gifts that i gave. i hand-made most of them and actually had them done and wrapped BEFORE leaving for my travels! (all but two; that's an amazing accomplishment for me!) here are some of the ones i had finished and wrapped while it was still light enough for photos.

i made tiny baby shoes (using this pattern) and a little hat for baby Elvis:

(the hat's a little too small. i'll make another for next month, when he's grown out of it.)

a super cozy cowl for sis and fingerless gloves for my brother-in-law:

(i made the fingerless gloves for lots of other people on my list, too. i hadn't knit up a pair for years, and forgot how quick and easy and satisfying these are! here's a link to the basic pattern, which i modified for using extra bulky yarn.)

a pretty felt flower headband for niece bella:

(inspired by my much-loved rosette fascinator by giant dwarf and using the flower patterns found on the purlbee here.)

wine coaster thing-ys for the ladies-of-the-house on my list:

i had seen these *somewhere* but could not for the life of me figure out where -- i searched martha and purlbee and BH&G and courtyliving with no results. in the end, i did them how i remembered them to be, and using different color stitching on each to make them kind of like those wine charm things. honestly, i thought they were a little cheesy, but kinda just a little cool, too.
packaging them in fruit boxes upped the presentation points.

paperwhite bulbs (from ever-inspiring terrain):

i also did a few as single bulbs, placed in a small-size mason jar with white buttons at the bottom instead of stones. those turned out really sweet -- but i didn't get a photo of them.

home-made caramels using this recipe:

the orange-wrapped ones were fleur-de-sel, and the blue-wrapped ones were lavender. ( i kinda went a little overboard on the lavender -- they were a bit too floral-y, even for me who loves that flavor...)

one sack of caramels packaged up for my wonderfully friendly postal clerk:

and lastly, cookies:

two kinds of biscotti - one dairy free, for my lactose-intolerant landlord:

and the rest were either finished after-dark (more pairs of fingerless gloves, containers of paperwhites, and neice and nephew's custom-covered sketchbooks), or at the last minute (nani's felt flower wreath), or vintage (mom's yellow-ware bowl), or storebought (b's camera, dad's bar glasses, ed emberly books for bella and aidyn).
totally satisfying.
and i was a lucky little lady in terms of the gifts i received! vintage pyrex from b, this book from santa, snowshoes, a gift certificate to my favourite fabric shop, many exciting new dishes and gadgets for my kitchen, and so many other thoughtful and sweet surprises. i'm a lucky little girl -- my family and loved one mean the world to me, and that i get to spend my christmas with them -- perfect.

19 December, 2011

holla daze

oh my goodness what an insanely, intensely, wonderfully busy few weeks i've had with chez-sucre-chez; stitching up dozens of tea towels, running out of them and ordering, laundering, ironing, and stitching those ones, too; packing up scores of boyfriend hankie kits and working all hours to keep on top of my shipments to go out -- all to ensure that my customers would get their orders in time for gift giving. it was a wild, wonderful time. but now i get to breathe (a little) and jump into my own holiday gifts! i've got five days to make and bake my little butt off to get it all done. there'll be knitting, and sewing, and cards and caramels and felt wreaths to make, cookies to bake, packages to wrap, and a tree to trim. hooray! thank you all for a wonderful year. i hope that i'll remember to snap some photos of all of these projects over the next week -- if i do, i'll certainly post. if i don't, i hope to meet back up with you here soon! happy holidays, friends! xoxo

14 December, 2011

pressed handkerchiefs

phew! it's been a whirlwind couple of days! i returned from my trip to nyc (the Divine Studios sale was divine, as usual!) completely exhausted and was stirred from my zombie-like state on Monday night by an email from a friend letting me know that my boyfriend hankie kit was featured in an etsy newsletter of "gifts for the mysterious man," written by the wonderful jan, of poppytalk.

of course, i was ill-prepared and only had a handful of hankies/kits in stock. eeks! i debated whether i should just let them sell out, or if i should spend half the day driving to restock on hankies. i opted to restock. (it was a beautiful day for driving, anyways...) so now -- all colors of hankies are now back in stock and i'm madly putting together new kits to fullfil the orders that have come in so far.
i'm super grateful to jan for picking this up as a featured gift item -- this really is one of my favourite chez-sucre-chez products and i'm glad to see it getting discovered! want to stitch one up for your man? head to the shop -- i'm selling them with and without a hoop. i'm making post office runs every day from here through next week so get those orders in and i'll send 'em on out quickly so you get them in time for stitching and giving.
now back to the madness of my studio. (good golly it needs a good cleaning after all this craziness! next week... next week..)

