Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yearly Ritual

It seems that I've made a yearly ritual... out of getting my hair cut.  I always have good intentions of making the appointments, but then never follow through on it.  Or maybe its because I like the idea of having long hair.  (Plus, DH likes long hair... except when he has to clean the vacuum!)

On Saturday (my birthday) I went and got my haircut.  I didn't even realize it had been a year since the last haircut until I arrived for my appointment and it was the same woman who cut my hair last year.... to the EXACT day.  Very odd!

But here it is before I got my cut... long... ends are a little dried out and needed some trimming, but for the most part, not too bad.

Before Haircut

And the after...

After Haircut

I had about 4-5 inches taken off.  It definitely feels a lot lighter now and more manageable.  I no longer have to stand for 20 minutes drying my hair because there was so much of it!

I really should remind myself to do this more often. ;-)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stashbusting 2013 - Week 17

Wow!  I can't believe its been so long since I last posted for Stashbusting this year.  I looked back and the last time I reported anything was back on week 8.  Yikes!

I've been doing a fair amount of quilting, but not using a whole lot of stash.  I've been working on some custom quilting for myself, which has been taking a long time to do.


I did get some quilting done this past week that used up some stash.  This quilt top is mostly together.  I have two side of the first set of borders on now and I've cut/sewn all the pieces for the pieced border (the little blocks in the picture below).


Slowly, but surely, I'm making progress.  I guess the good thing is that I've only bought one piece of fabric this year and it was backing for a quilt top.

Here are my numbers so far this year:
Added This Week:       0.00 yards
Added Year to Date:    5.86 yards
Used This Week:          0.68 yards
Used Year to Date:       4.01 yards
Net Year to Date:         -1.84 yards

Go on over to Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Friday, April 26, 2013

Garden Update

The flowers have slowly been growing here in upstate NY.  We've had a few days where its warm in the afternoon, but its still been cool in the mornings.  Yesterday morning it was 34F. Brrr!  This weekend we're supposed to get close to 70F. :-)

I decided to take a few pictures of our garden last night to show how well the plants have been growing.  I last posted about the garden here.  In that post, there was very little green and lots of brown stalks.  What a difference 2 weeks can make!


I found this little guy in my garden after some siblings visiting a few weeks ago.  He's very cute and I now have my own "little piggy". :-)

The plants are really starting to get green now.  Now flowers or buds yet really, but even the green looks good!



The greenish spots in the picture below are tall phlox on the left and cone flowers on the right.  The reddish bits are a neat plant called a Catchfly.  They have very pretty orange-red flowers on them when they bloom.


The little bits of green in the picture below are purple geraniums, and its a perennial.  Most geraniums in this area are annuals, but this particular variety is a perennial, which is nice.  I always find it hard to buy annuals knowing that I'll have to do it again next year!


Our lupines are much happier this year.  The one on the left is really doing well and hopefully we'll get more than one flower off the plant this year.


Our poppies are doing well.... at least the ones that survived.  All the blank spots... those are dead poppies that didn't make it through the drought last year.  We'll fill them in this weekend after we go plant shopping.


Our clematis is doing really well now.  It took us a long time to get it into the ground last year and as such, we weren't sure if it was going to survive.  It was really root bound in the pot and had grown through the holes in the bottom of the pot into the dirt below.  So when we pulled it out of the pot, we destroyed a lot of the roots.  This particular variety grows on old wood, so once it starts twinning about the lattice work, we won't have to cut it and pull it off the lattice.  We can just leave it there and it will keep growing and blooming.  We plan to get two more clematis this year to put on either side of the starter plant.


And the last of our little flowers.  This particular corner of the garden did not fare very well.  One lupine died, the poppies died and the two remaining lupines aren't very happy.  We may have to re-think the plants we have in this area.


I really love this time of year when the plants are all starting to grown and the blossoms are just starting to develop.  Everything is fresh and green and you can watch the woods and plants start to take off for growing throughout the summer.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I've finally been able to spend some quality time with my sewing machine and iron. :-)

This Bento Box quilt has been on my design wall for quite some time now.  Its not that its a hard pattern... its actually a really easy pattern.  I just haven't been spending a lot of time quilting lately with our traveling and trying to get caught back up at work and at home.

I was able to get the center portion of the top completely sewn together yesterday.


The "bricks" on the edge of the picture are actually a pieced border for the quilt.  There will be a solid strip of white all around the quilt and then a strip of the "bricks" and then another strip of solid white. 


My cutting table currently isn't setup in the sewing room as it pulls double-duty when we have people over at the house.  Our current dining room table can only seat 4 comfortably, so we use my cutting table on the end for additional seating/space.  I need to get that table back upstairs so I can cut the border pieces for this quilt.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paris - Remainder of Day 1 and Day 2

Our trip to Paris was relatively short.  The first two days were really spent on the outskirts of Paris and we didn't do any "touristy" things.  My posts here and here describe and show photos of the Louvre, which was the only museum we went to that allowed pictures.

