Saturday, April 30, 2016


As much as I loved all the color and patterns of the Starpatch quilts on display in Laguepie, these small boutis  pieces really took my breath away. The stitching and designs were exquisite. Also known as Provencal quilting, boutis quilts feature two pieces of fabric with a whisper-thin layer of stuffing in between. With stitching, the design becomes raised and visible. There's no room for error pattern or color to hide an uneven line or a missed stitch. Lovely!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Colorful Quilts

I found the best way for me to photograph the gorgeous quilts on display at Laguepie was up close and personal. I loved this modern, abstract design in black and white.
This more traditional pattern is lovely in its jewel-like colors. It looks like a variation of an old pattern called Square Deal.
The graduated colors of this quilt really add to its basket weave effect. The pink hands floating in front of the quilt are part of a mobile honoring victims of the Paris and Brussels attacks.
A bed-size basket pattern quilt.
These two quilts were hanging side by side....same pattern in different colors. Do you like one 
better than the other? I'm partial to the one done in blues, green and golds. The patterned squares are peacock feathers!

An addition to yesterday's post. Sue tells me that Starpatch is made up of women from not only France and the UK, but also Belgium, Canada and Australia...a truly international group!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Patchwork, Please!

Patchwork Exposition
Salles des Fetes
Welcome to the quilt show! My friend, Sue, is a member of Starpatch, a group of French and English quilters who hold a biannual quilt exposition in the Salles des Fetes in Laguepie. I made the journey this morning to see their work. It was market morning in town, so there was lots of activity and several people admiring the quilts on display. The quilts were beautiful, and the workmanship was exquisite. I've done a little patchwork myself, so I appreciate how difficult and precise piecing and quilting are. Here are three of Sue's pieces on display....
The photos truly don't do justice to the work. The triptych in blue was especially hard to shoot as it's hung in front of a window and the lighting was very tricky. Great work, Sue! Are you inspired? Happy stitching!

I'll share more quilts that caught my eye in my next blog post

Monday, April 25, 2016

Laury's Columbine

 Despite the unsettled weather, spring marches on relentlessly. I was reminded of that as I walked the tracks behind Laury's house this morning. Her columbine is so pretty. It's reassuring to know that the wheel of the year continues to turn...rain, thunderstorms, gray skies and cold days won't last forever!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lunch in St. Cirq

I had lunch this week with a friend here in St. Cirq-Lapopie. She's doing an artist-in-residency program at Maisons Daura for 8 weeks and it was fun to hear about her project. She's a writer and is writing a novella about the her vision of the Lot Valley in some futurist time with water being the underlying theme of the story. We ate at Le Cantou and lunch was very tasty. I was surprised that the village is starting to gear up for the tourist season...lots of people already wandering the steep rues of the village. And it cost 4 euros to park even in the lower parking area where you still have to climb 850 meters to get up to the village! Good thing that in spite of being steep, the hike is very pleasant.

Friday, April 8, 2016

All Aboard!

You may remember when I first moved here to Cadrieu I referred to my house as the Little Train House. It was originally one of many (mine is #434) built along the train tracks that run between Cahors and Decazeville. Originally the trains on this track hauled coal from the Decazeville mines; more recently they took passengers in these cars along the same route. Small houses like mine were built at every level crossing...where the tracks crossed a road. The men who lived in the houses were expected to control the crossing and keep the tracks clear.

The last passenger train ran a few years before my first visit to the Lot in 2009. The tracks are now over-grown and unused, so imagine my surprise when I spotted this train car sitting on the tracks just before I got to Cajarc this morning! She's pretty beat up, this old girl, but I can't help imagining how cool she'd be restored and turned into maybe a coffee house or a wine bar or how about a used book store that could travel the tracks to each village and make a shopping stop...kind of like the bookmobiles of my childhood.
It would have been fun to explore inside, but this prominently posted sign warned me off: Asian hornets' nests...honey bee killers!
I was intrigued by the coupling plates, switches and hydraulic hoses on each end of the car.
No fear of getting run over by this speeding train. Barely speed is 40 Km/hour.
Tracks behind my house. You can tell 'that train don't run by here no more!'

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Golden Staircase

The Golden Staircase
Doge's Place
I've just finished reading a book, "A History of Venice" by John Julius Norwich. It traces the story of Venice from its beginnings to its demise as a Republic at the hands of Napoleon in 1797, focusing on its political and military.The book does a lot to explain the intrigue of this fascinating city, its fading opulence, the extravagance of Carnivale, and its romantic allure. Now, of course, I want to visit it again and explore all the places mentioned in the book. A return visit isn't in the cards right now, though, so I'll have to be content to look through my photos from last fall and enjoy memories of the Doge's Palace.

The Stairway of Giants
Doge's Palace
The Doge met visiting dignitaries here at the top of the Stairway of Giants. Flanked by statues of Neptune and Mars, symbols of Venice's superiority on land and at sea, the Doge waited while kings, princes, diplomats and even the Pope climbed the stairs to meet him. The Golden Staircase above was gilded and embellished to impress anyone who climbed with Venice's wealth. Fabulous painted, carved and gilded ceilings top every room in the vast palace.

My favorite parts of the ornate ceilings, though, were the lovely carved sculpture details in the corners.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning from my garden gate. A skiff of fog lingers along the river and in the little valley behind Saujac. The sky is brilliant blue; there's a bit of warmth in the sun just peeking over the causse. The air is fresh and clean. I catch a whiff of the sweet smell of wild plum blossoms and know it's the start of a perfect spring day. Tugging on her leash, Lucie lets me know she's more than ready for our walk. Off we go!