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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas presents - part 1 : Tea Set

Good morning everybody! Today I am presenting you the tea-set I made for my God-daughter for Christmas. In Summer I had made her some felt pasta, biscuits etc., but her mother told me that she actually had neither tea cups nor tea pot! So I thought that it was the perfect idea. Plus since I am not going back to France this year for Christmas time because of the imminent arrival of our second child, making the set out of felt proved to be the ideal idea: it is very light!
I first started searching for patterns, but did not really find much which was simple enough for my taste - it had to be so easy that I could do it in just a few hours (which I did in the end but spread over several days).
I came accross this tea-set which is for sale. I never thought of buying it since I knew I could make it myself and for much cheaper, but it more or less inspired me (I am pretty sure I can safely say that I did not copy it).

I chose the size I wanted (height, width, length) and thought it would be sooooo simple to draw a pattern from there! But in the end I had to call to rescue two physicists! J. from Switzerland and my husband (a huge thank you to them!), they did all sorts of calculations for me and came up with the pattern shown bellow (the brown circles are mine and served a a base for their calculations):

Once the pieces cut, I put some rick-rack band along them so as to decorate the plain (although not too sad looking) felt - oh by the way, I chose thick felt so that the cups and tea pot would stand properly on their own.
Who says tea cups, also says tea bags! I made seven with thin kitchen curtain fabric (no idea how this sort of fabrics is called) and  filled them with remains of fleece and felt cut in mini-pieces. I obviously attached a string with a label on top to the bags. Miniature job really but wait to see the final picture, it was all worth it!

Sewing everything together was not necessarily a very easy job, but my favourite part was the bottom circle. Somehow it was fun to sew it, at the end one could not even see that it was two different pieces of felt fixed together!

Aaaaand, tadaaaaam! Here is the whole thing together, little H. can play happily and serve tea to her dolls and her parents!

 A few more Christmas-presents posts are coming soon! Since I do not know how much time I will have in the next weeks, I am writing them ahead and programming their publication. This way I hope to avoid a long blank period of time :)

[Scheduled Post]

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

Embroidery Starter Set with videos

If you remember in Summer I had the visit from my 14 yo cousin, J. Well it is now her birthday and I have put up together a small embroidery set for her, just in case she fancies carrying on what I started to try teaching her in six months ago.

A small fleece and felt pear to carry her needles. I did not find a tutorial, but just images on this blog here. I thought it was a brilliant idea!! I decided for a pear instead since I knew I had some leftover of a really lovely green fleece and I started making it. Mine does not have a pocket for the scissors as did not have enough fleece for that and the shape wasn't appropriate. The button isn't as sweet and fancy as the one on the apple, but it is a button from the collections I inherited from my Grand-mother and I thought the colour was just perfect. The white inside is felt as I have no white fleece (it probably means I should go shopping :-p ).
I even embroidered the core and pips to make it looks a little more realistic :)
To go with the needles, I got J. a measuring tape, a small thimble (hopefully small enough for her thin fingers) and a pair of lovely scissors. I remember how delighted I was when my Grand-mother gave me mine, I still use them with pleasure.
To get her to use those needles and co., I made up a tiny teeny embroidery set, with thread, cloth (with a motif) and a mini-frame in which I hope the cloth with still fit once embroidered.

Joyeux Anniversaire J.!
 And because we are over a thousand kilometers apart, I unfortunately cannot teach her the different stitches while sitting next to her, which is why I have put up together a small booklet with some stitches and I am now posting some videos (in French, sorry!) so that she can also visualise a couple of the stitches. Maybe some of you might like to look at them too and either learn from them OR correct my mistakes!

[Scheduled post]

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Challenge : "Un mot, des titres" - Session 12

Here we are again, back to the Challenge meaning: switching to French :)

Le mot de ce mois-ci était "blanc" (et ses dérivés). J'ai eu beau chercher dans ma bibliothèque personnelle, je n'ai vraiment rien trouvé! Hiver oui, neige oui, noir oui, des tas d'autres couleurs aussi, mais blanc malheureusement non! Mon cher mari a eu la gentillesse de m'emprunter un livre à l'Institut Français de notre ville où il prend des cours. 

ATTENTION: je préfère prévenir que ce livre (et mon commentaire) ne sont pas adaptés aux enfants! (à mon avis)

"Le Petit Aigle à tête blanche" de Robert Lalonde 

Livre que j'avais choisi dans le catalogue en ligne, au hasard, sans regarder ni commentaires ni résumés sur internet... Erreur fatale! C'est le genre de livre que je n'aurais JAMAIS lu si j'avais vu ne serait-ce que le résumé en quatrième de couverture. Et c'est typiquement le genre de livre que j'aurais laissé de côté si je n'avais pas eu le Challenge et un article à écrire. Je ne le relirai pas. 

