Author Archives: Anny

About Anny

I am happiest during the creative phase of bag making. My studio is in a downtown historical loft built in 1890 with a view of the harbor. I have an armoire full of beautiful fabric and a map chest full of buttons, fringe, beads, and all the little pretties that make a bag one-of-a-kind. Every time I sew, my faithful Golden Retriever and English Setter are at my feet, and on REALLY special days, my precious granddaughters sew with me!

Cruising the Caribbean

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Cruising the Caribbean

Cruising the Caribbean

Well, I wish I were, but I’m not, so I turned my wishes into a bag.  Cruising the Caribbean is the name of my latest project.  A tropical fabric featuring shades of Florida, Cuba, palm trees and maps was urging me to be turned into a summer travel bag.  The pattern is my original design, the Jenny Bag, and the fabric was purchased from Michael Levine in L.A.  I added bright neon fringe from M&J Trimming, as well as crystalline light green beadwork.  Hopefully, someone will be calling “Bon Voyage” with her!

A Rose for Rosie

Lemon Breeze                                                         

A Rose for Rosie and Lemon Breeze are two more versions of the large zippered clutches created from the bright summery faux crocodile, sleek but textured.  Fabrics from Mood and Michael Levine (where I also purchased the leather flowers.)  By the way, my source for purse zippers is the Zipper Island website.  You can find any color and size, and shipping is quick!  They’re delightful to work with and I highly recommend them.  (No, they do not pay me. :))

Jeweled Garden

Jeweled Garden was a dream to complete.  The Chemisette pattern from CraftApple designs always goes together easily and is very versatile.  This time I used fabric from Laminates on Etsy and my faux crocodile from Mood.  The blue and gold beadwork ties it all together using a velvet teal ribbon.

Passion for Poppies

Sometimes I have a hard time letting a purse go, such as Passion for Poppies.  This Michael Miller fabric is out of print and very limited but I was lucky to find it online.  I paired it with Kaleidoscope by Notting Hill, then added delicate blue and gold beading with hand-dyed silk ribbon.

Cat’s Meow 

Cat’s Meow (backside)

I believe Cat’s Meow is the first purse that I’ve added a featured embellishment.  I appliqued the crushed black velvet cat onto the textured leopard.  But, since the cat seemed to fade into the busy leopard print, I needed something more to make her stand out.  I found some white thick thread, almost like cording, and couched it all around the cat.  That seemed to form a nice outline that accented her silouette.  I gave her a beaded floral collar and rhinestone eyes.  Then added a jeweled pendant to the top and a silky pink tassel to the backside zipper pull.  I’m very pleased with this creation.  It was definitely more time consuming, but also a rewarding challenge.

Speaking of a challenge, often I am sewing a purse that has thick seams and is way too much challenge for my favorite Bernina.  You know I love, love, love my old Bernina, and she is perfect for most everything I need to sew.  But…I do need a machine to tackle those super thick seams, especially since my fall/winter pursemaking will be starting before you know it, with thick faux furs, leathers, and upholstery.  So, yes, I’ve been looking at industrial machines online for research and tomorrow will be testing some out for purchase up in Houston.  Only one place offers them, but their prices look reasonable.  I’m looking at Juki, Seiko, Con Sew, and Pfaff.  I’m shopping for a heavy duty, cylinder arm, walking foot machine.  If you’ve ever seen anyone making shoes, it resembles the machine they use.  The presser foot raises high, so you can join together many layers, and the walking foot feeds the fabric through evenly, plus it all happens with a knee lift and a custom table.  I feel so guilty, like I’m cheating on Betsy, but she’ll still be used for most of my sewing since she has multiple feet and features.  I wouldn’t feel so bad if I had a machine that gave me a lot of trouble, but she’s great!  Anyway, if you’ve read previous posts, you know everything has feelings, right. 🙂  Anyone out there have an industrial machine that makes you happy?  I need reviews!

Thanks, and I’ll keep you posted.

Anny

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WELCOME TO ARTWALK!

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WELCOME TO ARTWALK!

Saturday, April 22, I have the privilege once again of being the Featured Artist at Tina’s on the Strand for ArtWalk!  To prepare for this event, I’ve been sewing up a storm, and thought I would give you a sneak preview of the show.

SEA GARDEN

Sea Garden was designed from a modification of the Sara Lawson pattern, Arabesque.  Now a fairly large clutch, it was fashioned from turquoise faux crocodile and layed flowers from Mood Fabrics.  To achieve a breezy seaside effect, I added pearly shell trim and a delicately beaded zipper pull featuring a sparkly blue seahorse.

DRIPPING SPRINGS

Another bag featuring cool colors is the Dripping Springs laminated cotton bag which is adorned with clear beading that absorbs the color of the fabric underneath.  Obviously, I wish to get my hands on some more of this beading, as it will enhance any color I’m using!  This is the Pasadena pattern designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter’s Dream.

ISLAND TIME

Island Time was created from the Alexander Henry fabric called “Mahalo Girls.” Whenever I sew a bag from this fabric, it seems to be very popular.  Must be the retro vibe. 🙂  Using my own pattern, the Jenny Bag, I fashioned a large version with leather handles and a flower from Michael Levine.   Red tassel trim adds the finishing touch.

ISLAND GIRLS

Same fabric, and a completely different look for Island Girls.  This uniquely shaped bag pattern is from Amy Barickman.  This time I complemented with faux red crocodile, a bamboo handle, and a mother of pearl flower for a bit of island magic.

The pattern for Island Girls offers a unique backside opening.  I added this cute girl sporting sunglasses for a snazzy zipper pull. 🙂

GIGI TOURS THE FLOWER MARKET

Another girl adorns the zipper pull on Gigi Tours the Flower Market, and she sports a shopping tote that made me think she would be touring the Paris flower market since she’s surrounded by floral fabric.  A large sunny bloom and a red polka dot handle add a playful note.

PLAYFUL PICASSO

Speaking of playful, Playful Picasso is adorable in person.  The picture doesn’t really tell the story.  On both  sides of this colorful upholstery fabric, there are deep pockets of yellow and blue faux crocodile, perhaps for sunglasses or a water bottle.  The blue, gold, and green ribbon fringe decorates the top which leads to patent leather handles, and the interior is lined with a bright blue polka dot cotton.  A super unusual and fun bag!

FANDANGLE

FanDangle is one of my favorites.  The pattern is from the quilting world, by Nancy Green.  The beautifully colored cotton is by Moda Fabrics.  This pattern was perfect for what is called a Layer Cake–10″ x 10″ swatches of coordinated fabric from the same line.  The gusset was cut from oilcloth featuring red cherries on a black background.  She sports a trim of black and clear beads, and in the middle is a dangling girl clutching  a time piece.  The design resembles a fan, and the featured embellishment is a dangling girl, hence I dubbed her FanDangle.

HOT TROPICS

(Back Side)

The last two bags are the CraftApple pattern, The Knotted Bag.  Hot Tropics is a combination of Philip Jacobs “Tropical” and a hot pink laminated cotton.  My embellishment tassel drawer offered a hot pink and green trim that complemented it perfectly.  However, since the trim was intended as piping, I needed another trim to cover the raw part of the piping that would normally be inserted between fabrics.  So I found a velvety pink rick rack in my stash and stitched it on top. 🙂

TAKE FLIGHT

(Back Side)

Same pattern, different fabric combinations.  “Jungle Fever” for Westminster Fibers is a delightful toucan design, that I paired with a glossy black laminate.  This is a wonderful sightseeing, shopping, and errand bag, since it offers a large exterior pocket and three generous interior pockets.  The lining is a lime green linen and the lime green clam shell charm is removable.

So, yes, I’m exhausted, but finished and happy and ready for Artwalk!  Hope to see you there!

 

 

CATCH BEADS, SEW, CATCH BEADS, SEW…

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CATCH BEADS, SEW, CATCH BEADS, SEW…

We live in Mardi Gras.  We live “IN” Mardi Gras.  Our building is situated inside the borders of the perimeter of ticket booths and fences.  So…we catch the elevator down, race out the front door, and catch beads from the passing parades.  In between parades, I sew!  Well, sometimes we grab a glass of bubbly at open house parties with neighbors or offer champagne at ours–then I sew!

