Friday, June 26, 2015

Does vintage have to be beige or pastel? A bright vintage birthday tag

Don't get me wrong, I love a beige or pastel vintage-y card (like this one here—one of my favorites), but vintage does not have to be beige or pastel. So just to prove that vintage can be bright, I've done a series of tags using original vintage images from the Feburary 1955 issue of  Women's Home Companion. I decided to break in the Elizabeth Craft Designs Tags & More 8 dies I purchased a few months back, but hadn't used yet.

Yes, the magazine is 60 years old, and yes...gasp!...I cut the images, but rest assured, dear reader, that the magazines I cut from have no real value. They are in poor condition and are falling apart. I like to think I'm giving life to something that would more than likely be heading to the trash bin.

I chose a French sentiment on the front (Tu es belle, toi=You are so beautiful) and an English sentiment on the other side.

*Crafty Tip* Twine can slide around. You know what I mean, right? You tie your bow and the darn thing won't stay put. Think of putting a little drop of glue on the knot of the bow and right beneath it. Just make sure you're using a glue that dries clear. My favorite is Aleene's Turbo Tacky Glue.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Folia black paper pack
Image—found vintage image
Dies—Elizabeth Craft Designs Tags & More 8, Spellbinders Shapeablilities Foliage, Die-namics circle stax, Artemio scallopped circles
Embellishments—flowers, purse charm, twine, ribbon
Font—Birds of Paradise

I'm linking up with: Creative Corner Challenges—Happy Birthday, Simply Create Too #88—Old, Vintage, Shabby Chic, Simply Papercraft #7—Anything Goes, Sister Act Card challenge #112—Anything Goes, and Card and Scrap #99—Tags.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day! and #1 Dad paper pieced digital stamp card

Happy Father's Day to every one celebrating today! This is the card I sent to my father-in-law this year. My French father-in-law does not speak English (and Dad is not French) so I personalized the inside to tie in with the outside image. This is one of the nice things about making our own cards, don't you think? We can personalize them as we like. People appreciate that we've taken the time to make something just for them and it makes it that much more special.

The digital stamp is from Meljen's Designs (shop now closed...sigh). I decided to do a bit of paper piecing rather than color it.

The paper is from Bo Bunny's Weekend Market paper pack. To keep the look masculine, I used scalloped borders from the pack in lieu of ribbon. To give a bit of pizazz, I tied metallic twine on the side.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Bo Bunny Weekend Market paper pack
Digital stamp—Meljen's Designs #1 Dad digital stamp
Embellishments—metallic twine

I'm linking up with: Little Claire's monthly stamp challenge #58—Father's Day theme, My Sheri Crafts Challenge #159—Masculine Projects, The Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #36—D is for Dudes, Pattie's Creations challenge #111—Father's Day or Graduation, Sister Act Card Challenge #111—Anything Goes, 4 Crafty Chicks #251—Father's Day and Creative Moments #70—Anything Goes/Man in Your Life/Father's Day.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

What is the most beautiful restaurant in Paris?

If you ask me what is the best restaurant in Paris, in terms of food quality, I would be hard pressed to give you an answer, but if you ask me what is the most beautiful, I'll give you an answer straight away—Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon.

Our train from Geneva arrives and departs from this station and to finir en beauté, we treat ourselves to lunch at Le Train Bleu as the final parting treat before leaving Paris.

Built in 1900 by the PLM (Paris Lyon Marseille) railway company for the Universal Exhibition, Le Train Bleu is an historic landmark.

Forty-one paintings by the most preeminent painters of the day adorn the walls and ceilings with scenes representing the cities and countrysides PLM passengers would have seen from the trains, not only in France, but Northern Africa.

Every surface—including the ceiling—seems to be covered in gilt, moldings, carvings and frescoes. The original chandeliers are still in use.

It's just recently had a sprucing up; it was closed in July and August 2014 for restoration. You can see video showing what the restaurant looked like during renovation here.

It's such a beautiful restaurant you could easily go there just to gawk at the decor, but make no mistake, its food and service live up to its visual grandeur—it's French dining at its very best.

Exiting the restaurant, tummy full and looking forward to a nap on the train, we return to the current century and our return trip home.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Marché Avenue du Président Wilson—one of Paris's best street markets

I love French markets. Even when there's no possibility of me cooking anything I could buy from them I still like to go and look—and lust—over the displays. There are many markets in Paris, but this one on the Avenue du Président Wilson in the16th arrondissement is my favorite. It's held every Saturday and Wednesday morning from 7:30 a.m. to around 2:30 p.m. In my opinion, it's the best in Paris. It also has the advantage of being right in front of my favorite art museum, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

It can get a bit crowded. The vendors are on either side of an approximately five foot corridor.

