Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Our (almost) vegan week

Remember, last week I said we’ve been raising activist kids.  So this week I am presenting my Vegan boy.  Yes, your heard it write Victor is gone V E G A N… actually, it is an experiment for a month.  All started with his Environmental Studies Course and a documentary they watch in class:  Cowspiration – The film that environmental organizations don’t want you to see! (such a cheesy subtitle).  It is available on Netflix, has been produced by Leonardo di Caprio.  I haven’t finished watching it (yet), I have mixed feeling about this documentary, there are some very interesting facts but I don’t (really don’t) like the conspiracy tone of it, I found it quite catchy and to my opinion it lessen the impact of the whole thing.  However, if you are interested, you should watch it and probably read this post which summarises quite a lot of what I think.

Anyway, back to my subject, Victor, who used to be the biggest meat-eater of our family, has asked me to cook vegan while he was with us on holiday.  So here it is:

Vegan week From left to right and top to bottom
Carrots and Pumpkin soup, Tofu and Tomato salad with Sesame spinach, Lentils Kale Tomato and Avocado Mexican-ish Salad
Breakfast Fries with Polenta Salad, Tomato and Three-bean salad, Chickpeas Tomato Coriander-Potato chips Soup
Squash Risotto, Pure Vegan – where I got most of my recipe for this week, Broiled Tofu Carrots and Shiitake Mushrooms

Honestly, it hasn’t been too difficult to cook this week vegan.  What I learnt is that rather than trying to replace animal protein with something else, I just had to think our meal totally differently.  Ok, not exactly a revelation, I’ve been practicing for a while with Meat Free Monday.  However going vegan means no egg, no milk, no honey… and NO MILK in my coffee does NOT happen so it made me thinking a bit further.  Is cow milk really really bad compared to almond milk?

I read this article from the New Yorker (I love the New Yorker!)  ‘… the battle between Team Almond Milk and Team Cow Milk is surely the wrong fight. It’s monomania borne of monoculture. Our faith in the power of one ingredient—pomegranates, kale, Greek yogurt, acai—to save us, heal us, give us eternal life, perfectly mirrors our post-war cropping style: single-minded devotion to the One, and pure hatred for the Other.’

Now I can go on a long argument how human beings are the problem in general, how we are so very dam blind that we don’t do anything about anything that is bad for us...  But I suspect that you don’t come and visit my blog for this kind of talk.

Just another thought: ‘Some will argue that the measurement of gallons per pound isn't fair -- we should consider water consumed per gram of protein. In this case, pulses (including beans, lentils, peas, etc.) win out at 5 gallons per gram of protein, followed by eggs at 7.7 gal./gram, milk at 8.2 gal./gram, and chicken at 9 gal./gram. The numbers only go up from there, with beef topping the scale, requiring 29.6 gallons of water per gram of protein.’  This comes from this article from the Huffington post.

So now that Victor is back home, we are getting back to a vegetarian-flexitarian diet, trying our best to be mindful while choosing what to eat, beef hasn’t been a big part of our diet for a long time anyway.

And it is going to be party time, because I received Jamie’s latest book !


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Girl Power - raising activists

I don’t know how this happened! Actually, let me rephrase this, I think I know how this happened and still I’m surprised and impressed: it looks like we have been raising activist kids, kids with convictions and values…
Introducing Juliette – my little one, my shy one, ‘ma douce’ (my sweet one, as Victor used to call her when she was a baby)… the one who took the stand in front of her pairs during a whole school assembly because she felt the urgency to share her thoughts about last year terrorist attacks in France… And my baby has some strong convictions when it comes to feminism.  So she asked me to make her a special T-shirt for her school Home-Coming week – the theme: Heroes vs. Villains.
Girl power Ts
The concept was: a T-shirt with the feminist symbol (the fist in the feminine circle) surrounded by flowers, a bandana around her hair like the We-can-do-it girl from the war time poster, paired with her shortest skirt because no girl should be expel from school for what she wears!
Girl power Ts1
That’s my girl!
Crafty-wise, I had fun appliqu├ęd the symbol and the fussy-cut flowers on her T-shirt.  I really hope she’ll wear it again.
Next time, I’ll tell you all about my vegan boy.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

It almost felt like Fall

Yesterday evening, I rushed out with my camera – the sky and sun were in such a beautiful harmony, making everything around look so warm and fall-like.

It feels like Fall1

I love this tree by our house – mature green foliage with yellow flowers and pink new generation leafs.

