Category Archives: Field Trips

The Brimfield Report: July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Standard
The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

And I’m back!  After taking a little more than a month off of blogging, it’s time to get back to it, and first up is a report on my trip to Brimfield Antique Show in mid-July.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Brimfield, it’s a small town in western Massachusetts that hosts the largest outdoor antique show in the US three times a year (May, July, and September) for about a week (Tuesday-Sunday).  I love antiquing, and while I don’t get to go every year, I make it for a day when I can.  The show (which is really a collection of different fields) stretches out on either side of a one-mile strip of road.  You never know what you will find, from sought-after antiques (and new things that play well with antiques), to repurposed items, to raw materials to make your own upcycled creations.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I love antiquing.  A full day of wandering through the fields with a friend or by myself is one of my favorite kinds of days.  This July, my best Brimfield buddy Jo-Alice (of Hillcraft Designs) and I managed to get away for the day.  We left before the sun was up, drove out to western MA, and got walking!  Each show has its own flavor, and July tends to have fewer vendors and fewer customers, because it can be the hottest weather (although sometimes September is pretty toasty, too).  Having said that, though, there is still A LOT to take in.  A few of my favorite vendors weren’t around, but despite that, we walked from about 7 A.M. to maybe 4:30 P.M. and found plenty to look at.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

No, that didn’t come home with me.  That dress form made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I always go with a list of things I’m looking for for our house, my sewing practice, as gifts, or just fun things like jewelry and plants.  I save some of my Christmas money toward this end, and don’t usually spend much, but always have a great time.  Anything I don’t spend, I roll over for next year.  I only get things I can use, because our apartment is small, and we don’t have wall or shelf space for knick-knacks.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Storage items are always useful finds!  I didn’t find any affordable pattern storage boxes, though.  I’m not willing to pay a lot for those.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Hm.  Maybe I should have gotten this sign.  😉

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Health fads of the past…

I didn’t find quite as much as usual this time, but I still came away with some good finds:  deadstock top sheets with a great border print.  These were unused and unopened and are 100% cotton.  I think they’ll make a great maxi dress.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I found a sparkly necklace and this cute chocolate tin for gifts, but…bonus!  It was filled with sewing odds and ends for me!

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

We needed some enamel ware for camping.  Check!

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I also thought I would try out this folding drying rack for holding patterns that have been cut out but aren’t sewn yet.  Right now I drape them over my husband’s chair and, while he’s very patient, I bet he would like his chair back.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

l

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

My favorite jewelry lady and plant lady weren’t in attendance, so no treasures from them this time.  Not a huge haul, but a good one, nonetheless.  Next year, if I get a chance to go, I’ll reevaluate this year’s list and roll anything over that I am still looking for.

After a day full of walking and looking (and eating second-breakfast and a delicious lunch of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), my friend and went to Cracker Barrel for dinner since it’s on our way home.  What a great end to the day, and a wonderful chance to hang out with a dear friend!

If you get a chance to visit Brimfield, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t bring your young children.  If you plan to make a full day of this, it’s a lot of walking and can get long and hot.  Can you do it with kids?  Definitely.  Will you (and they) enjoy it?  Probably not.
  • Bring cash.
  • Wear good shoes.
  • Park in the middle so you can drop things off in your car as you go back and forth.
  • Write down the fields your favorite vendors are in.  After walking for a while, things start to look the same and the paths through the fields are sometimes curvy, which can make remembering exactly where you found that perfect item a little tricky when you are tired.  My current favorite fields?  New England Motel and Quaker Acres.
  • Pack a cooler filled with water and leave it in your car.  Plan to take a midday break with some water and a snack as you drop off your purchases so you can get that second wind to keep going!
  • Wear sunscreen and be prepared for varying weather.
  • Have fun and chat up the vendors.  They are usually really friendly, really interesting, and great to learn from (whether you want to know the history of your latest find, its provenance, or the psychology of Brimfield).

 

Do you have a favorite antique fair where you live?  Have any tips to share or recommendations for fun flea markets/fairs to visit?  Leave them in the comments!

Advertisements

Field Trip: The Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Standard
Field Trip:  The Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

I went on a field trip last week to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see Georgia O’Keeffe:  Art, Image, Style.  I heard this exhibit was coming way back in May on the Thread Cult podcast.  It was exciting because the exhibit isn’t just about her paintings, but also contains her clothing, some of which she sewed.  I had a free pass to the museum and I saved it just for this show.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Georgia O’Keeffe is not one of my favorite painters, but having studied art, and now applying my artistic side through making clothing for myself, this exhibit sounded exciting to me.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  I loved it.  The funny thing is, it wasn’t the paintings that I loved or her exact clothing style.  I loved seeing the two together with images of her by various photographers, seeing her tiny, tiny stitches, seeing how she created her own style.  I’ve never read a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, so I don’t know what her personality was like, but going through the exhibit gave me a sense of someone who found out what she liked and quietly went with it (feel free to set me straight in the comments if she was loud and dramatic or something).

