quick & easy xmas cards

It’s that time of year again . . . when we start thinking about posting seasonal greetings.  I usually get well ahead with my xmas-workshop (generally beginning in September) but this year, someone seems to have put time on fast forward!  Or maybe it was simply because I was busy crafting for Baby Viking and lost track of time?  Whatever the reason, I suddenly realised that December is only just around the corner and, shops in France don’t tend to sell bumper packs of xmas cards (you mostly find individual cards with New Year’s wishes).  Not to be discouraged, I had a rummage in my card making stash, decided I didn’t have time to cross stitch cards and my scrapbooking skills are sadly lacking so . . .

xmas cards

I opted for a quick & easy option, which turned out rather effective (even if I do say so myself).  Aperture cards, some xmas themed fabric cut to size, wadding also cut to size, some festive ribbon, fabric glue and my faithful roll of double-sided sticky tape!

It didn’t take long at all to make up a pretty batch, varying things a little depending on fabrics & colour of cards.

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I even used some cards with a round aperture, turning them upside down & reversing the fold to give a “bauble” effect.  And voilà, a nice little batch of home-made cards, all ready to be written and posted.   I do plan on making some of my special little tree decorations too this year, but that will all depend on my foot, as I won’t be able to machine sew while keeping my feet up.

lots of resting with feet up

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Many thanks for all your “get well” wishes!  Foot op went well.  I was in and out of hospital on the Friday as planned.     Spent the first 3 days having total bed rest with the cats keeping me company, and the husband bringing me meals in bed while I lazed about, watching DVDs non-stop and keeping my hands busy with crochet or cross stitch.  Today I made it downstairs, as far as the sofa . . . where I spent most of the day with feet up, and more crochet.  I’m feeling pretty good.  Not in much pain at all, but will be taking things very gently over the next few weeks.  No trips out, and only minimal walking about indoors (with my clumpy post-op shoes).  I know, from previous experience, that the more I rest, the faster foot will heal . . . and the more time I spend with my feet up, the quicker I can finish off making xmas presents! 

cardie progress and wish me luck!

Despite secret crafting for Christmas, I’ve been trying to stay focused on my knitting project too.   Earlier this month I showed you this.

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And am very pleased, that, things now look like this

cardie progress 02

Or like this

cardie progress

A bit difficult to take photos because parts all seem to want to curl up along the edges, and not lay flat for photos . . . but you get the general idea.  I have 2 sleeves, one back, and have already cast on for the left front. 

I’m not sure how far this will progress in the coming weeks.  I’ll be in and out of hospital tomorrow, for surgery on my left foot.  Wish me luck!  It’s going to be the same surgery as that done on my right foot in April.  I therefore know exactly what to expect, and just want to get it over and done with.  I’ve made up the bed in the spare room, which is where I will be in the early days with my bandaged foot.  Have a good supply of DVDs and all my crafting projects to hand.  My LG tablet will be with me, so I have access to the internet.   The husband has been getting into training to wait on me hand & foot, plus he’ll be in charge of all the animals & hens.   I will have to make sure I get 3 days complete bed-rest, followed by 3 weeks of lots of sitting around with both feet up.  I’m not terribly comfortable knitting in a “lounging with feet up” position especially since I usually end up with several cats sprawled out on my legs.  I reckon I’ll probably keep my hands busy with crochet & cross stitch while I’m convalescing, and this cardie might have to wait until after Christmas to see more progress.

F2F season 3 – Miss November

More 12” blocks to show you this month as we move into the 6th month of the F2F block swap, organised by Kate.  Miss November is Robin (who doesn’t have a blog) and has received her parcel.  Her inspiration photo is

November

Blue, cerise pink and orange on a white background.

I’ll admit to having gone a little mad, as I do enjoy working with bright colours.

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My first block turned out fairly conservative, with a lot of white background.  This block is called Jawhawks.

