Tag Archives: Garment District

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.

img_7087The atmosphere was festive and beautifully decorated.

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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!

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WILD CHILD

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Artwalk Galveston was awesome!  Purses were sold and I was privileged to meet the clients who purchase and enjoy my wares!  Since the show I’ve been loosey goosey on sewing.  Both Gracie and Madison visited independently and Gracie made some colorful clothes for her treasured pet collection.  Madison and I took a class in Burlap Flower Making and created all these and more:

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I could attach these to headbands, purses, picture frames, etc.  Speaking of picture frames, I also managed a frame transformation in a furniture restoration class using Amy Howard paint.  I plan to take the follow-up class where you actually bring a small piece of furniture and transform it.  (You know I salvage from the alley when appropriate.) 🙂

Picture frame Before

Picture frame BEFORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture frame AFTER

Picture frame AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madison and I also visited thrift shops.  I wish I had taken a before/after pic of the t-shirt that Maddie upcycled!  So cool!  We both bought place mats to turn into clutches.  Hers worked really well.  Here is an exterior and interior shot.   She sewed the interior with several pockets and partitions with velcro closures.

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My place mat purse was made from straw and was so stiff it will be used as a file folder. 🙂  Besides researching purse patterns and fabrics, I upholstered a chair and accomplished some mending.  Not my favorite thing!  But thinking ahead to fall, I have sewn one bag that I call Wild Child.  The exterior is a soft yet sturdy floral velveteen that has a sixties vibe, with an interior of aqua moire.

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WILD CHILD

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On the travel front, I managed to visit my favorite city in the world one more time–NYC!  If you’re a fan of Tim Gunn’s Project Runway, you’ll appreciate the following:

SWATCH--Mood Fabrics Mascot!

Still pinned from Project Runway!!!

Still pinned from Project Runway!!!

Shades of Project Runway

Shades of Project Runway

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SWATCH–Mascot of Mood Fabrics

Other than a visit to Mood Fabrics, I tried to incorporate new adventures.  Tender Buttons is a little shop on the Upper East Side that is top to bottom just buttons, and I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Two tours of New York City that I would highly recommend:

1) If you are a fan of Law and Order (and who isn’t), please take the Law and Order Walking Tour of Manhattan.  It is led by a real, retired NYPD detective who has written a book of true crime stories and a guide to true crime sites.  OH!!  And while he was showing us Central Booking, a town car pulls up and two detectives lead a real handcuffed suspect into the door where every arrested person must enter–from petty thieves to terrorists!  Trust me–you will enjoy this tour!

Central Booking

Central Booking

2) If you love awesome food (and who doesn’t) you’ll be so glad you booked the NOLITA/NOHO Food and Culture Tour through Foods of New York tours.  We were led to the most scrumptious food sites imaginable and given samples at each one!

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As you can tell, this tour started with dessert and ended with dessert–my kind of tour! 🙂  Both of these tours incorporated history through real life stories to keep it even more interesting.

I’ve been a little behind on blogging for the following reasons:

Oh, let’s face it–I’ve just been having fun!  More to come, with reports on Colorado, Italy, and the fabric I might find there!

Ciao!

Anny

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in NYC

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Jennifer, Madison and Grayson accompanied Grandpa and I on an incredible Thanksgiving Week in the BIG APPLE!  Although Jen had been before, it was awesome seeing wondrous sites through Madison and Gracie’s eyes.Even though we arrived in the evening, we still had time to

IMG_4859Visit BLOOMINGDALE’S

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And ride the ROOSEVELT TRAM with an incredible view, and visit DYLAN’S CANDY BAR  before having a 9:30 p.m. dinner at

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SERENDIPITY which was magnificently decked out for the Holidays!  (Wish I had a pic of the their famed fabulous frozen hot chocolate!  We ordered four!)

So next it was back to home base in TIMES SQUARE where it looked like daylight, of course, and shopping ensued.  Did you realize that the TOYS R US store in Times Square has a huge Ferris Wheel inside the store?

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Apparently, we were still living on Central Time (and more than a little NYC adrenaline) so we opted to taxi over to the

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EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

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Last elevator to the top is at 1:15 a.m. 🙂

Finally, ready for rest, we headed for our rooms that someone is going to LOVE on New Year’s Eve, because we faced the crystal ball that will be dropping at midnight.  Rick and I witnessed this magnificent spectacle in Times Square at the Millennium!  So exciting!

The View from Room 2636 at the Marriott Marquis

The View from Room 2636 at the Marriott Marquis

The following day we had the daylight city view from the TOP OF THE ROCK in ROCKEFELLER CENTER.  After visiting AMERICAN GIRL, Gracie watched scaffolding being placed for The Tree decorating.  And then Jen and I (like so many others) took our turn at posing with New York City’s Finest!

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Then it was off to the AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY…

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The famous Origami Christmas Tree

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Posing with Theodore, just like Night at the Museum!

Later in the afternoon, we hopped over to F.A.O SCHWARZ and spied some awesome window decorations on FIFTH AVENUE.

