Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Closing of a Magical Little Place

If you are here and reading this post then you wanted to hear the story of the decision to close Rock Paper Scissors.  Thank you for taking a few moments of your time to learn a little more.

This decision was not an easy one.  I love what I do every day.  Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a deep love for my community.   My staff, my customers, my reps, all of the amazing friendships I have made in the industry.  I have loved growing a business and a community.

I also take the responsibility of being a small business owner seriously.  I know that my staff needs their paychecks to pay rent and buy food and pay bills (and buy fabric).  I know my teachers need their checks to pay their rent and save for a house and offset bills.  And my reps rely on my orders for their commissions which do all the same things.  And the manufacturers rely on the independent retailer like me to buy their product so that they can stay healthy and viable and employ people here in the states and keep factories running here and abroad and continue to produce high quality products, not lesser quality big box ones.  Designers rely on us to buy their patterns and fabric, help to market them through social media, and support their work.  For all of us, this is not a hobby but our livelihoods.   

And the local guilds rely on us for space and discounts and support.  And the local community relies on us for new and interesting classes, especially the kids as the schools phase out Home Ec programs.  And all the people who rely on me to do their quilt math.  And that our community relies on us as a space to escape to when the world seems dark or mean.

I personally have seen lifelong friendships form before my eyes.  People that never would have met otherwise, met here.  Whether it was from taking a class or going to a guild meeting or just being introduced to others through us.  I have watched people with no prior experience take a sewing class here and skyrocket into the Q-universe.  I have watched women who had just moved here, feeling unsteady in a new place, get embraced by this community, allowing those women to find roots here.  I have watched people with little confidence blossom as teachers – really good teachers – here at RPS.

Pretty amazing, right?  And you thought we just cut and sold pretty fabric.  We are so very much more.

And I know that.  I know how much more a small business like mine is.  So I worked really hard and made changes and did everything I knew how.  Then I learned more so that I could be smarter and make more changes and be the very best we could be.  We missed the mark sometimes but we did an awful lot of things right.

Because I knew how much more this store represented to so many people, including myself, I had to think very long and very hard about this decision.  

But, at the end of the day, I was working so hard and such long hours, carrying the stress of owning a small business and all that goes with it AND the responsibility for others inside me 24/7.  And the rent and property taxes (especially in metro NYC) and worker’s comp and merchant services fees and everything else keeps going up.  The pressure from online and big box stores keeps getting steeper.   The perceived value of buying cheaper, and/or at a convenient time, goes up and the perceived value of local small businesses continues to go down.  Even my own health care premiums have skyrocketed (I have to carry an individual policy as a small business owner who supports herself).   This is just the reality of the environment small businesses live in today.  The “name of the game” as a friend and owner of a small business said to me recently. 

Though I know how very much this store means to so many people, including myself, I have chosen to close this beautiful space. I could keep working harder and smarter but I am choosing something different.  I am choosing to use this knowledge and time and energy and smarts, that I have worked so very hard to build, in other and different ways.  I am not sure where life will lead me but I am excited about the possibilities, the opportunities that have yet to show up at my door.  I love this industry and would love to be able to remain a member of it but we shall see.  In the meantime, I will keep living a well-intentioned life, designed by me, still involved in my community, surrounded by my tribe.

To our customers, both my staff and I say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Not only would this store not be what it is today, but our lives would not have been as rich without the wonderful community of this store.  We love you oh so dearly!

To those I have developed relationships with in the industry, thank you.  Thank you for welcoming me and including me and sharing conversation and thoughts and ideas and your wonderful support with me.

And to my staff, my amazing staff, seeing you every day is what I will miss the most.  You are smart and creative and funny and supportive and kind.  Simply, you are some of the most amazing and strongest and kindest women I have ever known and I am so very grateful for you in my life.

Except for creating my beautiful family and watching them grow, there is nothing I am more proud of than what I have built in this magical little snow globe.  Thanks for joining me on the ride!

From the bottom of my heart,


Monday, October 10, 2016

Beginner SkillZ Workshop Series

Calling all new sewers!  Or those that want to improve or learn certain skills.  Or those that haven't sewn since the good old high school days.  We have a new series geared just to you!  The Beginner SkillZ Series?

