best layer of the month # Miss September

After being Queen of the coop since January . . . Miss Plumpton has finally had to hand over the crown!  Because for September, Mauricette is best layer of the month!

june mauricette

With a total of 30 eggs – yay!  Miss Plumpton came in a close second, with 27 and Miss Moneypenny a respectable third place with 23 . . . so a total of 80 eggs this month. 

We were away for a few days in September so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get correct figures for this month , but egg count was easy to tot up.  Claude, the neighbour who looked after hens while we were away, collected 3 fresh eggs every day.  Hens, being very friendly gals, didn’t mind having someone else look after them, especially as Claude brought lots of treats and had a little chat with them every day.  

SAL “ Getting Ready” – happy dance

An energetic happy dance going on here with “Getting Ready”, from the original art work by Ronald West.

GR fini

You’ll see that Avis is happy dancing along with me.  We both bought this kit: “Getting Ready”, a Design Works kit in the sales on sewandso in December 2016, for something like £6, I believe.  What a bargain!  It has kept us stitching along since September 2017.  So, a full 12 months of stitching fun, with this project.  I started top left, while Avis began stitching somewhere at the bottom, so it’s been even more fun seeing our stitching progress.  In case you think we are both gifted with telepathic skills, to have managed to finish at the same time . . . nah, we’ve been comparing progress by email, so that we crossed the finish line together.

Anyway, a happy dance means the chance to rummage in the cross stitch stash to find something new for next time.  We won’t be working on the same design for the next project.  However, we have consulted and decided on designs which are approximately the same size and difficulty.  I am going to be working on a kit that’s been in my stash for well over a decade!

SAL new project

“Bag Ladies” – stitched on 16 count with finished design size to be 36cm x 25cm.  I’m hoping, with all the cats and different bags, it’ll be “easy” to work on it cat by cat, and bag by bag.  I’ll let you hop over to Avis’ blog to see what project she has chosen.  Definitely not cats!

And, while you’re at it, here is the full list of SAL members, if you’d like to visit.

Avis, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Tony, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie

Next SAL update will be on 21st October.  See you then!

crafting for Baby Viking

We’ve just come home after a long weekend trip to England to catch up with family.  We stayed with our daughter, aka Lindashee, and Mr Lindashee.  Met up with my sister and her partner, Mr A, for a few hours (hadn’t seen them in 7 years!).  And, of course, went to visit Viking parents, where we got to meet Baby Viking.

Needless to say, it was a lovely weekend.  Lots of catching up to do.  Lots of food.  Lots of walking.  Quite nice weather.  And Baby Viking is adorable. Only cloud . . . I wasn’t able to have a cuddle because I came down with shingles!  What unperfect timing, eh?

I can now show you some of the crafting I had been busy with over the summer . . . first up, a quilt.

Viking quilt 01

The pattern for this quilt is from the book: “Quick & Easy Quilts for Kids” by Connie Ewbank

a little bird 05

and it’s the second time I’ve followed this particular pattern.  The first time being last year, when I made a quilt for neighbours’ baby, which I called “A little bird told me”.

a little bird 01

That time, I went for lots of pinks & mauves because parents knew they were expecting a little girl.  With Baby Viking, we didn’t know gender until birth, so I started work with some bright gender neutral colours, basing my choice on the main fabric which is from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” collection.

Viking quilt 03

The finished quilt is therefore very bright, and lots of fun.  I’m calling it “Starry Starry Viking”.

Viking quilt 02

After the quilt, I decided to make something smaller, but practical . . .

Viking bibs

Three bibs, using a white “waffle cotton” with a band of printed fabric, and contrasting binding.

And that’s not all . . . literally the day before Baby Viking was born, I was pacing the floors here, because she was over 10 days late, and to keep my sanity, I began crocheting a bear.  So began on Saturday 18th August, Baby Viking was born on Sunday 19th, and this little bear was finished on Monday 20th August.

Viking lundi bear

This is a free crochet pattern by Zhaya Designs.  The pattern is called Baertram .  I have christened my version “Lundi” (Monday).

Viking lundi bear 02

Lundi measures 9” tall (23cm), was crocheted using Stylecraft Special DK in Camel, Cream & Black with a 2.5mm hook. I used a DMC mouliné cotton and a 2mm hook for the scarf.  Lundi has 3 fingers on his/her paws, a belly button and a very cute tail.  Facial features are embroidered in Stylecraft Special DK to make Lundi baby-friendly.

Viking lundi bear 03

Anyway, I had lots of fun with all of that.  Patchworking, quilting, sewing and crochet . . . lots of variety.   I’ve now got my thinking cap and will be starting a few crafting projects for Baby Viking’s first Christmas.  All I can tell you about my plans for that is: parents have given me permission to go as mad and as bright as I like.  Fun, fun, fun!

F2F3 Miss September

Month four already of the patchwork block swap F2F organised by Kate.  And time to make blocks for Miss September, who is Nanette.

Nanette asked for any shades of blue, with a blush pink, for her colour inspiration and here’s what I made & sent to her.

Nanette F2F 01

First block is an “Old Fan”.

