it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer!

Well, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer in my little corner of France.

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And here’s me, in the shade, to show you that we set up our little “spa” in the garden yesterday.  I haven’t been for a dip yet, but it won’t be long before I do.  I even bought myself a new swimsuit for this summer and a pretty pair of flipflops

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so I’m more than ready to take a cool, bubbly dip.

Other signs that summer is here . . . out in the veggie garden.

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We’ve been enjoying fresh artichokes and plenty of fresh strawberries and raspberries.

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In fact, the raspberries have been doing especially well this year! 

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This lot picked in around 45 minutes . . . then 2 days later . . . there were even more

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So, we’re getting plenty of fresh vitamins, but I’m also freezing raspberries with each harvest, as that’s a fruit I like to keep for yummy desserts during the winter months.  Typical me, summer has just begun and I’m already thinking ahead to winter! 

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Beau & his Belle

In May, I showed you this photo

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A little boy unicorn, I christened “Beau”, crocheted following the pattern by ANABU CROCHET, published in the book “Unicorns, Dragons and more fantasy amigurumi”.

Reading your comments, I realised I wasn’t alone in thinking that Beau needed a pretty lady friend to keep him company.  Unicorns might be mythical creatures, but they’re very sociable creatures, and poor little Beau was feeling very forlorn.  So . . . out came my hook, and . . .

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Belle was born!  I chose a light purple instead of baby pink because I didn’t want to go for the cliché of “blue for a boy, pink for a girl”.

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However, I did let rip with the really bright variagated Marriner DK yarn for mane and tail. 

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Now, whether or not there will be any baby unicorns remains to be seen.  Beau & Belle have already left home . . .

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but are living in the house just opposite, so I should get regular news.  Here they are, all packaged up as part of a food basket . . . a gift to our neighbours who got married on Saturday.  Neighbours being the parents of my little sewing apprentice, Cléo, and her toddler sister, Mona . . . and who, I am sure, will claim Beau & Belle as their own.

ScrapHappy #June

I’m linking up with Kate & Gun today, to share a ScrapHappy project. 

My “scraps” for this project were rather large this time and fabric was actually saved from an old quilt cover that was wearing thin in too many places.  This project, inspired by 2 foot ops.  Namely, the disposable slippers patients have to wear.

I had been meaning to make myself some “shoe covers” for quite a while . . . so that I can keep my shoes (with orthopedic insoles) on indoors, without traipsing dirt upstairs where we have wooden parquet.

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They might not look very elegant but they do the job!  Easy to slip on over my shoes before I head upstairs . . . and easy to take off when I come back downstairs.  Very easy to make too.  If you’re interested, I took step by step photos. 

To make one pair, I cut two rectangles of fabric 38cm x 35cm (I have very big feet).  Folded each piece, right sides together (so piece measured 38cm x 17.5cm) and sewed a 1cm seam along both 17.5cm edges.

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Next, I pressed those seams open and drew a sewing line 2cm in from the corner point of seams.

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Sewed along that line & trimmed.

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Still working with wrong sides out, I then pressed under raw edges along the top of my “pouch” before pressing under a generous seam allowance. 

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This is the casing for elastic, so I sewed close to the inner edge, remembering to leave a gap large enough to thread a safety pin with elastic.

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I cut 32cm of elastic to thread through.  Sewed elastic ends together, before sewing the gap closed.  And voilà!

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I got slightly carried away and made 3 pairs.

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Idea being, these will need to be flung in the washing machine from time to time, so I’ll always have a clean, dry pair of shoe covers to slip on and protect wooden parquet when I head upstairs.

SAL – “Bag Ladies” #12

It’s time to share an update of my SAL project:  “Bag Ladies”, but before I show you progress, here’s a reminder of the project I’m working on (because some of you have been wondering how much more there is left to do).

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Last time I was here

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which I reckon is about the half-way mark.

For this time, here’s how things look.

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As you can see, I’ve started adding back stitch detail to the largest cat and there’s a new head, peering out of a fifth bag.  So that’s 6 cats and 5 bags . . . only 4 cats and 4 bags to go!

Let’s do some blog hopping and see what other SAL members have been up to.

AvisGun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon

Next update on 30th June.

buttons galore

Like any respectable crafter/sewist, I have a button box.  Well I actually have several because I inherited my MIL’s button box, which also contained buttons from her mother’s sewing days . . . so I have several generations of buttons in several boxes. 

For example

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A few black glass buttons, and quite a few clear glass buttons in different shapes.

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There are also toggles, pretty plastic buttons, some in mother-of-pearl . . . some metal buttons from FIL’s merchant navy uniform, a plastic button with a squirrel, a swan, and even  small metal button with a wild boar’s head.

Anyway . . . I had a fun time sorting through some of these more special buttons a while back, and that spurred me on to buy myself a book.

“Old Buttons” by Sylvia Llewelyn.

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It’s a very small format, but  packed full of lots of lovely, life-sized photos of vintage/antique buttons.

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Also contains lots of interesting snippets of information regarding the history of buttons and the button industry.

After flicking through that, I then went on the internet, admiring vintage/original buttons and ended up buying a few (okay, a lot!) . . . since I already seem to have something of a collection going on.

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This last set will remain on their original card, but I’m seriously considering mounting some of my very special buttons onto card, and framing, to hang in my sewing room. 

I wonder will this inspire you to have a rummage through your button box, and play with some of the treasures you find?

Claire’s Collections – a new blog

I’ve just spent the morning setting up a new blog – yay!

Many of my regular readers who stop by here to read my crafting updates, don’t necessarily share the same interest for another of my hobbies:  dolls.  So, rather than subject you to too many photos of my dolls, which some call spooky/creepy/disturbing . . . I’m going to try and keep my interests separate.  Saying that, I will still write about my dolls and post photos from time to time here, when it’s crafts related, ie, making clothes for dolls.

Anyway, the new blog is Claire’s Collections.  And will be written in both English & French.

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This photo to show just a few of the dolls that live here with me . . . ranging in size from 90cm to just over 2cm.  Talk about two extremes!

the flamingo shirt (or what Claire wore to the wedding)

As you know, we attended my sister’s wedding over the last weekend in May.  Wedding where most of the ladies were looking very pretty & feminine in summery dresses . . . but where I just wanted to be comfortable. 

I had toyed with idea of making myself a dress, but the problem with a dress would have been: what to wear on my feet?  Bearing in mind feet haven’t recuperated 100% from foot ops and I’ve got my orthopedic insoles to worry about.  Anyway, my sister, who knows me too well, had said I could wear what I liked so, I turned up with my smartest pair of brown jeans on the bottom half of me, plus my new (and I think, rather trendy) desert boots.  However, on the top half . . . I did make myself something especially for the occasion.

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Using this pattern, that I’d already trialed and tested twice . . .

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I made a flamingo shirt – yay! 

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Pale blue buttons for the sleeve detail (from Bonne Maman’s button box).  I kept it the same as the previous shirt I made: rounded hem both front & back; grandad style collar, and the 3/4 sleeve which I find the most practical/comfortable.  I really do love this flamingo print, which is slightly whacky without being “too much”.   I bought 3m of this fabric (for only 12€) therefore I have plenty left.   I also have it in a more turquoise colourway so stay tuned . . . more flamingo sewing will take place before the summer is over.