And what exactly is the Beginner SkillZ Series?  It is a series of six independent project-based workshops, all geared to the new or "rusty" sewer.  Each class will review basic sewing machine skills, such as winding a bobbin, threading the machine and  sewing a straight line.  The you will move into a specific set of skills that is learned from that project.  It could be finishing seams, sewing on buttons, topstitching, or sewing a lining.  Then you will move on to completing the project!

You can sign up for as many as you would like.  The idea is to learn through a certain amount of repetition.  Choose from an envelope style pillow cover, a tote bag, an apron, a pillowcase, a Christmas stocking, and/or a lined drawstring bag.  All projects are useful, functional, and also make great gifts for the holidays!  Each class is only two evenings, two hours each evening, and you should leave with a completed project.

What is the difference between this series and our Beginner Sewing Workshop?  Beginning Sewing is a 3-part class (or all day Saturday), usually run during the day, that methodically guides you through the sewing process, making a tote with boxed corners at the end.  Melissa (A Happy Stitch)  teaches good sewing habits and skills, very methodically, in her workshop.

Some people can't take a class during the day or are finding it hard to commit to three consecutive weeks.  Enter Beginner SkillZ.  Shorter in nature, these workshops require a two week commitment (or 4 hours on a Sunday) and are generally quicker.  You may have to take a couple to really start getting the hang of beginning sewing.  They are also geared towards someone who just needs a little refresher in certain skills.

So, check out the class calendar and call the store to sign up!!!  Samples of each project are on display at the store.

Hope to see you soon!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Super Summer Sale!

Help us to clear some room for all the amazing new fabric that is scheduled to begin shipping to us!

July 30th - Aug 3rd

All fat quarters now $2.00

Solid and sale FQ's are now $1.50

Half yard PRE-CUTS are now $4.00

All other pre-cut stacks, rolls & charms  are 20% off

Onesies (our end of bolts) usually 20% off, NOW 40% off

Additional 20% off everything on the sale rack

Full yard cuts from the bolt of all flat cottons (quilting cottons) are 20% off

This is a great time to get some supplies lined up for your "dog days of summer" projects!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Amy Butler's Blog Tour and Giveaway

Amy Butler's New book, "Piece Keeping"

When Chronicle Books asked me to be a part of the blog tour for Amy Butler's new  Book "Piece Keeping", I said a big huge "YES!"  Everyone knows I am a long time fan of her fabric, her esthetic, and, well, Amy herself.  And I am so honored to be among this lovely creative group on the tour!

I was overjoyed when I received the book!  It is full of 20 beautiful projects, all celebrating Amy's love of patchwork., ranging from home decor projects to wearables and gifts.  Many are embellished with hand stitching and beading.  There are clear directions for each project, full patterns, lots of hints and tricks, and Amy's words of inspiration along the way.  The photography is fabulous and inspiring, done by David Butler, the other half of the "House of Butler".

There were so many wonderful projects to choose from but when I set my eyes on the Dreamweaver Headboard, Wall Art, and Quilt, I knew I wanted to give it a whirl.

In her book, Amy uses a more monochromatic version in cool blues, seen above.  Since I wanted to have my wall art grace the shop, I chose from some of my favorites in Violette, an older collection from Amy.  I just adore this palette and knew it would look beautiful against our gray walls.  Right????

Okay, eyes away from the terrible condition of those mats.  Look at the fabric, please!

The directions were clear, the piecing much easier than the final product seems, and the template clearly marked to help you line your pieces up.  It all came together so beautifully and effortlessly.  This is definitely a project a beginner could do!

My final large scale blocks turned out perfectly!  I love them!  Now, my blocks finished at 25" instead of the stated 24".  That made no difference to my project and I have been assured that any corrections will be taken care of!

And here they are, gracing our old haberdashery cabinet in the shop!  Aren't they beautiful?  I love how the scrappier version looks like a kaleidoscope!  Next, I want to make this large block and offset it in a solid or neutral, by itself, in a quilt.  Yummy!  Who says we are stopping at wall art?


