Thursday, 19 December 2013

Bas de Noël avec une étiquette de long

Bas de Noël is something my little one does at her French school for Christmas. Little hands sew with big effort - using a special heavy cross stitcher (for the non sharpened point), fighting with the extremely long, long  thread, sweating and chatting with the other kids, but determined to finish and make every stitch count, imprinting memories, excitement and love. These anxious sparkling eyes just urged me to help her make one Bas de Noël for her teacher and sew a tag-a-long for it.

For the label, I used felt and backstitched the to: - for: names. For the tag-a-long, I stitched the "Bon Noël" words over a checked cotton piece of fabric, lined with thin felt for avoiding a flat and boring look. "Joyeux  Noël" is a much more appropriate and popular felicitation, but I chose "Bon Noël" for matching my ratio - size of the tag : size of the lettres.

There is nothing better than a handmade present for Christmas. It is even better when the sock is filled with treats. 

We filled it with round cookies. The sock is so skinny, that we baked a small rounded honey cookies that I posted in my Folk Christmas post.

We made a cream bird and filled it lightly with high-volume fibre felt for relief appearance. 

Additional fabric cones filled with chocolate are a great complement to the sock.

Joyeux  Noël, tout le monde!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Folk Christmas

Everything that pushes me travel back in time makes me happy. I wish I was born in 60s, then I wish to travel to 18th century. I have some preferences to old traditions, and strongly believe that values were higher and more respected in the time before us. 

I am in a mood for a folk Christmas, only because I remember my Christmas two years ago - all the hopes, expectations and believes we wished for,  from the retrospecting glance today:

I like the patches on this guy's "coat". How cold he must be, but still smiling...

I am so grateful we still consider Santa as a sleight traveler, reindeer powered. I wouldn't stitch him on an airplane. Maybe my passion to the late 18th century could vision this famous gentlemen on a dirigible but nothing more modern than that ... 

... and the music from the angels' voices, and the freedom to feel happier in this season of the year, give me nice and calm sense of completion...

When I discovered Brian Jackins' collection, I was swallowed by the simplicity of these projects. How powerful impression they built in me, with their simple look. I loved them from the first sight and I stitched them with such a heart ...

Back in time, my grandparents used to burn a log at Christmas. It was essential to burn the biggest, oldest and probably the one with the most memories log. It had to burn all night long during the night before Christmas, and to be "alive" at Christmas morning. Christmas tree is a symbol that we carry for centuries - it has changed, certainly, in time, but its purpose to gather family around still lives.

The old fashioned spicy cookies were made weeks before Christmas. The more they aged, the better. People used to fast very strictly at the time - eating mostly vegetables, potatoes and rice. But nothing stopped them from preparing the cookies and special breads with lard and/or butter. All the treats were passionately kept for the Christmas celebration.

Spicy Honey Cookies

My roots barely keep an old tradition: to collect treats after Christmas. All we need is a bag ...

There are many more projects from "Folk Christmas", Brian Jackins. I stopped my eye on these ones, I shared today with you. Maybe one day I will finish the whole collection...

Merry Folk Christmas everyone! Let us never forget what Christmas is about...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Blue and Silver Christmas

These are my last year's Christmas projects. I found Tilda. My Christmas sparkled in light blue and silver.

The angel-gardien of the Holly Spirit ...

The heart I put into my sawn presents. I had hearts for all the members of my family.

My little bears in love with the snowman they created in our front yard, printed forever in my memory and stitched with so much love to remember this moment always.

The charm mitten to remind us for the love we share all the time, but especially around Christmas.

The delicious treats we prepared together and shared with friends ...

What are the stars for, but to wish and hope ...

We had a lovely Christmas. Hope this one be warm and loving as well ...

Thursday, 5 December 2013


I was in the book store with my little girl. Around Christmas, bookstores are the most cheerful - all the decoration, candle aroma, Christmas cards, reminding you to speed up your choices, make up your mind, choose, write and send, if you want these cards to be received on time. 

I read to my angel  "How many sleeps till Christmas".

She was charged - not that she is not impatient and calmly awaits Christmas, but because the book described it right, somebody else can not wait for Christmas to come. Since that afternoon, I am asked this question every morning: "How many sleeps till Christmas?"

Today's answer is : 20 more sleeps till Christmas.

Before I fell asleep tonight, I have work to do. The countdown is ON. Finally, I decided - my Christmas this year will be in Ivory and WineRed. All the presents I will prepare for my family, all the table decoration will be in Ivory and WineRed. 

