best layer of the month # June

Lots of lovely fresh eggs again from the coop, with gals laying a total of 88 for the month of June.  Florence, the black hen strutting her stuff on left of photo, was our best layer with 27.  Ruby, the red hen, just showing her fluffy bottom, came in second with 26.  Miss Moneypenny, with her pretty speckled collar (right) laid 21, and Mauricette who is enjoying the shade under the coop only laid 14.

more tunics with NewLook 6871

Summer is most definitely here.  It’s been hot.  So I pulled out one of my favourite tunic patterns and set to sewing.  NewLook 6871 view D, is a pattern I’ve already made up nine times – yes that’s right, nine times!  I suppose I should have tried some of the other views, but I’m not a great fan of sleeves for the summer, nor of lace embellishments (which is what the other views are about).   Anyway, the good thing, when you’ve already followed a pattern so many times is that you know exactly what you’re doing.  You know it’s going to fit, and everything goes according to plan.

I chose 2 fabrics from my stash, and cut out pièces to make 2 tunics one afternoon, because it’s the prep work that I always find takes the longest.  Deciding, since I had plenty of both fabrics, not to go for contrasting yoke & bands. Just to have tunics all in one fabric.    It then took me 2 afternoon sewing sessions to make up each tunic.  First one, I made using a green on white print I bought a few years ago.

And second one in a very fun fabric: “Retro Chic” by The Woodrow Studio.

You won’t get to see a photo of me modelling either tunic.  They are both a lovely fit, and ever so comfortable, that’s not the problem.  Just that  I gave myself another hair cut recently, and it turned out a lot shorter than it was supposed to (think Sigourney Weaver in “Alien” or Demi Moore in “GI Jane”).   I, therefore,  won’t be posing for photos until it’s had a chance to grow a little (a lot).

a Yip Yip here, and a Yip Yip there . . .

While browsing on the internet (which seems to be a favourite pass time of mine in the evening, when there’s nothing on TV) I came across a really fun crochet project by Carissa Knits that tickled my fancy.  Carissa had designed a pattern (both for crocheters & knitters) to make a Sesame Street “Yip Yip”.  Now, I have to say, I never really watched SS, neither did my kids, so seeing these funny monsters for the first time made me chuckle and when I saw they were made using really chunky yarn, I thought that would be a great project for stash-busting.

Before I began though, I did need to buy a minimum of supplies, namely ping pong balls and pipe cleaners.  The chunky yarn, I already had although perhaps not in the bright colours I would have liked for this project.

The husband very kindly painted the ping pong balls for me, and I set to work hooking with a 9mm hook.

Because I was stash busting, I had to make an executive decision regarding colours & height of my Yip Yip.  Carissa’s monsters seem to be longer in the body than mine, but even so, I think this YY turned out rather nicely.  So nicely that . . . it wasn’t long before I was singing along to myself (to the tune of Old McDonald has a farm – as I don’t know the real Yip Yip song) . . . so that went along the lines of:  With a Yip Yip here, and a Yip Yip there.  Here a Yip . . . there a Yip

everywhere a Yip Yip.

These things just seem to multiply.


But, in multiplying, they are giving me loads of fun and are a good way of using up some of those orphan balls of very chunky yarn I’d been hoarding.

“Modes & Travaux” magazine – a new discovery

I have just recently discovered a French crafting magazine: “Modes & Travaux”!  The magazine was first published way back in 1919, so I’m only 101 years behind the times, but hey ho!  The reason I suddenly made this discovery is doll-related so more of that over on my other blog Claire’s Collections.  But here, I will be mentioning M&T magazine from time to time, as dolls only play a very small part.

Anyway, this French magazine, which first began in 1919, was originally all about fashion and tips for the “modern housewife”. Putting things in their historical context:  the First World War was only just over and women were mainly stay-at-home housewives/mothers, looking to stretch the monthly budget as far as possible, and embracing home-sewing or knitting to make clothes for the family.

In March 1951, the magazine brought out a new monthly page aimed at little girls, with a special M&T doll that could be bought naked, and patterns for dolls clothes being available each month for little girls to learn to sew & knit.

Again, putting things in their historical context:  money was tight, the country was once again recovering from a World War and, while many women were now going out to work, many still were stay-at-home mums, and seeking to save money by making their own clothes.  Domestic sewing machines were becoming more affordable, and home-sewing was all the rage.

The magazine has evolved with the changing times, of course, but today, content is still very much crafting/cooking/gardening/DIYing inspired.  When  I discovered the magazine is still going strong I decided to take out an annual subscription.  For subscribers, the magazine comes with not one, not two, but THREE sewing patterns each month, plus an embroidery/xstitch pattern, knitting patterns, transformation ideas and much much more.

I thought I’d give one of the patterns a go

Not exactly a frequent dress-wearer, I cut out the skirt part slightly shorter as I’d much prefer a long tunic to a short dress.  As always, when trying a new pattern, I was somewhat loathe to cut into some of my pretty fabrics in case it went completely wrong  Pattern says to use viscose. I didn’t have any  so just dived into the stash of very strange fabrics I inherited from my mother-in-law, in search of something that would drape..  So far, my sewing looks like this

No idea what this fabric is made of – it’s all slippy, silky and consequently very difficult to handle.  The print also looks like something out of a completely different era and I’m slightly worried it’s going to make me look like a clown (all those spots make me think of party balloons) but I’m getting to grips with the pattern. For the moment my big problem is with the knotted shoulders.  That is the main feature of this garment but somehow those knots just make it feel as if the garment isn’t finished properly.  I’m therefore busy thinking of a way to attach shoulders differently, at this late stage.


