Fun-Size Quilts - A new book & A GIVEAWAY!!!

Phew! There's been so much excitement over here, I can hardly contain myself! But, today I don't have to :)
Today I am excited to announce the arrival of this adorable book, Fun-Size Quilts. I have been so excited for this book and if you've seen me talk to a group in the last year or so, this is the book I told y'all about.

Why is this book so much fun? Well, all of the quilts are small. As in they fit on a fat quarter small. But don't worry, there's a ton of projects from applique to paper piecing and everything in between. There's something for everyone! Hop on the mini quilt bandwagon with us and make your own fun-size quilt.
This is my little gem, Woven Stars. I couldn't wait to get working on this quilt and bust into my Civil War stash. Then to top it off, I hand quilted it with a bit of a modern vibe. But it's hand quilted... It's small, I figured I could handle it and get it done quickly. I'm thinking I need to make another one. Not sure which colors yet. I kept the pieces simple yet large enough so you wouldn't want to tear your hair out. That's not fun...

But let's get to the fun part. Did I mention that Martingale is hosting this blog hop and there's 16 eBook copies of Fun-Size Quilts up for grabs? Head on over to Martingale's blog to see the complete list of participants so you can head on over to each blog and enter to win. 

So how do you enter to win a copy here? It's simple. This book is called Fun-Size Quilts. What else comes fun-size? 

Tell me in a comment what your favorite fun-size candy is to enter for a chance to win an eBook copy of Fun-Size Quilts

Oh heck, I can't let Martingale have all the fun. I'll also throw in a signed copy of Fun-Size Quilts to one lucky winner :)

You have until Wednesday, July 30th to enter. Good luck!


Final Paris Post: The Sights

Oh, Paris... Seriously, if you ever have the chance to go, GO!!! There's so much history and detail and truth in this city. This city is a celebration and they know it and do it well. What I really miss right about now are the amazing baked goods and baguettes. I'm a carb kinda girl and having good crusty bread all the time? Sign me up!
 One of the semi-unexpected favorites that Ben and I visited was Sainte Chapelle. I cannot repeat how the history is amazing in this city. This church was getting ready to celebrate it's 800th anniversary! Anywho, I had seen pictures and kinda knew what to expect, but when we walked in and saw this, I was perplexed. It was not what I was expecting...
 You really can't see much of the church from the sidewalk. It's actually housed in the courtyard of the current courthouse for Paris. This is about all you can see.
 But we kept wandering and looking around. The colors in this area were so rich and royal looking.
 Then we spotted it! This teeny tiny spiral staircase led us up to what I was looking for...
 The most gorgeous and tall stained glass windows I had ever seen! This ceiling is massive and to think, this is the second floor of the church! They are currently renovating the glass to restore it and give it a proper cleaning (hence the construction barrier wall in the left of the photo).
 The colors and the ceiling and the lights shining in and the stories depicted in the windows! I could spend a ton of time here. The floors were really neat too and who am I kidding?! This whole building and every single detail about it was mesmerizing!
 This is a view of the outside of the church, but while still in the courtyard of the courthouse.
 From there, Ben and I strolled along and took more and more pictures of the outside of the Louvre.
 Did you know there's a mall underneath the gardens of the Louvre? Here's one of the entrances.
 Inside you can find this scale model of the grounds of the Louvre and everything that's housed underground. Aside from the mall where this model is kept, there's parking garages, a road, theaters, and much much more. It's crazy to think of how much of this city is actually under the city.
 But that's where you can see the upside down pyramid. And shop. And eat. And stroll around with your hubby :)
  Here's another shot of the Opera Garnier that I spoke about here. LOVE this place. Would love to go see a show here some day...
Just behind the Opera Garnier is the Gallerie Lafayette. This is a huge mall comprised of three different buildings, one of which has this amazing glass ceiling. That's the whole reason we went inside. Just so I could take this picture :)
 Then down the way a bit, at the end of the Champs Elysees, is the Arc de Triomphe. Ben and I made the horrible mistake the first time we came to Paris to go to the top of the Arc within hours of entering the country. I blame it on the lack of sleep.

