I’ve mentioned that my job requires much travel and a lot of the times, it is to pretty exciting places (Sydney Harbor upon my arrival – above). That is, if one finds the time to take in the sites. Because I travel so much, I don’t often add any extra time onto trips simply because I want to be home with my family. That being said, getting to Australia is quite a trek! Many hours are lost in a plane and then the time zone is 17 hours ahead of the west coast. So, if you leave on Friday nite, you arrive on Sunday morning!
Having landed in Sydney at 6:30AM and not yet to my final destination of Wollongong, New South Wales, I had a choice to either spend some time in the city or just finish getting to where I needed to be. I knew that I would not be able to get into my room until the afternoon and surprisingly, I felt pretty good having slept vertically for almost 7 hours!
It’s currently winter in Australia and while the day started off sunny, the air was crisp, so I decided it should be a day to explore Sydney, hit what fabric and notions stores might be open and perhaps even sit for High Tea. Most shops are open on Sundays at 10AM, so I took my time getting downtown from the airport. I grabbed a subway to Central Station and stored my luggage. Central Station was the stop where I would take a regional train to Wollongong later in the day. Sarah researched public transport for me and so I knew I’d be fine grabbing a train later in the afternoon.
The walk into the CBD (central business district) from the station is probably 25-30 minutes and having sat on the plane from LAX for 14+ hours, I knew the walk would do me good! Whenever I land in a city that I want to explore, I always have these grandiose plans that I’ll check off my bucket list, but exhaustion inevitably creeps in and I give in to the want of my hotel room. This being my 3rd trip to Australia, I was thinking about the fun places I had seen before in Sydney and wondering if I should hit them again…Go see the Opera House, take a water ferry around the harbor, wander through the shops. I had a purpose today! Buttons, buttons, buttons! Why? I’ve been looking for buttons that will be used on my frock coat, waist coat and breeches. It’s been difficult to decide on a style and color.
First things first thought. A latte and develop a plan to hit the fabric and notions shops that were in the central business district (CBD}; a.k.a downtown. A quick web search revealed that right next to the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) were a few fabric and notions stores; even a store dedicated to buttons!
First stop, I hit Lincraft. Now it turns out, Lincraft is basically JoAnn’s fabrics in Australia. The fabric selection was not stellar, though they did have a much better button selection than what you would find at JoAnn’s.
I quickly moved on to the real destination. Buttons, Button, Buttons! It was a sneaky little place to find. Of course, I was expecting it to be right at the street level, but it turned out to be in an old building (named the Dymocks building), several levels up. There were no escalators, I’m sure there were elevators, but I didn’t mind taking the steps up several floors. I began to wonder if I would ever find this little shop. And then, I saw this sign! I was on the right track!
Et voila! Tucked in the back corner of the 5th or 6th floor.
The shop was well organized and lit very well. The shopkeep was a very friendly lady. As you might expect, a button store doesn’t get a lot of traffic, so she was more than eager to find out my story and, of course, help me out to choose a set of buttons. Once she knew the purpose, she was on a mission. Fact was though, after spending more than a half of an hour looking through her selection, I just couldn’t find anything that was screaming these are the ones. Rather, I couldn’t find any that I liked well enough that didn’t cost more than $4/button…
Now the shopkeep was very determined to sell me some buttons. At this point, she began hunting buttons that were of the right size that I could “treat” to get the effect I was looking for. I wasn’t really keen on spending a few dollars on each button, knowing I’d have to do something to them. Maybe if they were like 25 cents…
These were the buttons she had identified that would work with some treatment. The fact is, I didn’t really like them, but she was so kind and helpful, I was beginning feel obligated! LOL. Luckily, Sarah called me on the phone at the moment and I could sneak outside, indicating I had to take the call. I didn’t bother going back in. Disappointed in my button search, I decided high tea would make me feel a lot better.
The QVB has a fantastic place to sit for tea, so I made my way there. Th QVB is another beautiful, old building with lots of exclusive shops and eateries. Inside, there is a fantastic old clock that is really stunning.
12:15 – The perfect time for lunch and some tea!
The work trip itself was actually pretty good. I made it to Wollongong, NSW, then travelled to Melbourne, VIC for a few days. Visited one of my favorite cocktail bars, Lilly Black’s.
While I was hoping to find THE buttons during my quick trip to Australia, it didn’t happen. Hopeful to find them in New York City in October!