a January 2018 finish (not mine)

I hope that, like me, you were lucky enough to see family over the festive season?  We had eldest son up for Christmas then just this past week, we had more visitors: second son and his girlfriend, N, came for a week.

Now, I managed to get N hooked on cross stitch a couple of years ago, and she’s been attempting to take her first steps in some machine patchworking recently too . . . but apparently not with great success.  She bought herself a second hand basic Brother sewing machine and is having difficulty getting to grips with it, especially the pedal.  It doesn’t have a speed control or any of the other useful gizmos you get on more expensive machines.

Anyway, she recently finished a new cross stitch project and, knowing they were coming to visit in January, asked if she could bring it along for me to finish as a cushion cover.  I said “bring away!” but warned N, she would be the one doing the sewing, because I would take the time to teach her.  And I did!

Juki is an excellent machine to learn to sew on because it has so many gadgets that make life easier, including the all important speed control for foot pedal.  I did all the fabric prep, but N did all the piecing.  I did the quilting, but N did the cushion cover assembly including button holes on the back (Juki has an intelligent automatic button hole option so it’s really a question of just letting Juki do the work).  And, ta da!

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Cushion cover is a perfect 17” square (although it looks a bit wonky in photo, it isn’t!).  Not sure where N found the chart for the cross stitch design, but she obviously had fun stitching that.  And I did a sort of “tetris” like quilting in black thread to keep the gaming theme going throughout.

Edit: to give credit where credit is due . . . the cross stitch design Cat Tetris is by SpaceNonasStitchery and for sale on etsy.

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a little late with my thank yous

Dear oh dear . . . 13th January already and I have neglected my blog for almost a fortnight and (above all) I have neglected to show you some of the gifts I received in the Christmas post this year!

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First of all, lots and lots of bookmarks!  So a big thank you to Cathy, Flo and Emma.  Bookmarks from York, from Greece, from Ireland, from Spain and Australia.  Emma sent along a little cat cross stitch kit too, and a lovely card with a Japanese doll that can be removed from the card and be used as a bookmark too!

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Here’s a close up of the stitched one – a lovely long-tailed Lorikeet.  Emma adapted the colours of the original design so it would blend in with my F2F quilt, which is based on orange, blue & green, the predominant colours of Rainbow Lorikeets.

Next . . .

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Lots of pretty stitched goodies.  A “Let it snow” mug rug from Fred, tree decorations from AnnieG, Storm (green ribbon)  and Debbierose (red ribbon) and two more blackwork stitchings from Jeannine.

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More surprises from near and far . . . a Lizzie Kate kit and a beautiful wooden thread sorter from Wisher, and some lovely wooden buttons from Lynn (two dogs and four with a little black cat head – but it’s impossible to see in the photo).

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And then a lovely haul of hand-made cards.   A rather fun Christmas tree from Hannelore, a Poinsettia from salpal, a mischievious puppy dog from Virginie, some golden stitched candles from Yvonne and a fabulous 3D effect card from Helen, with deer & rabbits.

Thank you ever so much! 

best layer of the month #December and best layer of 2017

woo hoo!

The new gals have started laying!

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This photo was taken when they first arrived, in October, but since, their combs have developped and turned a nice healthy red.  And the laying began!

Which means, we had 26 fresh eggs this month – mostly small ones, but they were still very nourishing.  Miss Moneypenny only laid 1 egg this month . . . Miranda laid 7 rather large eggs, but with very strange shells

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After googling, we think these are called “body marked” and the strange shell surface is probably due to lack of daylight, but they were whoppers and very yummy.  Miss Plumpton, our Sussex laid 8 eggs and Mauricette

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our French Blue is this month’s winner with 10 eggs – yay!

And just because I love statistics . . . I’m now going to do a tot up for the entire year of 2017 to see who the “best layer of 2017” award goes to!  Are you ready?  Okay in 2017 there were 530 eggs laid in total.  The two new gals come in last place, since they only just started laying this month

Miss Plumpton in last place with 8.

Mauricette second to last with 10.

Miranda came in third place with 149.

Our lately departed Miss Marple came in second place with 161.

And the 2017 award winner is . . .

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Miss Moneypenny with 202 eggs!  Way to go Miss Moneypenny lol.  I suspect that the coming year will see a change in the regular monthly award winner.  Miranda and Miss Moneypenny have been with us since Spring 2015 and are probably passed their best laying days.  Which is why Miss Plumpton and Mauricette came to join the flock – let the old ladies rest, and let the young ones do the laying.

SAL update – #5 “Getting Ready”

Oh dear . . . another 3 weeks zoomed by and I allowed myself to get totally distracted with festivities, plus spending way too much time drooling over reborn dolls I can’t afford on ebay, instead of crafting!

The result is . . . another very sorry progress report to show you.

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This was the photo from 10th December, and on this last day of 2017, here’s how things look, in very bad lighting.

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Oh well, tomorrow is another year, new year’s resolutions, and all that.  Surely I will be able to find more time over the coming weeks to be a bit more productive?  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, hop over to see what everyone else has been up to. 

