Crafty shopping in downtown LA February 4, 2007

Last week I went downtown with Alexis and Pink Craftie to do a little bead and fabric shopping at a few of my favorite places… but our first stop was lunch at Clifton’s Cafeteria at 7th and Broadway. If you haven’t been yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I love the food — the vegetable plate is my favorite — but it’s just stunning inside, and a calm, lovely oasis in the middle of the busy, hectic jewelry district.

Pink Craftie visits Clifton's Cafeteria

The first two floors are like a beautiful woodland movie set with a Pacific Northwest feel — there’s even a waterfall. Upstairs is a huge, elegant time capsule of portraits, red velvet, and gold leaf, with photos and mementos from 1940s Broadway shows and midnight suppers.

Pink Craftie at Clifton's

After lunch, we walked over to Berger Beads at 8th and Maple to shop for rhinestones, findings, and glass. There are so many little corners to browse, I always find something cool. This time I picked up a couple of zodiac charms and some nice clasps.

Pink Craftie shops for beads

Then we headed south to shop for fabric. There are dozens (hundreds?) of little stores, each with its own specialty… like stretch, fake fur, lace, and velvet, and the prices are pretty incredible — there are a lot of dollar-a-yard spots. We stopped and looked in a couple of them on our way to Michael Levine (aka the mothership) at 9th and Maple.

Michael Levine!

Of course we had to hang out in the ultra-tempting cotton prints section…

Pink Craftie browses the novelty prints at Michael Levine

Pink Craftie with some favorite bolts of fabric at ML

…but ultimately I just ended up with some felt by the yard — they have great colors.

If you go:

Clifton’s Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway, 213-627-1673
Berger Beads, 413 E. 8th St, 213-627-8783
Michael Levine, 920 Maple Ave., 213-622-6259

I also wrote up a guide to Southern California crafty shopping in summer 2005, with lots more resources, if you’re interested — but please forgive any broken links or outdated info, since it’s a year and a half old!

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