retail therapy

I’ve been doing a bit of retail therapy lately . . . and not feeling in the slightest bit guilty!  I read recently on Nanacathy’s blog that knitting is apparently excellent for our health and well-being.  If we follow that thought through to its logical conclusion:  retail therapy for crafting supplies must be good for us too! In moderation, of course!

I started off with some necessary shopping for sewing and patchwork . . . Not more fabric, as one could expect (that would have been naughty!).  However, my iron had seen better days, and was leaving dirty marks everywhere so I decided I needed to invest in a new one.  While on a mission to buy a new iron, I found a pretty pink full-sized iron (in Lidl for only 6€).

retail therapy 03

And then  (on amazon) a mini travel iron and a mini ironing board.  This ironing board is called a “Jeannette” in French.  It’s tiny and its original use is to iron shirt sleeves or other small sewing projects.  The travel iron (purple, of course!) is very dinky and perfect for ironing small patchwork pieces or for future reborn sewing projects.

I call these buys an essential investment because it’s impossible to sew decent seams & patchwork blocks if you can’t iron your fabric properly!

After taking care of my sewing/patchwork needs . . . I then went browsing on The Wool Warehouse, in search of a few packets of safety eyes.  And while adding those to my cart, decided it seemed only sensible to add a few balls of yarn (okay 10) to my cart, since p&p would be the same regardless.

retail therapy 01

I love how supplies arrive from The Wool Warehouse.  Always packaged and sent in a very practical draw-string bag.  I first started shopping here, because of the very reasonable postage costs to France, and since they also stock fabric for patchwork and safety eyes/noses for amigurumis, they have become one of my favourite on-line shops.

retail therapy 02

These are the ten balls of Stylecraft Special DK I have added to my stash.  Stash I am slowly building up in order to have a wider choice of colours for future amigurumi projects.  I added some neutrals to this order, as well as some nice bright colours.  I now have 20 colours to choose from in my Stylecraft Special DK stash.

stylecreft dk stash

Only 60 more colours to buy, to complete the set of colours lol.  By my calculations, if I order in 10 new colours every month, I’ll have them all by the end of September! 


ScrapHappy # March

I have decided to join in the ScrapHappy fun – a monthly “event” organised by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden.  The idea is simple and very economical . . . all you have to do is post on 15th of each month about something made during the month with scraps!  Can be fabric, yarn . . . anything so long as we’re working to keep that scrap pile under control.

Since I have more fabric scraps than anything else, I was inspired by a free pattern by Lauri to make a soft toy fish.  She published this delightful pattern on her blog way back in 2012, but I only stumbled across it the other week.

fishie 01

The printed picture in the background is from Lauri’s block, with the step-by-step instructions.  I opened my “orange” scrap bag and also my “very small pieces” scrap box (perfect for scales).  Some of my regular readers may recognise a few of these scraps, leftovers from so many fun patchwork & sewing projects.

Lauri’s pattern has scales only on one side of the fishy, and she says to lightly stuff them.  I did things slightly differently.  Didn’t stuff scales, and I didn’t like the idea of a plain side, so . . .

fishie 02

Whichever direction my fishy swims in, she has 5 very colourful scales on each side to warn off predators.

I also made a couple of 12″ blocks, using leftover fabrics from the sewing session with Cléo in Fébruary.

scrap turquoise 01

scrap turquoise 02

The second one isn’t strictly a scrap block as I had to use some solid white from my stash rather than scrap box, but it’s a twin to the first one, which is why I’m posting it here.

Here are the links to other people participating in ScrapHappy.  Not everyone posts everytime, but it’s lovely see what wonderful things can be made from scraps.

Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris Nancy and Alys.

giving and receiving

I have yet to decide whether it’s more fun to give or to receive.  I do love to be on the giving end, especially when it involves some secret crafting or shopping.  The waiting for the person to receive the parcel and wondering if gifts will be appreciated.  But then it’s also such fun when an unexpected parcel arrives, and to be on the receiving end.  Photos today because I have been a giver and a receiver . . .

megan bday 

Here is what I sent to my daughter, Lindashee, who turned 24 yesterday.  A Michael Powell book with 20 charts for xmas decorations/cards; 15 different colours of A4 sized felt (for future crafting projects); a pink “lipstick” needle holder and . . . a “bag bag”.

megan bag

I’m getting rather good at making these now, even if I do say so myself.   I made this one in a turquoise “umbrella” nylon fabric, so it’s completely water-proof.

On the receiving end . . . an unexpected surprise from Avis who decided I needed cheering up (after having had to listen to me whinging via email about various things I won’t go into here). 

babmoo 04

Some chocolate – we all know about the positive effects of chocolate.   A tin of Spam because Avis knows that’s something I can’t find in France, and I love the stuff!  And the most gorgeous zipper pouch, made with fabric that came all the way from China.  When I say, all the way from China, I mean that Avis’ daughter was visiting China and bought the fabric for her Mum.  Fabric which Avis then made into a zippy pouch, using her gorgeous hand-cranked Singer 99k (you can read more about that on her blog).

bamboo 02

There was also a matching bookmark hidden inside.

bamboo 01

bamboo 03

This zippy bag is going to come in handy for crochet amigurumi projects.  I am currently making a monster, and have lots of loose body parts including three eyeballs, and lots of tiny fingers & toes . . . sorry, I’ll rephrase that . . . my MONSTER has loose body parts, including three eyeballs etc.   A bright zippy bag is the perfect place to keep that lot safe until I get around to the job of assembling body parts.


