stripy cat amigurumi happy dance

Last month I started hooking this colourful projet

picture and pattern from Amigurumi Today.

Lots of pretty bright colours to keep me amused with those stripes.

And it wasn’t too long before I had all the bits made . . . just had the last job to do (which is my least favourite):  sewing bits together and then fretting over facial detail.

Now, since this cat is going to be a present for a baby, I and Mrs Tattoo agreed we didn’t want safety eyes like on the model.  Mrs Tattoo asked for eyes to be embroidered “asleep”. I did my best.

And now, before you start giggling (because there’s something rather obvious between cats legs) . . . can I ask, where on earth is the tail on the cat in the designer pattern photos????

Another photo from Amigurumi Today – not even a hint of a tail.  Did they forget to add it, or did they photoshop it away?  Anyway, my version has sleeping eyes and a very obvious tail.  For which I shall make no excuses!  Final (headless) photo of cat with Daisy (my big doll).  He came out a bit bigger than I expected but, up against Daisy who is 92cm tall, he doesn’t look too ginormous.

outdoors & indoors – what we’re up to

Something of a photo-heavy post today, to tell you what the husband and I are up to lately.

With Spring in the air, the husband has been spending long hours outdoors!  It all started last month really, when he managed to hire a bricklayer who agreed to come and do some work in the veggie garden.  The husband had this idea of having some raised beds (to make life easier when you’re not as agile as you once were).  The bricklayer, name of Atila, worked like a Trojan, I can tell you!  Digging trenches, mixing cement to lay foundations, then building five raised beds with breeze blocks and laying some paving stones to level up with the path.

The husband was then kept very busy because the new beds needed filling . . . so wheelbarrow loads of sand, sifting & weeding of “old” soil to mix back in.  One bed is already planted with strawberry plants & lettuce.  The others will be sowed/planted up in a couple of weeks time once the husband is sure there will be no more night frosts.

He’s also found himself a new indoors project!  When we moved into this house, the previous owners left a very grotty clock up in the attic. Nothing antiquey, or of any value and probably riddled with wood worm.  But there it remained, gathering even more dust & cobwebs.  The husband asked me to bring it downstairs because he fancies a bit of renovation work.  So I obliged.

It’s not even pretty!  but if it keeps the husband amused, at no cost, then I’ll be interested to see how it turns out and if it actually works!

I, in the meantime, keep myself amused with less dirty occupations.  Have just begun a new crochet project.  This was a “M’aidez, m’aidez” call from Mrs Tattoo.  One of her friends is expecting a baby for later in the year. Mrs Tattoo (who can’t crochet) bought a crochet kit, thinking she could teach herself to crochet and rustle up a soft toy lol.  She tried (bless her) before admitting defeat and asking for help.  I wasn’t too enthralled with the design she’d chosen, and didn’t think it was really suitable for a baby. So . . . after sending her a few links to free crochet patterns for her to choose from, she decided on this.

This cute pattern, available on Amigurumi Today.  (I’ll be embroidering eyes and facial details – don’t trust safety eyes on a baby toy!)

I then sent Mrs Tattoo photos of yarns from my stash to choose from, and we’ve settled on something as close to the original design as I could make it.  Stylecraft Special DK in: Spearmint, Lavender, Grass Green, Clematis & Citron.

And work has begun.

I’m using a 2mm hook to keep things nice and tight – don’t want any stuffing coming out!  So far, I have a head, body, tail and one front paw.  Just need to make second front paw, 2 legs and 2 ears!

Stay tuned!  Baby isn’t due for several months, but I should have it finished very soon.

 

more squares for the yarn bomb

On Feb 15th, I showed you this photo

of a flyer I was given at our local library, announcing an upcoming yarn bomb.  I crocheted a first batch of six squares (15cm x 15cm) for ScrapHappy day and since . . . I’ve been delving into my bag of leftover bits to make some more.  Had a knitting session with some very chunky yarn, that knitted up nice & quickly, resulting in this batch.