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Here’s an example of the intricacies from BERGDORF GOODMAN.  Just amazing!

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Sometimes a drizzle creates a dreamy effect, as in this example of contemporary meets classic: The Apple Store with THE PLAZA HOTEL in the background.


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That evening we attended the musical, ANNIE, which was utterly charming, even for adults.  The scenery and costumes were magical, the dialogue was witty, and the dog all but stole the show! 🙂  Afterward we hurried over to Grand Central Terminal for a late dinner in the balcony of CIPRIANI DOLCI overlooking the terminal.  What a view!

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On Wednesday morning it was still drizzling and cold so we experienced the STATUE OF LIBERTY from the STATEN ISLAND FERRY. 🙂

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By evening the rain had stopped and we were invited to a Blowing Up the Balloons cocktail party on the Upper West Side.  The THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE floats were anchored all around the block like elephants on parade.  Here are a few you’ll recognize.

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On Thursday, after the parade, we had our Thanksgiving Dinner atop the MARRIOTT MARQUIS  at a restaurant that revolves, hence its name, the VIEW.  The never-ending buffet was simply scrumptious.  I started with dessert and ended with dessert!

After dinner we visited the CENTRAL PARK ZOO.  It was delightful but mighty chilly.  We wimpy Texans entered the tropical bird zone, then saw other animals, then tropical bird zone, then other animals, for our off-and-on-again heating system! Beautiful but Brrrr…

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For an evening of fun, we boarded THE RIDE, a sightseeing bus that interacts with entertainers on the street.  It’s like Gray Line Tours meets Saturday Night Live. 🙂

So did I ever shop for fabric you ask?  Why, yes.  Friday was our last day, so after encouraging the others to sleep in, I headed to MOOD FABRICS!  Project Runway!!!  Times Square isn’t far from the GARMENT DISTRICT so I taxied over and fell in love!  After reminding myself that I didn’t have to choose my fabric in 30 minutes or less (ala Project Runway show) I let my heart browse and selected the most delectable pin dot velvet.  You’ll see it in future purses!  Some hand-painted buttons, heavily pleated bright orange polyester for flowers, and I just had time to snap a pic before heading back.  You know how they always show the stairway when the contestants walk in the door?    Here it is…right under the Mood sign…

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The clerk said filming is in the summer, their slower season.  An elevator attendant takes you up to the third floor and then you enter MOOD!  So classy!  I was so pumped, I walked back to the hotel.

We almost didn’t take time to visit the METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART but I’m so thankful we did.  We all enjoyed it, from the Egyptian Exhibit, to suits of armor, to Washington Crossing the Delaware!

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Our next stop was the 911 MEMORIAL.  Very, very touching and beautiful.  Dress warmly!

The newly finished building.

The newly finished building.

The Memorial Wall.

The Memorial Wall.

We couldn’t leave New York without a visit to LITTLE ITALY.  We had a lovely dinner at CAFE NAPOLI, then a few doors down, visited The Cannoli King of New York City at CAFE PALERMO!  Um, um, good!!  Cannoli and Hot Chocolate completes the evening!

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Have you hugged a cannoli today?

 

Pivoting in Downtown L.A.

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Well, I’m two days post op from minor knee surgery–tear of the medial meniscus.  Doctor O’Neill says my left knee probably was aggravated by a lot of pivoting motion.  Pivoting?  So the final blow to my knee was from mucho pivoting??  Hmm, I don’t play sports, I’m not what you’d call athletic these days, and my only real exercise is going to Curves.  But wait–!  Where was I last month when it really starting hurting so much more?  That’s right–L.A.  And here’s where the pivots come in.  As I explore the Fashion District in Downtown L.A.  I see—a fabric store–pivot–another fabric store–pivot–a trim store–pivot–more fabric–pivot–pant pant–well, you get the picture. 🙂  I was in Fabric Heaven and this blog entry is to share with my fellow fabric lovers.

It actually started even before we left Galveston.  I was purchasing vintage velvet ribbons from a fabulous Etsy Shop, Rosa’s Creations, and I realized the seller was in L.A.  I contacted the seller and decided to pay her store a visit where I could actually see all the ribbons she had to offer.  Oh My!  What a wonderland of vintage ribbons, antiques, and linens!  I worked with Ashley, who was so very gracious, and before long I had a luscious treasure trove of exquisite velvet ribbons.  (I couldn’t even bring myself to check them through baggage on our return flight.  I managed to fit them into my carry on bag!  No parting with those beauties! )

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Shortly after returning to Galveston, I fashioned what I’m calling the “Spend the Night Bag.”  This bag (a variation of my Anny Bag pattern) came together larger than I intended but it’s a fabulous travel bag.  Very sturdy straps with metal rings, six pockets inside, as well as another interior cross/bag secure strap and magnetic closure.   The fabrics are from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs, Texas.  Ruffles are a velvety upholstery weight, as well as a wonderfully textured faux crocodile turquoise band and strap.  But as I finished the bag, I realized it needed a certain something.  Velvety upholstery=velvet ribbon, right?  So, as scary as it was to actually CUT  aaaaahhh!  that sumptuous vintage velvet ribbon, I held my breath and reached for the scissors.  Hallelujah!  This was exactly what my creation was calling for!  And in the second picture, feast your eyes on the whole array of ribbons from that beautiful collection.  I’m sure you’ll see them in future creations as well.

