Friday, June 15, 2018

Reflections, A Few Days Away in Maine + Henry + More

Thanks to everyone for all the comments and thoughts on Monday's post. I am still processing my thoughts on the "world without Classic Elite Yarns." I left there many years ago (2000) but I still had many connections with the new owner Betsy Perry and many of the original staff I worked with many years ago. 

It is very sad to see a long term business disappear - especially when it has been part of the basics and core of the knitting and yarn store community for over 30 years. Perhaps that is why it could not survive - because it was always deemed as steady and would always be there and not the hot young thing. Consumers almost always rush to the newest greatest thing with their dollars - that is just human nature. Yarn companies cannot continue to build new lines and inventory without moving the old inventory out. That is why yarn lines don't hang around for very long - products have to be moved out to make room for the new inventory. If not, more and more space would need to be rented to store it all. As knitters and fiber artists, we all know the problem - use up the old in order to make room for the new. Using up can be donating to a charity, giving it away, having a yard sale, selling it on-line, or just tossing it because the moths have eaten it. 

I know that the folks at Classic Elite Yarns must be happy to be hearing from so many of their long time fans. If you have a moment and you feel like it, post a comment on their blog post "Saying Good-by is Hard."

Last week, Julia and I had a chance to get away from the farm. We drove hours and hours to the coast of Maine and then took a ferry seven miles out into the ocean. We stayed with our good friend Sally and had a wonderful time. I thought I would get tons of work done. I did dig out my gouache and worked on a few paintings. I made more crochet hexies every evening as we sat watching favorite movies. The weather was overcast and cold until the last two days. We did get to the beach for a nice picnic on the rocks. But mostly - this is bizarro I know - I dug through Sally's pile of old issues of The World of Interiors looking at photos and articles that I had forgotten and reading stories about fascinating houses and places I will never go. I very easily could have done this at home with my piles of magazines but I am always distracted with other things to do. 

Look what we came home with..... A new little male island kitten we have named Henry Lee Mackerel Cove. 

I know - why do we need a new kitten you ask? Well we probably don't but we have a few older cats that probably are getting to the end of their days. I have always wanted an island cat and now we have one. He is very sweet and is settling in with the rest of the cats. We have a new litter of kittens and their mama Mittens is letting Henry nurse with her other 3 babes. He is the largest kitten in the photo below. He is having fun playing with the babies even if he is 3 weeks older. They are learning to stick up for themselves and fight him back. I think he is going to be a big guy and I am hoping he will have long hair. Time will tell. 

While I was away, my garden got tilled by 86 years young Doug and his trusty tractor. On Monday, I went to my favorite plant source in the world - Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. I picked up almost enough annuals to fill my half my garden with veggies and cutting flowers. The other half of the garden will have sunflowers in it - seeds are ordered and hope to get them in next week.   

I have found a new podcast that I am enjoying - it is called Hello Atelier. Thanks Abby for including a link in your newsletter. 

I have also just re-discovered a blog that has a good YouTube Channel called Quintessence: Living Well with Style and Substance. You can subscribe to it here. Here is one of their newest videos that I really enjoyed. 

This quote resonated with me: "We are definitely more is more people."

Have a good weekend everyone. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sad News - Classic Elite Yarns is Closing

Last week, I got some sad news. Classic Elite Yarns is closing its doors. I do not know all the details - just that they are ceasing doing business. I thought I should take some time on the blog to discuss some of the difficulties that are now inherent in the yarn biz world. 

I worked for Classic Elite Yarns for 16 years - from 1984 until 2000. I was the Vice President and Creative Director. Back then, Classic Elite was known as Elite Specialty Yarns. I was hired to grow the yarn into a player in the handknitting world which in the 80's was experiencing lots of growth. Elite was owned by a husband and wife - Pat and Bill Chew. I worked for Pat mostly. I went into it with eyes wide open - I was 25 and just married. This was my dream job as far as I could tell looking from the outside in. To say I was naive would be an understatement. When I look back on those 16 years, I really can't believe I stuck with it as long as I did. BUT - I loved my job, the creative yarn industry, the people I met at trade shows, the textile mills I got to visit all over the world. I loved the folks I worked with - what a great group of people they were. I am still friends with many of my co-workers and we all count each other as family. 

