Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I have just come back from my niece Jennifer's wedding, in Michigan.  My sister and I drove out there from New York, missing the big nor'easter last weekend, and had beautiful weather the whole time we were in MI.  Of course the bride is lovely.  Here she is being escorted to the altar by my brother, her father

She was preceded by the flower girl, my great-niece Madeline, who didn't quite understand her function, and needed help from her father:

The ceremony was outside, as you can see, under a tent, on a farm in Ann Arbor called Cobblehill Farm.  There was a petting zoo with a friendly goat, a horse and assorted chickens and roosters, who didn't interfere at all with the wedding.  Afterward the vows

there was the reception line.  Don't you love her dress and the bouquet?  Perfect for fall.  And the headpiece is from another etsian!

That handsome lucky young man is her new husband, back from Iraq for a whole year.  They live in Hawaii now, where he is stationed.  He just looks too young to be an officer in the US Army!

Ah, what a lovely day it was, and a wonderful party!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Due to circumstance beyond my control, like losing my job in Feb 2009, I need to sell my apartment.  I plan to move back to Michigan, where I was brought up and my parents still live.  I am moving to MI because of my parents, and because the rents there are in-line with the maintainance charges I currently pay on my studio apartment in NY.  After doing research, I discovered I can rent a nice 1 bedroom apt in a complex with a pool, gym, community space, laundry facilities, etc. etc. and so forth.  Sounds really good, and when I go to MI for my niece's wedding in a couple of weeks, I plan to stay and look at these places that seem so good on the internet.  We shall see what we shall see...

Meanwhile, my realtor inspected my current space and said "Do you have any storage facilities?"  Hint, hint...your place is TOO CLUTTERED!!!!  Like I didn't know that already.  Time to do some housecleaning and get this stuff out of here!!!!  I have bolts of fabric in everycorner.  Let's just look at three of them:

This is my bedroom corner:

I have a small dressing room.  These are the left and right corners of that space:

I love these fabrics.  In the immediate picture above, you see the yellow and white flower material?  Custom Designs by Nancy (my other shop) has a fabulous commission to make center table toppers for a woman's wedding this spring, and I will be using this stuff, and hopefully some binding tape from ShastaCreations.  Otherwise, if you see something you like, let me know and I'll tell you all about it!

Thankfully I saved the sleeves all this material came in, so I put all those bolts into sleeves and cleaned out those corners.  Hooray!

In case you're wondering about the paintings on the walls, my great-grandmother and my grandmother were both artists.  My grandmother did paintings of everyone, and when she died we each got our own pictures.  I also took one of my great-grandmother's paintings, too.

This is me as a teenager, about 13 or 14 years old:

This is my baby picture:

And this is the picture by my great-grandmother Irene:

And this is what all those bolts look like now!  Time to get these into storage for the duration!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I am in a beautful treaury from highnotejewelry called "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and the blue-grey velvet she picked from my store to be in her treasury, sold! Yippee! To return the favor, I'd like to show you some of the other shops for your viewing and shopping pleasure.

This ring totally caught my eye, and I hearted it:

This is made by LunasDesigns, and is just my kind of ring.  It is sterling silver with an obsidian stone in a bezel setting, made to order in your size!  How excellent is that!  When I'm shopping for jewelry - well, window shopping, really, these days - I look for sterling silver, solid gold, or platininum.  On the platinum, after all, I'm just window shopping...the point is, I can't wear copper, or stainless steel, or aluminum.  I have tried, and it's just itch itch itch, little tiny bumps, scratch scratch scratch.  I'm also looking for excellent workmanship.  I want beautiful craftsmanship and high quality.  I mean, isn't everybody? 

