Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hermes Colorful India

The Hermes store on Rue du Faubourg St-Honore has the most gorgeously decorated windows in Paris. Here's the little dude on top of the building. I always think of him as Napoleon. Oh and yes, there should be all sorts of accent marks on those letters, but you'll just have to imagine them.

India seems to be the theme for this year. It was extremely colorful India in May when I took these photos. Whoever does their windows just does an incredible job. Plus there's music piped over the speakers to enhance the experience.

Love the antique horses and that pink and orange zigzag rug.

These displays in particular caught my eye because of the bundles of floss and yarn.

I totally love the black and ivory marble(?) frames they used. Just to give you an idea of the prices in the store, I think this teacup was 160 euros... Just one teacup.

It's too bad window displays are so hard to photograph, but at least you get an idea of what it looked like. I love the outside of the store, but inside? I made it about two steps in before fleeing - way too richy rich for my taste.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Do I Quilt Anything But Fans?

I finished hand quilting Mini Hotflash - woohoo!

I was trying to decide how to quilt Joyeux Noel (which, by the way, I left borderless) and was of course considering fans. My husband asked, Do you ever quilt anything BUT fans? I'm not quite sure how serious he was. I pointed out a quilt on the wall, Home Sweet Home, with all sorts of elaborate non-fan quilting and he thought it was one Bonnie had machine quilted for me. harrumph.

I did actually consider something else for this project. Maybe quilt in the ditch and then add snowflakes... I quilted one whole letter before deciding that was just going to be way too labor intensive without enough to show for it. So yes, I'm back to my beloved freehand fans. Do I ever quilt anything else. hee hee hee.

Yes, I used chalk to mark wavy lines on Hotflash because otherwise my lines end up too straight. No, I don't use any kind of marking for the freehand fans. They are easy, really.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Better Now

Okay, I had my mini meltdown and I'm better now.

I'm almost finished hand quilting my little hotflash quilt. Here are a couple more photos from my previous photo session with the quilt and Pokey:

I have to admit, more of you than I expected want to see new material in THE book. D'oh. As of this morning, 26% of the voters want something they haven't seen before. Some of you said I didn't include a BOTH option. Well, hate to break it to you, but there are definitely going to be quilts and techniques in the book that you've already seen in blogs and Quiltville. So it's just a matter of do you want new things ALSO. Did I say it more succinctly this time?

Funny, I don't feel the need for NEW in a book (not just talking about mine here). I just love having the glorious professional photos of quilts I enjoy collected in a permanent format (a book! a book!) that I can go back to over and over again.

I'm thinking of a new project and I'll be the first to admit it's not all that original and will end up similar to another piece I've done, but I really want to do it anyway. I'd like some help though. I bought a gorgeous Christmas fabric with happy snowmen. I'm trying to think of one word or short phrase to go with it.

First I was thinking "Jolly." I like my Christmases jolly. But that seems too Santa Clausy. "Let it Snow" or just "Snow" doesn't really appeal either. Sigh. I might have to shelve this idea if I can't come up with the right twist. The fabric line is called 'Tis the Season and that would work, but seems a bit too advertisial. (I thought I'd made up a new word, but no, lots of advertisials on the web even though it hasn't made it into the Urban Dictionary.)

Not to worry though, I began a patriotic piece yesterday. Barely began. As in, not far along at all. Maybe some sewing today though.

Sweetie and I finished Burn Notice season one last night. Need convincing to watch? Read a fun review here. Woohoo, I do love this show. So silly, but enjoyable. Oh and beautiful - I want to be in Miami now (okay, not now exactly, but when the temperatures are cooler). My only fault with the show? Not enough Bruce Campbell.

A friend did remind me that seeing the gorgeous sunshine and locations of Miami weren't enough to make a tv show watchable. CSI: Miami anyone? I hate that show. And Miami Vice? That might be good for a laugh or two - I haven't seen it in years.

I'd love to see Mythbusters tackle Burn Notice myths - how many of their improvised bombs and tricks would work? I'm actually hoping NONE since I'd hate to think it's that easy to blow things up. We just watched the Mythbusters episode where they tested mini-Hindenburgs. Woohoo, things defintely always burn on this series too.

