best layer of the month # May

Weather is warming up.  Kiwi vine is in flower.  Days are getting long, and it’ll soon be time to move the hens to their summer quarters in the orchard. In the meantime, they’re still in their enclosure in the vegetable garden, and laying well.  For this month, of 31 days, I collected a total of 76 eggs.  24 – Ruby, 25 – Florence, and it was Mauricette who wins best layer of the month, with 27 eggs.

sensible sewing

I’ve been doing some “sensible sewing” for the past few weeks, by which I mean, not fun, but practical.  Sewing jobs that needed to be done.  First up it was mending.  Mending a few holes/rips in a couple of pairs of the husband’s trousers. Also hemmed a pair of jeans I bought myself last year and that were about an inch too long (despite me being tall with a 31″ inside leg).

After that, I decided that the cushions on our kitchen chair seats really needed some attention.

Way back, in 2015, I bought some square seat pads to protect the wicker seats of our chairs from cat claws.  They weren’t terribly pretty, but they did the job.  They had 2 ties on each, to be attached to chairs to stop them falling off but . . . with our cat, Ducky, who loves to chew things, half the ties had been shortened, not to say gone missing, and cushions were forever falling on the floor.  In June 2018 I made new covers.

Made from light-weight cotton, sewing ties on all 4 corners, and fastening under the seat.  It took Ducky a while to eat his way through these, and they did stay on a bit longer lol.  But I was fed up with them slipping about once a few ties were missing and therefore came up with a new solution.  Chairs now look like this (oops chair bars needs a clean!)

!

I removed the purple cotton ones (will be recycling fabric for patchwork) and made new covers in a sturdier fabric which I originally bought to make new sofa covers (but chickened out when faced with complex shapes of sofas and sheer volume of sewing required). Fabric is a lovely sage green and looks almost denim but it isn’t. In fact, I can’t remember what it’s made of but boy, it frays like rotten!

Anyway . . . cushion pads are 17″ so I cut top squares 18″, and the underside is made in two parts, with a velcro fastening.

In order to keep cushions securely on chair seats, with nothing dangling for Ducky to chew on, I added triangular flaps.  I made those by cutting 12″ squares, cutting into 4 triangles on the diagonal, and sewing those in pairs.  Having to overlock at each stage because of the fraying fabric.  I made 10 cushion covers, which meant 40 triangles.

So a big pile of triangles to overlock, then turned right sides out and top stitched.  Once all the prep work was done it was simply a question of sewing cushion covers together (and overlocking).   Front & back right sides together with 4 triangles inside. Seamed, overlocked, and turned right sides out. To end up with this.

And then attach velcro bands to the points of the triangles.

Looks a bit wierd, but once on the chair, it stays firmly in place, and underside of chair is nice & neat.  Nothing dangling!

On a side note, I also found an easy solution for our sofas (on @m@zon).  They were a dark slate grey but looking a right mess because of Le Bleu who had totally destroyed several areas with his claws.

This is the colour, with Ducky, the chewer at full stretch.  Anyway, thanks to on-line shopping, I bought a couple of pretty sofa covers.  They’re “made in China” (but then what isn’t these days?) and I don’t know how long they will withstand any claw attacks, but for the time-being, I’m admiring what could be mistaken for two new sofas.

Each cover came with a matching cushion cover but I’d only put one on for this photo.

“turf wars” – Olivier Norek

I’ve recently finished reading a really gritty trilogy by French author Olivier Norek.  Mr Norek was a police captain for 19 years, working in Seine-Saint-Denis (93), one of the suburbs north-east of Paris.  His writing pulls no punches.  It’s graphic, gritty and gripping.  From what I can make out, only two of the 3 have been translated into English, but if you have a strong stomach, I do advise you to keep your eyes open.

First in the trilogy is “CODE 93”

English translation is called “THE LOST AND THE DAMNED”.

Story outline:  An emasculated corpse opens its eyes on the mortuary slab.  A mobile phone starts ringing inside the corpse of a young drug addict, death caused by unexplained burns.  After 15 years service on the Seine-Saint-Denis police force, Victor Coste, police captain is prepared for the worst. Add to that, a series of anonymous letters leading to a mysterious case file “Code 93” of cases never investigated.

Second in the series is “TERRITOIRES”

English translation is called “TURF WARS”.

Storyline: There’s a new predator in town.  Three dealers are executed within the space of as many days.  Captain Coste and his team have to act fast because the new enemy takes over, contaminating the town like a virus. A town where everyone adapts to survive. Where dealers put pressure on old age pensioners, where young teenagers are there to do the dirty work, where the authorities don’t dare intervene in the high rise blocks for fear of rioting,  where politicians turn a blind eye.

Third, and final in the trilogy is “SURTENSIONS”

Sadly, I don’t think this one has been translated (yet).

