Hi! I'm Melissa Averinos. 

Please click here for Longarm Quilting info!

I'm a longarm quilter and fabric designer for Andover Fabrics. I wrote Small Stash Sewing. I illustrated The Family Doodle Book. I wrote and illustrated DIY Mason Jars. I have another craft book coming out in Spring 2014. I am a lifelong painter. I am a Cape Codder, good listener and lover of pie. I love yoga and roller derby. Let's be friends!


 

 

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I mean it. I love your emails, so keep 'em coming. I may not always be able to respond to each one (though I usually do!) But I truly love hearing from you.

melissa@yummygoods.com

 

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Sunday
Jul292012

462: evian, etc

I may have taken a nap from 6-8pm, which means I am screwed.

I've been whipped lately, so I took a couple of days off from working out. And pretty much moving, like, at all.  I haven't been sleeping well. This nap I just took is not going to help.

So, hi!

Look at me getting all bloggy up in here. It's been a while. I've missed you. I guess  just got out of the habit of it. I want to get back into the habit now. These sentences are short.

Also, I am procrasti-blogging. That is, not working on th ebook when I really really should be so I at least better do something to take my mind of the guilt. I have been procrasti-eating quite a bit, as well.

 

 

Trying to encourage  myself do this:

 Those are from my fitness tumblr that I started a while back.

You know, you just never know who is looking at your stuff. A couple of months ago I got an email from someone at evian. You know, evian water, the international luxury brand? (for the record, I do NOT approve of those baby tee shirts on their website! They freak me OUT.)

They said they found my tumblr through people reposting my stuff on pinterest, and would I be interested in doing some custom letterings for them to use on their facebook page?

Um.

I said, "Of course, I'd love to! Is this for real, though?"

Literally, that's what I said.

Turns out, it was for real.

So far they have used this one:

and this one:

All I could think about was that thing people used to say in the 80's, that "'evian' is 'naive' spelled backwards", because who would *pay* for water in a bottle? Ha!

So, anyways. You just never know. Pretty neat, huh?

.............................................................................................................

 

*I am thinking quilty and fabricy thoughts. Once I finish the book, I am going to design the hell out of some fabric. I might even share some of the process of doing so right here. How would that be?

*I am drinking Reed's Ginger Beer. Love that stuff.

*I'm growing my hair out. It is maybe 3" long and brown. Sometimes I bump into people I know and they don't recognize me!

------------------------------------

 ok, good night my dear.

I hope you have a restorative sleep filled with comforting dreams.

xoxo

melissa

 

Friday
Jul272012

461: garden dinos and the Compost Corral

Stuart was making dinner and said, "I don't have enough potatoes."

So you know what I did?

I went outside and dug some up:

I am in love with my garden, you guys.

Like my dirty skirt? It is one of the seven million skirts I made one summer at the shop when it was so slow that I wanted to cry. I'll have to show you all of those. This is one of my faves. They are all A-Line with a little bit of patchwork. I tried to do it in a non-hippie way, but you know, when you use patchwork in clothing it's hard to keep it from having that vibe.

So, potatoes. They were actually volunteers this year! Last year I planted seed potatoes, thanks to my aunt Joni who gave me a bunch. (Thanks, Joni!) Thing is, I can be very disorganized (you don't say) and I just didn't pick them in time last year. When I finally did pick one plant's worth, they were all mealy and weird. I composted the greens and forgot to dig up roots and  all of a sudden this spring I was like, oh, look, a potato field!

I hope these are good! I'm sure the kids will let us know if they are funky.

How is your garden doing? Do you find there are just some things that won't grow for you? I'm like that with greens. I tried some in a raised bed but they sucked. I was going to compost them but decided to throw them in a big planter instead and they did great! I wonder what else I thought I couldn't grow?

Ooooh, ooooh, oh! I am so in love with this trellis idea. I had planted bean starts and they were tendrilling and begging for support, so I hunted around and found an old wooden ladder of Stuart's. I asked him if I could steal it and he said yes:

Bam! Instant trellis, height in the garden, charm. Agh, I frigging love it. Don't suppose you have any old ladders you want to give me?

Oh, remember the dinos from my silly comics?

Here there are at home:

Rawr in the fennel!!

And here is the new Keeper of the Bean Trellis:

And here is the Unicorn of the Compost Corral:

One of my sweet customers brought me that unicorn at the shop. In the background on the right is the potato field! I made the Compost Corral this spring. I dragged those pallets down to the garden and dug them in all by myself. There were larger sized pallets that I just couldn't wrangle. But you know what? Just one month later, I tried again and I could get them! Thanks, CrossFit! I will have to show you more of the CC. I planted sedums in the pallets on one side and strawberries on the front.

Oh, man. So much I want to show you,  like  the awesome fence Stuart put around the garden. I will have to put together a post about it. I loved my space before, but now hearts burst around my head when I look at it.

You guys, it is SO GREAT having weekends off!

xoxox

 

Wednesday
Jul252012

460: you don't suck

Hi!