Looking from the outside in, Elite looked to be a hugely successful company. They advertised on the back cover of Yarn Market News with a full color ad. That was impressive to me. But once I got in there, I realized it was a different story. The offices were in a rundown mill building with moss green dirty carpeting and 4 desks that faced each other. I had my own "office" just off everyone else's shared space. It had no windows and was piled with junk. In the middle of it, I had a gray steel desk under some awful fluorescent lighting where I was supposed to be creative. There were big bank loans, husband and wife owners who fought all the time, machinery breakdowns constantly, and creditors always calling. It was nothing like I thought it would be. It was much more raw and tough and totally not like the image that was portrayed by the glossy ads. 

Pat and Bill (Pat called Bill The Tycoon) eventually divorced. Elite went through a foreclosure, an auction where Pat bought the business from the bank, a divorce, a massive fire when we lost most of our inventory, and on and on. I learned so much from those years at CEY - about business, about people, about yarn and color, about marketing, about graphic design and advertising.  Eventually I convinced Pat to purchase an Apple computer and I taught myself desktop publishing, Adobe Illustrator, Pagemaker, QuarkXpress, and then Indesign (with the help of David, Elaine, and Alexis Xenakis at XRX). I learned about photo shoots, trade shows, and somehow, Classic Elite Yarns grew to be a larger business. Pat was a brilliant if ruthless businesswoman. She and I travelled all over the world together. It was quite a ride. There are so many unbelievable stories I could tell -- but I won't. 

After Julia was born in 1998, I realized that I just couldn't do my job anymore. I wasn't as interested as I had been. I had done so many Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter yarn and handknitting lines. I was pretty exhausted and tired of being creative for someone else. I worked for a couple years making enough money to do over our kitchen, then gave my notice. I then started my freelance career writing books and doing whatever else it has been that I have been doing since 2000. But what I learned from that job has steered me all along the way. I took all the things I learned - about business, people, marketing, debt, yarn, color, fibers, fashion and more - and have continued to learn myself along the way. I am not sad I quit but I do miss the money but that is okay. It was a great experience - if not always good - and I am thankful Pat and Bill took the chance on me.

Pat continued running CEY after I left, hiring different Creative Directors over the years. She passed away in 2008 leaving the company to her daughter Tamara. Betsy Perry who was the Sales Manager of the company purchased the company from Tamara. Betsy has been running it until now. 

Last week, when I heard CEY was closing, I wasn't surprised. I know what goes into running a yarn company - all things I learned over the 16 years I worked for the yarn company. Payroll, rent and leases, bank loans, printing costs, inventory purchasing and control, computer purchases, sales reps, yarn store customers, collecting money from those yarn stores, inventory liquidation (hello Webs), dealing with overseas mills as there really are no textile mills remaining in the US that can supply the handknitting yarn business at prices that can then be marked up, sold through the rep system, then sold at yarn stores to the end user. 

Last night I read through a post on Facebook about the closing of CEY. Knitters were spreading blame all over the place - but the truth is, the reason CEY went out of business is many fold. There is no one reason and it is the result of a changing marketplace. It has always been difficult to be a "yarn company" but now it is tougher than ever. I do not know the reason Betsy chose to close CEY and I will never know. I do know that she took great care of her employees and that they loved their work. It is sad for all of them to have to find new jobs and move on. It is sad for the knitters who won't be able to purchase the quality yarns in beautiful colors that CEY was known for. It is sad that the designers who worked with the yarn to design sweaters will no longer have CEY to sell their work too. It is just sad all around.

Business has gotten tougher and tougher over the last few years. The business model is changing and it is not going to stop changing. Retailing is never going to go back to what it once was. I often wonder how the mainline retailers are hanging on. I look at stores like Saks and Macy's and The Gap and think about how they are going to survive. More and more and more, business is being done on the internet. I do not think that will go away and I only see it growing larger and larger as time goes by. Sure there are those consumers who say they won't purchase anything on-line but I would guess that that number will be fewer and fewer. As the younger generation has more money to spend they will most likely look more and more to the internet instead of direct purchases at a retail location. 

