Monday, October 25, 2021

I left my heart in France

Musee D'Orsay in Paris
(Sacre Coeur in the distance)

France will always be one of my favorite places on earth! I was lucky enough to enjoy a 10 day trip to Paris, Nantes, Mont St. Michel, Rouen, and Givery earlier this month. I took over 500 photos, so it's been a bit slow going on the sorting and choosing what to share. Let me just say that it was so marvelous in every way possible. The food, the people, the sights, the history, the quilt show, I couldn't possibly choose a favorite experience, so I will give you a peek into the trip with just some of the memorable moments.


We spent our first few days in Paris. We stayed in the Latin Quarter just across the river from Notre Dame. We were able to walk the area and see so many sights including: Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore, the oldest surviving tree, the Musee D'Orsay and Jardin du Tuileries. We took an Uber to Montmartre and walked the entire neighborhood including Sacre Coeur. On the way, we asked the driver to stop by the Arc de Triomphe so we could snap a photo of it all wrapped up by the famous artist Christo. It was 60 years in the planning and is said to be his last grand scale work. (We also happened to see it being unwrapped on our way to the airport on our final day before heading home.)

Then we took the train to Nantes, and who did we see in the train station in Paris? My friend Cecile!! She was so helpful teaching us how to use the local tram in Nantes, and now I feel like I can do it anywhere! We also spent a morning at the Pour L'Amour du Fil show, and enjoyed all of the lovely quilters and exquisite quilts. It is such an honor to have my quilts displayed in their gorgeous magazines. And I can promise you, that quilt friends really are the best friends!

After a few days exploring the castle and gardens in Nantes, we rented a car and drove north to Mont St. Michel. This has been a dream of mine for decades to experience this magical place and it did NOT disappoint. We walked all the little lanes and along the ramparts, and we climbed all the way to the top and toured the cathedral. It was simply awe inspiring and gave me chills to think of all the history of this incredible place. Words cannot describe how perfect this experience was for me.


The next day we drove to Rouen (my father's family is from there hence our surname deRouen, Americanized to Derouen). We stayed at this charming inn with the most adorable rooms and delicious breakfast included. The inn keepers couldn't have been kinder or more helpful. (That was our experience with every single person we met in France. They all apologized for their poor English and I found that so funny because their English was a million times better than my French!!!)


And we took a day trip to Giverny, the home and gardens of Claude Monet. I've been a fan for as long as I can remember and I was so thrilled to finally walk through these gardens and tour the home. It was a dream come true and was even more magical than I had hoped. 


Then we took the train back to Paris for our last day and stayed in a lovely little hotel around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. We walked the beautiful streets, ate at a lovely cafe for one last croque monsieur, and enjoyed watching the dogs play in the park. It was the perfect slow and easy last day to a whirlwind trip. 

Obviously these are just a very few of the highlights. The memories we brought home included more than beautiful sights, amazing food and superb wine. We laughed until we cried more than once. We survived my driving a 5 speed on round abouts while clutching the gps! We got caught in the rain and felt the sun warm on our faces (both almost every day!) We mastered the train system, only once getting caught with the doors closing while I was off the train and my sister was on it! We visited cathedrals, museums and historical sites around every corner. We learned so much and spent evening reading more about the places we were seeing and the events that had taken place. We walked so many miles and climbed so many stairs that I lost 5 lbs even though I ate a croissant the size of my face every day! 

It was memorable and magical and better than I remembered from my last visit 5 years ago. France makes me fall in love every time I visit. I hope I don't have to wait another 5 years before I return.

Merci!

Diane





Thursday, September 23, 2021

September Book List 2021


 The Reading List

This could possibly be one of my favorite books this year. It is set in London and involves a young woman who finds a reading list and how that list helps create connections with other people who she would not have otherwise met. The characters are charming and endearing. The books on the list are ones that can help us all shape the way we view life. The act of reading and stories can also help us understand how much we have in common with others who appear to be so different from ourselves. It's a fun tale of people and choices and dealing with what comes our way. I highly recommend it!