I am procrastinating working on book projects.

That's right, I said "book".

Not a sewing book, a non-sewing craft book.

........................................................

Lately I am hot for:

-watermelon, obviously

-CrossFit, which I do 5x a week (holy shit)

-my garden

-mason jars

-wearing skirts

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Here, in case you needed to hear it, like I always do:

I'm pretty sure that I love you, whoever you are that's reading this.

xo,

melissa

Monday
Jul232012

459: a silly little comic for you

hey!

So I started out just wanting to say hi and show you these dinosaurs I thrifted the other day. ( I got them to put in the garden.)

I had kind of one of those sensitive days and as I was uploading the pics I reminded myself of a quote a friend of mine comforted me with a couple of weeks ago Thanks, Jess!)

Suddenly I imagined these dinos talking it out and I started to crack myself up, so here you go:

 

xoxoxo!

melissa

Friday
Apr062012

458: success?

Hey!

Forsythia is blooming, daffodils are up. I'm so glad  it's spring!

I think I said this before, but I am REALLY digging having weekends off again. I have been painting and gardening and going for rides with my honey.

I did list a few of those paintings from my last post on etsy---using scans, but I haven't photographed them yet and I really need to. It freaks me out. I guess it's like... painting is my true love and if I really give it all I have and it doesn't work...

Well, I guess that means I need to rethink what I want out of it and what 'success' means. Huh, success. That is such a loaded word. I need talk about  the reality of designing, or at least my reality, my experience of it.

People might look at me and think I'm 'successful' or have 'made it' because I have a book, design fabric, have been in magazines and on tv... all of that does kind of blow my mind and I do absolutely give myself credit for it, but it doesn't necessarily make a living, you know? Actually, you might not know.

I guess that's where it gets tricky. Of course I don't think 'success' has to be monetary, but it is caught up with it for sure. I think I need to redefine what I think of as 'success' for myself.

See, it's weird for me because I didn't grow up thinking that success was even an option for me. I struggled so much just to make it through the day in high school. I really can't believe I even graduated( and I STILL have stress dreams that I didn't) --- and I only did because of having the art department as a safe haven.  There was never any talk of college in my house. I was terrified of life. I didn't want to live because I knew, I knew how hard life was going to be for me for a long time--- and I was right. It was really effing hard--- depression, anxiety, just living in my head was torture, paralyzing and devoid of hope. When I look back on it, I am really surprised that I stuck it out. Glad I did.

When I was in high school, all I really thought I would do in life, if I made it after high school, was have some soul-sucking minimum wage job and do my artwork on the side to make myself happy. That's all I ever thought I COULD do. I had confidence in my work, I've always loved to paint and create, and I wasn't shy about sharing it, it's just that I never felt ambition....confidence....hope.

And from 19-26 years old, I did just have random jobs with low pay. Over time, I learned to breathe my way through my anxiety--- not to get rid of it, but to be present with each excruciating moment, to just breathe in and out and rinse and repeat until I could finally just go to sleep and have some relief from the constant fight-or-flight adrenaline and the underlying despair and sadness that I always had.

When Stuart and I got together, so many of my wounds began to heal and I started to grow in confidence. He is a smart guy and he believed in me. So I just tried to trust him and slowly started to believe more in myself. Have you seen the dedication to him in my book? It says something like " For Stuart, for believing in me until I believed im myself." That's what that is about. He changed my life.

I finally started to feel more confident and believe I could do more than just exist and make it through the day. I taught myself Adobe Illustrator for a new position at the embroidery shop where I was a machine operator. I had a skill for the first time! I made a little bit better wage! I was A DESIGNER!

After about a year of designing logos and screenprints, I realized... hey! I can do MY OWN WORK with this new skill! I started researching licensing and for the first time in my life I felt AMBITION. I felt like, "I can totally do that!" And I set out to do it. I felt like my day job was the enemy keeping me from my dream. I somehow managed to convince Stuart that I should quit my job and pursue licensing. This was 2004, I think.

Bad idea.

I always thought that I didn't like structure. I never had any growing up and thought I never wanted any. Wrongo. I was not built for freelance. I was lonely, didn't know how to keep myself on task, not to mention that cold calling manufacturers and being rejected constantly is really hard! I floundered. I had some interest from some companies and a couple of minor successes, but nothing that could even pay half of a bill. Literally. Our household was suffering without me making any money and eventually I (grudgingly!) started working part time again at this random job, then full time at that random job.

I did keep working on designs, and would get motivated from time to time and pursue some companies. I would get rejected, get depressed and give up for a few more months.

In 2007, I got the fabric gig and in 2008 we opened Yummy Goods. (And that is its own whole story! ) As you know, we closed Yummy Goods this winter and now I am back to my old position as the artist at the embroidery shop.

At this point I no longer look at the day job as the enemy. Instead of thinking of it as the thing that KEEPS me from doing the things I love, I think of it as the thing that ALLOWS me to do the things I love.

