Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! Always remember-

What are these hordes of people doing? They were a very small part of the group that decorated the graves of war veterans at Arlington Cemetery. My husband Bob and another willing parent took some of his Cub Scouts to help with this annual effort. One Vermont Farmer donates all of the greenery (amazing!) and local volunteers disperse and clear everything after the holidays.
As this tumultuous year comes to a close, let us remember all of the blessings that we do have and remember those who have helped make our wonderful life possible.
As Tiny Tim would say, "God bless us, every one." Happy New Year!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day & lots on sale!

My 15 minutes of Washington Post fame officially over I am basking in the glow of my Falls Church News Press "Movers and Shakers" delineation (thanks Sally!). Of course after all I ate yesterday there is probably more shaking than I want to talk about....

Amazing how eight hours a sleep can color one's attitude for the better. After a solid night's sleep I am feeling downright perky this morning. I gathered up all of the mark-down and sale items in one area of the store for the bargain shoppers to review.

I had a glorious Christmas. We went to late-ish services on Christmas Eve at Vienna Presbyterian . The staff and all of the musicians always work hard but it is really on display during Christmas and Easter. The music was amazing! Christmas Day brought an almost obscene cycle of eating and opening gifts with rounds of family. LOTS of fun and VERY loud.

In our post dinner food coma ironically we watched The Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern eat on the "Bizarre Foods" show and wondering how bizarre other cultures would find our holiday repasts...

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 15, 2008

"As seen in the Washington Post Magazine..."

I am having my taste of Andy Warhol's proverbial 15 minutes of fame this week. We received a really nice write-up in the Washington Post's Sunday Magazine. If you didn't see it here's the link:

The feedback from the articles has been very edifying. I know that we have talented people here but it is nice to know others think so too!

While basking in my editorial glory yesterday I got to hear glory of a different kind. My neighbors (yes, MORE talented neighbors) Elizabeth & Jay Benforado held an open rehearsal for the music they will be playing on Saturday afternoon. They really play well together, you are in for a special treat if you can stop in then.

Friday, December 12, 2008

King Arthur Confections - It's not too late to order!

Julie Fiorino of King Arthur Confections was a BIG hit last Friday with her sample brownies, blondies and her signature Buttermilk Coconut Chocolate pie! Yum yum! It's not too late to order for holiday parties or family dinners! Call Julie directly at 703-283-5376 to get more information and pricing!

I have been busy making Christmas presents for clients so am grumpy because I can't put most of them online. Here is a beautifully textured example of how sometimes simple is best! Believe it or not this lovely fabric is from the skirt of my client's wedding gown. I think the buttons are the proverbial "cherry on top" of this pillow. One of the buttons is off the sleeve of the original gown, think Kathy will know which button it is?

I received a wonderful Waterford crystal tree topper for a wedding gift way back when. We couldn't find the box when it was time to pack it up so I put it somewhere "safe". Think I can find it now? Aah, no. So the tree is topless at the moment. This, by the way is our "little" tree. You should see the big one! Luckily for me and my vintage ornament collection, my husband loves Christmas decorating even more than I do....
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Are YOU on Santa's list?

Hard to say with this little clay figurine, I can't read his handwriting! Perhaps that is on purpose...

I got not one, but two calls today on my cel from loving husbands doing some advance shopping for their wives. Certain shoppers have caught on that we have our own parking lot (no mall), free gift wrapping (no tape) and most of our bling doesn't HAVE a size (seldomn does anyone ask, "does this necklace make my butt look big?" !). Spread the word!

With all of the bad news in the press, I was excited to see that people are entertaining this year. My hubby & I actually have "grown-up" parties to go to. Of course then there is the holiday ritual of finding a sitter...

I have spent yesterday and today unpacking, cleaning and tagging merchandise. It is amazing how long it takes to "handle" items once they are found. I have 2 HUGE cartons of things that I will be unpacking tomorrow along with my secret suitcase stash of holiday ribbon. A HUGE steal at five dollars a roll. Some of it is outdoor safe as well, so if you need that final fillip on your outdoor greenery do check it out on your next visit to Stifel & Capra.

Remember we are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm, Saturdays 10am to 5pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm through December. Come see what is new.Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Whirlwind week! FIRSTFriday is December 5th!

I was so full of myself on Saturday because I uploaded three sets of photos onto the blog draft thinking I was ahead of the game for blog entries. Well, not so much in the writing department... Lots in the sewing department though! Most of the items I have been working on are Christmas gifts so I can't post photos of them yet (assuming their recipients are loyal readers!) but here are two of my hand fashioned Santas that are now gracing the front window at Stifel & Capra. I designed both of them from head to toe. I am especially pleased with Santa #1's "puffy shirt". It's a little Seinfeld-ish but it fits really well! I use to sew all of my own clothes in my younger days but this was the first time I fitted something without a pattern. He looks rather dashing don' t you think?