It feels like Fall

Also, I spotted this extremely rare bird known as #sheisamadecookie ;)It feels like Fall2

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Have you seen all the miniswap frenzy on Instagram?  Doesn’t it look fun?  All those creative people sharing, swapping their super cute minis.  I have been tempted many times…  So I finally registered to HRminiswap, received my invitation, posted my inspiration collage and then start reading the swap requirements and rules.  Oops! It’s when I realised that HR stand for Heather Ross… and that I did not have any of her fabric… and that my partner liked the Tiger Lily line which was not due to be released until August.  I ordered some Tiger Lily and some reprints of the Far Far Away collection, and a bits and pieces.
Heather Ross swap
I worked on a few ideas – paper, pencil, ruler and colouring pens.  That was such a long time since I did something like this.  Above are the 2 designs I loved most.  I was really tempted to go with the version on the bottom right.  However, there are so many fun little characters in Heather Ross’ fabric that it would have been a shame not to fussy cut them, so I decided on the other design where the pieces are bigger and more fitting for this kind project.
Heather Ross swap1
Heather Ross swap2   Being a cat lady, and my partner said she liked the ballerina, the choice of what to fussy cut was obvious!
Heather Ross swap3
And tada! Here it is.  I liked it, loved it, and had to let it go… with a few goodies.
Heather Ross swap4
All of this was, in the end, a lot of fun, no stress and of course, the best part is receiving a mini for myself!
Look at those pretty little princesses!  Among the ‘extras’, there was this unique panel by June Herold from Quilt-ish of Cap Cod, Aurofil, Scissors pouch and needles case, and more HR fabric.  So a big THANK YOU to my partner, Jean!
Heather Ross swap5

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Addie, Aimee, Alice and 3 others

Do I really need a new projects considering the number of tops that need quilting?  The answer is NO.
Do I need a fiddly paper piecing project with tiny winy little pieces? The answer is NO.
Do I need a project that will go on for months and maybe years? The answer is NO.

So it does make sense that I have joined The Farmers Wife 1930s Quilt along, doesn’t it?

FW1930sQAL 2It is week 3 of the QAL, and so far I have managed to keep on top of this.  Two blocks a week does not seem that big an achievement! You are mistaken.  The paper piecing prep, the fabric choice, the sewing and… the removal of the paper which takes F O R E V E R… I need to find a faster, less time consuming way of doing this.  And it needs to be an economical way because I don’t feel buy more specialised paper yet.

Orlando High Nothing very original in my choice of fabrics, I’m using 1930s repro and solids.  It is what attracted me to this quilt in the first place.

Now let me introduce you to my first 6 blocks.

FW1930SQALTop row: Addie, Aimee, Alice
Bottom row: Ann, Anne, April


Initially I bought the book in order to follow the QAL, for the patterns and the instructions.  But there’s more to it. The first part of the book is a collection of letters from ‘Farm women’.  They were written between 1930 and 1939, during the recession.  The tone of the letters is quite cheerful, the idea was to boost moral. Reading between the lines, you get an idea of the life of these women in farms at the time, and recession or not, it was surely a hard time.

All of this made me think of my grandparents from my mother’s side.  Both of them were born and raised in a farm.  My grandmother always says that hers was more modern and advanced.  I can believe that: my great-grand mother ran the farm on her own, managing the day-workers.  Ma grand-mother is the 7th of 10 kids, she went to school until she was 12 at a time where farm kids would be pulled out of the class room much earlier to help (which happened to my grandfather who went to school only when he was not needed at the farm).  My grand-parents got married during the war, worked for a landlord.  My grand-mother realised that it was too difficult and that she wanted a different life for her family.  So they moved to the city where she opened a grocery shop whist my grandfather worked in a factory.  She always said that her life was better than the life of her sisters who stay in the farm.

Paper piecing1Top row
My grandmother with her siblings (sometimes in the 70s)
My great-grandmother (who I knew), my great-grandfather (who I never met, and who, according to the family legend, has been ‘kicked-out’ of the farm) and their 10 kids (my grandmother is the last one on the top row).

Bottom row
My grandparents on their wedding day during the war (1942)
My grandparents, my uncle and my mother (any opinion on those very short shorts?)
4 generations of women: my grandmother on the right (she used to have her dresses made once she moved to town), my great-grandmother, my mother and the cutie one is me.

I realise that I should speak to my grandmother and understand her life better.  In comparison, I find the letter of Mrs H.S.L., from Washington (page 82) very interesting.  I’d love to know what this lady’s life was in town to make her said that once she move to the countryside, she was ‘Happier than ever before’

…When I left town I traded my electric washer for two cows.  I have no modern conveniences, yet, as I had in town; still I am happier than I ever have been before….

I think my grandmother felt the exact opposite.