January round-up (hens & all)

I haven’t been very talkative this month – still seem to be spending my days nipping outside with Tali, and doing lots of K9 education, but it’ll be worth it once she’s fully grown. Above photo taken on 16th Jan when she was 13 weeks.  She’s now 15 weeks, tips the scales at 10.5kg and is still keeping us on our toes.

I tried to get a photo of Tali & Ziva together and ended up with this:  blurry cat and blurred dog tail lol.

We’ve put a little gate across the bottom of the stairs, more symbolic than anything else, to stop Tali going upstairs.  Ziva doesn’t mind being in close contact with Tali, but the other cats still prefer to keep out of her way.

Out in the hen coop, the hens are continuing their go-slow . . . the three of them seem to be taking it in turns to lay, and I only collected 44 eggs for January.

As for crafting . . . I seem to be on a go-slow too.  I’ve got a sweater that’s waiting for raglan seams to be sewn so I can pick up and knit the collar.  I’m currently working on a pair of crocheted slippers, following the basic pattern from one of my new books (photos soon) and I’ve also been doing some diamond painting because that doesn’t require much brain power.  My current project is looking like this

Something floral, for a change!  But I suddenly find myself with a diamond painting stash because there were lots of cheap kits in a local shop the other week, and I couldn’t resist.

These are only partial coverage, but for the price, I’m happy with that.  3.99€ for the 30cm x 30cm ones and 4.65€ or the 30cm x 40cm ones.

SAL “My day off” #7

Is it me, or did those last 3 weeks simply fly by?  I don’t feel like I had time to blink and we’re almost approaching the end of January!  Time to link up with fellow SAL members




and show updates on the projects we’re working on. Everyone os working on a different project, at her own pace, that’s the joy of this SAL.  Just a group meet-up every 3 weeks to motivate each other and share progress.  Last time I was here

For this time, it might not look much, but I’ve filled in all the white stitching of the bath tub, some of the knickers and a bit of horizon.


new crafting books

I’ve added a few new crafting books to my shelves recently . . . and am feeling very motivated to start a few new projects (just as soon as I’ve finished my WIPs).

I bought two copies of this one (both secondhand) on @m@zon.  One for me and one for Mrs Tattoo so we’ll have plenty of knitting ideas for baby.  Sizing only goes up to 12 months though, so we’re limited in time.   I’ve already knitted up one of the patterns inside. This one, that I showed you already.

A second knitting book, also bought secondhand, is this one.

I also bought a second hand copy in French for Mrs Tattoo.  There are loads of patterns out there to knit or crochet soft toys. I myself already have dozens of crochet books with lots of cute designs. However, I saw this one and thought Claire Garland’s bears look so different, and a great way to use up the yarn stash.  From what I’ve read so far, there are 2 basic patterns for the bears, which are knit in DK and then clothes are either knit or crocheted, often in 4ply.  Bears body parts are knit flat, so there will be sewing up to do.

Anyway, having been able to find second-hand copies of this book, I am thrilled to add it to my shelf of crafting books and will definitely give at least one of the bears a try!

The most recent buy is a crochet book, that calls for aran yarn.

You can have a look inside of this if you search for it on @m@zon.  Instructions are given (both written and in chart form) for the basic slipper in 6 different sizes (3 kids’ sizes and 3 adult sizes).  And can be made in 3 different styles: slip on, shoe or boot.  Those instructions make up the first chapter of the book, then there are 20 different animal variations.  It also gives left-handed instructions in places (which as a leftie, I greatly appreciate).

a knitty happy dance

I’m having a little happy dance after knitting up a small blanket – made because I received some yarn for xmas.  Which means you get to see what other presents I received too.

Lots of books this year: the Scythe trilogy from the Viking family (I asked for it in French so I can then lend to non-English speaking family members afterwards); first 3 in The Wheel of Time series, from Mrs & Mr Lindashee; and “Le livre sans nom” (the book with no name) from Mr & Mrs Tattoo.

More haul was: two sets of acryllic paint markers from the husband (you’ll find out why I asked for these later in the year).  “Under the Dome” DVD mini series from Mrs & Mr Lindashee; “Ralph 2.0” DVD and two packets of googly eyes from Mr & Mrs Tattoo; and two yarn cakes of Lion Brand yarn & a sweater from SIL & family.

And . . . there was even more . . .

SIL has taken up machine embroidery recently and surprised the husband and myself with a gorgeous set of 3 cushions.  Made completely from scratch, including invisible zips and a very cheerful yellow cotton.

A zoom in on my favourite one.

Anyway . . . title of this post is a knitty happy dance because, I decided to cast on with the Lion brand yarn straight away, rather than letting yarn simply become more stash.

And knitted a blanket.  I only had 2 balls so, in order to make the most of yarn and make the blanket as big as possible, I started with a 5 stitch cast on, and increased by 1 stitch every row (with a yarn over) until reaching the end of the first yarn cake.  Then joined yarn (but working second cake from the centre out) and decreased by 1 stitch every row.   I haven’t weaved in my yarn ends yet, but I have a pretty, albeit small, blanket – it finished up at 30″ square so more of a lap warmer but at least it’s a finished item and not just more stash.

what we’re up to in January

We’re already a week into the New Year and haven’t really seen the days fly by because Tali is keeping us on toes.

