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!

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lots of resting with feet up

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Many thanks for all your “get well” wishes!  Foot op went well.  I was in and out of hospital on the Friday as planned.     Spent the first 3 days having total bed rest with the cats keeping me company, and the husband bringing me meals in bed while I lazed about, watching DVDs non-stop and keeping my hands busy with crochet or cross stitch.  Today I made it downstairs, as far as the sofa . . . where I spent most of the day with feet up, and more crochet.  I’m feeling pretty good.  Not in much pain at all, but will be taking things very gently over the next few weeks.  No trips out, and only minimal walking about indoors (with my clumpy post-op shoes).  I know, from previous experience, that the more I rest, the faster foot will heal . . . and the more time I spend with my feet up, the quicker I can finish off making xmas presents! 

we’re having an Indian Summer

Hmm, looks like we’re having an Indian Summer in our part of the world.  Blue skies, sunshine, and temperatures have been around 26°C during the daytime, although it is getting a bit nippy at night.

What do we do when weather is fine?  Well, if you’ve got a lively dog, like we do, then you go to the park and take photos.

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Here’s Gibbs, our Flat-Coated Retriever, now 2 years old.  A healthy 40 kilos of pure muscle, and enjoying our daily walk/run around the park and obstacle course.  We walk, he runs.

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Please note the lovely blue sky, as well as a very agile Gibbs who has no trouble going up and down all the ramps, and over hurdles.

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And yours truly, in a sleeveless cotton shirt – it’s just like summer!

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!

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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. 

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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

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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 . . .

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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

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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. 

practical sewing and a thank you

I’ve been quite busy these past few weeks with some very colourful patchworking – which I can’t reveal just yet.  However, I also did some less colourful, and more practical sewing, which I can share.

I’d been meaning to do something about the cushions on our kitchen chairs for ages.  I bought a set of seat cushions a few years ago because it was cheaper to buy ready-made, than to buy inserts and make my own.  They were to protect the chair seats, which are made of straw, from cat claws.  The main problem with these cushions (apart from getting grubby very quickly . . .  was that Ducky

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found a new distraction.

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He ate his way through the ties that were there to tie cushions onto chairs.  In this photo, you can see one of the ties which was chewed to the knot.  On others, he went so far as to chew where it was sewn to the cushion!  And not just on one chair!  Over time he gradually worked his way through all 8 chairs, chewing sometimes one, sometimes both ties!  This meant, every time we pulled out a chair to sit down, not only were the cushions getting grubby, but 9 times out of 10 the cushion fell on the floor. 

I was suddenly spurred into action to do something about this when our daughter, aka Lindashee, said she would be travelling to France for work, and coming to stay 2 nights with us.  Literally on the day she was due to arrive, I pulled out a large piece of fabric I’d been hoarding for years.  3 metres x 150cm bought about 8 years ago which had cost 10€.

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The diagonal lines are a pale green which, you will see in other photos, does sort of blend in with the kitchen. 

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The ties aren’t colour-coordinated  – I used navy blue – but I decided to sew on all four corners.  I didn’t even bother making the covers with an opening (for washing) either.  Just machine sewed the final seam shut. 

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And managed to tie UNDER the seat part, in the hopes that Ducky won’t be tempted to start chewing.

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They’ll do the job of protecting the seat part from claws, which is their main purpose.  And for only 10€ worth of fabric, I had enough to make new covers for all 8 chairs.

A last photo, totally unrelated:

from Sabine

to say thank you to Sabine, a French friend who lives in Germany.  She went to a patchwork/crafts show not long ago and sent me a lovely FQ plus more bookmarks for my collection.

RIP Merlin

A sad day yesterday – our oldest cat, Merlin, died.  He was almost 12 which isn’t that old for a cat, so it was rather unexpected.

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On Thursday he was less active than usual (when you see following photos, you’ll understand how difficult it is to tell “less active” from “active”).  On stroking him, I noticed his body & ears were cold, despite him lying out in the garden with temps around 26°C.  Phone call to vet to explain symptoms.  They said “hypothermia” is never a good sign – bring him in immediately”.  We did.

They hospitalised him to warm him up and set up an IV drip as he was slightly dehydrated.   Body temperature was 36°C, which confirmed hypothermia.  A blood test was done which showed high levels of urea – indicating kidney  failure.  Vet could not determine whether hypothermia was the cause or the result.  When we went to visit him Friday morning, the vet greeted us with a glum face.  Merlin had died an hour earlier.

Sad, and rather sudden, but we have lots of memories.  A few photos of Merlin, doing what he did best

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cat-napping

I had a wander about with my camera today, in search of the cats. It never fails to amaze me how they can all want to congregate on the bed with me at night yet during the day time, they keep as far away from each other as possible.

This isn’t my finest photograhy, so you have my humble apologies. I was trying to snap quickly, before they realised I was pointing a camera in their direction, which usually makes them move somewhere else.

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Ducky was in one of his favourite spots . . . on the kitchen table, right next to the empty food bowls.  He had his ration of wet food for breakfast, and there’s a bowl of dried food upstairs which I always keep topped up.  But no, he’s hoping there might be more wet food if he looks hungry enough.  I’m afraid he doesn’t – he’ll have to wait until tonight!

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Le Bleu is trying to tell me something, I think.  He’s all comfortable on my 2-seater sofa.  You can see my set-up with cushions at both ends to support back and feet while I’m crafting with my feet up.  I’m guessing he’s waiting for me to join him, so he can snuggle up on my lap.  He’ll have to wait a little while too.

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Abby is snoozing in probably one of the hottest spots she could have found – the veranda.  The thermometer in there tells me it’s hot:

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I read that as 34°C, which is behind glass, but with the veranda door and a few windows open to help let the heat out.  I really don’t know why an animal would choose to lie out in that heat, but then I’m not a cat!

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And here is Merlin, being a bit more sensible.  He’s enjoying some fresh air in the garden, where it’s probably a lot cooler than in the veranda.  I think it’s only 25°C today.   Saying that – I usually put a cushion down when I sit on those chairs during the warmer weather, otherwise they burn my bottom!  And oh dear!  Just look at the state of our table (top left) – looks like I need to give that a good wash down if we’re hoping to sit outside for a cool drink!

Now that I’ve seen that mucky table top, I really can’t sit here and leave it.  So table, here I come, with a bucket of soapy water & sponge!