more birthday goodies – yippee!

I’ve really been spoiled rotten for my birthday, you know!  Husband invited our neighbours round for dinner that evening.  Neighbours being Cléo (the little girl who loves sewing lessons), baby sister Mona (who is 4 months old and parents R & P.

The husband invited them because he had decided to cook up one of my favourite dishes (rabbit, in a rich red wine sauce, with lots of yummy veggies) . . . and when you take the time to marinade and slow cook a rabbit, there’s way too much for just 2 people.  Hence, the dinner guests.   He should have kept quiet about my birthday, but he didn’t . . . which means guests came bearing gifts, when it wasn’t at all necessary.  But I’m not going to complain, because they were lovely gifts!

First . . .

from Cléo

A very colourful drawing by Cléo (which is now hanging in my sewing room).  I am, apparently, Cléo’s “favourite sewer” lol.  I’m probably the only sewer she knows, but that’s beside the point!  And this drawing shows the two of us at work in my sewing room, with Cléo sitting in front of Juki.  Now, please note the attention to detail here.  The very bright object under Cléo’s feet is . . . the small suitcase I put under the table with the foot pedal on top, so it’s the correct height for Cléo to work the pedal while sitting down.  It’s actually red, not pink, but we’ll allow for artistic licence and pink being the artist’s favourite colour!    And those bright colours on the left . . . well that’s my stack of plastic drawers where I store all my fabrics! 

Next there was a bag full of goodies.

from Cléo 01

A sock bunny made entirely by Cléo, with no help at all from her Mum!  (I made sure we didn’t mention what the meat was at dinner time, as I’m not sure she would have eaten it if she’d known).  A retractable tape measure, in the shape of a PINK snail, a very interesting black object which looks like a stick of lipstick, but isn’t.

from Cleo 02

It’s a very nifty needle holder!!!  Lid pulls off, the bottom twists round and hey presto . . . there’s a tiny pincushion inside complete with half a dozen needles!  And . . . a gift voucher to go shopping on amazon!

Well, I can tell you . . . it didn’t take me long to have a shopping spree lol.  There were a few books I had been looking at, so “click, click” and here’s what I bought.


“Daughters of the Dragon” by William Andrews because Lynn had done a really good write-up of that, and it sounded like something I would enjoy (I’ll let you know).  And “Love to Sew – Teddy Bears” by Monika Schleich.

This second one because, yes, I’m very tempted to head off in another sewing direction, and try my hand at making a few teddy bears.  This book contains 16 different models, with full sized patterns for all, and very details instructions with lots of photos to explain step-by-step.  Here are a couple of the designs in the book.

books 01

books 02

books 03

Sooooooo cute!  Not sure when I’ll actually attempt teddy bear making, but hopefully I’ll manage to squeeze one into my busy schedule this year.


happy birthday to me!

Hello everyone . . . I’m a birthday girl today . . . an Aquarius AND a rabbit (if we go by Chinese birth signs too).  And I was one very happy birthday girl this morning because the postie had been delivering a few parcels, with my name on, which I had kept safe & unopened until the big day!

It goes without saying that I was up early, and ripping paper before I’d even finished my first mug of coffee.  So much fun, opening parcels and discovering lots of lovely surprises.  All of which brought a big smile to my face.

So, what did I receive?  Fear not . . . photos were taken to share.

from Jane

From my sister: five fat quarters, all with a Japanese theme.  Three of them (with Geishas and golden cranes) are definitely Kona fabrics, but I’m not sure what the other two are.  Along with a cheeky card which says “on your birthday who said wrinkles can’t be cute?”  Only my sister, who is 2 years older than me, would dare lol.

from Avis

There were several surprises in a squishy parcel from Avis . . . a huge piece of dress maker paper (so I can trace clothes making patterns without having to cut originals);  5 lovely silk ties (Avis knows I’ve been buying in ties with a few new crafty ideas in mind) and . . . a gorgeous hand-knitted cardie for my reborn dolls!  Avis made one for Christmas, but it’s a little on the roomy side (for everyone except Alice), so she took the time to make one in premature size.  Only a true friend would go to all that bother.  And a very pink, girly card . . . “if as first you don’t succeed, buy, buy, buy again!!!”.

from Avis 01

Here’s another photo of the ties.  The one on the far right is a Louis Vuitton, no less!  How posh!  And the one on the left is an M&S with a surprise – it has a gorgeous silk lining too.

Next pressies were from my daughter.

from Megan

A set of four Wrendale Designs coasters with the lovely artwork of Hannah Dale.

And the biggest surprise of all . . . in a very big box (which I had been shaking around, I’ll admit)

Grace 01

a reborn doll !!!!!

There is a bit of history behind this doll.  It’s an Ashton Drake, the model is called Grace.  And Grace is older than she looks.  She was, apparently, bought way back in 2006 for Lindashee’s man’s great-aunt.  Great-aunt who had senile dementia, and Grace was given to her because family found it helped to calm her, to have a life-like baby doll to cuddle.  When the great-aunt died, her niece (that’s Lindashee’s man’s Mum) packed the doll away in its box.  Not wanting to throw it away, because it had sentimental value, but not wanting to have it lying around the house either.