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Because sewing has become my own form of creative expression, I was moved to see how she created her own style that exemplified who she was…and she did it at an amazingly high skill level.  The miniscule and beautiful stitches, pintucks, and mending on her clothing was wonderful to me.  She sewed her clothing by hand!

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

l

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

These tiny lines in the fabric are pintucks–small folds of fabric that she created and stitched down by hand.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Garments shown above are all believed to have been sewn by Georgia O’Keeffe.  These pictures really cannot convey the beautiful and precise hand stitches she used.

The exhibit was divided into two parts–before she went to New Mexico and after.  Sewing wasn’t her main mode of expression, and as she went on in her career, she started to have others make her clothing, but even when she wasn’t sewing for herself, she used her apparel to express who she was.  It wasn’t a loud explosion of color or attention-grabbing fashion.  She quietly found her style and stayed with it, but when you see her fashion choices in the time after she began visiting New Mexico, things start to feel very contemporary.  Some of the clothing she was choosing then is what people wear every day now.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

These garments weren’t sewn by Georgia O’Keeffe.  The styles are still in vogue today.

It wasn’t about being sexy, grabbing attention, or screaming at other people to follow her.  It was just about what she liked.  And you know what?  We are following her.  The show ends with a recent Dior fashion show that has numerous elements obviously inspired by O’Keeffe.

There is something really compelling about someone who quietly does their thing.  I’m tired of the loud and blustery.  I’ve done it, but I think I respect this more.  Even if my take on this show isn’t a clear and accurate picture of who she was, it certainly caused me to think.  It’s ok to carve out a unique path in fashion and in art.  It doesn’t have to be overly sexualized, because we’re more than that as people.  It doesn’t have to be loud to be compelling.  It doesn’t have to be in-your-face to make a difference.  Sometimes quiet diligence is what prevails.

This exhibit is showing through April 1, 2018.  You can see more pictures of the exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum’s website as well as on my Flickr page.

Recommendations

  • The Peabody Essex Museum has an excellent gift shop.  They have all sorts goods related generally to art and specifically to their exhibits, currently including black hats as that was a distinctive item of apparel that O’Keeffe adopted in her New Mexico years.  I found my own black hat that really felt like me.  Fashion and art take courage because both involve putting yourself out there.  I’m going to wear this until it doesn’t feel awkward any more, because I LOVE it.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

  • O’Keeffe was influenced by the writing and art of Arthur Wesley Dow, which reminded me of how much I love his work.  Some of his landscape paintings and his use of color really stop me in my tracks.
  • Since we were talking about fashion, I really like some of Dansko’s ankle boots lately.  Comfortable and good-looking!

Field Trip: Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Standard

Hi, everyone!  I hope you had a good July.  It’s been good to have a blogging break, and it’s good to be back.  Despite my break from blogging, I haven’t taken much of a break from sewing…except for during the road trip we took out to the Midwest.  We visited family and friends in Michigan, which was really nice.  My Mom is a long-time quilter (and an apparel sewer before that), and we often make the rounds of the fabric stores where she lives.  We didn’t have quite as much time to do that this time, so instead, she took me on a little field trip to learn about Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana, where she has been helping out as a quilting mentor.  I thought I would share our trip with you.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved is located in downtown South Bend.  Here is what they say about themselves:  “Sew Loved welcomes all women to our Center.  Our mission is to teach sewing and quilting to underserved women and teen girls in the South Bend, IN area.  We provide a positive ‘hands on’ program for women to learn and practice a variety of life-enhancing skills, nurturing each woman’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Our sewing, quilting and other programs are offered free of charge.”

I had an opportunity to meet Vicki Miles, the director, as well as a few of the ladies who were at work organizing supplies or working on quilts.  Sew Loved is a nonprofit organization that uses sewing to empower women, teach new skills, and form community through sewing.  I was really impressed by Vicki’s dedication to the organization as well as how deeply she had thought through the best ways to serve the women who participate.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

It was really fun to see the new space they had just moved into.  They are still organizing and sorting through donations, but what organizing they have had a chance to do is really impressive!

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

I got to look around at all the quilts, including several from “ugly fabric” challenges, and talk with Linda, a woman who has 30 years of apparel sewing experience, but has recently fallen in love with quilting (you can be sure I took the opportunity to ask her all my apparel questions!).

