Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week 16 - 52 Week Challenge

It seems like I have a lot of things hanging around my sewing room waiting to be finished. Some projects are large, but some of them are really quite small. Like this one. Just a little zipper bag, made from a couple of panels I made using selvages.
Add to that a bright green zipper from the zipper stash, and some pretty lining fabric.
And now it's finished! No more shuffling around those squares of fabric thinking that I really ought to get around to making something before I lose them - and they really make a cute little bag.
(And I did get my taxes done, too! Yippee!)
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Musee D'Orsay, Cafe George V and the Eiffel Tower

After our shopping excursion we followed the signs to the Musee D'Orsay - we knew it was closed, but we wanted to check out where it was for our visit later in the week. We found out one thing for sure - just because you see a sign it does not mean that your destination is a short distance away! But it wasn't really raining, and we felt a bit rested after our easy afternoon and thought it would be a pleasant diversion.

We enjoyed checking out the outside of this Museum, which was a former train station. The plaza outside boasts several statues that are very neat. One of our favorites was of a series of women representing the continents. There was someone else taking photographs with them, so I intended to come back later and take pictures, but ended up forgetting. Oh well. We then realized we were right across the river from the Louvre, so decided to walk over there and see if we could buy our museum passes for the next day. They had just closed, though, so we settled for a couple of photos in the emptying courtyard! At this point it was time to make our way back to the hotel and get ready for our big night out in celebration of my Birthday.

When we returned to our Hotel we figured out where we went wrong that morning, and had no more difficulties with our travels back and forth from that point on. We were determined to go all out, so dressed up in our finery and set forth, hoping that we wouldn't get soaked by the rain again or that the weather wouldn't turn too cold. Thankfully it didn't and we had a fine time!

We ate dinner at the Cafe George V on the Champs Elysee. This well known spot was absolutely charming. The waiter was the epitome of what we pictured as a french waiter - a sophisticated looking older man who was very charming and great at drawing people in. We were asked whether we wanted to dine inside or out on the sidewalk. We chose to eat inside and am glad we did as the diners outdoors smoke a lot! The seats all face outside, and we were in the second row, enjoying a good view of the sidewalk and all the people passing by. I had the famous French Onion soup which was outstanding! My daughter started with a Caesar salad. Both were huge portions and could have been a meal in themselves, but we were going all out - she followed her salad with the Boeuf Borgignon and I had a steak with frites (french fries!). We asked for a carafe de l'eau (pitcher of tap water) but it never arrived. We thought about ordering champagne, but since we were feeling a bit worn down decided against it. Later I realized that was a good thing as the drinks there are very overpriced. We thought the food was great, and tried to eat as much as we could, but still ended up leaving part of our meals behind!

The last order of the evening was to take the metro to the Trocadero and pay a visit to the Eiffel tower! The Trocadero is a large paved plaza, filled with all kinds of vendors wandering about, selling miniature Eiffel towers, and at night they have little flying things that light up for sale among other things like purses, scarves and all kinds of oddities. We walked across the plaza until we were almost at the stairs that go down to the reflecting ponds. Just then the Tower started sparkling as the lights came on for a special light show (which happens at every hour in the evening). It was like a special show just for me - as I watched those lights sparkle and glow I was thinking how wonderful it was to be spending my birthday in such a wonderful place with my daughter. I thought about how blessed I was with such an opportunity and how grateful I was for all the wonderful experiences I was going to enjoy during the week. I will never forget it!

After enjoying the light show we headed down the stairs (nearly 100 of them), crossed the street, and stood beneath the Eiffel Tower! I was amazed at how much larger it was than I realized, and how beautiful and graceful, yet sturdy and strong at the same time! About this time we realized that it was 11:00 at night and that we should probably head back to our hotel room to get some rest before our big day tomorrow - Notre Dame, and medieval Paris was our theme for the next day, and we still needed to buy our Museum Pass. Back across the street, a quick stop for crepes (coconut and chocolate for me, banana and chocolate for her) so yummy and so many choices for filling! Then a quick subway ride and off to bed, once again tired, sore feet and legs, but full of joy for the wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week 15 - 52 Week Challenge

I finished something big this week, but don't have any pictures to show of it yet, so I will show you what I finished that is small. But it was very fun!I have been admiring all the cute "mug rugs" I have seen, but haven't made any yet. I started making a journal with one of these cut little teacher panels and realized that they were perfect for making one of these handy oversized coasters.

I added a strip of blackboard looking fabric, then went to town with quilting. I detailed the teacher, then stippled all around her in white, and finally used black for the border and chalkboard fabric. I used a bright red for the binding, and voila! I had a lot of fun working on this and definitely will make some more - I have so many ideas in my head for when I have some time. It's instant gratification to make such a lovely little quilt and be able to finish it so quickly!