Here is some truth, for me at least: Sometimes when you try to turn your passion into your work? Sometimes it stops being your passion. So much pressure gets put on it to make money that what used to bring joy becomes a stressful thing. Read that again. Yes, there are exceptions. But I don't think enough of us talk about our own reality to temper the addictive and magical dream of 'making a living doing what we love'.

The internet and all the crafty blogs have perpetuated a really sparkly inspiring narrative about following your bliss. Which is lovely. I needed that pure naive faith to start all of this. In reality, in my experience, it mostly does not pay. For some, of course, it does. The superstars, the celebrities, the ones who were there first, the odd standout. Of course. And that may be you someday and that may be me someday. Of course, have hope. But maybe also see if you can squint a little and see behind the curtain and see that it's not all it's cracked up to be. It's not all sparkly and pretty and success and shoes from "Anthro."

I'm not here to be a dreamcrusher! Do the work that you love, absolutely! But  If I could go back to my 2004 self, I would say, "Sweetie, you have a pretty good gig here. You are good at what you do. You are actually making a respectable living doing design work. Go for your dreams, of course, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD KEEP YOUR DAY JOB!"

Of course, I wouldn't have taken my own advice. I was stubborn, I was determined, I was sure I could make it work somehow. What I didn't realize is that EVEN IF I HAD, licensing is a very slow way to make a dime. Also, it is not a dime, it is a nickel at best.Again, yes, people do it and some people do make a decent (or better) living at it and I am still trying to and hoping to (I think??) but it is not like you get a fabric line and a book deal and you know make a yearly income that allows you to quit your day job. Nope, not even close.

Why am I compelled to write about this? What do I have to gain from it? Nothing, really. I guess I just want to unburden myself. I wish people were more open about this stuff. I know. it's hard.  I mean, we all want to look good, we all want to come across as successful and maybe if that magazine that we hope features us, or that potential licesing partner reads what we've written, maybe we won't look so hot....

well.... i mean, eff that.  I'm probably in a better position to write so openly about it because from the beginning I have always been forthcoming about my hard times. I kind of think of my honesty as part of my 'brand' , rather than conflicting with it. But even for me, it's still hard to write a post like this because ...I don't know, I guess I don't want to come across as bitter or discouraging or self pitying--- because it's not like that (though i certainly do have my moments!) 

It's more like I want to let you know we are all in this together. Do you ever get jealous reading about that person's new licensing gig, or that person won that award, or this person is featured on that prestigious whatever ??? ME TOO!  Even if we look like we have all that stuff going on ourselves, and even if, like me, we do give ourselves credit and appreciate how far we've come, we still suffer from jealousy, envy, rejection, struggling to pay the bills, wondering what the EFF we are doing with our lives.

At least, I hope it's not just me.

xo, nervously,

melissa

ps

i still have so much more i want to say about this! i will probably touch more on this soon.

***edited the next day to add this little poster. feel free to print it out as a reminder!

I hope my hard-won perspective helps a few folks take some of the pressure off!

xoxox

 

Friday
Mar162012

457: painting birds and stones

I have been painting like crazy, which is awesome because it is one of my favorite things to do.

I will be doing some more of the beachy Cap-Cod inspired stuff for galleries, but for this week I am just playing and going with whatever comes out.

I am a little bit escared to say this out loud, but I am planning to list these on etsy when they are done.

yeah, birds and stone shapes. what can i say? that's what's coming through!

sometimes with melty flowers:

 

sometimes with brainwaves:

but sometimes still houses show up:

and lots of layers and scratchiness, of course:

and

every

now

and

then...

a unicorn:

I  am hoping to finish them up this weekend and list them next week. Will keep you posted!

xoxo

m

 

 

Sunday
Feb122012

456: i'm not a gym rat, i'm a gym unicorn

Hey, you guys! I miss you!

I just couldn't blog my way through the shop closing: it was too damn depressing. If we hang out together on facebook or twitter, then you know what I mean. I flailed, I was graceless, I was sad, I was mad, I was tired, I was self-pitying, I was cranky as hell.

We had great last holiday push ---- my customers are were wonderful and so sweet to me.  I will miss them. After New Years, we cleaned up and cleared out for the end of January. I should say Stuart cleared out and cleaned up. (Thank you, babe.) I tried, but I pretty much either became filled with crackling rage or dissolved into a pool of tears when I tried to do anything there.

Yeah, good times.

Aren't you glad I spared you?

Well, it's all over now  and I am starting to emerge from my self-imposed hibernation.

I am working part time at my old day job---- I'm the in-house artist at an embroidery and screenprinting shop. Pretty much the rest of the day I am the gym.

For realsies.

I knew I would kinda fall apart without something positive to focus on after the shop closed, and my stress and sadness was pretty high, so I thought it would be really good for me to focus on my health and fitness for a while while I'm recovering from the heartbreak.

So far, so good! I am going to start blogging about what I am up to---- I hope you will enjoy it and maybe join me in kicking some A!

For motivation and inspiration, I started a pinterest board called BadAss-piration. Like "Thinspiration", but not creepy. I post cute workout clothes, pics of women that motivate me to get my butt to the gym, quotes that I like, etc.

