Good Things

Gallery Wall TutorialGallery walls are all the rage right now. Actually, they’ve always been used in the decorating world but people are finally starting to see just how fantastic they can be. If you’ve wanted to know how to make the perfect gallery wall for your house, I have some excellent tips for you.

1. Make your gallery wall a reflection of you.

Whether it’s photographs or art prints or mixed media collages, make sure the items on your wall speak to you. Sure a bunch of black and white photos of Chinese temples look really striking but do you love Chinese temples? Or have any connection to them? A gallery wall is a statement and people will be drawn to it. They’ll spend time looking at it and getting to know you better by the things you hang up. Just because an item is really popular (I’m looking at you, gold arrows and feathers) doesn’t mean you have to like it too.

2. Amass your collection slowly.

This isn’t the kind of project where you run to Home Goods, throw a bunch of things in your cart and call it good. You’ll end up with a collection of items that are trendy and not much more. Which means you’ll be itching to replace your stuff quickly since you weren’t in love with it to start with.   I realize this is a horrible suggestion. You want a gallery wall and you want it NOW!  Slow your impatient self down and take your time. If you really have a bee in your bonnet, get on etsy and ebay and look for items there. You can do your entire wall with things you find online but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. My gallery wall took about six months once I had a picture in my head of what I wanted.

3. Have a theme.

Not everything has to follow your theme but it’s nice to have some continuity. It can either be by subject matter or by the general feel of an item. I love birds and nests and beehives (no duh, right? That’s the name of this blog.) So most of the items fit into that category. Even the quilt square I bought (what? You thought I quilted that myself? Nope! I bought it on etsy.) is a pattern called “Flying Geese”.  Obviously this won’t apply to all your items, nor should it. You don’t want to look like some crazed collector (“whoa, she’s reeeeealy into Americana”). It’s just nice to have several pieces tie the whole scene together. I’m loving this quilt-themed gallery wall by designer Camille Roskelly:

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 12.46.47 AM

4. Shop your house.

Sometimes you can find the perfect things to hang on your wall that you already have. I change my mind about decorating regularly and have a stash of items that are still in good condition but they’re not quite working at present. Or maybe you have something on another wall in your house that would work perfectly in your gallery. Nearly all of the plates on my wall were in a box in my garage. They were originally meant for a mosaic project that I never quite got around to. Instead of keeping them for a project that might never happen, I used them on my gallery wall and couldn’t be happier! The nice thing about items you already have is that they’re free and you already know you like them. Double yay!

5. Mix up textures.

While a huge collection of framed prints or photographs can be stunning, I like to mix things up: textiles, prints, plates, you name it. I love the 3-D feel of objects as well as prints. Using different media makes things feel fresh and unique. My favorite piece is this bird artwork. It’s actually bits of fabric sewn on to watercolor paper.


6. Think outside the box.

Whether it’s plates or needlework or an old broom, there are so many things that can make a gallery wall fantastic and interesting. The key is to remember that a gallery wall isn’t seen as individual pieces, it’s about the wall as a whole. It’s about the feeling and energy that the wall invokes. While hanging a paper fan by itself on a wall might look a little odd, hanging one in an arrangement on a gallery wall looks cool and intriguing. Antique fairs and estate sales are fantastic places to find strange odds and ends. Don’t set out with the idea “I must find a framed item”; look at everything with the idea, “does this catch my eye? Is the shape interesting? Will it feel right with my other pieces?” You’ll be surprised what you can come up with.


 7. Lay everything out before you hang it up.

This seems like a big pain and completely unnecessary but you have no idea how much work it is to arrange things into a pleasing placement. You might need to do some moving and fine tuning once you’ve hung everything up, but 90% of the design work will be done on the floor. Take a picture of it with your phone so you can remember how everything was arranged. You think you’ll remember but you won’t.


