Sunday, July 31, 2011

There's Just the GHOST of a Chance...

We have a ghost-or-two under our roof,
    But we really have not dealt with 'burden-of-proof'
We're used to the weirdness that comes with our shop,
    And we've never said to the ghost ~ "Hey! Now just stop!"
    Sew, I love to write this blog, but even though I 'think' I have a topic, I really never know where this will take me. [Which actually means I have many of topics!]  At our shop we just wrapped up our fun Central Ohio Quilt Spree. This means we had LOTS of folks stopping in who've never been here before.
    Ten years ago we bought an old funeral home and converted it into our third ~ and final(!) resting place.    Over the years we've made improvements and done repairs, but the old place really is basically the same as ever.
    Our shop is laid out in a very logical way ~ the entire downstairs is the retail space, classroom and kitchen and the second floor, where the previous family had lived above the funeral home, is now home to our 3 longarm machines ~ Sewfee, Sewnya and Sewnie, as well as our large office.  The third floor, once two large bedrooms and storage closets now holds our shipping boxes and years of old files.
    Once we moved into our new 'digs' we had lots of funny funeral-based comments. [It was suggested that we might consider changing our name to Cremations SewClever :-)]  One morning a couple even showed up at the front door for a viewing.  Sew it wasn't surprising that more than a couple customers mentioned 'seeing' or 'feeling' the presence of a ghost in two rooms of the shop.  I'm very open-minded and accepted their reports with mild curiosity and amusement.  A couple gals, unfamiliar with each other, and at different times, took me aside and said our 'presence' was a man from the 1940's who appeared in an overcoat and fedora.
    Often I'm at my desk in my office at the shop early in the morning sew I can get a jump on the day before employees arrive, customers come to visit and the phone begins to ring.  This is a habit I started back in 1991 when Creations SewClever began.  I'm a morning person and prefer to start my day with a bit of peace and quiet getting plans made and organizing my schedule.  This routine continued in our new place. I'm often at my desk by 7:30 or 8am writing diligently, paying bills and planning the day.  One morning, shortly after moving into our new place, I was busy at work in the early morning and heard quite a bit of noise in one of our quilting rooms ~ the room that had been the family kitchen. I was distracted, but not alarmed in the least as I assumed it was one of the shop gals arriving early to get a head start on a customer's quilt. I called out, "Good morning!", but no one replied.  The noise continued, sounding as if someone was moving scissors and pins and generally organizing the work space. I called out again. Still nothing. The noise continued sew I got up and crossed the hall to find......nothing.  Noise stopped as I approaced the room, sew shaking my head, I chalked it up to a visit from 'Sewjourner' (yep, we named him) and went back to work. One evening after hours I had a plumbing contractor sitting across from my desk quietly as I wrote a check for his services. There was sew much noise coming from the old kitchen that I couldn't believe my plumber-friend didn't notice. I didn't call attention to it but figured he probably thought I just had an employee working late.
  Over the years we've had lots of unexplainable events that we chalked-up to more Sewjourner activity. Doors open/close. Books fall from shelves where they've been for weeks. Scissors fly off the longarm machine bed.  Generally we just ignore these nuisances.
   For years Jan has insisted that our visitor is a woman.  Charlotte agreed. One morning after a fretful  night, Charlotte was in the shop classroom at a sewing machine, putting the binding on a customer quilt. She was bent over the machine intently sewing, thinking about things that had kept her awake, when she felt someone rub her upper back between her shoulder blades, as if to comfort her. Thinking one of us had picked up on her stress she turned to see who was behind her. No one.
  Recently as Jan and Charlotte were preparing to open the shop one morning they were standing at the base of the stairs near the front of the shop. Charlotte was facing the back of the store, Jan the front door. As Jan was explaining some of the day's anticipated activities, Charlotte excused herself, saying she had to go greet the woman who just walked into the classroom from the back entrance. As the shop was not yet 'open' she was puzzled, but when we're there we don't lock the doors, sew customers and UPS delivery men occasionally wander in before official 10am opening time.  Charlotte walked into the classroom to greet the customer, Jan right on her heels. No one was there. Jan said, "Where did she go?". Charlotte looked all around, remarking that the woman had been wearing a red dress and seemed to know where she was going.  There was no one in the shop other than Jan and Charlotte.
    As I've said, these kinds of things are fairly commonplace here at Creations.  We generally don't give them much thought. We do notice, however, that activities such as those above tend to happen in sort of a 'cluster' pattern. We'll be aware of lots of unexplained noise and disturbances over the period of a week or sew, and then things quiet down, sometimes for quite a long stretch.
    During our recent Shop Spree, one of our customers became somewhat agitated. Finally she said, "I'm sorry. I really must step outside now. There is sew much paranormal energy in here that it is disturbing me. You know you have ghosts?"
  Jan replied,  "Yes, indeed we do know we have a ghost."
   To our surprise the customer said, "Not A ghost. You have 3. You have a man, a woman and a young 'imp' of a child. A girl of about 6 who is curious and mischievious.  She has been bothering me since I walked in here."
     As I was telling my daughter, Shannon, about this over the phone one evening she very matter-of-factly agreed. "I've felt a little girl in that upstairs kitchen since you've been in that shop." we have ghosts?  Or do we have employees, customers and friends with very vivid imaginations?  You can decide for yourself.

