Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bright Quilts in a Dark Room

I've finally got pictures for you of my latest finished quilts. Here's Hot Crazy Love. The L-O-V-E blocks were fashioned in the same manner as Crazy Love in my last post. It measures something like 35" x 36".

One of the fabrics (I suspect that hand-dyed border fabric) bled like crazy in the wash. Since Iwashed it in the sink I was able to add additional dye-catching sheets so there isn't any discoloration on the quilt. That I've noticed.

And here's Fruit Punch, measuring something like 21" x 20":

I love how both these quilts turned out. No contrast problems here.

Both the quilts are now hanging up in the back guest bedroom, which gets some light in the morning, but not a lot. These certainly brighten up the place, and look Terms of Endearment has a place as well. I put all the bright orange/red/yellow quilts where my husband can't see them - he's not a fan of these colors. Look up in the corner - you can see a bit of the gorgeous molding in this room.

Hot Crazy is hanging to the right of the wardrobe you saw in the last picture. On the right are my fabric shelves, which are covered by a gorgous handwoven piece (tablecloth? bedspread?) I bought in Egypt. And through the door into the hallway you can sneak a peak of my Citrus String Star. I still haven't gotten a good photo of that quilt yet.

Over the last week I've been rereading the first two books of Greg Keyes' Kingdom of Thorn and Bone series and today I finished reading the third, The Blood Knight. I can highly recommend them to fellow lovers of fantasy fiction. As a warning tho, don't take the first chapter of The Briar King too seriously. Seems like a goofy Viking book and you might be tempted to toss it, but that's just the prologue and the rest of the action takes place in another 2,000 years. As I said, I love these books. They go along well with George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, and Tad Williams.

I haven't touched my quilting project in over a week, not since dousing the couch in anti-cat-wee formula. The sofa is where I sit to quilt, but I'm not going over there until the smell abates. My husband doesn't notice it at all, but I keep getting more and more sensitive to chemicals. Additionally, I've started cutting strips of Amish fabric, so maybe one of these days I won't have an excuse not to sit down and sew.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Crazy Love

This is Crazy Love, which I pieced in January 2002, Jill Luigs machine quilted, and I completed in October of that year. This is basically the free-pieced letters L-O-V-E written over and over and over again, altho my name and the year are in there too.

This was very scrappy tho and I didn't pay any attention to making the letters look like letters, tho you can spot it here in the detail. These just look like crumbs.

I really blew it with the choice of border. I loved the red and white batik and used it altho something like this would have looked so much better:

This one is a failure, but I learned from it. It needed more light fabric (a common failing in my work) and it would have worked better if I'd put the letters into groups to make blocks and then sashed them, like Hot Crazy Love or my as yet unfinished crumb quilt. I was actually looking at this to see if I liked the center well enough to cut off the border, take out the quilting and redo it, possibly cutting up the top and adding sashing, but the truth is I don't think it's worth the time and effort.

Another lesson learned: beware the background you're designing on. I loved my black flannel design wall, but it made everything look much brighter than it actually was. A horrible beige color or gray wouldn't have been so misleading.

After something like this I can understand a bit why some people make quilts from kits - you know you're going to like the finished product. I'd be bored silly, but that's a different problem.

My Vegetable Bean Soup with Pistou (a Jane Brody recipe) turned out excellently the other day. By the fourth day of eating it I'll be tired of it, but not yet.

My sweetie and I just finished re-watching the fourth season of The Sopranos. He actually agreed to watch a couple of episodes every night, rather than our standard once a week. He likes to savor the shows while I love to binge. Watching them so quickly means I can remember the plotlines better. Anyway, it's been excellent and I wish I could reach through the tv screen and slap some sense into Bobby B: "Keep away from Janice!" Onward to Season 5.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday Walk

My sweetie and I went out walking on Saturday, obviously finding ourselves in a touristy part of town as witnessed by the McDonald's:

... and Starbucks. I just liked the juxtaposition of the new sign with the old building. It's very rare here to find coffee to go. You're supposed to sit down and enjoy your cup of coffee, not gulp as you run. I do see an awful lot of people tearing off hunks of their fresh-baked baguettes to nibble on as they walk though.

A great face. Speaking of which, check out the marvelous faces here.
I love the stone lions on the Credit Lyonnais building.

