A Quick Trip – Football, Yarn and Art

This blog focuses on my love of knitting and travel and after those two things comes my love of Ohio State Buckeye football.  I’m a devout fan (despite not having attended the actual university) and rarely miss watching a game.  There is something about college kids, most of whom will never make it to the NFL, out there playing for the love of the game (and, maybe some scholarship money…).  So, when it was announced that the Buckeyes made the first ever college football playoffs I immediately booked an airline ticket to Dallas for the championship game because, lucky me, my brother lives in the area.  I told him to get his guest room ready and he pointed out we had to make it to that game, he of little faith.  Halfway through the semi-final I texted him again and told him to get ready and I turned out to be right.

Last Thursday when I was sharing my good news with my knitting group I mentioned I would be in Fort Worth and I was trying to decide to whether or not to stop in at MadTosh Crafts.  Needless to say a few of my knitting friends looked at me like I had lost my mind and were not sure why I was up in the air about it.  I had a lot of game related activities to attend and I had to sneak in some work too and I was only going to be in the area for about 72 hours.  Lucky for me, work was quiet on Tuesday so I headed out to get some lunch, and some yarn.

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The store is located in an older area of town and on a brick road.  The parking spots are right off the street and the store is in an older looking strip of stores.  They had a super cute winter themed window with snowflakes and large snow white colored pom poms.  Once you step inside it’s just like a little slice of yarn heaven.  It’s a really good sized space (I guess it’s Texas sized 🙂 ) with wood floors and shelves of yarn everywhere.  In addition to their own yarn they carry a number of other brands including Habu and some local dyers I had not seen before.  Before I headed out I figured I had better have a goal in mind otherwise things could get scary.  I’m planning on using my January yarn (see January yarn post) to do Ysolda’s Follow Your Own Arrow 2 which starts on Monday and calls for two colors so I decided to get a solid to use for that project.  They also had a nice variety of knitting tools, bags, lotions, cards and other novelties.  I found some cute knit kits and I picked up one of those for a Christmas present for this year so more on that later!  There was also a selection of fabrics and plenty of room to knit and sew.  In fact, a small group was gathering to knit as I was shopping.

As it turned out the store is just down the street from the Kimbell Art Museum and they were having a special exhibit – Faces of Impressionism, Portraits from the Musee D’Orsay.  I did not realize it was half price Tuesday and the place was packed.  I almost never see that many people in an art museum here in the States.  The exhibit contained portraits by many of the masters.  My eye kept being drawn towards one particular painting, of course, it was the only Monet in the collection.  This was it:

Woman With A Parasol Aka Study Of A Figure Outdoors (Facing Left) - Claude Oscar Monet - www.claudemonetgallery.org

The permanent collection at the museum is also very interesting and they have some works by well known artists.  It is a little small but makes for a lovely afternoon.  I capped off the afternoon with lunch at Gloria’s Latin American restaurant where they had delicious Salvadoran food.  I would definitely go back there next time I head down to visit my brother.

It was a quick 72 hours and included everything I loved!  It was made extra sweet by the home town Buckeyes bringing home the trophy!

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A day trip to paradise

Last train ride of the trip today.  Train travel is much more enjoyable sans luggage by the way.  Had never been through Gare St. Lazare but definitely one of the nicest stations in Paris.  We got on a train headed to Vernon in the Normandy region.  Vernon is the stop for Giverny, the home of Claude Monet.  They have a great set up at the Vernon station.  There are a number of buses waiting when you get off and for 8€ you get a round trip ride on the bus to Giverny.

We arrived and headed straight for his house and garden.  My friend is an art teacher and was great to have with me and was beyond excited!  They have recreated his home as it was when he lived there.  It was bright and colorful and everything you would expect from an artist’s home.  But the real draw are the gardens, and specifically the water lily garden where he painted the famous Water Lily paintings (which we had seen yesterday)

Since Monet’s time they have built a road through the middle of the property so the foundation built a tunnel under it to get to the pond.  The flower garden is so amazing, better than any botanical garden I’ve been to and almost everything was in bloom.  I really wished I had better photography skills (or one of my talented cousins or friends with me).

We finally headed to the famed lily pond.  Now, I had mentioned to some people I was going to Giverny and no one was ever really excited.  The website for the house was not great so I was a little worried that it would be somewhat of a let down because I was very excited.  That was not the case.  When we entered the pond garden it was like we stepped on the canvas of a Monet painting.  We found a bench and just sat and took it all in for awhile.  It was breathtaking!  After that we walked around and took a bunch of pictures.  (I have one set as the wallpaper on my work computer now – nothing says “serenity now” like water lilies)

When we were finally able to make ourselves leave the gardens we explored the town.  There are a number of bed and breakfasts, a few galleries and a few shops and cafes.  If you follow the main road you come across the church and cemetary where Monet is buried.  And then it was time to head back to the bus to get back to the train.  Giverny was a great day trip from Paris and I would highly recommend it, especially in the summer when all the gardens are in bloom.

So it was my last night in Paris.  I was still a little tired from our day trip and decided to find dinner near the hotel.  I picked the place I had stopped for breakfast the day before because the woman had been so nice.  We enjoyed a few Picon Biéres and some dinner.  It was the pefect last night in Paris and did not even involve the Eiffel Tower.

I love Paris even more every time I go.  I firmly believe I was French in a past life.  I’m never ready to leave and I’m always ready to go back.  Paris, je t’aime!