F2F3 Miss September

Month four already of the patchwork block swap F2F organised by Kate.  And time to make blocks for Miss September, who is Nanette.

Nanette asked for any shades of blue, with a blush pink, for her colour inspiration and here’s what I made & sent to her.

Nanette F2F 01

First block is an “Old Fan”.

Nanette F2F 02

Second is “Album Road”.

Nanette F2F 03

And the third, which is my favourite of the three, “Dancing Shoofly”.

As with previous months, I made a fourth souvenir “Old Fan” block to keep for myself.  That’s already four blocks for a souvenir quilt I plan to make at the end of the swap.

Old Fan

You can admire blocks made by other members if you visit the F2F3 gallery which Kate keeps updated for us all.


ocean themed crafting

It might be because of this never ending summer, with temperatures still around 30°C during the daytime . . . but I’ve been having something of an ocean themed crafting spurt.

First up . . . Carole, very kindly sent me an unbirthday gift a few months ago.  A little mermaid cross stitch kit.  Well, that gave me some light relief from all the dull browns & beiges I’ve been working on with the SAL project, and she turned out beautifully.


I deliberately didn’t give her a mouth as I think she actually looks prettier without.  And I’m not sure if I’ll be finishing her off as a bookmark, to slip insde the printed card that came with the kit, or coming up with a different kind of finish.  Whatever, she was a real joy to stitch.  The kit was a freebie from a back issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.  I had been dithering about whether or not to renew subs to a UK crafting magazine, and this gift from Carole spurred me on.  I signed up for a 12 month subs to Cross Stitch Crazy, so now have several other pretty freebie kits in my stash.  Perfect for those little projects when you want a quick finish!

Other crafting . . . if you saw my ScrapHappy post on 15th, you’ll have seen the stuffed fish I made, with its upper fin sewn on back to front.  Now, although Viking Parents said Baby Viking would love it (it’s also got a rattle inside so makes a lovely noise) I still wanted to make one that looked right.  So I rifled through scrap bags again and made another one.

3rd fishy 01

3rd fishy 02

Much more successful than the previous one, and with some lovely scraps.  This fishy has white felt circles appliqued on for eyes and a cross-stitched navy pupil.  He/she also has a “squeaker” inside, just below the upper fin. 

Here are the three fish together, all following the pattern by Lauri.

3 fishies 01

3 fishines 02

What I love about patchwork, and scraps . . . you get to use up every last bit of fabric, and each of these fishes is a reminder of past patchwork projects.  The one with spotty body was my first fish, made in March.  He’ll be staying here, as a photo prop for my reborn dolls, since he has buttons for eyes, therefore is not 100% baby friendly.  The other two will be swimming their way to Baby Viking.

bargains last Sunday

Sunday 16th saw husband and myself up and out quite early, heading to another local “vide grenier”/boot sale.  This one was in a small village (population 723) so I knew it was likely to be quite small.  That was fine by us. 

And when we got there, it really was a small affair.  Just the locals, from the looks of things, having a good clear out with mostly clothes/shoes/toys/books and a few miscellaneous things for sale.  We didn’t even bother to split up for this one.  Or if we did, the area was so small, we kept on bumping into each other.

Husband found the most ugly cast iron soap dish with a cow on it (Fresian, if that makes it any less ugly?).  I have no idea why he bought it, but he did.  One thing is for sure – it won’t be going in the bathroom!  And I most certainly won’t subject you to a photo of his 1€ bargain.

Mine, are a lot more fun!

more brocante 01

Here’s a haul of baby toys, which cost me 3€ in total.  Two identical wooden crocodiles.  No idea why the seller had twin crocodiles, maybe they belonged to a pair of twin toddlers at some point?  They’re the old-fashioned toy you pull along by the string and they wiggle.  They don’t look as if they were played with very much. 


At 50 centimes each, I bought both, of course. Plus a set of plastic keys and 3 rattle toys.  The plastic keys have already been gifted to Rio, the parrot, who does love playing with keys.  As for the rattles

more brocante 03

I removed the soft parts on arriving home, and all plastic toys were given a wash in bleachy water.  I then sewed bunny trousers back up again, and Gibbs was well-pleased to have another soft toy to play with.  It was the rattle rings I was interested in  –  they’ll come in handy for some future craft projects.

