Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Way back in June, I made six sets of duplicate L-O-V-E letters. Each set looked something like this, with a bit of a difference here or there. I wasn't measuring, just making them approximately the same.

I kept a set, I mailed a set to a mystery someone who may or may not choose to ever play with them, and the others went to: Quiltville Bonnie, SewPrimitive Karen, Knit One Quilt Too Kristin and Threadlines KathieB. I wanted to see what different quilts we'd all come up with, starting with this same set of letters. The goal was to have the top pieced by the end of the year.

For the first time ever, I managed to complete a challenge. I'm usually too slow or can't figure out what I want to do... But this time I not only met the goal, but surpassed it, because my quilt is completely done. Woohoo. And I'm thrilled with it - really happy with how this turned out.

It's not a great pic (streak of sunlight and a Lily intrusion) but I present to you, Rumspringa:

I made a lot more L-O-V-E. Some actually looked like letters, in others the color placement was crazy. I added additional fabric where needed to make all the letter blocks the same size and sewed them into 4-Patches like this:

I wasn't smart enough to take measurements before I packed the quilt in a suitcase. But it is fairly large. Quilted with regular quilting thread in freehand fans spiral-style.

Bonnie, Karen, Kristin, and KathieB: how did you do with the L-O-V-E Letter challenge?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Desserts

We’ve had cold weather and glorious sunshine for several days and I love it. My sweetie and I walked down on Christmas Day to see the holiday windows at the big department stores. Other people had the same idea but this is deserted compared to the usual mob. Before Christmas this entire sidewalk would have been packed and you’d have had to walk out in the street.

GL Christmas Day 12-25-2008 7-38-51 AM

This year we tried the French seasonal treat of a Bûche de Noël. Interesting to have tried it, but I won’t need to have another ever.

Buche Noel 12-25-2008 6-02-16 AM

More holiday treats – these photos were taken on my trip to Leeuwarden in the Netherlands.

Friesland cake 12-13-2008 8-06-31 AM

Friesland christmas cookies and cake 12-13-2008 8-06-39 AM

My husband is enjoying his time off. Yesterday we went to our favorite Italian restaurant for lunch and then watched the Alfred Hitchcock film Notorious starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. A fabulous movie finally out on DVD again – woohoo!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Santas Visit

The Santa Invasion of Paris:

Lookout, here they all come:

I was Santa's helper while visiting the Netherlands and found myself some wonderful gifts. I love this insect kitchen towel - I gave one to Bonnie too. The label indicates it's from the Textile Museum in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Some great woven fabric. I probably spent too much but I wanted this lime green plaid. And the cheddar stripes and that gorgeous royal blue stripe...

These are reproduction Dutch plaids from the shop Den Haan & Wagenmakers

I bought these from a vendor at the Albert Cuyp Market. (If you check out the link, look at the chocolates of mens' privates. I didn't take a photo myself, but definitely got a giggle. Only in Amsterdam). The four batiks here have a very different texture from the kind we get in the states - they're softer.

More traditional dutch fabric:

I've kind of got a Halloween/Christmas decorating theme going here. Not by design, I just never got myself organized this year. The gorgeous Lily and my Christmas goodies:
I also bought an herbal tea blend called Spicy. It's fantastic and I wish I could figure out what's in it. Definitely big chunks of dried ginger. Some coriander seeds, cinnamon bark and licorice flavoring - maybe anise? Possibly fennel seeds.... No actual tea though so perhaps it should be called an infusion. I'll have to keep on the lookout for something similar in the States because I love it.

So Christmas went well here. My husband got a bunch of boring books that he's thrilled with. We got the DVD of Raiders of the Lost Ark which is finally sold separately - I so did not want the other two movies. We watched that yesterday and I can't stop humming the theme music. I alternate between that and Who songs from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

I forgot to mention, I finished up the hand quilting on Rumspringa. Woohoo!!! No pics yet though.

I'm finishing up some projects here - getting borders put on and backings sewn together - to take with me to Florida. Will.Not.Stress.About.Move. Aiyeeeee.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joyeux Noël

Mmm Parisian desserts. These snowmen are adorable, from the shop Dallyou, which has been in business since 1802:

Although I'm sure these desserts aren't that old ;-)

The snowmen are cute, but I wouldn't want to eat one. This Autumn Leaves chocolatey treat is much more my style. Can you see the price though? Gulp 32 euros.