I also started a tumblr called yummyfitness, where I post my own illustrated or lettered pictures and quotes. I can't decide where I want to do my fitness bloggin', so for now I will do a little here and a little over there. Sometimes they will cross over, I'm sure. Bear with me while I figure it out!

This was my first tumblr post:

I really need to do an illustration for that!

In other news, yes, I am working on more fabric! And I may have a silly book idea percolating up in my brainbox.

And, yes,  I am still loving on the Hot British Guys. My current fave is Jason Isaacs--- or as I like to call him: Hot Lucius.

I had always disliked him -----since way back when he was in The Patriot! But this fall I caught him in Case Histories and he totally won me over.

I've done a fair bit of pinning in his honor.

Well, I just wanted to poke in and say hi and tell you that I miss you and I'm still alive and I am taking good care of myself. I will be around more often now.

Thank you so much for all of your love and support.

xoxox

melissa

 

Wednesday
Nov022011

455: sad news

Oh, friends.

I'm closing up my sweet little gift shop on Cape Cod after three years in business.

(Yes, we'll be open and fully stocked through the holiday season, so I'm hoping to see you around  if you are local!)

Let me tell you how this came about, ok?

Well, you know that it's been hard going for a while. I mean, I started working a part time job a year ago to be able to keep the shop open. And then you know about how it was a rough summer.

Within days of writing that summer post, I was offered an opportunity to take over a local gallery, a well established, succesful business in a prime location. My ship was sinking and I jumped on that life raft. We decided to close Yummy Goods and move into this bigger and better opportunity in January of 2012. September and the first half of October were spent talking, writing up points for a contract, looking at all the details and possibilities, negotiating. We took a little bit of a break around the wedding, naturally.

The day after the wedding, Stuart and I had our first big discussion as husband and wife: is this really the right move for me? If we took away the  money part --- and there did seem to be a great possibility of finally making some --- is it really what I want to do?The answer was no. I didn't want to run someone else's business. What I love about having a shop is that it's my shop, my vision. The point was to make money doing what I love, and if it's not what I love I'm not going to be able to stay excited about it and put my heart into it.

Sigh.

Cue the dollar signs in my eyes turning into cloud puffs.

It was definitely the right decision not to go forward with the gallery. I feel good about that.

But now what? We had already decided to close Yummy Goods. It felt ok when it was to move on to something concrete and seemingly better. But now? Just closing? That's a whole other thing.

But we have to, sadly. The location is just not right for us. Not enough traffic, too out-of-the-way. Can we change locations? Sure. Eventually. But if I am going to pour my heart into something again the way I have with my shop,  we need to be pragmatic about it. So, we do plan to have a shop again someday, somewhere. But we aren't going to jump right back into an across-the-sea voyage in a leaky boat, you know? I need to regroup.

But first, I need to grieve and get through the next couple of months of running the shop. Christmas is the only time we've done well, so we are going to finish up our time there fully stocked and ready. Oh you guys, it's so much fun when it's busy and people come in who get it. I will miss it so much.

I'm sure sometimes I will feel really down about it, sometimes I will feel ready to let it go so something better can take its place. I want to honor what it has been to me and to the community that has developed around it. I want to acknowledge and celebrate the parts if it that were succesful and learn from what wasn't. I want to make a scrapbook of it. I want to have a party there.

After almost a month of tumbling into the abyss (starting the day after my wedding! my poor husband!), I am finally beginning to resurface. I am listing some of my jewelry online, starting here on my own site for now and eventually I will incorporate etsy in to the mix.

I will be adding paintings and drawings.

I will make up and list some fabric bundles, maybe even some supply packs or destash, maybe something of a Yummy Goods Flea to share my secondhand finds.

I think I might list some gift bundles too, stuff from my shop for those of you who don't live around here.

Also, I'm going to try to do this:

Over the next couple of months, I will share my process about all of this. Thank you for being here with me. Your support is huge, seriously. I'm not just saying that to be nice. I get a lot of support, strength and understanding from you guys.

So don't go anywhere, ok?

 

xo,

melissa

(amazing photography by my pal Stacey Hedman, from a shoot we did in August)

Monday
Oct312011

454: Happy Halloween from the Painted Lady

Happy Halloween!

I went to a Circus-Sideshow-themed ball and I went as 'The Painted Lady, Literally.'

More detail pics to come, once my dang camera battery is charged!

xo,

melissa

(photos by Michelle Law)

Tuesday
Oct182011

453: ceremony, flowers, officiant and fun facts

We wanted someone we knew to perform the wedding ceremony, so we asked the lovely Beth Dunn if she would do the honors.

I'm sure she will go into some fun detail on her own blog about the official paperwork and character references and gold seals she had to deal with to get the one day commission to do our ceremony! (Plus the lovely, dainty pulsewarmer mitts that she made for me, but it was too hot for me to wear them!) Thanks, Beth!

Fun Fact #1: On the Intent To Wed form, Hobo Porch was listed as the facility name and location of the ceremony.