And, just so you know I don’t only buy toys . . .

more brocante 02

I came home with a few books this time too.  You’ll probably recognise most of the authors (except for Fred Vargas, a French authoress, and I’m not sure if her books have been translated into English).  The others are:  “Chaos” by Patricia Cornwell;  “Unseen” by Karen Slaughter;  “Miss Silver Comes To Stay” by Patricia Wentworth and “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh.  Apart from the Patricia Wentworth one (which appears to be a sort of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple type of intrigue) the others should all be blood, gore, serial killers and suspense . . . exactly what I enjoy with my hot chocolate at bed time!

And last photo . . . 

Ducky and dolls

My dolls live in a laundry basket, because I haven’t pushed madness far enough to buy a proper baby cot for them (yet).  Ducky decided there was room for one more!  I don’t know if you can see properly


but that golden brown thing Ducky is resting his head on . . . that’s Lily’s “doudou” rabbit!  She was holding it in her arms when I last saw her in the laundry basket . . . Ducky obviously thought it made a soft cat pillow. 

“Entwined Star” – an unbirthday/house warming gift

A neighbour’s daughter recently bought her first house, and I wanted to mark the occasion with a hand-made gift.   What better excuse to do some crafting?  A house-warming/unbirthday gift!    Now, I don’t know the daughter’s taste in interior decorating, nor her choice in colours, so I thought it prudent to ask her first.   She had said she likes “hot/bright” colours,  so I took that to mean “hot” on the patchwork colour wheel.  We had a quick look at possible fabrics together, with the design I had in mind requiring 3 different shades plus a background colour.  We did toy with some hot pink, and bright yellow, but in the end, the decision was made to stick with orange. 

entwined 01

This is the block pattern I had decided on.  The “Entwined Star” and this is my version.

entwined 02

It was only after piecing, I realised I hadn’t respected the colour “values” with the black background fabric, and maybe it would have looked better on white,  but it was too late to worry about that.   So I carried on, batting, quilting, and making a 16” cushion cover.

for Raphaelle 01

Raphaelle 03

I used some grey, velvety curtain fabric for the back  and 3 old jeans buttons for the fastening.

for Raphaelle 02

I don’t tend to use black very often, so it was interesting to see how this star and oranges seem so vivid on the dark background.  The extra 1/2” orange band all around, because I felt it needed more brightness to draw the eyes away from the centre.

Anyway, I had lots of fun making this and thoroughly enjoyed tackling a new block pattern. 

ooooh surprise mail!

Don’t you just love it when the postie stops by with a little package and you weren’t expecting anything?  I most certainly do!  Sometimes I recognise the hand-writing on the front.  Sometimes I have to turn over and look for the sender’s name . . . but it’s always really exciting, those few seconds before the package is ripped open.

The other day, I received an un-birthday gift and card from Cathy, aka nanacathy.

from Cathy

The most gorgeous bookmark, made with lace and a lilac ribbon not to mention a tiny pair of scissors on the end.  How appropriate and totally unexpected!

And something else that was totally unexpected . . . Avis had decided to make some blocks in my F2F colourway “just because”.  There are 9 ladies in the F2F swap this season which means we all end up with 27 blocks but with the extra block from Nanette and the 3 surprise blocks from Avis, I now have 31.  Plenty for either one large quilt and a cushion cover, or 2 smaller quilts and cushion cover.


Here is a close up of each block.

Avis 1

Avis 2

Avis 3

My photography is a bit off, I can assure you, blocks are all lovely, and crisp and square.  I had a good chuckle at the grey fabric  . . . can you see, it’s covered in paw prints, awww!

A big warm thank you Cathy and Avis.  You both brought a big smile to my face.

F2F season 3 – August blocks are all in

Followers will know that I’m taking part in the F2F block swap, season 3, organised by Kate.  I am Miss August, and I have now received the last two squidgies with lovely blocks from Esther and Nanette.

First up, the blocks from Esther, in the Netherlands.


Here they are in close up.

Esther 1

Esther 2

Esther 3

Esther went for lots of modern prints, and her piecing is always superb.  All blocks are so crisp!

And the last blocks to arrive (all the way from Australia) were from Nanette.

Nanette actually made 4 blocks and even sent along the leftover fabric.


A close up of the blocks Nanette sent.

