best layer of the month #March

apricot blossom

Our little apricot tree is in blossom . . . Spring is in the air . . . and hens have been having a leisurely time of it this month.  55 eggs for March, which is a far cry from what we were collecting this time last year.  But hens are one year older, so we can’t expect them to be such prolific layers now.  Miranda laid 14 eggs – she’s really having a rest this month.  Miss Marple laid 18 . . . and Miss Moneypenny put everyone to shame with 23 eggs.

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happy unbirthdays in March

Three more of my blogging friends celebrated their unbirthdays in March – I expect you all did, but unfortunately, I can only send a few gifts each month lol.

The three unbirthday gals this month received something hand-made, using some very elegant fabric vignette prints.

unbirthday March x3

To Lilubelle, I sent this one

unbirthday Lilubelle 01

It has 4 wooden (curtain) rings and is a thread sorter but can also be used as a needle keep since the fabric is wadded on both sides. 

unbirthday Lilubelle 02

To salpal and Lucy, I sent the following

unbirthday salpal et Lucy

Only one wooden ring (I thought this was useful to hang them up) and on the back

unbirthday Salpal and Lucy 02

some plastic crochet markers and some prettier beaded knitting markers.

Since I started learning to crochet, I’m finding these little crochet markers to be invaluable, and I imagine the knitting markers come in useful too.  I didn’t make the lovely beaded markers, but bought them on Etsy from Just By Mimi.

“Victorian Charm” update

Earlier this month, I told you that I’d be starting work on a new cross stitch project, after having completed the previous one.  And I pulled out this kit from my stash.

Victorian house

Slightly apprehensive, to begin with, as it’s on 18 count dark navy aida . . . but if I don’t tackle it now, I never will.

Anyway, with good lighting, and methodical stitching, it’s actually coming along better than I expected.

Victorian 01

I’ve started top right, with the roof and attic window – decided that was as good a place as any to begin.  I’ll be working this in sections, floor by floor, and window by window and possibly adding backstitch as I go. 

thank you Avis & Sandrine

I had a couple of unbirthdays this month . . . receiving two surprise packages from friends.

Avis, had had to listen to me whinge about how I broke my flexi-hoop – my fettish flexi hoop that I use when cross stitching on evenweave.  I did have other hoops (wooden) in my supplies, but they’re not the same.  So Avis took pity on me lol and sent me

un birthday from Avis

a brand new flexi hoop, the exact same size as the one I broke . . . and she also included four 4-patches that she had assembled when making blocks for me in February, but finally didn’t use.  I’ll see if I can incorporate these into my own F2F2 blocks.

And from Sandrine

mp from Sandrine

a great big bundle of bookmarks!

Thank you ladies. 

F2F2 swap – from the USA and the Netherlands

More lovely blocks arrived, in my colourway, from ladies participating in the F2F2 swap, organised by Kate.  In fact, these are the final blocks for me, and the swap has now come to an end.

My colourway, as you’ll remember is

Claire

And here are the blocks from Moira

Moira 01

Moira 02

Moira 03

And blocks from Esther

F2F Esther 01

F2F Esther 02

F2F Esther 03

Aren’t they all gorgeous?

This means I now have 24 wonderfully colourful blocks from the ladies in the F2F2 swap, plus 3 equally gorgeous blocks from Avis . . . a grand total of 27.  I will now be making 3 blocks for myself so that I have 30 blocks to assemble and make a lovely sized quilt.

sugar skulls zipper pouches

Way back, in December 2015, I had a purse making session, using a lovely batch of metal purse clasps I had bought.  I made a whole selection of little coin purses for ladies in the family and close friends, trying to choose different fabrics to suit the tastes of the ladies these gifts were intended for.  Below, is an example.  Purses, left to right, gifted to: my daughter, my sister and my niece T.

purses 06

Niece T is in her late 20s, and I thought this pink & purple fabric was perfect.  She loved it, and put it into use immediately, as a mini-make-up bag . . . however, when aforementioned niece  saw photos of the rest of the batch I had made, notably this one, I got the impression I hadn’t chosen fabrics quite so well.

IMGP0552

Sugar skulls on red, was made and gifted to N, 2nd son’s partner lol.  Anyway, my sister (mother to niece T) asked if I had any more sugar skull fabric leftover . . . and could I make a second purse for T.

Now, I did have a couple of purse clasps left over, lurking in the back of my supplies drawer, but I fancied trying something different.  Spent a while on youtube, watching video tutorials on how to put in a zip properly, using that special zipper foot which came with my machine and I’d never used before.  I also had a small piece of the red sugar skull fabric . . . but decided to splash out and buy a new FQ in black.

The result of a couple of hours sewing . . .

sugar skull 01

One zipper pouch, 9” x 5” (made to the size of my zip) which, I hope, will be a nice make-up bag size.

sugar skull 02

One smaller zipper pouch (approx 5” x 4”) which would be big enough just for a few make-up essentials to slip in the bottom of a handbag . . .

sugar skull 03

And another make-up bag sized zippy pouch (about 7.5” x 5”) in the original red fabric.  Zips have been left open in this last photo so you can see the gorgeous contrasting turquoise lining.

These pouches are quite light weight.  I ironed on interfacing to the outer fabric, to give it a little more body, but that’s all.  I learned quite a lot during this sewing project.  Was really surprised at how easy it is to put in a zip when you use the correct foot lol.  In the past, I’ve just used the normal sewing foot.  However, there are a few areas I need to improve on for next time.   I also discovered (to my expense) that even just a few hours sewing was probably more than I should have done and I paid for it the next day.  So, mental note to self:  keep sewing sessions to under one hour for the time-being.

# 4 – amigurumi

amigurumi in progress

I’m feeling more comfortable with my crochet hook, and keeping busy.  I’m finding it a nice portable craft – so easy to pick up my bits and take myself out in the garden for some fresh air and vitamin D. 

As you can see, I was busy with yellow yarn . . . following a pattern in one of the books I treated myself to.

ami book

Yep, I bought myself “My First Crochet Book” which is for kids, but just perfect for a novice hooker like myself.  And here’s amigurumi number 4.

amigurumi chick 02

He doesn’t look quite as egg-shaped as the bird in the book, but I think that’s a question of stuffing.  I am confident I followed the pattern correctly this time and even managed the invisible decrease.    He stands 2” tall.    I followed an example found on Moji-Moji Designs in the links with her free pattern of micro-chicks,  and have sewn a 30mm orange button to act as a base, so he can stand up and I added a few tufts on the top of his head so he’s not completely bald.