I think the following factors all contributed to the closing of CEY in no particular order: (I am not calling anyone out here - just saying what I think).
• Loss of yarn stores (CEY's customers) to sell to

• Growth of the independent dyeing trend. (The funny thing is that if CEY ever sold a splotchy yarn back when I was there, we would get returns of it up the ying yang. Now it is okay if a yarn is streaky, splotchy, speckled and the like. Go figure. Trends change.) 

• Failure of the consumer to realize that most yarn companies are really only small companies that look big. I have heard knitters say - "Oh I won't buy from any big company - I only buy independent." Little do those knitters realize that most of the "big yarn companies" really aren't big at all but Mom and Pop businesses who have bank loans and employ folks in their local towns to help them spread the yarn love through the world. 

• The rise of Ravelry. With all the opportunity it has given small independent designers, it has also led to a micro-trend of knitters not wanting to support "big yarn companies." 

• The rise of the internet and buying yarn on-line

• The rise of the farm-raised wool trend. I wonder how many of them are employing lots of people in their towns and churning hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of pounds of raw fiber in their businesses? 

• People always looking to get stuff cheaper via any way possible 

• People not wanting to pay for yarns that cost a lot to produce and that are sold through the retail yarn shop model (Knitpicks, JoAnn's, Michaels wins there.)

I'm sure that many of you will not agree with what I have written but I do know that Classic Elite had a good run for many, many years. The business supported many families over the years and kept many a spinning mill and dyehouse spinning and dyeing, printing companies printing, freight companies delivering - thus giving all their employees work. Many of the CEY employees have gone on to work for other businesses and brought the knowledge they learned with them to help those businesses grow. 

So it is sad -- so sad -- but life goes on. Business changes and it is fascinating to follow the changes and see how small business copes with the changes or not. Best of luck to Betsy, Jim, Pattie, Andi, Susan, Kim, Tracey and all the other folks I don't know who are going to be looking for work. XO Kristin

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Summer Beginnings, New Kittens and a Request

How do you make it through the beginning of summer? There always seems like there is so much to do. The grass and vegetation is growing at an amazing rate this year. We must be having the perfect combination of moisture and hot and cold temperatures. It is hard to keep it all at bay. 

The Farmer is off to a good start on his haying. Field by field, he is working his way through the first cutting of hay. For all you non-farmers, there are usually 3 cuttings of hay off each field here in western Massachusetts. It is a race to get the first cutting done before the grass becomes mature and tough and the grass heads out (that means that there will be seed heads on each stalk).  The sheep prefer nice tender hay. This is the food they will be eating next winter. 

I have yet to get my garden tilled and ready for planting. I never start too early because it doesn't seem to matter for what I plant - sunflowers, zinnias, and annual flowers, herbs, a little bit of veggies. All those crops love the hot humid days of August and so I wait until mid to late June to get everything in. I haven't even ordered my seeds yet!

We are looking towards The Farmer's hip replacement surgery. We have been downsizing the number of sheep and lambs that we will be keeping through the summer so that it is more manageable for me - the not so good farmer. I need to find someone to help me out with the daily chores. I hope Mark heals quickly so he can at least supervise everything so I don't screw up too much. Farming is really not my thing. Gardening is. Writing is. Making is. But not farming although I am the support and help out when needed. If I were in charge of the farm, we would have about 30 sheep and that would be plenty for me. But it isn't and so we have 100's. Yes, I wrote 100's. 

I have heard from my publisher Roost Books that they would like me to rally some Amazon book reviews from my followers, friends and family. I know this is crazy of me to ask since I have been begging for direct sales myself (and boy have you delivered - I have shipped just over 300 books myself) but I'm asking. If you have time, hop on over to the Amazon page and add a review if you are enjoying Crafting A Patterned Home. Evidently books with over 50 reviews rank higher - thus sell better. If this book doesn't sell, noone will take me on for another. Thus far, the book has 3 reviews. Thanks in advance. It can be very short or more detailed if you like. 

It wouldn't be spring without kittens here at Leyden Glen Farm. Mittens has been taking great care of these sweet little babies. Julia has just begun working her socializing magic on them. At this time, they are all spoken for but thought I would share the cuteness.

Here they are playing with Rosie - the almost 6 month old. By next week, they will be running around like crazy. 

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Webs Book Event yesterday. It was great to share and meet everyone. And thanks to Amy G for organizing and Webs for hosting. They have been so supportive and kind to me over the years. 

