Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sunday Finds [SF7]

Hello Friends!

The cat that needs to be named - the new addition to the family

I think this will be my last Sunday Finds of the year.

Back in June I crossed path with Marce from BrownBerry Chronicles. Ok honestly, I can’t say I crossed path, I saw her in a room full of crafty ladies and did not had the guts to go and speak to her. Marce lives in Florida, travels a lot for work, records YouTube videos wherever she is and she KNITs. In one of her vlog she mentioned the Afterthought Heel socks, in short it’s a technic where a tube is knitted, closed on one end, then the yarn is cut where the heel is then added. Does is make sense? Now Marce pushed the concept even further, she knitted a very long tube, the size of 2 socks and then unravels the tube in the middle, make the cuffs and knit the heels. Go and see her video. In the same video, she also speaks about her creative retreat with friends. May I be your friend, Marce?

Sewing pants
I know last year I said I wanted to venture into jeans making… well it did not happen: I have the Ginger jeans pattern in my stash but did not touch it. And now I just added Closet Case Patterns latest pattern: the Sasha pants (plus a few more patterns too!). I want to make the Sasha pants in red, or yellow, or apple green…. So is 2018 the year I’m going to give trousers’ sewing a try? Heather Lou has created a great ebook on pant’s fitting, you can get it there.

I’m a podcast addict and it seems that I don’t have enough time to listen to them all. This week, I’ve listened to the 2017 Community Episode of the While she naps podcast. Abby Glassenberg and Stacey Trock, her co-host, share their recommendations in terms of books, podcasts, apps…. All the recommendations are linked in the show notes, and be aware it is dangerous, I may or may not have click on a few links and then click the Check out button on Amazon.

I can’t make up my mind: electronic calendar (very convenient, accessible from my phone, but a bit ‘cold’), the bullet journal (hyper customizable, but it’s like taking an additional hobby, it takes quite a bit of time) or a paper diary/calendar (I like to have a physical object, but it’s never the perfect layout). Anyway if I were to get a paper calendar, I might go for the Daphne’s Diary, I like the flowery happy design, the detachable pages, the coloring pages. Or I might go for the Quilter Planner, it’s a planner designed for quilters by a quilter. Have you tried any of these? What do you think?

This Sunday Finds post turned out as a fan girl post, nothing wrong with that!

Well, that’s it for today, I hope to see you around in 2018 with more Sunday Finds. Let me know what you have found and I’ll share it here.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

20-patch Block Tutorial

Today I'm posting on the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild blog.  Every month our guild has a Block of the Month, guild members make one or many blocks, bring them to our monthly meeting where the blocks are then raffled.   For December, I've selected the 20-patch block after seeing Ashley's scrappy quilts (here and here).  I really love a scrappy quilt, and I would love to win those blocks.  If it doesn't happen, I might still make a bright colour 20-patch quilt.

So here is my recipe for a 20-patch block.

  • White and solid or low volume grey fabric, think cold icy grey;
  • Out of each colour, cut:
    • either one 21x3” stripe,
    • or two 10 1/5 x3” stripes,
    • or ten 2x3” rectangles

Method if using stripes:
  • Stitch one white stripe with one grey, along the long side, you get two 10 1/2 x 5 1/2” blocks. Press all seams to the dark side.
  • If working with 21” stripes, sew them together, press toward grey and cut in half and you now have two blocks 10 1/2” long.
  • Sew the 2 sets of stripes together and press seams toward the dark fabric.  You now have a 4-stripe white and grey 10 1/2 x 10 1/2" block.  
  • Slice the block into five 2” wide sub-stripes across the block. Align your ruler on the seams for clean perpendicular cuts.
  • Reassemble the 2” stripes, flipping every other one in order to obtain a checkerboard block, measuring 10 1/2 x 10 1/2”. 

Method if using rectangles:
  • Sew 5 rows of 4 rectangles, stitching on the shortest side, alternating white and grey. Press all seams toward the grey fabric.
  • Flipping every other row, assemble the 5 rows together, making a checkerboard block measuring 10.5x10.5”.

Can we all agree that it’s a super easy block? 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday Finds [SF6]

Hello Friends!

