Monday, 26 May 2014

Back in my Happy Place!

Jet lag has passed and I am happily getting back into routine, though sadly my first phone call when I arrived home was to tell me of the passing of a dear friend. Though expected, it does not lessen the grief but I am really glad were are home to support his wife at this really difficult time.
These lovely faces never fail to cheer me up and it was wonderful to check out all the project progress while I have been absent!

I have been lucky to have some sewing catch up time, too. Top Gear left for a five day car rally and though we are usually quite happy together, after eight weeks constantly together we both agreed it was nice to have some time out!
I took my turn then and headed off for a three day sewing weekend at Main Creek, Dungog with a group of stitching buddies.
It was a lovely weekend with lots of laughter, food and frantic stitching!
Kaz produced this for her husband's 50th......

Then Cristie finished this, ready to go up on the wall at Thorpe and Co. It was made from a really cute new range of fabric featuring spaceships and astronauts, vintage style!

Tiffany rested on her laurels for a while........

but then got a spurt on and headed to a finish of this really pretty quilt top!

Debbie made a few new starts on some long term projects and finished a block for a work in progress.

but she really needed to concentrate a little harder.......

Cathie made good progress on her million, sorry, thousand pyramids quilt!

I sewed nine patches most of the weekend. I have a plan but this quilt is going to be big. Not exactly what I envisaged when I worked out all the measurements in my head, in bed , in the middle of the night.......hmmmmm!

It was a happy, industrious weekend with a smiley happy bunch, in a beautiful place with lots of good food.......what more could you want?

Well, we could do it all again next weekend.......yes please!
Happy stitching
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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Travelogue complete!

I have been back home a little over a week now and thought I had better "finish the trip".
After Nantes we had a few days before we had to return our car to Paris so we decided to head north, as I wanted to see that famous Bayeux tapestry.
We spent a day exploring Saint Malo, a beautiful, fortified walled coastal town. It is the ferry port for those travelling to the Guernsey Islands, and I was very glad we were not embarking. It was cold and very, very windy so we walked, then huddled with hot coffee then walked some more! It was the most fortified town on the French Atlantic coast and, yes, we had to explore every fort.......even those across the sandbar!

It was such a relief to get back in our toasty warm car, that day!
We then headed to Dinaan, another picture postcard cobbled and stone village, with a hilltop town and a river valley! It was a quiet, sweet place without the tourist vibe.

If I ever went to live in France, this would be a place to consider!
Next stop was a re visit for me! I had been to Mont St Michel 35 years ago but it was a first for Top Gear. Nothing beats that first glimpse as you come over the rise!

Mont St Michel is completely surrounded by sand and mud flats that recede under water at each high tide. When I visited many moons ago you had to time your visit to be able to walk across the sand at low tide and if you missed the tide you had to wait to get back or pay an exorbitant fee to a local boat owner! Those days are gone!

You can just see the remnant of the old road running across to the island in the right of the picture. Now they can shuffle tourists in by the multi busloads!
We climbed to the top to the peaceful cloisters and here I have re-created a photo my friend took 35 years ago. It is still a beautiful place even though I had to share it with thousands this time. Last time my friends explored it from top to bottom by ourselves and for free!

Last stop before Paris was Bayeux to see the famous tapestry. Top Gear excelled himself this time with his choice of accommodation. We arrived at a beautiful little chateau, complete with swans on the lake! You gotta love

The tapestry was awe inspiring. No photos allowed but if you ever get the chance, go see it, because photos do not do it justice. It is long, almost 70 metres, and you can follow an audio guide which tells the story depicted in the tapestry as you move along it! Awesome!
No time to linger though, hire car is due back in Paris and we are getting close to Home Sweet Home!
Paris was a delight as usual. This was our fourth time in Paris so most sightseeing boxes had been ticked on previous trips, thankfully, because If you visit Paris in May you must be prepared to queue.
We spent our time walking, people watching, eating and sleeping. No pressure!

We did exert ourselves to climb to the top of Sacre Coer, as this was one view of Paris that we hadn't seen and we again missed a visit to the Catacombs under Paris as it had been raining and they flood!

Montmartre was fun......artists doing their touristy artist thing!

I did a little shopping..........hehe! Surprise, the textile quarter of Paris just happens to right beside Sacre Coer, who would have known!!!!!!!

It was a lovely way to round out 7 weeks of travel but I am so longing to hug my children and cuddle my fur babies.
Next stop .....HOME!!!
Happy stitching

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Nantes at last!

We had an unsettling start to our stay in Nantes. Top Gear and I have been on the road now for about six weeks. Normally we manage to co-operate nicely but tensions
rose for a bit. First, the weather was bad, windy and rainy, the traffic was bad, the one way streets went nowhere, our apartment turned out to be on very busy main intersection and the parking was non existent. ALL MY FAULT cause I had picked the accommodation for our stay!
Tempers flared!!!!! We arrived in plenty of time as we had to meet the owner of the apartment to get the keys so we also had time to kill. After finding a park and finding the building the apartment was in we decided to go for a walk to get our bearings. I said one way.....Top Gear thought another but I acquiesced to his higher intellect, even though I felt the signs clearly indicated that the centre of town was the opposite way! We walked.....the town got seedier, we turned a few corners, worse! I voiced my desire to go back the other way.... Wrong!
Eventually we had turned enough corners that we did a big circle and came into block behind our apartment building....... Uuuuurgh!
We were both feeling a little drained and anxious when the owner turned up with the keys. Up we went to "The Loft" and found to our delight a quiet, cosy little haven built into the entry, a living area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom..... insulated from all the traffic and havoc below! The only drawback for two tall people was we had to learn to duck under the rafters and sloping roof!!!!!

A quick trip to the supermarket to get food (and wine) for a few days and we were happy again!!!
Happier still, cause the tram to get to the quilt show was right outside the door so the car could stay parked for a few days!
The quilt show was delightful. It was Quiltmania's 100th edition celebration so they were putting up 100 quilts from 100 magazines......except they ran out of room after 78.....ce la vie! Aussie talent was out on display big time with Annie Downs, Carolyn Konig and Michelle Yeo having separate rooms to display their stuff.
It was a smaller display than I other quilts from the French quilting groups unlike we have in Sydney. It was overall a much smaller show than I expected....probably only a third of the size of our Sydney show but the vendors that were there were excellent! The theme of the show was "Vintage" and everyone got into the swing of it....... so I will stop talking now and just show you the pictures.
Grab a cuppa and enjoy!

So glad I went! One thing I have to say is that it sure has proved to me that quilters everywhere, even if they speak different languages have a universal way to communicate!
Happy stitching!

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