The Warsaw Orphan

This book broke my heart and healed it again. It was so well written and the characters were wonderfully developed. The family relationships that were biological as well as chosen were so inspiring and beautiful. The depiction of life in the Warsaw ghetto was devastating, but the human spirit and the determination to survive and rescue others was nothing short of astounding. This book will stay with me for a long time. I would highly recommend it.



The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina

I love the way the author weaves the reality based story with the mystical elements and familial connections together. It is the story of a truly unique family and their evolution over a generation. It all comes back to the matriarch and she is quite the creation. If you like magical and realism and family drama, this book has all three mixed together in the most page turning way. I couldn't help but cheer them on and wish them well.

Enjoy every chapter,

Diane

Saturday, September 4, 2021

August 2021 Instagram Review


This was a hard month. Not all the things that happened felt like they needed to be shared. My mom is still recovering from a fall that resulted in a compression fracture in her spine. Kelly went back to Athens for her second year of vet school and we said goodbye to Boomer. Our hearts still break every day. He was just that special. He was my constant companion and he always knew what I needed. Sometimes he just sat vigil next to me while I cried, and sometimes he slowly climbed up in my lap for a snuggle, as if I wouldn't notice an 80lb lap dog if he moved slowly enough. He was the greatest source of comfort that got me through the worst year of my life. Taking him on daily walks was the best therapy for both of us. The hole he left in my heart is enormous



 Sawnee sunset hike, white coat ceremony, flowers from neighbors
best dog ever, Bailey loving on Boomer, looking for answers
charcuterie board, Boomer's last hike, dinner with Danny and Grey
baking cookies, sweet note from a client, selvage on my fabric line



Many Sawnee hikes for sanity, donut therapy, Buddy and Bailey
Sweet memories, sewing therapy, the sweetest gift
Buddy at 14 inspecting a handmade gift, Danny and Grey, scraps
Sawnee at sunset, Kelly is 24, feeling heart broken

Hugs, Diane

Thursday, September 2, 2021

August 2021 Book List

The Forest of Vanishing Stars

This is in the running for my favorite book of the year. I loved the writing, the characters, the details of nature, weather, wilderness skills, and of course, the people. It's heartbreaking because it takes place during WWII but it's also inspiring and hopeful. There is a movie based on this same set of events, which actually took place, called Defiance. I plan to watch it as soon as I can. Please read this book!

 

The Hour of the Witch

Another historical fiction that takes place in the early settlement days of the America. I find it astonishing how many horrific things have been done in the name of  'religion'. The story is hard to read so much of the time because of the reality that women were totally at the mercy of men during this time period. Written by one of my favorite authors, the characters were compelling and the story was interesting, but the life of women during this time was just so horrific. I found it incredibly depressing.


The People We Keep

I was offended that this book which took place during the decade that I was in college, was classified 'historical fiction'. Ack! Despite that, it was a great story of a girl who really perseveres to create her own life in spite of her childhood. I loved the main character and found myself cheering her on. It was not a happy book but it was triumphant. I would recommend this book.

Thanks for always leaving great comments and recommendations on the books you enjoy as well. I love to hear your feedback on the books I've recommended. 

Enjoy every story,

Diane

Friday, August 6, 2021

Website Updates

You might notice a few updates and changes to the website. I am trying to make things easy and up to date. The blog here is the same as ever (minus the changes I have no control over!) Please be patient with me and let me know if you find links that don't work. I promise I'm trying to cope with the changes the best I can!

The link to my SHOP has been updated with new patterns. If there are things you've been meaning to grab for a while, you might want to do that now, I will be retiring some of the older patterns. Don't forget to scroll down to see all of the shop departments.

