“follow your heart”

I fancied an easy quick stitch project the other day, and it just so happens that I subscribe to Cross Stitch Crazy magazine, which drops in my letter box once a month and always with a lovely freebie kit.  I therefore picked  up the following


It’s a design by Emma Congdon.  Only problem was . . . when I looked at threads & chart, the “light turquoise” in the kit I received (supposed to be DMC 158) seemed very dark compared to the magazine photo.  I checked it up against my DMC thread colour card and it was a few shades darker.  Luckily, a quick rummage in my own thread stash and I found a skein of DMC 158 so I frogged, and stitched that colour again.

Much better!  Anyway, since the kit came complete with the blue hoop AND the pink pompoms . . . I followed instructions and did my finish the magazine way, which is quite unusual for me.

This isn’t the kind of design I would normally stitch, but I love the lettering and colours, especially the backstitch detail makes the word “Heart” so 3-dimensional.  I’ve now got this cheerful little piece on display in my sewing room.   A quick & easy project, but it felt good to have a little happy dance with minimal effort.

ScrapHappy # May

It’s 15th of the month, and time to link up with Gun and Kate for ScrapHappy fun.  I’ve not been very inventive this month, and have repeated myself, making more masks.

First photos shows you a batch of masks made with leftover fabrics – four in size L and two in size M.  Second photo isn’t strictly scraps, as I cut into something brand new for the outer fabric but lining IS scraps.  Photos taken before I threaded elastic.

The reason I’ve been making more masks (bringing my total to 37 I think) is because, since Monday 11th, confinement in France has eased slightly and non-essential shops have reopened.  However, the general public is being asked to wear a mask in shops or on public transport and we’re supposed to all be receiving a washable mask (distribution via local councils) but no idea when that will be.  I just wanted to make sure all the neighbours had at least one mask each, while waiting for the more “official” ones to arrive.

Also linking up to the other ScrapHappy members.

TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

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.


SAL “Sugar Skull Panda #8

I’m having a very colourful happy dance, with “Sugar Skull Panda” a design by Lindashee.

Last time I was almost finished, and showed you this photo.

I hope you’ll be able to spot the difference today, after a lot of attention to detail such as backstitch and beads.

The plan is to frame this lovely piece, but I’ll need to wait until shops reopen.

In the meantime, I’ve already picked out my next project for the SAL . . . but you’ll have to wait until next time to find out more.

We’re welcoming Helen back to the SAL.  List of links to all members below.  Please feel free to click and visit.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda, Sherrie, Helen

And next update, on 31st May.

Sleepy Lamb

Another crochet finish to share with you.  This time a pattern I bought on etsy from the seller Kawaii Designs UK.

This little lamb is so cute!  And with Toddler Viking very much into Baa Baa Black Sheep at the moment, it also seemed very appropriate.  Pattern was very reasonably priced, and it was instant download, so I was able to start crocheting straight away.  I used Stylecraft Special DK in Cream & Graphite on a 3.5mm hook, as instructions suggest.   I couldn’t quite get facial features looking as angelic as the pattern designer, but I’m still happy with the finished result.

I was careful to only lightly stuff head & limbs as I want this to be a very cuddly, floppy, sleepy lamb.  Also had the idea of making a cloth insert to fit inside the body, that I stuffed with a mixture of soft stuffing and plastic pellets, to give it a more “beanie” feel.  Needless to say, this project was lots of fun and it’s very likely a few more sleepy lambs will appear over the coming days/weeks . . . probably trying out different colour combinations and maybe even making a real black lamb.

Splat the rat

A little while ago,  I saw a fun-looking crochet project on QuietWaterCraft‘s blog:  a frog bookmark.  A little bit of research later, and I found the name of the designer:  Jonas Matthies, who runs the website Supergurumi.   Jonas has designed a whole series of bookmark patterns, which are available to buy from his shop and on etsy.  And one of his patterns is available for free . . . so I decided to give it a whirl.

I’ve named my finished bookmark Splat the Rat . . . and here he is, all pinned out for blocking.  I crocheted in Stylecraft Special DK on a 2.5mm hook, to keep things tight.  Colours used: Grey, soft pink, and white.

Pattern was very easy to follow, although making the legs & feet was a little fiddly.

Pattern suggested using black yarn for the centre of eyes, but I chose to sew on two very small buttons.

I will probably make another rat.  Even thinking I should make one in dark brown, and with a toe missing, so that he can be Scabbers (HP fans will know who I mean).  However, not so sure if I’ll be paying out for any of the other patterns.   I think they work out a bit pricey for what they are.  However,  I see Jonas has published a book, with the complete collection of his bookmark patterns which would be a much more economical way of supporting the designer.  So might add that to my list for Father Christmas later in the year.

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.