Voici un résumé que je viens de trouver en ligne (n'ayant plus le livre entre les mains, je ne peux pas recopier ce qui y est écrit):  
"Au début du siècle, sur une terre agricole inculte, fleurit un garçon qui n'aura pour seul lumière qu'un livre d'André Gide, les Nourritures terrestres, qu'il mettra en pratique en canalisant toutes ses passions sur son frère. C'est après son renvoi de chez les frères qu'il reçoit l'illumination : il est poète. Lentement il élabore ce principe simple : «le paradis n'était pas ce qui était arrivé, et dont il fallait à tout prix se souvenir, mais ce qui pourrait arriver et que le poète avait mission d'appeler, comme le sorcier appelle la pluie ou le soleil». Au seuil de sa mort, l'homme nous raconte sa vie."

Pour ma  part je ne saurais trop que dire... L'écriture est assez particulière, parfois très sympathique, mais trop souvent bien trop chargée d'une multitude de qualificatifs qui finalement n'apportent rien sinon de la lourdeur au texte. Le sujet du livre en lui-même est assez particulier. Le narrateur raconte sa vie, en soit rien de bien anormal, mais il n'en raconte pas tous les détails (heureusement), il choisit principalement de parler de sa vie sexuelle et amoureuse qui chez lui a commencé très tôt! De tous ceux qui auront lu ce livre depuis sa publication, ai-je été la seule à être choquée des activités de l'auteur et de son frère? Des activités de l'auteur et d'un jeune homme au séminaire? Des activités de l'auteur et de certains bûcherons? Et puis des hommes, il passe à une femme, puis de nouveau des hommes. L'auteur parle aussi de sa folie, de sa poésie, mais je n'ai pas réussi à en saisir la portée, voire la (potentielle?) beauté.

Je me suis accrochée tout de même afin de pouvoir écrire cet article, mais un sentiment de dégoût, d'étonnement et de frustration (de ne pas avoir choisi un autre livre) m'a accompagnée tout au long de ma lecture. Quelqu'un connait déjà ce livre et aurait quelque chose de plus sympathique à dire? Pour ma part je ne le recommande pas du tout!

Bonne journée et à bientôt pour la prochaine session - ou peut-être pas! Cela dépendra de la date prévue pour rendre nos copies et surtout de mon état de fatigue après avoir accueilli Bébé n°2!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Photo/Picture albums for a toddler

Good morning everybody,

I am sorry for not posting so very regularly, but I am currently preparing all my Christmas presents (so that I can have a quiet December) and unfortunately cannot show you yet what I am crafting. I am programming a series of articles though that will be published from after Christmas, possibly until end of January to keep this blog going for a little while after I will have had my second baby :)

So, in the meantime I will try to show you a few things that I am quickly making for my little girl. I have mentionned before (I think) that I have a box full of papers that need sorting. I did the sorting per year, now I need to go through them... That will probably be one of my big plans for 2013! In that box I found a small book with blank pages and a large amount of pretty pictures which I have been gathering since... hmmm... since before teenage I think for some of them! My plan has always been to gather them into a book to make a nice picture-book. Finally I got on doing it! Taking advantage of my daughter's naps, I cut and glued most of the pictures and tadaaaaam, now Little N. does have another picture-book to look at.

Yes, some of the pictures are very random!
  Another thing which I found was a calendar from 2010 which my husband had given me as Christmas present back then. It contained pictures of us, of food that we had cooked and some other pretty pictures. The calendar was spiral-bound and the pictures were nicely on the left side, while the dates were on the right. I always find it hard to throw away things... so I took my scissors, cut the calendar in half to keep only the picture part. Also managed to cut the spiral-binding and then I also added a few more pictures (still need to add a couple). Little N. has been looking through that album a great deal. She often comes to me in order to practice saying the names of the people she sees, finally she calls me "Maman" more often!

What do you think? Easily and quickly done and you are recylcing rather than throwing away, plus you can make your child happy for less money!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A celebration...