And to wrap up my tv couch potatoing... Boy, Tour de France is dull this year. That's been a disappointment.

Okay, need to go and get some actual work done. later!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not What I Wanted to Hear

A whiny post with no quilt content to show for itself, but does contain a cute kitty pic. Feel free to skip.

So yesterday I went to the orthopedist to see about my problematic left knee (which has a rare joint disease). I was hoping he'd just say, increase the anti-inflammatories, this will all be okay. No, instead he said things like "irreparable damage if you don't take care of this now." So I'm supposed to get MRIs and x-rays not just of the bad knee, but the other one too, which is also showing too much swelling. Waaah.

I'm going to take a break in the whining to show you my sweetie Pokey:

I feel like an idiot. I knew I was losing cartilage in the right knee, but didn't realize that meant I had arthritis in it. So that's what's going on with the "good knee" which isn't actually all that good.

So now I have to find out how much an MRI and x-rays costs here and do I have to pay upfront, which I suspect I do. That's how it works with the doctors - at the end of the visit you hand them the cash, none of that billing stuff.

Yes, my American insurance company will pay me back for some of it (after the paperwork and a wait, of course) but it could cost a lot. And of course it's not the MRI so much that worries me as the bit that comes after if it turns out I have to have surgery NOW or the whole irreparable damage thing happens.

I'm having a minor freakout. I do this a lot. Worry and procrastinate and put off doing things, which sometimes turn out to be not that big a deal after all and I could have saved myself a lot of that worry if I'd just taken care of it in the first place. sigh.

I have however been enjoying the sunshine, hand quilting, and the Tour de France (go CSC!) - often all at the same time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Begging for Attention

Pokey wants a belly rub! and hmmm, what that on the table near her? could it be bits of the secret project?

It was really fun to see the results of the old poll. Ya'all overwhelmingly voted for photos rather than illustrations to explain the techniques. Now if only money really were no object, we'd be set.

Here's the next question for you. How concerned are you that you see new material (quilts and/or techniques) in Lazy Days in Quiltville? Do you care if you've seen the quilts already in blogs (which are ephemeral and yet always here...) or on Quiltville? I know what my opinion is, but would be really interested to see what ya'all think. Poll is in the sidebar, please to vote.

I've been rather dull lately. Not much to show for myself, although I have been working. I watched the Tour de France on Sunday, the first time this year. I'd been so bummed out about the doping and cyclists getting thrown off the tour, the dissolution of my favorite team, and the horribleness of actually watching it in France (laptop set up to get English audio with a 30 second delay) that I couldn't get excited. Then I was flipping through channels and there they were in the Alps and I was hooked.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cross Your Fingers!

Okay, fellow Gwen Marston fans, cross your fingers, clap your hands and shout "I do believe in faeries!" ... or something. Andi Reynolds at AQS asked me to tell you:

a new Liberated Quiltmaking might – please emphasize might – be forthcoming

Okay, it's not definite, everything is very tentative, but it looks like our dreams *might* be answered. And notice, she doesn't say LQ might be reprinted but we might get a NEW LQ.

Despite being just a possiblity, it IS progress. Thank you all for letting AQS know you'd buy a copy of LQ and for spreading the word. So a tentative woohoo!

Ana's Kitty Quilt for FACE

I always love seeing what ya'all have done with the letters tutorials. Ana Sweet tried the letters for the first time and came up with this great quilt top (with one of her boy kitties providing the model):

The cats are from Buggy Barn's Crazy Cat pattern. And I think the flowers too - Ana used yo-yos for the centers.

The words say FACE: The Solution is Prevention. FACE is an Indianapolis center providing low-cost spaying and neutering for cats and dogs. Ana intends to donate her quilt to the organization, a very worthy cause. Didn't Ana do a great job?

On a completely different note, Am I losing my mind? Is this what getting older is all about? Yesterday I made a pot of lentil soup, then forgot to put the soup in the fridge afterwards. Aaaaghh. It was yummy too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I'm trying to think of an intro for this post that isn't boring, but haven't managed so far....

