weekend links

Hola, friends! I’ve been missing you! We’ve had such a busy couple of weeks, and tomorrow we’re finally getting internet in our new Madrid apartment, so I’ll be back in touch on a regular basis again, which will be nice.

I would imagine you’ve been really busy lately as well, yes? With school starting in many parts of the world, we’ve all been finishing up our summer vacations and gathering everything together for the start of a new school year. I hope it’s all gone smoothly and you’ve had a wonderful summer.


moving-inour moving truck was a taxi from the airport


We arrived in Madrid one week ago, and I think I’ve finally kicked the jet lag. The night before last I slept for 11 1/2 hours, and now I feel like a human being again. I always have trouble going this direction. We spent the week getting our apartment set up. We’re renting a furnished apartment, so we didn’t need to buy very much. We made a special trip to Ikea to buy a desk for S, and lots of trips to El Corte Ingles for hardware, a printer, and groceries almost every day. But most of our time has been spent setting up a bank account, doing what we need to do to get our residency cards (our visas were just the first part of a multi-step process to becoming residents), and getting S registered for school. Everything takes many trips to a variety of government agencies, so Todd has been running all over the city taking care of each level of bureaucracy.


late-afternoon-lightlate afternoon light from one of the bedroom windows


S will be starting fifth grade next Wednesday! I can hardly believe it. She’ll be attending a bilingual public school here in Madrid, so the first month or two will probably be challenging for her as she learns the language. But within about three months we think she’ll be fluent, and we all think it will be worth it. She’s really excited to meet new friends and has been adapting to our new country very smoothly. My next job is to find a violin teacher and a ballet school, and then I think we’ll be ready for our year in Spain!

My little rooftop atelier is all set up, too. I brought along a small sewing machine and some fabric in my suitcase (which is why I have very few clothes here–I may need to purchase more underwear soon!), and now that we have a voltage transformer I’m sewing again. I have lots of work to do to catch up after our move.


summer-storma summer storm seen from the little rooftop deck of our apartment


Due to lack of internet, I don’t have much in the way of links to share with you this week. But I can recommend a couple of books in the meantime. I’ve been re-reading Tender is the Night after reading a fascinating biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy, the couple upon whom the book is based.

What have you been reading? Any great articles or books you care to recommend?




  1. Holly Van de Water

    I’m very happy and excited for you and your family. Enjoy, and take advantage of it all,enjoy your youth while you have it. Happy sewing my friend.

    1. Thank you, Holly! It’s been so much fun already.

  2. Welcome to Spain!
    I am sure you will enjoy your one year experience here! I myself have also lived abroad for some time ages ago, and it is a most rewarding and mind opening experience.
    I don’t know much about Madrid, but I must recommend you to visit Barcelona during your stay in Spain!

    1. Thank you, Vanahsa! We love it already and are hoping to stay for longer than one year. And we love Barcelona as well. Cheers!

  3. Maureen

    I read The Nightingale by Hannah Kristan – stayed up all night and loved every page! Also enjoyed All the Light You Cannot See, and am currently reading Defending Jacob. I just started sewing again for my grandchildren after many decades of not sewing – all thanks to you! I love your patterns and just finished my first dress and my granddaughter loves it! By any chance are you having A Labor Day Sale (U.S. only) or a back-to-school sale? I’m retired and am on a limited income. I would love to buy a half dozen patterns or more…do you have any idea if you’ll be having a sale anytime soon?
    Thanks so much for inspiring me to sew again – I’m even teaching my 6 1/2 year old granddaughter and we’re having such a wonderful time together! Wishing you many blessings as you begin your grand adventure in Spain…and best wishes for continued success!

  4. What a wonderful adventure! I hope to visit Spain again one of these years!

  5. Emily

    My son is attending a bilingual public school this year here in the states. From day 1 his classes are 90% Spanish! I’m so glad he is able to learn Spanish at such a young age (he is just a kindergartner!).

    Anyway, I hope your daughter picks up Spanish quickly (I’m sure she will, so much easier for kids!) and you guys enjoy your time there.

  6. Patricia Hersl

    A friend loves Seville. Be sure to visit. What fun you shall have!

