oh what a beautiful week!

I don’t know about you, but weather in our corner of France has been amazing this week!  For early April, you could easily be mistaken into thinking it was summer.  Skies have been blue, the sun has been out every day and I have been sitting out in the garden in my summer clothes!  Yes!  Sleeveless tunics, dashing bright orange knee-length leggings.  Sunglasses definitely called for.

Husband has been very industrious in the veggie patch, but I haven’t taken any photos of his plantations yet.  He’s planted 18 tomato plants, 6 brocoli, 3 fennel, and hopes to get more plants in this coming week.  Seeds planted (radish & roquette) are already sprouting, but my beetroot haven’t come up yet.  Strawberry plants are in flower, raspberries bushes are budding . . . and cherry, apricot, and pear trees have all blossomed and mini fruits are in preparation. 

Everything seems incredibly early this year!  Even the Lily of the Valley is showing signs of buds.

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And just look at these lovely  lilac blooms

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Anyway, as I said, I’ve been sitting out in the garden, but keeping hands busy.  My most recent crochet project is

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A little owl necklace purse – yay!  This is a design by the very talented Janine Holmes of Moji-Moji Designs.  You can find the pattern for this project in her free tutorials. 

This little fellow only took a few hours to make, and I’m a beginner crocheter.  As usual, I immediately set to work making more . . .

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Colours aren’t very good in the photo.  After the purple one, I’ve begun work on a dark teal and a lilac.  The main work is done.  Just need to make eyes, beaks and assemble. 

Another reason it’s been a beautiful week . . . I celebrated my un-birthday!

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Received this surprise haul from Jess.  One of her cards (she designs and sells cards and cross stitch designs on Etsy) and some lovely bookmarks.  Somes with views of Guernesey (where Jess now lives) and one, is a metallic Korean bookmark.

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Ever so pretty!  So a big thank you Jess !!

happy unbirthdays in March

Three more of my blogging friends celebrated their unbirthdays in March – I expect you all did, but unfortunately, I can only send a few gifts each month lol.

The three unbirthday gals this month received something hand-made, using some very elegant fabric vignette prints.

unbirthday March x3

To Lilubelle, I sent this one

unbirthday Lilubelle 01

It has 4 wooden (curtain) rings and is a thread sorter but can also be used as a needle keep since the fabric is wadded on both sides. 

unbirthday Lilubelle 02

To salpal and Lucy, I sent the following

unbirthday salpal et Lucy

Only one wooden ring (I thought this was useful to hang them up) and on the back

unbirthday Salpal and Lucy 02

some plastic crochet markers and some prettier beaded knitting markers.

Since I started learning to crochet, I’m finding these little crochet markers to be invaluable, and I imagine the knitting markers come in useful too.  I didn’t make the lovely beaded markers, but bought them on Etsy from Just By Mimi.

thank you Avis & Sandrine

I had a couple of unbirthdays this month . . . receiving two surprise packages from friends.

Avis, had had to listen to me whinge about how I broke my flexi-hoop – my fettish flexi hoop that I use when cross stitching on evenweave.  I did have other hoops (wooden) in my supplies, but they’re not the same.  So Avis took pity on me lol and sent me

un birthday from Avis

a brand new flexi hoop, the exact same size as the one I broke . . . and she also included four 4-patches that she had assembled when making blocks for me in February, but finally didn’t use.  I’ll see if I can incorporate these into my own F2F2 blocks.

And from Sandrine

mp from Sandrine

a great big bundle of bookmarks!

Thank you ladies. 

sugar skulls zipper pouches

Way back, in December 2015, I had a purse making session, using a lovely batch of metal purse clasps I had bought.  I made a whole selection of little coin purses for ladies in the family and close friends, trying to choose different fabrics to suit the tastes of the ladies these gifts were intended for.  Below, is an example.  Purses, left to right, gifted to: my daughter, my sister and my niece T.

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Niece T is in her late 20s, and I thought this pink & purple fabric was perfect.  She loved it, and put it into use immediately, as a mini-make-up bag . . . however, when aforementioned niece  saw photos of the rest of the batch I had made, notably this one, I got the impression I hadn’t chosen fabrics quite so well.

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Sugar skulls on red, was made and gifted to N, 2nd son’s partner lol.  Anyway, my sister (mother to niece T) asked if I had any more sugar skull fabric leftover . . . and could I make a second purse for T.

