Every year big red & white stripe tents pop up in our local area and it means one thing... the CIRCUS is in town. This year, the Bouglione Circus scheduled a show about 5 mins from our house.
I never realized the Bouglione family has been in the circus business since 1930. I love the old school style... big colorful tent and lots of caravans. I'm amazed they were able to fit everything into the small parking lot where they set up. Leave it to the Europeans... they can do a lot with a tiny space.
Artsy Boy & I were really excited to see the show. The only circus shows I've ever seen were back in the US... Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey's. And the shows are always held in really large venues. The shows are spectacular but I'm a small venue kind of grrrl. But I have to day I was really curious about the acts considering the size of the tent.
On the day of the performance, we left the house early so we'd have plenty of time to park. I even let C skip Solfege (Music Class). But when we arrived we found the place empty. There were maybe 25 to 30 people in the audience. Talk about small! The tent could have easily fit a couple of hundred people. I loved it but I did feel bad for the performers. A small crowd can only clap so loud.
C & I had fantastic seats. This particular photo was taken without any type of zoom. We could literally have touched the leopard. C was thrilled. He loves cats... big ones... little ones... he loves them all.
All of the performances were brillant! I was really impressed. We saw jugglers, acrobats, clowns, funny dog acts, women being spun around at record speed while a man on rollerblades held them with a ring around his neck. etc.
Some acts were downright scary like when the horses were running in rings. I actually considered switching seats for fear of a stampeade.
During one part of the show, a clown walked around asking for volunteers. C surprised me by volunteering. I was so proud of him.
Once all the kids were in the ring the clown had them play musical chairs. It was really funny. And in the end, the last child to get a seat was Artsy Boy!
We had a fabulous time and we're looking forward to the next time we see a red & white stripe tent. ;)
When I heard about a local fabric shop going out of business I decided to check out the goods. Here in Belgium, fabric is outrageously expensive especially if it's by Tone Finnanger, the Norwegian designer of Tilda fabrics. A metre (which is a slightly smaller than a yard) can cost anywhere from 18 € to 26 € ($23 - $34) which is really pricey for quilting cotton. I adore the fabric collections with their pretty designs and colors. The pink & red collection is my favorite... very girly and delicate.
To my surprise, the fabric shop had a great selection of Tilda fabrics and they were on sale for 30%! And unlike the US, Belgium only has sales in January & July so finding an item you adore on sale outside of these months is like hitting the jackpot. These fabrics are also difficult to come by in the US so I went a little crazy and bought a few metres. Yet, now that I have all these beautiful fabrics I'm not quite sure what to do with them. I guess you can say I'm hoarding Tilda fabric! lol!
Last weekend when S & C gave me a Kindle for Mother's day they didn't give me a cover because S wasnt' sure what type of cover I wanted. But I told him not to worry that I was going to MAKE one! And that's exactly what I did this weekend.
I used this tutorial from "A Blue Sky Kind of Life". The tutorial was really easy to understand. I just love when bloggers write tutorials with lots of photos and detailed instructions. I'm a very visual person so this is really helpful for me.
The first case I made was a wee bit too tight. I think it may have had something to do with the batting I used. So I added a quarter inch to the fabric dimensions and this time it fit perfectly. I skipped the part about sewing around the top opening. I was so happy with the way it came out that I didn't want to chance ruining it with a less than straight topstitch. ;)
I am on fire this week! lol! I've blogged every single day! Can you tell I have a break from French class. lol! Every time we have an exam it's followed by a mini break. Which I have to say is really nice.
My class is really intense and while Madame Benedict is fabulous she's one tough cookie! Last Wednesday, we had our exam and the oral portion was pure torture.
For me, saying words in "liaison" is very difficult. Native french speakers will say two or three words all together so they sound like one word. For instance, "c'est quoi ça?" (what is it?) or "neuf ans" (nine years old) is pronounced so quickly it sounds like one word. Unless you know how to read and write you'd never guess the person speaking just said two to three separate words. Madame Benedict is constantly telling me "non, taileen...liaison" and I have to repeat the words over and over until I get it right. Which is a little stressful for me. And when it during an exam it's even more stressful.
The first sentence I had to read on my exam was "Le robe est plutot belle." I read it too slowly. So Madame B took points off for not rambling the words together. So she made me repeat the phrase. When I tried to say the sentence in one quick breath I pronounced "est" like it's pronounce in Spanish! Ugh!! That lead to more repeating and questions about which verb I was congugating. More points taken off for this error! As she's writing more zeros and ones I feel my confidence go down right along with my grade. In the final section, I had to create sentences using "Que" and "Qui". Now I feel like I have a good grasp on which word to use depending on the situation but I tend to mix up the pronounciation which gets me in trouble especially when I'm already nervous. So sure enough I said "Que" when I should have said "Qui"! Ugh! And once you say the word there's no going back. You've said it and you can't change your mind. So more points taken off! With my confidence shot, I continued with the written part of the exam. But what I really wanted to do was walk right out of that room and never come back!
I scheduled a doctor's appointment about 2.5 hrs after my class thinking I'd be done with my exam. Wrong. As I was trying to finish up the exam I kept looking at my clock... 9:50... 10:00... 10:30... I had two choices... leave and see if Madame Benedict would let me finish the exam after our break or cancel my appointment. So what did I do? Cancel my doctor's appointment. I didn't want to have this French exam hanging over my head for the next week and a half. Rescheduling a doctor's appointment is so much easier!
There's a long list of things I want to sew. Among them are some sewing accessories: a pin cushion, sewing machine cover, and a needle case. But I'm holding off until I receive some fabric I ordered. In the mean time, I decided to try my hand at a needle case that I decided to give to my Grandmother. To help guide me I used this tutorial from "Sewshesews" but what inspired my little needle case was this one from "a cuppa and a catch up".
I wish I could say I whipped this baby up in a matter of an hour or two but no... it took me a wee bit longer. Let's just say my seam ripper was my best friend throughout this project. But isn't it cute. I just love the way it came out and I really did learn tons. I'm crazy about the colors & fabric. Next time I may add some stitching on the exterior like the inspiration case I saw on "a cuppa..."
Nana is in her mid 80's and loves to sew. She's an incredibly talented woman and enjoys embroidery and is forever sewing new curtains and clothes. When I was little she used to make me some lovely halters and matching shorts. And I loved to wear them!
Every week Nana attends a sewing class in her community. The students mainly work on clothes which they model at a year end fashion show. I love to see photos of the fashion show because she always looks so happy walking the runway. ;)
When I spoke to Nana a few weeks ago I asked her where she keeps her needles when she attends class. She made me laugh when she told me she constantly loses her needles and is always asking her instructor or fellow classmates for a needle. So this needle case is perfect for her. I gave her the case along with a little bag for Mother's Day. And she absolutely loved it!
Last weekend, we participated in the Make a Wish fundraiser. It's a 24h walk/run event that is strongly supported in our community. Different organizations, units, and countries form groups to ensure that someone to run/walk constantly. Lots of people camp out too. It's like a big party. Many of the different nations set up stands selling food and drinks. There's music to motivate everyone to get out there and do your best as well as a bouncy castle for all the kids. This year C's school organized the different grades to run at different times of the day. It was great fun for the kids and they know they're supporting a good cause. ;)
After making Katie Kitty, I decided I needed to work on a project that was geared more towards my level. So I chose these adorable drawstring bags.
I used this tutorial as a guide. Since I wanted my bag to be bigger I played around with the measurements. And from there I went on a little marathon. So far I've sewn six bags and with each one my sewing skills improve. I made two bags for myself & one for my sister, mother, grandmother, and Artsy boy. I love how these little drawstring bags can be used for just about anything. The large bags I made for myself and Artsy boy will be used as shoe bags when we travel. And the little one is for all the chargers & cords I carry when we go away.
Here's the one I made for Artsy boy. I still want to make a few more bags for traveling... one to hold clothes that need to be laundered and of course a couple of more shoe bags.
It's funny the random things I remember growing up in New York City... our apartment and the amazing view we had from our kitchen. There were so many trees it looked like a mini forest. Never in a million years would you guess you were in NYC. I even remember the Cornell dishes my mother used daily... white with yellowy orange flowers along the border.
One item I can recall with much fondness were a set of silver rimmed monogram highball glasses. I absolutely loved these glasses. It seem like everyone had these glasses. When I'd visit my grandparents I always made a point to chose a silver rimmed high ball glass. It's been years since I've seen these glasses in my parent's house. I have no idea what happened to them. Most likely they either broke or were given away.
Several years ago we were having brunch at a friend's house and to my surprise they had a set of these silver rimmed glasses passed down from their parents. Ever since that day I've been longing to have a set of my own.
For years now I've searched for these monogram glasses with the initials from my maiden or married name but no luck. But last week, my luck changed. I couldn't believe it ... a set of six monogrammed with the letter R and in pristine condition. I immediately ordered them and just yesterday they arrived. They're so pretty and much more substantial than I remember. When I asked the seller about the glasses she told me they were purchased from an estate sale in Palo Alto, California. The glasses were an anniversary gift and it seems the couple may have displayed the glasses rather than used them. The previous owners parted with the tumblers because they were moving to the East Coast and worried that the glasses would break during transport. And that's how these pretty little glasses made their way to my home all the way in Belgium. ;)
Update: I've had my monogrammed high ball glasses for almost a year now and I hate to say it but I rarely use them for fear of breaking one. S absolutely refuses to use or wash them. So I've been searching for another set so we can use them daily and if we break one or two we won't feel so bad. And last night I found another set again with the initial "R". From the photos the glasses seem to be in great condition and they were $30 less than what I paid for my first set. Sweet!!
I've seen little houses like this one all over the internet. I absolutely love the free motion sewing style.
To me free motion sewing has a bit of an abandoned feeling... like you're throwing the idea of perfection aside and allowing your creative self shine. Letting yourself forget about being so precise appeals to me.
Almost every project I've worked on so far has been slightly off either in the fabric measurements or the seams. And I'm ok with that. S joked that I should start a blog called "Slightly Off" to chronicle my journey into the sewing world. So I suppose free motion is right up my alley. I'd love to see myself design some complicated designs. But for now I'm just so happy with how the scallops & little stems came out. One step at a time.
My poor sewing machine has been collecting dust for about 3 years now! I bought it on a whim right after I made this cute little house. I tried using it a few times on my own but I had so many problems threading the bobbin. Crafty Grrrl tried to help but even she had difficulty threading the machine properly. It was extremely frustrating.
This year one of my goals was to learn how to use my machine properly. So I signed up for two private sewing lessons with a local quilting guru and I'm happy to say I'm on my way!
For my first real solo project, I chose to make Artsy Boy (also known as Lil' C & C) a stuffed kitty.
Artsy Boy was browsing through "Wee Wonderfuls" a book I received for my birthday a few years back from my good friend, Gio and he fell in love with Katie Kitty. At the time I was feeling pretty confident... I knew how to work my machine and I even made a little chick for Easter. So when Artsy Boy asked me to make Katie I thought, "I can totally make that." Yeah... I don't know what I was thinking at the time!!! I must have been under the influence when I agreed to make this stuffed animal! lol!
Sewing this little kitty or as I refer to her, Frankenstein Kitty was the most difficult project I've made so far! And to chose it as my 2nd project was absolute craziness! This project is for someone well... more experienced than me. But my boy wanted the kitty so I perservered.
Sewing Katie's head took me a few hours. And her body took days! Her three dimensional head had me completely perplexed. Even S couldn't help me. I just COULD not figure out how to sew the left part of her head once the middle and right side were sewned together. I took it apart so many times I had to cut new material and start all over. And don't even get me started on how I attached her head to her body! Make a long story short it took me about 3 weeks to complete this cat!
My quilting guru helped me tremendously! She's a true perfectionist when it comes to sewing. But when she took a look at how I attached Frankenstein Kitty's head to the body all she said was, "Let's leave it. Next time I show you much easier way." She was right because I'm sure had I taken the head off I would have been forced to make a new one since the material was fraying at an incredible speed. Once Frankenstein Kitty was done, Artsy Boy picked out the fabric for her dress and changed her facial features. He wanted her eyes to look as if she was smiling. Now that Katie is complete I'm really happy I mader her. I learned so much. But what I love most is how much Artsy boy loves Katie Kitty.