I love sewing in an environment of music and madness.  So, I present to you the most recent creations from an atmosphere of raucous partying. 🙂 Cheers!

SPOTTED IN THE GARDEN

SPOTTED IN THE GARDEN

This bag was inspired by the yellow flowers I purchased at Mood Fabrics over the holidays.  The leaves were rolled into shape from pleated moss-green fabric in my inventory, and I believe the “spotted” fabric is from Interior Fabrics, Houston.  The pattern is the Lucille Bag from Abbey Lane and the handle is from Studio Mio.

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Made from faux crocodile, laminated cotton and a watch, this bag is called Hickory Dickory Croc. 🙂  The pattern is Amy Barickman and the doll pendant/zipper pull is Laliberi.  Fabric from Fabric Decor, Houston.

SPRINGTIME SPLENDOR

SPRINGTIME SPLENDOR

“Springtime Splendor” is fashioned from a laminated Kaffe Fassett cotton and adorned with a fuchsia fringe from M & J Trimming, another fabulous NYC shop.  Pattern by Amy Butler.

BELLE ROSE

BELLE ROSE

This lovely designer fabric is Belle Rose by London Portfolio for Michael Miller.  The gusset and strap is an embossed faux leather and the pattern is Cindy Taylor Oates.  But the most interesting feature is the flower which I purchased in a shop near Warner Brother Studios in L.A.  They sell items from movie and TV shows, and this flower was worn on “Switched at Birth.”

SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDER

SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDER

I really wanted to keep this bag.  The fabrics are a combo of oil cloth and golden faux leather and the pattern is the mini messenger bag by Ali Foster.

TANGERINE DREAM

TOO MUCH TO DREAM  LAST NIGHT

Now here’s a wild bag for the lady who really wants to make a statement.  I named it, “Too Much To Dream Last Night” but the actual name of the fabric was Mystic Forest which I also like as a title.  The fringe is from Mood and the pattern is the Caroline Bag by Cindy Taylor Oates.

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS

WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS

“We’ll Always Have Paris” was created from a laminated cotton called Remember by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake Designs.  I love the “chandelier” effect which I embellished with a jeweled cross and a flower sewn by me in a class I took from Faye Labanaris at International Quilt Festival.  Pattern by Amy Butler.

HAPPY DANCE

HAPPY DANCE

I was excited to try the “Tie Front Tote” by Ali Foster and the pattern came together easily.  I’d like to use it again someday soon.  The fabric is called Madhuri for Riley Blake Designs and I added floral trim purchased on Etsy.

URBAN GARDEN

URBAN GARDEN

“Urban Garden” is a wonderful size purse from CraftApple called “The Chemisette  Handbag.”  The fabric is laminated cotton and the leather flower is from Michael Levine in L.A.  The jumbo rickrack is from Indygo Junction.  My understanding is that this purse, as well as the previous “Happy Dance” purse, now resides in Wisconsin. 🙂

RAZZLE DAZZLE

RAZZLE DAZZLE

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This is a fun pattern that I’ve been wanting to try for a long time.  It’s called the Tulip Bag but I call this one “Razzle Dazzle.”  The fabric is Bella Epoch by Kaffe Fassett.  The embellishment brooch and trim are from Trims on Wheels.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

“Midnight in Paris” is my Anny Clutch design and it was actually created and sold at the end of the year.  The velvets are from Mood, the doll pendant from Laliberi, and the rich tassel trim is from Roma Decor in L.A.  There is a skinny leather optional strap hidden inside for added functionality.

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In January I created a birthday present bag for my granddaughter who loves Frida Kahlo. This is another CraftApple design called “The Knotted Bag.”  It’s large enough to carry sketches.  The fabric is “Frida’s Garden” for Alexander Henry and I combined it with velvets from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs.  Madison was lucky to have visited the Frida exhibit in Austin, and we saw a few of her paintings in NYC at MoMA.

TANGERINE DREAM

TANGERINE DREAM

“Tangerine Dream” combines a laminated cotton with coral faux crocodile.  I love this Charlie’s Aunt pattern by Emma Brennan called the “Chattisham Clutch Bag.”

And speaking of clutches:

SIMPLY SATURDAY

SIMPLY SATURDAY

I am hugely excited about this pattern by Sara Lawson.  It’s called the Arabesque Bag but I have modified it from a tote to a large clutch with a wrist strap.  It’s approximately 10 x 13 inches.  The most exciting part for me is learning to sew better with purse zippers.  When I had a question, Sara actually emailed me back.  I was super impressed because she is huge in the purse-making world and I really appreciated her responding and very quickly.  Coral faux crocodile, Mood flowers, and Laliberi doll pendant/zipper pull all make for a stylish and functional purse for spring.

SHAGGY CHIC

ROMANCE

And now, this is why I’m so excited about the previous pattern.  Would you believe that this is the same pattern?!  Completely different style generated from the same pattern–one is sleek and contemporary and the other lush and romantic.  That’s why sewing is ever so versatile, fun, and inspiring!  The dreamy fabric is an elegantly embroidered chenille from Cowgirls and Lace, and the fringe and subtly shaded flower are from Miss Rose Sister Violet from Australia.

Obviously, the possibilities are endless, and I have fabric fever!  Tons of ideas floating in my brain that my fingers must bring to fruition.  So it’s good-bye Mardi Gras and on with the Parade of Purses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manhattan Memories

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Manhattan Memories

Oh, my beautiful New York!  Everything is heightened at the holidays.  Enhanced lighting, multilingual conversations, cathedral bells, and the slightest flurry of snow added to our enchanting journey.  We stayed at a newly renovated boutique hotel called The Archer on 38th Street in the Garment District, hence the sculpture of an evening dress by the entryway.

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Each evening, in addition to discovering a delectable treat on our desk, we had a view of the Empire State Building.  Our in-room coffee service consisted of a Nespresso machine (think George Clooney and Danny Devito) plus Harney & Sons tea.  On a past visit to NYC, my friend led us to the Harney & Sons Tea Shop which was devine!

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The highlight of our first evening in the city was having dinner at Max Brenner’s–the very best dessert destination featuring chocolate–lots and lots of chocolate! They offer chocolate pizza, chocolate waffles…you get the idea.  After dinner I chose the Chocolate Hazelnut Milkshake served in the “fantasy cup” inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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The following day we were superbly lucky to have booked the Law & Order Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan through our friend, Ike, with NYC Adventure Tours.  Ike is a retired, real, NYPD detective!  He led us to multiple sites of crime scenes, movie and TV locations, and endless historical stories.  Billed as “The hangouts, the haunts, and the hideaways of NYC’s most notorious criminals.”  Here is just a sample.

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Seen in movies and TV shows, Central Booking (or “The Tombs”) is where felons are held for processing and pre-trial detention. “The Tombs” are connected by the Bridge of Sighs, four stories up.  When a prisoner is transferred, the two escorts meet in the middle of the bridge, replacing the handcuffs one at a time to avoid any escapes.

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Scene of a famous mob shooting, Murder at the Feast of San Gennaro.  Arthur Felig (aka Weegee) was the first newspaper crime scene photographer.

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Oldest gun store in NYC and the only place to buy a legal hand gun.

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Ferrara’s Pastry Shop, established 1892, was our snack stop on the tour.  Everyone grabbed a cannoli and a hot chocolate to warm up as we continued the tour.

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New York State Supreme Court.  You’ve seen this in countless episodes of Law and Order, plus the movie Twelve Angry Men, and a scene from the Godfather where Barzini is walking out and gets gunned down by Al Neri, who is dressed as a cop.

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Recognize this?  It’s a filming location for Sex and the City.  Still a good restaurant/bar today. 🙂  There were so many stops on this wonderful 2-1/2 hour tour, with a nice surprise at the end, but I won’t spoil it for you in case you get lucky enough to catch this great sightseeing experience.  We had to say good-bye to Ike to head for our next agenda item–One World Observatory.

