Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The end of the Mystery Quilt ?

Is it the end of the Mystery Quilt from Born To Quilt ? Not yet!!! But I have finally finished block 10 and will now start block 11. I must admit that block 12 is a favourite of mine so I should be fast in doing block 11 to move on to block 12!!! I know now how is the MQ going to look like and I can't wait to see the top finished!!!!!! So I'd better spend less time on the computer and more time stitching ;-)


Block 10

Until later,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at home


What is a typical French Christmas ? In fact there are many traditions and I will share with you what we do here at home.
In the photos you have the atmosphere... only the smells of cake baking and mulled wine are not there... but you can easily imagine!!!
Christmas in my family starts today, on Christmas Eve. The house has been decorated for several weeks and there are candles burning everywhere, in every room, on windowsills, in the flight of stairs.

This afternoon, by five, we will drink mulled wine or hot chocolate and eat French toast with mandarines and litchies. It helps us wait for dinner which will be after mass.
Family members will arrive at 7.30pm, some will go to mass with us and some will stay home as housesitters!! That's what I call them but the truth is that they don't want to come to mass!!!

Mass is at 9.00pm. It's always a beautiful mass. For me, Christ's birth is the reason why Christmas is important.

We will start dinner by midnight. On the menu this year, foie gras on toast and black olive tapenade on toast, raw oysters, and a salmon and spinach pie. As a dessert we're going to have our homemade "croustade aux pommes", which is a kind of apple pie. We will drink champagne only.
As you can see, there is no "buche de noël" which is the typical French dessert for Christmas!! So I guess my family has its own traditions!

My wife will play the guitar and sing. My daughters will play the flute and the clarinet and I, for the sake of everyone, will not sing!! :-)


Stitched in 2008. Model : Blackbird Designs.

The next day we will have a Kougloff for breakfast. It is a typical Christmas Alsacian cake.

We will open the presents that arrived under the tree when everybody was asleep. The presents at my house are only opened in the morning, never on Christmas Eve.

Christmas day will be at my wife's brother's house.

This year, with my daughter, we had decided to make something the guests could bring home. So, we made small labels, that can be used as ornaments. One has Joyeux Noël on it, one has Merry Christmas and the last one has Season's Greetings. They were fun to make and a good way to share some special time with my youngest daughter as well as a good means to get into the Christmas spirit...



I wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas. May your homes be filled with Christmas love and your hearts with Christmas cheers.


JOYEUX


Until later,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quilting books and what I've been up to.

What I've been up to ??? It's been quite a while again since my last post!!!
The reason for my silence is that my dear friend from Portland passed away. We met 19 years ago in Portland and we had become very close friends. He was a model, a mentor and I admired him. We have seen each other almost every year since when we first met and I am happy to have seen him three times last year. I will miss him...
I went to Portland to say a last good bye and I just came back on Monday evening. Though it was a sad journey, the ceremonies have been uplifting, the time spend with his family and friends comforting.
We will meet again when my time will come... I feel blessed to have known so great a man and to have counted him as a dear friend. It will continue to help me throughout my life. And my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost for his wife, children and grandchildren.

On Twitter, a friend of mine wished me my needlework pleasure to keep me in comfort... yes, it will, as when I work with my needle, it is a time of prayers and thoughts wandering...

Let's go back to quilting stuff, as it is why you read my blog, I guess!!!
I have to share with you the two new books I received a few weeks ago!! I love them!!! The first one is from Jo Ann Mullaly. After Wool Crazy, which was a great success, she is back with fifteen wool projects in Crazy At Home! A great book with great projects!




The second book is from Kim Dielh! It's the fifth book in her "Simple" series. Like the other books, it is filled with country quilts, charm and this time she has used wool in several projects. Moreover there are additional projects that go with the main quilts and I think it is just a very good idea. So if you want my opinion, just order your copy as it is a must- have and you will want to make all the projects in the book! I want to!!!! I just need time ;-)




There is just one problem!!! Wool is not widely available in France and it is very expensive! So I guess I should open an online European store for hand-dyed wools as a second job!!! That would be fun!!!!
But no! I am definitely too busy already!!!
Until later my dear friends,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A class in London.

I can hardly believe it's been a month since my last post!!! Time is flying...

From November 10th to November 15th, I was in London for a class with CA Wells but not only...

