25 June, 2013

Renegade Recap (Brooklyn 2013)

Phew! Renegade was a blast - as always! Thank you *so* much to all of you who came out to the event, visited my booth, and said hello. I was touched and overjoyed by how many folks came through and let me know that they read this blog, or have purchased from my etsy shop, or were there because they'd gotten the note I'd sent out to my NYC mailing list. Honestly, I always feel a little nervous when I send those mass emails out -- I always worry that it's looked upon as spam or a nuisance. So, it was really nice to hear that people actually do read the emails and that they were glad to get the heads up about the event; thank you!

I'm pretty terrible at remembering to get booth shots. This one, I took somewhere around the middle of the second day, and I really wish I'd cleaned up my little pile of mess in the back corner before I'd snapped the shot. I do, however, like how B is lounging in the back there like a beach hunk.
I had the back wall on my tent the day before, to make it all look a little more cohesive, but it was so darned hot on Sunday that I had to take it off in an attempt to get some airflow under that tent.

Bowl covers and kits were the popular best sellers, with the little stuffed vegetables and fruits coming in right after.

This array of stuffed farm goods came as a last-minute idea. I've been making the strawberries for years; filled with lavender, they're a chez-sucre-chez constant, and I'm happy that people come back year after year to add another or two to their collection. The mushrooms started out as a project for Terrain and, since then, I've made a few more, but used them mostly as props for my market/produce bags. The carrots, too, had been a part of my set-up, solely as prop, for the past few events. Always, at those events, I'd be asked if I sold the veggies by themselves.... So, I thought this time, why not?! I really do love making these things -- it's like play-time for me; finding fabrics in just the right color and with sweet prints; colors like orange (carrots) and brown (mushrooms) that I don't usually use, and working out the logistics of how to shape and sew the fabric into realistic forms.
So -- I made up a pile of carrots. And then, Wednesday morning, I was tending my garden and harvested all of my peas. That got me thinking -- I can make peas! Originally, I was going to make them out of fabric, and I bought all of these lovely pea-green prints. Once I got home and started thinking it through, however, I realized that felt was the way to go. And then, when I had the brain-flash to sew a piece of twine with a series of knots into the fabric - making it feel like REAL PEAS - I was beside myself with excitement. So that's how the peas happened.
The next day, by buddy Dan Colby posted a photo on Instagram of his heirloom tomato harvest, and that's what set me off on deciding I needed to make heirloom tomatoes, too. I'd made some tomatoes in previous years, but now I had some greens (from the peas) and some orange-red (from the carrots) fabrics and if I made them lumpy-er, they'd be like heirlooms.

The OTHER inspiration for this expanded collection of farm veggies was the new personalized jar-cover/topper kits that I'm working on. On one of my recent wanders through the fabric shop, I stopped in front of the burlap and realized that it has a large woven grid in it -- and so, it could be used to cross-stitch upon! I know that canning and picking is having a bit of a resurgence right now, and I thought it'd be fun to make personalized labels or toppers for mason/ball jars. So, I did! These were the first two I did:

And then I played around with some other ideas. I like the idea of a label, to be tied on the front of a jar, or hanging from the neck of a bottle, too.

Of course, having made a sample that said "dill pickles" I had to make some pretend dill pickles for my display.

This cracked me up, too. (And several people asked if the pickles were for sale -- not this time!)

So -- all this lead me to wanting to create a farm-stand-like scene in my booth. I envisioned hanging signs with the names and prices of the produce, hand-painted on old charming pieces of wood. When I mentioned this to B on Friday night, when he came home from work, he helped me make it happen by finding an old wooden frame , busting it up and cutting it apart. Hooray!

It turned out pretty close to how I'd envisioned it. I was happy.
Here's Olive, one of the most adorable and fashionable babies in NYC, with a bunch of carrots that her mama, my friend Cory, put on a leash so she wouldn't lose them:

Super cute, right?

So -- Renegade was good! It was great to see so many friends from my days of living in NYC, and to recognize and chat with my chez-sucre-chez/Renegade regulars. It was great to meet so many new c-s-c supporters and to get more people interested in picking up cross-stitch.

And now, it's two days later and I'm still exhausted! It's my birthday, so I'm giving myself the day off and trying not to feel guilty about it. :) I think the most productive thing I'm going to get to is taking those peas that I harvested last week and making them into fresh ravioli for dinner tonight. Maybe....

18 June, 2013


Hello friends!
If you're wondering where the heck I've been the past couple of weeks (because I sure as heck haven't put up a blog post in a while), I'll tell you -- I've been working my butt off getting ready for Renegade!

