liquid gold (or what the husband’s bees have been up to)

A few weeks ago, I posted photos of hive inspection.

Well since then, the husband harvested honey (for the first time) with the help of Mr Tattoo.

We don’t have a proper extractor so it was a long & laborious process, with lots of waiting for honey to pass through various filters.  And then waiting, a week, to let the honey mature before potting.

And ta da!  Liquid gold.  Probably a lot of acacia in there, but it’s not clear enough to be pure acacia.  Whatever it is, it’s golden, it’s creamy, and it’s very yummy. And we potted up 9kg 250g of it.

arrggghhh! need to frog.

I’ve started a new knitting project (and Mrs T is knitting her own version as well).  The pattern is “Melody” by Sarah Hatton.


It’s to make a “lace summer top” and pattern is written for a WYS yarn, but I’m using a different yarn. I chose the brand: ONline Linie 107 supersoft. It’s a  60% cotton/ 40% acrylic DK mix.  Advantage, compared to the recommended yarn a) I was able to buy it in France. b) it’s machine washable and c) it cost 2.95€ for a 50g ball (I need 7 x 50g for my size), so makes for a not too expensive knitting project.

It wasn’t until I’d paid for and downloaded the pattern, that I realised, this top is knitted with the purl side facing outwards. ie, the “wrong” side is the “right” side. This took some getting used to.  Anyway, photo above, with flash, to try and show you the colour I’m knitting in (although it’s actually lighter and more like the pink on pattern photo).


And second photo, without flash, so you can see the stitch detail, which is basically lots of tear drop shaped holes.  Sadly, I got as far as the beginning of armhole . . . did my first cast offs to begin armhole shaping . . . 2 more, with more decreasing and then had an “arrggghhh!” moment.  I misread the pattern and only cast off 6 stitches each side, when I should have cast off 10.  So . . . I’ve got 4 rows to frog, and get myself back on track.

update on Gibbs

About time I gave you an update on Gibbs, isn’t it!  This is what he looked like before all the medical visits, with severe facial paralysis on the left side.

After the MRI on 17th May which revealed a grey “mass” inside his middle ear, we booked him in for surgery on 24th.  Surgeon performed a TECABO (total ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy) and sent a sample away to be biopsied.

Biopsy results took 2 weeks to come through. It was, as the specialist suspected, a cholosteatoma (I’ll let you google that, if you’re interested) therefore not cancer.  That was the good news.  Bad news: it’s very rare in dogs and when it does occur, it frequently grows back, despite surgical removal.  So . . . we have gained time for Gibbs, but there’s no knowing how long.

In the meantime . . . After 3 weeks of wearing the cone, he now looks like this.

We think the drooping has improved slightly, around the eye . . . but he’s still very lop-sided and is likely to remain that way forever.  However, he’s full of beans! From a distance, and seeing only his right side, he looks like a perfectly healthy Flat-coated retriever.  He’s regained his balance, and trots along in the typical Flat gait (tail fanning out horizontally and head held proudly).   We’ve been warned to keep an eye on him and check regularly for any swelling (which will mean the thing is growing back). But for now, we’re just happy to see Gibbs happy and more or less back to his normal self.

ScrapHappy # June

Time to link up with fellow scrappers, for ScrapHappy day.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Viv

A day, each month, always on 15th, where we show photos of scrappy projects.  I don’t seem to have been playing much with my scraps of late, but . . . while crocheting a small project last week, I realised I am using scraps because I’m using leftovers from larger balls of yarn.

I’m making some sprites, and looking to use some of the remnants from my DK yarn stash.  Here, crocheting the body of a new Fairy Sprite, using what was left of “Duck Egg” blue (a Stylecraft Special DK).  I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough to complete the body, so I just kept crocheting, stuffing, and crossing my fingers.

As it happily turned out . . . I was able to complete the body (up to where I reattach the skin colour for neck) in Duck Egg, with approximately 30cm to spare. Phew!

hooking a flower sprite

After the Acorn Sprite of last week, I’ve been having fun with a second pattern by CritterStitchDesigns:  Flower Sprite.

It’s basically the same doll & construction, but accessories are different.

Here she is, hand in hand, with Acorn . . . sadly I overstuffed her head.  (note to self for next time).  Anyway . . . I love how she turned out but wasn’t sure I liked the idea of her being bald under that hat.  So . . . I crocheted a wig.

I made the wig up as I went along, and forgot to make notes, but it was simple enough to make and can be worn with or without the hat.

Am enjoying these sprites so much, the plan is to crochet up some more.

SAL “poppy trio” # 6

A mini happy dance on my poppy project as things has progressed from this

to this, in the past 3 weeks.

As you can see, I’ve completed stitching on the white poppy, and begun work on the orange one.

Here’s a list of all SAL members, who are each working on different projects, but we meet up every 3 weeks to cheer each other along.



