Sunday, March 31, 2013

Progress Report

Europe has experienced the coldest winter in over 130 years!!!! I feel a bit like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh...I've got a little grey cloud following me.  At one point yesterday it was warmer in Anchorage than Paris...I'm not kidding. The temps, which are hovering in the low 40s, have irked me and as a result I've hunkered down in my little Paris sewing room.

I finished the blanket stitching by machine on five blocks.  Listening to audible books has really made my stitching enjoyable. I finished "Les Meserable," and have started a new collection of French classics by Honore de Balzac. I'm almost through listening to "Le Pere Goriot," in English. I can listen to it in French for free and I'm going to do a little of that too.

Speaking of French...we are advancing to a weekend intensive at a chateau in Normandy next weekend. Only French will be spoken. I don't think I'll be doing much talking.

But first...we leave today for Germany. My husband has a 3-day conference in Frankfurt. We will spend tonight in Mainz. It will be a road trip. I haven't ridden in our car in two months! 

And just in case you are wondering...the French do daylight savings time also and they made the spring leap on Saturday.  I have a hard time making that forward adjustment every year...I was so hoping it didn't happen here...oh well!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"No Reservations"

Maybe you've watched the Travel Channel show with Anthony Bourdain...I feel like I was on his show two nights ago. We had friends in town and went to a very famous cabaret bar in the Latin Quarter called Aux Trois Mailletz. My husband has been a few times over the years so I had heard of's a cave underneath a café with live entertainment. Lots of fun and audience participation is encouraged. We were there until the 5 a.m. closing time. I don't think I'll be going again...I lost a day recovering from all the fun! But I'm glad I got that one off the bucket list!

Back to my sedate life as a quilter.

I got the blanket stitching done on the first of twelve blocks...pretty darn cute! Trimming down all the fusible web to just the 1/4-inch outline was completely worth is not stiff at all.

And more has been accomplished on my stocking. I just love the chair...I made it extra puffy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stitching Sunday

I'm making progress on a stocking...

I've started a Nancy Halvorsen design...

lots of fusible web appliqué. 
Why do I get suckered into her designs? I absolutely hate quilting on fusible web!

This time around I trimmed every bit of fusible web to less than a 1/4" outline. I feel like I'm "wasting" a lot of fusible web but I already can see the final quilt will be much less stiff than previous quilts I've made. (I have made several of Nancy's projects over the years...completely adorable but I detest the stiffness of some of the quilts.)

After getting everything cut out and partially fused I decided to redo all the numbers to a dark gold. I bought this book and fabric so long ago that I can't remember my original intention for color placement...but it seemed obvious to me a change was needed.

Much better with the dark gold numbers! Everything is to tackle the topstitching.

Friday, March 22, 2013

American Quilts in Paris

The American Museum in Britain has 25 American quilts on display in Paris at the Mona Bismarck American Center.  I had a nice little outing to see the quilts today. No photos allowed...thanks to the internet here is a photo of one of the quilts I saw.

A gorgeous Hawaiian quilt, Queen Kapi'olani.

The display had a nice range of quilts. There was a whole cloth quilt from around 1760. There were crazy quilts, Amish quilts, log cabin quilts, patchwork quilts and appliqué quilts. Most of the quilts were from the 19th century. The highlight was a spectacular Baltimore Album quilt...really wish I could have taken photos. 

Here's the museum was once the home of an American socialite on the Paris scene.

The house sits on the Seine, across from the Eiffel Tower.

I learned I am a "quilteuse." French for "quilter."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthday

...To Me! 

As one of my good friend says..."you are responsible for making your own fun." 

I ventured to a new quilt shop. Ines Patchwork. The website looked very promising...Hoffman batik Bali Pops at the top of the front page. Here was my first glimpse of the real thing.

It actually looks like a quilt shop!

It was crammed full of fabrics...even batiks by the meter. The batiks were 19 Euros a meter...$24.57 in US! Yikes! But I did a lot of looking and touching. 

