Thursday, October 16, 2014

Playing Tourist

More visitors have kept me out and about with little time to blog. Today we went to the quilt shop, Inès Le Boutique du Patchwork. My mother-in-law,  Judy, was shopping with me today...she is a quilter too. We have been to the Houston International Quilt Show together many times. She will get to go this year without me. I've been walking her legs off around Paris to get her in shape for her upcoming marathon shopping day in Houston. She found a few things to take home with her.

Here's a look at the stash she picked up...two meters of a French fabric with 7 coordinating fat quarters.

A set of 18 fat quarters from Australian quilt designer, Lynette Anderson.

I know you want to know the cost. The set of 18 fat quarters were $42 euros or about $54 U.S. The French fabrics were $63 euros or about $83 U.S.

I also found some adorable ornament kits also designed by Lynette Anderson.

I googled and found out there are a total of 12 designs in this series...guess I will have Judy look for the others at the Houston Quilt show. Lynette Anderson is listed as an exhibitor so should be do-able. The kits were $8.50 euros a piece or a little over $10 U.S. I sure hope they are a bit less expensive in will be fun to compare prices.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More Moose in Paris

Seems to be a pattern here with my recent return to Paris...the moose have followed me. Maybe it's just the crowd that I hang out with. Our outing yesterday was the Hunting and Nature Museum. Right away I felt at home...this polar bear was the greeter for the museum.

This museum is a wonderful collection of taxidermy and nature inspired art. I don't normally care for antlers in my furniture but the French have a way of making it work! Notice the thistle on the seat...just a subtle reminder it's not a place for sitting in this museum.

There was a closet-sized room with owls lining the ceiling...pretty spooky stuff.

Again...the French find a way to make an antler mount the filigree detail on the stag head.

On this parrot chair was a dozing fox. I guess he didn't mind sitting on the thistle.

Everyone needs a conversation piece in their decor. This was a diorama of gorillas guarding a table setting with a human digestive system model in the among yourselves on the possible meanings the artist was conveying. What do the two seahorses at the base infer?

Back to my comfort zone...brown bear with some cheetahs. I think that was rather a scrawny brown bear...obviously a distant cousin of an Alaskan Grizzly.

I did mention there was a moose...with  a lot of other heads to keep him company.

Guess I will have to bring Hubby here someday.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Moose In Paris

No....that is not the new name for my blog.

I actually saw two moose in Paris on my second day back in the city. Only managed to get a photo of one of them.

I am so happy to already have visitors to enjoy exploring the city. Yesterday we started out going to the Louvre but since it is one of the rare museums open on Mondays it was horribly crowded so we made a wise choice and decided to find a luncheon spot. It was not easy since it was already 2 p.m. and most restaurants close between 2:30 and 7 p.m. After asking for a recommendation at a wine bar (more about that place in a minute), we made our way to a fabulous spot call Loup which means wolf in French. I'm adding a link to their website,  Loup, just so I can find it again. Lots of meaty dishes. We started out with the house foie gras, duck liver. Served with toasted bread, confit of figs and confit of onions.

Then onto the main meal. My friend Mike got the beef know...that raw food stuff. (Left side of the photo.) I did try a bite (I was on my second glass of wine so I was more adventurous than usual.) Not going to ever order beef tartare.

My other guest, Judy, had one of the specials with me, a roasted pork rib steak with roasted potatoes. Delicious! The sauce was so good...we had to get every drop of it.

I'm going in reverse order...before this lovely restaurant find we stopped for a refreshment at a wine bar, Les Fines Gueules. The intriguing old architecture is what pulled us in. The weather was a little gloomy so hard to get a great photo.

This building is just four years away from being 400 years old! We each had a glass of wine and a tapas of sliced ham (like prosciutto) and sliced sausage. Failed to get a photo...we ate very quickly. It was $18 euros for our little stop...very reasonable by Paris standards. I definitely need to take people here again!

Tiny interior...very hard to get a good photo. The three of us sat at the bar which left very little room for anyone else to move around in the restaurant. 

It was a great outing until we started walking home. What started out as a sprinkle turned into a downpour. That will teach me to leave the apartment without my umbrella...this is Paris after all.

One bit of needlework to share. On the flight to Paris I finished another cross stitch ornament, Joyeux Noel Santa, a French Santa...rather appropriate!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday in the Studio

It always amazes me how quickly these little cross stitch ornaments come together. 

I am defrosting two freezers today. It is convenient to have them in the basement where my sewing studio is...because there is a ton of melting ice I have to soak up with a sponge constantly! I sew a border and sponge a border and sponge up! There is just a tiny bit of ice left.

I have five borders added. Next up is the focus fabric from the star centers. Think I'm going to do a 6" border of that fabric...just have to measure my fabric and verify before I cut.

I still have lots of pieces I mistakenly cut. I am completely out of the white background and light blue mottle batik so I am thinking of taking the remaining pieces and creating a piano key border for the last...and final border. I have done the math and I have enough to just make it happen. Some time with a seam ripper will be required as I had many of the sections joined into long strips. I am not going to waste an inch of fabric due to my failure to read directions accurately!

Ultimately...this lap sized quilt will grow...all on its a queen size. It's just my destiny to make big quilts.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quilting While Packing

I think I am a bit distracted.
 I have been finishing up the borders on my last quilting project. Somehow I misread the instructions and have cut enough pieces to make three borders. The first inner border went fine. It is the second pieced one that I over achieved.

