bargains last Sunday

Sunday 16th saw husband and myself up and out quite early, heading to another local “vide grenier”/boot sale.  This one was in a small village (population 723) so I knew it was likely to be quite small.  That was fine by us. 

And when we got there, it really was a small affair.  Just the locals, from the looks of things, having a good clear out with mostly clothes/shoes/toys/books and a few miscellaneous things for sale.  We didn’t even bother to split up for this one.  Or if we did, the area was so small, we kept on bumping into each other.

Husband found the most ugly cast iron soap dish with a cow on it (Fresian, if that makes it any less ugly?).  I have no idea why he bought it, but he did.  One thing is for sure – it won’t be going in the bathroom!  And I most certainly won’t subject you to a photo of his 1€ bargain.

Mine, are a lot more fun!

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Here’s a haul of baby toys, which cost me 3€ in total.  Two identical wooden crocodiles.  No idea why the seller had twin crocodiles, maybe they belonged to a pair of twin toddlers at some point?  They’re the old-fashioned toy you pull along by the string and they wiggle.  They don’t look as if they were played with very much. 


At 50 centimes each, I bought both, of course. Plus a set of plastic keys and 3 rattle toys.  The plastic keys have already been gifted to Rio, the parrot, who does love playing with keys.  As for the rattles

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I removed the soft parts on arriving home, and all plastic toys were given a wash in bleachy water.  I then sewed bunny trousers back up again, and Gibbs was well-pleased to have another soft toy to play with.  It was the rattle rings I was interested in  –  they’ll come in handy for some future craft projects.

And, just so you know I don’t only buy toys . . .

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I came home with a few books this time too.  You’ll probably recognise most of the authors (except for Fred Vargas, a French authoress, and I’m not sure if her books have been translated into English).  The others are:  “Chaos” by Patricia Cornwell;  “Unseen” by Karen Slaughter;  “Miss Silver Comes To Stay” by Patricia Wentworth and “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh.  Apart from the Patricia Wentworth one (which appears to be a sort of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple type of intrigue) the others should all be blood, gore, serial killers and suspense . . . exactly what I enjoy with my hot chocolate at bed time!

And last photo . . . 

Ducky and dolls

My dolls live in a laundry basket, because I haven’t pushed madness far enough to buy a proper baby cot for them (yet).  Ducky decided there was room for one more!  I don’t know if you can see properly


but that golden brown thing Ducky is resting his head on . . . that’s Lily’s “doudou” rabbit!  She was holding it in her arms when I last saw her in the laundry basket . . . Ducky obviously thought it made a soft cat pillow. 


“Entwined Star” – an unbirthday/house warming gift

A neighbour’s daughter recently bought her first house, and I wanted to mark the occasion with a hand-made gift.   What better excuse to do some crafting?  A house-warming/unbirthday gift!    Now, I don’t know the daughter’s taste in interior decorating, nor her choice in colours, so I thought it prudent to ask her first.   She had said she likes “hot/bright” colours,  so I took that to mean “hot” on the patchwork colour wheel.  We had a quick look at possible fabrics together, with the design I had in mind requiring 3 different shades plus a background colour.  We did toy with some hot pink, and bright yellow, but in the end, the decision was made to stick with orange. 

entwined 01

This is the block pattern I had decided on.  The “Entwined Star” and this is my version.

entwined 02

It was only after piecing, I realised I hadn’t respected the colour “values” with the black background fabric, and maybe it would have looked better on white,  but it was too late to worry about that.   So I carried on, batting, quilting, and making a 16” cushion cover.

for Raphaelle 01

Raphaelle 03

I used some grey, velvety curtain fabric for the back  and 3 old jeans buttons for the fastening.

for Raphaelle 02

I don’t tend to use black very often, so it was interesting to see how this star and oranges seem so vivid on the dark background.  The extra 1/2” orange band all around, because I felt it needed more brightness to draw the eyes away from the centre.

Anyway, I had lots of fun making this and thoroughly enjoyed tackling a new block pattern. 

ooooh surprise mail!

Don’t you just love it when the postie stops by with a little package and you weren’t expecting anything?  I most certainly do!  Sometimes I recognise the hand-writing on the front.  Sometimes I have to turn over and look for the sender’s name . . . but it’s always really exciting, those few seconds before the package is ripped open.

The other day, I received an un-birthday gift and card from Cathy, aka nanacathy.

from Cathy

The most gorgeous bookmark, made with lace and a lilac ribbon not to mention a tiny pair of scissors on the end.  How appropriate and totally unexpected!