Nanette F2F 02

Second is “Album Road”.

Nanette F2F 03

And the third, which is my favourite of the three, “Dancing Shoofly”.

As with previous months, I made a fourth souvenir “Old Fan” block to keep for myself.  That’s already four blocks for a souvenir quilt I plan to make at the end of the swap.

Old Fan

You can admire blocks made by other members if you visit the F2F3 gallery which Kate keeps updated for us all.

ocean themed crafting

It might be because of this never ending summer, with temperatures still around 30°C during the daytime . . . but I’ve been having something of an ocean themed crafting spurt.

First up . . . Carole, very kindly sent me an unbirthday gift a few months ago.  A little mermaid cross stitch kit.  Well, that gave me some light relief from all the dull browns & beiges I’ve been working on with the SAL project, and she turned out beautifully.

mermaid

I deliberately didn’t give her a mouth as I think she actually looks prettier without.  And I’m not sure if I’ll be finishing her off as a bookmark, to slip insde the printed card that came with the kit, or coming up with a different kind of finish.  Whatever, she was a real joy to stitch.  The kit was a freebie from a back issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.  I had been dithering about whether or not to renew subs to a UK crafting magazine, and this gift from Carole spurred me on.  I signed up for a 12 month subs to Cross Stitch Crazy, so now have several other pretty freebie kits in my stash.  Perfect for those little projects when you want a quick finish!

Other crafting . . . if you saw my ScrapHappy post on 15th, you’ll have seen the stuffed fish I made, with its upper fin sewn on back to front.  Now, although Viking Parents said Baby Viking would love it (it’s also got a rattle inside so makes a lovely noise) I still wanted to make one that looked right.  So I rifled through scrap bags again and made another one.

3rd fishy 01

3rd fishy 02

Much more successful than the previous one, and with some lovely scraps.  This fishy has white felt circles appliqued on for eyes and a cross-stitched navy pupil.  He/she also has a “squeaker” inside, just below the upper fin. 

Here are the three fish together, all following the pattern by Lauri.

3 fishies 01

3 fishines 02

What I love about patchwork, and scraps . . . you get to use up every last bit of fabric, and each of these fishes is a reminder of past patchwork projects.  The one with spotty body was my first fish, made in March.  He’ll be staying here, as a photo prop for my reborn dolls, since he has buttons for eyes, therefore is not 100% baby friendly.  The other two will be swimming their way to Baby Viking.

bargains last Sunday

Sunday 16th saw husband and myself up and out quite early, heading to another local “vide grenier”/boot sale.  This one was in a small village (population 723) so I knew it was likely to be quite small.  That was fine by us. 

And when we got there, it really was a small affair.  Just the locals, from the looks of things, having a good clear out with mostly clothes/shoes/toys/books and a few miscellaneous things for sale.  We didn’t even bother to split up for this one.  Or if we did, the area was so small, we kept on bumping into each other.

Husband found the most ugly cast iron soap dish with a cow on it (Fresian, if that makes it any less ugly?).  I have no idea why he bought it, but he did.  One thing is for sure – it won’t be going in the bathroom!  And I most certainly won’t subject you to a photo of his 1€ bargain.

Mine, are a lot more fun!

more brocante 01

Here’s a haul of baby toys, which cost me 3€ in total.  Two identical wooden crocodiles.  No idea why the seller had twin crocodiles, maybe they belonged to a pair of twin toddlers at some point?  They’re the old-fashioned toy you pull along by the string and they wiggle.  They don’t look as if they were played with very much. 

IMGP5877

At 50 centimes each, I bought both, of course. Plus a set of plastic keys and 3 rattle toys.  The plastic keys have already been gifted to Rio, the parrot, who does love playing with keys.  As for the rattles

more brocante 03

I removed the soft parts on arriving home, and all plastic toys were given a wash in bleachy water.  I then sewed bunny trousers back up again, and Gibbs was well-pleased to have another soft toy to play with.  It was the rattle rings I was interested in  –  they’ll come in handy for some future craft projects.

And, just so you know I don’t only buy toys . . .

more brocante 02

I came home with a few books this time too.  You’ll probably recognise most of the authors (except for Fred Vargas, a French authoress, and I’m not sure if her books have been translated into English).  The others are:  “Chaos” by Patricia Cornwell;  “Unseen” by Karen Slaughter;  “Miss Silver Comes To Stay” by Patricia Wentworth and “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh.  Apart from the Patricia Wentworth one (which appears to be a sort of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple type of intrigue) the others should all be blood, gore, serial killers and suspense . . . exactly what I enjoy with my hot chocolate at bed time!

And last photo . . . 

Ducky and dolls

My dolls live in a laundry basket, because I haven’t pushed madness far enough to buy a proper baby cot for them (yet).  Ducky decided there was room for one more!  I don’t know if you can see properly

IMGP5899

but that golden brown thing Ducky is resting his head on . . . that’s Lily’s “doudou” rabbit!  She was holding it in her arms when I last saw her in the laundry basket . . . Ducky obviously thought it made a soft cat pillow. 

