Like Father, Like Son


Apparently everyone and their brother wants a bow tie this spring. It's been a crazy April so far and we're a mere 8 days in.

Actually, this week it seems like everyone and their SON wants a bow tie. We shipped out at least 5 or 6 father-and-son combos today. It's been a while since one of my boys and I rocked the same bow tie to church or a wedding. After packing up all these apple-not-far-from-tree deals today, I'm thinking it's time. All four of us guys in the same bow tie? Priceless. As they say somewhere, "you can hang THAT on the wall."

Some of our hardcore dads insist on tie-it-yourself ("freestyle") bow ties for their toddlers. Kudos. If that's your thing, more power to you. If you're lacking in dexterity or are perennially late like us, you'll want to go with the majority report and get an already-tied, velcro-attaching one for the little guy. It's got a nice elastic band, too, which allows it some 'give'.

If you're thinking of having us do your wedding bow ties, we always throw in a kiddie bow tie for the ring bearer gratis.


See all those bow ties there? We can make pretty much any of them in a kiddie bow tie, too. Why not have us make one for your kid with your next order?

Might I make one more selling point before I quit? If you're a single dad, and don't desire to be any longer, I challenge you to come up with a better way to woo a woman than going out to dinner with your little dude in a bow tie that matches yours. Next thing you know, we'll be making wedding bow ties for your groomsmen. Mark my words.

The Civil Wars & The Cordial Churchman

Ellie's best friend saw The Civil Wars very early in their existence and insisted we get their EP Poison and Wine. We did, and of course we thought it was awesome. The next thing you know, we hear that they're going to be on Leno.   They got really popular really quick.

On Leno, John Paul White rocked a bow tie.   A little reconnaissance showed that these days the bow tie gets a rocking from him pretty much every day.

The Civil Wars were slated to play one of our favorite venues, The Evening Muse in Charlotte, February 9.  We're awful procrastinators, which means that the show was sold out by the time we were ready to slap down our cash for tickets.

Ellie made the genius but obvious move of contacting John Paul White to see if we could get into the show in exchange for some custom bow ties of his choosing.  Deal.  Guest list.  Score.

Ellie and I got to the show late (of course), just before the opener was done.  We were smushed against the back door as John Paul White and Joy Williams came on in.  Ellie approached him with the bag of bow ties.  They were about to go on.  John Paul told Ellie: "I don't want to just take these ties from you.  I want to talk about them, 'cause I'm obsessed."

Ellie decided to play the 8-months-pregnant card and pushed her way to the front where she proceeded to look very pathetic until someone offered her a seat in the middle of the front row.  Yours truly remained standing in the back, behind a pretty tall dude.

During the encore, Joy grabbed the bag of bow ties from Ellie and they thanked her and The Cordial Churchman for the gift.  Joy pulled the ties out---all six of them---one by one, and showed them off.  To our delight, John Paul proclaimed: "I'm going to wear these for the rest of the tour."  Score.

We hung around afterward to talk shop with Joy and John Paul.  Real nice folks.  And they were number 1 on iTunes the week of the show, which was also the week their record Barton Hollow dropped.  It debuted at #12 overall on the Billboard charts.  We're very happy for their success.  They've each been playing forever, and they've worked hard.  As a duo, they are spellbinding.

John Paul is sporting our best-selling bow tie, the James---a navy wool with a subtle, classic plaid pattern.  You can buy the James here.

Here's to Joy Williams, John Paul White and The Civil Wars.  Expect to see them at the Grammys next year, hopefully with John Paul wearing one of our bow ties.

I hear U2 is coming out with a record this year.  I wonder if Bono is going to be rocking the bow tie too.  Hmm....

Here's their breakthrough single, "Poison and Wine".

Words of Affirmation

One of the coolest things about running The Cordial Churchman is the chance to make people really happy.  We've been so busy trying to make people's Christmases merry that we've hardly had time to tell you about some of the cool things happening with TCC. (More on that to come in a subsequent post.)

