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.

  IMG_5485 IMG_5608
  IMG_5643 IMG_5678 
  photo 1 photo 2

Thursday, 19 February 2015

From their back to mine – Les Lamas du Tilloux

I'm just back from a few days in France, visiting my parents. It was a 'Xmas catch up' since I wasn’t allowed to travel in December.
There was something nice about travelling on my own and being alone with my parents. Actually, I don't know why I didn't think of doing this earlier, I always tried to spend some time alone with each of my kids. It only makes sense to give my parents the same attention.

As usual when I travel, I made a list of things I want to do. It's a habit we started some years ago with the kids. Our lists are super simple and might include things like 'a walk to see the horses', 'a lunch at the Red Lion' (our local pub in England), ‘an afternoon at school’... So on my list for this week was visiting to a local lamas farm.

Les Lamas du Tilloux1
On a freezing morning, my mum and I drove to the farm called Les lamas du Tilloux. There are some lamas at the Tilloux, but mainly (I think) alpacas, a bit more than 60 of them: a few grown up babies, a few males and an herd of mothers and their youngsters.

Do I need to say how cute those animals are? Smaller than lamas, very curious. Their top lip is split so they don’t get hurt when eating the spiky grass from region of origin. They only have teeth on their bottom jaw. They've got a funky hair do - the wool from their head is not cut as it helps to keep the flies away fro. The pupil of their eyes is horizontal. Some of them have very light blue eye which make them more sensitive to eyes' infection.
Les Lamas du Tilloux
They are in their winter coat at the moment. Did you know that the colder the weather, the finer the fleece on their back is? Also. The appellation 'baby alpaca' in yarn means that the wool come from the first ever cut on the alpaca. If you consider that a baby alpaca first coat weights less than 2 pounds, no wonder that the yarn gets quite expensive. And to add to the price, the female alpaca gives birth to one kid only, after 340 days of gestation.
Diagonal scarf
Of course, at the end of the visit I had to buy some yarn (oops I did it again!). My mother had offered some white yarn last year (it is actually more off white/cream) which I used in my 'diagonal scarf' (the pattern is free and comes from Purl Soho: follow this diagonal pinstripe scarf) . So I took some black yarn this time. Another interesting thing is that the colour of the white yarn is the same from one batch to the next. The reason being that the coats of the white alpacas are isolated. If a white alpaca has a coloured spot, it is not considered as white. Well, interesting visit, lovely country side and very welcoming hostess. So, if you are in the neighbourhood, make a detour for a visit, enjoy the landscape, and if I'm home give me a call and come for a coffee...