I am the only one with consistency issues? My goal is to blog at least once between my Sunday Finds, but it didn’t happen, not because I didn’t sew or knit anything, but because I’ve been very busy sewing or knitting. And also because I tend to ‘forget’ to take pictures…

Georgetown University from Key Bridge

Anyway, here what got my attention recently.

These Instagram accounts
Following last Sunday Finds, I’ve digged a bit deeper into Sashiko, which leaded to indigo dye, Japanese ceramic. And then I lost many hours going through those Instagram accounts: Slowstitchstudio; Toa_Aiko posted this video: the fabric is going to the needle; Akai Ceramic Studio; and these hashtags Celadon and Raku.

Thanksgiving ready
Believe it or not, but even after living in the States for 4 years, I never hosted Thanksgiving at home, actually we spent the last 3 Thanksgivings in England (2015, 2014). This year, all the kids are coming home (except for Justin, Alice’s BF) and we are going to make it BIG… Off course, turkey is on the menu (Is a 14-lbs turkey enough for 7?) with Brussel sprouts, potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn bread, pumpkin pie…. I’m getting most of my planning and tips from the New York Times Cook planner. I will be making this potatoes dish: Cheesy Hasselback potatoes gratin and also this pumpkin pie with pecan brittle, because I don’t think I can stomach pumpkin pie AND pecan pie.

That’s it for today! I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving shared with family and friends. And thank you very much for stopping by my virtual space.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sunday Finds [SF5]

FSU home game - parents weekend

All things royals
If you know me, you know that I have spent a large part of my adult life in England or in an ex-British colony, and that I have always been feeling a strong connection with Brits. No surprise, when I tell you that I’ve been glued to anything Royals recently. So my first royal related crush is Victoria and Abdul, not a master piece, but I love Judie Dench. The movie depicts an elderly, lonely Queen Victoria and it is kind of sweet. Also, still on Queen Victoria, I’ve been watching Victoria. This time we are at the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign. I don’t know how much has been romanticized but again, it’s very sweet and enjoyable. And of course, I can’t wait for the second season of The Crown.

The Orlando Quilt Guild had Jen Lee, from Red Thread Studio, come to speak to us at our monthly meeting. Jen is a really enjoyable speaker, soft spoken and passionate. Her talk was on Sashiko, big stitch quilting and Boro (“tattered rag” in Japanese), and how well it fits into the Slow Fashion movement, slow sewing… Is it a coincidence or what, Wise Craft Handmade is having a sashiko along in November. Very very tempted to stitch along.

I can’t remember how I found this app Workflow, but it sounds like it could be a cool tool. On your I (phone or pad), it helps to automate some tasks, like storing your pictures or sending texts to established group of people. I am still figuring it out, but I can see some potential. Actually, if you are using it, I would really appreciate your input.

Well, that’s it for today. Have a lovely week!

PS. I would love it if you have something to share too. Anything that has caught your attention (love or hate, craft or non-craft related).

And just one more thing for today, because I can’t help myself and would really appreciate if you can give it a try: here is the latest video from the McCartney’s, “One day a week”.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The different stages of a knitting project

Here is my creative process when it comes to knitting.

I've just seen a new pattern - I really like it
I want to make it now


I won't have a chance to wear it
And I have enough projects already on my needles

Yes, but it's really pretty
Look how other people have made it
I'm sure I'll learn something new
And my friend wants to knit it too

Ok, yarn and pattern have been ordered
I can't wait

Yarn has arrived, it's so beautiful
Let's take some pictures for Instagram
I can't wait

Before I start let's swatch
Or I can wing it
No let's swatch first
Swatch is good, casting on

Frantic few days of knitting

One sleeve done, let's work on the second one
Feeling good, both sleeves finished

But the yarn is so thin, it's taking forever
Getting bored

I shouldn't have chosen this color
Am I knitting too tight
I'm bored

Meeting friend to keep motivation
Her project looks so much better
Have I pick the right size, I'm sure it's off
Let's try it, I'm sure it's too small
Oh shoot stitches have dropped off the needles and unraveled

Hum! not that bad
I want to see it finished now
Some more frantic knitting
Another meeting with my friend
Almost there

Knitting is done
Need to bury those loose ends
Finishing touches boredom
Do I really need to block it
It takes so long to dry from wet blocking in humid Florida

The big reveal. I love it 😍
It's so pretty
I was right making those adjustments
The color is perfect
And my friend's pullover is perfect too.

