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Wednesday, 29 June 2011


I never was a great gardener but since we arrived in Germany and got a balcony I decided to give it a go. 

I had been gathering Impatiens Walleriana seeds  for quite a few years but never got round to planting them. So last year I seeded them, watered them and waited. To my great surprise and pleasure it worked! And I got lovely pink flowers from June to end of September (even some early October). I learned an important lesson though: the flower pots did not contain enough soil, they were not hanging from the balcony but were standing on the ground, and finally I had far too many of them in one pot. This made them grow extremely tall and thin. They lived well for many months but they did not look too pretty by the end of the season!
Then I collected again their seeds (plus some from town as I wanted other colours) and this year early March I planted them in small temporary plastic containers. Again they grew (so it is my 2nd generation!) and I planted them, spacing them carefully and giving some to my mother-in-law. Unfortunately this Spring was very hot and I lost a good number of them (I started with over 40 shoots and ended up with about 20, but at least the remaining ones are strong. 
This morning I had the pleasure of seeing my first flower bud and right now the flower is fully open and pretty!

I tried to post more picture but the connection is a bit slow so I will talk about my peach trees another time!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011



A while back I decided to make cushion-covers for my brothers and sisters. Easy as peas: you measure the size of your cushion, cut the fabric at the right size (I did it on a fold to avoid having too much to sew and that also makes the back smoother).

Then you sew everything together, prepare the button-holes and choose lovely buttons. I used fleece for all four covers and the cushions inside are machine-washable!

Total time spent per cover: maybe 30 min maximum. The longest was to do the button-holes as I did them by hand. I really need to get on learning to do them with the machine!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Name tags for table decoration

Last year with my mother-in-law, we worked on making table decorations for her husband's big birthday party. 
Material needed: plastic decoration balls,  "glass" paint of the desired colour (I chose glittering and transparent for the background deco, and coloured for the names), a transparent sheet and various small beads and accessoires - I went for felt shamrocks and flowers or dried flowers (Baby's breath, Statice everlasting, straw flowers can do) and colourful feathers for women accompanied with pink and green beads, for the men: sea-shells and small blues stones (usually for vase decoration) and blue beads.

Now let's see how it went:

- First we layed out all the balls and painted the inside pattern. The balls were meant to have a back and front, the back was more decorated than the front so that the name would be emphasized.

- Then we waited for the paint to dry, it does not take very long and the paint became transparent which was the goal. The idea was to have glittering dots and waves.

- Afterwards came the filling part. We started with the bottom (back) half. 

 For the men: a small amount of blue stones, not too many, it has to remain quite light. On top mini sea-shells. We decided to vary the shells and the quantity so that not two decorations would be exactly the same.

For the women: we had four different patterns.
1) small fake colourful feathers
2) felt flowers (different sizes glued on top of each other)
3) felt shamrocks with a glue ladybird in the centre.

We had previously painted the names on the transparent sheet, drawing a circle ever-so slightly bigger than the back part of the ball to insure that the names would fit in it. We had to let dry before cutting and using them.

- Finally we filled the front half of the balls with the right beads, or with small dried flowers in the case of the balls decorated with the feathers.

- The last step was the trickiest: put the cut names on the back half, pour gently the beads on it so that it remains flat and finally close with the top part making sure that the name sheet is nicely blocked all around. We didn't even need to use one drop of glue to close the balls.

 Here is a close-up picture of the final result:


 It is not very complicated to make, depending on the quantity it might just be a bit long. To complete the whole thing we used raphia strings for people to be able to hang them once back at home (yes, the guests could leave with their own decorations).

There you are, I hope you will find this interesting and get some inspirations. I would love to see other similar realisations. I must say by the way, that my first inspiration was a friend of mine who gave me a decoration ball some years ago with a lovely fairy and some dried flowers. It is still hanging in my living-room!

Friday, 24 June 2011


Before going to France for the Easter holiday I decided on a very quick project. I was going to visit a friend who's a real fan of the "Barbapapas". For those who would not know them, they are characters of an old French cartoon (originally books published in the 70's), check out part of the first episod (in French) .
Barbapapa married Barbamama and together they have seven children: Barbibulle (blue), Barbotine (orange), Barbouille (black and furry), Barbalala (green), Barbidou (yellow), Barbabelle (purple) and Barbidur (red).

Anyway, this friend of mine has a lovely baby girl and I tried to make her a toy Barbamama. It had to meet one specific requirements: be washable!

 I chose to use fleece instead of felt. It is equally soft, if not softer and it is easily washable.
I drew the Barbamama shape and then cut it twice in the fabric.
 I first tried to make the eyes with the sewing machine but did not manage so I went for hand embroidery instead. It still wasn't great because I am not used to embroid on fleece. I need to work on that in order to improve it.
 Then came the arms, just two small rectangles sawn together inside out then turned and finally stuffed.
 Assembling everything was not very easy. I had to think of putting the arms inside (and be careful when sewing!!) and I also wanted to fix the red band on the head. In theory I should have made flowers instead of a band, but the size being so small I didn't feel like making it so complex.
One thing to remember: keep an opening !!
 And here it is, ready to be stuffed. I used washable wadding (which is also what I used for the felt food). Once it is nicely stuffed according to one's taste, there is only left to close the small opening.
 Here is a close-up of the head, I just had to make yellow-ish dots to imitate a bit the flowers. This was meant for a small baby so I refused to use pretty beads and did some more embroidery instead: French knots it is called apparently. That did the trick.
 Final result: not too bad. I need to think of the pattern again though because Barbamama looks a bit flat when I wanted her to be quite round.
Washed by hand she takes ages to dry... next time I'll try the washing-machine.

My friend looked quite happy and so did her daughter despite trying several times (and eventually succeeding) to throw it on the floor.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Felt food

Reading the blog "Que cache ma boite à Belette", I realised how simple it is to make pretend food. Searching a bit on the internet a lot of people actually make cakes, doughnuts, sushis and so on and so forth.

My husband and I are expecting our first child and since we are both very keen on cooking, we will encourage our child to enjoy food and cooking. What can be best than having a fantastic, yummy looking play-set? 

I have been making attempts at doughnuts and pieces of chocolate cake which I sent off to friends for their birthdays. 

There is actually one french word which does not have its proper translation in English "La gourmandise". This isn't greed as some dictionnaries translate it, it is more subtle and actually a good thing in France! Someone who is "gourmand" will not just enjoy food but rather love it.

These are the said-doughnuts. My very first attempt was far too flat, but the others looked more decent. The realisation itself is very simple and you can find the explanations here:

And here are the chocolate cakes:
  The author of "Que cache ma boite à Belette" does have a printable pattern, but I chose to at least double the size since it was meant for adults and not a child. With different colours, different materials, different beads it is very easy to let our imagination run wild and invent hundreds of different cakes.

For my child's playset I am actually considering putting a piece of velcro on both side in the middle so as to be able to assemble the different pieces in one big cake that you can then pretend to cut. That should be fun, will post pics when I get to finally do it!

Inaugural post

Here I am, finally. To begin with I will post old creations along side the most recent ones. I will not try to make it chronological.
I just hope I will be able to post regularly.