Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Loved Aix en Provence, south of France- travel pictures!

We were recently touring the south of France and stayed in the charming ancient town of Aix en Provence. We took the TGV (which is the high speed train in France) from Paris to Aix;  the train reached speeds close to 200 mph (they post the speeds along with a map!)  It is one of those cities which has fabulous little cobble-stone streets barely wide enough for one car.  This was the main street in the old part of the town.  This was one of the wider streets!  I took this early one morning before it got filled up with people.  Immediately on the right is a bakery called Paul, which is everywhere in France...great breads and pastries.  I think I even saw one in London once.

One of the things I love to do when traveling in Europe is to go to 
the local markets.  I love seeing all the fresh veggies and fruits which are a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.  This was a squash/pumpkin vendor's creativity!

It's a typical site, and there were fountains everywhere in Aix.

These flowers smelled as gorgeous as they looked.  Those lillies?? Luscious! The prices in Euros were much less than we'd pay in the US for flowers.  Can you see the pillar in the back? Note the carving.  I am going to guess it's from the 1500s.  there's a fountain in the back of this market, below.

Look at the size of those leeks and cauliflower!!

My dh and I enjoyed great weather, good enough to dine outside by a fountain one night.  I thought it was just amazing to be able to do that.  What ambiance!!

We did not rent a car this time but instead opted for a couple of tours.  We went on a walking tour of the old part of the city and saw some great sites. This giant fountain is in the middle of Aix and was actually in the middle of being remodeled.  Our tour guide pointed out that the figures on the top were each facing different directions relating to the adjacent areas.  I'm sending you some of the more amazing things I saw for your opportunity to experience some of this history.

This is an organ in a church dating back to the 1400s!  Sadly we were not there when they were playing it.  Interestingly, they replicated the look of the organ on the opposite wall, making it seem like there were two.

any sewing?  Not a whole lot...trying to catch up on my Moda blockheads II!  And I am reposting the picture of the top I made for Lori's little sewalong, Sajou.

On another note, I am committed to paring down my sewing machine collection.  I'm trying to sell a Bernina 1130 that's in great shape.  If you know anyone interested, please let me know.  I'll sell it for $500 plus shipping.  It comes with everything (original accessory box, hard case, knee lift, extended sewing surface, extra feet).  If you've never sewn on one of the older Bernina machines, you're missing something.  They are solid, heavy and extremely reliable.

Many more travel pictures to follow!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Still alive, mostly

it's been a ridiculous several weeks in my life, jetting here and there.  I'm not complaining.  It's been great;  just has left me little to no time for myself.  Add to that babysitting (my daughter was between nannies so I stayed in SF for most of last week helping her, and then we had the kids this weekend).

Have I done any sewing?  Not a lot.
I did get the Sajou top that Lori (Humblequilts) organized but of course mine is not like the original design!  Once I realized that my center toile was going to be lopsided, I realized that I wanted to keep it straight. So I designed corners that allowed it to be upright!  For me, that was no small feat.

I love that toile;  and the pink outer triangle fabric is one of my favorite fabrics as well.  All in all, I'm happy with the result.  I just need to quilt it (one of these years).

And speaking of Sajou, did you know that it is a fabric/thread/supply store in Paris?

My husband and I had a trip to France in the past two weeks where I was lucky enough to spend the day with my dear friend Will.  She took me to the shop where I found some wonderful little things to buy.  I bought only a little bit of thread...but look at the choices!  This is just one portion of one wall.  I didn't take a picture of the wool threads... I bought a few spools of the thread that Will swears by for appliqué.

I was very tempted but resisted and didn't buy this adorable sewing machine cover pattern.  I figured I'd never do all that cross-stitch, realistically.  It sure was cute, though!

I had to take a picture of these marking pens that they had at the check out counter.  Can you read it? Hysterical.  Who would ever take a top off with their mouth??!! HAHAHA  Imagine that!!

Will and I usually meet for coffee near the metro (and her fabulous, charming neighborhood) and then amble our way back to her home for a little show and tell. This visit was just as I'd hoped.  She has been working on a most amazing hexagon quilt.  Here was her pile of hexies ready for assembly:

Here is one side of her project!

In the right corner, you can get a little glimpse of another small quilt she made from the Jane Lury book.  Fabulous!

The true masterpiece, in my opinion, was this quilt she showed me. (not that any of the others are less gorgeous by any means!

The photo does not do it justice.  Will is an amazing quilter!  She has such a fabulous eye for fabrics and choosing what fabric to put where.  She doesn't go into a local quilt store since there isn't one-- she buys old clothes or other items with fabrics. She fussy cuts.  But her hand quilting is fabulous.  You also cannot see but her embroidery skills are amazing (the corner basket stems!)... I had brought her some valdani threads a couple of years ago and she really used them beautifully.  And the appliqué?!  She's very inspiring!!  And one of the sweetest women I know!

It was another great visit and trip to Paris.  We also went to Provence, in the south of France, which is for another day's blog post.
I wanted to share with you a photo of the hotel where we stayed in Paris.  We stayed on the top floor, where there is a roof balcony on the right.  This is a typical building in Paris.