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

(The two quilts below are from the “ugly fabric” challenge, where two participants used the same fabrics that they thought were ugly to make two completely different quilts.)

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Linda also showed me their mid-arm quilting machine, which was really cool and something I hadn’t seen before, as well as the new lighting system that one of the ladies’ husbands had installed.  It’s amazing what a big difference a simple change like good lighting can make!

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Linda had made a number of the quilts hanging on the walls.  She also showed us some of the quilt tops she had recently finished, which were amazing.  When you talk with Linda about quilts, you hear an artist talking back to you.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

I also met Janet who finished her very first quilt while we were there!  The women in the program make a table topper they can keep as their first project, followed by two quilts for donation.  The fourth project is a quilt of any size that they can keep if they choose to.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

It was heartwarming to see some of the fabric donations, many sent by husbands whose fabric-loving wives had passed away.  Many people had spent large amounts of time organizing and systematizing all the donations so quilters could easily find what they were looking for to achieve their creative visions.

Next year Sew Loved will be partnering with The Crossing School for at-risk youth to teach a sewing class for girls, and they are currently writing a grant in the hopes of getting enough matching machines so that everyone will be on the same page equipment-wise. (UPDATE:  Since I began writing this, they have met their funding goal for these machines, thanks to donors and generous discounts from the company they are buying the machines from!)

My Mom (who is also a mentor at Sew Loved) showed me the Christmas Trees that they make as a fundraiser for the organization.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Sew Loved sells the trees at various craft fairs and other events as a way to raise money for the organization.  These ones have been assembled but are still waiting to be decorated.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

All equipment and supplies at Sew Loved are free for participants to use, which translates into a lot of hard work for Vicki tracking down donations and supplies.  She definitely seems up to the task, however.  I got the impression that Vicki was a force to be reckoned with in the best possible way–the way that means she is fiercely loyal and devoted to the ladies she works with and the organization as a whole.  She also has some seriously amazing quilting skills!  She showed me some of her quilts in progress…and they were mind-blowing!  Clearly, she knows her stuff.

Despite my trip to the Midwest being light on fabric shopping (only a visit to Field’s Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI), this trip to Sew Loved helped prevent any sewing withdrawal I was in danger of.  😉  If you find yourself cleaning out your fabric stash or sewing supplies, and want to make a donation, they accept 100% cotton quilting fabrics (fat quarter size or larger), Christmas fabrics for their annual fund-raising project, sewing machines in working order, sewing/quilting tools, or monetary (tax-deductible) donations for overhead expenses.  If you happen to be in the area, you can get involved as a participant in their sessions or as a sewing mentor and friend.

Sew Loved in South Bend, Indiana

Here is all the contact info:

Sew Loved

Women’s Center

103 W Wayne St., Suite 400

South Bend, IN 46601

 

Mailing address:

1320 De Luna Way

South Bend, IN 46614

 

Website:  www.sew-loved.org

Facebook:  facebook.com/sewlovedinc

Vicki Miles, Director:  vicki@sew-loved.org

Phone number:  574-329-2639

The Brimfield Report: May 2016

Standard

It’s Brimfield time again!  I love Brimfield!  What is it?  The Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA is the largest outdoor antique market in the United States.  It happens three times a year in May, July, and September from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  Usually my wonderful husband takes a day off to watch the kids so I can get up long before the crack of dawn to head out there for a full day of antiquing.  I love it!

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Unlike some people who go to Brimfield, I’m not a serious collector of anything.  I keep a list throughout the year of antiques I’d love to find, but I’m usually looking for things that are maybe mid-century, on the smaller side, and something I can use.  I save up Christmas and other money, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent it all.  I love to look at everything, hunt for treasures and gifts, and get lessons in both history and the psychology of Brimfield.  It’s never dull.  I walk all day, and then I enjoy some good food.

This year, for the first time, one of my friends was a vendor.  Laurel’s business is called Retromat Vintage and she sells vintage clothing as well as other things that are interesting and cool.  Here a just a few pictures of some of her goods.

Brimfield Antique Show

I vote for bringing gloves back.

Brimfield Antique Show

Or how about hats?

I got the chance to work for her for about 20 or 30 minutes and, despite my nervousness, it went well.  She gave me some sewing goodies that I wanted in return…and a lobster roll.

Brimfield Antique Show

I felt richly rewarded for my minimal work!  Thanks, Laurel!  Laurel also gave me this Necchi-Elna catalogue, which was fun to look through since I have a much-loved Elna.  I had no idea they were one company at some point.

Brimfield Antique Show

The pattern was a freebie from another vendor.  It has no instructions, but I’m working on tracking those down…

I also got to see my friend Maggie from my favorite fabric store in NH, and we had some fun checking out the vintage sewing goodies.