meet Manfred (amigurumi happy dancing)

Last month I showed you the beginnings of another amigurumi

crochet mouse

‘Manfred the Mouse”, a pattern by Pii_ Chii and published in

crochet mouse 03 

Well, I’m am very pleased to be able to introduce you to my finished Manfred. 

manfred 01

He was lots of fun to hook, and I am really pleased with how the bright neon green of his dungarees contrasts with the denim blue of his other bits. 

manfred 02

He’s got a cute pink tail (husband reckons it could have done with being longer, but I followed the pattern).

manfred 03 

Manfred can even give us a little wave  because I put a short length of pipe cleaner into each arm (although that wasn’t suggested in the pattern).

manfred 04

I finished his little dungarees off, with two “sheep” buttons.   I realise they’re not really to scale, but they’ve been in my button stash for years and I think they liven up Manfred’s outfit. 


It was a very interesting pattern to follow.  Marked as “easy” in the book, which is fair enough, but in my opinion would be too tricky for an absolute beginner.  I really loved how the dungaree effect was obtained.  Basically using green for most of the body, and then crocheting small bands for the straps, as well as extra bits which made little “cuffs” to slip over the legs before attaching.  All very cleverly thought out by¨Pii_ Chii.   I also love Manfred’s nose . . . which was fiddly to manage but well worth the effort.  


I’ve already begun work on my next crochet critter . . . won’t tell you what I’m making next except that I’ve begun hooking in shocking pink lol. 


not one parcel, but two!

I was expecting a little parcel in the post recently . . . some supplies I’d ordered with a new sewing project in mind . . . so when postie knocked on the door, I was rather surprised to be handed not one, but two parcels.  One was my order (more on that further down) but one had come all the way from New Zealand!  A surprise parcel from Susan, containing lots of lovely goodies!

from SusanP01

Susan sent me: a copy of New Zealand Quilter magazine – their last issue, so that’s a very special one!  A very cute little xstitch kit, complete with scissors, to make an adorable scissor fob, some lovely lavender bags (I do love those hearts – so bright and cheerful) and a very cute little embroidered pig keyring: 

from SusanP02

So a very warm thank you to Susan!

Gibbs was very excited at parcel opening time . . . he was sniffing at those lavender bags, hoping one was for him.  Nope!   And when I opened the parcel of supplies I had ordered . . . he was hopeful there was something in there for him.

teething bits

Again, nope!  Sorry Gibbs.  These are for toys, and most of the items are even for chewing on . . . but not for dogs!  Yay, I ordered in a selection of silicon teething shapes plus some squeakers AND four little things that make a sort of rattle sound.  You’ve guessed . . . I’m planning on making some baby toys.  I fancy having a go at making some with different textures, in bright colours, adding squeakers, rattles or even crinkly paper so that they make lots of fun noises too.  Stay tuned!

And a last photo . . . to show a very quick & easy sewing project.

easy trousers

These, made following a free pattern by Made by Rae.  They are newborn size and are my first sewing project for my reborn dolls.  Fabric is a light-weight cotton, left over from a skirt I made myself in 2016.  I did also make a matching kimono top (a free by someone else) but it didn’t turn out quite as planned, so I’ll be trying that again and will show you when I have success.


SAL “Getting Ready” #8

Our international and very talented group of SAL members, have been busy these past 3 weeks, in order to have some more progress to post for our regular updates.  I have been busy too.  And am pleased to show you that things have moved from this

GR 11 02

to this

GR 04 03 18

Yoo hoo!  My lady has legs, even though she’s still doing her levitating act . . . I’ve begun adding some backstitch which also helps to bring the picture to life!

Don’t forget to check out the following links:

AvisGun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina,

Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Mary Margaret,

Heidi, Connie, Jackie, Sunny and a big warm welcome to Hayley.

And to come back on 25th March for the next update!


best layer of the month # February

BBrrrr it’s been cold this week!  -15°C this morning around 8 o’clock when we had to go out in the car.  Hens are all fluffed up and I keep having to replace drinking water because it freezes into a solid block in just hours. And I’ve given up with their water fountain for the moment, just using a large plastic “trough” where it’s easier to empty the frozen block out, and pour luke warm water.

hens feb

Here they all are, lining up for a drink lol. 

The cold doesn’t seem to have put the young gals off their laying, but the two older gals aren’t quite as productive.  I suspect it’s more age-related than because of the freezing temperatures.  Miranda laid 5 eggs this month, Miss Moneypenny 18 . . . whereas the two young gals: Miss Plumpton and Mauricette were neck & neck with 26 eggs each.  That makes a total of 75.  Needless to say, neighbours have been enjoying our fresh eggs this month, since that’s way too many for just my husband and myself.

Gibbs 17 months

And a recent photo of Gibbs, who doesn’t seem to mind the cold either.  Hardly surprising with that thick glossy black coat.  Here he is, now 18 months old and looking very handsome in his unique collar, made by Lynn.  I actually commissioned this for Gibb’s Christmas present.  Being a Flat-coated Retriever we like his collar to be nice & roomy so it doesn’t flatten down his lovely coat.  Lynn makes and sells some gorgeous dog collars and bandanas with 50% of the proceeds donated to a home for retired dog.  Just click here and it will take you to her shop.

A close-up of the design on Gibb’s collar (hope Lynn doesn’t mind me using her photo).  I’ve water-marked it with the name of her etsy shop: ouafouaf.