Saturday, May 28, 2011

Have a happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Sadly, not a lot of time for blogging or very much free time at all lately... seems like every minute has been accounted for... :-(

(That's what happens when you procrastinate.)


I couldn't let too much more time go by without wishing you a happy Memorial Day Weekend!



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You could go with this or you could go with that

I should be doing this:

But instead I'm doing this:

My big ol' apple tree is in blossom and starting to go by... I love that thing so much and look forward to when it blooms each year... "springtime snow."

This is what I've been doing the most: making tons of little hexies after Brooke's super-fabulous class on Sunday afternoon...

(These guys are still around...)

We FINALLY got around to planting our little garden... here's our best helper, surveying the rhubarb...

Our lilacs are *just about* to bloom...

And to top it all off I have a super-cute new haircut.

Bangs: who knew?

Very Marion Cotillard, don't you think?

(Thanks, Natasha... I love it!)

Isn't procrastinating grand?



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Customer Inspiration: Jaime and Jessica

In keeping with the theme of my last post, today I have some gorgeous customer inspiration to share with you.

One came to me by way of e-mail, the other came to me in person, on the arm of a customer in our Damariscotta Mills store.

Up first, Jaime was one of my students in my latest online Turning Twenty class, which wrapped up on Easter Sunday.

(Aren't those hangers the sweetest things ever?)

Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I saw a last-minute order from Jaime: not for her Turning Twenty finishing supplies, but for the pattern and fabrics for not one, but two Oliver+S Family Reunion Dresses she was hoping to finish in time for Easter.

The Family Reunion Dress is one of three new patterns released by Liesl+Co this spring and I think it's the cutest thing ever: very timeless and classic and simple and sweet.

If I were me, I would totally wear the Family Reunion dress.

Here's what Jaime had to say about her experience stitching up her very first Oliver+S patterns:

Hey Rhea!!!

I thought (since I'm so proud of myself!) I'd share these
photos of my girls in their mama-made Oliver & S dresses (from the patterns I ordered from your shop). These were my first dresses to make and I was blown away by the ease of the instructions and how wonderfully the fit & finished look turned out.

(yes, my turning twenty quilt was put on hold but I did manage to finish these in time for Easter!)

Awesome job, Jaime... and your little girls are so sweet!

I can't believe this was Jaime's first attempt at dress-making and that she was able to finish these little numbers in time for Easter... it must have been a close call!

(Doesn't this confirm everything I've always told you about the Oliver+S patterns? Lovely to work with, I tell you!)

And next up, we have a walk-in customer: my friend Jessica who sells gorgeous bags and goodies at her Maine Girl Creations etsy shop and at (check out her hot yoga bags... I am such a good candidate for one of those!).

I think Jessica was in the shop a full 1.5 seconds before I accosted her and demanded to know all about the fabulousness on her arm, which turned out to be the Cosmo Bag from the newest Amy Butler book, Style Stitches.

If you remember, I have made one of these bags myself and reviewed the pattern here.

It was so much fun to chat with Jessica about the bag and confirm what worked well and what was tough, and discuss our mutual love for the dancing paisley fabric in limestone.

I think her bag is gorgeous.

Reminds me I need to make one of those to keep for myself.

Well, that's it for today... I hope if it's not good "outdoor" weather that wherever you are it's good "sewing weather."

When the forecast calls for rain five days in a row, you kinda have to make the most of it, right?

And thanks so much to Jaime and Jessica for a good healthy dose of customer inspiration!



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rainy days and Sundays

One of my biggest failures as a blogger is that sometimes I see the most amazing projects made from our fabrics and I get so caught up in the moment that I forget to grab the camera and take a picture for the blog.

But... every once in a while I remember.

Along those lines, my fabulous friend Donna stopped in this afternoon with a Winslow Market Tote that her daughter, Alison, had made for her.

Don't you love it? Super cute.

The Winslow Market tote madness continues...

(Good job, Ali).

And just now, as I was writing this post, our most beloved "frequent flyer" Anne came in the shop, dressed in head-to-toe Alewives Fabrics, including her Winslow Market Tote, done up in Echino's Fall 2010 collection.

Anne made the gorgeous raincoat you see here in Barbara's recent raincoat class.

The pattern is Amy Butler's "Hooded Raincoat and Runabout Jacket," which makes great use of all our gorgeous laminated fabrics.

The class was a huge hit, and I'm guessing there are quite a few ladies in the Midcoast area wearing their Hooded Raincoats these days.