Storyline:  Will this woman stop at nothing to help her brother escape from prison?  How far will this father go to protect his family from the four predators who are squatting in his home?  How do five criminels – a pedophile, a murderer, an ex legionnaire, a kidnapper and a robber – all become part of Coste’s latest investigation?  And why is Coste  prepared go in  headlong, even when it means putting those he cares about in danger?

SAL “Together we are magic” #2

Today is the 3-weekly link up with other SAL members, to encourage each other with stitching projects.  Last time, I had just begun a new project:  “Together we are magic” (artwork by Jody Bergsma) a kit by Letitstitch.

Here is the photo I posted 3 weeks ago.

And here is progress for this time.

I’m finding my gridding method to be very helpful so far, although I do sometimes stray outside of the area I’ve set myself.  As you can see, I already have a butterfly taking shape which made things a lot more interesting this time.  Here is a photo of what the piece will look like when finished, in case you missed it last time.

Please feel free to visit other stitchers’ blogs, to see what they’re up to.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJLauraCathieLindaHelen

And we’ll be back again on 13th June.

a bit of diamond painting, a bit of cross stitching

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say, so I’ve been varying my evening activities depending on my mood.  Sometimes, sitting out in the kitchen (because I need to work at a table) having fun sticking down drills on my current diamond painting project. And other times, working with needle & thread on cross stitch.

Aside from the unicorn design I’m stitching for the SAL, I decided to pick up something more relaxing to work on from time to time. And chose to make a start on one of my recently-bought bargain kits.

This is the one I picked up.  Not too many colours. Stitched on 14 count aida, so very easy on the eyes. And no backstitch – yay!  There will be French knots for dolphins’ eyes, but I can live with that.  Threads in this kit came in a bundle, not pre-sorted on a card, so it took me a little while to sort as some colours are very similar.  But it’s very relaxing to work on, and easy to concentrate on certain areas.  I began in the top left corner.  Here’s progress so far.

As for diamond painting . . . things are progressing well, and my canvas has evolved from this

to this

Have completed approximately 22cm so far . . . only another 53cm to go, since finished size will be 75cm x 25cm (the 80 – 30 specified on canvas is total canvas size, not finished picture size).

I have also been crocheting, and doing a few sessions of sewing, but that’s all doll-related, so it you want to know more about that, you’ll have to hop over to:  Claire’s Collections.

ScrapHappy #May

It’s that time of the month again! Time to link up with

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

To talk about scrap happiness.  For this month, I’ve been doing more of the same from last month – having fun going through my scrap bag and cutting 2.5″ squares where possible from all sorts of colours & prints, left over from past projects.  And, because the husband rather likes the place mats I made last month, I’m assembling squares to make some more.

Making them slightly smaller this time. Last month I made 10 x 7 squares, so they turned out a very generous size at 20″ x 14″.  This time, I decided 9 x 6 squares would be plenty big enough.

Have got 2 tops assembled, and enough squares prepped to make another four (2 here in progress).

 

 

must . . . stay . . . away . . . from . . . eb@y!

Oh dear!  I’ve been having a bit (a lot) of recent retail therapy on eb@y and it was all so totally unnecessary lol.  I already have more than enough to keep me crafting, in all areas (xstitch, knitting, crochet, patchwork, sewing etc) for quite a few years to come and I certainly didn’t need to add more.  But I did !

In my defence, I got some absolute bargains, as I think you’ll agree, once I’ve shown you photos.  In fact, I thought listings were too good to be true when I first saw them on eb@y but decided to take the gamble anyway.  By pure chance, while browsing, as you do, I came across a private French seller who was listing dozens and dozens of xstitch kits, with a “buy now” option of only 2€.  As I say, I couldn’t believe it at first.  Could almost hear my Mum’s wise voice, in the back of my head saying “if it’s too good to be true . . . “.  But still, I thought I’d give it a go and I clicked & bought a couple of kits.  They arrived in due course, with some extra gifts in the parcel and everything was perfect.  I therefore couldn’t resist keeping an eye on seller’s newly listed items and buying some more.

Here’s an example.

Three Faye Whittaker kits, all sealed and “as new” despite little price stickers giving ancient price in French Francs (bearing in mind we moved to the Euro in 2001).

The matching pair of “Night” and “Day”.

Three more, because for 2€ apiece, they were just too tempting not to buy . . . and what a surprise when they did arrive!  Inside the white tiger kit, I found the original receipt, dating back to 2009.  Original price paid:  79€.

By this time (several parcels later) I’d already worked out that the seller had obviously been lumbered with the task of moving a family member’s stash.  She seemed intent on selling things as fast as possible. It was literally an “everything must go” campaign that lasted several weeks and seeing how little she was charging for postage, she was almost giving everything away.   I saw Mirabilia and Lavender & Lace charts being sold for centimes.   Dozens and dozens of vintage kits being snapped up.   Packets of linen, aida, evenweave, mountains of skeins of thread.  I resisted.   I could only imagine other stitchers, like myself, all poised in front of their computers, waiting to see what was going to come up next lol.

