Hélène’s May Mystery SAL #4 & #5

I’m not really sure if my choice of colours is working . . . and have absolutely no idea what this is going to be . . . all the fun of Hélène and her mystery SALs.

Part 4  looks like this

Claire May 04

and part 5

Claire may 05

I don’t know about you, but I’m sort of seeing a father with a child sitting on his shoulders . . . in which case my choice of colours is not looking good.  Then again, knowing Hélène, it’s probably something completely different, so I’ll wait and see.

making the bed

We’ve been in our house for almost 6 months and we’re still nowhere near straight.  Cupboard content isn’t properly organised . . . there are still loads of boxes stacked, unopened, in the attic.  We’ve got naked light bulbs hanging from the ceiling in every room, no curtains/blinds . . . basically, we’ve been slacking.

The main reason is that we consciously made the decision, when we bought, that we wanted to live here for 12 months, and get used to the house before we began any redecorating or other work indoors.  However, there were a few things that needed sorting – namely beds. Or should I say: spare beds.

Up until now, when we’ve had family staying, it’s been a question of mattresses or futons on the floor or opening out the manky sofa bed . . . but no longer!

The sofa bed, which is in my sewing room,  now looks very bright!  It’s still the same sofa bed, but I have discarded the manky blue cover, and bought a brand new one which really livens up my sewing room and looks a lot more appealing as a guest bed.  Don’t pay attention to wallpaper – as I said, redecorating will be done at a later date.

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So that’s one double bed easy to make up.  The next room, the official “guest room” had a bed frame and a mattress (second hand) but nothing to stop the mattress from falling through onto the floor ^^  I therefore, finally got around to remedying that!  Ordered online because I was expecting the thing to be in one piece and no way would it have fit in the car. As it turns out, it arrived in kit form.

Ever so easy to assemble. A few nuts and bolts to assemble the metal frame, and then easy peasy to fix the 44 slats in place

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Now I just need to shift some of the junk piled in the guest room and make it look more welcoming because we have guests this weekend ^^

And must make a start on cushions for the veranda!  Thank you for your comments and opinions on fabric choices . . . My husband surprised me and actually voiced a preference which just so happened to coincide with mine lol.  Fabric for cushions will be

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So I’m off to start cutting foam and fabric!

how does your garden grow?

Sunshine, summer temperatures for several days, followed by rain and a drop of more than 10° . . . I’m amazed that the plants know what they’re doing!  Yet they seem to be doing just fine.

Our strawberry plants are flourishing and I was able to harvest this little load (scales were set to zero so the weight you see is the weight of the strawberries NOT the basket as well) – 278g

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The kiwi has suddenly come into blossom – or at least the branches  that are in full sunlight have

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There were lots of buzzing bees flying from flower to flower so hopefully, we will be snowed under with kiwis later in the year.  The figs are growing bigger, slowly but surely

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and . . . I forgot to take my camera with me, but the cherry tree is covered in ripening cherries, the pear tree has a few tiny pears sprouting and the apple trees are also coming into fruit.  The raspberry plants don’t seem to be doing too well. Not sure what’s up with them, but a couple keeled over and died.  And the tomato and broccoli plants we planted seem to be thriving in their holes in the grass ^^

And more pretty surprises in the garden, with this burst of purple just outside the veranda

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snug as a bug in a rug

Hihi . . . I’ve never made anything quite so snug before . . . and I’m feeling quite smug.  ‘Titia and eldest son gave me some fabric for my birthday way back in February, and I actually began a sewing project with one piece but it got put on hold because things weren’t going quite as planned.  However, now they have . . . I can show you my latest pouch.

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A really bright, fun, fabric with kokeshi dolls.  The print is quite big so I didn’t cut or try patchwork, I simply kept the fabric whole and did some stippling quilting.  I tried a new (for me) method of fastening, with a strip of  coordinating turquoise fabric and velcro

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It does the job and I quite like it.  The back looks pretty much the same

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the pouch is lined

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and is the snuggest fit ever for . . .

