Saturday, July 5, 2014

quilts of honor

a very special presentation will be happening just before the cleveland indians game tonight. quilts of honor east will be presenting handmade quilts to indians' nick swisher and royals' billy butler. 
we thank melissa guzman and angie russell from virginia for coming into the store this morning to share the quilts with us before the ceremony. the mission of quilts of honor is to bestow a universal symbol and token of thanks, solace and remembrance to those who serve/have served or support those who serve/have served. 

it truly was a special night in cleveland. standing between angie and melissa representing quilts of honor east is laurie simpson of the design team minnick & simpson for moda fabrics. angie and melissa choose their collection named grant park to create these two quilts also using their pattern stars and bars. it was a great night to showcase beautiful fabric, talented designers and quilters. let us not forget though the entire reason this is all so exciting is the opportunity to express our appreciation to those who have protected our country...nick swisher and billy butler and all those who have served...THANK YOU! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

love on a big blue bus...

periodically i share on this electronic forum my belief in a grand master plan, the knowledge that there is a greater force guiding this journey we are on. for me the hardest thing is believing in that plan when things don't seem to be going my way. and this week was a perfect example. i'm not sure it's going to work out long term in the building we are currently occupying. the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty has crept back and that has been weighing heavily on my mind. i started to question the plan including the reason for our existence.

so my higher power sent me a big blue bus. all the way from western michigan. it was full of the most wonderful women, mostly quilters, and the nicest driver. they were all so happy, cordial, and patient. i knew they were coming, as the tour coordinator and i had been communicating for several weeks.

what i did not know though, is on that bus was going to be a grandmother who would speak directly to my heart. for a few brief moments our connection stood still in time. we were surrounded by her bus mates, yet we were all alone in our own bubble of emotions.

sarah shared that she will soon be twenty five years old. verna's eyes filled with tears as she shared that she hoped her granddaughter, also named sarah, would live that long too. i grabbed sarah's hand and held it tightly as i listened to this stranger tell me her story. we'd never met until today, yet, we were not really strangers at all. you see we both know what it is like to have a loved one with down syndrome, who is also so medically fragile that our goodbyes could come at any moment. we know the immense amount of prayer and miracles it takes to have our girls still in our lives. our shared tears told each other we also know the heartbreak of so many families in our Ds circle who have had to say goodbye much too soon.

as she told me her sarah is now ten, i thought back to that summer of 1999, when we held a party for our sarah, a celebration of one decade of life. surrounding her were all her friends from school, nurses, docs and therapists. we were not sure that august if she would still be with us to start back to school in september. 

yet soon, our sarah will be celebrating one quarter of a century. today that gave a grandma, visiting our little quilt shop all the way from michigan, hope. hope for tomorrow. and that's just what i needed to remember that our story is not one of selling fabric, it's about human connections. making a difference one family at a time. i simply need to keep the faith and move forward, for our direction will soon become crystal clear.

we'd like to thank kimberly and her husband,, compass coach and all the travelers for coming to shop with us. we sincerely appreciate your visit and support.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

seeing potential...

purposeful and meaningful work. it is the desire of most humans, yet not something that can be taken for granted when you are an adult with a developmental disability. my husband and i have worked tirelessly to make this quilt shop a reality for our sarah. we have been met by challenges and roadblocks. along the way though, we have learned that the rewards are so much greater than the frustrations and the sacrifices we've made. our lives are much richer for the experience.

today, i had the pleasure of watching two of our customers meet sarah for the first time. my observation is they too felt an enrichment from the encounter. i am so humbly thankful that we found a new space to continue forth that effort.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

on the wings of an angel...

it's no secret that the past few months have been a bit rocky for us. it's hard to imagine how life can be rolling along just fine and then out of nowhere comes that thunderous jolt that changes everything. i've learned much during the process. and although i would not wish our scenario on anyone, it has been life enhancing. i've learned to rely more on my faith and the belief that there is a higher power guiding us through. most important we have our family and our health.

