a bit of this & that

A little bit of this & that, as we almost come to the end of February.

First . . .

A little parcel, sent & received, to wish Yvonne a very happy un-birthday in February.  An Isabelle Vautier xstitch kit and a pair of fingerless mittens, crocheted in Stylecraft DK “duck egg”.  I followed the pattern by Loopy Mabel but added thumbs.

A belated birthday present for yours truly, from SIL.  She treated herself to a super dooper embroidery machine recently and has been having fun with that!  So two pretty embroidered coasters in green, and a bottle of perfume.

Some bargain buttons!  We have a shop locally called Noz.  It buys up old stock, from shops all over Europe ( including groceries, clothes, toys, books interior decoration, DIY and craft supples).  You never know what you’re going to find.  I always love to rummage, and on our last visit, came across a big box of old haberdashery supplies, including some rather “vintage” looking buttons.

They weren’t terribly exciting colours but they were being sold only 59 centimes for the tube – and there are 49 buttons in each tube plus one attached to the screw-on lids.  How could I not buy any, at that price?

I’ve also been playing around with patchwork fabric.  I pulled out a bunch of FQs and printed panel, gifted to me by my sister on my birthday 8 years ago.  And decided it’s time to start doing something!  As usual (for me) I jumped in with both feet, without really having a plan, and cut the FQs into as many 5″ squares as I could get.   Only then did I begin thinking about layout.  The difficulty being that I want to include the printed panel in the centre, but build up a much larger quilt for a double bed.

It’ll be a QAYG project, and I’ll be able to leave myself wiggle room with outer sections by adding a border to the panel.  For the moment, I’m toying between two different ideas. Squares and rectangles of prints sashed or

just squares, but with more light solids scattered about.  I’ve thrown a few other matching fabrics in the mix, and plan on adding more greens but the original FQs and panel are from the Benartex “tea house” collection, so very Japanesey (not the purple FQ at top of photo).

I need to draw a couple of sketches and do the maths before I go any further.

a bit of this & that

I’ll start off this post with a pretty photo, since it’s Valentine’s Day today!  This lovely bouquet was a present from my neighbour – awwww – how thoughtful was that?

Outside, things have been less pretty here. After the work that went on in November & December with the restoration of our little church, we’re living on a work site again.

This time because the local council has been replacing all the water pipes in the commune, and it’s currently our turn.  They started work in our little close, mid January and things are scheduled to be finished by 18th February.  We can’t wait for life to get back to normal!

Luckily, the postlady still manages to do her rounds, and I’ve been receiving some lovely post.

A pretty card and bookmark from Karine, to thank me for the small gift I sent on her birthday.

 

Some cards for me, because I happened to grow a whole year older earlier this month too.  Not just cards either . . . a surprise package from DebbieRose in Australia

with a set of 4 matching fabric coasters and a blackwork thimble decoration.  Thank you Debbie!  Purples & greens, my favourite colours!

And

I treated myself to a new doll for my collection. This is Candice, a Finouche sized doll (48cm) by Sylvia Natterer and manufactured by Petitcollin.

 

unbirthdays (and birthdays) for January

I’ve decided to pick up my “unbirthday” idea again this year (after forgetting about it for a while) because it is so much fun to send a little surprise every now and then to someone not expecting it.  It was a birthday, in January, that made me decide to begin unbirthday celebrations this year, with Karine, of mes 101 Luby who had a b’day last month. I decided to send a little gift, which arrived late (since I only posted it on the actual day),

 

but it’s the thought that counts, or so they say.   8 skeins of DMC color variations and a little fabric & felt bookmark.  While prepping the little parcel to post to Karine, I decided to send an unbirthday gift to surprise Sandrine.  In such a rush to post that I forgot to take a photo. Thank you Sandrine for sending me photos on arrival.

A tablecloth with aida panels to embroider, and a little notebook, with a wintery cupcake.

Imagine my surprise, when a few days later, the postman came knocking with a parcel for me!

Sandrine had decided to spoil me lol, and sent a huge amount of pubilicity bookmarks, as well as a lovely hand-stitched bookmark and a reindeer oven glove!

a bit of this and that

A bit of this & that today . . . I’ve been quite busy crafting for my dolls. Some sewing, knitting & crocheting going on for dolls in various shapes and sizes (over on Claire’s Collections – link in the blog roll).  My friend, Avis, has to put up with me sending her loads of photos by email, showing her what I get up to, hearing my success stories and also my fails.  She very recently sent me a surprise package

containing 8 FQs and 6 mini curly wurly bars lol.  The curly wurlies were because (living in France) that’s not something I can find in the shops and the other week our local ACTION store were supposed to be getting some in.  I went along twice in the hopes of nabbing some curly wurly bars, a souvenir from my childhood, but both times, there were none in stock.  Avis therefore surprised me by posting some out and I’ve been rationing myself to make them last as long as possible.  The fabrics are to give me incentive when making doll clothes, and for trying out new patterns.

I’ve also been making lots of progress with diamond painting.  You may remember, I’m working on quite a large project of a feather.  Last progress I showed, way back in May, looked like this

That was with 22cm completed.  Since then, working little and often, I have now covered more than 57cm of the canvas.

Lots of pretty pinks and purples as I work my way down the feather.

Not that much farther to go.  I wonder if I’ll be having a feather happy dance before the month is over?

 

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feathers and a thank you Flo

A couple of feather related photos today . . . first up, I finally got around to stitching a cross stitch kit, gifted to me for my birthday in 2020 by Yvonne!

Lovely bright colours, nice and dinky to stitch, and one very pretty bookmark!  Thank you, Yvonne !

