W.I.P. Wednesday – Sewing & Sowing…

Hi kids!  I’ve missed you, really I have, and I’ve been thinking of most of you (well, not you lurkers since I don’t know who you are) whilst playing in my garden.  I think my vegetable plot and garden have become the most cared-for of “works in progress” around the Fish household.  I will share a full-on garden-nerd post soon, but this post is really about getting you caught up on a few crafts I have managed to pull off…a little sewing in between the sowing, if you will…

When last we “W.I.P.”ed together I told you about the cloth napkin I was making for Guppy which was going to double as a doudou.  I’m thrilled to say that it was a success with both Guppy, who loves it and uses it for sadness-free lunches at the school cafeteria, and also with the school’s auxiliary staff who are thankful it’s so easy to recognise and has her name embroidered on it (making noon-time napkin identification much easier for them!).  The pink cotton side is from one of Guppy’s receiving blankets, and the cotton canvas fabric was a gift from a good friend, so lots of great lovey-vibes went into the making of this napkin.

This was my first embroidery project that was to get so much use, and I admit I was a wee bit concerned about it initially.  It’s been washed loads of times so far, however, and has stood the test of abuse just fine.  The only bit that’s been wonky is the, for lack of a better word, “slishy” blue floss I used for the poodle.  I don’t think I’m going to be using this floss for anything in the near future as it just keeps slishing and sliding itself untied and I end up with a few sloppy stitches after the wash, but it seems to be fixed now.

The other project of interest was these little heart pins Guppy and I made for her teachers and the staff at her school :

Guppy picked the colours for the fabric and the embroidery floss, assembled the halves, and I did the stitching.  I found these adorable checked wax-paper bags in my workshop – I wish so much I could remember where they came from because I want more! – and we put a giant heart-shaped vegan sugar cookie with lemon icing and heart sprinkles in each bag, delivered with each heart pin.  They were the perfect fit, and made giving a sugar cookie a little more elegant, really.  I mean, sugar cookies are classy, but that just added a little touch of professionalism to the deal.

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.

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 : Basic Unlined Felt Stocking

The big count-down is on, kids, and if you’re like me, you’ve still got gifts to make and cookies to bake.  I was working on this relatively easy, unlined felt stocking today and thought I’d share this idea with you.  Depending on how fast you embroider and sew, this can be a very quick project.

These were for Guppy’s teachers this year.  I didn’t think to take a picture until we were leaving for school, hence the horrible lighting in the pre-dawn hours of 8:30am!  You can hardly make them out, but there are snow flakes above the trees…

You’ll need :

  • Vegan felt.  I used the vegan felt made from recycled plastic bottles I’ve blogged about before.
  • Embroidery Floss & Needle
  • Pencil or something to trace your pattern on.
  • Christmas stocking to use as a model (if you don’t have a stocking at home, just free-hand it or google it, there are lots of them out there).
  • Scissors, thread and optional sewing machine (you can hand sew this quickly).

1) Start by tracing your stocking shape onto your felt.  The quickest way to do it is to line up your two pieces of felt back to back, or fold a larger piece in two, then pin together.  That way you’ll only be cutting once.

2) Once you’ve cut out your felt, you’ll want to draw a little something on it to embroider.  If you’re in a hurry (it is 3 days to Christmas) try to make your design rather simple.  I just free-hand using a fat pencil.  If this scares you (it did me the first time) practice a few times on a piece of paper first.

I just free-handed this little elf girl, see the minimalist lines, etc. She’s not done, yet – I still need to give her a smile!  Snowmen, Christmas trees, etc. work well here as they require few details yet still look lovely.

3) Embroider!  Some people prefer sewing first, then doing the embroidery, but I find that because there isn’t much room to move inside the stocking it’s easier to embroider first, then sew. Look at the “How To” section at the top of the page for tutorials on basic embroidery, or again, google it.  There are many helpful videos on YouTube, too.  I just used a basic split-stitch for most of this little elf, but do what is easiest for you.