8. It’s all about spacing and balance.

Gallery walls are not like hanging pictures normally. More is more and everything needs to be hung closer together than you traditionally would. If you put all your items close together and things don’t look right, ask yourself if you have enough items for your wall. You may end up needed more stuff. Or you may end up with too much stuff.  It’s important to remember that your items need to be balanced. If you have mostly dark pieces and you want to include a couple of bright things, spread them throughout the arrangement. If you’d like to add plates (always a great idea because they can be really cheap and they don’t need frames), put smaller groupings of them in different spots. The variation of items is what keeps the eye moving and interested.

9. Make tracings of the shapes of your artwork before you hang them up.

I know you’re rolling your eyes thinking this is overkill. Go buy a roll of plain brown shipping paper at the dollar store and trace the outline of objects onto it. Cut them out and place them under some heavy books overnight so they’ll lay flat. Then tape them up the next day in the spots you want them to be. You’ll really get a feel for how everything will work together. Stand back and analyze everything. There is nothing worse than hanging all your objects only to find the entire arrangement was a foot too low. Tracing and cutting everything takes maybe half an hour. It’s really, really worth it!


Prepping for gallery wall.

10. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

You might love a picture, hang it up and just have something about it bother you once it’s on the wall. I found a piece of vintage needlework on ebay that I absolutely fell in love with. I framed it (framing a round piece of needlework is a pain, let me tell you). When I laid everything out on my floor I thought it looked great. But once I got it hung up it just didn’t work. I ended up putting it in my closet to await it’s purpose somewhere else (see #4). If you hang everything up and there’s a niggling feeling that something is just not working, try changing it. It’s only a few nail holes.

Gallery walls can be so much fun to create and to look at. I hope you’ve found some inspiration and know-how to create the perfect collection for your space.

Last Tuesday we said our final goodbyes to India and York as they head off to be missionaries in São Paulo, Brazil. It’s been surreal. Super surreal. I’ve felt like I need to spend every second with them even though they would much rather hang out with friends, not their lame parents. Eventually they just wanted to go and stop thinking about it anymore.  We managed to pack everything for two years into two suitcases and carry-ons and then it was time for goodbyes. You’d think I would have been all weepy but I was ready for it to be happening too. Also, I’m hard-hearted and almost never cry.

My Mom came down to visit the kids before they left.


And so did Mister’s parents.



Of course York will miss his great friends:


India will miss this guy most of all. Her boyfriend Ethan has been a frequent fixture at our house. I don’t know if I ever mentioned that he was baptized last year. He has decided to serve a mission too and will be going to Las Vegas next month. He’s such a great person and we’ve been thrilled that he’s been such a support for India.


York said his truest goodbyes to his best friend, the stupid dog Margaret.


The kids had to travel down to the Missionary Training Center in Brazil in full missionary attire. York wore the tie that Mister had worn on his mission, that his grandfather had worn too.


Finally it was off to the airport. We barely squeaked by on weight allowances for luggage. (This is pretty much what India always looks like when her brother is around. He can be a bit annoying to the family members.)


And then they were off through security. My first two babies. The ones who made me a mother. So many memories came flooding back: how India used to spend hours playing with toy animals and how York would haul the vacuum attachments around in a plastic shopping cart. How can they be old enough to go off and live in a semi-scary third-world country? In case you aren’t familiar with Mormon missions, they have to pay for their way down in Brazil and there won’t be any visits allowed home. We (and all relatives) won’t allowed to visit either.  There are phone calls/skype allowed only twice a year on Christmas and Mother’s Day. The rest of the time it’s emails and snail mail. And they only are allowed one day a week to do that.  It’s a big sacrifice but both India and York felt strongly that this is the right thing for them to do. It requires hard work and sacrifice but it will mold them into strong and powerful people with a great love for the Savior (I hope!).

I took this picture then turned around and burst into tears (guess there’s a softy in me somewhere). Mister and I cried all the way out to the parking garage then sat in the car and sobbed. It took us a good fifteen minutes to get it together enough to drive.

York India Brazil

Rumor has it that the time will fly by for our missionaries (but it crawls by for the parents. They’ve only been gone for one week but I swear it feels like they’ve been gone for a month!). They will be learning full-immersion Portuguese for six weeks and then they’ll go out to their respective missions: Interlagos and São Paulo South. I can hardly wait to hear all about Brazil!

