It’s been a nice long summer. I did a bit of dog agility – or thought about it anyway – and jumped in the fish pond a lot even though the Missus had bought me my own paddling pool.
We had a few visitors – which gets me very excited – and I went to a bar and tried to get served by pretending to be a human.
Then all of a sudden, things changed. All the visitors have gone home. My beloved Mr. T, who the Missus accuses of spoiling me, isn’t having much time off work and both the Madamoiselles have gone back to University and college. The Missus says she needs to get back into a routine and I have to get used to being left for a couple of hours again.
This morning she went to her yoga class and even though I had Taz and Stan for company, I felt neglected and bored. I can open doors. I like to collect things. I like to give them a little chew.
When the Missus came home she said things in a loud voice that she doesn’t say very often. Also she said that I had cost her about 100 euros as her contract has another year to run so she has to pay for a new phone. I didn’t really want the black thing, I liked the chewy, colourful covering and the black thing just got in the way. She said I was very lucky not to have hurt myself on that pink thing I found in the bathroom.
Which is strange as she then said she felt like killing me which I’m sure would hurt a lot.
Anyway, I felt a bit bad.
Apparently, next time the Missus goes out she is going to ‘confine me to the kitchen’ whatever that means.
Bye for now,
love Flo x
Not that sort of affair – as if I’d tell – but one where I have made a dress from a French indie designer and will be wearing it – weather permitting – to the biggest flea market in the whole of France this weekend and eating copious amounts of moules frites.
Lille was only known to me before as a train station where one would change trains if travelling to Disneyland Paris from the U.K. on the Eurostar but it is also host, on the first weekend of September every year, to a huge, ginormous flea market which usually sees between 2 and 3 million visitors thronging the streets in search of interesting antiques, retro home decor, vintage clothing and everything in between. The streets are closed to traffic and there are all sorts of vendors there from people clearing out their houses to big antique dealers. It is the largest in France and there will be around 10,000 stalls – should keep us busy.
I’ve fancied going there since I heard about it a few years ago and now I have a willing accomplice who is coming with me. We are actually flying up as we are in the south of France and have already started panicking about the luggage allowance – 2kg in the hold and a 55x40x20cm cabin bag allowance – how will we manage when we just know we are going to want to bring back much more? The alternative would have been to drive up but that would take around 10 hours and add another day on to either side of our trip so we abandoned that idea. The hotels fill up really quickly but we found an apartment to stay in which is right in the centre of the activity – – the owner is fleeing the place for the duration!
Apparently moules frites must be eaten and the restaurants have a competition to see who can build the biggest mussel shell mountain outside of their establishment.
We will arrive on the Friday and settle in ready for the onslaught on Saturday. Apparently, making use of the streets being closed to traffic, a half marathon is run through the city on the Saturday morning – we won’t be participating in this needless to say as I haven’t got any room in my case for unnecessary things like running shoes and lycra shorts. Shame, but there you are. The market goes through the night and all through Sunday and I expect to be thoroughly exhausted by the time we arrive back on Monday afternoon not least because my friend who is coming with me is French and takes no prisoners with the speed of her speech so I will be suffering from French Language Overload a condition none the less real just because I’ve made it up.
Thinking ahead about treading the streets of a city shoulder to shoulder with a couple of million other people, I have chosen my armoury.
Comfy shoes – 3 pairs
I have heard much about these Swedish cloggy things and understand that they are very comfortable and made for people who are on their feet all day. We will see. I hope it is true as I’ve bought two pairs – the other pair has higher heels and a completely wooden sole. They are not my ‘go to’ style of choice if I’m honest but, on the day, comfort will be paramount. I will also put my beat up pair of Birkenstocks in as they are very light and I can carry them around in case I need to change halfway through the day.