4) If the idea of embroidery scares you, just add a few appliqués.  Follow the technique for the Basic Holiday Ornaments to get fun shapes, then handsew them onto your stocking – just be sure to allow for a seam allowance, or your adorable shapes will be swallowed by the seams! Aaak!

5) Fold over the opening of your two halves to finish them off and give them a nice, finished seam.  The best is to fold over once, then fold over again so the raw edge is tucked up nicely.  The amount is up to you, just be sure it’s not too bulky and that it’s the same on both halves.  Sew them up with your machine (faster) or by hand (not terribly slow, if you’re only making one stocking).

6) Now it’s time to sew the two halves of your stocking together.  Pin them right sides together, like so :

Now just sew along the edge, giving yourself about a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and turn inside out! You might also want to add a little bit of ribbon to the top for hanging, or embellish with ribbons, etc.

I don’t actually have a finished picture of this one as I should be sewing it rather than writing a blog post about it, but to see a finished one, just again refer to the first photo in this post!  Hopefully this one will be sewn up and stuffed with goodies before next year…

Do you have any ideas for quick, last-minute gift ideas?  Just remember, it’s ok.  No matter what you’ve made or who you’ve made it for, it really is the thought that counts, no matter how trite that sounds.

W.I.P. Wednesday will be back next year!  It’s going to be an exciting year, and there will much going on.  I can’t wait!

Sewing Basic Holiday Ornaments Step By Step : W.I.P. Wednesday

Last week I blogged about the famous “Cookie Cutter” ornaments I make every holiday season, and about how quick and easy they are to make.  Then, after an email and a few comments it dawned on me that easy is a rather subjective word.  For someone who has never tried to thread a needle or tried to sew (gasp!) for fun, well, not so much.

If you’ve got sewing experience then this post will probably bore you, but if you’ve got pointers or URLs with other more basic holiday projects to share in the comments section, please do.

So let’s sew up an ornament together!  It’ll be fun, promise.  You’ll need a few basic things to get started, things you may already have around the house!

What you’ll need :

  • Cookie cutters or other shapes you can trace as patterns, unless you’re going to free-hand your drawing, which is also fun, especially if working with little kids who love seeing their drawings “come to life”.
  • Sharp scissors
  • Thread – So many choices!  Cotton thread, or thicker, more durable craft thread, embroidery thread (you’ll want to use about 2 or 3 strands) or even some thin cotton yarn.  I have also used very thin satin ribbon which is pretty, too.
  • Fabric – Before you run out to buy some, or think you can’t give the project a go because you haven’t any, just stop.  You can use nearly anything!  A re-purposed dish towel, the sleeve of a torn cotton shirt, bits from a stained table cloth, etc.  You can also use heavier craft paper – it looks lovely sewn.
  • A needle for sewing and some pins to hold your fabric together.  In a pinch you can use tape to keep the pieces together, and even paper clips.

Get your fabric and fold it in half, with the right sides together.  This just means that the side of the fabric you’d like to see once your decoration is done faces the inside for now.

See what I mean?  The red-checks are facing in and the boring backing is facing out.  Perfect for drawing or tracing on.  Because we make a few new decorations every year, they are like little snap-shots of the past.  We love dinos, so we make a few each year.  If your child (or husband) likes super heroes, try a cape with an S on it, or maybe an outline of a car.  Don’t worry about it not being traditional!  I still need to make a zombie for Monsieur Fish, because that’s what he loves, but haven’t got it worked out yet.

Once you’ve traced, pin the fabric together and cut it out, going through both layers of cloth.

Now put the wrong sides together, right sides facing out, and pin to secure.  Ready to sew?  First, let’s look at your needles…

Notice how the top needle has a rather large eye and a blunt end?  That’s an embroidery needle, so it can handle thicker threads, embroidery thread, yarn and ribbon.  The tinner, sharper needle will work with cotton or nylon thread. Let’s thread your needle!

