maandag 21 mei 2018

April 2018, France, Karen Styles and Di Ford

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. 

maandag 7 mei 2018

April 2018 , The Netherlands

There has not been a month ever I think that I have been so busy with quilt events. So for this month I decided to divide my ‘monthly memories’ post into two installments.

First, I was asked to help out at Petra Prins’ (click) booth at the quiltshow in Rijswijk at the beginning of April. I had worked at booths at quiltshows in the past (a long, long time ago) and since Petra’s is always a favorite booth of mine when I visit shows I was thrilled, not in the least also by having the chance to work alongside Judith (click).

The afternoon before the show we transformed an empty booth  into this

That evening Juud and I toasted to a good show during a dinner in The Hague center (click to her blogpost) the night before the opening.

The next morning we could not wait to get started….. we were the first in the parking lot :-))! This would be the same everyday, btw, just raring to go each day.

Being early gives you a chance to have a few chats with your neighbours and for a bit fun, here are Juud and Betty (who had her quilts on exhibition this show, more on that later) before the show ‘opening up their creative chakra’s’  ….  or something like that 😉 😊

Once the show opened on the first morning things started a bit different than planned when Elsbeth (click) phoned to say she had car trouble and could not be there until lunchtime.
That left me working in the Den Haan & Wagenmakers (click) booth and Juud in the Petra Prins’ booth on her own. No problem as they were next to each other.

Both booths looked beautiful and it was a joy to work in both of them.

Being popular booths, usually they were busy but during those rare moments when it was a bit quiet Juud found the time do some quilting

and we took turns to have a look at the exhibitions, I really loved Betty Prins’ (click) . Maybe because Betty spends quite a lot of time in France I don’t know, but when I look at her quilts I see the sun shine:

Quiltshows for me are not only about quilts, booths, fabrics, notions etc. but also very much about the people. One of the things I really enjoy about working at a booth at a quiltshow is meeting the people who come to the booth. New faces, familiar faces, quilters I see regularly, quilters I have not seen for a while or in one case not for a very, very long time.

Among the familiar faces was the talented Hilde (click) , who I am in touch with but as she currently lives in Ghana do not see a lot. This will change when she moves back to The Netherlands. She was visiting with a (quilt)friend who – we found out when chatting – lives in my area, so a new bee was born!

And then there was a very special meeting indeed.
A lady passed stopped at our booth and I already thought she looked familiar. So we started talking and what I thought was right, she was my very first quilt teacher! She gave me my 1st patchwork lesson in the late 80’s and taught me so many techniques during the courses and workshops I attended.
During several summers back then she was a guest teacher at this incredible location (click) &  (click) where she gave week-long courses, living close to each other we took turns in driving there. This location was then used for creative week-long summer courses: painting, sculpting, sewing and yes, quilting. You can imagine, these were special times.

And at one stage she even gave me private lessons at her home, teaching me Baltimore Album techniques in exchange for the blocks I made then, to use as examples for the Baltimore Album course she would be teaching.
With me moving away from The Hague (happy to say, moved back quite a few years ago) and busy family life and work getting in the way we lost touch but I always wondered how she was and several times ‘googled’ her, did not find a way to contact her. She told me she recently found those Baltimore Album blocks I made and wondered about me as well.

Juud kindly offered to look after the booth while we had a tea and a long chat. I was so pleased to find she still quilts and is still as sharp as ever, what a lady. And I am happy to say: to be continued……!

The days working in Petra Prins’ booth were special, not just because of the beautiful fabrics and quilts that surrounded us but for the emotions as well. Happy ones and sad ones. The latter needs to be mentioned as well. 

In the back of our minds and therefore very much present in the booth was Bep, longtime employee but much more than that of Petra’s , who at that time was very ill and left us a few days later.
Always kind, smiling, cheerful, helpful, funny, passionate about quilts and quilting and just always there: in the shop, at quiltshows, workshops, bees and exhibitions. I followed workshops by her, attended bees with her, I shared stories and jokes with her, she advised me on purchases. She was so much a part of Petra Prins' in Zutphen, I will really miss her.
Emma (click) and I were lucky enough to see Bep again during the weekend workshop by Di Ford (click) in Zutphen last September when she came in just for a visit. As always Bep was a ray of sunshine and I am so happy I can remember her in that way.
Bep’s passing and other sad news during those days made this a bit of rollercoaster kind of few days where happy moments and sad moments took turns.

Make the best you can of every moment, or as a lady I spent time with later on the month (blogpost coming up) said: "this is no dress rehearsal",


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