“Entwined Star” – an unbirthday/house warming gift

A neighbour’s daughter recently bought her first house, and I wanted to mark the occasion with a hand-made gift.   What better excuse to do some crafting?  A house-warming/unbirthday gift!    Now, I don’t know the daughter’s taste in interior decorating, nor her choice in colours, so I thought it prudent to ask her first.   She had said she likes “hot/bright” colours,  so I took that to mean “hot” on the patchwork colour wheel.  We had a quick look at possible fabrics together, with the design I had in mind requiring 3 different shades plus a background colour.  We did toy with some hot pink, and bright yellow, but in the end, the decision was made to stick with orange. 

entwined 01

This is the block pattern I had decided on.  The “Entwined Star” and this is my version.

entwined 02

It was only after piecing, I realised I hadn’t respected the colour “values” with the black background fabric, and maybe it would have looked better on white,  but it was too late to worry about that.   So I carried on, batting, quilting, and making a 16” cushion cover.

for Raphaelle 01

Raphaelle 03

I used some grey, velvety curtain fabric for the back  and 3 old jeans buttons for the fastening.

for Raphaelle 02

I don’t tend to use black very often, so it was interesting to see how this star and oranges seem so vivid on the dark background.  The extra 1/2” orange band all around, because I felt it needed more brightness to draw the eyes away from the centre.

Anyway, I had lots of fun making this and thoroughly enjoyed tackling a new block pattern. 

ooooh surprise mail!

Don’t you just love it when the postie stops by with a little package and you weren’t expecting anything?  I most certainly do!  Sometimes I recognise the hand-writing on the front.  Sometimes I have to turn over and look for the sender’s name . . . but it’s always really exciting, those few seconds before the package is ripped open.

The other day, I received an un-birthday gift and card from Cathy, aka nanacathy.

from Cathy

The most gorgeous bookmark, made with lace and a lilac ribbon not to mention a tiny pair of scissors on the end.  How appropriate and totally unexpected!

And something else that was totally unexpected . . . Avis had decided to make some blocks in my F2F colourway “just because”.  There are 9 ladies in the F2F swap this season which means we all end up with 27 blocks but with the extra block from Nanette and the 3 surprise blocks from Avis, I now have 31.  Plenty for either one large quilt and a cushion cover, or 2 smaller quilts and cushion cover.

Avis

Here is a close up of each block.

Avis 1

Avis 2

Avis 3

My photography is a bit off, I can assure you, blocks are all lovely, and crisp and square.  I had a good chuckle at the grey fabric  . . . can you see, it’s covered in paw prints, awww!

A big warm thank you Cathy and Avis.  You both brought a big smile to my face.

ScrapHappy # September

15th of the month is the monthly link up to ScrapHappy, organised by Kate and Gun . . . to motivate us to make something using scraps.  I decided to make my September project another sewing one, after Daddy Viking commented on a pretty fish I had made, following a pattern by Lauri, in March of this year.  Viking parents have something of an “ocean” theme going on with Baby Viking, since her English grandparents bought her a colourful ocean themed activity/ playmat.

I therefore set to work, using up lots of colourful scraps, making tiny fins and scales and even cutting out felt circles to appliqué eyes (needing to make this toy baby-friendly, and not wanting to use buttons).  All was going swimingly well until I turned my fish right sides out again, to begin stuffing.

IMGP5840

And could have kicked myself!  Can you see what I’ve done wrong?  Maybe if I show you what it’s supposed to look like?

IMGP5841

Yup, it’s the top fin.  I’ve sewn it on back-to-front!  What an idiot, eh?  I suppose I could always pretend this is a new species of fish: one which swims in circles?

I sent a photo of failed fish to Viking Parents.  They actually think it’s cute.  They are sure Baby Viking will love it, even if it would probably get dizzy trying to swim with those fins, going round and round, looping the loop.  So I won’t be ripping it to pieces BUT I will be making another one   . . . and making sure I pay more attention to fin direction.

I’m now going to do some blog-hopping and see what other ScrapHappy people got up to.

Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne,Jon,Hayley and Dawn

F2F season 3 – August blocks are all in

Followers will know that I’m taking part in the F2F block swap, season 3, organised by Kate.  I am Miss August, and I have now received the last two squidgies with lovely blocks from Esther and Nanette.

First up, the blocks from Esther, in the Netherlands.

Esther

Here they are in close up.

Esther 1

Esther 2

Esther 3

Esther went for lots of modern prints, and her piecing is always superb.  All blocks are so crisp!

And the last blocks to arrive (all the way from Australia) were from Nanette.

Nanette actually made 4 blocks and even sent along the leftover fabric.

Nanette

A close up of the blocks Nanette sent.

Nanette 1

Nanette 2

Nanette 4

Nanette 3

So many gorgeous fabrics and different block patterns!  And the last one, a real souvenir from Australia with the kangaroo print.  You can admire all blocks made & sent so far in this swap, in the gallery on F2F.

Thank you so much ladies.  I now have a wonderful pile of blocks just waiting for me to set to work on assembly.  It might have to wait a little while though, as I have a couple of Baby Viking gifts to finish off first.