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The Old and The New

The Old and The New

Be sure to pre-order your tickets online, like we did, or you’ll be faced with an enormous line of tourists.  Once inside, you’ll ride in The Sky Pod elevators (among the fastest in the world) that will zoom you to the 102nd floor while watching a super speedy movie of the history of New York’s architecture on the elevator walls and ceiling!  Whew!  So, at the top…

gpzy3803         The Old and The New

After One World Observatory, we did a little shopping at One World Plaza, spending most of our time sampling perfume in the Joe Malone boutique.ccct0324

Continuing on to our evening tour, we pit-stopped at Starbuck’s where the night sky offered up the most beautiful, gentle snow flurries!  Kenny, our guide, led us on the NYC East Village Food Tour.  We were treated to hot dogs, pizza, falafel, dumplings, papaya juice, egg cream and more.  Between savory stops, we learned the history of this unique neighborhood and the culture that influenced the awesome food.  Here is The Papaya King where we sampled quintessential New York hot dogs.

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Our tour for seeing the holiday lights and store windows was cancelled due to security and traffic issues, so we planned our own holiday windows route including Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Cartier.  Take a look…

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And the last window was interactive.  You could place your hand on the Naughty-or-Nice meter. 🙂

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Well, I guess you could consider the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to be the height of holiday decorating, and we left the best for last.  This year’s Norwegian Spruce from Oneonta, NY, is 94 feet tall and 56 feet wide, adorned with approximately 50,000 LED lights.  You think it was hard getting that star on your tree?  Try a Swarovski star, nine-and-a-half feet in diameter and weighing 550 pounds!bmgd8782

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When I reserved our table at Rockefeller Cafe for New Year’s Eve dinner, I never dreamed we would actually sit at a round table by the window that was eye level with the flow of skaters.  We looked out upon the magnificent tree above the bronze sculpture of Prometheus.  Skaters would literally skate fast and grab the rail directly in front of us!  It was fun to watch couples and families, some seemingly pro skaters and some first time skaters, all having a fun New Year’s Eve.  Oh! And a few tables over, a groom-to-be proposed to his girlfriend and the whole restaurant clapped as she very happily said, “Yes!”

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After dinner we made an unplanned stop to the Top of the Rock.  As we scanned the city, we could actually see the crystal ball in Times Square, poised to drop at midnight.  Amateur photographers with tripods were all setting up to capture the big moment.

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We strolled back to The Archer (stopping to buy champagne) and watched the ball drop on TV as we toasted, listening to the crowds roar through our open windows.  What a great year–and good wishes ahead for 2017!

On New Year’s Day, we started the New Year right with brunch at Sarabeth’s.  Fabulous brunch menu and charming decor.

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Then it was on to MoMA!  We were fortunate to catch some traveling exhibits, including Francis Picabia:  Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction.

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Marc Chagall:

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Frida Kahlo

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Florine Stettheimer

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And…Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”

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Time for another event and yet another check of the Uber app. 🙂  Yea, Uber!

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Speaking of art, NYC graffiti artists have exhibited their work as well, which we noted on the Law and Order Walking Tour, often through chain link fences.

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Cecil

Cecil

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One of my all-time favorite places that we visited in New York was Bryant Park.  The sun was low in the sky, casting beautiful scenes of light and shadow, while shoppers and skaters enjoyed a relaxing Sunday afternoon.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures!  Grayson was determined to find a hot dog from a real NYC hot dog stand.  Success!img_7407

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Ice Skating Rink

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Shops Like This 🙂

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The New York Public Library  is  Adjacent to the Park

The Empire State Building Peeks Through

The Empire State Building Peeks Through the Skyline

That evening, after dinner, we rode uptown to Radio City Music Hall for the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular.  Every year is different and this year my favorite part was wearing the 3D glasses. 🙂

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The Stunning Chandelier Christmas Tree

The Stunning Chandelier Christmas Tree

Monday was our last day in the Big Apple, but we managed to have lunch together before we went parted ways to separate airports.  We ate the best pizza ever at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square, called the Cathedral of Pizza.  It is housed in a 19th-century church and has retained the original architecture.  The stained glass dome ceiling remains, and the brick ovens adorn the edges like altars.

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My trip wouldn’t have been complete without a teensy bit of fabric shopping.  After all, we were in the Garment District!  M & J Trimming was just around the corner where I found perfect hot pink fringe, and then it was off to Mood.

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Mood Fabrics – Third Floor

First of all, I had barely started shopping when I heard a bark, bark, bark!  There was Swatch, standing at the top of the stairs, just barking at the air. 🙂  Poor Swatch, too many people invading his space.

A Calmer Swatch

A Calmer Swatch

So here’s what I found.  Beautiful 3-D yellow floral trim which you will see on a bag in my next post.  Also, some multicolor pink/red silky fringe.  You know I love velvet, so I couldn’t pass up deep pink crushed velvet. I spotted a bolt of geometric red fashion wool which I can use next season.  Then, in the back, where they keep the dress forms, what do I see but that very same fabric made into a jacket!  Could it be from Project Runway?!  Does that mean my taste qualifies me to compete??  Nope, I told ya before–I’m Too S-l-o-o-o-w!

Cute Jacket. Project Runway?

So my final “taste” of New York, as we’re waiting on the Uber, is the last of many Gong Cha teas I consumed.  Gong Cha–with the tapioca pearls!  Yum!!

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I miss you, Gong Cha!  See ya next time!

Sew, Travel, Sew, Travel, Sew…

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Sew, Travel, Sew, Travel, Sew…

This month we are fortunate to visit my two favorite cities:  L.A. and NYC!  Just returned from a short trip to L.A. to celebrate the engagement of our son, Bryan, and his fiancee, Liz.  We spent some quality time in Marina Del Ray and saw the wedding and rehearsal dinner venues for June. Looking forward to an awesome event!  This week we are having fun with our other son, Eric, and his girlfriend, Jill. Then Friday, it’s off to Austin to visit Jennifer, Tate, and the girls.  Loving the holiday family fun times!

While in L.A., I dashed down to the Fashion District for a visit to Michael Levine and Mood.  I spotted some brightly colored fabrics, anticipating spring/summer bagmaking. 🙂  We’ll be visiting NYC next week and our boutique hotel will be in the Garment District!  Oh, darn–ha ha.  Since many of my blog posts are about travel, you probably wonder when I have time to make bags.  Well that’s coming up in January, but I did manage to finish a few after the China trip and Quilt Festival, and I’ll share those with you now…

Loretta Loves Leopard

Loretta Loves Leopard

Rumor has it that Loretta Loves Leopard was purchased by a lady named Loretta. I’m so happy!  This faux fur textured bag’s pattern had extra room on the sides where you see I added two pockets.  Fancied the top with a little gold fringe and a cute doll accessory, then added leather gold handles.  Voila!

Beyond the Nest

Beyond the Nest

Beyond the Nest was one of those purses that I secretly hoped wouldn’t sell–but it did.  I love this bag!  It is my own Jenny pattern design, created from a fur/feathery fabric from Michael Levine.  The band is vintage crushed velour and I placed a beautiful brooch from Trims on Wheels.  The handle is an easy-to-apply and fashionable clip-on that I love from Studio Mio.

Cowabunga!

Cowabunga!

Cowabunga is a snazzy little Western bag that will be perfect for Texas Hill Country.  The faux cow-hide is from Cowgirls and Lace, and I simply added black and red fringe, dripping Western beads, and a few flowers to give it a chic yet country vibe. 🙂

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London Flat again makes use of the crushed velour, plus a furry leopard, and beautifully textured golden upholstery fabric.  A large flower and clip on handles complete the look.  This is actually a pattern designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter’s Dream that I had noticed at Quilt Festival where it was fashioned from cotton.  I decided to use denser fabric and create a fall/winter look using the same pieces, and adding more interior pockets.

