Saturday, April 30, 2011

in circles

here is my latest work in progress:
circles and more circles!

Lots of Liberty of London fabric circles,
I am working on a project for my Mom
for Mother's day!

Happy sewing!

Friday, April 29, 2011

grocery bag and great big dog

A couple of days ago,
while blog hoping
(could be a sport, just saying!)
I saw some cool grocery bag at During Quiet Time.

I got the pattern from Keyka Lou patterns
and went to work.

It went well and fast,
I am not planning on using it for the grocery store.
I have some nice ones from Trader Joe's,
but this is one will be perfect for purchasing clothes
and other "clean" supplies.

I used some older quilting cotton for the top,
and some osnaburg for the handles and lining,
the opposite style of my grab bag.

To make the fabrics work well together,
I top stitched the handles with a dark blue thread,
color present on the top fabric.

I have been trying to work on my craft space,
and make the valence,
but Great Big Dog is not feeling well.
GBD has been my best friend for the last 11 years,
and the last few days have been really hot and humid,
not ideal for the dog that lives for snow!
His back legs are stiff and he has allergies,
quite the combo!

He still manages to climb on the bed
and sleep on my favorite quilt.
He comes for treats,
but does not follow me in the house,
no more dog over my sewing machine pedal...

I hope it is just a phase,
and as the weather cools down,
GBD gets back to feeling better,
bugging me to take him on walk!

Here he is,
just a few days after we picked him up
at the animal shelter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

craft room make-over

It happened,
I could not take it anymore,
I had to do it:
make over my sewing/crafting space!

I thought I would wait until things
settle down around here,
but working in that ugly dirty cold blue space
was bringing me down!

So I repainted,
it took me a while to decide on a color,
the room is small (9 feet by 12 feet),
with on large window on the north side
and hard wood floor (a little tired).
At first I looked at some nice green,
then some lavender,
but not of them "spoke" to me.
I want to use some fabric from Provence
to decorate the room,
(still not buying fabric!)

In the end I went with a nice warm
light peach wall color
(Behr pale coral)
it seems perfect with the fabrics
I chose to use.

I reused most of the "furniture" from my previous
sewing room  and craft room in the big house in the Midwest.
Most of the pieces come from Target
and are not the most beautiful thing,
but with the new paint color,
they kind of blend in, instead of stand out,
a definitive plus!

The armoire still needs to be refinished,
all the moves have been pretty hard on it,
but since we do not have a garage,
there is not real place to work on it,
so it will have to wait some more!

I was able to trade the IKEA book case with my son:
he gained 2 black ones that could not fit in our bedroom!
(smaller houses are so difficult!)
I like the storage,
perfect for taller books (over 11 inches)
and for storing some cute fabrics.

(see all my Liberty of London fabrics?)

I kept the laminate top
and all the bookcases as the base
for my huge work table,
it is perfect to cut large pieces of fabric,
to sew/quilt and for the kids to craft with me!
One chair on each side makes it perfect for double crafting.

The big chair is for Miss C., and the little one for me,
both are high chairs since the counter top is about 3 feet tall,
perfect for working standing up!

I have also special guests:
the girls!

There are just not enough place in Miss C.'s room
to keep them safe (and that bed is huge!)
so they keep me company in the entry way!

Now I need to decorate this place,
and make a valence using  the lavender fabric!

Happy sewing!

Monday, April 25, 2011

end of spring stasbuster

It is technically the end of
the spring stashbuster.
I manage to sew a few things
and use quite a big of fabric:

 a few yards of pink panne velvet,
for musketeer costume (here and here)

a few yards of flannel for PJ,

some madras for hot day PJ,

a mixture of fabric for

some home decor fabric for

and so cute quilting fabric,
for a bib, some doll diapers, and a bag.

But truth be told,
I still have a lot of fabric left,
so I will keep on working with my stash
and not buy any more,
at least for a while,
probably until I found a job!

Happy sewing!

Friday, April 22, 2011

pizza night

On Fridays, we enjoy making pizzas,
individual pizzas,
everyone gets to choose their own toppings
and there is joy at home!

Here is my favorite dough recipe:
1 1/2 cup of warm water
1 tbs of sugar
2 tsp of yeast
4 cups of flour (regular)
1 1/2 tsp of salt
2 tbs of olive oil.

First "dissolve" the yeast in the water
and sugar, it takes about 5 min.
Then add the flour, salt and oil,
stir with a dough hook for 7-8 min.

Let the dough double in size
(about 1 1/2 h)

Then punch the dough and divide it in 6 parts,
6 seems to be about the right size for individual pizza,
and for the size of my baking stone (2 at a time).