AvisGun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary Margaret, TimothyHeidi , Connie and Jackie.

And join us again on 21st January for the next update!

were you good?

All those weeks/months of preparation, fattening up the guinea fowl, doing some secret sewing & crochet . . . numerous pressies bought and squirreled away . . . for Christmas to come and go in the blink of an eye!

I hope everyone had a good time? and that you were able to spend some quality time with loved ones.  Hubby and I had just 2 visitors for Christmas Eve, so it was a nice quiet evening with plenty of foie gras for us all.  Christmas Day was spent with hubby’s sister and her family.

I must have been a good girl over the past year because there were lots of lovely pressies under the tree for me! 

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A silk scarf, colouring book, new slippers and 2 sets of Russian dolls.

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The cutest baby doll from my hubby and a rotary cutter which opens out like a compass for cutting circles;  DVDs from my daughter and plastic joints (for toy making) from second son.

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Avis (who had obviously been having a good chuckle in the run up to Christmas) had been busy with knitting needles and made a lovely jacket & bonnet (knowing I had asked Santa for a baby doll) . . . but also wants to encourage more cross stitching this year, hence the Bothy Threads kit.

New doll came wearing her pink doll outfit which, while it looks pretty, is of very shabby quality – but you get what you pay for.  Doll cost 39€.

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She’s a Nines d’Onil doll (Spanish doll makers) and not a bonafide “reborn” but she’s perfect for me and what I have planned.  While her clothes are rubbish quality, the doll itself is just as I’d hoped.  Since doll came in pink, it’s going to be a little girl, and I’ve called her Lily.

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I’m happy anyway lol.  For the moment she’s very light-weight and measures approx 44cm.  I am waiting (impatiently) for the reborn supply shop to reopen after the holidays so I can order in the supplies to start messing around.  Plan being to buy new bodies for both Lily and Noah, weight limbs, bodies & heads, and make them feel more like real babies but without making alterations to vinyl body parts.

So lots of lovely gifts for me, under the tree . . . and one which wasn’t under the tree . . .

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Nope it’s not one of those rub-on, wash-off things . . . eldest son brought his tattoo artist kit with him (at my request) and part of Christmas Eve was spent having a good chin-wag while he gave me a tattoo.

Before I sign off for today, I wanted to say a big thank you for all the festive mail that has been dropping through my door.  Cards, decorations, and other suprise gifts – thank you one and all.  I’ve got a bit behind in emailing and have a few family matters on the agenda over the coming weeks, so possibly won’t have time to dedicate a blog post to those surprises received.

it’s a boy!

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I’m afraid that I’ll be going off at something of a tangent in the coming year, and adding a new category to my blog.  I’ll still be cross stitching, patchworking, sewing, knitting & crocheting . . . but I’ll also be making things in “new born” sizes.  Not because I’m about to become a grandma (which would be the logical reason), but because I’ve suddenly become all fired up over . . . baby dolls. 

I blame it on the internet.  The other month, I was, in fact, searching for ideas related to clothes & accessories for BJDs (ball-jointed dolls) – okay, yes, also dolls, but not baby dolls.  My daughter and I have quite a collection of BJDs, but they’ve been stuck in their boxes since our last house move in 2014.  Anyway, I digress . . . while searching for BJD ideas, I came across “reborns”. 

An example (for those who don’t know) can be seen on Cocochello’s blog here.  Some people will find these very life-like dolls “creepy” but I think they are absolutely gorgeous.  Unfortunately, a finished doll to the standard of Cocochello’s creations, is very expensive.  And I don’t have the talent to attempt making my own from scratch. 

However, I then came across the following video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO6EC452SKM where LaDonna Briggs shows how to reborn a shop bought vinyl doll (Berengeur dolls).  I watched over and over again . . . totally captivated by the process . . . and then went searching for a second hand Berengeur doll.  Unfortunately (again) the entire reborning community must be looking for Berengeur dolls too because prices on ebay for a second hand doll are barely cheaper than for a brand new doll. 

Undeterred, I continued my search . . . and I found this little chap, complete with his original outfit.

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He’s one of the Berengeur new borns.  Measures 36cm in length, and for the bargain sum of 13€ (including p&p) he is all mine lol.

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Little feet and chubby legs just in the right position for modesty’s sake (I wouldn’t want to be accused of doll porn). 

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For the moment, all I’ve had time to make him so far is . . . a little nappy.

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What I hope to do, in the coming year, is copy LaDonna Briggs, the lady of the video.  I’ve bookmarked a couple of on-line shops in France which sell supplies (cloth bodies, weighting materials etc) and plan to give him a cloth body and a more realistic baby weight, which in turn will make him more poseable, before actually making him any new clothes.  I won’t be attempting any painting.  I think he looks lovely just the way he is. 

And, because I’m the mad woman who gives names to everything, including her hens . . . yes, this little cutie does have a name already lol.  It’s Noah.