Four squares 20cm x 20cm and then one, to  try and finish up the red & grey, 15cm x 15cm.

And then more crochet squares.

Four more large squares, and two smaller ones.  I’m not attempting to do any special stitch patterns, just concentrating on working my way through oddments of yarn, and making sure I crochet or knit to the correct size.  It’s keeping my hands busy in the evening, and if all local knitters/crocheters are doing the same, we should end up with quite a selection!

ScrapHappy # February

It’s 15th of the month, time to link up with an international group of bloggers who all enjoy making use of their scraps.

For this time, I delved into my bag of leftover and odd ball yarns
because, when visiting my local library the other week, I was given this flyer.
Apparently, our little village (population 1600) is going to take part in a yarn bomb later on in the year.  Knitters and crocheters have been asked to make squares: 20cm x 20cm and/or 15cm x 15cm which will be sewn together to decorate some of the buildings in the village centre.  I therefore set to work, with my crochet hook and one of the charts from the Nature’s Walk CAL.
And so far, I’ve crocheted six 15cm x 15cm squares.
I also made a couple of pompoms
Templates cut from the back of a Christmas card.
to finish off a knitted doll hat.

Under the tree

This year Christmas was rather quieter than usual, with all the social distancing and government recommendations/restriction.  We did have guests for a few days though. Eldest son and parter (whom I’m renaming Mr & Mrs Tattoo for blog purposes) came to visit.   It was so lovely to see them!  Anyway, to make up for the lack of socialising and the fact other family members couldn’t visit, everyone made sure to send lots of pressies this year.  I had a very impressive haul.  One very spoiled lady I am . . . and today, I come to show you.

First, from sister-in-law and brother-in-law.

A crochet kit, with all the necessary to make a striped kitty,  a rotary cutter with lots of different gadgets to do different paper cutting and, a vintage toy sewing machine!  I haven’t been able to date this yet but estimate it to be 60s or 70s.  It’s hand-cranked, sews a chain stitch, and can also take a battery for the little light (needs new battery & bulb to see if that actually works).

From Mr & Mrs Tattoo

A big bundle of DVDs because this is the kind of stuff I love to watch when crafting.  English-speakers will be surprised to see the cover of a recent Disney sporting the title “Vaiana” instead of “Moana” . . . that’s perfectly normal.  Disney had to rename the film & heroine for copyright reasons on the European market.

From Mr & Mrs Lindashee

a lovely bundle of “Forest Friends” fabric by Makower. One panel and 3 other pièces, 50cm x bolt width and . . . oooooh Lindashee had been doing some secret stitching this year!  I am now the proud owner of my very own Christmas stocking.  Beautifully stitched, and I just love those owls!

From Mr & Mrs Viking, and from my sister

The crochet book, from Mr & Mrs Viking with lots of fun dinosaur and other prehistoric creatures to crochet (future crochet projects for Little Miss Viking?) . . . and a pretty tin box, containing Clarins creams & mirror from my sister, with 2 little cross stitchings.

From my good friend, Avis

a rainbow coloured cardie, beautifully knit by Avis for my Sylvia Natterer dolls . . . an equally beautifully knit pair of fingerless mittens to keep my hands nice & warm, and “Zoomigurumi 8” because Avis knows I’m collecting all the books in this series!

And last but not least . . . there were also two very large parcels from Father Christmas!  The first, a Tiana Disney Animator doll (second hand from eBay but in lovely condition)

And

An Antonio Juan baby doll.  Antonio Juan being a Spanish doll manufacturer.   This is the model “Alejandra” and measures 52cm.  Photo doesn’t do her justice.  She has a gorgeous expression and her outfit is exceedingly well made.  This is the only photo of her you’ll see on this blog, but I will be gushing about her over on my Claire’s Collections blog.  And still haven’t decided on her name.

secret xmas crafting revealed

Christmas has come and gone . . . I can now show you a few photos of some gifts I made this year, for family and friends. I realise I didn’t take photos of everything but not to worry.

