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Hill Country Living

Building Rehab Advice Plentiful In Valley

By Coulter Fussell

Spring came and it was glorious but then it left again and I think it’s coming back right now as I type this. But that’s what spring always does in the couple of weeks leading up to Easter; it takes a few cranks before the engine finally turns over.

The weather these last few months has certainly been simultaneously magical and frustrating. The days of having kids at home due to snow and my grandmother’s death back home has put me a solid month behind on my tentative date to open the new fabric store. Those two things combined with the fact that getting 2,000 square feet of carpet and carpet glue off of concrete has proven to be the slowest process I have ever encountered. I imagine snails crawled across town and planets were formed in outer space in less time than it has taken me to get that stuff up.

This is the second time I’ve renovated a building on Main Street. Both times have been so different from each other. The first time, with Yalo Studio, I was “newer” in town and didn’t know as many people. So there was less help offered and not as many questions asked. There was, of course, the occasional elderly person that would stop in to ask for a hair cut and two different times someone came in the front door to ask me where El Charrito was. Not sure how they could miss it or why they chose the boarded up tiny alley building as the place that they might find out. With Yalo Studio the space was smaller and the front windows were covered for most of the process so you couldn’t really see the mess we were making inside. And what we were opening was fairly clear: an art gallery.

This time, though, things are different. For one, I’m asked about what I’m doing over there constantly. I’ve yet to eat lunch at the BTC without someone asking me about the new store. I love this and it makes me see that there is a good bit of interest in having a craft supply store here. Thank goodness because it’s too late to turn back now!

Another difference is that I’ve had to leave the front windows of the building uncovered since I don’t have lights in there yet. I feel a little like I’m in a fishbowl. A really dirty, waterless fishbowl. You all can see my progress (or lack thereof) and can see my mistakes (abundance thereof).

And the tools, offers of manual labor (both paid and unpaid) and advice (both solicited and unsolicited) that are thrown at me daily has been pretty wonderful this time around. The mayor even stopped by a few days ago to offer the use of his truck. He also found two pennies on the sidewalk as he walked in the building and gave them to me. That was very kind as money and trucks is what I’ve found I’ve needed most in this process. But it will certainly take more than two pennies to make me quit writing about city politics in the newspaper. Three pennies would probably do it, though, I can’t lie.

And this time around it’s a little less clear what kind of business I’m opening so I’ll explain it now: The store will be divided in two. The front half will be a back-to-basics craft supply store with an emphasis on quilting. I’ll carry enough supplies so that you can make a quilt, knit a sweater, sew a dress, embroider a pillowcase, crochet an afghan, etc. The back half of the store will be a workshop for participants in weekly classes and larger weekend workshops on various craft techniques that will be offered. I will need teachers for some of these weekly classes. If you are or know of any master craftspeople, then please email me at

Lastly, I would like to thank Mrs. Rose Beeler who very kindly left a bag of her recently passed husband’s work shirts for me at the newspaper office. I love old fabrics and these shirts are my new prized possessions, as they are worn and weathered in just the right way. The sentimental value makes it all the more special. They will certainly be put to good use in several of my quilts. Thank you, Ms. Beeler. To me, that’s what craft is all about.



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