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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Vancouver adventures - part 2

Wednesday was the start of the conference and the day of my presentations.  Needless to say I was feeling a bit nervous all day.  However during the afternoon a message arrived in my email from Jenny and Lexie doll maker Heather Maciak with the most wonderful suggestion for the following day.  Heather lives in Vancouver Island and offered to make the journey to the city to meet me for lunch and visit a fabric shop where she needed to get some wool felt for doll dressmaking.  This was some undertaking - she had to catch a ferry, a bus and the skytrain (a journey of 2.5 hours) to reach the city and I was overwhelmed with her suggestion and quickly said I would love to go with her to the fabric shop as well as meeting for lunch. Seeing this message gave me a lift before the presentations which thankfully went well.

I was lucky that the conference had an early start and finish on Thursday which made it easy for me to leave at lunchtime to meet Heather.  She was waiting in the hotel lobby and we started chatting immediately!  We had lunch at the Art Gallery cafe then walked to Gastown to find Heather's favourite fabric shop.  She had explained that it was huge but I was still amazed when we walked into the store.  It was on 2 levels, with lots of zippers and other notions downstairs in the large basement while the fabrics are on the street level floor.  I had never seen quite so many sizes, colours and types of zipper and our Jenny and Lexie girls (Heather had brought her pair carefully wrapped up in their travelling bags, called Cuddles) were amazed too. This gave us the first photo opportunity especially as there were not many customers downstairs whom we might have disturbed with our photo shoot antics.

Two pairs of Jenny and Lexie are amazed by the zippers
"Look at those zipper colours and how long they are"
"Look Jenny, these zippers are all wrapped up in bags"
Look at those zippers!  (Heather and I get in the shot, Heather's photo using her camera timer)
Once Heather had looked at wool felt (rather than polyester felt which isn't so good for doll clothes) and taken some photos of the colour choices, we went to look at the quilting and sewing fabrics.  I told Heather about my lime coloured Ponfa pram hood and apron when we spotted many patterns in lime shades, so the girls came out again to help us decide whether to buy any lime fabric.
Jenny, Lexie, Lexie and Jenny admire the lime fabrics
"well Mum are you going to choose any lime fabric?"
Love that lime
Heather taking a photo of me taking a photo of Heather and the dolls in lime
DollMum captures the moment (Heather's photo of me taking a photo of her and the dolls)
It was hard to choose from the huge variety of fabrics.  Doll makers and those who sew for dolls always look for small patterns and shades which won't overwhelm a doll and some fabrics we both liked and bought. The prices were very low compared to any prices I've come across in UK shops (prices ranged from 9.99, 7.99 or 5.99 Canadian dollars per metre for some, 5.99 is about £3 per metre in the UK!) and the fabrics were great quality.  We went for lengths of 30-40 centimetres and I found some fabric for Peggy Sue's birthday gift (Lorraine's Schoenhut doll).
Our fabric choices (Heather's on the left, mine on the right)
The clerk who cut our fabric was happy to take photos of us with our fabrics.
DollMum and Heather in Dressew with our fabric stashes
In Dressew with Heather
We went downstairs again as I was looking for ribbon with the Canadian maple leaf on it.  The young female clerk (with a punky hairstyle) who cut a short length ribbon of mini Canadian flag ribbon for me asked if we had been making a film as she had spotted us with our cameras and dolls.  We explained that we'd only been taking photos, we laughed about the idea of making a film - imagine stop frame animation with the dolls in a sewing shop!
Dressew in Gastown, Vancouver
Dressew in Gastown, Vancouver
Reluctantly we left Dressew and made our way along the street where I happened to spot a miniature Christmas scene in a shop window.
Miniature Christmas scene in a Vancouver shop
Miniature Christmas scene in a Vancouver shop
We briefly visited the waterfront by the convention centre and saw a seaplane on the water.  Heather explained that she never uses the seaplanes (not because they provide a thrill ride!) but because they are expensive and often get cancelled if the weather isn't good.
Seaplane on the water in Burrard Inlet
On our way to a coffee shop for more chatting we popped into the Pacific centre shopping mall where we encountered a promotion photo booth for the next Disney Pixar movie.  They persuaded us to have our photo taken with the dinosaurs (for free) in front of the green screen, so briefly we were movie stars in 'The Good Dinosaur'!  While we had coffee and hot chocolate I showed Heather some photos of my Ponfa pram, Sasha collection and family and Heather told me about the doll making process, which is fascinating.

Sadly all fun outings come to an end, Heather needed to get a skytrain to the bus and the 7pm ferry which she didn't want to miss.  It was absolutely wonderful to meet her having only ever corresponded via email and the doll group in the past and I felt very privileged to have had more than 4 hours of chatting, laughter and fun with Heather.

After sadly saying goodbye, I retraced my steps to Gastown.  Heather later said in an email that it must have been hard to resist returning to Dressew (it was) but I had some shopping of a different kind to do - gifts for family and friends back home and the tourist shops in Gastown provided ample choices.  In the shop where earlier in the week I had taken photos of the windows showing the First nation dolls was a whole shelf full of dolls.  My Canadian boy was soon posing with the modern vinyl equivalents of the Native Canadian doll (Heather's suggestion).
My hard plastic Canadian boy (more than 40 years old) with the modern vinyl equivalent dolls in a Gastown shop
My afternoon with Heather Maciak was the highlight of my work trip to Vancouver.  We had great fun talking, choosing fabrics together, discussing ideas and exploring the city.  Our photos provoked a lot of interest on the doll group with several people wishing they could have joined us in the fabric shop.  I'm still smiling about that wonderful afternoon and would like to thank Heather for making the trip to Vancouver that day and also for the lovely gift she gave my Lexie (who promises to share with Jenny) - more about that in the next post.


Dee said...

How lovely to be in Canada and to meet Heather and her Lexie and Jenny!

That Fabric shop looked wonderful with all those gorgeous fabric's, I don't know how you managed to walk out without a suitcase full ! :)

The photo's of the dolls on and also looking at the fabric are wonderful. You can see from the photo's that you both had a wonderful meeting and time chatting.

Looks like an amazing trip

Sharon said...

What a great adventure you had in Vancouver! Meeting Heather and her dolls, seeing all the lovely sights but particularly that fabric die for!!!! Like Dee said, how on earth did you manage to walk away without breaking the bank! ;)
I would have had to have been dragged out kicking and screaming ;)
Your little Jenny and Lexie must have really enjoyed meeting up with their Canadian cousins :)

Heather Maciak Originals said...

It really was a fabulous day, wasn't it?! I felt as though I had known you forever, Anna, and only wish you didn't live so far away. One of these days, our paths will cross again {:-) I can't wait to see what you do with your new fabric stash, and I'll send pics of what I do with mine! Heather xo

Kendal said...

Certainly an afternoon made in Heaven for both the two adults and four dolls doing what you all love doing the very best....photographing and shopping for materials for the dollies! Felt that I was right there besides you all!
Fabulous pictures to look back on and remember such a wonderful afternoon.