Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fancy French Fabric Flower, aka Rose Tutorial Translation

Scouting online for some more flower tutorials, I came across a photo of a flower I loved, and I really wanted to make it. But it turns out the blog it comes from is in French. Using Google Translate, it's hard to follow the instructions because a lot of it makes no sense. The sentence structure is all mixed up, and also what I think happens is that some of the words have multiple meanings and the wrong one is used in the translation, making a whole lot of nonsense. So I tried to redo the tutorial in English. I'm pretty much a blogging newbie, but I'm assuming this is ok to do as long as I am giving proper credit and linking back to the blog it originally came from. All photos, except for the very last one, come from the blog Les dentelles de Segolene

First, you need 9 circles of somewhat stiff (or stiffened) fabric 4" in diameter and 3 of  2.75" in diameter.

Start making the heart of the flower. Fold the smaller circles in half and pin them shut. 

Place one folded circle on top of another at a right angle, and repeat with the third circle.


Next, stick the free end of the top piece underneath the piece near it, so all the pieces overlap, like when you fold the flaps of a cardboard box, only with three flaps instead of four. This will cause the center to point up a little, forming a small hill shape. 

Now take a needle and thread and run a basting stitch all around the bottom edge of your hill, making sure to catch all of the layers of fabric as you go.

Then pull one end of the thread to tightly gather the bottom, and tuck it in towards the center, similar to when you make a fabric yo-yo.

This is how the top will look.

Knot the thread in place, cut off excess, and the bud part, or the heart, of your rose is finished. Moving on...

Take four of your large circles and fold them in half as you did with the small ones. Lay each one on top of another at a right angle, cut edges lined up, so they all overlap to form a new circle. Then gather the edge of the circle they form and tuck it in just as you did before, only don't gather quite so tightly, as seen in the photo below on the left.
 Now, in the photo on the right, we see that the folded edges of the overlapping quarters you made are folded over a little bit toward the outer edges of the flower, giving the petals some dimension. I think that these folds would hold better if they were made before the gathering stitch is sewn. This way, you could catch the fold in your stitches as you are basting for gathering so they are secure and don't open. I hope this makes sense, it's kind of hard to explain.

 .Then place this part over the center you made before, letting the center peek out a little bit from the center opening. Stitch or glue in place, taking care to place glue or stitches where they won't show.

Now, at this point you can leave it at this, or add petals to make a larger rose.

For the petals, fold the remaining circles in half. Use pins to fold the two sides of the semicircle inward, then make a little dart down the middle of it, starting from the round cut age and going about 3/4 of the way down toward the fold edge, but not all the way there, and stitch in place, as the picture shows. 

Stitch and gather lightly along the cut edge, curving the upper and outer edges inwards with the pleats and folds on the outside of the curve. Kind of like a hunchback with a sail sticking out of his back!

Overlap the petals all around the flower and stitch or glue in place. Here's how the bottom should look...

...and here's the finished rose!

You can glue a felt circle to the bottom to secure and hide all the stitching.

So cute in different fabrics!

Thank you Les dentelles de Segollene blog for the awesome photos, and I hope the instructions make it all clear and easy to follow!

And of course I had to test-drive the tutorial myself to see if it works, so here's my version. Nowhere near as pretty or neat as the one in the blogger's photos, but that I attribute to my abysmal sewing skills and possibly my poor choice of fabrics, as mine was not really stiff. And my outer petals were probably folded in too much and gathered too tight, so they are kind of narrow and it looks as if there aren't enough of them.

Also, I confess to using absolutely no pins at all during any part of this process. That's just how I roll :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Food Post: Yummy No-Bake Creamy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake in a Mug

Nothing of major craftiness here today, but I'm loving a new indulgent snack I've concocted and I just gotta talk about it. I was craving cheesecake but had neither the inclination nor the ingredients to actually bake some, so I set out to come up with something crave-worthy. What I ended up with was loosely based on this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip posted by Cyclone Mommy on Food.com, reduced to the size of my craving only with no leftovers. Here's what I did: I took my cream cheese and butter out of the fridge to let them soften for a while. I then microwaved 2 tablespoons of butter in a deep glass mug till it was melted. I added 2 ounces of cream cheese, stirred it all together till it was smooth. I had some lumps so I stuck it all back in the microwave for just a few seconds and then it came together nicely. After that, I stirred in 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar. When smooth, I added a scant 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. I let the stuff cool and then when it was no longer warm I stirred in 1/4 cup of the teeny-tiny mini chocolate chips. I let it get nice and cold in the fridge, then I grabbed a spoon and dug in. It was yum. Totally satisfied the cheesecake craving. My husband passed by, I served him a spoonful, and he stayed right there until it was all gone :). So I definitely wanna file this one away for future cheesecake emergencies. I'm thinking it would go well on a tea biscuit or maybe graham cracker stick. Or just on a spoon, like I had it. That's great too. So here's the whole recipe:

No-Bake Creamy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for One
aka First Aid for Cheesecake Cravings

2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
scant 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature. Melt butter in tall mug in microwave. Add cream cheese. Microwave again for a few seconds if too hard to blend smoothly. Add sugars and vanilla, stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature, stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate. When cold, enjoy! Try with fruit, cookies, graham crackers...