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December 2010
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February 2011

January 2011

Wandering through the Los Angeles fashion district.

Oilcloth rolls
If you're a sewist ... or do beading ... or can make a purse or shoes out of a beautiful piece of leather ... the fashion district in downtown LA is the place for you! After wandering through only four or five blocks of stores, my head was spinning! This is definately the place to be if you're a designer because you can put your hands on any number of beautiful components to take a project from ordinary to over-the-top!

I love the beginning of a project the best so these rolls of pattern making paper really called my name. Think of the potential just waiting for a pencil and scissors!

Lots of fabric for home decorating or dressmaking. You can see costumes or dresses waiting to spring out from the bolts of fabrics from all over the world. It was hard not to be distracted by all the pretty pieces ... I had no idea what I'd do with them but there were so many I'd love to take home!

There were so many styles of rose trim in just about every store that sold that kind of thing. I've seen the roses popping up in paper crafting and really like them so the more I saw the more seemed to appear!




Here's the outside of one of the stores we went in.

And here's the view from midway back in the store ... with even more behind me. Can you imagine? It's all trims and buttons and components like that. They had fabulous metal buttons that would be terrific for a store in White Bear Lake but too many choices made it overwhelming at the moment ... but I know my way back! I did buy some trims that had lace and twill and hooks and eyelets all together ... sort of the look you see in Steampunk or as trims on items from Urban Outfitters. They were really interesting and different.


Hem tape in more colors than I ever imagined.

A man was placing Swavorski crystals one-by-one on a design.



Miles of beads and charms and chains.

And everywhere you turned, something beautiful to catch your eye. But the big question of the day ... what exactly is "Lady Fabric"???


Worn and loved quilts!

After hibernating for what seemed like weeks, I decided that a little run to some antique stores was in order so we put that on our agenda last Sunday. First one was sort of disappointing but the second one had two floors of interesting things to look at ... and for some reason, a lot of quilts! I'm a big fan of dresden plate quilts so this one caught my eye. Don't the faded colors and the way the quilting bunches up the fabric just make you want to hug it?

Utility quilts are so interesting to look at. They always make me wonder who made them. Was it a kid that mom was trying to teach to sew ... or keep busy. Or was it Grandma whose eyes were failing a bit but who just couldn't stop sewing. Or a busy woman on a tight budget who needed warmth for her family. By the age of this quilt, I'm guessing no rotary cutting tools were used. The block is simple ... almost like a split rail ... but look at the one on the left side with the red fabric pieced in ... use it up and make do with what you have! This is the style of design 'modern sewists' are loving to use with the new contemporay fabric. I find a lot of the appeal to me is that the fabric isn't from a line but is more from the scrapbox.

So often you see tulips appliqued but this one caught my eye because it's pieced. Sort of. It was hard to figure out exactly how it was put together ... I liked it initially because of it's placement in a primitive setting and how it stood out. The colors of the border and binding are a bit brighter than what you'd normally think of for folk art but it worked!

The interesting feature of this quilt was that the blocks weren't quite all the same. They sort of looked alike but sort of didn't. I couldn't decide if there was a plan or if the creator was just using up fabric ... it was charming no matter what the intention! Wonder if it's still there ...

Appliqued and pieced feedsack quilt. Makes me think of April and new grass and flowers. And who doesn't need that today???

I love square-in-a-square style quilts ... this one ... well maybe not all of them were squares but they were fun to look at! There truly were no two blocks alike and really is a fantastic atempt at using up the scrapbag. It doesn't matter to me that the blocks aren't perfectly pieced or even square ... I doubt that a 'perfect' 1/4" was high up on the list for this quilter. What I am hoping, though, is that who ever made this enjoyed every single minute!

Totally charming Rolling Stone quilt. There's just something about red and white quilts ... especially when we're heading for that Valentine's season!

There was no rhyme or reason to this pillow which is partly the reason it caught my eye. I was curious about how it was put together. Maybe left over blocks begging for a home? If you like primitive, this pillow would have appealed to you on many levels.

The soft patriotic colors of these quilts really worked together on this ladder ... but of course I'm a sucker for quilts on ladders so maybe that's why! I love log cabin blocks too and find the off-set center really changes how the block looks. Love the  pieced blocks in the other two quilts too but especially love how the one is set with red sashing!  And they were all soft and squishy ... just the way I love them! And now that I'm looking at the photo again ... I just noticed that beautiful one in the background. There's something about a trip to the antique store that can get you jazzed up about quilting all over again!


Snack time!

I know it's common to have grocery stores hand out samples but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Kowalski's Market really ramp it up. They have their own baking facilities and product lines so everything is delicious. Generally I'm not a fan of sampling but when it's in a cup or I can use my camera, I'm good! Sometimes I don't need to sample because I know the item is tasty already ... like their foccasia. It's a staple at our house!

I tend to eat oranges before I'll go for a glass of  juice ... but now I'm on the fence about that! Their orange juice tastes like it was put through a juicer. Nothing else added. It's a little more expensive ... sooo ... I've been buying the 16 oz ones and hiding them in the back of the fridge ... but someone found my stash! I need to be more clever.

Fresh oranges change drastically as they come into season from various suppliers. I eat orange all year long because of the variety. Easy to transport cuz they don't squish. The ones coming in now are navel oranges from Spain ... juicy and sweet and easy to peel ... but right before Christmas, they had these itty bitty Mandarin oranges ... I miss them. I love that there are fruit samples out almost every day. I wouldn't try some of these things otherwise.

I'm so loyalty-bound to Land-O-Lakes. But you have to be open minded and try new things. They have all kinds of handcrafted small companies they buy from ... some local ... some across the ocean. Look at the cinnamon veins in that bread!


Not your typical dry-as-dust scones ... obviously a hit! McHatties was that cute tea and lunching place in Woodbury that closed. Looks like they went down a different path!

This was only a portion of what they had on Thursday. On Friday they had someone making warm cookies from Sweet Martha's ... some kind of French cracker that was thick and crispy but not brittle ... ask Dexa over in the imported cheese department about them. She forced me to try them. Starbucks is constantly putting out drinks or tasty things that they cook up. And the deli ... when you ask them to slice up some cheese or meat they always cut you a few little pieces first to 'tide you over'. Love that. And how can I not love this store, too!