Monday, November 29, 2010


Starting to get cold now.


The bird bath has frozen solid.


At least the weeds look pretty when they sparkle.


Finished this little girl play mat on the weekend.


Used some left over charm squares with strips of Kona Lime for the back (and more Kona Snow).


The quilting is all straight lines, often seen around quilting sites (in particular, Rita at Red Pepper Quilts).


I went with an Amy Butler Lotus print in polka dots for the binding. Fun, modern, not too sugary.


These are nice and easy to make up, which is just as well given the influx of babies amongst our friends. There are two boys inbound, not to mention two other friends who aren't going to find out the sex (so I need to make two of each flavour for them). Will keep me busy!


Friday, November 26, 2010

The Pixelated Quilt

Is finished! Here it is, washed and ready for action.


The filmstrip back.


In the interests of transparency, I'd like to outline the stupid things I did while making this quilt so you can learn from my mistakes, or at least have a good laugh.

1. Firstly, and most stupidly. As I was preparing to sew the last two rows of this quilt, I realised that I had been sewing with my needle offset (The last thing I'd sewn was piping.) For some reason, I decided to move the needle back to 0. I don't know why I did this. Even as I did it, I said to myself, Self, I don't think this is smart, just sew the whole thing 3mm out of whack, at least it will be consistent. In my defence, it was very late at night and...that's all I've got. It was late.


You don't have to be much smarter than me to figure out what happened. 3mm over the 15 squares, each with 2 seams, added up. I tried to make it work. I pinned and convinced the two edges to merge. It looked terrible - waves and pintucks everywhere, and a serious bow at the edges. So close to finishing, I was a little distraught, but the mister peeled me gently off the machine and put me to bed.


The next morning I pulled those rows off and sewed new ones, needle back in the wrong place. All was not lost, I used the two bad rows in the backing. I love a happy ending.

2. Using an IKEA bedspread. Diana from Sticks and Bubbles let me know that the quilt she made her son with the same bedspread had begun to pill. This is always a risk when using 'non-professional' quilting cottons - I guess it's up to everyone to decide for themselves, with factors such as cost and wear in mind. As this was an experimental quilt for me I was happy to use this material. If I make the quilt again I will use standard commercial quilting cottons. (I also only use commercial materials when making gifts - it's not worth the worry.)

3. This isn't really a mistake, more an observation. The Warm and White all cotton batting equivalent I buy here in France shrinks more than the batting I buy in Australia. So if you are ever in France making a quilt (as you do) and don't like your quilts to get too wrinkly, you might consider pre-washing your batting. I don't mind the crinkliness myself, looks more cuddly.


What else has been going on? I finished the back for the retro quilt and basted it. Here he'll stay until I can get to the quilt store to pick up some matching quilting thread.


And I was in the mood for easy last night, so I used a charm square pack of Moda's 'Dream On' to make a quick girl mat top. I paired it with Kona Snow for a softer look.


I really love the patterns in this one, very girly.


And here we are, Friday again. Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

How I spent the weekend:

It was a bit rainy and dreary in my corner of Provence this weekend. A good time to start a fire (in the fireplace!) and read a book. Managed to read this Margaret Atwood - published in '86, it's taken me a while.

If you're looking for marshmallows and double rainbows, give this one a miss. But still, very interesting, thought-provoking, and the great thing about dystopian novels is they always make your own life seem fabulous in comparison!

I also spent some time mucking around with a fat-eighth set of Anna Maria Horner's new line, Innocent Crush. (Just the quilting cottons.)

So far I have pieced and sewn into strips.


Next step will be to join it all together and then some, *gasp*, applique. I don't know why I do it to myself.


This week is going to be a big sewing week - the machine must go in for her service, I can't put it off any longer. As always I think I'll just finish one more thing... now she's 3 months overdue.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I say, you say, Marseille.

We spent the Remembrance Day public holiday last Thursday in Marseille.


The second largest city in France and known as the Paris of the south, this town is big, bad and beautiful. 
Big: over 800,000 1.6 million people (better to use metropolitan population).
Bad: a bit shady, there are places to avoid (no different to many other cities around the world).
Beautiful: let me show you.

The basilica, Notre Dame de la Garde, looking over the Old Port of Marseille.