[caption id="attachment_998" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photographer Caroline Fontenot had her husband rock this TCC bow tie for their incredible Christmas card photo. Click the photo to head to her website and see more of her work!"][/caption]

We spent lots of really late nights in the studio making lots of bow ties for husbands and boyfriends.  At one point we got to thinking about how all the college folks were pulling all-nighters cramming for final exams and finishing up projects they'd put off til the 11th hour.  We reminisced about how when we were dating, exam time was an excuse to sit at an all-night diner together.  Those were good times.  But we agreed that we were very, very glad not to be up late studying.

And then it occurred to us that we were virtually doing the same thing---staying up ridiculously late, night after night, getting all those wool and velvet bow ties off in time to be donned at Christmas parties or put under the tree for some lucky dude.   It kind of took us back 10 years.  It also made us chuckle to think of how laughable it would have been if someone had told us that, a decade later, we'd trade Microeconomics and Astronomy for chambray and patch madras!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="478" caption="Sometimes a customer's greatest joy is in finding a 2nd life for a necktie that's showing its age a bit. Click the image to see Dustin's blog post chronicling the transformation of his neck tie into a bow tie."][/caption]

At some point on Christmas day, we suddenly realized---gosh, tons of people just received new bow ties from The Cordial Churchman for Christmas!  I wonder what they all thought of them?  How many people put them on right away?  How many people exclaimed "Wow! This is...uhhh....this is great!  Um...what is it?"  How many people spent an hour in front of the mirror with a YouTube video trying to figure out how to tie it up?

If you got one of our bow ties for Christmas, we hope you like it!

Sometimes folks write to say that they like their TCC goods.  It really makes Ellie's day, and it makes me really proud of her.  We thought we'd go ahead and share some of these notes. Forgive us if it seems a little self-indulgent.

I received the ties I ordered a few weeks back and just wanted to let you know that I love them.  I now have 5 ties (4 bows and 1 necktie), and have been spreading the word about your great service and quality. Congratulations on your business and keep up the great work.  Thanks so much.

Mount Ida, Arkansas


I received the bow tie yesterday: it is lovely, and your packaging was too.  I am wearing the tie today and it has already been complimented.

Jefferson City, Missouri


I own several bow ties all from various stores like Men's Wearhouse and the like. Recently I purchased your James tie. It is the first time I ever was complimented on the bow tie I was wearing and I wasn't complimented just once, I was complimented five times in one day. How can I not buy another?

Harper's Ferry, WV


My first bow tie purchase has been a great success thanks to you!  I love the quality, look, and feeling of the tie.  I only bought one to kind of test drive this whole process, but after having it go so smoothly I won't look anywhere else!  Thanks again for what you do!

Derry, New Hampshire

Mrs. Laveer,

I'm sure I'm not the first person to praise your bow tie-crafting skills and I certainly don't think I'll be the last.  A few hours ago I received the glen plaid tie you had made for me and just now I tried it on.  It was stunning.  As soon as I saw myself in the mirror donning the finished product all I could say was, "Wow."  Your attention to detail and obvious care in making each piece is astounding; this bow tie will certainly stand out as one of my favorites.  Thank you so much!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Hi Ellie,

I stumbled across your line about a year and a half ago, but dragged my feet on actually placing an order.  Even I can't procrastinate forever, though, and I finally ordered a bow tie from you "The Hound" wool a few weeks ago.  I can't tell you how impressed I am with the quality.  It's a great tie, in the exact proportions I wanted.  The fabric is actually even cooler than I anticipated.  Great tie at a great price, and I couldn't be happier.  You'll definitely be getting another order from me soon.

Cambridge, Massachusetts


Dear Ellie,

You seem commited to quality and a good product and yet are offering great value too. It's nice because it feels like you love what you do, instead of just wanting to maximise profits and turnover, and that is very rare these days.  I hope to order a tie when I get my next pay cheque, thanks.