YipYip were something that made me smile while making, and I made a couple, with rasta crocheted hair, rather than pipe-cleaners . . . in bright green for Toddler Viking

In turquoise and shocking pink for our neighbours’ daughters.

A very last minute sewing project with a length of cotton found in my stash (something the MIL bought years ago, and I wonder what on earth for!)  . . . which seemed perfect to sew up as a pair of Wendy house curtains.

Not sure I’d want these in my house, but they’ll look lovely hanging in 3-year- old Mona’s play house this summer!

Sewing and knitting, in doll size next, with a summer dress and bolero cardigan for Lindashee’s 57cm BJD doll.

I did also knit two sweaters for her male 67cm doll, but forgot to take a photo.

And, last but not least . . . a little blackwork scissor keep for sister-in-law.

keeping my mind on other things

With Christmas now officially less than 1 month away, but with Christmas itself still an uncertain event (ie, not knowing yet what lockdown restrictions will be – French government taking things 2 weeks at a time now) . . . I’ve already finished my xmas shopping (all done on-line) and am just waiting for the last few parcels to arrive so I can wrap.  In the meantime, I’m trying to keep my mind and hands busy with other things.  A bit of sewing

This is just one of several doll dresses I’ve made recently. Am currently working on some doll dungarees.

It’s crochet weather (cold outside and best place is indoors by the radiator).

This green chap is Gary Gecko.  He’s the first pattern in the book “Bookies – bookmarks to crochet” by Jonas Matthies.  I treated myself to the book, which contains 17 of Jonas’ patterns, after crocheting the book rat which was available for free on Jonas’ site: Supergurumi.    Patterns all look fairly simple to make, assuming you’ve got all the basic crochet knowledge but sadly (as feedback on the book suggested) there are a few blatant mistakes in patterns.  If you’re competent and on your toes, nothing that can’t be corrected, but still something of a disappointment when you pay out good money for a book.

Anyway, I still had lots of fun crocheting Gary the Geko (just be extra careful of the s2tog when doing the tail!) . . . and I already have plans to try more patterns from the book. In case you missed it, here is a photo of my book rat, which I called Splat (crocheted in May this year).  In the book, this is the second pattern and called Lisa the book rat.

There’s also been some knitting, but I haven’t got around to taking photos, so that’ll save for another day.  And a fair amount of reading . . . but with local Library shut, due to lockdown, one of my neighbours has lent me a few books and they’re all by French authors so I won’t bore you giving titles & names you won’t want to read.

 

keeping busy

I realise I haven’t been posting as often as I usually do, which doesn’t mean to say I’ve been sitting around doing nothing.  I have been working on a few secret crafting projects, which I won’t be able to reveal until the end of the year, but I got the camera out and took a few pics of what I can show you.

Knitting has been high on the agenda over recent weeks.  I showed you my first attempt at knitting a doll sweater, writing my own pattern, last month.  Since then, I knitted a second sweater, just in stocking stitch and garter, which meant tweaking the pattern.

This one knitted in Stylecraft Special DK “Cream” turned out slightly bigger than the previous one, in broken rib, but still a fairly good fit.

Anyway, I learned from that that stitch pattern used affects the number of stitches & rows needed . . . so I’ve cast on again, to do some more tweaking.

While knitting, I like to follow something on TV but there never seems to be much of any interest these days. You’d think, with lockdown, that those in charge of the numerous channels would make an effort and schedule something worth watching. But no . . . it’s the same old repeats of repeats.  If I’m going to watch repeats, I prefer to choose what I watch, and my current viewing is the above:  “Call the Midwife”.  I absolutely love this series (as you can see from the fact that I own all seasons so far, 1 – 9) and I could watch it all day.  I don’t!  because the husband can only take it in small doses but I have taken to knitting in the spare bedroom, where we have a DVD player & large screen.

When not knitting, I’ve been crocheting

A couple of very pink YipYip underway!

