September 21, 2016

Gatherings and Training

The week of my training at Anthro, our friends from Germany came to town. We were so happy to have them over for dinner and catch up after not seeing them for a couple of years. Later in the week, after they did some traveling around northern California, we took them to the MoMa and then drove a bit around the Mission district to see some of the murals and some nice vistas of the city from up high. We later met up with Caitlin and Cyrous and our other friends Alex and Barbara to have dinner in Berkeley. We always have so much fun with this group, and wish the visiting times were longer! Next up is our turn to go for a visit to Munich.
So........Anthopologie and Co. Well, here it is! In all its magical, wonderland glory!!! There really are no words for how beautiful this store is. Each area is so delightful and packed with so many wonderful treasures. I'm not sure yet which of the areas downstairs are my favorite. The Terrain area, which is in the entrance, is so incredible. Next week we all get 40% off all the living things!!! Can't wait to get my paws on some of it. What is really neat is this store is the very first of its kind, and we are lucky that it is in our town.  Anthropologie is always a creative delight to go to, but this store is something extra special.
My section is upstairs in BHLDN. Brides can make appointments for themselves as well as their bridal party. It's been so much fun seeing all the happy brides come in and try on all the beautiful dresses that we have to offer.  The training was very thorough and because it was, I have noticed that the girls that are the stylists are doing a fantastic job. Since I'm part time, I tend to stay in the front area by the beautiful jewelry and sell the "Icing on the cake" for the brides. It's low key and fun.  When I go on my break, I get to see Caitlin in the beauty department downstairs. She is full time, so I see her pretty much all the times I'm at work.
Last time I did retail, as I mentioned ,was close to 22 years ago! Back then my feet were much younger hahaha Now they aren't that happy, and I'm in the midst of finding good shoes that don't look too dorky with all the cool clothes we have to wear! Did I mention that? In our department, we have to dress as if we were going to a bridal event. Not necessarily a wedding, but like a shower or rehearsal dinner for example. Everyone always looks amazing hahaha. The girls in my department are all very delightful and fun to work and chat with, it makes me forget about my tiered feet and old body in general!  What I really love about Antropologie is the creative aspect of everything they do. Today I saw they were holding a calligraphy workshop! Where would you ever see that but at Anthropologie! They also try and do collaborations with local businesses like for example in BHLDN, I gave them the name of the florist we used for Caitlin's wedding and showed the manager their IG account. They will now be part of our wedding fair on Oct. 6th. It's going to be a great event. Sadly I won't be able to go since we are going to see the "Lumineers" that night. Hope there are a lot of pictures :)
I could go on and on.  On another note, I have been getting a steady stream of cape orders as well. so far I have been able to keep up. I love these customers that have ordered in plenty of time for Halloween and I'm dreading the ones that wait till the last minute.  I've been wanting to show off the store in a blog post, but these first few days of training they really didn't want photos leaking out on any kind of social media or blogs. It's been both fun and exhausting, but I'm sure things will level out into a fun routine soon. I'll keep you posted!

August 26, 2016

The Light is Changing.....

I know it is still summer, but can you see the light changing? I have noticed a lot of Instagram users posting magical light photos on their feed. This time of year is so golden isn't it? It's still summer, yet I can smell and see hints of fall everywhere I look. The apples in the neighbors yard, my miniature pomegranate, all are starting to ripen up in their fall beauty. The leaves are turning on my peach trees as well.  I saw some pumpkin spice items making their way onto store shelves. How did the whole pumpkin spice flavor and scent = fall start? I don't remember it being this prevalent in the past! It's almost overkill, even though I must admit, I like it.

