Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Candy

Halloween here is nothing like it is in the states, where it's very commercial and you can't walk into a grocery store without seeing aisles of candy and stores like Wal-Mart with tons of decorations. The candy definitely seems to be left to the specialty chocolate shops. Here's a wonderful display I found in the 17th arrondisment.

I think I'm going to have to treat myself to some Parisian chocolate Halloween candy this year and see if these wonderful items are as good to eat as they are to look at.

I spent some time yesterday photographing a display of my Halloween art and the few horror/ creepy/odd books we own in order to enter Library Thing's 20 Million Books/Halloween photo contest. Habibi checking it out:

Made me realize I don't have many books classified as horror. Movies yes, books no.

"Anonymous" has fessed up that the identity impersonation was meant to be a joke. D'oh. Really made me realize how easily someone could cause damage if they wanted to. If you get a comment from someone that just doesn't seem right, think twice about who it might really be from.

Yesterday I watched The Ring. Naomi Watts is impressive and she had a great American accent, but can't say much for the movie. Remakes of Japanese horror movies just don't do it for me - The Grudge was lame too. I don't recommend either.
A friend is in town and we have sun - woohoo! At 56 degrees it's going to be positively balmy out there. Now I have to go get the apartment whipped into shape although I'm still undecided about whether or not I'm going to let her in to see the place. I don't need Howler freaking out even more than he has been.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

That's Not Me

Warning: Someone is posting snotty/mean comments on other people's blogs as "Tonya" and when you click on that name it takes you straight to my blog. That is NOT me. I am Lazy Gal Tonya. If anyone knows how to do something about it, let me know. thanks.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Links Galore

Since I haven't posted any pics of my cats in ages, here are a couple of great photos that Morey took. Habibi:

And Pokey:

Lily and Howler were both too skittish to hang around for their photo ops.
Howler was scarce for the first couple of days that we had guests, but by the end he wasn't hiding any more. He is however marking the couch like crazy; that is, he's marking the strategically placed towels. I've been doing a load of towels in the laundry every other day. Crazy cat.
I've got a long list of links to share with you. Too long in fact, so I'm just doing the Halloweeny ones now.
First off is Loco Quilter Kymberly who's been making up some of the faces that I've drawn. They are a hoot. This link is for her October archives, so you can see Witchy Woman as well as Frankie, the Mummy, and the 3-eyed Monster. I love these - go give her lots of encouragement.

Dordogne Quilter Clare has free-pieced a witch (Bellatrix LeStrange in fact) and she's got a great free-pieced Halloween quilt in progress. This is her October Archive so you can see them all. Very fun.
Persnickety Diane made a fantastic liberated jack'o'lantern way back in 1997. She's a long time Gwen Marston fan too. Liberated Jack is wonderful, plus there's some great Roberta Horton fabrics in there.
Spiritcloth Jude recently made a wonderful free-pieced jack'o'lantern. Jude so inspires me with her willingness to mix fabrics. Velvets, linens, cottons, silks, she puts them all together and they look fabulous.
Master of Patience Lynda made an improvisational jack'o'lantern quilt too. wheee.

Magpies Nest Sue has been showing off bits of her Halloween quilts and decorating this month AND she's done a really fun journal piece as well. Go visit and scroll through her October entries.
By the way, I hope it's clear when I provide these tutorials that I want you to make them up! No exact copying (you better not be using rulers to measure!), but "inspired by" I LOVE.
It's been raining here all day. yuck. At least the weather held out for our touristing.

Skeleton Tutorial

I can't believe Halloween is almost here already. There is still so much I wanted to do before the holiday arrived.

One of my favorite quilts, Bad to the Bone. I've blogged about it previously here.

This is the second skeleton I made, from the quilt Happy Howloween:

This is a rough drawing of the Bad skeleton. You know how to do everything in here. That skull is done exactly like I explained in the Faces Tutorial. The rest of the body uses the insertion method as explained in the Basics.

