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)


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.


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.


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.


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


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 . . .


“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 . . .


“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.

some thanks yous and some clothes making

I’m somewhat behind with my thank you letters so wanted to take the opportunity to say a big warm thank you to Sabine, Virginie and Karine. 

Sabine sent me this lovely book for Christmas – parcel arrived late because of the strikes in France.

from Sabine (1)

A lovely handmade card arrived from Virginie (also held up by strikes).

from Virginie

And, only the other day, another surprise package, this time from Karine, with a cute orange leather purse!

from Karine

I’ve been keeping myself busy so far this month with lots of crafting. Some of which I can’t share with you yet, but some of which I can!  Now, way back in November I had fun knitting in variagated yarn to make a pretty doll sweater.

nov orange stripey jumper

Only problem being, the doll I made it for didn’t have anything to wear with the sweater.  So this month I remedied that problem!

SN trousers 03

If you’d like to see the doll in all her glory, just click on Claire’s Collections, which will take you to my doll blog.

what Claire found under the tree

Hello everyone!  I’ve been visiting blogs since the New Year arrived only a few days ago, enjoying reading all your resolutions and new goals for 2020.  I have to admit, I’m not setting myself any goals this year and don’t have any specific projects planned.    I have a couple of WIPs that I hope to finish, but will not be putting any pressure on myself.  One thing I have decided (but that was in early November, so isn’t really a New Years’s resolution) is not to buy any crafting supplies over the coming year.  In fact, I haven’t bought any supplies since early November, so I’m aiming at a full 14 months of “being good”.   I have more than enough fabric, thread, and yarn to keep me busy for several years, so the coming year is going to be a stash-busting year for me.  This doesn’t mean to say I didn’t have a few crafting supplies on my xmas list though, or that I wasn’t spoiled by family & friends with crafting goodies.

Photos to show you what a lucky gal I was this year.


Eldest son gifted me a pattern book to make dresses for 18” dolls, a DVD (The Borrowers) and a 9” doll (Sofia – a Kruseling doll).  From Daddy Viking I received a pattern book to make outfits for 9” dolls, and a DVD (Mary & Max).  And from Lindashee – a book with some clever ideas for sewing with scraps plus a bundle of 4 different xmas-themed FQs. 


From sister-in-law – a recipe book, a notebook and a pack of post-its, plus a Tshirt (which I forgot to photograph).  And from Avis – 2 balls of Stylecraft DK, “The Alchemist’s Secret” and a lovely cat print tote bag.


From the husband, I received 12 x 50g balls of yarn (3 in four different colourways) plus a plastic storage box.  And from Father Christmas, because Father Christmas always visits this house,  . . . a book on dolls and a magnifying headset which is ever so lightweight and comfortable to wear.  I wear glasses, with varifocal lenses but still struggle when cross stitching . . . this headset, with a whole range of magnifying lenses, is perfect.

Christmas thank yous

I’ll be doing a special article to show you what goodies I found under the tree this year, but for today, I wanted to say a public thank you to several blogging friends who sent either handmade gifts or other little surprises.



So a big warm thank you to Margaret, Ghislaine, Lynn, Nathalie, Cathy, Kathy, Yvonne, Angela and Nic!

spoiled by La Pie Kikou

I received a lovely surprise parcel in the letter box the other day!  An unbirthday surprise package from a French blogging friend: La Pie Kikou  who makes the most gorgeous things. 

from la pie 01

And here is what La Pie Kikou sent!  The most adorable little needle/pin case, a fabric basket and some bookmarks.

from la pie 02

The needle case is ever so cleverly made . . . it has two little stud fasteners which, once unpopped, means the case unfolds. 

As for the fabric basket . . . it’s gorgeous!  Outer fabric is the perfect print for any needleworker, with wooden bobbins, buttons and thimbles.

from la pie 03

And I’ve already found a use for it . . . it will be my little basket to keep all my CAL crochet squares until I’m ready to start assembly.

knitting & crocheting

I was a very lucky girl and won a giveaway organised by Chris, on her blog Chrisknitssews.  Chris was offering a gorgeous draw-string bag she’d made and I had left a comment saying it would be ideal for storing amigurumi body parts lol.  You know how it is, those who make amigurumi . . . there always comes a time, before assembling parts, when you’ve got arms, legs, feet etc all stuffed and you’re afraid one of the cats will make off with a body part or the dog will eat it. 
And it’s very important to have a pretty bag to keep things safe.

bag chris 01

Anyway, this is the lovely bag I won.  It’s fully lined and so very well made!

bag chris 02

For the moment, since I’ve been having something of a crochet hiatus, but have been industrious knitting dolls clothes . . .

bag chris 03

I am currently using my new bag to keep my knitted bits . . . here are 3 more doll-sized garments waiting for me to sew up seams and sew on buttons.  But . . . a new crochet project has begun!


This pattern from Amigurumi TodayAmigurumi Today is a brilliant site/shop.  They have a huge selection of lovely amigurumi designs which you can actually consult and follow for free, if you don’t mind following a pattern on screen and on-line all the time.  They also have their shop option, where you can buy a pdf version of the pattern (which I have done for the above) . . . so it can be consulted on screen without having to be on-line or printed out (the old-fashioned way).   They seem to be having something of a sale on at the moment, as patterns are only $1.99 each, which is an absolute bargain!  Anyway . . . I’ve just begun hooking this pattern which is “Raccoon”.  Looks more like a flying squirrel to me, but whatever animal it is, I thought it was just too cute!