Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Typical Fitness Walk Along the Seine

I was halfway through my walk today when I decided I should take some photos. The weather was perfect. Then temperature was around 40 degrees.

The torch monument is the Flame of Freedom and is a replica of one made for the Statue of Liberty in 1986. It later became an unofficial memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales, as the flame sits near the entrance to the tunnel where she died. In the far distance is Sacré Coeur. The skies are rarely clear enough for me to see the cathedral from this location.

Right behind me was the Eiffel Tower.

Looking the other direction on the Seine.

I then get off the street and head down to an avenue along the Seine that is free of car traffic and full of joggers and other walkers on the weekends.

Then up toward the Invalidedes which has a nice park strip in front of it.

And finally to another park strip that is five city blocks long and gets me pretty close to my apartment.

I've picked this route over the years as it has lots of nice wide sidewalks and fewer traffic crossings than just heading out without a plan in mind. It takes me just over an hour of brisk walking.

Friday, January 30, 2015 Paris

It didn't last very long and the kids will not be getting a snow day....oh's Friday anyway.

Yesterday I had a fun day with Christelle. Lots of talking and walking. We started out at Place de la Bastille.

This monument is surrounded by a roundabout that is at least a six-car width. No official is who ever has the most nerve to move! I guess there is some kind of protocol for drivers. I do know for most of the major roundabouts in Paris the drivers in the roundabout have to yield to drivers with green lights to enter from side streets. I have to mention roundabouts because we have a couple of small roundabouts in the Anchorage area that people complain about and after being here...I have a different perspective...bring on the roundabouts! Europe has an absolute ton of roundabouts. Somehow they work very is a mystery. I think it is an example of fewer rules getting in the way of common sense. 

The Bastille prison was completely dismantled over the course of a year during the French Revolution. This monument is called the July Column and rests on the spot of the Bastille. It commemorates a second revolution in 1830.

The walk continued...and I failed to take a picture of our cool walking spot. That just means I will have to go back. But...along the way we found a needlework shop and I bought an adorable's the shop sample.

Of course you recognize the Eiffel Tower or la Tour Eiffel. It is grouped with the Arc de Triomphe and Sacré Coeur. 

We hunted down an antique old sewing machine finds. More walking and then the rain increased...our luck with the weather was running out. After getting on the metro and relocating to a different part of the city....we had a wonderful lunch at an Italian restaurant. 

Christelle's pedometer says she walked 13 kilometers...I was with her for most of that! I was sore this morning when I got out of bed but I certainly enjoyed our outing.

I was glued to the couch the rest of day where I worked on my latest stocking kit. 

Just a few more accessories to add: bowl of popcorn, mug of hot cocoa, a football and a football helmet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beachside Bungalow #2

This is one of the quickest strip quilt patterns I have ever made and yet it has a complex look.

Just for the sake of comparison...the purple version...

Corinne and Cécile think I should be make a third one for some gifting...which would really mean making a third and fourth one! I certainly have enough fabric in my stash to do that!

So this is how a quilter copes with being alone for almost a month...she makes two quilt tops. Hubby gets home tomorrow so quilt production will drop...that's a good thing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Such a Fast Pattern

After just four hours of sewing yesterday I was to this point...all the blocks set into rows!

I definitely had a productive rainy day. While sewing I was listening to the audio book, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," by Oscar Wilde. It is an 8-hour book...four plus hours into it and I am not going to bother to listen to anymore! Too much introspection by Dorian Gray...lots of rambling. I think I will try Victor Hugo's, "Hunchback of Notre Dame." I've been wanting to read it since the setting is Paris' Notre Dame. And I understand, the English translation for the title is misleading since the hunchback is not the leading character of the story.

But lets get back to quilting...
I have already decided on my next project and might start cutting on it...why not? I have a Tidal Pool Layer Cake and I spotted this pattern from an issue of McCalls Quick Quilts that the Breakfast Club ladies passed along to me. It is Café Paris from the June/July 2013 issue. I'm using the same background fabric from the Beachside Bungalow quilt above.

A couple of readers commented yesterday that they didn't know felt could melt. The Bucilla kits use nylon felt so that is the problem. It would be wonderful if the kits had wool felt. Second night of working on this kit.

