I have been wanting to join in A Lovely Year of Finishes for ages now, so glad I came across the site again! I am great at finishing quilt tops. I love cutting fabric, I have a lot of tops in various stages – fabric cut up, some blocks sewn, some rows sewn, and a handful of tops finished since moving here. But actually finishing a quilt – quilting and binding – that I am not so great at. It’s because I don’t feel comfortable doing free motion quilting and I don’t always want straight line quilting on something I make. I need to make practice sandwiches and just do it, but it is of course more fun to sew than to practice sewing.
For March I pick this quilt -
Forgive the bad picture, the lighting in my sewing room is not great.
This is my HST BOM (Half Square Triangle Block of the Month) that Jeni Baker did in 2012. Yes, two years ago. I finished the blocks each month as they were published – I sometimes make two blocks when something calls for one, it’s not that hard and I can make something extra with that block. In this case I used all 24 blocks I made to make a larger quilt.
I love the blocks. The fabric and colors that I picked out, I still love two years later. I just didn’t have anything I loved for the sashing. I went back and forth debating if I wanted to have sashing, but that also added to the size so I knew I wanted something. I didn’t use white for the white in the blocks, I used a white on white. I didn’t have enough to use it for sashing, but I wasn’t sure I wanted white anyway. I wanted a color. I don’t have too many solids in yardage in my stash (something I need to fix!) so I picked this orange. It matches the orange in a few blocks, but that’s it! I didn’t love the orange when I sewed the strips into rows, but it’s growing on it.
But this is so old. And I am so close to being done! The real test will be actually finishing the quilt completely.
I also need to figure out how to label my quilts, I don’t label anything and I know that is a bad practice.
Our baby is 4!
We use a refillable card to ride the local transportation (tram/bus) and JW has wanted one since we all got one. We don’t have a car so having a great transportation available to us is awesome. Every time we asked JW what he wanted for his birthday, he said a korrigo card. He never wavered from wanting the card! Chris took him to the office on the morning JW turned 4 and it actually took a little bit of talking before the card was issued.
JW doesn’t technically need a card. He’s too young to have to pay for it if he is traveling with someone who has a card. Since he’s too young to travel by himself, he won’t need to pay while we live here. Chris tried to get him a card and the guy at the office kept saying why are you trying to pay for this, why do you want a card with money on it because he just doesn’t have to pay. Chris explained that this is the only thing JW has been asking for, so the guy said, “Oh, I can just make him one!” And so he has his own card.
The party was crazy and chaotic and after it was all over, we were all exhausted. JW’s teacher helped tell me who he plays with during the day and so we invited six kids. I hoped at least three or four would be able to come, I made a mistake with the date and how much time I had to invite kids so I wasn’t sure if everyone could make it. All of them came. It was a pleasant surprise.
I made small goody bags for the kids to take home and put various Haribo candies inside. Parties here are VERY low-key compared to how crazy they can be in the US. A friend gave me some advice about what a party is like here – be sure to do paper invites just because some people are turned off by verbal invites (I appreciate paper just because it is a better reminder), much less food compared to the US (we just had cake and juice), some parents will leave the kids with you.
The leaving of the kids was a little surprising to me. We live in a small town, and I feel like we are a part of this small community that involves the kids at the school, the parents, the people who work at the hotel, and the handful or so of military people we have met. The community of ours will expand as time goes on, but the leaving of the kids was still a little surprising because we just moved here and we don’t know each other too well. One of the parents stayed, but the rest left their children. It was a loud crazy party, but it was fun for all. The kids played with Mr. Potato Head (all JW wanted for Christmas was this huge Mr. Potato head we saw at a toy store here. He ended up getting two – one from my Mom and another from my best friend), colored, played with swords, and legos. I tried to be organized with opening gifts but it was over in seconds as all of the kids descended on whatever they brought and tore the paper off. It was funny to watch.
The older kids’ birthdays are both in August, which, like in the States, is a non-school time. We don’t have our summer holiday plans figured out yet, but maybe we will be in a fun city for their birthday’s.
Instead of apologizing for not being a regular poster, I’m just going to dive back in. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
~ I spent the day with a friend this past week and had a great time. She drove us to a couple of beaches, we walked and took pictures. It was very windy but we ate sandwiches and watched the waves.
This would be a great place to go when it is a little warmer. I am planning on spending a weekend day here at least a few times this summer!
I lightened this picture because I used my iphone to take the pictures. This was one of many houses along the beach, a few had major damage due to the storms we’ve had during the past few weeks.
