Friday, December 28, 2012

Re-Grouping Day

One of those days when some shopping and laundry needs to take place. We are hoping to go to Normandy for the weekend. I've been working away on my "Oz in Christmas, " stocking and ornaments. I had a few technical issues making my latest set of videos so I might have to attempt showing the lion being made too. The tinman is done...so adorable.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bucilla Stocking Construction #6


The applique stitch is this video's focus. This the stitch used to attach the majority of the felt pieces in Bucilla stocking kits.

Paris Aerospace Museum

With two pilots in the apartment it was bound to happen...we made a trip to the Paris Aerospace Museum...or Musee de l'Air. It is located at the LeBourget Airport, north of Paris.  This airport is also famous for hosting the Paris Airshow.


The museum was missing these three blue planes in their display so it was not too impressive when we drove up but it turned out to be a good little museum. There was a extensive display dedicated to the start of flight.


Lots of very early flying machines. Then we made our way to the space side.


My husband picked out what he wants for Christmas next year, a vintage P-51 Mustang...WWI era fighter plane.


My son tells me Alaska is full of these airplanes that still fly all over the bush today, a DC-3.


Outside there were lots of fighter jets.


There was a large selection of commercial planes too...sorry I missed getting a photo of those planes. The prototype for the Concorde commercial jet was on display...I guess that is one of the big draws for the museum. A nice outing for the day.

Bucilla Stocking Construction #5


How to make the Lazy Daisy Stitch and some tips for putting the "Christmas in Oz," stocking and ornaments together. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Art Museum vs. Christmas Shopping

Today my son and I went to the Louvre Museum. Apparently most of Paris thought it was a good place to be instead of Christmas shopping...but I do have to mention there is a great mall underneath the Louvre...complete with a Starbucks and Apple store...everything this American girl needs.

We were going to watch the dvd, "Da Vinci Code," last night but turns out the blue-ray player I bought doesn't play regular dvds...whoops! I read the book years ago but never saw the movie. Maybe I'll see it before my next visit to the Louvre...because I don't think it is possible to ever see everything in that museum.


I was all excited to see a visiting exhibit of Raphael's work from Italy. My 18-year-old-son just breezed through that exhibit...I figured paintings didn't really interest him. Thank goodness we came to the statues! He found those very interesting and we even saw a wing of the Louvre that was decorated as Napoleon the III had it when he lived there. Quite spectacular. Most of the areas we visited today were not too terribly crowded but then we decided to see the Mona Lisa before we left...gotta do that! That's where everyone was...horribly crowded in the Italian paintings section. We couldn't wait to get outside afterwards.

We trekked to the Latin Quarter and met my husband there for some Greek food. It was delicious and sorely needed to restore my good mood. It's very funny to be around a hungry young man...as we were eating a heavy meal at 4p.m. he was already thinking about dinner! My husband and I told him we could point in the direction for a meal later in the evening...but we would not be joining him. I forgot all to quickly how much my sons could eat!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cheery Travels

Today my son and I walked our legs off! We started out walking to the Eiffel Tower and then walked along the Seine River.


We crossed the river to the Concorde...


which sits right in the middle of one of Paris's major  thoroughfares.
The obelisk marks where the guillotine was set up during the French Revolution that was used to behead Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette. 

Right off the Concorde is the Champs Elysees. For Christmas the street was lined on both sides with Christmas booths and a Christmas village...


complete with a ice skating trail around an animal village.


Not a great photo but there were polar bears with penguins and arctic wolves. Just a little irritating to me...penguins live on the other pole...not with polar bears and arctic wolves. I love penguins too but this always bugs me!

At the end of the Champs Elysees we ended our tour at the Arc de Triomphe.


Despite grey skies it was a pleasant temperature and the city was very festive with Christmas decorations. 

Enjoying the View

What a delight it is to share Paris with our son, Zack. Due to flight delays he arrived just as rush hour(s) began. My husband was able to drop me off at the Charles De Gaul airport but then he had to go to work. Our plan was for us to get a taxi ride home which usually takes at least an hour...but as we looked at the traffic we knew it could take three hours. So I made the decision to take the train system back to the apartment. 