If you want to keep up with the kids, they have missionary blogs where I’ll be putting up all their letters and photos. India’s is at–wait for this complicated address– India in and York’s is at York in

I haven’t been writing much about our Texas Tuesdays this summer. Shame on me! I’ve got a whole pile of things to tell you about. One of our most favorite place we went was called Newman’s Castle. This is quite a drive from Austin–about an hour and a half (it’s just past Brenham), but it’s completely worth the trip. We went when all of the big kids were at camp or working so it was just the littles along with my niece, Avery. We also brought along some friends of ours. Because road trips are funner with friends!


Newman’s Castle is probably the coolest and oddest place we’ve visited. Mr. Newman owns a bakery in the very small town of Bellville, Texas. Many years ago he decided it would be pretty cool to build a house outside of Bellville that looks like a castle, so that’s just what he did. Now this isn’t a flashy Donald-Trump style palace that is meant to show off his dazzling wealth. It’s more of a modern ode to medieval times. Like if you thought, “wouldn’t it be cool to have house with a moat?”, so you built one.

And being a smart businessman, he decided to charge people admission to come and see his castle.

Newmans castle ada avery


Mr. Newman offers tours a few days a week and you have to call ahead to schedule one. Here’s his website to get more detailed info. The cost of the tour includes lunch as well (with lots of goodies from his bakery) and is $15. It was yummy but be forewarned: the sandwiches come pre made with the vilest of monstrosities: mustard. But that was really the only drawback of our visit.


The way it works is that you show up at the bakery, pay your admission, then are given a map to find the castle and you head over there in your car.

On the day of our tour it was us and a bus load of retirees. I don’t know if they enjoyed it as much as the kids did. Mr. Newman really knows how to engage children. He gave them all wooden swords (to borrow not to keep!) at the beginning of the tour and had them make a passageway over the drawbridge for us old folks to pass under.



Then we were shown around the castle. Naturally there was a torture chamber, complete with faux bloody appendages.



The kids were more than happy to be imprisoned We were tempted to leave them there but our husbands might have suspected something.



The thing to remember is that Newman’s castle really is somebody’s house. Mr. Newman is amazingly cool about letting total strangers wander all over the place.


You get to see the fancier rooms like the banquet hall



And living rooms




But you also get to wander into his bedroom and bathroom. Which seems oddly personal but is sort of awesome. He has armor and crowns and toy swords all over the place to keep the kids entertained ( you can see Ye Olde TV Sette here in the master bedroom). Unlike castles in Europe where the family lives in one wing and tourists are allowed in another wing, this castle is on the smaller side and you get to see all the nooks and crannies.



Most of the wooden pieces were crafted by Mr. Newman himself, including the armoires and these dandy bathroom faucets: (this would be the master bath, as you can tell from the toiletries on display. As I said, it’s his house, not a museum.)



The kitchen was pretty interesting too.



But the favorite thing that the kids got to do was to lower and raise the drawbridge. It’s got an old-school hamster-wheel mechanism. The caretaker of the castle showed the kids how to work it then set them loose. It was pretty entertaining for us to watch but the boys found it a bit intimidating.

We loved our visit to Newman’s Castle and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves quirky and interesting sights. It make a great day trip from either Austin or Houston.

The other day I stopped at World Market to pick up hagelslag*, otherwise known as chocolate sprinkles. They’re not crappy chocolate sprinkles like you get at the grocery store, they’re real European chocolate sprinkles and that’s what my kids like to put on their toast and bagels. While we were in there trying to decide what other delicious chocolate things to buy, York decided to use the bathroom.  In order to get to the bathroom, York had to walk through the wine section. A woman stopped him to ask if he worked there. When he replied no, the women sighed wistfully and said she was trying to buy a bottle of wine for her friend’s birthday but had no idea what to pick.

York glanced over at the wine bottles closest to him. “Why don’t you try some Pinot Noir?” York offered, “it’s a little sour and a little sweet.”

