Thursday, June 28, 2012


When I was working on updating the patio,
I mentioned that I was working on a few projects.
Well, Mon Cheri and I built a fence to keep our puppy
in the backyard, Black dog and GBD always knew the boundary
and never needed an actual fence (they had been trained in our previous houses
with electronic fences and knew what those little white flags meant!)

It took us a while to build and install it, but here it is,
all finished and keeping the puppy and Black dog inside the yard.

To make the work go faster, I build sections ahead of time.

I used pressure treated 2 X 4 for the top, and 2 X 6 for the bottom.
Like that I could build during the week, and we could install on the week end,
it worked really well. I also had enough time, for some of them, to paint them before installation.

For the posts holding the sections,
we followed this description from This Old House.
I did not do the digging, carpal tunnel and digging do not go together at all,
I manage just fine with just about everything else in small dose (except knitting too!)

Since we "only" had 2 sides to build, we also needed 2 gates.
If you ever build door or gate, you know these are the tricky parts,
well I was able to find those kits at the Home Depot,
and they were perfect for our fence: easy to install and sturdy.

They worked better on the side with a smaller gate than the bigger gate,
but this could be linked to the fact the ground slopped, and may be not totally straight post...
but it works great as this is one that is opened multiple times a day.

We started small, one side at a time, adapting to an uneven terrain and lot.
On the first side, we spaced the board 5 1/2 inches apart (using a 2 X 6 for spacing),
 before getting the puppy,which is way too wide for a small dog,
 but perfect for Black dog (wrong reference point!)

So we added some sturdy mesh to the fence and it seems to hold everybody nicely!

While we were building this side, we put up some temporary fencing on the other side.
Once again we built it a little at time, but for this one, we used a 2 X 4 for the spacing,
it is a lot closer (by 2 inches!) but still too wide for a slim puppy.

So once again we added some mesh, after painting.
The angle we used might seem unexpected, but I was uncomfortable building a fence just under
my neighbor's basketball play area, I had vision of kids dunking and falling on post/fence
and getting hurt! So we went with a diagonal fence.
It turned out to be perfect, the basketball never falls in the yard 
(no danger of letting the dog out to get the ball) and
 I can see every part of the backyard from inside 
(otherwise we would have had a hidden corner!)

We still need to add some flagstones under this gate, each time it rains, it gets all dirty!
The best part, we managed to finish before the arrival of the mosquitoes
(OK just by a couple days, but still),
now the puppy can go outside without us, which means less biting for us!
(they should make for people some of those tick/mosquito monthly repellent spray!)

Happy day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

swimsuit for dolls

Is your doll ready for the beach?
or just sun bathing in the grass like ours?

After building the Adirondacks chair, I could not help it
and I sewed 3 swimsuits for the girls....
I know, I am crazy, I cannot and do not want to change!

Don't they look lovely in their "new" swimsuit,
with their towels and pillows?

I say new loosely because I started with a few of Miss C.'s old swimsuits!
It is recycle at its best, nobody wants to get an used swimsuit,
so I felt quite comfortable cutting through them.

Here is what I started with 3 1/2 swimsuits and a summer dress.
I was inspired by this cool tutorial from the My Froggy Stuff,
I changed a few things here and there,
but if you are interested in making some, go check it out!
The other thing I want to make clear is this is not the best sewing I have ever done,
probably the opposite, as fabric was limited and not everything matched up perfectly,
but the outcome turned out great and Miss C. is very pleased!

For the Tinkerbell suit, I started by taking apart the original suit carefully,
and pinning it on the doll for a proper fit.
Then I stitched the sides, with right side together.

I turned under the sides (from the under arm to the chest), and top stitched them.
I also folded under the bottom and stitched the crotch (it should have been done on the inside!)
I hand stitched the straps to the top, they were also recycled from the suit.
I was able to keep some of the ruffles and most of the pictures on the front and back.

This second swimsuit is a 2 piece, the top started has a bottom.
I just cut the suit at the side seams and used the back upside-down for the top.
The sides were already finished, so I folded over the top to make a casing,
and the bottom to finish the edge.

Then I stitched the back seam, and used some cord from another swimsuit
to make a tie around the neck: a very easy and fast swim (or regular) top.

For the bottom, I used the pink suit to get a rectangle of fabric,
using the top edge to skip a step, fold under the bottom part,
and stitched the crotch.
I also used the top of the bikini to make a head piece,
no sewing required, I just remove 1/2 of the bikini top,
and knotted around her head, a perfectly match accessory!

Since her suit is 2 piece, and the top can also be a regular top,
I made her a little cover up skirt, using part of the summer dress.
I cut half of the bottom tier of the dress,
I folded under the top and stitched to make a casing,

then I added an elastic and stitched the side to finish the skirt.
The bottom edge was already finished with a cute lace.

For the last swimsuit, I followed almost exactly the tutorial of My Froggy Stuff,
except that I did not have enough material out of Miss C.'s suit for the lining,
so I used some actual swimsuit lining that I had around.
This is the only time where I had to use something else than the old suit,
so not bad at all.

I did a little stitch at the neck line to decorate this otherwise simple suit.
I once again reused the strap of the suit and did not make them
as recommended in the tutorial.

So here they are, the 3 girlfriends
enjoying a sunny day!

Happy sewing!

