Friday, August 31, 2012


Many years ago, I was a student in Florence/Firenze,
there I discovered focaccia, and ever since I have been trying to make my own.
Well it has been an adventure, many tries, not all successful 
but at least eatable...
This time, I think I have some success,
not perfect but I am pleased with the result,
and it is very tasty!

Everything tastes better with wine, cheese and garden tomatoes!

I used the recipe from "Baking with Julia", simple:
 2 1/4 cup tepid water
2 Tbsp active dry east
1/4 cup olive oil
6 1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flower
4 tsp salt

the real trick: let the dough rest in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours after the second rise.

It requires a lot of planning but you can see and taste the difference!
Before baking cover with olive oil, coarse sea salt and fresh thyme.


Happy day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

first aid pouch and first day of school

Yesterday was the first day of school,
we prepared for it by enjoying the summer to its fullness,
which means very little sewing done for me!
Lat year, I made a lunch box and a pencil pouch for the kids...
Well this year, I just made them first aid pouch:

I followed this tutorial from A Spoonful of Sugar.
The top one is a much more masculine version that the ones presented on the tutorial!
This line is Mechanical Genius, so perfect for big boys.

The other one is girly as it should be, the main fabric is Dress Up Days (Riley Blake Designs).
Inside, they can find a couple band-aids, lip balm and a treat,
most little emergencies require chocolate!

And here are the kids are their way to the first day of school:

No more picture together,
Brick Master started middle school and leaves before Miss C. wakes up!
She is in 3rd grade this year, and loves to walk the puppy to school.
Of course she loves it too!

Happy day!

Monday, August 27, 2012

how to make a doll Ranch

Did you enjoy the day at the ranch with the girls,
dog and horses?
Wanna make your own?
(limited skills and supplies required!)

Final size: 31" wide, 29" high, 3.5" depth (folded)
Full fence length: almost 90"

Before building Miss C.'s ranch for her dolls,
I checked out what was available to purchase.
AG sells a nice stable

but it is not in my price range, and there seems to be little space for the horse and doll.
I also checked Etsy and search Google for images,
but I was not able to find what I was looking for.

I wanted to build something easy, cheap and taking little space while not in use,
(Miss C.'s room is very small)
and large enough so it would be fun to play with,
especially with friends, or multiple horses and dolls.

I started with Ana White' s tutorial for the fences,
and changed the dimension and added a large entrance,
large enough so that the doll can ride through it on a horse!
I decided to go with only 3 sides, so that it could make a small triangle,
a square with a wall, or just a large area like this in the grass.

So here is what I started with:
4 rulers from Lowe's (lattice would be better but I used what I had)
(if using ruler, send them!)
some 1 X 2, about 16-17 feet total
and a scrap piece of 1 X 4 (12 " long)
2 sets of hinges
glue, screws, nails.

Both sides were built the same way, they are 30" x 12".
 cut the 4 rulers at 30", keeping the 6" for the entrance.
cut 6 pieces of 1 X 2 at 12".
glue and nail the rulers to the 1 X 2 at 1.5" and 6.5" from the top.
Done with the sides!

For the entrance:
cut 2 pieces of 1 X 2 at 12" (short posts)
cut 2 pieces of 1 X 2 at 28" (long posts)
cut 1 piece of 1 X 2 at 18" (inside gate)
cut 1 piece of 1 X 2 at 23.5 "(over gate)
cut 1 piece of 1 X 4 at 12"

Glue and nail the left over rulers to the posts at the same level as the sides
pieces you just built at 1.5" and 6.5" from the top.

Glue and screw the 18" piece to 23.5" piece of 1 X 2, centering it
on the longer piece (I did it the wrong way on the picture, making it harder!)
Then attach the 2 boards to the 2 long posts with glue and screws.

(on the picture I just added the 23.5" board, then realized it was not sturdy enough,
then I added the 18" piece to reinforce the gate, totally worked!)

Before adding the hinges, attach a piece of 1 X 4 (12" long) on one side of the gate
with screws to the 1 X 2 to allow the all fence to fully open and close.
You can see it on the pictures below:

totally folded,                          first part unfolded,                         second part unfolded.

Then add the hinges, prim and paint.
It should fold nicely on itself for easy storage,
the depth is less than 4 inch!

(it stands on it own, the grass is just not that leveled!)

When opened there is a lot of space for many horses and dolls,
and little/big girls!

in action, with a very happy Miss C.!
One needs to be inside the ranch/fence to take care of horses.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

dolls at the ranch

Summer is winding down,
the girls enjoyed their stay-cation,
and hanging out in the backyard in their swimsuit,
but they were ready for some adventure,
so to the ranch they went.

Miss C. like most little girls is a fan of horses.
She is over My Little Pony and other pink little creatures,
but definitively not over horses.