  7. Darcy Struble

    I love hearing about your move!! I am both excited and just a little envious 😉 I can’t wait to spend the year living vicariously through your blog posts :):)

  8. Jessica Stensby

    Leisl –
    What staples will you find yourself sewing for your wardrobe?
    I’m always inspired by your choices and outfits!

  9. Kirsty

    Congratulations on the move, to a fab city! My husband is Spanish and we spend a lot of time over there, I worked as an au pair in San Lorenzo d’El Escorial to learn Spanish! I’d love to hear about any good fabric shops you find in Spain…I have yet to find anywhere stocking good quality natural fabrics, though plenty of polyesters around…! Very excited for you, enjoy Spain!!

  10. Sharon k

    It looks so lovely there! I so glad to hear the first week has gone well, I can imagine how excited all of you are too.

  11. Bienvenidos a España y a Madrid, mi ciudad, aunque hace años vivo en la costa mediterránea. Me encanta saber que estáis más cerca, y seguiré fiel a vuestros patrones infantiles y adultos, que llevo cosiendo varios años.

    Un beso fuerte y feliz comienzo!!!

  12. Sounds like there are lots of things to do to get settled in your new space. Wishing you all a smooth transition! Here’s a good but quirky book recommendation: A Tale for the Time Being. Am hoping that Madrid will inspire all sorts of clothing design goodness. 🙂

  13. Edurne

    Welcome to Madrid! We’ve been seriously considering moving abroad and finally decided it was better not to. So kinda got mixed feelings reading this post. I’m sure you will enjoy this experience, Madrid has something special. Lovely views BTW

  14. Jen

    Oh, as a Spanish teacher, I’m so jealous/happy that you are enjoying your time there !! 🙂 Not a book, but a TV show I recommend is the Spanish tv series “El Internado” – we actually show it to our level 4 and 5 classes and the students love it so much!! It was recently released on netflix in the US but I don’t know what the access is like in Madrid. It shows on antena3 I believe.

  15. Jen

    PS, I should have said “showed” because the series ended a while back.

    Buena suerte con todo !!

  16. Robin Hart

    My daughter just arrived in Madrid on Tuesday. She is attending Suffolk University’s Madrid campus this year. Have a wonderful time!

  17. Donna Van Noy

    How wonderful you have moved to Madrid for a year or more! I have fabulous memories of living there imany years ago and traveling all over Spain. A great opportunity for your daughter to learn Spanish and all of you to immerse yourselves in another culture! Don’t be surprised if she sleeps more when school starts. Learning another language is stressful and tiring at first.
    I too would recommend All The Light You Cannot See.
    Buenas Aventuras

  18. Welcome to Spain! I’m on the other side of the Pyreneans so welcome to Europe too!

  19. Janome gnome

    Watching my kids grow up bilingual as expat kids (English at home, French at school) has been one of the most interesting things I’ve ever observed. Those observations: kids do learn super fast. People talk about it like its magic but it’s a process like any other with its own quirks and time frame. First, the order for learning language skills is completely different from book learning and is extremely functional according to their own motivations. (mine could argue fluently in day care that a squabble wasn’t his fault but didn’t get the grammar ‘right’ on “my name is” til 2nd grade). Your own language takes ages to learn (I’ve tooken a long time to notice I thinked in a relaxed way about their English as a lifetime work and a slow process in many ways , but forgot to apply that to French). As with so many creative things, the more mess the better it’s often going! … Just sharing because I find it all fascinating and some of it might seem a bit obvious but it took me ages to work out, honestly. Such a fun adventure. I hope you really enjoy yourselves!

  20. Oooohhhh ….
    I can’t believe you’re actually doing this (I did hear some buzz, before going on our summer holidays)!! Awesome – S must be so thrilled 🙂
    Are you planning on including Lisbon on your tour (it is insanely close by train/car)? (please say yes).
    Can’t wait to see more …

  21. francesca

    What an adventure…. I lived there for a few years – 2004 – 2008 – hated it at first for various reasons, but got to love it and didn’t want to leave when I had to:). I found it very comfortable to live in. Great standard of living, great transport – I had a portero, man – what a brilliant concept! I reeeealy miss Jose’! And there’s nothing like pata negro and manchego. There’s a great little place which only opens on Sunday in a side street near El Rastro which does the absolute best snacks – always has a queue – I don’t remember the name, but it’s got so much character, you must try and find it.


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