Seriously, we just landed, we've been in the country maybe four hours, we hadn't slept in almost two days and we decide to climb this thing. There's tons of signs warning you it's 284 steps to the top. Yeah yeah yeah, no biggie. WHATEVER!!! I made it about 3/4 of the way to the top and thought I was going to die. I hadn't eaten, hadn't slept, really needed a shower now, and thought a lung might pop out at any moment. We made it to the top and it was a gorgeous view, but now this sight is a been there - done that kinda sight.
 Seriously, it's 284 steps to the top. See all the people at the top. Yeah, all of those specs are people... It is pretty though. And if you're in shape, you're well hydrated and don't have claustrophobia, you should try it. Just don't do it within hours of arriving in the country, please. Take my word for it.
 And then it wouldn't be Paris without the Eiffel Tower. I have only seen it from the ground. No I do not want to stand in line to go to the top or even the first level. And yes I watched several people climbing the steps to get to the first level to take a cart to the top. No, it didn't look like fun. I'll just take tons of pictures from the ground thank you very much.
 And then there's the carousels. They are mostly these elaborate double decker huge carousels and this one just happens to be across the street from the Eiffel Tower. I really like the one outside of Hotel de Ville too.
 And then there's this cool building across the Seine from the Louvre. It's next to the bridge that Ben and I put our lover's lock on. I have no clue what it is, but it's pretty!
 And then after all the walking and sight seeing, Ben and I would come back to our hotel room and crash and listen to the music being played in the courtyard here. Oh, and the traffic. It's kinda loud and crazy, but not irritating (as long as you're not driving in it, I don't have the guts to try it, no thank you!). It was so nice being able to just lay down with the breeze blowing through the window and listen to the city.
But before you knew it, our time in Paris was up and it was time to come home. The sunsets here were amazing and much different than what I'm used to at home. Granted I don't live in tall buildings that are practically on top of eachother, so that could have something to do with it :) That concludes my tour of Paris and I hope you liked it. I started a list before we even left of what to do and what to see the next time we make it back. Do you have anything you'd recommend?

Also, I had this wonderful wine from this little grocery store you can kinda see in the last picture. It's a rose wine with orange in it. It was sooo good and I can't get it here. If anyone is going to Paris, find it for me and send me some, pretty pretty please!!!!!! I'm serious, it was that good. Okay, now back to reality and quilts, although this has been fun to go back down memory lane since I didn't post about this trip right away. Toodles!


Paris Part 3: The Louvre

Ben and I set aside an entire day to check out the Louvre. The museum is HUGE and you could probably spend a couple days there.
 Ben and I started in the statue garden. It's this wonderfully magical place indoors, but feels outdoors. Actually, most of the lighting for the museum comes from filtered natural light. However, this was mid-April and it was a cool 60 degrees or so outside. Inside with all of this light, it felt like 90 degrees in this room and just as hot in several areas of the museum that had more light streaming in.
 We continued on and strolled through relics of eras past...
 And then we stumbled upon something new to us... Napoleon III's apartments!
 This door was massive! I would guess it was atleast 14' tall.
 There were tons of chandeliers, each room had a different style. This was just a plain hallway, nothing too fancy here (Psyeah!)
 More chandeliers and wallpapers and pictures and ceiling treatments. There was not a single place for your eye to rest.
 This is the family room. One of many actually. but this was the largest family room.
 And this was the dining room. I think this is the largest table I have ever seen. Ben and I both counted and double checked and this table seats 46! Comfortably too!
 These curvy chairs were spotted in several rooms, but the burgundy velvet and gold theme was found in just about every room.
 I LOVE these staircase corridors that can be found in corners of the Louvre. It has such an M.C. Escher vibe!
 From some of the higher levels, like in the Napoleon apartments, you get some incredible views, like this one of the pyramid outside to the other side of the Louvre.
 This is the statue garden from above.
 And this was a neat view of the city to the Eiffel Tower, a mere 2.5 miles away or so.
 You actually enter the museum under the large pyramid and then enter the many wings from there, this is looking up under one of the smaller glass pyramids.
 We weren't able to see much more of the museum on this trip because they were doing extensive renovations (plus it was soooo hot and we were moving quickly to get to what we wanted to see so we could get out quickly) but we had to stop by and see the Mona Lisa. See it, there in the middle of the giant wall. (look at the arrow)
That's it. It's the most popular exhibit in the museum, hence the glass, double thick railings to keep people at bay and the eight or so security personnel in this room alone. It's so much smaller than most people realize. It is neat to see though. So, once we spotted Mona Lisa, we waltzed through some other areas of the museum and then strolled out in the cooler air of the outdoors to see more sights.