She has many other modern designs, all wonderfully engineered and sure to be a joy to wear.  These are a couple of other pieces I enjoy:

Silver and  Carnelian Swing Earrings

Sterling Silver Swan Brooch

Highnotejewelry also included this gorgeous crepe silk hand painted scarf from Palletepassion.  As you can maybe tell I am a fabric junkie and really appreciate lovely silks, and I am in awe of anyone who can paint or dye or otherwise color fabrics as an artist.  Just look at these subtle colors and see how handsome the scarf is:

Look at how pretty the colors are in this one, and how well the stripes are executed:

And this one:

She has 60 lovely scarves to choose from, all hand painted and gorgeous.  She has over 100 sales, and a 100% positive rating, so I think this is a good craftsman artisan!

And finally, I want to tell you about highnotejewelry herself, she who put this smokey treasury together.    She is a jeweler too, with a unique design style.  She makes colorful fun pieces using silver, copper and other metals, and stones, beads and crystals.  I love her bracelets, especially this one, which I hearted:

 This is an orange and green floral design made from glass, copper, swarovski crystals and glass flower beads.

And I love the color of these pink ombre earrings:

Just beauttiful pieces in her shop.  Gee, if only I could buy them all...

Thank you highnote, for this high note in my day!  Be sure to browse all these shops, and enjoy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Lee Jofa!

I just added a new Lee Jofa piece to my store Nancy's Fabric Shop, which isn't what I usually think of when I think of Lee Jofa:

I love these prancing elephants on the blue ground. This pattern must have been inspired by the British Empire in India rather than the exuberant English garden roses, like this piece:

And then, while I was digging around (you have no idea how much material I have and where I stash it in my studio apartment) I discovered this Lee Jofa Book of discontinued patterns by David Hicks for Ashley Hicks. David Hicks was an innovative English interior designer who died in 1998. His son Ashley is now working with Lee Jofa/Kravet and designing new lines of fabrics and carpets, combining David Hicks' strong geometry and colors in a new softer, gentler sensibility for the modern market. This book of now discontinued patterns contains 5 different patterns each in 5 different colors, for a total of 25 pieces of cloth bound at the top, and with paper labels describing each piece, including fibre content.

They range from 100% silk

to 100% jute

and include sheers

and stripes

and a geometric pattern

And imagine my surprise to see this pattern on the front page

I had this exact piece in a 24" square sample, and made a pillow with it, now for sale in Custom Designs by Nancy

I really like the way these two fabrics work with other, and the colors and patterns complement each other so well.

Each piece in the book measures 21 1/2" by 14". The labels are stapled to the lower left corners and are easily removeable without damaging the fabric, and the screws binding the book can be removed with a flat head screwdriver. This book is available at Nancys Fabric Shop for $50 plus shipping! Think of all the great things you can do with these fabrics! My mind is boggling. Your excitement is high, so don't hesitate! Oh what fun you'll have!

Monday, August 16, 2010


I know, I know, you're not really interested in the ancient history of Lee Jofa, you just want to know what they have and how much it costs, hahaha.

When I think of Lee Jofa fabrics, this is the kind of thing I see:

Notice the exuberant elegance, the subtle shadings of color, the quality of the design, how exotic it looks. I had one piece of this, about 48" square, for the longest time, and I couldn't figure what to do with it, it is so gorgeous. Then I paired it with a similiar, complimentary fabric, heavier, in a soft cotton, and make a bedspread for myself!

I had another piece, much smaller, that I used to make a tablerunner. This is for sale in my other shop, Custom Designs by Nancy:

Now I am offering the Lee Jofa pieces themselves, for you to use in your projects. These fabrics are of the highest quality; Lee Jofa has a centuries-old reputation for elegant luxury materials. You will be very happy with these pieces:

I do have some other pieces I will be listing soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I recently added three new Lee Jofa pieces I have for sale in my shop nancysfabricshop, and I thought I'd tell you a little about the company that makes this fabric, so you can further enjoy their beauty and quality. The company is actually three companies that over a century have merged and now comprise Lee Jofa. The oldest company was founded by an Englishman, George Johnson, in 1823 as a rope maker for ships in New York harbor. I know, amazing, isn't it? How do you get from making ropes to making gorgeous luxury fabrics? From ropes for ships they expanded into horsehair for sofas during the 19th century, and from there, after partnering with Mr. Faulkner, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Faulkner (which became JOFA) imported and sold fine fabrics.