Tomorrow is the FIRSTFriday of the month and that means lots of happenings in Falls Church. We are doing tasting menus at the shop. On the savory side - cheese from Cabot Creamery and on the sweet side signature pie- Buttermilk Coconut Chocolate pie , brownies and blondies from King Arthur Confectioners in Annandale. This is Julie Fiorino's first event here so come try the pie and give her a thumb's up!

We will have more food and libations, sales and specials and I will be sporting my Santa hat; (mostly because I don't have time to do my roots), so come play! Posted by Picasa

food, food, and more food!

I stepped on the scale this morning and I was raw-ther impressed that I haven't SEEMED to have gained any weight since Thanksgiving Eve. I was going to start this calvacade of food shots with the dashboard snack tray we had in the Explorer as we were driving south. We were going SO slow that the grapes didn't roll off the cheese plate. Apparently my tech skills aren't good enought to transfer Bob's cel phone shot to the blog so you will have to imagine.

I am not imagining things when I tell you that Cousin Terry makes the world's best turkey and that Pat's pumpkin pie truly is scrumptious. Oh and Bob's mile high Bourbon apple pie and cranberry cherry pie were not exactly inedible.... I must say that we DID have lots of veggies along with our turkey and wine counts as a fruit, right?

As if that wasn't enough I waddled into the shop Friday and set up our 2nd annual Champagne Brunch to celebrate the 1st un-official Christmas shopping day. We had more than one person that came in for a break after being at Macy's or Best Buy since pre-dawn hours. They had more fun with us of course!

The fun doesn't end this weekend until tomorrow. Stifel & Capra is open 12 to 4pm. Stop in if you can!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving (and Happy Cranberry!)

In one of those family "acquired taste" traditions we had our annual grinding of the cranberry relish fest last night. It's a simple recipe: one bag of fresh cranberries, one orange and one apple plus sugar to taste are the proportions. After you core the apples, you start crankin'! The kids are young enough to still fight over who gets to turn the manual crank. It tastes better than it looks on film! The relish freezes well and ROCKS on cold turkey sandwiches.

I have spent the afternoon cursing the intricacies of frame relay error messages and wondering if I will get the news out to my mailing list about Friday's Black Friday Champagne brunch. We are having mimosas and goodies to kick off the holiday shopping season so tell and friend and stop in. I'd love to see you!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A blustery day-

We had a lovely, albeit chilly, day at the shop today. The farmer's market looked posititvely naked; the wind was blowing so hard that all of the farmer's took their tents down before they blew into the next county. I was feeling bad for the farmer's as not too many folks were heading outside in the cold. Business picked up in the afternoon though, so hopefully that was true across the street as well!

My intrepid webmaster sister Robin has been busy posting art on our website If you check out the featured artist page you will see Sandi Parker's and Jane McElvaney Coonce's new listings. They are quite lovely!
For those people that wonder how my personalized photo pillows hold up over time here is one I made my husband Bob six years ago commenerating his big Cape Cod catch. The blue fabric around the photo transfer was actually the only salvagable part of his favorite fishing shirt that had literally split from the sun. As you can see it has held up VERY well!

I am working hard getting ready for our Thanksgiving Day weekend at Stifel & Capra. We have LOTS of new merchandise and art, with beautiful ornaments both vintage and overstock for MUCH less than you can find at the mall. "Black Friday" I am opening at the VERY civilized hour of 10am. I will be serving brunch snacks and mimosas so stop in and join the festivities. If you have been shopping sice 4am that morning I am guess you could use the protein! See you soon!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 14, 2008

Meet new Artist - Sandi Parker

You meet the nicest people standing in line! While I was waiting to deliver my submissions to last month's Art League show, one of the women keeping us organized admired the vintage carpet bag I was carrying. This led to a conversation about Stifel & Capra, THAT led her to come visit with friends and make an appointment to show me her portfolio. These three photos are of the works that are in the shop today. Sandi works in oil and is known for her Provencal landscapes. Her latest venture is informal portraiture with a sports theme. Given all of the sports crazy people in Northern Virginia, I am SURE this will be a successful endeavor for her. DO contact me if you'd like to see examples of what she can do for you.
The shop is getting that happily stuffed look it gets at holiday time. We had a very busy week so it amuses me that the place is still so full. As I spent 6 + hours cleaning, tagging and labling items you'd think I would have a clue on how it came to be! Had an amusing incident occur today when my landlady came in with the Carpet Guys to scope out restretching the undulating carpet. When they proffered that uh, EVERYTHING would have to be moved "except the heavy stuff" (!?!?!?!?!?) an executive decision was made that perhaps we should wait until after Christmas, yathink?