Thanks in advance for those Amazon Reviews. Have a great week everyone! 

Friday, June 01, 2018

Webs Tomorrow + Kim using my Mod Suzani Fabric on a Very Cool Chair

Tomorrow I will be at Webs in Northampton from 2 to 4 doing a "Book Event" for my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. I will have many of the projects from the book with me and will answer questions and share some of the techniques I have used in the book. You can sign up here but please - if you want to come and cannot figure out how to sign up - come anyway. I would love to meet you. So far, there haven't been many folks signed up. It is a tough time of year for an event with all the graduations and family things going on. But I will be there with bells on! Here is the link.

A couple of years ago, my friend Lucy introduced me to Kim and Bill Chagnon who run an upholstery business in Greenfield. Not only do they do upholstery but they also have an on-line teaching website called Kim's Upholstery. Kim is a creative dynamo and Bill is behind the scenes making the videos and more all run as smoothly as possible. They have so many fantastic videos on their YouTube channel here. They also have a Membership site to teach upholstery to anyone who wants to learn. Kim also travels the USA teaching upholstery at different locations. 

Kim and Bill are building a Community of Upholsterers and Wanna Be Upholsterers. I was fortunate to be asked to be on one of their Facebook Live videos where I demonstrated fabric printing. It was lots of fun. 

Now - I have the thrill of watching Kim upholster a beautiful chair with my Mod Suzani Linen/Cotton Fabric in the Orange colorway which you can see in my Spoonflower shop here. She painted the wood base of the chair in a chalk paint from DIY Debbie in hot pink and a second chair in turquoise. The chair is turning out fantastic. Check it out on their YouTube channel

I love that I am meeting lots of new people who do interesting things through branching out beyond the world that I am most known in. There are so many great things to learn and share with others and I feel fortunate that I have the platform here on my blog, at the Farmers Markets, and in stores such as Webs to share with others. 

Hope to see some of you tomorrow at Webs! 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Brimfield - May 2018 - Things I Saw and Liked

A couple weeks ago, I took my friend Kay to the Brimfield Flea Market. Actually Kay drove. It was the first show of the season and we had a great day - walking through the aisles, talking to vendors I have purchased from over the years and looking at all the people. I saw lots and lots of lovely and not so lovely things. There really is nothing else like the Brimfield Flea Market. It is a circus and if it is a good day weatherwise - no rain and not too hot which is was the day we went - it makes for a stimulating - if exhausting - day out. 

If you plan to go, I suggest getting there very early to get a decent parking spot and to miss the crowds. We arrived just after 8 a.m. at the J&J Field. Perfect timing as the line was gone but it was still early and there was plenty of STUFF left. We headed home after two and by the time we were leaving, it was a virtual madhouse with so many people and carts and dogs and craziness. 

A special part of my visit was the stop at a favorite textile dealer's booth. I have purchased many of my cherished World Textiles from a woman named Linda. This visit, I brought her a gift of a copy of my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. I wanted to show her how I have used the many World Textiles I purchased from her as decor in my home. She was thrilled to see her textiles in use and to see many of them in the photos in the book. 

Here are some photos of things I found inspiring at Brimfield this May. 

Gorgeous Ikat Textile $350

The back of that textile above

Beautiful colorful tin tray $350

Loved this wacky box

Antique carnival knock down dolls

More carnival knock down dolls - this time cats

Still more - this was a trend

Loved how a vendor covered her metal tent with gorgeous patchwork fabric

Lamb livers anyone? 

This pug has her own Instagram page!

Embroidered throw - I wanted this! Incredible

More embroidered fabrics and clothing

Majolica cat pitcher

Gorgeous ethnic clothing

More embroidery. Love. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Things...... And Webs Appearance June 2nd - next Saturday

My friend Gail often uses the title "things" in her emails. This is one of those blog posts that seems like "things" is an appropriate title. 

The fine folks at Webs are hosting a Crafting A Patterned Home Book Event on Saturday June 2nd from 2-4. More information here. It is a completely free event but they like to have  people register so they know how many cookies to buy! Hope to see some of you there. It will be inside so I will have plenty of samples available for looking and will probably do a demonstration. 