You want to have a workable length of thread, not too long or it’ll get tangled up, too short, and you’ll be re-threading often.  About from your hand to your elbow is a good size I think.  If you’re using regular cotton thread, just feed one end through the eye of the needle, then bring it to meet the other end so you’ve got a double-layer of thread (more sturdy).  If using embroidery thread, take two or three strands, feed one end through the needle and pull to about half-way the total length, then knot the long end.  It’s already sturdy enough so you don’t need to double up.

For your first stitch, you’ll begin going from the inside of your “sandwich” of fabric from the wrong side of one piece to its right side (meaning outside the dino here).  Gently pull until the knot is against the fabric, and tuck in or carefully trim any little tails that are left.  We’re going to do a straight stitch here, but to make things even easier, think of it as an in and out stitch. You just bring the needle through from one side to the other, all the way around your shape.  Stop a bit before getting all the way around to stuff it if you’d like.  You can use scrap yarn and thread, or cotton or nylon batting. Then sew up the hole and tie a knot to secure.

I hope this is helpful, and inspires you to make a few ornaments for your tree or window or potted plant or whatever.  The tutorial for the Felt Doughnuts may also be helpful for you, too.  They also make cute decorations for you tree, Jeni Treehugger says so herself!

Here are a few flashed-out examples of other shapes to try…


W.I.P. Wednesday on Thursday & We have our winners!

The lack of light has been reeking havoc on my photos, and I know many of you can relate.  I had a great post prepared for making holiday ornaments and decorations, but didn’t get to shoot it properly, so that’ll be for next week, and hopefully on Wednesday.  Whatevers.

I’ve blogged about these ridiculously easy felt ornaments before.  You just use your favourite cookie cutter (or anything) and use it to trace your desired shape onto your chosen fabric and sew it up.  Tah-da!

But you don’t so much care about that – you want the winners!  I’m not offended and totally understand.

The winner for the chocolate bar post was number 5, and for the tea it was 20.  You’ll just have to believe me folks, I still don’t know how to take a still of the random number thingy.

Jojo of Vegan In Brighton will be sent some a dark chocolate with quinoa (so good!) and Fanny from Vegan Up North is getting some tea.  Which kind? I’ll decide!  Ladies, would you be so kind as to email me at fishbowlmusings (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll get your goodies off to you soon.


W.I.P. Wednesday : Meow! Halloween Kitties!

Let’s just pretend it’s Wednesday, ok? Great!

This is one of those too-easy-to-publish crafts, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes we forget that simple can be cute and fun. It’s two-dimensional, so there’s not messing with gussets – just cut two matching pieces of fabric and sew them together. Ta-da!

Guppy and I sat down to make some Halloween Black Cats together, and the entire project took about 45 minutes from start to finish, meaning : finding the fabric, drawing a template, cutting fabric and stitching up. If there hadn’t been interruptions like the telephone ringing, taking the dog out and gluing more googly eyes on yet even more Halloween Felties, it could have been done in an easy 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many Halloween Kitties you wanted to make.

I just drew a basic silhouette of a kitty head, and used a simple ribbon for the tail. I cut out diamond eyes from felt, but you could embroider yours – or get more elaborate with a nose, mouth and whiskers.

Your Halloween Kitty needs a Kitty friend! Make many!

There’s still time to whip up a few Halloween decorations! 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 Thursday) : Easter Projects

A day late, but not short on crafty ideas in this week’s installment of W.I.P. Wednesday.

I can’t believe Easter is just around the corner.  At our house Easter is celebrated as marking the Spring Solstice and the promise of new life and new beginnings.  Vegan chocolate a plenty in the baskets, and usually some bunny love for our daughter, Guppy.

This year I’m much busier with work that I have been in years past, but I don’t want that to get in the way of my making something special for the baskets this year. Last year’s bunny is still one of her favourites, and I’ve since made a few for other people. She also still plays with these bunnies from two years ago, one of my first attempts at sewing anything, especially a toy.