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After returning from China, I couldn’t wait to finish Shades of Shanghai.  This is also from the quilt world, a pattern from Pink Sand Beach called the Mahattan Handbag.  I like to fancy it up and since this had an Asian vibe, I added bamboo handles and a frog closure just for decoration.  The fabrics were a fat quarter bundle from long ago.  This is why you purchase fabric that grabs you.  I bought this not knowing what in the world I would use it for and it has become a stylish purse. 🙂

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Now this is the same pattern, using another fat quarter bundle purchased long ago, but I added delicate dripping black beads, crushed velour gusset and handles, and sewed a purchased flower to one I made from faux leather.  I named her Vintage Victorian.

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Boho Chic is created from a Cindy Taylor Oates pattern called the Lakehouse Bag.  I used a mod design fabric that has a denim feel and added a large boho style flower.  I knew when I saw these beautiful Hippie look beads that they would accessorize it perfectly, with a little braid sewn on top in the same shade of green. A very fun bag!

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We have a newborn in the family now from my nephew and his wife, and since she’s a gorgeous little girl, I had to make her a “first purse,” right?  Fashioned from vintage chenille, this simple bag has cording for a handle and a ribbon closure.  Of course it has a pocket and an “It’s Sew Anny” label inside. 🙂  Something tells me she’ll be receiving many more over the years…

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Okay, don’t faint…this bag is for me!  I had a very similar one I had sewn over four years ago and used every winter.  A few beads had fallen by the wayside and it had some fading, so I whipped up a new version and enjoy it so much!  This is from the same Cindy Taylor Oates book, but a style called “Caroline’s Bag.”

And that’s it for now–off to find more fabric in the Big Apple!  Happy Holidays, Everyone!

International Quilt Festival 2016

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Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, whatever suits your fancy, and come along with me for a tour of Houston’s International Quilt Festival 2016!

George R. Brown Convention Center

George R. Brown Convention Center

True to our usual M.O., my sister, Nannette, and I stayed at the adjoining Hilton Hotel Wednesday to Saturday to fulfill all our shopping and quilting fixes.  Wednesday night was Preview Night from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.  Nannette admired the crazy quilts

img_6132and I paid a visit to the Texas Quilt Museum Booth.

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Beautiful booths everywhere,

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including one of my annual favorites, Edie and Luc Roelens booth, Trims on Wheels.  Here’s a sample of what you will find there:

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I enjoyed my favorites, such as Miss Rose Sister Violet, Diane Springer, Material Girl, Adorn-It, Mica’s Room and Hanah Silk.  Throughout the show this year, I purchased trims, dyes, fabric, embroidery, awesome scissors, and purse parts and patterns.  Nannette snagged the best purchase of all:  an actual wall hanging from the quilt gallery to hang in her horse arena!

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The artwork is entitled, “Home!”  by Cathy Wiggins from North Carolina.  Cathy achieved the look of a finely tooled Western saddle by quilting leather and applying dyes.  She used real conchos on the saddle and studs on the hat brim, then left the raw edges of the hide.  Everyone was interested in how Cathy “quilts” leather!  Her exhibit consisted of many fine pieces, all true works of art, introducing her own new and special techniques.

While we mostly shopped that first evening, the next day was back to the show, and a class for me.  Hanah Silk Flowers was taught by Faye Labanaris.

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We created roses, pansies, and posies from bias cut silk ribbons and velvets. 🙂

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In addition to registered classes, you are treated to a schedule of demonstrations provided by Craftsy.  We enjoyed learning from Annie of byAnnie.com who taught us about purses, hardware, zippers, and patterns.

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And now on to the show!  We’ll start in the Winners’ Circle with the most prestigious overall award, the $12,500 winner of Best of Show.  img_6153

This year’s honor goes to Cynthia England of Dickinson, Texas.  Reflections of Capetown took a year to make and contains 8,400 pieces.  Cynthia was teaching quilting in South Africa when a side trip to a fishing village afforded her this scene of boats and reflections.  Her inspiration was the photograph she took, which she transformed into a masterpiece quilt of hand applique and machine quilting.

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Cynthia holding her inspirational photograph.

Cynthia holding her inspirational photograph.

Silk Road Sampler by Melissa Sobotka was another all-time

favorite of mine.  This quilt depicts a spice bazaar established in 1597, evoking smells and tastes through the imagination.  The bottom is bordered by tassels.

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Bouquet Royale by Margaret Solomon Gunn from Gorham, Maine, won the Baby Lock World of Beauty $7,500 award.

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Mikyung Jang from South Korea, portrayed one of the most beautiful old castles in Korea through intricately machine quilting and hand dyeing.

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Another winner was Unknown Man, fused applique, by Marina Landi and Maria Lucia Azara from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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The $7,500 Founders’ Award this year went to Sally Magee from Texas for Baltimore in Bloom, a design by Sue Garman.  This quilt took Sally 3,000 hours to applique and 1,000 hours to hand quilt!

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I don’t pretend to know how  the quilts are judged but each one is amazing.  The quilts that follow are simply ones that made me go, “Wow!”  Royal Palm Hawaiian by Laverne Matthews is a huge quilt with stunning colors.  Her design source was folded paper cut designs.  It was hand appliqued and quilted.

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Another quilt that caught my eye with its striking colors is Chambord Fantasy by Jacqueline Manley from Reno, Nevada.  While traveling in France, she photographed the architecture of Chateau Chambord France with its quirky towers for her inspiration.

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What’s this???  While meandering through the quilts, in one corner of the building, I came upon a sign… though I’m not sure what takes place there, I did see one lone man sitting in the corner… 🙂

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Now here’s a quilt!  “Crocodylus Smylus” by Susan Carlson of Harpswell, Maine, is 22′ x 6′ and weighs 30 pounds, taking two years to complete.

Crocodylus Smylus

Crocodylus Smylus

Close-up of

Close-up of “Stevie”

“Stevie” is nicknamed for naturalist Steve Irwin and is a life-size replica of a real saltwater crocodile.  If you would like to see a time-lapse video of this quilting creation, go to susancarlson.com.

Susan and her Stevie

Susan and her Stevie

“Stevie” was part of her eleven quilt nature exhibit, including:

Kaldi Moondance (Ugandan stork)

Kaldi Moondance
(Ugandan stork)

And…

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Hmm, seeing a pink rhinoceros reminded us that we’d better call it a day and check out the Pappasito’s drink menu for a large scrumptious sangria!  Paired with nachos and quesadillas, it was the end to a perfectly quilty day.

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Night view from the Hilton

Night view from the Hilton

Friday brought us back to reality as it was our last full day.  Yikes!  On with the Tour de Quilts. Moving faster now…   African Sunflower by Peggy DeLaVergne:

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Autumn Leaves by Nancy Ryan reminded me of the fall I long for in Indiana…

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Head 7 by Diane Siebels was a depiction of the merging of human beings with the constant influx of data:

Head 7

Head 7

Head 7 Close-up

Head 7 Close-up

Pseudo Lunar Topography by Meggan Czapiga:

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It Takes a Village by Susan Bleiweiss:

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

Suburban Nest by Sara Sharp in Austin, Texas.  The inspiration for this quilt was when the artist noticed that sparrows had built a nest in a commercial sign on the Nest building. 🙂  The 3-D effect of the nest is adorable in person.

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Beauty in the Darkness – Artist Kim Boroway:

Beauty in the Darkness

Beauty in the Darkness

Nannette and I broke for lunch upstairs where ladies just share large round tables.

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There we met Debbie Wick of Elmira, New York, the artist for the following luscious quilts in the Primitive/Folk Art Style.  Maggie Grace’s Garden (design by Di Ford-Hall) took two years to complete, and is hand pieced, appliqued, and quilted.

Maggie Grace's Garden

Maggie Grace’s Garden

Another amazing quilt by Debbie is Cottage Garden by Blackbird Designs.  Hand appliqued!

Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden

In the same traditional category is Folk Art Flowers by Paula Wexler.  Hand appliqued and hand quilted.  Using many different fabrics, her challenge was limiting it to just four colors.

Folk Art Flowers

Folk Art Flowers

The artists are Unknown for the following beauties.

Flower Garden Star

Flower Garden Star

A Path Through the Flower Garden

A Path Through the Flower Garden

An especially colorful and delightfully kaleidoscopic type quilt is the Millefiori.  The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers).  Enjoy!