My strategy this time, since I wanted to be available to Laurel if she needed me, was to hit my favorite fields first, and then walk through whatever other fields I could get to.  All the fields have interesting names.  Because I love to delve into whatever I am really interested in, I started a notebook to record favorite fields (currently New England Motel, Quaker Acres, and The Meadows), notes to remember, etc.  Inside I have directions to Brimfield, a page for each field with notes, general notes about where I like to park (in the middle), and my wish lists for the current year and years past.

Also included are a few Bingo lists I’ve made.  My husband created Brimfield Bingo when we went together one year:  think of the craziest things you can (because you never know what you might find at Brimfield), and then check them off if/when you find them.  While I didn’t play Bingo this year, here are a few of the weirder things I saw:

Brimfield Antique Show

In case you lose an eye…

Brimfield Antique Show

or become a cook in a giant’s kitchen.

My notebook started to get so full of vendor cards, that Scott got me a little accordion file so I can keep track of which vendors are in which fields.  Yes.  We ARE cool.

Brimfield Antique Show

Want to see what else I got?

Brimfield Antique Show

Owl scissors!  At $2 apiece, I wish I had bought a bunch more for gifts.  Maybe next time.

Brimfield Antique Show

A sleeve board for pressing sleeves.  Don’t worry–I’ll clean it up before using it on my sewing projects.

I also got some fun jewelry:

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

And I got some gifts, some of which have to remain secret, but here’s one that doesn’t:

Brimfield Antique Show

And finally, here are some pictures of things I saw as I walked around.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

A Singer Featherweight sewing machine complete with case!

Brimfield Antique Show

Not everything is antique–some things are upcycled from antiques or are handmade goods like these jeans or supplies for making other things like the yarn below.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

It was a great Brimfield, I have to say.  I had a lot of fun looking for treasures and hanging out with Maggie and Laurel.  If you’ve gone to Brimfield, I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, or favorites.

For posts on Brimfields past, see these links:  2014 and 2015.

 

Field Trip: Native Fashion Now at the Peabody Essex Museum

Standard

Let’s go on a little field trip, shall we?

Earlier this month I visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see Native Fashion Now.  The show runs from November 21, 2015-March 6, 2016.  If you plan to see it, check with your library to find out if they offer passes that will discount or eliminate the admission cost for you.

The show covers a wide range of designers.  Some are using traditional techniques, materials, and imagery in completely new ways and others focus on preserving tradition.  There are also questions within the exhibit about cultural appropriation.

Here are some of the pieces I found most interesting.  When possible, I’ll have the artist’s card describing the work below each picture.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

The ones below were some of my favorites.  I liked the surface treatment of the fabric and the use of imagery on these dresses.  It was something I hadn’t seen before.  They made me rethink the idea of vintage dresses (even though these weren’t vintage when they were made).

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

I loved the level of detail in each little figure or image on this belt as well as the variety of materials that were used.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

The way these three designers used their materials of choice so creatively was really inspiring.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

I really loved this dress.  It isn’t by a native designer (it’s by Isaac Mizrahi).  At this point, the exhibit brings up the issue of cultural appropriation.  It gave me a lot to think about.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Here is an Iris Apfel ensemble.  If you’ve seen the documentary about her, you’ll know that she donated a good amount of her clothing collection to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Can you imagine the amount of work it took to create these boots?

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

This sign explains both the Iris Apfel ensemble and the boots.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

This artist extended native imagery beyond fashion into an area that has a lot of cross-pollination with street style:  skateboarding.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

It was an enjoyable and thought-provoking exhibit.  It gave me new ideas and broadened my understanding of fashion.

Before we go, let’s have some recommendations.  THIS IS FUN NOW!

  • Have you ever read the series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith?  It’s what my mystery-loving friend describes as a “cozy”.  It’s not gross, graphic, or terrifying, but focuses on the work and relationships between several recurring characters.  Mma Ramotswe solves mysteries in Botswana with her faithful and opinionated assistant Mma Makutsi.  There are a number of books in the series, so if you like it, you’ll have plenty to read.
  • Smoked paprika.  It’s good.  Try it on eggs.
  • I found this on the Closet Case Files blog, and I had to repost it.  It’s all about activewear…and how inactive we often are when we’re wearing it.  This is your dose of humor for the week:

Field Trip: Denver, Colorado

Standard

My latest field trip is way outside my normal stomping grounds!  Earlier this month, my husband and I took a trip to Denver, Colorado for a wedding.  We almost never get away just the two of us, and definitely not to far-away places, so this was a pretty big deal!  We had such a great time at the wedding and a lot of fun exploring Denver and the surrounding area.