still there are days that i feel desperate in hast to have more answers than i currently do. it was that way earlier in the week. the store was full of customers when a young woman walked in. she began to recite a memorized script that i quickly suspected was that of a solicitor. but there was something sweet about her demeanor and vocal delivery, so i let her finish instead of shooing her off.

when she opened the lid of the box she was carrying, i started to put my hand up to indicate that i was not interested in what she had to offer. but laying on top of her selections was this beautiful purple angel.

i asked her how much. as i handed her the $15 she requested, you would have thought it was several hundred. she thanked me profusely although there was no need really, for she was merely a messenger that day. in time, i will likely have a clearer vision, a keener understanding of this road we are on. for now, i have a visual reminder, divinely enhanced by the afternoon sun, that we are not walking this road alone. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

our new home...

here's a sneak peak into our new digs on opening day...

Monday, May 19, 2014

quilt market 2014...

there's nothing quite like quilt market. pittsburgh, pa. enjoy.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014


it's not a new concept, yet it's caught on with gusto the past few years. personally, i have been trying to right size my junk, so the concept just didn't appeal to me. until i had a new wall i needed to fill. then look out, i set myself loose...

most shops i walked in and walked out empty handed. and then...all of a sudden there i was jumping up and down and screaming like a wild woman, and you know what happened? a bunch of strangers started dancing around and cheering me on. sure didn't expect that response. it was fun though! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

our new house...

we are so happy to announce that we will be reopening on may 22, 2014 in our new location.

if you've been to our shop before, you will likely recognize this building as it is right next door, to the west, of our former shop. in fact, many times customers would park in the lot of what is known as the hamilton insurance building when ours was full or they simply missed our driveway. please check back for new details as we prepare our new "happy little cottage in the city."

Monday, April 21, 2014

an easter story...

Our Heavenly Father indeed works in beautifully amazing ways. I have a little Easter story for you. If you have been following us for long, you likely know of the building project I've been spearheading for my parents to move to Cleveland from their home in Canton to help us look after Sarah and allow all of us to be available for them. For forty seven years they lived in the same home. My mom had the inside decorated just like she wanted and my father took immaculate care of the outside. He along with a little help from my sons, built a stunning sunroom with a surrounding garden that was the talk of the neighborhood. I knew asking them to give that up was going to be hard.

But even harder, was going to be leaving their church family. For more than fifty years they belonged to the Canton Baptist Temple, where for decades my mother was a Sunday School teacher and my father sang in the choir. Their friendship circle was mostly built around fellow parishioners. Once they settled into their new home, I knew they would be seeking out a new church. For various reasons, my husband and I never really identified with a church here, so on special Sunday's like Easter, when Sarah was healthy enough to travel, we would get up very, very early and drive to Canton to join them in their church, which of course meant we had no leads to help with their search.

A few weeks ago, while I was dropping Sarah off to spend the night, my mom told me they had driven over to see the Cleveland Baptist Church. Now this may by a very fine church, but I knew that meant they had to drive across I-480 to get there and although I did not tell them this at the time, that drive was quite worrisome to me, especially in the winter. The next day I had to take some old computer equipment down to Ret3 which is located near E40th and Chester. Just to be different, or so I thought, I decided to come back home by way of Cedar and that's when I spotted Cedar Hill Baptist Church.

I stopped at my parents that afternoon and used my dad's computer to see if the church had an online presence. Sure enough they did and as I was scrolling their website for details, I came across a photo of the pastor and his wife. I immediately recognized Beth as being one of our kind and wonderful customers. I knew instantly that this was meant to be. 

Then out of the blue last week, our seventeen year old mentioned he wanted to go to church. So today he (photo) accompanied his grandparents to Cedar Hill, just the three of them. I'm sure they were beaming from ear to ear. It is indeed a very Happy and divinely planned Easter in our family this year. Many blessings to you all.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

signs of life ahead...

we've been working hard trying to get our new building operational. it all happened so fast without much time to think and truthfully there are moments when i am second guessing myself. i start to wonder if this is really what was planned for us. and then today...
...i discover a purple crocus next to our very special bird from marie bostwick that i just plopped on the ground as we were moving last week. that new sign of life, a sneak peak into the beautiful days of springtime ahead, is just what i needed to get me back in the swing of things.