My Butterfly Garden by Dawn Monk of Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom.  It took fourteen months and is hand-pieced with 150 different fabrics.

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Dawn Monk explaining her quilt.

Dawn Monk explaining her quilt.

La Passacaglia:  Sometimes More Is More, hand-pieced by Mary Althaus.

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An award-winning Texas’ Guilds Traditional Quilt is Sunshine by Judy Wolff from Lincoln, Texas.  This quilt has 80,402 pieces!  Wish you could see it in person.

Sunshine

Sunshine

In the category of Art-Naturescapes:

Sunkissed by Theresa Olson from Port Saint Lucia, Florida.

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The Innovative Applique division offered:

Moonflower by Molly Hamilton Mcnally of Tehachapi, California.  Her inspiration was “the humble daisy.”

Moonflower

Moonflower

Tulip Fields by Anna Faustino of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.  The black outline was cut freehand.  The vibrant colors were inserted between the batting and the cut black, then fused into place.  Her inspiration was Hollands’ tulips.  Love this quilt!

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Birds Fly… by Barbara Lies, Wheaton, Illinois.  The openwork bars are a hand and machine applique process developed by the artist.

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In the American Tradition category is El Camino Serenade by Denise Nelms of Irvine, California.

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“Sarah’s Revival in Blue” by Gail Smith from Barrington, Illinois, is hand appliqued from a Sue Garman design.  Huge quilt that is stunning!

Sarah's Revival in Blue

Sarah’s Revival in Blue

Quilts de Legende category offers “Illusion d’Optique” by Anne-Marie Sierra of Paris, France.  Another large masterpiece!

Illlusion d'Optique

Illlusion d’Optique

The Innovative Pieced category included “Quahadi” by Marla Kay Yeager of Ava, Missouri.  This quilt was five years in the making.

Quahadi

Quahadi

One of my favorite sections is the Art Whimsical Category.  Of course, I was first attracted to the Golden Retriever…

Obsession by Tonya Littman of Denton, Texas, even bordered the bottom with miniature tennis balls!

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Grace Sim quilted an original design inspired by coloring books and Swarovski crystals called iColor Longhorn.

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iColor Longhorn close-up

iColor Longhorn close-up

A really cute and colorful quilt was designed by Cindy Cooksey of Irvine, California.  It’s called “The Innkeeper Wore Black” and it was inspired by a visit to a bed and breakfast.  It was a colorful B & B, with bold patterns on everything except the talkative innkeeper, who wore black.

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In the Patterns category:

“On the Same Page” by book lover, Linda Anderson of La Mesa, California.  Based on a photograph of a family member.  This is a huge quilt that is amazing in person.

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On the Same Page close-up

On the Same Page
close-up

Another in the Patterns category is “Tiles” by Cathie Hoover.  Her inspiration came from sidewalk tiles in Barcelona.

Tiles

Tiles

The next category is termed Hands All Around 2016 sponsored by Quilters Newsletter Magazine.

“Nature 1” by Bella Kaplan from Israel is based on the agricultural area where she lives.

Nature 1

Nature 1

A large quilt, “Portrait Noir” by Trish Morris-Plise from Nevada City, California, is a self-portrait.  The names of people who are important in her life, as well as events and places, are quilted into this quilt.

Portrait Noir

Portrait Noir

The Art Pictoral category offers quilts that are amazingly life-like.  Here are some examples.

“The Big Dry” by Camilla Watson of New Zealand.  “The Big Dry” in Australia lasted from 1937 to 1947.  Rivers ceased to flow and dust storms raged.  Many property owners were forced to leave with whatever items they could carry.  This quilt was based on a photograph taken by the artist’s father.

The Big Dry

The Big Dry

“Lazy Afternoon” by Hiroko and Masanobu Miyama of Tokyo, Japan.

Lazy Afternoon

Lazy Afternoon

“Cat Tails” by Pat Durbin, Arcata, California is clever.  Love this!  A cat tail among cat tails…

Cat Tails

Cat Tails

“Ay-Cock-A-Doodle-Doo” by Deborah Bradley of Kingwood, Texas.  The artist’s dear friend had lost her father but still had all of his ties.  So the artist used the ties to create a memory quilt honoring her friend’s father, Byron Wolverton Aycock.

Ay-Cock-A-Doodle-Doo

Ay-Cock-A-Doodle-Doo

“The Venetian” by Jan Soules, Elk Grove, California, was inspired by the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

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“Wheat Field” by Melissa Burdon of New Zealand.

Wheat Field

Wheat Field

Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting and Traditional Applique category included:

“The A-E-I-O Ewes” by Janet Stone of Overland Park, Kansas, a beautiful and clever quilt.  The title came to her while lying awake in bed. 🙂  The fabrics are hand-dyed by her friend, Gilbert Muniz.

The A-E-I-O Ewes

The A-E-I-O Ewes

“Fruits of Labor” by Liza Harrison of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

The Fruits of Labor

The Fruits of Labor

“Fantasy Flower” by Keiko Ike, Kochi, Kochi, Japan.

Fantasy Flower

Fantasy Flower

“Z is for Zinnia, C is for Cosmos” by Kathie Kerler, Portland, Oregon.

Z is for Zinnia, C is for Cosmos

Z is for Zinnia, C is for Cosmos

Maybe it’s appropriate we end here with the z’s…  Say good-bye to our beautiful second home lobby

Hilton lobby

Hilton lobby

Say good-bye to our favorite relaxing spot by the water wall…

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And although you can’t see it here, parallel to the water wall is a mega Starbucks!  You served us well, Starbucks–we’ll see you next year!

And now I deposit all my treasures on the cutting table, waiting for me to sift through, organize, and get busy!

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Adventures in China

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Adventures in China

Last month, Rick and I explored China via Viking Cruises.  In preparation, months ahead we secured our Chinese visas, studied our China travel book, and added two apps onto our phones.  One app (Google Translate) translates Chinese writing into English as you hold your camera to it, and also translates verbally.  Currency Calculator app displays the currency exchange from yuan to dollars and vice versa (as well as many other currencies around the world.)

China was the furthest we had ever traveled and the most culturally diverse.  What an educational experience!  We met wonderful people, laughed a lot, learned a lot, formed new friendships, and saw sights we had only viewed through books and screens.

Our guide, Ray, was Chinese.

Ray, our guide

Ray, our guide

Ray is married and has a sixteen year old daughter.  He was fun, knowledgeable, responsible, and made our life easy, sharing his own candid insights along the way.  I never heard him duck a question, and there were plenty from our lively group!

The accommodations in each city were fantastic.  Here is an example of our hotel in Beijing, a city of 22 million people.  I guess one of my surprises about China was how modern, commercial, and beautiful the cities are.

The Kerry Hotel - Beijing

The Kerry Hotel – Beijing

While unpacking, I turned on the TV and what do you know?  China’s version of America’s Got Talent!

Chinese TV

Our first group outing in Beijing was Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  Tiananmen Square is 100 acres and the world’s largest public square, including Mao Zedong’s mausoleum, which you see behind Rick.  We visited on Rick’s birthday. 🙂

Birthday Boy in Tiananmen Square

Birthday Boy in Tiananmen Square

As we continued into the Forbidden City, we noted a large portrait of Mao Zedong, which looks like a very large photograph but is actually a painting.

Entrance to Forbidden City

Entrance to Forbidden City

Close-up of Mao Zedong painting.

Close-up of Mao Zedong painting.

Chairman Mao died in 1976 but his portrait is prominent across China, especially offering nostalgia to the elderly Chinese who often revere the communist leader and what they feel were secure values.

Entrance to Forbidden City

Entrance to Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was a great work-out, covering 720,000 square acres, and it seemed we covered most of it!  This was the home of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties from 1406 to 1911.

