Saturday, August 31, 2013

guiding grandmothers...

there's been so much excitement this week at jellen's house of fabric. seeing our store featured in a national publication is beyond exciting.  and to have our story shared with so many friends in the quilting world is very special.

it's a dream come true for sure. and one that had it's beginnings a very long time ago with two very special grandmothers.

here i am at age five with my granny ewing. she lived about an hour from us in wooster, ohio. she was the sweetest woman and adored me, red curly hair and all. she would sit for hours and hours working with an embroidery hoop. i will never forget the green tin can she kept her floss and needles in. she loved showing me new stitches and would sometimes let me practice on her projects, often pillowcases stamped with blue ink from ben franklin. i'm sure i tested her patience more than once, but she never gave up on me.  unfortunately she passed away long before my skills were perfected, but her encouragement early on is very much appreciated and remembered. 

here i am in sidney, new york with my grandmother hillick.  she was a very good seamstress, often making her own clothes. i was always fascinated with her sewing machine and tinkered around making doll clothes. then i asked to make something to wear. so she took me down to the town's only five and dime store and we bought a pattern and fabric. the next morning she left me with my uncle charlie while she went to work. being i was eight and he was a teenager, he told me to get lost as soon as she was gone. so i did. i lost myself in that pile of fabric. by the time my grandmother got home from the hardware store she and my grandfather owned that afternoon, i had the dress mostly finished. and the rest as they say, is history.

p.s. yes, i am wearing that dress in this photo, exactly forty five years ago this month.

i doubt that i often expressed my thanks for what they taught me. i'm not even sure i appreciated it at the time. i suppose that is a part of growing up though. it often takes years to truly see and understand the lessons you've been taught. today, if i had the opportunity, i would throw my arms around them with a big hug and kiss and let them know just how grateful i am. they shared skills with me that turned into a life long passion. the most beautiful thing is, i now get to share those talents with others. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

it's hit the paper...

i quickly turned the pages. then i just sat and stared at it for several minutes. the heading seemed so formal...

yet made it seem so real. surreal might be a better description. i'd already seen the magazine, read the article, yet seeing it here in the newspaper, gave it a new energy.

just in case you can't see the fine print...

JEllen’s house of fabric has been chosen as one of the 10 featured shops across the US for the Fall 2013 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine published by Better Homes and Gardens.  Competition to be included is keen. Nearly 3,000 quilt shops were eligible to apply for this honor. JEllen’s and the other nine shops chosen were photographed and interviewed by a team from Quilt Sampler and a multi page profile of the shop appears in this issue now for sale in this shop and on newsstands September 3rd.

The art of quilting has changed dramatically since the days of quilting bees in church basements, with quilting enjoying a major renaissance across the country.  Chosen shops are inundated with visitors and requests for the shop’s quilt patterns and fabric. Quilters are known to try and visit all the shops in each issue, getting the signature of each shop owner in their copy of the issue.  This is the first time in the eighteen year history of the magazine that a mother/daughter team has been chosen who advocate for hiring young adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

it's finally here...

"it was an emotional day when joyce ely and her daughter, sarah, opened a quilt boutique..." writes allison engel.  i will share it was equally as emotional, if not more so, the day we received the phone call from jennifer keltner informing us we had been selected as a better homes and gardens sampler shop.

the days that followed were filled with excitement along with many sleepless nights as we prepared the store for a photo shoot. then we had to coordinate the fabric selection for our quilt, consult with our pattern designer, and rush the quilt around town at lightening speed to have it arrive in des moines in time for the quilt shoot.

then we patiently waited for the big reveal to happen at quilt market in portland.  we had hoped to be in attendance, but sarah's breathing issues the week leading up to the trip necessitated us to cancel our plans. we were grateful for our friends who cheered us on in our absence and sent us pictures.

then we waited, followed by more waiting, and still more. finally on august 20th, the fed-ex truck pulled up to the side door...

as i sliced the first box open, that same emotion returned. the one where you are not sure whether to laugh or cry, so you do both. 

and for me, it's a double dose of a fluttering heart, for sarah is still standing right beside me. oh how grand that feeling is! THANK YOU so much to everyone who helped make our fantasy a reality. it's finally here!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

sweet treat extravaganza

we love this time of year. it's our annual sweet treat extravaganza to celebrate our third anniversary...

not only will you find candy throughout the store, jelly rolls and layer cakes are on sale for just $25 each and charm squares are $6.  patterns are 50% off marked prices. it's our way of saying thank you for another wonderful year! sale prices will continue throughout the month of august.

Friday, August 9, 2013

3 to the 24

today our shop celebrates three years. and sarah celebrates her twenty fourth year of life.

both occasions are blissfully sweet. especially because we have had so many wonderful people walking beside us. thank you!