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my 10” tablet – yay! 

not much stitching but more bookmarks!

When I look back at my recent posts, I seem to be rambling on about the hens, eggs, the garden, hungry caterpillars etc and moving away from what this blog originally began out as.  I have to say, I am enjoying the variety, and I hope you are too.  It will always be the place where I share my crafting first and foremost – however, I have come in contact with lots of crafters over the years who also enjoy a variety of other activites . . . and I think my blog is perhaps reflecting my day-to-day life now more than it used to.  Yes, crafting is what I love to do but it’s not the only thing.

Now I do have a few stitching photos to show you, but nothing terribly exciting. The reason: I’ve been working on (and finished) several secret projects that can’t be shown just yet.  What I can show you is

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the beginnings of a birth gift.  Baby is due sometime in June – parents won’t say if it’s a boy or a girl so I’m going for a neutral yellow bib and, what will be, a fairly neutral design.  More on that in a few weeks. 

And my “Life” stitching that hasn’t seen much work of late.

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I am no where near having completed this fourth section, but it’s the largest and there is a lot of counting to do.

A last photo and a huge “merci” to Flo who always remembers me on her travels, and frequently sends me little surprise packages with bookmarks for my collection.

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another whopper

Goodness me – our hens are full of surprises . . . I found another whopper egg in the nesting box yesterday and it’s even bigger than the first.  A staggering 79g.

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Doesn’t look much different from a normal egg laying on the scales, but compared with the others – this one really does NOT fit in the box!

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Unsure who laid this, I did a little shell comparison.  It’s not Miss Moneypenny’s, that’s for sure, since she laid a normal darker egg yesterday. 

However, when seen with a Miss Marple egg on the left and a Miranda egg on the right

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I think you’ll agree the shell definitely looks like a Miss Marple egg.  Since I missed the cracking open of our double yolker last week, I couldn’t resist making myself a tasty brunch with this beauty which I photographed in the pan.

seeing double

Have been doing some reading up on what causes a double yolk.  Apparently there’s a 1 in 1000 chance of a hen laying a double yolk, although chances are higher in younger birds.  It’s because ovulation isn’t quite regulated so two ovules get released almost simultaneously and therefore encased in the same egg shell.  It’s not something to hope for – bigger eggs mean more stress for the hen laying, and possible complications.  So, while it was very yummy, let’s hope we don’t see too many more of these!

Best Layer of the Week #4

Weather has been really up and down this week. Boiling hot Monday through to Wednesday and then heavy rain and high winds for several days . . . I wonder if this explains why egg production is down slightly this week.  One hen has been laying consistently, (I’ll tell you who in a few seconds) . . . the other girls seem to have been taking it in turns. Just to say that I’ve only be collecting 2 eggs a day this week so a total of 14, which is still more than enough for my husband and myself.

The best layer this week, is . . .

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Miss Moneypenny again!  With SIX eggs.

Miranda and Miss Marple come in joint second with four eggs each.

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Oh by the way – the whopper egg Miranda laid WAS a double yolker.  I unfortunately wasn’t present at the cracking open of that egg  – and it was already whisked into an omelette before my husband told me.  Did he think to take a photo? No, of course not.

Oh and fun and games out at the hen coop the other day . . . when I go to see the girls, they stop whatever it is they are doing and coming running to greet me. The other day, Miss Moneypenny was so pleased to see me, she came running, wings flapping, and before she knew it . . . she took off, and flew out of their park lol.  I’m not sure who was the most surprised!  Her, me, or the other two hens.

Anyway, once on the wrong side of the fencing, she didn’t seem too intent on exploring further afield and I was able to pick her up very gently and put her back into the park.  This incident, obviously, raised the question of: do we clip their wings or not?  For the moment, I’m waiting to see if it happens again.  Hens seem very content with the space they have, and I don’t think they’re planning a “chicken run” or anything like that.  It could have been a one-off incident, but if they start making a habit of flying out to greet me, then yes, we’ll have to do some wing clipping because I won’t have time to round up three hens each time I pop out to give them their treats.