Anyway . . . above are some of the kits I snapped up myself.  I also snapped up something for our daughter, Lindashee.  So excited when I saw the following: complete kits, for only 2€ each.

Spring, Fall and Summer:  three designs by Teresa Wentzler (designed back in 1991 and 1993 – discontinued now).  Lindashee had always dreamed of stitching a Teresa Wentzler design one day so when I saw these three, I swooped and bought.  Thanks to Avis, I then became aware of the Winter horse kit in auction in the UK . . . so I was patient and swooped to win that (for a lot more than I paid for the other three, but I think it was worth it).

So . . . lots of gorgeous kits have come to join my stash, as well as quite a few unexpected items that the seller added to each parcel as a gift.   Following photos of probably the best gift which left me speechless.

I’m not 100% sure what it is exactly, but it appears to be a rope of tapestry yarn.  Colours are gorgeous, and it feels like pure wool.  All I know is, the “rope” weighs 1.5kg and is ever so long!!!!

Apologies for the messy kitchen, but here I am holding the big yarn rope looking like some giant snake.  I’ve never seen yarn sold in this way before, and am rather unsure of what to do with it at the moment.  Saying that, I’m sure I could knit or crochet with tapestry wool, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for inspiration.

Another thing I’m sure about is: I really must stop buying in more stash, because all I’ve done here is displaced a problem!  One day, my family is going to be lumbered with sorting through my stash, so instead of buying in more, I should be working on reducing the amount of crafty gorgeousness I already have!

feathers and a thank you Flo

A couple of feather related photos today . . . first up, I finally got around to stitching a cross stitch kit, gifted to me for my birthday in 2020 by Yvonne!

Lovely bright colours, nice and dinky to stitch, and one very pretty bookmark!  Thank you, Yvonne !

Next up . . . I haven’t got bored yet of the newly discovered hobby, diamond painting, although I’ll admit to having slowed down a little because I’ve been busy with my crochet hook in the evenings.  Anyway . . . I’m currently working on a very large project. Not many colours appearing yet,

but that’s because I’ve still got a very long way to go.  So long . . . it doesn’t all fit into the photo!

Not to worry!  There’s no hurry to get this finished and it’s keeping me quiet!

And last photos for today, to say a public thank you to Flo, who sent me an unbirthday gift recently.

A seamstress project notebook – to keep note of clothes making project and body measurements. I don’t honestly do any proper clothes making for myself. Nothing “fitted” anyway, so I’m thinking this book will come in handy for my dolls clothes making!  I have dolls with varying body sizes in my collection and always seem to be trying to adapt one pattern to fit another, so this could be a good way of keeping track!

stripy cat amigurumi happy dance

Last month I started hooking this colourful projet

picture and pattern from Amigurumi Today.

Lots of pretty bright colours to keep me amused with those stripes.

And it wasn’t too long before I had all the bits made . . . just had the last job to do (which is my least favourite):  sewing bits together and then fretting over facial detail.

Now, since this cat is going to be a present for a baby, I and Mrs Tattoo agreed we didn’t want safety eyes like on the model.  Mrs Tattoo asked for eyes to be embroidered “asleep”. I did my best.

And now, before you start giggling (because there’s something rather obvious between cats legs) . . . can I ask, where on earth is the tail on the cat in the designer pattern photos????

Another photo from Amigurumi Today – not even a hint of a tail.  Did they forget to add it, or did they photoshop it away?  Anyway, my version has sleeping eyes and a very obvious tail.  For which I shall make no excuses!  Final (headless) photo of cat with Daisy (my big doll).  He came out a bit bigger than I expected but, up against Daisy who is 92cm tall, he doesn’t look too ginormous.

SAL “Together We Are Magic” #1

Excitement today, as I’ve started a new project for the SAL, after many many weeks of stitching “Tiny Treasures”.  TT was fun, but now it’s time for something completely different.  Which is why I chose this kit, only recently added to my stash.  Design is called “Together We Are Magic” (from artwork by Jody Bergsma, I believe) and it’s a LETISTITCH kit.  This is a full coverage one, with 42 colours and working on 16 count aida.  I decided it would easier if I work on this in blocks, so I gridded out my fabric accordingly.

Design is 152 x 200 stitches, so I’ve only gridded out part of my fabric (plenty of time to do the rest as I progress). I used a red FriXion pen which will disappear with heat of hot iron when stitching is complete.  Doesn’t look like much but I accomplished approx 1600 stitches.  If I can keep up that pace, it’s going to take me 60 weeks to complete!

Anyway . . . let’s pop along and see what other SAL members have been up to.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

And we’ll be back again on 23rd May.