Monday, March 31, 2014

this chapter complete...

we did it! thanks to an amazing crew from spark's moving and storage, an awesome son and daughter-in-love, Juliann Lafferty Ely how will I ever repay you for your help, and an accommodating office staff who worked right up to the minute we pulled their computers out from under them and started up as soon as they sat in their new space ten minutes later, and an awesome higher power for orchestrating something so magnificent even we had trouble keeping up with the plan.
john and i walked out of a building we have occupied for seventeen years feeling relieved, satisfied, and although exhausted, ready to jump into the next chapter of our lives with gusto. for everyone who had a part in making this all happen, we humbly thank you. we could never do what we do without the help of so many. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

thankful for the movers...

donny & sean...the best moving crew in cleveland!!

we are forever indebted to them for their amazing help. the task of packing and moving two businesses in such a short amount of time would not have been possible without their expertise and friendly disposition. we are most grateful. thankful for the sunshine today too!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

an update...

ok so just what is going on you ask?

the short story is we are in the midst of moving two businesses, one of which has been at 5259 for seventeen years. so we are digging out...literally. as with everything in life, there are compromises... some things you win, some things you give up.

at 5255 mayfield, also known as the hamilton insurance building, we have won big time with a mostly one floor plan. that right there is going to be a life changer, for our knees especially. the front door is designed differently. sarah has gained her own office. that for sure she will love and give her a cozy space to meet with families who come to visit her. we have additional parking spaces and a side street next to the building for overflow. we have not one but two front windows for showcasing beautiful quilts.

but there are things that will be different. the old building had built in charm. there is no question of that. the furniture all came over and it fits. my challenge will be to bring you a shop that still inspires in the space we now have.

one thing i want to be very up front about...the building is still for sale. yes, a buyer could come along tomorrow and we would need to vacate in thirty days or so. why don't we just buy the building you ask? well for one, we are tired. exhausted really. so we need to take some time to breath. buying a building is a huge commitment.

in the meantime, we are setting up shop. we hope to open in the next few weeks. i will post more details as time goes on. thank you for your patience, love and support.

p.s. i've saved the best news for last...we will have girl scout cookies when we return!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

mabel & ethel's

our little house of fabric has been closed for less than one week. and already the sadness is setting in. so i decided sarah and i needed to go on a little road trip, especially because the sun was shinning today. i'd heard about a new shop in sandusky. i was pretty sure it was two women's thelma and louise. only that was yielding no web results other than the ever popular 90's movie. then all of a sudden i saw an update come across facebook for mabel & ethel's quilt shoppe. yes!! that must be it so we quickly packed a snack and jumped in the car.

i've been making the drive to sandusky since i was a young girl. it's been a family tradition to visit cedar point at least once a summer. sadly, i don't think i ever realized there was a charming downtown area. today we found it.

the minute we walked in, i knew our blues were about to be swept away. sure enough. mabel and ethel invited us to sit down and have a chat.

only mabel isn't mabel. she's actually debbie. and ethel...well you guessed it...isn't really ethel. she's jackie. you'll have to ask them to share that story. oh how fun they are. we had the best time getting to know one another.

and then sarah went for a stroll through the store. there's bright fabric that she really liked...

and some primitives too. perfect for one of her down right charming quilts for the new house she shares with her grandparents she decided.

there's a little bit for everyone including some great wool.

it's always so much fun to meet new quilters that share our journey. and when they are as delightful as debbie & jackie, it is better than therapy as they say.

mabel & ethel's quilt shoppe is located at 279 e. market street, sandusky, ohio 44870. it is well worth the drive for not only the fabric selection but the chance to meet the real mabel & ethel. 

so just how close to cedar point are they you ask? close enough that i'm sure come summer you'll be able to hear the screams coming from that big coaster behind my freezing girl. 

and while you're in the area, be sure to drive on down state route 250 to d'vine designs at 29 park street on the square in milan. a most exquisite ole fashion gift shop. and to my delight one of the few authorized trollbead dealers in the area.