Here is my collection: I have been thinking about the colours of this year's Christmas for a whole week.  I moved a lot between green and violet: I even purchased a cookie boxes for this occasion; than it was blue and silver - this was my last year passion, so I did not want to repeat myself; than it was green and red - the real classic that I was trying to fulfill the year before last.

I started cross stitching this Christmas tree for a tag or a place mat. It is unfortunate that my cloth is not in WineRed, but in bright red, but I think the all nuances of red could be appreciated in Christmas time.

These are my personal choices for the embroidery floss. I am doing some little tags for Ginger cookie project, where I am using #321 and #350, but they are only exclusively for the stockings that I fill and tag with ginger cookies. Follow this project later.

I also chose a few crochet ribbons, a velvet ribbon and a silk one.  

I am so happy with my choice of these vintage looking Ivory & WineRed fabrics. It took me two days and two warehouses to dig into, until I found the right, satisfying my needs fabrics. I am planning to sew and stitch all the presents to my family. I have been doing that for six years now and I found that I sank deeper and deeper every year.

I believe in few very important things:

1. Christmas is not about buying presents - it is all about the good in us.
2. All the presents should be hand made - there is nothing more precious than thinking of the person, while you are making the present for them. 
3. Involve and encourage everyone from the family to participate in the Santa workshop.
4. Keep the Santa legend alive in the kids' mind as much as possible, keep faith in your mind that magical things exist only if we believe in good. (My almost grown up daughter still blames me for telling her, when she was 8, that Santa is imaginary and Mom and Dad do his job. She was such a strong believer, she so passionately protected the idea of Santa existence, that she became an object of mocking. Now I feel as I robbed her believes.)
5. Be always home for Christmas, where your heart feels home is.

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Butter squash muffins

for the muffins:
(18 pc)

4 large eggs
200 g light brown sugar
100 g custard sugar
210 g corn oil
400 g all purpose flour
2 g baking soda
4 g baking powder
3 g cinnamon
65 g walnuts crushed
340 g grated butter squash

In days like these, when Autumn rushes towards her home, leaving us wondering how we will adjust to the white of the winter after the colourful presence of hers, I want to seal our warm memories. I used ingredients with earth colours and combined them in a soft recipe for some Autumn celebration muffins - my farewell to Autumn.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the cinnamon. Beat the eggs with the brown and white sugar until doubles in volume. Add the oil. Add the dry ingredients, followed by the butter-squash and the walnuts. Fold just until combined.

You can substitute the grated butter-squash with the same quantity of grated apples or carrots. With the apples, the texture of the final product would be slightly moister and the taste will very much depend on the type of apples used for the recipe. Sweet apples as Gala and Honey crisp would present their sweetness and moister to the muffins, and Granny Smith will surprise with a nice sour accent. I wouldn't change the quantity of the sugar in neither if the suggested substitute products. The final sweetness wouldn't matter - it is just the flavour that would be differently enhanced.

Distribute the batter in a lined with paper cups cupcake tin and bake at 180C for about 40 min. After the muffins are completely cold, sift some powder sugar on top, decorate and serve.

These muffins are very much like small breads and are great for an afternoon tea party with friends. They are my way of waving "good buy" to this year's autumn.

November Night

Adelaide Crapsey

Listen ...
With faint dry sound
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

Friday, 22 November 2013


What a blessing is the season!

Autumn makes me sad and happy. I took a huge turn - She inspired me a lot. I have some cross stitched designs done that matched my autumn mood. It was a harvest celebration, it was a colours celebration and a nostalgic preparation for a long winter dream.

It is admirable how the trees never bend - with their stoic posture, always standing against the winter storms and icy hugs, they remind me why it is worth living.

The leaves ...
The drops ...
The wind ...

The leaves go away, but the trees hold the hope. Abandoned nests in the naked branches just remind us for what it was singing with the birds.

Elongated shadows, spooky spots under a leave pile, running squirrels, collecting the acorns, shorter days and weaker sun - we are all blessed with this rushed season.

The sadness ...
The hope ...
The desire ...

It is time to forgive
And time to believe.
The Earth is alive.


Julie L.O'Connor

There's a crispness in the air that greets the morning sun,
A feeling of anticipation, a new day has begun.
Harvest days are ending, winter is drawing near,
Yet in between is surely the most special time of year.
They call it Indian Summer, and seems to fit the bill,
For it's as the Lord took a feathered brush and painted all the hills.

So I say that the eyes are a window, beauty is found within the soul,
And upon the hills of Autumn, that are strewn with red and gold.