I finished my PurlSoho Lightweight raglan pullover. It was an easy knit, on the boring side, lots and lots of stockinette…. I knit it as instructed, just added some shaping at the sides as I was worried it would look too boxy on me.

Finished a while ago too, 3 hats: Debutant hat from Karen Temple. The first one was finish at Squam where I took a class with Karen. The second one on the plan on the way back, they are fast to wipe out. Inspired by Amelia’s hat, a fellow Squam camper, I’ve added a few more twisted on the cables. The third hat was a special request from wintery New Zealand. Marie-Pierre needed a wooly-soft-squishy hat for winter. I knitted Fidra in raspberry Cascade Alpaca Chunky.

Finally, this last one, Waiting for Rain. I started it more than a year ago, frogged it at least 5 times, I couldn’t follow the pattern at first, then I was not pleased with the lack of contrast in the dark section. In the end, the shawl is beautiful, light. I might knit it again.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sunday Finds [SF4]

Good morning friends,

Hope you’re all having an enjoyable Sunday. I’m spending mine in New York where the weather is absolutly beautiful. Here are my Sunday Finds for today.

Kitchen knives
I love to cook, but strangely enough I am not into kitchen gadgets. I do not own a Kitchen Aid, I do grate my cheese on a cheese grater, and julienne my veggies manually and I am fine with this, but my julienne is not (fine - got my joke :0). So the other day, I was asking my friend whose husband is a chef what kind of knives he would recommend. Guess what, better than advice, Chef Larry came with me to choose my set of knives. And now I am the proud owner of 3 Shun knives and they are game changers. Why, oh why hadn’t I invested in proper knives before? When it comes to crafting, I always make sure I invest in the best equipment I can afford, I should have done the same in the kitchen. So now my julienne is extra fine and easy to chop. In addition to being super sharp, the knives are also very beautiful with their pakkawood handle, and they come with a complimentary lifetime sharpening service.

Recycling old prescription glasses
I am pretty annoyed that my insurance does not encourage re-using frames for prescription glasses, the cost of a new pair of glasses with frame is almost the same as using my old frames. As a consequence, I do have plenty of old frames, in good shape. I’ve been researching for a way to recycle them, and have found that the Lions Clubs have a program to recycle those unwanted glasses. The Eola Eye is participating to the Lions Club drive. So you know where my frames are going now and if you want me to drop yours too, just let me know.

Podcast and Slow Fashion October
It is not the first time (and probably not the last) that I mentioned how much I enjoy Sandy Hazelwood’s Podcast, Crafty Planner. Even better this week, she interviewed Karen Temple from Fringe Association. I had the pleasure to take a class with Karen at Squam last June and she is a lovely person with a very detailed oriented approach to knitting. Their discussion focuses mainly on the Slow Fashion movement and how to be more mindful with our wardrobe. I would recommend watching the Unravel video about what become of our unwanted clothes; it made me question my choices and made me smile too.

Friend's Finds
Last week, I’ve asked whether you have something to share. My friend RenĂ© sent me this link to a beautiful paper piecing pattern. I could almost have EPP envy right now. What do you think? In Liberty prints, or fussy cutting of novelty prints?

I hope you enjoy this, and would love to see what you have to share.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Altura - the many miles quilt

I’ve shown this quilt before. It’s started with a few precut charm packs of batik fabric. I am not overly in love with batiks, I found them to difficult to read, somewhat muddy. Still those had caught my eyes with their happy colors.

I only work of those blocks when I am travelling, and preferably in flights. And since they are needle turn appliquéed, I am not expecting to finish this anytime soon. So far I have 64 squares done.

Slow progress is still progress. And I like the idea of associating this quilt with some holiday memories (some of the blocks have been literally around the world).