Now, I did have a couple of purse clasps left over, lurking in the back of my supplies drawer, but I fancied trying something different.  Spent a while on youtube, watching video tutorials on how to put in a zip properly, using that special zipper foot which came with my machine and I’d never used before.  I also had a small piece of the red sugar skull fabric . . . but decided to splash out and buy a new FQ in black.

The result of a couple of hours sewing . . .

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One zipper pouch, 9” x 5” (made to the size of my zip) which, I hope, will be a nice make-up bag size.

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One smaller zipper pouch (approx 5” x 4”) which would be big enough just for a few make-up essentials to slip in the bottom of a handbag . . .

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And another make-up bag sized zippy pouch (about 7.5” x 5”) in the original red fabric.  Zips have been left open in this last photo so you can see the gorgeous contrasting turquoise lining.

These pouches are quite light weight.  I ironed on interfacing to the outer fabric, to give it a little more body, but that’s all.  I learned quite a lot during this sewing project.  Was really surprised at how easy it is to put in a zip when you use the correct foot lol.  In the past, I’ve just used the normal sewing foot.  However, there are a few areas I need to improve on for next time.   I also discovered (to my expense) that even just a few hours sewing was probably more than I should have done and I paid for it the next day.  So, mental note to self:  keep sewing sessions to under one hour for the time-being.

happy unbirthdays in February

Another month, and three more unbirthday gifts were sent out in February.  To Sandra (of the F2F2 swap) more as a thank you really.

unbirthday Sandra Feb

A little selection of ten 5” charm squares in quite soft tones.

To Jess (who has really been throwing herself into patchwork since she started only last year)

unbirthday Jess Feb

Also a selection of ten 5” charm squares and a little fabric tray (made with 2 charm squares).

And for a good friend’s MOTH, who rather enjoys listening to audio books

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“Amagansett” by Mark Mills.  I haven’t actually read this myself, but the resumé of the plot sounded quite gripping.

happy birthday to me

Yup, I’m an Aquarius . . . a February baby . . . and I suddenly grew one year older the other day.  Kept things very low key, in the hopes that the extra year wouldn’t creep up, but it did.

Photos to show you the goodies I received on my special day . . . (with old Doris doing some modelling for me).

from Megan

My daughter, Lindashee, sent me a very warm fleece jacket and . . . a  CD:  “1000 Forms of Fear” by Sia which didn’t get in the photo below because it’s sitting on my computer desk

from Megan 02

So, a CD and 2 pretty fabrics . . . and yes, some Heinz Beanz and corned beef lol.  Can’t get Heinz Beanz in France and I do love them. 

A lovely squishy parcel from Avis too . . .

from Avis

containing a lovely purple fleece sweater (again modelled by Doris) and

blocks from Avis

some lovely bright 12” blocks!  Now Avis isn’t officially signed up for the F2F2 swap, although she did take part in the first F2F swap . . . and she decided to make me three blocks in my colourway . . . for me to add to the blocks I’ll be receiving for the swap.

You’ll remember that my colour inspiration is

Claire

Avis saw some yellow in there too, with the orange plumage going from rich orange to a lighter shade

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So, one very spoiled birthday girl here ^^

Oh and . . . I have an un-birthday gift to share with you . . .

from Helen

A gorgeous hand-made card from Helen along with 2 hand-crafted bookmarks: one from China and the other from Madagascar. 

A big thank you to Lindashee, Avis and Helen for all these lovely goodies!

happy un-birthdays in January

I will be celebrating friends’ un-birthdays throughout 2017, just as I did during 2016 and 2015 . . . I enjoy sending out little surprise gifts, and friends enjoy receiving them.  So why stop?  I do need to find time to make a few small gifts though, as I’m relying on some items made last year, to start the new year.

Three cross stitching ladies received a little un-birthday surprise in January . . . (pretty much the same, sorry for lack of imagination).

for ambre

for Virginie, aka ambre, a mini DMC kit and fabric cat coaster.

for Joce

for Joce73

for Stephnanie

and for Stéphanie.  Yep, I bought a few of the same kit in our local bargain basement store . . . design isn’t brilliant, but it’ll be a quick project to stitch up.

I also have some thank yous

from Michele

A big “merci” to Michèle, for these bookmarks.

from Stephanie

a “merci” to Stéphanie who sent a huge pile of bookmarks plus a belated xmas card and ATC.

from Wisher

and a big thank you to Angela, aka Wisher, for these gorgeous fabrics and fabric appliqué transfers.