Let’s just pause here to remind everyone that York is not only eighteen, but a Mormon. So he’s about the last person you would ever want to ask for a wine recommendation. But there is a bar where he works and he has to be vaguely fluent in alcohol-ese so that he doesn’t sound like a complete idiot when someone asks him a question about drinks.

“Pinot Noir?” The woman pondered. “That’s a good idea.”

York picked up the closest bottle of Pinot Noir he saw and handed it to the woman. “This is a really good year. I think your friend will like this one.”

Yep, he just grabbed a random bottle and recommended it to the lady. But he has already learned the first important lesson of being an adult: “being confident and sounding like you know what you’re talking about will take you far”.


*Hagelslag is a Dutch thing. I can’t remember where we first heard about it but we’re quick to try anything that involves chocolate for breakfast. You can read more about the delightful world of hagelslag here.

*I know it seems like I only write about York.  He has always had the funniest things happen to him, for one thing. He is also very good-natured about me writing about him. Some of the other kids get a little weirded out by it.


This book has been blowing my mind over the last couple of days. Every few years I’ll find something that rocks my world, but none as done it quite like Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari. The use of word “revolutionary” is kind of my pet peeve, being applied to almost everything from mascara to dishwashers (none of which should be using an adjective stronger than “interesting”). But this book really, truly is revolutionary. It’s non-fiction but told in a super interesting and thought-provoking way. I’d like to give a copy to every single person I know; it’s that good.  Just read it*.

Chasing Scream



*Yes, Mom, there are some swears in it. Read it anyway. I would even recommend it to the President of the Church, if that tells you anything.



If you buy it through my link to Amazon I will make, like, one meeellion dollars

This year we got our Big Summer Trip out of the way early on. We had a family reunion with most of Mister’s family out in San Diego. Mister’s Mother turned 80 this year and we all got together to celebrate. We rented a bunch of condos right on Mission Beach and had such a lovely time. The weather was in the 70’s the whole time and we hardly knew what to do without sweat running down our backs constantly. The ocean was mighty cold and it took the kids a while to get into the water.

San Diego Hildie (1 of 1)

I have been begging Mister to please let us have a trip to the beach for years but he finds the beach boring and much prefers traveling to cities where there are piles of things to do and see. But how could anyone hate this? Although the mornings in San Diego were a bit chilly, I liked nothing more than to sit on the balcony outside our bedroom and read a good book before everyone else woke up. Mister gave me a Kindle for our anniversary which was on the first day of our trip. I’ve resisted Kindles for many years but as I’ve entirely run out of bookshelf space, I’m having to rethink my view on e-readers.

San Diego Mission Beach Panorama


San Diego Bella Ada Beach


The place where we stayed was especially nice because it had a large outdoor terrace right on the boardwalk that runs along Mission Beach. The boardwalk was constantly full of people walking, biking, skateboarding and generally being completely fascinating.  We also had a lovely fire pit on the terrace that we sat around every night. It’s so fun to watch the cousins hang out now that they’re all getting older and the age differences don’t matter as much as they did when the kids were young.

San Diego Cousins Fire

Here is perhaps the most magical wonderful thing about this vacation: there were no bugs. None. Zero. I had completely forgotten that it’s possible to actually be outside in the evening without mosquito repellant. I guess it’s the strong winds coming off the ocean or whatever. But I was blessedly itch-free for a whole week.

Naturally we couldn’t go to Southern California and not hit Disneyland. We haven’t been there in forever. And we haven’t ever gone with cousins. We had a few issues with rides being mysteriously “shut down” off and on all day. It turns out Kim and Kanye were there for North’s birthday. And because they are the most special people in the galaxy, they didn’t have to wait like us rabble. No sireee, they got the whole ride shut down so that they and their cheesy entourage could go without waiting.

San Diego Disney Teacup


I made T-shirts for some of the younger cousins. They all requested their favorite Disney character. (Stitch? Really?) I’m truly proud that there wasn’t a single Princess.

