Finally… the 2018 SewJourn Brochures Are Here!

Well, it took a while but I’m happy to announce two familiar SewJourn destinations, with fun new updates.  The Colorado retreat has morphed into a Wine Lovers’ Quilt Retreat, still taking place at our favorite house in the Colorado mountains (August 8-12), and our Santa Fe SewJourn  (September 19-25) now includes four exciting workshops!  And we’ve kept the  add-on day in Albuquerque, too!  We had to shift the Santa Fe/Albuquerque SewJourn from the original October dates, allowing us to provide an even better experience for you.


If you’re interested in either — or both! — please register soon as the trips tend to sell out faster each year, and why be on a waitlist when you can remove all doubt and commit early??  Click on the links above or the photos below to download the brochures… Treat yourself!              —-     lisa



Time for a New Sewing Machine?

If you’ve been feeling like it’s time for a new sewing machine, we’ve got three great options to fit your needs, your wants and your budget.  You can test drive sewing machines at the CE Studio in Rahway…  You’ll receive a $25, $50 or $100 gift certificate with any sewing machine purchase (for a limited time), so you can stock up on some juicy African fabrics to christen your new baby! Plus, after you purchase your machine, we’ll schedule a private 45-minute class to get you up and running on it right away!

First, let’s review the three types of sewing machine to help narrow down your choices…

Mechanical sewing machines will cover “the basics” for just about any sewing situation.  Knobs and dials are used to change the settings.  Mechanical sewing machines are the most affordable, with the higher end mechanicals offering more utility and decorative stitches.  A quality mechanical is a great choice for the beginner and a nice second machine for more experienced sewers to use at home and take to classes, retreats and on vacations…  Because they’re not computer-controlled, they are not subject to any issues during sudden power outages.  We recommend:  Janome Magnolia 7318 — includes a $25 studio gift certificate, valid for 30 days after purchase!

Computerized sewing machines are the most expensive type. These machines not only do a variety of utility and decorative stitches, but have the capability of creating embroidery designs.  Many have built-in embroidery stitches and alphabets, while some accept embroidery design cards, and still others can be connected directly to your computer.  Programmed stitches can also be stored in memory for future use. The computer circuitry involved with these machines allows for a more precise stitch pattern than the mechanicals.  You’ll want to protect your investment by plugging it into a good quality power strip with surge protection (such as you would use with your home computer).  We recommend:  Janome Skyline S5 — includes a $100 studio gift certificate, valid for 30 days after purchase!

Electronic sewing machines are basically a hybrid between mechanical and computerized models, creating a workable balance of bells-and-whistles with affordable pricing. Compared to the mechanicals, these machines generally give you a greater selection of utility and decorative stitches, several types of buttonholes, and conveniences like thread cutters and push-button controls.  Electronic machines will typically have an LCD screen that allows you to make adjustment to your stitches – giving more precision in your sewing. Because of the LCD display, they’re sometimes mistaken for computerized machines, but they don’t have the same embroidery capabilities.  We recommend:  Elna 560 Experience — includes a $50 studio gift certificate, valid for 30 days after purchase!

In general, more expensive machines also come with additional feet and other parts included. Come in and test drive one during our regular studio hours:  Wed 4-8pm, Thurs and Fri 12-6pm, Sat 10-6pm.  Or call us to arrange an appointment.  Location:  1417 Main Street, Rahway, NJ #1417mainstreet

Save the Dates: SewJourns 2018!

Ready to plan your next creative escape?  Or, maybe your first one? Cultured Expressions is here to help  ; ) with a quick sneak peek for our 2018 SewJourn adventures!  Brochures are coming soon, but you’ll want to mark your calendars and plan to join us in Colorado and Santa Fe/Albuquerque!

We’re planning a fun new twist for our Colorado Mountain Retreat…this year, it’s morphed into The Wine Lovers’ Quilt Retreat.  Think of of as a 4-night sip-n-sew pajama party…’Nuff said!  Learn to pair wines not only with foods, but with your creative projects!  Enjoy time to work on your own projects, along with my mini workshop, a field trip into Denver. It all takes place in the mountains August 8-12, 2018 and the retreat house is located about 1 hour outside of Denver.  Details are being firmed up now.

Save the Dates: SewJourns 2018!