The Shrek 3 movie poster just doesn't blend well with this classy old building:

And a closeup to see the carved women (caryatids?):

The day before our walk, on Friday, Will came over for quilt show and tell. I was highly embarrassed when she pointed out that something had gotten on to one of the quilts, the texture just wasn't right. One sniff was all I needed to determine what had happened. Darn that boy Howler who has taken to marking his territory. Not just a musky scent but out and out weeing. Luckily it hasn't happened often and before he'd limited himself to the couch (which is layered in heavy towels) - or so I thought. I'm hoping he's going to knock that off once he gets less fearful.

At least it something of a utility quilt that I don't care about a great deal. But still. I now have all the quilts stacked way high on top of cupboards.

I doused the couch in some kind of chemical that's supposed to neutralize the odor and make it so the cat doesn't re-mark his territory. I don't know that it works for Howler, but the smell has been strong enough to keep me away. The one good thing is that I learned how our shutters work, so we were able to have our windows open to air the place out, without having to fear for the kitties. A big thunderstorm came through that evening and it was enjoyable to just sit and read, listening to all the rain.

Saturday, as I said, sweetie and I walked for about an hour to get to an Irish Pub for lunch. (Sometimes it's just nice to be able to read a menu and order from a fellow English speaker. Don't worry, I'm eating french food too, although I haven't strayed far from Steak and Frites, mmm.) For once, my Coca Light didn't cost almost twice as much as his drink since this time he had a pint of Guinness instead of red wine. The wine is always the least expensive beverage on a menu.

I annoyed Sweetie with all my picture taking on the walk, but it felt safer to do it while he was around to protect me from pickpocketers. At least that was my idea, he tended to wander away whether in boredom or embarrassment I'm not really sure.

I've discovered the most fabulous butter to eat with our bread - it has sea salt crystals in it. Very delicious. I bought all sorts of vegetables at the market to make soup, my first big cooking venture here.

As far as that crusty goes in my last post, you are all very kind. Okay I won't cut it up, just wait for an opportunity to donate it to a worthwhile charity auction. Then some sucker --um -- nice person will have to chance to take it home. Including the fish (which were made separately in the same manner as the big piece and then sewn on) it measures 13" x 14". [Siobhan, I don't remember ever being happy with this piece, I always disliked it, just kept hoping it would improve as I piled more on it.]

Sophie, that's an excellent suggestion that I get myself out of the house once a week for an artist date. Will and I have already made plans for this upcoming week to visit the museum of naive art and the fabric markets in Monmartre. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for better weather.

Kristin, thanks for the compliments. When quilting with regular quilting thread I use a Richard Hemmings large-eye size 10 needle. I really enjoy quilting on the Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting. That's 80% cotton. I also use the Quilter's Dream Request that is 100% cotton and enjoy that as well, although I think it's a bit harder to needle. It makes the quilt look fabulous tho, especially if heavily quilted.

I just hold a fold of the quilt in my left hand as I quilt with the needle in my right hand. It works for me anyway. If someone ever visits me with a digital video camera I'll try to do a visual for my tutorial about quilting without a hoop.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Forgot About This One

I found a crusty (the name I've given to work in the style of Susan Shie's Lucky School of Quilting) while I was sorting through boxes that have been in storage. I completely forgot I'd made this one. It wasn't successful - not enough contrast. I love the moon though - I'm tempted to cut this thing apart and just do a section of the moon. Then I could salvage all the bugle beads and buttons and be done with it.

Book Recommendation: Tamara Siler Jones' latest novel Valley of the Soul. Actually I highly recommend all three of her books, but this is the best one yet. They're mystery novels set in a sword and sorcery mileu, using forensic science to solve crime. I'm terrible at describing books because I never want to give anything away. Here's an excerpt from her first Dubric novel Ghosts in the Snow. If you like fantasy novels and CSI you can't go wrong. Plus the author is a quilter and you've got to love that.

Movie Recommendation: Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain aka Amelie. I love this movie and had to rewatch it after visiting Monmartre, esp since Will made a point of taking me to the cafe where the movie filmed. Not that there would be any doubt about that - big huge pictures of Audrey Tautou up on the walls. I even got my husband to watch it with me by convincing him he could work on his French language skills. If you haven't seen the movie it is a lovely and sweet romantic comedy with a bit of a dark side.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Amish Fabric

Nothing much interesting going on here at the moment. If you are living in Paris through me, you are going to be sadly disappointed - I'm such a homebody. It actually would have been a good day to go out - sunny and warm out there.

I did finish two quilts the other day, but I'll wait and post pics until after they're washed. I'm in that mopey state I get into after finishing a heartfelt project, be it quilt, movie, book... I get so immersed in that world I find it a bit hard to back out and get enthusiastic about something else. I just want to keep doing what I was doing, even if it is done.

