Blackjack’s getting old

new toy3

A few medical visits this month, and one for Blackjack too . . . he’s been under the weather for the last few days, so a check-up was in order.  He’s 10 and a half now, which means he’s not getting any younger and we weren’t very surprised when we heard the medical verdict.  Beginnings of heart failure.

Xrays showed that his heart is enlarged and his lungs are full of liquid . . .  he’s now on a course of diuretics to help empty his lungs and another medication which will help his heart work more efficiently.

Vet wants to see him again next week, just to make sure that his lungs have cleared up, and then we’ll take things from there.  He should start feeling better very soon.   Obviously, he’s going to be on daily medication for his heart from now on . . . but there’s no reason he can’t carry on leading a normal life for a few more years, with gentle exercise and lots of TLC at home.

Dimensions xmas decorations–happy dance

I set myself the challenge, way back in January to stitch this set of six decorations before xmas 2016.


Kits by Dimensions, complete with 14 count plastic canvas.

By taking things one kit at a time, and pacing myself with one every 2 months, it’s been a slow process, but at least I haven’t had an indigestion of Christmas stitching.  Today I got out the fabric glue, because I decided to back my stitched plastic with felt (so you can’t see the mess on the back).

dimensions x6I’ve trimmed up the felt but left a slight border . . . two on red, two on gold, and two on green.  So, a happy dance in this part of France, and now to rummage to find something else small to work on.

SAL update – Unicorn #8

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any progress to show for this update.  Sciatica is still painfully dragging on and crafting has been down to a minimum, with any stitching time given over to small projects.

So my fabric still looks like this

SAL 25 09

I do hope other SAL members have been more productive.  In order to find out, please don’t hesitate to click on the following links to see what they’re all up to.  There’s Avis, Gun, Carole, Wendy, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, SusanP, Kathy and our newest member  Margaret.

Next update on 6th November.

“warm hearts” happy dance

warm hearts

More small stitching and a little happy dance, as I finished the fifth plastic canvas decoration: “Warm Hearts”, a kit by Dimensions.  My followers know that I set myself the challenge, at the beginning of 2016 to stitch six different designs in the same series this year.  I am pleased to say, I’m managing to keep to schedule.

dimensions x5

Just one more to stitch before the festive season, and then I’ll be messing around with fabric glue, felt and ribbons to finish the set off as tree decorations.

repeating myself

Once I have an idea for making something, I usually like to repeat it several times.  I’ve therefore been playing around with vignettes, cardboard, wadding & double sided sticky tape, making more thread sorters.

This most recent batch with some Japanese inspired cat prints

This first one, is for me – on one side, two cats getting up to mischief with a mirror and string of pearls


and on the back – what looks like a roll of toilet paper being torn to pieces


There are also Maneki neko (waving/welcoming cats)


Here is a photo of the four I made up – first side

cat thread sorters verso

and on the back.

cat thread sorters recto

best layer of the month # september

the gals

I’m a bit late with my regular “best layer of the month” article, but here it is.  Hens are in fine fettle, although they all appear to be moulting (especially Miss Moneypenny who has lost all but two of her tail feathers). 

Total of eggs for September was down on an average month with 54 eggs.  Miss Marple laid 24, Miranda 21 and Miss Moneypenny (who only stopped brooding recently) laid 9.

Other news . . . and not for the vegetarians amongst you . . . we have 3 new fowl.


Not for eggs, I’m afraid . . . my husband is already planning the menu for the family festive season so we have bought two 6-week old guinea fowl


and one 5-week old Naked Neck chicken.


Yep, he/she is supposed to look like that, he/she hasn’t been attacked by the others.   These birds won’t be given names, for obvious reasons.  I mustn’t get attached to them, although I can’t help thinking already how cute the Naked Neck is.  Only 5 weeks old, he/she is still just a big chick and is sticking close to the young guniea fowl as they wander around the enclosure. 

some this, that & the other

I’ve been suffering from sciatica and feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I also needed some quick-fix stitching. . . so rummaged through my pile of freebie kits – kits I accumulated over the years by being subscribed to several British xstitch magazines.  Since we’re already in October, and Christmas doesn’t seem very far away, I plumped for something xmasy . . .


and after several stitching sessions, I had completed this lovely set.  The kit and charts were from the December 2011 (issue 247) of Cross Stitcher magazine and designed by Angela Poole.  They’re supposed to be gift tags but I reckon they’d look rather nice in the tree.

It gave me something of a pick-me-up to have a little happy dance with those . . . and something else that gave me a pick-me-up was a squishy surprise mail all the way from Canada.

An un-birthday surprise gift sent by Storm


A gorgeous blackwork card, which is Storm’s own design.  It’s an “Inuksuk” which is a symbol of friendship and welcome.  And a lovely fabric bookmark.  Thank you so much Storm.

And something else that cheered me up . . . a short weekend trip to England to visit family . . . weekend during which I managed to nip into WH Smiths and buy this.


I’ve totally fallen in love with the artwork of Hannah Dale, which is copyrighted under the name Wrendale Designs. 


Just look at these gorgeous designs that have been charted for cross stitch.  I think I’ll stitch the hare first. 

The weekend away means I didn’t get around to doing my monthly “Best Layer of the Month” post so I’ll catch up over the next few days.