I'll be back with one last post tomorrow to show you the main sites and attractions we saw. I hope you're enjoying this little tour!


Opera Garnier in Paris (my favorite!!!)

Ben and I were lucky enough to score a tour of my FAVORITE building in Paris, the Opera Garnier. They only run two tours, two days a week and when we discovered it last time we were in Paris, they were the day before and wouldn't run again until after we left. :(
 So, we were on a mission and when we left our hotel, the Opera house was in our sights. Literally, this was the view when you stepped out of our hotel. How awesome is that?!
 After a short walk, we arrived and got in line for the tour. We got into the last spot available for the first tour! It was fate, I tell ya!
 So, we started in the lower level of the building where there is this amazing ceiling...
 And these amazing mosaic floors...
 And beneath the grand staircase is this... Wish I could've gotten more pictures, but I was on the move. Didn't want to miss the tour.
 We started out sitting in the lower floor area of the auditorium... Oh, and this was all designed to be minimal and simple... Yeah...
 The chandelier is HUGE and when this was built they would lower it to light the gas lamps and it would take 3 hours!!! The chandelier weights about 7 tons if I remember correctly... HUGE!!! The mural behind it is one of the only changes made to the building. It was a huge scandal at the time, but a big payoff. Many people came to shows just to see the new mural.

 And while we were sitting there, an ACTUAL BALLERINA was practicing for the performance later that night. I was on Cloud 9... She was amazing!
 Outside the main attraction wasn't the show... It was the main staircase and the scandals of who wore what, who tripped going up the stairs, he brought who with him?! That kinda stuff. There are so many balconies and areas to view everyone as they arrived to the show.
 There is sooooo much marble in this building. About 31 different varieties I think. There are the most gorgeous colors you could imagine. Actually, the mosaic floors were made with the pieces parts left over from making the stairs and columns and other features. It was very modern at the time, mosaics weren't found much outside of Italy when this building was designed.
 This is a replica of what the original mural in the auditorium looked like. A very far cry from the painting there now. But, every other domed ceiling in Paris has a similar painting and this Opera house needed to stand out (not like it's completely encased in gold and red velvet and precious marbles.
 Then we went up to view the auditorium from one of the bathtubs. These box seats were called bathtubs because when you sit in one, all people can see is your head, like a tub.
 This stage is huge!!! If you look up how the curtains look when they're closed, it's crazy. It looks like a hot mess, they don't hang straight down, but it's gorgeous and fits with the building perfectly.
 Now this room was cool. There are two that are similar. This isn't an effect or filter. The domed ceiling spikes from black at the base to silver in the center. This one has the bats to indicate night, the other room has something for morning (I can't remember what) but the walls also have mirrors that are angled just so and they give the impression of an endless room. It's really cool, but these ceilings were so striking!
 Then, that brought us to the hallway were everyone gathered at intermission. It's also quite simple like the rest of the building... NOT! The murals and gold and more chandeliers... It's beautiful. Charles Garnier actually put himself and his wife as gods in some of the designs. He's the only known architect to do that and include his wife. Most architects put their own personal touches here or there, but this was a bold statement, and still is. Oh, and when he designed this building, he was only 34. This is his masterpiece and was his first major undertaking...

 Here's a better view of the main staircase from one of the balconies.
 This is the porch area (I guess you could call it). There's even more marble and gold and details here too.
The tour was amazing and lasted a couple hours. Then afterwards you have free reign to roam in some of the areas of the Opera house we didn't tour, like this porch. Oh, and there it is, at the end of this avenue is our hotel... It was really neat to see the view from this angle.

If you ever get the chance, definitely take the tour of the Opera Garnier. Hence why it took me an entire post for this one building. Oh, and I have sooooo many more photos I didn't show you. But, anywho I will be back soon with a couple more Paris posts. Like i said, I took too many photos. It's been too hard narrowing them all down. I hope you enjoy the tour!
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