I need to get a top finished so that I have something to quilt on since my current project is almost done. Discovered that my Orphan Train quilt isn't as far along as I thought (eh, too much work, put it back in the box) and my Hugs for Sweetie just isn't grabbing my attention (not to mention I have to try and find the fabric for it). Think I'm going to work on my collaboration project with Bonnie.

I had so much fun working on quilt tops with her in Florida that I asked Bonnie to do one long distance with me. I picked Amish colors since I knew she had leftovers from her Amish String Quilt and I have a selection of solids too. My rules were no whites, lime greens, traffic cone orange or bright yellow. She sent the muddier, grayish fabrics I wasn't likely to have. The orange here looks much brighter than it is in person.

Good picture of Lily with Bonnie's fabric, I just wish she didn't have a lamp shade coming out of her head. She's sitting on my "dining" room table which actually happens to be my sewing room table. I sew a lot and rarely eat like an adult so there's no reason to have a formal dining area - we eat in front of the tv. There isn't much separation between the sewing room and the living room so you can see right through to that big mantle and my bookcases.

I generally keep all my solids together in a pile, but over the last several years they got jumbled in with the rest of my fabrics. So that was a good excuse to start organizing my fabric. Aiyee. That took quite a while, but is finally finished. Here's Pokey a couple of days ago:

And today. I've found my purples and blues and pinks. I love that some of these fabrics are almost the same color but not quite. I intend to use multiple shades of black as well.

I just rewatched the British mini-series Ultraviolet -- not to be confused with the bad movie of the same name (okay I presume it's bad - I've never actually watched it) -- in which vampires are being fought by British law enforcement. Well, sort of law enforcement - they seem to be very much above the law. It's all handled very realistically - no Buffy kung-fu action. It's such a great concept, handled well, just makes me nuts they didn't make more of them. One of the stars is Idris Elba, the fabulous actor who portrayed Stringer Bell in the first few years of The Wire. He's always very intense and watchable.

Speaking of Buffy, the original movie was on tv today. Sounded very odd dubbed into French - I don't remember Buffy ever sounding that tarty.

What else is going on... little cats seem to have a truce, but aren't cuddly and sweet together still. Lily scratched the heck out of me this morning, using my bare back as a launching pad to get to the top of the dresser. Pokey has become a menace. It's so darling when she sticks her face into glasses to drink the water, but now we've caught her sticking her paw in and knocking the glass over when there isn't enough water for her to be able to drink it. Trying to convince her that she is indeed a cat and should drink out of the bowl just doesn't work. Time to buy kids' sippy cups...

Friday, May 18, 2007

First Visit to Monmartre

On Wednesday I rode the metro all by myself (actually very easy) to visit my new friend Will in Monmartre, where she has lived for 35 years. Will lives in a tiny apartment - made me feel very spoiled - and I was amazed at the number of beautiful quilts she has stored there. She kept pulling out boxes of finished quilts as well as tops - it was a wonderful show and tell and we didn't even make it through all of them.

Will is going to start her own blog maybe next month, so you'll be able to see all her lovely quilts there. But here is a preview, a Courthouse Steps in rich browns, maroons, greens with a hint of blue. (Yes, she's a fan of antique quilts and repro fabric.)

Monmartre is built on a hill, so you get great views down to the rest of Paris, which was once again very gray. There were hoardes of tourists, but I managed some pics without them. I have to admit I was feeling a touch superior - there I was with my own marvelous personal tour guide AND I can come back on a beautiful sunny day for better pics.

Why is it I love to take photos very close to buildings looking up? Here is the front of the Sacred Heart Basilica, which I think is located on the highest point in Monmartre.

Vandals have splattered it with red paint, but it doesn't show up too much in this pic:

I was thrilled to find gargoyles:

To clear up a point from a previous post, since my husband works for the State Dept we get U.S. mail delivered here, tho it is much slower. That's why we continue to get Netflix but without the two day turnaround. More like a two week turnaround. I want my next Freaks and Geeks now, not to mention the next discs of Stargate Atlantis and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. That last is a much see for anyone who enjoyed his Cook's Tour. It's more of the same, only longer and more graphic - it shows the actually killing of a pig for instance. Sometimes I don't want to know where my food comes from - it should just be nicely packaged in styrofoam, thank you.

