This is not the city of big box style craft stores. No, no it isn’t. It is, however, a city of specialty stores that enable you to go from pillar to post, seeing what’s out there and imagining the possibilities. It’s a bit frustrating and a bit awesome, at the same time.

Today, I went to the Chelsea Festival craft market, in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan. Funnily enough, I actually recognized the work of a number of the artisans there because they’ve been featured on the front page of one of my favourite sites, Etsy. The craft market was set up along the street, with proceeds from booth rentals going to support the public school on that block (who also had activities like a bouncy house and a bake sale going on in their yard). It was awesome. No really? Awesome. I saw some great stuff. I BOUGHT some great stuff. I learned about a little credit card swiping device that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone, allowing vendors to swipe a client’s card without the traditional hardware and rental costs. It was awesome. I can safely say that my Mother is now fully taken care of for this Christmas, and one horrendously overdue gift has finally been purchased.

After the craft market (which I left with ideas crammed into my head), I moseyed over to the fashion district to visit some notions shops. Notions, if you don’t sew, are things you attach to fabric (like buttons, zippers, ribbons, rosettes, and lace). I bought some very excellent buttons, and I have an idea in my head how to jazz up one of my older cardigans with a button cluster.

Then I went to a giant giant giant bead store. OH MY GOD. Remember when I said my Mother was taken care of for Christmas? She’s REALLY taken care of – I got some really cool stuff. Stuff I’ve never seen before, not even on the internet. And CHEAP! Man. I was in a fine sweat by the time I left.

I stopped by a store that looks like it belongs in Vegas. It only sells frou frou – you know, the stuff that goes on fascinators? Feathers (lots of feathers), tulle, shiny stuff, rosettes, satiny bits, more shiny stuff, and gauzy fabrics. It was enormous. If they’d sold pasties, I would have said it was wear show girls get their costumes made, but instead I’m going to say it’s where the costume designer for the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert went for inspiration.

Then I went to Macy’s, because I was just invited to a masquerade ball and for that you need a fancy dress. People, I bought a dress that has a crinoline. Yes, yes I did. And it looks awesome. It’s too bad the party is happening after I’ll have been driving for 10 hours, but hey, what can you do? Right? Right?  PS – I need a fabulous mask now. Got any ideas? I think I may buy a mask blank and feather it up. I dunno. It’s all very complicated. The dress is black and gunmetal grey – what colours should I look for in the mask? Go for the old school black and silver? Restrained and sequiny in all black? Or something garish and mardi gras?

On my way back from Manhattan I was sitting on the train near a guy who was obviously very sick. Sick enough that he was leaking orange vomit from his nose and was unconscious. I indicated to an MTA employee that I thought he needed medical attention. She woke him up and asked him if he was okay. He said no, he felt very unwell, and she said “okay” and walked away, sweeping up around the guy. Seriously? Leaking orange vomit from his nose. Without actually vomiting. Enough said.

I’m back now, blessedly with no foot pain. The new actual hiking shoes are working. My feet practically squee with delight when I put them on. Since it’s saturday afternoon, I’m having a nap. Tonight, I’m having thai food for dinner (I’m going out), and I’m rather excited about it. Tomorrow, I’m going to the Williamsburg Flea Market, and maybe a movie. So far, this is a pretty awesome weekend in NYC. Yay!