Inspiration abounds on the Internet, and these projects featured on The Purl Bee have really caught my attention. I’m not sure which I’ll have time to put together, but I thought I’d share my “Project To-Do” list with you. The following photos are all from the The Purl Bee site, and they’ll lead you to the project posts.

These Bunny Finger Puppets are just adorable! I love that they’re quick and small, just like a bunny I guess.  I’ve still got some vegan felt left, so I’ve no excuses.

These Best Bunnies would be just perfect for my 1.5 year-old niece. With its reversible/double face, it’s like having two bunnies in one. This would be a great project to use up  bits from other sewing ventures as well.  Start here with Materials and Notes if you’d like to make one, and follow the links to complete your bunny.

Have you got any Easter projects you’d like to share? Ideas are always more than welcome, just leave a link in the comments section.

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 : Meet September’s Featured Wipster, Michelle


Happy September everyone! I love this time of year : crisp, bright mornings, bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, carefully laid-out clothes for the first day of school…and especially all the crafty projects the autumn and the fast approaching winter holidays promise to inspire.

After a brief summer break, I’m truly happy to ring in the new school year (well, for the Northern Hemisphere anyway!) by presenting our September Featured Wipster, Michelle, who blogs at Living Slowly. Her beautiful contributions to the W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr group caught my eye, and I just had to share her talents with everyone! Here’s a little about Michelle, in her own words:

I think the desire to create runs in my family. My grandfather was a very talented carpenter and my mother spent much of my childhood sewing and crocheting things for my siblings and me.

beachblanket3Recycled Patchwork Beach Blanket

For me, creating art and crafting has been something I have enjoyed my entire life. Even in elementary school, art was my favorite class. I fondly remember walking through the isles of the storage room in my art class looking at all the supplies and being excited by the endless possibilities of what they could become.

I learned to hand sew as a Girl Scout Brownie and learned to use a sewing machine in middle school Home Economics class. To my amazement, I remembered the skills I learned as a girl when I returned to sewing many years later in college.

I don’t really recall what prompted my urge to learn knitting five years ago, but once I figured it out I was addicted. Knitting is so meditative and very calming for my mind which always seems to be going in too many directions at once. Knitting is my therapy.


As unoriginal as it may sound, my biggest source of inspiration truly has been my children. Crafting has taken on a new meaning since they were born. Being able to give them items that I have made by hand and filled with love brings me so much joy. Now that my son is talking, I can hear first hand his excitement when I give him something I made. That certainly fuels my desire to make crafting a daily part of our lives and to share my love of art with them.
5 Fun Facts About Michelle:

1) My first (and only so far) bungee jumping experience was in Queenstown, New Zealand. I jumped off the The Kawarau Bridge. It was the biggest adrenaline rush ever and I would love to do it again some day.
2) I have two tattoos. I have an ouroboros on my inner right wrist and Lola Bunny (Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend in the movie Space Jam) on my lower back.
3) I am the second oldest of six kids. I have three younger sisters and two brothers. I love being part of a big family.
4) Reading is a hobby I have always enjoyed, but since having kids have had little time for. As a child, The Little House series was my favorite. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls so badly. My most recent read was the Twilight series and loved it. Team Edward for me!
5) I graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. Attending R.I.S.D. was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The school is so full of creative energy. If could be a permanent college student, I certainly would. Being able to spend my day throwing pots, playing with the letterpress machine, painting, sewing and photographing it all sounds like heaven.

Thanks so much to Michelle for taking the time to hang out with us at the Fishbowl! Do you have a favourite creative blogger you’d like to see featured next month? Remember, whatever your medium, we would love to see what you’re up to.

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works for Autumn, or even, gasp!,  the holidays? 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 : Sewing Childrens Pants, A Tutoral


At long last…I know I said I’d post this forever ago, but did you know that the most cutting-edge scientific research suggests that time is elastic, not linear, so really, this post is right on time!