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Second block is very bright and a very colourful take on Arkansas Cross Roads.

For the third block . . . I had saved pink & orange triangles from the second block, which I sewed together to make a small pinwheel.  Then tried to fathom how to incorporate that in the centre of my next block.  Which turned out to be the brightest of the three.

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This block doesn’t have a name as I sort of made things up as I went along.  I do hope blocks meet with Robin’s approval.

Final photo . . . the “Old Fan” block I made for myself, using some of the fabrics from the above blocks.

November old fan

Stay tuned for next month when we’ll be sewing, in more sedate colours for Miss December.

And please do check out the F2F gallery that Kate keeps updated.  All members have been making some stunning blocks.

being spoiled

I’m a little behind in sharing a few photos with you . . . of some surprises which came in the post.  Postman is always a frequent visitor at this house, as I do a lot of my craft-shopping on-line . . . but recently, 3 parcels arrived for me, that had nothing to do with me spending money lol.  First, and this was just before the end of October . . .

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A lovely hand-stitched card and a packet of special drinking chocolate chunks, from Mummy Viking.  She had wanted to take us to visit the Bean to Bar shop when we visited in September, but it was closed on the Monday we headed to the shops.

Avis, wanted to cheer me up, and help keep my mind off my shingles in October . . . so she sent this

from Avis amigurumi

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Lots of lovely designs inside to inspire me!  And with this book, I now have numbers 1-7 of the Zoomigurumi collection!

And then another surprise package, this time from Lilubelle in France.

Lilu

Lilubelle makes the most beautiful jewellery with beads.  Since she enjoys reading about our three hens, she made a little brooch, a cute chick “pin’s” and decorated the front of a notebook, with a very clucky hen and her 2 purple chicks!

So many thanks to all three ladies . . . I thoroughly enjoy being spoiled!

ScrapHappy # November (black & blue)

I don’t know about you lot, but I’ve managed to write myself a very long “to do” list, with lots of crafting ideas for Christmas!  Although I do buy gifts for our small family and a few friends, I also try to make a few surprises to wrap and pop under the tree each year.  So, with Christmas pressies in mind, I am busy crocheting and sewing, in my usual race against time, as I realise I should have begun earlier in the year.

Saying that, I’m on track!  And since I have been doing a few sewing/patchwork projects, I’ve made more scraps.  Which means, more fun and more ideas of things to make!

scraphappy November

For today’s ScrapHappy I link up with Kate and Gun.  All I can show you for now is the above.  I found myself with lots of scraps of blue, black (and some grey) after quite a few F2F ladies asked for blue blocks . . . and I remembered I had some leftover fabric with a lovely large cat print on white. As you can see, I was busy trimming up some 1.5” strips to assemble into a larger piece.  I won’t show you any further progress now. It’s unlikely the recipient of this WIP gift will stop by on my blog, but I’ll be keeping the outcome of this scrappy project a secret until after the festive gift unwrapping.

I’m now going to do some blog-hopping and see what other members in the group have been doing with their scraps.

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

SAL update: Bag Ladies #2

Hello everyone!  It’s time to take photos and see how much progress was made on our SAL projects.  Hope you’ve all been busy?  I most certainly have.  Starting a new project is always very motivating, and I’ve been busy in the evenings, with a cat on my lap, with needle and thread.  Last time I showed you a first bag stitched.

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For this time, I concentrated on working in four different colours, and covering as much fabric as possible.

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So I have the beginnings of 2 new bags and all the black stitched for the first cat.  Eveything is somewhat beige & black for the moment but, by next time, I should have a finished cat to show you.

Time now to click on the following links, to see what other SAL members have been up to.

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

And I’ll be back on 2nd December.

what the husband made

During the nice weather, my husband keeps himself busy, and happy, outdoors working in his veggie patch or doing other “stuff” outside.  During the colder, autumn & winter time, he has other occupations that keep him busy indoors, in his little workshop.  What he enjoys doing is renovating objects, especially wood. 