07 December, 2011

nyc, see you soon

all this rainy day i've been running around getting my last minute materials and supplies to work on my display for the above event. if you are in the nyc area -- please please please come by! sunday, dec. 11th, 11 - 6pm, at 21 east 4th street (4th & Lafayette). i didn't do this one last year, but i did it the year before that and the year before that and i tell you, it's exhilarating - all the talent and personality packed into that little room. if you are at all a fan of the martha stewart living magazine, and the whole MSLO brand in general, you should be sure to come on out to this -- take a look at the vendors and compare them to the masthead of the magazine; you'll see what i'm talking about.
okay then, see you there? xo.

06 December, 2011

to the letter

here's a grouping of letters i did as a custom job for my aunt susan, who is giving them as gifts to her nieces. i actually really enjoyed stitching these up; it'd been a while since i'd done any letters like these. i took the listings for custom-stitched letters out of my shop well over a year or two ago but have, since then, continued to collect patterns . it was nice to finally stitch some of those patterns up, and in fun colors for girls of a range of ages.

i liked the G so much, in fact, that i put that one up in the shop as an option.

i think it'd be better suited in a hoop that is one size larger (a seven, rather than six-inch hoop), but i love the lettering style and can see it looking great in any number of colors. it does look particularly festive all dressed up with a bow, too:

04 December, 2011

home is - a little bit bigger now

i finally got to stitch up, photograph, and update the listing for the new 8 x 10 size "home is wherever i'm with you" piece.

stitched-to-order as always, with choice of colors, this design has been one of my biggest sellers and i'm happy to now offer it in the larger size and with the nicer frame. that's it - just wanted to share that. i hope you're enjoying your sunday!

02 December, 2011

monogram madness

sheesh --- i've been terrible at posting lately.
the reason is, i've been pretty much non-stop stitching up monogram towels, since they appeared in better homes and gardens magazine a bit over a month ago.

i'm super happy that they've been so well-received. and they're keeping me busy.
this is today's lot to be shipped out:

good times! keep those orders coming -- i can handle them -- just please be sure, if you are planning on ordering a towel or two or two dozen, to get those orders in as early as possible (here!) - some colors are running out and i've only got two hands, so i may have to put a cap on orders at some point in the month. so far, so good though - hooray! happy weekend!

24 November, 2011

black friday

howdy! i hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. (i'm still full from dinner at 2pm!)

just wanted to let you all know that it's sale time in the shop! for one day only, enjoy 15% off all items in the shop that are black.

(that includes the newest diy kit -- deer in the night.)

the sale is going on all day -- no need to wake up and get into line at some ridiculously early hour in the morning. (unless, that is, you want to be one of the few to snap up some of the limited number of stitched-to-order pieces....)

have a great weekend!

18 November, 2011

holiday wind up

little by little, i'm getting the shop ready for the holiday marketing/shopping season. yesterday i posted a new photo of my red striped monogram towels.
i wish i had time to bake for real, and not just make a baking-like set up for a photo!

related to baking, i (with a little layout help) designed a set of recipe cards (like the one in the photo) for you!

i hope that you will print them out and use them this holiday season. here's what to do: go to this link (googledocs), where you'll find the pdf. you can download and print from there - easy as that!
do you have a favourite recipe? i know i shared one of mine years ago -- great aunt mary's black pepper cookies. check it out, it's worth revisiting!
lately i've been more into bread-baking than sweet-making. i'm hoping to jump back into it next week and bake up a couple more baguettes -- they're so delicious (and not that difficult)!
happy weekend, everyone. remember, if you're in the philly area, to come on by the art star holiday bazaar!

