SAL update–“Kokeshi Friends” happy dance

So many bright colours coming to life as Avis and I put the last stitches to our “Kokeshi Friends” stitching. 

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“Kokeshi Friends” a design by Joan Elliott is a project we began stitching in November.  One little doll every 3 weeks, and it’s amazing how quickly a design can grow.

I have not only been happy dancing because of finishing the cross stitch . . . I have also been having a happy dance because I immediately set to work with my Juki, and voilà

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Lots of colourful scraps which were perfect for the bright colours of this design . . . a bit of stippling

KD quilted

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And hey presto . . . the perfect cushion to go with the rather bright sofa in my sewing room.

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I love it ^^

After all those bright photos . . . don’t forget to do some blog-hopping and see what other SAL members have been up to these past 3 weeks.  Avis has finished her “Kokeshi Friends” too . . . and other ladies are busy busy busy:  Kate, Carole, Gun, Wendy, Lucyann, Jess, Cathy, Sue and Constanze.

Next SAL update will be on 22nd May.  Avis and I will be starting something completely different. 

best layer of the month #April

hens orchard

Hens have now been moved to the orchard.  For this, we’ve invested in a second (more basic) coop which is less cumbersome than the first and will be easier to move around. The first coop will remain in the veggie garden part, ready to welcome the hens again in the autumn – once the land has recovered from a full 12 months of scratching. We’ve already turned the soil over, and sown special “prairie” grass seed – it should all be nicely grassed over in plenty of time.

In the meantime, therefore, hens are enjoying their 30m2 park, lush greenery, and will soon benefit from the leafy shade of the apple trees for the hotter months.  We have more than 400m2 of orchard, so we’ll be able to move both coop & park as and when the hens need fresh pecking ground.

Egg production has been almost non-existent for some . . . Miss Moneypenny decided, very early on this month, that she’s feeling broody AGAIN!  She laid 6 eggs during the first week, and since, just sits all fluffed up in the nest, protesting loudly when I pick her up and make her go out for some fresh air.  Miranda has been good though, with 26 eggs, and Miss Marple is our Miss April, with 29.  A grand total of 61 eggs this month, so still a lot.

almost a happy dance

I wonder if any of my followers remember these two stitchings?

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If you do, it means you’ve been following my blog for quite a few years, because I stitched these two pieces in 2013.  “Indian Brave” and Indian Maiden”, designs by R Rheinhardy, and both charts came in the same kit by Janlynn.

As is usual for me, these got bunged away in a drawer – the pleasure with cross stitch (for me at least) is the stitching, and I sort of lose interest once I’ve finished a project.  However, thanks to my Juki, I am motivated to make sure that 2016 is the year of finishing off some of those cross stitch pieces so . . . I did some fabric auditioning.  The reason: I had bought a bargain FQ of an interesting print, which I thought would work quite well with my Native American Indians.

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I literally pulled out everything that could possibly be used, even toying with the idea of adding a lovely yellow and a bright orange at one point

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but on second thought, no . . . I wanted to keep things dark and “earthy”.  I rarely do any maths when I begin a small project like this, so once I had whittled down my choice of fabrics, I just did some stripping and assembled bands until I had a large enough piece.  Which I then sliced up. 

The aida of each indian was evened to 8” x 21” and I simply added narrower band strips top & bottom, then wider band strips to both sides.

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I managed to more or less centre the pattern on print fabric, on the wider bands but didn’t worry too much about the top & bottom.

For the moment things look like this.   Indians are deliberately not centred because I want a narrower border on the side they are facing, and wider border to their backs.  Each piece measures approx 17” x 30, but will be trimmed down on the final leg.

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Both pieces now need wadding, backing, quilting, binding & loops, but that will be a job for another day.  Almost a happy dance but not quite lol.

2006 retrospective

After 2004 and 2005, I’m continuing my cross stitch retrospective, looking at projects I stitched before I started blogging . . . 2006, ten years ago, but it only seems like yesterday.