London, England

February 02, 2010


the Mothering of Art ›

Support an excellent songwriter - Dylan Sneed

So this is really cool, there's a website that helps musicians raise money to record their albums.  I wish that had been around when I recorded my album (which you can buy the hardcopy here and download from itunes here).  This songwriter, Dylan Sneed is an excellent musician and songwriter who puts on a great show every time we see him.  In October, I had the privilege of playing a house concert  with him.  So do me a favor and check his page out.  He's a full time DIY musician and I'm sure none of us know how hard that can be.  But Dylan seems like the kind of guy who can't really do anything else - not because he's not talented, but because he's so passionate about music. And that's the kind of music we need to be listening to and it's the kind of music worth supporting. 

Vintage Pillowcase Apron

My friends over at Clever Nesting have been making vintage pillowcase aprons following this tutorial from Glitter, Vinyl and Thread.  It looked fun and I really need another apron, just ask my husband (HA HA HA).  

I used a pillow case that I bought today at the thrift store for 50 cents.  It's really fun.  I'm collecting the names of ladies that have shared that they want to start sewing and I'm thinking of showing them how to make this apron.  It's a great place to begin if you're new to sewing and really, the investment is minimal if anything at all.  

Sorry for all the lo-fi pics lately.  I'm only using my webcam to take pictures.  I'm hoping to have the Canon back from the hospital in a week or so.  I can't wait!

Deacon's Seersucker Jumper

Here's the jumper I made the other day.  It really looks adorable on my little boy, doesn't it?  This one is size 4T.

FYI- I purchased the pattern HERE.  It's a great pattern ranging from size 0 to 4T with lots of great instructions and pictures.


Here is the latest thing that gets me extra-super-giddy.  My new windowboxes!  I found these planters underneath some big ugly bushes on the side of our house last week.  They were filled with roots and dirt and the roots were actually digging through the holes in the boxes into the ground.  They were so discolored they had green and brown splotches all over them.

So I pulled them out, cleaned them up, primed and painted then filled with beautiful wave petunias.  What do you think?  I think they are perfectly romantic.  

The hardest part was figuring out how to install them.  I'm super cheap, so I didn't want to spend money.  I basically tied a rope around the box and tied the rope around nails I hammered inside the window.  The windowsill is supporting the weight of the boxes, the rope just keeps it from tipping over onto my lovely children.

Weeeeeeee!  (I told you I was giddy)

May 15, 2009


the Mothering of Art ›

Join me for Lilyfest

This Sunday afternoon, I'll be playing music for the 2009 Lilyfest at Lansford Canal State Park in Catawba, SC.  Lilyfest celebrates the peak bloom of the rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lily.  Live music will be along the waterside from 12:00 until 5:00, but I will be playing from 1:15 until 2:00.  A fun event for the whole family.  


May 14, 2009


the Mothering of Art ›


A good friend of mine put together a simple website for me.  Check it out!

a purse and beautiful flowers

Here are the photos of a purse I made a couple of weeks ago from a FREE pattern.   Switching out the winter purse for the fun spring one is always a delight.  This was my first bag that I made following a pattern.  Again, for someone who doesn't know a ton about sewing, following a pattern is so much easier because you don't have to try to wrap your brain around how to get it to work--- especially a lined bag.  However, I'm sure that after I follow a few more patterns I could easily make one without a pattern.

Mistakes were made and fortunately a big one was able to be covered up by a button.  But it was fun and is very usable although not terribly large (it should have been bigger than it turned out but like I said....mistakes).  

Do you see the beautiful roses?  They are part of a collection of flowers I got to take home from the Women's conference at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte.  I was the music leader this weekend and it was SO much fun.  I hope I am invited to lead music for many more conferences.  It's always so great to be under the teaching of wonderful teachers and in the company of such great Christian women.  

I wish they could stay like this forever.  They smell so wonderful.