San Diego Disney Cousins

We had Grandma’s birthday dinner at Ariel’s Grotto one night and were disappointed that they only do characters at breakfast and lunch. If you go for dinner you won’t get to do a conga line with Minnie Mouse and Pluto but you will get tickets for VIP seating at the cool evening show, World of Color. We enjoyed the show immensely (although I think the girls were secretly disappointed not to see Belle). Normally I hate crowds and all that stuff, but if you have a nice spot already it makes everything so much better.

Hanging out with Grandpa is the best of all, though.

San Diego Grandpa



Because we were in San Diego with so many relatives, we decided it would be nice for India and York to be able to go through the temple for the first time with their grandparents and aunts and uncles.  What a great experience! And that San Diego temple is sure impressive. (But, honestly, our little San Antonio temple is much, much prettier on the inside.)

San Diego Temple Kids


San Diego Temple Grandp


We had a remarkably great time on our trip. Most of the cousins are teenagers and older and we had all the single people stay in one condo together. It was the best idea we’ve ever had. Not only did the parents like it but so did the kids. Arabella and her cousin Daisy never get tired of having lots of time to hang out. And the trip was blessedly free of drama. When was the last time you could say that about your family reunion?

San Diego Arabella Deisy

Do you want to know the most incredible thing of all? We had all suitcases unpacked within one day of getting home. It’s a miracle!





As you probably know by know, we’re Mormon. And one of the rites of passage for Mormons is going on a mission when young adults turn 18 or 19 years old (it’s strongly encouraged for boys–being the fools that they are–but optional for girls). Part of the reason is to tell people about Jesus and all that traditional missionary sort of thing. Part of it is to help them learn to get outside of themselves and serve others; community service being a huge part of missions. I can’t think of many teenagers who don’t need a big fat dose of “you’re not the center of the universe”. Part of a mission is just to help kids learn to work hard, do what’s right and solidify their belief in Christ and all that’s good in the world.

Missions are paid for by the missionary and his family. It’s pro-rated by the church so every missionary pays the exact same thing ($400 per month) whether he’s living in Tokyo or a tiny village in Guatemala. The prospective missionaries do not get to chose where they will serve. They go where the Church needs them. Physical, mental and emotional  considerations are taken into account and church leaders prayerfully decide where each prospective missionary will go.  It’s always a total thrill to open the letter (referred to as “a mission call”) to find out where in the world the missionary will be going. It’s always a big joke that you’ll end up going where you don’t want to go. Or to Idaho, which is laughed about as being the lamest place to serve a mission. Although everyone I know who has gone on a mission in Idaho has absolutely loved it. But Idaho and Utah are always the butt of everyone’s jokes.

India and York have both decided to go on missions (in common Mormon parlance it’s referred to as “serving a mission”).  The paperwork and preparations take a couple of months and India had planned to go before York. But she ended up studying in London last semester and it was just too big of a pain to get everything done while she was overseas. So it ended up that York and India turned their paperwork in at the exact same time once India got back. Due to the huge amount of prospective missionaries, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll get assigned at the same time.


But they did get their calls at the same time! We invited a bunch of friends over to watch them open their calls. And here is my super high quality collage of the happy event. Before you watch it, let me tell you that India was kind of hoping to stay in the U.S. She was also a little nervous to learn a foreign language.  York wanted to go anywhere but Africa. Why, I don’t know. He just really, really wanted to go anywhere but there.


So they’ll be going to adjoining missions in Sao Paulo, Brazil! How crazy is that? They both will leave on September 9th to go to the Missionary Training Center in Brazil. If they get their visas in time; that is the big question mark right now. The Brazilian consulate in Houston seems to be one of the speedier ones, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed!


Remember being a young teenage girl and realizing that you might just maybe, possibly smell bad?  One day you’re spending your babysitting money on Wacky Packs and Hubba Bubba and the next day you’re riding your bike to the drug store to buy some Love’s Baby Soft, because what if you stink? What if that’s the real reason no boys like you???  Those early teenage years are brutal as your mind discovers dozens–nay, hundreds–of bodily flaws it hadn’t known about six months earlier. Body odor, whether real or imagined, is one of the easiest to solve. The shape of your nose, the ability to “pinch an inch” on your stomach, or the ever-growing colony of blackheads on your nose might be tough to get rid of, but smelling good is a no-brainer.

