more surprise mail

Postie has been a regular visitor to our letter box, with some surprise packages.  Not sure if they’re belated xmas gifts or un-birthday gifts, all I know is they are gifts and they’re for me!

In fact, the first photo is a “best wishes” card from Nathalie F.  In France, people don’t tend to send out cards for Christmas, but prefer to wait until the New Year before sending their seasonal greetings.  The card from Nathalie is ever so chic!

from Nathalie F

Beautifully embossed and with white beads and shiney stars. 

from la pie kikou

From Jocelyne, aka la pie kikou, I received a selection of goodies.  A piece of shimmery aida along with 3 skeins of the DMC new collection.  Gorgeous colours, especially the 4505.  And a beautiful hand-made bookmark with my initials embroidered to look like a coat of arms.  Makes me feel like royalty, that does!

And that’s not all . . .

from Sandrine

From Sandrine a massive haul of bookmarks . . . and a clothes making pattern – yay!  It’s one to make a shirt: the Chloé shirt.  Packaging says it’s intermediate level (thanks for the vote of confidence, Sandrine) . . . I reckon this should be within my capabilities if I read all instructions properly.

So a big thank you ladies . . . so much fun to have all these surprises.

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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! 

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 . . .

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. . . 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! 

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

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to this

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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

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a great big bundle of bookmarks!

Thank you ladies.