I took an actual walk yesterday - woohoo! even better, my knee hasn't attacked me for it. Maybe there's hope for me after all. I have an appointment with an orthopedist next week, so we'll see what happens there.

This is a pic of Pokey from a few days ago. I love kitty yawns. My, what big teeth. This is fabric for my current sewing project, which I have been sadly neglecting.

What else have I been up to? Got a package from EQuilter and discovered (again) what a pinhead I am. Instead of entering a half yard as .5 I managed to get five freaking yards. sigh. It's there on my order form. How can I not have noticed how much I was paying for that half yard??? D'oh. I'm going to keep it - got a lot of border fabric for something or other now. Just wish it had been a fabric I loved instead of liked.

Geeking out for the rest of the post... I read an awesome book, Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. I bought it because of blurbs from Tad Williams and Robin Hobbs, two of my favorite authors. Excellent epic fantasy that just sucked me right in. Go to the author's website to read an excerpt and reviews. Now I'm just cranky that the sequel won't be out until next April.

I checked out Patrick's blog and what was the first entry? The awesomeness of Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Wooohooo.

Have you seen Dr Horrible yet? Completely and totally worth the wait. The first two acts are available and the third one will be out Saturday. It'll only be up for free until 20 July, so don't delay.

The show is so much fun. It helps that I love sci-fi musicals. I love singing along to my Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop of Horrors soundtracks. And Dr. Horrible is one step better - superheroes!!! And blogging. Seriously, try it, you've got nothing to lose and it's a lot of fun.

I will be buying the DVD. Just hope Horrible really does become a Broadway musical - what a hoot. And a full-length movie. fingers crossed, folks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Toiles de Jouy

France is well known for a fabric called Toile de Juoy. Quilter's Muse has an excellent article about this fabric here. Toile had never interested me much, but boy was I ever wrong. I think that comes from seeing modern versions that are a lot less refined than the real deal.

Back in June, my friend Will took to me a store, Charles Burger that sells REAL toile de juoy fabric. The company uses 200 year old copper plates to print their designs and the detail is amazing. I definitely want to get some of this fabric to remember my time here, I just can't make up my mind which one.

To show you how complicated these fabrics can be, this is the company's photo of a fabric called Ballon de Gonesse about two hot air balloon flights in 1783.

Detail shot of the fabric in a different colorway. My photos are terrible - sorry about that. They do NOT do justice to these fabrics.

This Robinson Crusoe fabric is another of my favorites. It is based on illustrations from the 1840 edition of the book.

This fabric is called La Bastille. The drawing for this fabric originally was meant to represent the divinity of Louis XVI but then the revolution occured. The figure symbolizing Religion was changed to Liberty. A picture of the Bastille replaced a group of cupids.

More from the same fabric:

This detail is from Fete Navale, which is about the journey of Louis XVI to Cherbourg in June 1786 for the inauguration of a sea wall. I would have sworn those were women rowing the barge, but no, those are gussied up oarsmen... I love seeing this bit of history.

This fabric is about the American people's recognition of their debt to La Fayette. Isn't it a hoot?

Here is Will looking at another type of fabric which is also still manufactured the old way: handprinted with woodblocks. I can't remember exactly how many blocks but 179 sticks in my brain.

See this top greenish shape? Each one of the dots surrounding it takes a different block in order to get the light and shadow just right. It's an amazing fabric - would be incredible in the middle of a medallion quilt.

The fabric at Charles Burger was gorgeous. I have to admit, the fabrics cost an arm and a leg. Think somewhere around 100 euros a meter. Sometimes less, sometimes more, such as the woodblock print which I think was 140. But they do sell half meters as well (demi metre) and this would be an amazing remembrance of a quilter's trip to Paris.

The Charles Burger shop is located at #4 on the Rue du Mail. The phone number is 33 (0)1 42 97 46 19. They are open Monday through Thursday from 10:30am to 6pm and on Saturday from 3pm to 6pm. The woman who worked there was as sweet as can be and very helpful. Definitely worth a visit. One of these days they are going to have a website at Charles-Burger.fr but it's telling me at the moment it's not ready.

