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

cooler days and pretty yarn

We’re enjoying some cooler days in this part of France, after a horrendously hot June, July and beginning of August.  Thunder, lightening, rain and power cuts have been on the agenda the past few days but I’m not complaining.  The rain is much needed, and the power cut only lasted a couple of hours – not the end of the world.

I’ve been busy with yarn . . . finished the pink caridgan I was knitting.  This is a photo I showed earlier.

It progressed speedily to this

on blocking boards.  And then with 3 buttons added.

As soon as I cast off that project, I cast on a new one.  Ever so eager to start knitting a poncho pattern I mentioned not long ago.  There were two that caught my eye, and mentioned here:  seeing double.   I really like the Saltaire/Andes one in camel . . . but the Jewelspun/Pirouette one looked like it might be fun, and an excellent excuse to try my hand at cables.  So this is the pattern I’m knitting (I downloaded the DMC version in French because it was free).

However, I had seen a non DMC or Sirdar yarn I thought might look good for this . . . and it was on special offer.  It’s an acryllic yarn by Woll Butt, in 300g balls . . . I’m knitting in a colourway called “Sunset” on 5mm needles.

It’s plain sailing and plain stitching so far because I’m knitting the back and cable is only on the front.  Very brainless but I’m enjoying the bright colours.  I’m also looking forward to knitting the front and cables, but that will be another day.

To give me something else to get my teeth into, I’ve also just started a new crochet project.

This is a design by Sweet Oddity Art and published in “Dinosaurs, mammouths and more prehistoric amigurumi”.  The pattern is a joy to follow and shaping is very cleverly done.

And, before I sign off . . . I surprised a French blogging friend with an unbirthday in August.

A fabric tote bag and an Isabelle Vautier xstitch kit, posted to Virginie.

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 !

this & that (plus an unbirthday) in July

It’s been too hot this month to really concentrate on anything much.  I did get organised and sent off an unbirthday gift for a blogging friend.

The lucky lady for July was Angèle.  Angèle does all sorts of crafts including diamond painting, knitting, & cross stitch.  I sent her 4 home-made fabric coasters and an Isabelle Vautier xstitch kit.

I have managed a few more rows of knitting, so things have progressed from

to this

I’ve also been buying a few books to add to my shelves.  You know I am a doll fanatic . . . so I was very pleased when I found some books on @m@zon with a few marketplace sellers who specialise in secondhand books.   The following all date back to the 80s but are in very good condition and only cost a few euros each.

These two in French.  “Les Poupées – une histoire millénaire”, as its title suggests, a look at the history of dolls with lots of colour photos and interesting facts.  And “Un amour de poupée” – autobiographical, by Catherine Refarbert who is the founder of the French company Corolle. Fascinating read, sadly only a few photos in b&w.

These two in English.  Both on the life of Käthe Kruse and the history of her doll-making. I’ve only had a flick through so far, but both books are filled with lots of photos and I know I’m going to enjoy reading them.

And last, but not least, a brand new copy of “Doll Studio Boutique” with patterns for 14″ dolls. Patterns designed for Ruby Red and Wellie Wishers, but should fit the 13″ and 14″ dolls in my collection with a few minor ajustments.  Just need to find time to sit down and sew.

 

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.

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!

ScrapHappy # April (and an unbirthday)

I had fun with scrappy fabrics for this ScrapHappy post.  My scrap bags were rather full of lots of very bright (and many floral) fabrics left over from clothes making.  I always seem to end up with lots of wierd shaped offcuts when clothes making.  The easiest thing to do was press and slice up into 2.5″ squares . . . and once that was done, I spent some very enjoyable hours piecing squares together randomly.

I could probably have continued indefinitely, and assembled enough to make a quilt top but I had placemats in mind when I began.  Quilts are pretty, but placemats are more useful (in my opinion).  The fronts are completely scrappy . . . for the binding & backing fabric however, I was stash busting with larger pieces of leftovers.

Flamingos on the back and a plain turquoise for binding.  And three very bright placemats with fabrics to remind me of past sewing projects.  There are bunnies & birds from baby quilts;  feathers, flamingos, florals, butterflies & llamas from clothes-making projects; dots & spots from patchwork projects . . . so many happy sewing memories!

Anyway . . . one of these mats, was packaged up and sent to Yvonne, as an unbirthday gift.  This one, in fact.

The other two are for the husband & myself for every day use.  Mats finished at approx 14″ x 20″ but they’ll probably shrink up a bit in the first wash.

I’m linking to a very creative group of people, organised by Kate & Gun for ScrapHappy.

 

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.