thank you!

Today I have two lovely ladies who deserve a big “thank you” from me . . .

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Thank you, to DebbieRose who knitted this gorgeous red bonnet in baby size, thinking of me and my baby dolls . . . awwww it fits Lily a treat!  Definitely keeps those ears warm!

And thank you to Yvonne

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who sent me lots of goodies:  two hand-made gifts, being the pumpkin pin cushion (with an elastic so I can wear it around my wrist while sewing) and a tape-measure covered in a lovely cross stitched pattern.  Also, a very large piece of fabric with lion and elephant prints, a teeny purse clasp and a wooden letter “C” with cute bear.

I do love surprise packages but especially appreciate the handmade gifts which will be treasured.

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2019 – 1964 = 55

55 is the number of candles there would have been on my cake this month, if I had had a birthday cake.  Instead, the husband concocted a lovely birthday dinner including such delicacies as foie gras (which he prepares himself);  lobster with a spoonful of caviar; followed by scallops with oranges on a bed of rice.  And very yummy it all was. 

As befits any birthday gal, I was suitably spoiled on my special day, receiving cards, e-cards, text messages, phone calls, skype messages and . . .  presents.

Want to see what I got?  Of course you do!  silly question really. 

Well first . . . a little treat from myself lol

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Some James C Brett “Marble” chunky (4 x 200g) to knit this gorgeous baggy cardigan/jacket.  And, since I was paying p&p, I thought it only sensible to order in a few more patterns . . .

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So, two other patterns.  A King Cole, with two different patterns – it’s the blue version that caught my eye, not so keen on the turtle neck version.  And a Sirdar Hayfield, more classic cardie with raglan sleeves.

I received more lovely yarn from Avis

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Avis knows I love Stylecraft Special DK for my amigurumi crocheting, and is helping me build up the complete stash of colours.  She sent me 5 x 100g (Citron, Graphite, Mocha, Bottle Green & Bluebell).  Avis also sent me a packet of wooden buttons in the shape of sewing machines and “What Comes Next” by John Katzenbach.  This looks right up my street, but I’ve got a couple of library books to read first before I settle down to enjoy this one.

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From my daughter (aka Lindashee) and her partner:  a cross stitch kit.  “My Day Off” adapted from art work by Ronald West.  I really love Ronald West’s artwork, and think this design will be lots of fun to stitch.

And, last, but not least,

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French blogging friend, Sandrine, had been busy at work.  She made me the most gorgeous sewing machine tidy and matching bag.  The “tidy” is a quilted mat, which sits under the sewing machine, and the flap, which hangs over the side of the table, has lots of little pockets to keep things like scissors, tape measure, screwdriver, thread, bobbins etc. 

So, there you have it!  Lots of fabulous surprises to keep me busy doing what I love to do: knitting, crocheting, reading, cross stitching and sewing! 

a bit of this & that, plus some thank yous

I realised I never got around to sharing a photo of some lovely seasonal hand-made gifts I received from blogging friends (and may have missed a few from the photo, because all seasonal bits have already been put away).

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So, a thank you to Monique for the cute crocheted octopus and little cat decoration);  to Nathalie and Virginie, for their cards;  to Yvonne for the little heart decoration; and to salpal, for the bookmarks and delicate snowflake!

Now for some “this & that” . . .

I had a check-up visit with foot surgeon earlier this month. 

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He was pleased with the x-ray, and bandage has now been removed.  Foot is still swollen, but not giving any pain.  I’ve been told to do my “toe curling” exercises and that life can now get back to normal – yay!  Next check-up in March and then I’ll be going to see a man about getting some insoles made – next stage being, a probable 2 years of specially made in-soles, but I can live with that.

Also have a cross stitch happy dance to share with you.

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Design is “Chicken Sampler” by The Stitching Shed, and was a gift from Avis at Christmas.  Lots of fun to stitch, with lovely colours.  As you can see, from photo, I (deliberately) mixed colours up a little and changed the colour of petals.  Also decided not to stitch the wording or the eggs.  I’ll be having a rummage in my fabric stash as, being almost a square design, the plan is to finish this off as a cushion cover.

And last photo, because I’ve been playing with dolls lol.  No new body for Phoebe yet, but there’s plenty of time for that.  Anyway, I’ve got Phoebe and Grace having a sleep on the sofa in my sewing room, so their presence is a reminder that I need to make them some clothes. 