There is a church nearby. It's possible to imagine what this area was like, even though the store that once sold religious items is now a dress shop.

Down the street a ways:

You're going to laugh at me, but I had to take a sign of the pooper scooper sign - the first one I've seen in Paris that is not in a park.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quilting My Hotflash

Sometimes I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to quilt an entire quilt. But if I have a good idea for a certain part of it, then I start there and figure the rest will come to me as I go along. (No, I don't worry whatsoever about starting the quilting in the middle and working out from there.

For Mini Hotflash I know I want lines going across the middle, so that's where I started. Not straight lines. bleck. too hard. no, these are sinuous. Can't get them wrong that way.

You know how it goes when you photograph quilts - often get a model. Here's Pokey:

The middle of Mini Hotflash:

I'm freehand marking the lines and you can see from the rubouts that I change my mind and redo them. I'm trying to hit every block of fabric, so that dictates my lines somewhat.

My chalk lines are big and fat - I can quilt on the left, middle, or right of my marking, not to mention wander off it entirely.

Hmm, did you guess that I'd finished handquilting Orphan Train? I did and that's a big woohoo!!!

Sweetie and I finished The Closer Season 3. Love, love, love that show. This season didn't have single ho-hum episode in the batch and most were excellent. My favorite definitely had to be the one that started with Provenza and Flynn and a cop's funeral - what a hoot. Tracey, I know you have a problem with those big, red overly-lipsticked lips of Brenda's - that is addressed this season. Try it, seriously.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Snapshots or Illustrations?

I've worked on the illustrations for some of the techniques in Lazy Days in Quiltville. As I went along, I cleaned up the text to make it simpler, hopefully more professional. And then one of my long distance friends mentioned how much she liked the text of the Letters Tutorials just as they were because it seemed like I was explaining it just to her.

That's very appealing to me - having the book really reflect my personality and Bonnie's. Hmm, could I be "ruining" the book as I try to fix it up? So from time to time I'm going to ask for some opinions, starting today.

I've got a poll over in my sidebar. Assuming money is no object, would you prefer Tonya and Bonnie's snapshots to real illustrations? Now, figure that they are better snapshots - clearer, etc - but snapshots all the same. Would that make you think the book was shoddy looking, or that much more endearing? Please to vote, but only once.

Pokey had to jump up and get involved as I was taking a photo of the current super secret quilt in progress.

I sewed for half an hour yesterday - woohoo. Knee isn't really improving, but hasn't gotten worse, which is something. I have stayed off that stupid knee (mostly) and believe me, it's been difficult. Cheri called and invited me along on a walking tour of the Marais. I really wanted to go, but the adult portion of my brain won the day. gosh darn it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Okay, a Tiny Hint

I had a marvelous day on Tuesday. Cheri of Jovaliquilts is in town and she came over to visit with me. We looked at lots of quilts, I did a bit of letter sewing for her and we just talked and talked. We had lunch at my favorite local restaurant and then went to Montmartre to wander the fabric stores. Cheri is absolutely darling and I loved every minute of her company.

Darling Pokey sleeping on fabric for my current project, the wild and crazy one I mentioned in my last post. Believe me when I say this one is wilder and crazier than what I usually work on, plus a LOT of fun. So here's a hint:

Right now I am extremely frustrated because my knee blew up again plus the other one decided to act up too. Grrrr. I know, I know, this is what I get for overdoing it, having fun and sewing and walking because the sun was out and I just couldn't stand to go back down to the metro.

So that is what I am NOT working on. Instead I'm hand quilting on Orphan Train (ooh, light at the end of the tunnel) plus I've basted the Mini Hotflash quilt that Bonnie sent me. I saw photos of 3am Hotflash which is so fabulous that I begged her to make me a little version. And did you see Just Quilt It? Amazing. I love that she included her initials and year in the border.