Anyway, over the Christmas period, Lindashee mentioned to her (almost) MIL that I had gone off on a new tangent with reborn dolls . . . and therefore, rather than leaving Grace unloved in her box, she has come to live with me!

from Megan 01

She arrived in her original box, and with her original hat (in the first photo) but also with some clothes which had been bought/made for her at some point, including 2 pairs of very lacey knickers, and a pink cardie.

Avis cardie

I immediately dressed her in the cardigan from Auntie Avis . . . and popped on a preemie sized nappy.

Grace 02

She also looks rather cute in the doll outfit, Lily came in.

Grace 03

Grace 04

Awwwwww, just look at that peaceful face!  Makes me want to wake her up and see her yawn lol.  But I won’t.

more surprise mail

Postie has been a regular visitor to our letter box, with some surprise packages.  Not sure if they’re belated xmas gifts or un-birthday gifts, all I know is they are gifts and they’re for me!

In fact, the first photo is a “best wishes” card from Nathalie F.  In France, people don’t tend to send out cards for Christmas, but prefer to wait until the New Year before sending their seasonal greetings.  The card from Nathalie is ever so chic!

from Nathalie F

Beautifully embossed and with white beads and shiney stars. 

from la pie kikou

From Jocelyne, aka la pie kikou, I received a selection of goodies.  A piece of shimmery aida along with 3 skeins of the DMC new collection.  Gorgeous colours, especially the 4505.  And a beautiful hand-made bookmark with my initials embroidered to look like a coat of arms.  Makes me feel like royalty, that does!

And that’s not all . . .

from Sandrine

From Sandrine a massive haul of bookmarks . . . and a clothes making pattern – yay!  It’s one to make a shirt: the Chloé shirt.  Packaging says it’s intermediate level (thanks for the vote of confidence, Sandrine) . . . I reckon this should be within my capabilities if I read all instructions properly.

So a big thank you ladies . . . so much fun to have all these surprises.

keeping reborn heads warm and . . . welcome to Alice!

Followers will know that I’ll be playing with dolls this year after buying myself a second-hand Berenguer “newborn” boy doll and receiving a pretty Ninis d’Onil girl doll from my (always tolerant) husband for Christmas.  I haven’t begun any clothes-making yet, because both dolls are waiting for new bodies but, I did get out my crochet hook to make a couple of hats.

Crocheting a basic hat, especially in doll/reborn size, is very quick & painless.  You don’t need a pattern, just need to follow some basic maths.  This link for beginner crochet patterns explains it all very well.

Anyway . . . I used some of my stash and made

noah hat 01

a blue & white hat for Noah, with a pompom on top.  Just crocheting in the round until I had the correct circumference and then carrying on, with white yarn until I had enough depth for a “cuff”.


I then followed instructions on the above link to make a “ruffle hat” for Lily in girly pink.

lilly hat 01

I could possibly have made it slightly deeper, before beginning my ruffles (on hindsight) but I was worried I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish ruffles.  And, let’s face it, she’s a doll, so I don’t really need to keep her ears warm.lily hat 02

I think it looks so pretty lol.  She’s wearing a real baby pyjamas here, in something like size 0, but hat also looks lovely with the pink outfit she came in (from which I have removed the collar because I didn’t like it).

lily hat 03

So, that’s the two hats . . . what’s this about giving a warm welcome to Alice?  Who’s she?

Well . . . I have a confession to make . . . Alice is another “baby”.  Yep!  I gave in to temptation on New Year’s Day on ebay and bought myself a genuine “reborn” doll. 

Alice 01

Here she is.  She measures approx 50cm and weighs just under 3kg.  I bought her from a French lady who appears to buy kits, reborn them, and then sell on, only selling for what it cost her to make them (so price was extremely low, considering).   Seller isn’t a professional reborner, so little Alice isn’t perfect, but I didn’t expect her to be.  She is, however, quite photogenic!

Alice 02

Alice is made from the Dianna Effner kit “Huggy Bear” (if anyone is interested).  She came with a couple of outfits, including this pretty little dress. 

Alice carie 02

The cardie, that Avis knitted, is the perfect fit! 

Alice cardie

And before you say anything . . . yes, I know she’s a little bit cross-eyed lol.  From what I’ve seen in my reborn wanderings, a lot of reborners deliberately set one eye slightly “off”.  It gives the doll more of a newborn expression since very young babies often have trouble focusing in the first weeks.

Anyway, I’m in love with Alice.    I’m in love with Lily and Noah too.