SAL “Share” – Merejka #2

Another 3 weeks have whizzed by!  Last time, I showed you  the beginnings of a new project by Merejka.

Only a smallish design, that I hope to stitch in 4 stages.  For my second stage . . . one of the chubby and very cute fairies has taken control of the Smartphone, complete with some backstitching, so I don’t have to do it all at the end..

Here is the list of SAL members.

We’re an international group, and all work on our own choice of projects at our own pace, meeting up every 3 weeks to show progress.
Next update will be on 12th July.


happy rainbow dancing

I previously showed you a chevron rainbow quilt I began . . . one of the last photos I posted was just after quilting, when it looked like this.

Since then I have added binding, and hence have been having a happy rainbow dance in the garden.

I realise bright green won’t be everyone’s favourite colour for the binding, but it just seemed the ideal colour to me.  With the green chevrons being dead centre, in my rainbow, the green binding just seems to balance the front and goes very nicely with the backing fabric.  Apart from the green fabric that I ended up ordering in especially to finish this project, it was otherwise a total stash buster.  So I’m very pleased about that too.



ScrapHappy # June

It’s ScrapHappy day again!  Time to link with Gun, Kate and a whole gang of other crafters (all links further down), to share what we’ve been making with scraps.

I’d had wind of a couple of births in my neighbourhood, so it seemed like a good idea to make a couple of presents to welcome new babies into the world.  Nothing elaborate. Just something soft & bright.

The teething bits are brand new but fabrics & wadding are scraps.  Lots of souvenirs of past projects in these!

Kate Gun , TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

a bit of this & that

I’ve been doing a bit of this & that of late. Some sewing, some patchworking and some crochet.  Sometimes though, we are sent a little sign to say: it’s time to take a break.  This was mine.

Duh!!! I put first sleeve in no problem.  Must have started feeling cocky when I did the second one.  A sure sign it’s time to put down tools and find something else to do for a while.  So I had a cat-hunt wondering what our three cats were up to.  Abby wasn’t hard to find since she’d been keeping me company while I messed up that sleeve.

Le Bleu wasn’t far away either . . . he was in our bedroom, just waiting to strike a pose.

As for Ducky . . . he was fast asleep in the veranda.

and, while I tried to be quiet, and didn’t use the flash, I managed to wake him up.  Sorry Ducky!

Anyway . . . after that quick feline photo session and a fresh mug of coffe, I did head back to my sewing room to unpick the offending sleeve and finish off the Tshirt.  If you want to see how it turned out, you can click here: Claire’s Collections.



rainbow progress

My rainbow patchwork project has been coming along, although things are currently at a stand-still because . . . I changed my mind about backing fabric, which meant I then changed my mind about what fabric to use for binding . . . and I’m now having to wait for a fabric order to arrive lol.  Typical me!  I wasn’t supposed to be buying in any more stash this year, but this is an absolute emergency/necessity!

This is how things were looking on 25th May.

The original plan was to use a lovely star print fabric somewhere in this design, preferably for the binding.  I mean, I’d chosen my fabrics for chevrons specifically to pick out the same colours in stars!

There’s the star fabric, sitting under all my chevrons as I was making.  However . . . when rummaging around for a suitable sized piece of fabric for backing, I came upon something very “busy”, which I had totally forgotten about, and which I’ll show you a bit further down.  Once rediscovered, I wanted to use it but the star fabric simply would NOT go with.  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself since before binding can go on, I needed to sandwich and quilt (after adding 2.5″ strips of white to give a crisp outer border.

Since quilting isn’t my strong point, I kept things very simple and almost invisible.  I took things one column at a time and just did some quilting in the ditch, around the coloured chevrons . . .  here is a very rough sketch of that (my quilting is actually better than my sketching lol).

Sort of went around the edge of each chevron, in a clockwise direction, going 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and then did vertical lines (7&8) to get me to the tip of next chevron.  I started by quilting the central column (green chevrons) and then quilted the other columns working outward each time. It works for me.  And, as I say, is fairly invisible on the front . . . but a little more visible on the busy backing fabric I chose.

How fun is that, eh?  So much going on there, what with rainbows, umbrellas, balloons, animals and so on.  I’m thinking it’ll be a great quilt for learning colours (except I have no pink or brown in my rainbow).   Anyhoot . . . that’s progress so far.  As soon as new fabric arrives, I’ll be able to get on with binding . . . and I’ll come & share my happy dance with you!

best layer of the month # May

Yesterday it was time to tot up the egg tally for the month of May.  The gals are all enjoying life in the orchard, in the shade of several apple trees.  The ‘on-loan’ bee hive isn’t far (top right in photo) but bees and hens appear to be living in harmony.

It looks like Miss Moneypenny might be starting to get broody again (always seems to happen to her when weather stays warm) because she’s begun leaving a few fluffy feathers in the nesting box, but, she has also been laying really well.  Total eggs count for May was:  Mauricette – 20;  Ruby – 26;  Miss Moneypenny – 27; and this month’s winner is Florence with 28.  Which makes a grand total of 101 eggs this month.

A few more photos, of future apples and pears.

Apples should be in abundance this year but we’re not counting our pears just yet.