The doudou disguised as a napkin : W.I.P. Wednesday

After being a bit over-zealous in the furniture-lifting department I hurt my traps last week, which meant not much blogging, knitting or much of any activity.  They are feeling better now, though, which is good, because as you’ve noticed I’m out of pre-written posts – I’m blogging by the seat of my pants!

Some of you might be wondering what a doudou is.  In French, a doudou is an object of substitution children use to feel secure when apart from their parents : a blankie, stuffed animal, dolly, etc.  I’m pretty sure you’ve worked out “napkin” for yourselves.

The French school day is a bit longer than in many other countries :  5-year-old Guppy’s classes begin at 9 a.m., she has a two-hour lunch break from noon to 2 p.m., then classes until 5 p.m.  (Some children stay at the after-school programme /day care, making it an even-longer affair).  Though it hasn’t always been the case, I’ve been able to fetch Guppy and she’s had lunch at home with us since September, which she loves.  It’s much calmer, and she gets to read or play in her room (or snuggle her mamafish).

This is going to change, however, and she’s going to be eating once a week at la canteen or school cafeteria, much to her chagrin.  Her response to the announcement was, “but Mumma, I love you too much – that’s too many hours!”.   There’s no way around it, however, even if it’s hard to see your kiddo in distress.

So what do you do?

You make a doudou!

But shhhh!  It’s a secret doudou, don’t tell anyone!

The children bring a cloth napkin on the days they eat at the cafeteria, so I’m getting all Jamie Bond and making her what appears to be a napkin, but in reality, it is a secret, soft and reassuring doudou.

I’ve embroidered her name, and she picked out a few designs she wanted to  use to embellish it.  The above poodle is from the Stitch-it-Kit which has lots of cute retro designs I never use, but because I wanted to empower the Gup I handed her the box of transfers and let her pick out what she wanted (so glad she didn’t go with the hula girl).

The napkin will be made of two layers of fabric : a cotton twill, functional but cute (it has flowers on it, she picked it out) and the other side (the doudou side) is soft pink flannel I cut from one of her receiving blankets.  I assured her I would put lots of extra love between the two layers so that if she starts to have a gros chagrin (wave of sadness) she can give it a squeeze and she’ll feel better (I strongly suggest adding extra love if you’re trying this at home.  A little love is good, but not potent enough).

I just started it last night, so I haven’t finished yet, but I’ll show you next week…if you promise to keep this under wraps!  We don’t want any unnecessary teasing at school now, do we?

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday : On Vacation…chez nous

I’ve been “working” on the most important Work In Progress in my life…

Résèrve Biologique, Forêt de Fontainebleau

Guppy and I have been spending most of our time playing in the forest…

Belle souche

…and that is as it should be…

Giant Mushroom

I am taking notes on possible future projects and already thinking about what I’ll be making next. How about you?  Don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too. We’ve got so many new members – welcome to all of you!


W.I.P. Wednesday : One for you, and one for me…


When we celebrated Guppy’s birthday earlier this month, we also celebrated the birthday of a very dear friend known around these parts as Tata Katy. They had a joint birthday party, and agreed on the dino theme because you’re never too old for dinos, right?

I was so busy with finishing up Katy’s gift (literally 5 minutes before we left for the party) I failed to take a picture, which was frustrating. Thankfully Katy was cool with taking a picture for me once she got home :


She wrote her own caption for the photo, above.

This is just a brown cotton/linen blend tote bag with an embroidered accent. I just measured the size I thought she’d like and trimmed the corners on the bottom. Easy peasy. However, as often happens when you make something you find adorable for someone, you find yourself wishing for one, too.

Brown tote with embroidery

Wrinkled, because I’ve been using it all week!

Embroidery detail

Isn’t she sweet?

Lining Detail

Lovely floral lining from my stash. I found it vaguely Japanese.

I have to be honest, I’ve been loving up my new tote all week. It’s perfect for lugging lessons to and from work in style. I wish I had more of that chocolate coloured fabric, but it was just some left-over curtains in my stash…and it’s nearly gone now.

The embroidery pattern is a Sublime Stitching freebie that I found via Florista’s flickr stream…the morning of the birthday party! But like Florista, I just had to stitch it right away it’s so sweet. I have a feeling I’ll be using this embroidery pattern again…

I’ve got a 60-Day Project update coming soon, and don’t forget about Sweet Freedom Saturdays! You make anything you’d like from Sweet Freedom and then post it – couldn’t be easier!