In the picture below, Stuart and I stare/gaze at each other as Beth makes some welcoming remarks to the other five people in attendance: My good friend Su, Stuart's good friend from high school, Bill, and Stuart's three kids, Meredith, Camille and Zach. (Did I do those commas right? That's a hard one.)

It was avery short ceremony. Probably no more than three minutes with the pauses and recitation and laughing! We wanted it to be really simple, so kept it short, sweet and to the point.

I love that we have this shot:

Stuart will be chagrinned that I am telling you this, but the very best part of the wedding was when he got all choked up while saying his vows after putting the ring on my finger. Oh my god, best moment ever. It was like we all held our breath while he gathered himself enough to say the words. My eyes were brimming and my heart was soaring. Love that guy.

And here is when I had to literally shove the ring over his knuckle!

That's Bill's hand there, offering some drips of water to help!

Fun Fact #2: I totally forgot to use my bouquet until well after the ceremony!

 

 Isn't it pretty?

Fuschia and orange roses, dark pink heather and a few stargazer lilies.

(Arrangement by my friend from bikram yoga, Michelle Tokzco who works at Vintage Flowers in Osterville.)

Fun Fact #3 Beth had to tell me "hold your horses" when I leaned in to kiss Stuart after the vows!

And then I finally got my kiss after she pronounced us husband and wife:

Fun Fact #4 Right after hugs went around, I turned to Stuart and said, "Holy shit! We're married!"

Mr. Stuart Schulman and Melissa Averinos-Schulman:

Oh, yeah, the boutonniere! Isn't it great?

Here I am before the ceremony attempting not to skewer my husband-to-bewhile pinning it to him:

Oh my god, he is so cute!

...................................................

And now for some miscellaneous pics!

 

Me and Stuart and the kids: Meredith, Camille, and Zach:

Me and my fiend, Beth:

(Beth, even you have to admit that this is a lovely photo of us!)

Me and my honey:

And Bill, who jumped in front of the camera saying "PHOTO OP!"

Me and my honey again, goofing:

Just a couple more posts about it to come, including the food and Su, decorations and dress! The blog is pretty much going to be our wedding album, so bear with me!

xoxox

melissa

(photos by Beth Dunn, Su Wasseluk and Meredith Schulman)

Friday
Oct142011

452: cake + champagne = lunch

The night before the wedding, we made our own cake.

The kids and Stuart mixed up some Pillsbury cake mix.

Here is my (!!!) stepson Zach, being very helpful by cleaning the bowl.

Zach has always been my buddy. I have known him since he just turned FIVE! And now he is taller than me and a sophomore in high school!

Stuart and Meredith (aka Mem) try out the frosting, while Zeus looks on:

And when cake was done baking and cooling, I assembled and frosted it:

I love how it came out!

The day before, I made these little cake topper figurines of me and my honey:

Don't they look just like us?  I love them!!

 

And yeah, that is a bottle of Dom Perignon! It was given to us a couple of years ago and we saved it for a special occasion.

It was pretty special.

FYI: It's really fun to lounge around in a pretty dress and drink champagne.

 xo,

melissa

(pics from several different sources including me, Stuart, Beth Dunn, Su Wasseluk, and Meredith Schulman!)

 

Wednesday
Oct122011

451: Hobo Porch Wedding!

Our day was very relaxed and sweet.

And it warmed up to 75 degrees and was perfectly sunny and summery, which meant I got to go barefoot.

If there was a theme to this wedding, it was Low Stress. I just wanted it to be simple and heartfelt.

I could have gone really all out with the DIY stuff, but I intentionally kept paring it way down to the basics. If anything started to stress me out, it went out the window. Like, I wanted to make a music playlist but my external drive where I keep all my music was acting up. Eff that, I decided just to play my Old Timey Hobo Porch Music station all day and it was perfect. We made our own cake, but it was from a box. With frosting from a can. And you know what? It couldn't have been more perfect.

Including me and Stuart and his three kids? Only 8 people. A micro wedding.

It was silly and sweet and fun and cute and simple and heartfelt.

And I totally married a guy I am coo coo crazy about.

So, you know, there's that.

More soon!

xoxoxo,

Melissa Averinos-Schulman

Monday
Sep262011

450: I'm totally getting married!

So, remember that time when my true love proposed to me, like two and a half years ago?

Well, turns out it wasn't just for show.

We are getting hitched in two weeks!

Back in January, we decided we wanted this to be the year. Winter passed and spring was full of preparing the shop for the season. The year was half over and we were like, yeah, guess we oughtta pick a date? Or something? Is that what people do?

Eventually we settled on Sunday, October 9.

(Fantasy Shoe Shopping: Wouldn't these be just darling as my 'something blue'? Yeah, too bad they cost more than twice what I spent on my dress. link)

I've never been a dreaming-of-my-wedding-day kind of girl, clearly. I guess I never really thought about getting married at all. I mean, I am a long-term relationship kind of girl, and could see being with someone for the rest of my life, but I've never been one for big events and awkward family moments. I kind of hate that shit. 

