Daylight Savings

Just another post about the differences overseas. We will change – spring forward I mean – time in a few weeks. Until that time, I will enjoy the small change in difference when texting my friends or family back home. We are now only five hours ahead of the east coast. I think we are past the time of daylight savings really needing to be used and I wish we didn’t have to change time twice a year.

The time difference in general has messed up how I keep in touch with people. I went from talking to my Dad almost daily to hardly talking at all. It’s up to me to make the phone call now and not only do I have to check the time, I hate to interrupt anyone. I just this week decided that I’ve had enough worrying about interruptions and I am going to make more calls. I miss hearing people’s voices. I miss talking to someone while I do the dishes or go for a walk. Yes everyone is busy, but that won’t change so why dwell on it or feel bad. If someone can’t talk they’ll tell me.

I only wish our time change happened at the same as the US because we could have had the kids holiday to get used to it.

Fat Quarterly Retreat – 2014

The modern movement in quilting has exploded online and in person. There are retreats, summits, sew downs, and the Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilt Con, so awesome it is only held every other year (so far anyway). I attended the Sewing Summit in 2012 and had a lot of fun. I was disappointed to not be able to attend QuiltCon, but yay I am going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat!

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I am super excited! I am also nervous because I don’t know anyone who is attending. I am looking forward to the flickr group becoming more active and the various side events (swaps, plans for sharing finishes, etc.) that are planned. I had roommates when I went to the Sewing Summit (Hi Jessie and Rebeckah!) and loved that experience. I want to have at least one roommate and so the search is on.

Quilty Bucket List

So many amazing fabrics, so many fun patterns, and of course not enough time to make everything!

My Quilty Bucket List could be crazy long. I narrowed it down to seven patterns/quilts that I want to make. I have written a to-do list that is crazy long, so this is like in the next four years I want to do these, versus in the next year.

1. Dear Jane – Farmer’s wife – I have the Farmer’s Wife book and even picked out fabric to use on my own. But I didn’t feel the rush to start it right away. I didn’t even feel a connection some people say they have. I grew up in South Dakota, around ranchers and such, but I don’t have that tie to the history of the farmer. I do have a pattern for something like this of my own. I have a few blocks sketched out, so maybe my creation will be all my own. I also like the Dear Jane history, the curiosity of someone who goes for more information about the quilt. I love that idea. This is one of my favorites I’ve seen of the Dear Jane -

DearJaneEQThis is from the EQ Blog, I didn’t realize EQ sells Dear Jane software! I would definitely buy that if I were going to make the quilt. It’s an investment, but so is the quilt. I love the white background and the bright borders that frame the blocks.

2. Gypsy Wife – I can’t really explain why I love this, but I do. I have some fabric in mind but I don’t even have the pattern yet!

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3. Mario Quilt – I loved this pixelated quilt when the QAL started! I have all of the fabric and materials and just need to get started.

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4. Ticker Tape – I have all of the instructions for this saved and I am sure I have enough scraps to make a quilt. I think what has stopped me from getting started is the organization side of things. I need to sort my scraps and pick pieces out. Maybe this is one the kids can help with!

Bottled Rainbows {the button}

5. Hex On The Beach – I love this quilt. I love the idea of making a hexagon quilt. I say idea… I’ve made a lot of hexagons for other projects but not an entire quilt. I have this one started and after seeing this one that is finished, I can’t wait.

6. Dancing Stars - Another QAL! Maybe if I would start them when I find them, or when they start, I’d have these finished already. I have the background … but that’s it. I need to print some of the papers so I can at least get started. I decided to do a queen size quilt, which I think is why I haven’t started. I think I will work on this one next, I am great at breaking down quilting into steps and this is just one of those times I need to just do it.

7. After thinking about it – I think I’m leaving number 7 open. These quilts are among my favorite and I either have the fabric picked out, have the quilt already started. A bucket list is something to be a long crazy list of things to be accomplished at a certain date. I am a list maker but I haven’t thought about it in the quilt sense. I think I will work on progressing forward with this list – buying the pattern, cutting the fabric.

The Tilted Quilt

Monday Monday

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It finally stopped raining and so we went for a walk along the beach.

I realize that part of the reason I do not do a better job of writing, by that I mean as frequent as I have been in years past, is because I feel like I don’t do anything. I mean I barely have any errands to run, grocery shopping takes mere minutes because the grocery store is on the next block, and all three of the kids are in school for most of the week. This means I have a lot of free time, which I generally use for sewing. But we do live in France, and that deserves to be talked about. I never thought I’d live overseas, much less this far from family.

And so let’s start with Monday’s. I am lucky to have a housekeeper. She comes on Monday’s and I love her, we all do. She’s so sweet and kind. She always brings us something she made, which is both slightly confusing and happily accepted. I like her to actually clean, versus picking up clutter or the kids things, so I go a room ahead of her and straighten up before she gets there.

After she leaves I generally have lunch and either sit on the couch or lay on the bed just enjoying how nice everything looks. I live with little tornadoes that look like kids so once they are home from school there are shoes in the entry way and school bags in the living room. They have a snack – which is called gouter (goo-tay) (and this deserves a write up of its own!) – and do their homework, a math lesson from the Saxon math books I bought, or read.

The French school system is quite different compared to the US. For one, there are two week holidays about every month and a half or so. We are on the middle of the winter break right now. We have the language tutor coming every day and have enjoyed getting out and exploring since the rain has let up.

I finished the HST BOM top that is my goal for the month so I will hopefully get pictures of it tomorrow.

A Finish for March

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 -HST BOM

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.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

First Birthday Party in France

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Weekend Happenings

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.

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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!

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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.

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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?