Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Floorclothapalooza '08

I think the photo of the floorcloth, paint brushes, hair dryer and cake says it all...

Years from now when I am old and gray I will look back on the last few days of April 2008 and remember it fondly as the first ever Floorclothapalooza, where between my mother and I, we taught over 30 people in less than 48 hours how to make a floorcloth.

The fabric floorcloth has definitely been my Mom's baby.

It's origins are kind of funny and very original to our particular situation at the shop. I'm quite confident that my mother, Barbara Neeson, is the only fabric store owner in the WORLD who does not like to sew. She does, however, love FABRIC and is really quite sneaky about finding ways to use fabric that don't include needle and thread, and that is how our fabric floorcloth was born. Being an art teacher for the past 30 years, Mom is much more of a "cut and paste" kind of gal. And who can blame her? When you treat fabric like cut paper and introduce acrylic gloss (again, I'm pretty sure that we are the only fabric store in the world stocking acrylic gloss), you get instant gratification. And who doesn't like a little instant gratification these days?

To that end, we have been teaching OUR method of fabric floorcloths (there ARE other techniques out there, and floorcloths have been around for CENTURIES, but I'm partial to our method, I'll admit!) for the last 3+ years. I've lost count of how many times we've taught this class and how many people we've taught it to. Mom started teaching it here at Alewives and imparted her wisdom on me. When I was working at the Cambridge Quilt Shop in Cambridge, MA, I taught the workshop there many, many, many times (Ironic footnote: I probably taught the class 6 or 7 times before I actually MADE a floorcloth! That's right... I faked it!) We've demo'd our technique at the Maine Quilt Show (and sold out of our stock!)and are demo-ing again this year. And this past weekend we broke our own record for number of people taught in 2 days.

We taught the floorcloth class at the shop on Sunday and then had a LOVELY time demonstrating and teaching for the Gals of the Gardiner quilt guild on Monday night. Thanks so much to Nena Cunningham for hooking us up and arranging everything. It was very fun for Mom and I. I feel like we made a lot of friends and we DEFINITELY had some good cake! You gals know how to rock and roll with the baked goods.

I think people get a kick out of our unusual Mother/Daughter dynamic. I always say that I am the Bert to her Ernie. The Oscar to her Felix (I think I have that right: I am Jack Lemmon and Mom is Walter Mathau, at any rate). The Moe to her Curly. In other words, Mom is the artsy, free-spirit, think-outside-of-the-box type and I am the OCD, strait-laced, type-A, anal-retentive-to-the-Nth degree type. It's true. They call me the "Folding Nazi" at the shop and have learned to put up with my Napoleonic ways (It's for the best, people!) and like me anyways.

But enough about that. To everyone who made a floorcloth this weekend, I salute you! Congratulations on participating in Floorclothapalooza '08.

Next year I will get some T-Shirts printed up and sell them at the concession stand at intermission.


Liz said...

I LOVE the floor cloth I made with your mom! I have all the stuff to do another one but haven't gotten around to it yet.

And, excuse me? Straight laced?

Kim Andersson said...

Hi -- I left you a message at your shop saying I would leave you an invitation on your blog for my event this Thursday . . . Here it is! I hope you do not mind this, but I can not find your email address. I'm Kim Andersson, I live in Wiscasset and recently started up a business doing payroll and financial services. A lot of my girlfriends also have small businesses and we got to talking about having a meeting of women business owners to talk about business stuff. It sort of grew into me organizing two great speakers to come and talk about measuring marketing value at Bintliff's Ocean Grill on Thursday night at 6 o'clock. I tis free! I hope you will be there because there will be an open discussion after the speakers and I feel we could all benefit from your input, seeing how your shop is well established and you've been running print ads for quite some time (I admire them each week!).

Sorry this is not a blog related comment, although, I do like your blog! Please e-mail or call me about the event - I'd love to send you the event flyer as well.

Kim Andersson

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Hey Rhea! I didn't know you have a blog! I was surfing around to add a link to the store, since I'm doing a blogpost about floorcloths, and here you are! My blogpost will go online in 2 days, and has links to your post and your store site....

Glad to hear you'll be doing the kits again at Maine Quilts... will you have the non-skid stuff for sale also? If you have a name for it, I can add it to my blogpost.

See you in August, Cheers, Sarah