catching up

Oops already 3rd December and I realise I missed my monthly round-up of “hen happenings” . . .

not that there was much to report.  Gals are all fine but on something of a go-slow.  A total of 51 eggs for November (with 3 hens) – I think that’s an all-time low.

Non-hen related chat

concerning Ziva.  Here she is sporting a lycra body-suit because I took her in to be neutered on 1st December.  She’s not quite 7 months old and weighed in at 2.8kg but I wanted to get her spayed as early as possible.  Tis done.  She’s getting used to the body suit which is a much better option than the one the vet staff made.  And with colder weather on the way, she seems quite happy to stay indoors.

And, last but not least . . .

I’ve cast on a new knitting project.  This is a free pattern I stumbled across years ago, and for which I have had the yarn in my stash since xmas 2018.

The pattern, being a Rowan, actually calls for “worsted” weight and I asked Mr Tattoo for a lovely King Cole Comfort Aran back in 2018.  Tension obviously won’t work, and that’s why this yarn and pattern have been sitting in the drawer all these years.  However, I did some maths, and am going to make the pattern work with my aran yarn (I hope).  It’s very easy knitting, just knits & purls, and growing very fast.


little cats & big cat (diamond painting)

Life has been a little chaotic here recently and I haven’t felt up to spending many hours working on needle craft projects, like knitting, crochet, cross stitch etc.  However, I have felt the need to keep my hands busy, therefore I’ve been having regular sessions of diamond painting.

Earlier this month I showed the canvas of a new project about to be started.

That has been finished, and I’ll admit to being disappointed with the result.

It’s the colours and marking on the tabby cat which don’t look right and all those different coloured blotches on the background, but hey ho!  It kept me amused several evenings and I only paid 4.20€ for the kit, which has now been slipped inside my A3 folder.  I’m about to begin another design (another 4.20€ one) but am feeling more optimistic about this next one.

Not sure if it’s a leopard, jaguar or panther, but I’m going to say it’s a leopard.

Whiskers look like they’re going to end up way too bushy, but the general choice of colours looks fairly good.  Time will tell.

SAL “my day off” #4

It’s time to link up with other SAL members




for our 3-weekly post where we show progress and encourage each other to keep on stitching.  Last time I was here

and I’m sorry to say that all I found time to stitch was a bit more sky.

There were simply too many other things happening and I lacked both concentration & motivation.  Hopefully life will be quieter and I’ll get more done for next time.

geisha progress

Crafting was put on hold while the Viking family were here to visit, but after getting the house back to normal, I had a few patchwork sessions, and my geisha patchwork is coming along nicely.

For info, this is the very rough sketch I drew for layout.

Looks like something drawn by a 5 year old, I know, but I somehow missed out on the artist’s gene!  Anyway, it’s enough to serve as a guide line, and things will look better, once everything comes together, I promise!  The plan for this quilt is to make separate panels, which will be joined together with the QAYG (quilt as you go) technique.  All panels have been sewn, with 1.5″ sashing.

And looking like this.

I’ve gone for random placement, which has resulted in maybe too many greens in one area . . . but I’m hopeful it’ll look less obvious once panels are joined together, with the darker solid.  I don’t have a large enough floor space to lay everything out properly so you only get to see the left side here.  Next step is to add more sashing, then think about backing my panels and start quilting.

geisha – no going back

Back in February, I pulled out some fabrics, gifted to me by my sister, in Feb 2014 . . . with the aim of finally making something worthy of the gorgeous prints & panel she sent.  I sliced up lots of 5″ squares, ummed & ahhed about what to do with them.

and then promptly folded everything away and forgot about it.

Fast forward to last week, when I decided I wasn’t going to let this project carry over into another year.  Lots of pondering, measuring & sketching went on, until I finally realised what was holding me back.

That rather vivid border around the geisha panel.  It’s pretty enough, but it kept giving me a mental blockage.  It was all I could see each time I looked at the panel.  So . . . I made the decision that it had to go.

And it’s gone!  To be replaced by borders of a plain fabric, and oh my! What a difference the plain fabric makes!

Now that is something I can work with!  I immediately set to work sewing 9 patches with my pile of 5″ squares.

Managed to get a total of 21 out of my pile of squares.  Then cut those in quarters, heading for a D9P design (disappearing 9 patch for those of you who don’t patchwork).

Idea being, you slice into 4 then rotate a couple and sew back together.

Except that I’m not going to sew them back together into large blocks.  My plan is to use each of the smaller blocks (which measure 7″ and of which I have 84) sashed, and around my centre panel.  Apologies for the dreadful sketch, but I know what I’m going for.