Last Christmas, she received a horse for her dolls,
 a good looking black and white paint horse (our generation from target)
and the AG riding outfit (we mix target/AG/homemade)

So for her birthday, I made her a fence for her horse,
with a large opening so that a girl could ride her horse out of the fence,
kind of like a ranch, after all my daughter was born in the South West,
in the land of riding horses on turquoise trails.

It turned out it was a great idea, since one of her girlfriends gave her quarter horse foal,
and her aunt (another horse passionate) gave her the western riding outfit.
It all came at the perfect time.

I might still make a stable to go with the ranch,
but it takes a lot of space,
and the mommy and baby horses seem happiest in the field!

It was a great day, nothing like horses to make the day special!

Miss C. did not get to ride a horse,
but at the county fair she rode a camel!

Happy day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

making a vintage crate with transferred image

A couple of posts ago,
I explained how to transfer images onto wood with contact paper,
which I used to make my vintage French wine tray.

Well after the tutorial, I was left with a nice transfer image (from the Graphics Fairy)
on a piece of 1 X 6.
So I made a box:

I used more 1 X 6 for the other sides,
and a piece of 1/4 " plywood for the bottom.

I reinforced the corners by using some pieces of 1 X 2,
I wanted to make the box like Sandra of Sawdust and Paper Scraps
but I do not have a table saw.

Here is how I used it:
to store soda cans!

I am pleased with how the view has improved!
Now I think I need to make a couple more to keep hiding unsightly goods...

Happy day!

The Graphics Fairy

A Crafty Soiree

 shabby creek cottage

Thursday, August 9, 2012

exploring the old Lucketts store

While both of the kids were at a sleepover last week end,
Mon Cheri and I went on a little road trip,
OK so it was just a large detour on the way to pick up the kids,
but still it was an adventure of sorts.
We went to Leesburg to explore the Old Lucketts Store
and the The Design House (it was opened last week end)

We started by visiting the Design House, it is always fun to check out home/store
where it is all put together.
All the rooms were interesting, they reminded me of Restoration Hardware store,
but less expensive and with more accessories (and warmth!)
Check out that dark moody ceiling! The sofas were impressive in style and size,
the texture was nice and they were quite comfy, I would need extra pillows (short legs!)

This room was another seating room with the opposite paint scheme: moody walls, light ceiling.

The chairs were in a linen blend and very interesting, Mon Cheri had to try them,
it was not his style but he said it would be the perfect chair to read stories to Miss C.
or snuggle with a puppy as Miss C. can read her own stories!

There were so many things to check out, lots of pillows, accessories
and French/vintage inspired objects.

My favorite part from the house?
Being the only one coming with a husband!
OK, not really, it was those curtains, they are a patchwork of printed/painted fabrics.
Because the base color of the fabrics is the same, it almost look like it made of one piece.
Which got me thinking, I could use some painting on my plain drop cloth curtains
making it a fake patchwork, funny thoughts for a quilter!

After enjoying visiting the Design House, we checked out the Old Lucketts Store,
it was pretty crowded and a little too overwhelming,
so after a quick visit, we retreated to the outdoor.

On our way out, we saw this table, I thought it was great,
and even Mon Cheri found it interesting,
so after all we found 2 items that "spoke" to us!

Did we purchase anything?
No, but we had a great time.
It is a place worth checking out, but make sure the kids are not with you,
and drive a small car, it will save you some money,
 if you cannot carry it home, you will not buy it!

Happy day!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

how to transfer image with contact paper

After I posted my vintage French wine tray,
I received a few emails with questions about this technique,
so I thought a tutorial would be the way to explain it all.

I used a roll of contact paper, simple off-white from Home Depot (cheap, and plain).
I cut a piece the size of a sheet of paper 8.5 X 11, making sure there are no wrinkles.
I taped on all sides to a piece of card-stock, regular paper is not sturdy enough.
I printed from a laser printer the image reversed.
I removed the tape and card-stock, but left the backing that came with the vinyl contact paper.
I positioned the image where I wanted it and taped it onto the wood to avoid any shifting.

With a hot iron, I pressed it on the wood.
Because the base of the tray was uneven, it was hard to iron flat.
So I used a mini-iron : the clover II mini iron, with it I was able to press hard and 
precisely over the detailed image.
With this example, a regular iron worked well, it goes faster as the surface is much larger!
I lifted the paper as I was ironed it to check the transfer, just like I do for a rub-on image.
In a couple places, the contact paper got too hot where I had no ink and slightly melted, but I was able to remove it by scratching gently the surface.

If for some reasons, the transfer is not perfect, the wood can be sanded and reused.

I used another image from the Graphics Fairy for this example.

The original inspiration for this technique comes from the steampunk workshop,
it is used on metal, Mon Cheri tried it many times on metal with success,
so it was from his suggestion that I tried it on wood,
thank you Mon Cheri!
(he insisted on being cited!)

Now what am I going to do with this piece of wood?

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 ...