I like thin crust pizza, so I roll the dough,
probably a major faux pas,
but it works for us.
The pizzas are not round, we go for a more organic feel,
whatever shape I end up making!
Then all the chefs take care of their pizzas,
here are some of our favorites:

the traditional: tomato sauce and mozzarella

the connoisseur: mozzarella, pear, blue cheese
(my favorite!)

the meat-eater: tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, pineapple

the classical with a twist: mozzarella, fresh tomato, goat cheese,
herb de Provence.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

grab bag

This week end, we were invited to a birthday party,
and for once it was not a kid party,
well the B-day girl is in her mid twenties,
so still almost a kid for me!
But it is so much fun to hang out and party with young professionals,
I could almost forget their youth!
Until the next morning, when they are all fresh
and I feel so tired!

Well I could not go to the party without bringing a little present!
(I did make the birthday cake,
but she had to share!)

So I made a cute little bag,
perfect to carry lunch,
or a few items.

The pattern is from All People Quilt,
it is the grab bag.

I used some simple osnaburg cotton for the top,
with an applique of my favorite: Liberty of London!
I lined it with a cute cotton print,
and make a pocket out of gingham, for some fun.

I also added a pseudo label to the bag,
I have been playing with some stamp, trying to find a good way
to make a fun label.

I think it turned out well,
and I am still working with my stash!

Happy sewing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

conquistador? yep conquistador!

I believe it is no secret that
I enjoy making costume,
so when Brick Master came home
with a challenge,
I was up for it!

He was to recite a poem of his choosing,
and do some interpretation to reinforce the idea.

He chose "Food of the gods"
about Cortes, Montezuma, Quetzacoatl
and Cacao.
If you want to read more about the story:

Back to the challenge: make a conquistador costume!

The first thing we came up with was the helmet,
then we realized we needed a shirt,
he could use some of his knight outfit for the armor
and the belt,
and finally boots, shoes can really make or break any costume!

(no weapons were taken too school!)

The helmet was made out of a Cheerios box,
and spayed painted silver,
we made a paper model and it worked well,
it was even wearable, but no so much once it was made out of the box!
The solution: carrying under the arm while reciting the poem.

Since I was/am still under the no-fabric-purchase rule,
I made the shirt with some cotton fabric I had purchased
a while ago (for some unremembered reasons!)
it had a nice texture and almost dirty color,
perfect for a conquistador on the go.

I used a Pirates of the Caribbean pattern for the shirt
and boots (simplicity 3644).
It might not be period accurate,
but shirts remained about the same from the Renaissance
to probably 18th century, so close enough!

The boots are cover boots, I made them out of
fake leather, easy to sew,
and from a distance not bad at all!
I used it before to make a doll purse
and some doll shoes.

I think overall is was a great outfit,
Brick Master did a great job with his poem,
and since it was about chocolate,
he brought some to share with the class:
total success!

Here is a picture of an improbable encounter:
a Barbie Musketeer and a Conquistador:
duel under the sun!!

Happy sewing!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

new pillow for a favorite chair

With the living room/ office/ dining room painted
a nice shade of green
and the curtains made of drop cloth,
the house felt like mine!

But a little too blend, we had a lot of light color pillows or made of linen,
there was just not enough color!

I played a little more with the cigar chairs,
and found a better arrangement.
This chair is the Pottery Barn Manhattan chair,
we purchased it more than 11 years ago,
so it is getting a little old,
and it has had some abuse by the dogs and the children!

But it is still one of the favorite chair in the house,
and now that it is by the fire place and the window,
and a new colorful pillow,
it is even better!

Since I am still not purchasing fabric,
I used some left-over print from my fall table setting.

I did not have enough for the back,
so I used some more drop cloth,
I was able to skip some sewing by cutting the pieces
of the already sewn edges.
I made this pillow like the other ones here.

I added a little green pipping, also a left-over
from a previous project:

The new pillow has a great touch of color
and comfort....
now can somebody bring me a cup of tea?
I am just too comfy here
and do not wish to get up...

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

tarte aux fraises

The last few days have been beautiful
and warm, spring is here
and I feel like dessert with strawberries,
lots of strawberries!

So I made one of my favorite:
tarte aux fraises!

It is beautiful and easy,
and oh so tasty!

First I made a pie crust,
a sweet one,
a purchased one can work too.

I cooked it and let it cool.
Then I made creme patissiere:
1 1/3 cups of milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
3Tbs of cornstarch
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Warm up the milk, just before boiling.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar, then add cornstarch.
Pour in half of the warm milk, whisk, then the rest of the milk
strain (just in case!), return everything back in the pan.
Cook while whisking over medium heat until it get thick,
about 5-6 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the vanilla,
and transfer into a bold to chill.
It will take 2-3h before it can be used.

Do not put it out side to cool faster,
it is very tasty, and somebody, or should I say
some doggy will eat it all,
and then you will have to make more,
I know, it happened before!

When it was cold, I spooned the cream in the pie crust,
and cover it with strawberries,
since the strawberries were so big,
they were cut in fourth.

The difficult part: sharing it,
and not eating all by myself!

Happy day!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...