It was very windy, so we sat higher up on the rocks and ate lunch.
~ I don’t know how I found them, but I found a couple of plus size bloggers Nadia and Gabi. I fail at fashion most of the time so seeing their blogs made me interested in what I wear all over again. I default to jeans and boots since living here, which is not good. Everyone here is very fashionable. Few wear jeans, no one wears sneakers, and all of the women wear makeup daily. I don’t see fashion as a way to make myself feel good about who I am, I am confident regardless of wearing sweats or a dress. But I want to wear different things. I have found a few new to me stores to shop at thanks to those blogs and look forward to a few purchases!
~ Anne over at Play Crafts started a Quilt Design a Day group on facebook, based on the design seeds picture a day. I really love a few of the designs shared so far and this week I plan on sitting down with Electric Quilt to give myself a review about how to use it. I have been sewing all the time, every day actually, and I easily have a dozen (I haven’t counted) quilt tops finished. I have only completely finished a baby quilt (and that’s using a top I finished last summer) that I am giving to a friend for her new baby. I would love to design and I think a quick design a day is the way to do it.
~ I don’t know why I can’t find it, but I can’t find baking soda in the store here. I am going to a different store today to look around, otherwise I may need to have my Mom send me some. We wanted to make banana bread but realized we didn’t have any soda. I also want to do the ‘no poo’ thing. My hair is so long now (I’ll do a picture this week) but it feels weighed down and thin. I know going no poo will help so I am looking forward to trying this out, even if I am not looking forward to the week and a half of adjustment everyone says it takes. Anyone out there gone this route? How do you feel about it?
We’ve arrived. Okay, we’ve been here since October. (And I’ve already shared four tips on moving to France). We lived in a hotel and ate out for every meal, negotiating with our landlord and taking the bus and tram to school and work. It has been fairly easy to get settled in, but we have only been in our apartment for just over a month.
The first few months here have been fun, frustrating, educational, but overall a good time. The food is amazing – I can eat bread here! For a non-gluten eating girl in the United States, moving to France was scary. I wasn’t sure what I would eat because of course all anyone talks about is cheese, wine, and bread. Well no gluten means no bread, and I really don’t drink all that often. I thought maybe something would be different here, maybe the wheat is different, bathed in red wine at night or white wine in the summer, maybe the French are so interested in their long lunches someone forgot to overprocess something. And I reluctantly tried a croissant.
And I had no pain (I do not have celiac disease, I don’t have anything that’s been diagnosed, but once I quit eating anything w/ gluten in it, the odd body aches I had been experiencing for years have disappeared, I’ve read a lot and came up with a non-celiac gluten intolerance). So I tried another croissant. And a sandwich. And a cookie. And I realized that I can eat anything here. This made me very happy because if you can’t eat bread in France, it is hard to eat. I worry for when my Mom comes to visit (she has the same issues, I am watching my daughter to see if this is inherited) but have to wait and see what happens. I will be prepared with salads and soups though.
We don’t live in Paris, we are way out at the end of the world in a small city/town about five hours by train from Paris. We technically have a US address, so I can still order from Amazon but our post office is still a couple of hours away. We did not bring our car (more on that) so we have been getting around by tram or walking, which means we haven’t left the city just yet. It’s confusing for some people because we’ve been here and haven’t gone anywhere for vacation or sightseeing. They forget we just got into our apartment, we haven’t settled in, and we have time. So far, so good. Bread, wine, cheese, tramway, tutor for the kids to help with the French language, very nice Mom’s at the school the boys attend, and good weather.
1. Leave all of your electrical appliances in the US! This is easier said than done I know. We rely on coffee machines and blow dryers so much. However, after living in a hotel for almost two months and being in our apartment for not quite two weeks, let me say that it is just so much easier to save money and buy what you need (need, not just want!). Of course using converters or transformer converters is an option, but if you run an appliance on something like that for a long while it will end up with some issues.
We were lucky to buy various appliances from another family leaving the area just as we were arriving. We accidentally brought a few things with us, but they’ve been repacked and stored. And I made a huge mistake and plugged my sewing machine into a converter and blew the … well I’m not sure what it is, I suppose the motor. I have yet to find someone to fix it but we are trying the local sewing machine store one more time.
We are far from Paris, which means we are far from a store that has a regular audience of American’s with their American appliances. We are also far from our post office, so ordering from Amazon isn’t as easy as we hoped. We did find the cords we needed for the xbox, wii, desktop, and laptop but it took going to four different stores on three different days to do so.
