Tag Archive | roses

Roses and leopard print

Aren’t I the wild child.

On Mother’s Day, I got to go fabric shopping while Mr. Gren entertained the children at the zoo. That’s fair, right? As I looked at my shopping cart, I noticed a disproportionate amount of blue and green. What can I say? I love blue and green. And while it’s nice to have a “signature color,” I was afraid that my entire wardrobe was going to look like the same thing over and over. And what’s the point of sewing new clothes if it looks like you only have one outfit?

So I made myself branch out. I made myself choose a fabric with not a shred of blue. I guess there’s a tiny bit of green. I can’t remember the last time I wore roses. Probably the black rose-print stirrup pants I wore in 9th grade with an oversized hot pink sweater and slouchy socks. Heck yeah, 1992! Given the dubious sartorial choice of roses, I was a little uncomfortable, but I told myself that discomfort is all part of trying new things. Or reviving 20+ year old things. Now the leopard print, that’s entirely uncharted waters.


Simplicity 2690 was the pattern I used, view C — the sleeveless tunic. Although, that isn’t quite right; it forms its own little cap sleeves. Cutting out the pattern pieces was a little bit of a pain because the front bodice pieces had to be cut out one at a time. I hate when I have to do that. In this case, it was a good thing, though, because it made me think about the placement of the roses.

Bohemian rhapsody

Bohemian rhapsody

The sewing itself was not difficult at all; I got it done in one afternoon. To cinch it in under the bust, the pattern called for 1″ wide bias tape. I’ve got all kinds of bias tape on hand, but nothing that wide. So I opted for a ribbon instead. Then it wanted 3/8″ wide elastic. To me, that’s awfully wide for something that’s not on the waist, so I went with 1/2″ Also, that’s what I had. I sew a little bit the same way that I cook. No oregano? Use basil! Not quite the right notions? Let’s see what else I have around here!


And when it was all done…

My gosh, I am fantastically white.

My gosh, I am fantastically white.

I was quite pleased with the result. It’s quilting cotton, so it does hang a bit stiff, but it is comfortable. And I think I ended up with a cute top.




Roses and leggings, together again. We’ll be keeping the roses up top this time around, though.

French Friday #34: A little bit of perfection

Just a short walk from our apartment building in Rueil, was a lovely little park called the Parc de l’Amitié — Friendship Park. As far as I could tell, the only reason it was named that was because there was a sign in the center of the park listing “sister cities” of Rueil in different countries. Fair enough. As I entered the gate on the east side of the park, a meandering little sidewalk took me around the periphery, lined with the most beautifully-scented plants. I’m no botanist, so I have no idea what they were, unfortunately, but they smelled heavenly. I loved to take my time walking down that path, with multiple prolonged pauses just to inhale. I probably would have stood out there longer if I didn’t think people would start wondering about me. The eastern end of the park had several benches stationed near the path and a gentle hill in the middle with a few shade trees. It was a wonderful place to sit and enjoy a sunny day (especially if everyone else was at work).

Parc de l'Amitié, Rueil-Malmaison

Near the center of the park, the path split around a large rock. The path on the right led up to a poorly-maintained Japanese rock garden. Partially enclosed, it mostly served as a giant ash tray for the teenagers who liked to make out on the benches. Best avoided. But the path to the left of the large rock wound through some large, fragrant bushes (I really need to find out what’s planted there) and up to a little pond spanned by a steep yet charmingly perfect little red bridge. I loved that bridge. It seemed as though hardly anyone lingered there, so often I could sit and daydream by myself.

I want to live there.

Even though I felt as if I could stay there all day, there was more to the park just waiting to be enjoyed. Continuing on down the path, I’d find myself in a great lawn of daffodils. At that point, I could no longer resist — I’d kick off my sandals and walk in the cool, lush grass. Once I found a spot not overly-occupied by daffodils, I’d plop down and try to soak in the soft breeze, the warm sun, the beauty of the flowers all around me and their scents…

Just across from the daffodil lawn was the rose garden with over fifty varieties. A walk through that end of the park in summertime was truly a treat. Beyond the rose garden was the local music conservatory. The location couldn’t have been better. On warm days, the students would crack the windows of their practice rooms. Gentle strains of a violin, flute, or piano would drift down across the blooms, swirl around me in the soft breeze, and then drift away with the perfume of the flowers. It really doesn’t get more perfect than that.