What have you been up to W.I.P.-wise? Whatever your works-in-progress may be, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

W.I.P. Wednesday Birthday Time! Guppy’s 4 & A 60-Day Project Update


It’s all about the birthday goodness here at W.I.P. Headquarters! First a big fat thanks going out to Kittee of Cake Maker To The Stars, Amy of Tahinitoo, Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness & Virginia of Bananas & Soymilk. They have been keeping the birthday momentum going for my dear Mammafish and I thank you all from the bottom of my little heart! The 60-Day Project will be wrapping up at the end of the month, and I’ll turn the blog over to guest-blogger Mammafish, but for now, here’s a little comment she left for you all :

When I read Shelly’s blog comments, I look at your names and see what you sent me. Makes me feel like I’m getting to know you all better. My heart is so full! You girls are beyond amazing. I am sure the world is a better place with each of you in it. Love, Mamafish

Since we’re talking about birthdays, here’s a little look at some of Ms. Guppy’s handmade birthday surprises. The first was a very special envelope that arrived from the United States…

Amy's envelope

Guppy was very excited to see her name on the envelope when we got the mail after school, but was even more thrilled once she looked inside!

Dinoriffic Birthday Card

Look at this dinoriffic handmade card by the sweet and talented Amy (Ms. Tahinitoo)! Not only did she send birthday love to my mother , but she also made this fantastic card for Guppy!


Guppy carried the card around all afternoon and evening (see smudge mark above). After a bit of negation, I did manage to convince her it would be better to frame it and hang it in her bedroom (cookies and juice were involved).

I wanted to make Guppy a Princess hat for her birthday. Or a Prince Charming hat as she calls it (she likes Prince Charming better because he can wear pants and boots which is better for running on cobblestone paths says she). I’m not a big fan of all that is princesses, damsels in distress, etc., but we do live down the street from a castle (!) so, it’s difficult to totally ignore.*(cute story at bottom if you’re interested).


She has a hat that we made from paper months ago, but it looks more like scrap paper now than anything fit for royalty. There are so many different kinds of hats you can make with felt and/or fabric (check out fellow Wipster Nicole’s more classic – and super-cute – crown how-to here), but I wanted to make one similar to her paper hat. There are probably tutorials all over the net for this – and it is so easy to make, you really don’t need a tutorial, but I’ll give you some rough instructions here…

Princess Hat 1

Since we make these cone-shaped hats out of large pieces of paper, I had a good idea of what size to make. If you’re not sure, you’ll need to measure you’re future royal’s head. Once you’ve got the measurement, add a few centimeters for your seam allowance, and using string and a pencil, make an arc as long as your measurement (for us that was 50cm). You’ll also need to decide how tall you want your hat – if you’re not sure, just make a paper hat as a practice hat and you’ll see what you’re in for. (Initially I was going to make a dual-colored hat, but it ended up being too big so I cut off the pink over-hang.)

I used the vegan felt I bought in the U.S. last year, and ironed on some interfacing to give it a little more structure (be sure to keep the heat low – I also used a piece of fabric to cover the felt just be sure).

Princess Hat Ribbons

For your ribbons and tulle, I suggest you sew them together into a bundle before trying to sew them into the hat. This is a lame picture, but you can make out that things are gathered on the right side. I sewed back and forth a few times to make sure everything was well anchored.

back view of hat

I do recommend you use two layers of felt if you’ll be sewing sequence and beads on as I did. I also suggest that you sew them onto the outer layer before sewing on your royal child’s initial – this is to hide your stitches which will get caught on hair ties and elastics and cause your child grief when they see their beads falling off. Because I was making this up as I went along, I decided to sew everything on after I’d sewn on the “L” (because no, her name isn’t really Guppy!), and yes, tragedy did ensue. I’ve since re-sewn on enough beads to not forget this lesson.

I just sewed the “L” on, through the two layers of felt. Then I pinned them together into a triangle, right sides together, with the ribbons at the top between the two layers and I sewed through it all. Then you just turn it ride side out and marvel at your creative awesomeness (15 minutes before the birthday girl wakes up from her nap to go to her birthday party…).

Lilah in her new hat

We have a lot of movement here, but she just put it on, so she was pretty excited…

Princess Hat 2

There were lots of tasty treats at her little birthday party : I made cupcakes without frosting, because 99% of French people do not like the frosting, chocolate dino cookies and with the extra cupcake batter made a small cake for Guppy – with frosting. I wanted to try to make fondant so I could have some dino-cuteness on her cake, but decided at the last minute to decorate her cake with mini-dino toys that she could keep and play with.

dino cake

The cake and cupcakes are from The Joy of Vegan Baking. They come out better than any other vanilla cake/cupcake recipe I have ever made – vegan or omni. Super moist without being heavy – they raise right up!

Chocolate Dino Cookies

The cookies are also from TJOVB, the sugar cookie recipe but with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup cocao added. They were a big hit at Halloween when I made them into skeletons. Thanks again Libby for sending that cookie cutter!

What have you been up to W.I.P.-wise? Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

*This post is so long – but I had to share this! As you know, we live down the street from the castle, and so we often walk the grounds and gardens. The castle is a very popular spot for wedding photos, and ever since she was 2, whenever we see a new bride all decked out in her meringuey-poffy dress, Guppy just gets so excited and declares “It’s the princess of the castle!”. One young woman thought this was so sweet she called Guppy over and gave her a flower from her bouquet.