We arrived and went straight to lunch. (Priorities people!) We ate alongside the Vielle Port (Old Port), sitting across from the water in warm autumn sunshine. Marseille is known for its seafood so when I'd booked our table I'd requested bouillabaisse for the mister and myself. This traditional fish dish should be ordered in advance, otherwise you won't get fish bought that morning at market.

Where we ate.

Every restaurant probably has their own way of serving bouillabaisse (and even the 'true' ingredients are disputed) but ours came as two courses. First up, just the broth, rich with fish flavours and saffron, served with toast rounds and dishes of grated cheese and rouille (a bit like aioli - think saffron and garlic mayonnaise, yum). 

Bouillabaisse entrée. Sorry about the stripe, 'twas sunny. 

We weren't too sure the way it 'should' be eaten, but we buttered the toast with the rouille and then floated them on top of the soup and sprinkled the lot with cheese. The broth soaked into the bread and was just fabulous. With a nice crisp rose, all was right with the world. (We later noticed the French couple next to us stir the rouille directly into the soup and ignore the toast. Bad call guys, they were like giant garlicky croutons, delish!)


The second course brought the waiter alongside our table with whole fish (which he deboned and then plated), eel cross-sections and potatoes. Once these had been prepared another waiter appeared and ladled over more of the broth. No toast this time, not that it was needed as I struggled to finish (the mister and his hollow legs helped).


There was no room for dessert, sadly. I just squeaked in a teeny espresso. (And a calisson, it was waifer thin.)


After lunch as we waddled back toward the harbour I couldn't resist popping in here for a few spice mixes. As expected of a port town, Marseille is a real melting pot of cultures.


Then back to the harbour. 


Where we took a little train ride. On a little train.


It took us through the city and then up the hill to Notre Dame de la Garde.

We passed plenty of beautiful buildings on the way.


A word has to be said about driving in Marseille. Not for the faint of heart. 

This guy scraped his side mirror along the side of the train. He was close. We almost did the same thing to a James Bond-type car idling at the lights. The guy behind me swore in French "Bleep, that was a Porsche". Exciting!


I really enjoyed the scenery when we got out of the CBD and saw the coast.


Below is the Château D'If on the island of If, just off the coast. It was built as a military fortress in the 1500s and later used as a prison. But its main claim to fame is as a setting in the Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas.


I just thought I should let you know that I've decided this is going to be my next house. So don't get any ideas.


After a 20 min ride we headed up the hill to the Notre Dame de la Garde.


Madonna and baby Jesus in gold leaf on top of the bell tower. 

Above the carpark is a viewing platform with spectacular views across all of Marseille.


Which you could choose to ignore and instead look for stars.


The outer walls of the church still bear the scars of World War II.


The basilica was built in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and is considered to protect Marseille and its people.


Inside, the mosaics and gold leaf were stunning.


Marseille is a fishing town and I loved all the small touches reflecting this throughout the basilica.

There were a half dozen of this boat-garlands hanging in the church

I love the little anchors joining this burner to its supporting chains

Behind the prayer candles are plaques engraved with messages of thanks for answered prayers. 'Thank you to Our Lady for the healing of my daughter - 1969' one of them reads.

As we exited the church and passed the gift shop (of course) and cafe, they had some close up photos of recent restoration work completed on the mosaics. Look at this one of the angel over the altar.

I thought it was strange how the angel in the Lourdes chapel looked like Cate Blanchett, well this one looks like Rachel Griffiths.

This painting also caught my eye. 


You just know what Mary is thinking. If you kids don't leave me alone... 

By the time we left the basilica the day was at an end. The little guy managed to wet through his pants and had to ride the train down the hill in his underwear (wrapped in Daddy's coat when he stayed still). Bad Mummy for not bringing spare pants. 


Past more beautiful buildings.


Back to the Old Port. 


Once last look around the harbour as we headed back to the car, and that was that. 


And because it's Friday, a video! 

Did you know that Robbie Williams released a French version of Love Supreme? Me either, until I saw it on W9 the other day.  

Apologies to the Americans out there (Robbie Williams? Who in the what now?) He is a British popstar who is rather famous in Europe and *ahem* the colonies.  

Have a great weekend!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...