Speaking of words in borders, Maureen is doing a great job with her first letters. She's adding wordy borders to her two Gwen class projects - go check them out here. Now that she's started making letters she can't stop. She's started a Halloween project too - wheee.

You know I'm a big fan of Kristin's at Knit One Quilt Too, right? Well she just finished a Gwen Marston Liberated Stars quilt that is so incredible and her hand quilted fans are fabulous. Wonderful minimal mix of colors - great quilt. Kristin is also working on a quilt for her son that is simply amazing. It's posted at her blog and also at the Summer Class blog, where you can also see some other wonderful quilts in progress.

A couple of relatively new blogs for you to check out. Have a visit with Belinda at Brown Dirt Cottage. Lynne is working on some super secret projects that I've seen a sneak preview of and they are a blast. You'll have to stay tuned for those, but in the meantime there is all sorts of fun and tutorials to be had at The Patchery Menagerie.

That's it for me. I'm going to be a good (though whiny) girl and stay off my knee today. Sigh. Ya'all have great days.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Working Away

I have been dithering and dithering about what project to work on next. Had too many options, couldn't make up my mind. You've heard this from me before - unfortunately I get this way sometimes. I finally changed gears and sewed something fun and wild. I'm working on instructions and ya'll will get a chance to play too. Not getting any more hints than that for now.

The winners of the L-O-V-E blocks are Knit One Quilt Too Kristin, Threadlines KathieB, and SewPrimitive Karen. Sorry, I'd put the links to their blog but the internet is running sloooowly. At least it's functioning at the moment - that's only temporary I'm sure. Lately I can only count on a couple of hours of internet really early in the morning - before I am yet functional.

I'm almost finished with the hand quilting on Orphan Train - just a couple more days!

Tomorrow, fingers crossed, one of my favorite quilt bloggers is taking a break from her Paris trip to come visit me and my quilts. woohoo.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Whee, look at my display for the 4th of July - I'm really happy with it - much better than last year's (see the post and learn more about the four quilts on the right side).

Several of these quilts are hung on mini 3M Command Hooks which work great. I also tried something new to cure the wobbles - I used hookless stickies on the bottom quilt corners. The little tabs are barely noticeable.

I have a bit of Christmas in July going on here. These gorgeous patriotic Santas were a gift from my sweet Dad. These are cypress knee carvings by Bill Evans, whom I adore and highly recommend. I now have three knees he carved and I love them all.

This is America with Flag. I hate naming quilts, just try to come up with something descriptive... I wrote about quilting the next two quilts in this post from last July.

Blue with Stars. Check out Kathie's quilt - we were both inspired by the same piece in Small Endearments but came out with different results.

Even though I finished the quilting on these two small quilts last year, I didn't get them bound and finished until this month. I'm lazy and I just hate that part.

I washed these two quilts and Liberty Blooms together. (I'd added more hand quilting to Blooms even though it was already bound and sleeved - just looked too barren and I hate underquilted quilts.) After a delicate cold bath in the washing machine and a short visit to the dryer, red had bled all over the stems in Blooms and some blue had bleed on America. That was even with Color Catchers tossed in.

So I put those two quilts in a big pot with several more Color Catchers and added hot tap water. I kept stirring so the quilts never just sat there. After quite a bit of dye released into the water I drained it out and added more hot water. I did that five times before the water was mostly clear. And that did the trick, the bleeding was out.

My sweetie and I celebrated with antipasti at our favorite Italian restaurant. Not quite hotdogs and potato chips, but it sure was yummy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Liberated Quiltmaking on CD?

In the two and a half weeks since I posed the question "would you buy Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking for approximately $36" ya'all spoke up and said you'd buy 235 copies. I think that's pretty swell given the short amount of time and no involvement by the author. I passed the information along to AQS. The editor thanked me and asked how many of you would want to buy Liberated Quiltmaking on CD.

Hmm, I can't get excited about that at all. I do enough reading on the internet as it is. And LQ isn't a book that you'd just bring up to get a pattern, because there aren't any. It's a book to be read and savored. But I relay the question nontheless

Would you buy Liberated Quiltmaking on CD?