Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How A Crazy Quilter Does NYC

This is the 4th (??) installment of our Adventure in Crazy Quilting. Because the Adventure was preceeded by an optional 3-day stitching workshop (and then a day of rest) and then followed by a day of rest and another optional 3-day stitching workshop, not all the attendees stayed once the Adventure itself ended on Sunday the 10th.

A trip to NYC to “do” the Garment (Fashion) District had been planned for several months and many ladies expressed an interest.  When it came down to actually going, however, many had to bow out due to other commitments. Or perhaps they felt they (or their pocketbooks, LOL) needed a rest after all the wonderful offerings in the Adventure’s Vendor Boutique.  And some felt they were not up to the grueling day of travel and walking.

So, as it ended up, there were five of us die-hards who made the pilgrimage; Allie, Helen, Susan, Linda H and myself. We met at 6:15 a.m. and, fortified with coffee or tea, hopped into Susan’s SUV and headed south to New Haven to catch the train. One hour car ride. Two hour train ride.

Allie, Linda, Helen waiting for the train

Susan hams it up.  Don’t you think the Smoothie people would love her funny teeth?

Yep, this is New York City alright....
First stop: M&S Schmalberg Flowers.  Allie poses with the sign she made for the friendly proprietors of this AWESOME shop.  Read the back story on Allie’s blog here and continuing on March 30-31.

Another angle.... my favorite flower is the Big Blue One!!  :-)
Linda and Helen cheer Allie on, while Susan gets her camera ready for some REAL photography!

I will save some time here, and label the following seven pictures the same: Showroom Eye Candy.  Please have your drool cloths handy... (be sure to click to “embiggen” them and see the detail!)

Now.... I will give you a moment here to recover from your swooning....



OK, are you ready?  Let’s move on into the back rooms of the shop, which gracious owners Warren and Adam Brand (why not Schalberg, you ask? Long story, not relevant...) kindly allowed us to wander, cameras in hand.  We got to see flowers being pressed, assembled and packed.

Allie with Adam and his dad Warren

Cutting machines, decades old, cut many layers of fabrics into flowers or leaves
Molds like these (top and bottom) are loaded into a machine and the veins or shaping marks are pressed onto the petals

...and there are racks and racks of these molds throughout the workshop
Workers assemble the layers of petals
... stitching or glueing as necessary
They work, order by order, to fashion just what a customer has ordered
Flowers hang in preparation for their next step
OK, now that we understand the basic process, it’s time to SHOP for those pieces we cannot live without.  Easter is coming.... and let’s think ahead to our summer dresses.... and Christmas is coming - what great gift ideas!  Ready, set, .... SHOP!!

These are some leather blooms
 AHA!  Not so easy to select, is it???  We were on Overload!!  But after spending almost two hours there, we made our selections.  Susan was the most, um, PROLIFIC shopper, but we all scored some great blooms and vintage goodies.  This is what my “take” looked like:

Look at how large this bloom is!  And I have the perfect summer dress for it!

The leaves and birds are pressed velvet.
My daughter also requested a “tacky NYC gift, like a snow globe”, so I bought one for her.  But I also surprised her with this lovely pink organza flower (it was a hit!).

Second stop:  a short stop at Mood, the store where the Project Runway contestants shop.  

We were there. We went, we saw, we left. No purchases made.
Next up was Tinsel Trading.  I was so excited, I didn’t get any pictures of the shop.  (Hopefully Susan did, and will share, but she was so busy being Miss Super Shopper again that maybe she didn’t, LOL).
My finds:
This is all vintage stuff except the white trim. 
After fortifying ourselves with delicious salads for lunch, we stopped into a random bead shop (one of dozens we saw).  I was able to leave some cash there in exchange for some bead-type stash. The stuff on the right was from the NYC bead store; the greater pile on the left was what I got when Maureen took us to Beads East during our 3-day stitching workshop.

It was like a treasure hunt trying to find the giant button and needle, but find it we did!

Allie poses by the giant statue dedicated to the garment workers.

And Linda snapped a picture of me by it, too.  It was rather poignant for me, as my grandfather owned a sweater knitting factory in NYC back in the day.  And my grandmother was a seamstress in a different NYC women’s clothing factory.

Next stop:  Sposabella, a lace store.

Heaven..... I’m in Heaven....
Vintage laces I purchased
Other laces I purchased.

Fabric store stop. Allie checks out the goods.

This was SOME of their dupioni silk.  Every color imaginable!

