Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Now For Something Completely Different

ps. it doesn't hurt if you also look fabulous

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

22nd Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibit

FIDM, 919 South Grand Ave, LA .
At the lovely Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising ( FIDM )
their gallery is currently exhibiting costumes from 22 movies released in 2014.

Hours are 10am-5pm Tuesdays thru Saturdays
The exhibit ends on April 26.
FREE admission :)

Every year for the past 22 years FIDM has not disappointed 
in the caliber and variety of the costumes from top grossing films.
This year continues the excellence with amazing costumes from
sci-fi fantasy to wonderfully historical.

All four films nominated for the 2014 Academy Award for 
best costumes are represented... 

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American Hustle; designer Michael Wilkinson

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The Invisible Woman; designer Michael O'Conner

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The Grandmaster; designer William Chang Suk Ping

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12 Years A Slave; designer Patricia Norris

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The Great Gatsby
Winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Costume
designer Catherine Martin 

Catherine Martin accepting her Academy Award

Viewing the actual costumes is always very interesting.
Film is an edited illusion and reality is often different.
From the fabrics to the construction techniques to the size and stature ( or not ) of the actors
it is an enjoyable glimpse into movie magic.

And if you travel to LA for the
Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibit
do not overlook a small gallery off the main exhibit…
this small gallery has a constantly revolving selection of items from
The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection

Currently 10 wedding gowns from the 19th-century are on display.
I've also seen 18th century hats and accessories, beaded party dresses from the 1920s
and it's always a pleasant surprise.

Desert display at Bottega Louie, 700 South Grand Ave, LA 90017

And I would be remiss if I did not divulge that two blocks from FIDM
is a culinary wonderland called
Bottega Louie

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stretching your $$

$12.50 for four elastic bands at J Crew

These stretchy elastic bands that my girlies and I frequently wear on our wrists 
( and wear even more frequently in our hair ) 
are extremely popular AND extremely over-priced.

How over-priced became very clear when
I was wearing an elastic band while touring Britex Fabrics 
and the guide pointed out that the exact same elastic was for sale… 
$1.99 a yard.
I bought a yard each of four different colors
and each yard yielded 4 bands.

 I cut the elastic, 
girlie singed the edges so they would not fray,

and other girlie tied the ends into knots.

The missing bands are already on our wrists and hair

Within 5 minutes we had 16 stretchy elastic bands at a cost of 50 cents per band…
which still seems a little over-priced :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Britex Fabrics; Four floors in 25 minutes

Britex Fabrics 146 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94108

In the heart of Union Square in San Francisco is the four story wonder store: Britex Fabrics.

And every other Saturday there is a 25 minute tour of all four floors starting promptly at 11am.
Pre registration is required at

Mary was my fearless guide and although I have been shopping at Britex for decades she shared lots of interesting tidbits about the history, the selection of merchandise and lots of amazing fabrics.

First Floor
An amazing 120-foot wall of woolens that was created by founder Martin Spector back in 1952 when the store opened over 60 years ago. And it's still run by family 
There are also beautiful silks and imported laces on this floor.

Lace and feathers and each dot on the lace is a tiny bead.
Unbelievable and $1,100 a yard

Behind a red velvet rope are the most amazing handmade laces from France and Europe.

And we actually got to handle these amazing laces whose beauty cannot be conveyed in a photograph.

Second Floor
Cottons, blends, knits and velvets; oh my!
This is also where there are Home Dec fabrics.

Third Floor
My most favorite floor in the store because it's all 
the trims, buttons, ribbons, embellishments, notions your heart could desire.
There are 2,500 buttons 
and the woman that hands customers the button box has worked there for 26 years!
She'll only give you two boxes to choose from because it's so overwhelming.

And don't even get me started on ribbons!
My current obsession is ribbons and trying to pick just a few is impossible.

Fourth Floor
Discounted remnants, and also tulle, muslin, interfacing, felt, oilcloth and more on the top floor.
And the tour was over.
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As I stated at the beginning I am no stranger to Britex but, there is so much selection packed into this building that I now know NOT asking staff for input and suggestions is really cheating yourself.

And I'll tell you one last secret;
 the tour lasted more like 45 minutes because there is no way to quickly cover all the 
four floors of fabulousness that is Britex Fabrics.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

California Fibers

Soka University in Aliso Viejo is a giant, sprawling campus boasting some amazing architecture.

And from January 13 until May 8, 2014 Soka University is hosting a free exhibit in the Founders Hall Art Gallery of 66 original works of art by 22 members of California Fibers. 

Julie Kornblum surplus yarn, plastic bags
 The artworks range from very large to very small and from traditional to avant garde.

Kathy Nida
The level of skill in all the works is very impressive.

Susan Hart Henegar, tapestry

A photo never does justice to scale and textures. 
These tapestries and the recycled quilt are about 5' X 7'.

Susan Henry, recycled mens wool trousers and suit jackets

Vayla, felted and quilted

Polly Jacobs Giacchina, date palm, caning and raffia
 There are numerous three dimensional pieces that are very organic in shape.

Gail Fraser, hand twined with wax linen, reed, sisal, wire and ceramics

Lydia Tjioe Hall, steel wire, cast bronze, waxed linen thread

Lynne Hodgman, crocheted rayon thread

This is a very large installation and very effective for its' relative simlpicity.

Ashley V. Blalock, cotton yarn
And I will conclude with one of my favorite pieces; 
an old school skill of crochet taken to an artistic level with a giant floor to ceiling installation.

Many people possess skills that they think are quite ordinary when in actuality the only limit to the skill is their imagination.
This exhibit celebrates and explores the ancient skill of working with fibers in many new and innovative ways.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Wayne Wichern; Milliner Extraordinaire


Wayne sharing his knowledge and supplies during hat workshop

After my fabulous experience at Hat Camp 
( see blog entry dated 10/3 2013 Destination: Hat Camp )
I was determined to attend one of Wayne Wichern's Hat Workshops in Burlingame. 

Wayne Wichern Millinery is at 1777 California Drive, Studio 7 & 8, Burlingame, CA 94010

Lucky for me Wayne's studio at the Peninsula Museum of Art was just a bus and BART ride away from my girlie's apartment in San Francisco.

Since the goal of the workshop is to learn how to block hats
 on wooden forms ( called hat blocks )

and the fact that there are probably 200+ ( 300+ ? ) hat blocks in Wayne's studio

I knew immediately the workshop was going to be incredibly informative.
And I wasn't disappointed.

The first demonstration was a straw hood ( or blank ) blocked on this hat block.

Wayne explained all the different types of straw, the good and not so good, the weave, and the preparation of the straw, etc.

It takes a lot of  strength to block a hat and 
agility to slip a string around the stretched straw to hold it in place.

After the hat dried the excess was cut away

The brim was clean finished on the sewing machine

and then Wayne shared his method for creating a headband and sewing it in place.

Then the steps were repeated with a wool felt that was blocked,

left to dry,

and some subtle variations in the finishing steps.
I am being extremely brief! 
Eight pages of hand written notes attest to
 the knowledge and impressive skills Wayne so very generously shared with us.

All around Wayne's studio were wonderful hats in all shapes, colors and trims that were so inspiring!

Wayne has been a milliner for 27 years and is a true master of his trade.
As I begin my millinery journey with no clear destination 
it truly humbles me to have someone so unselfishly share decades of experience.