A dot story

It all started with a nice invitation from Marie Savart, a French illustrator that I’m following on Instagram:

(sorry, I didn’t succeed in displaying the image properly with the script given by Instagram, an old fashioned screen capture with a link to her post will have to do…)

She kindly offered Easter drawings to color, and suggested to use Q-tips to add paint dots on them. Okay, Q-tips are not very eco-friendly and will soon disappear, one will have to find another solution in the future, but I thought it could be an interesting and fun activity to do with my kids, especially the like one who doesn’t go to school yet. It was a nice and poetic way to prepare for the Easter week-end.

On Friday morning I printed an egg for each of my two kids and then got out Q-tips and gouache paint tubes and explained to them the point of these tools. Since my daughter had decided she wouldn’t color the rabbit I had printed for her the day before, I was happy to sit and do the activity with them on that drawing. I added paint dots behind the dancing rabbit before coloring her with pencils to go with the softness of the drawing.

I surprised myself by how fun I found it. Working with the Q-tip is quite relaxing and playful. And of course my love for dots in general probably helps. Since my children where still occupied when I finished, I ended up printing another egg for myself. I filled it with paint dots also. Turning to the ribbon, I didn’t want to color it in full with paint, but I didn’t want to use the same dots as for the egg either. I started by adding dots in a contrasting color, and then to try something different I tried to add smaller dots in various sizes. And it turned out great! I love the result. It reminds me of vintage flowery fabrics.

I then had to leave the table to make lunch, and since my daughter was very focused on her painting I didn’t have the heart to stop her. I figured it would be okay, and I went to check on her regularly. But of course at some point she didn’t have enough paint left and she decided she would refill it by herself! And of course she didn’t tell anyone, so I had the nice surprise of discovering soon after she had emptied half of the green tube on the palette… -_- As soon as lunch could be left cooking alone I tried to use some of it on other paintings to make sure we didn’t loose too much. Since I really liked the motif I had made on the ribbon and thought it would look great on a dress or skirt, I sketched a quick vintage-style dress to follow this idea. I’m not used to color roughs sketches like that but I didn’t have much choice. My husband saw it later on the table and said it was nice. I feel that the dots in this spring-like color give a very fresh look. That said, I think I like the blue ribbon better.

Dotted dress sketchSo here is my story of a morning spent playing with dots. I found it amusing how an activity suggestion for Easter turned into me designing fabric. ;) I’d like to explore this a little bit more in the future.

So what about the kids? Well, as kids do, they didn’t following the given “rules”, of course ! XD That said, they weren’t exactly rules in the first place, just and idea of something to try together. But I like how situations like this can make you rethink you position and change the way you look at things. You come with an idea of what could be good for them, but they use the tools and materials you provide to make something that’s relevant to them at that moment. And in this case, it was perfect! My intention was to spend some time together and do something fun and relaxing for everyone, while getting in the spirit for Easter. My daughter spent so much time focused on her painting, I’m sure she really enjoyed it and what she did was the thing she needed to do at that time, probably more that what I had imagined. You have to be adaptable and listen to your children, even though it’s clearly not always easy to do (or not always possible, but for activities like this it should be).

So little Miss E. quickly decided to use her Q-tip as a brush and proceeded to cover her drawing with thick layers of paint. As I hadn’t expected that, the paper I had used was way too thin for this treatment, and quickly disintegrated. Since she was desperate I printed another egg on thicker paper and she started all over again. Of course after the green paint incident she painted the whole thing green. I find it a bit sad because there were some very interesting colors underneath.

My son painted a few dots, then decided to totally fill the ribbon with color, maybe influenced by his little sister, and then to pain numbers on his eggs instead of adding dots. Since the Q-tip wasn’t a very practical tool for that, he soon asked me for one of our brushes. And of course in the end he decided to add dots around the egg, with the brush. XD

I’m also sharing the two rabbits he colored for Easter (with felt tip pens this time) because I like the colors he used. I’m often quite impressed by his colorings, he tends to make interesting color choices that work quite well together.

I hope you had a nice time last week for Easter and that you had (or are having) a nice week-en this week also. And that you can find joy and have some peaceful times despite the circumstances. Take care!

I made bread!

mini baguettes

I know, I know, sooo original. Everyone seems to  be making bread while confined these days, judging by the posts appearing in my Instagram feed and the lack of flour and yeast in the shops (which is quite annoying when you have kids who would like you to make cookies. I guess many people have kids. Or they feared they wouldn’t be able to go buy their usual bread at the backery, which isn’t happening. At least it makes a bit more sense to me than accumulating toilet paper…). In my defense I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time. The idea has been in the back of my mind for years, I was curious. Especially after I got my baking robot. But I guess I’ve been a bit lazy, it seemed complicated. And I had more important/urgent/fun things to do, my motivation wasn’t so high. I still do, I guess, but there was a real occasion today that prompted me to take the plunge.