Of course there was sewing involved.  I used the wedding as a chance to challenge myself to come up with a creative outfit.  In the end, I took apart a bridesmaid dress that I had in storage and turned it into a skirt (which involved a lot more work that I thought it would!).  I also made a button down shirt with a pattern that I had been planning to try out (Butterick 5526).  This included making a broad back adjustment to the pattern before I cut it out (hopefully more on that in a future blog post).  After that, it was all about finding great colors to finish things off.  Here’s my final ensemble:

Fancy Wedding Clothes!

Wedding clothes!

I found the sweater on sale at J.Crew, and the earrings and bobby pin (which are harder so see, but they had gorgeous Swarovski crystals) on clearance at TJ Maxx.  I already had the tights, which was a good thing because white tights for women are harder to find that I thought!

Also…check out these shoes!

Fancy Wedding Clothes!

Thank you, Boden sale (and Christmas money!).  I had been saving up for some black heels, but in the end, the fancy shoes won out.

All of the colors together just made me so happy!  I love color!  This wasn’t anywhere near my original outfit ideas, but I’m so happy with how it all turned out.  It was so comfortable, and I know I’ll wear all the pieces again, both together and separately (actually, I’m wearing the shirt and earrings as I type).

The wedding and reception took place in a really cute barn outside of Denver.  The bride was gorgeous and everything was so beautiful.  Lots of our friends were there, and we all had a great time.

When we weren’t at the wedding, we explored the cute mountain town of Evergreen.  I have to recommend The Muddy Buck coffee shop if you are ever there.  I didn’t get any good pictures of it, but here are a few of Evergreen:

Evergreen, Colorado

Evergreen, Colorado

Evergreen, Colorado

My friend and I kept saying we couldn’t believe it was a real town.  It was so cute.  We felt like we were at a theme park or something.  The only thing I didn’t like was the curvy mountain roads!  They were good highways, but they are so curvy and very dark when the sun is down.

I also got a good (luckily not first-hand) education while in Colorado:

Colorado

Colorado

After spending some time in more mountainous areas, we took a day to head into Denver and explore there.  The bride’s parents had given us a bunch of fun recommendations of things to try in the area, and one of them was the Denver Biscuit Co.  I highly recommend this one.

Denver Biscuit Co.

I ordered the DBC Club.  Delicious.

We also spent a little lot of time in Fancy Tiger Crafts!!!!

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

When I got there, it was even bigger better than I had imagined!

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

And, I must say, their sales staff is just lovely!  I admitted to one of the ladies that I was kind of freaking out inside with excitement.  She said she felt the same way for the first month when she started working there.  🙂  Everyone was very friendly and really helpful.

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

During this next paragraph, you should read between the lines that MY HUSBAND IS AWESOME.  I was in Fancy Tiger Crafts for 2.5 hours.  Yes.  It’s true.  There was JUST. SO. MUCH.  I couldn’t make a decision.  I knew I wanted a few crafty badges (like Girl Scout badges for crafters), and I decided to get Deer and Doe’s Datura Blouse pattern…but then I got stuck.  I had fabric money, but what to spend it on?  They say that beggars can’t be choosers, but I say that when you are on a budget, every purchase has to count.  I didn’t want to buy something I wouldn’t use or wear.  Choice overload.

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

It was at this point that my husband gently suggested that we might want to go over to the Denver Biscuit Co. (before they closed), get some lunch, and come back afterward.

It was just what I needed.  Food and a little time to think.  When we went back, I found four fabrics to make up two Datura Blouses and with some help on the yardage calculations from the lovely Jaime herself, I was out of there in 15 minutes.

Lesson learned.  Sometimes you need to take a step back when you get overwhelmed to give yourself time to think.

Want to see what I got?

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

I also picked up two knitting badges for some friends.  I’m hoping this loot will serve me well when summer sewing fever hits.

Believe it or not, we even had time to do a little more exploring after that!

Denver, Colorado

Other fun highlights from the trip included pizza at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs and Evergreen, Tattered Cover Book Store, Revampt, and the mountains!

Colorado

Colorado

These pictures don’t even begin to do them justice.

It was a great trip and a real blessing to be at such a special wedding with so many friends.

Next time (hopefully):  the nitty gritty on sewing Butterick 5526.

Field Trip: The Wreck of the Ada K. Damon

Standard

Happy last full day of summer!  I’ve had my nose to the grindstone working on a secret project (which I can’t wait to show you!) and nearly forgot to share these pictures.

Last month my family and I went to Crane Beach in Ipswich and took a walk to see something we had heard about:  the wreck of the Ada K. Damon.

