happy un-birthdays in April

I had lots of fun this month . . . I’ve been feeling in a celebratory mood because of the gorgeous weather, so I sent out not one, not two, but three un-birthday greetings this month. 

It’s taken a while for post to arrive, because some ladies live a very long way away.  The first little surprise I posted, and the last to arrive was to Angela, aka Wisher of Pretty Little Things in a Box. Angela lives in Singapore. She loves doing all sorts of crafts: stitching, knitting, crocheting and she makes some beautiful things.

This is what I sent to her.

un birthday Wisher

I realised, at this rate, that I wouldn’t have enough of my little cupcake needle keeps if I decided to celebrate more than one un-birthday a month. So . . . I did some blackwork using part of a design by Elizabeth Almond of Blackwork Journey and had lots of fun making more needle keeps.

This one, in turquoise 


found its way to Kate, tall tales from chiconia,   all those miles away in Australia.  And it didn’t go unaccompanied.  I also sent a French magazine that Kate had been drooling over from afar.

un birthday Kate

I had bought this for myself BUT when reading through, I discovered that some of the designs I really loved (and I showed you a photo a few weeks ago)


were available in a complete book. So, what did I do?  I sent the magazine to Kate, so she can stitch some chooks, and take a rest from patchworking . . . and I bought myself the book so I can stitch even more lol.


Anyway, I said three unbirthday celebrations this month . . . indeed, and the third person to receive a surprise through the post (actually the first, because she lives in England) was Carole of a slight obsession with books.  Carole is an avid reader as well as stitcher/patchworker and cat-lover . . . so not only did I make a needle keep . . . I also kept on stitching that little motif and made a bookmark too. In shocking pink lol. 

un birthday Carole

I’m not really a pink gal, but when I go pink, I really do go completely over the top ^^  Some very “Austin Powers’ buttons were sent along too, because I think a girl can never have too many buttons.

Anyway, I had great fun preparing these little surprises, and it was exciting, waiting for postmen in England, Australia and Singapore to deliver ^^  I wonder who I shall send to in May?  Hmmmm . . . keep your eyes on your letter box lol.

Best Layer of the Week Award ^^

Yes, title says it all !!!  I’ve been keeping careful note of eggs being laid this week. After lots of observation, I now know, with certainty, who lays which eggs, so it’s been easy to keep track of things. Miranda lays the largest – usually around 53g – normal flesh colour but slightly speckled. Miss Marple lays flesh coloured eggs, no speckles, and hers are slightly rounder and smaller. Average weight for her is 50g.  And Miss Moneypenny lays the darkest shells, and also the smallest – around 42g. 

All girls have amazed us this week. We had a couple of “hat tricks” with the pleasure of collecting 3 eggs in one day several times. And Miranda has me even more amazed because she actually managed to lay two eggs in the same day! Seriously, I kid you not, one in the morning and another in the evening!

They are now able to enjoy life in their 24m2 park

out in the park 26 04

Not a terribly large space for three hens, by some standards,  but we’ll be able to move it around and make sure they have plenty of fresh ground to scratch at. 

Anyway, back to the results of the “award”.  I’ve done the totting up . . . on total of eggs since Monday morning . . . the drum is rolling . . . are you ready, sitting on the edge of your seats? 

Okay – the winner of this week’s Best Layer Award is . . .

Miss Marple 26 04

Miss Marple !!!!  Yes, congratulations to Miss Marple for an incredible SIX eggs in only seven days!  We are amazed, astounded, and very very proud to have Miss Marple in our flock.

We mustn’t forget the two other girls though, who both did remarkably well and came in joint runners up with FIVE eggs each.  So please, a big round of applause also, for Miranda

Miranda 26 04

and Miss Moneypenny

Miss Moneypenny 26 04

Thanks to the efforts of all three girls, my egg-bowl has been overflowing with a total of sixteen eggs.

“Five stories, five photos” #5

Avis, of Oh Sew Tempting invited me to join in the “Five stories, five photos” challenge.  The rules are as follows:  “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

Here is my fifth and final photo.