For the middle row, cut the ribcage first, then follow the lines of it make the angles on the background fabric. You should have three pieces for the middle row: background, ribcage, background. Set aside the ribcage, it goes in last.
Cut the slice for the top part of the arm so that it is a quarter inch down from the top of the strip. (I actually drew it wrong, so look at the darker line on the left side.) After you've inserted that strip, slice for the bottom half of the arm, making sure to cross over the top arm so that you get an elbow.

You can add hands by sewing a bit of fabric to the top of the outermost bit of background before you attach it. The final step is to sew the ribcage in.
These skeletons look like they're dancing to me. I've always wanted to do a chorus line with them, but not enough time in the day. I'd love to see what ya'all can come up with sewing skeletons! Let me know if you need any clarifications.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

But We Have to See Everything

I can't even keep track of everything that we saw, let alone on which day. I've been a bit overwhelmed with all the photos and finally decided I had to just grab some and post.

First up is Morey's photo of Janet taking a photo on the Pont Alexandre III:

On 24 October, Morey went to the Louvre to see lots and lots and lots of paintings, sculpture and Egyptian stuff. Janet and I went to the Decorative Arts Museum instead - I'll post about that another day. My husband stayed home and made us delicious Italian Weddding Soup for dinner. Or was that another day? I get all confused.

On 25 October, Janet, my sweetie, and I took a walk down to the Marais for a bit of sightseeing and falafel sandwiches (which were delicious). We came across this holiday store, featuring Santa AND witches:

We then met Morey for a tour of the Crypts of Paris, which was horribly boring. I don't know how "crypt" translates into english, but it's got to be a faux amis. We saw building foundations from the Roman period. Dull, dull, dull.

The Conciergerie was built in the early 1300's. Look at the gorgeous ceiling of the Hall of Men-at-Arms:

Janet and I in one of the four fireplaces. Gives you a sense of the scale:

During the French Revolution the Conciergerie was used as a prison, which is how the building got it's name. (I hadn't realized that a concierge is a keeper.) More than 2,700 people spent their last moments here before going to the guillotine. This is the pitcher that Marie-Antoinette may have used to take her last drink:

On Friday, the skies were very gray and we were all wiped out so we skipped Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. Late in the afternoon Morey was going through a guidebook and realized that he hadn't seen all the Egyptian artifacts at the Louvre. He and I went back for a nighttime visit. It's nice then - far less crowded.

Me and a sphinx:

Morey taking a photo of me:

And the reverse:

The display we were both photographing. I think the statue on the left is Osiris and the black statue is definitely Sekhmet:

Morey and Janet left yesterday morning. I assume they got the Eurostar safely to London because they didn't show back up at our door. I wish they'd stayed here longer AND I'm jealous that they're in London. I'm now in the dregs of a post-holiday letdown.

We had the 6-day museum pass - I don't think I'd go that route again. Too exhausting and you're locked into it once you start - the days have to be consecutive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trick or Treat

Steak Frites and Paris at night. mmm.

Danielle S. recently sent me photos of her Halloween quilt. She's done a great job, but what is especially marvelous is that this is only her second quilt project ever. Her first was a Ohio Star quilt from a kit. I love that she just dove in and tried the letters - they're fantastic.

And the quilt top which she intends to hand quilt. I love it.

See, you can do these letters even without much experience.
I have found a bit of Halloween here in Paris. This is a chocolate shop in Montmartre:

As is this lovely fall chocolate:

I made sure to take a picture of the chocolate mushrooms for Kristin L:

Pylones, which sells fun, brightly colored items, has a skull sugar bowl and black cat tape dispenser and stapler:

And a kitchen store:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Still Touristing in Paris

We have been so lucky with the weather. No rain so far (knock on wood) and mostly blue skies. Me and my aunt Janet standing in the middle of traffic in front of the Arc de Triomphe.


Good thing there wasn't much traffic or we might have been taken out. We were actually at a stopping point between the lanes of traffic - French streets are often crossed in stages.