After the Louvre, we went to the Musee D'Orsay.  Its just across the Seine from the Louvre and it has a ton of impressionist paintings as well as some more modern paintings.  Unfortunately, they did not allow photos.  If you are ever in Paris though, I recommend going to the museum.  We really enjoyed the impressionist paintings which were on the top floor.  Even if they move things around, I would recommend going to the top floor first while you're feeling strong.  Its much easier to go down the stairs after getting all the way to the top. :-)

After the Musee D'Orsay, we decided to make a quick trip over to Notre Dame.  We didn't really want to go investigate the catacombs or anything like that, but I wanted to get some pictures of the cathedral and actually go inside. 

I never realized it before, but Notre Dame is actually on its own island in the middle of the Seine.  For some reason I always thought it was in the middle of the city proper.  Here's a view walking up to the cathedral.  They were getting ready to celebrate its anniversary... 850 years... so there was some platforms and other stuff that somewhat blocked the photos.


After you get up top of the platforms, there were some wooden bleachers (the sturdy kind) and you could see the entire cathedral front.  Again, its amazing that some of the details in the exterior of the cathedral have lasted all these years.


Those dark windows were stained glass windows.  From the inside they were stunning!  It didn't feel right to take pictures inside a functional cathedral though, so I don't have any inside photos.



Of course, as we left Notre Dame, it started to rain.  We had good rain coats, so we weren't too worried about it.... until it started to REALLY come down.  We took shelter under a shop's awning (as did lots of other folks) and waited until the worst of the storm passed.  We're glad we did since it was hailing and had sideways rain during the storm.  We still ended up with wet sneakers and pants (from the knees down) when we got back to the hotel.

Thankfully we were able to dry things out in the bathroom and we used the hair dryer to dry out our sneakers.  We ended up going back out a while later for dinner, which was a minor adventure.

There were police blocking off a bunch of roads in the area, which we had no idea why.  We ended up having to take a long walk to get to the restaurant and while we were eating, you could see various different police vehicles driving by, stopping, gathering things, driving off again, etc.  When we left the restaurant, we went the short way back to our hotel and the police let us through this time.  We were fortunate that we left the restaurant when we did.... there was a demonstration on-going for pro-gay marriage.  Just as we cross the main road near our hotel, the demonstration started moving and blocked the roadway from where we had eaten to where our hotel was.  We just missed getting completely blocked from getting back to our hotel.

A little side tangent here.... the food in Paris... it was amazing.  There were crepes and gelato everywhere.  Some really great stuff.  We ended up having duck one night, which was really good.  The only bad thing we had.... foie gras.  We watch cooking shows and everyone raves about it, so we thought... we're in the one place that it should be good, so we tried it.  We just barely were able to eat it.  We didn't want to be rude to the chef, so we made sure between the two of us to eat the whole thing.  It was a bit rough though.

So our last full day in Paris we went to one final museum which we missed when we were visiting the Louvre.  Its called Musee L'Orangie (or something like that).  Its in the far corner of the gardens in front of the Louvre.  The best part was that this particular museum has two rooms of huge (and I mean huge, panorama) paintings from Monet's Waterlilies series.  They were beautiful.  It makes me want to make one out of needlepoint! ;-)

After viewing the paintings, we made the long walk over to the Eiffel tower (about 2 miles).  It was actually nice because we weren't in the tourist areas and we were just walking through the streets of Paris.  There were no pick pocketers, there were no rude tourists, just Parisians going about their business.  We really enjoyed the walk.



At the end of the gardens near the Louvre is an Egyptian obelisk.  It was pretty impressive, even from a distance.


And here we are at the base of the Eiffel Tower.  Its somewhat "ugly", but still impressive in its size.


There were elevators you could take to the top of the tower, or you could walk up the stairs.  We opted for neither because the wait to just get to the base of the tower....4 hours.  Yuck!


So we took our pictures, can say we were there and then we walked back to the hotel.


We thought about going to the Arc de Triomphe, but it was another 1.5 miles away from the hotel, which would have meant a 4 mile hike back to the hotel.  We were glad to just take a nice relaxing stroll back to the hotel after seeing the tower.  Again, it was through the less touristy areas of Paris and it was a nice walk.  We were able to get more of a feel for what the city really is like for people who live there.

Overall, we had a great time in Paris.  Being "country folk", we were glad to come back home to our 16 acres in upstate NY.  After 2 days, we were pretty much on sensory overload due to the constant crush of people and things going on.  City-life just isn't us.

We did enjoy it though and I would probably do it again if it meant we could go out into the French country-side a bit more.  I think that's the part of France that the two of us would really enjoy.

I would have to say if anyone is thinking of visiting there, whatever you do... do not drive anywhere in the city.  The traffic is absolutely insane.  The people on motorcycles basically do not follow any rules of the road and make their own lanes whenever they feel like it.  They zip in and around traffic at all speeds and its very unnerving... even as a passenger! 

