best layer of the month # August


Another month has whooshed by and our three hens have all been quite industrious in the shade of the old apple trees.


Miss Moneypenny is the Queen of the coop for the second month in a row.  Completely making up for her broody months in May and June.  In August she laid 26 eggs . . . Miranda in second place with 18 and Miss Marple a runner up with 15.   A total of 59 eggs therefore for August . . . more than enough for us, and neighbours have been enjoying our hens’ freshly laid eggs too.


pencil cases for the new school year

It’s that time of year again . . . summer holidays are coming to an end.  Kids are having to get back into a proper bed-time routine, so they’ll be bright-eyed and bushy tailed when the new school year starts up.  And they’re busily preparing their school bags  making sure they’ve got everything they’ll need in their pencil case.

Which very conveniently brings me to the subject


Lookee here!  Cléo (7 year old neighbour) came round for another sewing session and this is what she made.  As with our first session, Cléo was allowed to rifle through my stash and choose fabric.  She found a chunky pink zip, so wanted to use that.  We therefore set to work making a pencil case.  I did all the cutting of fabric (this zany print for the outside, wadding and plain white for the lining, and I attached the zip.  But apart from that, Cléo did all the work.  She did some straight-line quilting . . . and then sewed the pencil case front & back together.    I think she did a terrific job, and she can’t wait to go back to school to show this off to her friends and new teacher.

That little sewing session then gave me the incentive, to make a couple more pencil cases the following day.  On this one,  I placed the zip dead centre, but on hind-sight I’m not sure this is such a good idea for a pencil case.


And one for my 5 year old great nephew . . . with spiders and spider webs.



I should probably learn to make different styles, rather than just the flat case . . . that’ll be something for me to google and think about for next time.  The advantage of a flat pencil case though is, it’s very easy to send by post.

SAL update – Cirque des Triangles #10

Avis and I are now so close to a finish on this design:  “Cirque des Triangles” by Tracey Horner of Ink Circles. 

cdesT stage 10

Only a couple of blank spaces to fill in for next time, and we’ll be having a happy dance! 

I wonder what other SAL members have been up to?  You can find out, by clicking on the following links.  Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary Margaret, Timothy and our two newest members Heidi and Connie.

And come back to check out more progress in 3 weeks time, on 17th September. .

Gibbs will do anything for his toy!

I’ve shown you the floatable toy I made for Gibbs, using an empty dairy cream bottle, and crocheting a simple cover to slip over it . . . well I can tell you, it’s the best toy he’s ever had!  Not only does he love diving into the lake to fetch it, he also loves to simply carry it around during our walks.

We have been spending time every day on the obstacle course in the park.  To begin with, we took a small bag of dog biscuits as treats/incentive to reward him, but we soon discovered the toy, and verbal encouragement,  is all it takes.

Here is he, coming out the end of the tunnel


park 01

To encourage him to run up a high ramp . . . we put the toy on the very top, so he runs up to fetch it, and then comes down the other side.  Here he is, at the top, on his way down.


And it works the other way too.

park 02

I am so pleased that he loves his toy, and we are very proud of all the progress he has made on the obstacle course in recent days.  He can now do: the tunnel, several ramps (of various heights and inclinations), leap through hanging tyres, jump over hurdles and “sit & stay” properly on a raised platform.

We’ve still got a few obstacles he’s not too keen on but with patience, we’ll get there.  This week we’re working on the see-saw.  He walks up the plank to the pivot and stays on it while it tips down, but tends to jump off the other side rather than walk down properly.

mend and make do

I don’t know about you, but there is one kind of sewing I hate doing . . . repairs.  I usually put things off as long as possible, and end up with a pile of items waiting, either for buttons, a new hem, or even patching up a hole (that’s a frequent job with my husband’s jeans).  Sometimes I would rather just throw something in the bin, go out shopping, and buy new.  But then the scrooge in me says “Nope” that’s not an option.  I’ve got a sewing machine, I know how to use it, therefore, repairs are not beyond me and it’s best to save money for more fun things (like craft supplies!)