16 November, 2011

fair play

philadelphia locals, here's another chance to do some craft-fairing, shopping, browsing, meet-and-greeting, and early holiday-spiriting:

this friday (night), saturday, AND sunday is the first ever art star holiday craft bazaar, being held at the 23rd street armory (23rd street, between market and chestnut). friday night is an early bird party - just meaning that you have to get tickets to it, but there's gonna be food, drink, music, free stuff and a photobooth! craft fairs are fun, yes - but add cocktails and music to the mix and it becomes even MORE fun. check it out here. but then saturday and sunday will be the regular old good-times-to-be-had thing, too. i'll be there sharing a booth space with pal melanie linder. i forget our booth number, but just look for the tent, INSIDE, and you'll find us underneath it. (HA! another reason to come by -- to see our crazy rad set-up!)
i had such a great time at last friday's event at paradigm gallery. it was a small event in a small space, which gave plenty of opportunity for mingling with the other vendors. i feel like i don't do that at the larger affairs for several reasons; one, i am usually setting up until the last possible minute, and then still fiddling with stuff for most of the first few hours, two, i'm kind of a nut about being in my booth to talk to my customers, and three, i'm actually quite a bit more shy than i am outgoing, in terms of meeting and hobnobbing with other vendors. i think i probably come off as a snob, but i'm not!
come on out this weekend if you can. stop by and say hello. introduce yourself. i'd really like to meet you.
now i gotta get back to crackin' on my preparations! i've still got a ton of work to do. (sigh.)

13 November, 2011

little bits of life

sometimes, i do take a break from work.
here are some little bits, captured less-than-perfectly through the lens of the camera on my phone. sadly, i've gotten out of the habit of taking my good digital camera around with me on adventures....

lately, b and i have been really into exploring the walking/hiking trails of the local nature preserves. this was a shot from today's walk. on this walk i found my first hen-of-the-woods; too bad it was past its peak/season.

then we discovered baldwin's book barn --- possibly the most beautiful bookstore i've ever visited. it's five floors of books in an old house/barn!

the majority of the stacks on the upper floors are made from old fruit crates; beautiful!

on the way home we passed this sight:

only in pennsylvania.... (right?)

rewind a few weeks; we carved pumpkins; (can you guess which one i did?!)

and then the next day it snowed on them. (crazy!)

the next week, niece bella and i used skewers dressed up as flags to save nephew aidyn's birthday cake from slippery doom:

(we called it the muddy river cake. it may not have been my prettiest, but it was darned delicious!)

and lastly, one of my latest little joys; watching the sunrise from my pillow;

sometimes emil watches it with me, too.

that's it for now! hopefully on my next post i can give a little recap of the art/craft fair i did this past friday night. til then, ciao, friends!

10 November, 2011

art et joie

if you are local to the philadelphia area, or within driving distance and looking for something to do this friday night -- come to this event! art et joie is going to be a one-night-only trunk-show event featuring seven artists who will be showing and selling their work. there'll be refreshments! it'll be a sweet opportunity to browse and purchase some lovely handmade art and gifts and to meet the artists who created them.
the event is being held at paradigm gallery - 2020 south street, philadelphia -- between the hours of 7 - 10. i've already got my set-up all worked out (currently in my living room) and i'm greatly looking forward to it.

virginia evans, one of the artists, created an etsy treasury of a sneak preview of the work to be shown/seen:

(see it here.)
see you there?