This is so easy to do that I feel a little silly writing up a tutorial post on how to sew a basic pair of children’s elastic waist pants…but the thing is, that even though I find it all so obvious now, I sure didn’t the first time I had an inkling to sew the Guppy a pair of pants all by myself! If there’s one thing I have learned from 6 years of studying literature, it’s “deconstructing” – taking it apart, to better see how it’s put together. That’s basically what I did with a pair of Guppy’s too small/too stained pants one day, and it all became clear…not the meaning of life mind you, just how to put together a quickie but nice pair of pants for a little one.

So here we go : pretty please let me know if anything is unclear, or if you’re an experienced stitcher and have any shortcuts or suggestions – I’d love to add them to the post.

Please keep in mind that this technique will work well for children up to about a size 4 to 6ish – because it’s an elastic waist and there isn’t any real curve to the legs it could get clumpy and get wonky in a larger size. That being said Guppy (age 4)  is now wearing size 6 pants but she’s a tall, skinny fish, so it’s still working out just fine for us.


  • Fabric for the new pair of pants. Be sure to pre-shrink it (wash, dry & press)
  • A pair of pants that currently fit the child in question
  • Aprox. 1/2″ wide elastic for the waist & the child’s waist measurement
  • pins, thread, a chopstick or bobkin, masking tape, etc.
  • Some groovy music in the background.
  • “right side” has nothing to do with Republicans, the UMP or The Force. It means the printed side of your fabric. When I say “wrong side”, it just means the inside of your fabric, basically what your knees look at all day.


Fold the pair of pants in half length-wise (so the back pockets are touching) and lie them on your chosen material (which has been folded in half, right sides together.) You can either trace a line around the pants here, or just pin them. Then carefully cut out your fabric. If you’d like the pants to be longer or wider, cut/draw accordingly. Don’t forget to add a little extra fabric for your seam allowance. I’m pretty conservative (nervous about messing up) so I tend to go large on the allowance, about a quarter to a half an inch. I’d rather leave more and trim it off later. You’ll need to leave a good 1.5inch allowance for the waist (you’ll be folding that down to insert your elastic!).

Now do it again. In the end you should end up with 4 pieces that look something like this :


I know, bang-up brilliant photographing stripes on stripes. Please, call the fashion police on me right now!


Now take two of your four pieces and match them up, right sides together so they look like one piece. Here’s what they would look like right before matching them up:


Now flop those babies together and your going to sew from the crotch (I know, you hate that word, but that’s life kids) to what will be your waistband. When you’re done it should look like this :


See how it looks like a half of a pair of pants already? Nifty, huh? Now you go and do the very same thing with the remaining two pieces of your pants-puzzle. When you’re done, match up the two pieces (which once were four…it’s all about unity here people), right sides together, like so:


Now, if you have really good vision or a very big screen, you can see that the insides of the legs have been pinned together. I suggest sewing up one side of one of the legs, bridging the crotch (meaning keeping sewing joining/across the crotch), then sewing down the other leg. Now go plug in your iron.

If you’re freaking out because nothing seems to be matching up just take a breath – it’s ok. Use your waist as a guide and keep that as even as you can – uneven leg lengths can be fixed easily at the end, and even leg widths can be easily fixed by moving your seam in or out a little. These are elastic-waisted kids pants – little mistakes aren’t going to show, and you’ll be a pro by your second or third pair so don’t sweat it!

Have you sewn up the insides of the legs? Good, now sew the outsides. See how easy that was? Now let’s finish these babies up by working on the waist. Fold it down about 1/2″, iron your fold quickly to keep things neat, then fold down again 1/2″ and iron again. Now pin. You could probably fold down a little less here, but I like to use 1/2″ wide elastic for my waist, so this is what works for me.


Next you’re going to sew around the waistband, with about a 1/8th seam allowance, being sure to remember to leave a few inches (or centimeters, whatever) for you to insert the elastic. This is very important that’s why it’s in bold! It’s easy to forget to do this when you’re phone is ringing and your daughter is singing “Hallo Spaceboy”* at the top of her lungs next to you (and she only knows the refrain). Or whatever. Just don’t forget, or keep a seam ripper handy. Or both.

