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Shop Up Pops Up in L.A.

 [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] A peek at just part of Shop Up, pop-up boutique, held for the first time in Los Angeles, April 10-11. (Photo by @mysweetviolette)[/caption]  With much affection for the insta-kinships formed on #instagram, our little family headed into Los Angeles yesterday for the first-ever Shop Up boutique held on the West Coast. I'd not heard of the previous Shop Ups in London and New York, but with thanks to my talented instagram friend Eva ( for tagging me in a photo, I found out about the L.A. event just in time. This collaborative event was held at the gorgeous Lombardi House, a property i've been wanting to see for more than a year now. So here was the perfect venue to check it out, and i'm so, so, SO glad we did. From the moment we were greeted with free fruit pops from Chloe's, to the final bite of a Sprinkles cupcake as we completed our shopping haul, i'd never seen a sweeter, more entrepreneurially-infectious display of independent clothing labels, accessories, and decor from a number of vendors already familiar to me on-- yep-- instagram. [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] I was a happy camper roaming from one beautiful booth to another, including the Tortoise and the Hare, offering heirloom-quality clothings, blankets and accessories for babies and children. (I snapped some close-ups as well. Such beautiful simplicity in fabrics you want to keep touching.) Photo by @mysweetviolette[/caption]  I was happy i bought the super-sturdy canvas Shop Up tote bag for $10 at the door (not required; in fact admission is free) because i came home with free issues of Babiekins magazine, gorgeous business cards, samples, and all kinds of stuff i'm still sorting through, not to mention an adoooorable new dress for my sweet Violet from the French label Les Petits Carreaux. It was also a thrill to meet and chat with some really wonderful, talented vendors, including several who'd flown from New York to sell here. Truth is, i could gush on and on about this unique event, and i took way too many photos for my own good. I'm posting some of those here (and invariably in random order), with the hope of spreading the Shop Up word, and wishing for its West Coast return next year! (My husband also took this fun video, which gives you the full flavor of Shop Up in under a minute. Watch it!) [caption width="360" align="alignnone"] sweet, gingham bunny ears sold by Tortoise and the Hare[/caption]   [caption width="1600" align="alignnone"] one sight of these beautifully crafted burp cloths & blankets and i wanted another baby ; available from Tortoise and the Hare. (Photo by @mysweetviolette)[/caption]     [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] this "mischievous goddess" was as sweet as can be and painted my Violet's nails a sparkly gold when we walked in. Her "royal goddess party" goodies include lovely glass goblets and trinkets that she'll ship to your own little goddess for parties and creative play. [/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] The Makers Mess booth, where children could decorate cards and pound leaves and flowers into paper for nature-inspired art[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] loved the quality that went into so many of the garments and goodies at Shop Up, including these from Noble Carriage (Photo by @mysweetviolette)[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] alice + aimes had a steady line ...[/caption]  [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] simple bonnets from Noble Carriage , which specializes in organic, sustainable handmades. (she ships gift bundles, too!)[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] i HAD to throw this in , the dress we went home with, from les petites carreaux. (Does it scream "Madeline" or what?! And that classic, Peter Pan collar. sigh) [/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] meeting these two gals was such a treat. Alexis Spadaro Thalhauser (right) started LexyPexy when she couldnt find safe, ecofriendly teethers for her own baby. I took home the one that looks like a cookie-biscuit because it was just too sweet not to gift. (Photo by @mysweetviolette)[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] an example of a gift bundle you can order from Noble Carriage (apologies some images are out of order) ☺️[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] mildly sweetened iced coffee in a box from Blue Bottle. Yum-ness. [/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] i LOVED these neck bows for children, by Crew & Lu, and saw several children sporting them by the time we left. What a sweeeet way to dress up plain collars! (Photo by @mysweetviolette)[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] pretty hair bows by Lululuvs [/caption]   [caption width="360" align="alignnone"] French company Omy makes these giant coloring posters of some of the biggest cities around the world. Sure to keep kids busy for long stretches (ours were here for 45 minutes!) while nurturing early interests in history and exploration. (Photo by @mysweetviolette)[/caption]   [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] don't know these cute guests, but a few minutes later, they were sharing Sprinkles cupcakes. 😊[/caption] 
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Cookie Giveaway!

