Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Thursday, August 16, 2018

the end of an era

the time has come to retire "jellen's house of fabric." it has been humbling to watch how far that name has carried us yet i feel it is time to position our shop for future endeavors with a new identity.

my personal tag of creations by jellen will still exist as it is a reflection of me and my personal work.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

the gift of being a mom...

friends, this is a long one. i have come to you a few times in the past year with posts baring my soul reflecting the changes we are going through. i have shared that we are closing when our lease expires in august and likely going on the road.
my vision of what that looked like was sarah and me in our sewcial van wrapped in a bright quilt, pulling our happier campier with our goodies creatively packed, high tailing it across route 66. thelma and louise style. in all my dreams that idea was fun and exhilarating.
but not so much for sarah.
she's a home dweller. she likes routine. she loves grandpa and her puppies. she feels most secure in her own bed. and slowly i recognized my vision of truck stops and camp grounds was just not going to cut it for her.
and so i decided i might as well close up shop and head back full steam into my former career. i started scoping job wanted websites. i started mildly networking. and with that came return phone calls. it seems there are still lots of organizations looking for a good fundraiser or two. even crisis oriented social workers. then i thought perhaps it was time to roll up my sleeves and begin the process of seeking a phd.
during this time we met with a realtor to put our family house on the market. she wanted some clothes hanging in the master closet for staging purposes. so i pulled out my professional wardrobe that was nicely packed in plastic. it looked great in the closet, yet it left me feeling nothing. almost numb. strange i thought. i used to love those suits.
all this while i have been searching for someplace to store our shop props. i wasn't sure what we were doing but i also recognized that i wasn't ready to sell off the furniture just yet. when i realized how much space i needed to accommodate it all, it was a tad overwhelming. we also looked for new store frontage. but i just wasn't sure that i wanted to keep doing this retail thing.
early one evening, a follower who i vaguely know decided to change her review of us on facebook from a five star to a three star. the only three star we have. i had no idea why she would want to do that as she never comes into the store.
still i let her displeasure get under my skin. i let it fester for a few days. then used it to confirm i was closing up shop. i just couldn't do this anymore. so i wrote about my sadness on facebook. and within moments comments came rolling in lifting me back up. i can't tell you how much that meant to me.
then out of the blue, a comment came into a post i had written on sarah's blog several years ago. it was thanking me for giving this new mom of a child born with down syndrome hope for the future. she revealed that her first months had been really hard. oh how i could relate.
and so i read my own post again.
all alone in the quietness of the evening, i scrolled through forever in holland, tears streaming down my face. in my own words i read how at one time i had a career plan that was going to make me a star. i had everything mapped out of how life was going to be. and then i read this paragraph...
"...That the miracle of your (sarah) birth was just the beginning for me. A fresh start to a grand and glorious life. I do wish I had realized sooner, that you were sent to teach me. To allow me to see the light through your eyes. To feel your love, a love like none other. It is so pure. So precious. So unconditional. If only I had been given just a glimpse of the bright and beautiful woman you were to be. I'm learning sweetheart. I need your patience for me to truly appreciate the plan that was outlined for us. God has known all along where we are going."
yes indeed. and within a few short days i had my sarah standing next to me in a retail space that i have been told was being held just for us. i first inquired about it on the 4th of january. then dismissed it many times over. i kept making deals with myself that it couldn't work, shouldn't work, i didn't want it to work, yet i kept being lead back to it. the location truly could not be more ideal for us. the set up is more than adequate.
so we finally went in. as i watched my sarah exclaim excitement over a washer and dryer hook up, followed by a water fountain, i just knew.

within seconds my vision of the radio blasting, cactus rolling along side the desert highway with cool wind in my hair, was replaced with a vision of sarah, her new Ds friends, and young girl scouts happily stitching pillowcases and being able to immediately wash and dry them. which means we will be able to get the cases into the hands of sick kiddos quicker and likely with greater frequency.
so on the eve of mother's day i confirmed with the landlord that we will indeed take his space. our quilting boutique and sarah's sewcial lounge will continue. our pillowcase mission in memory or kristen kirton will have a new permanent home.
it's a five year commitment, which seems long to me. yet having the privilege of being a mom to sarah is a lifetime commitment. so, so very grateful to have her in my life.
wishing all our friends and customers a wonderful mother's day. may you make new memories today and remember all the good times of yesteryear.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


oh my friends, it has been so long since i've come to this blog. so much has happened in our lives it seems unreal at times, yet i do see light at the end of the tunnel. and that is such a good feeling. i have been spending so much time getting our new house in green organized and decorated and trying to dig my way through our house on daryl that we hope to sell this spring.