Especially on a day like today when they are forecasting a whole week's worth of rain, I really wish I had one of these stylish raincoats for myself.

Maybe I can whip one up tonight (highly unlikely...), because speaking of sitting out in the rain...

In other news, I won't be back on the blog until Wednesday at the earliest.

Ollie won a pair of Red Sox tickets (much to my not-too-cool-calm-and-collected delight. I was the picture of shear insanity when they called his name and announced he was the winner... restraint has never been my "thing"... and I may or may not have had two glasses of wine and no lunch that day... *grimace*...) and so we are off to my old stomping grounds.

I'm really excited and I can't wait to see the public gardens at this time of year.

The forecast calls for rain, but I am going to pack my cutest splish-splash gear and pray really hard for good weather!

Look for us at the game tomorrow night: we'll be the ones all bundled up right behind first base, trying to catch a foul ball or two, eating our Fenway franks.

Have a great couple of days and I will see you all again soon!



PS Just in case you haven't heard by now, you can find the Winslow Market Tote pattern for free right here. Thanks so much to Kathy Mack for designing such a cute bag, it really hits the spot here at Alewives Fabrics!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Birds and Berries hand-applique for beginners class announced

We are so excited to announce a new class here at Alewives: "Birds and Berries" hand-applique for beginners, taught by the most fabulous Barbara Martin.

Barbara's enthusiasm for hand-applique is super-infectious, and we're beyond thrilled that she's finally agreed to teach a beginner's applique class (we've been shamelessly begging her for YEARS!).

If you like knitting or binding or crochet or any other type of handwork, you should really give applique a try.

All you need to learn are a few simple stitches and tricks and you're on your way to making any number of gorgeous projects.

On a personal note, I learned to hand-applique a few years ago, and I love it.

For those of you who scoff at the idea of doing a block entirely by hand, think of it like this:

I always equate applique to reading a good book: you like reading a good book because it's so much fun to be "in the middle" of something, and you can read for five minutes here and five minutes there when you have a moment.

Then one day you finish your book and you are almost disappointed to be "done" (until you start another good book...).

To me, applique is the same thing.

It's portable (all you need are your needle, thread, a small pair of scissors and your project) and it's so much fun to have a "go-to" project that will save you from being bored in so many different situations.

You can work on hand-applique in front of the TV, in line at the DMV, at your kid's soccer game, at the beach, in the garden, on the back porch... any ol' place!

You'll really look forward to working on your Birds and Berries block and remember: this class is geared towards absolute beginners, so we're keeping things simple and you'll be able to finish most of your block in class under Barbara's supervision.

The pattern is free (it's a collaborative effort between Barbara and myself... can you tell I'm a proud mama?) and you can turn your "Birds and Berries" block into a pretty pillow, a patchwork bag panel, a quilt block, a wallhanging, most anything you like!

I love how this block would work well in any type of fabric: from contemporary to batik to reproduction. The personality of that little bird could really change depending on your fabric choices and he'd be perfect in anyone's home!

If you would like to sign up for the "Birds and Berries" hand-applique for beginners class with Barbara Martin, the workshop will be held Saturday, June 18th from 9:30 to 12:00. The class is a real bargain at just $25 per student. You can call us (207 563 5002) with a credit card number or stop by the shop in person to reserve your space.

We'll see you there!



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hop 'til you drop!

Here's a treat for all you locals:

Yes, it's true that the Maine Shop Hop has just wrapped-up for another year, but here at Alewives Fabrics we are gearing up for one more shop hop...

Coming right up on June 3rd, 4th and 5th, we will be participating in our first-ever Spring Into Summer Shop Hop and this hop is a bit different from others we've done in the past...

What makes the Spring into Summer Shop Hop special and fun?

• There are only 6 shops participating in the Spring Into Summer Shop Hop: Maine-ly Sewing, Alewives Fabrics, Mariner's Compass, Cottonweeds, Quiltessentials and the Calico Basket. Each shop will be open from 10:00 to 7:00 on June 3rd and 4th and open from 10:00 to 5:00 on June 5th, which means this hop can easily be completed in one weekend (or even one day!).

• Visit participating shops and have your "passport" stamped: okay, this part is not so different from other hops, but here's where it gets good: prizes include over $1,000 in gift certificates to your favorite local shops, everyone receives a "finishing gift" for visiting all six shops and the grand prize is a Janome sewing machine worth $550. A smaller pool of hoppers means your chances of winning a prize are sky-high!