But let's start with the class as it is what might interest you most. This year I attended two half-day classes on Sunday. The projects were small but very challenging, especially the scissors rest. Indeed, this project taught me things I didn't know. The other projects used techniques I was already familiar with.
But I'm sure you'd like to see the pictures. There are a scissors rest, a name tag, a tri-block cushion and a pin cushion. Of course none were finished in class!!!



CA Wells's creations are very delicate and I have never been disappointed with one of her projects.

London is a city I love because of the atmosphere, the liveliness, the musicals, the architecture mixing modernity and traditions. It is for me a place full of inspiration... Its pubs, black cabs, red phone booths, double-deckers, shops... I like everything. Not to mention the museums which are free!!



Every time I'm London, I go to Emma Bridgewater's. I love EB's mugs!


This year, I discovered a part of London I didn't know well : Old Spitafield Market, Columbia Road among other things.



Want a closer look ?


A quilt shop on Columbia Road :





Liberty's


The wonderful windows of Fortnum and Mason with dimensional reproductions of paintings!






I also went by the Harry Potter World Premiere but didn't wait for the actors to arrive and visited the National Portrait Gallery instead.


I think I was right not to wait for film stars as the following day I had a very famous American actor and and a famous American singer a table away from me at a restaurant. When I told my two daughters about it, they were both "mad"!!!! "And you didn't even ask for an autograph" they told me! And I answered : "They didn't asked for mine either!!!" LOL.

Talking about food, it was great also. Here's a sample of the food I had. Yummy ;-)








Bye, bye England, I'll be back soon...


It's been a long time t but I did my best to be back with a long post. Hope you have liked sharing a part of my trip to London.

Until later with new quilt blocks and stitching projects,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tea time

It's been raining for a long time and I thought that a lovely British tea time would be just perfect, don't you think ? So, I baked scones, got the jam I had in the fridge, replaced the clotted cream (which can't be found in France) by some butter... and enjoyed the moment with my wife.



The good news is that I have completly finished the pre-stitching for CA Wells's class. It's going to be really nice! All her projects are very elegant. I'll show them to you as soon as they are finished.

So, now I will resume piecing the last blocks of the Mystery Quilt. Two more to go and I can start piecing the top together. I must hurry as the fall break is almost over and I'll be very busy at work until Christmas and therefore will not have as much time for stitching and quilting...unless I sleep 4 hours a night!!!! But there's this voice in my mind repeating "Don't even think about it!" ;-)

Until later,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pre-stitching

I have been VERY busy at work lately and it was difficult for me to get much stitching and quilting done.
Yet, there was one thing I could not delay!!!! It's the pre-stitching for the CA Wells's classes I will attend mid-November in London. Indeed, as it is a finishing class, you arrive with your pieces of linen already stitched. And this is what I'm doing right now. Want to see part of the mess on my desk ?


Well, I have to admit that I organized the mess a bit to take a nice photo for the blog!!!LOL

I think that I will be able to show you all these creations in December.

Once the pre-stitching for CAW's classes will be finished I will resume working on the Mystery Quilt2. I still have 2 blocks to sew and I'd like to finish piecing the top before the new year. Don't know if I will be able to, though!!!

My idea for 2011 is to quilt one project (the Mystery Quilt), to finish sewing the Civil War Tribute top and to have a stitching project in progress.
As is the tradition in the USA, I will start a new stitching project in January! I have already chosen and ordered it to be ready on January 1st. And I'm very excited about this lovely project. I'll show you as soon as I start it.

Besides working, stitching and quilting I read your blogs!!! And though I promised myself not to buy anything I must admit that I have been tempted by this post !!!! A booklet of pinkeeps for a good cause : the UNICEF.



It is a wonderful booklet with wonderful charts!

Nevertheless, I have been reasonable as I also found Elizabeth Precious 1817 as tempting as the booklet but I, definitely, don't have enough time!

Until later,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An antique of the future or the Jane Austen Cabinet

I like to call all stitched projects I make, an antique of the future. Indeed, I like to stitch object I might have found in an attic or in a garage sale... a treasured piece that lost its value and became junk until one day someone sees it and rediscovers its true beauty...

This time, it is a cabinet. It was designed by Judy Odell from Just A Thought.
For those who don't know her, go to her website and register to her message board. You will find there a group of fellow stitchers, all of them having a passion for needle and thread. This group has been very inspirational and supportive!
For this cabinet I made a few minor changes from the original design and replaced the lady on the top lid by a gentleman. I had no chart for a gentleman and was incapable of drawing one. July from In the Company of Friends sent me this gentleman so I could stitch him on the cabinet! See!!! I told you this group is amazing!!!
Moreover, Judy Odell makes everything simple!!!! Her finishing explanations are so clear and detailed with photos at each step to make things clearer if need be that you cannot not succeed!!!

