Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Barcelona!

I'm back!

Sorry about the delay in writing this post. When I was in Barcelona I was having too good a time to post, then when I got back the jet lag set in. I still feel a bit upside down to be honest, waking up at 3 am in spite of sleep or work or exercise or any of the things that usually reset my body clock.

Anyway Barcelona! What a vibrant lovely cosmopolitan city. I'd been there once before and had a totally different experience, being robbed, getting sick and being annoyed with the endless drinking of one of my travelling companions...ah well, lessons learnt. This time I saw the lovely side of this city and found that time sped by far too quickly.

I took DD with me. We stayed in an apartment on the Passieg de Gracia, one of the two main streets of Barcelona that lead down to the sea. The other is La Rambla where the action never stops. We avoided it except for the fresh produce market which is an experience in itself. Lunch on that day was a delectable picnic with locaI wine on the balcony. After hours of sightseeing it was always a treat to get back to de Gracia and unlock the big wooden door to the street, go through the foyer, catch the wrought iron elevator to the apartment and relax!  BTW This was the least expensive but also the best accommodation we had in the three countries we visited.


The view from the balcony..


We were a couple of blocks from the marvellous Casa Batllo designed by Gaudi




La Pedrera with it's ice cream shaped turrets, also designed by Gaudi, was a couple of blocks in the other direction.

I got to tour both buildings and see the inside and learn a bit more about Gaudi's philosophy and vision. I thought he was just an eccentric who did not like straight lines but in reality his structures are ingenious and energy friendly and human friendly and inside have lovely spaces. He was ahead of his time, for sure.


In the area there were designer shops full of new Autumn fashions all having end of summer sales. 
DD made a beeline straight to Spanish brands Desidual and Zara and had a brilliant time. Her mission was to shop and shop she did. A top or two may have fallen in my shopping basket  :) as well as lovely leather sandals. We also had a great time shopping in 'Mango' which is sort of like our Portmans.



About 15 minutes walk away was the old medieval sector called the Bari Gotic. The Bari Gotic is wonderful to explore, with narrow winding alleys, little shops, tapas bars, medieval churches and a number of art museums. We went to the Picasso Museum. Wonderful! It was especially good to see many of his early works.

In regards to all the designer shop windows I couldn't help noticing the new fashions for the northern fall seem to be centred around black, with reds and cream with touches of lace or fake fur.

I suspect black is the new black! This being Spain there was a bit of colour and bling thrown in. I really like the look and came away inspired.


Zara



Max Mara






Versace


Can't remember but took this shot in a hurry because DD wants me to copy the lace over floral idea


The new and the old sit well together in Barcelona


I love looking at well designed clothes for design lines and special touches but where'e the fabric?

I did a bit of googling and found out that there were fabric shops to be found on Passieg de Roger de Lluria. 

The biggest one was two story with a big selection called Ribes & Cassals link to search for fabric shops on Roger de Lluria There was also a good smaller fabric store next door called Teixits Dona. The was another shop on the same street (don't know the name) a block further south with a good range of knits and quilting cottons.


My goodies, a black and white rayon and a digital print poly 


DD's choices, a silky paisley remnant for a summer top and floral cotton for a retro dress.

Barcelona was full of art, food, shopping, warm weather and I got to do a bit of photography. I wish we were there longer. I would have liked to explore more. As for shopping, I think I've done my quota for the rest of the year. Seriously. I had a wish list and I filled it.

While there I picked up these, so cheap compared to the price we pay for them in Australia.



Spanish instructions will make about the same sense to me as Burda does in english.

Now all I have to do is get over my jet lag and start sewing all the ideas I came up with while overseas. I made rough sketches during my lightbulb moments so I wouldn't forget.

I could go on but I'll sign off here.
Back to reality,

Val.


Monday, 17 August 2015

More Paris


Hi all,

This is my last full day in Barcelona and I am enjoying it even more than Paris. All the new fall fashions are in the stores so I have been gaining a lot of sewing inspiration, while buying shoes and earrings and tops. I have to admit if I was not so short in the torso I would have bought some dresses by now. My lack of height is a big factor in why I will always sew. The other is that I enjoy it. A person can have lots of passions ;)

Some of you requested more photos of material shopping Paris. Here they are!
A post about Barcelona will follow.


This is what we had to put up with on the way home to our apartment..but here are more photos of my day at Sacre-Coeur.






Little gift shops and boutiques



The whole square is full of artist's booths


Around the corner the little vegetarian restaurant was still there..not open during the day though :(



But down the stairs is this square with more cafes in the shade :) then there is another staircase that leads to the right that leads to Place St Pierre and all the material shops.




Musicians outside the Basilica


Material in all directions! See the Basilica in the background?

I did find some good material shops in Barcelona also, but that's another post.
Adios!

Val.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Paris+ fabric = :))


Hello!

I'm in Barcelona! For the last ten days I've been travelling, first to one of my favourite cities, London for a quick stop. It was hot and crowded but still pulsating with a joyful energy. My DD go to see the Tower of London for the first time and I got to see the Audrey Hepburn photo exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery as well as the BP Portrait Prize which is like their version of Sydney's Archibald Prize.

Then we caught the Eurostar to Paris. We walked or cruised the river to see the sights. We went shopping on the Champs Elysees. It was also hot and crowded and chaotic but fun.

No visit to Paris for me is complete without seeing the Sacre-Coeur basilica  here, the artists square behind it and of course all the material shops down the hill at Place St Pierre, especially Marche St Pierre and Tissus Reine





The square at Place du Tetre behind the basilica of Sacre-Cour is full of artists booths and music and overpriced little eateries...



The tree lined stairs and little streets lead down the hill to the fabric sector..


Then there it is, Paris' centre of fabric shopping amazement.


Marche St Pierre and Tissus Reine have been joined by about a dozen - no exaggeration - other smaller material shops in the vicinity! 

I fell in love with some silk and some bold wax print.





The silk is not what I was looking for but when I held it against my skin I did not want to put it down, so I didn't. I am determined not to let it languish in the stash but make it up soon after I get back. Same for the wax print. I already know what I want to do. 

Right now I am going out again to do some evening sightseeing. 
Bye for now,
Val.