Last Saturday Caitlin and Cyrous went with us to see the newly reopened SF MoMa. It was fun to see the new wing that they built just for the Fisher collection. The collection was owned by the founders of Gap, and was gifted to the museum.  I can't even imagine owning all those iconic paintings by Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, and other contemporary artists, it's a dream collection. Jury is still out how I actually feel about the remodel though.   We had dinner in the Mission, to a place Caitlin and Cyrous use to go to a lot when they lived in the city. It was fun to catch up with them. At dinner, Caitlin mentioned that there were still openings at the new Anthropologie &Co. that will be opening up in September in our area. She encouraged me to apply for a sales position in the BHLDN department in the store. I thought about it for a bit, and decided it would be a fun opportunity and applied.  Long story short, I'm now an employee of Anthropologie! I think I'm going to love being in the bridal department a lot. I'm going to feel things out a bit and see how it fits in my life and also with balancing my Etsy shop.  I'm not giving that up, as I will only be part time, and will still have time to do what I love on my days off. I feel, now that I'm a full fledged empty nester, I need to get out more and mingle with people. Truth be told, I feel like some days I have been a little bit directionless at home. I have taken for granted all my free time, and instead of being really productive, I procrastinate and do the minimum. I decided to give myself a kick in the butt and do something different. I'm not a stranger to retail, and I know it can sometimes be trying. I use to work for Crate and Barrel, but that was 22 years ago! Gulp, that is a long time ago. What I loved about working there, was the interaction with the customers.  I loved making sure they found what they wanted and I especially loved doing gift registries. My hip and back made me quit unfortunately, and I wanted to make sure I was at home for my girls full time also. No one is here during the day now, except for Riki the parakeet, and while he can sometimes sing a sweet tune to me, he is no match for actual human interaction, so I'm off to a new adventure for the time being. The great thing is, I don't NEED the job really, and it's going to be more of a joy to go in rather than "I have to go in." I always thought it would be fun to work at Williams Sonoma part time, but there is this one tyrannical woman who works in our WS that would make life very difficult, so I took a hard pass on that possibility. My second choice was Anthro. It was second choice because our store was small, and didn't carry all the cool house wears and all the clothing lines. When they decided to take over the huge building that use to be a multi level Barnes and Noble, I started thinking it might be fun to revisit the idea of having a fun part time job.  If you love their stores, this will be heavenly to you! It will have Terrain, BHLDN, and an expanded Anthropologie with furniture and lots of house wears. Just typing this made he get excited !!!

Ok, now for my shop update. I'm waiting for the cape fever to start any day now. I have many likes on the listing and that usually indicates sales, so I'm really going to have to plan my cape construction days very carefully. My customers on Etsy are the best, but sometimes I get the oddest requests that always makes me wonder what people are thinking sometimes. I really feel like people don't understand what it takes to design and execute a garment. Last night I got a convo from someone asking if I could put slits in the arm area of the cape and oh can you make it longer too?! NO!  Would they like to pay me for the time to redesign the entire pattern and then charge them more for the item?Probably not. Then we have the people who decide they want it for Halloween, and contact me two to three days before! Seriously?!  Rant over. The fabric in the above photos are the ones I am working with at the moment. I'm almost finished with a cute black dotted swiss top, so stay tuned for that!

I better get going folks, lots of planning before I start my new adventure. I'll check in soon!

August 16, 2016

For the Love of Textiles

It's no secret that I love all things textile. While studying art history in college, I was fascinated with the preservation of paintings and textiles, and would spend a lot of time looking at all the vintage clothing in the theater department of my university. Preserving textiles can be complicated to do on your own as you can imagine, and this is why after Caitlin's wedding we wanted to make sure this wedding gown and veil got preserved in THE best possible manner.  We wanted to be able to do this as a gift for Caitlin and Cyrous. I remember after our wedding, we never seemed to have the funds to take my dress to the cleaners and so it got put in a garment bag and forgotten. Caitlin's dress is gorgeous and has two layers of silk lining along with  Alencon lace, which is sometimes referred to as "the queen of lace." The veil also has this lace, and in itself is an heirloom.  The process of choosing a wedding gown, then going through numerous fittings and then to not take care of such a investment, when the big day is over, is a crime in my book! Last week I contacted Marina Morrison where Caitlin bought the gown and veil, to ask where the  best place was to have the gown cleaned, preserved and restored. They sent me info to contact J. Scheer & Co. (click on the name if you would like to read more about them.)  After spending time on their site, I placed the order to start the process. I received a phone call immediately and spoke with a very nice woman, who walked me through the steps and what they do. I must say though, that shipping the dress and accessories, via UPS, had me a little nervous, and as you can imagine, Caitlin was too!! Today I'm happy to say it arrived safe, and now the process begins. They will test all the fabric to find which organic solution they will use to clean the dress. I'm happy that they will be able to mend the torn tulle as well. The process will take up to three and a half months.  They will clean the belt as well, as Caitlin got a little bit of honey on it from the Persian ceremony. I was panicking about that since the satin ribbon was so thick and lustrous and worried how something like that could get cleaned.  The really cool thing about how the gown and accessories  will be boxed, is that it will not be sealed like most cleaners do. They encourage you to open it and look at your gown once you get it. Included with the box are white gloves to handle the dress, as to not get oils from your hands on it. Even if the dress never gets worn again, it will be a treasure and memory of the most beautiful day, which I cannot believe was now 10 months ago! Speaking of which, you should clean your dress no later than six months it said....oops.....Luckily Caitlin didn't spill anything on her dress and only has light soiling on the hem.
When the dress returns, I'll snap a picture of it.  All wedding pictures above were taken by Erin Prado, for JBM photo  Incase you are wondering who Caitlin's dress is by, it is Liancarlo  and her veil was by Homa Bridal (click on names to go to the sites) Belt was Anne Barge
This is our anniversary gift to them, and I sure hope it arrives close to the actual date!!
Seriously though, if you love textiles, go on the J. Scheer site and read all the fascinating things they do for Bridal, Couture, and historical textiles.

August 8, 2016

Hello August!

Wow, it's been a few weeks since I have blogged! One day seems to meld into another over here with routine and summer time laziness.  Since I last blogged, Caitlin and Cyrous moved to their really cute new place. On the Sunday before they got back, we built an Ikea TV stand for them, and got them a cute little patio table and chairs for their front porch. I think they were surprised with their house warming gifts! In my next post I'll put some pics of of their place, it's really charming.  It's nice to have them home after being away for a month.
A week or so we were suffering with a heat wave, as evidenced in the first photo. Not much gets done in this type of weather for me, which as you can see, there are no photos of anymore sewing projects! I did however complete one special order, and spent some time getting some inspiration for some fall projects on Pinterest. I went to my favorite fabric store in Berkeley last week and bought some really fun fabrics that inspired me to begin my fall/winter looks. I was going to work with a real bright color palate this fall, but changed my mind when I found this one particular print. I'll take some pics when I get some things cut out, which hopefully will be this week.

This past Saturday, we met Caitlin and Cyrous for breakfast and then checked out the vintage fair they were having downtown. I found a cool 1930's print to frame for my bathroom. Last year I found some really great vintage patterns, but this year I didn't see any vintage sewing supplies.  We stopped in at States Coffee for an ice tea and then headed home.

One of our summer guilty pleasures has been watching "Six Feet Under" on HBO.  This is the first time we have ever had HBO, so just now we are watching shows that everyone else already saw back in the early 2000's hahaha. The series began in 2001 and it's funny to see how that already looks dated. This started airing around the time we were getting ready to move to France.  I heard all about it when we moved back to the States, but like I said, no HBO until now. We are on the next to the last season right now and have really enjoyed the series.  Now we have to try and fit in the Olympics with our HBO viewing hahaha. Speaking of Olympics, as I type this I just saw the US win the mens swimming relay!! Michael Phelps really was incredible to watch. What are your favorite events to watch? We love swimming, gymnastics, and beach volleyball.

On Saturday we decided to go into Oakland for dinner, and while we were walking to the restaurant, we encountered this sweet little cat. It was just lying there minding its own business. As we walked by, it gravitated towards David like a magnate. It rubbed up against him in circles, then came over to me and did the same. I tried to pet it, but it just looked at me, like don't even.... then sauntered away. It still seemed that it wanted to pal out with David, as you can see how it is stalking him from behind. I miss having a cat.

The yard continues to bloom and bloom. The purple flowers on the tree are covered in bees and dragonflies. I really don't remember this tree all bloomed like it is now, last summer. I love seeing it out of my kitchen window. My miniature pomegranates are starting to form it's tiny fruit! We love sitting out in the yard on Sundays with our farmers market treats and coffee enjoying all the sights  smells of summer. Today we had a friend over to help us eat the farmer's market treats.

Oh I almost forgot.....Nicole got the coolest job opportunity that we are all super excited about! Unfortunately I can't say much about it, as I'm sworn to secrecy.... BOO! The minute I can tell more about it, I will be doing my proud mom moment. It's pretty cool :)

Off to do a bit more Olympic viewing before bed.....Catch up sooner than I did this time!