Bag on Wheels
Oh look it matches the shoes. I hope this isn’t too far down the road towards an old lady bag in tartan with a rigid handle but it’s a cabin bag that I can also use as a flea market shopping bag. It was designed specially to fit Ryanair’s cabin bag size restrictions and, although I’m not flying with them, it suits the other economy carriers too. I like the way the manufacturers have printed the dimensions on the front of the bag as if to say ‘so there!’ to the check-in staff. The plan is to carry it around the market over my shoulder until I can bear the weight no longer and then wheel it.
which brings me to
Portable Weighing Scales
To weigh any prospective purchase if it looks like it might take up too much of my allowance, and to ensure my suitcase, which will be stuffed to the gills, doesn’t go over 20 kilos.
Bum Bag (or Fanny Bag *snigger, snigger* for those of you across the pond)
To keep the thieving buggers, who are bound to be there preying on the crowds, out of my cash. This, after my mother had her shoulder bag split open from behind and her purse stolen whilst alone in a Spanish market – she’s 82, have they no shame? (Just a mini rant there, sorry).
To save space in my case on the way out (it will be packed with bubble wrap), I will wear jeans and just take a couple of tops. However, if we venture out for our banquet of Moules Frites in the evening, and it is warm, I will wear my new dress that I finished yesterday.
This is the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress. Deer and Doe are a French indie design company so it was good to be able to buy ‘local’ and get free postage -a rare thing in France unless you first spend gazillions of euros.
As you know, I will do anything to avoid buttons, zips and other fiddling about but, in order to do so, I generally have to cut on the bias and buy multi metres of fabric – this dress takes around 3 metres – but I love the resulting swishy skirt. I made the dress according to the pattern without any alterations. I’d already made a blouse from the pattern using a hack from another blogger so I knew what size to make. However, the pattern calls for cotton chambray or similar and I thought it would look good in a drapier fabric so, instead of putting bias binding round the hem I did a rolled hem on the overlocker to avoid it looking too ‘weighted down’. Apart from that, no changes.
I think this is a dress I will get a lot of wear out of. It’s comfortable and can be dressed up or down (usually down in my case!) and I think it will be ideal for taking this weekend as my one and only ‘frock’ as, if the sun doesn’t shine, it will look fine with a thin jacket or cardi over the top.
A bientôt .
Everybody loves a guessing game don’t they? I hope so as I’m looking for some enlightenment today.
So it was with this object I found the other day (although it wasn’t particularly cheap) and I don’t know what it is. Can anybody help?
I know it is some sort of press but I can’t think for what.
I know it’s not a press for vintage soda siphons but it was the nearest thing on hand to prop the bar up with. The slider bar moves up and down the grooved interior and the screw can push the bar down to a maxium of 25cm or 10 inches leaving a final squishing space of 23cm or 9 inches.
The nearest thing to it I have found on the internet is a press for playing cards. Apparently, it was used by dealers in casinos when the decks of cards got a bit scrunched and the press would be used to straighten them out. However, it was much smaller than this one and there were dividers in between the bar and the end so each card could slot in individually.
This one measures 56cm or 21.5 inches in length and 18cm or 7 inches wide. It is 5cm or 2 inches deep. The interior width, inside the grooves where the object(s) would need to sit, is 12.6cm or 5 inches.
It is very well made and was obviously well used. Somebody has seen fit to repair or reinforce the top corners at one time with metal but this has also been done well.
Any comments, ideas, suggestions or, even better, answers would be greatly appreciated.
Do you remember the knitted jacket I made recently which had the huge sailor collar or perhaps you shuddered and wiped it from your memory. Here it is again for your delight.
It hasn’t moved off the mannequin since and not only because it is summer in the south of France and therefore too hot for a knitted garment of any sort even though this summer has not been up to much. I knew, as soon as I sewed that collar on, I would never wear it. Not even in the house which is where most of the things I knit get worn. So, I needed my mannequin back and, even though that damn collar took me ages to knit in it’s blasted seed stitch or whatever it was, I decided if it were to get any wear at all, it’d have to come off. So it did. Then I just picked up the stitches and knit a band to match the cuffs and waistband.
