Friday, August 27, 2010

marvelous marissa...

if you have been in the shop while marissa has been with us, you know just how wonderful she is.

marissa is a recent graduate of the kent state school of fashion, so she has experience with design, pattern drafting and sewing. and she knows all about fabric. she has the most beautiful smile and warm personality. my sarah and her sister kara, have been friends for many years. it has been fun getting to know marissa better the last few weeks. we did discover there was one tiny little issue though. she has never pieced together a quilt block. until today. that is.

she has been eyeing fandango since she first came into the shop. so i grabbed a charm pack and asked her to make four nine blocks. seems easy. marissa soon found out it is not as easy as it looks. i could tell right away she has a good eye for color, texture and composition. soon she had all the pieces just where she wanted them and had selected two squares of fabric that she will use for inside and outside borders. both were excellent choices. and then she got busy sewing quarter inch seams. she did a marvelous job of stitching. you'll have to come into the store to see her progress.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the best of buckeye connections

i have so much catching up to do on this blog, yet i just have to share something that happened in the store today. for me, it is one of those moments that just cannot be explained. coincidence perhaps. divine intervention. star alignment. small world happenstances. 6 degrees of separation. it is one incredible feeling however you want to define it.

the story really goes back to september 27, 2008. sarah and i attended our first ohio state football game together. just us girls. as you can see from this picture, our seats are pretty darn close to the field. you can thank sarah for that. her 18th birthday gift was an endowed scholarship in her name that will go to a master level candidate in the college of social work each year studying in the field of developmental disabilities. the wonderful person who helped us put it all together is jen from the osu development office.

back to 9/27/08. after getting our picture taken, we went for a walk. then we found a place to park sarah's wheelchair so we could people gaze. it's just fun to watch the thousands and thousands of scarlet and gray tee-shirts, jerseys, and sweatshirts gathering in the stadium. after awhile it becomes a blur, there are so many fans sporting the team colors.

i was sitting in somewhat of a daze, when i notice a woman walk by wearing the most stunning piece of buckeye apparel i had ever seen. i unlocked the wheels of sarah's chair and got up to follow her so i could study the detail better. and then i found a piece of paper to quickly sketch the design. i still carry it with me everyday.

the body of the jacket was a beautiful silverish gray silk shantung. down the left side was a row of very small quilted blocks in various shades of red cotton.

the back had a large quilted block o in the same red cottons with the infamous buckeye leaves in green and a few brown three dimensional buckeyes sewn on. i could not stop thinking about that jacket the entire game. once back in cleveland, i decided i had to make that jacket and set out to find the supplies i needed. and that is when i discovered the quilt stores i had often frequented in my earlier quilting days were closed. so i temporarily gave up on the project.
spring forward to 2010 and lo and behold, sarah and i are opening our own fabric and quilt store. one night we went through the moda website and pulled off all the red, gray and black fabrics we could find. we just knew one day we would have a display of scarlet and gray quilts. a fiber tribute to our beloved buckeyes.

fast forward to today. august 24, 2010 at approximately 11:30 am. a customer brings to the counter the bolt of red marble and the bolt of gray marble now in our store but not yet positioned together. hmm...looks like a familiar color combination. an onlooker asks what she is going to make. the customer replys, "i make buckeye quilts." "oh really," says jen from the osu development office (who just happens to be visiting us in the store today). "i work at ohio state," jen states. and then the customer tells us of her website, i quilt scarlet and gray dot blogspot dot com.
i was speechless. dumbfounded. in shock really. i still can't get over that jen was in the store at the exact moment this customer came shopping. his mysterious ways sure lead to wonderful connections.
later in the day i went to AMAZING!!!! Simply amazing. i have a new friend. one equally obsessed with the buckeyes and with scarlet and gray fabric!!! it doesn't get any better than that.
thank you so much for coming in today darlene. and thank you jen for driving all the way from columbus to observe first hand the social power of a fabric house and sewcial lounge.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

a grand opening...

...that exceeded our wildest imagination. THANK YOU to everyone who supported us during our first week. i will post pictures in a short time.

Friday, August 13, 2010

preparing for kate spain

we are so blessed and lucky to have a moda designer making an appearance at our store on saturday. kate spain has been such a tremendous supporter of our daughter sarah and our store opening.

we have created a display in the front room with 12 days of christmas, kate's christmas collection. it is so charming. we have already been cutting lots of it this week.

when i opened the newspaper last evening and spotted our first ad, i was overcome with pride really. we truly did it. a dream come true. thank you so much to everyone for supporting us. i will write more about the grand opening week soon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

coming out...after dark...

it's the eve of our official ribbon cutting and sarah's 21st birthday celebration. we opened our windows to the world this evening. at least to the travelers on mayfield road.

it was a bit frightening. much like walking out on a runway in nyc. in a very skimpy outfit. i felt so exposed. up until now, i have been hiding behind the brown paper on the windows. i think it had somehow become my security blanket. like all young ones though, i guess it's time to grow up. so we neatly removed and folded away the unsightly paper. on went the spotlights. hello world. hello future.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

in the nick of time...

i released a loud exhale today as i sorted through the mail. a letter from city hall can only mean one thing...

...the occupancy permit. sure enough, here it is in black and white.

i'm not sure what i would have done come monday had it not arrived. no need to worry about that now though. it's signed, sealed and delivered. oh happy day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

autism helps

...i was excited that the furniture arrived on a day that sari was working. i knew that she would enjoy getting it prepped and ready for fabric.

sure enough. she got right to work dusting to be sure it was clean before we put our fabric on top.

if you have been over to our website you may have read our mission statement: to provide competitive employment in an entrepreneurial setting for young adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. sari just happens to have autism.

i was recently asked what i know about autism and my reply was this, " not very much." i do know sari though. as an individual. i know she is very punctual. has never called in sick. she knows how to do her job. without repeated instruction. she works very hard and she takes pride in her work.

and best of all...she loves our fabric. most of the fabric in the store sari has opened. she was told only twice that the moda labels all need to be facing the same direction. and now they do.

she is learning to create displays. here she is contemplating how she is going to line wee woodland, our newest collection in house, in the crib. many have heard of the organization autism speaks. i am here to tell you that autism helps too. in a very big way.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

we have furniture

the furniture for the front room arrived. it's starting to look like a real store.

we have lots of work to do now. i'm so lucky to have a helper arriving soon...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

rush hour ordering

in the beginning i was a rookie. i mean, i knew zip. then i met mark and joe and they gave me a crash course. i learned quickly that collections were all or nothing. i had as much time to decide as a blink of an eye. was it in or was it out. i love the three pronged approach that moda developed...metro, style, classic. me, i'm a metro girl. with a splash of style and a hint of classic. and that's how i've been ordering so far. sure hope my customers agree with my taste.

then there is a completely different game. with a whole new set of rules. we're talking the basics. not as glamorous. maybe not as fun. but without them...well, it would be like a good restaurant not serving bread and butter. you just gotta have them. but which them?

a little more thought goes into this process. i studied top selling lists. color trends. other available items such as pre-cuts, matching specialty fabrics and patterns. then i pulled out the swatch cards.

after my research, i marked each color with a small binder clip to see how it plays out on the color card. i call sarah down for a second opinion. i tweak a bit and then i order. sixteen orders in 48 hours. not bad. they need to be here next week. and with moda i have every confidence they will be. oh poor pete. for his sake, i hope they don't all arrive on the same day. if so, that will be one overloaded brown truck.