12/30/2008

The calm before the storm


It is a beautiful sunny day here in southwest France. The snow has melted and the hills are a wonderful array of greens and browns across my windows. I am curled up on the couch in front of the fireplace stitching away the afternoon. Today is a peaceful day.
We had planned to have the New Years Eve party here again this year but plans changed and now it is at someone else's house nearby. Deep breath of relief. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed it here but it would have been a lot more work. Right now D needs to just relax and enjoy himself a bit. Too much stress already with all the projects on his plate. He has spent half the holidays coding. I am looking forward to tomorrows festivities though. If it's anything like last year's party I will definitely be sleeping in the next day *grin* Ah, my holidays are drawing swiftly to an end. Sometimes I wish I could just spend all my time stitching away. 4 more months of school though....


I have done quite a bit on the fairy shoe pin cushion. I still am not done. I went to put a piece on the pin cushioin part and just didnt like how it looked. Unfortunately I didnt bring any pieces that I do like there so I will finish this piece up when I get back home and find something suitable that I like.


I had also planned on making a star garland while I was here but my pinking sheers are in terrible condition. I'm not sure what I will do about that project now. Guess I will have to get these sheers sharpened or get a new pair...might cost the same.
Hope you all have a wonderful day and an even better New Year's Eve!
12/28/2008

Good Music, Good Wine & Good Fun


A christmas eve celebration...with much music and wine


and a christmas table full of cheer


but best of all SNOW...SNOW...SNOW!!!



Also here are lil sis's window clingy's sucessfully installed...and the one I made her last year...


and last but not least...the beginnings of my new shoe *^_^*

12/27/2008

Hibernating

Hello all, I hope you are all enjoying a nice holiday. The christmas celebrations are over here. My MIL whipped up a stupendous feast for Christmas day and we had many family members over to help us celebrate. Then yesterday we spent the day recouperating and what would happen but SNOW! Lots of it, great big giant flakes tumbling down from the sky. It was so wonderful to watch. IT has been a long time since I was able to enjoy the snow falling. I just sat there and soaked it in. Today the family has left for the mountains and left D and I alone cuddled up in this petite maison a la campagne. He has built up a great fire and I am bundled up here sewing away the day. Sorry I have no pics for this post as I am on my MILs laptop but I promise I will upload them tonight or tomorrow and post a few snow scenes and maybe a few of my paisley project. Today though I am making another shoe...this one a pin cushion. I am having SO MUCH FUN with the shoes. TOO cute. TOO whimsical!
12/23/2008

Holidays


I am here in beautiful Moirax celebrating the season with my husband's family, my family now. We have had much fun and good times. Lil sis and I made ornaments yesterday. I brought the polystyrene balls, paper napkins, glitter and glue with me when I came down. We sat at the table and cut napkins into little pieces....


applied them to the balls with glue, added glitter and voila!


It was much fun! I really enjoy spending time with her. She is a very sweet girl and she has never ending patience with teaching me french.


I did get a little done on my paisley project also. I might post photos later this week. Hope you are all having a wonderful time wherever you are. Many christmas cookies to you all!
12/19/2008

Running Myself in Circles



Good Morning Everyone! I have been running around like a chicken with her head off this morning. Trying to finish up last minute christmas gifts and pack. Making myself a small sewing kit and really in a quandry as to what I want to include in said kit. I will be gone for two weeks and I want to make sure I take enough with me to keep me occupied...and not just my paisley project in case my hands start protesting again. This requires, material, beads, threads, needles, pins, scissors, ruler, cloth marker. argh, the list goes on and on. See while I am at Chez MIL I will have much time on my hands and I want to take advantage of it!


This morning I put together lil sis's window clingy's. I really hope she likes the characters I picked. She is really loving the Littlest Pet Shop birds so I think they will do *grin*


Sorry for the weird angle on these. It was the only way I could keep my shadow off of them. I will take a pic of them after they are dried and installed on her windows IF they survive the trip. I am going to leave them on the piece of plastic I painted them on and roll them into a tube to transport them. I really hope they survive the trip and it doesnt ruin them...and I REALLY hope they are dry by the time we have to go. D informed me this morning that we might leave tonight O.0 that was totally unexpected.