There's everything you could possibly want here—fruits and veggies, fish and meat, flowers—and snails, ready to pop in the oven! Yummy! Never had snails? See my post here.

You have to have flowers in your home, or to offer to your hostess if you're invited to someone's house for a meal. Every French market has at least one or two flower vendors. These mixed roses were so pretty.

These radishes are as pretty as flowers, don't you think? Simply wash fresh radishes after removing the leafy tops and root ends, slice lengthwise and serve with your aperitif (before meal drink)tasty and no sauce or dip required.

Roses don't excite you? Peonies are very popular right now.

A tasty cheese is the perfect close to a traditional French meal. The worst thing about French cheeses is choosing one! There are so many it's not an easy choice. This vendor was selling the crémant (sparkling wine) alongside.

And of course bread, mustn't forget that, an absolute necessity in France!

These hydrangeas made me wish I had a vase in my hotel room.

And one of the very best excuses to visit this have an awesome view of the Eiffel Tower from the sidewalk.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Reasons to visit Paris's Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre

It had been a while since my husband and I had been to Montmartre so last week we decided to pay it a visit. We had good reasons. Let's face it, Sacré-Coeur is stunning.

And the Metro station we stop at is one of the old-fashioned ones, always worth a photo.

Montmartre's steps are a good way to work off a morning croissant!

It's always interesting to see what inspires Montmartre's painters (we got there early as they were just setting up).

Then there's the view from in front of the Sacré-Coeur; you can see all of Paris!

But the BEST reason to visit Montmartre is to meet a friend. The talented Fanny from Scrap de Fanny DG and I have been 'talking' for a while now, leaving comments on each other's blogs, giving each other ideas on where to get the best craft supply prices (France is so expensive and Fanny's a pro at finding the best deals) and swapping emails, but we haven't met in real life. Fanny works in Montmartre and it was wonderful to finally have a chance to meet her. We have a lot in common—we're both from the Americas (her South, me North), we're both married to Frenchmen, and (most importantly) we love to scrap. I'm happy to say she's every bit as nice in person!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Paris Street Art

My husband and I are just back from a few days in Paris. There's always something to do in Paris, exhibitions, shows, museums, restaurants, and we love all that, but to me, what I love most about Paris, is just being there. I like walking down the streets, looking in the shop windows, seeing what people are wearing, stopping for a drink in a sidewalk café and watching the human show go by. We had fantastic weather while we were there—warm and sunny every day—which made just being there that much better.

One thing I notice in Paris is the street art. Sometimes, it is just graffiti with no merit at all, and other times I can't help but appreciate it as art. Some of it is very, very good. It makes you stop and think, like the baby in the bucket (see the LV logo?) or the little girl bottom center below (same artist and a poignant message in each), or our president in the top bottom right (I admit I laughed at this one).

In theory, I'm opposed to this. Defacing private and public property is wrong. And yet...I can't help but be moved by some of it, moved enough to stop and take a photo.

This is Patti's at Not Dead Yet Style last Visible Monday post before a summer break and I thought I'd link up to share one of my favorite travel outfits with you—my black harem pants (picked up several years ago for €5 in Barcelona) and a sequin Zebra t-shirt (a thrift find at €1.50)—super comfy and perfect for warm weather. I wear the heck out of these pants. They're wrinkled anyway, so no worries there, and you can squat (some of these photos were at ground level), bend and move freely with the feeling and air flow of a skirt, but the modesty of pants. The sandals are Semler, a German brand and THE best for walking.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vintage bird card – Thinking of You

The birds on this Thinking of You card were cut from a vintage bird book (note—I do not cut from valuable books, only those with no value and/or in bad condition). I placed them against Aladine's square Maxi Swallow Collage stamp.

I propped up the birds with 3D squares so they'd stand out a bit more and added some unraveling cheese cloth behind to play up the vintage look.

The sentiment was generated on the computer and printed on vintage paper. I used Nellie dies for the sentiment label and decorative corner.

