a bit of this & that

I’ve been busy of late cross stitching on something I can’t show you just yet . . . and also putting up with lots of crashing & banging in the house, accompanied by loads of dirt & dust: the result of which I hope to reveal very soon.

What I can share with you today are the following photos . . .

knitting front and back

Progress on my sweater – yay!  This got stuffed in the bag way back in July because weather was too hot for knitting.  However, over the last few days I’ve finished the front, and begun work on sleeve n°1. 

A little crocheting happened too, but only this

flashy floater

Another floating toy for Gibbs in a very flashy neon pink (left over from a MyBoshi beanie) because . . .

flashy floater 2

. . . the first toys are still functional and floating BUT they’re looking rather sorry & grubby. Not to mention that they’re very difficult to see on dry land, when they fall in a pile of autumn leaves.  I didn’t have enough pink to cover the entire bottle, which explains why it’s a mish-mash of colours & yarns, but it’s bright pink enough to spot from quite a distance and Gibbs believes a dog can never have too many toys.

And last photo, with a big thank you to Ghislaine, one of my ex students

from Ghislaine

Ghislaine sent me a whole pile of bookmarks, including a couple to colour in, and

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an oil pen !  This is a rather nifty device which contains sewing machine oil – how very clever! 

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cat ‘n mouse

Abby mouse

Can you see the mouse?  Nope, neither can I and neither can Abby.  She did have one in her mouth, when she came into the veranda from the garden.  A live one.  Which she then dropped, and has since been searching inside shoes.  I’ve lost count of the number of live mice Abby and Ducky bring home.  I do wish they’d just stay outside with them!

Meanwhile, indoors . . . my current small cross stitch project has evolved, very slowly from this

yarn cats

to this

yarn cats 31 07

I could have worked on it a bit more, but I chose to keep busy last month with patchworking, mainly.

Postie brought me some surprise mail from Lilubelle

bookmarks from Lilu

a lovely selection of bookmarks with a nature theme.

And postie also delivered another fabric order.  I know, I know, I have drawers full of the stuff, I don’t need more but . . .

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It was so pretty, I couldn’t resist, especially the second one.  My first thoughts, when I ordered, were that it would be lovely as backing fabric for a quilt (it’s 160cm wide off the bolt) but now it’s here, I’m wondering whether I’d dare wear a summer tunic in one or the other.  What do you think?  Would it be a too much?  A bit too “Dances with Wolves”?

And back to cats . . . slightly worried here, because Ducky has been missing since Sunday.  We’ve been calling him, and I’ve already put an “alert” on a dedicated site for lost & found pets.  Fingers crossed that he comes sauntering home soon.

bookmarks and books

A thank you to Flo who remembered me on her travels, including to San Francisco,  and picked up some bookmarks to send my way.

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And a couple of book titles to share with you today too.  I always like to read a couple of chapters just before bedtime, with my mug of hot chocolate . . . in recent months I had simply been re-reading old classics from my book shelves.  Then I got somewhat bored, so bought a couple of paperbacks, and renewed my subs at our local library.

One of the paperbacks I bought:

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“Catch Me” by Lisa Gardner.  A nice thriller/suspense, which is my favourite kind of bedtime read.  Here’s a quick résumé:  What would you do if you knew the exact date and time of your death?  For Charlie Grant, this will be on 21st January at 8pm . . . in 4 days time.  Exactly like her two best friends.  And Charlie wants Inspector DD Warren of the Boston Police to be in charge of the investigation.  Already tied up with a pedophile murder case, DD accepts, but as soon as she starts looking into the young woman’s past, her gut instinct tells her that Charlie is hiding something.  

And from the library

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“You’re Mine Now” – Hans Koppel.  Original title : “Kom ska vi tycka om varandra”

This was on the “thriller/crime” shelf, and was a good read but a different style of writing.   The main character is Anna, and the story-line . . . Anna should never have slept with Erik.  Anna is happily married to Magnus, they have a daughter, and Anna soon begins to regret her brief fling.  Erik is a dangerous psychopath and, before she knows it, not only is she being stalked, but her family is in danger.

oh what a beautiful week!

I don’t know about you, but weather in our corner of France has been amazing this week!  For early April, you could easily be mistaken into thinking it was summer.  Skies have been blue, the sun has been out every day and I have been sitting out in the garden in my summer clothes!  Yes!  Sleeveless tunics, dashing bright orange knee-length leggings.  Sunglasses definitely called for.