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday finds - SF 3

I did plan to do a Sunday Finds last Sunday, but obviously it did not happen. I was not prepared, I hadn’t not collected all the things I wanted to speak about, and honestly if I want this post to get out on Sunday, it really needs to be written by Friday night. Lesson learnt, I will aim to be better organized.

So here are my finds, some are new, some are old.

Meat free Monday
Do I see some eyes rolling? Where do I start? I am not a vegetarian, nor a vegan, but I am concerned by the state of our planet, by the state of our health… Years ago, I heart the McCartney’s campain, and to me everything they are saying make so much sense. Please go and read the About on the website. Then last week-end, I listened to a French podcast On va dĂ©guster: Cuisine vĂ©gĂ©tale et bienfaisante (sorry, my non French speaker friends). I was in shock, a whole one-hour programme on vegetarism and how it is beneficial for the body and the planet on a French radio. I could elaborate on how this is surprising coming from French foodies. But I’d rather encourage you to give it a try. At first, it might feel like you have no idea what to cook (and that when you go to the Meat Free Monday recipes tab), then hopefully it will become a way of life. At first, I was very intentional about it, then I extended the Meat Free meals to my #craftytuesday gatherings (thank you my Friends to going along), and now it is part of our diet. I don’t think in term of what can I cook to replace a chicken casserole for example, but more in term of which flavors do I fancy today. Please, please give it a try and let me know what you think.

News stands
Have you notice all the christmas magazine covers on the news stands. It is too early, far too early and it makes me despise those holidays. Having said that, I pick the first issue of Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s magazine. First, let’s talk about the cover photo. Actually, I don’t know what to think about it: Gwyneth almost naked covered in mud with obvious nipple patches… Have I lost you already? It’s a wellness publication. The first issue goes from ’the power of healing and transformation of crystals' (?!) to some interesting lunch box recipes, to articles like ‘Find your inner sex goddess’ or ‘Adore your pelvic floor’ which is actually a hot subject for Gwyny (do a search on her site and see by yourself. Warning - you might want to do the search in a private setting)… netherless to say that the jury is out, just let me read it, and if you want to have a look at it ask for my copy.

Gladdening Light
Now I am not going all ‘guru’ on you with this Sunday Finds, but I want to point your attention to an upcoming event: The Gladdening Light Symposium on January 25-28, 2018 at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. The keynote address is Krista Tippet, the one from the podcast On Being. This will one more step in my soul searching journey.

Now something very light. I want to learn how to brioche. I have seen this book recently: Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant, and I am obsessed by this stitch. I’ve done mono-colour brioche in the past, but it was very basic. This bi-colour technic is intriguine and the final results are gorgeous. I have two patterns in mind: the River Rock Scarf, which could be a perfect Xmas gift, and Carmine and Rocko in varigated yarn that give even more depth to the project. Those will have to wait, I currently have two major projects on my needles.

Have a wonderful week, and if you have a ‘thing’ to share, please let me know.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Slice and Insert improv quilts

Isn’t is time I blog about a quilty project? I think it is, and I have two finished quilts.

It all started a few months ago when Jacquie Gering came to our Guild for a week-end of workshop. I was lucky to take part in both classes: Crative quilting with the walking foot, and Slice and Insert improv. Those two classes were quite out of my comfort zone: I am not an improv person, and straight line quilting looks tricky to me! However having Jacquie teaching is such a treat, she is fun, shares lots of information, she makes everything easy.

Slice and Insert Improv class was quite fun and fulfilled my need for matching seams and clean lines. Initially, I planned to make one large piece, but the quilt(s) took a different direction.

I really like the architectural feel of these 2 quilts.

Next obvious step when making a Jacquie Gering kind of quilt, was straight lines quilting with my walking foot. Oh my! It look rather simple, but it is not that easy to sew a straight line. I chose to quilt narrow lines, 1/2 inch apart. The first quilt is quilt on the diagonal from edge to edge. That wasn’t fun or fast but at least I did not have to burry any threads. For the second quilt, I decided on a similar approach with horizontal lines, but before I highlined the H shape, probably not the best decision as I had a lot of stops and gos and therefore gazillions thread ends to burry.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Sunday finds

Hello Friends, and welcome back to Sunday Finds!