That year I appear to have done no stitching for myself, but worked only on gifts.  A set of bibs for Diana’s first grandchild in Australia

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A Paris themed project for Diana’s son

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A “Popcorn” design for the birth of a friend’s baby

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Some Margaret Sherry zodiac cats, finished off on CD pouches as Christmas gifts

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Pollyanna Pickering’s blue tits, which I finished off on a canvas bag for my friend, Valérie

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and “Here fishy, fishy” for another friend, also called Valérie

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I’m glad I took photos of all of these otherwise I would have forgotten all about them.

ok, so where do I sit?

Okay, so where do I sit?

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Can you tell it’s wet and dismal outside?  It’s been raining almost non-stop for about 18 hours and family felines have decided to take over my 2-seater sofa.  Which is fine for them, but where do I sit?  I mean, they could all snuggle up a bit together and just use half the sofa, but no!  Abby on the left, Merlin in the middle and Ducky on the right.

Le Bleu, during this group snooze, was all on his own, in the middle of our double bed

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He does like the sofa but only when I’m sitting on it ^^

Oh and earlier today . . . Merlin and Ducky were on the 3-seater sofa

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That’s Ducky, flat on his back, rear legs in the air, and Merlin giving him a good clean.  I don’t know what Ducky gets up to. All the other cats seem to feel he is in constant need of a wash, and he is more than happy to let them do all the grooming.

While on the subject of cats . . . I have a small happy dance to share with you.

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This little design is by Ginger Tom.  Avis gave me the kit last year and I finally got around to stitching it.  The kit was brilliant.  Loads of threads, and 2 pieces of aida because it is stitched both front and back

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I simplified things a little. The front is supposed to be all filled in with off-white stitches for the background, but I preferred less stitching, and to have the rustic aida as my background.

If you’re wondering what I’m reading at the moment, it’s “Misery” by Stephen King ^^  I’ve seen the film several times, which is excellent, but the book is a whole lot better.

new, exciting, upcoming project

It’s so exciting !!!  I’m signed up to take part in a swap.  My first patchwork swap ever – yay! 

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This is Kate and Sue’s baby, born the summer of last year.  From June 2015 – May 2016 there were 12 ladies, industriously patchworking and having fun making and sending each other 12.5” blocks.  At the end of the 12 months, the plan being, that each lady has 36 magnificent blocks to assemble and make a super dooper quilt, or turn blocks into smaller projects if she so chooses.

I followed that swap avidly . . . regretting not having signed up for it, but then again, slightly relieved I hadn’t because ladies’ patchwork skills were all very impressive. 

Anyway, it was such a success, and ladies had so much fun, that Kate decided to launch the swap for a second time.  And, of course, I signed up.

There will be nine ladies in the swap this time but we’ll still be making three blocks a month.  It will run from June 2016 – February 2017.  Each lady has already chosen her colour scheme.  Kate’s husband did the draw, to decide who become the “Miss” each month (I’m Miss February 2017).  And I have already begun some naughty fabric buying (shhhh) as well as taking the opportunity to tidy up my fabric stash and see what can be used for the swap.

My choice of colours is very bright.  I have asked for bright blue, green and orange, with this picture of some Australian Rainbow Lorikeets as my inspiration.

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Some of you may remember that I stitched a design by Fiona Jude a long while back

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The “Plan” with a capital P . . . will hopefully be, to have some gorgeous vibrant blocks to sew together and make a patchwork . . . and then finish these fellows off into a matching cushion cover ^^  They are a lot brighter than in the photo . . . very much like the real ones in the first photo. 

I have also added links to the participants blogs (see right bar on screen).  One of the ladies does not have a blog.

Anyway . . . I have to be patient a little while longer. Ladies are currently still busy sewing to finish the first year’s swap.  But come 1st June, I will be in the starting blocks !

Kate has already commenced a new blog which will be dedicated to the 2nd version of F2F.  Which you will be able to visit here: F2F2