Likewise, we’re switching up our SewJourn to Santa Fe just a bit —  Master indigo artist Gasali Adeyemo returns as our featured instructor — this time, he’s sharing his expertise in traditional batik!  If you’ve taken his adire workshops, this 2-day batik intensive will round out your experience in Yoruba textile arts.  And we’ll soak up the knowledge of other area artisans as well, bringing home unique self-crafted souvenirs…  October 3-9, 2018

Once details are confirmed, we’ll publish the brochures.  If you’re interested, pelase don’t delay – our SewJourns seem to fill up faster each year, and space is limited to ensure a personal experience for everyone.   African fabrics, culture, food and drink with like-minded friends…Do not miss out!!

(Batik photo: Gasali Adeyemo)

So, Who Claimed That Purple Prince Batik Fabric??

Thank You to everyone who bid on our illustrious Prince symbol batik last week!  The bidding was fast and furious, with the successful winning bid of $123 from Christina of the metro DC area.

If you’ll remember, once we launched the auction on eBay, we thought it would be fun to sweeten the pot by adding some choice fat quarter coordinates and a $25 CE gift card to the prize package.  Can’t wait to see what Christina comes up with!
So, Who Claimed That Purple Prince Batik Fabric??
In the spirit of Prince’s own philanthropic legacy, most of the proceeds ($100) will benefit Connect Ghana, an up-and-coming foundation headed by Daniel Addo, our export manager in Accra.  The proceeds will benefit expectant mothers at a health center in Berekuso, in Ghana’s Eastern Region, funding the purchase of mosquito nets and other supplies. In the past, Connect Ghana has raised funds to purchase plastic chairs and school supplies for area students.
A great cause, supported by a great fabric and great friends and customers is an excellent way to begin a new year, and I’d like to do more, so stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind auction items from Cultured Expressions…and in the meantime, you can always shop online for your favorite African fabrics, kits, embellishments and inspiration!  Or visit the new Studio at 1417 Main Street in Rahway.

Winter Workshops: Register Now for Fabrigasmic Fun!

OK, there’s a little snow on the ground, but the streets are clear and the holidays are over!  Which means it’s time to settle into creative indoor activities, surrounded by African fabrics!  Check out our Winter 2018 Workshop Schedulewith classes where you can make quilts, pillows, handbags, accessories, gift items, a cool bogolan poncho and more!

It all takes place at the CE Studio, 1417 Main Street, Rahway, NJ

And if you are a true beginner with NO sewing experience at all, start with Sewing Machine 101, a 2-hour primer on using the machine – you even make a mini African print tote! It’s just $35 and supplies are included. Bring a friend, or two…

I’ve realized over the years that some of my quilter friends don’t consider themselves “sewers” and many of you suffer from Zippaphobia, an unnatural fear of Zipper Installation!  We have two ways to cure that:  consider the Color Block Batik Handbag (shown), or African Mosaic Zippered Pouch.  Make 2018 the year you conquer the fear…  Seriously.

Register online, by phone at 866-MUDCLOTH, or in person at the Studio.

See a class you like, but the time won’t work?  We can schedule it at our mutual convenience with just 3 students, so grab your funnest friends and we’ll figure it out!

We’re also considering workshops by other instructors and fiber artists for the Spring schedule and beyond.  If you are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact Lisa via email, including a few images of your class idea.





Attention, Prince Fans…Great Fabric, Great Cause!

I just listed this on eBay…The Purple One’s symbol batiked on a lime green jacquard weave cotton. I scored it on my last buying trip while shopping with one of my main batik ladies. It’s 3/4 of a yard of fabrigasmic fun.   I figure those of you involved in the Cherrywood Hand-Dyed Fabric Prince quilt challenge will be particularly interested!

And for those of you who don’t sew or quilt (first of all, shame on you!!), this piece is the perfect size to wear as a scarf, just as it is – don’t even hem it, tis’ fabulous!!!

Most of the proceeds from the auction will benefit a hospital in Ghana, through an organization run by one of our key associates in Accra. Please share! The bidding is fierce, lol, so join in the fun for a worthy cause.

PLACE YOUR BID NOW – scroll on our Facebook page and click on the fabric photo.  Auction ends Thursday, January 4!


