Sunday, November 27, 2016

Meeting Kathryn Brenne & Other Stuff


Meeting Kathryn Brenne

Kathryn Brenne is one of those sewing luminaries that, until recently, I hadn't met. She designs patterns for Vogue, writes articles for Vogue Pattern Magazine, Threads Magazine, and EmmaOneSock, and runs a sewing school. (A real underachiever, this one.)

She was recently in the Bay Area giving a talk and some workshops for PenWAG. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend her talk because I was still in Paris, but she contacted me and we arranged to meet up on Saturday, just a few days after I returned.

We met for coffee and then spent the entire day together and, OMG, she is a total delight!

It was a rare rainy day, and we started at Cumaica, a coffee shop in the Richmond district

We spent the day shopping for fabric and clothing, eating, and visiting a museum. (More on the museum in the next section.) I also learned that she, too, leads trips to Europe! She has led trips to Paris in the past, but has been leading trips to London in the last few years.

While shopping, I found a new hat...

...and a fun pullover

In fact, Kathryn just announced a trip to London early in 2017, London Couture in the Country. I told her I'd love to take a trip like this minus the sewing component. If you are also interested in a trip to London with Kathryn, minus the sewing school, let her know!

Yes, a completely self serving plea. ;)

Museum of Craft and Design

Kathryn had heard about a Marianne Lettieri exhibit, Marianne Lettieri: Reflections, at the Museum of Craft and Design. I had never even heard of the Museum of Craft and Design, but I was game to check it out. This small museum is located in Dogpatch, an area in the south-eastern part of San Francisco.

In this exhibit, Lettieri focuses on repurposing collections of objects that "reflect domestic objects and homemaking." It is not a large exhibit, but it featured some intriguing work. I particularly loved her pincushion "window" and her crocheted doily "wall sconce".

Rose Window, 2012
Plywood, plaster, muslin, hand-etched mirrors, 100 used pincushions

Concupiscence, 2013
Birch wood, found crochet work

This piece was over 6 feet high

Art of Manliness, 2016
100 old tools, sisal fibers, red string unravelled from a rug

27,000 Breaths, 2014
Sewing machine, table, 27,000 inches of fabric, thread, canvas

What she calls fabric is actually red twill tape

The Sisters of Biscuits and Pies, 2014
24 used rolling pins, dishtowels, buttons, twill

Besides the Marianne Lettieri exhibit, there were some other wonderful pieces in the museum. For example, there were several carved books by Guy Laramée.

Histoire de l'art by Guy Laramée, 2012
Carved book

It's actually two carved books! The pages were not glued together

There was a gorgeous tapestry by Don and Era Farnsworth.

Alluvion by Don and Era Farnsworth, 2005
Belgian cotton tapestry

Thanks to Kathryn Brenne for introducing me to a new resource in my own city!

Member in Focus

I thought I had blogged about this but I searched the blog and couldn't find it.

I was profiled as the Member in Focus on Pattern Review for October.

It was an honor!

You can also check out all of the Member In Focus posts here.

Fashion Fund, Season 3

I've blogged before about one of my favorite TV shows, The Fashion Fund.

The Fashion Fund profiles the annual competition held by the CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America) and Vogue Magazine to ferret out the best upcoming fashion designers in the U.S. The winners are given a large cash award and mentorship to help develop their business. This award was conceived by Anna Wintour (editor in chief for Vogue Magazine) and Diane von Furstenburg (president of the CFDA).

I love this series because it is not "reality TV", per se. It's more of a documentary series about the process. They choose 10 designers and put them through a several month series of challenges. It is not an elimination competition—all ten designers remain for the entire process. At the end, the winners are awarded a large cash prize and mentorship. Some amazing American designers, like Alexander Wang, Rodarte, and others have been helped by this award.

Seasons 1 and 2 were televised on the Ovation channel, but Fashion Fund, Season 3 was purchased by Amazon Prime. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can watch this show for free. Season 4 has also been purchased by Amazon and will be available in January 2017.


I was so excited when I realized that it was on Amazon Prime! I binge watched the entire season over the Thanksgiving break.

I should mention another good series on Amazon Prime that I've been watching, Videofashon Designers, Season 1. Each episode highlights a designer, giving a retrospective of past and recent work. I highly recommend it!


I'm sorry that this post had no sewing, but I spent the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend mostly sewing! I've been working on a Britex project using a gorgeous wool plaid. It's finished, but not yet blogged.

A gorgeous wool plaid from Britex

I hope those of you who celebrate had a lovely Thanksgiving! Since returning from Paris I've been recovering from bronchitis, so besides sewing, I've been resting and trying to kick this thing. I've been tired and horribly congested, but am slowly getting better. In fact, I didn't eat a thing on Thanksgiving—I just wasn't hungry. My kids celebrated with the other side of the family and I love the pics that their cousin shared!

DD1 and DD2

DD2 was visiting from university in Canada for Thanksgiving and we had dinner on a rainy evening in San Francisco

I hope you have a great week! Please join me on Patti's Visible Monday.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Paris Finale

My last post on the Paris trip.


Cluny Museum and the Unicorn Tapestries

If you love medieval art, you'll want to check out the Cluny Museum.

Door to the Cluny Museum

It is, perhaps, most famous for its six unicorn tapestries. One tapestry represents each of the 5 senses and the last tapestry is something of an enigma. It represents "My desire", but it's not clear exactly what that means.

Whatever it means, these are very lovely tapestries!




Doggie detail

Mon Desire
I love that I caught Diane E taking a pic!

If you have a chance to see these in person, you should.