Another perk to the job is getting to use U.S. military facilities. Yesterday my sweetie and I rented a mini-van with one of my husband's co-workers and drove up to Belgium to use the commissary and PX. It's about a 2 and a half hour drive and I don't think we can count it as actually having visited Belgium (just like airport transits don't count). The drive was lovely when it wasn't raining - green budding fields and haze. Reminded me of England. We bought a LOT of cat food (which costs twice the amount here than it does in the states) and kitty litter as well as some hard-to-get-here food items such as Salsa Verde and pickled jalapenos.

I know, I know, I need to forget about making familiar dishes and learn to cook with just the French ingredients, but that's going to take a bit of time. I'm making Nicoise Salads (without anchovies!) for dinner at least, that's French. And I bought a huge artichoke to make for lunch, mmmm. Since it's already 2pm I better get going on that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quilts on the Walls: Looks Like Home

I didn't do any tidying before I snapped the pic, so this actually looks normal: stuff piled up and the tv on. It's showing Muerte a l'Anglais (or something similiar) aka the Inspector Lynley mysteries. It's shown with an English language option on the Jimmy channel, so I've been watching it over again.

Anyway, I have two quilts up on the wall now in the living room. These are quilts that have been in storage for the last several years so it's good to see them again. I used a spray bottle to wet the creases and threw them in the dryer with a damp towel - worked great.

This is Bricks. I've posted about it here.

And Sensational:

The words say: sensational, fantastic, marvelous, wonderful, incredible, magnificent.

Both were quilted in freehand fans using black perle cotton #8. The fans are done in rows starting from the bottom and going to the top.

These two quilts glow and are made in true Tonya colors.

I have made a friend here, Will, who also quilts and contacted me when she discovered I was moving to Paris. We had a marvelous day last week and she took me on a walking tour of her favorite book stores. Brentano's has a surprisingly huge selection of quilting books. There was also a Japanese book store that Jan and Kathie would be thrilled to go into: magazines and books on Japanese quilting. I was so busy walking and trying to learn my way that I didn't take any photos - sorry. Hopefully I'll do better today as Will shows me Monmartre.

I have become a bread fiend. I've been eating about half a loaf a day of the baguette traditional - which I believe means it's made with just flour, water and salt. The bakery is just at the end of our block and so enticing. At least I'm doing a lot of walking to work all these carbs off.

Cats are doing well, although Lily continues to smack at Pokey. I find that heartbreaking and hope she stops soon. Speaking of Lily, she's picked up a new vocabulary. Used to be that she just cheeped and squeaked. Now she's picked up a hunting cry, just like Pokey has. It sounds like they are in desparate trouble, but when you go running ("oh no, listend to that noise - baby must be in pain!") you find they are hunting down a toy and tossing it around.

I've got my Netflix again: watched the first disc of Freaks and Geeks and loved it. At least going in I know that the show was cancelled far too early. I hate being in love with a show and losing it. Also, hubby and I are finally watching the fifth and final season of Alias. The show continues to make no sense, but I'm so happy that they are finishing off the series well: all sorts of reappearances of past characters. I hadn't realized that Amy Acker (Fred from Angel) was on this season: very fun.

While watching Freaks and Geeks I picked up Cranky Witch and began quilting it again. I'm actually close to finishing - that will be four quilts on the pile to be bound. I did actually clear off my sewing table so progress may commence on that front one of these days.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eiffel Tower

We now have internet and tv again. Two workmen arrived at 8am on the dot and rewired all our phone connections. We are once again connected to the world.

The first day I was so miserable without the internet I went for a long walk to see the Eiffel Tower. It was a grey cloudy day so these are hardly good pics, but they fit my mood. I couldn't see much of the structure other than the top as I drew nearer. I walked through a park area and came out practically underneath the tower. I didn't wait in the long long lines to get to the top.

I walked home a different route. The sun finally peaked out just a bit.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Where Was My Honeymoon?

Hey ya'all. Our DSL line is down and after my husband spent a heroic, but ultimately futile amount of time trying to resolve the issue (mainly in French), France Telecomm is sending someone around on Tuesday. I will spare you my sobbing and woe about being cut off from the world and unable to communicate with anyone who could fix it. I am not a happy camper, but dining out last night at a local cafe did help. Duck ala Orange and a side of Macaroni and Cheese (not the bright orange American stuff out of a box, but some kind of crunchy parmesan like topping) followed by Chocolate Mousse.

