The Singing Seamstress?!?! Russian Nesting Dolls? What Give’s In Houston?! Alterations And Sewing With Flare!

Just when you think you’ve seen it all….I had the extreme pleasure of meeting “The Singing Seamstress”!  
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That would be Ms. Heather Gabriel.  My beautiful niece is getting married soon to her perfect mate so off to find a seamstress…she found Heather based on great, (21 of them and ALL FIVE STARS), reviews from www.TheKnot.com and a few other searches. My daughter accompanied my niece to the first appointment and called me immediately telling me how much I would adore Ms. Gabriel.  She was correct! I did attend the second fitting and from the moment you walk up to her door, you can see and feel Heather’s sewing passion!!! Sometimes a photo IS worth a thousand words!! 
One of the first things that really grabbed me was this….but then she opens her door…
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Then I saw a HUGE collection of matryoshka dolls, (Russian nesting dolls), Ms. Gabriel had on display and was dumbfounded!!  As it turns out, Heather began her Matryoshkas collection in college, but the fascination goes much further back than that. When The Singing Seamstress was a little girl, she watched the Sesame Street show and they had a segment where they took apart a Russian doll and stopped motion filming and put it back together. She thought it was the coolest thing ever – art you can play with!! It appealed to the kid in her and it appeals to the adult in her now, does me too! I think Heather and I both like that simply by looking at them you can’t tell how many dolls are inside.
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Of course next, I HAD to know how she came to be called “The Singing Seamstress”? Ends up that Ms. Gabriel is a classically trained opera singer and actress right here from the University of Houston! Go figure?!? She says it was one of her theater friends who first dubbed her “The Singing Seamstress”.  Heather has acted in performances for Stage Door with roles such as  Maria in the Sound of Music, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and genderbent Scrooge in Christmas Carol to name a few. I’m jealous too of her travels to places like Alaska, Hawaii, England, Scotland, Ireland! Although she still has dreams of one day traveling to all of the countries that her ancestors are from like Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland. Certainly shopping for Matryoshkas in Russia is on her future bucket list too!  “The Singing Seamstress” would like to play Mama Rose in Gypsy, Ursula in Little Mermaid and Miss Mona in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas too.  I have no doubt she will eventually do them all! 

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Getting back to sewing….as my niece came to her for wedding dress alterations, I know of her awesome skills now, but others may not.  I asked how “The Singing Seamstress” first became interested in sewing.  She replied, “I started sewing when I was nine years old. My mother taught me. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s however, that I got very seriously into costuming. I had an assistant who worked for me who was the head of costuming for a very large medieval festival and she helped me hone my skills.”
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It was only a matter of time before couldn’t stop myself from asking Heather to share a bridal story with me! Here we go …”One thing that working with the public does for you is increase your cache of stories A thousandfold. One of my favorite stories is I had a frazzled bride call me in a panic as she got halfway to my studio before she realized that she had forgotten her dress and had to turn around to go get it. She was so wound up when she got here that I knew we would not be able to do a fitting. So after ascertaining her preference of wine and chocolate, I commanded  her to sit and proceeded to place both in front of her. I sat down with her, poured the wine and we talked for an hour while she calmed down. After that we did the fitting. The funny part is that the next two fittings went exactly the same.” 
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Bottom line is Heather Gabriel is not only a wonderful, very reasonably priced seamstress, but a heck of a fascinating person! I would highly recommend her for any of your alterations, costumes or special projects. Contact her here or call  (713) 742-2217 or via Facebook.  You’ll love her! 
Thanks for visiting!!
Elizabeth and Max (Urrr…Max is already buggin’ me about his Halloween costume….Oh Heather….HELP!!!)
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Mini Road Trip Adventures with a Giant Squirrel and Pralines???!

A while back while passing by the small town of Refugio, Texas I saw the above Texas Boot, Blue bonnets and Cactus and have to snap a quickly.  Sadly, looks like South Texas Kitchen at 201 S Alamo St, Refugio, TX 78377 has since closed but I liked the sculpture 🙂  Refugio had 2,890 residents as of the 2010 census. 

Next stop…Sinton, Texas.  Now why on earth would I veer off in that direction? Yep, to see the “Largest Squirrel in Texas”, according to a clever billboard advertisement, so off in search of I drove.  Aunt Aggie De’s Pralines at 311 W. Sinton Street, Sinton, Texas would be the destination in the small, Texas town.

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Sinton, Texas did prove to be a friendly, small Texas town.

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Spirit Pieces-Memories, Remember Through Art in Austin, Texas

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin
So, today let’s talk about death…sort of…everyone has their own feelings about this, etc. but today I wanted to show you what David Blake at Spirit Pieces in Austin, Texas does to help those who are left behind.  You see, David creates beautiful art using the cremation remains of loved ones to honor and remember them.  I LOVE this idea!! While I didn’t have time at the moment to meet David in person, he was kind enough to agree to an email type of interview – thanks David! Ok, on with the interview!…(My questions in black, Mr. Blake’s responses are in blue). 
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Mr. David Blake of Spirit Pieces

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Rockstar Art Gallery in Houston Texas

I saw that Rockstar Art Gallery at 5700 NW Central #160 Houston, TX 77092 was hosting a “Last Sunday” event from 1-5pm as they do each month, so decided to check it out for the first time! (Links to artist’s websites are in black by photos)

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I loved it when Houston had the Cow Parade so these were fun to look at too 🙂 

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Tania Botelho, Visual Artist in Houston, Texas

While checking out the Second Saturday at Sawyer Yards, I had the honor of meeting Ms. Tania Botelho a Visual Artist.  Ms. Botelho is a married, (sorry guys) and has one dog. When I asked Tania her advice for aspiring artist she answered, Believe in your work, do not feel down with critics, do not feel vain with praise and be obstinate as art will demand a lot of work from you!!”

“Art is my weapon and I want to use it as a way to speak for the minorities that can’t speak or don’t know how to do it for themselves.”

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Can You see Me?

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Lynn Hogan – Encaustic Artist at The Silos in Sawyer Yards, Houston, Texas

Today’s featured Artist is Ms. Lynn Hogan. I was fortunate enough to meet Ms. Hogan at one of the recent “Second Saturdays” at Sawyer Yards in The Silos Studios.

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Seeds

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Russian General Store in Houston, Texas

Today I had the pleasure of entering the Russian General store in Houston, Texas and having the chance to sit down and speak with Mr. Alexander Kogan while his business partner, Ms. Anna Levitin tended to the business, they have shared for over 20 years! Ms. Levitin is a bit shy and didn’t wish to be photographed, although you’ll have to trust me that she is quite the attractive lady!  Smart as a whip too according to Mr. Kogan! I think he feels a bit badly that she’s been taking on so much more than her fair share of the work load since he became ill as he mentioned his gratitude more than once toward Ms. Anna Levitin.  Very touching to see these two friends in business together still after so many years.  What a team!

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Mr. Alexander Kogan – Partner/Owner of The Russian General Store
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