My Farmer is in rough shape. All the physical work he has done over his six decades has taken a toll. He is having one of his hips replaced July 17th. We are getting prepared for the operation and his healing. Needless to say, as a farmer there is never a good time to schedule a surgery like this. I was hoping he could wait until November when things slow down a bit in the cycle of life here at our farm but he is in such pain that he can't wait. He is counting the days. It looks like the other hip needs to be replaced too. Please bear with me as we go down this surgery journey. Financially this is going to be very difficult for us. When you run your own business, there is no vacation pay or sick pay. We are looking forward -- not backward -- and Mark hopes to come out better on the other side of surgery and recovery. 

I have rescheduled the first retreat of the season. Decorative Furniture Painting and Fabric Printing will now be held on August 11/12. Check out all the classes now here. One Day Retreats have just opened up. 

Julia is done with school until next fall. She will help me take care of her Dad as he recovers. After all her time being a patient in the hospital, she is a good nurse and I will be counting on her. 

I myself am trying to re-group after all the work I have done launching my new book Crafting A Patterned Home.  I've got to make some "NEED TO DO" lists to get myself re-motivated to move on with my Creative Life while still trying to drum up some interest in the new book. There is so much to do around here in the summer. Need to get the garden tilled and then planted, continue with the Farmers Market season, plan and teach the Creative Retreats, take care of my family and try to find my Creative Self again, care for My Farmer after his surgery. Tall orders. Life throws us plenty of challenges and we must keep moving forward even if sometimes we feel like we are moving backwards. 

You can still purchase copies of Crafting A Patterned Home here on my website. I will throw in Free Shipping, some lovely Rikki Snyder photographed postcards, and a Kristin illustrated bookplate. Thanks so much for your support of our farm and family. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Design New England + Spoonflower Blog + Mason-Dixon Knitting Features

I was surprised to hear from my friend Andi the other day. She was jumping through the phone line telling me my new book Crafting A Patterned Home had been featured in a magazine called Design New England. Wow! So exciting. Here is the cover and the feature piece. Read the et al. article here

I was also quoted in another section of the magazine called Selections: Bold is Beautiful. How fun. Here is the link to that page.

You can read the entire magazine on-line here

Another surprise was a large feature on the Spoonflower blog. You can see that here.  

And the book was featured on the Mason-Dixon Knitting website as New And Noteworthy: The Books of May. You can read that review here. I really admire what Kay and Ann have done to create a community of knitters, crocheters, sewists, dyers, and quilters so I love that the new book got included. 

Thanks to the folks at Roost Books for publishing the book and generating the publicity for Crafting A Patterned Home. Copies of it are available on my website here. I will throw in free shipping, a Kristin designed bookplate and 5 beautiful postcards with photos by photographer Rikki Snyder. Check it out here

If you don't like to order on-line, there are instructions on how to order by mail on my website

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sew Much More Podcast with Ceil Diguglielmo + Kim's Chairs

I was delighted to be asked to be on the "Sew Much More" Podcast hosted by Ceil Diguglielmo. Ceil has been a maker of window treatments and began her podcast a few years ago as a way to branch out beyond just making. She is a great conversationalist and we had a fun chat. We talked about all kinds of things. It is a bit of a long episode - maybe I talked too much. Here is the link to the episode

You can check out all her podcast interviews on her site here. Thanks so much Ceil for helping to spread the word about my work. I was especially excited to be on this podcast because I would be reaching a whole new group of folks who do not know anything about what I do. The nice thing though is they are all very into fabric and design and so they might be interested in the things I am doing now. 

In other news, my friend Kim from Kim's Upsholstery is doing up a set of Victorian chairs. She purchased my new Mod Suzani Fabric for the upholstery. Here is a link to Kim's YouTube Channel where you can find many amazing DIY videos. Kim painted the chairs with a paint line I had never heard of called Debi's Design Diary's DIY Paints. There are so many great women out there doing interesting things - aren't there? 

Here is a small picture of the Mod Suzani Fabric that I designed and Kim will be using. You too can purchase it on over 25 types of fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap over on my Spoonflower shop here

Hope to see some of you at the Webs Tent and Fleece Sale in Northampton tomorrow. The event happens rain or shine.  I will be set up with our local lamb. I will be bringing my books and other products with me but if it starts raining like crazy, I will put them away - books, paper and rain do not do good together. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

This Coming Saturday! Webs Tent and Fleece Sale

Popping in today quickly to tell everyone that I will be setting up a small booth at the 16th Annual Webs Tent and Fleece Sale this Saturday - May 19th from 10-5:30. I think this may be the 6th year that I have done this event. I look forward to meeting lots of folks and spreading my love of color. I will have our Farm Raised Leyden Glen Lamb with me along with my books and whatever else I can organize quickly. I will be sure to bring samples from the new book. 

