"Faites que le reve devore votre vie afin que la vie ne devore pas votre reve"
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Friday, September 16, 2016

apple bag for the market

It is still not fall here,
but it is definitively apple season!
Every week end, we drive to the local orchard to get some fresh apples.
It sounds obvious....
they are so fresh and tasty (and cheaper) than the grocery store ones!

So of course, I had to sew a bag just for this activity....

Not really, it totally works for other events,
like the farmer's market or a small run at the grocery store.

The pattern for this bag is from Bustle and Sew, from the September magazine.
If you have seen my Instagram feed,
 you know that more projects from Bustle and Sew are coming,
I am having such a great time sewing with these patterns!

I used dropcloth for the outside,
 and many different prints for the apples and pears: flannel, linen, cotton...

For the lining, I used some raven laminate fabric from Michael Miller,
making safe to carry food without staining the bag.
The laminate is soft and quite easy to sew.

The apples and pears are raw edge appliqued, super easy,
and stitched in place free motion style.
The cores are hand embroidered,
I did not totally follow the directions
and alternated between satin stitch and lazy daisy stitch.

I love how it turned out,
I will be the most fashionable apple buyer at the orchard this weekend!

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

almost fall cider donuts

It feels like it is totally fall in Blogland,
and while we are far from being cool,
I could not resist making some early fall cider donuts.
Our local orchard has already a lot of apples,
especially my favorite, Honey Crisp,
so we also picked up some fresh cider,
and made some baked donuts.

I followed this recipe from Jenny Steffens Hobick.
It was easy and tasty, it made about 30 donuts,
and it might have been the main source of food from some children,
teenagers can eat!

From my experience, it is best to reduce the cider
from 1 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup and let it totally cool down before
making the dough, I was impatient,
and there is a difference in consistency between the first batch
and the later batches, so yeah, patience is important!

I will be making them again,
if we can keep this cooler weather!

Monday, August 29, 2016

a pretty lunch bag

Well it is officially back to school today for the kids,
Miss C. is a 7th grader, and Brick Master is a sophomore,
all serious school years but not transition years.
For me, well it is routine as usual,
I only took a few days off this summer to go
to the international robotic competition in St Augustine, Florida.
(more about that later in the post.)
But I felt like I deserved a back to school treat!
The kids do not want me to sew for them anymore,
so I made myself a new lunch bag.

It is just slightly bigger than the one I made for Miss C a few years ago

which she actually never used!
On the other hand, I had been using it everyday,
 and it was started to look less and less adorable...
so time for a new one!

I used fabrics I brought back from France a few years ago,
I was saving them for a special occasion,
well I am special enough to use them for myself!
That macaron/desserts fabric is just so lovely,
I added a flowery Liberty of London print,
and some solid for the handles and the cover.

Even the water resistant lining is macarons/sweets related,
it was made to be.

As far as the competition in St Augustine,
it went pretty well, they fought hard and well,
but a team from Los Altos and another team from Austria
crushed them, they were still happy with their performance,
they finished 18 out of 56, not bad for a first time.
Mon Cheri, Miss C. and I enjoyed visiting the town,
beautiful but so hot in the July sun!

Hopefully the heat and humid of the DC summer
is mostly over.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

reading nook

We have a nice little corner/area in our bedroom
that has not had a lot of attention,
it was OK but not pretty.
So I gave it some love and now it looks like it belongs!
It has become the prefect place to read or hang out
away from the activities of the rest of the house:

A book, a drink and a snack...
Originally we put a desk and a computer there for Brick Master
to do his homework and play so we could keep an eye on him.
But soon he ended up spending a lot of his evenings there....
so we moved the desk and computer to his room instead.
In his school, all homework in done on line,
convenient and inconvenient at the same time.

Anyway back to this neglected area, with its large window,
 white access panel to the bathroom pipes (behind the light), naked walls
and closet doors.....
The first thing was to cover the access panel by painting it the color of the wall,
it took 10 minutes and right away, it looked so much better,
I wonder why I took me so long to do it!