As a part of the blog tour, there is a lovely giveaway of all the lusciousness that is in the first picture!  SWWWWEEEEET!!  The prize includes Amy's new book from Chronicle Books, a fat quarter bundle of her amazing new fabric collection, Eternal Sunshine, from Free Spirit, and some of her lovely ribbon from Renaissance Ribbon!  Just leave a comment here!  We will randomly pick a winner on July 21st.

AND .... wait for it .... we at Rock Paper Scissors want to spread this Piece Keeping love even more so we are hosting our own giveaway!  Swwwweeeet, even sweeter!  We will randomly select a second winner from the comments for a prize package including a copy of the book, some luscious fabrics and some other goodies.

 Be sure to follow all of the great creatives on this blog tour!  And each blogger will be offering a giveaway so you have lots of chances!

           July 11 - Chronicle Books
·         July 12 - The Root Connection
o   Charming Garland
·         July 13Suzy Quilts
o   Pyramid Pillows
·         July 14Rock Paper Scissors
o   Dreamweaver Wall Art
·         July 15100 Billion Stars
o   Statement Necklaces
·         July 16Carrie Bloomston
o   Talisman Necklace
·         July 17Late Night Quilter
o   Tribal Cuffs
·         July 18Crimson Tate

·         July 19A Gathering of Stitches
o   Embellished Infinity Scarf
·         July 20Heather Jones Studio
o   Improv Pillows
·         July 21 - Make It In Design
o   Illumined Lamp Shades

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to comment!




*** Update *** Congratulations to Kathleen, the winner of the Chronicle Books/FreeSpirit Fabrics/Renaissance Ribbon Giveaway, and to Anne, the winner of the Rock Paper Scissors giveaway!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Spring Market 2016 Wrap Up

Spring Market 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah

After getting back from Salt Lake, trying to digest it all, making a trip to VA for a new grandbaby, I am finally writing my recap of Spring Market 2016.  Sorry for the delay!

My first impression – this Market was very lightly attended.  It seemed strange at first but then I realized this could very well be a good thing.  Manufacturers and reps were saying they were writing orders so they seemed happy.  Buyers were getting time with designers, reps, and manufacturers, so we were happy.  Seats at tables seemed to be full with shops placing orders.  So, maybe more lightly attended – but attended by the right people – is a good thing.

For anyone who follows me on Instagram, you would have seen photos of what I love best about this show – the beautiful attention to detail and creativity in each booth.  I like to search out the little details in each booth.  Trade shows can be overwhelming and Market is no exception.  Visually over stimulating, my search for the little details keeps me focused on why I came – to look for and eventually choose – the fabrics that I will buy for my shop.  Often times it is the details that capture me.

At this Market, as I was searching for those details, I was overwhelmed with the care, creativity and work that goes into a trade show.  These shows are extremely expensive, in time, energy and money, for a manufacturer to participate in.  Nothing is slapped together.  It is carefully planned and executed.  The manufacturers can gauge success by the number of orders written and the feedback they receive at these shows.  I personally felt that Spring Market 2016 displayed the purpose of this trade show better than others I have attended.  I hope the manufacturers feel the same way.  I love this business and this community and want to see it thrive.  

Another thing I noted was that there seemed to be less tension between the “traditional” world of quilting and the “modern” one than in Markets past.  Regardless of the flavor of each manufacturer, ordering seats were full.  Maybe this had a lot to do with the show being attended by mostly buyers and sellers.  I am not sure but I will be interested to see what happens in future shows. 

One last note before I get to what you really want to see – fabric – I am so very thrilled to see the explosion of garment sewing substrates and the support that is being given to this sewing sector by these manufacturers.  The quality is excellent, designs are wearable, and the manufacturers definitely showed their support to the garment sewers.  As a quilter AND garment sewer AND a sewer of bags and all things home dec, I was dancing the happy dance!  And my garment sewing customers will be happy to see our lineup of these substrates increase too!

Some other trends we saw … the continuation of metallic … gorgeous color including saturated jewel tones, pastels, and splashes of neon … collections with fewer large prints and more blenders … printmaking and block printing patterns … lots of swans and flamingos … a sense that some companies were playing it a bit safe this go around …

Thank you for letting me spout a few observations.  Now, on to what you really want to see – all the deliciousness that is Market!