Also - upcoming at Webs, I will be doing a Book Event on June 2nd from 2 to 4. More information hereThanks so much to the fine folks at Webs for helping to spread the word about my new book Crafting A Patterned Home

I'm off to the Tuesday Market in Northampton today. It looks like it is going to rain something awful. Our lilacs are just starting to pop. And the apple trees in the orchard are ready to burst open too. I will try to get some photos this week but for now - here is a throwback to the lilacs a couple years ago. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

30 Lambs Going to Hampshire College

The other day I was at the Tuesday Farmers Market in Northampton and I met a lovely woman named Brook and her daughter Olivia. They were both knitters and had all my knitting books. They were so excited to run into me as I was to run into them. That's why I like doing the Farmers Market - I frequently meet someone interesting and have a good conversation. We chatted and chatted and they took home both Crafting A Colorful Home and Crafting A Patterned Home because they couldn't decide which they liked better. 

I learned that Olivia is graduating from Hampshire College in a few weeks. She told me how she loves sheep and how she would take her knitting and go knit with the sheep that Hampshire College raises each year in their farm and food program. I said - oh what a coincidence.... those sheep were born on our farm and we sold them to Hampshire College. She continued to tell me how popular the sheep are with the students, alumni and community. And she also told me that her roommate Celeste Jacobs who is an art major did a lovely papercut project of the sheep last fall. And get this - her design was chosen to be the Graduation poster, t-shirt, and mug design for the class of 2018. Here is her poster. It is lovely. 

I told Olivia and Brook that Hampshire College was coming Thursday to pick up 30 more lambs. The farm manager Mo arrived with 4 farm interns and they loaded the sheep. Coincidently they were all young women who had never handled a sheep before. My Farmer loves Hampshire students - he thinks they have the best can-do attitude and are willing to do anything. These girls did a great job carrying the sheep out of the barn, loading them onto the scale, and then out the other end and onto the trailer while I recorded all the weights. The lambs weighed between 50 and 75 pounds and were born in late January/early February. I took these photos of them as they loaded the last lamb. And then they were off. 

Here is a photo from the Hampshire College Farm Instagram feed. The lambs are happy grazing the green grass. If you follow @HampshireCollegeFarm on IG you may see the lambs pop up in the feed through the next year. Eventually the lambs will be used to feed the students and alumni at special events at the school.  Thanks Hampshire College for being a loyal customer. Have fun with the lambs. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kristin Nicholas In Vermont Saturday at Northshire Bookstore

On Saturday at 3 p.m. I will be doing a short presentation about my new book Crafting A Patterned Home at the fabulous Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont. After the talk, we will be making the Kantha Dishtowel featured in my new book. Cotton dishtowels, thread and needles are being supplied free of charge my publisher Roost Books and me. This project is for beginners so do not stress if you have never embroidered. 

I do not know all the details about the event but you can find more information on the Northshire Bookstore website here. The event is free and books will be available that I will be happy to sign. 

Northshire Bookstore is one of the best bookstores in the USA. Many years ago I did a talk there when Colorful Stitchery was released. I appreciate their support of my work. Julia is coming with me because she loves a good bookstore and I know she will get lost in their shelves. They also have a lovely cafe. 

If you have never been to Manchester, why not hop in the car and come early for lunch? Then you can take in some of the other shops in town and end the day at Northshire talking with me and sewing with everyone who comes to the event. Sounds like a good day to me. 

Bring small scissors if you can because I do not have enough for everyone. Hope to see some of you there on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. - the day before Mother's Day. Bring a friend or your Mom!

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Today's Big Adventure - Facebook Live with Kim's Upholstery

My friends Kim and Bill Chagnon have an on-line Upholstery Teaching Site called Kim's Upholstery. They have hundreds of videos on their YouTube site and 44,000 subscribers! Their on-line teaching site trains people to do upholstery themselves and to build a business. 