Join us This Saturday 3-6pm for Birthday Treats ; )

I hope this post finds everyone safe and ready to enjoy the holiday season, to whatever degree you prefer.  As usual, I’ll be taking the laid-back approach, doing as little as I can get away with, but with all of the fun – and work – of the studio launch, there isn’t much leisure time at all for me this December! #nocomplaints  ; )

We’re at 1417 Main Street, Rahway, NJ, in the Arts District.  If you’re in the area, come out to the studio this Saturday, Dec 23.  We’ll be open our usual Saturday hours form 10am – 6pm, and from 3-6pm, join us for some birthday cake and champagne as we also celebrate the release of the winter workshop schedule, and studio progress in general.

The studio is easy to reach from NYC by NJ Transit, and just a one block walk when you get off of the train!  Or, if you’re driving, you’ll love the very affordable covered parking deck, just across the street from us.

Can’t get here?  Check out our online specials, now thru December 31  ; )

We’re ready for 2018!!  Are you???

Coming Soon to the Studio…a Holiday Preview

Among our first finds in Ghana are these gorgeous ankara print wallets by Akonnoba Designs!

Akonnoba Wallets Ghana

 They’ll debut during our Holiday Boutique, and at just $20 each, they’ll leave you with cash to put inside them — the price is right for gift-giving. Each features one print on the outside, with multiple coordinating prints inside – see the opened one at upper left. All of them have a zipper pocket and magnetic snap closure, with various other pockets inside.  You will love the quality!

Holiday Boutique hours are 12 noon to 6pm on Fri and Sat, Nov 24 and 25.  Come and enjoy Rahway’s Winter Wonderland festivities, tree lighting and more… Join us at #1417mainstreet in Rahway, NJ.

Studio Progress…Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric!

I’ve been putting in the hours at the new studio, and can’t wait to have you all come visit! Be sure to see the scheduled events for the Preview Weekends in October and November online. I know the end of October seems like an eternity, but rest assured that if you’re experiencing a Fabric Emergency, you can also visit between now and the Dec 1-3 Grand Opening by appointment, and we’ll do our best to administer the proper Retail Therapy to get you through!  (Note that I’m hosting the Santa Fe SewJourn Oct 18-24).  Keep reading for more on our Studio Progress…Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric!

Thanks to the CE Pit Crew for helping me to pull things together for the #RahwayCultureCrawl last Saturday:  Camille, Dolores, Jacki, Kim, Roz, Bern, and Glen  —  You all did a great job decorating and promoting the space to passersby!

Studio Progress...Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric!

Studio Progress...Name Our Mannequin, Win Some Fabric!

The shop is located at 1417 Main Street in the Rahway Arts District, just only one short block from the Rahway train station (on NJ Transit, take the NJCL or NEC lines to Rahway).  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Meanwhile, remember that our African Fabric Month offer for FREE SHIPPING on $60 or more ends tomorrow!  And with one day left, there’s  still time for one last giveaway.  So…our lovely window model (aka the dressform) needs a name… comment below with one or more suggestions, and if we select yours, you’ll win a 6-piece FQ pack of our latest ankara print finds –  and they are GOOD!!!  Comments posted by next Tuesday 3 October are eligible for the drawing…thanks!



#AfricanFabricMonth Giveaway Updates…

#AfricanFabricMonth Giveaway Updates...Hi Everyone! I had a crazy week, sorry for the delayed #AfricanFabricMonth Giveaway Updates…  First of all, going back to last week’s fabric postcard giveaway, our winner is Daisy from Cottage Grove, OR!

She’s getting a scrap bundle of jacquard batiks and some fabric postcard interfacing for creative experimentation…

Congratulations, Daisy…now get busy!  🤗

Already we’re halfway thru our second official  #AfricanFabricMonth — what’s everyone working on now?  Any handbags, totes, Vintage Coin Purses or other Fabrigasmic accessories to show off?

#AfricanFabricMonth Giveaway Updates...Comment below, or post your pics on Instagram or the Cultured Expressions page on Facebook to enter our random drawing for a free copy of ON THE GORemember to include  #AfricanFabricMonth in your posts so we can find your entries!!  And yes, enter as many times as you like. Even works- in-progress are eligible.  Post by this Thursday 21 Sept for your chance to win!

Good Luck  ; )

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