After the visit to Rosa’s shop, what do you think I spied across the street?  MOOD Fabrics!!!!  Yes, except for NYC, this is the only other Mood Fabrics store!  As seen on Project Runway, this store is beyond belief.  The pictures do not do it justice.  It’s simply indescribable, and the staff was very courteous and helpful.  Wish I could just helicopter you all in to see for yourselves, but these pics will have to do.

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I hope you can enlarge that first picture to see the detail, but keep in mind that you’re only seeing half of the store.  If  you could look the other direction, you would see a similar scene.  Nirvana!  The second pic is just a sampling of the vast assortment of beautiful embellishments they offer. In the third pic you will see exquisite patterned silk velvets that I actually mustered the courage to cut recently. Yikes!  And, yes, I’ve also used one of those gorgeous hand-painted buttons.  Here is a recent bag (an Ali Foster pattern) that I styled with one of those sweet buttons.

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This blue leopard fabric has an ultra-suede feel to it.  The interior is a hot pink satin with pockets.  Embellished with a feathery row of black roses,  a black tassel, and hand-painted button on the reverse side.  Love this pattern and can’t wait to fashion yet another bag with it.

On the third day of our vacation, we headed right into downtown, L.A.  The Fashion District there is akin to NYC.  Blocks and blocks of nothing but fabric and trim stores.  (Hence the pivoting and pivoting and….)  Avant Trims  provided some beautiful embellishments, including the brooch that I added to a previous bag.  And Roma Deco had luscious fabrics including a multicolored over 100+ inch wide that I’ve already used for two linings.

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag...

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag…

Lining from Roma Decor Fabrics

Lining from Roma Deco Fabrics

More lush fabrics from Roma Decor

More lush fabrics from
Roma Deco

My favorite was  Michael Levine, a huge store that was having their month-end clearance sale.  Yeehaw!!  This Texas gal dug in and scoured every aisle.  I LOVE the discoveries I made, including these fantastic leather flowers and colorful faux ostrich fabrics!!

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Aren’t they fabulous?  Here is a mini-messenger bag utilizing both.  (And one of the hand-painted buttons as well.)

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This bag turned out so well, I can’t wait to make another!  You can bet your bottom dollar, I’ll be returning to Michael Levine on my next trip to L.A.  Thank goodness our son lives there!  When we weren’t shopping, we visited Bryan and his lovely lady friend, Liz. All in all, it was a fabulous trip.  And once again, Rick was such a trooper, taking his Kindle along and never complaining as I shopped to my heart’s content.  I am one lucky gal!

My final show-n-tell is yet another Ali Foster pattern that I love.  This fabric feels like someone embossed black suede onto white leather–nicely textured.  It styles so well with plenty of body to keep the shape of the purse.  The pattern called for sewn handles but I had some handles in my stash from a while back that I thought would work well.  So I just made some tabs to hold these handles.  A velvety, yet sturdy fabric created the bow.   Black and white damask with a zipper pocket complete the interior.  The pattern called for the bow to have a center of the same fabric but I liked the look of this rhinestone buckle.

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You probably wonder how this knee setback is going to affect my production of 15 or more bags for the Artwalk trunk show on Oct. 5.  Actually, I’m doing quite well (knock on wood) because I have now completed bag #13.  Whew!  Just writing about all this has tired me out.  I’m gonna go prop up this poor pivoted-out knee with some ice.  Until next time, HAPPY SEWING!

NEW YORK REVIEW

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Holy Smokes!!  I miss New York City!!  (The only thing I love to do as much as sewing is traveling. ) My daughter and I had a fabulous time exploring and taking tours.  Our hotel was right in Times Square where they were setting up for the New Year’s Eve celebration.  Needless to say, one of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Garment District.  Fabric stores everywhere–one after another!  We tried to visit Mood Fabrics (Project Runway digs) but they were closed for the holidays.  Regardless, I hit several shops and scored some outstanding trims and fabric.  Did you know they make navy blue fur trim??  Rose and gold crochet trim?  I was given a rather large piece of fur for free–just a remnant one store had tossed aside.  My fabric purchases included a navy blue/gold striped upholstery that will make a great satchel bag with that navy trim.  Also I found a beautiful moss green silk pleated fabric that will be perfect with some floral accessories for a spring bag.  I tried not to go overboard with the fabric and hoped they wouldn’t charge extra poundage for my luggage but I definitely brought enough home to have fun and will retain the business cards in case I go into withdrawal and need some more of that chic and unique NYC fabric!  In case you’d like to see photos of our trip, I will attach a few

Garment District

Sewing on the Button

.  Can’t wait to return to the Big Apple!

Up next, a wonderfully thoughtful idea from my granddaughter.  Stay tuned!