The Wreck of the Ada K. Damon, Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

When I read the story, I had ideas of something much larger, but all that is left of the ship, which wrecked on Crane Beach in 1909, is this skeleton, unearthed by the tides some years and buried in others.

The Wreck of the Ada K. Damon, Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

The Wreck of the Ada K. Damon, Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

The Wreck of the Ada K. Damon, Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

 You can read a full story of the shipwreck with many interesting pictures here.  It’s a sad story of a man who sold everything to buy a ship and then lost it all in a single, devastating storm.  For those of us today, it’s a chance to see history in person, even if it isn’t the massive ghost-ship of my very active imagination.  🙂

Sunset on Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA

City Mouse, Country Mouse: The Country

Standard

After visiting friends and family near Detroit last month, we went and did the same on the other side of Michigan.  The area we stayed in was completely rural, and very beautiful.  I regret not photographing any of the rolling hills and corn and soybean fields, but since that would have involved stopping on the highway or sticking my camera out the window, you’ll just have to take in what I did manage to capture.  🙂  Let’s go on a tour of southwest Michigan!

In my book, summer must include some fruit-picking!  My parents took us to Lehman’s Orchard in Niles, MI to pick sour cherries and raspberries.  I’ve long wanted to make a real cherry pie from scratch, but I can never find fresh or frozen sour cherries where I live (and if I did, I’m sure they would be very pricey).  Sometimes I find them in jars and they cost way too much, so I’ve never bought them.  The cherries at this farm were a bargain and so easy to pick.  Look how beautiful they are!

Cherry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MIDid you every play Hi Ho Cherry-O?  I think these look just like the cherries in that game!

Cherry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MI

Once we picked them, we brought them to a little outbuilding and washed them.  Then they went through the cherry pitter!

Cherry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MI

We also picked raspberries.  My husband found one of the coolest sights that day on top of one of the raspberry rows:

Raspberry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MI

Baby birds!

We also visited Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles, MI.  One of the highlights was these stick houses.

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

And…since I was out in the country, I had to look into a new store that I had never seen before:  Rural King, in Niles, MI!  I don’t own any trucker hats, but I was kind of hoping to find one there that said “Rural King”.  I would definitely have worked that into my wardrobe!

Rural King in Niles, MI

This is a true farm store.  I got a lot of looks when I walked in mainly because, although I was dressed very casually, it was clear I hadn’t just come off the farm.

Rural King has many cool offerings, like

Rural King in Niles, MIwork clothes,

Rural King in Niles, MIsparkly belts (this picture does not do the sparkles justice),

Rural King in Niles, MI

and baby chicks!

Along with farm and food stuff, I also love antiques, so I peeked into many an antique store.  Luckily for my wallet and limited storage space, I didn’t buy anything beyond that dress in Detroit, but how awesome/crazy would it have been if I could have bought THIS?

Picker's Paradise in Niles, MI

Doesn’t everyone need a mirror with taxidermy squirrels on it?  “Only” $325!  Or how about THIS to hold your rings and bracelets?

Picker's Paradise in Niles, MIA raccoon arm!  Yeah, that didn’t come home with me either, but not because I wasn’t tempted!  These were both from a booth in Picker’s Paradise in Niles, MI, which was a pretty great store.  All the other booths were much more normal, I promise.

During our visit, we went to Lake Michigan several times.  I love Lake Michigan.  It’s like the ocean, only with fresh water and no scary creatures.  We visited both St. Joseph, MI and Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor, MI.

When we went to St. Joseph, it was for the day.  They have beautiful Silver Beach, with bathrooms, a snack shack, and a playground.  The town also has a children’s museum, carousel, Silver Beach Pizza, the coolest splash park ever, and lots of cute shops you can visit.  It’s busy on the weekends, but really fun.

St. Joseph, MI on Lake Michigan

Sunset view of Lake Michigan from the pier in St. Joseph, MI

Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor is just over the channel from Silver Beach, but is much less built up and more naturalistic.  Like Silver Beach, it also has bathrooms, a snack shack and a playground, but is much quieter.  We had fun swimming and looking for rocks with fossils on them.

Jean Klok Park, Benton Harbor, MI

The beach at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor, MI

We ate a lot of good food on this trip.  So, my burger recommendation from the west side goes to Laura’s Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI.  We’re staying rural, here, so this is out in the middle of cornfields.  It’s a beautiful drive.

Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI

The burgers here are huge!  There are many fun options (as well as things besides burgers), and seating is in the open at picnic tables spread out under the trees and sky.

Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI

Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI

May I also humbly suggest that after you have finished your burger, you might want to drive a minute down the road to get your after-dinner ice cream at the Hayloft?  I think you won’t be disappointed.  🙂

And now, for you sewing fans out there, the west side fabric report.  As I mentioned in the last post, before this trip, I did my research about good fabric stores near where I was going to be staying and found this great list from Rae Hoekstra of the blog made by RAE.  By her recommendation, I visited Field’s FABRICS in Kalamazoo, MI.

