27 November, 2013

Bring on the Holidays!

Last week, I went up to NYC to lead a workshop at the American Folk Art Museum.

It was delightful!
For the past few years, I feel like every trip I've taken into the city has been rush-rush, full of traffic, and so busy that I don't get to enjoy just *being* in the city. Well, this trip was different; I took the train in, and gave myself plenty of time - getting there early enough to walk from Penn Station to Lincoln Circle, stopping to shop, and look, and eat along the way.
That particular route really isn't the best of NYC (in my opinion) but it is close to where I lived for much of my time in NYC, and so I had a lot of routine spots and shops that I stopped in on along the way; the shoe department at Macy's, the big H&M on the corner of ___ (what is that corner? I forget!), the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. Unfortunately, I never found any independent little gems in that part of the city... I walked past my old gym(s), one of my old office buildings, the street on which I used to live. Oh, memories.
And then there was the Folk Art Museum! I got there early so that I could see the current exhibit and oh-my-goodness - it was wonderful! The current show is called alt_quilts, where three artists show their works inspired by the traditional American quilt. The work of one of these artists, Stephen Sollins, knocked my socks off! Sollins creates "quilts" entirely out of paper - and the results are absolutely stunning. Here are a few snapshots I clicked with my phone:
Here's one of them from afar:

And then you get close to it and see it is made up entirely of envelopes -- the inside security patterns making up the color blocks.

Oh my goodness, right? I couldn't get enough of this piece. I took a ton more photos, but really, if you are in NYC, you really should go see it yourself. It is so wonderful.
Then there was another by the same artist - a wedding ring style piece, made entirely of Tyvek (think Fed Ex and Priority Mail) envelopes:

Love! I am a sucker for an all-white quilt as it is, and this one had me swooning.
In addition to the works by the three artists, the exhibit also featured some traditional American quilts from the museum's collection. This was my particular favourite:

The curved lines of triangles of color and pattern look so much like little bunting banners.
One day, I will own a beautiful old quilt like this. There actually is one at a local antiques shop, and I am SO in love with it, but it's $600! $600?!??!! Yikes... that's way out of my budget. But look at how amazing it is:

Oh swoon. Those old prints/fabrics, that hand-work, all that white...
So I go and visit it every so often and always hope that it'll still be there.

Aaaanyways. My workshop at the Museum was great, too! I had such a wonderful bunch of ladies and it was really fun to share the project with them. We did the Elegant Ornament project and although it was too complicated of a pattern to finish in the 1.5 hours of the workshop, I hope that they all got the guidance enough to finish it up on their own.

The other thing about my trip to NYC was that it definitely made me realize how close the holidays are! I had my first Peppermint Mocha drink (guilty pleasure!) and I could feel the energy of the holiday hustle-bustle building up.

So --- here's a little preview of chez-sucre-chez holiday. I had these things ready to go weeks ago, but I was trying to hold out until it really was about holiday time.

Holiday kits are in the shop -- the Elegant Ornaments (available in three colors) and Night Deer:

And "Cheers!" tea towels and napkins are stitched up and ready-to-go:

I'm really liking the "Cheers!" tea towels wrapped around a bottle of wine or other spirits; this is going to be my hostess gift of the season. :)

More to come! I rocked through all of my open orders yesterday and cleared my worktable so that I could whip up a few more seasonal goodies today before it's time to start working on my Thanksgiving feast contributions for tomorrow. Hoping to add more goods to the shop later today or late tomorrow. (Hoping.)
I'm sending you all the biggest warmest wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I am so thankful for YOU.

PS-- Yep, there will be some deals in the shop for this holiday shopping weekend. Keep your eye on the social media outlets and the shop for coupon codes and announcements of deals! xo!

15 November, 2013

Feeling the Love

A few weeks ago, blogger and interior designer Susan Hutchinson of fleurishing asked me to participate in her local-love Philly Creatives series. She sent over a list of Q+A questions and asked me to choose ten to answer. I worked on them here and there over the past couple of weeks, and then kicked it into high gear to finish them up last night.
This morning, Susan got in touch to let me know that the post had gone live.

