“trapunto” we have a roof !

Photo today to show you how things are coming along with my  “trapunto” block.  This is my first attempt at the art of “trapunto” and I expect it will be my last as I’m not enjoying it in the slightest.

For those of you who don’t know the technique, it’s a little like “boutis” except that with “boutis” both front and back are done using the same fabric and stitches need to be incredibly neat because both sides can be admired. With “trapunto”, you use one piece of cotton for the front, and a looser weave fabric for the back. You draw your design, and tack both pieces together . . . then you stitch along all detail lines . . . then you stuff each segment by making a small hole in the back.  I found a wooden tooth pick to be the best tool: leaving one end sharp to make my hole, and cutting the tip off the other end to make it easier to push wadding through. But even then I found it to be the most aggravating handicraft experience of my life!  It seemed to take forever and while the result is quite pleasing, it’s not something I ever want to do again.

In theory, I have done the hardest part . . . for all the straight lines, ladies at patchwork club gave me a long length of white wool (which I have begun using) and it’s just a question of threading that down (or across) each remaining detail.  I had hoped to finish last night, and have this block out of the way asap BUT that was forgetting about Le Bleu.  He kept on grabbing the wool and we had something of a tug-of-war session yesterday with cat thinking it was some new game I had invented for his enjoyment ^^  So . . . I gave up and did some cross stitch instead, and will try and finish this at patchwork club tomorrow.

I haven’t yet deleted red pen marks – but once complete, this cottage will be all white.

a couple of modest happy jigs

The sun is out, and skies are blue, so I got my camera out to take a few pics of some recent (and very modest) stitching.  I haven’t been working on anything big, just a few small pieces. First one is an Isabelle Vautier heart I have finished – you’ll have to wait a few months to see what’s going to happen to that.

Next, a little design by Lady Kell, that I stitched for the Xmas Xstitching Challenge . . . it’s my May update a little late. I’ve added “bonne lecture” so will be finishing this off as a bookmark sometime

And, after hours and hours (and more hours and hours) I have finally finished all the outline stitching for my “trapunto”  patchwork block – it doesn’t show up very well in the photo, but it’s a little cottage.  Red pen marks were my guide lines to stitch along but will disappear once I give it an iron. I now need to do the most important part . . . stuff wadding into each section to make all the detail stand out in 3D and I am SO not looking forward to it ^^

And . . . on another note . . .

have been doing some more Christmas shopping lol . . . and bought a few more hand-made thread-sorters from Béa

who sent them along with a gorgeous hand-made card and a few fimo buttons and charms to thank me for my custom.

if it looks too good to be true, then it isn’t true.

I need to have a bit of a rant today, so fix yourselves a coffee and make sure you’re sitting comfortably.

I have only just recently discovered the dishonesty and the reality of what appears to be a world-wide plague of car-selling scams.  And I have to say, after reading people’s feedback on various forums (in France, the UK and the US), and taking a look for myself on some of the sites where sellers can place a free ad, my faith in human-kind has taken a blow.  It makes me realise that there are crooks and thieves, not just on the local street corner, but  everywhere.

As a parent, I brought my children up to be honest . . . and because they are honest, they assume that everyone else is. Now,  I realise that I should have taught them to be more wary. Let me explain . . .

Eldest son, who (I mentioned in April) only recently landed his first real job, had been talking about buying himself a second-hand car. He lives quite a distance from us  so he had been checking out professional sellers and also looking in the free ads on the internet. Yesterday he texted to say he had contacted a lady about a VW Golf for only 2000 euros and, later that same day, he transferred the email and photos she had sent.

I was expecting to see photos of a clapped out 20-year-old car for that price, so I hadn’t even read the first line of the email, and already I was getting a waft of something fishy . . . a 2007 Golf 2.0 tdi dg sport with 74000km on the clock, in immaculate condition . . . for only 2000 euros . . . ??????????

I carried on reading to discover the life-story of the lady . . . just married, has left the country on her honeymoon and needs to sell the car because they won’t be coming back (that’s one hell of a honeymoon). Car is in storage somewhere in France and, strangely enough, she left keys, ALL papers, including a pre-signed sales contract (so in fact, she knew when she left that it was for an eternal honeymoon?).  And it gets better . . . the person in charge of storage is ALSO a professional transporter, and the lady had the forethought to pay him in advance so that the car can be delivered to anywhere in the country FREE OF CHARGE.   All the potential buyer need do, is say where he wants the vehicule delivered to, and be there with 2000 euros CASH.

. . .

Needless to say, I phoned my eldest son immediately and said “it’s a scam”.  Then I went on google  to prove it.  In only 5 minutes, I had read dozens of accounts from other people who had answered similar adverts. Sometimes the seller is away on honeymoon, sometimes it’s the husband who suddenly has a posting abroad because of his really high-powered job . . . sometimes it’s because the spouse has tragically passed away, or her 20-year-old son is in a coma . . . the lack of credibility of these people is amazing !