This is looking up the street from our hotel.  Let me point out a few things:  the iron railings are very typical. They are usually so intricate and one of the most beautiful parts of any building. And every building's railings are always so different!  The street sign is also typical of Paris;  the roof-top windows as well as the floor to ceiling windows on each floor are very typical.  This is a one-way street with two lanes; many are barely wide enough for one lane of traffic!

Flights always seem to arrive first thing in the morning in Paris (you fly through the night, from San Francisco) and I loved this view of the sunrise. FYI: it is about 11 hrs from SF to Paris! 

It's been a very busy and crazy month for me, between my trip to Singapore, babysitting, quick trip to Napa with friends, babysitting again, and a great vacation in France, then more babysitting.  I'm off for a business trip to Hawaii tomorrow, home for a couple of weeks and then my dh and I are returning to New Zealand after Thanksgiving.  Then THAT'S IT!!  Staying put (or in Oregon!!).  My fabric is missing me! And, I will admit, that I was longing for my sewing machines.  I did bring hand-work for the flights but still missed the hum of my machine! ;-))

I have so many pictures to share... thanks for standing by me in my absence.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Trying to catch up

Chantal is the winner... she guessed right.  I was in Singapore.  What an amazing place to visit.  SO interesting... I took so many fabulous pictures.  Where to start??

Singapore Botanic Gardens!!  Always love visiting the different botanical gardens as we travel, especially since we've become friends with a fabulous horticulturist extraordinaire! (yes, PBR, that's you!)...  This garden is huge and I went twice!  Hidden in the foliage are a number of sculptures, which I think is where I'll start along with water features.  Here are the gates to gain entry (FREE)

Loved this walkway!

That's enough travel photography for today.  Now a little sewing!
I did work on Lori's little sew-along once I returned, although now that I'm seeing the second step, I'm not so sure I'm going to stick with it.  Won't look good on point..  I'll be like Wendy Reed and make a couple of versions!  This one might become my October mini!! ;-)  Add a few more rows and VOILA!

I also went back to that local antique store and found another little wire basket for some more scraps.  I dumped moved my "dark" scraps into this one and it's already full!  Now I need one for the "lights" on my sewing table!

I'm off this evening and tomorrow to PIQF, the local enormous quilt show put on by Mancuso.  Looking forward to seeing some new friends.
If you're going to be there, please let me know so we can meet up!

Monday, October 8, 2018

September mini--delayed

I am hoping that the Monthly Mini Maven (Wendy Reed!) will still accept my submission for my September mini.  I picked it up from the quilter in September...does that count??  Plus I think I should get a ribbon because this was a UFO from a few years ago which I recently finished up at the cabin.  Just needs the binding.

and I decided I didn't want to add to the stash with the leftover fabric I accumulated in making this darling so I took all the leftover fabrics, cut them into strips and made a jelly-roll quilt, which I also got from the quilter.  Funny that the left-over quilt is much larger than the original quilt! vbg  The good news is that I don't have any more fabric left from this project!  And it'll make a great donation quilt.  I think I'll let Claire (the donation queen) direct me on that.

When I last posted, I had a group of friends at the cabin and we went hiking every day.  I got no sewing done, especially because I flew back with them and missed my drive time for hand sewing. ;-(
I showed you many of my scenic views.  We had a wonderful time and I loved sharing the cabin and Central Oregon with them.

Then, right after I returned from the cabin, my dh and I took a little (that's not exactly true...) excursion.  If you can identify this location, you'll win a FQ!
I'll post more pictures from this trip after the destination has been identified.  It was so interesting.

One small hint:  my hair, which is extremely curly, was beyond curly and frizzy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Just a little to show for my week plus great nature experiences

What can I say?  Didn't get much sewing done-- I had a group of friends come up to the cabin last week and we were hiking every day... They aren't quilters (imagine that?! non-quilter friends!) so I wasn't able to sew.

I did finish another one of these darling baskets on the drive up to the cabin!

Before my friends arrived, my husband and I went on a hike with the Deschutes Land Trust organization and it was phenomenal.  We were treated to a history lesson about the area.  I hadn't known there were people living in the hills, miles from others, doing mill work.  There was evidence of these back to the early 1920s.  Here is a pile of rusted metal cans, all of which are identifiable if you look closely!  There was also a cup and plate!
My inclination would be to clean up the area but historians are adamant that it remain intact to  tell the story from about a hundred years ago!

Then there are the gorgeous fall colors in Central Oregon.

This one was from the hike, in the hills outside Bend.  The next one is from the area by our cabin near Sunriver.

I'm sure all the leaves will be gone in a  matter of days... I love the fall colors!

Here are some nature shots taken during the hikes with my friends.

This was taken during a hike around Sparks Lake.  You can see the South Sister to the left and Broken Top to the right.  This is my favorite area of the Cascades.  The road is closed between November and May because of all the snow.  I hiked between those two mountains earlier this summer to Green Lakes.  This hike was a lot easier! ;-)

Then we went to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  This area was formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity.  The lake in the distance is Paulina Lake, which my husband and I hiked around a couple of weeks ago.

We also hiked up to the Obsidian Peak.  Have you heard of that rock?  It's a very sharp, shiny black rock from volcanoes.  This is one example.  I think it looks other-worldy, if you get what I mean.

This is that mountain from Paulina Lake.  It's quite a huge mass of rock just like the picture above.

Hopefully I'll be getting more sewing done!