 [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] Find me on instagram for a chance to win a dozen Easter cookies! I've made it super easy. Visit @mysweetviolette to get your name in before midnight (PST) tomorrow, Friday, March 11. [/caption]  It's one of those bright, blue mornings with birds singing out back, and a nest of babies chirping above our front porch. Spring sounds, mixed with cool breezes after rain. The parks are greening-up, and the bare-root peonies my handsome bought me have actually found their way above soil; a huge, happy, beautiful surprise after all the reading i've done about peonies and California's climate not getting along. So what's this have to do with sugar cookies? Not much, except to say that i'm feeling thankful and grateful, and wanted to share some spring. I'm donating a dozen, assorted cookies to one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is: follow me on instagram [@mysweetviolette], leave me your favorite color, and tag a friend. Easy. But please do so by midnight tomorrow (march 11). Good luck!  [caption width="480" align="alignnone"] Can we please just take a moment to appreciate the sweetness of baby cookie- carrots? ☺️ [/caption] 
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Sweetly stitched friendships

  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] happy mail from author, designer, quilter, sewer, and super-mama-everything Amy Sinibaldi[/caption] It wasn't that long ago i found a community on #instagram of fellow cake lovers who shared a soft spot for vintage linens, ribbons and string, old movies, love-worn texture, and that icy-blue shabby chic/martha stewart color i still never know what to call, but consider my happy place. Where once i felt like an oddball admitting i shopped flea markets and thrift stores, i was now among kindred spirits, and super-duper talented ones at that: knitters, sewers, photographers, crafters, foodies, etc. I was clicking "follow" like crazy, going gaga over pics and talents, and sensing a crackling, creative force uniting these young wonders and their addicting feeds. Along this journey, i've made some friends, too, the same as you might meet a stranger and feel that instant spark of recognition and understanding. ("S/he just gets me.") Well, Amy Sinibaldi is one of those people. I can't even remember how i even stumbled upon her IG feed, or her blog, but i was blown away by her talent, and by the itty-bitty detail in her bio that she'd only been sewing since 2006 and was now an author of Sweetly Stiched Handmades (Tuva Publishing, 2015). I could go on and on about her mad skills, but better for you to grab some coffee and visit her blog nanaCompany for yourself. She's the real deal, and a very inspiring one. So the other day i get a package of goodies from Mrs. Sinibaldi, and i can't get over the sweetness and thoughtfulness behind every carefully considered gift. Namely, i zero in on a lilac box of ribbons she's been saving, and i'm reminded it's a crazy-small, fortuitous world. Because just a few days before, i'd been ooh'ing over spool after spool of ribbon in a downtown Los Angeles trimmings shop. The spools i lingered over longest were beautifully stitched jacquards. I adored their colors and details and wanted to bring all of them home with me. Well, lo and behold, Amy's collection of ribbons included a number of super-sweet jacquards she'd acquired. And now, here they were with me. I'll post some close-ups of these gentle tokens so you can see what treasures they are, and why i'm so lucky to call her a friend. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] even as a teenager i saved ribbons from presents and had boxes of them under my bed. Now i get to enjoy this special collection, too.[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] pretty little details on these flat spools for ribbon & yarn[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] her cross-stitching and hand-sewing on this little pin cushion are impeccable![/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] gorgeous post cards include holiday well-wishes as well as images of the fabric collection, Paperie, that Amy recently designed for Art Gallery Fabrics. (just feeling the need to say my favorite in the collection is called Eponine. Smiley face because it's that icy blue color i (no, "we") love.[/caption]  
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