Photos from my walk on the Champs d'Elysees on 8 December:

I showed you the black christmas trees before. These are much more my style:

For those of you who celebrate it, Merry Christmas. All of you stay safe and warm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


On Friday evening I had a wonderful time with a fantastic bunch of Dutch quilters. I was so busy talking and quilting that I completely forgot about my camera. D’oh! Luckily Isabeau and Ellen were also visited by Quiltmania and their homes should appear in the September and December editions of the magazine.

The next morning we all headed up to Leeuwarden to see an exhibition of quilts at the Fries Museum. That’s Fries as in Friesland (a region of the Netherlands) not fries as in the potato treats.

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-28-37 AM

The exhibition was okay. There weren’t as many antique quilts as I’d like to have seen and many were hung  high so you couldn’t see the details. No flash photography was allowed and my photos were terrible.

 An Moonen, an antique textile historian, was at the museum to give a lecture and to celebrate the publication of her latest book on antique Dutch quilts. By the way, if there is enough interest the book will be published in English. You can go here to let them know you’d be interested in buying one.

I skipped the lecture and instead walked around town. Here are some of my pics. An old pharmacy building with incredible details:

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-03-06 AM

A close up of the sign:

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-03-16 AM

I love this old building  and the way it leans into its neighbor:

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-17-55 AM

The building has a date of 1697. I wonder if this cat was an original feature?

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-18-02 AM

More “felines” decorating town:

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-25-11 AM

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-26-41 AM

And I couldn’t resist this little face:

Leeuwarden 12-13-2008 8-25-40 AM

I have a few links to share with you and then I have to go get cracking.

Dianne made this fabulous 10 Wishes top – such a sweet baby quilt and a great way to incorporate a personal touch into a quilt.

I love Joyce’s Winter Words quilt. I can’t believe how much snow I’ve seen in blogland – brrrrr.

Belinda has a great antidote to the winter cold: bright busy stars.

I love these household cleaning recipes that Bumble Beans featured – I’m going to have to try these out. I love that they’re great for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities.

Gotta run, things to do. Take care and stay safe.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cats, Quilts and New Friends

I’m safely back from my trip to the Netherlands. I had a fantastic time and my only regret is that I didn’t take a bigger suitcase along with some of my quilts for show and tell.

I have so many photos to show you from this trip, I’ve decided to split them up by theme. So my stories won’t be chronological…

I stayed with Joes in her very lovely apartment. Joes has now started a blog called Dutch Quilt Cat, which I’m sure will be filled with photos of her wonderful quilts, cats, and travel.

Joes and I visited the Cat Cabinet a tiny museum dedicated to paintings, advertising images, photos, and sculptures of cats. It’s housed in an Amsterdam canal house so you can also see all the period detail on the ceiling, walls and gorgeous wood floors. Joes in front of the museum:

Joes at Cat Cabinet 12-18-2008 5-34-52 AM

The museum had marvelous posters for sale – I came home with the Zwicky poster of a cat holding a spool of thread.

While I was visiting Joes, an editor and photographer from the magazine Quiltmania came to take photos of her apartment and quilts. It was fun to watch them work, moving things around to get the best composition. They also visited the homes of three other Dutch quilters whom I met AND interviewed Bonnie. I am sooo buying a subscription to the magazine.

I didn’t take many photos of the apartment myself – I know the professionals did a much better job - but I did take a few.  An antique Amish quilt on the wall and on the bed a quilt that Joes made and Bonnie machine quilted:

Joes two amish quilts 12-15-2008 6-00-43 AM 

A beautiful antique postage stamp quilt:

Joes postage stamp quilt 12-15-2008 5-18-21 AM

Joes has two beautiful sweet cats. This is Saartje curled up on a gorgeous antique star quilt composed of triangles:

Saartje sleeping on triangle stars quilt 12-15-2008 6-00-04 AM

The level of workmanship on the quilt is amazing. It’s heavily quilted and just gorgeous.

Saartje closeup on triangle quilt 12-15-2008 5-59-51 AM

Saartje has a sister named Pluisje, which means Fluffy. She has long hair but doesn’t tolerate being brushed, so she has to get shaved twice a year. She looks like a gorgeous Dr Seuss’ lion with the big mane, skinny body, and tail with a tuft at the end:

pluisje the lion 12-19-2008 6-51-03 AM

Pluisje was especially sweet to me. She’d sleep with me sometimes at night or curl up on my legs while I was on the sofa reading, which I did a lot of – Joes has an amazing quilt book library.

pluisje roses and tea tins 12-15-2008 6-07-28 AM

This is me sitting with Saartje, an ever present cup of tea in my hand:

Tonya with Saartje 12-12-2008 8-28-34 AM

An amazing trip but it’s also good to be home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another New Beginning

I started on yet another new project yesterday. This is one I've been planning for ages, although I'm not entirely sure it's going to turn out like I think it will. I'm using some of the brightest happiest fabric in my stash, about half of it brushed cottons (look like fabric on one side and sort of flannely on the other). Right now I'm at the stage of sewing strips onto 4" lengths of paper.