It was rush hour on the train system too! There were a few hiccups but after making connections to three different trains...we made it to our apartment within an hour and 15 minutes from leaving the airport. Zack took a quick shower then we went to dinner at a nearby bistro and on the way home I took him by the Eiffel Tower...it really doesn't get much better than that!


He has actually expressed an interest in going shopping for some clothes! I know just where to take him...and the Starbucks is on the way. We'll definitely hit some iconic spots in Paris today.

I might not work too much on sewing or hand stitching but here's where I am at on my "Christmas in Oz," stocking and ornament set.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Market Day

It's raining...but it just doesn't matter...it's  market day.  I finally remembered to snap a few pictures halfway through our shopping.

One of  our regular stops...the coffee man. My husband is having a discussion with him about getting a darker roasted flavor than our last mix.


Here's my favorite vegetable and fruit stand...there is a cute Asian-featured gal who speaks English well! She was there to help us today.


Anyone know what this is called? Looks like something  between cauliflower and broccoli.


And a quick shot from the cheese booth we frequent...we do love the cheese here but miss sharp cheddar.


Of course everything got loaded into my shopping cart. I still need to stop at the bake shop around the corner for our latest favorite sandwich and toast bread.


It comes in this cute wooden basket...very thinly sliced. We love it.

And I have to share one more photo...I spotted a Gordon Setter yesterday on my walk...we've had two of these wonderful dogs. My husband had one when I met him...it was love at first sight for me...I'm pretty sure his dog had a lot to do with the start of our relationship.


Wonderful family pets...much easier to train than Bernese Mountain Dogs...might have to get one of these someday.

Our youngest son, Zack, gets into Paris today. It will be so nice to have him here for a couple of weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Typical Monday

Everyday has a little adventure in it. On Sunday I visited a different market that is right by my Starbucks. I really needed some more cheese but I noticed mostly soft cheeses at all the cheese vendors...and of course I forgot my camera. But I did find a new stall to try where prepared meals were being sold. I really find cooking in my small kitchen a little frustrating. There was a yummy looking lasagna so we tried it last night.


It looked great and baked up nicely but we were disappointed. Too salty and the meat just tasted different...my husband thinks they use horse sometimes for their ground meat. I don't know what it was...but it wasn't pork and I didn't like it. Darn...I really wanted a simple solution to cooking in my kitchen.

But my second purchase looks more safe. I also bought two roasted chickens which are pretty small and some roasted veggies. We will have this for dinner tonight.


Monday's agenda: 1) get more passport photos for the continuing saga of visa applications, 2) Mail visa documents with photos and signature paperwork to our Paris bank, 3) Purchase adapter for US power cords. 

Our local metro stop (subway station) has an automated photo booth and that is the accepted route to go for passport photos around here...not my best photos. To mail everything I went to our neighborhood "Mailboxes Etc." and found some great help...meaning someone spoke English...I am so thankful for French people who speak English!!!

Our French lessons start after the new year.

I wanted to get an adapter for the power cord on my sewing machine so as I was walking I stumbled on  a store with yarn in the window...as I looked closer there were embroidery kits and...embroidery floss. But the store is closed on Sundays and Mondays. I cannot wait to go there tomorrow. The store that sells the US adapters was also closed. I hit the local grocery store to buy an adapter but the line was so tremendous I gave up...I have never seen that store so crowded...a Monday at 11:45 a.m....go figure.

My sewing machine did get unpacked...it is all in one piece and looks very anxious to get used. Now the big decision is what to start working on. I'm thinking about starting a kit I bought on EBay for a steal...

I've had this kit for years and never started it because I wanted to make two versions at one time...the kitted version and a more modern, batik version. I think the batik version was holding me back so time to just go with the easy version. Totally not my style of kit but it may make a nice gift...it would also look lovely in my traditional Paris apartment.

Bucilla Stocking Construction - Step 4


Start Stitching! I show how to add beads and sequins. I also have a hint...how to back out the needle when you make a mistake. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who makes a misplaced stitch now and then.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Sites

We had two days of rainy weather so today's sunshine was a welcome change. I sauntered up to the Eiffel Tower today for my walk and crossed the Seine River to the Trocadero where a Christmas village of shops was set up. It was very crowded and I didn't find anything to buy but I thought it was fun to see a small ice skating rink set up.


