“I Spy” play mat

Last week, I pulled a quilt top out of the drawer to finish off . . . having learned that one of my husband’s ex-colleagues had become a Papa to a bouncing baby boy.

This is a quilt I put together using some little printed squares, featuring butterflies, snails, a mole, birds, and lots of other little critters.

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I think it’s perfect for a play mat (or a snuggle quilt) . . . lots of bright colours and lots of details to notice.

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Lots of white, to keep things fresh looking, and a solid turquoise binding.  Quilt measures 39” square.  I hope baby and parents like it.

when it’s cold outside

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When it’s cold outside, the best place is indoors – I think you’ll all agree.  We’ve been having regular snow flurries in our part of France.  So far, a couple of days of snow flurries which then melt away . . . only for it to start snowing again.

On Thursday we took Gibbs out for some exercise and fresh air – snow had melted everywhere as you can see from the green grass, but it started snowing during our walk.

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So we woke up yesterday morning to the first photo.  Cats must have had a vote during the night, and have agreed unanimously, that the best place to be today is indoors.  I wandered around with my camera to see what they were all up to. 

Abby was keeping the chinchilla company

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Ducky was happy because he had an entire double bed to himself

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Merlin was trying to get some sunlight

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and Le Bleu was flaked out on a chair in the guest room.

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I find it interesting that each cat finds a completely different place to sleep, and in this instance, each cat in a totally different part of the house.  Often I find at least one, or even two, in my sewing room because it’s a well-established fact that cats like to sleep on WIPs. But the only living creature in my sewing room yesterday was Rio – since that’s where he lives.

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Postman came with lots of bills, but also a lovely card from Virginie.

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I think that’s probably the last of the seasonal mail. 

“statement flowers” progress

I am really bombing along with this project – it’s so addicitive.  Only a few days ago I showed you this

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Things have now grown to look like this

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I’m alternating with black stitching, then some colouring in.  It really is lots of fun!

I also have a thank you . . . with more mail that plopped through the door, from DebbieRose.

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Some lovely blackwork tree decorations and glittery card.  Thank you Debbie.

projects underway for 2017

2017 is only 10 days old, but I’m feeling quite pleased with progress on a couple of new projects.  I showed you this start

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Which now looks like this

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Lots more black outlines but I also gave into temptation and starting “colouring in” simply because it got quite boring just stitching in black.

A patchwork project that was only in the sketch stage at the end of last year

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Has begun in earnest, with three of the predominately red blocks assembled

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And I’ve just pulled out a quilt top from my box

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This was pieced in August, for no specific occasion.  I was just having fun playing around with fabric . . . I am now in the process of quilting and this will be gifted to a baby boy as a playmat. 

And a last photo, to say thank you to Storm – for these lovely decorations.

from Storm

Gibbs update

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Gibbs, our Flat coated retriever pup, was 4 months old on 6th January, and like all proud parents of a fluffy puppy, we’re keeping tabs on his growth chart.  He now weighs in at 15 kilos so that’s 3 kilos in one month – sounds about right to me.

He’s now fully house-trained and “asks” to go outside for pees and poops rather than waiting for us to decide it’s time.  He is also doing very well with basic commands.  After mastering the “sit” and “down”, he can now also manage the “stay” and walking to heel is getting better & better every day. 

Teething is going to be the next obstacle as Gibbs will chew anything he can get his teeth into.

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For the moment, nothing of great value, but we’re more worried about him swallowing dangerous items than about actual damage.  Mind you, he did manage to steal a couple of goat cheeses the other night but he doesn’t just go for plastic. 

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I managed to get a photo of Gibbs sporting the bandana made & sent by Lynn, (please admire the “sit” and “stay” position lol)  but sadly, I can’t let him wear this without supervision, no matter how cute he looks in it, because . . . yes, he tries to chew it. 

SAL update – #12 Unicorn

I am so close to a finish now . . . but not close enough to make a dash for it.  Here is where I was last time on this gorgeous Joan Elliott design.

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And now

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From a distance, it looks like I’ve finished, but there are beads to add (hundreds of them) and backstitch detail to bring the design to life.

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Beading and backstitch are my least favourite bits, so I’ll be taking my time but should have a happy dance by the end of the month.

Please pop along and see what other SAL members are up to.  Avis, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, SusanP, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Wendy,  and our two newest members  Linda and Catherine

Please join me on 29th January for my happy dance.

vitamins for winter

As you know, my husband and I are very lucky to be country-dwellers and have a fertile veggie patch and orchard.  Over the summer we enjoyed fresh produce from the garden, and were able to preserve some of our produce.  The bumper crops this year were tomatoes and beans (both green & butter) that I “bottled” and sterilised.

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I finished up with a dozen of these jars of beans and as many jars of tomato sauce.  We’ve begun opening a few jars and everything is absolutely yummy!  Our hard work paid off.

With the cold weather, December was time to harvest the kiwis.  We picked more than 50kg in 2015 but my husband then gave the kiwi vine a serious prune so this year the harvest was smaller. 

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Those are 12 litre buckets you can see there.  But the fruit were bigger.

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Anway, there was still way too much fruit for us to keep for ourselves, so I bagged up kiwis and gave away 2/3 of the harvest to neighbours and family, keeping only one full bucket for ourselves.  We’ve been enjoying fresh kiwi for the past 4 weeks, really filling up on vitamin C.  Today, however, I decided it was time to think about keeping some for later on in the year.  So a stint of peeling & slicing

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And five 1 litre containers go to join the strawberries and raspberries we already have stored in the freezer.  I read, on the internet, that kiwi freezes very well, and it should retain both taste & colour.  We’ll find out whether that’s true later on in the year.