Better? I think so. I might even wear it up the hill to walk the dogs when the mornings get a bit nippier.
As I mentioned before, I do love knitting but rarely wear anything I knit so perhaps I should stick to miniature things in the form of baby clothes. Not necessarily easier but certainly quicker and cuter.
Here it is on my creepy baby mannequin – although I have spared you and removed the head and replaced it with a finial from my slightly less creepy toddler mannequin.
My eldest turned 21 last week. I am certainly old enough to have a 21 year old but it still came as a bit of a shock that so many years can go by so quickly and a tiny baby can become a full grown woman in the time it seems to have taken me to learn how to conjugate a few French verbs, put an invisible zip in and finish reading The Lord of the Rings. So it was inevitable that I would trot out those same old lines that everybody does
‘where did the time go?’
‘I remember your first pair of shoes’
‘you were such a good baby’
‘why don’t you call home more often’
Anyway, the fact remains that Mlle. Tialys the Elder is now 21 and has the key of the door and everything else that she probably got when she turned 18 but, no matter. So, for the obligatory baby photo, here is one where she looks so happy I could cry.
As you can see, I was no slave to dressing only boys in blue which, considering she didn’t have much hair until she was around two years old, might have led to some confusion. Her hilarity was because, or in spite of the fact, that our big german shepherd cross used to barge through the doorway as if there was not a baby hanging there in a bouncer, which would set off a new bout of bobbing up and down and swinging about.
Aaaaah, where did that time go?
We have masses and masses of plums on our trees at the moment and two of my dogs spend hours foraging for them, eating them and leaving me to clean up after them which, after a diet rich in fruit, is quite time consuming as you can imagine. Why can’t I have a dog that hunts for truffles making lots of money for me in the process?
Note the lushness of the grass in August – normally it is brown and dead – an indication of how pants the weather has been this summer. I think we might have to move somewhere with a better climate like the U.K. ;)
Talking of Flo, I have mentioned before that we got her from the dog rescue at Carcassonne or the S.P.A. My friend Karen hosts what has become an annual event at her home whereby people buy a ticket, come and eat some good food, buy drinks for a euro, fork out for some raffle tickets (hopefully) then strut their stuff at the ‘disco’ afterwards and in the process we raise money for the dogs and cats in the kennels.
Thanks to everybody’s generosity we made over 1500 euros for the S.P.A.. which should pay for some food, flea collars and veterinary care.
I did my bit too. I made a non-alcoholic punch for the drivers (like me) and teetotallers (not like me) , called a ‘Luscious Slush Punch’ because you freeze part of it and then add lemonade when you’re ready, resulting in a chilled, slushy, fruity punch drink. However, in my mad rush to get there on time, I mistakenly grabbed a tub of chicken stock from the freezer instead of one of the three frozen punch mixtures I had prepared in advance. Luckily, Mr. T. was one of the barmen and, after looking at the suspicious colour, realised what had happened and refrained from serving it to anybody. The resident dogs were pleased with it. At least it made people laugh although they might not have done if it had got as far as their glass.
Here’s where to find the recipe should you wish to make the fruit version. It’s American but I substituted jelly powder for the jello – when I wasn’t substituting chicken stock that is – and it seemed to work fine. ( Tip: Do not add as much sugar as the recipe calls for – at least halve it!!)
I was going to do a bit of a knitting update but that might be a bit too much info in one post so I’ll do that tomorrow instead.
Well, you can’t say you don’t know in advance what this post is about unless, of course, you are not a sewer (in the needle and thread sense of the word) and haven’t heard of a Myrtle.