I can’t say that there was any overwhelming new trend but there were pockets of really good stuff out there folks!  I wish I could bring it all in to the shop but I can’t.  Some of these collections will be available in my shop and others will be available from other shops.  But all were noteworthy for different reasons.

Presenting, in no particular order, some of the collections we loved.

Heather Jones’ debut collection, Color Dash, for Robert Kaufman, was one of our favorites.  Graphic and bold, as is her style, the collection comes together beautifully.  Also, each bolt can stand on its own.  Now that is a huge bonus for both shops and customers.

Carolyn Friedlander’s new collection, Euclid, for Robert Kaufman, does not disappoint.  A small collection (7 skus) of cotton/linen blends, some are printed and some are yarn dyed.  So many ideas swirling in our heads.

The Japanese importers and designers were fabulous once again.  We ordered flat cottons, double gauze and canvas, as well as some interesting new garment fabrics.  The next eight weeks will be far too long …

Libs Elliot made a splash with her debut collection for Andover Fabrics.  Black and white with splashes of bold color, it is graphic and edgy, just like Libs.

Luscious wearable chambray double gauze and metallic Manchester by Robert Kaufman. (already in stock)

Paint Box Basics, by Elizabeth Hartman for Kaufman is a rainbow of color on her memorable prints.  Perfect for stash building as well as using all together.

And, of course, no recap would be complete without the gorgeous Rifle Paper Company collaboration with Cotton + Steel.  This fabric shows the richness and beauty that made Rifle Paper so popular around the world.  In cotton, rayon, and canvas.  

Tula Pink celebrates her 20th fabric line with the release of Slow and Steady, her latest collection with Free Spirit.  In classic Tula colors and style, this line showcases turtles and hares.  Watch for the fun quilt patterns that go with this one too!

Some new designers were debuted by Windham Fabrics, including Natalie Barnes, Annabelle Wrigley, and Felice Regina.  From top to bottom, you have Hand Maker, Mirabelle, and Luna Sol, all so very pretty and so very different.

Love the yarn dyed checks and ginghams from both Cloud 9 Fabrics and Cotton + Steel.  Great colors in a variety of scales.  Being yarn dyed, these fabrics have great drape and will be so much fun for clothing!

Amy Butler stayed true to her esthetic in her latest collection, Eternal Sunshine.  This gorgeous booth won another prize for the “House of Butler”.

Though we did not see Denyse Schmidt at Market, we did see a preview of her upcoming collection, Stonington, for Free Spirit.  For Denyse fans, you will be happy to see her classic style in these prints.  Since I grew up near Stonington, this collection is near to my heart.

Dear Stella had such a bright and beautiful booth, as always.  Fun, tight, and clean, their collections were always among the top three favorites of people I spoke to.  With the introduction of illustrator Rae Ritchie, we think this little gem will continue to grow as a favorite.

Though we only saw it on paper, we are thrilled to know that Alison Glass is coming out with a new print collection for Andover, as well as her version of solids.  Rich in saturated color, I know I will own a piece of this entire collection.  And we are simply crazy about her new line of patterns, especially the Knit Essentials and Woven Essentials garment patterns made in collaboration with Karen LePaige.

Our favorite in the Art Gallery booth was, hands down, Hello Ollie by Bonnie Christenson.  This collection combined soft pastels with darks and it, well, it just works.  Beautifully.  Rich and sophisticated, this collection felt more brave in color choice than any other we saw.  

And last up, we just loved the prints in the Sidewalk collection of knits from Made by Rae for Cloud 9 fabrics.  These prints are fun and so versatile.  I love the Marianne dresses made by my friend Melissa from A Happy Stitch.  There are also prints for boys, which is so needed in the market place!  

There were so many others that we just don’t have time to talk about them all.  Just know there is some gorgeous stuff arriving over the next six months!

So that’s a (very long) wrap up of Spring Market 2016.  It was a wonderful trip, full of laughter and good conversations over great dinners, catching up with old friends and making new ones, and even a city wide blackout to keep us on our toes!