Nanette 1

Nanette 2

Nanette 4

Nanette 3

So many gorgeous fabrics and different block patterns!  And the last one, a real souvenir from Australia with the kangaroo print.  You can admire all blocks made & sent so far in this swap, in the gallery on F2F.

Thank you so much ladies.  I now have a wonderful pile of blocks just waiting for me to set to work on assembly.  It might have to wait a little while though, as I have a couple of Baby Viking gifts to finish off first. 

one man’s junk . . .

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.  That’s something my Mum would say as we headed off for a good rummage at a local jumble sale, when I was a child.  I don’t know if the term “jumble sale” is used anymore.  The more modern term seems to be “carboot sale” (in the UK, I believe) while in France they’re called “Vide Grenier” which translates as “Emptying the Attic”.  Whatever name they go buy, I do enjoy a good rummage.  And it so happens that September is a month where there are quite a few local “vide grenier” going on.

Husband doesn’t mind a rummage either, as long as we go early, and don’t stay too long.  So, on Sunday, we were up early to go to a local “vide grenier”.  It was in a very small commune just down the road.  I was amazed, when we arrived at 7.45 to find the fields commandeered for carparking already chock-a-block with cars, and vast crowds already milling around the several hundred stalls, all out to grab a bargain.  Husband and myself have yet to agree on what is a bargain, with him looking for specific vintage tools to add to his workshop, and me looking for . . . well anything that catches my eye really lol.  Our tactic is to split up when we arrive and meet up later.  If we see anything the other might be interested in, we use our mobile phones.  But basically, we each go our separate ways, getting lost in the crowds.  Me, feeling like an 8 year old, on Christmas Eve.  Always the thrill of finding a “treasure” but not knowing what shape that treasure will take.

On Sunday, the treasure had a rather canine form. French readers might recognise him.  It’s the mascot for “Télé Z” a French weekly TV magazine.

brocante 06

When I liken myself to an 8 year old, I’m not kidding!  Awwww, I saw him and couldn’t resist.  At first, I wasn’t going to buy.  Just wanted to pick him up and have a cuddle.  The seller immediately caught my eye, and called out “50 centimes”.  She knew she’d made a sale!.  His tongue was slightly damaged (something to do with the seller’s real dog having been slightly jealous of the stuffed toy) but I soon fixed that when I got him home.  He then went in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, and after, he was allowed to meet the real pets.


Here he is, meeting Ducky.  All our cats seem to approve, and Gibbs has been told the new dog is NOT a toy . . . . or should I say, he IS a toy but he’s not a Gibbs’ toy!


He’s Claire’s new toy, and he’ll be allowed to sit with me in my sewing room.  I’ve decided his name is Maurice.

And Maurice wasn’t the only toy this 8 year old brought home . . .

brocante 03

One lady was selling her collection of “doudous” (which is a French term meaning a very soft baby toy, a sort of comforter).  She actually made me feel less “wierd” about my new reborn doll craze.  She admitted to having built up a collection of over 400 doudous, which she was selling due to lack of space and a husband who was sick of the sight of her soft toy collection.  I couldn’t walk past without grabbing a few okay, 6 .  One isn’t in the photo.  It was  adopted by Gibbs since I said he couldn’t play with Maurice but please, shhh don’t tell the seller as she would be most distraught!.  I also bought a couple of teething ring toys.  Our parrot, Rio does love this kind of toy, and special parrot toys in petshops are very expensive.  Plastic baby toys are ideal for a parrot.  Easy to grab and hold in one foot, colourful, robust, even for an Amazon beak, and they make a nice rattling noise when played with.   Again, shhh, we don’t tell the lovely lady who sold me those that they’re for a parrot.  She thinks they’re for my grandchild.

My shopping bag was filling up, but my purse was still quite full, as each item was priced at 50 centimes . . . so Maurice and all these baby toys, for only 4.50€.   With my bag full of baby things, the logical follow-up was . . . a small bundle of baby clothes.  Everything I looked at seemed to be priced at 50 centimes, so I grabbed a few bits for my dolls.  I won’t bore you with every item, but I grabbed six little items, and came home feeling very pleased with my modest spending of 7.50€.

Just one last photo


of Lily in her “new” babygrow PJs and with a bunny doudou.

And just to prove how reasonable I was . . . husband found 2 vintage tools and spent a total of 13€ on his finds . . . so if it was a competition of who brought home more junk for less money, then I won lol.