And we’ll be back again on 26th June.

hooking an acorn sprite

I fancied a bit of fun with my crochet hook, but couldn’t decide on any patterns in my numerous books.  So . . . I had a browse on etsy and came across the most delightful patterns by CritterStitchDesigns.   

I couldn’t make up my mind which pattern to buy, they are all so cute. But I finally decided on a couple of sprites.

This is my version of the Acorn Sprite.  I hooked using Stylecraft DK and a 2.5mm hook which means he turned out at 9″ tall.  I think he’s ever so cute.

Instructions said to sew the acorn hat in place but I’ve kept it removeable.

I plan on making several more acorn sprites, using different colours for their outfits & wing/leaves . . . but in the meantime, I’ve already started work on a flower sprite.


hen happenings # May round-up

It’s raining today, so you’ll have to make do with a couple of photos snapped yesterday (not featuring hens).

of the husband inspecting his hives.  We should get some honey this year – yay!

Anyway . . . hens are all well, and laying.  A total of 115 eggs this month (same as last month).  Not much else to report.

Oh yes, and Gibbs . . .  it’s been a full week since the op.   No news yet of biopsy results. And stitches don’t come out until 9th June . . . so we’re taking things one day at a time and having to put up with Gibbs crashing around the house in his XL plastic cone.


needed new pjs

Before I begin about pjs . . . a quick update on Gibbs. He went in for surgery on Tuesday 24th May.  The grey mass  was removed and he also underwent a TECABO (total ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy). Yes, it’s as serious as it sounds and is only done as last ressort surgery.  Anyhow . . . Gibbs came through surgery okay. We picked him up on the Wednesday evening.  He looks a sorry sight:  shaved ear, shaved face, droopy eye, lop-sided head . . . and having to wear the cone of shame for 2 weeks until the stitches come out.   He’s got lots of meds to take.  Biopsy results should take around 10 days.   I’m thinking I might have to make him an eye patch for when the cone comes off.  Facial paralysis (which is permanent) means he can’t blink/shut left eyelid . . . which means he’ll be prone to hurting/scratching his eye in future when walking in long grasses, etc.

In the meantime, I was trying to keep my mind on other things, and distract me from Gibbs’ medical problems  so I did some sewing.   Had been meaning to make myself a couple of new pairs of PJs.  I favour shortie PJs, even in the winter.  I pulled out two well-used patterns: New Look 6871 for the tunic (not really a PJ top but it works for me) and Butterick B4532 for the shorts.

And used two different fabrics I’ve had in my stash for almost 10 years.  Next job is to make myself a couple of day-wear tunics for this summer, using the same pattern. I have the fabric. Just need to find the time.



a bit of this & that

Time for a bit of this and that . . .  not all good.

Crafting has been on a go-slow recently because of family gatherings. That’s good!  I was very busy in April doing lots of sorting and clearing because Mr & Mrs Tattoo are having a change of direction in life.  We told them we would support them in any way we could. They lived in the south east of France, but have moved up to live with us temporarily . . . the time it takes to sell the flat and buy a house. Knowing this, I wanted to make sure they had their own space, so that we’re not living on top of each other.  I emptied things out of the master bedroom (with ensuite shower and little loggia) which is almost as big as the flat they were living in before.

so they can have some of their own furniture in there. And I also organised half the attic space.

They moved here on 21st April, so it’s been a month already. Mr Tattoo has started a new job, and we’re crossing fingers the flat sells quickly so they can start house-hunting.

We also had a lovely visit from Lindashee & Mr Lindashee (whose wedding we were unable to attend in February).  We therefore organised a family gathering for that: BBQ in the garden, with other family members.  We hadn’t seen Lindashee since Sept 2019 so the family reunion was well overdue!

Lindashee came bearing gifts for her old Mum (ie me)

fabrics, DVDs, a gorgeous bag (made by teacakemake on etsy)

and Mr & Mrs Tattoo brought a belated b’day present for me too.

That’s the good happy things going on in life.  The not so good is.

What on earth is that? you ask.  It’s MRI pictures of the inside of Gibbs’ head!

And this is what he looks from the outside.  It all started out with what local vet thought was a simple ear infection.  But after seeing a specialist the other day, we now know it’s much more serious. Gibbs is suffering from facial paralysis: loss of muscle, drooping of ear, eyebrow, face & mouth.  Due to a growth (a very large growth) in his left middle ear.  We’re waiting for a call back with a second opinion and date for surgery, but specialist thinks it’s a cholesteatoma.  In theory, not malignant (biopsy will confirm) but it’s eating away at bone inside his skull and needs to be removed completely. We’ve already been warned that facial paralysis is going to be permanent and that Gibbs will be deaf in left ear, and possibly blind in left eye.  He’s not 6 years old yet, so he’s still quite a young dog.  We’re crossing fingers surgery will sort him out.  He’s young enough to adjust to living with a slight handicap, and we’re not bothered about having a lop-sided dog, as long as he’s happy and in general good health!