* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Monday, December 12, 2016

Teatime caring and sharing

Teatime caring 1This weekend, our church held its fourth annual Christmas Tea.  It was a lovely occasion for our ladies to gather together along with their friends and neighbors for a cheerful seasonal afternoon of tea and home baked goodies, hear uplifting talks on the true meaning of Christmas, and then end up with a surprise from the gift exchange.

It's kind of fun to look back and see how the decorations change each year, as well as see who came each time.  This is how it all looked this year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Journey into a man's sport jacket

Sport jacket journey 1Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a young woman got married and started sewing a work wardrobe for herself.  But the young husband was jealous and wanted some sewing done for himself. 

So he sent his bride to school to learn how to make him a suit.  Over time, he got about ten of them for himself.  Then the bride took off in other directions, and he never got another one again.

Now, about forty years later, he is being honored once again with another new sport coat.  Thanks to modern technology, it is now possible to share the journey with you!  Let's travel the path together.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dual Thanksgivings

Dual Thanksgivings 1Once again, another American Thanksgiving has come and gone.  While it has always been a special occasion for me as an American, it just happened to be our first American holiday we experienced as new foreigners living in a country where it was meaningless.  We shared it with our new French neighbors, and we’ve been sharing it with the French ever since.

This year, as last year, was interesting in that we were also guests as non-Americans put on a big spread, too.  Here’s how we enjoyed both events!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An afternoon choral songfest

Choral Songfest 1As if conversing and reading in French weren't enough of a challenge, Doc Leo and I are now part of a local chorale.  Not only do we sing in French, but we've also had to belt out tunes in Spanish, Italian, Latin, Niçoise, German, and Greek! 

I tend to feel a bit smug at my perfect pronunciation when we get to sing something in English.  I also provide a bit of linguistic coaching, especially on our words that follow absolutely no grammatical rules at all.

Our group was recently invited as guest performers to a regional concert of five different groups.  I thought you might find it interesting.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Alpine trekking

Alpine Trekking 1

Every year, our church holds a fall retreat at the camp we volunteer to help keep nice up in the mountains.  One of the annual activities is a fairly substantial hike on one of the numerous official trails.  As I belonged to a hiking club for a few years as part of our village activities, I look forward to participating in this scheduled activity.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been a very sporty person, and every year I keep getting older while there are always plenty of younger people, so it gets harder and harder to keep up.  But I continue to plug along, and I thought I’d share some of the views I captured at this year’s event last month.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

When work is joy

Work is joy 1Last month, we participated in the annual fall clean-up at the children's camp we volunteer helping keep in shape.  Over the years, we've all managed to take this property that was falling apart from lack of attention and turn it into a space of beauty and relaxation, although getting and keeping it there hasn't been so relaxing!

We now pretty much do the same things every year, so it would be boring to keep showing you the same activities.  But I like to honor the various people who dedicate their time to this endeavor each year, plus give a bit of a progress report on how everything continues to improve.

I'll start off with my own pride and joy, the pretty fire pit I brought back from a horrible mess several years ago, and now just takes a bit of annual weeding.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Wheat & Lavender

Wheat & Lavender 1Yesterday we ended up having a spontaneous fun experience I thought you might also enjoy.  French towns like to have fun activities in the summer to pull in the tourists, and our area is no exception.  It is possible to attend open air theatre and music concerts, and the old villages like to put on folkloric presentations harking back to their traditional heritages.

Some friends from church were aware of a village festival back up in the mountains, and we all decided to go check it out.  Here are some views of the scenery, the village, and the activities we enjoyed.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A French surprise

French Surprise 1This past year, we became part of a new local community chorale group.  When the year was over, several of us decided we'd like to get together during the summer.  We had a group dinner early in the summer, a great way to develop new friendships. 

However, I was surprised that one couple was aware of my birthday, but they sent me this adorable birthday card.  As we are both into music and cats, it was so appropriate!

Then, another couple invited us to dinner, which I thought was just a continuation of making friends.  In reality, they'd all conspired to throw me a little surprise birthday party!

It was such a fun evening, I thought I'd share my French celebration.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beach Blanket Birthday

Beach Birthday 1

I have a very good friend who happens to be the same age as my second daughter.  She is a Brit married to a Frenchman and now has three kids.  You've seen them in some of my posts, as we've been involved in a number of their family activities or we have just gotten together.

It turns out that her husband and I share the same birthday, although a generation apart.  Normally they are off on vacation at this time, so we never get to celebrate together, nor do I just get to celebrate mine with my friend.

This year, however, they happened to be around, she threw him a beach party, and I was invited to participate.  So I got a beach party, too.  I thought you might enjoy the ambiance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Over the Col de la Lombarde

Pass 1

I recently had an opportunity to meet an internet acquaintance in person in Milano, Italy, allowing us to get away for a few days.

Rather than take the open toll road with its 200 tunnels (my grandson and I counted them one trip) through the mountains, Doc Leo decided to take a lesser used scenic route over them.

As we didn't have time to dawdle on the way over, we came back the same way so we could enjoy it more.  I thought you might like sharing some of it with us.

Monday, July 25, 2016

PR Meet-up Milano

PR Milano 1Last spring, I had the privilege for the first time of meeting in person a new friend I'd made on my favorite sewing website.  That pleasure was extended recently by getting to meet two more users of the site.

One visit was fairly local, like the first one, but the second one involved a day's trip into Italy, which we turned into a mini-vacation get-away.