    This is a picture of our shop taken in August 1900.  Five generations of the original family are sitting on the front steps. If you visit our website, and scroll to the bottom of the home page, you'll see this picture along with reference to where to go on our site to read about what happened when descendants of the builder came to see the old homeplace.  It's worth the time to check that out! While on our site, take a 'virtual tour' of our store!  Better yet, stop in and decide for yourself whether or not we have ghostly visitors!
  Wishing you a lovely late-summer week!  Your friend in stitches, Rita

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Object in Motion Tends to Stay in Motion

Life for a shop-owner never slows down!
The fact that I love my job prevents the frown
That would surely be on my face day-after-day
If I couldn't report that my job seems like "play"!

  I get up every morning, then go to bed every night with the 'to-do' list written somewhere on a pad of paper as an extension of my overloaded brain (crammed with lint, I'm sure!).  I prefer to use a yellow legal pad (full size, not mini, and yellow, not white or green, although sometimes that's all I have available) and I have dozens of them tucked in weird  places ~ mostly in my 'brief-box', a US Mail transport box (which I actually DO use to transport mail to the post office, to home, to the office ~ in case a by-the-book government worker is reading this!).
 I am not nearly organized enough to neatly file my paperwork, my mail, my half-done projects, and my dozens of yellow legal pads in the awesome, professional, classy red leather rolling computer case my staff gifted me last Christmas (sorry Linda ~ I've tried, honestly!)

  Sew, all that said, I just want to say I just returned home from the fun AQS Knoxville quilt show and I seem to have 7 lists going now. sigh.  We're working like crazy-women getting the shop ready for the fun Central Ohio Shop Spree (visit and since I've been gone sew much over the past several weeks, I have a TON of prep work to accomplish tomorrow! We're excited about our shop hop event and look forward to showing off our shop, sew there must be cleaning (company's coming!). Speaking of company, it's coming to my house, too!  Arizona friends are visiting this week. Plus I have a deadline this week to write 5 patterns and one of the quilts is not yet finished, sew there is some sewing to do. Meanwhile, the garden needs to be weeded and the dogs need a know, real life.
   I'm excited about the patterns I'm working on!  One is simply the enlargement of an awesome pattern, Floating Stars, designed/written by my friend, Carolyn Griffin:
  This Sunday I'll be teaching this class FREE to anyone who purchases a kit. We've lots of color combinations from which to choose. However, most of the students requested Full Size or Queen Size kits. Sew, it's off to the drawing board for me to re-figure and re-draft this pattern in a larger size. We'll be using the original pattern which is super well-written and has lots of great illustrations. I just need to help the students make it larger.  If you're reading this and would like to join us on Sunday (10-4), be sure to contact me or call the shop (740-775-1957).
  I'm half-way done with another super-cool quilt that I'm gearing up to finish.  I hope to have this pattern done by late next week:
  As you can see, there's still a lot to be done, but some of that is because of the 'help' I received from my assistant:
I was laying out my growing quilt on the floor as I assembled the top and pressed my new blocks. As I looked over my shoulder, sweet Laci was innocently gazing at me from her comfortable place on my work-in-progress. With a smile I turned back to my work. As I prepared to add the next row of blocks to the growing top I was horrified to notice:
Laci had been a very busy girl.  She had studiously 'unsewn' one of those danged curved seams forcing me to rip out an entire block to repair the damage.
 I have been blessed by the company of at least 12 dogs in my 37 years of marriage. Did I ever learn about puppies and chewing in all those years??  Apparently that answer is "Nooooooo."  Next time my willing assistant asks to help I'll say, "Want to help?  DON'T HELP."
  Wishing you a warm and wonderful full-in-your-face summer week!!  Hope to see you at the 'hop!  In Stitches, Rita