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.

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).

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Souvenir from Singapore

Yes-Yes-Yes, I finished my Japanese bag. Started 3 years ago during a workshop in Singapore. Rosie, the owner of Dreams in Quilts, has a fantastic collection of Japanese fabrics (the taupe, the textured, the earthy toned, the more-than-fifty-shades-of-grey...).  She had invited Kumiko Minami for a bag workshop.

On the day, the room was bussing with 25 ladies, Kumiko didn't speak English and she was demonstrating the tiniest hand appliqué, everything translated from Japanese to Singlish by a non-quilter (Singlish is the localised English spoken in Singapore, a mix of English and Chinese with an interesting local accent). And of course, the bag was to be constructed almost entirely by hand. Bring some good friends into the party and you can imagine that I didn't finish the bag on the day

Now burry the half started bag, the pattern (all in Japanese) and move a couple of times… then 3 years later, dig the project out of your UFOs bin… I’m an archaeologist…

Japanese bag
The assembly of the front and side panels were done by hand. Every flower has been appliquéed with tiny weensy little stitches. All the pieces have been hand quilted (my fingers are still sore). The handles had been set by hand too (more sore fingers). Only the final assemblage has been done by machine. I've changed the inside lining - I did not like the fabric from the kit and I had the perfect match for the bag, a print of a map of Paris, France and Japan having long lasting connections.

Japanese bag2

Japanese bag1

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Dream big baby girl!…

…because Dotty Half Square Triangles baby quilt is not a very inspiring name of any quilt!

Last month, after our guild meeting, I wandered into the shop where we meet.  I did not plan on buying anything, I did not even think ‘I’m going to be good’… I had no fabric envy, no itchy fingers… So when I found these charming charm packs, I did not feel any guilt, just go them because everybody needs dotty fabric in their life…

And now what to do with these little pink cuties? I did not think much and hard about it – it was to be a HST baby quilt.  I love HST, it only requires to trace, sew, cut and repeat.  I through in a Tiffany-ish blue fabric to break the pinkness and here it is.

Big dream baby

But what to do quilting-wise?  I think I’m suffering from a ‘quilting blockage’.  I find it very difficult to go from the ‘finished-top’ stage to the ‘it’s-now-a-quilt’ stage.  I decided on a simplistic approach – straight lines.  Initially, I was going to quilt verticals on the entire top, and then I got bored and started adding diagonals to echo the triangles (and showcase my not-so-accurate sewing).

Big dream baby2

As for the title of this post and quilt, it comes from the turquoise fabric.

Big dream baby1“Dream big. Work hard. Bite off more than you can chew. Enjoy the little things. Don’t believe everything you think.”

Maybe a bit ‘cheesy’ for a baby.  Oh well, the print might have faded by the time this little baby girl can read!

NB. the charm packs are from Michael Miller Modern Basics collection.  I used 2 packs, omitting the houndstooth print squares.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

My Playlist

Oh happy days! The British sewing is back on the BBC. May Martin and Patrick Grant are ready to judge garments, encourage the contestants. I would love to be one of them, I would be terrified too - I don't think I'm capable to finish any garment in a set time.

Back too, are my Thursday series : Scandal and How to get away with murder. I might start to loose interest in Scandal, I feel that most of what was to be said has been said, I feel that Olivia's classy outfits are a bit last year. So far, I LOVE How to get away with murder. Viola Davis looks so smart and strong when all dressed up, made up, and so fragile, vulnerable once she removes her power-woman costume.

000 Temp(BTW, have you seen Viola Davis at the Oscars – stunning.)

Back and gone, Silent Witness. I've previously wrote about it. I'm so glad the writers of the series manage to get new angles, it's not only the murders I'm interested in but also the description of the British society. And Nicky is still so stylish. Why can't I be thin, tall and blond...

I've been following a new-to-me French series. French series?!!... I know, so not me... It was broadcasted on BBC4, so I had to give it a go. Engrenages is a murder series, set up in Paris, in a police station. No bling, no pretty filtered images, no tuned down crude scenes and dialogues, no easy success for the team of detectives... I'm on episode 10 (out of 12) and so far they are pretty unsuccessful. BBC4 did not had the series translated, only subtitled which I really like. At first I was put off by the way the characters were speaking but after my visit in France I realised it might be the French way of speaking (I'll have to write a full post about this someday).


Reading wise, I'm currently ready 2 books. Not something I normally do.

The first one is Notes from a small island from Bill Bryson. An American who lived in the UK for a long time, decides to go for a last tour of the country before going back to the States. It is very sweetly written. I really enjoy the description he makes of the country. The language is so spot on, it makes me smile. But it is a slow book, as slow as travelling by foot or using the British rail service, and it is easy to get back into it even after a long period of time.

The second one is The keeper of lost causes from Jussi Adler Olsen. It's a Danish thriller. It is dark, very dark... The main characters are a uninspiring, depressed detective and his unexpected assistant Assad Weird, isn't it?


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Project Life

Here is my problem, since for ever, I haven't been good at making photo albums. Actually, I think the only one I did from start to finish was the one of our honeymoon in China (1994!…). Of course, I have some albums of the kids, but since I went digital I almost stopped printing pictures. I have boxes of pre-digital pictures, many duplicates, randomly filed... One day I will go through these and get them organised… One day…

Having said that, I still love having printed pictures. Holding a photo in your hands, the small format, the ease to pass it around, to keep it in a purse still feels better than going through an iThing.  Also have you noticed how each time you try to show your pictures from your electronic devise, either the thing goes on sleep mode, or the person starts to go through your album and find this embarrassing selfie you meant to delete (I recently learnt than even if you delete a picture on iPhone, it's still there in the 'Recently delete'. Why? Delete should mean gone, no longer there…).

Some times ago, I discover Project Life form Becky Higgins (try to google Project Life, and you’ll find myriads of great examples).  I loved the idea of scrapbooking without the fuss. So I bought the starter kit and a couple of additional cards, a pretty folder, some Instagram inserts... And... almost nothing...  I got a bit overwhelmed by the planning involved: I had to plan the pages before printing the pictures, decided on the layout, which cards to use where, cropped my pictures, made some collage so they would print at the correct size (4x6, 3x4). I can see some of you shacking their head, thinking it is not that complicated... Well, after a couple of pages, I almost gave up ... until I realised that there's always an Apps to the rescue.

And now I'm creating, scrapbooking, making collages with any picture on my iPhone or iPad. Ok, I still have to print my collages, but I have a good feeling about this.

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