It's my turn! My thanks to Cathy from Eagle's Wings Quilts for asking me to play along on the Around the World Blog Hop. I've really enjoyed reading other postings and look forward to seeing more today as I catch up on my blog reading today.
If you are new to my blog...welcome. I have called Alaska home since 1998. Before that I had lived in San Antonio, Texas for eight years. And...prior to that I was in the military which was only fitting since my dad was in the Marine Corps and I spent my childhood moving...all the time. We even did an overseas tour for two years in Japan. I went to a different school almost every year until my dad retired when I was in high school. And then of course I went to college out of state. Seems to be pattern here! I guess it shouldn't have surprised me at all when my husband asked me three years ago if I would like to live in Paris for a few years. I did have to make sure he was talking about Paris, France...and not Paris, Texas.
Add into the mix that we had just started building our dream house in Alaska...because we had decided we were going to stay indefinitely...or so I thought. I knew this opportunity for my husband to work in Paris was very important to him...okay...I said yes!
So...just like an episode of House Hunters International, we made a trip to Paris to hunt for an apartment. We looked at 15 apartments in two days. And just like the show...my husband and I both thought the other wanted a different apartment but it turned out we agreed. Our two homes and lifestyles couldn't be more different! We kept our Alaskan home and rely on our sons to house sit for us while we are away. My husband works full time in Paris for Fed Ex and I spend half the year in Paris and half in Alaska. My husband visits Alaska several times throughout the year...even when I am in Paris. I'm sure you can figure out which months out of the year I spend in each home.
This is a street just around the corner from our Paris apartment...yep...we are very close to the Eiffel Tower. I took this photo on Christmas morning last year. The people on the sidewalk are in line at one of three local bakeries near us. Living in Paris, I have learned what good bread really tastes like. Oh...and of course the cheese. European cheeses are so wonderful...it is a fact.
There is still plenty I love about the United States and in particular...Alaska!
This was the view from the back deck of my home in Alaska...just a few days before I left for Paris last year. Those were the quilts I managed to finish last summer. (I only got three done this year!) My Alaska home sits in Eagle River valley and is surrounded by the Chugach mountain range. It is so beautiful...and quiet here!
I get lots of local visitors...moose, bears (brown and black)...and even manage to get a good picture for my blog now and then. I think I could go on forever about my two homes but lets get back to the Blog Hop topics.
First and second questions...what am I working on and how does my work differ from others? I am hand stitching the binding on a quilt of my own design called, "Katchemak Baywatch." It is an excellent example of my work and how it may differ from others. I work almost exclusively in batiks...front and backside. I like intricate piecing. I do my own quilting on a Nolting Fun Quilter which is a midarm. I am size-challenged...my quilts grow and often end up being somewhere between a queen and king size. Even when I make patterns designed by others they wind up getting biggie-sized. Most often...I feel compelled to change the borders of most patterns. I have a stack of tops that need quilting and several designs waiting to be started. Like most of you...I have many projects in the works at all times...and now...in two countries. I really would like more hours in the day.
Third question. Why do I create?
I create...therefore I am...
I was born this way...
I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't create! I grew up watching my mom sew...usually clothes for me. I remember getting a toy sewing machine for Christmas when I was six or seven. By the time I was in sixth grade my parents bought me my own grown-up sewing machine. I haven't lived without a sewing machine since. In college I did alterations and mending for a little extra money. I have always sewn. Clothing, home decor...and now mostly quilting. Blogging was a natural leap for me since I was a journalism major in college and worked in the public relations field before I became a stay-at-home mom. I also dabble in many handwork areas with a notable addiction to making Bucilla kit felt applique stockings...to the point of making detailed videos posted on You Tube with my construction techniques. It has brought me so much happiness to hear from "viewers," who find my videos helpful.
And the last question. How does my creative process work?
Most often a fabric inspires me. The size of the design in the fabric is where I most often start for the block size. I'm drawn to batiks with animal motifs. I use EQ7 for designing quilts. I learned to type as I wrote in journalism class (before laptops! I did have an electric typewriter). It was an easy step to design quilts on the computer instead of using graphing paper but the fluidity of stitching quilting designs eludes me on a computer screen. I still have to move the pen like my needle across a drawing of a quilt top to figure out the quilting design.
I've read a few books about the creative process and I have found for me it takes about 15 or 20 minutes of engaging my brain on a project before the process starts to click. I'm a regular exerciser and I find myself working through designs while I'm in the middle of a hike or a Jazzersize routine. Sometimes I'll be working on a hand project (cross stitch or those cute felt stockings!) and I'll have a design on my mind and somehow ideas and solutions seem to just pop up. My new favorite place to get my mind wandering is pinterest. A picture will catch my eye and I might do something completely different but it triggers the wheels in my head to spin.
I've found two great bloggers to share with you on this Around the World Blog Hop. They will be posting next Monday so make sure and check them out today and next week.
First is Lynette with What a Hoot! She hosts BOMs Away Mondays. I love Lynette's projects. She does an amazing job of quilting on her domestic sewing machine. I've tried that...and failed. I am amazed when people quilt large quilts on little sewing machines. She's been working on a beautiful wedding ring quilt this past year...or maybe even two years. There is so much variety to her work. I always enjoy seeing what she is up to and of course I do try to link up now and then with her on Mondays because I do have a few BOMs in progress. (Those projects are in Paris...and I am in Alaska.) I must also say...I like hearing about her cats too. A big downside to this living in two countries thing is I can't have pets...I just have to enjoy other folks cats and dogs.
And the second special blogger is Béa in France. As soon as I got to Paris I started searching for French quilters. Béa's blog, Needle in a Hay Stack instantly grabbed me. Her blog is in French but don't be put off by that because she does have a translate button on the left side of her blog and you don't want to miss the great photos she has of her quilts. You will see some familiar designs on her blog as she enjoys a lot of American quilt designers. Being a quilter in France is a challenge. Fabric is so expensive and the selection is so small compared to U.S. quilt shops. I always read her blog in French first and then hit the translate button to see how much I got right...quilters from different countries do pretty much speak the same language.
Thanks for visiting...I enjoyed sharing!