best layer of the month # June

It’s time to do a tot up of eggs laid in June!  I missed my monthly egg post in May since we were away from home for a week (attending sister’s wedding) and a neighbour kindly looked after the hens for us, so I wasn’t able to keep a check on eggs laid.  Anyway . . .

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the hens have been moved out to the orchard now, in the shade of the apple trees.  Despite the shade these afford, hens don’t like the hot weather and I was expecting egg count to fall drastically.  Surprisingly, it didn’t.  Total egg count this month was 68.  Mauricette laying 21 of her very large eggs.  Miss Moneypenny (despite getting on for 5 years old now) valliantly laying 22 this month.  But it was our white Sussex hen, Miss Plumpton who wins best layer of June, with 25 eggs.

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it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer!

Well, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer in my little corner of France.

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And here’s me, in the shade, to show you that we set up our little “spa” in the garden yesterday.  I haven’t been for a dip yet, but it won’t be long before I do.  I even bought myself a new swimsuit for this summer and a pretty pair of flipflops

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so I’m more than ready to take a cool, bubbly dip.

Other signs that summer is here . . . out in the veggie garden.

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We’ve been enjoying fresh artichokes and plenty of fresh strawberries and raspberries.

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In fact, the raspberries have been doing especially well this year! 

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This lot picked in around 45 minutes . . . then 2 days later . . . there were even more

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So, we’re getting plenty of fresh vitamins, but I’m also freezing raspberries with each harvest, as that’s a fruit I like to keep for yummy desserts during the winter months.  Typical me, summer has just begun and I’m already thinking ahead to winter! 

can’t take me anywhere!

My husband can’t take me anywhere without me finding crafting goodies to “ooooh & aaaahhh!” over . . . resulting, of course, in me coming home with loads of totally unnecessary crafting supplies to add to my ever growing stash.  The other day, since we were heading into town anyway, I mentioned that I’d like to stop off at ACTION on the way home “Just to buy a couple of plastic storage boxes” for my very healthy stash of DK yarn (which could no longer be contained in the 2 boxes I initially bought). 

I found the boxes I was looking for, bought two, so now my stash of Stylecraft DK is looking very organised.

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But of course, my shopping didn’t stop there.  I also grabbed

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for future amigurumi projects because those colours inspired me with thoughts of dragons, unicorns and other mythicial creatures, including mermaids. 

Then . . . I spotted these for only 1.59€ each.

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Initially thinking I’d have fun making up myself, to gift to little neighbours . . . but then thinking they’ll be easy enough for a child to make, with supervision, and that I will probably gift the unmade kits, which will then keep little hands busy for a few hours.

In my defense, I wasn’t alone in finding goodies to bring home though.  The husband also helped to fill up the basket with a couple of bottles of chalk paint and two wooden “insect hotels” for less than 2.50€ each which have already been installed outside . . . and the husband realising he should have bought a few more lol.  Here’s one in place on the back wall of the garage . . . it will be interesting to see if any insects decide to move in. 

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Anyway, we did leave a few things in the shop for other customers and prices in ACTION are always so low, we came home very happy with our crafty bargains.

I do have to add though, that the husband doesn’t even need to take me out for me to find an excuse to add to my stash.  I’ve only recently discovered a new (to me) French on-line store called Buttinette which stocks supplies for literally every craft imaginable.  I spent several evenings having a thorough look through all the different categories . . . and since I then decided to order in a few bits for the husband’s birthday later this month, I just had to buy a couple of their patchwork fabric stash packs, so that I spent enough to get free p&p lol.

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Yellows & greens, with flowers and bunny rabbits.

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And a pack in blues & pinks with birds, flowers and dandelion seeds.

Please don’t ask what I’m going to make with these, because I have absolutely no idea!  I thought the colours & prints were fun, loved the price of 9.95€ for a pack of 7 coordinating cottons (30cm x 70cm).  I’ll definitely be going back for more goodies on this site.  They stock a wide variety of fabrics for crafting & clothes making,  . . . haberdashery, quilting supplies, crochet & knitting supplies, and so much more! 

lots of greens

It’s that time of year . . . when those with green fingers are outdoors, on their hands & knees, getting their hands dirty, and either weeding or busily planting for the new growing season.  I’m not one of those people.  I enjoy sitting out in the garden, but I leave all the work to the husband.  I also enjoy eating fresh home-grown veggies, but again, I leave that to the husband.

It’s still a little early in the season to be planting certain crops, but we have begun enjoying a few home-grown vegetables . . . ones that survive from one year to the next.  The newest growing experiment here is: asparagus.  The husband and a neighbour decided, last year, that they were going to give asparagus a go.  They therefore bought in loads of sand last summer, to build their sand mounds and bought some asparagus plants that were already a couple of years old (if I followed the proceedings correctly).  Anyway, despite hens escaping and having fun in the sand earlier this month . . . and despite Ducky enjoying a sand bath too . . . the husband (and neighbour) have been comparing sand mounds and counting all the shoots coming through.

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We’ve already enjoyed four (very modest) harvests.

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Here’s a batch, fresh from the sand. 

Another survivor, despite hens reeking havoc, is the chard.  That was planted from seed last Spring, and we enjoyed a healthy harvest last year.  The husband left it in the ground over the winter months.  The hens pecked it half to death in March . . . but now hens can no longer escape, the chard is flourishing . . . and how lovely it is, just to wander out and harvest just enough fresh veg for a healthy dinner for two.

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So, plenty of greens in the veggie garden . . . and a little bit of greenery indoors too.  We redecorated our living room late Feb to early March.  Nothing very exciting. Just ripping off old wall paper, then giving walls a coat of white paint, and painting the ceiling inbetween wooden beams.  Once that was done, everything looked very white, and a little bare . . . so the husband had fun with some paper napkins.