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

Field’s is an excellent fabric store that I highly recommend (and now really want to visit again).  For all the lucky western Michigan people, there are several locations.  Field’s is probably as big as Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, MI, but has a very different feel.

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

It didn’t hurt that there were some serious sales on.  I came away with a stretchy fleece from Malden Mills (smooth outside, fleece inside) and a cool red/purple chambray that I want to say is Robert Kaufman (although I’m not 100% sure).  Sadly, I can’t find these on their website to link to.

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

I may actually deserve an award for this fabric trip.  I had only 45 minutes to shop this whole, amazing store and, cutting time excluded, I totally did it!  My husband laughed when I told him I would only have that much time (after I spent two hours shopping at Haberman Fabrics, can you blame him?).  I did it, though!  I also tried to convince the lady who cut my fabric that they needed to open a Massachusetts branch, but she didn’t go for it.  That’s sad, but I’m recovering.

Lastly, although I didn’t photograph it, I went to Hancock Fabrics in Mishawaka, IN.  I hear people say they get things there and since we have Joann, but not Hancock, I thought I would check it out.  I think there was a sale on at nearly every store I hit on this trip (awesome!), and it was no different here.

Hancock Fabric in Mishawaka, IN

I got a pink and white cotton gingham (can’t find the fabric to link to, but it’s 100% cotton with a quarter inch check) and a cotton stretch sateen suiting in super-fun colors.  I can definitely envision a skirt (the suiting) and shirt (the gingham) out of these, maybe even worn together.  My mother wasn’t so sure about that combination, but if those garments ever materialize out of this fabric, I think that I can convince her.  If not, I’ll wear it anyway!  😉

So that was my trip!  We got seriously spoiled, ate so much good food, and had a wonderful time with friends and family.  Thanks to everyone who made our trip really special.  And readers, I hope you get a chance to check out some of these places if you are ever in southwest Michigan.  It’s a beautiful and friendly place to visit.

 

City Mouse, Country Mouse: The City

Standard

Hi, Friends!  It’s been a long time since our last meeting here on these pages.  I was off visiting friends and family for most of July, and I thought you might like to see a few of the places I visited.  As always, I’ll include links when possible.  Maybe you’ll find some new favorites, too!

First let’s visit the Detroit area of Michigan.

My sister-in-law took my mother-in-law and me into Eastern Market in Detroit one weekend.  Eastern Market is a farmer’s market filled with delicious food and beautiful plants.

Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit's Eastern Market

Castor Bean

Detroit's Eastern Market

Dahlia

Detroit's Eastern Market

Dahlia

The market area is flanked by cool shops as well.

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

DeVries & Co.

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

DeVries & Co.

DeVries & Co. had all sorts of great foods, imported and domestic.  You could ride the old freight elevator to the top level to find cute home goods as well.

And, of course, we had to look in this labyrinthine antique shop that my sister-in-law discovered.

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Eastern Market Antiques

This little area was arguably my favorite.  I even found a vintage dress/tunic!

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Collar detail

It’s a bit on the short side for a dress on its own, but I have a few ideas for it…

Just before we left, we visited the Detroit Mercantile Company.  Talk about a great selection of quality and hand-made goods!

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit Mercantile Company

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit Mercantile Company

Since I’ve been contemplating making jeans, I was pretty interested in the offerings from the Detroit Denim Company.  After checking out their website, I kind of wished I had tried to set up an interview.  Maybe another time…

We also had fun food adventures, and I can wholeheartedly recommend Joe’s Hamburgers if you are ever in Wyandotte, MI.  They have a great retro vibe and delicious food.  The burgers are small (“sliders”), which makes it all the better if you want to sample several–and don’t forget to order a few kinds of fries if you are with a group so you can try more than one kind!

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

 

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

Mushroom Swiss Slider and Poutine Fries. Yum!

And now, you probably knew it was coming…FABRIC SHOPPING!  I have to thank my husband who drove me around and sat through three hours of fabric shopping (plus plenty of indecision on my part).  My in-laws also deserve thanks for babysitting!!!

Before we left, I looked online for fabric stores in the Detroit area and came up with this list from Rae Hoekstra of made by RAE that covers some of the best of southern Michigan.  And she was not wrong.  I went to two different fabric shops near Detroit, and each was spectacular.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do Material Girls in Dearborn justice (so sorry!).  I got a picture of the outside of their shop and then totally dropped the ball on photographing the inside.