A little sunshine outside. I must venture out for some vitamin D. Lots of construction noise outside the apartment again today. Some of the holes that were jackhammered open in the sidewalk across the street are now being filled with sand. The sand is being pounded in by some kind of noisy machinery.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jackhammers in the Morning...

it must be Monday!
Yep...just a minute or two after 8 a.m., the jackhammers started! Yep, I was still in bed. I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading last night. I love doing that when my husband is not with me...staying up late and reading. I didn't start reading until 11 p.m. because I also watched my favorite version of Wuthering Heights...Masterpiece Theater with Tom Hardy. 

Oh doesn't really matter. It is raining and a day to be spent inside working on projects that don't require much brain power.

I started a new stocking. I can just hear my husband's exclamation, "Another one!" (He does like to harass tease me.) I'm going with the football theme since the Superbowl is on the schedule. And what do you know...the Seahawks are in it...the only team I remotely care about watching. (I'm more of a hockey fan...and huge Spurs basketball fan.)

The first step when starting a new kit is pressing the folds out of the felt fabric pieces. I sandwich the felt between two applique pressing sheets. I've been doing this for a while...hundreds of times. I melted the top left corner of the stocking!!!

I'm living with it! I'll just be coming up with a wonderful design addition to cover the area at some point. Here's where I got to last night. I was in the mood to embroider so I jumped around to different areas of the stocking 

Yesterday I got lots of sewing done on the next quilt...the Tidal Pool version of Beachside Bungalow. So very different than my previous deep purple version.

It's almost noon! That's what happens when you "sleep in." I guess it was a good thing the jackhammers got me out of bed. And it must be time for lunch...all of the sudden it is quiet outside.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dash to London

London was a quick trip! I visited the V & A Museum...Victoria and Albert Museum. Fascinating, huge museum. Worldwide artifacts...mostly collected by Victoria and Albert. I skipped many sections...not enough time to see much of it.

The two main towers in the photo are actually parts of one gigantic tower from Rome. I cannot imagine the feat of engineering to get it moved to London.

These rooms for architectural artifacts were so incredibly large. I was standing on a walkway that overlooked the rooms. You can see little people walking on the ground floor.

 The expanse of rooms was really amazing.

With the latest interest in hexagon shapes for quilting...just had to snap a photo of this tile floor found in an Italian family chapel that dates back to 1513.

Lots of displays of clothing throughout the ages...those were my favorite displays. 

Huge wrought iron collection...I'll spare you all the photos I took of the iron work. This was my favorite piece. A gridiron from the 18th century. There would have been a wooden handle to turn the roasting meats. Looks like a quilting design to me!

You may have heard about the truck that caught on fire in the Chunnel earlier in the week. The Chunnel was actually shut down for part of a day. The fire was on Saturday. We traveled by train on Wednesday and had to wait our turn at the Chunnel entrance for over an hour. Trucking traffic was backed up for days! My return trip to Paris was on delays.

As usual, I brought a cross stitch project but realized after the first trip that the perforated paper was unevenly punched. The bad piece is on the right. At first I thought it was just one spot so I decided to keep going. Then I realized it was much I stopped and started all over again with a new piece...which is on the left. So frustrating! I could almost have finished the entire piece between my two train rides if not for the paper problem.

And this is where I am on the close to finishing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Making Plans

I want to try and get more photos of my everyday world in Paris. Yesterday, Bryan and I met at the Gare du Nord train station to buy our tickets on the Eurostar for our London trip tomorrow. Since he is going on business, his ticket is paid for by the company, while mine is not. In order for us to sit next to each other it works best if we go to the actual ticket office to purchase our tickets instead of buying them online. So we did. A great excuse for a little outing and we also had lunch together.


There are five train platforms visible in this photo...with at least three more bays this size out of the camera's view. All the metro trains are underground so you can't see them either. An amazing amount of activity. Reminds me of an ant colony.

Yesterday was the first time I failed to see an armed military patrol walking through the station. I'm sure they were there...I just couldn't find them.

After a very chilly walk home from the Latin Quarter, where we had lunch at a Canadian Pub....remember...I was having lunch with hubby, it was a 45 minute brisk walk back to the apartment. Once home, I started working on my stocking kit. So gosh darn cute!

I've been making little changes to this kit...all thanks to suggestions from other Bucilla kit enthusiasts who share their ideas. My "And SewForth" Facebook page is mostly dedicated to these kits as I get questions now and then through the construction videos I have posted on You Tube. It's the easiest way for me to interact with people about these projects. And while it is a little extra work for me...I have gained so much from this interplay with others.