I want to say a word about restrooms…

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Once inside the Forbidden City, we were offered our first public restroom stop.  We had all heard about “squatters” and had been told that most public restrooms did offer a few “Western” toilets.  There were a few younger ladies in our group who opted to try a “squatter” but the rest of us stood in the “Western” line. 🙂  When it was my turn for the “Western,” suddenly a Chinese lady who appeared to be in charge of the restroom held a “squatter” door open, motioned, and shouted at me in Chinese.  I could only surmise that she had said, “Get in here, you chicken woman!”  So, not to appear intimidated, I chose to experience a squatter on my first day in China and get it over with.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  I will describe it for you.  It had a privacy door, as did all the toilets, thank goodness.  On the floor was something that resembled a shower pan and on the wall in front of me was a handle bar to hold when rising up.  I was wearing a dress, so I gave it my best shot.  I have bad knees.  It did not go well.  Messy and embarrassed, had we not all been pressed for time, I would have dug in my purse for pencil and paper and scribbled an Out of Order sign for future occupants.  The rest of the trip, I managed to snag a Western stall.

According to Ray, the Chinese regard Western toilets as unclean, because one person after another is sitting on that same space.  When asked what was in his home, he replied, “A Western toilet.”

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Inside the Forbidden City

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Corner Roof Detail

Corner Roof Detail

Ceiling Detail

Ceiling Detail

One issue we had to adjust to was jet lag due to a 12 hour time difference.  We were exhausted and yet in the evening we were entertained at the Red Theatre by a production of  The Legend of Kung Fu.

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Our second day presented the main reason we traveled to China–The Great Wall.  Chinese mythology claims that evil spirits can only travel in a straight line, hence the winding, undulating engineering feat.

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Once stretching for more than 6200 miles, the early 16th century Great Wall represented power and isolation.  Some sections today are in disrepair, but we were determined to conquer The Fourth Tower.  I had envisioned a very, very long meandering path.  And it was very, very long.  But not casually strolling flat…  We walked and then climbed, walked and climbed, to stone towers which would have housed a garrison of at least 100 soldiers.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

This picture portrays how steep the incline at various points.  Note the tourists hanging onto the rail both ascending and descending.  And the steps are varying sizes.

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Our experienced guide insisted we arrive at the wall in the early morning hours when the temperature was cool and the people were few.  Wise move.  After an hour, we reached our goal:

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Feeling elated and  victorious, we started back down, but I stopped to purchase a souvenir from this fascinating artist.

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Right before my eyes, he used a small stylus tool to chisel the Great Wall of China into a block of granite!  I will always cherish this treasure.

Back on the bus, we had time for a short nap before stopping at a jade factory.  I did not realize that jade can present as colors other than green, including lavender and black.  Of course, we could shop, and I now have jade earrings. 🙂

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Our last stop was the Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs.  Thirteen emperors were buried in mausoleums in this valley. Here are just of few of the many huge but intricate sculptures.

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That evening we were treated to a classic Chinese dish–Peking Duck carved tableside by our honorable chef at a famous Beijing restaurant.img_5077

One of the best outings was the day we enjoyed a rickshaw ride through Old Beijing.  Our caravan of rickshaws traveled on narrow alleyways through a quaint hutong neighborhood to a typical Chinese household.

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There a lady and her niece described life in their tight-knit community.  The younger girl demonstrated her talent for painting scenes inside tiny glass bottles which were available for purchase.  Commerce is alive and well, even in Old Beijing. 🙂

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Gentle neighborhood folk cherish their pets as we do.

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We continued through the Bell and Drum Square where a renowned hacky sack expert wowed us with his skills.

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And then we learned the art of tea service…  And yes, we purchased a tin of tea.

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The next morning we flew to Xian, China, and checked into another fabulous hotel.

The Hilton Xi'an

The Hilton Xi’an

One of the world’s richest and biggest cities during the Tang Dynasty, Xian was once the capital of China.  Today it is most famous for the ancient Terra Cotta Warriors discovered in 1976 when a farmer was digging a well.  The emperor of the Tang Dynasty had thousands of warriors sculpted to accompany him and protect him in the afterlife.  A visit to this archaeological find allowed us to use elevated walkways to view more than 8,000 life-sized warriors, chariots, and horses.  Imagine a structure like an airplane hangar, only football fields long.  The excavation site is displayed in all stages–completed sculptures,

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those in varying states of repair,

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and even ditches where we viewed scattered remains yet to be meticulously pieced together.

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The Terra Cotta Warriors site was one of the most fascinating displays I have ever seen in my entire life.

Later in the afternoon, we had time to take a walk around our hotel area, and since my friends and I play Mah Jongg, I was delighted to find groups playing this game of tiles that originated in China during the Qing Dynasty.

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And then, another amazing find…Starbucks with translations on the menu! 🙂

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In the evening we attended the Tang Dynasty dinner and show.

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On the drive back, we glimpsed the brightly lit city wall,

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and a beautiful community center.

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The next day we flew to Chongqing, China’s most important inland city.  We boarded our ship for the Viking Cruise on the Yangtze River.  As we sailed away, the city sights were breathtaking.

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Our first excursion from the ship was to Shibaozhai, China, where we visited a twelve story pagoda and climbed an interior spiral staircase to the revered temple.  First we crossed a swinging bridge.

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The Shibaozhai Temple

The Shibaozhai Temple

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View from the top

View from the top

That night as we sailed again, we traveled under a stunning bridge that changed color.

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The following day offered the Lesser Three Gorges Excursion.  We boarded a small sampan boat that cruised us into the most beautiful canyon with dramatic steep sides draped in lush greenery.

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We could see the hanging coffins of the Ba people.  Yes, they buried people on the mountainside.

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Honestly, I believe that was my favorite part of the whole trip.  So very beautiful and relaxing.  Or maybe it was just because it was one of the few times I remember seeing sunshine.  Think I was having sunshine deprivation.

Back on the ship, we could watch painting demonstrations,

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or even take Mah Jongg classes.

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The next excursion was to the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world.

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And that night we entered a series of locks.

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The massive doors closed behind us.img_5532

Luckily, I am not claustrophobic.  Several other boats were in the locks with us at the same time.

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Since I am a retired teacher, I loved our next excursion to an elementary school in Jingzhou, China.  Viking sponsors the school and the children loved performing for us.  Their giggles and friendships proved that children are the same the world over.  They could just as well have been my former fourth grade students.

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One of the most appealing aspects of the five days on the ship was the traffic on the river.  I was not expecting to see other boats and ships all day and night long.  Nice surprise.  Small boats to container ships–I love them all!  Some nights I would wake up, go out on our little balcony, and watch the ships go by. 🙂

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Before we disembarked, we were invited to visit the ship’s bridge.  Right up my alley, er… river.

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In Wuhan, China, we visited the Hubei Museum and listened to the lovely chimes and bells performance.

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We flew on to Shanghai, China, where our last hotel was even more spectacular.

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The Westin Bund, Shanghai

Night view from our room.

Night view from our room.

The hotel was located by the famous Bund district, the city’s elegant riverfront promenade.

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Shanghai is the largest city in China, 25 million people, a modern metropolis and center of finance.  Here are some building views across the river, including the second tallest building in the world, and the building Tom Cruise swung from in “Mission Impossible.”

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Second tallest building in the world.

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We struck out on our own for an evening river tour, but first we grabbed a bite at McDonald’s with a touch menu. 🙂

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Shanghai’s after dark skyline.

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We strolled the winding paths and narrow lanes of Old Shanghai, shopped, then stopped for lunch at a delicious dim sum restaurant.

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After lunch we stopped at a silk carpet and embroidery workshop to witness an ancient craft.  The carpets seen hanging in the background were created by the loom process the young lady is crafting in the foreground.

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Although the following works of art look like paintings, they are actually fine silken threads embroidered onto silk fabric.

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In the evening we marveled at a breathtaking show by the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.

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A perfect way to bring our thirteen day tour to a close.  We jetted the 15 hour trip home filled with fabulous memories!

Business is Booming!

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Business is Booming!

