Notes From the Janery Studio
Two weeks ago I attended Quilt Market in St. Louis, MO, to get the scoop on the latest and greatest fabrics, sewing equipment, and more.
Have you heard of Quilt Market? It’s a large fabric industry wholesale trade show, meaning it’s only open to business owners such as quilt shop owners or product makers - like me!
Imagine a football field-sized room filled with fabric and sewing supplies. It’s crazy, right? I was blown away by how many incredible fabrics are out there. I got to meet a few favorite designers, like Amy Butler, Pat Bravo, and Tula Pink, and I tried to act cool after admiring their artistry for years.
In addition to fabric manufacturers, there are also booths for button makers, sewing machine manufacturers, wool makers, thread companies - basically everything we use to create quilts and textile products.
I attended because I needed to see more of what was available in the fabric and sewing industry. Walking the trade show floor is more efficient than spending hours with Google, researching companies, then ordering fabric swatches and supply samples.
What made Quilt Market totally worth it for me? I got to see fabrics that were printed literally the day before the show. They’re so new that I can’t even order them yet, but I’m at the top of the list to receive them ASAP. I can’t wait for you to see them when they become part of Janery’s Fall 2017 collection.
As the name implies, Quilt Market is all about quilts. There are quilts that win awards, and there are quilts made to demonstrate new fabric collections.
Here are some of the amazing quilts on display at the trade show:
This quilt was, hands down, my absolute favorite from the whole event. It stopped me in my tracks. Who knew you could paint such expression in a face just through fabric, needle and thread?
This botanical quilt also had me stopping for a closer look - an easy second favorite.
Manoa Falls Valley by Shigeko Haruki and eight friends of Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan:
You can see even more award-winning quilts here.
Fabric companies take their display booths seriously for this event, crafting elaborate scenes or rooms using their fabrics in all sorts of applications.
This booth, showcasing the new Caturday fabric line by Felice Regina was one of my favorites. So impressive, and cat owners will chuckle at the inspiration behind some of the designs! That wasn't the only pet-themed booth. The Tattooed Quilter also created this amazing wall hanging: And then there was this fun booth by Stacy Iest Hsu: Are you as impressed as I was by the artistry and creativity on display? I can't wait to return to the next Quilt Market for even more inspiration and ideas!
Last year our family traveled to Italy, returning to some favorite spots and exploring new ones. I am inspired by travel, from the food to the terrain and the people. I love trying new things, getting lost on little side streets, and somehow Italy has just captured my heart.
Because we were traveling with our toddler, we started our trip in a favorite town that we already knew well, Levanto. It's a charming coastal town in the Italian Riviera. We love that it lacks both the crowds of neighboring Cinque Terre and the glitz and glamour of the other Riviera cities like Portofino. It's cozy, welcoming, and charming as can be with many locals just living and working there.
While traveling with a toddler isn't the most relaxing vacation, we decided to travel regularly with her. Otherwise, if you keep waiting for the "perfect" time, that time may never come.
A Durmi Guesthouse was just as relaxing as we remembered from our last trip, with our room opening onto a beautiful garden and courtyard for Maple to play in.
We arrived just in time for sunset over the garden.
It’s easy to relax at the guesthouse because their courtyard is so beautiful and peaceful. It backs up to the backyard gardens of the other homes, so you feel like you’re in the Secret Garden. Because it’s fully enclosed it was a safe space for Maple to play while we enjoyed meals under the pergola.
Nearby in the old quarter, the Pasticceria Bianchi serves delicious coffee and pastries. Maple basked in the attention she received from all the locals who came in for their coffees. And thus began the outpouring of affection from local Italians to our tiny sidekick.
This vegetable market in the old quarter has the most incredible fresh smell! Italy has the most incredible produce, and for such low prices.
The food in Levanto is delicious, especially at our favorite restaurant, L’articiocca. Clara, the friendly owner, remembered us from two years earlier, and was amazing with our daughter. It’s a small restaurant frequented by locals, and Clara and Maple hit it off immediately.
The courses come out slowly, but are deliciously cooked from scratch.
There are also the requisite beach bars, where we enjoyed several casual, average lunches with a gorgeous ocean view. And even though the ocean was still cool, it was fun to play on the rocky beach.