And something else that was totally unexpected . . . Avis had decided to make some blocks in my F2F colourway “just because”.  There are 9 ladies in the F2F swap this season which means we all end up with 27 blocks but with the extra block from Nanette and the 3 surprise blocks from Avis, I now have 31.  Plenty for either one large quilt and a cushion cover, or 2 smaller quilts and cushion cover.


Here is a close up of each block.

Avis 1

Avis 2

Avis 3

My photography is a bit off, I can assure you, blocks are all lovely, and crisp and square.  I had a good chuckle at the grey fabric  . . . can you see, it’s covered in paw prints, awww!

A big warm thank you Cathy and Avis.  You both brought a big smile to my face.

ScrapHappy # September

15th of the month is the monthly link up to ScrapHappy, organised by Kate and Gun . . . to motivate us to make something using scraps.  I decided to make my September project another sewing one, after Daddy Viking commented on a pretty fish I had made, following a pattern by Lauri, in March of this year.  Viking parents have something of an “ocean” theme going on with Baby Viking, since her English grandparents bought her a colourful ocean themed activity/ playmat.

I therefore set to work, using up lots of colourful scraps, making tiny fins and scales and even cutting out felt circles to appliqué eyes (needing to make this toy baby-friendly, and not wanting to use buttons).  All was going swimingly well until I turned my fish right sides out again, to begin stuffing.


And could have kicked myself!  Can you see what I’ve done wrong?  Maybe if I show you what it’s supposed to look like?


Yup, it’s the top fin.  I’ve sewn it on back-to-front!  What an idiot, eh?  I suppose I could always pretend this is a new species of fish: one which swims in circles?

I sent a photo of failed fish to Viking Parents.  They actually think it’s cute.  They are sure Baby Viking will love it, even if it would probably get dizzy trying to swim with those fins, going round and round, looping the loop.  So I won’t be ripping it to pieces BUT I will be making another one   . . . and making sure I pay more attention to fin direction.

I’m now going to do some blog-hopping and see what other ScrapHappy people got up to.

Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne,Jon,Hayley and Dawn

F2F season 3 – August blocks are all in

Followers will know that I’m taking part in the F2F block swap, season 3, organised by Kate.  I am Miss August, and I have now received the last two squidgies with lovely blocks from Esther and Nanette.

First up, the blocks from Esther, in the Netherlands.


Here they are in close up.

Esther 1

Esther 2

Esther 3

Esther went for lots of modern prints, and her piecing is always superb.  All blocks are so crisp!

And the last blocks to arrive (all the way from Australia) were from Nanette.

Nanette actually made 4 blocks and even sent along the leftover fabric.


A close up of the blocks Nanette sent.

Nanette 1

Nanette 2

Nanette 4

Nanette 3

So many gorgeous fabrics and different block patterns!  And the last one, a real souvenir from Australia with the kangaroo print.  You can admire all blocks made & sent so far in this swap, in the gallery on F2F.

Thank you so much ladies.  I now have a wonderful pile of blocks just waiting for me to set to work on assembly.  It might have to wait a little while though, as I have a couple of Baby Viking gifts to finish off first. 

one man’s junk . . .

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.  That’s something my Mum would say as we headed off for a good rummage at a local jumble sale, when I was a child.  I don’t know if the term “jumble sale” is used anymore.  The more modern term seems to be “carboot sale” (in the UK, I believe) while in France they’re called “Vide Grenier” which translates as “Emptying the Attic”.  Whatever name they go buy, I do enjoy a good rummage.  And it so happens that September is a month where there are quite a few local “vide grenier” going on.

Husband doesn’t mind a rummage either, as long as we go early, and don’t stay too long.  So, on Sunday, we were up early to go to a local “vide grenier”.  It was in a very small commune just down the road.  I was amazed, when we arrived at 7.45 to find the fields commandeered for carparking already chock-a-block with cars, and vast crowds already milling around the several hundred stalls, all out to grab a bargain.  Husband and myself have yet to agree on what is a bargain, with him looking for specific vintage tools to add to his workshop, and me looking for . . . well anything that catches my eye really lol.  Our tactic is to split up when we arrive and meet up later.  If we see anything the other might be interested in, we use our mobile phones.  But basically, we each go our separate ways, getting lost in the crowds.  Me, feeling like an 8 year old, on Christmas Eve.  Always the thrill of finding a “treasure” but not knowing what shape that treasure will take.

