Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Pretty girls deserve pretty dresses

A few weeks ago, Juliette was singing the the Bach Festival Young Choir at the Art Festival in Winter Park.  Like last year, their conductor wanted to have a rainbow on stage, so each signer got assigned a colour for their dress. Juliette got yellow. She was not happy with it, and I was not happy to get the information just a bit more than a week from the concert. One good thing though, Juliette was OK for me to sew the dress.

scrapbooking papersWe went for Simplicity pattern 2250 with some light linen blend.  I really love the colour even if Juliette thinks is the colour of baby chick and therefore far to baby-ish.

The pattern does not have extremely good reviews on PatternReview, and it’s good I did not read any of these before.  There’s a lot of details going on the bodice, so I think it is important to go with a fabric which is both light and still holding it’s shape.  My linen might have been a bit to malleable.  Also, I don’t think busy prints will work well, all the darting/pleating details would be lost.

The bodice took me such a looooong time… Darts, pleats to sew in a specific order. Then lining and underlining – it’s the first time I was doing such a thing. It’s worth it as it help to hold the bodice’s shape.

On PatternReview, there’s a bit of a fuss about the skirt.  It is gathered and pleated.  If you look at the picture you can see pleats on the front right, and gathering on the other side.  It’s the same at the back.  I guess that gathering the whole thing would have been faster (I gathered the skirt lining).  It is not an obvious details, but I think it makes the dress less childish.

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The only substantial modification was in the back.  Juliette did not want the bow or wings so I had to improvise.  I don’t quite remember how I construct it but I like how neat the gathering looks on the back.  The major issue with this pattern was the difference of length between the finished bodice and the lining.  I added a some extra length to the lining but looking how it folds on Juliette, I should have shorten the bodice.

All in all, I really enjoyed sewing this dress.  I took my time, marked everything and made sure I put a lot of love in every stitches.  The result is beautiful.  My girl is beautiful and I just wish she loves it enough to wear it beyond the concert.

And by the way, I wrote my first review on PatternReview because I just needed a new social network to join ;)

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Best week-end

If you’ve been following me for a while, you already know that 2 out of our 3 teens live in England, while the rest of us are in Florida.  We are juggling with 3 different school/uni schedules, a husband who travels intensively, as a consequence, it is not very often that we are all five of us on the same continent, on the same time zone at the same time…

Last time it happens it was for Thanks Giving. And four months later, this rarity almost coincided with the moon eclipse (^o^).

We spent the weekend in Clearwater, enjoyed a walk by the beach at sundown, eat some crab (because ‘our stomachs were making the rumblies that only crab legs could satisfy – this is a private joke with the kids, go and check Llamas with hats).  We took a lot of pictures, had an egg-hunt in our hotel room (they might be almost grown up, they still enjoy it).  While the kids were at Bush Garden, we went to the Plant Museum which is within the Tampa University.  It was all so lovely!

cowboys1 000 Temp2

000 Temp3 And then the weekend was gone, now we should all be together again at the end of July. (^_^)000 Temp4

And then, just like that, the weekend was over.  Now we’ll have to wait until the end of July to be all together again (*_*).

Friday, 3 April 2015

Yeehaw!…

Please, please, please excuse the title… and the pictures… there are a lot of them and lots of butts (only at the bottom of the post, so you can avert your eyes if you want to…)

Last week, while listening the radio, I found out that the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo were held in Kissimmee.  Have you ever been to a rodeo?… Me, never and I was not prepared to let the occasion passed.

So on Saturday morning, off we went to the Rodeo in Kissimmee… It was all I expected, even better.

Here in pictures.  I wish I could have captured the smells and the music too (country music, anybody’s with me on this, oh yeah…)

3-28 RodeoThe Rodeo Queens… all smile and curls

3-28 Rodeo1and the guys, their hats, their boots


3-28 Rodeo2and some horses action

3-28 Rodeo3 Lonesome cowboy

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Next time I go I’ll make sure I wear proper boots and hat.  Yeehaw!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

to be or not to be Modern

… or I’m  having an identity crisis

I’ve been quilting for almost 15 years now.  I was a knitter, dress-maker, embroider before I discover quilting.  But until recently, I never questioned my ‘modernity’.