The Myrtle is a new dress pattern by Colette which can be made in stretch fabric or woven and is very easy to make and comfortable to wear and, if my two (yes two!) sewing machines hadn’t thrown a wobbly about doing a zig zag stitch on the stretch fabric I used, it would have been finished in an afternoon. All was going well until I got to the waistband and had to do a zigzag round the casing for the elastic and, for some reason, still not fathomed, my machine just wouldn’t do it. I changed the needle, the tension, the thread, the swear words – nothing worked. I changed machine – still no good. In the end, I had to use a long straight stitch which I hope will hold. As is becoming more and more predictable with me lately, it was a little big on the shoulders so I sort of pulled them to the front and did a top stitching doodah with my double stretch needle because I have these things in my armoury and I know how to use them. So, just to prove I can make a dress that fits me, here it is
This really is a quick and easy pattern and the result is very comfortable to wear. The bodice is cut double on the fold so is self-lined (sounds complicated but isn’t) and, although the pattern stipulates 3 metres of fabric, I only used 2 by being really mean and stingy and folding and refolding the fabric like a miser. Although I did leave out the pockets as, if I have pockets, I put my hands in them which seems to work for some people but just makes me look slovenly.
Anyway, after it peed down of rain again yesterday, this sunday morning dawned bright and sunny so I hauled myself out of bed and headed for the nearest vide grenier for some serious treasure hunting. It has not been a good summer here in the South of France this year and, in fact, it has been so bad that I have been jealous of my Mum and Mlle. Tialys the elder who regularly tell me how hot it is in the U.K. even though I know that us Brits have a fit of the vapours if the temperature goes over 20 degrees C, prompting lots of people to shed layers of clothing in inappropriate places and to labour under the illusion that sunshine makes everybody a little blind and therefore not able to notice the often unseemly flesh on public display all of a sudden. But, I digress as usual and this morning was a bit of a strange one in that I ended up spending the most money on stuff I’m going to adorn my own house and garden with.
Found this gorgeous antique french comtoise clock which, after a bit of a wipe and a bit of tentative fiddling by Mr. T. looks like this
All the bits and pieces appear to be present and correct on the inside so I just need to get a pendulum, a winder thingy and two very heavy weights and we will wall mount it and then wonder why we didn’t think of a way to stop it chiming every hour and half hour.
We also bought, from the same flea market vendor, this cart. It is, we are assured, a market florist vendor’s cart. Whatever. It is delightful and once we get the horrible brown paint off and oil the wood, it will be gorgeous.
A close up of a wheel, just because I took the photo and where else would I show it?
Common in the last quarter of the 19th century and up until the First World War, these souvenirs of a marriage were placed under a glass globe and the bride’s tiara was usually pinned to it with mirrors symbolizing the time the couple were together before marriage and, as time passed, the number of children born together with other mementos of the union and of family life. Must do something about the drips of paint (how did that even happen?) but what a lovely souvenir.!
Anyway, off to sunnier climes for a few days (I shouldn’t really have to say that when I’m in the south of France) and taking a rest from the sewing machine, Etsy shops and the demands of certain humans, canines and felines alike.
I’ve been back from Spain for a while now so, if anybody was wondering, I didn’t drown on the log flume, decide to run away with the circus or take up residence in Salvador Dali’s amazing museum in Figueres (though that was tempting) but have been overtaken by events, one of which was trying to finish my outfit for the OAL (or outfit along).
Despite me being blasé at the beginning as I thought there would be plenty of time to make a dress and a cardigan in the time given, I have only today been ready to take photographs and it is the final day.
Despite appearing to have that condition where you have a distorted image of yourself – is it dysmorphia? (I know I could Google it but I’m in the middle of a blog post), I do like the dress and, next time, will make the smaller size. I have altered the shoulders as much as I could as they were falling off but it would have been so much easier before it was all constructed. Duh!
Anyway, I won’t bore you with construction details as I’ll probably do that over on my Ravelry thread and I need to go and feed the dogs (and my daughter) but here’s a glimpse of why I wanted to live in Salvador Dali’s house.
Sorry for the rushed post but I had to meet the deadline for the OAL . Off to eat loads of dinner so I can fit into my new outfit.