So you shouldn’t be surprised when your thirteen-year-old daughter wants to stop in at Bath and Body Works when you’re at the mall. You haven’t been to that store in probably a decade since you decided once and for all that you do not like to smell like fruit. You don’t really mind the idea of visiting Bath and Body Works until you realize your daughter will be smelling each individual item in the store.  Not just Cashmere Glow lotion, but Cashmere Glow hand sanitizer, Cashmere Glow Shimmer Mist, Cashmere Glow Shower Gel and the Cashmere Glow scented candle.  This will then be repeated with every single scent. At first you are game, washing your hands in the little sink and trying out a matching lotion. But pretty soon everything starts smelling too sweet and too cloying. Being the good mother that you are, you still gamely smell everything that your daughter holds out to you (“ooh, that’s nice!”, said in your most enthusiastic voice possible). But inside you want to run away. Quickly.

But Bath and Body Works has formulated their store to be hypnotic to the female consumer. Once you get over the initial fight or flight response, you begin to be lulled by all the flowery packaging and colorful shelves.  The smart and pragmatic woman inside of you is thinking, Sheer Cotton? What exactly is that supposed to smell like anyway? Your lizard brain, however, is saying Flowers. Cotton. Pretty. Yes.

Before you know it the “buy 2, get 5 free” sign seems like a really superb idea even though you hate shower gel and never use it. Why stop there, though? Who doesn’t want a butterfly-shaped plug-in that makes your house smell like a giant cupcake?  And why not buy the enormous three-wick candle? Because, really, don’t you need more Love & Sunshine in your life? Yes, you think tearily, I do need more Love & Sunshine. I really do. Or maybe you just need an Oahu Coconut Sunset. Even though that name makes zero sense it registers on some primal level. Hawaii, coconuts, beaches, happiness.

Then you spot Country Chic. Oh yes, that’s you all right. You’re humble and approachable in a Country sort of way. But also chic and stylish (wearing three-year-old capris qualifies as chic, right?). So that sounds perfect for you. Even though “country” in reality means Walmart and trailer homes not charming cottages and antique barns.

You’re eyes are darting madly by this point; yes, an Endless Weekend is pretty much your ideal. Wait, that would mean the kids are home every single day. Scratch that; no Endless Weekend.  Paris Amour. Now that sounds more like it. Paris, the City of Lights, the City of Love. That overpriced city where people are rude and the métro stinks of urine and everything costs way too much. And lets face it, you can find cuter things that say “Paris” at Target than in France. No, forget it, you’ll be passing on Paris Amour.

You reach for the next scent, Mad About You. Oh please. You’ve got to be pretty desperate to think that your lotion has feelings for you. Keep going. Amber Blush? Twilight Woods? The English language is starting to take a shape of its own. What do all these words even mean? A haze is washing over your mind as well as your nose. You aim towards the door, temporarily blinded by the shiny silver covers for the hand soaps (“Oooh, I must have those . . . .”).

Fortunately at that moment your daughter has finished her purchase and is jauntily holding her bag full of Velvet Sugar sweet nothings. You grab her arm and steer her out of the store, never so happy to smell the stale, piped-in air of the mall. And then you look down and notice something. A bag in your hand. What? How? You don’t even remember getting out your credit card. And so the endless cycle continues: each birthday and holiday, some woman will receive a gift purchased at Bath and Body Works. I didn’t mean to buy it, your eyes say as you watch your friend open her present, it’s just that Shimmer Mists were on sale, the Midnight Pomegrates were calling and I couldn’t say no.

I’m sure most people are looking at the title of this post and thinking, “whatever”. But if you are in Texas and looking for fabric, then you need to know. I’m not sure if some of these are the biggest fabric stores in Texas, but they’ve got to be close. For years I’ve been stuck in the fabric desert of Austin. There are a few little quilt shops but if you’re looking for home decor fabric, especially, you’re plumb out of luck. There’s a great store called Cowgirls & Lace out in Dripping Springs where I bought my family room sofa. It’s the couch I knew in the preexistence. The store also sells quite a bit of fabric and accessories and is all-in-all a really awesome place. But it’s a 45 minute drive.

