Friday, January 28, 2011

Japanese smock

Browsing book shops in Japan

I bought a couple of sewing books on my quick trip to Japan last month. It was difficult to decide which ones to buy, there were several shelves of books to pick from!

Japanese sewing books

My decision to buy the ones I finally chose was influenced by the many lovely creations I have come across online. Most of the patterns in these books have clean lines and are minimalist, which I find very appealing.

Adult Couture Dress & Smock Blouse

I picked Smock no. 21 from the Adult Couture Dress and Smock Blouse book (yes, it translates to a rather odd title in English) as my first project. I don't read Japanese but the drawings provided sufficient direction.

Japanese smock: #21

I traced out a size 7 but took in an inch or so at the sides, and left out the ties in the front.

Japanese smock: #21

I've never sewed with any material other than cotton and (occasionally) silk, so my fabric selection stays pretty limited in the winter months. I used a lovely cotton kalamkari from in India, not at all suitable for winter, but I wear it over a wool turtle neck top, which works pretty well. I'm hoping to try my hand at sewing with other materials soon.

One last photograph of me taken by mon marie at the Musée de la chasse et de la Nature in front of a forest made out of corrugated board!

Japanese smock: #21

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Raw oysters from Normandy with lemon and shallot vinaigrette.


Pascal Beillevaire butter
One of my favourites: Pascal Beillevaire demi-sel beurre.

Mid-morning snack: basilic chèvre on pain de campagne.

Mont D'Or
Deliciously smelly: Mont D'Or

Chana masala
Spicy chana masala for those particularly cold days.

Quick dinner
Creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with Swiss chard and a poached egg, inspired by Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Basil, beef and vegetable stir fry
Basil, beef and vegetable stir fry

Peanut butter cookies
Peanut butter cookies from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On my mind

  1. This past Sunday was the sunniest day we've had in the last three and a half months. We took advantage along with hundreds of Parisians. We ate lunch in a park, walked a lot, and closed the day with a run. It was fun to see everyone come out and enjoy the weather but it also makes me treasure the grey-er days, when I have the sidewalk café tables to myself. Mostly.
  2. I had the best confit de canard on Tuesday. I didn't even know that I like duck. Maybe it was all the butter it was cooked in. And the garlic. Yum.
  3. Our apartment is beginning to smell of cheese. At first I thought it was only the refrigerator, but now I'm certain the aroma of ripe cheese is taking over. Honestly, I don't really mind. For now.
  4. I made Khao Soi last night. I had fallen for it the first time I'd tasted it in northern Thailand: spicy, creamy coconut curry, with egg noodles. What's not to like? Except that I substituted spagetti for egg noodles. Blasphemous, I know, but I didn't have any at hand. Nevertheless, it was delicious! I'll be making it again. With egg noodles.
  5. I hope to spend some time sewing today. I've made a couple of shirts, but have yet to write about them. Right now, I'm working on a project that is turing out way too large for me. More about that later.
Enjoy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Red tweed beret

You sure do see a lot of berets in Paris, although I've noticed that people here don't wear knit hats much. If they do, their hats are mostly slouchy, and they are saved for the coldest of days.

Red Tweed Beret

I have been guilty of enjoying my red beret for the last two months without posting about it. We even had the sun peek out of the clouds for a few minutes back in November, long enough to take a few photographs.

I used the Tweed Beret pattern by Kirsten Tendyke from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits, and a little over one ball of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran. I haven't yet blocked it, so I'm not sure if it will grow or shrink, but for now, it's perfect.

Red tweed beret

It sits nicely on the top of my head, doesn't slide down over my eyes, and the knitted fabric stays pouffy and beret-like.

Red tweed beret in the city

I'm unintentionally wearing three hand knit items in this photo - my beret, a knit scarf (to be blogged), and my hoodie-less Central Park Hoodie (knit before I started this blog).

I'll leave you with one last photo, where I follow a fellow red beret wearer up the stairs. In case you are wondering, hers was not hand knit.

Chasing another red beret

Thanks to my husband for taking the photographs!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bonne année

I closed the year with a quick trip to Japan,


with buying lots of sweets from a confiserie, and enjoying them with my husband,

Christmas goodies

wandering the boulevards and rues of Paris and taking in the festive lights,

Christmas eve in Paris

Christmas eve in Paris

decorating a teeny, tiny tree with handmade ornaments, and cooking up a big feast.

Christmas Dinner

Pear Tart

We brought in the New Year with champagne, and then, more wanderings about town,

Tour Eiffel

with visits to museums,


and cat sitting for a friend,

Cat sitting

waiting patiently in queue for a baguette at our neighbourhood boulangerie,


and cooking, and eating some more.

Moules marinere


Here hoping the New Year brings health, wealth, and happiness. Bonne année, mes amis!