For those who have not visited this blog yet: Ecole et Bricole, it is high time to do so! Steph is celebrating the first birthday of her blog by very generously giving a present to the person who will be chosen by an innocent hand (her daughter's). All you have to do is to leave a comment saying that you want to participate on this page before the 30th of November at midnight (French time). I would advise those not living in France to ask her in your comment if she would send the surprise to your country.
Now good luck to all participants!
À nouveau un article traduit en français! Steph, une copine de blog d'Ecole et Bricole, s'apprête à fêter la première année de son blog et offre un cadeau surprise pour l'occasion lors d'un tirage au sort (c'est la main innocente de sa fille qui choisira). Tout simplement, visitez son blog et laissez un commentaire sur cet article en particulier pour annoncer votre participation. Si toutefois vous n'êtes pas en France métropolitaine, je vous suggère de vérifier avec elle que l'envoi peut se faire dans votre pays.
Voilà! Bonne chance à tous!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Pour le plaisir de la photo

I don't know if some of you have noticed but in my list of "Blogs I follow" a new link has appeared "Pour le plaisir de la photo" (For the pleasure of photography). It belongs to one of my sisters who has recently acquired a very good camera (I am longing to get something similar but that will wait a little bit longer) and has been making some pretty good shots! She is trying to show what she is doing on this blog: Pour le plaisir de la photo and you can also find her on Facebook. Her long term goal is to take event and family pictures (in France). So have a look at her work so far and let us know what you think. I think she definitely deserves some encouragement! Look at this kitten, isn't it perfectly adorable?

Exceptionellement je traduis mon message en français.

Je ne sais pas si vous avez remarqué mais dans la liste des blogs que je suis, un nouveau lien a fait son apparition "Pour le plaisir de la photo". Il appartient à une de mes soeurs qui a récemment fait l'acquisition d'un très bon appareil photo (aaaah si seulement je pouvais en avoir un pareil!) et depuis elle fait de plutôt beaux clichés! Elle essaye de montrer ce qu'elle fait sur ce blog: Pour le plaisir de la photo et vous pouvez aussi la retrouver sur Facebook. Son but sur le long terme est de montrer ce qu'elle sait faire et parvenir à faire des photographies pour la famille, pour les événements (en France). Donc jettez un oeil sur son travail et dites-nous ce que vous en pensez. Je crois qu'elle mérite des encouragements. Regardez-moi ce chaton! N'est-il pas adorable?

Monday, 5 November 2012

House-shoes to keep warm inside

Little N. is growing fast. Before Summer I had made her some house-shoes which are now far too small. With Winter coming I decided to make them with fleece and a nice cosy thick cotton inside. They actually look so nice and cosy that I've had some orders in the meantime!
 Since little N. is now walking properly, I wanted to make them "anti-slide" and used something called "Sock-stop" - a sort of liquid which you put on your fabric, let dry and then your shoes don't slide anymore. Except that after twenty minutes of N. wearing them, I started gathering small pieces from the ground! I was very disappointed and could not understand why it did not work (it had worked on the guest-felt shoes). My theory is that the fabric I used for the sole was not absorbing enough. So I tried later on (for the next shoes) on old socks: it worked!
 So here are the soles of three of the four new pairs I am currently sewing. You will not see the final result before the 26th of December (at the earliest) though since they are meant to be Christmas presents!

Regarding my daughter's shoes, they do slide a bit so I will probably make an anti-slide sock stripe to fix on her currents soles. Let's see how it goes :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Food and flowers

 Just some pictures I wanted to share:

 My birthday apple and cinnamon cake with caramel on top baked by my lovely husband and equally lovely daughter. Delicious!
 My attempt to cook my mother's lentils and sausages recipe... Still need to work on it to make it as good as hers.

 My second birthday cake (apple too!) baked by my mother-in-law. Doesn't it look gorgeous?

 Before the cake we had a lovely lunch which included deer. It may look rather crispy from the outside but the meat inside was just perfect. 

And to  finish with food: what do you think of that home-made pizza (before cooking)? It was very yummy!

To conclude, here are my last flower pictures of the Autumn (we are in Winter now!)

Update on my unfinished projects!

If you remember I posted some time ago about "unfinished projects", well I have finally managed two out of the whole list (haven't dared to count them to be honest!)

First of all, a sort of a cross between a traditional bib and a table cloth, let's look at the pics before explaining more.
 Little N. is now at a stage where she wants to eat alone but does not master the art of using cuttlery yet... Every parent knows what I am talking about. I was getting a little bit fed up of having to gather all the food on the ground though (especially now that I am in my 8th month of pregnancy), so I decided to use some oilcloth, some pieces cut from a towel to soften the top edges and I made this half-bib-half-table cloth thing. It works great!
Just a remark though, oilcloth is rather a nightmare to sew if there is nothing to make it slide nicely under the sewing-machine.

The second finished project is the album gathering all the cards, emails and sms that we received for little N.'s birth. It will be nice for her to look at it when she is grown.

 Just needing to get on with the rest now, but I have faith especially after today's feat of finishing a whole project in just a few hours!