How happy I am to announce that Business is Booming!  A HUGE shout-out to the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas, who will now be displaying and selling my bags!  I am supremely honored to be a part of their fabulous organization.  Julie, the Museum Director, shares my love of lush fabric and we had a marvelous time deciding which of my bags would complement upcoming museum exhibits.  The museum is comprised of several galleries showcasing masterpiece quilts.  Leaders in the international quilt community display and lecture in the historic buildings from 1890.  Exhibits from all over the world change every three months.  For gardeners and garden lovers, Grandmother’s Flower Garden is adjacent to the museum which is a period garden that would be typical of Central Texas flower gardens around 1890.  A 13 x 85 foot mural, depicting 15 traditional 19th century quilts, adorns the outdoor garden wall of the museum.  Not to mention, there is a wonderful quilt shop right next door to the museum.  What more could you want?  If you need more information, just visit texasquiltmuseum.org.

And now let me show you the latest bags from It’s Sew Anny Designs.  Sapphire & Diamonds

You just can’t beat a lovely clutch.  Based on an Ali Foster design, I paired a royal blue crushed velvet with a lime green suede to create “Sapphire and Diamonds.”  The interior is Dupioni silk from SoHo Fabrics.  Adorned with a faux mother of pearl and rhinestone broach, she’s ready to party!  Yes, she was difficult to part with, but she’s already been adopted. 🙂

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Velvet Gold was fashioned from an olive/golden velvety fabric I discovered at the Round Top Antique Festival.  Complementing the floral paisley is a velvet green bow formed from Mood Fabric that I purchased in L.A.  (More about that trip later…)  The handles had been in my stash for a time, waiting for just the right bag.  The pattern was from Charlie’s Aunt called “The Brief Encounter” bag.  It was the first time I’d used this pattern and I know it won’t be the last.  Love it!

You see two views of the bag called “Inside Out” which is completely reversible.  I even added a pocket on each side.  One handle simply loops through the other for easy access, and you have a lightweight functional bag that offers two colors and designs for a versatile accessory. Fabrics from Cowgirls and Lace, Dripping Springs.

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Welcome Fall with Autumn Gold!  She’s a marriage of golden hues from Michael Levine (Los Angeles) and Cowgirls and Lace.  The Chemisette Handbag is a pattern from Craftapple Designs and is a delight to sew!  I had the perfect flower to enhance autumn tones so I simply added a broach pin to the back and the bag was complete.  The perfect size for those daytime jaunts.

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“Chocolate Luxe” is a plush bag made from a watercolor chocolate velvet from Mood Fabrics.  Dripping beads, a jeweled emblem, and a lush faux fur collar all combine to make this one of my all-time favorites.  This is my personal design, “The Jenny Bag.”

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An Amy Barickman pattern, the Rachel Bag, is one that uniquely opens from a zipper in the back.

I chose to call her “Lucy Goes to Town” and a close-up of the zipper pull reveals a little lady with her purse and heels on just ready to Go To Town. 🙂

I created another version called “Chasing Sunny” with a red suede handle and a zipper pull that adds a bit of bling with a rhinestone key.  The red faux crocodile fabric was discovered at Fabric Decor in Houston.  I used a golden faux leather to design the flower with a center button from Tender Buttons on New York’s Upper East Side.  This is why you must purchase items you fall in love with when you travel.  #l) You’ll eventually use them and/or fondly recall the happy memory of said travels, and,  #2) If you don’t bring them home, you may be longingly recalling the “one that got away.”  Some things just bring you joy. 🙂

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Oh, my, oh my…  I should have kept this bag.  The fabric is another version of that silky velvet, only this time it is a teal blue from High Fashion Fabrics in Houston.  The band is a velvet suede-like fabric from Michael Levine, L.A.  The leather flower was also purchased at Michael Levine.  I happened to have the perfect shade of blue beads in my stash.  Happy Day!

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A while back I discovered this magnificent fabric just rolled up on a table at High Fashion like someone forgot it.  No one claimed it and I happily  snapped it up.  I have enjoyed making two purses from the textured medallion embroidery.  This one is named “Tribal Fibers” and I enhanced it with a fringed leather key fob.  The handles looked appropriately rustic to me so I fashioned loops to accommodate them.  The faux ostrich is another Michael Levine purchase from our L.A. trip.

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This time the medallion fabric was paired with a faux embossed leather from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs.  The leather handles were from Shirley in Switzerland purchased on the internet.  Adorning the bag with a little lady swinging from repurposed jewelry gave it a whole different vibe.  I named it “Maddie Medallion.”  Both bags were created from a pattern by ithinksew.com.img_4744

“Vintage Autumn” is such a sweet bag.  I feel like the handles have a vintage vibe, as well as the jeweled flower.  I believe the beautifully textured fabric was from Britex in San Francisco.  Beadwork is from Interior Fabrics in Houston.  And the pattern is another Ali Foster, called the Lucy Tote.

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I chose to name this bag “Royal Velvet.”  It is a mini Jenny bag, fashioned from a rich velvety fabric from Mood in L.A.  The Greek coin button was found at International Quilt Festival, as well as the handles from Studio Mio.  The tassel trim is from Interior Fabrics.  An ensemble from many “in search of fabric” trips. 🙂

So, as you see, I’ve been mega busy.  But, another very happy aspect to my growing business is Cheryl.  Cheryl is a friend who has joined in my venture and is not new to the sewing world.  She is a former entrepreneur in the custom dress shop field.  You should have seen us last week as she cut and pressed and I designed and sewed.  We are an awesome team!

Cheryl is a lady of many talents.  She will live here and pet sit for us while we are in China.  China? you say.  Yes, I need silk.  Just joking–it was on our bucket list to stand on the Great Wall.  But will I cast glances in hope of fabric for sale?  You betcha!

Until the next adventure tales,

Love, Anny

 

 

 

 

 

Mediterranean Memories

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Two weeks before the senseless tragedy in Nice, France, we were enjoying the Promenade for three days before our ship set sail for a Mediterranean cruise.  You may recognize these locations from our hotel window as the same ones you viewed on your TV news:

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I still think about all the wonderful people we met there, some whose names I do not know, and pray that they are all survivors.  Nannette, Bill, Rick, and I purchased paintings from an artist in Old Town, met lovely souls in restaurants, wineries, and our hotel.  I also took time to search out Toto, a fabric store near our hotel, at 14-16 Rue Malaussena.  Brightly colored fabric I can use next season.  Large store and lovely people.

Since we were on a wine cruise, our group enjoyed an excursion to the Chateau de Cremat, about 30 minutes from Nice.  Coco Chanel visited the estate many times in the 1920’s, a guest of a prominent  American socialite hosting lavish parties for the jet set.  As a result of their friendship, he gifted the logo of the two interlocking C’s which is seen throughout the estate, and now belongs exclusively to Chanel.  

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After our three days in Nice, we were transported to Monte Carlo.  Yes, we visited the lavish Casino, and all I could think of was, “Daniel Craig stood on this very balcony.” 🙂  Eye candy everywhere, luxurious yachts, stunning surroundings, and home of the Grand Prix.

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We boarded our Oceania ship, the Riviera, and woke the next morning docked in France.  A private guide (who was absolutely amazing) met us and we drove to Arles.  Arles is in Provence, where Van Gogh stayed for a few years prolifically painting.  Gauguin joined him, and the two got along famously at first, painting by day and frequenting the bars and brothels at night.  Until an evening a few months later, when the two were having drinks at the cafe, and Van Gogh threw his glass of absinthe (a 68% alcohol liqueur banned in most countries now) at Gauguin.  As Gauguin walked away, Vincent chased him brandishing a razor and Gauguin left town.  You guessed it–this was the night Van Gogh later cut off his own ear and delivered it to Rachel at the brothel, saying, “Treasure this precious object.”

Van Gogh's "Cafe la Nuit"

Van Gogh’s “Cafe la Nuit”

The Cafe, in the Forum Square, is one of many stops on the Van Gogh trail, where they’ve placed reproductions of his canvases at the very sights where he painted.  A highlight of my trip, standing on that spot and feeling those artistic vibrations. 🙂

Arles is also home to Roman ruins (which we also saw in Spain.)  Seen here, a Roman classical theatre, which is still used for productions today.

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The Roman Arena, or Amphitheatre, held gladiators fighting wild animals, and today they still hold “bullgames” here.  I was happy to know that only twice a year is the bull allowed to be killed, but that’s twice too many for me…

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We enjoyed lunch at a typical French cafe, then proceeded to Aix-en-Provence to visit Paul Cezanne’s studio.