A week ago, waiting for Irma

For this 2nd edition here are my 3 things:

Lets talk shoes
I love shoes, pointy shoes, colorful shoes, flats of heels, all of them. My new shoes are my current preferred one: flat, pointy, cool design and they are helping save the planet; they are knitted out of recycle material, they are washable. Here to see what they look like.

A new knitting project
A while ago, this cardigan has been on my queue for a while: Marmor from Regina Moesmerr. Look how perfect it is. So classy and timeless. It is knitted with Luft from Woolfulk. What can I say about this yarn: a mix of merinos and cotton, it is organic. The fibers are already knitted in a cord. I can’t wait to start working on this project, just waiting for my friend to come back. Who wants to knit along with us?

A missed opportunity
As much as Irma has been ‘gentle’ to us, she hasn’t been so kind to people around us, and lots are still out of power, like the Wildflower farm. We had planned to go there for a soap making class this weekend. I will have to report back on this later. I just can wait to go there and get to pet the goats (it’s too lake in the season for Goat Yoga).

Edit:  I do not receive any incentive to share those finds :)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Cooking up a storm

First thing first! Thank you to all your well wishes, we made it through Irma with minimal damages: a few branches down and our already wobbly fence collapsed in several places. We are all safe: Victor came with a friend and Philippe made to Orlando on Friday. So after cleaning the yard, all seems almost back to normal in our little corner of the world. I wish it was the same for all around us.

Since then, I have been cooking non-stop, it might be some kind of post-stress reaction. So far we have:

  • Chicken casserole: thighs cooked in white vine, canned tomatoes, olives and herb from my garden.
  • Pull pork:  a pork shoulder cooking very very slowly with canned tomatoes (again), vinegar, ketchup, a pinch of sugar and lots of onions.
  • Hachis Parmentier: with left over of mash-potatoes, layered with ground beef cooked with lots of courgettes and chopped tomatoes, cheese on the top.
  • Spaghetti squash stuffed with the same ground beef and veggies mix.
  • Gallons of soup: leeks, carrots and courgettes julienned, slowly cooked with bacon bits and veggie stock.
  • Figue Clafoutis: substitut cherries by figues, because it’s what I had in the fridge.

That’s a lot of food considering that the guys of the family are going to be away by the end of the week. Nevermind, I will fill Victor’s bag with good food and will feel much better knowing that he has a few decent, healthy meals the the next few days.

Now I can go and catch up on sleep.

And here the Clafoutis recipe if you are interested.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Sunday finds

I want to try something new today (and maybe on a regular basis if I can stick to some kind of routine), linking to three things that have grabed my attention recently.

This book
Altruism by Matthieux Ricard. Actually I am listening this one on OverDrive. I have been introduced to Matthieux Ricard via Krista Tippett’s Podcast On Being. I was intrigued, so I went to my local library and found Altruism. This is not light stuff, and since I have started reading it, it takes a lot of brain space and I talk a lot about it (ask my family…), but if you want to have a different view on life it is worth reading. Or you might want to read Matthieux Ricard’s blog.

[Side note, as I am copying the link to this book from Goodreads, there’s an ad for Outlanders on the side screen… Mr Algorism, you are making no sense]

This Podcast
A Friend to knit with from Leslie Friend. It is her first podcast and I am quite excited about this. I never met Leslie, but I feel that we are kind of friends, I have been following her blog forever, seen her kids grown (3, the same age of mines) and for no reason I feel some connection (weird? creepy?…). After this first episode, I know I am going to be in trouble: I always loved what she’s been knitting and now I don’t have to take notes, just follow the link from her blog.

This BOM
The Sewology block of the month by Pen & Paper Patterns: I do not need any new project, but really, this one is too cute to resist. And as a bonus, Lindsey offer some pretty freebies to get organized; I should probably start pulling fabric and get ready for the first block.

That’s it! Three things for now. Let me know what you think? Do you want to see more?