3 dolls

One last photo to show you the three dolls together.  Next time you see Noah and Lily, they will have new cloth bodies and be weighted. 

a little late with my thank yous

Dear oh dear . . . 13th January already and I have neglected my blog for almost a fortnight and (above all) I have neglected to show you some of the gifts I received in the Christmas post this year!

xmas blogging 01

First of all, lots and lots of bookmarks!  So a big thank you to Cathy, Flo and Emma.  Bookmarks from York, from Greece, from Ireland, from Spain and Australia.  Emma sent along a little cat cross stitch kit too, and a lovely card with a Japanese doll that can be removed from the card and be used as a bookmark too!

xmas blogging 02

Here’s a close up of the stitched one – a lovely long-tailed Lorikeet.  Emma adapted the colours of the original design so it would blend in with my F2F quilt, which is based on orange, blue & green, the predominant colours of Rainbow Lorikeets.

Next . . .

xmas blogging 03

Lots of pretty stitched goodies.  A “Let it snow” mug rug from Fred, tree decorations from AnnieG, Storm (green ribbon)  and Debbierose (red ribbon) and two more blackwork stitchings from Jeannine.

xmas blogging 05

More surprises from near and far . . . a Lizzie Kate kit and a beautiful wooden thread sorter from Wisher, and some lovely wooden buttons from Lynn (two dogs and four with a little black cat head – but it’s impossible to see in the photo).

xmas blogging 04

And then a lovely haul of hand-made cards.   A rather fun Christmas tree from Hannelore, a Poinsettia from salpal, a mischievious puppy dog from Virginie, some golden stitched candles from Yvonne and a fabulous 3D effect card from Helen, with deer & rabbits.

Thank you ever so much! 

were you good?

All those weeks/months of preparation, fattening up the guinea fowl, doing some secret sewing & crochet . . . numerous pressies bought and squirreled away . . . for Christmas to come and go in the blink of an eye!

I hope everyone had a good time? and that you were able to spend some quality time with loved ones.  Hubby and I had just 2 visitors for Christmas Eve, so it was a nice quiet evening with plenty of foie gras for us all.  Christmas Day was spent with hubby’s sister and her family.

I must have been a good girl over the past year because there were lots of lovely pressies under the tree for me! 


A silk scarf, colouring book, new slippers and 2 sets of Russian dolls.


The cutest baby doll from my hubby and a rotary cutter which opens out like a compass for cutting circles;  DVDs from my daughter and plastic joints (for toy making) from second son.


Avis (who had obviously been having a good chuckle in the run up to Christmas) had been busy with knitting needles and made a lovely jacket & bonnet (knowing I had asked Santa for a baby doll) . . . but also wants to encourage more cross stitching this year, hence the Bothy Threads kit.

New doll came wearing her pink doll outfit which, while it looks pretty, is of very shabby quality – but you get what you pay for.  Doll cost 39€.


She’s a Nines d’Onil doll (Spanish doll makers) and not a bonafide “reborn” but she’s perfect for me and what I have planned.  While her clothes are rubbish quality, the doll itself is just as I’d hoped.  Since doll came in pink, it’s going to be a little girl, and I’ve called her Lily.


I’m happy anyway lol.  For the moment she’s very light-weight and measures approx 44cm.  I am waiting (impatiently) for the reborn supply shop to reopen after the holidays so I can order in the supplies to start messing around.  Plan being to buy new bodies for both Lily and Noah, weight limbs, bodies & heads, and make them feel more like real babies but without making alterations to vinyl body parts.

So lots of lovely gifts for me, under the tree . . . and one which wasn’t under the tree . . .


Nope it’s not one of those rub-on, wash-off things . . . eldest son brought his tattoo artist kit with him (at my request) and part of Christmas Eve was spent having a good chin-wag while he gave me a tattoo.

Before I sign off for today, I wanted to say a big thank you for all the festive mail that has been dropping through my door.  Cards, decorations, and other suprise gifts – thank you one and all.  I’ve got a bit behind in emailing and have a few family matters on the agenda over the coming weeks, so possibly won’t have time to dedicate a blog post to those surprises received.

cats, “Yarn Cats” and some surprise mail

cats August

Couldn’t resist sharing this photo with you of a peaceful moment . . . that’s Ducky to the left, and Abby to the right (our brother & sister act) having a cuddly snooze in one of their favourite spots.  Aww, don’t they look cute?

Unlike this trio who have got themselves in a right tangle.

yarn cats finished

This is “Yarn Cats”, a kit by Design Works that I snapped up in the xmas sales on sewandso last year.  A nice little stitching project, even though I didn’t much enjoy all the backstitch at the end.  Anyway, a small happy dance going on with that . . . and thinking cap on already to actually make this into something rather than just stuffing it in a drawer.

from Kate

And not only was I happy dancing because of a finished xstitch . . . I was also prancing around with glee because I received some surprise mail (ie I had another unbirthday).  This little stash from Kate of by the babbling brooke.  A lovely hand-made “tag” with some pretty yoyo flowers; a bookmark cross stitch kit, and a quilting pattern. A big thank you to Kate!