I spent yesterday being mad at Paris. Made me realize I never had a honeymoon. Let me explain. There are supposedly four emotional stages that you go through when you move to a new country. The first is the honeymoon where everything is marvelous and you love the new country. The next one is misery where homesickness takes over and everything is better/easier back at home. I never got a honeymoon. Usually we move to a new spot and have time to explore and adapt before my husband has settled into the new job and the household goods have arrived and none of our cookware is here so might as well eat out a whole lot... Nope I got here and the husband was already working lots of hours and there was an overwhelming amount of sorting to do. Sigh.

Other than that, things are going fine. The little girl cats actually groomed each other and slept in a kitty puddle on Tuesday. That does my heart good, although I've just seen whacking and hissing since...

Don't worry if you don't hear from me for awhile. Doing fine, just no computer. Sigh again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Here's what Color Thready II looks like as of this morning. I'm now using a greater range of colors than what I was limited to in Florida.

I've been asked about how I make threadies. First let me show you were I got the idea. I have the great book Celebrating the Stitch by Barbara Lee Smith. It's marvelous and has all kinds of textiles including quilts. (There are used copies available at low prices - go get one. This book is loaded with inspiration.)

Anyway, Dana Romalo Andrews is one of the artists featured in the book. She makes free form embroideries that are wondrous little creations just covered with woven stitches. Look at how dense this 11" x 9" piece is:

And this is the front and back side of another piece:

Aren't they incredible? I love them. She starts by couching down leftover bits of fiber onto a cloth. She works both the front and back sides until the whole piece is entirely covered. If you want to know more buy the book or borrow it from the library. [Libraries will get the book for you if they don't have it on their shelves - interlibrary loan is a great tool.]

My works aren't nearly that elaborate. I sometimes couch, but not recently. I usually start with a small bit of muslin and make running stitches with embroidery floss. It can be as basic as that. Sometimes I use yarns, rayons, and metallic threads. Sometimes I throw in some french knots. I've been known to get more elaborate with beads. Whatever I'm in the mood for.

On both the Color Threadies I've basted some colored bits of fabric onto the muslin before I started with the embroidery floss. That way I don't have to cover every single bit of the base fabric with a stitch - the batiks show through in beautiful color. But previously I was covering every bit of the base fabric. I stick to running stitch and then stab stitches in random spots that need covering - no weaving like Ms Andrews does.

Anyway, that's the basic idea behind a thready. Stitch, stitch, stitch. If you want to try this yourself I highly recommend that you use a lightweight fabric for your base - it gets very hard to stitch through towards the end. Don't fuse (again too hard to stitch through). Don't make knots (ditto). I just do a backstitchy kind of thing to anchor my beginning and at the end I run my needle through previous stitches on the underside.

Initially I just hung these creations on the wall as is, but after someone said they looked like the world's most expensive pot holders I realized I'd better make them look more like art.

The blue vases aren't pottery. They're carved out of alabaster - a rock. The shopkeeper in Egypt told me that this was a special kind of blue onyx, but it's not. The vases are all dyed - I know it for a fact since I was cleaning one of my final purchases with a damp cloth and ended up with a clump of blue dye. I didn't see much dyed alabaster when I initially arrived in Egypt but by the time I left it was available in all sorts of colors including lime green and orange.

A close up of the modern phrenology head for Kathie. I hope you can see some of the words on here: aliens, coffee, playground trauma, evil, good, email password...

I actually cleaned bathrooms today. Bleck, but at least it's out of the way. I'm still disorganized, but no longer worrying about it. It was gray and rainy this morning, but now the sun is out. I'm going to go work on my thready and find a dvd to watch.

p.s. I should have said that the Harry Potter HARDBACKS are my husband's. I'm cheap enough that I'd have continued to wait until the books came out in paperback, but there was no way my sweetie was going to wait to read the books. He didn't start reading them until the movie came out so I had to go back and replace the first couple of paperbacks with hardbacks so that he'd have a matching set. Did that make sense?

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Bit of Order in this Chaos

I started another thready before leaving Florida, very similar to the first one although this time I covered almost every bit of the foundation. And I did cheat- I had to use some real scraps and not just bits bound for the trash (actually the bag of stuffing I'll use for making Santas and things like that). This is roughly 8.5" square.

And this is what it looked like before we departed. I've worked on it quite a bit more, but have been very neglectful at taking photos.

My bookshelves are in order. My husband's bookshelves are completely and totally off limits to all my decorations (that little problem of letting him get here first and get settled) so I've had to put what I can here. The framed pieces are threadies, the metalwork and alabaster is all Egyptian, and a wee bit of Britain has snuck in (the phrenology head and most of the printers' stamps).