in all the busyness i have been neglecting my sewing machine. and that's just not right. so earlier this month i decided it was time to get back to the basics of fabric and thread.

so where do you pull your color inspiration for your next quilt?

i'm currently using this new wall art and fresh bouquet of silk flowers. i dug into my stash, cut a few from jellen's house of fabric, and i've been traveling around to other shops the past few weeks too. the journey of collecting is so much fun!

now what pattern to use? sometimes i select that first, yet not this time.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

new hours

beginning the week of august 15, 2017 we will have new shop hours. we hope you will continue to support our mission and our shop by coming to see us on tuesday or saturday or shopping from our etsy site that will be up shortly. if you are a guild and would like to arrange a private shopping time, just send us an email or give us a call.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

august update

and here we are...august 2017. it's surreal to me that i am even typing that on our quilt shop page. seven years ago, when we were preparing for our opening, i had no idea what to expect. i never had the dream that we would be where we are today. more importantly i truly never would have believed that sarah would still be by my side. she had been so critically ill that year. it was her health that prompted me to leave my full time job to care for her hour by hour for as many days as we had together.

amazing isn't it. not only is she right here, she's become the star of the show. she's been leading our one million pillowcase mission for some time and has delivered more than 7,000 cases to area children's hospitals and hospice programs in memory of her friend kristen kirton. she's become a savant on the sewing machine utilizing charm squares and with that she has formed her own business aptly named, Down Right Charming, so she has an outlet to sell her creations.

i truly could not be more proud of her and wish to help her take the show on the road. which is exactly what we will be doing shortly.

so what does this mean for JEllen's house of fabric?

reduced hours.

beginning on tuesday, august 15, 2017 we will only be open on:

in the shop we will still be stocking the happy, bright fabrics we have come to love. sarah's selections of kids fabrics appropriate for pillowcases will also be in great supply.
and of course our kate spain corner will always be filled with her newest designs.
and then what?

we are hitting the road.

follow us here and we will begin to share our whereabouts. you just never know where we might be parked. with us will be one yard cuts and fat quarters of all our fabulous fabric. sarah will have her creations too. she might even be demonstrating her sewing skills.

and very soon we will be uploading our most popular fabric to our etsy site so you can shop from home.

change. oh yes there is a lot of it. yet it's all so good.

we are so grateful for all of our customers, followers and friends. we would not be here without you!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

closed for the 4th of july

please note we will be closed monday, tuesday, wednesday 7/3, 7/4, 7/5. we hope you can plan your needs accordingly before then.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

closed for quilt market

please note the shop will be closed this week for quilt market. we will return on Tuesday 5/23 at 10:00

Monday, April 17, 2017

north coast needlers quilt show

please note this upcoming weekend is the north coast needlers quilt show on saturday 4/22 and sunday 4/23. we will be closed friday 4/21 for set up and all day saturday. this is a great event with lots of quilts and many vendors. we hope to see you there.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

the cunin connection...

update: it is with great sadness that i report to you that our dear friend, confidant, and bag stitcher extraordinare passed away on april 4, 2017. from the time i first wrote this story in 2014, marilyn and jane continued to arrive at our shop always at just the perfect moment. sarah and i will deeply miss her smiling face, tender hugs and words of encouragement. our prayers are with her family as they mourn the loss of this great woman.

first published on March 14, 2014...
to start this lovely story i need to take us back to the summer of 1983. i was a young, naïve, yet extremely driven twenty something, fresh out of grad school with degrees in public administration and social work. i was chosen as a united way of america national intern, a highly selective program designed to fast track women and minorities into leadership positions within that organization.

i had asked to come to cleveland, not because i was from ohio, rather at that time this city had the most number of ten thousand dollar donors and i wanted to see how they had accomplished that distinction, with the idea that i could take the knowledge and replicate it in other cities.

my first week in cleveland, i was assigned to work in the manufacturing and industrial sections of the campaign, which at that time was organized by sic codes. a few buildings down from the 3100 euclid avenue headquarters of united way, was a company called bearings, inc. the president of this company, john cunin, had been recruited as a volunteer leader.