Friday, April 08, 2011

A Good Day of Quilting

Oh yes, today I had a very good day of quilting, indeed. I am up against a deadline, so I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I really had a blast! In fact, I couldn't stop having so much fun - but let me start at the beginning and explain... This is the Coos Sand 'n Sea Raffle quilt for 2011. I volunteered to chair the committee. I provided the pattern and asked for guild members to make blocks, and so they did. I had three helpers to put it together, and I decided to quilt it myself. Just for the fun of it. Well that was before March got out of hand, so here we are in April and the quilt needs to be finished this week!
I got my quilt all basted and ready to go yesterday. I even knew how I was going to quilt it. I figured out how much quilting I would need to do each day to finish by Monday. Yesterday I quilted my 20 blocks and was able to quit. Today I quilted 20 more blocks. Then decided to go ahead and finish all the spiderwebs. Then (encouraged by nice comments on my facebook status and picture of work in progress!) I couldn't wait to try the feathers on the star blocks. I was having so much fun, I went back to it after dinner and finished them all.
They were really fun to work on! They are not all perfect, but they look excellent, don't they?

Now all I have to do is quilt the border and bind it. Oh, and add a label.

And here is a frugal quilting tip for you. If you want to make a quilt, but don't want to spend any money yourself, volunteer to work on a project for your guild or other organization. They buy the fabric, you get all the fun, and then they make money on the tickets! Winning situation for everyone!!

Have a happy and weekend and take some time for making something you love!


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Paris Flea Market

One of the things I thought would be fun to do while we were in Paris was the Flea Market. Les Puces de Paris St Ouen is the oldest flea market in Paris. It is only open weekends and Mondays so it worked out perfectly for us to visit. Unfortunately it was pouring down rain when we visited, but we still had a great time browsing the many stalls of new merchandise outdoors, then the antique stalls in the Markets. There are several collections of vendors in 12 different Markets. It seems as though many were closed, but we had a good time browsing around and I was pleased to find the vintage postcards I was hoping for! To get to the flea markets our instructions included getting off at the end of a subway line and following the people going under the highway overpass. Sounded a little odd, but it really was just as easy as that! I was nervous, having been warned repeatedly about pickpockets, but we never had any problems. I had a dummy wallet in the pocket of my totebag, and managed to never lose that, much less my real wallet tucked deep in the zipper pocket in the middle of my tote with my passport! You can see that despite the pouring rain there were plenty of people out shopping.
There was every kind of item available for purchase in these stalls. I ended up buying stylish "Paris" themed baseball caps for me and my husband at one of these. Inside the Dauphine Market we browsed through antique furniture, a really cool vintage clothing store (the clothes were so small!) and lots of vintage book dealers. There were dozens of stalls on different levels and we found so much to drool over. This is a book I had to take a picture of for my husband, who is a Postal Carrier! I chose about a dozen postcards from a stall that had lots of them for sale. If I happened to live in Paris I would have so much fun shopping for furniture among the cool antiques we saw in the shops here!
After shopping to our content here, we traveled by subway over to the Bon Marche for a look at the first Department Store ever! I didn't take any pictures there, but I wish I had - it was so nice. I was looking for some special souvenirs for my friends, and found wonderful kitchen towels that were perfect, so ended up buying those, and a wonderful french book on Paris for myself. We had a wonderful time browsing the goodies there - it was fun seeing all the stylish clothing, shoes, and household goods they had displayed! I enjoyed the splurge, after all it's not every birthday I get to shop at the Bon Marche!

Next installment will tell of my birthday dinner and first visit to the Eiffel Tower - very special!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

52 Week Challenge - back for week 14

I have been rather busy the last few weeks - I have been finishing things on a fairly regular basis, but have simply been too busy to blog about them! Thank goodness that the crazy month of March is over and I have a much less stressful April in store (at least I hope!)

For this weeks project I decided to finish a quilt that I started last year. I finished the top, and even had the backing ready, but it ended up relegated to the UFO drawer for a while. I got it out yesterday, got a piece of batting ready and layered it up with lots of safety pins. Right now I have the extra leaf in my dining room table to make basting quilts easier as my back has not been happy with my usual kneeling on the floor method.

I decided to use brown thread for the quilting since it looked nice on the front and the back, and used a simple meandering stitch for the quilting because the fabric is so busy that the quilting really doesn't show much. It gives it a lovely texture without being overwhelming to the quilt top. Aren't the fabrics pretty? I ended up calling this one Fleurs de Versailles because it made me think of the beautiful gardens and buildings at Versailles.

I am so happy to be back to doing some fun quilting for now, so I hope to come up with a lot of new finished things in the next month or two. Those UFOs have been piling up and it's time to get them all finished, plus that my fabric cupboard is overflowing and needs to be reduced by a large amount so that I can open the door without being in danger of my life!

Here's to seeing more finished projects!