• Each shop has chosen a different project from the same book to showcase during the hop: see what project each shop chose and get a sense of our different "personalities." Each shop will also have goodies for each hopper to munch along the way to help you keep your energy high!

• Passports are on sale now for $7.50. You can purchase one at any participating shop and each hopper who signs up gets a pretty, bright green insulated grocery tote.

Sound like fun?

Be sure to sign up in advance and get a whole group of girlfriends together: it's going to be a great weekend for hopping!

If you have any questions, fire away.

We also have a facebook page for the hop: make sure you "like" us and keep on top of all thing Spring into Summer...

See you soon!



Saturday, May 7, 2011

The white badge of courage...

Here in the Mills, my neighbors and I sport something I like to call "the white badge of courage."

Or, more specifically, our houses sport the white badge.

Put another way, you know you live in the Mills when:

your roof looks like this for 6 weeks in the spring.

Personally, I kind of like it and get a kick out of the whole thing...

Where else in the world do you have your very own seasonal seagull hotel?

They really aren't very good guests, though...

(View of my house from the back...)

(View of my house from the front...)

(View of the store from the back...)

(View of the store from the front...)

Even the church is not immune! Is nothing sacred?


It's not just the seagulls who come and visit us at this time of year.

There would be no seagulls without the alewives, would there?

Confession: I got up early this morning and went poking around the fish ladder to try and get some new, fresh photos of the fish, but the alewives were a bit camera shy and I didn't see a single fish!

Maybe they'll come out later on for the afternoon matinee...

I did take some photos of the fish ladder to share with you, though.

I think a lot of people come to see the fish ladder expecting to see literally a ladder made out of fish, but really the fish ladder is a man-made stream that helps aid the fish from the Great Salt Bay into Damariscotta Lake.

Let me put it this way:

If you were a fish, would you rather try and swim upstream through this:

Or through this:

It's a no-brainer, n'est-ce pas?

And every so often, if you are reaaaallly lucky and get up super-early in the morning, you will catch a glimpse of the elusive and rare ale-husband through the brush:

I'm told you can attract them with Dunkin' Donuts and brunettes who own fabric stores.

Hope you have a great weekend!



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Alewives Fabrics is hiring!

Alewives Fabrics has a full time opening for a friendly, outgoing employee at our busy shop in Damariscotta Mills. The ideal candidate does not need to be a master sewist/knitter/quilter, but passion for those crafts is definitely a plus! The position will be for 35 hours a week: Monday through Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm. In addition to the 35 hours a week, once a month you will be asked to cover our Sewing Lounge, which meets from 5:00-8:30pm on Friday nights.

The position includes maintenance and processing of fabric sales on our website, uploading new fabrics and other products to the website, creating and sending our e-newsletter, updating our facebook page, and e-mail correspondence with customers; therefore, all applicants need to have strong computer skills.

In addition to maintenance of the website, the position includes assisting customers and maintenance in our retail store. A typical day includes aiding customers, processing new fabrics, cutting fabrics for kits, tidying and rearranging the shop and taking inventory. These tasks keep our employees very busy, so the ideal applicant needs to have lots of energy and be able to self-direct. Applicants need to be friendly and outgoing with excellent customer service skills.

Our shop is classified as contemporary: knowledge of modern designers, authors, blogs and fabric companies is also a plus, but not absolutely necessary. The position does not require that the applicant do any sewing or knitting; therefore, even if you do not have strong sewing and knitting skills, you are still encouraged to apply. Conversely, applicants are warned that they unfortunately won't get to do much sewing or knitting at the shop as the other tasks and duties keep us all very busy. If you are interested, please e-mail your resume to or drop off your resume at the shop.

Thanks very much and we look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The alewives are here!

The seagulls have been waking us up at a super-early hour each morning so I knew they were here, but I saw them today with my very own eyes.

Though it's still early and they're not here by the zillions like they will be in a couple of weeks, it still never fails to amaze me when these fish show up each year.

Ever wonder how the alewives got their funny name (And consequently how the store got it's name as well)?

Read all about it in our newest online newsletter right here.

See you again soon!



Monday, May 2, 2011

Giveaway today on the blog "Stumbles & Stitches"

Hello all,

Do you like free Alewives Fabrics?

I'm assuming you do, so I will tell you there's a giveaway of particular interest over on Angel and Jenny's blog, "Stumbles & Stitches".

(Sorry folks, the giveaway is only open to US residents...)

Go forth and enjoy the gorgeousness that is the Pomegranate Fat Quarter Set!

(I made it myself!)