They had a great notions' wall...and that's where I spent a lot of time. I forgot to bring straight pins and a measuring tape from the US. They also had freezer paper...can't find that anywhere else in Paris! And I also went ahead and bought some Hobbs batting so I can tackle an appliqué project here. Just trying to support my local quilt shop.

There were two ladies working in the spoke pretty good English. I am finding when I do a mix of French and English I get a lot of appreciation for trying to speak French...even though my pronunciation stinks.

Editor's additional remarks added the next day. 
More Details about the costs...all prices converted to US: Appliqué pins - $11.13,  Straight pins - $12.52, 60" tape measure - $11.82, Hobbs Cotton Batting Queen - $51.39 and a 50' roll of  Reynolds freezer paper - $16.60. 

It was a bit of an adventure to get there. It was in a part of town I hadn't been to yet and I had to decide whether to switch trains three or four times to get the most direct route or take the long way and only make one train switch. I opted for the long route. I came out right by this beautiful church, Saint Ambroise. It was built between 1863 and 1869. The neighborhood certainly built up around it...hard to get a photo!

Here's a side view. There are many lovely churches like this scattered throughout Paris. I love it when I'm walking about, turn a corner and there's a beauty like this in front of me.

I had to decide what route to take home. The skies looked a little threatening so I thought it might be smart to ride a train that would put me near the Seine and then get my exercise for the day and hike back to the apartment...but when I got to the train stop by the Seine I changed my mind and jumped on a train to the Louvre. There is a great little shopping center under the Louvre...not big but some fun shops. Mostly...I needed to resupply our Sumatra coffee bean stash...can't beat the ones we get a Starbucks. And right across from Starbucks is a Swatch watch shop. I'm a girl of the '80s...I've been collecting Swatches since then. 

There was a new Swatch...a Mona Lisa Swatch. She came home with me!

I did walk home from the Louvre...only took 30 minutes of brisk walking...and I did get a few sprinkles along the way.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ma Promenade á la Paris

French lessons yesterday and today...which means I don't get much else done. I did take a brisk walk in the sunshine yesterday afternoon. Here are a few pictures I took along the way...

I like to walk along a strip park, three blocks long with green fields that are tree lined. 

There is a lovely garden on one of the balconies...can't wait to see how it changes with the seasons. And of course there are all the trees that line the park strip that will be full of leaves someday!

I walked by this building 100 times before I noticed it was "different." I must remember to look around. Obviously it is a religious building nestled in among apartment buildings. No signs on it to indicate it's use.

I was thinking of getting photos of the different wooden doors I see...this one had a lot of everything going for it. I like all the different motifs in the borders...I lost count.

And one final wooden pretty. No more stopping for photos...this walk is meant for cardiovascular exercise too.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Snow Day...Again!

The corner of my world, rue Rosa Bonheur

It snowed all day yesterday. It didn't accumulate too much but today it is all icy! I am not going anywhere if I can help it...I have plenty of food, coffee, wine and toilet paper. Thankfully my husband left on Sunday before the snow hit for a trip to New York. The Paris airport was a huge mess yesterday. He is due to fly in tomorrow morning.

I can tell everyone is hunkered down in their apartments because it is so quiet. Our apartment is on the fourth floor, right above the front door and it's a heavy metal door that bangs shut whenever it is opened. There is also a motorcycle parking area there and some of those motorcycles have very loud in particular sounds like a chain saw...I hate it. There is no motorcycle noise today! And I didn't hear the front door bang close until almost  nine this morning.

I knew I was going to have several days to myself so I saved a newly released book on my Kindle to read. The author of the book tends to keep me up reading all night so I definitely couldn't read the book on a night before French lessons.

Sure enough...the night I started the book I was up until 4:30 a.m. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock. I think about 3 a.m. I was laughing out loud about one scene...I was so glad my husband was out of town so I didn't wake him up.

I finally finished the book last night at midnight...I started reading much earlier yesterday. I'm a little embarrassed about my favorite book...not "literature" but a nice steamy and entertaining medieval romance.