Morey's photo of the spiral staircase at the Arc. I have to say it was the best staircase we took (there's a center to look down and it's wider than those in the Sacre Couer, Catacombs, or Notre Dame, and only 266 steps compared to Notre Dame's 400-some).

Next stop, the Eiffel Tower. A photo taken very strategically to hide the enormous rugby ball-shaped air balloon and the wide screen tv showing rugby highlites.

The other side of the tower, with the rugby air balloon in the middle of the tower and the giant rugby balloon at the bottom celebrating (advertising?) the World Rugby Cup in New Zealand in 2012.

Janet and Morey:

We then trooped over to Napoleon's Tomb and then the Rodin Museum. It was a looong day.

Yesterday Morey and I took the metro (all back to normal, woohoo) to the Centre Pompidou, the modern art museum. We were too early so we wandered around a bit. My favorite bit of art in the nearby fountain, a skull very appropriate for Halloween.

Nearby St Merri's had some great gargoyles. These are my uncle's photos. I love his camera with the 12x zoom.

Oh no!
Middle Age's Mick Jagger:

We did go into the Pompidou and then Morey went wandering on by himself to take photos of buildings and churches. Meanwhile I went with Janet and my sweetie to the Museum of the Middle Ages, aka the Cluny.

These objects are Halloweeny to me, although they were deadly serious back when created. A stained glass window originally in St Chapelle's:

And part of a tapestry. I don't know why these demons were trying to capsize the boat:

Anyway, that's the quick overview. My bad knee is really acting up after all this walking and climbing so I'm taking the morning off to rest and my sweetie to cook, which he really enjoys when he has the time. Janet and Morey are off to the Orsay Museum and then hopefully back home to regain their strength for our outing tonight to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We're Tourists

Here's a quick tour of Paris with Tonya, Morey and Janet. I'll have more photos later, but these are the ones for our families. And yes, my camera shy husband was with us on these tours.

On Thursday the 18th French transportation workers were on strike, so we walked all the way up to the Sacre Couer Basilica in Montmartre. We had lovely sun and not many fellow visitors.

The traffic was really light on the streets. I think everyone decided it was a holiday from work and stayed at home. Good thing we didn't try to go to museums - we heard afterwards that the Orsay was closed and so was most of the Louvre.

We'd heard riding the metro hadn't been so bad, so decided to chance it on Friday. Hmm. Got the first train okay, but the line we intended to transfer to was "perturbed" and then cancelled. Our second choice was also cancelled. A very sweet woman who worked for the metro told us what line to use instead so we did eventually make our way to Montparnasse, and started our tour at the cemetery. It's not as cool as Pere-Lachaise.

This is the tomb of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Why are people leaving metro tickets here as well as roses?

Next up, the Catacombs, where centuries worth of Parisian citizens were moved when the regular cemeteries started to cause health problems back in the late 1700's. It took decades to move the bones down into the former mines.

Riding the metro home was a chore. Fewer lines running and lots of people smashed into the cars. We let several go by before realizing it wasn't going to get any better and we just had to crush into everyone already on board. Not altogether pleasant, but my husband said it was like riding the metro in Cairo but without the heat and aroma.

The museums are open again and we were assured there wouldn't be any more closures by a helpful woman at the tourist office. So we joined hordes of people on Saturday to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

Here's my uncle trying to get the best shot of a funerary monument:

We had blue skies so headed over to Notre Dame Cathedral, again with lots and lots of people. Waited in the cold shady side of the cathedral for about 45 minutes to climb all the way to the top. The stairs just about did me in (why is everyone compelled to go fast?) but I made it. Woohoo, gargoyles. My uncle taking a photo of me:

And me taking one of him:

Me again trying to get a shot of a gargoyle:

The streets were full of rugby fans of both persuasions (South Africa and England). Thought these English fans were a hoot. Now that the match is over, does this mean the fans will get home or just sleep at the railway stations for several days hoping that service gets back to normal soon.

Today is the Arche de Triumphe (agh, more stairs up to the top) and the Eiffel Tower. We have to take advantage of this chilly (51 degrees) but clear weather.