Not the best photo of the ice rink...maybe during a weekday I can get some better photos.


Good news...the flocked Christmas tree prices have been reduced by 50% today. Lots of white trees left...not too many of the hot pink or red pepper colors left. And I see the black flocked tree is gone already...I committed too early and went with the traditional natural green!


Painted twigs and clusters of glass balls are prevalent in the Christmas decor for businesses. That's what caught my eye today. Unfortunately I wasn't patient enough to wait in the huge line at Starbucks today...I was so looking forward to an afternoon caffeine fix.


Bucilla Stocking Construction - #2


I have added my videos about Bucilla stocking construction to Youtube...it is easier to download to that site than on Blogger.  Maybe I'll catch a few more people's interest too!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bucilla Stocking Kit Construction Demo - #1

The first sight we had walking into our apartment building when we got back in town was a Christmas tree in the lobby.


We think there is a Christmas party for our apartment building residents coming up...not sure...the sign is in French...but we plan to show up. 

We are having a stormy day here so I am playing in the sewing room. I am going to document on video the making of a Bucilla stocking kit. Every now and then I get a comment from someone with constructions questions. I'm going to try and be very thorough so even an inexperienced stitcher can tackle one of these kits. I figure the more people I can get interested, the more likely these kits are going to continue to be designed. There are four new stocking designs being released sometime this month so I also need to get cranking on my existing stash so I don't feel so guilty when I buy the new kits.

Today's quick video will cover pressing the felt pieces. I used teflon pressing sheets. I'm not sure where people can get them because I bought mine years ago at the Houston Quilt Show. Does anyone know if they are available at JoAnns...or maybe local quilt shops? 

video

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Little Piece of Home


Yesterday we arrived back in Paris. Today our small shipment of household goods came. The tastes of home are a welcome sight. 

Our trip to the San Francisco was wonderful...except for our visit to the French consulate to get our long-term visas. We've had this ongoing problem with the French government deciding the state abbreviation "AK" is for Arkansas...not Alaska. It has created some problems since the French consulate in Houston is where Arkansas residents must go...they didn't want to take us in San Francisco...after they finally realized it was their mistake the snooty French diplomate became more friendly and processed the visas...but it was touch and go for a while in our world of international relationships.

We really need to learn some French!

Back to the goodies in our shipment. My sewing room is here!


So much shopping to do. I have to hit the farmer's market tomorrow so it will be a few more days until I  get everything organized. 

Paris put out it's Christmas decorations while we were gone...I'm going to have to charge up my camera. I just love the way so many of these small restaurants decorated...lots of great ideas.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Save One For Mainz

Connecting with U.S. history in Europe has been one of the best parts of living in Paris. On our trip to Mainz, Germany, my husband, who is a retired fighter pilot, brought up the phrase, "Save one for Mainz." I had never heard the phrase. Here's the story behind the saying.

After D-Day, the U.S. and Britain started day-and-night bombing raids on the manufacturing centers in Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Stuttgart and Mainz. An American fighter plane was shot down while flying over Mainz and the body of the pilot was dragged through the city and hung up in public where the locals abused him. It was caught on film and exposed in the international press. As a result, whenever American bombers flew missions over the area, they saved one bomb to drop on Mainz at the end of their missions. 

Most of Mainz was destroyed during the war but the Mainz Cathedral was spared. Construction of the cathedral dates back to 934 though it has burned down several times and been rebuilt repeatedly...sometimes just to change the style to a more updated look. As a result the church now looks like a mix of many time periods. We were very fortunate to be part of a private tour at night of the   cathedral. We did it in the dark so there isn't much to show you. Here's a quick look at our tour.

video

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spielberg Debbie at Work

I so wanted to have a fun video to post today but I just can't figure out how to do what I want to do! So it's time to walk to Starbucks and ponder possible solutions.

We are back "home" in Paris. Yesterday we spent the entire day traveling home on the trains but the great thing is we only walked a few blocks between our destinations.

We leave tomorrow for 10 days in San Francisco to process our French visas at the consulate there. The friends we did our Grand Canyon rafting trip with two summers ago live in the Bay area so a reunion is planned. I just can't believe how wonderfully hectic life is now!