i remember the first walk down to his office like it were yesterday. as most young women wanting to succeed at that time, i was wearing a navy blue suit with a high collared blouse and navy blue pumps, despite the humid temperature of the hot august day. i was eager in my assignment, yet nervous to be entering the office of a company president. i need not have worried as mr. cunin was a delightful man. he immediately had me feeling at ease as we got to work on that year's campaign. we had several meetings that fall in his office, sometimes ending with lunch across the street at the local deli.

i left town that december to return to alexandria, virginia for further training at the national headquarters, likely to never see mr. cunin or the other wonderful volunteers i had worked so closely with in cleveland. but life has a funny way of turning around. the following year i returned to the city on a more permanent basis and once again i had the pleasure of working with mr. cunin.

now fast forward three decades later and the phone rings in our quilt shop. the readout indicated the call came from the cunin residency. the woman on the other end of the line asked if we had a certain fabric, which we did. the next afternoon a beautiful grandmotherly face walked in and asked for the fabric. i knew by her question she was the woman who called the previous day. so i asked her if she was any relation to john cunin. her face lite up like the star atop a christmas tree. she asked how i knew him so i shared the story above. as her eyes welled with tears, she told me john was her beloved husband. she also told me he had passed away much too young in 1993. as i reached out to give her a hug, i knew a friendship was developing.

over the course of the next few years, marilyn and i shared some wonderful afternoons together in our quilt shop. we discovered that we have many things in common, including our special daughters. i learned of her dedication to our lady of the wayside, where her daughter mary catherine aka cookie, would occasionally go for respite care before she passed at the age of seventeen. we also discovered we share a love of sewing. soon marilyn was bringing in bags she had stitched together with fabric from our shop. sarah takes those bags and fills them with goodies from just a buck and a matching pillowcase she makes. we then deliver them to the little ones in the same hospital sarah received so much of her care.

precious marissa was one such recipient. we had been following her family's blog for sometime and when we heard she had been diverted to the cleveland clinic while her family was traveling from florida to michigan, we just knew she needed one of the bags. lovingly stitched by the hands of two great ladies, both inspired by beautiful angels in heaven.

oddly enough, even though this collaboration has been going on for nearly three years, marilyn and sarah had not met in person, until this week. i tell you from observation, it was love at first sight. sarah enthusiastically shared links on her ipad with marilyn. it was a beautiful exchange of a connection born more than thirty years before.

marilyn cunin at the young age of 84, is a beacon of light in our community. her dedication to philanthropy is extraordinary. she continues to be actively involved in many organizations including being a board member of the bruening foundation. we are honored and very lucky to call marilyn and her daughter jane, our friends.   

Friday, April 7, 2017


due to the fickle relationship we have with mother nature, the shop will be CLOSED today.

i simply do not have the emotional or physical energy to dig out just sew at the moment. sarah and i are going back to bed. see you when the sun is shinning which should be tomorrow when it will be nearing sixty degrees the forecast claims.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

quilts for sale to benefit a precious boy named chance

a few months ago sarah and i fell head over heals in love with a little boy listed for adoption on the reece's rainbow website. his name is chance and just like sarah, he too has down syndrome. we were so smitten by his sweet face we placed his photo on the top of our angel tree this year and prayed each evening that he would find a forever family soon so he could get out of the orphanage where he is currently living.

a few weeks later while scrolling through posts on facebook, we read that a family who we had the pleasure of meeting while we were at the national down syndrome convention last summer was ready to adopt again.

pasha is an absolute doll and is thriving with his new family, so i sent the mom a private message asking her if they had chosen a child yet. hope whispered back that yes they had and shared a picture of chance.


my eyes immediately welled with tears i was so happy. this meant that pasha and chance were one day going to be brothers!! how incredibly awesome will that be.

so sarah and i are doing what we can to help hope and her family secure the funds they will need to make this adoption possible. as you may know, we have been selling sample quilts in our shop for some time with the proceeds going to reece's rainbow families.

today, we are kicking it up a notch and will be selling the quilts right out of our current front window display. they all feature high end quilt quality fabric designed by lily ashbury for moda fabrics and have been created by master quilters.

usually these just sell in our brick and mortar shop located in university heights, yet we know others might be interested in purchasing a quilt to help bring chance home, so we thought we will list them here as well.

