new SAL on the agenda – Jardin Privé

Hihi . . . with the Pelin Tezer and “La petite brodeuse” SALs almost over I’ve given into temptation and just signed myself up for a new SAL which will be starting on 15th April.  A French friend (who I had the pleasure of meeting in person in February at the crafts show in Paris, is organising it on her blog:

For the moment there are just the two of us signed up, so it could be a simple duet SAL but I expect, when word gets round, that more stitchers will join in.  Especially when they see the design . . . “In the Night” by Jardin Privé

Jardin Privé In the Night

It’s only a small design – measuring 100 x 58 stitches, so it should be quite a quick stitch.  Chart is available from Jardin Privé .  9 euros for the printed chart or 6 euros for the downloadable pdf chart.

SAL updates – Grandsire & Pelin Tezer

Time to show progress in two on-going SALs.  First a monochrome with “La petite brodeuse” (Jean Louis Grandsire). She will be finished next week but I have no idea what I’m going to do with her.

and then a very pale blue-green for the eleventh line of “Turkish Sampler” (Pelin Tezer)

and update from

La pie kikou

and mymye13

enjoying my Cybook so much

In February I treated myself to a Cybook for my birthday and wonder why on earth I waited so long to invest in an E-reader – I simply love it !  I had listened to different opinions on ereaders (with some people wondering if it wouldn’t detract from the pleasure of reading, not having real paper pages to turn) and I can honestly say that reading on a screen takes away none of the pleasure. When the book is good, you don’t even realise you’re not holding a real book and I am well and truly smitten.

I still haven’t taken the plunge and actually bought any books to download – at the moment I have more than enough to keep me happy with books that are in the Public Domain.  And it is a great opportunity to re-read some of those Classics or discover others that I should have read and never did.

To date, I have read “There Must Be Murder” by Margaret Sullivan (a modern sequel to “Northanger Abbey”) . . . which naturally led me to re-read Austen’s “Northanger Abbey” immediately afterwards lol.  Next was “Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë (never read before but thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I wanted to shake Agnes throughout – but I think that’s what the author wanted).  I have just finished reading what is probably one of my all-time favourites in English literature “The Mayor of Casterbridge” by Thomas Hardy. 

I remember watching the BBC televised series of that in the late 70s, with Alan Bates in the title role – which promptly spurred me on to read the novel – I must have been about 14 at the time and became a Hardy fan overnight. Now THAT is what I call literature – even when you’ve read the book several times, it’s still a gripping tale and Henchard’s Last Will and Testament had me in tears, as always (photo of my rather dog-eared sorry looking paperback)

little quote for those of you who know (or those of you don’t)

“That Elizabeth-Jane Farfrae be not told of my death, or made to grieve on account of me. & that I be not bury’d in consecrated ground. & that no sexton be asked to toll the bell. & that nobody is wished to see my dead body. & that no murners walk behind me at my funeral. & that no flours be planted on my grave. & that no man remember me. To this I put my name.  Michael Henchard”

After one I know, I’m now reading an author I didn’t know, with “The Circular Staircase” by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Lots of mysterious noises in the middle of the night, and a clock that stops ticking at 3am . . . perhaps a little dated as “suspense” stories go, but I’m loving it lol.

gifts sent for my French 4 year bloganniversary

Yesterday I mentioned my French blog, which celebrated its 4th bloganniversary on 1st March. To celebrate in true blog-style, I had organised a giveaway with a “surprise hand-made gift” as the main prize and today, since winners have received their parcels, I can post photos of what I sent.

Saoti was the first name pulled out of the hat, so she won the hand-made gift: a little “trinket box”. Originally one of those shop-bought boxes made of brown cardboard, I gave it a coat of  white paint and then used the “serviettage” method to liven it up with a cross stitch design of “Rose” for the insert. “Rose” is designed by my daughter, Lindashee and the chart is available for free – all you have to do is ask (either her or me).

