dispatches from my street(s)

this past week's observations, obsessions, and so forth:
-saw a girl near the flatiron building/5th/broadway/23rd street with what looked to be a puffer vest (i.e., a vest with a standing, funnel-like collar, that buttoned up the front) made from an old, lovingly worn quilt. meaning, it was a quilted patchwork vest. so, so cool. i love patchwork anything, so of course the garment in question caught my eye. it looked like the vest was handmade, from the remnants of a vintage quilt, perhaps. she was wearing it with jeans and boots, if the memory serves. it was pretty great looking, i've never seen anything quite like it before. the only thing that ruined it, in my opinion? someone (the wearer? the crafter/restyler/designer?) attached via applique a block with sunbonnet sue to the back of the vest. sort of took the look from homespun to country craft corner in a not-good sort of way, making it kind of cheesy/chintzy/odd. but anyway, interesting enough to stick in my mind...and tell you about. it's got me wishing i could find a great old quilt to turn into a jacket, vest or coat...but it'd have to be just the *right* one to work, you know...?
-the grunge thing i sort of mentioned a little from that last dispatch is SO STRONG. pete and i are making a game out of spotting all the combat boots/pixie boots, ripped tights and ditsy floral dresses on the streets in recent days whilst out on walks...it's kind of over the top. it looks costumey, no? it does to me anyway. i blame urban outfitters (and now topshop?), you can go right in and go whole hog on that look right now if you please. it's not for me, i'm not really feeling it so much, having been there the first time around... :)

-went to the african bazaar @ bam this past weekend: it was AMAZING.

(image via BAM)

for over 30 years, the brooklyn academy of music has hosted said african bazaar in association with it's dance africa event, and it features a cornucopia of food, art, clothing, textiles, music and decorative objects offered by vendors who hail from or associate themselves with the cultures (past or present) of africa and the caribbean (including the arts and foods beloved by african-americans). what a feast for the eyes, ears that event was! i was especially enamored with these things i saw: a tanned light colored leather bag, shaped like a little briefcase, the front of which was inset with multicolored, geometric fabric; piles and piles of african/dutch wax print fabrics and gorgeously graphic earthy mudcloth in shades of black, white and brown (i bought some of the latter to make a coat, i couldn't resist!); absolutely GORGEOUS, hand-stitched humungous leather (!!) earrings, and funky, summery straw toppers. i can't stop thinking about a girl i saw there, milling through the crowd: she was wearing a strappy, tent-shaped, empire-waist sundress made from a patchwork of african fabrics, each block about 6 inches across...i so want to make my own version of that very dress, if i can ever, ever find the time! *sigh sigh sigh* i wish they did this event regularly...more than just once a year! i want to be able to go back and visit and drool over all the amazing handmade things and textiles whenever i want! i'm definitely going next year!

[(which reminds me, anyone know of a place in NYC where i can buy african fabrics, particularly of the dutch wax print variety? will travel! do pipe up if you know of a store that carries such anywhere in the metro area! thanks!!)]