She’s not yet 3 months old, only just turned 12 weeks, and weighs in at 6.7kg, so quite a feather-weight.  She’s at that awful age where she wants to put everything in her mouth and those milk teeth are razor sharp.  “Ouch” is the word she hears most often at the moment as she tries to bite fingers, ankles, trouser bottoms, shoes . . . whatever she can sink her teeth into.  The husband and I know it’s a passing phase and we’re being as patient (and firm) as possible. Concentrating on the positive aspects:  house-training is going well; walking on the leash is a work in progress; “sit” gets a 90% success rate and Tali does come when she’s called (although not always immediately).

We’re making the most of puppy naptime to each do some crafting.  I’m still having fun with my knitting needles.

This is a new project cast on this year.  I’m knitting with an aran weight silver grey by Allison & Mae (bought for only 1.09€/100g in a local shop and am knitting another sweater for myself.  I’m using two patterns for inspiration, which I’ll tell you about another time (if this works).   So far, I have a back and the front is underway.

The husband, in the meantime, had fun with one of his xmas presents.  Following an article by Kate, I went browsing on @m@zon and bought a “book nook” kit for the husband.  Here’s what it looks like once assembled.

It was a bit fiddly in places, and required a fair amount of patience, but the husband really enjoyed making it and the result is ever so pretty.  In fact, when we were in the local shop where I bought my grey yarn, we saw some other miniature kits (for only 9.95€) and the husband decided to try one of those.  Not a “book nook”, but the same kind of activity. requiring glue, a steady hand & patience.





SAL “my day off” #6

First of all, a very happy new year!  I feel as if 2022 went by in the blink of an eye!  Today, I link up with fellower SALers




to show progress on my current cross stitch project.  The one I’m working on at the moment is a Design Works kit, adapted from artwork of Ronald West, this design being called “My Day Off”.  This is where I was last time

And progress made since then.


my last finish of the year

There were two projects I was hoping to get finished before the end of the year: a crocheted pterodactyl and the most recent knitting project, started earlier this month.  Sadly, I only managed to finish one, but it’s lovely to be having a knitting happy dance on this last day of the year!

I showed you a sneak peek of the project which looked like this.

Some people thought it was a new sweater, when in fact, it’s something completely different.

This is the pattern I was following, only not in grey.

It’s what, in French, we call a “nid d’ange” (an angel’s nest) and is basically a baby sleeping bag.

It was a perfect project to use some of the remaining King Cole Comfort aran I had in my stash (used 300g) which is so soft,  and a good excuse to do some more cabling.

You’ve seen me knitting baby patterns in the past, for my dolls, however this project will be for a real live baby.  Big news I’ve been keeping quiet about: Mr & Mrs Tattoo are expecting a Baby Inkling for the Spring.

hen happenings # december

On this last day of December, it’s time to tot up the total of eggs laid.

Only 47, which I think must be a record low for us, but hey, it was the holiday season and weather hasn’t been very nice.

The lack of eggs might be because I’m taking them fewer treats this month, seeing as how they’re allowed to free-range in the veggie garden at the moment. Plenty of grass to scratch.  It might also be due to a little visitor

Spot Ziva who loves to go visiting

but it’s more likely due to the fact day-light hours are very short, having not long passed the Winter Solstice.


Tali update (and Ziva)

Time for a quick update, because I doubt I’ll have much time for blogging over the festive weekend.  An update on Tali, who’s been with us 10 days already and appears to be settling in.  She’s still a tiny little thing, weighing in at 4.8kg now and not yet 10 weeks old, but she is gaining in confidence, and able to run about properly, without falling over her own feet.

She has a natural inclination to “sit”, so I’m hoping to make the most of that when it comes to canine education.

This third photo very poor quality, but to show her profile, and how her head is starting to look more like a Flat-coated retriever.

Pleased to say, Tali and Ziva have already made friends!

It took Ziva literally only days to get used to having a pup around (and yet Ziva never had a chance to get used to Gibbs) and the two of them really do seem to play together.  The other cats totally disapprove of a new dog in the house though. Le Bleu walks past, hissing and whacking if Tali dares comes too close. Abby & Ducky don’t even come downstairs. Silly really because it would be so much easier to make friends with a tiny pup, rather than wait until Tali becomes a much bigger, boisterous pup.  I don’t think the cats realise how much Tali is going to grow over the coming weeks/months.

a few more finishes

Trying to get in a few more finishes before the end of the year.  Today, some diamond painting for me, and some painting for the husband.  We bought these two kits a few weeks ago in a local shop

in an attempt to get into the festive spirit lol.  They kept us out of mischief for a couple of hours.

This little wooden kit has 4 different layers which give it a 3D effect.  And the little snowman runs on batteries to turn him into a little night-light

which I won’t leave switched on for long, but he was quite fun to make.

I also completed the larger project I began in November.