Swoon Mod Star by Tiger Lily Designs 
66 x 66

Simply a Summer House by Pine Tree Lodge
54 X 60

Gypsy Girl Nursery Quilt by Carlene Westberg Designs
38 x 46

Gypsy Girl Baby Quilt by Quilts by Josephine
36 X 45
SOLD $130.00 SOLD

Baby Girl Quilt in Gypsy Girl by Rain City Quilts
39 x 39

Braid Table Runner featuring Tradewinds by Jambearies
16 x 35
SOLD $40.00 SOLD

Rosebuds Center Piece by Pine Tree Lodge
21 x 21

if you wish to purchase a quilt just comment on this post or send us an email to we do accept credit cards and we will gladly pay the shipping costs. if you are local, they will be in the shop for pick up.
thank you so much for helping bring sweet chance home to his forever family.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

dusting off here

oh my this ole blog here has been sorely neglected. i suppose it's because we have become so comfortable with facebook these days. but it's a new year which makes it seem like a good time to say hello. let's start with this...

sarah and i met with marc jacobs from michael miller today.

we ordered some fun new prints for springtime. well truthfully, we try to always keep it like a breath of springtime in our shop. the new bolts will arrive sometime mid march.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

clear off the hutch sale

ok friends, we have just a few days left to get this hutch cleared off.

so beginning at 10:00 today (saturday) every bolt on here will sell for just $5.00 per yard. no minimums and certainly no maximums. we will be adding to it as the day progresses. hope we see you sometime soon.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

labor day weekend hours

the shop will be closed saturday, sunday & monday 9/3, 9/4, 9/5.

we hope you are able to enjoy the long weekend doing something that you love. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

ndsc convention

if someone had told me that twenty seven years after sarah was born she would be vending at the national down syndrome convention with her own booth, displaying quilts that she makes, i would not have believed them. so i guess it's a good thing no one mentioned it.

so incredibly proud of you sarah ellen ely!! and humbled and weepy and thrilled and a whole host of other emotions. but all good. very, very good.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

home from market

we are home from spring quilt market and have returned to regular store hours, although we are a bit jet lagged.

stay tuned for some great photos from salt lake city.

Monday, May 16, 2016

closed for quilt market

JEllen's house of fabric will be CLOSED this week of May 16 - 21 so we may attend Quilt Market in Salt Lake City.

We apologize if this causes any inconvenience and so appreciate your understanding.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

march window

always a wonderful sight this time of year...fig tree. we love every single collection joanna figueroa brings to life...

the easter bunny comes early this year. floppsy and moppsy are ready.

we found a lovely new creator on etsy recently who created the perfect butterfly runner for us.

Monday, March 21, 2016

lights out for a week...

so today we had the carpet shampooed. and it is wet. therefore we have made a decision to close tuesday, march 22 through friday, march 25 to give it a chance to properly dry.

we will reopen at 10:00 on Saturday, march 26th. we apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing.  we have much new fabric in to bring out from the backroom so hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 calendar of events

we've been receiving calls lately from far away friends trying to plan vacations around our annual sales. golly that makes a shop owner feel good and that also got me to thinking...perhaps more of you would like our yearly calendar. so here it is...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

it's sale time...

...i know what you're thinking, it's not the end of the year. sorry the calendar just got us so mixed up with holidays we had to postpone for a week. no worries though, it's still our great everything, well except for the fine print*, sells for just $7.00 per yard. don't wait though, it's only for one week.

january 5 - 9, 2016!

* the fine print. sale does not include batiks, kim diehl or moda grunge. applies only to new purchases and one yard minimum cuts are appreciated. that's it. oh and well the fact that we do reserve the right to ask for your cooperation should we have to limit the number of customers in the store to abide by fire code regulations. hope to see you this week!!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

new year, new window

oh the weather outside is frightful...that's usually the january story in cleveland. almost strangely, it's not so bad this year. we have yet to see even a flurry of snow. still we thought a window full of color theory by v. and co. for moda would make a great backdrop when that white stuff does appear...

it's beautiful at night as you can see...

and even prettier during the day. 

we have so much fun choosing the accessories to go with each display. and of course none of them would come together without the help of our etsy friends...

Friday, December 18, 2015