I’m off across the border to Spain for a few days so I’ve been trying to get a few projects finished. We’re going to a theme park – I feel the nausea rising already and that’s only thinking about the winding roads we will take to get there – then we are going to see a performance by the Cirque du Soleil featuring lots of very bendy people and then, on the way back, we will visit Salvador Dali’s house now a museum. Plus, we will go food shopping before we re-cross the border which sounds bizarre but Spain is much cheaper than France for lots of things and quite a few French people regularly drive down there to stock up on olive oil, washing powder and other groceries. I have heard a rumour (thanks Jan F.) that cottage cheese is available and, even though I was never a particular fan, the fact that I can no longer get it makes me want some. I am hoping (in vain I suppose) for real, fresh cream.
Anyway, here is the finished quilt that I made for the nicest and best yoga teacher in the world – you may quibble but I don’t know yours – and, although she looks vaguely bemused in this photo, I think she likes it.
She seemed even more chuffed, however, with the quilt label I put on. I found an image with some yoga-type words and added her name and mine plus the date. I printed it out on transfer paper and put it on some plain fabric then attached it to the corner of the quilt. (note: My surname isn’t really blurred but I did it in editing in case anybody felt like stalking me and sending me hate mail, especially after my anti-cyclist rant the other week!)
After I forgot to add a couple of inches to the length of my colour block Coco dress, I decided to spare the world too much of my knees and Mlle. Tialys the elder wore it back to the U.K. after her visit here a few weeks ago. I do not expect to see it again. However, I had already bought some more knit fabric to make another version and, this time, I did remember to lengthen it but, being disorganised as I can sometimes be, I hadn’t made a note of the measurements I used from my last pattern hack so, this time, the colour block at the top comes down lower. I think I prefer the first version but at least this one is a keeper for me.
When I saw the Bronte top pattern from indie designer Jennifer Lauren, I quite fancied having a go because anything that makes t-shirts a bit more exciting has got to be worth a try. This pattern is supposed to have a slightly vintage look in that the back actually overlaps the front forming an attractive and original neckline and having no shoulder seams. It can be done all in one colour but I think the detail is worth emphasizing so used some coordinating knit fabric I happened to have.
I really like it and, if you don’t look too closely, it turned out well although I have a little more of the trim showing on one side of the neck than the other. Tant pis! Must try harder next time. Anyway, it’s another thing I might have to give away, because it is a little tighter than I would normally wear my t-shirts. I wasn’t sure which size to do and, the designer does warn it is a tight fitting style, but the waist and hips corresponding to my bust size were too big for me so I figured, it’s jersey, it’ll stretch and normally, I think it would, but this grey knit is quite a heavy one and the stretch is limited. Next time, I’ll make it in a lighter, softer knit because I’ve now cut the pattern out for the smaller size and I don’t fancy printing it out all over again!
Definitely one I’ll make again – paying more attention to the trim next time. The pattern has a long sleeved option too and I’m wondering about the possibility of doing a pattern hack and making it into a dress with fitted bodice and slightly swirly skirt. Get me and my fancy ideas!
Just to prove I do venture outside sometimes, this gorgeous hydrangea with dinner plate sized heads flowers away in a neglected corner of our garden.
What I especially like about it is you only have to cut one head to fill a vase which is all apropos of nothing in particular but does remind me that tomorrow is the anniversary of the day when the French cut their King’s head off and duffed up all the posh people. So, yet another public holiday with some fireworks in the evening to celebrate the fact they now have a president instead despite the fact they all seem to hate the present holder of the title so, if I were him, I’d keep one eye open at night.
Hasta la vista!
Warning: Sensitive cyclists do not read on.
Disclaimer: Some of my best friends are cyclists. True. One such
madwoman friend is cycling from Paris to where I live in the South of France which is almost 800 km – a distance I consider fit only for an aircraft.