(barely visible behind the frame and the quilt rack!)

Next I added a huge frame to hang dome pictures and mementoes.
I reused the frame I made a few years ago for the AG doll advent calendar.
It had a nice Christmas fabric background that I removed,
then I recovered the back with a cool French script linen.
Switching the background fabric totally changed the look 
and feel of the frame.
The print is perfect for the red leather recliner.
Finally for the window, I made a simple valence,
using a left over panel from our curtains.
I purchased them last year from IKEA.
Our double back window is so large then I used 3 panels 
instead of 2 (4 would have been too much!)

So I cut into that extra panel to make a valence to the opposite window,
in that little area.
I kept it very simple with 2 pieces of curtain (about 24 ") sewed together
to make an extra long rectangle, 
then I sewed that rectangle to the same length of blackout lining,
folded and ironed the seam off center,
so that there is about 1 inch of print on the back.
Then I stitched the 2 sides.
I created a kick pleat to hide the seam of the print,
and add some interest.
I stapled the fabric to a 1 x 2 piece of pine board 
(a little longer than my window) on the unfinished side,
and covered the rough area with a ribbon.
I attached 2 small but strong L brackets on the wall,
then the 1 x 2 was attached to these brackets,
and voila, the perfect valence!
It really dressed up the area,
making it feel like part of the room.
(I had pictures of the all process but they were magically deleted,
major frustration!)

Now it totally belongs in the room,
it is pretty and useful and functional,
it is about as good as it gets in this house!

Now you will have to excuse me,
there is a book waiting for me....

Happy day!

Sharing at the creative circle link party

Friday, August 19, 2016

back to school for some baking

I went back to school last weekend,
well not traditional school, but cooking school!
I went back to L'Academie de Cuisine
to learn more desserts.

And unlike last time when I "studied" French patisserie,
it was mostly American baking with:
peach pie,
pound cake with blueberry compote and corn ice cream,
berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream
(no picture of that cobbler, it was eaten on the spot!)

It was my first time baking a peach pie,
it was quite easy, much more than I thought,
so I will definitively make some more,
once the heat dies off a little,
just too hot to turn on the oven!

The pound cake was not really what I was expected,
I made lots of them in France,
we call them "four quarters"
it is sweet and butter, and a light heavy but so delicious!

This one was light, but kind of plain,
luckily we made a blueberry compote,
which should be called blueberry sauce,
that was really good, and save that dessert.

So may be change the cake but keep the sauce, so good.

It was also interesting to learn to make ice cream,
the real way, with egg yolks and cream.
I cannot say I will make some myself,
there are so many good brand of ice cream....

The cobbler was nice and simple,
but with a good refresher on making biscuit.

Overall it was a fun day of baking and eating...
I was able to bring back part of the peach pie,
so we were able to enjoy it as a family.

Happy day!

Monday, August 15, 2016

a totally scientific tote

Did you know I am a chemist, and came to 
this country 20 years ago to finish graduate school?
I had wild dreams of research and academics success,
well it did not totally work out that way,
but I am happy with where I am.

The nerdiness or coolness of science has not left me
and when I saw this fabric collection "Chromatics" by Melissa McCulloch,
I knew I had to make something with it.

So I made a tote bag to go to the library!
I used the main print for the body of the bag,
and accentuated it with some cool turquoise/aqua fabric
for the bottom and handles of the bag.

I added some hand quilting around some hexagons,
it has a nice touch and keep the batting in place.

It is lined with a simple white cotton for the most part,
except for the top where I used another hexagon fabric.

The pocket and key chain were made with the DNA print,
too cute and practical.
I had so much fun with that fabric collection,
that I decided to make a little hexagon tray.
It seems very fitting with the lining.
I followed this super easy tutorial from a spoonful of sugar 

I think it is actually easier to make than the square one!

Happy sewing!
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