Thursday, 29 September 2016

Dans mon jardin

My garden is my safe place. It is not a secret garden, but I am the one knowing all her secrets. I  can read her. When she is sad, she shows it with the flowers. This summer the roses didn't bloom, they did not even grow well - there wasn't a single rose blossom through the whole season. After the strong and almost painful for the eyes green growing in the spring, they were kind of sad - still very proud in their beauty, but not full of blooms.

At the end of the summer, my garden was furious - all the herbs grew wild - with their twisted with anger stalks, they were trying to reach a size of a tree as if they needed attention. The roses were still sleeping. It felt as if a curse was hanging over their beautiful, crowned in wax green leaves heads. 

I couldn't wake my garden, I couldn't calm her down. Only the lavender was talking to me, but even her strong calming scent did not affect the garden, until ... one morning all the roses at once woke up with perfectly shaped buds - they looked like a crowned queens - every single one of them.

Through all these garden adventures, there were so many visitors - some very polite and nice, some rude, some very buzzing, some absolutely noisy, some hopping and munching, others in a hurry. All of them - very welcome. 

I couldn't pass on the opportunity to stitch a scene from Veronique Enginger's book "Dans mon jardin". This wonderful book in pictures and patterns is such an amazing story of a garden. I chose these two bird's scenes. 

I was amazed by her colour choices, by the feather details and the birds presence. The whole book is about spring and new life, but in these two pictures I see mostly autumn - the three birds in line, the falling feathers and, of course the colours, light up my autumn feelings. The eggs are just a reminder, that even with all the birds, flying south for the winter season, my garden will have the nests build up again next spring. 

I used a 14 ct linen fabric, followed the colour choices of the author for the DMC embroidery floss and  crossed stitched as in the instructions. 

I will keep the pillows on my bench in the entry hallway for the whole autumn. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Lavender Wings

I hardly believe how much lavender there was in my yard for harvesting - at the end of September... Autumn promises to be so beautiful! When it comes to the seasons, I am not sure which one I love the most. But every time after the end of summer, I am excited about the presence of autumn - she is so interesting with all these colours - the Nature is in her best dresses.

Lavandula is a name I grew up with - the scent of lavandula used to wake me up every morning, before school. This is one of the things that brings me back to my childhood.

The first lavender harvest, I had in early summer, was carefully dried and ready to use. 

I needed the sachets and I needed them pretty. For my lavender plants, Tilda's wings are perfect. 

I am so inspired by Tilda's books. There are so many projects in there I would like to do.

Materials needed:

1. Lavender coloured cottons
2. Embroidery floss
3. Fibre fill
4. Dried lavender blossoms

I incorporated the dried lavender blossoms into the fibre fill and filled the sewn wings. 

I am Lavender

These are my thoughts

They are hollow and young

But they are sincere and sad

Lavender Night


Close your eyes now,
feel the warm wind

breath deeply,
move your purple wings
The stars are watching
over you in this lavender
night. How everything
seems so quiet and bright...

The magic of field
is touching your soul
don't look to the crow,
the darkness covers all.
You are alone - little fairy
in whispering lavender world
Now is the time for you-
not to cry, just to
spread your fragile wings
and fly with the breeze.♥r ........

The new picks of flowers ... That means more lavender sachets.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

My Very Formal Tablier taché

This is a crazy thought of mine to prepare my pastries, cakes and petit fours in this apron. I would be so upset if it ends up being stained ... my very very formal apron. 

But on the other hand, I admire the white outfits of the professional chefs with the little embroidered name tags on the left side chest pocket. And before I dive into sewing that outfit (and before I deserve to wear one of these), I thought it would be a wonderful idea to make an apron so formal and interesting, so I could serve my goodies with style. French-desert art requires certain style, that would fit the charm of the old France. The French managed to preserve the tradition for so many years, and the world bows before them when it comes to that. My Tablier taché, in a modest way, is my escape from the fast-food-gluten-free world today, in which everyone is either about quickly cook a meal for 10 min from the freezer and skip the desert, because it is not healthy, or let's eat raw, gluten free food, because this is the only way to escape the unhealthy way of living this busy life. My love and knowledge about chocolate keeps my light on and as much as I love making deserts, I love even more presenting them with a twist, inspired by French chocolatiers and chef patisseurs. 

The Apron ... because this is all about it - a project I challenged myself into without knowing what I am going up against. It started with an innocent suggestion that all of us at work make an apron and dress up in them for Halloween. Why not making my life difficult - lets sew a suit looking like one. It would have been great, if it was a suit, but when the apron had to be a piece, that ties on the back and buttons on the back of the neck, well... making the jacket and shirt part of the suit becomes a real challenge. 

The fabric choice was easy - black and white is a real classic choice, when it comes to formal dressing.  