(Please don’t use any photos without permission)

Tag! I’m it.

Along with three other people.

My friend, Elle, over at Erratic Project Junkie tagged me in a little blog game and I figured it would be a fun little departure from the same ol’ same ol’. It’s similar to the kinds of memes you see on emails. Here goes.

1. Favorite color?

Green, hands down. It always has been, maybe because my eyes are green? Who knows. I like just about any shade of green except when it starts to veer into chartreuse territory. And if you ever wondered where we got that word to describe blinding yellow-green, this is why. (And, as a side note, I got to try some chartreuse while living in Grenoble and also visited the Caves de la Chartreuse. To my unrefined 20 year old palate, it tasted like dandelions. But who knows, maybe it would be better now. Still not a big fan of the color).

2. Favorite animal?

You’d probably guess frogs, wouldn’t you? But, you’d be wrong. While I do love frogs, horses have always been my favorite animal. I’ve always loved the elegance and gracefulness of a horse combined with strength and spirit. I used to fill up sketchbooks drawing horses. I should draw one for the blog sometime.

3. Favorite number?

This is one of those “favorites” that has always eluded me. Perhaps because of my overarching hatred of math? I’ve never been able to settle on a number that I favor more than any other.

4. Favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink?

Not chartreuse. A good Côtes du Rhône. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier to find here in the States; unfortunately, it still costs more than it should.

Non-alcoholic: Well, truth be told, I drink a lot of water. I like “fun” beverages every now and then, but prefer water most of the time.

5. Facebook or Twitter?

If you don’t have a phone, what’s the point of Twitter? Facebook wins in this stand-off.

6. Your passions?

I’m going to assume that this means outside of all the obvious stuff like family, etc. So passion #1, put succinctly, is creating. The medium or method may change, the skill level may vary, but if I’m making something, I’m happy. Sometimes it’s merely to see if I can do it. Sometimes it’s for the pleasure of having something new. Sometimes it’s for the pleasure of seeing someone else enjoy the final product. Other passions…#2 I suppose you could say learning. My mom used to call it “intense phases of interest.” I guess that’s valid. Something catches my interest and then I go all Short Circuit. I must absorb all the information I can about a subject until either a) I run out of resources or b) I finally get bored of it. I’m emerging from my latest phase focused on the Trojan War. Go ahead. Quiz me. #3 Also, of course, all things French.

7. Your wishlist for this month?

World peace and save the whales and oh yeah, That somebody would hire my husband!! It would also be nice if my etsy store emptied out. Spread the word.

8. Favorite pattern?

Ah, here we see the French influence on my life.




Obviously, I couldn’t wear any of that unless I wanted to look like drapery; they’re all definitely more suited for home decor. Hm. Maybe someday I’ll do up a room with each of those patterns. That Provençal is already destine for my kitchen.
9. Favorite day of the week?

Well, since Mr. Gren has been unemployed (going on 7 months now), all the days are pretty much the same. I guess my favorite day is any day I get to be in my sewing room.

10. Favorite flowers?

I’m a cliche. I love roses. Not because I’m unoriginal or unimaginative. I just really love roses. In high school, I checked out all kinds of gardening books from the library  and read up on all the varieties of roses and sketched out my future rose garden (yes, high school. Refer back to question #6). I don’t believe I have that sketch anymore, but I’m still wishing for a rose garden. The colors, the beauty, the scent… ahhh.

Thanks, Elle, for letting me play and giving me some easy fodder for a post! And if “Erratic Project Junkie” sounds like your M.O., you should go check her out. In addition to some great scrapbooking layouts, she also has a running saga on her psychopathic neighbor which is hilarious!