I thought I'd show you some of what we did.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another village tribute

Village tribute 1

Once again, France has had to hold an official moment of national mourning.  Communities all over the country, from small villages to the largest metropolises, gathered their local residents together for the traditional minute of silence and the laying of wreaths by the communes and other groups.

Our village was no exception, and we joined in to show our personal sympathy with many of the local friends we've made.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nissa la Bella

Nissa La Bella 1Once again, my adopted country is in a state of mourning because some individual thought he was more in charge than anybody else of the personal destinies of as many people as he could touch.

While there have been recent similar tragedies in both my home and my adopted countries, now both my home state and my current region have been specifically targeted.

Yesterday, we took a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to pay our own homage to the fallen along with many other locals.  I thought I would share the photographic impressions we brought back home with us.

Monday, July 11, 2016

At twenty-two

At 22 1Because I happened to have the necessary materials at hand, I decided to enter a Vintage Pattern Contest on my favorite sewing site.  The requirement was that any pattern used had to be older than 1981. 

Normally I wouldn't have patterns that old, having gotten rid of them when we moved overseas.  But as my prize for winning a contest last year was vintage patterns, I now have a few qualifying ones to choose from. 

What I didn't know was how my particular choices would take me on an interesting trip down Memory Lane, starting with when I was around 22 years old.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Creating a Provençal Fête

01 Wine Fête 2016Every year, usually in May, we are standing house guests for an annual wine festival held in our hosts' region.  While the cold buffet is just on Saturday afternoon, we arrive on Friday and stay until Sunday.  Not only does it make a lovely weekend get-away for us, but it provides an opportunity to visit with a dear family at least once a year. 

Sadly, last year's event was cancelled due to the death of their oldest son shortly beforehand, but we were still invited to visit a bit later.

Two years ago, I shared the afternoon's event with you.  Last year, I took you on a tour of the area instead.  This year, I thought I'd show you just what goes on behind the scenes to succeed at this marvelous event.  Doc Leo and I do our best to earn our keep!  Even the youngest generation is getting schooled on how to continue posterity.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Le Zouave de Paris

Le Zoave 1If you have been paying the remotest attention to the news recently, you will be aware that massive, disastrous flooding has been going on in multiple areas of the world all at the same time.  While I don't happen to live in one of those zones, my adopted city of Paris is definitely experiencing major flooding, more serious than the several instances that occurred when we lived there.

You may have been hearing about or seen pictures of our famous Zouave.  But you probably don't really know who he is.  So let me introduce you, as my native Parisian neighbor did to me so many years ago.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A springtime restoration

2016 Spring Camp 01

For a number of years now, we have participated in the upkeep of a camp facility.  As there is nobody local to maintain the camp, there are generally two work weeks scheduled during the year -- one in spring and one in the fall. 

As we have no full-time obligations elsewhere, Doc Leo and I usually volunteer for the whole time period.  Sometimes, we're the only ones, sometimes there's a really nice crowd.

Having been neglected since the growing season began this year, nature gave us quite a bit of exterior work to do in preparing for the summer camp season.  Here's a little of what we faced last week and how we tamed it!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

PR Meet-up Monaco

PR Monaco 01Last weekend, my favorite sewing site, Pattern Review, held their annual meet-up weekend, this time in Chicago.  It must be a fabulous opportunity to meet various members who support the site and have a common interest, especially ones who are actively involved and have thus become virtual acquaintances. 

I will probably never get to find out, although I was quite sad last year when they met in Los Angeles, as I would have loved to double the trip and see all my family.

However, I did get to do the next best thing last month and participate in probably the first meet-up in Monaco!  I thought I'd share the experience as well as a little virtual tour of the second smallest country in the world.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A never-ending wardrobe collection

Endless Circle 01Once again, I just participated in another sewing contest.  While this one was also a multi-garment contest (usually there's only one item to be made during a month period), it was much tamer than the last Wardrobe Contest.  Instead of a set number of ten items, this one only required four, but you could do as many as you wanted after that.  The only requirement was that the second item had to go with the first, the third had to go with the second, etc.

Well, I got carried away, and I did a completely endless set of nine items!  So I thought I would share the process.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A beach picnic

Beach picnic 01Yesterday we had a church function held down on the beach, which was followed by a picnic.  It was a really pretty day, so I thought I'd share a little Mediterranean beauty for those who can't just pop by whenever you feel like it.

The weather was actually threatening to storm, so there was a bit of wind and periodic overcast.  I'm assuming these helped to contribute to the wave activity and the super pretty color of the water.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Peach Sundae

Wardrobe 2016 01Last year, I participated in a major wardrobe contest on my sewing site.  While I was putting different fabrics together from years worth of stash, I came across a whole different set that could go together nicely.  Although the contest themes change from year to year, I held onto these in case there was one again this year.  And there was! 

Last year we had six weeks to make eight or nine new garments that all went together, but this year we needed to make ten new items within a full two-month period. 

I thought I would share just how I went about the whole contest from start to finish, starting with connecting the chosen patterns with the collected fabrics, and then trying to find a catchy name that reflected the overall theme.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Twelve Days

Twelve Days 1As a child, I heard about the 12 days of Christmas in a song every year.  But nobody ever explained what it meant.  Because my grandmother's birthday was on January 6, I at least learned that that was the twelfth day itself.  When I moved to Europe, I learned about Epiphany, the official name of the twelfth day.  More importantly, I learned about the Galette du Roi, or King's cake in English. 

As we did not end up entertaining at all during the Christmas season, we had company for both New Year's Eve and Epiphany, keeping the Christmas theme.  Here's how we did the two dinners, keeping the same menu because it was so interesting.

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