I really need to get working on this project and get something finished today since I'm leaving at Oh Dark Thirty (translation: too darn early) tomorrow morning for a trip to Amsterdam. I'll be meeting up with my friend Will and we'll be staying with a friend of hers who also happens to be friends with Lucy who is friends with Bonnie who will also be visiting the Netherlands. Not that we have much overlap, unfortunately.

I've been to the Netherlands several times before, so this trip isn't for sightseeing, but just about quilts quilts quilts. I'm excited about the trip but also sad to be leaving my husband and kitties all by themselves so close to Christmas.

Little Pokey in the bowl that I finally unnearthed beneath stacks of fabric.

I just hope I remember to bring my camera AND its battery. Won't be posting for awhile, but hopefully will have loads to share with you when I do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow in Paris

Oh my, we had snow here in Paris yesterday. It wasn't nice fluffy stuff - it was wet and melty - but definitely snow.

Poor flowers.

I know, this looks an awful lot like the pic right up above it, but I liked both shots.

The street right in front of our building is only one lane. So when deliveries get made and traffic backs up, the other drivers sometimes get cranky. The snow never did accumulate.

Luckily I only had to go out briefly for a grocery run, which I have to do practically every day here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Quilt You Won't See

Yesterday I managed to settle down long enough to do some sewing at the machine. I knew I wanted to do fun holiday quilt with this snowman fabric. The fabric has a strong red color but the lighter colors are actually quite soft. I wanted an ivory color but didn't have any in my stash and decided to go ahead anyway. So I made white letters.

Can I just say yuck. I hated it. I wanted to like it - but that Joy is just too stark. The whole thing doesn't work together - so I took it apart. The snowmen will have to wait.

I'm going to need another project basted soon though - I'm circling towards the finish of Rumspringa.

A week ago I told you about my new endeavor with The Fabric Square shop. Well now is the time to announce the winner of the giveaway. drum roll.... Robyn who wants to play with Merry and Bright fabric. Robyn, send me an email. Sorry to those who didn't win, but did you notice the shop is having another giveaway?

Pokey and Lily have finally bounced back after the ordeal of visiting the vet. So sad to have slinking babies with low tails. Habibi was fine as soon as we got him home. He's just a big sweetheart, happy to have a home. Howler took a couple of hours and then he was fine too.

In our continuing holiday movie watching: Edward Scissorhands (the scenes of Johnny Depp with Vincent Price just break my heart) and Christmas in Connecticut (always love Barbara Stanwyck, even though this isn't her best movie).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Black Holiday Decorations?

Some decorative Parisian Christmas chocolates. First the advent calendar:

Then some chocolate ornaments, a chocolate santa, and my favorite: chocolate letters.

I've noticed a disturbing trend here, lots of black christmas tree ornaments and decorations. Yuck. I guess that's trendy and chic, but I definitely don't care for it one bit.

These black trees look diseased to me.

I've seen black ornaments for sale in the expensive stores.

Give me happy colors!!!

Speaking of happy beautiful Christmas items, check out these cards by Moonboots. They are gorgeous. ComicBookLady was lucky enough to meet the artist and see the cards in person. Jen, check out this card in particular, there's a hedgehog in the sack of goodies.

So yesterday was the long-feared trip to the vet. Or should I say, trips to the vet plural. You know, it actually went as well as it possibly could. I distracted the cats in the kitchen by opening up a can of wet food while my husband started closing off doors to the rest of the house. Howler caught on that Something Bad was happening, but not fast enough.

Luckily Howler has learned that we stop chasing him around if he goes in his cage - it's his safe place. So he ran right in, but continued to blubber and wail - that's how he got his name in the first place. Howler howls.

We had a wonderful english-speaking vet - she was great. The one bit of badness? Turns out little Pokey has a heart murmer. Ack. We'll take her in for an ultrasound once we get back to america.

After the not-as-traumatic-as-it-could-have-been-but-still-stressful morning, my husband and I went to the Murphy's House pub for lunch. Yummy. And then we watched While You Were Sleeping. As I've said so many times, love love love that movie. It's the movie equivalent of comfort food for me.