And when it’s time for bed . . . my routine is always to make a mug of hot chocolate and read a few chapters of a good book before lights out.  Just after the first lockdown, March – May, once bookshops were allowed to reopen, I ordered a couple of books from our local bookshop.  A series of 4, I had read reviews about (only in French, I’m afraid) and a fifth in English.

The series “U4” (aimed at teens) sparked my interest.  4 novels, written by 4 different authors but with one story-line and close collaboration between authors.  Written in 2015, the story:  a virus, called U4 because it originates in Utrecht, Holland, and is a 4th generation mutation, decimates Europe, killing 90% of the population. For some unknown reason, the only survivors are teenagers, aged approx 13 – 18.  The 4 main protagonists are all members of “WOT” (Warriors of Time) an on-line MMORPG and, just before the internet crashes, they receive a message from the “Game Master”, inciting them to make their way to Paris to meet on 24th December to “go back in time and defeat the virus”.

Anyone would think I’d had enough of reading about viruses with what’s going on this year, but I was intrigued, and curious to see if this story, written in 2015, would come close to what we’re all experiencing in 2020.  The four novels are:  “U4 – Jules” by Carole Trébor;  “U4 – Koridwen” by Yves Grevet; “U4 – Yannis” by Florence Hinckel and “U4 – Stéphane” by Vincent Villeminot.  They can be read in any order or simulatenously.  My personal favourite was Jules . . . but all four books were well-written.

Other novel, in English, is “The Wicked Deep” by Shea Ernshaw.  Another novel aimed at teenagers and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Didn’t see the end coming.  Here’s what’s printed on the back cover:

“Two centuries ago, in small, isolated Sparrow, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery and drowned in the waters surrounding the town. Now, each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three girls and seeking revenge by dragging boys to their watery deaths.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the town’s fate. Then, on the eve of the sisters’ return, Bo Carter arrives: unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything . . .

Mistrust and lies spread quickly throught the salty, rain-soaked Streets. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannont. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself”.

 

all good things . . .

I’m not sure who said “all good things come to an end” or that you can have “too much of a good thing” . . . either way, I have a confession to make.  Early November last year, I made a resolution, to not buy any crafting supplies and to use only stash for a full 14 months, hoping to make it to January 2021.  I did give myself a few loop holes (such as the possibility of buying in specific supplies if needed to finish off a specific project) and stuck to that.  However, with thoughts turning to Christmas, I caved, and had some retail therapy on line.

While being good, I did manage to use approx 12 metres of fabric from my stash and probably more than 14 balls of yarn . . . YipYip being a great way to use some of my odd balls of chunky.

But, as admitted, this month, I caved in and bought some new crafting supplies . . .

Several balls of gorgeous brights, with Christmas presents in mind (xmas present production has officially begun).  And

this little lot of supplies, after much researching and dilemma.  The photo above is of three pièces of fake leather in cream, navy and terracotta plus some smallish (20cm x 10cm) foam.  If I show you the next photo, with an added element, you might be able to guess what I hope to be up to soon.

Hole puncher and eyelet pliers . . . because the plan is to make some shoes/boots for my dolls.  Shoes/boots for dolls can work out very expensive to buy, especially for my larger BJD dolls.  I have therefore decided I am going to try my hand at shoe-making . . . the black foam being essential for shoe/boot soles.  Fingers crossed for me please!

 

Baa Baa Blue Lamb

In May, you might remember I crocheted up a really cute sleepy lamb, from a pattern by Kawaii Design and bought on etsy.

When I made this little one, I said there would be others . . . hence the title . . . this time a blue lamb.

Crocheted in blue & white from my stash on a 3mm hook.

I’d just finished sewing this little sleepy blue lamb together, when I noticed, over on etsy, the pattern designer had added a flower embellishment to her photo . . . and thought how pretty it looked.  Now, it just so happens, way way back in February 2017, a blogging friend, Yvonne, sent me some lovely crocheted embellishments she’d made. And it just so happens, that there were some little flowers in the bag. Exactly what I needed!

Awwww don’t they look cute?

And last photo for the day (close your eyes and don’t look if you’re squeamish about my dolls!