hen happenings # June round-up

Despite several weeks of  heatwave, with unbearably hot days and nights, the hens are still all laying, more or less, an egg a day.  I collected 114 eggs this month. So, big round of applause to Ruby, Doris, Rita & Agatha.  Their hard work is much appreciated!

summer top progress

I don’t have too many crafting projects on the go at the moment: just a cross stitch piece for the SAL, still crocheting sprites, and a knitting project to make this gorgeous summer top.

Pattern is called “Melody” it’s by Sarah Hatton and is available for sale on most yarn sites, including Ravelry.

After a mis-read and need to frog/tink at beginning of armhole shaping on my first side, I soon got back on track and am pleased to say my summer top is over half done.

In fact, the second half is already well under way!  While I’ve been busy on my knitting, Mrs Tattoo has been working on hers. Knitting the same pattern, in a smaller size, and in “pistachio” colour.   She’s just reached the armhole shaping part, so I have given all the help I can there, writing a stitch by stitch chart, to help keep count of things with the 8 row pattern repeat, while decreasing on both edges.

She’s doing so well though!  She only picked up knitting needles last year and I’ve really thrown her in at the deep end with this project.


SAL “poppies trio” #7

The last 3 weeks have flown by, and today it’s time to link up with SAL members.



Last time I’d just finished the white poppy and placed a few orange/yellow stitches.

Since then, I’m pleased to say, this third poppy is coming along in leaps and bounds.

Hopefully I’ll have more to show you on our next update, the 17th of July.

liquid gold (or what the husband’s bees have been up to)

A few weeks ago, I posted photos of hive inspection.

Well since then, the husband harvested honey (for the first time) with the help of Mr Tattoo.

We don’t have a proper extractor so it was a long & laborious process, with lots of waiting for honey to pass through various filters.  And then waiting, a week, to let the honey mature before potting.

And ta da!  Liquid gold.  Probably a lot of acacia in there, but it’s not clear enough to be pure acacia.  Whatever it is, it’s golden, it’s creamy, and it’s very yummy. And we potted up 9kg 250g of it.

arrggghhh! need to frog.

I’ve started a new knitting project (and Mrs T is knitting her own version as well).  The pattern is “Melody” by Sarah Hatton.


It’s to make a “lace summer top” and pattern is written for a WYS yarn, but I’m using a different yarn. I chose the brand: ONline Linie 107 supersoft. It’s a  60% cotton/ 40% acrylic DK mix.  Advantage, compared to the recommended yarn a) I was able to buy it in France. b) it’s machine washable and c) it cost 2.95€ for a 50g ball (I need 7 x 50g for my size), so makes for a not too expensive knitting project.

It wasn’t until I’d paid for and downloaded the pattern, that I realised, this top is knitted with the purl side facing outwards. ie, the “wrong” side is the “right” side. This took some getting used to.  Anyway, photo above, with flash, to try and show you the colour I’m knitting in (although it’s actually lighter and more like the pink on pattern photo).


And second photo, without flash, so you can see the stitch detail, which is basically lots of tear drop shaped holes.  Sadly, I got as far as the beginning of armhole . . . did my first cast offs to begin armhole shaping . . . 2 more, with more decreasing and then had an “arrggghhh!” moment.  I misread the pattern and only cast off 6 stitches each side, when I should have cast off 10.  So . . . I’ve got 4 rows to frog, and get myself back on track.

update on Gibbs

About time I gave you an update on Gibbs, isn’t it!  This is what he looked like before all the medical visits, with severe facial paralysis on the left side.

After the MRI on 17th May which revealed a grey “mass” inside his middle ear, we booked him in for surgery on 24th.  Surgeon performed a TECABO (total ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy) and sent a sample away to be biopsied.

Biopsy results took 2 weeks to come through. It was, as the specialist suspected, a cholosteatoma (I’ll let you google that, if you’re interested) therefore not cancer.  That was the good news.  Bad news: it’s very rare in dogs and when it does occur, it frequently grows back, despite surgical removal.  So . . . we have gained time for Gibbs, but there’s no knowing how long.

In the meantime . . . After 3 weeks of wearing the cone, he now looks like this.

We think the drooping has improved slightly, around the eye . . . but he’s still very lop-sided and is likely to remain that way forever.  However, he’s full of beans! From a distance, and seeing only his right side, he looks like a perfectly healthy Flat-coated retriever.  He’s regained his balance, and trots along in the typical Flat gait (tail fanning out horizontally and head held proudly).   We’ve been warned to keep an eye on him and check regularly for any swelling (which will mean the thing is growing back). But for now, we’re just happy to see Gibbs happy and more or less back to his normal self.

ScrapHappy # June

Time to link up with fellow scrappers, for ScrapHappy day.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Viv

A day, each month, always on 15th, where we show photos of scrappy projects.  I don’t seem to have been playing much with my scraps of late, but . . . while crocheting a small project last week, I realised I am using scraps because I’m using leftovers from larger balls of yarn.

I’m making some sprites, and looking to use some of the remnants from my DK yarn stash.  Here, crocheting the body of a new Fairy Sprite, using what was left of “Duck Egg” blue (a Stylecraft Special DK).  I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough to complete the body, so I just kept crocheting, stuffing, and crossing my fingers.

As it happily turned out . . . I was able to complete the body (up to where I reattach the skin colour for neck) in Duck Egg, with approximately 30cm to spare. Phew!

hooking a flower sprite

After the Acorn Sprite of last week, I’ve been having fun with a second pattern by CritterStitchDesigns:  Flower Sprite.

It’s basically the same doll & construction, but accessories are different.

Here she is, hand in hand, with Acorn . . . sadly I overstuffed her head.  (note to self for next time).  Anyway . . . I love how she turned out but wasn’t sure I liked the idea of her being bald under that hat.  So . . . I crocheted a wig.

I made the wig up as I went along, and forgot to make notes, but it was simple enough to make and can be worn with or without the hat.

Am enjoying these sprites so much, the plan is to crochet up some more.

SAL “poppy trio” # 6

A mini happy dance on my poppy project as things has progressed from this

to this, in the past 3 weeks.

As you can see, I’ve completed stitching on the white poppy, and begun work on the orange one.

Here’s a list of all SAL members, who are each working on different projects, but we meet up every 3 weeks to cheer each other along.



And we’ll be back again on 26th June.