Here is where it come from:

  • this post from Jacquie Gering from Tallgrass Prairie Studio
  • and this article in a local news site
  • and a few more discussions I’ve overheard…

And I started to think: do I fit in my guild? Am I an imposter there? Are they going to find out that I might not be ‘Modern’ and kick me out? Am I ‘modern’ or aren’t I?

Then I breathed deeply, and remembered that it is not high school (note-to-self, I did not go to high school but lycĂ©e so how could I remember?…), I am not in a popularity contest (or am I?).

But what would make me modern?

  • Using negative space – OK I always wanted to do that, I always want to make a whole cloth quilt. I have done French traditional Boutis in the past and it was a pain because the wadding was not as bouncy as today and you had to fill up the designs with extra cotton. And it was entirely done by hand.
  • Using solids– which remind me of Amish quilts.  Solids are now bold, thanks to modern dyes.
  • Exploring new techniques like EPP – what is that? English Paper piecing, OK I can do that and have done that.  I used to call it granny hexagons.  I remember evenings with my friends, cutting hexagons out of old magazines because the paper was thin and it was easy to go through while sewing.
  • Creating ‘made-fabric’ – I’m thinking crazy patch.  Again, I’ve done that and I love the ‘don’t over think it’ technique that goes into this kind of quilt.
  • Using embroidery, contrasting threads in the quilting – how much I love traditional Provencal quilt with long, thick cotton stitches.  My first teacher back in 2000, introduced my to the use of DMC cotton to quilt and decorate quilts and it has been my go-to method when hand quilting.

I’m sure I could go on and on and find more examples.

So traditional, art, modern quilters from all over the world, just few things to remember:

  • I never met a quilter (or crafty person) that I could not get along with;
  • I’m sane because everywhere I lived, I found quilting groups and quilting friends who welcomed me and helped me settle down in a new home, new country.  I sewed with French, British, Belgian, German, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, American, Spanish, Italian quilters and seen the same light in their eyes when we start speaking fabrics.
  • I am glad for modern tools.  When I started quilting, I drafted blocks on lined paper and then cut templates out of it, i did not use rotary cutter or plastic templates (and no I’m not from Neanderthal).  Now I have a [large] collection of rulers for all purposes  (I’m getting more and more tempted by the accuracy of an AccuQuilt).  My sewing machine is a smooth, fast beast which cuts thread, sews a perfect 1/4”, has easily retractable dog feet, knee lift foot presser…

Then last week, I tuned up to the MQG webinar – Alternate Gridwork by Heather Grant, I loved it.  I loved the fact that Heather belongs to the MQG and to a traditional guild.  The same week I went to a cooking demonstration at the Cordon Bleu and I really related to the cook’s  message - ‘adapting tradition with better tools’, and sounded so right.

So now I know, I’m not traditional, I’m not arty, I’m not modern… I am CURRENT, embracing all that have been done before, taking full advantage of all the new tools and techniques.

000 Temp1

Monday, 16 March 2015

Mother’s Days

Yesterday was Mother’s days in the UK.  Victor sent me a nice text for the occasion.  I was shopping when I receive it and it brought tears to my eyes.  I must have looked silly drying my eyes in the middle of the supermarket.  I was so touched.  I’m not big on this kind of celebrations, then I realised how much lucky to have three great kids which is like having Mother’s day every day.

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I guess most parents feel the same.  Still it means so much to me that my kids get along, that they look after each other, that they have strong ethic, that they are learning to responsible young adults, that they appreciate what they have… blahblahblah…...

I’m not an expert in education, and I’m still feeling I have to find new ways with each kid -  whenever I think I know what to do, a situation makes me remember that there’s not one rule for all.  But I know a few things for sure:

  • keep an opened mind – it’s not because you don’t agree with what they say or want to do, that it is not worth considering;
  • be honest with your kids – it’s OK to say “I don’t know” or “I was wrong”, adults have no super power and make mistake;
  • trust that all the attention you give them is worth it – spending one-to-one time with each kid individually but it is oh so important;
  • listen, listen – as parents it is sometimes so easy to think we know better and forget that they are learning so much and that they want to share this new acquire knowledge.

Having said that, it’s still tough, rough, a bumpy ride… and I guess it is the kind of job from which you can never retire.

Desktop1 Lucky me, I have two more Mother’s day to come this year (the American one and the French one).