Pretty morbid, eh?  The Paris Catacombs, 20 metres below the city of Paris in the 14th arrondissement.  During the 18th and 19th century, Paris officials made the decision to close several cemetaries for sanitation reasons, so remains were dug up and transferred to the catacombs.   What I found the most amazing wasn’t the catacombs themselves . . . it was the fact that all visitors had their bags searched on leaving.   Apparently, some people make a habit of taking bones home as souvenirs !!!

For my final nominee . . . I would like to nominate Angela of Pretty Little Things in a Box.

Blackjack is loving life in the country

Blackjack is really loving life in the country. There is so much for a dog to do!  So many interesting places to wander off to (yes naughty boy, he’s been wandering off into the neighbouring fields when we have our backs turned). So many smells. so much space!

He’s been enjoying the arrival of the hens, but isn’t allowed to go and see them without me. I’ve got the 24m2 park all around the coop, even if we haven’t inaugurated it yet, so that our animals get used to it. In the first days, they tried to walk straight into it and I had to untangle Merlin several times.

in situ

Anyway, while he’s not allowed to play with the hens, Blackjack has been taking on a new job, very seriously.

tortoise dog

There’s a cage that has appeared, and he knows there’s something small inside, but he isn’t really sure what. Whatever it is, he knows it needs guarding lol, so he parks himself and doesn’t let the cats get close.  He actually growls at them if they try!

What he’s guarding is


two baby tortoise lol.  So Blackjack is a “tortoise dog” Rire  They’re not mine, don’t worry. The menagerie hasn’t grown out of all proportion.  I’m just looking after them for a week while their owners are away on holiday.

All work and no play isn’t good for a dog though. So . . . I went out and bought Blackjack a new toy.  When we lived in our previous house, with very small garden, I used to take Blackjack to the park for “throw & fetch”.  I seem to have lost his squeaky toy during the move, so I bought a new one. Bright pink lol.

new toy1

Very girlie, but Blackjack doesn’t seem to care and we go to the orchard for a play session. It’s a lovely size, and is all knobbly so easy to grip. It also has a squeaker in one end, which makes it all the more fun.

new toy2

new toy3

I’d say Blackjack seems happy, wouldn’t you?

“Five photos, five stories” #4

Avis of Oh Sew Tempting invited me to join in the “Five stories, five photos” challenge.  Rules are simple: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

Here is my fourth photo


I’m calling this “DIY and geometry lessons”.  Every summer, our children (who are now all grown up and have left home) got roped into doing DIY around the house.  We never went on holiday, or very rarely.  Summer holidays were spent at home getting things done.  Kids helped out with everything.  We had them helping with laying tiles for the garden terrasse, refitting a kitchen, stripping wallpaper, painting, putting up shelves, and here . . . vinyl tiles for the entire first floor of our house in Villepinte (landing and 3 bedrooms).  Second son proved to have a knack when it came to measuring tiles prior to cutting, so he got the job.

Child labour lol?  Maybe, but when they eventually become home-owners themselves, they’ll be glad they learned how to do things at home.

Today I would like to nominate Kate of by the babbling brooke to join in the challenge.  Don’t feel you have to if you don’t want to, Kate!

Hélène & Mahélia’s April mystery SAL #7 & #8

Things are finally taking shape with Hélène’s mystery SAL this month.  Lots of bright colours as we approach the very final stage.

Part 7

Claire April 7

and part 8

Claire April 8

You will have to be patient for the final reveal, as Hélène always asks that we finish off our stitching before showing the final photo, and I haven’t made up my mind as to how this will be finished.

“Five photos, five stories” #3

Avis of Oh Sew Tempting invited me to join the challenge “Five photos, five stories”.

The rules are as follows: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

My third photo of five

1photo1storybrugges 2006

taken during a second honeymoon, in Brugges, Belgium.

Today, I invite Mandy to join the challenge – I hope she will ^^ But don’t feel you have to take part if you don’t want to, Mandy!