Husband has been very industrious in the veggie patch, but I haven’t taken any photos of his plantations yet.  He’s planted 18 tomato plants, 6 brocoli, 3 fennel, and hopes to get more plants in this coming week.  Seeds planted (radish & roquette) are already sprouting, but my beetroot haven’t come up yet.  Strawberry plants are in flower, raspberries bushes are budding . . . and cherry, apricot, and pear trees have all blossomed and mini fruits are in preparation. 

Everything seems incredibly early this year!  Even the Lily of the Valley is showing signs of buds.

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And just look at these lovely  lilac blooms

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Anyway, as I said, I’ve been sitting out in the garden, but keeping hands busy.  My most recent crochet project is

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A little owl necklace purse – yay!  This is a design by the very talented Janine Holmes of Moji-Moji Designs.  You can find the pattern for this project in her free tutorials. 

This little fellow only took a few hours to make, and I’m a beginner crocheter.  As usual, I immediately set to work making more . . .

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Colours aren’t very good in the photo.  After the purple one, I’ve begun work on a dark teal and a lilac.  The main work is done.  Just need to make eyes, beaks and assemble. 

Another reason it’s been a beautiful week . . . I celebrated my un-birthday!

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Received this surprise haul from Jess.  One of her cards (she designs and sells cards and cross stitch designs on Etsy) and some lovely bookmarks.  Somes with views of Guernesey (where Jess now lives) and one, is a metallic Korean bookmark.

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Ever so pretty!  So a big thank you Jess !!

thank you Avis & Sandrine

I had a couple of unbirthdays this month . . . receiving two surprise packages from friends.

Avis, had had to listen to me whinge about how I broke my flexi-hoop – my fettish flexi hoop that I use when cross stitching on evenweave.  I did have other hoops (wooden) in my supplies, but they’re not the same.  So Avis took pity on me lol and sent me

un birthday from Avis

a brand new flexi hoop, the exact same size as the one I broke . . . and she also included four 4-patches that she had assembled when making blocks for me in February, but finally didn’t use.  I’ll see if I can incorporate these into my own F2F2 blocks.

And from Sandrine

mp from Sandrine

a great big bundle of bookmarks!

Thank you ladies. 

happy birthday to me

Yup, I’m an Aquarius . . . a February baby . . . and I suddenly grew one year older the other day.  Kept things very low key, in the hopes that the extra year wouldn’t creep up, but it did.

Photos to show you the goodies I received on my special day . . . (with old Doris doing some modelling for me).

from Megan

My daughter, Lindashee, sent me a very warm fleece jacket and . . . a  CD:  “1000 Forms of Fear” by Sia which didn’t get in the photo below because it’s sitting on my computer desk

from Megan 02

So, a CD and 2 pretty fabrics . . . and yes, some Heinz Beanz and corned beef lol.  Can’t get Heinz Beanz in France and I do love them. 

A lovely squishy parcel from Avis too . . .

from Avis

containing a lovely purple fleece sweater (again modelled by Doris) and

blocks from Avis

some lovely bright 12” blocks!  Now Avis isn’t officially signed up for the F2F2 swap, although she did take part in the first F2F swap . . . and she decided to make me three blocks in my colourway . . . for me to add to the blocks I’ll be receiving for the swap.

You’ll remember that my colour inspiration is

Claire

Avis saw some yellow in there too, with the orange plumage going from rich orange to a lighter shade

Avis 01

Avis 02

Avis 03

So, one very spoiled birthday girl here ^^

Oh and . . . I have an un-birthday gift to share with you . . .

from Helen

A gorgeous hand-made card from Helen along with 2 hand-crafted bookmarks: one from China and the other from Madagascar. 

A big thank you to Lindashee, Avis and Helen for all these lovely goodies!

happy un-birthdays in January

I will be celebrating friends’ un-birthdays throughout 2017, just as I did during 2016 and 2015 . . . I enjoy sending out little surprise gifts, and friends enjoy receiving them.  So why stop?  I do need to find time to make a few small gifts though, as I’m relying on some items made last year, to start the new year.

Three cross stitching ladies received a little un-birthday surprise in January . . . (pretty much the same, sorry for lack of imagination).

for ambre

for Virginie, aka ambre, a mini DMC kit and fabric cat coaster.

for Joce

for Joce73

for Stephnanie

and for Stéphanie.  Yep, I bought a few of the same kit in our local bargain basement store . . . design isn’t brilliant, but it’ll be a quick project to stitch up.

I also have some thank yous

from Michele

A big “merci” to Michèle, for these bookmarks.

from Stephanie

a “merci” to Stéphanie who sent a huge pile of bookmarks plus a belated xmas card and ATC.

from Wisher

and a big thank you to Angela, aka Wisher, for these gorgeous fabrics and fabric appliqué transfers.