Hey– HAPPY SPRING!
NOW I guess it’s after Memorial Day so I’ll JUST SAY HAPPY SUMMER !!
Some of you may know that I recently took a trip abroad to visit friends who live in Europe. My plans were to visit Berlin, Germany and then travel on to Paris, France with said friends. Well LIFE HAPPENS, and travel plans changed. YES- I DID travel to Berlin and had THE BEST of fun times with my friends. But NO-I did not get to Paris. BUT- Lord willing– Paris will still be THERE when I am ready to go to Europe again. (Sorry Cindy- NO Parisian fabric shopping jaunts this time. Besides, the dollar was SO weak, it kind of made shopping for fabric purchases somewhat prohibitive. I had the “exchange rate blues” knowing that for every 100 Euros I would take from the ATM, about $150.00 American dollars w/ fees would leave my pocket-OUCH!!)
I took a lot of sight seeing type tourist pictures at famous sites in the city that I had visited. Berlin is a CLEAN, quaint, and a very efficiently run city. There are some beautiful public parks and places to see in the city!! Some of them you can see in pics I have posted below. Went to the Brandenburg Gate, visited the Berlin Chapel, saw the Fernsehturm- an iconic television tower in Berlin, visited the Charlottensburg Palace and gardens and rode the Berlin subway. ( The subway cars in Berlin are colored a BRIGHT canary yellow. The first time you see them it’s sort of a surprise to a New Yorker— who is used to seeing giant silver trains coming out of the tunnels. Ya get used to the yellow fast enough! It’s just another Subway- really! CLEANER, but just another subway. Additionally not all doors of the subway cars open automatically once the train arrives to the station. One must push a button on the individual train door you want to enter or exit in order to open the individual subway car doors and get on or off the train!! My girlfriend mentioned that it was an efficient way for the City of Berlin to save energy- not needing to open ALL doors, on ALL trains, EVERY single station . I don’t think that would work with the 8.8 million people crushing through the NYC subway system, but it works in Berlin, Germany! You KNOW you are a tourist in Berlin when you miss your subway stop because the train pulls out of the station, and you are ON the train because you did not push the button to open the door to get OFF the train!!! YEP- You’re a real tourist then!! )
One of the highlights of my being in Berlin was finding the main sewing shops. Shows you where my REAL heart is, huh!? My girlfriend who is there, is a “sewing friend” so she understood my need for checking out what I could find in the way of where most folks get their sewing supplies in Berlin. I felt like I was “at home” when we walked into “IDEE” ( EEE- DAY-ah. OK, forgive my bad American pronunciation if I even “spell-pronounced” it wrong.) OK, so it may be considered a “big box” crafts store, but IDEE felt like a slightly higher end, better version of Jo-Anne’s. Great fabrics selections, Liberty of London cottons, and great silks. Basic sewing supplies. NO sewing machines for sale at IDEE. Just decent fabric.
Lastly I was able to get to the “meat ” of the matter and visit a sewing shop! Remember those? Shops that were usually highlighting one sewing machine brand or another, but they were specifically there for you to gain access to buy a sewing MACHINE- not necessarily fabric or supplies, just the machine! Of course they service machines too. In Berlin, Germany OF COURSE I was expecting to see a PFAFF shop since historically Pfaff is a German made brand. These shops are VERY rare in Manhattan, NYC- if they exist anymore at all. Except for City Quilter, the closest sewing shop for me is not so close in Queens, NY. They dont make those kind of stores anymore in NYC. They can’t afford the Manhattan rents. Because of the rarity of that kind of shop, I had to have a pic of me in front of one in Berlin.
Also in Berlin, I found that there are tailor shops EVERYWHERE. I could not walk within a 10 block radius of where I was staying and not find 3 to 4 storefront businesses where people were sewing garments for sale ( a particular custom corset and lingerie shop comes to mind) or doing custom tailoring and alterations or both. One shop I saw made custom clothing for clients and had handmade custom designs in standard sizes for sale, did clothing alterations and tailoring, and had sewing classes in the back room- all in one shop! For me that shop was a little slice of sewing heaven to see.
Anyway– all in all I found that, in the sewing shops, even though I may not have spoken German, I did speak SEWING. Seemingly sewing and the sharing of sewing technique is HANDS ON and can be shown as a universal language between sewing people! WUNDERBAR!!