These are my husband's Harry Potter books. He's a huge fan and rereads the books and rewatches the films seemingly constantly. July is going to be a big month at our house with the new book and new movie coming out.

And a tiny bit of America: a switchplate featuring a girl riding a cat. I haven't had a switch that fits ever since I bought it, but love it anyway.

The cats are doing reasonably well. It's heartbreaking, but the girls are still hissing and swatting at each other. The boys are still jumpy and have a tendency to slink off quick if they think they being rounded up - calling them to come get treats has the opposite effect.

On Saturday I rode the metro for the first time. We went to the big mall at La Defense (pronounced something like la dee fonce) to get supplies to hang my quilts and pictures. Of course we were idiots and forgot the dictionary. Does this mean plaster? This probably means brick...

Yesterday we got quite a few quilts hung up on the walls. I've run out of hanging rods - so couldn't get them all up. I haven't yet tried your suggestions for getting the crumples out of the quilts, so they don't look fabulous up on the walls, but they will. I also want to hang my framed Egyptian embroideries, but I'm a bit intimidated about arranging them. It was easy in our last place - they went up on the walls as I bought them one at a time. I'm going to lay them out on the floor and arrange them that way.

It still doesn't feel like home yet. Making progress though. The things I'm finding hardest to adjust to: lack of tv programming in the English language (there's loads of American and UK tv on, but they're all dubbed into French and only the rare show has the option of listening to it in the original) and food stores closed on Sundays as well as holidays. I'll get better at thinking ahead. In fact, tomorrow is a holiday and I already have our yummy baguette and salad items purchased. I did have two "pain au chocolate" (croissants with chocolate) for tomorrow but I was very very bad and ate them both for lunch.

Lily managed to wipe me out today - classic kitty manuever of crossing over right in front of my feet. She squealed horrifically when I stepped down on her but is okay now. My knee (the bad one with arthritis) hurts but I've been icing and elevating and wrapping... At least it's a good excuse for not cleaning the bathrooms. My husband will of course be all sympathy for the baby and blame me - "you have to watch where you're going." harrumph.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Crumb Lost Love Quilted

I finished quilting Crumby Lost Love and sent it off in the mail to Bonnie the day before leaving Florida. Unfortunately for her, I decided that her part of the collaboration included the binding.

I finished the Color Thready as well, just couldn't remember if I ever showed you the final pic.

I'm very slowly sorting through the catastrophe that is my belongings. I'm feeling overwhelmed and taking tea/Sudoku breaks to de-stress. I often end up with a cat in my lap, so I figure it's good for them if I take breaks as well. Yes, that's my excuse.

I have been out of the house, but not with the camera. Running errands and my husband's boss' wife invited me out for a drive while she ran an errand of her own. She drove through the massive 12-point traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe, which I didn't see because I was paying so much attention to the traffic. Definitely reaffirmed my decision that we are never getting a car here.

A view of the guest bedroom/Tonya storage area. The downside to my husband doing all the unpacking himself is that he laid claim to all the closet space in our bedroom, so this is the room where my clothes live, along with all the fabric, art supplies, holiday decorations...

All the pillowcases are crammed with quilts. Aren't those zebra striped cases awful? No wonder I got them on sale. I've since gone through the bags and pulled out the quilts that I want for the walls and rolled up the rest. Sweetie and I are supposed to be going to a store where we can buy the appropriate quilt hanging hardware today but he is currently napping with Pokey.

This is the fireplace in the living room. Definitely the focal point of the room and everything has to be fit in around it.

I wasn't about to waste any space. I've shelved all my quilt books in here. Those are Egyptian flag standards in the front.

Unfortunately (or perhaps not) all of my quilts didn't make it here, nor did all my quilt books. They should still be in storage back in the states - not lost.

A few links for you:

Dordogne Quilter Clare has finished a quilt top for her aunt, featuring free-pieced family names. She did a great job making a meaningful quilt and I can't wait to see the quilting.

Joyce finished her marvelous chickens quilt and is now going whole-hog free-piecing farm animals.

In the fairly new-to-me blog Taniwa, Tanya posts about living in Japan. I loved the entry about the toilets and the wisteria blooms are gorgeous. I am so impressed by her wonky word quilt top. Not only did she free-piece English words, she also went for it and did Japanese words as well. I thought they would be too hard, but she did it and very well.

And a quilt related question: the only way I can think of to get the creases out of my quilts is by washing them. Any other solutions?