Thank you! to the women braved the yucky weather and that joined us yesterday for our Ladies Night Out. Carolyn Quill provided a nice wine & cheese social along with her lovely silver jewelry. Now two more people can't say "Oh, I never win anything" because Linda and Mary won the door prizes!

Weatherman is not looking real encouraging for tomorrow's forecast but DO stop in and get a jump start on Christmas shopping. If you need to do some shopping for yourself all vintage coats are 20% off! See you soon!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hail to the Mustangs!

Here are some pictures of my latest project. Three MANLY pillows, thank you gifts for the football coaches on Z's team. The idea is that the guys will sign the white side with permanent pens and the coach's can flip the pillow over to have a family shot to put in their football viewing rooms as well. I've used this ideas for teachers and Scout leaders as well.

Neat eh?

Posted by Picasa

A spectacular FIRSTFriday!

Here's a lovely photo of me and Cathy Soltys before the folks came in to celebrate another fun Falls Church First Friday at Stifel & Capra. If you're wondering about the lovely tag hanging off my neck it's because I take the opportunity to model the available stock when we have a guest artist featured! Cathy outdid herself with her new line for Joie de Bead's resulting in the single highest sales for a FirstFriday evening in our history.

After inventoring and reconciling our stock Cathy will have an expanded selection for the holiday season beginning on Wednesday so come see before it sells out!
We had a special visitor on Friday: a reporter from the Washington Post! Beth was here for over 90 minutes. Long enough I am sure for folks to tell her plenty of embarassing stories. I guess I will learn what was said when the story is published! I went for my Post photo shoot today, the kind gentleman took 97 photos and we whittled it down to a dozen to present to the editor. Keith was VERY patient as I couldn't figure out how to lose 30 pounds in the 5 days notice I had before the session; he did the best he could to make me look good!

Ashleigh was in California over the weekend. Her family was being honored by the AirForce so she wasn't here to join in the festivities. A special thanks to Robin, Laurie and Bob for pitching in behind the sales desk. You all were a huge help. Thank you. And thank you to everyone who came out not knowing that there would be a reporter there. You made me look great!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just in time creativity....

When I checked in with Debby on Monday she reminded me that Beth was headed into Old Town Alexandria to submit "our" art to this month's show the Art League is sponsoring at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. That would have been great had I actually completed my two pieces. They both needed an extra coat of embellishment and paint before they would look like what I had in my head. This wouldn't be a huge deal except for the fact that I was in Delaware at the time! Oops. When we got home last night I stayed up, watched the Redskins get annihilated by the Steelers and finished my pieces except for the wiring & labeling.

So when I woke up this morning I tagged my pieces, drove to the shop to get my wiring supplies, went to the dentist for a check-up (look ma, no cavities!), wired the paintings in the back of the Ford (!), drove to Alexandria - sweating because it was starting to rain and I didn't bring any bags for the paintings, registered my pieces for jurying, drove to my son's elementary school for his Parent Teacher conference and then swung by my local polling place where I was greeted my name and voted with no line, returned business calls on the side of the road on my cell phone so my kids couldn't interrupt me at home, picked up four pillow orders. And then I drove home and contemplated what I was taking to Beth's for the post election party. I can't wait to go over there and just sit down. But I did find out before I left that my new girls here did NOT get it this month. Well, it's painful news but at least it's quick.

Debby got one of her watercolors in though - Yay Debby!!!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Monday!

Had a fun thing happen last week. I was showing a Bat Mitvah pillow I had made to one of my artisans and she said "darn, wish I could get one of those for my nephew" and I surprised her by actually getting it done within 48 hours. The pillow has "a" for adam on one side and his Bar Mitvah invitation on the other side. Mazel Tov Adam!

Took off on Saturday from the shop a bit early (THANKS PHIL!) to take some mental health time with the family on the Eastern Shore. We had a nice relaxing time with the kids discovered a new place to eat oysters (Dockside at The Jetty in Kent Island) and bought a windfall of vintage bling-y earrings from a antiques dealer's overstock that will be perfect for the holidays! Come see them this week and don't forget First Friday's Novemeber celebration is this week from 5 to 8pm.

I think Bob & George are not going to be able to ride the mower together for much longer, agree? But they DO look like they are having fun. After watching the steering lessons I don't think George will be on his own anytime soon!

Here is a not overly handsome shot of my lovely feline pumpkin! Hope you had a great Halloween!

Get out and vote on Tuesday; every vote counts!

Posted by Picasa