Wednesday, April 20, 2011


While in Dallas I discovered the most amazing leather artist - located in, of all places, the main floor of my loft building (Southside at Lamar Lofts).   Arthur Porter is the artist in residence at  Dallas Designing Dreams. Arthur teaches children and adults - and gives generously of his time and talents to needy and troubled children.  He teaches them not only leather skills, but also marketing so that they can set up a business.  His motto is "when we serve others, we are serving God".
I wandered into his shop one Saturday after seeing a flyer about a leather cuff enbellishment class he was offering. Arthur's shop was ASTOUNDING! GORGEOUS GORGEOUS purses, belts, cuffs, chaps, clutches and hats. I asked Arthur if he offered a class in PURSES and he said yes!  10 hrs of instruction, set your own hours.
....and so I did.
I picked out one of the purses he had designed that I liked. I didn't want to waste time on designing my own pattern at this time - i just wanted technique.
...and technique I GOT!
Arthur let me pick out any leather i wanted (from a HUGE assortment). he went thru types of leather and weights of leather. what would work and what was too heavy or too thin. Then i picked out a lining. Arthur showed me how to use a rotary cutter the RIGHT way. How to cut straight and accurately. Then he had me use the INDUSTIAL SEWING MACHINE - only you don't sew with the motor you turn the hand wheel so your stitching stays very accurate. The motor is on, but you barely use it to keep the wheel unlocked. I learned how to put in the zippers, finish the leather edges and how to install rivets, eyelets, studs and snaps. The class was one on one and FABULOUS! Arthur also gave me patterns for this purse, several clutches, cuffs and a hat. He had me practice rivets, snaps and other findings as well as stitching, on leather scraps.
NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE teaches leather purse making - I was able to make a purse in 2 1/2 days (OK, it took me 18 hrs, not 10 - but i talked a lot to his apprentice, Debbie)
I can't wait to make another one!

Purse I made
here's a slideshow of my purse making.  I forgot to take pictures of all the steps, but here's most of it.....there are descriptions for many of the photos, but i can't get them to appear on the slideshow....

Be it ever so humble- there's no place like home....

yep... my journey is over!  here are some highlights from my trip.....and a separate post for an AMAZING class i took in Dallas...... I had hoped to do some visiting of friends and family that lived nearby on my days off, but i was contracted for 6 day weeks and a "day off" really never happened.'s a summary. ..i tried to keep a diary, with pictures and souvenirs and illustrations like my friend Kara does when she goes away on trips, but i never got past 3 days.  The best laid plans....

When i first arrived in Dallas the company put me up at the Ritz Carlton in downtown. 12th floor.  Fabulous view.  Fancy. Valet everything.  Great restaurants. 

                                                                      Maid service. YAY.
But after about a week, this got real old.  I had no SPACE....and 6 more weeks to go!
I opted to move into the SOUTHSIDE AT LAMAR LOFTS.....(really, check out the link) which just so happened to be where the production offices where also no more driving to work......just hop on downstairs... (3 minutes!) and my loft was across from the gorgeous gym which I was convinced i would do each day before work.  (hahaha...that lasted about ONE DAY)
My loft was on the 9th floor- 2 bedroom, 2 baths 2000 sq feet......and no doors except the laundry room and the toilets...fully furnished with washer/dryer, cable tv and internet.  concrete painted floors and 16 foot ceilings.  On the main floor was the consierge and a dry cleaners.  The building also had a cafe, a Carribean restaurant, a bar and a grocery store. Rooftop pool and sauna and BBQs. The basement housed the storefronts and living quarters of artists in residence...and a large art gallery.  It was a very lively and friendly place to live...I LOVED it!
rooftop pool

night view from my loft
...i thought i had pics of the interior of the loft...but i can't find them!
The first 4 weeks i spent "prepping" - mainly going all over town location scouting - the script had a zillion sets.....

my niece Jenny came to visit with baby maggie. We had a blast! They came to visit on the set....I ran around on the set (outside a church) with Maggie on one hip and a radio in my other hand - barking out orders to the crew...,,
Somewhere I have the pics .....she's 3 and a beauty ( and so's her mom).
On the last day of shooting my artist friend Jan came to visit...we were shooting the :Longhorn Ball" at the Dallas fairgrounds an all-nighter.

Me and Jan
Here's another slideshow.....

After i finished the show i went to San Antonio where my sister Marianne and her hubby Frank live.  Jen and I and maggie went to the San Antonio zoo.  The butterfly cage was Maggie's favorite!  ...I'd never been to a live butterfly exhibit before!

Then Jens and family went on a long needed vacation to Hilton head....Jens is a 2nd year medical resident.....Britt, Jens sister came over with her two babes.  More BEAUTIES!  My sister Marianne is sooooo BLESSED.
Izzy and Marianne
Britt and monster baby, Skylar Jr.
Izzy giving us a puppet show
Skylar destroying the puppet theatre
From San Antonio I flew to LA for a few days to visit my son Vince.  Vince was in midterms, so I visited my long-lost friend Twink Caplan.
skewed view of Twink's turret (watching mad crows)
cool red chandelier in a red french room
Twink the bag lady

Twink's eclectic and bohemian house
and i visited my dear friend Sandy and her husband Patrick
Sandy and I
and of course I spent some quality time with my son Vincent.
Vince and I