Friday, April 8, 2011

Ballet Inspired Designs

I've always loved the ballet. The Sleeping Beauty inspired me to make these lovely little accessories. The ballet slippers I bought from a dance store in Paris called Repetto. To embellish them I sewed pink tulle rosettes over vintage rhinestone pins. Then I cut a pelt of rabbit fur from the craft store to line the insides and make them extra warm for my cold hardwood floors. To make the fur stole I took apart a pink fox fur sweater and sewed a silk back on the fur to create a scarf of sorts. I pin it with my favorite rhinestone bow brooch from Eisenberg 1930s found at a local antique store. To add glamour to my hair I bought a quality hair clip and glued vintage earrings to the front using a clear craft glue made for metal. My little pink tulle evening bag is a Louboutin inspired confection. I sewed layers of tulle around a silver satin bag to give it a tutu vibe. To finish the top I glued rhinestones and a bow pin for a touch of girly sparkle. Now I feel ready to pirouette around my house in my slippers and fluff. It's fun to be a girl. Hope this inspires you to get out your needle and thread and a little glue.

The Rose Garden at L'Hay-les-Roses Paris

Undoubtedly the most beautiful rose garden in the world, L'Hay-les Roses was created in 1899 by Jules Gravereaux and restored in 1939 just outside of paris in Val-du-Marne. It houses an ancient collection of rare roses, 85% of the 16,000 plants were created before 1950. The fragrance is spectacular as you can well imagine. These photos are taken in mid June when the roses are in full bloom. It is a glorious sight to behold and the primary reason I went to visit Paris in the first place. I collect pink moss roses which are very old and a bit hard to find but have a strong fragrance and beautiful form.

French Pastry Shop Kitchen Makeover

After indulging in as many Parisienne Patisseries (French pastry shops) as humanly possible, I decided to redecorate my kitchen to remind me of my delicious experience. First I painted the walls white with a pale pink border around the top. Next I painted my cabinets black. Then I painted the breakfast nook pale pink as well. I sewed the Austrian balloon shades out of pink chiffon and hung them in the breakfast nook. I added an iron bistro set and a french desk to act as a small buffet. I found the wooden letters at Micheal's Craft store and spelled out Patisserie. I painted them black to match my cabinets and trimmed them in gold. Then I bought the filigree wall art and roses from the thrift store and painted them black and gold as well. The fleur de lis black tiles were from JoAnn Fabric and remind me of Sid Dickens tiles. I hung a little french chalk board to draw pictures on or write grocery shopping lists next to the refridgerator. I bought black chandelier shades and pink crystals for the chandelier and hung a gold reproduction mirror from Ross to reflect the light above my stove. Then I bought fake chocolate bon bons, cakes and tarts to display on cakes plates under cloches. I made pink and black labes for each item and wrote them in French. Voila! My own little slice of Paris. To celebrate my new kitchen I made Illy espresso cappuccino and Martha Stewarts Rose-water Madeleines.

Recipe for Rose-water Madeleines from Martha Stewart Weddings


Makes 20

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and room temperature

1 tablespoon rose water

2 to 3 tablespoons sanding sugar

Pink powdered food color, any shade

Butter-flavored cooking spray


In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In electric mixer, beat eggs and 1/2 cup granulated sugar on medium until light, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Fold in flour mixture. Fold in butter. Cover with plastic; chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 rack in center. Spray two scallop-shell pans with cooking spray. Use spoon to fill molds three-quarters full. Bake 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake 5 to 8 minutes more, until lightly golden. Immediately tap out madeleines onto a cooling rack. (Let madeleines cool scallop side up to avoid any creases or lines from rack.) Repeat with remaining batter. Let cool. Make rose-water syrup by combining remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar; reduce to a simmer, and cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes to combine. Set aside to cool. When cool, stir in rose water. Set aside. Place sanding sugar in a small bowl. Use a toothpick to add small amounts of powdered food color to sanding sugar, stirring until you get desired shade of pink. Use a small paint brush to sugar edges of madeleines one at a time; dip brush into rose-water syrup, and paint rim of each madeleine. Sprinkle sanding sugar over damp edges. Repeat on remaining madeleines. Madeleines are best served within 1 to 2 days of baking. Store in airtight container Read more at Rose-Water Madeleines