Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity, jig

Such a good feeling coming 'home'. After 2-1/2 months of living out of a suitcase I have to say it felt great to unpack. Fun to have some new wardrobe choices and comforting to sleep in my own bed - even though I miss my granddaughter's early morning wake-up whisper.

The studio has been cleared of bills & magazines but not the to-do lists and new piles of projects. I forget how much time it takes for the west-east jet-lag to dissolve, sleep patterns to re-adjust and creative flow to kick in. I've managed to sew one shirt I really like and another that looks scarily similar to some I saw in Paris but hated. (Be careful what you think) Miss-takes are always such a good teaching tool...

I'm finishing the details on my next patterns for Vogue, working up new ones, making samples for my presentation at the Sew Expo in Puyallup next month and creating work for my Spring show in Minnesota, 'Art at Highland' on March 27th.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Last Day in Paris

Another great day in Paris! Actually saw the sun momentarily this afternoon - not for long though... Most of the light seems to be filtered through gray clouds.

Wandered all through our 'new' neighborhood - St Germain des Pres - including checking out a hotel on rue Git le Coeur where I stayed in 1986 (or was it '87, I can't quite remember). Still owned by Madame Odillard, Relais Hotel Vieux Paris has been remodeled (I hope so, it was pretty bare bones 20+ years ago) and is now a 'boutique' hotel. Probably not right for our groups but fun to see after all this time.

We explored many narrow streets fulfilling the words of that Joni Mitchell song, "...I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive.... You know I'd go back there tomorrow but for the work I've taken on..." Marcy and I had our wishes fulfilled, all our desired places visited and last minute items found and purchased. Ate lunch with another cute waiter flirting for fun and tips as he parodied the classic French 'guy' with his smile and shrugs. Lots of laughing.

Wandered the Luxembourg Gardens - flirting with more Frenchmen, runners this time - meandering through the snow in the quiet bare trees. Paris is uncrowded today and I am loving it.

Met a woman on the rue de Rivoli(with her embarrassed daughter and husband trying to hide out by hanging back carefully studying a store window) from Alabama who innocently asked us if we knew where any good clothing stores were. I told her she had asked the right people - and she thought I was kidding! A few laughs later, with maps out, we directed them to a street and shops the daughter might like. Serendipity continues to dazzle and amuse...

Finished the day with a really great wood fire pizza from Pizza Vesuvio (locations all over town) and champagne. Packing tonight for an early up and out return home.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No peace at Cafe de la Paix...

Stopped at Cafe de la Paix for tea today. Don't bother. This is a well-known and expensive spot by the Opera but, no peace there - no nice either - they were rude, unfriendly and unwelcoming! Refused to allow three of us to sit at a table for two, no matter that several couples were pigging it up at tables for four. Sometime Parisians are incredibly and unnecessarily rude. Fortunately this is really the first time it's happened - well there was one cranky pharmacy guy - but it still felt shocking. Their insolence caused us to search further for a quiet spot which we found in the tearoom, Cafe Lumiere, at Hotel Scribe. A picturesque presentation of tea and espresso was served up by gracious and cheerful staff and was greatly appreciated by Marcy, our copine Martine and myself.

After wandering all over the neighborhoods of from Monmartre, to the Champs-Elysee, to Opera and back to St Germain des Pres we are staying close to home for dinner tonight. Like all big cities, navigating Paris requires stamina. Makes me really appreciate life in the wilds of Oregon where the only big work required is bringing in logs for the fire... What a great life!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paris, endings and beginnings

Saturday (day 4), the group's last day in Paris. It's taken me so long to figure out how to do the blog, get the one I like the best and write anything after walking all over Paris in the cold, it's a miracle anything is being noted... So, in this first blog, I'm including the others I've written, in reverse chronological order as that is how blogs go, eh?

Warmer today (all relative in terms of the cold - the Parisians all say 'It's winter', with that little shoulder shrug and pursed lips that makes them so appealing) which is helpful. Lots of walking, finding fabulous fabric, smashing shoes and tasty chocolate.

Stuffed full with dinner including lots of wine, mammoth desserts, shared secrets and plenty of laughter. Once again a French waiter being himself amused as well as served. What an adventurous week! Tomorrow the group scatters, regroups and I remember the shifts and changes that can occur when I move out of my comfort zone and into new territory and open to new options.

Bonne nuit, K

Day 3. Paris always surprises… Messages are written in the snow on many cars in the street. Most of them in English… Many of the service people say they speak ‘a little’ but they understand much more than they are willing to admit. Be careful what you say…

As an American I always feel too loud but never mind. What else would they talk about?

Madeline Vionnet amazes, astounds and dazzles. Her talent, originality and genius inspire every one of us who views her work. Draping, beading, simplicity/complexity and all of Vionnet’s creativity will no doubt be impacting clothing design for the next decade. How fortunate for everyone.

Peace and warmth to all.

On day 2 of our visit, (or minus1 to the start of the ‘Paris on Sale’ tour – - day 1 was rest, eat and rest some more) Paris is cold (it is January after all) but not in comparison to Minnesota (where I arrived from) where the below zero temperatures feel quite brutal…

Wearing layers, we ventured out in the sunshine, preparing things for the groups’ arrival tomorrow. As always, Paris romanticizes the mundane, creating adventure wherever we roam – down avenue de l’Opera or through Monmartre’s streets of souvenirs, bling, blah, and much in between. Sartorial elegance shows her beautiful face on the subway and sidewalks. Parisian attention to detail includes much creative layering of hats, scarves, vests and clever combinations of shapes and textures.

Dinner at Absinthe, with my first taste of the liquor, was delicious and now sleep calls.

Bon nuit.

Day one of the ‘Paris on Sale’ tour. Got to sleep in late which was wonderful! Paris is sunny and cold today. We met early this afternoon to walk to lunch. An artistic mix of colors, textures and tastes filled me up as well as conversation, street scenes and dessert. A visit to an ancient mercerie provided visual and tactile satisfaction and I found some lovely cords for stringing small Paris keys that I found here.

A frosty boat ride arrived at the Eiffel Tower just in time to appreciate the twinkling lights that amuse for 10 sparkling minutes. Dropping temperatures could be felt during our trip back down the Seine so riding the Metro and returning to our hotel felt extra cozy. So much so, that a light dinner in the hotel bar with a bit of red wine provided the perfect ending to a perfect Paris day…

Sleep well!