Posted in sewing

Scissor Sharpening At the Farmer’s Market

Can we talk about how I am loathe to get my scissors sharpened? I just hate taking them to Joann’s for sharpening and being without them for a week or more at a time. In fact, I have a few pairs of scissors. Why? Because instead of giving up scissors for sharpening, I would just go and buy another sharp pair on a 50 percent off day at Joanns. I do plan on buying some nice Kai scissors soon though 🙂

That being said, I was thrilled when a colleague told me that there was while you wait scissors sharpening at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market. Well, she told me they sharpened knives and I thought ‘SCISSORS!’.

I’ve been meaning to go for months now but couldn’t seem to put my hands on the two that needed sharpening until this morning…

The Farmer’s Market is pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, live performers, prepared foods and general Baltimore goodness. This morning I ran into several people I know too, a frenemy, kids in my fellowship, colleagues and a blog reader (I should start wearing make up out the house for these things. Especially if I’m going to see frenemies).

The owner told me this is his first year at the market and he’s loving it! He said he’s sharpened thousands of Fiskars and that my Ginghers are good spring loaded scissors. The Ginghers cost a little more to sharpen since they don’t separate like the Fiskars.

He told me to come back in 30 minutes. So, I walked around the market getting some food for the week (and coffee and fresh made donuts for breakfast).

I am so making a peach cobbler today.  And, fried green tomatoes with grilled corn. Mmmm.

My scissors were done in 30 mins for $12 total. And, they are cutting like buttah. Not bad! Thank you Pro Edge Sharpening!

Next time I’ll take my chef’s knife, craft nips and my duckbill embroidery scissors 🙂

Posted in Life

Union Square Cookie Tour

Trena may have the White House as part of her holiday experience. But, I’ve got Union Square and the H.L. Mencken House around the corner :-).  In addition to the Christmas Tree Farm experience, my holiday-themed weekend included the 26th annual Union Square Christmas Cookie Tour.

 Homeowners in historic Union Square open up their 19th century homes to participants. Each house bakes a different cookie too.

The neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places district. I had some serious house envy. On average, the houses are around 2500 to 3,000 sq ft, 4 bedroom / 4 bathrooms. Oy.

One homeowner said that during the 1800s there were 19 servants that worked in the home!

I didn’t take the best / most useful photos for blogging.  I was all caught up in getting cookies. Plus, it felt a little strange photographing someone’s house. But, here are a few highlights.

This house with the nutcracker collection has nine fireplaces, eight of which are in operation. The one below is in the kitchen. Can you imagine??

While some houses kept the super traditional look. Others went with a more modern decor.

Including this house that hung doors from the set of HBO’s the Wire. These were used as the fictional police department on the show.

Here’s the Christmas tree in the same house. Upside down! I didn’t know that was a thing.

More of the infamous marble steps of Baltimore.

The renovated bathrooms make me want to drool

And other homes of the more modern home were the exposed brick

If you are in the area next Christmas, I recommend you take the tour. It’s got great history, it’s fun to see how people decorate and renovate their homes and a wonderful introduction to this historic area.

Posted in quilting, sewing

A Little Local Quilting and Some Italian Influence

A few weeks ago I attended the 100th anniversary of Baltimore’s Bromo Seltzer Tower. The structure was built in 1911 as sort of an advertisement for the Alka Seltzer like supplement. The seltzer is no longer made.  From Wikipedia: The tower is patterned on the Palazzo Vecchio in FlorenceItaly, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I wish I knew that when I was in Florence! I’m going to have to see if I have any good photos to compare.

Once, the building had a replica blue bottle on top. But, those pesky Fire Marshalls said it needed to come down.

Now, the building is home to artist studios. To celebrate the anniversary, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts solicited quilt blocks from the crafty community. Somehow, all of this escaped me 🙂

Here are photos of the finished quilt blocks. All represent something about the Tower or Baltimore. The piecing and quilting was done by the woman in the above photo on the right. I didn’t even know she knew how to quilt and I work with her on a regular basis!

Not that I think I actually could have done an applique quilt block. I mean, really. I’ve been working on my Single Girl Quilt for two years!!

Posted in sewing

My Favorite (Local) Fabric Store

So, eons ago, Baltimore had an actual garment district. It covered several blocks in downtown Baltimore. In fact, the London Fog Company was started in Baltimore. The largest manufacturer of straw hats and umbrellas was once in Baltimore. We were *the* importer of Panama hats for a minute. Twelve years ago a button manufacturer actually burned down. Of course, all that has changed now. And there is just one fabric store left downtown in our old garment district.

Guss Woolens was started in 1919 and bought by the current owners in the mid 90s. I shop for fabric here because it’s locally owned and they have really really great men’s suitings and shirtings. Like more suitings than I’ve seen in place. Possibly ever. And yes, I’m counting G Street. And, well, if you go on a Saturday afternoon, there are a lot of seriously hot men who want your opinion on what to buy. Why so many hot men? Because we have two or three sports teams and those athletes are super tall or super big and muscular and often need custom tailoring. And who am I do deny the draping of fabric against their broad shoulders while delicately guiding their decisions on fabric?

The first floor is the cutting room where most of the in season suiting is. The shelves line both walls. And, the owner says at last inventory they had over 2,200 bolts of fabric. I’ve heard they even sell to Britex.

Four drawers like this have remnants of two to three yards between 12 and 20 dollars. Linens, wools, shirtings, silk twill, tie silk — you name it. They have it. Well, not like lace. But, you get the drift.

The second floor. Be still my heart. Stacks upon stacks upon stacks of two and three yard pieces for a pittance. Ok, not an actual pittance. But, easily for sale for 50 percent less than when they were on the bolt.

At any rate, this Patrones dress and the creamsicle Burda dress boast thier fabric. Three yard remnants are $20 or less. I had to literally put down the black duiponi silk. I tell you readers, only for you did I enter this store today. I almost broke the 2010 fabric fast. But, whew. I was strong.

I share this with you because I realize I’m a lucky son of a gun. When pressed, I have at least two options for fabric between Guss Woolens and A Fabric Place / Michael’s. When desperate, I have several Joann fabrics within 20 minutes of me and G Street within an hour. The good news for you is that Guss Woolens does do mail order. Who knew, right? The website is terrible. But, you can email them from there and let them know you’d like fabric samples. Just tell them what you’re interested in.

But, what I REALLY really love here, is the stove  (it’s a stove right? Coal? Wood?) on the second floor:

Gorgeous, right? It’s covered in dust. But, if you look real close, it says ‘Improved Baltimorean’.

If they ever go out of business that stove is going home with me.