2. Your hotel may not have a washing machine or dryer. We stayed at a fantastic hotel (more on this soon) but they didn’t have any washers or dryers. The first time we needed to wash clothes, we took them to a service that would wash, dry, and fold for us. It was expensive and wasn’t immediate so we asked the hotel staff where a close laundromat was, and we took our clothes once a week to wash.
The first time was an experience and from that I say this – do not use the largest, industrial dryer. It will be too hot. Anything with lace will be destroyed, like the new tank top sweater set you bought days before leaving the US, and also your underwear. Your baby’s pajamas will lose the softness, probably because the fuzz is burned off from the heat. It’s just not a good idea to use the industrial dryer even if you think it is a good idea because you can dry everything at once.
3. Be flexible. This is a given any time we move, but moving overseas presents a whole new set of stuff to think about. I’m not sure of the rest of France, but where we live most stores open between 9 and 10 AM (a couple, like the grocery store, open at 8) and close between 7 and 8 PM. There is no Target or Walmart, no one stop and you can get everything you need. So there are many small stores and most of them close for lunch, between 12 and 1:30, even the bank closes for lunch. Just about every store is closed on Sunday’s, but there is the odd store that is open on Sunday and closed on Monday. The first Sunday when we realized there was nothing opened and we didn’t have anything to eat, we ate at McDonald’s. Unfortunately we have eaten more at McDonald’s in the past (almost) three months than we have in at least seven years.
4. Have a lot of cash saved for your move. I suppose this is a “duh” thing to say, duh you need money to pay for the hotel and for food. But you will be paying for this for possibly quite a while until you are paid back (this assumes you are a military family and the expense of your hotel will be covered under the permanent change of station move). We paid out of pocked for everything for two months before we were paid back, and admittedly we were shocked when we saw money in our account as ‘fast’ as we did. Two months is a relatively short amount of time to wait for the money, others have told us it would be anywhere from two to nine months, based on their experience. We stayed in a hotel for seven weeks, so that adds up quickly (more on moving expenses soon). When you have no kitchen you also have to constantly eat out and of course that is expensive as well. Save on purpose for the move, you will get paid back.
I do have a couple of “more on that soon” comments and I’ll be quick. We stayed at an amazing hotel – not for the amenities but for the staff – and moving with the military is sometimes easy and often frustrating but if you try to find something positive, it can be an overall good experience.
I am doing a photo a day on instagram if you are interested.
Whew, what a year this has been.
Yesterday marked the end of my last semester for my undergraduate degree. *big deep breath out* I actually turned in my last final on Friday and I felt so emotional! It has taken me a long time to get this degree and I am just thrilled. I didn’t think I would be as emotional as I was, I cried moments after turning the paper in. My official graduation date is at the end of August, finally.
I finished the baby quilt I posted previously! This is a pattern from the Little Bits Quilting Bee book and is so easy. I pieced the back using leftover fabric, including the triangles that, if I followed the pattern, would have made a border. I quilted echo lines around the chevrons. The quilting is my favorite part about this one, the baby’s room’s decor is grey and white and chevrons. I thought oh I’m just going to quilt lines echoing the design – instant chevrons!
Forgive the blurry pic, my son jumped behind the quilt and moved it while I was taking a picture.
We have had many people visit us so we are frequent aquarium visitors. The kids favorite thing to do is pretend to be a sea anemone.
And I love turtles so here is a baby.
I recently got a bike and we have been trying to ride daily, or at least several times a week. Riding a bike is a calorie burner! I love it. My husband is thinking he may be able to commute by bike at his next job, so we are researching extras like bags and a different stroller to pull the baby in.
I thought I would have so much free time now that my semester is over, but I spent today running errands and on the phone. I am getting a lot done though. I won’t be riding bike this evening, but the rest of the week I will be able to! I am now on a prepare to move (again), figure out what to put in storage, sew, sew, sew mission.
This is my first time entering Bloggers Quilt Festival, so welcome!
I struggle with naming quilts, but I settled on Falling Arrows for this one. I picture a group of Native people off to the far side, bows aimed high, letting arrows go at the same time and here is where they are landing. Every quilt has a story, that one belongs to this quilt!
Pattern: Lap of Luxe from Quilt Dad
Fabric: Dreaming in French plus some solids. Sidenote: Instagram is an awesome place to grab fabric. I got all of the Dreaming in French from someone destashing on instagram.
Size: 51 X 63
Quilted by: Me – I did a curvy zig zag and quilted diagonal lines across the quilt, using Gutterman light grey thread.
I pieced the back using the leftover fabric, my favorite way to do backings!