The museum has other interesting things to see, including a Roman bath, stained glass, and sculptures.

In the legend of St Denis, he's said to have walked some distance carrying his severed head.

A park next to the museum

Printemps Haussmann

After the Tilton tour was over, a member of our group mentioned that Printemps Haussmann, a large department store in Paris, had unveiled their Christmas windows.

I decided to check them out!

They had two types of window displays: some contained animated vignettes, including two windows that featured Jimmy Choo shoes. I made a video of the shoe "planes" flying around the tree, but I can't seem to find it. They also had some interactive windows that take a photo of your face and superimpose it on a poster.

My face on the little boy

And on the little girl with pigtails

A few shots from the animated windows.

Printemps Haussmann consists of two stores. There is a cafeteria on the 9th floor of the main building and the terrace features amazing views.

At the top of the smaller store, on the 6th floor, is the restaurant they refer to as the "cupola". Margy and I planned to meet there.

I walked in and... OMG.

The stained glass ceiling reflected in the mirrored table


A few more random shots in Printemps Haussmann.

The Printemps bathroom is worth checking out. Decorated with rolls of TP, it costs 1.50 euro to use the facilities, but it's worth the experience

Stravinsky Fountain

Once I learned about the Stravinsky Fountain, I had to see it! This fountain contains a number of colorful creatures, each one representing one of Stravinsky's musical pieces.

In solidarity with my endowed mermaid sister

Google Paris

I couldn't resist. I had to check out the Google Paris office! I stopped by for lunch and a quick visit.

A Lego Eiffel Tower

I tried this dessert after lunch and it was strange! I didn't finish it.

Near the Google office

Window Licking (and Street Wear), part 5

Just look at her coat!

In a yarn store

An interesting fleece wrap!

Grommets are king!

Beautiful plaid duffle

I like the bold pockets

I just loved the back of this woman's coat in Printemps Haussmann. I didn't even see the front!

A faux fur poncho!

I loved this stylish couple in the Marais

More Pics, part 5

I was walking by myself when I saw this guy in a park

The covered passages in Paris are very cool, though this one is completely vacant

I'd been told the try the colorful macarons in France. I tried this version, filled with Italian ice cream. Then local friends informed me that the San Francisco bay area has these same Amorino stores. Oh well!

Paris street cleaning machines are so darned cute!

A display in Bon Marché

Enjoying my new glass buttons featuring Paris scenes

I first saw Tzuri Gueta's jewelry in the Met Museum gift shop last July. I googled his name and saw that he has a shop in Paris, so I had to check it out! It's located on the Viaduct des Arts—a street near the Bastille full of art studios

He works with silk and silicon. His pieces are very lightweight.
He makes organic, fantastical sculptures as well as jewelry

So much fun!

A patron saint of motorcycles? ;)

A children's clothing store

Towards the end of our trip the holiday decorations were going up.

Les Halles underground mall adorned with a string of giant reindeer

Final Thoughts

I returned home this afternoon. After being away for almost a month, I need to get reacquainted with my sewing room! At some point I'd like to write a post on my travel wardrobe and lessons learned, but it may take awhile.

I had never been to Paris before and I can't imagine a better introduction than seeing it with the Tiltons. It was a wonderful tour with the right amount of museums, shopping, and free time. They shared their favorite sources, restaurants, and shops. We became pros at using the Metro—both the subway and surface buses. Paris is a very walkable city, with beauty around most every corner, and we logged 5-6 miles per day. I fell in love with several neighborhoods and I definitely plan to return, sooner rather than later!

Thanks so much, Marcy and Katherine, for a wonderful, bucket-list, unforgettable trip!

Complimentary water on Air France. Really? Christian Lacroix?

Tomorrow, I return to work. My shoes aren't even unpacked yet and I'm trying really hard not to go to sleep now, at 6:30pm. Playtime is over!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Paris Update, Part 4


Palais Royal

Paris is so full of beautiful squares, parks, museums, churches. Sheesh, everywhere you look! We visited the Palais Royal and photo fun ensued.

Thanks to Katherine Tilton for these pics!

I am nothing if not consistent

I was observing that I could see my reflection in the balls...

...when Margy took this!

Window Licking, part 4

I try to photograph lots of window displays because they are so fun to look at!

A gold leather moto jacket! I've been seeing lots of moto jackets in unusual fabrications.

Alexander Wang yumminess

Chanel yumminess. More Chanel below

I covet these

OK, here's the end of the Chanel!

This is not my style, but I loooooove it!

I think this was Hermes

I'm seeing lots of large plaid coats

More Pics, part 4

I love this pic I took of Diane Egelston absorbing the sun's rays. Only later did I notice Margy, in the background, also zenning out!

From the window of a taxi I caught this couple taking a selfie with the Eiffel Tower

Sacre Coeur on a rainy day

A light fixture made from silk cocoons

A feather wig. Just the thing if my hair continues to thin!

A Metro entrance

Robin trying on a fetching feather boa

Linda wearing a new hat that perfectly matches her Mycra Pac coat!

Jill and Linda, hat sisters!

Dorothy and Jill shopping for fabric

The heart of the Chanel empire

I am holding a painted skin (I didn't buy it) and Ruth is holding an appliqued leather (she did)

More gorgeous cloud formations

I bought the green feather flower on the left

We came upon a store window where Kevin Lyons, author of the Little Men and Little Miss books, was painting. My kids loved these books as children! (Maybe you haven't heard of them but they are huge in the U.K. My mother-in-law is English, so several extended family members gave these to my kids.)