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what Claire received for Christmas #2

This is the last batch of photos, to show how spoiled I was this Christmas . . . this time by family. 

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From Lindashee and Mr Lindashee:  Season 7 of my all-time favourite TV series “Call the Midwife”.  It was Lindashee who bought me the first season, a few years ago, and she’s been buying all the new seasons as they come out, for me.  Story (for those who don’t know it) begins in the late 1950s, in London, with each season dedicated to a new year (season 7 takes place in 1963), following the lives of a group of midwives/district nurses.  First class acting, lots of medical goings-ons, and all with the backdrop of London in the late 50s early 60s.  Lindashee also sent me something to keep my hands busy while enjoying some good British drama . . . so many fun ideas of mythical creatures in this book, including a Loch Ness monster which will probably be the first project I tackle.

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From the Viking family, a new baby doll.  She’s a little girl doll, full vinyl, closed eyes and open mouth so she can suck her thumb.  She measures 52cm at the moment.  I’ll be pulling her to pieces sometime this year, making her a cloth body . . . and playing with my new baby doll, who I have called Phoebe.

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From Eldest Son – some yarny supplies.  The pattern is a free pattern by Rowan.  And in the bag: enough King Cole Aran to knit myself this lovely turtle neck sweater. 

Continuing a new family tradition, begun only last year . . . part of Christmas Eve saw us sitting out in the kitchen, while Eldest Son stuck a needle in me over and over again lol.  And I have my second tattoo!

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Another cat head in the same style as the first one.

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So, that was lots of lovely gifts from our three children . . . I bet you’re wondering what I received from the Husband? 

Well, the really BIG present wasn’t actually a surprise.  It was something I saw on ebay way back in October.  The Husband gave me the green light.  The very large box was then hidden away in the cupboard when it arrived and I wasn’t allowed to look until Christmas.

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It’s a very large doll.  Actually from the Masterpiece Gallery, by a German doll maker called Monika Levenig.  This is a “Chantal” doll.  She’s approx 90cm tall (can wear age 3 years clothes) and is a limited edition.  My “Chantal” is n° 11/350 of the European Edition series.

I’ve renamed her Daisy.  She’ll be keeping me company in my sewing room, where I hope to get busy and make some clothes for her.  I think she’s lovely, but everyone else seems to think she’s a bit spooky.  Not to worry.  Anyway . . . the Husband also got busy before xmas and made me a bead necklace

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AND . . . .

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A wooden stand for Daisy.   It’s a recyling job but completely custom-made for Daisy.  She can stand on her own but, with 3 cats charging around the house, it’ll be safer to use the stand. 

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What Claire received for Christmas #1

Happy New Year everyone!  I’m playing catch-up with my xmas-themed posts, and can’t quite believe we’ve just begun another year already!  Were you good in 2018?  I think I must have been, because I was thoroughly spoiled this Christmas!  Some gifts hand-made, some gifts for me to enjoy crafting throughout the coming year, and some gifts  “just because”.

In order not to make this post too photo-heavy, I’ll show you what I received from friends today, and save gifts from family for another day.

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First photos with surprise gifts from blogging friends . . . above, surprises from Stéphanie and Ghislaine:  lots of bookmarks, a little “oh la vache!” key chain from Stéphanie and 2 owl potholders from Ghislaine.

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Handmade decorations from Storm, Annie and Jeanna plus some hand-knitted baby hats & mittens from Mr Lindashee’s Mum.  She didn’t knit them herself, but bought them in a charity shop . . . doesn’t matter!  They were hand-made by some talented knitter in the past and have now found a new home here, where they will much appreciated by my baby dolls.

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Some lovely fabrics, a little chicken, bookmark and stainless steel reindeer, from Andrea, my German friend.  Andrea and I were penpals, then school exchange partners way back (almost 40 years ago now!).  We still keep in touch at Christmas and birthdays.