Exterior Cezanne's Studio

Entrance to Cezanne’s Studio

Much the way he left it, preserved as it was when he died.

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What an honor to be strolling around in his actual studio.  I wish I had a better photograph of his Wall of Windows.

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And the letter he wrote to Monet, apologizing for leaving Paris so quickly, and thanking him for his support.

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The following day, our ship arrived in Corsica, France, birthplace of Napoleon.  IMG_3657

A very beautiful island, apparently a filming location for The Longest Day.

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In the afternoon we attended a wine seminar aboard the ship.  This was a Schramsberg Wine sponsored tour. 🙂  Mmm, yes, sparkling wine is their specialty…  My favorite!  The ship sailed at night and every day we awoke in a different location.  So it was on to Sardinia…

We experienced a segway tour the following day in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.  Segwaying is a great way to sightsee.  Smoothly sailing along, while your tour guide offers history through a headset.

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Then it was back to the ship for another wine seminar.  Oh, yeah!

More wine the following day, as we docked in the port of Palma de Mallorca.

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And traveled to two wineries.  The first was Bodegas Ribas, established in 1711, where we met the owner, who led our tour and tastings.  Later we indulged in a special alfresco wine-paired lunch in the beautiful hacienda courtyard.

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Traveling on to the Mesquida Mora Winery, we met Barbara Mesquida, a fourth generation winemaker.  After eight years of partnering with her brother, she struck out on her own to establish this winery where she is 100% committed to “natural” wine without added sulfites.  You know, in addition to being organic, this process greatly helps to eliminate headaches and hangovers. Just sayin’…

Presenting Barbara with a Schramsberg wine.

Presenting Barbara with a Schramsberg wine.

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Our next excursion was a tour of Ibiza, Spain, beginning with the salt flats in Las Salinas, and then on to the enchanting town of San Jose.

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14th Century Parish Church

14th Century Parish Church

San Antonio was next, which featured a yacht-laden harbor, many boutiques, and a beautiful palm-lined promenade.

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Arriving in San Miguel, we savored a delightful lunch of paella at Jardin del Mar.

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We strolled through Santa Eulalia, a picturesque cultural center and resort area.

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You wouldn’t believe the Las Boas Building, apartments by Architect Jean Nouvel.  They have arranged rainbow-inspired colored balconies of flowers.

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And finally, leaving Ibiza was almost as scenic as arriving.

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Our last full day in Spain was spent in Valencia where we explored the restored Central Market.  The market is bathed in natural light from glass domes and colorful window panels.

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Constructed in 1238, St. Mary’s Cathedral or Valenica Cathedral, is awe inspiring.  One of those “you have to see it to believe it.”

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But the piece de resistance:

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Most Christian historians the world over declare that all evidence points to this Valencian chalice as the most likely candidate for being the authentic cup used at the Last Supper–it has been defended as the true Holy Grail!

What a way to complete our journey!  And back to the ship, it was a wine-paired farewell dinner.  You’re probably wondering how I even remember these details with so much wine.  I take notes. 🙂  My all-time favorite trip, and we are looking forward to the next Schramsberg Cruise!

Safe Summer Travels to All!

Anny

 

Purses Have Feelings Too…

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When my sister and I were little girls on a road trip vacation from Indiana to Texas, we would bring toys in the car, of course.  One of our favorites was the game Cootie.  With Cootie, the object was to be the first to build a bug-like object using a variety of plastic body parts.  Unfortunately, while traveling through Arkansas, one of the body parts landed out the car window.  Now it only made sense to us that if a body part was laying out on the ground in a far away state, we would have to deliberately throw out another body part to keep that one company.  Everything has feelings…

All that being said is to introduce you to a few bags that were created last year and didn’t make it into the blog.  We wouldn’t want a bag to have its feelings hurt, would we?  So before I go off to a therapy session, here are the omitted bags. 🙂

I actually made two bags from a Charlie’s Aunt pattern called the High Tea Clutch Bag.  The first one I call “She Wore Blue Velvet.”  The velvet, inside and out, is from Mood Fabrics.  Then I added a beaded ribbon.

She Wore Blue Velvet

She Wore Blue Velvet

The other is titled “Hidden Butterfly.”  That’s because I randomly sewed two little metal butterflies to the front, along with an upcycled jewelry piece.  I believe the fabric was from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco and has lovely textured suede flowers on ivory linen.

Hidden Butterfly

Hidden Butterfly

Next is a bag that was sold before it was even placed on the shelf–“Confetti Candy.”  I’m showing both front and back to display a variety of fabrics and trims.  On the front side I used a suede-like tangerine fabric from Mood.  Added to the front was a pocket of Kaffe Fassett floral with colorful popcorn fringe and a sparkling pink broach from Trims on Wheels.   The reverse side featured a magenta upholstery weight fabric from High Fashion, with a ribbon embellishment from Renaissance Ribbons.  Surrounding the bag is multicolor confetti loop fringe from Cowgirls and Lace.  The pattern is one of my favorites from Cindy Taylor Oates.

Confetti Candy

Confetti Candy

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“Venetian Dream” is created from my original pattern, The Jenny Bag.  The fabric, from Michael Levine in L.A., is embellished with a heavily beaded trim and an elegant tassel.

Venetian Dream

Venetian Dream

I wanted to try my hand at using new purse hardware, which is what attracted me to a purse kit and pattern by Penny Sturges and Darci Wright found at Quilt Festival last fall.  It turned out well, and I learned to install a twist lock closure.  The pattern is Mini Messenger, and I named the bag “Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Last year, after viewing gypsy bags on Pinterest, I was inspired to design a romantic creation.  “Gypsy Rose” is fashioned from the magenta fabric used on Confetti Candy, a coordinating pink faux ostrich, and a leather flower from Michael Levine.  It features a multicolor loop fringe from Cowgirls and Lace, a pocket of antique cut velvet, and a strap of vintage moss green velvet and leopard.  I still have not parted with this purse.

Gypsy Rose

Gypsy Rose

One of the most popular patterns I use is the Rachel Bag from Bag Boutique by Amy Barickman.   I wish I could remember where I purchased the zebra–perhaps Interior Fabrics in Houston.  The purse is accessed through a zipper down the backside and carried by a simple black bamboo handle.  The back features an organdy ribbon attaching a rhinestone heart-shaped key, hence the name “Wild at Heart.”  To create the front embellishment, I layered two buttons and looped over a silky black tassel.

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart

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By the Sea is a fun bag I created from scraps of thick tropical themed fabric from a local Galveston upholsterer, distressed denim from Indygo Junction, faux ostrich from Michael Levine, and a plush vintage velvet ribbon from Los Angeles Antiques.  I sewed small beads on the eyes of the seahorses, and the crab and fish on the back.  The pattern is from Kati Cupcake Pattern Company and has twelve pockets. Such a challenge it was, using grommets with heavy thick fabric.  The problem is, the grommets are added at the very end, so you’re basically cutting large holes in your finished bag, and hoping that the grommets install properly.  And it’s actually hard to cut with your fingers crossed! 🙂

By The Sea

By The Sea

Cowgirl Chic was fashioned from faux cowhide and leather from Cowgirls and Lace.  The lush fringe was from Interior Fabrics in Houston.  Not sure I can part with this bag, either.

Cowgirl Chic

Cowgirl Chic

The last two bags really are for me.  They will accompany me on a Mediterranean Cruise this summer.  I needed a hands-free, cross-body bag for shore excursions.  Not large–just large enough for essentials.  The perfect pattern for this is the Chattisham Clutch Bag from Charlie’s Aunt.  Bright red faux crocodile is from Fabric Decor in Houston.  I did not embellish it, as the fabric speaks for itself.  The zebra bag’s flap is sewn from a vintage crushed velvet found on Etsy, and the ruby bauble is upcycled jewelry.

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Tomorrow my granddaughter, Madison, arrives.  She just earned her driver’s license, so when we’re not beaching, shopping, or creating, I’m sure she will be happy to chauffeur us anywhere we travel. And until next time, happy summer travels to you!

Love, Anny