I've read several of Kathryn LeVeque's novels. They always contain two things: a knight who is huge, towering over every other man...and a woman who is very petite, beautiful and smart. But she needs a knight because it is medieval times...women have no reputable way to support themselves. I had a great, two-day escape into a fantasy world.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet Pea

I finished the second kit I bought at the Houston Quilt Show in adorable pin cushion.

Everything I needed came in this kit except the thread. 

Here's the cover photo for the kit.

I think it took me an hour.  This is a design from Just Another Button Company. You can see some other kits here

Mother Nature

....has a cruel sense of humor.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Do you believe in Karma?

What are the chances I would find this desk pictured below in my furnished Paris apartment?

Sewing Karma!

Isn't this amazing? 

The machine is filthy. The hand wheel turns but not smoothly.

It has a motor on the back side.

From the internet I have been able to figure out it is a Singer 15-90.

On the front there is a metal sign that says...

The cabinet is in great condition. No accessories to the machine are in sight. I have a few years to think about it...but I may approach the owner about selling it to me. Here's my favorite part of the machine.

"Fabrication française"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Stitching

I made a little bit of progress this week. Dorothy now has Toto with her.

And I got the companion ornament done.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Doorway To...

I needed a distraction today. I made my first trip to a Paris beauty salon a couple of days ago and I'm not totally comfortable with the end result. It's very's also different and I don't do well with changes when it comes to my hair. The difference in languages did have something to do with it!

 Instead of dwelling on my hair...I took a walk...and I looked at my world. The first thing I noticed was how different every door is on my walk about the neighborhood. Here is a fraction of what I saw today. These doors are the common entrances for apartment buildings. There is a touchpad on the side where the residents input their codes for access.

Elegant and Simple

Fruit baskets flank the arched they represent pineapples are a symbol of welcome? I do see food baskets in the reliefs of building entrances fairly often.

Then I realized there were faces looking at me.

This god-like face was on the corners of a building.

Here's the first of two doors that were close to each other...I think they are sisters.

Nice to see the other sister has a little color.

And this corner amazed me because I walk by it every's on the end of our apartment building and I never noticed! It is so pretty!

There will be many more photos of doors to always wonders what is behind a door but sometimes one should look at the door and see what is around it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Iditarod...Without Me!

My thoughts have turned to Alaska...the 2013 Iditarod started Sunday. Here's a photo of just one of the hazards dog teams face...

A big part of the support system for the Iditarod is the pilots who fly the supplies to all the check points. This plane has a pretty special paint job...and that's the only reason I am putting a picture of an airplane on my blog. (With three pilots in the family I get a little tired of "plane talk.")

This is definitely what I miss about Alaska...her beauty.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"Snow Day"

Our French teacher, Adam, was due to meet with us this morning at our apartment for a lesson...but he's been battling a chest cold and he called to made me feel like a kid who wakes up and finds out it's a "Snow Day" school!!!

Of course I should be using this time to study my French.

Maybe later.

I decided it was time to officially catalogue my collection of Sandra Cozzolino cross stitch designs that are out of print. I've been collecting her older designs through Ebay. Last week...out of the blue...a gal who beat me on a bid contacted me to see if I was interested in sharing or selling some of my collection. I'm totally into sharing! As a result we are both a little closer to having our collections complete. I have finished two ornaments since November...not exactly an impressive rate of progress...but progress none the less.

I also basted the center circles on a set of dresden plates...a UFO I brought from Alaska. I'd like to get those centers appliquéd before heading back in May. I should determine a layout design too...maybe I will do an internet search and get some ideas!

I finally got back to my Bucilla stocking videos...I was just stuck on one that was too I made it two parts...problem solved. Here's Part 1 of #13.

I am afraid I have caught Adam's cold...but I'm taking lots of vitamin C. I'm sure this bonus day of relaxing will help me fight it off.

Does it count as French homework if I watch, "Pirates of the Caribbean," in French with French subtitles? I have every line of the movie down in English so I think it does...

We will be meeting with Taco, our other French teacher tomorrow. He introduced a whole new pronoun placement on really knocked our socks off. But we have noticed this pattern and now some phrases are making more sense...but only if spoken very slowly!