We are having a tiny wedding. No, seriously, teeny tiny. When other people say that, they are like, 'Yeah, we had a small wedding. Only had 75 guests' and I'm like, 'Are you kidding me? Beacause that  sounds like a lot of frigging people to me!"

(These could be my 'something new', right? Link Except that they cost two and a half times what I spent on my dress. Which was twice what I have ever paid for a dress. Which is really treally cheap for a wedding dress. Actually, it's a bridesamid dress. That I got for half off.  )

So, when I say tiny, I mean ti-ny. We could easily have just gone away somewhere and gotten married by a JP in our jeans. (I mean, we would be in our jeans, the JP wouldn't be in our jeans. I'm pretty freaky, so I can see how you'd be confused, but no. The JP would wear whatever they wanted, that they owned.)

But, we felt it was important for the kids to be there with us, so we having a little ceremony so we can share it with Stuart's three kids: Meredith, Camille and Zach. Beyond the five of us, there are just five more people coming ---  including the photographer and the officiant!

(It's too bad I haven't already had these for years, because then they could be my 'something old.' But they cost two and a half times what I spent on my dress. But, they are handmade in Massachusetts!)

Where are we having this little shindig? Why, on the hobo porch, of course! (But if you hang out with me on the facebook, then this is all old news to you!)

 

(If you bought these in my size, I could borrow them for my 'something borrowed.' And then you could give them to me, because you're nice like that.I mean, it's not like they cost two and a half times what I spent on my dress or anything.)

More details soon!

xo,

melissa

 

Thursday
Jul282011

449: watch me dude, you just watch me

I was just screwing around on the youtube and noticed that Andover put up the video  for  the Swoon Schoolhouse that I did back in October!

Remember I made a little slideshow about my experience of it ? Well now you can watch the video and see what I was talking about!

 

Eeeee! I didn't die!!!

Thank you so much for your love and support. You all help me just by being here with me.

xoxxoo

melissa

ps, extra credit if you know where the title of this post came from (without looking it up!)

Friday
Jul222011

448: i give up ten times a day

The weather has been AMAZING this summer. Which for me, personally, is great because I am like a hothouse flower and I needs the heat and the sun to be happy. I live for summer.

BUT.

Great weather is not so good for retail. When every day is a beach day, that doesn't leave much time for shopping days.

I spent the spring getting the shop ready, placing orders, arranging displays, doing all the stuff, and then....

>crickets<

Feels like getting stood up for the prom! Ahhhh, retail. That wiley bastard.

We have yet to have a great summer season here and it's been three years. When we opened, we thought summer would be our big time. But it turns out that we actually do better at the winter holidays. And I mean we do better than the summer, not that we do great.

**********************************

I know many people who would say I shouldn't say this out loud. Or write it here for the whole world to see.

Well, F that S.

It is a sensitive subject, and I do feel awkward about it. But you know I believe in not fostering illusions about this stuff. Does me talking about this make my shop any less awesome? No, it doesn't.

Writing about it here helps me to regroup and rally and take some of the sting out of it. Talking about the reality of  small business ownership might make someone think about supporting their local economy a little more, or might comfort another business owner who is struggling. Totally worth it.

**********************************

I love my shop, I love what I'm doing---it is a dream come true.

AND.

I have yet to take a paycheck from it and I get very discouraged by it sometimes. I give up about ten times a day, I really do.  But then a customer will come in who loves the shop and tells me that they are inspired by what I'm doing and I remember why I'm here.

I want this. I love it. I love my customers who come in just to be uplifted by the atmosphere. I love it when people walk around the shop and giggle to themselves at some of my silly stuff. I love it when they  tell me they keep up with what I'm doing on facebook. I love this community and I want to invest in it, build it up into something that sustains me. I want to connect with people and bring something to the table.

I want that, I crave it and it is worth working for.

We are committed. We have something unique and wonderful to offer. We are just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. People do love the shop when they come in, we just need to get more people inb the door. We'll figure it out and the economy will shift and things will get better. (right?)

One thing to celebrate: we won the Silver Award for Best Gift Shop on the Mid-Cape in the Cape Cod Life Magazine Reader's Poll! That's kind of a big deal around here. Thank you SO MUCH if you voted for us!

If you love a local business, please GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to support it. If you can't patronize it yourself for whatever reason, please GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to send your friends in. Even if you think they don't need it!  Make it your mission to help your favorite businesses survive!

..............................................................................................................

I am using this time to  rethink some things, examine what I can do (in addition to working a part time job, which I do) while we work toward our goal of having the shop be successful and profitable. Who knows, maybe I'll do something really awesome and I'll be glad I had to rethink things.

And yes, I have been painting a lot while it is slow. And I have been selling many of those paintings in a gallery (omg, yay!)--- which I will write about soon. The response to my new work has been awesome and it is inspiring me to do more and more. I think I'm going to reopen my web shop so people can shop for them online if they like. See, good stuff.

So.

