Wednesday, March 29, 2006

La visite de Mamie III: To cut or not to cut

Of course we didn't manage to go ENTIRELY without shopping. Still, I am proud to announce that we managed to limit ourselves both in time and in money spent. Most of what we bought came from my favourite second-hand clothing store, the "Appel & Ei" (Apple & Egg) in Leiden.

Here are some 'Self-portraits wearing new old finds':

Amazing summer dress

Very hip retro top

Charming detail of very hip retro top

And this is where it gets funny...

The thoughts of a normal person in the Appel & Ei:

"hey, that's a beautiful blouse. What nice fabric. Not really my colour though, pity... and it's probably too small,... well, I'll try it anyway... look at that, it's a perfect fit!... and the colour is quite flattering after all. What luck! I'll take it"

Véronique's thoughts in the Appel & Ei:

"hey, that's a beautiful piece of fabric. Just what I need for that linnen bag I wanted to make... and it's a blouse, so that's perfect! Since I don't wear blouses anyway,... and it's not my colour,... and probably not my size either... no qualms about cutting it up... still, I'll try it on, since I'm waiting anyway... oh no! it's the right size... and the colour ain't half bad!... man, just my luck!!! how can I cut it now? This is too bad... Well, I'll take it, and I can always decide later whether I want to cut it or wear it..."

Latest news report: still utterly undecided...

La visite de Mamie II: Workshop

As a birthday present, Marc and I sent my mum to a silver workshop this past weekend, and this is what she made:

Gorgeous or what? See, now you know where I get the genius from...

La visite de Mamie I: Le Magasin

Since last week, Isabelle owns her own business. A tough job, but at least you're your own boss (and, in her case, everybody else's too).

It's early days yet, so business is on the slack side...

though she can always rely on her one most faithful customer...

... and the customer in question can count on the cakes being fresh...

And this is the most important bit, making sure the finances are in order (any day now, she'll be able to take over our household budget...(hopeful sigh)).

Of course if you know Michael (my brotherlet) or rather if you knew Michael (still my brotherlet) in the early 1980's, this photo series would send you straight down memory lane. I'll try to unearth the relevant pictorial evidence in Montpellier this summer and post it here for comparison's sake...


I had a vague suspicion that my mum's visit this week was not going to be particularly auspicious in terms of blog and/or craft activities, so I worked like crazy to finish what I'd started on.

At 1am on Friday the 24th of March 2006, Emilie was born...

She is simply adorable, I can't get enough of her. And Isabelle was delighted to find her in our bed the next morning...

We happen to think she's MUCH prettier than her model,

... which came from this book:

So obviously, the rest of the morning was spent kissing and rejoicing...

(which explains why we weren't quite (ahem) done cleaning the house by the time my mother arrived)Crafting_

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006


Once upon a time there was a Spring,
and with the Spring came Sammy,
and Chagall's painted ceramics, and bluebirds singing,
and lots of laughs,
and some really good cries,
and the feel of wet green grass between our toes,
and a finely embroidered smell of happiness.

Noone knew whether it was Sammy or the Spring,

so we waited...

... and the Spring wilted,
while Sammy got larger,
and happiness quietly grew...

Home-made Zakka

I solemnly promise that this is the very last picture of this bag that you will see
(this month that is :)))Crafting_

Isabelle's dream

... een klein beertje, en die had een héél klein bed, héél klein bed... en beertje had één papa, en géén mama... ik één papa en één mama, beertje alléén één papa... en papa van beertje een lamp in de maan gedaan... lieve papa van beertje.

Ik ook lieve papa.

(a little bear, and it had a very small bed, a very small bed... and the little bear had one papa and no mama... i have one papa and one mama, little bear only one papa... and papa of little bear put a lamp in the moon... sweet papa of little bear.

My papa also sweet.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006


The little off-white pseudo-felt bag is getting a proper lining...

There! that's better!



I have a new project, I don't want to reveal too much at this point, but here are some hints...


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Heavenly Céleste

It all started out as a bit of a goat (if you'll forgive me the pun), or at least as a self-badgering trip. I mean, let's face it, the odds were clearly against me. I had slept three hours at most (for the fifth consecutive night) and my inspiration levels were at 340 degrees below zero.

These were my raw materials:

There was no pattern, no instructions, only a beautiful picture in a Japanese craft book that I do not own (and those are only good for beating yourself over the head with for not coming up to their level) and that dirty bit of shopping list I'd found next to the sink a couple of posts ago.

My brain was fried. My mood was horrid. I hated those socks.

But then something happened. As I was grumpily going through vague cutting and sewing motions, it suddenly hit me that these two socks, among all other old, raggedy, unmatched socks in Marc's sock drawer... these two socks were going to be saved, they were going to be seen, they were going to be loved.

Thanks to me.

And that thought actually made me cry (see three-and-a-half paragraphs above for some reasons why the fact that I cried about a pair of socks coming to life is not entirely to be blamed on my congenital insanity). And so I slowed down, and started working with love. Working as if I meant every stitch.