On Sunday, the treasure had a rather canine form. French readers might recognise him.  It’s the mascot for “Télé Z” a French weekly TV magazine.

brocante 06

When I liken myself to an 8 year old, I’m not kidding!  Awwww, I saw him and couldn’t resist.  At first, I wasn’t going to buy.  Just wanted to pick him up and have a cuddle.  The seller immediately caught my eye, and called out “50 centimes”.  She knew she’d made a sale!.  His tongue was slightly damaged (something to do with the seller’s real dog having been slightly jealous of the stuffed toy) but I soon fixed that when I got him home.  He then went in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, and after, he was allowed to meet the real pets.


Here he is, meeting Ducky.  All our cats seem to approve, and Gibbs has been told the new dog is NOT a toy . . . . or should I say, he IS a toy but he’s not a Gibbs’ toy!


He’s Claire’s new toy, and he’ll be allowed to sit with me in my sewing room.  I’ve decided his name is Maurice.

And Maurice wasn’t the only toy this 8 year old brought home . . .

brocante 03

One lady was selling her collection of “doudous” (which is a French term meaning a very soft baby toy, a sort of comforter).  She actually made me feel less “wierd” about my new reborn doll craze.  She admitted to having built up a collection of over 400 doudous, which she was selling due to lack of space and a husband who was sick of the sight of her soft toy collection.  I couldn’t walk past without grabbing a few okay, 6 .  One isn’t in the photo.  It was  adopted by Gibbs since I said he couldn’t play with Maurice but please, shhh don’t tell the seller as she would be most distraught!.  I also bought a couple of teething ring toys.  Our parrot, Rio does love this kind of toy, and special parrot toys in petshops are very expensive.  Plastic baby toys are ideal for a parrot.  Easy to grab and hold in one foot, colourful, robust, even for an Amazon beak, and they make a nice rattling noise when played with.   Again, shhh, we don’t tell the lovely lady who sold me those that they’re for a parrot.  She thinks they’re for my grandchild.

My shopping bag was filling up, but my purse was still quite full, as each item was priced at 50 centimes . . . so Maurice and all these baby toys, for only 4.50€.   With my bag full of baby things, the logical follow-up was . . . a small bundle of baby clothes.  Everything I looked at seemed to be priced at 50 centimes, so I grabbed a few bits for my dolls.  I won’t bore you with every item, but I grabbed six little items, and came home feeling very pleased with my modest spending of 7.50€.

Just one last photo


of Lily in her “new” babygrow PJs and with a bunny doudou.

And just to prove how reasonable I was . . . husband found 2 vintage tools and spent a total of 13€ on his finds . . . so if it was a competition of who brought home more junk for less money, then I won lol.

Noah’s new body or . . . if at first you don’t succeed, try again.

I said, only the other day, that I would be setting to work to (finally) give Noah a new body.  Noah being the vinyl Berenguer “newborn” premie sized doll I bought second-hand in December of last year. Who looked like this


Because of his bent legs and the way his head sits on that rigid body, he only measured 36cm (or just over 14”).  When deciding on a size for his cloth body, I didn’t want to try and go too big – idea being to keep head & limbs in proportion with the body.  I therefore cut out pattern shapes to make a 40cm (or 16”) finished doll.    My first attempt looked like this.

Noah sept 05

That seemed a good size.  Leg and arm joints appear to be about the same distance apart as on the vinyl body  but I wasn’t happy with two things.  The size of circles for joints appeared too small, so the ridges in vinyl joints were too visible.  Secondly, the arms/shoulders appeared too low, and there was too much neck.

So . . . back to the pattern. I cut out larger pieces for joints and decided to attempt a slightly larger body (using the 17” pattern) and the second attempt looks like this.  [Pattern is by Ragdoll Fairy and bought on ebay in case anyone wants to try their hand at cloth body making].


Noah new bod 01

He now looks a bit long in the body, so maybe the 16” version was best, but I’m happy with joints, and not going to make a third attempt (for the time-being).  Saying that, once he’s got clothes on, he appears quite well proprtioned.  With bent arms and legs, it’s really difficult to know exactly how long his body should be, so I’m relying on the overall effect photos, with clothes.

Noah new bod 03

Noah new bod 04

Anyway, that’s Noah “done” for now.  He measures at around 40cm, and I’ve weighted him to approx 1.500kg, so he’s a very dainty “baby”.  Here he is, wearing a 0-1 month shop bought outfit, and knitted hat by Avis. That hat is lovely and stretchy – it seems to look good on all my dolls !

He looks very small when next to Alice and Lily, but he won’t be growing any bigger.

3 together

This is how the three of them look with their new bodies.  And a shot of how they were before.

3 dolls

Alice (far right) has stayed the same size, but both Lily and Noah have grown a couple of inches. 

Anyway, I had fun.  Now that all three have new bodies and are better weighted, I’ll be able to start some proper crafting.