I am just going to keep plugging away until the next time I give up (probably in an hour.)  And then I am going to (eventually) regroup and start again.

And now I am going to blow your mind by quoting Jon Bon Jovi:

"Success is falling nine times and gettin up ten."

 xo,

melissa

P.S. Awesome photo of me and my honey Stuart by the amazing Stacey Hedman!

Monday
Jul182011

447: Hobo Porch Upgrade

It's summertime an' the livin' is hobo.

Are you ready for a Yummy Goods Hobo Porch Upgrade?

A month or so ago, my friend New Cindy (not to be confused with Old Cindy aka Original Cindy aka Extra Crispy) invited me over for a movie and Hobo Snacks. We had never talked about Hobo Snacks before but I knew exactly what she meant. I grabbed two Hobo Beers from my fridge and headed over.

 

Hobo. Perhaps not technically the right word to describe it, but that's what we've come to call anything that is making do, or piecing together from what is on hand, all that good stuff. See, we are both financially strapped at the moment.  It started off as us saying "We po'." But now we say, "We hobo!" and we are having entirely too much fun with it. Everything is Hobo now. Hobo Snacks. Hobo Beer. Hobo Gardening. Hobo Fun!

More on all different kinds of Hobo Livin' in posts to come, but since I have been pretty much spending all my non-shop time on my porch lately, I thought I would show you the totally cost-free , one-afternoon makeover I did to get my porch so cute and cozy.

See how sad it was to start off?

I mean, the furniture is pretty cute - all thrifted or yard saled.  But  it wasn't very inviting and we never went out there. You know how I've been trying to do more summery things, and one of those is to spend lots of time outside, of course. I got a bee in my bonnet on the fourth of July and spent the afternoon foraging for blankets and pillows to throw on the furniture. I scoured my garage for all my kooky thrift finds and extra chairs. I grabbed my dozens of wilty, sad-looking perennials that had been divided and were waiting in pots to be replanted.

This is what I did:

-I watered those poor bee balms, catmints, bleeding hearts amd annise hyssops and tucked them into all manner of pots, tins, plastic jack-o-lanterns and enamel buckets. Annuals, schmannuals!

-I auditioned unused comforters and too-many-too-fit-on-the-couch-anyways throw pillows on the various couches and chairs until I found the combinations that I liked. I wrapped uncovered or ratty cushions in cute vintage sheets I stole from my sewing room.

-I hunted for candles in jars and put them all together on a free-shop-at-the-dump candle holder stand.

-I borrowed some white lights from the Christmas junk in storage and strung them haphazardly.

-I played old-timey music on Pandora. (my current fave is the Charles Trenet and Django Reinhardt channel. I  renamed the station Old Timey Porch Music For Hobos just for you.)

- And I don't exactly remember, but I probably drank a Hobo Beer.

And now I have, like, a whole other room that is outside!

I plan on doing tons more to my cozy outdoor nest, and you bet I'll be blogging the heck out of it. Like I am right now: with my twinkle lights on, barefeet kicked up on the table, and Old Timey Porch Music for Hobos playing.

Have you hobo'd up anything lately? Would love to hear about it!

Now, where my beer at?

xo,

melissa

 

Sunday
Jul172011

446: summer, turn me upside down

Last weekend I went to see the fabulous Kris Delmhorst  at an outdoor concert with my friend Cindy. That would be Original Cindy (she of the dollhouse)  or as Stuart now refers to her : Extra Crispy. Like, Original Recipe, or something.

(Photos have nothing to do with the post, but I couldn't help it. They are the first layers of my new painting series---more on that next time!)

Cindy is back from California for the summer and it was the first time I'd seen her in a year. It felt like it had been a week. I love friends like that. Just dropped right back into it, totally comfortable and easy.

You know how I love summer, right? Well, I'm working seven days a week and it's too easy to just let it slip away. I live for these three months, so I am making a strong effort to *actually do* summery  things this time around, so I get to enjoy my favorite time of the year, so I don't have to get all stabby. (oh, spellcheck, I assure you: STABBY is a word.) One of those things I like to do is go to outdoor concerts.

Backstory on how I came to listen to Kris.

In early 2000, I had my own apartment for the first time, a teeny tiny studio. I was trying to recover from a disastrously failed love affair, I was desperately lonely. I was desperate, period. I had gotten a job as an embroidery machine operator  which was lonely work. Loud machine all day, my coworkers were  unfriendly to me, my anxiety was through the roof and depression, uh,  through the floor?  I have had many, many dark times in my life and this was one of the worst. I probably say that every time, but it's true!

Stuart, now my fiance, was my boss. Well, one of them. He is the owner's right-hand man and room-mate from college. I called him Stu then.  He was the only reason I kept working there --- he was kind to me when everyone else was either cold or outright rude. Or at least that's how I  perceived them at the time. Stu was totally professional, calm, unflappable, just an all round nice guy. Great boss. I would have quit after a couple of months if it weren't for him. (perhaps the tale of us another time, it's a good one)

I would work days, operating the 6-head embroidery machine, putting landscaper or construction company logos on sweatshirts. Sometimes after work, when I didn't want to go to my lonely apartment,   I would put lipstick on and try to look cute and then I would go to Borders and walk around, hoping someone would talk to me.  I was crawling out of my skin, I was so uncomfortable, so down, so in need. See? Desperate.