small bread

You see, we eat bread (we’re French, right? ;p ) but not that much: we’re not like some people who eat bread at every meal. In our house it’s mainly intended for breakfast toats for Mr Robot and I, sometimes the kids too. And sometimes when the meal really calls for bread (a sauce to finish, paté, sandwiches…). Or when we have cheese that taste better with bread than without, but I love cheese so much I eat it too quickly so I don’t buy any lately. Otherwise, being home and all, I would eat all day long. XD So we tend to buy bread about once a week at our local organic store that’s perfect for morning toats but not so great for other uses. And today we had boeuf bourguignon (or beef bourguignon, as Google tells me) at noon and tarama dip for dinner, typically food that calls for a baguette rather than a soft whole wheat bread.

mini baguettes

So I decided to make bread. ;) I used a recipe that I found on the Internet, which seemed quite easy (it’s an easy baguette with no real kneading) and had great comments. I just switched a small amount of regular flour for a 5 cereal mix flour. At first I intended to use only that one, to save my regular flour for baking cakes and biscuits, but they say on the package that you can’t do that for bread. It was really impressive to see the dough doubling in volume after rising! I let it sit for more that two hours in the robot bowl, covered by a wet tea towel. The recipe mentionned that the dough was sticky and you had to put on a lot of flour on your working surface and shape it quickly. Being a real newbie at this and not used to complicated baking or cooking, I had a really hard time with the shaping! It was indeed very very sticky. I’m still not sure I managed it as I should have. That made me a bit worried about the result while I was waiting for the baking to end.

In the end though it did look and taste like bread. :) My husband really liked it, and my kids didn’t complain. As for me, I think it can be improved. It’s bread but it’s not marvelous bread. Mr Robots says that for a first try it’s good that it’s actually bread, and a bread he takes pleasure in eating on top of that. But I’m a bit disappointed by the taste, which could be better I think (although I have absolutely no idea how to achieve that) and the crust, which I feel is too thick and too dry. I’m also wondering whether they should have been fuller or not, they seem a little bit flat. That said, when we ate it with the tarama this evening the match was just perfect, it was really yummy !

mini baguette side

Here are some ideas for possible improvements, from several articles I read online:

  • Put more water when I preheat my oven, as all the water I had put this time had evaporated when I removed the bread from the oven, and I’m not sure it’s a good thing. They say the moist prevent the crust from being too thick and the bread from being too dry.
  • Put the water at the top of the oven and not the bottom as I did. I only thought of looking this up after baking and tasting the bread, it seemed obvious to me that you would put it underneath… wrong!
  • Don’t put the oven in convection mode, it turns out it’s a bad thing because it drys the bread
  • Maybe bake for a slightly shorter amount of time, because they were really small breads
  • Put less water in the dough, so that I don’t have as hard a time shaping it. I found a similar recipe with much less water (230mL instead of 300mL), and an article which suggested 70% the weight of the flour to 80%, which in my case would be between 260mL and 300mL. This other reciped was also baking the bread at a lesser temperature. I’ll have to see what I try…
  • invest in an oven plate, as with my racks the bottom has a weird shape (and it’s even worse with cookies!). Is bread usually baked on plates rather than racks? I’ve been baking all my biscuits on those racks with parchment paper and didn’t have any problems before baking chocolate-chip cookies and this bread… ^^;

baguette underside

All that leads to… making bread again! ;)

Coming back?

Am I coming back?

Maybe… I’d like to.

Spring is here!

I’ve been thinking about it on and off since I last wrote here. More than four years ago, I know… It’s hard to believe, but I know it’s been that long. It seems like yesterday. Okay, maybe not yesterday, a little bit further that that, but certainly not four years and four months and a few days more. Can I hope to do better this time? Stick to posting, even though I know I have even less free time than I had in 2016? I know I should probably write shorter posts, or maybe drop one language, but I like writing in French and at the same time being able to share with people around the globe who don’t speak French. And I like being able to express what I want, even if it means longer posts.

We’ll see… I think I’ll try it and we’ll see where it goes. Hopefully it won’t take me months (or years!) to write the next post. ;)


In the meantime, what have I been up to during those years. Not much as changed. I sewed (not as much as I’d like), I collected more sewing books, patterns, fabrics, notions and vintage magazines (probably more that I should have), I got a new job (in the same field as before), my son grew up. And I got another baby! A cute little girl, as mischevious as she’s adorable. I try to learn to care for plants instead of causing them to die. Get better at cooking to feed my family ealthy food and change our eating habits. I finaly tried tai-chi-chuan and really like it. I’m trying to get back to drawing a bit. And at the begining of the year I broke something for the first time in my life: my shoulder, and it’s not particularly fun. It’s surprising how quickly you loose your ability to move correctly and how long it takes to recover it (still a work in progress). Please be careful when you go down a staircase. But in short, like went on. ;)

Thank you for sticking with me if you read this and are still here at the end of this post. Hugs to you (virtual and from far away, of course)! I hope you’re safe and will remain so in these troubled times. And see you soon to talk about sewing, of course, but other things too!

Current sewing project