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Crafting supplies from Avis, also.  A packet of felt, some felt bird embellishments, the most gorgeous printed fabric with a hand-cranked sewing machine . . . and a “Chicken Sampler” cross stitch kit, which is going to be lots of fun to stitch.  Not sure yet whether I’ll stitch chickens all together, like the model, to make a sampler (and maybe turn it into a cushion cover) or to stitch each chicken separately and make some cards. 

being spoiled

I’m a little behind in sharing a few photos with you . . . of some surprises which came in the post.  Postman is always a frequent visitor at this house, as I do a lot of my craft-shopping on-line . . . but recently, 3 parcels arrived for me, that had nothing to do with me spending money lol.  First, and this was just before the end of October . . .

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A lovely hand-stitched card and a packet of special drinking chocolate chunks, from Mummy Viking.  She had wanted to take us to visit the Bean to Bar shop when we visited in September, but it was closed on the Monday we headed to the shops.

Avis, wanted to cheer me up, and help keep my mind off my shingles in October . . . so she sent this

from Avis amigurumi

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Lots of lovely designs inside to inspire me!  And with this book, I now have numbers 1-7 of the Zoomigurumi collection!

And then another surprise package, this time from Lilubelle in France.

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Lilubelle makes the most beautiful jewellery with beads.  Since she enjoys reading about our three hens, she made a little brooch, a cute chick “pin’s” and decorated the front of a notebook, with a very clucky hen and her 2 purple chicks!

So many thanks to all three ladies . . . I thoroughly enjoy being spoiled!

what the husband made

During the nice weather, my husband keeps himself busy, and happy, outdoors working in his veggie patch or doing other “stuff” outside.  During the colder, autumn & winter time, he has other occupations that keep him busy indoors, in his little workshop.  What he enjoys doing is renovating objects, especially wood. 

I was sitting knitting the other evening, cursing & swearing as my ball of yarn rolled off my lap for the umpteenth time . . . then proceeded to continue rolling and unravelling on our tiled floor, getting covered in dog hair in the process . . . and then being chased under the sofa by a cat!  I had tried keeping my ball of yarn in my knitting bag, just pulling gently on the yarn, so it unravelled inside the bag, as I needed.  But then Ducky (also known as “6 kilo of cat” decided the bag made a nice bed.  And you try unravelling yarn in bag when a cat is lying on it!  You can tug all you like, nothing happens.

Anyway . . . my little brain started wandering and I remembered having read about knitters with snazzy yarn holders or yarn bowls.  I googled a few images, to see what they looked like, and was thinking of ordering a yarn holder, seeing it as a necessary gadget rather than a waste of money.  However, when the husband looked over my shoulder, realising I had some interesting objects made in wood on screen, we got to talking about how easy it must be to make one.  Now, I have to add here that the husband doesn’t have a proper woodwork workshop.  He doesn’t have any special tools for furniture making/wood-turning (I think that’s the term?) . . . and seeing the cost of yarn holders on line, we agreed it wasn’t worth the cost of buying any special supplies in, since it would be cheaper to buy one ready-made.  Saying that, the previous owner of this house WAS a professional woodworker, and he left lots of “bits” upstairs in the attic.  When I say “bits”, I mean wood, not tools. 

After a scout around in the attic, getting covered in dust, I unearthed an old round wooden coffee table, and a couple of half-finished wooden knobs.  No idea what the knobs were for. Maybe bedknobs or even feet for furniture.  Whatever . . . the husband had a good look at what I’d found.  Asked a few pertinent questions as to what it was I needed, and set to work.

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And this is what he came up with.  The base was originally the base of a rickety round coffee table.  Then there’s a giant knob.  And the spike, is actually a (broken) piece of rod from an old black powder rifle (the rod originally being used to ram black powder and ammunition down the barrel).

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Husband had understood that the thing needed to swivel on an axe.  So . . . recycling a few metal parts, the underside of base looks like this.  And some adhesive felt to protect furniture.

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The metal rod holding another metal piece in place upon which rests the middle section of the holder.

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And voilà!  I discovered, when using my new yarn holder for the first time, that the husband went to a lot of unnecessary trouble working out the swivel mechanism.  The ball of yarn is so light, it actually swivels on it’s own, when I give a gentle tug on yarn.  But husband doesn’t mind.  He enjoyed the problem solving process and the fact that middle section swivels on the base whether I need it to or not.  So, husband was happy because I gave him an interesting recyling/upcycling job to do.  I’m a happy bunny because it’s exactly what I needed.  Husband is doubly happy because I’m happy . . . and I’ve set him a new challenge, to make me something useful with the round top of the rickety old coffee table!