F2F3 2018-2019 finally coming together!

From June 2018 to February 2019, I took part in a patchwork block swap, organised by Kate.  Link to the F2F blog is here.  I was Miss August and the colours I chose for my blocks were: black, turquoise & grey on white.  I received some beauties but they were put away in a drawer, waiting for inspiration.

You’ll be pleased to hear, I got them out of the drawer the other day, and laid them all out on the bed to remind myself of all the lovely blocks I received.  Cats were only too pleased to help

Just as well I was only trying to remember what all blocks looked like and not actually trying to decide on a proper layout, eh?  Abby made it her job to deposit a little cat fluff on a few, while Le Bleu was in charge of removing a few stickers (one member had labelled her blocks with stickers so I’d know the name of her blocks but they seem to have lost their “stick”lol).

Anyway . . . I actually have a total of 32 blocks in my colours.  Should only have ended up with 27 at the end of the swap but I made 4, Nanette made 4, and my friend Avis sent me 3 as well. Which makes 32.  After some umming and ahhing.  Do I make I  a big 5 x 6 quilt with 30 and then make 2 cushions?  Or do I try to use all 32 and make two smaller quilts?  I finally decided to go for two quilts: 4 x 4 each, and to make them “sister quilts”, ie I’ll be using the same fabrics for sashing, backing & binding, so they’ll be like unidentical twins.

After a check in my stash, and a measure up of my options the assembly began.

This is as far as I’ve got so far.  Only 16 of my 32 blocks here, but they make a nice size.  Not finished yet, obviously, because I need to add outer border, quilt and bind, but this gives you a general idea of how the blocks all play nicely together.  I sashed with plain white and used a dark turquoise to give me 1″ cornerstones.   I’m very motivated to get both finished by the end of August . . . so that it’ll only have been 2 years from start to finish.  Watch this space!

a bit of this & that

I’ve been doing a bit of this & that of late. Some sewing, some patchworking and some crochet.  Sometimes though, we are sent a little sign to say: it’s time to take a break.  This was mine.

Duh!!! I put first sleeve in no problem.  Must have started feeling cocky when I did the second one.  A sure sign it’s time to put down tools and find something else to do for a while.  So I had a cat-hunt wondering what our three cats were up to.  Abby wasn’t hard to find since she’d been keeping me company while I messed up that sleeve.

Le Bleu wasn’t far away either . . . he was in our bedroom, just waiting to strike a pose.

As for Ducky . . . he was fast asleep in the veranda.

and, while I tried to be quiet, and didn’t use the flash, I managed to wake him up.  Sorry Ducky!

Anyway . . . after that quick feline photo session and a fresh mug of coffe, I did head back to my sewing room to unpick the offending sleeve and finish off the Tshirt.  If you want to see how it turned out, you can click here: Claire’s Collections.



change of pace

Life has changed pace.  Staying at home is starting to become second nature. If it goes on for much longer, we’ll probably turn into hermits.  Anyway . . . weather has been gorgeous. Please note the blue skies, as Gibbs and the husband wait (for what?) at the garden gate.

We’re trying to switch off news channels, which just seem to be repeating the same stuff over and over, with no actual new news.  And finding things to do, for example . . . I was in dire need of a hair cut, but since there’s no chance of hairdressers reopening . . . out came the electric shears, and, with the help of the husband, I now look all “neat” again.


it’s a dog’s life!


Photos today of Gibbs, and some crafting for dogs!  First up, a couple of Gibbs during one of our daily walks in the park, where Gibbs burns off all that excess energy . . . either swimming


or simply charging around, enjoying the freedom of wide open spaces



After a good run around,  Gibbs usually zonks out for a nice long nap in the afternoon . . . and, as I showed you recently, I decided he needed a few new bed covers, to allow me to wash & dry regularly.

After the fairly stitch/embroidery intensive bed cover, made using strips of denim from old jeans, which looked like this

dog bed 03

I had a rummage in my boxes of heavy-weight fabrics, and set to work on a second cover.


This one was a lot quicker to make, since I just have one main panel and two bands on one side.  Reverse side is a boring khaki fabric.  I had enough of this “bordeaux” fabric to go ahead and make a second cover.


Zooming in here, to show you a close up of the central panel.  This second cover is going to be for our neighbour’s dog:  Moka, a chocolate labrador.  I’ve got enough of my recycled bed quilts to make a mattress to fit.  There’s no reason why Gibbs should be the only dog to enjoy a comfy bed!

the birthday dog and his new bed

Our lovely glossy Gibbs turned 3 earlier this month (on 6th to be exact) and his birthday went totally unnoticed.  What a terrible dog-owner I am!  To have forgotten such an important event!  So, to make amends . . . I set to cutting and sewing. 

dog bed 03

The cutting was, slicing up of old jean legs, and mainly only being able to use the back panels . . . then sewing together.

dog bed 04

Also being a little bit adventurous with embroidery options on my Juki.  I decided stitch n° 41 was pretty, and an excellent way of reinforcing seams, as well as adding a touch of frivolity & colour to the denims.

To make, a new bed for Gibbs.

dog bed 05

And for the other side:  I chopped into an old curtain.

dog bed 06

dog bed 07

Finished size is approx 100cm x 70cm.  Inside, in case you’re wondering, is half a single duvet:  chopped in half, overlocked, and then folded in half again. 

dog bed 02

I added ties, so it’s easy to stuff into the bed cover.  But also easy to untie, and put in the washing machine for when it needs washing.

dog bed 01

due to popular demand . . . Rio!

A slight exaggeration there, as only a few people enquired or picked up on my mention yesterday of “our parrot Rio”.  I have actually presented him on my blog before, but ‘tis true, I don’t mention him often.


Here he is, and very pleased to meet you all:  Rio, our blue-fronted Amazon.  Rio has been a member of the family since 2004 – he was hatched in May of that year and hand-reared (not by us, but by breeders in Belgium).  That means he’s very sociable and is 15 years old.  Since parrots have a rather long life-expectancy, we could say he’s still in his teens.


Photos are a bit blurry as he wouldn’t sit still and kept on chattering when he saw me with the camera.



I say chattering . . .. his vocabulary is somewhat limited but what he lacks in vocabulary he makes up for in enthusiasm.


Anyway, there he is.  He lives in a corner of my sewing room.  His favourite song is “Pop goes the Weasel”.

And just for fun . . . a few photos from my archives.



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.


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! 


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. 

daisy 01

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 .

daisy 02

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


And finally, with Noah.

daisy 04

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

And admire


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!

lots of resting with feet up


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.


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.




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.


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!

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.