And she came out beautiful, my Céleste, shaming that grey elephant boy over on the Japanese craft cover.

But more importantly, she made me happy.


It was beyond my control...

... do you remember that song by Mylène Farmer (well, you probably don't, since a) most of you have luckily never heard of Mylène Farmer and b) it was not one of her great hits)?

Anyway, I know we REALLY don't need them, but at 1 euro a piece, I couldn't help myself.

Aren't they simply darling?

Recent Acquisitions

I promised you a report on the fabric fair:

"Je suis venue, j'ai vu, j'ai acheté!"

Some highlights:

And a big kiss and warm thank you to our anonymous sponsors...

Eating Fish

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Some days everything is grey. Grey outside, where the rain and the wind and the cold are doing their best to prove March wrong. Grey inside, where sleeplessness and work worries have all but obliterated any creativity or joy. Grey in between, too.

On days like this, I like to spend time in my kitchen. There, among the left-overs of unfinished meals, behind the piled-up dishes and under the unpacked groceries, always, I find hidden treasures. Little bits of light. Little bits of beauty.

The adorable little chinese teacup, part of an adorable little chinese teaset that Marc bought for me last week. My husband actually buys me delicate chinese teasets... I don't have to tell you what that thought is worth on a grey grey day...

An antique French bowl filled with Kumquats (I seem to remember I still owe you a post about those...)

The cow and the chicken. I love the cow and the chicken.

And there, right between the sink and a dirty plate, an amazing find, on a piece torn from the shopping list (and you know how hard it is to tear anything off a shopping list, so I must have been truly inspired), a vision, a stroke of genius, a plan that once implemented will solve all at once the problem of Marc's exuberant population of lonely socks and my fabric budget issues...

See, I told you, my kitchen always has the antidote.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

and the theme of the week is...

... I will let you guess...


In the last few days, I have spent many hours engaged in the following activity: visiting an online vintage fabric store, selecting carefully (this in itself can take hours) the most crave-inspiring items that they sell, placing them one by one into my shopping cart, pausing for the longest time in agony, and then removing all items from the cart one by one until none...

This seemingly pointless exercise is the direct result of the interaction of two impulses in my little person, one of which is called IWANT and the other one ICANT. These two girls have more in common than either they or you might think. For one thing, they are both extremely tenacious, and they also both tend to begin all their sentences with 'yes, but...'.

And yet, despite this resemblance, they can't seem to ever agree on anything, causing me much anguish. But I have now finally found a way around the problem. I've decided to post a selection of my favourite samples right here on this blog. That way they are sort of mine, though not costly, and I can look at them as often as I want, without having to search for them every time. Plus, added bonus, you can enjoy them too.

So today, for your eyes alone, straight from 'Cia's Palette Online' we have some lovely blues:

(Note that the exercise is not as pointless as it seems. I am actually flexing the famous 'EYE' muscles in preparation for Friday, one of this year's most important events: the Leiden Stoffenbeurs (a once-a-year covered fair with fabric and fabric and more fabric, as far as the EYE can see))

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Madurodam (by Marc)

This morning the sun was shining, for the first time in weeks, it seemed, and so we all got on our bikes (well, except Isabelle, who got on Marc's) and off we went to see Holland in miniature.

Yesterday's Post...

(... never got posted, et pour cause, I was sleeping the sleep of the dead by 20:15. Don't know what happened. Didn't even have time to remove my hairclip, resulting in painful bump on back of head all day. I slept twelve hours or so, and it felt great. I strongly recommend it (though without the hairclip)). Anyway, where were we?

Ah, yes, "The Nanosewmo"

No, just kidding, don't go away, I am not really going to sew a coat for the largest elephant in the Blijdorp zoo before the end of the month and entertain you with lots of details about the process...

Seriously though, remember how I bored you to death with the 'love your failures' philosophy of Nanowrimo? Well, that bit applies to almost everything, so today, it's 'show and tell' of lovely (and especially beloved) sewing failures, beginning with Alice's new jeans.

The jeans themselves are not too bad, although they barely cover her bum on the back, and she has to keep her legs close together when walking (actually, this is nothing compared to earlier drafts of these; at some point I actually managed to sew one of the legs shut, and as you can imagine, with Murphy's Law and all that, it was one of the straightest seams I ever stitched). No, the lovely failure is in the pink horror that covers the top (and the bretelles). Not only is the colour disastrous, and the finishing too painful for the eye, but the whole construction keeps coming loose at various junctions. Luckily, Alice is a) not really picky (at least, she's never been heard to complain) b) aware of her luck at being clothed at all (you should see the dress-code of some of our other 'pensionaires'!) and c) not overly wriggly... so she should be fine.

Besides, she was also given this lovely item, which I envy her terribly (as does Isabelle), observe in particular the tiny embroidered bluebird.

But I am running away with myself (as usual) (though I just managed to sneak in a success among the failures, hihi!). Here is another miracle, which is entitled 'Work in Progress'. I let you guess where it all went wrong.

The first one to guess will get one of them wonderful Japanese-inspired 'doudous'! (As soon as I figure out how to make them, that is...)