I was sitting knitting the other evening, cursing & swearing as my ball of yarn rolled off my lap for the umpteenth time . . . then proceeded to continue rolling and unravelling on our tiled floor, getting covered in dog hair in the process . . . and then being chased under the sofa by a cat!  I had tried keeping my ball of yarn in my knitting bag, just pulling gently on the yarn, so it unravelled inside the bag, as I needed.  But then Ducky (also known as “6 kilo of cat” decided the bag made a nice bed.  And you try unravelling yarn in bag when a cat is lying on it!  You can tug all you like, nothing happens.

Anyway . . . my little brain started wandering and I remembered having read about knitters with snazzy yarn holders or yarn bowls.  I googled a few images, to see what they looked like, and was thinking of ordering a yarn holder, seeing it as a necessary gadget rather than a waste of money.  However, when the husband looked over my shoulder, realising I had some interesting objects made in wood on screen, we got to talking about how easy it must be to make one.  Now, I have to add here that the husband doesn’t have a proper woodwork workshop.  He doesn’t have any special tools for furniture making/wood-turning (I think that’s the term?) . . . and seeing the cost of yarn holders on line, we agreed it wasn’t worth the cost of buying any special supplies in, since it would be cheaper to buy one ready-made.  Saying that, the previous owner of this house WAS a professional woodworker, and he left lots of “bits” upstairs in the attic.  When I say “bits”, I mean wood, not tools. 

After a scout around in the attic, getting covered in dust, I unearthed an old round wooden coffee table, and a couple of half-finished wooden knobs.  No idea what the knobs were for. Maybe bedknobs or even feet for furniture.  Whatever . . . the husband had a good look at what I’d found.  Asked a few pertinent questions as to what it was I needed, and set to work.

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And this is what he came up with.  The base was originally the base of a rickety round coffee table.  Then there’s a giant knob.  And the spike, is actually a (broken) piece of rod from an old black powder rifle (the rod originally being used to ram black powder and ammunition down the barrel).

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Husband had understood that the thing needed to swivel on an axe.  So . . . recycling a few metal parts, the underside of base looks like this.  And some adhesive felt to protect furniture.

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The metal rod holding another metal piece in place upon which rests the middle section of the holder.

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And voilà!  I discovered, when using my new yarn holder for the first time, that the husband went to a lot of unnecessary trouble working out the swivel mechanism.  The ball of yarn is so light, it actually swivels on it’s own, when I give a gentle tug on yarn.  But husband doesn’t mind.  He enjoyed the problem solving process and the fact that middle section swivels on the base whether I need it to or not.  So, husband was happy because I gave him an interesting recyling/upcycling job to do.  I’m a happy bunny because it’s exactly what I needed.  Husband is doubly happy because I’m happy . . . and I’ve set him a new challenge, to make me something useful with the round top of the rickety old coffee table! 

so many projects, not enough time!

I’ve made myself a really long list of projects to make before Christmas.  Which means I’ve got less time to spend on my WIPs, but am still trying to fit everything in.

Cross stitch has taken a bit of a back seat for now (apart from regular sessions on my SAL project) as I try to make headway with my knitting. I showed my two sleeves last month.  Since then, things have progressed.

cardie 02

Am working on the back.  It’s not as skinny as it looks lol . . . I can’t flatten it out anymore for now or it’ll fall off my needle.  But you get the idea.  I’ve reached the shoulder shaping part, so shouldn’t be too long now before I have a finished back!

I’ll be doing some crocheting over the coming weeks too, which will mean less time to knit.  Here’s a big bundle of yarn that I ordered in recently

xmas prep

Lots of Stylecraft Special Aran and a fresh bag of stuffing.  Colours don’t look like my usual bright choice, but there’s a reason.  Reason I can’t reveal until after Xmas, so you’ll just have to trust me.  New crochet projects are going to be lots of fun!