Moreover, all my antiques of the future have all the imperfections you can find in antiques!!!LOL

So now, imagine...

Once upon a time, in the English countryside, there was a nice country cottage and Elizabeth was stitching under a tree... Mr Darcy was sure to have seen her exactly there. Under this tree!! He kept coming back but there was no sign of her... until one sunny day, there she was...
Open the lid to find the rest of the story... As for the untold parts, they are well hidden in the drawers of this Jane Austen Cabinet!!






Thank you for reading my blog.
Until later,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The change of season

Fall is definitely my favourite season. I think that the colors and the atmosphere appeal to me more than the other seasons. Moreover, I feel a lot more crafty at this period.
Yet the more I think about it, the more I realize that what I like more than anything else is the change of season!!!

Grapes are on the stalls and in my kitchen!!! And there are still good peaches also!!! The change of season, indeed!


The trees are still green, except my maple tree which has turned red and yellow already.
The days are warm but the evenings and mornings are cooler! And soon, the beech tree in my garden will turn yellow. Last year, this is what it looked like by the end of October!


So, slowly, I find comfort inside again. When it's getting cooler I grab a quilt and a good book and enjoy life in my country cottage, my home, the place where I feel so well, surrounded by my loved ones. The place where I think nothing bad can happen.

My home is also the place where handmade treasures have found a place to stay and be admired, like this beautiful handmade scented cushion made in an Amish community.


This is my place, my comfort zone. And speaking of Comfort Zone, here is the cover of Maggie Bonanomi's latest book that I received this summer. It's a must-have for those loving Folk Art and Primitive Designs.


Until now, I have always worked on several projects at the same time. But as you have read in my previous posts, I was very late on a project I want to finish : The Lady's Cabinet.
So, this summer I only worked on this project so that I could finish it in September. I'm working on the last part. and I should be ready to start the finishing very soon. For the top of the cabinet, I replaced the lady by a gentleman and I like the result very much. I thank July (from Judy's board) who graciously designed this gentleman for my cabinet. Here is my progress on the last part.



And here are all the different parts of the cabinet!


It's going to be absolutely gorgeous once finished. So keep coming back as you should see it in a couple of weeks!!

And finally, I'd also like to share with you a photo of the present for my wife's birthday last week. We both love handmade things and she loves bags, especially those made from antique fabrics. Lili Pain D'Epices created it. The photo doesn't do it justice, though. It is made from an old linen sheet which she dyed in grey-blue.


Love is the thread with which you quilt a better future ;-)
Until later,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm back... from Brittany.

Flowers displayed on a table in front of a "creperie" (restaurant serving crepes) in Dinan.

Maybe you didn't know (unless you follow me on Twitter) but I was away again... This time I went to Brittany and stayed in Cancale. I also visited Dinan, Saint Malo, Dinard and of course Mont Saint Michel which is in Normandy.
I love this region. It is absolutely gorgeous. Let me show you a few pictures.

Dinan



Feur de lin et Bouton D'Or, an antique dealer of buttons, laces, ribbons, etc. A stitcher's heaven!!! Inside it is like an old notions store.



Jacques Cartier's house. He is the one who discovered Canada.

The coast.


A view of Saint Malo from Dinard at high tide.


The Mont Saint Michel (we did a 4-hour hike in the sand with a guide and it was fabulous!!)


Fort la Latte and the coast


Beautiful mansions like this one.


and charming cottages like this one...


Well, you see, it was really pleasant. Living in France is extraordinary as each region is very typical. Indeed, Brittany, Normandy, Alsace, Provence, Burgundy, the Alps, the Pyrenees, to name just a few, are VERY different from each other. And everything is at a reasonable distance.
BTW, go and visit Natalie's blog to see Burgundi where she lives!!! Gorgeous , too!)

I did stitch a little bit but didn't make much progress as I was outside visiting and hiking all day and tired in the evenings...
But, as I mentioned the Lady's Cabinet several times in my previous posts, here is a picture of my WIP.

I still have the written part of one side to stitch and the top! It won't be finished before school starts as I had planned but it won't be long... ;-)

This is almost the end of the summer break. I like this period as it is the beginning of the school year and like every beginning, it is full of hope and projects. And I wish to share them with you all along ;-)

Thank you again for all your lovely comments. They are really motivating and I'm happy to know that you stopped by...

Until later,