Home Again, Home Again

Cheerio friends! Hola Amigas! Hey there!

Having just returned from a business trip to London and Madrid, I am still a bit jet lagged and a little confused as to which language I am supposed to be speaking. I think the best moments were when I started speaking Polish in the middle of teaching a quilt class in Spanish and the moment when I arrived at my great aunt's home [she speaks Polish & English and a host of other languages but certainly not Spanish] & greeted her in a traditional Spanish greeting! Let's just say that I could tell I was saying something wrong by the blank stares on everyone's faces…
Other than the moments of language confusion, it was a wonderful trip but boy am I glad to be home again.


My time in London was mostly my own and it was my opportunity to learn and see and explore, getting to know the city a bit better. I wandered around various portions of town that I had never been to before – the theatre district, Chelsea, Soho, Portobello Road, just to name a few. I had never realized that there were so many parts of London with such different "feels". I have a million photos so stay tuned for a series of posts of my voyages….

A Favorite Moment


I had never been to Portobello Road before [the famous antiques street in London] and even though the famed Portobello Market happens only on Saturdays, there are still plenty of fascinating little shops to visit during the rest of the week.


 As we strolled through the shops and a few sidewalk stands, I discovered shops full of wonderful purses [that are inspiring many a new purse idea], vintage maps, little trinkets, vintage china, beautifully colorful Indian imports, pottery, but most importantly I found The Cloth Shop… 

The Cloth Shop is literally a little hole in the wall fabric store. Perhaps a teeny bit bigger than a hole once you actually walk in through the old fashioned, heavy black door, the store opens up into a room packed with old & new fabrics alike, stacked, propped, bundled and rolled. Their stock includes vintage French tickings & linens and sheets, old British chintz quilts, Indian handwoven cottons and hemps, Hungarian grain sacks, antique silk waistcoat fabrics among others. 


We befriended the very knowledgeable storekeepers, Sam & Alex, who told colorful stories about some of their sources and some of the most interesting uses for their products. I purchased 1 1/2 meters of a beautiful peachy cream colored woven Indian cotton fabric called Mangle Cloth . With a fairly loose weave, he recommended washing and drying it in order to transform it from its fairly stiff texture, to a super soft, delicate scarf. He thought 1 1/2 meters would be exactly what I would need in order to wrap it around my shoulders and neck at least once. I am planning on doing just that.






As we were browsing through the "waistcoat" fabrics he told us proudly that not only is one of the only stores in Britain that still carries this particular type of vintage reproduction fabric but that movie producers come to him to get authentic looking prints. He has supplied Star Wars to more recently… Harry Potter with specially produced silk "waistcoat" fabrics in various appropriate prints. A story that not only did we enjoy, but had a great time sharing with our kids when I returned! 
You never know what you might find in one of those little hole in the walls. Wouldn't have missed this one for the world.

More stories to share later.
Talk to you soon.

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  1. Jane Weston | 25th Nov 09

    I think I feel a field trip coming on! I’ve lived in the UK for 8 years and even a year of that was in London and I haven’t made my way to Portobello Road…I think it is high time I did!!

  2. Stephanie | 25th Nov 09

    I absolutely loved Portobello Rd when I was there 6 years ago…although if the Cloth Shop was there I missed it in the chaotic Saturday I was there. Visiting made me think of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

  3. cynthia | 25th Nov 09

    Bedknobs and Broomsticks is exactly what I first thought of. Now I’ll be singing that song all day in my head!!!
    I never new the street actually existed. How wonderful of you to share it with us. I don’t think I will ever make it there but I guess I can dream. Thanks Cynthia

  4. amber | 25th Nov 09

    Beautiful pictures! Love the rolls of fabric and the stacks of ribbon. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Glad you had a great time.

  5. eamylove | 25th Nov 09

    I love the photos and especially the stories. I’m traveling through you – it’s not in my immediate future to go such places myself. Thanks for sharing, and I can’t wait to see what comes from you inspiration!

  6. sherri | 25th Nov 09

    What a wonderful and inspirational trip it must have been! Love the pictures…and especially the fabric rolls!

  7. rachel | 25th Nov 09

    you are too cute with your speaking the wrong language at the wrong time.

    portobello road looks SO yummy.
    i love little stories like the cloth shop.

    looking forward to your “travel with joanna” posts.

  8. Christine Thomas | 25th Nov 09

    I just found your blog as a link from someone else’s blog. Very fun. I loved your London trip descriptive. I want to see that hole-in-the-wall store. And you only bought one thing!? Was that hard to not buy more stuff.

  9. joe | 25th Nov 09

    WOW!!!! FABULOUS PICTURES!!! I LOVE LONDON and you make me want to go back!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Eric and the little ones!!! joe

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