I hope to get back to more quilting related posts now that I've pretty much covered our quick trip to Paris.  I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things here, so I'm sure I'll have something quilty to post soon. :-)

In the meantime....

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, April 22, 2013

Paris - Visiting The Louvre Part II

Here is part 2 of visiting the Louvre in Paris last week.  I obviously could not take pictures of everything, but here's a sampling of the paintings we saw.



In walking through some of the rooms on the upper floors, I realized there were some good views of the rest of the city.  Through one particular window, I had a really great view of the Eiffel Tower.


The picture below happens to be a Rembrant.  The museum had a lot of works from Rembrant in a handful of rooms.


There were also some amazing sculptures from Mesopotamia.  This one just struck me with the detail in it.  To think that someone (probably a slave) carved this all by hand with small tools is just amazing.


Look at the detail in that beard!  And the chevrons in the "leaves" on the chest plate...


This one was with the Greek artifacts.  It was pretty interesting and you could clearly see the effects of the environment on the stone.


In the Egyptian areas, they only had partial pieces of some of the artifacts, but the museum folks were able to provide sketches of the missing pieces so you could get an idea of what the whole thing would have looked like thousands of years ago.



We couldn't pass up a picture of Rama-sees. :-)


This next area of paintings were some more Rembrants and were near the Mona Lisa.  This painting was absolutely huge.  The people in the painting were actually larger than life-sized!



I ended up not getting a picture of the Mona Lisa, but we did see it.  In that particular room, there was an area to direct the crowd toward the painting and then away from it, and it was just a huge mass of people shoved together.  Since pick-pockets are a huge problem in the museum, we decided that we did not want to put ourselves in the middle of the huge throng of people.  That was just asking for trouble!

After leaving the Louvre, we took a walk through the gardens right next to the museum.  The flowers and trees really weren't in bloom yet since it had been a cold winter, but it was still nice to walk through.


If you look closely, there are some annuals (hyacinths, daffodils, etc.) blooming.



Looking back at the Louvre from outside the gardens.


We then crossed over the Seine, which by the way, is a lot choppier and dirtier than I would have originally expected.  After I thought about it though, it is a major river through a major city, so its not really unexpected that its dirty.



After crossing the Seine, we went to the Musee D'Orsay.  There are a ton of great impressionist paintings in there, but they did not allow photography.  We spent probably 2 hours walking through that museum.

We also took a walk over to Notre Dame, but I'll share those pictures as well as our trip to the Eiffel Tower in the next post.

We did a lot of walking in the 2 days that we were in central Paris.  Based on Google Maps, we walked about 10 miles each day.  It was beautiful while we were there though.  There were a few sprinkles here and there and one afternoon there was a 20 minute downpour, but other than that, the weather was very nice.  A bit on the cool side, but not bad for those of us used to the cold northeast!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Friday, April 19, 2013

Paris - Visiting The Louvre Part I

The first full day in the center of Paris was spent mostly walking through The Louvre museum.  You could spend years walking through that place and not really see everything in there.  It truly is an amazing collection of artifacts, paintings and sculptures.

I forgot to take a picture of the famous glass pyramid when walking in, but was able to get a shot as we left.  See all those people... when we first got to the museum at 10am, there was only about 20 people in line/milling about.  As the day wore on, the lines got longer and longer to get in.


One of the first areas we went to after entering was the Roman sculptures.  There were absolutely fabulous.  To think that people made these detailed sculptures without the tools that we have today.  All the sculptures in the pictures below that are in the "atrium" were actually all outdoors at one point in time.  They've now been enclosed in this glass atrium to ensure they don't degrade any more from the elements.



After getting past the main courtyard, we found a ton more sculptures.  The detail on this cape as absolutely stunning!



I don't recall what this next one was from, but the intricacy of it was unbelievable!  The whole thing stood probably about 8 feet tall, but the small details inside were easily less than a 1/4".


Here's a close-up:



There was also this beautiful archway with very detailed carving in it.


After going through most of the sculptures (which I took photos of about 1%), we made a brief tour through Napoleon's quarters.  We weren't really that interested in it, but we were trying to find out way through the buildings to the next area we wanted to see.  I didn't take a lot of photos of Napoleon's quarters (living spaces), but the few that I did take were pretty breath-taking.


The ornate details in the ceilings, walls, and the chandelier were incredible.  In one room they had it setup for a dining room that could probably seat 50 people.  The wood table was absolutely stunning!


The gold details on the doors and walls was very impressive.  One could probably say that they should peel off that gold and help fund the economy, but it would be heart-breaking to ruin these treasures that have been around for so many centuries.


The next post that I do will show the paintings that we saw in the next areas of the museum.  I didn't want to make the posts too long with the pictures, so I'm trying to break it up a bit and put it into manageable sizes.


Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations