Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Village lutin

Again houses! From cutting out the wooden stars end of November I had a lot of scraps (triangles and wonky squares) left and the kids glued them together to little houses. We painted them white and the roofs red and then the boys tried to paint yellow and blue windows. Those haven't been very precise, so I surrounded them with black edding and now they are very decorative on our front door as a little village. 

The fir cones won't stay for too long I think - our cat will most probably push them down.

A bientôt,

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas {Christmas cards III}

For Christmas eve I am showing you my most favorite card I ever made. For me it is giving the full expression of what Christmas is for: staying together in harmony with family or close friends, coziness, peace, warmth ...
Can you also imagine in every house is a family or group of people, sitting together, having good food, laughing and talking, children playing ... while it is cold outside?

My kids fell over this card some days ago and they wanted to copy it. They asked for my stamps (I made them out of foam rubber that I glued to little wood scraps) and markers and started:

I didn't know that there is an elephant constellation visible on the winter sky, but apparently...

May it be white Christmas or not, I wish you a wonderful and merry Christmas and I hope you can spend it with those you love!

Yoyeux noël a tous, 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas cards II

I love Christmas cards! I love to make them and I love to get some myself. In this quick times of e-mails, instant messages and Skype, I like to get and send "real" mail that takes it's time and because of that it is already more valuable. I like the personal touch that is transmitted. My cards are little presents that I like to send out for those I like.
Last year I made a winter card. A bird looking for berries in the snow:
(The photo is not very good, I made it last year in no time before sending out nearly all of them) The bird is cut out from green motiv paper and glued to the card. I surrounded it with a black pen and drew the wing and everything else. The snowflakes are light grey (not possible to have white snow on a white card - no hint to air pollution).

Also last year I made some gift tags. They are to open and you can write a short message inside.
I invented the writing myself and started to carve it in lignol to have a stamp. It took very long and shortly before finished I saw first a spelling error and than, that I didn't do it inverted. After throwing the stamp to the next wall and than in the bin, I decided to print the letter tree and hand-color it. Good solution I think. I like the little cards. I still have lots left and use them also this year to add to small presents.

I wish you lots of cards or letters with greetings from family and friends!

A bientôt,

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas cards I

Yesterday it has been the last day of school for this year. The boys came home in the afternoon all exited each with a friend. The two elder ones played something rowdy that I didn't understand, but they were laughing all the time and singing jingle-bells in french. My youngest and his friend (a girl) wanted to do some crafting and I proposed Christmas cards, as I needed some too.
We had a nice little workshop and have been very productive:
We made candles with washi tape and added some punched out stars and drew fir tree branches. When I see the cards of the kids that are all so different and individual, I found mine nearly boring. 

I will need some more, as I have lots of family and friends in Germany that I don't see for Christmas and that are getting traditionally a letter with all the news of the year and a card. So there is at least one more post following with Christmas cards. 
Have a nice weekend of fourth advent and don't stress with presents - they are not the essential for Christmas (except if you ask your child)

A bientôt,

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Baby outfit

For my seven weeks old niece, that is growing faster than her parents can buy cloth (so they say), I made a very cute little ensemble of shirt and trousers. Since I detected Mara's blog I wanted to sew also baby clothes. It seems that she is sewing everything for her little daughter from body's to jackets. There have been lot's of links to patterns and some of them have been free books, so that's perfect if you just want to try out. 
It has been so much fun to do those little little pieces. They are in size 62/68.
Why didn't I know how to sew those, when my boys have been little? 
The shirt is from this free pattern and it calls "Trotzkopf" what means stubborn. I hope the name is not program for the child inside!
The trousers are from "Milchmonster" (milk-monster) and called Frida. You can have a free version in the sizes 50 to 62. For bigger sizes you have to buy the e-book.
I made the trousers from corduroy that has been in my u-f-o box for ages. I tried about 10 years ago to sew a coat for me, but the shoulders have been never fitting correctly and I gave up. Now I don't have to be sorry for the waste of fabric, I made this lovely pants from it. 
I hope very much that they are fitting and that the parents like them too, because I am eager to sew more of those!

I didn't realized it, but the last post has been already the hundredth blog-post! I had fun writing them all and I hope that some out in the www liked to read them. I can see in my statistics that there are often visits to my side, but I can't see if someone is following regularly. 
When I started in January I didn't know if it would please me to blog, but now I will continue, as it is like a nice little journal for me about my creative life. Also I find so many inspirations in the blogs of others and I hope that some might find my ideas inspiring too. 

A bientôt,
Jane, qui attaque le prochain 100!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas houses

I decorated the little houses on the living room wall for the fifth and last time this year. I made them in January and changed their decoration with the seasons. You can find the other posts about it here: winter, spring, summer and fall
This time I used mainly the figures of our nativity scene. The boys are playing normally farm with it and at least Maria and Jesus have been left outside last year. Josef had more luck, he can be a shepherd. To honor them a bit more, they got a place in one of the houses, together with some of the animals. Have a look:

A bientôt,

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

No more bags! (this year)

I don't want to see or sew any bags or pouches in the next three weeks!
Since the Christmas market I have been dealing with all the commands I had and there was always a new command coming in, when I was thinking I had finished nearly everything. (You know: I can't say "no") I mean, it is nice there are people who like my stuff so much, but for example the bags: There have been several in my shop since August and no one bought one. Then when they have all been gone on the market, several new ones have been ordered. The combination of pink and grey/white has been the most popular and I run out of that specific fabric.
The next very demanded objects have been the "trousse maquillage", the leather pouches for make-up and stuff like that. 
One client ordered for her daughter an photo album fitting the red pouch with the horses. Unfortunately I didn't had enough of that ribbon, so I had to do some applications in the same style. Hope she will like it. (it is probably not so visible on the photo, but the horses on the ribbon have all dots, this is why I added dots to the album cover, too)
Orders like the album cover are taking time and effort, as I have to think about every step. The advantage of bags is, that I can sew them (since the twentieth  or so) even half asleep. This I can't do for a kitchen set for an adult man and a warming cushion filled with cherry-stones, that can be put on like a belt to warm the back. I also finished a pair of slippers for a friend who ordered them already three month ago (upps).
Today I finished the last order: a children-construction-side-play-belt with a holder for a mini driller, a pocket for the small pieces and a loop to put the hammer. My youngest has been so kind to test it out.
I also made already one handmade Christmas present! As my grandma is not online, I can show it. It's a hip bag! She is not very stable any more and needs to have her hands free when going out for shopping. 
And from now on, I am on sewing vacation. I only want to sew for me, my kids or things I wanted to try out for a while. We will see how that plan is working out. I am sure latest on Friday I am doing something I didn't plan :-)

A bientôt,
Jane (fatigue!)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Advent calendar

In December it is easier than normal to get the children out of bed in the morning, as they are curious what might be in their advent calendar.
When both of them have been little we had socks, where I put everyday something in. This way, there has been never the risk that an inpatient child might open all the packets the same time. 
Last year I decided that they were old enough for a calendar with 24 sacks. I like when you can see how the calendar is getting emptier and Christmas is coming nearer. 
From scrap wood I built a little ladder and painted it white. There are 24 hocks for the little sacs, that I fill with little goodies or chocolate.
I wrote the numbers last year by hand, but this year I replaced them by little stars with numbers on it. 
The little bags have different sizes, so I can put everything in. There are long ones for pencils but also small ones for just one chocolate ball. I run out of fabric last year and the order only arrived in this year, so the last of the 24 bags I made last-minute this Sunday.
The ladder is leaning against the wall in our dining room. On the sideboard you can see the gingerbread house that we decorated this weekend.
Have a nice advent too, with plenty of little surprises!

A bientôt,

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas market 2014

This Saturday I had for the third time a table on a private Christmas market in our village. The lady organizing it, is selling professionally clothes in private sales parties. Then there is always one lady with candles and accessories and changing others. This year one sold bijoux, one lady took commands for decorating towels with cross stitch embroidery, one sold aloe-vera-lotions, soaps and perfume, a friend of me had Christmas decoration and marmalade, one lady sold very nice handmade things and interesting spices from Madagascar and the daughter of our host sold biscuits to earn money for a journey. With me selling a little bit of everything I think this little market had something interesting for everyone. 
Do you want to have a look on my table?
The market is taking place in an old dairy farm. left of my table is the entrance door and on the right the Madagascar table.
It is the first year I tried to sell baby accessories and this hasn't been working well. Apparently there are not many new born around in the moment for which the people wants to buy gifts. I only sold two bibs and one cherry-stone-worming cushion. 
In the beginning of the planning for this market I didn't want to bring any decoration stuff, because I have learned in the last years, that it takes enormously time to make cards or decorations and the people don't want to pay much for it. But I had some leftover cards and table-runners as well as three small and three big candles. When I found the wood for the wooden stars (see last post) I decided to bring anyway some decoration and sewed also some white hearts decorated with ribbons and laces. Those where very quickly sold and I got rid of the cushion, the stars and two candles also. 
Also the little key-ring-pockets have been gone. Little things for about 5€ are normally working well, as they are bought for little presents that are good to have in stock.
I sold several pencil cases and make-up cases and got two commands for special color combinations.
The bags on the chair to the right are all gone, except the red quilted one, but that one I didn't expect to sell as it is quite special (and expensive)
The play kitchen stuff is gone too. I have also an order to make an adult chefs hat and matching apron.

Unfortunately there hasn't been as much clients as in the last year. You can never tell before how many people might be coming. Depending on the weather, events in neighbor villages, people forgetting the date and also the general economic situation there are more or less people coming. For me it was okay anyway, as from those coming nearly everybody bought or ordered something from me. 

Now I have to work on the commands. I have also to put the rests into the online-shop and make some advertising on "a-little-market" to get rid of some more things.

A bientôt,

Sunday, 30 November 2014

First advent candle

The time is passing so quickly! Today is already the first Advent! I hope you had a nice and relaxing Sunday to get the first feeling of Christmas time. Maybe you spend the day like me and put up some season decoration.
We are traditional and lighten up each of the four sundays one more candle. So today it is only one.
This is my front-door-advent-decoration since six years. I have four wooden candles and each Sunday I add one that is a little smaller. For now it is still a little empty, this is why I put a wooden star, too. 
I made those wooden stars for the Christmas market this year. On a waste pile of a construction site I spotted those nice thick beam pieces that are probably leftovers from the roof construction. I asked if I could have them and fortunately my darling had a keyhole saw blade that was long enough to cut out the stars. 

A few years ago for my first Christmas market I made a lot of candles, as the organizer of the market thought they where so original. In the end that market had been a disaster and I only sold three, but over the years nearly all of them found a new home and I made smaller indoor versions of them too.
Here are all of them together on my basement stairs. Aren't they looking friendly and cheering up the atmosphere? 
The small ones can be decorated everywhere in the house. With or without green branches. The best thing: they can "burn" the hole day and night without fire risk and the kids can touch them too!

I still love them a lot! It is one of my most favorite decorations ever! Do you like them too? 

A très bientôt,

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bags I'd like to keep

Last week I made a bag with a newly arrived fabric and I like it a lot!
I can imagine to keep it for myself. You can see my hand is already grabbing tightly the handle. I am nearly hoping that nobody wants to buy it (very professional thinking :-)
This is why I made immediately a second one the same size but in other colors.
As turquoise isn't a favorite color, I have at least one bag of this type that I can sell happily :-)

One more bag I made for a client who wanted a music bag for her son to transport and store his notes. I think it is a quite cool bag. Can you see the fabric is full of guitars! I ordered it for this project and took the advantage to buy also some other fabrics in the same store to reasonable the shipping fees (fabric junkies are taking all excuses they can, right?)

I also packed 6 boxes of stuff for the Christmas market tomorrow and it took me hours to put price signs on and get everything in order so that the installation of the stand won't take too much time tomorrow morning. I will show you pictures of the market next week and tell you how many leftover bags I have for myself :-)

A bientôt,

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas crowns

Yesterday I had a very nice evening with three friends sitting in our basement and making Christmas crowns. I had to make one for a client and I had lots of green branches, so I thought it would be nicer working in company. We had a nice chat and everybody had at least one crown in the end to start Christmas decoration at home.
The first crown I made is for my client. I hope she likes it. It is still very natural and I like it that way. If she wants a bit more, I can add some wooden angels or stars.
It is from fir branches and the flowers and fruits from ivy. I added some red wooden pearls the same color like the candles.
My second crown is already gone to the lady who let me have a stand on her Christmas-market and I forgot to take a picture before.
From all leftover branches I made a very simple crown for our door. I put two birds, an apple and some berries (wooden pearls), so it is not only Christmas style but can stay for the winter (or at least until it looses too much needles) on our front door. Do you think I have to add something to the upper half? Maybe some snowflakes?
When I finished the crown decoration this morning I found a crown I made from birch twigs a while ago. I sewed quickly a little bird and put it in. It will go with me to the market on Saturday.
I still have lots to do for the Christmas market, so I better hurry up ... 

A bientôt,

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tidy up the fridge

Do you know that situation: You have loads to do, but then you are doing something completely unimportant?
This has been me, tidying up the fridge from the outside this week. 
I got every papers down from it, cleaned the body and rearranged all papers worth keeping. Therefor I marked zones with washi-tape for the different topics. On the front a big zone for recipe and below there are some post-cards. On the side there is the yearly calendar with birthdays and vacations on it in the big blue area and below two zones where the boys can pin their latest drawings, invitation cards and others. Between there is still some free space for coupons and so on.
I hope it stays a bit tidy for a week or two :-) and I will now do some reasonable things...

A bientôt,

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Doudou mouton (sheep)

Look who escaped from my sewing room and has now a great time on a patchwork meadow!
Two pillow-sheep!
 They are so alike that I call them Dolly and Molly!
They love each other, but they are also waiting for two nice children that might adopt them and cuddle them all the time and lay their head onto the soft fur (cotton) for the night.

A bientôt,

Bergère Jane

Friday, 14 November 2014

Tutorial: little leather cases

Here comes the promised tutorial about how I sew leather pouches. Either as pencil cases or as make-up cases or as little pouches for whatever you want to put inside!
The idea of sewing them like this has it's origin here, I just made some additions.

Step 1: Like always you have to chose your material first. For a make-up case it is a piece of leather about the size 18x35cm. For pencil cases it is 50cm length and the height can vary depending on the height you want for your case (about 12cm is fine). You will also need a piece of endless zipper that is about 2cm longer than your piece of leather, a zipper foot and a decorative ribbon.
Step 2: Open up the zipper on the hole length, you will only need half of it. (Therefor I propose to sew always two cases at the same time) I use fabric glue to fix the zipper along the long side of the leather at the outside. Make sure that the zipper teeth are  not covered by leather and that the sipper is with the right side up. On the downside the zipper teeth are on one level with the edges, on the front they are a bit higher.
Step 3: When the glue is dry, sew the ribbon onto the leather along the zipper covering the edges of the zipper.
Step 4: Fold the leather in half and fiddle on the zipper foot. Therefor I fix the leather with a clip to have my hands free for the zipper. It is working easiest, when the zipper on one side is a little shorter than on the other side. Slide the zipper foot on the longer side. When the foot is on the same height add the second side into it. Normally with a little pull the zipper foot slides on easily.
Step 5: Fix the zipper end with some zig-zag-stitches so it won't rip off again. Then open the zipper at least half, turn the left side of the leather out and close the two open edges. I use these paperclips instead of needles to hold the two layers in place. 
Step 6: At the downside corners, fold the leather so that the side seam is on the bottom seam. This is only working easy at one side. At the other side you don't have a side seam. There you have to fold the leather and mark the fold with a non permanent marker. Mark a line rectangular to the bottom seam. For my beauty case I made the line 4cm long. Sew on the line and cut of the triangle in the corner. 
Step7: Turn the case and you are ready!
You can do those cases with all materials that are not fraying. For example canvas. 
Also you can add what ever application you like to the body before you come to step 4. 
I like this method very much, as it is fast and you have a clean finish. Working with leather I like to have as few seams as possible. When sewing seams that are through more than one layer of leather, the stitches are sometimes not very even, but in the end this is not visible as all those seams are inside. 
I hope this tutorial is useful to you. Have fun trying out!

A bientôt,