I read it, and had a moment of almost teary epiphany. See, in answering those interview questions, I was thinking and talking a lot about how chez-sucre-chez is a one-woman operation and that I am ultimately the one responsible for if I succeed or fail in my little business.
What I realized this morning is that this is not really true. Chez-sucre-chez would be only so much if it truly were the one-woman operation that I think it to be. In reality, chez-sucre-chez is what it is because of you, who read my blog, because of people like Susan, who share their support of chez-sucre-chez on blogs or other press outlets, because of my customers, who write nice reviews of their purchases that inspire others to place orders, because of my friends, who encourage me to keep on keeping on....
In short, I'm feeling a whole lot of gratitude this morning, for all of the people who have ever said nice things about my work, all of the customers who have ever placed an order or bought my wares at craft fairs+events, all of the buyers who've ever carried my products in their stores, all of the bloggers, magazine editors, and well-connected people who have ever chosen to feature my work on their media outlets, all of my followers on social media, all of my friends, my amazingly supportive family..... all of you. Chez-sucre-chez would only be a wistful past-time if it weren't for you. Thank you.

(PS -- Susan's blog post of my Q's & A's is here. Thank you, Susan!)

11 November, 2013

savoring autumn

I'm not much a fan of autumn -- to me, it just means shorter (darker) days and colder weather. That Onion article that was going around a few weeks ago hit the nail on the head for me. The past few weeks haven't been so bad, though, and I've been savoring some of the little quintessentially autumnal activities and experiences.

The week before Halloween, we took a trip to Richmond, VA, to visit some friends who recently moved there. I brought along an apple pie and was delighted to find that a large bowl cover also makes for a perfect pie cover; eco-sweet pie transfer!

We walked around the city and then shared a delicious dinner of bread, olives, cheese and wine, followed by the apple pie. Dining like that with good friends is always such a wonderful treat!

The trees around our house have been putting on quite a show. I love the view across the little "field" from my studio window -- even on over-cast days and evenings, the lighting and trees looks so dramatic.

On this particular evening, when this photo was taken, I was watching a pair of ravens, or some other really big black birds, circling around above the trees, the way the light was hitting just the underside of their wings was fantastic - lighting them up in gold. Of course, though, I didn't manage to get a photo of that fleeting magic.

We have a really wonderful fire pit area in our backyard and as often as we can, we invite friends over for super-casual hang-outs there. The weekend after Halloween, we had some peeps over -- and Mister Jack O Lantern made for a festive backdrop:

I simmered up a big batch of warm mulled apple cider and we drank it spiked with spiced rum as we talked and enjoyed the evening.

This past weekend, my niece and nephew spent the night with us and so we did another fire night. It's adorable how much they love that. They also love that we always seem to have sparklers tucked away somewhere for them to enjoy when they're here.

The other super great autumn thing is this pumpkin pull-apart bread from the Kinfolk Table cookbook. I found the recipe on Sprouted Kitchen, via Tastespotting, and made it last week. Oh. My. Goodness. You should make it.

02 November, 2013

chez-sucre-chez for Anthropologie

Remember back in this post when I was stitching up those 500 "Enjoy!" napkins for a big wholesale order? Well, they've hit the shelves -- at Anthropologie! Woohoo!

It is so exciting to me to be in that store -- it's definitely one of my favourite shops, from the homewares to the dresses to the window displays, the team at Anthropologie just does it right.
The napkins are available online:

and they're also available in some of the shops. Being a one-woman team, I could really only stitch up so many napkins; 500 sounds like a lot, but it isn't nearly enough for them to be stocked in every Anthropologie location. Unfortunately, they aren't at my local shop; if you see them at yours would you please email me a photo? I'd love to see them in the shop environment!
Actually -- these aren't even available in my shop anymore. The blue ticking stripe napkins were a discontinued style from one of my suppliers, and I bought up every last one to complete this order - so, if you love them, hop on over to the site to snap 'em up or find out if your local shop has them!

Also exciting is that they are carrying my boyfriend hankie kits as well. These are available only online:

But you can still find them in my shop as well...

I'm so excited that this worked out and that I'm able to see my products as part of their line up. Everyone I worked with over there, from the buyers team to vendor relations, was so nice and helpful. Fingers crossed that we may be able to do more work together in the future!

Next up -- I'm in full-swing prep for the holidays! I know, most of us don't want to see holiday marketing yet - but it creeps up so fast! I'll spare you the details for another week or two - but if you want a sneak peek (including a holiday variation of the "Enjoy!" napkin) take a look at my shop!

Have a great weekend, friends!