It’s now been over seven years since I bought that sofa. It’s slipcovered and the seat cushions and arms have gotten rather threadbare so I decided when my mom came to visit in December that we would make new slipcovers (and by “we” I mean “she”). I also bought two new chairs from the Pottery Barn outlet that needed matching slipcovers as well. The Carolina armchairs retail for $1000 each but I got two for $625. I am a very gifted shopper. I really love the colors in my family room so I didn’t want to change anything so much as just freshen everything up.

Because there is a dearth of home dec stores, I ended up getting most of my fabric online. That’s a real pain because you’ve got to wait for swatches to be sent, then you’ve got to wait for the fabric you’ve ordered to be sent. It would be a lot easier to just see everything in real life immediately.

If you do want to shop online–if you’ve got toddlers/live in the middle of nowhere/need something ultra specific–I’ve had the best luck with Decorative Fabrics Direct. They’ve got great prices and a gigantic selection. They also ship super fast. They’re in Atlanta but my fabric usually arrives within two or three days.

Here is what I wish I had known: there are a many really huge and amazing fabric stores in Dallas. I’ve heard that it’s a fabric-capital kind of place but that doesn’t really make sense. Nearly all fabric is imported* so if Dallas were a port city like LA or New York I would understand.  Whatever the reasons there are several massive fabric stores to be found. And since Dallas is only three hours away I headed up there yesterday. (You know you live in Texas when a three hour–each way!–drive is no bid deal.)

Most fabric shops are in a really sketchy part of town where Harry Hines Blvd and Perth Street intersect. Nearby are lots of strip clubs and Hispanic wholesale businesses. Charming! In a square block are 6-8 warehouse-type fabric shops. Some of these are Costco-sized.

Fabric WArehouse DAllas


Home Dec warehouse Dallas

Dallas Home Fabrics and Best Fabrics are entirely devoted to Home Decor. There is some crossover, though. Dallas Home Fabrics has a gigantic selection of Dupioni silk. You can use that for home dec or making a dress. There’s no real difference except for the width of the rolls. (Are you guys seeing all the rows? They just keep going and going!)

Rolls of silk Dallas

Or how about some pleather? If you need some, you’re all set. This is ALL fake leather. There was another aisle besides this one. I believe this was at Fabric Wherehouse.

Vinyl leather Dallas

My favorite place was a shop called Super Textiles. It’s owned by a guy named Steve who is the only friendly New Yorker in existence. He’ll show you all around and even give you the lowdown on the other fabric shops nearby. When you first walk in there is an anteroom of buttons. While I had heard about this before I went I was expecting a giant room with walls of buttons on little cards like at the fabric store. I seriously love buttons. Seriously. Unfortunately they were all boxed up. Not as exciting but you can find pretty much anything. (Although I didn’t see any super cool artisan buttons.) What they have is all dirt cheap.

Buttons Dallas

Speaking of dirt cheap, everything at Super Textiles is dirt cheap. I found some cute striped cotton for our Easter dresses/ties that I’d seen around town for $12/yard. Steve had it for $4/yd. I also got some really unusual rayon that has the loveliest blue and yellow bird motif for $3/yd. And invisible zippers for $1 each!  They’re $3.75 at JoAnn!   Needless to say I walked out with 15 of them.

Most of these stores are not your typical well-lit, nice fabric stores. You may have to pick thorough bolts and ask for prices because things can be a bit jumbled. But there are some crazy great deals and a lot of fabrics you simply won’t find anywhere else. Also don’t expect any customer service. Aside from Steve, pretty much nobody spoke to me the entire day.

Home Dec Crammed Dallas

Some shops are quite a bit more organized.

