Sunday, April 29, 2012

The kindness of Quilters world wide, and our travels to date.

When standing in line waiting to enter at Nantes, a lady beside me asked if l
was Linda Collins? She admitted she was taking a risk but worth the question.
She is a Belgium reader of my blog and had seen my picture. Of course, we
chatted some, then when she mentioned she lived in Gent in Belgium, we declared
we were visiting that city soon. The morning after we arrived in Gent we rang her, 
and she came into the city to meet us, take us on a tour of her city, 
then drove us all back to her home for coffee, cake,
 and an afternoon of stitching and exploring her sewing room.
Thank you Francoise for taking that risk. 
We sure enjoyed meeting you and seeing that quilters around the world are the same. 
Generous and giving.

This castle in the town of Gent was worth exploring.

We had hot chocolate, the Belgium way.

Francoise showed us some of her PHD's.

 Then it was time to leave Gent and head off on more adventures in Tilburg.
Our first stop, Quilt it and Dotty.

Here we were welcomed most happily by Dorry and taken to her kitchen for coffee.

We were also here to meet with Jeanneke,
who showed us  her Building houses from Scraps  progress, among other quilts.

This one is a replica of an antique owned by An Moonen.

This is also a replica of a quilt owned by An Moonen.
Jeanneke sells patterns for her small quilts and her patterns can be found here.

After a very pleasant visit, we moved on again, to an appointment we had with 
An Moonen to see her and some of her antique quilts at a guild meeting nearby.

Imagine our delight to see the original antique quilt that inspired Jeannekes  reproduction.

Back in the car and off to the windmills at Kinderdijk.

In a small fishing village nearby we saw more mushroom varieties than l believe existed.

A women in traditional dress.

Plenty of cheese, dutch style.

These pretty flowers for sale. Orange of course, 
to commemorate the Queens birthday holiday on Monday.

Our next stop.
Petra Prins Quilt Shop in Zutphen.

This shop is a must visit if you are near by.
Bursting at the seams with reproductions fabrics and inspiration.

Then on into Amsterdam.
Where this is the scene that greats you in almost every direction.

Bikes of all kinds.

Even more flowers.

And boats of every kind.

Our main destination?

Where we all bought the most divine dutch chintz fabric

And had the chance to chat with Petra, Reiko Kato ( who was there teaching) Nel and Elspeth.

Our journey together was coming to an end.
And what a journey its been. So much fun and wonderful times shared.
 Bev and Claire have left for a few days in Prague, before returning home,
and here in this shop l said goodbye to Randi, who was heading home to Norway,
to prepare for our visit in a few days.

Back in the car with Petra and a return to Zutphen,
the next day held a workshop with Reiko.
This was the project we all worked on, and l must say, my applique skills
definitely improved while working on these small pieces.

l was fortunate enough to sit next to Janke, who showed me nothing but kindness and friendship
all day and spoke English to me, while the room around us reverberated with Dutch.
She also gave me a gift of local tea, which is the Queens preferred tipple.
( You can see it in the yellow packet)
 Thank you Janke, and l hope our friendship continues.

Then a chance to meet for coffee with a dear friend Helen, who lives in Holland.'
 ( Janke, she took me to the shop where the tea comes from)

After finally meeting up with my DH, who had been doing his own tour of Europe,
it was time for a final ice cream.

And that brings us to an end of our grand  European vacation.
 Tomorrow, we catch a plane to Norway, where our grand Scandinavian vacation will begin.
Thanks for coming along on our journey.
Its been fun, fun, fun from start to finish.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Nantes, Lorient, Mont St-Michel, Fougeres, Bayeux, Giverny, Chantilly and Cambrai. Oh My!!

The last 3 days have gone by in a blur, filled with fun, adventures 
and sometimes very funny situations.

Our last glimpse of Pour L'Amour Du Fill, as we prepared to leave.

But first Randi had one last very important purchase to make.

We had the chance to spend time with Maggie Bonanomi and her hubby Harold.
 What a great couple. Boy did they make us laugh!

Our last dinner in Nantes we shared with them, 
and Randi's 2 bosses from the quilt shop she works in in Oslo.
l love this picture. Our waiter was so good about taking a photo, 
and another and another, that the guys behind decided they would be part of it as well. 
l didn't know this till l loaded the picture to the blog. It gave me a good laugh!!

We also had a chance on our final morning to visit with some other bloggers.
L-R Randi, Val, Bev, Isabeau, Will, Joes, Me, and Fiona.

Then a final goodbye to Mary.

Back in the car we headed to Lorient, on the coast,

Where we saw these 2 stunning Palampore's

 And this cute elephant wearing his quilt.

Back in the car, we headed for Mont St-Michel, our overnight destination.
This is our first glimpse, across a field of Canola.

As we approached, it just rose up before us.

 We wandered the streets, and climbed more stairs than we care to count.
The views are stunning, and the history even more.

This is our final look, as we headed off the next morning.
Oh, and don't ask about the meal we had!!

 Our first stop for the day was the town Fourgeres 
This was the view when we took the city walk..

 All the way over to the Medieval Stronghold.

We also came upon the market, and saw some interesting things,

Including seaweed for sale. Hmm, must look up a recipe using that ingredient!!

There are always interesting shops near where the town markets are held, 
and they are always interesting to step inside and see whats special today.
 Terrines of all manner.

And delicious looking ready made meals to take home.

Of course, no town in France would be without its fromagerie.

We also paid a visit to Bayeux, and the well known Bayeux Tapestry.
No pictures allowed, but here is a link if you wish to read about it and its history.
The story is fascinating, and the tapestry a true marvel to see in person.

This was our chateau for the evening.
But don't be fooled by appearances. Charming on the outside, no so on the inside. 
There is not one skerrick of its former life left other than the facade.

We tried to book for dinner at the restaurant attached.
 We open at 9pm madam.
So we went for a short drive and stumbled upon this delightful dinner.

This is a whole baked Camembert. But don't worry. l shared with Randi.

Bright and early the next morning, we drove to Giverny.
Home to Monet and his famous garden. 
This is where he lived.

The large window at ground floor is his studio. 
We were able to take  a tour of the house.

The very famous gardens of Giverny!!

And of course, you must have your picture taken on the famous bridge.

These 2 structures caught our eye in a town nearby.

Our final destination for the day was in the town of Chantilly.
The museum is housed in the original factory where the buttons, 
among other things were made.
l will never take a simple button for granted again, after seeing what goes into making one.

Here you could read ( in french) all about the history of the button factory,
 and take a tour, which l am sure was very informative,
 had we been able to understand French!!
Knew l should have paid more attention in school.
But the exhibits needed no explaining, and its a delightful museum to visit.

Button, Button, who's got the button?
Can you remember playing that game as a child?  l can.
Many hours of entertainment. Do you think this generation would enjoy it? LOL
l can also remember tipping out Mother's button jar,
 and spending ages, sorting them into colors and sizes.

And that brings us to today.
Last night was our last night in France.
We head over the border into Belgium today.
Our first stop, Brugge.
Who knows what wonderful scenery awaits us,
 and what adventures we will have.

If you have made it this far, you deserve a medal.
Thank you for coming along with us.
l hope you have enjoyed taking a tour through France with us.
So for the final time,
Au revoir.