Supply List
Paper—vintage, cardstock, MME The Sweetest Thing paper pack
Imagery—vintage birds
Ink—Versafine black
Dies—Nellie's MFD0027 corner die and MFD066 label die
Embellishments—ribbon, pearls, cheesecloth
Fonts—Alex Brush

I'm linking up with: Allsorts challenge #313—Vintage, Crafty Calendar Challenge May—Things with Wings, Craft for the Craic May—Wings, Fairytale Challenge #118—Feathers and Wings and Sister Act Card Challenge #108—Anything Goes. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rues de Paris decoupage vintage look card

I used an image from one of Studio Light's Très Chic 3D sheets as the focal point for this card. They have some lovely vintage look designs. The only bad thing about them is cutting them out, as they can be quite intricate (my glasses are a must when cutting these).

The flower in the left corner is from the same sheet, although not a 3D image. I used a Fleur de Lys stencil at the top and bottom edges of the patterned paper, inked in with Distress Tumbled Glass.

The Rues de Paris sheet of paper is an original from an old guide book. I left off the sentiment. I haven't decided what to use it for and will customize the inside later as I choose. The Fleur de Lys die is part of a larger die set from Elizabeth Dies.

I used Cardablilites Sketch #123 for my design.

Supply List
Paper—Studio Light STAPSL1282 decoupage sheet, cardstock, Tilda Winterbird patterned paper, vintage guide book page
Ink—Distress Tumbled Glass
Die—Fleur de Lys from Elizabeth Dies 973 Tags Pivot Card
Embellishments—pearls, ribbon, Toga tag
Miscellaneous—Fleur de Lys stencil

I'm linking up with: Cardabilities Sketch #123, A Gem of a Challenge #145—Flowers, A Vintage Journey May challenge—Spring Colors, Crafts 4 Eternity Recipe challenge #227—Old Book Paper, Creative Corner Challenges—Anything Goes, Simply Papercraft Challenges #5—Anything Goes and Sister Act Card Challenge #107—Anything Goes.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hats off to Spring! AIWC lunch in Geneva, Switzerland

I am a member of the English speaking AIWC—American International Women's Club—in Geneva, Switzerland. It's a wonderful organization and not just for Americans, with nearly 500 members  and 54 nationalities represented, it truly is international. There's always something going on at the club—charitable activities, arts and crafts, cooking, language classes, sports, special events, etc.—there's no shortage of things to do.

Recently, we had a special 'Hats off to Spring!' themed luncheon. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a hat lover extraordinaire, so this was THE perfect event for me to attend. Although there were some bare heads in the crowd, it was a such a marvelous millinery display I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.

The location was perfect for dressing up. The restaurant in the Parc de Eaux-Vives set the tone. By the way, if you're visiting Geneva and looking for an exceptional summer outdoor dining experience this is one of the best. There is a spectacular view out over the lake from the back terrace and the food is outstanding.

My friend, Nada, looked so chic with her fascinator.

I don't know this member by name, but I loved the contrast between her white outfit and bright, blue accessories.

Ruth looked especially fetching in navy blue.

This spring themed hat would probably have taken the prize if we'd been awarding them.

This hat and its wearer were stunning.

And here's yours truly, wearing a hat from my favorite desinger, Zabo, in Carouge, Switzerland. I added the black flower pin.

This last photo has nothing to do with hats, I know, but I just had to share with you one of my favorite handbags (it's on the small side so I rarely have the chance to carry it and show it off). I snapped it up at my favorite overstock shop for about €4 a few years back.

I'm linking up with the lovely Patti's Not Dead Yet Style Visible Monday #155 on this post.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day card

A very happy Mother's Day to all mothers celebrating this weekend. This is a card I whipped up for my Grandmother.

 Again, as mentioned in previous posts, I'm trying to use up some of my older supplies. I've used one of the scenes and some of the papers from docrafts A4 Decoupage Pack Art Deco Train (PMA 169801) on this card. Dining outside is always a sign of Spring to me; I thought this a perfect image for Mother's Day.

I used Bernard MT condensed font for my sentiment and kept embellishments simple for easy mailing back to the States. The 3D effect on this card is stunning in real life, unfortunately, as is always the case with 3D, a photograph doesn't do it justice.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, docrafts A4 Decoupage Pack Art Deco Train (PMA 169801), Paper Touch Scrap Dots Pad
Dies—Die-namics rectangle stack
Embellishments—wooden flower, button, gem
Font—Bernard MT condensed

I'm linking up with: Brown Sugar challenge #145—Layers, Chocolate, Coffee & Cards Challenge #90—Spring has Sprung, Crafty Catz challenge #278—CAS, Frosted Designs Friday Challenge—All About Mom, Lunagirl Moonbeams challenge—Mother, Sister Act Card Challenge #105—Always Anything Goes, and Scrapbooker Phd. challenge #23—Mother's Day (optional flowers)