I’m going to make the quilt in 9 sections which will be quilted and then assembled with the QAYG method (quilt as you go) – to make a very large double-bed sized quilt with a lot of over-hang on the sides.

Above photo with a couple of my blocks just lying on the background fabric . . . since then I’ve made the decision to have 1.5″ sashing between blocks so it’s just a question of getting a nice balance of colours in each segment, and lining things up while sashing!


SAL “my day off” #2

Time to link up with SAL members




for our 3-weekly update posts, to show progress on our individual SAL projects.  Last time, I’d just begun a new project

And it’s come along very nicely since then.

I doubt very much that I’ll be able to keep up that kind of pace, because I’m also busying knitting and patchworking at the moment . . . but it does no harm to get off to a flying start!

another un-birthday (and more)

It’s just as well we don’t grow another year older each time we celebrate an un-birthday, because I had a second unbirthday celebration in September.  Thanks to Angèle, the second time with more lovely gifts.

Angèle sent me a denim tote bag, that she embroidered with cherry blossom, two pieces of fabric, 2 skeins of embroidery thread (the white DMC one is a “glow in the dark”), a pretty card, and a pins badge.

So a big “merci” to Angèle for all those lovely goodies!

I feel very spoilt, and I’m not the only one!  Ziva has got more toys than she knows what to do with now after I had a quick sewing session.

Using a couple of fluffy dusters, some ribbons & rick rack, toy stuffing and “cat grass”, I made some very simple toys for her to chase around and practice her hunting skills on.  I didn’t even try to make them look like mice, or anything, just sewed pouches & stuffed.   We’ve got cat toys galore in the house already but Ziva tends to lose them under the furniture.  Hopefully these new ones should be bright enough to spot easily.  She enjoys playing with them already, throwing them up in the air, carrying them around in her mouth.

And when not sewing cat toys, I managed to sit down and finish the back of my poncho.  Which has gone from this

to this

Now to cast on and knit the front which will be more interesting, since this will be my first ever cable project. Just a band of cable up the front centre, like this.

I’m not using the recommended yarn because (as I tend to do) I shopped around on-line looking for alternatives, and am knitting with this. Midway between DK and Aran, but I’m making it work to Aran tension for the purpose of this project.


SAL “my day off” #1

I’m linking with other SAL members



to show a photo of my newest SAL project.  Three weeks ago, I was having a happy dance with my poppies, and decided to begin this project next.

A Design Works kit: “My Day Off” based on the artwork of Ronald West.   This was gifted to me a few birthdays ago by Megan. You might remember that Avis and I stitched another of Ronald West’s designs a few years ago . . . this one.

“My Day Off” is in the same series.  Stitched on 14 count aida, it’s going to be very easy on the eyes.  This is how much I managed to do for my first update.

SAL “poppies trio” #10 – a happy dance!

I am having a happy dance here, with my trio of poppies!

This is the design: “Poppy Trio”, a kit by Maia Collection with Anchor threads.  My photo from last time

and my photo of the finished piece.

I really enjoyed working on this piece, and love the bright colours. Design is fairly square so I’m thinking I might finish it off as a cushion cover, but in the meantime I’ve just folded and put away in the drawer.  For my next project . . . I had a rummage in my stash and I’ve pulled out a kit that was gifted to me by Megan (aka Lindashee) for my birthday in February 2019

Links to other SAL members, each of us stitching on a project of our choice.

never too young

Way way back . . . in 2017, I made some zippy pouches following a pattern in a French magazine.

Above is the magazine, and below, one of  the zippy pouches I made at the time.

More than 5 years later, two more zippy pouches saw the light of day in my sewing room because, our neighbours’ youngest daughter, Mona (4 years and 11 months) asked if I could teach her how to sew.  Her elder sister (now 12 years old) did some sewing projects with me over the years, and I was only too happy to oblige and have Mona round for some fun with Juki.  We had our first sewing session last week, but I forgot to take photos. During the first session, Mona made a little 5″ cushion which we stuffed with lavender from the garden.  For the second project, she made a zippy monster pouch.

I made one the night before, using some fleece fabric, so I could show Mona exactly what she would making.  And I added buttons for the eyes, but I thought button sewing might be a step too far for a not quite 5 year old.   I managed to stab myself several times with the very sharp sewing needle and didn’t want Mona to stab herself.

We therefore opted for black poppers.


I sewed the zip on, but Mona did all the rest!  A zigzag stitch to attach the white felt for the eyes.  And then 4 lovely straight seams (with the occasional bit of guidance) to sew front to back, and then turn right sides out. One very happy zippy pouch, and one very happy Mona!