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They were my idea, as was the ivy motif, but it was the husband who did the actual work.  My job was supposed to be making new covers for our sofas.  That started off well, but then I stalled.  It’s something I need to get motivated about, but I seem to have found other things to distract me since!

best layer of the month # March (Houdini Hens)

Our hens have been a right handful this month!  They’ve taken to escaping from their enclosure on a daily basis and causing havoc in the veggie garden, where the husband is trying to prepare plots for plantations.  We appreciate that they’re currently living on bare soil, with a covering of straw, and that the grass must look so much greener on the other side.  They did have grass on this plot in February, but soon pecked & scratched it clean, and it’s a bit early in the season for us to move them to their summer residence in the orchard.

Try as we might, we were unable to see exactly how they were getting out, but get out they did.  Every single day, this month, I’d pop out to take them their treats, only to find they’d been having fun: digging in the strawberry patches, and burying the poor plants;  having sand baths in the beautifully banked mounds where the husband is trying to grow asparagus;  having a good old rummage in the compost heaps;  and generally running riot!  We checked there were no gaps at ground level, where they could be sneaking out under the net fencing.  Hung extra netting higher up along 2 sides of the enclosure . . . and I did some more feather clipping on left wings.  In a final attempt to keep them inside their park . . . I ended up re-purposing  some of old net curtains because we’d run out of proper fowl netting, and I didn’t want to have to go and buy some more.

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The result looks rather strange, to say the least.  But we’re hoping it’ll do the job of stopping hens from doing more of their Houdini act.

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Anyway . . . not only have they been escaping on a daily basis, they’ve also all been laying on an almost daily basis.  This month saw us with a total egg count of 86.  28 from both Miss Plumpton and Miss Moneypenny, while Mauricette laid a massive 30 eggs.

a bit of this & that

I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog this month.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing some blog-hopping to see what everyone else is up to.  Nor does it mean I haven’t been crafting – au contraire – I have!  However, several of the projects I’m working on are either secret crafting projects, or not far enough in the making to be worth blogging about.

Still, I do have 2 projects to talk about . . . first up, is the latch hook “Puppy” rug kit by Versaco.

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The hooking is finally complete – yay!  Once I set my mind to it, it came along very quickly.  Helped by the fact that I’ve been playing catch up, watching The Great British Sewing Bee on my tablet.  Since the husband isn’t too keen on sewing programmes,  I watch GBSB while sitting out in the kitchen, and kitchen table was the most comfortable place for latch hooking.  I’ve already trimmed the excess canvas, and begun the job of finishing edges neatly.  I will share a fully finished photo with you in due course.

I’ve also been doing some sewing.  Several projects in mind for Baby Viking, and big plans on moving out of my comfort zone to make a few garments with stretch fabrics.  True to myself, I thought it best to have a trial run with stretch fabrics before cutting into the yummy piece I’ve bought for BV.  And, after the clear out in my wardrobe last month, I had a couple of Tshirts (that didn’t get handed down or put in the Red Cross recyle bin) I had kept, precisely to slice up and use for some trial sewing.  So, one Tshirt repurposed into a pair of toddler sized trousers.  Scraps above are all that was left of the Tshirt.  I remembered to use a special Jersey/stretch fabrics needle in Juki and I used the overlocking stitch for everything.  I noticed that Juki tended to skip a stitch occasionally (not sure if it was my fault or because fabric was quite fine) if I tried to sew too quickly.  After adjusting speed and taking things slowly though, all seams looked good.  I even thought to cut pieces so the bottom of the Tshirt became the hemline of the legs – hence the really professional overlocked hems! 

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I was planning, initially, to make something in Baby Viking size for this summer, and followed a pattern accordingly (more or less) however,  . . . after popping round to hold these up against our little neighbour (who’s 19 months old), the verdict was:  way too wide.  Waist and the “rise” are good, but legs are much too wide for what I was aiming for (which was more of a jegging than a trouser).  Not to worry!  They turned out to be quite a good fit, as 3/4 length leggings on Daisy, so she gets to keep them.  And oh surprise . . . they look rather good with the pinafore dress I made for her.  Anyone would think I made these sizing mistakes on purpose, but I don’t!  This second photo shows you the true colour – a lovely turquoise/aqua, which makes the perfect “bottoms” to match the pinafore dress. 

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While I had camera out, and Daisy was posing . . . I couldn’t resist playing with more of my dolls.  I realise the following photos will freak some readers out.  I know, I know, most people think my dolls are creepy,  so you’ll just have to close your eyes and scroll down if you don’t want to see the following doll pictures.  First pic is of Daisy, posing as”big sister” to Lily .

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Then with Alice (who incidentally is wearing a pinafore dress I made last year using the same pattern as Daisy’s dress).

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And finally, with Noah.

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That’s all the doll photos for now, you can open your eyes! 

And admire

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Gibbs, who is overjoyed that my most recent check-up with foot surgeon went well, and daily walks to the park have resumed.  And about time too, says Gibbs!

best layer of the month # January 2019

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First month of the year has simply flown past!  Can’t believe it’s already 31st January (and incidentally, also the 31st birthday of Eldest Son).  Hens have had to put up with very cold temperatures, what with snow, and drinking water freezing over. With the cold plus lack of daylight (although days are growing longer), egg count was more modest than during the warmer months.

It’s Mauricette, our French Blue, who takes the prize once again though, with 26 eggs this month.  Miss Plumpton laid 16 and old Miss Moneypenny 11.  That makes a total of 53 fresh eggs for January, so still enough to distribute amongst the neighbours.