The link to my TEACHING and workshop information has also been updated to include zoom information and what I currently offer. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. I am scheduling into 2022 as I am mostly booked for the remainder of 2021. If your group has last minute change of plans, please contact me as I can sneak in a zoom or even a local event when my schedule allows.

Longarm services continue to be available and turnaround is always less than 2 weeks (except when my travel schedule prevents it and you will be notified!) All the information is on the form, and I'm happy to advise or consult about designs and thread colors. 

QUILTS FOR SALE continue to be a question for me. Do you prefer to see them listed here on the blog, in the shop or over on etsy? I need to make some decisions as the piles of quilts here are staggering and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. LOL

Thanks for taking the time to look around! Please let me know if you have and questions or suggestions.

Enjoy every stitch,

Diane

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

July 2021 Instagram Review

 


Daisy Talk Prints, visiting mom, Daisy Talk Prints
gifted scraps from a friend, Daisy Talk Print, black and white Plaidish
Daisy Talk Print, new sewing room set up, Daisy Talk Print
My sons!, Daisy Talk Print, Scrappy Razzmatazz mini


Daisy Talk Print, being watched, Daisy Talk Print,
Book of the Month Club selections, Daisy Talk Print, my second book
Daisy Talk Print, sweet friends, good book
day trip with a friend, prime day purchases, happy mail

I haven't taken and shared many photos this month as life just happens to keep me busy at times. I didn't think you really wanted to see all of it either! LOL The poison ivy, and the moving boys into apartments and the general chaos of life sometimes isn't super photo worthy.  But thanks for sharing it all with me anyway!

Diane

Sunday, August 1, 2021

July 2021 Book List

Happiness for Beginners

My daughter and I listened to this book on a road trip and laughed out loud so many times! I just love this author and have read a few of her books  but with truly look for more now that I know her humor just hits me in the right place! The story of this woman and her adventures were just the right balance of relatable and unbelievable that I couldn't help but cheer for her until the very end. If you enjoy a light summer read with a good sense of humor, please read this book! 

The Downstairs Girl

I often check out the Book Club picks from all of the popular groups but Reese is one I follow very closely. I haven't read all of her picks, but enjoyed most of the ones I have read, including the young adult pics. I listened to this book because it is set in Atlanta and it is historical fiction. It was very interesting just from the history perspective alone, but the characters and dialogue and interactions were also very compelling. I enjoyed the book even when it was a bit of a stretch in places. I am glad I listened to it.



It's kind of remarkable that I had never read or listened to a book by this author even though I am familiar with her. I listened to the audio version and am so glad that I did because it gave me the perspective of feeling like someone was just sharing bits of wisdom and insight with me. There were a couple of significant take aways for me that I know will be helpful to me in the future. If you are looking for ways to reframe your thinking and new strategies for dealing with issues, this book is definitely worth the listen. I will try to make time for some of her other books now that I know her communication style is so relatable.



Just when I think I have read/listened to every historical fiction book about WWII, I find another that educates and mesmerizes me in a new way! This story is one that wrapped me up from the first chapter and I didn't want to say goodbye to these families. It was located in Rome and was told from several view points. It's easy to see how incredibly complicated and twisted the events of the war unfolded and devastated the people who had to fight so hard to survive. This story was one that truly left a mark on my heart, I won't forget these characters.

If you love Italian food, it's woven into all of the aspects of this story as well. I listened to this book and was glad that I did because the accents and names and locations felt so much more real to me when listening to them all pronounced correctly! I highly recommend this book.



I actually read this book in the hardcover edition. A friend loaned it to me and it was easy to see why it was voted book of 2021 by Barnes and Noble. Each chapter related to a natural world animal or place or phenomenon and was depicted from the personal experience of the author's childhood. It was an easy book to pick up and put down because each chapter was a short story and separate from the other chapters. I loved all of the chapters/stories except for one. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you enjoy spending a little time with nature. 

Enjoy every book!

Diane


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