I've been adding backings to pieces that weren't originally backed in the kit. Some of the places I've added backing to are the bear's ears, the snowman's scarf and now I am backing the evergreen boughs and holly leaves. I just happen to have some dark green felt yardage in my Paris stash which was a good thing because there wasn't enough scrap felt for those pieces in the kit.

And I pulled out the Tide Pool Bali Pop and decided how to divide up the strips for this quilt. The Beach Bungalow pattern only requires 23 strips and there are 42 in a Bali Pop. Many of the strips in this Bali Pop are the same colorway...just a different pattern to the design. I pulled out four strips that were just too light for this design and set them aside for another day. I will use the entire length of the solid strips but I am going to use half strips of all the other pieces since they "read" as the same 8 colorways I've organized the strips into. I did a little of that in the purple version of this pattern. I'm going with the light background and the square print will be the setting triangles. It will look the opposite of my last version.

Tomorrow we make a quick trip to London...just two nights. I am planning to hit the Victoria and Albert Museum while Bryan is at his business conference. We won't have time for a show this visit. Hubby has to leave on Friday for another business trip. There aren't too many tourist attractions in London left for me to visit.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Flimsy Finish

I love this pattern. This is going to be fun to quilt...lots of feathers come to mind. I used the Bali Pop, "Cherry." A quick and easy pattern! Lap sized, 57 x 68 1/2-inches.

Kim Brackett's, Beachside Bungalow from  her book, "Scrap-Basket Beauties."

I have another set of Bali Pops that would be fun in this setting...Tide Pool...completely different colors...will be a fun comparison.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Mini Finish

Hurray! One Boutis sampler finished! This will be made into a pincushion but not until I get back to Alaska where I have a big bag of crushed walnut shells to use as stuffing.

I 'm making car parts for the stocking.

And today I started sewing blocks together to make rows...and then sewing rows together. I'm pretty sure I'll get this all put together by the end of the day. I absolutely love this quilt! So girlie! 

Instead of a brisk fitness walk, yesterday I did a leisurely stroll up the Champs-Élysées, getting to the Arc de Triomphe at sunset and then turning back for our apartment. 

Today it will be a brisk fitness walk. And I have to make a quick stop for the groceries I forgot to buy...lost my list early in my stop at the grocery store yesterday...I hate that! I forgot eggs and garlic. We always have eggs for breakfast on Sunday morning...and I need the garlic for salad dressing. My little trolley cart that I use to cart all my groceries home was too full for anything else to fit in it. I am so glad I do not have two growing boys living with me here in Paris...I would have to shop every day if I did.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sewing Marathon

Yesterday was just one of those day. I put on an audio book and the time disappeared.

I finished sewing together all the  1 3/4" HSTs from my scraps that were covering my design wall. I'm thinking the purple blocks may be a runner at some point. I need access to my Alaska fabric stash to finish this piece. 

The earth tone scraps with the cream background will become pillows. I've been working on twin-sized quilts from these fabrics for several years that will go on a set of bunk beds in one of our guest rooms.

And I finished the components for the ring blocks. This will be a great quilt to have on hand to gift to someone. No recipient in mind at the moment but it makes me think of the pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness.

I sewed until 6 p.m. yesterday. I did take a lunch break. So by the time I sat down last night to do some handwork I just worked on my stocking. I used a pipe cleaner in the windshield frame instead of stuffing it with fluff. It was a good idea!

Now I have to catch up on all the things I didn't do yesterday while I sewed like mad. ( shopping.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Making Rings

Here's my design fun to start putting blocks together! But I need to sew all those little HST's together  and get them out of the way before I can make anymore big rings. 

I was diligent about working on my boutis design last night. I'm getting close to finishing!!!

And I even worked on my stocking a little bit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Works in Progress

I had a great visit with Christelle yesterday...we tried to come up with solutions to political problems in the U.S. and France...I think we will have to keep meeting! In the meantime we took two long walks and drank a little wine with another great lunch. When I got back to my lonely apartment, my husband called to say he was coming home on Saturday...four days earlier than he had originally planned. I was very glad to get that news! 

I am making lots of progress on several projects. 

Another Christmas stocking started.

Pulling cotton yarn into the little stitched sections of my Boutis project is taking a lot of time. I have easily spent at least three hours getting maybe a third of the way.

I started a new quilt by one of my favorite designers, Kim Brackett.