Kim and Bill are also professional upholsterers. I met them a few years ago through our mutual friend potter Lucy Fagella. Kim and I were in an evening pottery class together for one session. When I was working on my new book, I hired Kim to make a slipcover out of fabric I designed. This is the chair she covered for me in my yellow Bloomsbury inspired roses and diamonds linen/cotton that is also available on my Spoonflower shop here

I also hired Kim and Bill to recover my favorite chair with the fabric that I hand-stamped with a paisley design. That chair is on the cover of my new book Crafting A Patterned Home which you can buy on my website here. They delivered the chair the day of the photoshoot - I love the way it turned out. And Kim and Bill were so thrilled that their work was on the cover of the book. 

Kim and Bill are always looking for promotional ideas. They have so much energy and so many ideas. They are such a team. Kim is the Creative person and teaching personality. Bill is the behind the scenes person - he films all the videos, does all the editing and website stuff. He is amazing. If I had a Bill I could produce so much more but alas, I have a Farmer who has sheep and is too busy to help me with anything. 

Kim and Bill have always been trying to get me to promote my business but the time was not quite right. Now with the launch of my new book Crafting A Patterned Home I agreed to film a Facebook Live demo for them. This is the first time I have done a Facebook Live event and it was a lot of fun. I demonstrated how I printed the fabric for the chair that Kim and Bill upholstered for the cover of the book. 

Today at 12:30 we went live. It was a dicey day - on my way to their studio, my brakes started spewing black smoke and smelling really awful. I drove slow and made it there just in time to go live. It was fun seeing the questions that would pop up on the screen that Bill and Kim read. People popped in and out of the live feed. Kim told me that lots of folks watch their FB Live posts on their lunch breaks. The cool thing is that at the same time that the FB Live video is being live streamed, they are also capturing video. It is then uploaded to their YouTube channel so that you all can watch it. So - here you go - Kim and Kristin live. It is an hour long and there are some funny parts. It was fun to do and we may cook up some other ideas to help promote the book and promote Kim's great Learn Upholstery subscription website and my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. I'm in guys - just let me know. 

You can follow Kim on Instagram here. You can find her on Facebook here. And you can subscribe to her YouTube channel here. She also teaches on the Craftsy website - a class called a Custom Fit Slipcovers: Couches and Sofas. Thanks so much Kim and Bill for giving me this opportunity. 

You can still order signed copies of Crafting A Patterned Home on my website. I'll throw in free shipping and some free goodies. Thanks so much for your support. And welcome to those new to the blog. I hope you find it interesting and fun. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Photos from the Book Party

What a weekend! The Book Party was a huge success. It is all a bit of a blur for me and I am plum exhausted. I keep going over the conversations I had with so many really nice people. It was such fun to share all the decor and color with folks that were interested in what I do. I have no idea how many people came but I am guessing it was at least 200. 

Saturday was incredibly beautiful - sunny and not cold and not hot - just perfect. Blue skies - some wispy clouds. The dogs Kate and Sadie greeted people. The cats - especially kitten Rosie and senior cat Charlie were definitely the stars of the weekend. 

This is the 4th time I have held an Open House but the first Book Party. Over the years, I have figured out the traffic patterns and what works best. I was extremely fortunate to have Photographer RIkki Snyder and her boyfriend Riley here to help out. Rikki took all these photos for me because I just didn't have time to do it. Thanks Rikki. My friend Kay ran the cash drawer and my friend Linda came and helped greet people. It was awesome to have such help because it really isn't possible to do this kind of thing without help - especially with the cleaning and set-up. Thank you Kay, Gail, Rikki and Riley for helping make it all guest worthy. 

I had a guest book so that I could see where people traveled from. Lots of local folks came along with folks from Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, and even Texas. Now I'm hoping this event helps to spread the word about color and pattern and creativity through the folks who came and the new book Crafting A Patterned Home which is getting out there. 

I had the first floor of our farmhouse open along with the two sheds outside and my studio downstairs. The outdoors was self-guided and it was great to look out the porch windows to see folks enjoying the sunshine and the spaces I have created. 

Here are some photos taken by Rikki so you can feel like you were here. Enjoy!

New Tea Towels - Rosie checking them out
My hexie afghan was a hit

Julia is on the hunt for new glasses