Actually, one more thing. This appeal from Brene Brown on Instagram: Let’s talk underwear, as we all want to help one way or the other.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Books, book, books…

I havn’t done a Play list post for a long time and for a good reason, I have been trying to buy less books/magazines. But this summer I had a relapse and got a few new things to add to my collection; I’ll blame summer and vacation for this.

Here are my new acquisitions:

  • 3 craft related books: The Curated Closed (I haven’t started reading it yet), MacramĂ© and a Japanese pattern book

Macramé, it sounds very 70s but Fanny Zedenius brings a modern edge to the craft and her work is beautiful, just check out her Instagram feed.

Japanese Sewing pattern - all the instructions are in Japanese but it doesn’t really matter, the illustrations are very clear and detailed. All the tops are lovely and once I’ve figured out the sizing I hope to make several of them.

  • 3 magazines: Selvedge, QuiltMania and Quiltfolk

Selvedge - every single page is full of inspirational pictures. What do you think of these indian colorful elephants, the red embroidered gimham jacket, the serene white outfit or this black & white quilt?

Quiltmania - I do have a soft spot for the Churn Dash block and Quiltmania, so with the block on the cover of the magazine, you know why I had to get it!

Quiltfolk - it is the third issue of this new (to me) magazine. It is a large format, nice thick paper. It introduce you to quilting communities accross the country and in this issue it explores Hawaii. The pictures and the quilts are beautiful. I love it when a magazine is as beautiful as a book and it makes me want to try some Hawaiian hand appliqué.

A small forest has probably pay the price of my shopping spur, so if you want to borrow any of these (and you are local to me), please reach out.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Summer travels - Europe

Are you ready for the second part of our holidays?

First 3 very short days in London for Alice’s graduation. You know what I am going to say: “how comes she is already graduating?”, “where did time go?”, “she was just a baby yesterday!”…

Do I need to say how proud of her we are? Do I need to say how emotional I felt? Do I need to say how I am excited for all she has to come?

Then another 3 short days in Valencia, Spain visiting Victor who was there for his summer term. This boy had such a great year and again I am so excited for he has to come too.

I love some good street art and those skinny black fellas are all around Valencia (check David de Limon’s Instagram account for more)

And the food, what shall I say, I want all the food.

Now, promised, I’ll resume crafty posts shortly!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Summer travels - Asia

Well, well, well! We’ve been busy and I just don’t quite understand how comes we are already back to school, I feel that I haven’t yet recovered from our summer travels.

Our first stop: Japan. We have been there several times, and I think we love it more and more with each visit. This time we did not have the urge to explore Tokyo extensively, so we ventured in the countryside, to less touristy places.

Luscious luscious vegetation, it seems to take over every available inches.


Prayer tablets

With each visit we are getting more familiar with some aspects of Japanese life that might have surprised us in the past.

Do’s and Don’ts while travelling in the public transport

Off course, we wanted to eat all the food and more…

And a few more to make you smile (hopefully)

Cat cafe or Hedgehog cafe - Super hero riding trains - catching Pokemon - not shopping on Level 3

My traveling buddy is a mad cookie

Next post, Alice’s graduation and a quick visit to Victor in Spain.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The little blue skirt - an upcoming class

Which garment makes you feel good? For me, since I moved to Florida, it is a linen skirt, something light, breathy and pretty too.

I have found a pattern which works perfectly: Simplicity 2314. The pattern is fast to assemble, with not real difficulties: it consist of four panels plus the waist band.
There's a standard zipper with a clean setting. I actually do like this setting better than an invisible one as the zipper is fully covered.
Because, I've chosen a light linen for this skirt, I decided to lined it. The hem of the skirt is finished with a bias and decorative stitches for the lining, again clean and pretty finishes. I also finished the waistband with a bias tape to minisize the bulk.
It isn't it pretty? I love how versatil this pattern is. Depending on the fabric and the length it could go from breathy summer skirt, to smart formal work skirt, even classic evening skirt. Here are some fabric ideas (all from the Sewing Studio).

I'll take you through the construction on this lovely skirt on August 9th and 16th (from 5:30pm to 8:00pm) at the Sewing Studio. You can register here for the class.