Sunday, October 31

Conjuring fabulous

A couple of months ago I saw a picture that really drew my attention. It was a pillowcase, in a plain grey fabric but oh so fabulous. I HAD figure out how to do this. After studying the picture and thinking about the kind of fabric to use for it I was convinced I really could pull this off. I started by going through my stash to find the right fabric to test my theory. Then I got sick and put the whole thing aside until last wednesday. Since then I've been experimenting in my sewing studio and I think I managed to conjure the fabulous. I'm soooo totally excited and so making a tutorial for this. 

Without further ado there is the picture that caught my eyes: 

and here is my version

I'm still ironing out the kinks so the tutorial will not be out for a couple of days... But seriously , what do you think ? 


Cookie disaster prevention

This is a special post for LeeAnn who had some trouble making my googly eyed cookies. So sorry about the disaster LeeAnn. I hope you had a nice glass of wine afterwards.

Here is my cookie disaster prevention plan for you:

First the sugar cookie dough
This is the recipe I have been using for years and yes it's in metrics. After 8 years in the US I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around using other units.
- 500g butter
- 500g sugar
- 5g salt
- 4 eggs
- 10 g of baking powder
Soften the butter and add the sugar, salt, and eggs - make sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed
At this stage I usually add some vanilla extract and lemon extract but almond, orange, cinnamon.. or a combination of them work great too.
Sift the flour and mix in the baking powder
Add the flour rapidly avoid mixing the dough too long
Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling it
I usually prepare the dough the night before baking it: I measure the ingredients, little bug pours them in the mixing bowl  and we taste together and she knows we are baking the next day.

Using white chocolate/candy drops for baking
The trick is to bake at a lower temperature than you usually would (210C rather than 240C) and setting the baking sheets about 1/3 from the bottom of the oven. In my convection oven, baking takes about 7-8 minutes per sheet. Very important detail : ALWAYS PUT THE TIMER ON there is only a minute between perfect and caramelized and about another minute to carbonized.

About chocolate piping
Only melt half the chocolate you are going to be using, then add slowly the rest of the chocolate in small chunks. The chocolate should be cool not warm when piping.

If all else fails, back to a glass of wine!!  XOXOX

Saturday, October 30

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Growing our home Quilt

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt FestivalIn 2006, Joan (my husband's aunt, long time quilter and seamstress) gave me the best baby shower gift ever: 2 pairs of  Gingher scissors and a even-feed attachment for my old Singer and soon after my daughter was born, she helped my acquire my first "grownup" sewing machine, a Pfaff 1467.  

It was all a setup (just kidding) because in march 2007, she invited me along with her quilting guild friends to a sewing retreat. Three days surrounded by quilters, with a great sewing machine to play with. It was bound to happen, I tagged along to the local quilt store. Eye candy everywhere! Oh boy was I in trouble.

 I bought enough fabric to make a quilt for my hubby and I to cuddle together on the couch while watching movies. The quilt top came along without too much pain. I had received great advice on precise cutting and piecing. 

Then trouble started. The quilting part turned into a true nightmare, I was a complete rookie and even with good tips on setting up my machine for free motion quilting everything that could go wrong did: if the thread was not bunching, the fabric was, or the thread kept breaking. The top was 3/4 quilted but each time I tried to move forward it was just driving me crazy with frustration after a couple of blocks. That's when I decided for my sanity to stash the beast away.  What I didn't know was that the quilt had been the victim of newbie quilter's mistakes. It was now a UFO. 

Fast forward to last January. I started setting up my sewing studio in the newly renovated basement. That's when my UFO resurfaced, nagging me. Armed with my trustworthy seam ripper, I spent hours and hours completely removing all the quilting I had done. Then after researching quilter's blogs for information, I re-sandwiched it with a different batting and set out to start over. Success at last. The batting choice was the single biggest mistake I had made in 2007. After another hiatus over the sprint and summer, I finally completed it a couple of weeks ago, almost 2 and half years after cutting the fabric.