I stitched over one on evenweave, to make the design the perfect size for the insert

and then finished off the trinket box

then . . . because an empty trinket box is no fun at all, and because saoti loves RED, I filled it up with some goodies

and then added some printed fabric squares to the parcel

For the two “runners up”, Kaline and Kattalin, I made up two (almost identical) consolation prizes and sent some printed fabric squares, skeins of thread, charms, small hoop, stickers and an acryllic keyring

wondering out loud

I’ve been wondering silently of late and today have decided to wonder out loud . . . regarding this blog.  I have a French blog which I started in March 2007 and had such a great time making contact with French stitchers that I decided to start this one a few years ago to get in touch with English-speaking stitchers. It’s also more natural for me to rabbit on in English and quite often, I publish an article here before posting roughly the same on my French blog.

Living in France, I joined a couple of French forums and participate quite regularly in SALs, exchanges and stitching for good causes (the two latter because it’s easier to post to within France than abroad).  I suppose for this reason, I have more “friends” in the French-speaking world when it comes to blogging than in the English-speaking world.  However, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying numerous blog-hopping sessions, when I click on links and discover new blogs all over the world, where I invariably leave a comment to show that I stopped by (although occasionally blogspot blogs don’t let me).

Anyway . . . (what a rambler you’re thinking, get to the point!) my wonderings are . . . are French stitchers more enthusiastic bloggers than their English-speaking counterparts?  I recently held a giveaway on my French blog to celebrate the 4th anniversary of “C’est Claire” because I wanted to say a big thank you to my followers. To date, I have over 80 followers there, and enjoy reading comments which arrive every day . . . whereas here, I often get the impression I’m talking to myself.  People stop by occasionally, but very rarely leave a comment . . . is it because they’re too busy? because they landed here by mistake? or simply because my posts leave them cold?

I don’t mind talking to myself  – I often do it lol (first sign of madness, I know) and to be honest, I will continue posting here whether people stop by and say hello or not.  I know some of my English students visit to get some reading practice (hello Ivelyne if you’re reading this) and I enjoy writing in my mother tongue without having to worry about “did I conjugate that verb properly?”

Anyway – ramblings over . . . ^^

getting ready for “Flip Flop Summer” SAL

At the beginning of the year, I ear-marked three Barbara Ana designs for some SAL projects in 2011.  Followed by a number of Barbara Anamaniac stitchers, I led the dance in February over 4 weeks to stitch “Reading is Magic” which saw us with a gorgeous bookmark at the beginning of March. 

For April – May, I will be leading another SAL with the design “Flip Flop Summer” – stitching over 8 weeks so that we finish well in time to welcome in the Summer ^^  This SAL will begin on 1st April, with a photo on my blog every week of the bits to stitch. Being only a small design, there won’t be too much stitching each week (just a couple of hours) so if you fancy joining in, feel free.  Chart is available to download on and it will be an ideal project to use up some of those leftover end-of-skein threads we all have in our drawers. 

I will be stitching on pale blue aida and have some of my colours sorted already. Next photo you’ll see about this will be posted on 1st April with the first stitches in place.

“la petite brodeuse” – Grandsire (weekly update)

It’s the third week with the SAL “La petite brodeuse” – a design by Jean Louis Grandsire and downloadable for free

I had a slight panic attack before I stitched this third part as I’m using a skein of Venus threads (of which I only have one in that colour) and was suddenly worried that one skein wouldn’t be enough BUT I’ve got approx 3 metres left after the third stage so I’m hoping it should be enough.

GORJUSS – I will not give into temptation

I will not give in to temptation. I will not give in to temptation.  I will NOT give in to temptation.

Do you think if I say it often enough it will work?

One thing I really WILL have to stop doing, is browsing on to see what’s new. Because that’s when the drooling starts, when Mr Visa starts burning a hole in my pocket . . . but I shall resist and try to tempt you instead lol.  Look what’s new in the “Gorjuss” series (copyright Santoro)

I Found My Family

The Collector

On Top of the World

The Owl

blackwork 8 point star – stitched by La Pie Kikou

What a lovely surprise it was to receive photos from La Pie Kikou of one of my own designs that she had stitched. She has made this design even smaller (I didn’t think that was possible lol) by stitching it over one on evenweave and then finished it off into the most gorgeous thread-keeper. Here are the photos she sent me. You can see she’s been a very busy bee and is making herself a complete set of items for her sewing basket.