We made a brief stop in a chocolate shop, then enjoyed our hike back to Grand Central Station.  It had turned into a glorious, sunny day, and everyone was basking in the sun. We joined the commuters on the two-hour train ride back to New Haven. The warm sunshine and gentle, rhythmic rocking of the train put some of us to sleep.....  Our final stop was at Miso, a Japanese restaurant in New Haven, where the warm, moist towels they brought us felt as good on our faces as the delicious food did in our tummies!

Thank you, Linda, Susan, Helen and Allie for being such delightful companions and helping to make our Girls Day Out in NYC a lovely experience I will never forget!!

Cathy maroon


  1. Dear Cathy,
    Thank you so much for sharing with us the details of this wonderful adventure! I even tried to comment on your post yesterday, but all I was capable of, were some loud "oh"-s and "aahhh"-s and "wow"-s... Can you hear me sighing all the way from across the world?
    Can't wait to see the wonderful things you'll create with your new treasures!

  2. Oh what an eye popping selection of shops to show us.Those laces, the flowers...!!
    Loved looking at your photos.Looks like you had a Fabulous time!!

  3. OMGosh!! A shopping trip to die for. Don't you just wish a day like that could last forever. I don't know how you ever chose the selections you bought with so much to pick from.

  4. O, I forgot. I wish Susan had told me she had those teeth!! I could have saved about $3000!!!

  5. Wonderful post! Wish I could have been there too!

    Sandie xx

  6. O my, Cathy, what a day!!
    Thank you for sharing :-))

  7. I am so jealous! The flowers and leaves are delicious. What fun!

  8. Looks like I missed a good time!! I just didn't have something I wanted or had to have so I knew I would spend too much money on something I did not know in advance I had to have if you know what I mean!! Still I should have gone!! Love the lace you got!!
    XO Shirlee

  9. Ok, so I should have gone too. I live so close but never get to the big city. This summer I think. Come and go again Cathy! I need more stuff!

  10. What a wonderful girls' day out. I bet there was so much giggling and laughter (good thing I didn't go (as I sit here in Utah envying....), because I would have probably needed Depends, with all that hilarity!! Cathy, you need to catch the Front Runner up to Ogden when the weather warms up and we will do the antique shops along 25th Street, the Saturday Market and hit the Vintage Cupcake Shop on 24th Street and Shepherd's Bush, while we're at it. Then we can drive to my house out in the country, You can stay over night in my beautiful rose bedroom, we can spend the morning out in the barn (Sewing Room Upstairs)... you know I have way too much fabric and notions, etc. and will SHARE, of course,and then I will drive you home.... Is it a deal?


  11. Me three... definitely should have gone... next year, baby!!!

  12. OMG, died and gone to heaven! Thanks so much for sharing this incredible eye candy. Have made a note of the shops so I can visit when I see NYC.....

  13. What a great chronicle of our fabulous day together in NY. It was magical, and I will always remember it!

  14. What a fabulous day! All those fun places to shop. I love the pressed velvet vintage birds you found and oh those lovely velvet leaves, the cameos, the beads and Mood!!!! What if Tim Gunn had come around the corner???
    Now Cathy, you must take Susan to the side and speak to her about seeing a dentist!

  15. Looks like you had a great time! The flowers are my favorite! Those velvet birds and leaves are so awesome!

  16. Oh my - talk about sensory overload (and a ton of drool having to be mopped off my keyboard!). Such a joy to see your photos and I enjoyed them all immensely...until I got to the dupioni silk and that did I want to cry 'cause I didn't get to come too!!

  17. Hello cathy, What can I say, what a glorious trip to NYC. What fantastic photos of all the silk flowers and laces and buttons and beads. So many glorious goodies to look at. Your new stash looks wonderful. Well worth the trip to the big city. Thanks for sharing. Hugs Judy

  18. Cathy this sounds like a dream day. I wish I could have been with you all. At least I made the Great Adventure and it was terrific. I have to say the best I have ever been to.

    You have done a wonderful post on it as usual.

    Flowers, flowers, everywhere. I was shopping today and bought a new cardigan - flowers, new fancy top - flowers. Have a few in the closet already with - you guessed it - flowers.

    I envy you the velvet birds and flowers. I feel sometime I get on overload when I hit a place like you did and never know what to get.



  19. Your blog post of our day is just as magical as the actual trip!@@ I had the time of my life. And I am SO thankful that you posted pics of your beautiful lace. I missed that store and I'm very happy to see how beautiful the lace was.

    Wonderful post and I'm so glad we went together. Here's to next time!!!!

  20. Looks like you didn't have any fun at all! lol! Wish I had been there.


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