Next up . . . I haven’t got bored yet of the newly discovered hobby, diamond painting, although I’ll admit to having slowed down a little because I’ve been busy with my crochet hook in the evenings.  Anyway . . . I’m currently working on a very large project. Not many colours appearing yet,

but that’s because I’ve still got a very long way to go.  So long . . . it doesn’t all fit into the photo!

Not to worry!  There’s no hurry to get this finished and it’s keeping me quiet!

And last photos for today, to say a public thank you to Flo, who sent me an unbirthday gift recently.

A seamstress project notebook – to keep note of clothes making project and body measurements. I don’t honestly do any proper clothes making for myself. Nothing “fitted” anyway, so I’m thinking this book will come in handy for my dolls clothes making!  I have dolls with varying body sizes in my collection and always seem to be trying to adapt one pattern to fit another, so this could be a good way of keeping track!

a bit of patchwork and a few gifts

I’ve been flitting from one thing to another, still enjoying a few rabbit holes, but did manage to cut strips and get my zodiac blocks sashed.

I won’t subject you to photos of all 12.  I now have my 12 blocks all looking good, with blue borders.  Next stage will be to cut wadding & backing fabric to size, so that I can start sandwiching and quilting each block individually!   Probably won’t happen this week because I need to decide on what backing fabric to use, and how I’m going to quilt.

Other photos . . . because I had a birthday last month – yay!  One more candle precariously balanced on the virtual birthday cake lol.  I was well-spoiled, and received some craft-related goodies (crochet book, accessories for sewing, knitting, crochet, and a new doll).  Haven’t taken photos of everything, but there are two gifts I wanted to show you.  One, from a French friend, Yvonne.

and the other, from my sister.

My very own 1964 two shillings & sixpence keyring!

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Such a unique little gift. With the purple tassle because that’s my favourite colour and 1964 coins because, yes, that’s the year I was born.  I googled the seller’s name and he/she has a shop on etsy (only dispatching within the UK at the moment) if any of you fancy the idea of having a look to see if your birthday year is there. Of course, if you were born after 1970, you won’t find any shillings or sixpence since the UK switched to the decimal system that year.

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.

how does your garden grow?

a photo heavy post today, as I was out in the veggie garden, having a look at how all the edibles are coming along.

We moved here in December 2014, and one of the first things we did was to plant a small blackberry bush which seemed to take forever to establish itself.  So pleased to see that this year it’s thriving.  Will there be enough fruit for blackberry jelly this year, I wonder?

Strawberries have already got fruit, some of which is turning red.

and the husband, after weeding in those patches, has decided to plant something else in one of them, where the strawberry plants were sparse.

Elsewhere . . . looks like we’re going to be in for a bumber crop of artichokes

I counted 37 but I’m sure I must have missed a few.

Under shelter, we’ve finally planted tomato plants.  Eight inside the greenhouse

They look a bit lost in there at the moment, but they’ll grow!  We’ve got 6 of the “ondine” variety in there and 2 “crimean black”.   Then more “crimean black” outside, but protected under plastic.

The husband put in 6 lettuce, but looks like the slugs have already visited.

Potato plants are overflowing from their wooden grower

Asparagus has been doing really well so far this year and we’ve already had several harvests and given some away to the neighbours.

And raspberry bushes are looking very healthy.  It’ll be a long while before they flower & fruit, but I’m already drooling at the thought.

There will be further plantations of things like radishes, chards and courgettes but for mid-May, things are already looking promising.

And before I say goodbye for today . . . a gardening themed present arrived out of the blue the other day, from a French blogging friend, Lilubelle.   She had been keeping busy during confinement and thinking of her friends . . . and made me the most gorgeous diary, with “cartonnage” method, and a fridge magnet PLUS several packets of seeds.

 

giving & receiving

A few photos of recent giving & receiving.

Three more masks, all identical, and all reversible (plain black on one side, and a very manly Japanese print on the other side).  Sadly, I didn’t have any matching binding, so just raided my stash and went with navy blue for the ties.  These made for one of our neighbours, a teacher, who (in theory) should have been returning to work when schools reopen after 11th May BUT it turns out higher secondary school kids won’t be going back to school until September.   I would have preferred to make masks in bright, fun fabrics, but understandably, our neighbour was worried about his credibility in a classroom full of teens.  Oh well, I expect masks will still be in order in September, and neighbour is going to be wearing masks with the black fabric showing.

And on the receiving end . . .

my sister-in-law had fun with her sewing machine last month and made me the cutest bag ever.

And that’s not all . . . neighbour’s youngest daughter, Mona (who will be 3 in September) proudly presented us with some of her recent art-work.

For me

and one for the husband.

 

the birthday gal

I was the birthday gal yesterday . . . which meant I got to lounge around and not do much, except for opening some lovely presents – yay.

Without further ado . . . here’s the haul.

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A bunch of roses from the husband, which are actually RED but seem to want to be shocking pink in all the photos I took.

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A feather bookmark cross stitch kit with a lovely hand-stitched card from Yvonne.  Kit contains threads, plastic canvas & chart to stitch the stripey feather on the right.

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from SIL, a metal storage tin, plus a loofah and two bottles of shower gel.

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From Avis, a lovely selection of Stylecraft Special DK to add to my stash.  There’s: Copper, Saffron, Lavender, Parchment, Emperor, Petrol & Cypress.

And . . . since I always treat myself on my birthday too lol . . .

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“Lucie””, a Sylvia Natterer doll, made by Petitcollin, bought second-hand on ebay.  She arrived in lovely condition but sadly, isn’t wearing her original hat.  And, because I got Lucie for such a good price, I couldn’t resist . . .

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“Pierre”, also by Sylvia Natterer,  & made by Petitcollin.  Both are the “Finouche” size, meaning they measure 48cm, the same as my other Sylvia Natterer doll . . . so lots of clothes making sessions in store.