Later, in 1888, Arthur Lee began his company in England. Using innovative weaving techniques developed during the Industrial Revolution, he produced high quality fabrics for discriminating customers who disdained the cheap cloth produced by other companies. Both companies, JOFA and Arthur H. Lee and Sons remained in business until 1965, when Arthur H. Lee bought JOFA. Their combined names became Lee Jofa, and they continued to import and produce some of the most luxurious fabrics available.

In 1995 Lee Jofa was acquired by Kravet, Inc., a leader in products for the interior design industry. As a Kravet employee, I toured the New York City Lee Jofa showroom, which was MARVELOUS. We had a small lecture and discussion about production techniques around the world, and held 19th century wood blocks that were used to hand print fabrics. It's amazing to think of people handling these large, heavy blocks of carved wood, and printing precise patterns on textiles. (While researching for this blog post I came across this article by Bess Darnley describing her experiments making wood blocks and printing fabrics, which is very interesting.) Many of the original prints from JOFA and Arthur Lee are in archives, and are being re-worked for modern production while maintaining the integrity of the exuberance and spirit of the 19th and 20th century prints. So colorful! Such fantastic patterns! And the quality can be seen and felt. These are not cheap knock-off fabrics that will fall apart after one cleaning. Properly cared for, these fabrics can become heirlooms; that beautiful pillow can be passed onto your children.

You can purchase Lee Jofa fabrics online. Here is one site, and a sample of their offerings. You can see the typical pricing of these gorgeous high quality luxurious fabrics:

On nancysfabricshop I am currently offering four pieces of discontinued patterns, including Evasham Rose and Ainsleigh Rose:

I am sorry I only have these small pieces, but they are extremely reasonably priced and will make something lovely for you and your home. I do have more patterns and will be listing them as well. Please check back often for more choices!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Is your neighborhood like mine, stray, feral cats everywhere? I support a wonderful organization called Best Friends who run a huge facility for lost, abandoned, problem animals (dogs, cats, horses, rabbits - lots of different animals) on a ranch out west, and they prefer the term "community cats" rather than stray or feral, and promote the community to help these animals.

There are four cats who live across the street from my apartment building, next to the post office, in a parking lot of a school. There are several women, including myself, who help take care of this little pride. I met these other women while bringing food to the cats, and learned they REALLY take care of this pride, and have spent hundreds of dollars on trapping, spaying and neutering, and other health issues. When the cats are ready to be released - they cannot be domesticated - their ears are clipped so the animal is marked as being spayed. Me, I just bring food, and was amazed at the dedication of these women.

There is one old male I call Tomcat that incredibly is still alive. I have been feeding him for several years and am always amazed to see him. "Tomcat, you're still alive?" I say to him, looking at his poor eyes, rough fur and many times, terrible wounds. He is the leader of this little pride, and is dearly loved by one black female and two of his offspring, which I believe are both female also. They have all been spayed, Tom was neutered, and they just loll around the parking lot waiting for someone to come feed them.

I make it sound like the life of Riley, lolling around, but you know the street is a very hard place to live. I wish I could take better care of old Tom. When I was talking to the other women they told me the vet did as much as he could for him, cleaned him up, treated wounds, did medical stuff on his eyes, and he looked pretty good for a minute. Now of course, he looks awful. He knows me now, and lets me get somewhat close to him, within a couple of feet while I'm putting out his food, but he will never let me touch him. Poor ol' Tom.

If there are cats in your neighborhood, try to take care of them. Get them neutered and spayed so they can't reproduce, make a shelter so they have protection from rain and weather, monitor their health so they don't spread diseases. It isn't necessary to kill them, all life needs to live its life, but we can try to make another's life as comfortable as possible, and food is the best gift you can give. All religions say so. Being able to feed another being is a gift from God. You know all the gods will bless you when you feed another being, even the strays in your neighborhood.