I therefore blocked a couple of hours to do some repairs.  First job – a pair of husband’s shorts (UK English, meaning short trousers he wears out and about, but mainly in the garden).  They’d seen better days, fabric had begun to wear a bit thin and one of the hems ripped off.  My initial reaction was just to rip the other hem off, and have matching legs without hems.  That’s what the younger generation do, isn’t it?  But no, my husband didn’t like that, and fraying fabric annoyed him so he refused to wear them until I did a proper repair job.

Out came some blue binding (totally unco-ordinated but who cares?) and I added binding to both legs, sewing completely under so you can’t actually see the blue.

mend and make do 04

The reason I used binding rather than simply making another hem . . . the pockets down the sides and the very thick “jeans” seams”.  I didn’t even bother to match thread, just used what was already loaded on my machine.

mend and make do 05

They’re for gardening/walking the dog etc, so as far as I’m concerned, they’ll do.

Next job was cushions.  I buy cheap cushion inserts with polyester stuffing. Usually paying around 4€ per insert.  Not quite sure what happened with the last batch I bought, but the covering (which feels more like paper than fabric) was ripped, meaning stuffing was prone to fall out when changing cushion covers. 

mend and make do 01

I had four which were all like this, so I reckon it must have been a duff batch.    Anyway, I certainly wasn’t going to throw them out since they were relatively new . . . so, out came an old bed sheet and a short while later

mend and make do 02

Four cushions, all with a nice white cotton cover.  And ready to go back into their outer, patchwork, cushion covers!

I even salvaged part of the sheet (one of my late MIL’s, so probably about 30 years old) because it had a band of a blue & white print cotton sewn along the top.

mend and make do 03

Not a fabric I would have paid good money for, but it’s still got plenty of life in it, and I saved a long band about 8 inches x the width of sheet.

Feeling, oh so virtuous, after all of that . . . what did I do?  I went shopping on-line lol.  Heck why not?  I saved 16€ by salavaging the cushion inserts.  I gave a pair of shorts a new lease of life.  I reckon both those jobs deserve a reward!

So . . .

81P AXlBC6L__SX522_

I ordered this.  Not that I need a beginner’s level in cross stitch, but I was looking for a small butterfly design and rather liked this (cost 6€ including p&p).  And this


I do need a beginner’s level embroidery kit, as I’ve never done any traditional embroidery before.  This one took my fancy because of the bee, and also because it combines embroidery with felt (cost also 6€ including p&p).

I now need to get busy and finish off my current xstitch project: “Yarn Cats” so I can begin one of these when they arrive! 

finish one a month #1 (or unbirthday gift for August).

Early August I shared some photos with you of a whole variety of unfinished projects, some going back 10 years, that are hiding away in my drawers.  And I publicly declared that I needed to give myself a kick up the backside, in order to finish off one a month.

I took an easy option for the first project which was already quilted and cut to a 17” square, destined to become a cushion cover.

2nd cat top

It didn’t take long at all to make the back and sew together.

cat cushion finished front

cat cushion finished back

It finishes up at approx 16” which is a common size for cushion inserts.  And this has been folded up, packaged up, and posted off to a very good friend, Valérie.  Wishing her a happy un-birthday in August.  One F/O down, lots more to go!

lead us not into temptation (yeah, right!)

The other day I showed you a photo of my growing collection of crochet books.  More specifically, my growing collection of amigurumi pattern books. With promises of a peek inside and eventual drooling.

I’ve already shown you several of the patterns from book number one.

Zoomi 01

Book which I bought before I could even crochet, and which I have already followed several times, making up

amigurumi roary 01

“Roary the tiger” in May.

ami lapin01

“Wasabi the rabbit”.  And book which I am currently using for 2 more projects (no progress made recently) of “Johnny the monkey” and “Leila the pony”.



Once I finish them, there’s still another pattern in this book which sorely tempts me.  And that’s “Sartù the lemur”, but I’m a bit apprehensive about crocheting his hands and feet.  He has fingers and toes!!!!


In book 2



The patterns I am most likely to want to make are “Otto the turtle”, from the cover and “Vladimir the fox”.  Don’t you just love those feet?


In book 3, the patterns which call to me the loudest are



“Rusty the red panda”


and “Nanook the husky”.


And, finally,  in book 6.  Another red panda “Rudy the red panda”.



“Oswald the owl”.


“Bo the panda”.


And last, but by no means least, “Kimi the kitten”.