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

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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

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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

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Avis 02

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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.

a bit of this, that, and a few thank yous

Some surprise post these past few days for me, so I’ll start off with saying thank you . . . to Flo, who always remembers me on her travels, and sent a selection of bookmarks. Some from as far away as Bali.

from Flo

I particularly like these two lol.

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A gorgeous stitched card also arrived from Annie, who was one of the recent giveaway winners.

from Annie

Annie doesn’t have a blog, but belongs to a cross stitch group in her local area.  This design is by Renato Parolin.

I managed some stitching too, working on another freebie kit (from the March 2010 issue of CrossStitcher magazine).

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It’s a design by Lucie Heaton.  And I’m already playing around with fabric, wondering how I’m going to finish this little kokeshi doll off.

News on Blackjack, who had a check-up at the vets this week, following diagnosis of heart problems.

Bjack

He’s actually perked up really well.  We have to continue with medication for another 2 months, and hopefully, we’ll then be able to reduce dosage.  Anyway, he’s eating again and is back to his usually happy self,

Other animals are all fine, and cats are preferring to stay indoors because of the cold weather.  Here’s Ducky, chilling out.

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And last bit of news, in a nutshell, for those wondering about my sciatica . . . I had a MRI recently and we’ve learned that my sciatica is caused by discal herniation in L4-L5 and L5-S1.  I’ll be having physio sessions and will have to be patient . . . it should sort itself out.

surprise mail

I received some lovely surprise mail . . . from my sister

bookmarks

and from Wisher, of Pretty Little Things in a Box, in Singapore, who held a giveaway on her blog recently, I was the lucky winner!

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The prize: a kit which includes 2 pieces of floral printed aida, threads, chart, needle, button and wadding to make a lovely biscornu AND Wisher  also sent me a pair of gold stork scissors.  What a lovely surprise that all was!