Each block has the outline of an acorn or an acorn leaf. I love the effect on the back. The finished quilt is 70x90 and will be perfect for the long winter evenings that are right around the corner, with a roaring fire in the chimney, a bowl of popcorn and a good movie, just feeling good to be home.

What I've been up to this week

And that's only the tip of the iceberg
Busy week

Thursday, October 28

Scarf , banner and a ribbon

It will be chillier here tomorrow 58F  (14C) vs 77 F (14C) today. Not coat weather but a sweater and a scarf would be a good choice. I could not find something to fit my mood in my closet. Not to worry... I can make one right? So I did.

I got this long strip of Japanese Koi print in a scrap bin at a quilt show last year : it was a shopping bag full for $1 and I fished this one along with a bunch of I-Spy prints that day. 
I married the fabric with a long piece of black microfiber suede and added a lilac ruffle matching the color for the lilies on each end. 

That project came together so quickly I even had time to put together a sign to set above our front door for Sunday : 

My little bug is so excited about Halloween. She gets to dress up at school tomorrow. I wish I could go see her in the parade! The curse of being a working mom. On the plus side, we had a  great time decorating the front porch together with skeletons, bats, spiders and of course or pumpkin friends Chuck and Happy. Speaking of those two, my photo won the third place at last week's Shoot'N Tell challenge.  I believe the cuteness of my little bug has to do with it. 

A preview - Textured fabric

I started this project a couple of weeks ago and then got sick and everything got set aside for a while. Now that I'm finally all caught up on the house, garden and Halloween projects, I was able to dig it out of the pile and advance it a bit. More in a couple of days along with a tutorial. 

I also finally re-added my tutorial index page back after fixing all the broken links (I hope). Please check it out and let me know if something is  still off. Thank you !!

Wednesday, October 27


I just figured out that you can reply to comments by replying to email notifications. So far I was just posting replies into the comment threads. Duh.. for someone that works in a technology job, not very swift.  I guess that comes from not reading enough about the topic.

Anyway, what do you prefer? Email or response in the comment thread ? And my apologies if you prefer the former.

Tuesday, October 26


It's always happy time when I get a parcel from my mom who lives in France. The one that arrived last night (after being held up a whole gruelling week in Jamaica NY) was no exception. It was packed with great goodies: a great selection of gourmet chocolate bars and cookies and confections for a taste of home,

some awesome vintage buttons,

A selection of fashion/lifestyle magazines

And last but not least, this amazing costume for my little bug
I was  getting worried it would not get there on time for Halloween

No contest, my poor little tutu will be staying home on Saturday

My mom is the best !!

Monday, October 25

Shoot N' Tell challenge -Carving

This is the first year my little bug is actually excited about everything Halloween. The pumpkins, the costumes, the cooking.. not just the candy. This pas Sunday, she teamed up with dad to dissect 2 of the pumpkins we got from a local farm. 

From gutting

To carving

Meet our new friends Chuck and Happy

On the front porch "OOOoo They are scary!"

And my little bug is not so little anymore

Sunday, October 24

Googly eyes pumpkin cookies

Use pre-made sugar cookie dough or make your own.
Put in your mixer bowl and add to taste cinnamon and orange extract and a few drops of food coloring (red and yellow) to make the dough orange. I tend to go easy on the color but you can add more for a more intense color.
Chilling the dough will make rolling easier
Roll the dough about 1/4" thick

Time to enroll your favorite little helper
Use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter

Use while candy melts or white chocolate melts for the eyes
She loved placing the candies for the eyes
You have to push them in the dough a little
We're almost there...
Time to pipe some chocolate to finish the faces

And her favorite part ...

They also make cute party favors


Update : 

Totally Tutorials Blog

Nix the Auto - Part 2

I'm still exploring the manual mode on my camera. 

No auto, no flash, a bit of photoshop

I'm starting to like this !!

You may also like...