The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI

The ladies who worked there were really wonderful.  They had a good selection of quilting fabric as well as some carefully curated apparel fabrics.  It was so wonderful to see, in person, many of the fabrics I have looked at online.  There really is no comparison to touching and looking at fabric in person.  After saving up a nice little fund for shopping, it was great to not only look, but also buy and stock up on supplies for upcoming projects.  Here is what I got from The Material Girls:

The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI

The bird fabric is for me (I was inspired by Carolyn of Allspice Abounds), but the pandas and superheroines are for Christmas presents.  Luckily the intended recipients don’t read this blog.  Shh!  😉

We also visited Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan.  It’s a little bit hard to describe this one.  It might be fabric paradise.

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

I don’t think I’ve been in a fabric store quite like this since I started sewing seriously.  It was mainly dedicated to apparel fabric, including bridal and special occasion, but also had home decorating fabric, space for classes, a sewing machine repair window, and so many notions.  Wow.

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

 

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

When I first got there, I was so excited.  I wandered through looking at all the various apparel fabrics.  I had made a list so I could be at least slightly focused, but after looking at everything, my excitement turned into distress.  I saved and worked to build a fabric fund, but there was too much!  What should I get?  What would I be sad to leave behind?

Want to see what I got?

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

The striped fabric is a rayon knit from Italy that’s double-sided!  I also wanted to experiment with a little stretch lace and stretch net.  (I can’t find any of these on their website, or I would link to them.)  What a great store.

Yea for fabric shopping and yea for some fun in the city!  Thanks, family and friends!  Next up…the country!

 

 

This is a Public Service Announcement. (Fabric! Yarn!)

Standard

The day has finally come.  Pintuck & Purl, in Exeter, NH has opened its doors to the public.  You may remember that we’ve talked about them before.  When I heard a new fabric and yarn store was opening within driving distance of my house, I was pretty excited.  Thanks to the generosity of Maggie, the shop owner, I got to come in early, along with some other privileged people, and take a look around.  Now I get to show YOU some pictures.  That way you’ll know what you are looking for when you head there yourself.  Because you are going to want to.  (I’m already plotting my return.)

First impression:  Wow…and Yes!!!!

All the fabrics I always read about, but don’t really know how they feel are there, in the flesh fiber.  I’ve slowed down on my knitting in recent years, but they have some pretty tempting stuff in that department, too.  As anyone who knows me can tell you, I can go on at length about things I’m excited about, but maybe I should spare you the verbal gush and give you some visual gushing instead.  Let’s take a little tour of the shop:

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)Let’s start with this super-cute classroom space.  This is to your right as you enter.  Maggie also has this awesome calendar (I want one!) showing everything going on in the shop for the month.  (You can also view this on her website.)

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)To your left as you enter, and around a little wall, is a cozy space for hanging out, knitting, chatting.  We all know making things isn’t only about the things themselves.  It also has so much to do with sharing, whether that means talking to a friend as we knit or creating something for someone we love.  I think this space will really facilitate that.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Here’s a wider view of the shop (That’s Maggie cutting some AWESOME linen I bought.  I cannot WAIT to use that stuff.).  The door and classroom space are to my left, and you are looking at the front counter that you will see as you come in.  The hang-out space is beyond the wall in the back left.  I suppose the building is really a rectangle, but the way the shop is divided makes it feel spacious and cozy at the same time.

Let’s look at some of the lovely materials you might find at Pintuck & Purl, shall we?

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)Maggie is stocking some great indie sewing patterns as well as gorgeous fabric.  Check out that pink voile on the cutting table–that was my other purchase.  So soft!!!

I only had about an hour there, and I spent so much time examining fabric, that I didn’t even get a chance to look at all the patterns!  Darn.  I’ll have to go back.  😉

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

For those who like quilting or just the great prints you find on quilting cotton, she also has a really lovely selection of quilting fabric that can walk the line between quilting and apparel.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Need some notions?  Check!

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Cool vintage patterns?  Check!

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Vintage buttons?  Check!  Check!

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Because I am becoming frighteningly obsessed with sewing, this post is a little more sewing-focused, but that doesn’t mean the shop is.  There are plenty of goodies for knitters as well.  The yarn was really gorgeous.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Loved this stuff!!

Look at this wall of knitting needles below.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Despite the fact that I already have at least two stitch gauges, I was tempted by these.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

I still haven’t gotten over my hunger for colors after last winter, so I had fun looking in here, and…

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

…in here!

So, when you go to Pintuck & Purl, look for this red building.  This is where you are going.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Then go right on in, say hi to Maggie, and equip yourself for your next project!

Pintuck & Purl

50 Lincoln Street

Exeter, NH

603-418-7175

http://pintuckandpurl.com/