A Crafty Soiree

Sunday, June 24, 2012

doll summer

It is official, school is over,
time for fun in the sun!
Not just for the kids but also for our favorite girls.

Just like us, the girls have a stay-cation!
They would love the beach, after all they are ready:
swimsuits, towels, chair, sunglasses...
alas, it will be grass for them too!

To build the chair,
 I used this plan from Ana White.
It took me longer than the plan described,
but it went well, and it is sturdy, like a lobster
(if you familiar with Lilo and Stitch, otherwise just ignore...)
I am pretty sure my niece could sit in it!
After sanding and priming, I used some spray paint
to give some fun summer color: lagoon.

Of course we needed some extra accessories for the summer sun:
Popsicles made with this easy tutorial from Doll Diaries.

Next time I will share how I made the 3 swimsuits
the girls wear, and the other accessories!
you can see it here.

Happy Day!

Skip To My Lou

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

little tea embroidery

With the heat, the puppy, the end of the school year,
and my son's 5th grade promotion,
I have been very busy and not too productive....
So I embroidered a little project,
just for me to decorate my sewing room.

The pattern is from Wild Olive.
I really enjoyed the pattern, so fun and cute.

This is my 3rd time embroidering one of Wild Olive's patterns,
previously I did the cupcake needle book and the goldfish bag.
All of them are great, I think next I will try her nutcracker sweets Christmas ballet pattern.

Happy sewing!

PS no post would be complete without a puppy picture!
She is growing...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Girl scout: rock the mall

Yesterday, Miss C., 2 Brownie friends, their moms and I went to DC 
to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl scout,
it was crazy! (and hot!)

See the people behind Miss C.? Well they expected 250,000 girl scouts!
We did the Caesar version: "veni, vidi, vici" in a hour
and then we went to the museum!
It was as crowded but it was cool!

And finally, we stopped at Paul, the French bakery
for sustenance and rest,
perfect for the girls and their moms!

I believe these 3 girls will have great memories of the event,
may be not so much of the singing or dancing or scout,
but definitively friendship!

Happy day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

creme renversee au caramel

I think in English, it would translate as
upside down vanilla custard with caramel sauce.

This is a great dessert, fairly simple
and almost good for you!
It is only eggs and milk,
with some sugar and vanilla,
as far as dessert goes,
it is almost healthy!
Not really, but it is wishful thinking!
It is French and there is no cream or butter,
so I am going back to almost healthy,
by French cuisine standard!

2 cups of milk
4 eggs
4 Tbsp of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 pinch of salt

for the caramel sauce:
4 Tbsp of sugar
2 Tbsp water

First we need to make the sauce. Since I used a metallic mold,
I put the sugar and water directly in the mold,
and boil it until it is golden.
I let it set aside to make the custard.

The milk, sugar, salt and vanilla are brought to a gentle boil.
The eggs are whisked in another bowl.
Then the milk solution is added slowly to the eggs with constant whisking.
Before pouring the mixture in the mold, it is filtered through a strainer.

The custard is cooking in a water bath (bain marie!)
in a hot oven (400 F) with cold water for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

I have seen recipes calling for cooler oven and boiling water,
but this chef (Francoise Bernard)  insists that it cooks better that way!
And I must say, it works!
Then it needs to cool down and be refrigerated for a couple hours,
and it is ready to be enjoyed!
Just before serving, use a knife all around the edges,
put a plate on top and flip it to release the custard with its sauce on top.

The kids have started their swim teams,
and while school is not out yet,
they are starving after their practice.
Nothing like school and swim to make a preteen hungry,
so they are devouring this post work-out dessert!

Happy day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

doll pet bed

Since we have a new puppy,
it felt quite normal than the dolls have also a new puppy!
Which means dog bed!

Weirdly enough, we had none before,
which sounds impossible considering Miss C. love of dogs!

I purchased this pattern from Liberty Jane Patterns.
I made the bed using 3 different fat quarters,
from the "outfoxed" collection in the sly fox palette.
I made my own binding, I think this one is a little too wide,
I cut it at 2 1/4, I will try smaller next time.
The top cushion ended up being too thick and fluffy so
I stitched through all the layers in 5 places (like tufting )
and it seemed to have fix the problem.

The verdict: the daughter loves it, the dolls are content,
and the puppies, well they are fighting over who will sleep on it!

I see more pet beds in my future!

Happy sewing!

I Heart Nap Time

Sunday, June 3, 2012

fete des mamans

Today is "la fete des meres",
mother's day in France,
and I made this library bag for my Mom.

I was totally inspired by this teacher gifts from City House Studio
I thought it would be perfect, my mom was a teacher,
and she loves book, so of course she needed a library book!
(needed is maybe extreme...)

I followed this tutorial by Don't Call Me Betsy.
And as I showed you last week here,
I used a mix of Liberty of London, linen and selvage,
all of the good stuff!

There are 8 different Liberty prints,
the bottom and handles are of a dark purple cotton sateen,
I machine quilted the bottom and the handles, to add texture
and stability to the bag.

The back of the bag is made of linen and the same sateen,
I hand embroidered "pour le plaisir de lire"
for the pleasure of reading in a simple back stitch.

I hand quilted the linen parts of the bag,
I tried to do a brick pattern for the back, but it did not turn out exactly as I expected,
but it still does the job!

Bonne fete Maman
et bonne lecture!

Happy sewing!

Skip To My Lou

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 ...