I also made some soap this morning for my FIL. I really didnt know what to make him AT ALL. D pointed out that he likes to take lots of showers so I thought why not? I made two nice sparkly snowflake scents ( and no they dont have sparkles in them *giggles*) and two of a spicy vanilla scent. Neither smell too girly so I thought he might like them.
I am really looking forward to our trip down to see the family. I have been so homesick for Christmas and my family and friends this year. It hasnt felt like christmas here at all. I think once I get around a young ones enthusiasm and a house with a tree and baking going on it will feel better. Also I just adore D's family and really enjoy thier company. They are simple, happy people much given to wine and song and good food.We will also have many opportunities to spend time with his friends from back home and I enjoy the company of many of them. We might even have another huge New Years party as we did last year and I had much fun then. I'm not sure how much posting I will get done while down there but I will try to keep up and post a few shots of a french family christmas ^_^ Happy Holidays to all! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebration.
12/17/2008

Cold feet, warm belly ^_^

Today is another gloomy day, one that makes me want to curl up on the couch with my cashmere blanket and a hot cup of cocoa. One thing I really love at Christmas time is a good cup of hot peppermint cocoa. Well, I have to admit I dont think there are too many French people that drink peppermint cocoa. In fact I think there are a LOT of things we Americans eat that they think a little odd. D thinks I go nuts with cinnamon and I dont even think I use it that much. Anyway...back to the hot chocolate. I have been yearning for a cup for awhile now. Do they sell peppermint hot cocoa here? Hell no! Do they sell peppermint extract here? Not to my knowledge. BUT...I found a solution. They do sell a few different large size dark chocolate and mint candy bars ^___^


Problem solved. I had my cocoa. Now if I could just find a few nice, big cocoa mugs. It feels strange drinking cocoa out of a glass!


Last night I found the time to sit down and do some stitching. I finished the little black and white boot for my friend. I have to admit I still dont like it much. It's ok though. I think she will like it and that's what matters. After I finished it I found myself again wanting to make a fairy dress. This might be a future project if it keeps poking at my brain. I also thought these would make cute pincushions if I made them a little larger. The ones I have made so far are just barely over 2".


I also brought out my paisley project again and did a little more work on it. (very little) I find my hands are still quite sore and not wanting to hold this piece for some reason. I may leave it set again and work on my lil sis's christmas present. For some reason I keep putting off that project even though I thought it would be such a perfect gift for her. I usually enjoy working in stained glass paints. I think it might be the weather holding me up. Hard to get excited about stained glass when the sun isnt shining.
12/16/2008

More experiments with color

Today I am working on a new dye bath. I wanted a deep rich red so I used two teaspoons of magenta and 1/2 teaspoon of black. Unfortunately from how it looks so far I will get a bordeaux color. Not that I dont love bordeaux, I do, just not quite what I was going for. I wanted it a little less purple. I think I will need to add a bit of yellow to rectify this. I have so much to learn about dyeing and I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Unfortunately I only have a limited amount of dye and a limited amount of cloth to do it with. I guess when I reach my limits with cloth (which Im sure I'll run out of before I run out of dye) I will just have to sew instead of dye.
I am also working on another little shoe. A friend saw my blue ones and begged me to make her a black and white one. This is not the most inspiring theme for me but I am putting forth an effort. I always want to add lots of color with my black and white. Splashes of red, yellow and blue. I have the shoe about halfway done and will probably finish it tonight. If so I will post pics tomorrow. I do love these little whimsical treasures and find myself wanting to make a dress to go with them *grin*
12/14/2008

Fairy steps...



Yesterday was a successful day with my new glasses picked out and ordered. With any luck I will have them before the new year. It will be so nice to not constantly strain my eyes. We postponed our chimichanga meal until today as we forgot half the ingredients when we stopped at the store. We did have guest over last night and enjoyed spending some time with them. Today I made 22 chimichangas. 22! That's the most I ever made at one time. They were so good though and D is still groaning from his overindulgence *grin*


So now I finally have a chance to sit down and relax with a little stitching in my hands. I have really enjoyed creating these little shoes and just imagine how fun it would be to wear them ^_^ I have finished the embroidery on the one and now I need to replicate it on the other. I so enjoy coming up with a design and embellishing an item. I have to admit though, the second in a pair is never as fun as the first. Thats OK, I can just imagine how cute they will be side by side when they are finished. Hope you are all well and happy. Have a great day!
12/13/2008

Busy, busy, busy!


Good Morning Everyone! Today is going to be a very busy day for me but I wanted to take the time quickly this morning to post a pic of my ongoing paisley project. We finally had some decent light yesterday afternoon so I quickly took a snap of it. Thats about all I got done on that project. I simply had to not work on it at all yesterday as my hands were screaming at me.


I did get started on my little shoe project. I sketched out an approximate pattern and then sewed a mock up from the pieces. Yes the side part of the shoe was too long and I ended up eliminating the top piece altogether but in the end I finally had a working pattern. This little side project has been a lot of fun and it is giving my hands a needed break from holding so much material like the other project.

