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.

 

my unbirthday in Sept (and more)

I am a very lucky lady.  Postlady dropped a plump envelope in the  letter box the other day, with an un-birthday gift from Jacqueline.

Jacqueline is a very talented needleworker who also makes lace.  I feel very honoured, because it must take forever to do and need very good eyesight.   I was sent, my intial in silk thread, a bookmark in cotton thread and an embroidery kit .  Many thanks!

Also feeling lucky because I nabbed myself a vintage bargain at the weekend.  A local family were having an “everything must go” sale, selling contents of their mother’s house. Rest assured, not deceased, but moved into a nursing home where she can’t take all her belongings.  Anyway, I went along and saw this.

Couldn’t resist, and paid 30€ so it could come home with me.  It was made by a local furniture-maker, late 60s/early 70s.  I love the style, and the legs. Reminds me of the furniture my parents had during my early childhood.

And before I sign off for today . . . I’ve been busy knitting and xstitching, but also sticking a few drills on my fox DP project every now and then. So I’ve progressed from

to

more knitting and my unbirthday in August.

I’ve been on a roll with my knitting needles. Funny really, because I never thought I’d be knitting so much in the hot summer months . . . but with the fan on full blast, it’s what I’m enjoying the most at the moment.  After the top I knitted for Daisy doll, following a King Cole pattern, I cast on and have begun knitting the cardigan version.

The back is done and I’ve started on the left front.  It looks skinnier than it is, in the photo, because the rib pattern pulls it in.  Am loving how the pink yarn is working up.  It’s going to be very girly.

I also had a very quick knit, using some sock yarn.  I did buy the sock yarn with a view to knitting more socks, but when hunting in my stash for the following project, it seemed the best option.

This is a pattern available for free on line.  Written specifically for 20cm Corolline Corolle dolls.  The sock yarn was perfect, when knit on 2.75mm needles and the colour changing means I didn’t bother following the striped version of original pattern.

I also had an unbirthday in August – yay!  A surprise parcel arrived from my friend, Avis.

Avis knows I love binge-watching DVDs when I knit, so I’ll be chuckling  with “Car Share”.  Avis also sent the more adorable coaster because she knows I’m an endless coffee drinker too!

And some surprise mail from Stéphanie as well!

Thank you ladies !

a bit of this & that

Time for a bit of this and that . . .  not all good.

Crafting has been on a go-slow recently because of family gatherings. That’s good!  I was very busy in April doing lots of sorting and clearing because Mr & Mrs Tattoo are having a change of direction in life.  We told them we would support them in any way we could. They lived in the south east of France, but have moved up to live with us temporarily . . . the time it takes to sell the flat and buy a house. Knowing this, I wanted to make sure they had their own space, so that we’re not living on top of each other.  I emptied things out of the master bedroom (with ensuite shower and little loggia) which is almost as big as the flat they were living in before.

so they can have some of their own furniture in there. And I also organised half the attic space.

They moved here on 21st April, so it’s been a month already. Mr Tattoo has started a new job, and we’re crossing fingers the flat sells quickly so they can start house-hunting.

We also had a lovely visit from Lindashee & Mr Lindashee (whose wedding we were unable to attend in February).  We therefore organised a family gathering for that: BBQ in the garden, with other family members.  We hadn’t seen Lindashee since Sept 2019 so the family reunion was well overdue!

Lindashee came bearing gifts for her old Mum (ie me)

fabrics, DVDs, a gorgeous bag (made by teacakemake on etsy)

and Mr & Mrs Tattoo brought a belated b’day present for me too.

That’s the good happy things going on in life.  The not so good is.

What on earth is that? you ask.  It’s MRI pictures of the inside of Gibbs’ head!

And this is what he looks from the outside.  It all started out with what local vet thought was a simple ear infection.  But after seeing a specialist the other day, we now know it’s much more serious. Gibbs is suffering from facial paralysis: loss of muscle, drooping of ear, eyebrow, face & mouth.  Due to a growth (a very large growth) in his left middle ear.  We’re waiting for a call back with a second opinion and date for surgery, but specialist thinks it’s a cholesteatoma.  In theory, not malignant (biopsy will confirm) but it’s eating away at bone inside his skull and needs to be removed completely. We’ve already been warned that facial paralysis is going to be permanent and that Gibbs will be deaf in left ear, and possibly blind in left eye.  He’s not 6 years old yet, so he’s still quite a young dog.  We’re crossing fingers surgery will sort him out.  He’s young enough to adjust to living with a slight handicap, and we’re not bothered about having a lop-sided dog, as long as he’s happy and in general good health!

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?

 

.

 

 

 

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.