This is what we’re going for :



Grab your chopstick (unless you have a bodkin, then you’re just lucky I guess) and place the elastic on one end, like, ahem, a helmetish. Then put masking tape over that, giving it a sort of “rocket ship” type of look. It would be so much easier to describe this if I had a broom handle and this was sex-ed, but it’s not, so just look at the picture :


Now just insert this into one side of your waistband and run it through, feeding as you go. Don’t forget to fix the stray end of elastic or it’ll finish in there with everything else. Go nice and slow here because you don’t want your elastic to get all twisty in there. Once you’ve fed it through, sew the ends of the elastic together, overlapping them for strength. I usually sew back and forth a few times. Then close the little gap you left, being careful not to catch the elastic in your stitches.


And here you go, a very snazzy pair of cotton/linen blend pants made from gifted fabric from the SIL. Wish I had enough to make a pair for me! And yes, that is a huge, ugly, black thread hanging from the leg because I haven’t sewn the hems on the legs yet! I made these while Guppy was napping, and tomorrow I’ll have her try them on and adjust the length. For the final leg hem just fold like you did for the waist : fold once, then iron, then fold again. How much? Depends. If you want a more mod cuff you could fold and inch or more, really.

I hope you were able to follow along and do hope you give it a shot. It is so easy, and really doesn’t use much fabric, especially for wee ones under 3. Again, comment or email if you have a question – and send me a link if you give it a try!

A warm welcome to all our new Wipsters! If you’d like to join the Wipster list, just send me an email. The W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool just keeps growing – don’t be shy! Those photos are there to inspire, and we would love to see what you’ve been up to. Think of it as your parents’ fridge : a safe and loving place to highligh what you’ve been working on (without the strawberry jam stains on the door).


*Is it just me or is David Bowie getting even sexier? I really need to work him into W.I.P. Wednesday more often. So glad Guppy has good taste in music!

W.I.P. Wednesday : “Les ouvrages du jardin des modes”


I’m in a rather slumpy place…I just can’t seem to begin any of the new projects I was excited about, let alone finish the W.I.Ps I’d hoped to complete during my summer holidays.

One of the best remedies to such a creative block is to surround myself with beauty and creativity. Spending time in the forest with Guppy does help, as does flipping through some of my favourite art and craft books. I’ve been particularly enjoying this one, Les ouvrages du jardin des modes, and I thought I’d share a little of it with you.

les ouvrages du jardin des modes

This book was a 3 Euro thrift store find I happened upon during my Winter holiday in Toulouse. I was still hobbling around on crutches, but I did manage to convince my SIL to take me op-shopping, and was so glad I did. This beautiful book is a sort of cataloguing of the different project techniques that had been featured over (I think) a six-year period by Jardin des Modes. It features many techniques including : tapestry, embroidery, smocking, patchwork, embroidery-mosaics, Portuguese tapestries, and so much more. It briefly traces the historical roots of many of these techniques and gives cursory explanations. I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking. I hope you enjoy!

Les smocks (smocking)

I think the section on smocking is my favourite.

Des patchworks modernes

Watercolour examples of patchwork motifs – so beautiful!

Les Pissenlits du "Les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

A beautiful Italian tablecloth : linen with embroidered dandilions.

Les Pivoines du "les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

These pionies look like watercolours, and the stitches look like brushtrokes.

"Les jeux de fonds" du livre "les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

Various stitching techniques…

"Les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

A bright and cheery Swedish horse.

This book is just absolutely lovely, and has so many wonderful photos and drawings. I wish I could share all of it with you, but obviously can’t for copyright reasons. I hope you liked this little sneak peek, though.

Have you stumbled upon any new sources of inspiration? I’d love to hear about what’s inspiring you. Also, 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! I’m also getting our Featured Wipsters lined up for the Autumn, with September ushering in the newest Featured Wipster.