It seems everyone in Italy has a bicycle.
The pedestrian streets of the old town have such amazing potted gardens.
I don’t know what it is about Italy, but the roses grow like weeds there. I stumbled upon this rose bush outside a tiny, nondescript apartment. The fragrance was overwhelming.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at Levanto. If you're considering visiting Cinque Terre, I highly recommend staying north of the area in Levanto, as it makes a more relaxing, and less crowded, home base.
"Work hard - play hard" is definitely my motto. I absolutely love traveling, and my husband and I try to do it as much as possible. This past spring we crossed the ocean, toddler in tow, to explore Northern Italy for the second time. We revisited some old favorites, including the magical car-free world of Venice.
On our next to last day in Venice, the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds and I was elated. Venice is always beautiful, but sunny Venice is a much happier place. Ryan and I were feeling optimistic, so we set out for the colorful Island of Burano.
Burano is a small fishing village about 45 minutes across the Laguna from Venice. It’s best known for its ridiculously colorful houses, which have been painted bright shades of the rainbow for what seems like forever. Rumor has it the houses were painted colorfully so that they could be seen by fishermen returning home in the fog. The island used to be home to a large lace factory, but now most of the lace sold there is made elsewhere by machines.
This beautiful shop, above, is one of the first visitors see when they enter the island from the vaporetto stop. It is much more elegant than most of the souvenir lace shops, and more expensive. However, I though the quality of the goods was much better as well.
Ryan and I were sad to see that Burano was as crowded as Venice, a huge change from our last visit 3 years earlier. Of course, we were part of the problem just as every tourist is. I have mixed feelings about it. There were times we were unable to cross bridges because so many people were clogging them to take photos. The ubiquity of digital photography has really changed tourism.
The island is just as breathtaking as people say it is. Photos taken there don’t need to be edited for color – the colors are truly this vibrant.
I was photographing the houses as we walked, but then I saw some 20-something girls take maybe 100 photos of shoes drying in someone’s house window (I’m not exaggerating). I suddenly felt that we were intruding on locals’ privacy with our photos. Can you imagine if tourists were constantly taking photos of your window, your door, your shoes, your laundry, and heaven forbid – you – just because you were “foreign” to them?
I took fewer photos after this realization.
Sadly, not every home in Burano is occupied and there were many “vendesi” signs. As tourism takes over the Venice island region, these homes are becoming less affordable for true locals. This one house has been crumbling for years; I remembered it for last time. And it remains empty. And the government of the island makes it very hard for outside people to buy these houses. A catch-22.
At lunch time the crowds were so bad that we crossed the bridge to the even smaller island of Mazzorbo, where there isn’t much other than a vineyard and a famous gourmet restaurant/hotel named Venissa.
I didn’t think that having a multi-course lunch or dinner there would work since we had a toddler in tow, but thought I had read that the hotel had a lighter cafe / bar where you could get a bite and a drink. However, we could only find the fancy restaurant which is now on my bucket list to dine at (child free, of course).
It was past lunch time and we were hungry, so we returned to Burano and decided to just eat at a touristy restaurant with fun umbrellas on the canal. The great thing about pizza in Italy? Most of the time it’s pretty good thin crust pizza with gourmet toppings, even when you’re at a total tourist stop.
That was the day Maple discovered her love of pizza sauce and Coke Zero. I let her try Ryan’s coke thinking she wouldn’t like it…and she went nuts for it.
The sky started to cloud over after lunch, and as the tourists ran for the vaporetto, we decided to stay behind. The town was more enjoyable and quiet in the rain. It was a great decision.
This mural caught my eye:
Right before the rain really hit, we finally got a family photo.
We holed up in a coffee shop as the rain fell, and then we headed to catch the next vaporetto home. On the way to the port, we found this great little art shop and met the artist.
Even though huge crowds had departed before the rain, the stop was still overflowing with people. It’s crazy how many tourists flood the island during the day . . .
As we departed in the overcast and gloomy weather, Burano cheerfully watched us with its colorful houses shining.
I think it would be awesome to spend the night on Burano and enjoy the quieter local feel. If we return, I’d like to go in cold weather so that it’s not as busy.