As mentioned at the beginning of my previous blogpost I was so busy with quilty things in the month of April that I decided to split my monthly blogpost into two, one of the first half of April in The Netherlands and this one of the second half of April in France.
I had promised to help out Emma in her quiltshop (click) during the workshops she had organised with Karen Styles and Di Ford. I usually travel there by train (which I love) but unfortunately the French railway peeps decided to go on strike for at least 3 months (on various days of each week) and sure enough my Thalys train was cancelled. Not to worry, when I heard about the strike plans already in March I made double bookings for all the French travel I planned in this period, so plan B was put into motion (literally) and I traveled by bus instead.
The drive from the trainstation into the village where Emma lives is always beautiful but now even more so, with spring in the air, blossoming trees and once there a gorgeous sunset view from her backyard.
And who had already arrived earlier in the day….Karen! Remember I mentioned in my last blogpost I would spend time later on in April with a lady who would say ‘this is no dress rehearsal’ , well that was Karen. And living up to those words, she wanted to spend a day in Paris, so that is what we did.
On the Friday the French railway people were back at work so off we went. Unfortunately Emma could not join us, so that left Karen and me to explore and criss-cross this beautiful city together and I think we made the most of it.
We started off at the Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre.
Of course we looked around in Reine, the famous huge fabric store
Karen wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, but once there we found it difficult to get nice pictures (all those iron security fences did not help). We did get a few
Also I remembered going to the Trocadero across the Seine some 3 decades (!) earlier and that’s where we went next for another view of the Eiffel Tower. On our way over there we probably saw the best view from a metro anywhere in the world!
And yes, the Trocadero was perfect for those all important pictures of the Eiffel Tower!
Next on our list was the Notre Dame
and then we crossed the Seine, walked passed the busy, noisy terraces filled with tourists and found a small, hidden place with a few tables outside for some r&r
and such a lovely view from an upstairs window:
We weren’t finished yet! Time to go to The Louvre
and then the Jardin des Tuileries which when I was there with my husband just a few weeks earlier (click) were bare and empty, but now they were green, lush and full of people enjoying the beautiful weather.
After a long, warm day it was time to take the train back to Emma’s, tired but contented, according to Karen’s step counter, this was our day
We toasted to a day well spent, not just the statistics, spending the day together we had a chance to laugh (also at ourselves… oh my, trying to take those selfies 😊 ) , chat and get to know each other a bit better.
From the next day the workshops would begin, first Karen’s two day workshop, she showed us her quilts:
and she showed us her techniques, both by hand and on the sewing machine:
Karen gave great instructions and tips and it was a lovely atmosphere.
Lunch at Karen’s and Di’s workshops was being catered for by Marie-Liesse, Emma’s sister-in-law and professional caterer, yummmmm is all I can say!
And I did not mind the champagne either 😉
After the two great days of Karen’s workshop the fun was not over yet (or as we say in The Netherlands: de koek was nog niet op – the cake was not finished yet) , when Di Ford arrived for her workshop.
I have done 3 workshops with Di myself, all at Petra Prins’(click) , this time I was there just to help out, but I know that Di’s workshops are intensive, she has so much to show and to tell, her quilts are so intricate, it takes a lot of concentration and work to follow it all. She kept everyone very busy.
Meghan, friend of Di and fellow member of the Secret Sewing Sisterhood was travelling with Di. She had installed herself in a corner working on a secret project, but kindly helped out as well, cutting fabrics and making kits for the ladies, there was so much to be done.
When she left Di gifted me this signed set of templates, a lovely souvenir to these busy but rewarding days.
As I have mentioned before to me this quilting passion is not just about the quilts, the things, it is very much also about the people. I feel blessed to have the chance to travel and meet so many lovely, kind, interesting and inspiring people and make the most of each day, each encounter. And thankful to all involved for their energy and ability to make special things happen.
Again, Karen: ‘This is no dress rehearsal’ or a line I heard some years ago : ‘one life, live it’ .
And with that I am packing my suitcase again…
P.S. Usually I like to share more of the quilts I see but some of the ladies were working on secret projects and with this wirlwind of famous quilters with their finished and unfinished projects coming and going, I have lost track of what can and cannot be shown, so as not to betray anybody’s trust, best to err on the safe side.