“Friendship Quilt” update

I was up late stitching frantically, trying to get my block finished in time to show you today for our 3-weekly update.  Didn’t quite have time to do the backstitching, but the block design itself is finished – phew! 

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Don’t forget to check out stitchings of my fellow SALers ^^  There’s Avis, who is also stitching “Friendship Quilt” a design by Whispered by the Wind . . . and then other ladies (some who won’t be posting updates this time around) all working on lots of different projects.

Gun, Carole, Kate, Alison, Jule, Elizabeth, Wendy and Lucyann.  Feel free to hop over and see what they’ve been up to ^^  Next update on 18th April. 

cats in the sun

My week has been literally craft-less . . . through no one’s fault but my own.  I could have found plenty of time, but have chosen to spend it in other ways, notably researching hen coops.  I said, last summer, that when we got our new home I would like to have a few hens.  Now seems like the season to do something about it, so I’ve been spending hours on various sites, reading and pricing up possible hen houses. 

I was very pleased to discover that one of the sites has a showroom/warehouse not too far from us. So, I am stopping research on the internet for the rest of week, and we’re going to visit the showroom to have a look at coops in real life.  It will give us the opportunity to see the size & quality . . . we might buy one on the day . . . or I might just continue my research.

Until I am 100% sure, I’m not going to start this new venture. It all needs to be carefully thought out beforehand.

So, for today, I enjoyed some sunshine out in the garden with the animals.  Blackjack was wandering around, and leaving dog hair all over the grass (and cats!).  Merlin took up his usual photo pose

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and then decided to settle for a snooze amongst the violets

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Le Bleu had a lovely roll around in the grass too

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getting himself covered in dog hair, before wandering off to find a better spot from which to survey the garden

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Our daffodils are only just coming out – surprisingly late but neighbours have been telling us it’s normal.  Apparently we have our very own micro-climate ^^   

a girl can never have too many . . .

This phrase, depending on who you are, could be ended with . . . pairs of shoes  but in my case, it’s a question of sewing machines.  Not that I actually have too many Rire 

I have my cheapo SilverCrest that I bought from Lidl a few years ago, for something like 60€

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I haven’t even tried all the different stitches it can supposedly do, because all I really ask of a machine is to let me sew in a straight line (more or less) and occasionally use the zig-zag (yep my seamstress skills stop about there!).  However, this is the machine I’ve been using for my FMQ (stippling is all I’ve attempted so far).  The SilverCrest is so basic that you can’t even lower the feed-dogs but it comes with a plastic plate that clips over and solves the problem. With my darning foot, it gets the job done.

I have also been “looking after” Lindashee’s sewing machine for a couple of years.  She lives in a small bed-sit and, with studies, has neither the time nor the space to do any sewing. When she left home, her machine was left behind too. It’s another bottom-of-the-range machine.  This one cost us around 90€ in Carrefour (large French hypermarket) if I remember correctly

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It has the same amount of stitch options as my SilverCrest (again, none of which I’ve ever used) and is the machine I have been using for general sewing and my straight line quilting.  I don’t even bother using the plastic cache on this, to avoid the worry of feed-dogs (which can’t be lowered on this machine either). I don’t even use a walking foot  . . . just my little rod in place for spacing, and away I go.

This machine, however, is not mine, although I have been free to use it.  So really, I only had ONE machine.  I now officially have TWO Rire 

This “new” machine is actually an old one. It belonged to mother-in-law (but as I mentioned in previous post, all her sewing things have come to me).  Today, I decided to get it out the case, and have a closer look. 

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It’s an ELNA Primula 310 another very basic machine.  Elna still make sewing machines, of course, but even their modern basic machines have more bells and whistles than this Primula ^^  It actually has even less possible stitches on it than the two I’ve been using (but it does have straight lines and zig-zag, so I’ll be fine lol).  It’s a machine that has “lived” and probably stitched around the world at least once during its life-time. 

Anyway, I switched it on and had a little play today, just experimenting on some scraps to see what happens when I turn the various knobs.  It’s incredibly quiet when compared to the two I’m used to and whirs like a dream.  It also has the optional button to lower the feed-dogs!  So how about that??? 

I must be honest and admit that I have been drooling over sewing machines – the super-dooper ones with large throats, quilting options and all.  My husband, who caught me slobbering, did ask if I would like a more up-market machine but I replied “not for the moment” (never say no lol).  Maybe one day, but for the moment I’m happy to sew on what I have and learn as I go.

Spring flowers

I think most people would agree – Spring is a lovely time of year with Nature waking up after a cold winter, and bursts of colour in the garden as the flowers pop up.  Since this is our first Spring in the new house, we have no idea what to expect, and I am thrilled, each time I go outside, to see that the carpet of colour is spreading and spreading.

Up against one of the wall in our garden there is a carpet of violets . . . or at least I assume they’re violets, even though there appear to be some white ones.

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In the vegetable patch there is a whole corner, taken over by primroses

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and when you get up close, there are a variety of colours there too

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and even a few clumps of an even darker pink

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I just think it’s amazing ^^    There are also, what I thought were, bluebells . . . but they seem to have opened out more than bluebells usually do

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and still more shoots from bulbs, coming through, but yet to bloom. So looking forward to seeing what they are!

Indoors, I have some lace flowers to show you.  A quick explanation because you’ll be seeing many more photos of crafting discoveries.  My mother-in-law died last month, and all her crafting supplies have come to me.  She was into all sorts of crafts, but mainly sewing, and had built up a huge stash of fabrics and accessories.  So much, that I will never be able to use even one tenth of what is in the boxes, but I have started looking through to see what treasures are inside.  One bag contained this

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some rather “scruffy” looking flowers, that didn’t appeal to me at all . . . until I had the patience to iron them . . .

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Aren’t they gorgeous?  As you can see, from the second and last photo, there is a design to the “lace” that makes it all curvy. I imagine it’s for decorating collars of blouses/dresses, or maybe even for an evening dress?  I have no idea what I will do with them, but I’ll try to come up with an idea to put these flowers to good use.

a bit of this, that, and the other

My week didn’t get off to a very productive start – a bit of housework, a walk to the PO and way too much time spent playing games on my tablet lol.  Nevermind, tomorrow is another day, full of crafting possibilities!

I do have a mish-mash of pics to show you though . . . some more bookmarks – yay!  Firstly, from Yo, Lindashee’s boyfriend (I actually discovered that he’s the one who’s been picking up all the bookmarks my daughter brings me lol), so thank you to Yo,

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for any eagle eyes, the one on the left is in duplicate from the other day.

And post lady brought mail . . . from Sandrine

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and an order from Jaycotts sewing supplies ^^   Yep, after showing you Doris, I realised I would need some patterns!  Can’t launch myself into “dress-making” without paper patterns now, can I? 

Now, I’m trying to be realistic, and not jump in at the deep end, so to speak.  I realise first sewing attempts will probably not be good enough to actually want to wear them out in public, so . . . I have invested in a pattern for PJs.

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It’s supposed to be fast & easy.  We’ll see.  I’m a shortie PJ lady myself, so won’t be making any of the nighties. However, I’ll be able to experiment with different length shorts, and try either no sleeves, or short sleeves.  That sounds like a Plan ^^  Also ordered two different patterns for “tops”.  Again, I’ve gone for “easy”.  And ones that look fairly versatile.

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Don’t expect to see any sewing too soon.  I need to get used to the idea first, and doing some watching of videos before I begin.