I looked into Vintage Vogue patterns and my choice for an apron was right there, under number V8643. 

Scalloped front bib and the yoke on the back look so feminine and retro so I chose style E and used the top part only, adjusting it to fit my requirements for the neck line - it needed to be higher, so I can make the bow-tie right at the place it was supposed to be. 

Then I started working on the lapel. I wanted it to be very big - the gentlemen from the 60s were very passionate about their look. I designed the lapel from suiting fabric, which was my top layer, then the shirt as a bottom layer, which covers almost the whole bib part. I wanted to make it look real. So when the lapel opens, there is a shirt underneath. It wasn't easy, but after a few sleepless nights, it worked well. 

There was something, I haven't considered at all when it all started - I had to line the undershirt in white, since the shirt fabric is quite sheer and I did not want to see the black lining. So, I had to cut and piece the lining too. The skirt I made in full circle - to have better accent on the waist line. All the pieces worked well together. I have to admit, I wasn't happy with the midriff part of the pattern. I did not like the Vogue idea of attaching it, so I had to change it a bit and this involved quite a bit of hand- sewing. 

The last part of this adventure was a real pleasure. To make the bow-tie was like a walk in the park, after all this hard work. It is not a real tied around the neck bow-tie. You can use it for any outfit, since it is attached with a safety pin. I hope you enjoy my how-to-make-it in pictures:

1. Prepare the pattern for the bow-tie: Make a free drawing of the bow-tie shape on a piece of paper. It takes few attempts until you reach the desired shape in width. The length is one standard sheet size A4 (210 cm x 297cm). I wanted mine to be really wide.
2. Transfer the pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric (pic. 1). Sew along the lines, leaving the bottom line in the middle of the pattern un sewn.
3. Clip the notches along the lines, exc. the straight lines in the middle. Clip the corners on both sides of the butterfly wings (pic. 2).
4. Turn right side out, press. Hand stitch the opening with slip stitch (pic. 3).
5. Cut a rectangular piece (double) of fabric with the required width for the front. Sew the sides together, turn right side out. Fold the bow, and wrap the sewn piece around to form the papillon (pic.4).
6. Hand stitch the piece on the back. 
7. Fit a safety pin on the back of the bow tie (pic. 6). You are ready to pin your bow tie to any of your outfits.

Off I go to bake some deserts now.

Have a sweet life everyone!


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

"Dream about summer" pouch

In the first days of autumn, I can not stop thinking about the summer. The last days of summer are always the most appreciated - it is like water running through my fingers ... and my sad attempt to hold them longer is predestinated - last days of summer are counted with precision.

There is a story behind every little brown flower stalk - it is a life story - from the gentle birth of the small, well protected flower buds, through the journey of the fragrant, uniquely beautiful blossoms to the saddest picture of slowly turning brown flowers, preparing for their last sleep, in which all the summer memories will form their farewell dreams. There is such a pride in that and so much gracefulness. 

The heartbreaking part for me at this time of season is how awfully quiet the days change into. The air resonates less and less with birds' songs. The vigorous diving of the energetic gold finch is gone. The charming love songs of the cardinals are a jewel, kept only in a memory box till next spring. The space is filled with angry wind whistle. Colourful leaves cut through the air, trying to find the shortest way to the ground - completely exhausted by feeding the tree with light through the whole summer - it is their time to rest. 

It is still the last days of summer! The grass blades are fresh (in a way), the leaves in colour are fewer, there are still robins here and there. I managed to find the last stalks of lavender in my backyard - young and innocent, very late blooming ...

For keeping a fresh purple memory of this summer, I jumped into the challenge to make one of Yoko Saito's little pouches. I have admired her work for years. Finally, I dared to try a pattern of hers. 

Surely, my fabric is far from the one she quilts with, but I am in a summer mood and the vivid colours of Thyme with Friends, by Maywood Studio just expresses it all. 

I changed few miner things here and there, hand quilted it following the print pattern of the fabric, made a zipper completely hidden, but kept her style, totally mesmerized by the simplicity of the  product appearance, knowing how difficult some details were to be achieved. 

I decided to embroider the zipper tab on the top with a little lavender head. The pouch is fully lined with solid purple cotton. 

The side of the pouch is machine quilted. I decided to hand quilt the bottom, since the texture of the hand quilting pleases me much more. 

The stories of the flowers...

I couldn't resist the temptation to accent some of the lavender flowers. There are few stitches in the embroidery that describe certain flowers the best. French knot is perfect for lavender. I used DMC embroidery floss in two strings to make a gentle french nots at few places, so some of the flowers attract more attention. 

The beehive and the basket are hand quilted along the lines. I gave texture to some other details with few stitches.

It was absolutely exciting to sew this little jewel! It tells a story.