They love cycling in France and it appears to take priority over other traffic be it pedestrian, car or ambulance. I don’t love cycling. I’m not talking about cycling down to the bakery to get your croissants or zipping round to see your friend on the other side of town or gently trundling along taking in some beautiful scenery. I’m talking about vast armies of cyclists, five or six abreast, steaming down country roads, grimly determined and in my way. I don’t like the hideous lycra they wear or the way they hog more than one lane. I can’t understand the attraction of standing by the side of the road watching streams of bikes going by in a blur or parking your vehicle on a bend to watch so that cars can’t get past you for 10 minutes in case they knock over one of the oncoming cyclists. If it had been suggested, some years ago, that men (as they mostly seem to be) put on skin tight body stockings and wore them in public the idea would have been laughed out of town. It is particularly unappealing when they stop by the side of the road and, without bothering to conceal themselves in the trees, face the oncoming traffic that is already being forced to go at a snail’s pace and take a pee – although that is something observed regularly here in France even when there is not a bike race going on or lycra to contend with. I can barely wait for the Tour de France next month.
They made me late for my yoga class this morning but I’m not bitter.
Anyway, rant over (until the next time) and here is a sneak peak of my dress for the Outfit Along which, to be honest, I haven’t really been ‘alonging’ with but I’ve made it and it will be photographed and entered. I have recently learnt – too recently for this dress – that you should make the size of dress or top for your upper bust measurement, not your full bust because that will make the shoulders and neckline too big for you, and then you do a full bust adjustment. Oops! So that’s where I’ve been going wrong. My last couple of dresses that have had fitted bodices have indeed been too big on the shoulders. Next time……..
The cardigan part of the outfit has also had its problems. I didn’t like the way I had picked up the stitches for the sleeves so I have frogged both of them and then I realised that I had cast off the stitches of the body too tightly and there was no way that ribbing was going to stretch round my waist. So I, very carefully and with much trepidation, undid the cast off and redid it using Jenys Stretchy Bind Off. Now it will! Just got to do those sleeves again now.
Despite sharing my life with quite a few vintage French mannequins, one of which I sent off to Canada a couple of weeks ago in a box big enough for a coffin, I decided I needed an adjustable mannequin to help me in my dressmaking endeavours. My friend had a Lady Valet and I thought it looked good as well as being useful so I treated myself.
Handsome aren’t they?
However, I had to buy the small size (the one on the right) for all my measurements including the chest but, though I don’t like to brag, that girl has got nothing on me in the bust department. So, what to do? I googled it, as I do most things I don’t know about, and found that you must not only adjust a dress form to your measurements but pad it a bit to make it feel more like flesh and, if need be, put one of your bras on it and pad to the desired fullness. Then you must cover the whole thing in a body stocking of sorts – should have nabbed one of those cyclists this morning – or use, as I did, a sort of body shaping slip that I sometimes wear if I have a very fitted dress and don’t want lines of underwear showing. So now, instead of my beautiful, clean looking mannequin on her lovely wooden stand, I have this.
Note the chest cracked open as if for heart surgery as I struggled to make a doppelganger of myself. I must neither gain nor lose weight as I don’t want to go through that process again and my plans for noting down the measurements of the Tialys madamoiselles and altering the dress form to suit when I’m making something for them will also not be implemented any time soon.
On the subject of mannequins, you may recall that I bought a baby sized one recently in order to get better photographs of the baby clothes I’m making. Just to remind you here it is
Well, guess what, it’s too big. So now, having got the idea in my head, I’ve had to find another, smaller one. No matter, this one can go in my shop – it’s from Paris dontchaknow. Unfortunately, despite these tiny ones giving me the creeps and being grateful it had no face the one winging its way to me as we speak actually does have a head. Plus, and I don’t know whether this makes matters better or worse, you can remove it. I feel a nightmare coming on.
I am no longer ‘waiting for the wadding’ as mentioned in my last post. It is sandwiched between the front and back layers of my quilt and basted with curvy safety pins. Off to start quilting it as it’s taking up my workroom floor and I won’t be able to get anything else done until it is at least de-masking taped from the floorboards.
* Post not sponsored by Lycra