Rolls of home dec dallas

There is a shop called Golden D’Or (which means Golden of Gold. Allrighty then!) around the corner from these that has a lot of everything. Everything. Never have I seen so much spandex (are people making leotards or what?) or my mom’s favorite: cotton knits of every color and pattern. Racks of minky, bridal lace and everything in between. Need to make a prom dress?  Georgette and Organza of every color. There’s another shop on Perth that also sells nothing but special occasion fabrics. If you want to make a bridesmaid or Quinceneara dress, this is your place!

Special Occasion Fabric Dallas


Sparkly fabric Dallas


Also of note is another home decor store called Childress Fabrics. It’s closer to downtown (2512 Ferris St. Another super sketchy area. There are other locations throughout the Dallas area but this main shop is their biggest). Unlike the warehouse-type stores that I talked about above, this shop has many employees who are super helpful and asked a hundred times if I needed assistance with anything. Childress also has an online store. As a matter of fact I had ordered a pretty floral for my sofa from them. I’m still looking for more fabric to cover the pillows on the back of my sofa so I wanted to be sure to stop by Childress to see some things in real life that I had my eye on. Just look at these poor naked pillows!

Sofa unfinished cushions

Anyway, Childress did not disappoint. It’s also humongous, but arranged according to color. There is a lot of beige these days. Beige is the Lifetime Channel Movie of decorating. It is a meaningless color. But I still have beige carpet in my house. And several beige walls (I didn’t pick them out, obviously! And I’m not made of money so change is slow.) But there is plenty of fun and colorful stuff at Childress too.

There is also trim. Oh my goodness gracious Agnes. There is a whole huge room of fringe and cording and every other thing you could sew onto a piece of furniture. Nothing was exactly right for what I needed, though. I picked colors for my family room that don’t seem to be terribly popular right now. Which is partly frustrating and partly makes me happy that my house doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

Rooms of trim Dallas


If you happen to be in Texas and you know how to sew, a trip to Dallas is most certainly worth your time!


*Back when I was a little girl there was still a big fabric industry down South. We’d go to visit my grandparents who lived right on the border of North/South Carolina and sometimes I would get toted around to the fabric factory outlets. Those days are looong gone.

You may or may not know about how I’ve been the Relief Society President at church for the last two and a half years. If you’re Mormon no further explanation is needed. If you’re not Mormon, take my word for it when I say that it’s pretty much a part-time job. It means that I’ve been in charge of ministering to all the women (and, hence, their families) in the congregation. I help with their temporal needs if they need extra food or help making ends meet, or if they need meals brought in after surgery or having a baby, or help packing to move–you get the idea. I have to be friendly and welcoming to all (which I can do but as an introvert is extremely draining); I have to be a shoulder to cry on or a giver of advice; and I have to coordinate activities, get-togethers and parties for the women (and the entire ward Christmas Party because we all know that men can not pull off something like that). And then there is coordinating and supervising Visiting Teaching which is a beast unto itself.  All in all being President is a lot of work. It’s very fulfilling and I love the women like crazy, though. It’s been draining but rewarding all at the same time.

But my time has come to step aside. When the bishop told me right before Christmas, I cried. Happy tears as well as sad tears. My replacement is one of my counselors and also one of my best friends. We have had a jillion talks about what she needs to be doing and how and with whom and for whom. Fortunately she’s a ton more organized than I am and she already has lots of experience in Relief Society, so she’ll do a great job. I handed over the keys (literal, not figurative) last week and did a happy dance.

Now I have a lovely large hole in my life. All this free time! OK, so by the time I get the kids out the door and do all the little things around the house that need to be done there isn’t all that much free time. But mentally and emotionally I feel so free. Wheeee! Only my family’s problems to worry about!

In order to celebrate being released as Relief Society President I have spent as much time in bed as possible. I have taken a shower rarely. I have gone to see a couple of movies. But I have not done much else because I have seriously needed time to decompress.

Here’s the most excellent part of it all, though: I can blog again! No more worrying about being a respectable figurehead! I can be just as ridiculous as I please. And I will have time to do it! Yippee!

I have so many great plans for my poor little blog that has languished in forgottenland. Stay tuned!