Renegade Brooklyn, my very favourite of the yearly craft fair events is coming up THIS WEEKEND. woohoo!

I *think* this is my sixth year doing Renegade; wowsers!

So, mostly these past couple of weeks I've been stitch stitch stitch and sew sew sewing. One new thing that I did and put into the shop, (which you may have noticed if you follow the chez-sucre-chez Instagram or facebook or twitter, or etsy) is the new Go 'Round the Roses kit:

I figured I'd carry on that roses kick/theme I was on and go ahead and create an x-stitch pattern/kit.

The inspiration for these particular roses -- both the shape and the color, came from two things:

One - traditional rose tattoos. B got some done on his leg recently (by the talented BJ Betts) and now I seem to be seeing rose tattoos everywhere. Almost makes me rethink my "no more tattoos (except maybe a teeny little bat)" thinking...

The second source of inspiration is the very roses in the above photo. Right behind our house, there's a sweet little building. Our landlords call it "the chapel" because, when this place was a convent in the 1960's that's what it was used for. I'm not quite sure what it was used for before that, but one of the coolest features of the tiny little structure is a set of hinged doors in the floor that open up onto a large stone-rimmed circular pit -- said to be a hiding spot from the days of the Underground Railroad!

Aaaanyways, there's a lovely little old rose bush that grows up the trellis outside the front door. Last month, those roses were all abloom, and I meant to take some photos. I never got around to that, and now they're all trimmed back and done... boo. But before they totally faded, my kit was finished and those are the roses that I used for the listing photo. I was really impressed that, without trying, I chose pretty much the exact colors for my stitching!

So -- that's a teeny little update. I've got to hop off now to get back to work in my prep for Renegade (of course, the event is only four days away and I've just come up with two new ideas that I want to try to execute....). If you're local enough to Brooklyn, you know I'd love to see you at the Renegade event. Check out all of the details and the line-up of amazing vendors here, on the Renegade site. Have a great week, all!

03 June, 2013

for the love of france...

...and good design, and golden shiny wonderfulness -- I have teamed up with Susan from the blog Fleurishing, who is hosting a giveaway in celebration of her three years of blogging.

You may remember that, about a year ago, I created a set of custom-stitched pieces for the nursery of her (then) soon-to-arrive twins. Those twins are now almost a year old and oh-my-goodness, are they precious. (Want a fix of adorable-twin-baby-cuteness? Follow Susan on instagram.)

(photos of Henry and Marie's nursery courtesy Courtney Apple)

Aaanyway, Susan is celebrating her third year of blogging in grand style; she's launched a brand-spankin' new
site design, and she's hosting three giveaways; one for francophiles, one for mamas, and one for design-lovers.

One of my pieces, a quote from Audrey Hepburn (as the title character) in Sabrina, is up for grabs as part of the francophile giveaway!

Susan came up with and recommended the quote and I thought it was perfect. Taking inspiration from Susan's love of gold and the pieces that I did for her nursery, as well as my own romantic visions and ideals of Paris and its nickname of The City of Light, I went with this golden color scheme.

Speaking of Paris -- I miss it... It was the first overseas city I visited (in 1997?) The last time I was there was in 2006, where I spent 10 days wandering the city taking photos and spending time with some of the most inspiring people I've met to date.

(a series of self-portraits I took in the mirrors of Paris:)

It was on this trip that "chez-sucre-chez" was first spoken (A mistake I made, with my less-than-stellar French language skills, to say "home sweet home.), and where I first started to feel the courage and passion and maybe the spark of confidence and hope that perhaps it was possible to live the life that I dreamed -- maybe one (I) could be a full-time maker/artist.... It seemed that all of the people I met, (especially my friends, the beautiful Hanania twins, Estelle and Marion - who continue to inspire me always with their make-it-happen creativity and talent.) were making art, or fashion, or music, -- and making their living from it. That trip certainly marked a turning point in my life.

So --- viva la France!!
Please go on over and check out the Fleurishing blog -- Susan has great taste, you may want to add this blog to your list of bookmarks! And follow the directions for your chance to win some French-inspired goodness! It's not only my piece, but also goodies from Nichole Robertson, girls can tell (a fellow Philadephia-area artist who just opened brick-and-mortar store Ocassionette), and Ink and Iron.

(PS-- Juuuust in case you're not feeling lucky, or you do enter and don't win and are really sad about that, I have the piece up on Etsy - both in the colorway above and in another, or as a custom-order in your colors... find it here.)