A shopping adventure with Elanor…

I made a promise to Elanor last year that I would take her on an overnight shopping trip to Dallas to celebrate her 13th birthday and the big day came last week. I booked a room at a NYLO (New York Lofts) hotel because it’s hip and trendy! Lots of concrete and exposed pipes and ducts, cool furniture, nice art—definitely not the usual hotel look.


Elanor thought the all-black elevators were creepy, but I liked them. Industrial, functional, clean lines, fun textures… what’s  not to love?


The rooms had tubular ‘mood lighting’. I was surprised that the light actually was good once it got dark outside. I thought it might be very orange, but it wasn’t.


The bathroom, however, was the most fun. I can’t remember ever seeing a corner commode.


The spare toilet paper had this fun cover. I am still pondering what sort of emergency use it could be put to :-).


We shopped at Northpark Center both on Thursday afternoon and Friday. We found everything on her list (jeans, shoes, and boots). Some for her birthday, some for Christmas (because CHRISTMAS IS COMING!).

Besides the excitement of shopping, we had fire alarms in the night. They went off at 12:30am for a few seconds and then they stopped. After looking in the hallway and listening, it appeared to be an alarm problem. When they went off an hour later we went to the front desk to be sure. This was not a new problem and they were very sorry, etc.

Elanor, who was freaked out by the first alarm, was beginning to get over it. Good thing because they went off 4 more times, about every hour or so. To help us get over our lack of sleep, the hotel gave us complimentary breakfasts, which is better than nothing.

Instead of looking at the negative, we decided to embrace this as a positive experience. Elanor learned what an alarm in a place like a hotel sounds like—and what false alarms are like. She learned to always be aware of where the exits are (we had looked when we first got to our room). She learned to react swiftly and remain calm.

So, all in all, we had a really nice time eating out, shopping, and having a hipster hotel experience!

I came home with fabric!

Now, isn’t that a sentence that makes a quilter smile? The Northern Star Quilters put on a very nice show. The quilts were impressive—and so were the vendors :-). I bought fabric that I don’t usually find—but not too much because space in my suitcase was limited.

I stopped at Quilters’ Express to Japan where I bought the print on the right. The print on the left was a gift from students in my class at Empty Spools that I’ve been meaning to post for weeks. Both were designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji for Yuwa.


I love her fabric and was sad to learn that she may not be designing any more. So, if you like her fabric, I suggest you hunt it down and buy it now. I also bought this kimono fabric—some vintage, some not. And a really cool Japanese panel print not pictured.


I stopped at Handloom Batik. The owner, Oosha (whose name I may be misspelling) remembered me from years back—and she remembered that I bought a mustard-colored gauze scarf. I admit to being seriously impressed.


These fabrics are all hand stamped (or woven in the case of that central blue fabric). They have an attitude that is both casual and stately. I love them. (FYI: all of the fabrics pictured in this post have been washed in the washer and dried in the dryer.)

I bought another gauzy scarf. It is big, more like a sari. In fact, it could be a sari. I admit to not knowing. My new scarf is blue with accents of red and white. The fabric is light but also warm. Oosha says she uses one at home as a light cover when she’s chilly in her chair.


As Oosha was (carefully) folding my scarf, she realized that she had not ‘cleaned’ it. Women tie the fabric with fine thread to make that dotted pattern, before it is dyed. There are hundreds of thread wraps on each scarf. Oosha said that the women do this work while gossiping, thus making it both a productive and fun time.


She was going to take the time to pull the threads off for me but I said, no, I’d be happy to do that myself. In fact, I did enjoy it! It was sort of like peeling a sunburn, except that I wear sunscreen so haven’t had that sensation in years. (Funny to imagine that the day may come when people have no idea what that phrase means.)

You have to find Oosha at a quilt show and I hope you do find her. Handloom Batiks is not currently online.

None of these were bargain fabrics. I’m as happy as the next quilter to find a bargain but I’m also willing to pay the price for unusual, interesting fabric. I don’t want to encourage crazy spending, but it is true that I have never regretted this sort of purchase.

My own personal shopper…

My friend, Amanda, had on the cutest top the last time I saw her. She then told me about Stitch Fix (I’ve added a link in the column at right, under Fashion). This is an online personal shopping site. You fill out your info, indicate what sorts of things you like, etc., and eventually you get a box!


The box opens to reveal a box that is thoughtfully printed on the inside, with instructions about what to do next, and your items enclosed in tissue paper. There is also a return envelope, ready to use.


I took a quick peek, and a photo, from the side before tearing the tissue paper…


I told them I like greens and blues. I got greens and blues, but not exactly the shades of green and blue that I normally buy. They couldn’t read my mind-amazing!

I did as instructed and tried on everything. Three of the five items fit well and are very much worth keeping. Lorna was here and chimed in so I feel pretty good about what is staying in my closet…


These are not garments that go together, but I have other garments in my closet that go with all of them. I would never have found these on my own, nor would I have chosen them for myself. How about that! You are never too old to learn more about how to dress yourself :-).

So, if you are shopping challenged, check out Stitch Fix.

Shirt shopping…

I am going to be filming an episode of The Quilt Show in just a few weeks. I’m looking forward to working with Alex and Ricky again!

Pulling together the actual content of my show is not an issue—I am good to go on that front. No, the bigger issue for me is figuring out what to wear :-). I don’t want to look like this:

From Ballard Street by Jerry Van Amerongen

All of my ‘good’ clothes are black and white. Everything works together and looks good on me  (most of the time**). However, black and white are not recommended for filming. I have some color in my closet, but those clothes are too casual for this gig. Shopping for the right top has been on my agenda but I have not been able to find time for it.

I am lecturing for the Quilters Guild of Plano tomorrow evening. When I mapquested it, I realized that their meeting place is very near The Shops At Willow Bend. Oh happy day! I looked and if I can’t find a suitable top there I might as well just give up on ever finding one. I’m actually looking forward to the hunt!

**Have you ever put on something that looked great the last time your wore it, but this time it’s just awful? Why is that? If you are like me, once that happens it’s hard to feel good in that outfit again. It ends up cycling out of my closet to be replaced by something else, hence shopping trips.

How is it that this never seems to happen to men? I’m not complaining about that because if it did, Steve would do a lot more shopping. As it is, our clothing budget is mostly my clothing budget. I’m so lucky that he’s OK with that :-).

( Comic: Ballard Street by Jerry Van Amerongen)