I will try to get some more pics of the shoes today IF I get home in time and IF there is good light. We are off to go to a little market for some Christmas browsing, then onto the optician to FINALLY order my new glasses. I am so excited about this. I havent been able to see well since I came to France and it just took forever to get my insurance and everything in order. Then when it was all together it took forever again to get into an ophthamologist to get my eyes checked and receive my prescriptioin. They dont do that at the eyeglass centers here you have to go to a seperate doctor to receive it. After we pick out my eyeglasses we are stopping at the grocery to pick up needed items then home again to make Chicken Chimichangas! I promised my hubby this special treat this weekend . It is a special treat as it takes me a long time to complete it. I have to make the refried beans, the salsa, the mexican rice, the guacomole and the chicken filling all from scratch. Then we assemble them all and deep fry them for a wonderful awesome mexican treat. This is one of my favorite mexican foods and it took me a lot of trial and error to finally be able to make it just like my favorite restaurant back home.
I hope you all have a wonderful day, I am off to get ready for mine ^_^
12/12/2008

Hands in too many pots...

Today I am all in a flurry. I have many ideas flitting around my head and tugging in all directions. My paisley piece has made my hands scream in protest. I have suffered for years from what one doctor called "Inflammatory joint disease" but haven't really had a bad flare up since I moved to France until this week. I think all that satin stitching is telling on me *grin* I was able to get a bit more done on it this week and will post some pics if I can get good light today. I might hold off on any more work on it for a day or two though to give my hands a rest. Sometimes I think I am crazy for the things I end up doing. It seems each project I start ends up being more and more intricate and I spend days on end and countless hours on them.
I made three crystal wash dye baths last night. Each with three t-shirts in them. I cant wait till they finish so I can wash them out and see what I got. I am really enjoying using these wonderful variated cloths in my stitching and with the huge pile of clothes that have come into my possession why not make more? I also finally found some tjantings that I could order at a reasonable price. It's strange how I can't find ANY dye materials here in France. I KNOW people hand dye here but it must be a deep secret. I have looked all over for a place in the US or in England that would send me a tjanting without charging me an arm and leg in shipping cost. I finally found one! Now if I could just find something here that I could buy to use as a thickener. Nobody here seems to know what urea is or what a suitable substitute for it would be. Shipping that from another country is out of the question, seeing as the substance itself is dirt cheap but to ship it is 100 times its cost! Sometimes this language barrier makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
I have an idea for a new project and I think I may fiddle with it today. I have a dear friend back home that has been on my mind a lot lately and she LOVES LOVES LOVES fairies. I thought I might try my hand at a pair of fairy shoes for her. I have seen so many wonderful examples. Especially on Annette's wonderful blog Fairy Shoes and Other Things. YOu should stop by there and check out her beautiful photos and wonderful stories. I think it would be just the thing to make to remind my friend how much I love and miss her. It will also be a lot of fun...and nice and intricate. Just up my alley!
12/08/2008

Let the sun shine in!



It was a very cold day today but we still had some nice sun this afternoon. I took a few shots of the piece I am working on right now that I am beginning to think would make a great flap for a messenger type bag. Its bold and bright and I'm really liking how the colors are looking together.


I also took a shot of my two new pieces I just dyed. I like them both. The red really saved the piece that was grey and rose colored. It has some real possibilites now. Before it just looked sad and grey.
I would like to do some more dyeing this weekend if I find the time and I also have to get started on my lil sis's christmas present. I am planning on making her some window glass art in littlest pet shop designs. She is absolutely crazy about these little animals and what better thing to decorate her windows with then her latest passion?
12/06/2008

Befuddled

I have no exciting pictures to show you (or boring ones for that matter). It was too dark and dreary to take any today. I promise I will try to catch a shot tomorrow if the sun peeps out. I have two more paisley to join my first and I really like how they are looking. I am stumped as to what this is going to be though. I had planned on making a pleated purse with this piece and I wanted an allover pattern on the material of the purse. The more I work on it though, the more I realize that 1) this is just was too heavy to look right as a pleated purse. 2) even if it wasnt too heavy I think the pattern is to interesting to pleat up and hide part of it. So now I have to figure out what to do with this piece and I hope I do before I finish it. If anyone can think of a good suggestion I sure would appreciate it.
I also did two new dye baths today. One was actually done on a previous piece. My grey and rose piece just didnt excite me at all. It looked to drab so I scrunched it into a bucket again and gave it several good squirts of red. I hope that brightens it up. I also did a yellow and red mix.They are fermenting away in the bathroom and I will rinse them in the morning and see what I get. I really need some good red/yellow pieces so I am looking forward to seeing the results. Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend. Until tomorrow ~ciao ^_^
12/04/2008

Pretty Paisley

12/03/2008

Bugs galore....