Eventually, I would go back to my place and listen to a static-y semi-local folk radio station and do collages. (I had given up painting the previous year--- that is a whole other story.)

One night Kris Delmhorst was a guest on the radio program I listened to and I just fell in love with her voice. I remember grabbing a piece of paper and writing down her name so I would remember her.

Maybe a year or two later, she played locally at a benefit concert that my friend Sue put on and I was like, "Hey! That's that girl! I love her!"  I bought her cds and and have seen her in concert another time or two, once with Extra Crispy.

So when we saw that she was playing locally again, we were both psyched and it worked out for us to go together. I  wish I had pictures, it really was quite a charming scene. My dang phone had lost its charge so I couldn't snap any, but let me tell you, it was dreamy. As Kris said when she got on the little wooden platform, "You all look idyllic!" Cindy and I spent a perfect summer afternoon together on lawn chairs and blankets in the shade of a big white community building at the top of a grassy green hill, listening to Kris. Bliss.

Bonus, I saw a bunch of other people I knew there too, including my therapist Chuck, who I simply adore. We sat next to him, and though we only chatted briefly, it was just a pleasure to be around him. He is one of my favorite people in the world.  If you need a good therapist let me know and I will give you his number, he is MAGIC.

Here are some of my favorites by Kris:

Little Wings

Broken White Line

Juice and June

and I love her new cover of The Cars Magic. LOVE IT.

 (Meg Hutchinson opened and she was lovely.)

So. That's one summery thing I've done lately.

I have a whole list in my head going, which I will share later this week. What about you? What have you done or want to remember to do this summer?

Right now it's 8pm and I am on my front porch drinking a beer under some twinkle lights. I'm wearing a pink and orange summer dress and leaning against pillows made with my first fabric line, Sugar Snap. I can hear Stuart in the house and traffic on the road.

Life is hard, but good. And I feel so much love right now. Take a little of it for yourself, if you need it. Hell, take a lot.

 

xo,

melissa

Thursday
Apr282011

445: Shaking Things Up

Hey you guys, I was featured in Cape Cod Magazine this month as one of nine Cape Codders who are 'Shaking Things Up!'

Photo by the lovely Dan Cutrona. I had an awesome time working with him. What a sweetie.

You can read the article here.

xo,

melissa

Monday
Apr252011

444: Dazzle! My new collection for Andover Fabrics

I am super excited to share my newest line with you!

Dazzle is a  tight little collection of 6 prints in two colorways with a total of 16 skus. I am pretty sure it will be shipping to shops around the beginning of June, but I will get back to you on that.

First up, the teal colorway.

Large scale allover tossed, unofficial name- Jewel:

Medium-scale, unofficial name - Vine:

Medium scale--- Circles:

Medium-smallish scale, unofficial name - Shadow Stripe:

Small scale tonal coordinates ---- Flowers:

Small scale coordinate ---- Basketweave:

 And now, the pink colorway! (You knew there would be a pink colorway, didn't you?)

Jewel

Vine

Circles

Shadow Stripe:

Flowers

 

Basketweave

Of course I love the main prints, but I am super excited about the tonals/coordinates too! I think they would make an awesome quilt just on their own.

How would you use these prints?

xo,

melissa

 

ps just realized I said 'super excited' twice in this post.

Saturday
Apr232011

443: perfectly sized, perfectly sweet

Hey, friends!

Yes, I am back from England and have been for about 6 weeks. Only just now am I feeling pretty much back to normal. I was wicked sick for the whole trip!

Oh, you guys. I was sick as a dog.

But I did manage to have quite a bit of fun, even so. Which I will share in great detail, of course. Soon.

I am emerging from my cocoon and my unintentional internet fast and am looking forward to sharing a bunch of stuff with you.

But I did want to pop in and say hello in the meantime.

Hi!

Stuart and I went for a drive a few weeks ago and we ended up at one of those self-serve car wash/vacuumy places (so romantic) and I took some pics while Stuart vacuumed the car.

This cracked me up:

But then again, I am easy.

When I got back into the car, he asked me if my little paws would fit into the crevice where this was stuck between the seat and the center console:

Perfectly sized, perfectly sweet.

Again, easily amused.

Lovely rust:

Hmmm, what else?

Yes, I have seen the new Jane Eyre movie.

Twice. So far. And I will post my thoughts about it in the next few weeks. Beth wrote a gorgeous post right after we saw it the first time. Here, go read it.

 

Oh, oh! I need to show you my next fabric line! Soon. Like, in the next day or two, I promise.

Plus a magazine feature and of course lots of OMGLondon and Bath recap, now that I have figured out how to get pictures off my damn phone.

Ok, back soon. I've missed you.

xo,

melissa