I was planning to end with the focus fabric from the center of all the stars. I guess my subconscious just knew I couldn't end with a simple band of fabric! Stay tuned for my lemons turned to lemonade solution!

Great news...I just looked at my actual plane ticket and I have one more day in Alaska than I thought. The weather has been spectacular. So hard to leave when it is so pretty here. If there were snow on the ground it would be easier.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sun = Finished Quilt Photos

It is my last chance for a while to bask in the good feelings of knowing I accomplished something wonderful. (Yep, I'm patting myself on the back!)

Kachemack Bay Watch
94 x 94-inches

MANY years ago, I bought the Humpback Whale batik fabric from Hoffman. Not surprisingly, the block "Storm at Sea," was the first idea that came to mind. I designed the quilt at least four years ago and finally took it to Paris last year to piece the top. I used Marti Michell's, "Perfect Patchwork Templates," for the interior patchwork design. Love working with them. It is more time consuming to cut out the pieces when using templates but everything went together beautifully.

The border quilting design is reminiscent of the layers of stonework found commonly around doorways in Paris. What can I say...quilting little Eiffel Towers didn't seem to work in this design, but since I worked on it in Paris I am glad I found a way to work my second home into the quilt.

The border patchwork design is a reflection of the mountains that surround Kachemack Bay. I designed it on EQ7 which allowed me to create actual sized templates to cut out all the border pieces. 

 I found this photo of Kachemack Bay on the internet from Geocaching. It is a perfect shot of what I pictured as I was putting the pieces of this quilt together. I've scheduled with my husband to take a little plane trip down to Homer next summer for our own photo session. I feel pretty special to have my own, private pilot at my beck and call. (HA! He likes any excuse to fly the plane!)

For the backing I used a wideback from Sew Batiks. They have wonderful batik backing fabrics which are a looser weave than traditional batik cottons...a little easier on quilting stitch tension. Great colors too!

The top started out 100 x 100-inches, but with the quilting and washing, shrunk down to 94-inches square. I could use four more inches to fit perfectly on my king-sized bed. There are two layers of batting; Hobbs Heirloom 100% cotton and Hobbs Heirloom Premium Wool. This is a heavy quilt. I have been sleeping under it for the past week. Love how it looks and feels but  it would not be for everyone. I have doubled cotton batting before and didn't notice the weight of the quilt increasing that much but I really felt it on this one. I'm guessing the wool batting made the difference. It washed up beautifully. 

Fall, which only lasts about two weeks in Eagle River, Alaska, is in full force.

I have decided on one quilt so far to bring to Paris. The packing is slow-going.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

So Many Decisions

I just checked in with Bèa's blog, Une Aiguille dans une Botte de Foin, or  The Needle in a Haystack and she has a wonderful post for the Around the World Blog Hop. She wrote it in English and French and has so many wonderful pictures of her quilts. You must check it out!

I am stressed trying to figure out what to take to Paris. I want to ship a box this week. So far I have four jars of extra chunky peanut butter. This is just for one year! My husband and I probably each eat three or four tablespoons of peanut butter adds up! Tastes great on a slice of baguette.

Here's my overflowing basket of projects to take. This is really just stitchery projects. I actually believe I will get everything done in this basket. It will be fun to see if I really do!

Deciding on the fabric and quilt projects is proving to  be extremely difficult...I just can't make up my mind and I want to be realistic! I finished five tops last year and I already have three UFOs in Paris I plan to tackle. I want to take 10 new quilt projects with me! 

While pondering...I did finish tacking the felt backings on the last few cross stitch ornaments I made this year. I completed 19 ornaments since November 2013. Time to pack these away in acid-free tissue paper. One of these days we will be home in Alaska for Christmas and I will probably have enough for a cross-stitch only tree. They will be so pretty mixed with shiny colored Christmas ball ornaments. 

I had several coupons for JoAnn's that were about to expire so I bought magazine's for the airplane flights.

I absolutely love the Quilt Sampler cover quilt...but I'm not reading any of these until I am sitting on a plane.

I also picked up this book...because I love borders.

I spent about $50 at JoAnn's but with all my coupons I saved $92. I bought a few other things; tracing paper, markers and needles. Amazing how quickly it all adds up.

I got a great email from Netflix a couple of weeks French. I think it said Netflix is now available in France...just hope I can get it in English. Just in case...I'm taking a couple of DVDs. I really enjoyed the first season of, "Mr. Selfridge." I didn't watch the second season this spring on purpose. No idea if I will like "The White Queen." Definitely chick flicks.

I still haven't made any decisions about the quilt projects...

I almost forgot...I had some visitors today!!!

Can you see all three? There is a baby in front and behind the mother moose. They were at the end of my driveway for some time. When I opened the front door to take a picture the mama moose gave me a serious look. I decided to let them be...more people are seriously hurt by moose than bears in Alaska.

Then a little while later I spotted the babies on the backside of our house. Both of these huge "babies" were born this spring/summer. It is tough for both babies to make it past the first month of life...bears really like baby moose chops...I think the mama moose did an extremely good job of protecting her babies!

Apparently something on the ground was so intriguing this one had to kneel down to check it out. Such goofy animals! 

The other one headed over too.

I never saw the mom again but I didn't get off my deck...just in case she was watching.

Back to contemplating which quilt projects to pack.