June 24, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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8434 Germantown Ave.
Phila. PA 19118
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Charming Mt. Airy shops: costumes, clothing, crafts

Gabrielle Rossi opened Dirty Girl Brigade, an environmentally friendly shop, at 7125 Germantown Ave. in 2009 to offer her family and friends quality everyday organic, sustainable and recyclable lifestyle items.

Mt. Airy is full of diversity, charm, elegant homes and good shopping. I had a great time recently checking out a few of the more interesting shops. Check them out and you’ll see why.


This fabulous shop was formed in 2007 by three local women who wanted a way to sell their work and represent other artists. Owners Kathy Robinson and Mary Lui Yoder feature mainly one-of-a kind handmade works of art from local artists and designers. They offer a large selection of jewelry, pottery, hand blown glass pieces, silk batik clothing, hand made soaps and candles. (The third partner in Artista, Andrea Herbert, just retired in January. A jewelry maker, her line is available at Artista.)

Mary Lui makes hand-bound photo albums, coasters and journals which she covers in a decorative pattern. Artista sells hand-painted jackets, scarves, wraps, purses and ties, and they are stunning. In this shop you will find beautiful items to decorate both yourself and your home, and there is a lovely selection for gift-giving.

Kathy Robinson (seen here) and Mary Lui Yoder feature mainly one-of-a-kind handmade works of art from local artists and designers at Artista, 7151 Germantown Ave. (Photos by Claudia Bordo)

This is a boutique, gallery and gift shop in one. Hurry in! Hours are: Wednesday to Friday, 12 to 6, and Saturdays, 12 to 5. On First Fridays they stay open till 9 p.m. 7151 Germantown Ave., 215-248-2450.

Dirty Girl Brigade:

Now here’s a shop you can love and respect. This is an “Eco-boutique.” Gabrielle Rossi opened this environmentally friendly place in 2009 to offer her family and friends high-quality everyday organic, sustainable and recyclable lifestyle items. She sells women’s clothing made from bamboo. I couldn’t resist and bought an adorable skirt.

Gabrielle also features Juice Beauty bath and body items, toys and pet supplies (even the catnip is organic) and some new-born baby clothes. Also sold here are Ed Begley Jr.’s wonderful line of cleaning products for fruits and vegetables, laundry, dishes, windows, etc. They are hypoallergenic, biodegradable and non-toxic. Shop here and have a clear conscience. The hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 8, and Sunday, 12 to 6. 7125 Germantown Ave., 215-242-2976.

Past and Present:

Be warned, you can get lost in this shop. Not that you would mind. This place reeks of fun. Owner Patsy Dougherty has been in the vintage clothing business for over 30 years. She has a huge collection of wonderful and fascinating old clothes, hats, handbags, jewelry, wigs and make-up. Here you can find beautiful designer dresses from the 1940s and ‘50s, which were made with a lot more detail than in most contemporary clothing.

They are reasonably priced, and you’re not likely to see a duplicate anywhere. In the back of this shop is a room with racks full of costumes which Patsy rents. She has everything you need to throw a fabulous ‘70s party, for Halloween, a school play or a murder mystery dinner. And if you are attracted to the Colonial or Victorian era, that’s available too.

Last year a movie company filming in Germantown came here for their costumes, and Stagecrafters uses Past and Present as well. Patsy told me that fashion designers will come in and buy items to study and copy for their future collections. In fashion and life, “what goes around comes around!” Visit this happy place soon! Open Tuesday thru Saturday 11 to 5:30, 7224 Germantown Ave., 215-242-2908.



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