Tartan in my scrapbook

Cross posted on my PinayFrancophile and Friendster blogs

I’ve spent most of my free time the past few days “stitching” together scrapbook paper for my Paris scrapbook.  I had mostly blues and a few reds and beiges.  A paper store website gave me some paper samples which I have been able to weave into loud floral borders.

I tried to put together an orange pair and a pink pair as well, but now that I found a website that had free scrapbook background papers for download and one of the packages I downloaded was tartan (or what most people refer to as plaid) backgrounds.  They are such a breeze to “stitch” together even if they download onto regular letter (8×11) pages.  Three sheets will make a 12×12, and the stitching is seamless given the straight lines in the various pages.

Meanwhile, I’ve designed various sheets in shades of blue and printed them onto 12×18 sheets via color laser.  One sheet I’m particularly proud of because it looks as though it had been bought from a store.  I had also managed to scan parts of the two Paris maps we had used and pasted the various parts together into one solid graphic (given that the flatbed could not scan the whole map), giving me additional background graphics.

In my spare time, I try and cut out the flowers and other embellishments I’d pulled off the clipart collection of Microsoft online which I intend to paste into a floral collage as borders, frames and spotholders.

I’ve also collected a sizeable bunch of border artwork which I resized or pasted onto 12 inch strips.  I have saved cutting it into pieces for when I actually find a use for it.

My sewing kit has an assortment of threads and buttons which I intend to use as additional embellishment, and I have always had a penchant for collecting fabric swatches from IKEA and the color swatches from the hardware store.  It’s just that at the time, I was concentrating on reds and greens with just a smattering of blue (because I intended to use them to make my own Christmas cards sometime in the future), but now that I know my color theme, I intend to go back to the IKEA in Hicksville to collect more swatches in my color scheme. 

Browsing scrapbooking sites has also given me a lot of ideas about what I can do for this project, and it’s basically what has convinced me to stick to one color scheme.  I’m glad I did this before I used up the other colors in my paper stock. 

This weekend, I’m piecing together basic pages per tartan pattern, and I’m going to start writing up the captions and journal entries for the scrapbook.  Hopefully before Monday, I’d have been able to put together the first few pages of my Paris sojourn.

I have two friends to credit for the inspiration – Kate and Pier who I sat down with for dinner some two weekends ago.  Kate has even invited me to a scrapbooking event in Manhattan on December 5 which I hope to attend.

My scrapbook has definitely started to take shape — and I’m getting very excited to see my Paris trip unfold again.  Now if I can only find a French dictionary that shows the intonations and definitions, not just equivalent English words, I have red tags to put them on to deck the various pages.  It’ll not just be a trip down memory lane but an elementary lessong in French as well.

Working on the scrapbook has been very relaxing for me — it has even made blogging a second passion only because I’ve devoted a lot of my time online to surfing for scrapbook resources, downloading fonts, artwork, background paper and actually resizing and creating something I can use for my project.  So I guess the books I’ve been meaning to read will have to wait for later..

My Bargain Finds.. reaping praise for a precious buy

Cross posted on pinayfrancophile.blog.com

Why the cross posting?  Topics relevant to the two blogs I actively maintain, I believe, should appear on both to give random readers of either blog the benefit of reading the post on either one.  Also, that’s my prerogative as a blogger.

I’ve been seeing people in the office wear thin blouses (not sweaters) to work and I thought since we’ve been having days in the 40s, it wouldn’t hurt to wear one of my thinner silk sweaters with a deep neck.  My neck hasn’t seen the light of day for ages, and I thought today was as good a day as any.  For some reason, it’s been chilly at work, and to help conquer the cold so to speak, I whipped out my scarf (yes, one of the 3 I bought for 3 for Euro 5.00 in Paris) and put it on my shoulder.  Everyone from the boss to the other assistants around me have been commenting on how lovely it is.  One of my boss’s direct reports (a well-travelled Vice President, no less) even asked me if I had it bought it from some other place.  Merci, Paris!

My almost Euro 2.00 scarf (or roughly $3.00 buy) has more than paid for itself with all the compliments I’ve been getting.  It makes me feel great about the choice to purchase it.  I only wish I had bought more.  (Buyer’s remorse in reverse?)  Next time, I tell myself, I know where to get them on the Rue St. Honore (I saw stalls nearer the Louvre selling similar scarves for 5 for Euro 20.00. 

It always pay to have an eye out for the bargains.  And one thing I’ve learned from shopping around the streets of Manhattan with its hundreds of itinerant vendors is that when you see a good find, it pays to haggle it to as low as you can get and grab it! 

My Bargain Finds

Cross posted on pinayfrancophile.blog.com

Alan teases me about my “tiangge” (flea market) purchases from Paris.  I have to admit that despite the power of my American Express,  I held back on shopping, reminding myself I didin’t go to Paris to shop til I drop.  So despite visiting Galleries Lafayette and the Printemps branch next door in the Opera area, the most I did was purchase a few goodies to take home from the Galleries Lafayette food court.

There were a few good buys that I simply couldn’t resist.  I purchased 3 scarves/shawls I found on a sidewalk booth in the middle of a freezing winter night in the area of Place St. Augustine where Boulevard Malesherbes and Boulevard Hausmann meet, going for 3 for Euro 5.00 or Euro 2.00 each.  (Of course I got three!)  I purchased two different shades of the same weave and a third in a different design.  It was one of those itinerant vendors who set up shop and would be gone after a few hours.  Alan and I were walking to dinner in the neighborhood and he patiently waited for me to take my pick amongst the mountain of scarves all strewn about on a huge area.

The next day, I browsed the stalls on the periphery of the Galleries Lafayette and I actually found a stall selling thin cotton knit turtleneck sweaters for just Euro 5.00 each.  (It seems to be the magic number!)

On the Rue de Berri where our hotel was located, I found a bargain store just beside the Cascades Cafe on the corner of Champs-Elysees called Cote a Cote and I got a mock turtleneck sweater for Euro 5.00 again.  I could’ve shopped for more and would have loved to go from store to store at Mont Martre, but I was quickly reminded about my lack of space in the limited luggage I had and the prospect of having to carry whatever I bought for the rest of the day was enough incentive not to go and wade through the bargains.  (Next time, I will go to Montmartre specifically to shop and I will bring my shopping tote.)

So while I didn’t leave Paris with a Louis Vuitton bag, I did take home my share of Paris goods.  Next time, though, I know what I will get and I know I will be going there using a bigger suitcase. 

The biggest hurdle to shopping of course remains to be the weak dollar against the very strong Euro.  At the end of the day, you stop calculating and just try to charge it all to having a good time in the City of Lights.  I promised myself I would try to confine my expenses to $200 (roughly Euro 150), and I ended up spending twice as much if not more — but still, I wouldn’t give anything for the smile I saw on my mom’s face when I handed her the rosary from the Sacre Couer in a lovely green, her favorite color.  I know my siblings back in Manila enjoyed the Ferrero DUPLO I sent them (which I didn’t even get to taste but which I knew would be a big hit with my niece, Audrey), and I am happy with my scarves and my sweater blouses. 

I didn’t come home with the usual keychains and other souvenirs (only because Alan had already bought a small Eiffel tower model on his first trip and the required magnet for his magnet collection), but I left Paris with a bagful of memories and more.  But what I plan to get the next time around is another post altogether.