We did get to see the Bernese Mountain Dog outside our Mainz hotel room before we left yesterday morning...indulge me and enjoy a shot of her. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Day in Mainz, Germany

My morning started out so great! I was making a quick video from the hotel room...

video

...as soon as I tuned off my camera I spotted a Bernese Mountain Dog. She was actually in the tail end of the video but I didn't notice her right then.


I was still in my bath robe or else I would have raced outside to pet her...probably just as well...I would have undoubtably terrified her owner. 

I found the Starbucks back at the train station...and then almost got lost trying to find my way back to the hotel. I definitely can use extra exercise after last night's meal so no biggie. I regrouped at the hotel and got a city walking map. Today there was a farmer's market in the shopping area by the Mainz Cathedral. There were several booths with Christmas greenery. Check out the mistletoe sprigs hanging from the top of the booth. I saw lots of people walking around with their mistletoe.


Tomorrow a Christmas market opens...of course we will be heading back to Paris so we are saving lots of money by leaving tomorrow. Near the Mainz Cathedral there are small, boutique type shops to visit.


Here's the lovely Mainz Cathedral...perhaps more about that later. I just found out we are supposed to do a tour of the church later today as part of my husband's business meeting.

I was in search of Christmas ornaments...something special from Germany. I just didn't find any...darn that market for not opening today! But I did find an unexpected surprise...check it out.

video

The doll kit came with me...


I just didn't want to regret passing it up. The instructions do come in English.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Can't Keep Up

Every day is such an adventure...before I know it I am starting a new day. Here's a little recap of the past few days. 

On Friday we went to the Paris IKEA...WOW! I've never been to an IKEA store before...I can't wait to go again. We left our apartment at 10 a.m. and spent about 45 minutes driving there. They had a huge cafeteria in the middle of the store with the best food...and so cheap! We spent plenty of money on miscellaneous stuff for the apartment. Our main task was to get some additional lighting for the sewing room. Here's our bounty of goodies...five huge bags! It was 2:30 p.m. when we finally got home.


I found some great Christmas decorations for the apartment...I'll share those photos when I get all the decorations displayed. I love these IKEA bags...yes we had to purchase them...but they will be awesome for trips to Costco back in Alaska.

Then on Saturday morning I saw real Christmas trees at the florist on my regular Starbucks' visit.


Wanna guess how much they cost? I think the priciest was $179 Euros...$232.00 US. We'll stick with our tiny tree.

And tonight I type this blog from Mainz, Germany,  a suburb of Frankfurt where my husband has a meeting tomorrow. We were successful in catching the train from Paris to Mannheim, Germany and then connecting to Mainz...though it was a little tricky...no signs in English at the Paris train station or the German train stations. I am so thankful to all the Europeans who speak English. 

It was dark and rainy when we arrived in Mainz. My husband has been here many times and he took me to a fabulous restaurant, Heiliggeist, which translates to "Holy Ghost." The restaurant was once a church. It is decorated for Christmas...so pretty. The food was incredibly wonderful and so inexpensive compared to Paris. My husband got the prize for picking the best meal, Roasted Wild Pig with Christmas-spicery, potato stuffed cabbage and baked pear. I helped him clean his plate.


I had Pork filet wrapped with bacon, peanut gnocchi and fried tomato.


The pork and fried tomatoes were great but the gnocchi sprinkled with crushed peanuts didn't do anything for me. I will have to do a lot of walking tomorrow...and of course my husband has another great restaurant to eat at tomorrow night. I think it is a good thing we don't live in Mainz...I would definitely be increasing the size of my waistline if I spent much time here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Favorite American Foods

I was introduced to website where I can order American grocery food items and have them delivered to my apartment.  There isn't a lot of selection but it does have some of my favorite items...check it out at My American Market.

Here are a few of my favorite foods and their equivalent price in American dollars.