Blocks are getting pieced. I am definitely going with a different colorway and using batiks. I had a "Cherry," Bali pop that had aged just enough! And a large piece of dark purple batik which I think I bought to use as a backing on something but changed my mind.

And I am playing with a set of charm squares called, "Over the Rainbow." I'm using the Missouri Star techniques for Disappearing Pinwheel 1 and 2  plus the Disappearing Hour adorable in the charm square size. I really have no idea what I will eventually do with them. Christelle says I will make 300 of them and turn them into a king-sized quilt...she's probably right but I am still trying to embrace smaller sized projects.

The jackhammers outside our apartment were relentless on Monday...and of course I was gone all day Tuesday. Wednesday has been noticeably quiet so far...keeping my fingers crossed. I did wear earphones and listen to an audible book while I was sewing on Monday. It certainly helped but I am just not a fan of wearing earphones.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Quilty Gathering Continues

As you can well imagine...when four quilters get together there is never a dull moment! We talked, laughed and sewed. I was treated to a lesson in the French technique, Boutis...looks similar to trapunto.

These are some of the pieces Cécile has made.

Here's the one from the above photo on the left, held against the light. This is a work in progress. Every bit of this will be filled with cotton yarn. All the sewing is done...the stuffing is left to complete.

Cécile prepared identical little samples for all of us to work on. Two layers of a light weight batiste, basted together and design drawn and ready for stitching. Fine stitches must go on every line. I started in the center and filled about half of the design. I needed to try my hand at filling spaces with the yarn before I left. I just managed to do that!

Here is where I am after two evenings spent finishing up all the stitching.You can see the tiny bit I stuffed on the flower before I left Christelle's house. I am determined to finish this and plan to work on it a little bit every day. It will make an adorable pincushion. It is a 4-inch square.


Cécile and Corinne have blogs of their own which I will link to next. It was great fun to be featured in someone else's blog!

Cécile's Blog - Patchwork Inspirations

Corinne's Blog - L'atelier de Cocopatch (Translates to Cocopatch Workshop)

I also brought some gifts for each of the ladies and Christelle's daughter who joined in the fun. I neglected to get a photo of her project. She was crocheting a scarf. was my secret little patchwork project I was working on around Christmas...little, bitty, sewing baskets...recycled from wooden baskets that cherry tomatoes are sold in at my local supermarket. Cherry tomatoes are easily my favorite fruit/vegetable. I eat them like grapes. I have about 50 of these baskets...I've been hoarding them...knowing there was something wonderful I could do with them.

I know a few quilty friends in Alaska are going to spy these on my blog and wonder where their's are...I'm getting started on them right now!

Just a few lose ends to wrap up...

Christelle pulled out her Elna Grasshopper for me.  She has two but one is for "parts." These are adorable machines! The case is metal and looks like an Army container. My men would love the look!

And I just have to show you Christelle with her two cats, Garlic...I love the halo around Christelle's head!

And Fender. 

These two Maine Coon cats have convinced my husband we should get a cat again when we get back to Alaska. He likes how huge these Maine Coon cats can be and sounds like they are perfect for cold weather climates. Bingo!!!

Fun French Facts...I know Christelle will correct me if I get this I understand it...the French assign a letter to the year that cat names should begin with. For instance...when Christelle got Garlic, the letter for the year was  "G". "F" for the year they got Fender Guitars. Anyway...just in case you are wondering...2015 is "K". I don't think we are going to follow this...because we are already thinking of names and as we usually do...we are leaning toward names related to well know historical leaders...Ceasar...Midas. We have a stipulation that all pet names must have two syllables. We hope to get a male cat...but that is still a little bit in a our future.

Oops. A correction to make. This pattern is from the book, "The Blue and the Grey," a book highlighting Civil War fabrics. I had the wrong book cited in my previous post.

And apologies to Christelle's other cat, Kimmie, a Ragdoll. I missed getting a photo of her.

It was a great day. I invited myself over to Christelle's tomorrow. She has a wonderfully large and peaceful park near her home. I have many questions about French politics...we are planning on going for a very long walk. My main questions revolve around immigration and the different political parties....I sure hope it doesn't rain!

One last thought.
It was amazing to watch all the marches in Paris and throughout Europe that took place yesterday and on previous days. It was very moving. I am sorry the United States leadership was so prominently missing. 

Cartoon by Mike Peters.