Reading on, to see what the outcome was for those who dared to continue after the first contact, the scenario was invariably the same. . . the delivery date is set . . . the future buyer then gets a phone call from the transporter, who is on his way, saying that he was mugged only the night before, doesn’t want to have to transport any cash on him, so can the buyer go to the PO and send money by Western Union.  And of course, if the buyer hasn’t been alerted by any of this and goes ahead with payment, he then finds himself short of 2000 euros (or however much was asked) and the transporter never shows up.  Meanwhile, there’s some one rubbing his hands with glee when the money arrives in his account (always overseas) and there’s one more pigeon born, who has no chance of taking any legal action or ever seeing his money again.

Anyway . . . my son is now one day older and a whole lot wiser. Luckily for him, he thought to talk to his old folk BEFORE he went any further . . . and he now knows that if something looks too good to be true, alarm bells should start ringing inside his head.

little exchange gifts for Tagada

Over on a French forum, I am taking part in an exchange with four other ladies . . . no set theme, no set dates, just with the idea of sending each other a surprise parcel sometime during the year, with a hand-made item inside and working within a budget of 10 euros. I have already sent to Chantal (in March) and for May I concocted a little surprise for Tagada.  A cat lover, and also a very experienced card-maker . . . so I stitched up a small Margaret Sherry cat which now adorns the cover of a little note book (just the right size to slip inside a handbag) and added some cat fabric squares, some cat buttons and a packet of Japanese origami paper hoping it will come in useful for card-making.

“Rêverie au jardin” update

What started out as a relatively organised SAL with specific parts to stitch every fortnight has turned into a more leisurely “stitch as you feel like it” as the lady leading the dance has realised this design is a lot more stitch-intensive than it first appears.  So basically, it’s a question of picking it up from time to time in the evening, and stitching on whatever part takes my fancy.  Here is what it looks like after a few serious sessions.

rummaging in my drawers

Today I had a bit of a rummage in my drawers – intially because I was doing a sort of inventory on charts & fabric but then I came across a pile of finished cross stitch and had something of a shock when I saw how many pieces have been stitched but then just folded and stored. I can’t even remember when I stitched some of the designs, but some go back as far as 2007 maybe even earlier.

Bramble & Rose and my Isabelle Vautier “Grand Marquoir” are the largest pieces waiting to be finished off, but there is also

“Who’s watching Whom?”, “South Seas Lace” plus three Isabelle Vautier hearts

various smaller designs, including two Peter Underhill, a couple of my own, a Jardin Privé, a Drawn Thread, a breast cancer awareness angel, and a Lizzie Kate

and last, but not least, a Nancy Pederson blackwork design that I originally put in a frame and then began a proper finish with sewing machine but never got round to finishing completely.

Well, I know what I’ll be doing this summer . . . thinking up ways of finishing off at least a few of these pieces because it’s a shame to leave them folded in my drawers.

no stitching but more bookmarks

The month of May seems to rushing past and for some reasion I’m having a hard time keeping up.  No idea why, as my week isn’t any fuller or more exciting than usual . . . I think I’ve just lost my stitching mojo and need to begin a brand new project to get back my motivation ^^

Stitching less means that I’ve been blogging less since I don’t really have any progress to show.  But so as to not neglect my blog, I’m here today to show you a few new additions to my bookmark collection. Sent to me by Monique (a lady who lives in Brittany) and who wanted to thank me for my free charts.  Lots of lovely “publicity” bookmarks from her region including one in duplicate (so I can pass that on to a fellow collector) and a tourist map of where she lives.

So a big thank you to Monique.

bit quiet this week

I’ve been a bit quiet this week because we have had several Bank Holiday weekends in France, and at the moment we have visitors: eldest son and his girlfriend who are staying for a few days.  Since we are spending lots of time slurping coffee and catching up on all the news, I haven’t had much free time to either stitch or go blogging BUT today you’re in for a treat since this is my second post of the day ^^  Just to show a photo of late birthday gifts . . . a little “bric-a-brac” box, made by my son’s girlfriend and two more bookmarks for my collection.

WIPocalypse May update

A few days late with my WIPocalypse update – but with a happy dance to share with you.

I concentrated mostly on my Joan Elliott “Christmas Spirit” this month, so that is the happy dance ^^  I simplified a few things as I went. From the start I knew I didn’t want to add the wings or halo, so my lady is a human Christmas Spirit, instead of being an angel . . . I didn’t add the backstitch detail in metallic thread, so she’s less glitzy than the original design AND while doing the beading, I had trouble making a decent beaded snowflake SO I unpicked that part and have replaced with a lovely silver butterfly. I know it’s not in keeping with the winter theme, but I like it, so that’s all that matters.

And other stitching . . . I have completed three of the nine blocks for “Vert Campagne”

Stage three of “Rêverie au Jardin”

and, I have begun an Isabelle Vautier heart which is part of a group project to make a quilt for a French stitching friend