09 November, 2011

a little birdie (or two)

here's one of the custom jobs that i shipped out last week:

it was for a customer who had ordered from me i think over two years ago -- it always makes me over-the-moon happy to see customers come back to my shop to get more work done. and i love that i remember every piece that i stitch and the back-and-forth emails that it takes to complete an order. connection with my customers is one of my very favourite parts of my job -- it's so super satisfying!

this is the project that inspired the newest kit (the lovebirds kit) -- but i wanted to do it in a size that would compliment the letters that went along with it, and so stitched this one double-size, creating a bigger version of the original pattern.

there are so many ways that these pieces could be arranged and hung -- i love the difference that a little ribbon makes. i would have liked to have tried more set-ups, but these shots are all i had time for...

congratulations to the newlyweds to whom this collection was shipped, and thanks to amanda for having me create it!

oh - and speaking of birds - a bird somehow got into my house about an hour ago and was flying all around! this is the second time it's happened; i think they squeeze in through a space under the screen door. all is fine though - i got him/her out safely and kept emil the cat clear away from the excitement. phew! at least it wasn't a bat.

03 November, 2011

please... lightened up

oh my goodness, i've been a bad blogger... sorry, i've been working lots and lots of custom orders. soon i'll post photos!

here's the latest listing in the shop:

i stitched it up almost a month ago, but just got it photographed and listed. the design is familiar, yes, but this one is in a one-of-a-kind colorway. i'd love it if someone with dark walls (like charcoal grey!) bought it, but i'll be content sending it to any happy home.

today is one of those beautiful sunshine-y fall days here, so i'm going to try to finish up my work and get out there for an hour or two! i hope you're all doing swell. xo.

19 October, 2011

love you tender

sorry for the lack of posts lately, but i've had a busy weekend/week!
on monday morning, i welcomed my new baby nephew into the world.

(here's his foot after making his very first piece of art)

wow, witnessing birth is exciting. both he and my sister and the rest of our family are doing great and we're all very happy that Elvis is here at last. (yes! it's a perfect name for him!)
i'll be back to regular work and posting in a few days! xo.

13 October, 2011

love birds

it's another new kit!

i know - i've done maybe too many kits with two little creatures and heart over top of them, but really, with this one, i just couldn't resist! these sweet birds sitting on their branches looking at one another; i had to do it.

i dug up these little birdies while doing research for custom order request - i had used them on a piece that i did long ago, and almost forgot about them. i'm so happy to be seeing them in this new light! and then, when it came down to choosing colors for the new pattern, i went with my love of godard's palette of french blue, white, and red. i like the folksy look it brings to the piece. i hope you agree. i've only got a small amount of this fabric color, so i'm thinking this one is going to be a limited edition... unless it goes over well and i can get my hands on more of this color? we'll see....
it's in the shop - here.

i'm signing out for the week, i think... my sister is due to give birth to baby number three any time now, and as soon as i get the call, i'm running out the door! my bags are packed and i've been watching my phone like a hawk. it's amazing how productive i've been thinking that i have to use every minute i've got to make things happen in my studio before being away from it for a few days to a week. (those of you with custom-orders in, don't worry, i've got all of my supplies and materials in a go-box, ready to go with me! same goes for regular shop items.)

have a wonderful end to your week and weekend, all! xo.

dance dance revolution

here's the story on this one: it was inspired by the two movies i've watched this week; "black swan" and "desperately seeking susan."
i've been wanting to do a few dance-inspired pieces, and i have several in mind, but haven't gotten to them yet.... because the images i have in my head require me to create new fonts, and that's not always my favourite task.... but this one, this one came about pretty easily; i heard the line in madonna's "into the groove" (which is in "desperately seeking susan") and almost immediately got to work on putting the letters together.
two fun facts about me:
one - dancing is probably my favourite thing in the world to do. i love a dance party like nothing else.
two - "into the groove" was the song for our pom-pom routine in 8th grade. that's right, i was a cheerleader. for one year. sometimes when i'm out dance-partying this song comes on and if i've had a few cocktails, the pom-pom routine moves come out.

with the "black swan" influence, i totally wanted to do the piece with ballerina-pink stitching instead of ecru, but i decided it's better to go neutral on these random pieces that i make.

(behind the piece, you can see that state that my living room walls are in at the moment. i finally found the right color, but haven't yet gotten to the painting....)

expect more dance-themed pieces to come!