Seems my hubby has brought me home another bug. Just when I thought I was getting better, I am down again. I won't complain too much though. This time at least I still feel up to stitching. I have been working on my second crazy quilt purse and it's almost done. I think I like it better than the first one but I doubt I will make another one of these. I love the way they look but I dont want to turn into a production line.


I have started a new project. I'm not sure what I think of this but I will give it a try. I have been stitching on this tonight. Maybe I will post a few pics of how it looks so far tomorrow. Have a great day everyone ^_^

11/30/2008

Pathways


Late night stitching


blazing a trail of color


across the landscape of denims


...a patchwork garden.


11/28/2008

Ragbag


I really had fun working on this project. It just popped into my head and omce I started on it I couldn't put it down. I like how it looks so far but I can't decide if I want to go any further on it. D thinks I should outline the star with some trim I have and I think it looks O.K. with it but I didn't just HAVE to do it. If you know what I mean... I think I will look at it for a few days to see if anything else pops into my head for it. Right now it still needs a strap.
Feeling a bit better today but still going slow.
11/27/2008

Recuperation



Just a quick note to say...I am recovering. Slowly but surely. I knew I was feeling better when this idea popped into my head today. For the first time in days my hands picked up my scissors. I will survive...
11/24/2008

Grumpy bunny longs for sunny beaches....

This is my favorite photo I have ever taken. Its old, bent and worn but still chereished. I have taken many more photos that I'm sure other people would say were much better than this one. I love the expression in this one though. The carefree spirit and triumphant feeling it speaks to me. Ah to be so young and free again eh?


I am a bit grumpy today. Woke up with a scratchy throat and a sniffly nose. I have been working non-stop now for three days on my MIL's rug and last night I finally finished it! I wish I could say I woke up this morning rarinng to get to work on something else but truthfully I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and stay there.


I did make some nice homemade pita bread and hummus and I'm afraid that drained me of what little energy I had. I am snuggling down on the couch to moan and groan my afternoon away. Maybe after a bit of a rest I may get inspired again. I hope you all are feeling better than I. Take care....
11/20/2008

Raggedy

5456 strips...

It's been a bit of a hectic week here. We arrived back from Moirax Sunday evening, then to bed, then to class the next day. As soon as I arrived home from class Monday, D informed me that he had a job interview the next morning and we had to rush out to buy him an overcoat and dress shirt. Then to bed, then class the next day....My test was today so I spent yesterday studying and then when I went out to go to class this morning the bus drivers were on strike. All that worry over my test and now I cant take it. I also spent part of my day doing a little of this...


Yes finally I have enough strips to do this rug. This one is a gift for my MIL. She fell in love with mine and she really needs a nice rug in her bathroom. THe large one I am planning ot make for the livingroom here may take me forever. Over 25,000 strips and I still have 2/3 of them to cut. That will definitely be a long term project *hehe* I think I will be quite busy this month just trying to finish up Christmas presents. I still want to open an Etsy shop but I would like to have at least a few more items on hand before I do. I am in no big hurry to do that though. It will be nice when it happens but I'm not going to rush things. I tend to start feeling things are a burden if I feel rushed and I want to enjoy my creating not get bogged down.
As a parting note...look at the goodies my MIL gave me when I was there visiting!


I'm not sure what I will do with the yarns. I dont have a crochet hook or knitting needles but they are very pretty so Im sure I will come up with something. Besides the pieces of material here in the pic she also gave me several more pieces of white material for dying and more tshirts to cut for strips. Yay!
11/17/2008

La Mandigote


My husband grew up in the tiny village Moirax in France, born and raised there. It is a quaint little village set atop a hill just outside of Agen. The main and ONLY attraction was L'├ęglise Sainte-Marie de Moirax, an almost 1000 yr old church whose construction began in 1080. A gorgeous structure to say the least.


Well move over, we now have a new attraction in town "La Mandigote". La Mandigote is a nice little tea shop/bar with a wide range of drinks offered. While perusing the menu I spotted not only several choices of white and red wine, champagne, and many interesting flavours of tea, but they also had many sodas and even hot chocolate. We ordered a glass of white wine for each of us (there were 6 of us) and it was served with a nice bowl of sliced sausages and another bowl of dates. A nice appero.


The interesting thing about this little bar though, is the fact that it is also a gallery! A free gallery at that. On all the walls throughout the structure hang a variety of paintings and other works of art. There were several sculptures and nice ceramic works also in evidence.


The proprietress has a great interest in the arts and has provided a warm, bright spot for the people of the village to congregate and enjoy some culture while they are at it. I encourage you to drop in and enjoy a glass and soak up some art. It is located on the same square as the church.

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