Brownie Mix - $7.12 in US dollars


Rotel Tomatoes...a staple in my cooking - $4.53 US dollars


Kraft Macaroni and Cheese - $3.88 US dollars


Rice a Roni...such an easy side dish to throw together - $6.86 US dollars

I did put a few of my favorite foods in our household goods shipment: 12 brownie mixes, 6 large jars of Jif Extra Chunky Peanut Butter, 6 dozen small cans of V8 juice, and a flat of Top Ramen Noodles. We are going to San Francisco in a week for our official French Visa processing...I think we will be bringing a few things back with us in our suitcases.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Paris Thanksgiving


This morning on my walk to Starbucks I noticed Christmas trees were out at all the florist shops I walked by...they weren't there two days ago. (The trees were no bigger than this...maybe the bigger ones come out later. I will see!) Luckily I found this beautiful tree at my nearest florist which is just a block from our apartment...it was heavy to carry home so I am glad the closest shop to me had the one I wanted. The copper pot was in the apartment holding another plant. The shop owner spoke English and she wished me a good Thanksgiving. 

Later today I will go into work with my husband and enjoy a catered Thanksgiving dinner. My husband was looking for a sports bar that might have some American football...doesn't really interest me but I suppose it is an opportunity to run into other Americans.

Speaking of talking with other Americans...I spoke with a gal at Starbucks this morning from California here for the week to attend a conference. I had not had my caffeine yet so I wasn't the most talkative but it was enjoyable to have a brief conversation. I would say about a quarter of the people at Starbucks are Americans. And yes...I took my latte to go and drank it while I walked home and browsed the florists.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pinch Me Moment

We were walking to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner last night and caught the Eiffel Tower's flickering light show on the top of the hour. Don't see that in Alaska.  I feel pretty special sometimes!


On the top of the hour the Eiffel Tower lights flicker for 10 minutes...otherwise the outline is just lit up. The lights are turned off after the 1 a.m. light dance. Dinner was wonderful...a big bowl of soup with beef, broth and noodles. A definite "redo" spot.

This morning I tried my Starbucks latte the French way...it drove me crazy...I cannot sit and sip on my latte when I could be enjoying it on my walk!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My New World

Somehow the days go by so quickly. I have been trying to go for a daily walk that is about getting good exercise...along with some site seeing. Saturday I decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower. As I got closer I could see colorful objects at the base of the tower. I had stumbled onto the last two days of the "Buddy Bear Tour."

Here's a shot of the bear representing the US of A...not too hard to figure out which one it was. He is "Liberty."


The Canadian bear was much harder to figure out...I had to  look at the maps on their bases but it's missing on my picture because I went back today and the bears were starting to be removed.


He looks like he is pixilating. 
No info on the website about the artist's concept. If you want to check out other bears here's the link, Buddy Bears.
Here's the official press release.

UNITED BUDDY BEARS IN PARIS

12th October – 18th November 2012 Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower)
To mark two occasions – 25 years of town twinning between Paris and Berlin and the “50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty“ – the United Buddy Bears will be visiting the Champ de Mars for 5½ weeks. The exhibition in Paris underlines the good relationship between France and Germany and between the two cities Paris and Berlin.
The unique United Buddy Bears project features 140 bear sculptures representing as many countries recognised by the United Nations. Standing together hand in hand, the 2m tall bears promote tolerance and living together in peace.


Check out the bear in the middle....bet he's from Ireland.




I've been here just over a week. It's going well...I don't think I know anymore French yet but I have started watching French TV because the only English-speaking channels we get are news or business. Every now and then a movie will be on a local channel in English...very hit and miss. Saturday night is France's Dancing with the Stars. It's fun to watch...and I don't need to know the language to understand any of it.

Our apartment can be a little noisy at night...especially on weekends. Although we live right by an above ground subway and a main street for traffic that noise is not even noticeable. It's the shouting people do at the strangest times. The down side of city living.

The major upside is the convenience of everything. Saturday we went to the local market two blocks from our apartment. I was a little tired from the noisy night but can see if I really get my act together I can efficiently get most meals for the week covered in that shopping trip. We bought some Eggplant Casserole already prepared for our dinner that night...it was delicious and we plan to make that a weekly purchase. I promise I'll get a video made one of these days. I have to be there as soon as the market opens to video because it gets so crowded.

I have one major wish...I wish the Starbucks was closer to our apartment. It's an easy 15 minute walk but the French do not drink on the go...carrying my latte home is a dead give away I am an American. The French sit and sip slowly...enjoying their latte's completely. Hard for me to slow down sometimes...caffeine is supposed to get you going. I guess I should take my Kindle with me next time...