SAL “Cirque des Triangles” #9

Time to show off progress on my SAL project, which, as you know, is “Cirque des Triangles” by Ink Circles.

CdesT stage 8

Last time, Avis and I had finished with all the outer triangles.  So we’re now starting to fill in the centre part.

CdesT stage 9 zoom

A zoom first, because I just love the “Wild Poppies” Threadworx thread I’m using.  And a view of the entire piece.

CdesT stage 9

Shapes aren’t strictly triangles time and look more like teeth . . . but they definitely add a bit of interest.

Don’t forget to stop by and admire progress of other SAL members.  Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, ChristinaKathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary MargaretTimothy and two new members Heidi and Connie.

And come back to check out more progress in 3 weeks time, on 27th August.

a sentimental ramble and a necessary kick up the backside

There’s not a day goes by that I don’t regret having started this blog.  It’s been a way to reach out, and “meet” so many wonderful, like-minded crafters over the years.  Each day begins, for me, with a fresh mug of coffee, and a blog hop, as I scroll down in my WP reader, to see what blogging friends have been up to.  Or checking my email, for the notifications I receive when a non-WP blogger has posted.  My coffee usually goes cold, unforgotten, as I start leaving comments or replying to those left here.  Even my husband, peers over my shoulder as I blog hop and admires what you’ve all been up to!  Although he’s always more interested in the photos of gardens, flowers, animals and interesting walks.

I started out as a cross stitcher, more than 20 years ago, but over the years, I have branched out into other crafts, discovering more and more brilliant blogs as I go . . . finding friendship, inspiration, motivation and encouragement every step of the way.

I want to say “thank you” to everyone who stops by to read me and my ramblings.  When I first started blogging, I didn’t expect my blog to become such a big part of my daily life.  It really started out as an on-line journal for myself.  A “Dear Diary” in a sense.  A way of keeping track of projects I had worked on, which explains why I don’t talk or share much about my private life, except our animals and country surroundings.

Anyway . . . (because you’re already wondering if I’m going anywhere with this . . . ) that’s the sentimental ramble over lol.  Now onto the kick up the backside!

I was looking back over some of my old posts which made me realise how fast time really does fly as you get older.  Things I thought  happened only yesterday, happened much longer ago . . . and I realised, I need to get my finger out!

Because, I still have all of the following, in their unfinished state, stashed away in my drawers, and I didn’t realise (until the other day) just how many projects have been waiting for so long, for a full-flung Happy Dance!

There’s this

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Last posted about in September 2016, which got no farther than being assembled into 3 bands, before being folded and put away.

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My hand-pieced “Let it bee” hexie top, still in this unfinished stage since July 2016.

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A quilted cushion front, still waiting for a back, since June 2016.

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Two native American Indians, cross-stitched in 2013, then assembly begun in April 2016 to make wall hangings . . . still waiting.

And when I start looking at other cross-stitched pieces awaiting some kind of finish . . . it goes from the relatively recent, like these

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“Statement Flowers” – February 2017, to these . . . .

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Vervaco Zodiac signs – set of 12 finished in June 2016.

SAL friendship quilt finished

“Friendship Quilt” finished in October 2015 – this would make a great cushion cover to go with my recent “such fun!” F2F2 quilt, despite having purple, not blue.

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“Cirque des Triangles” finished in September 2014 and still waiting for a frame.

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“Pentacost Two” finished in December 2013.

And it gets worse . . . with these two that date back to around 2007

“Bramble & the Rose” by Ink Circles on left and the “Grand Marquoir” by Isabelle Vautier on the right.  As well as a selection of “smalls” just folded and sitting in a drawer since I can’t remember when (since I never date my work).

And those are just a few . . .

I am therefore going to try and actually properly finish off some of the above over the coming months.  Even if I only manage to tackle one a month.   It seems  silly to have spent so much time (and money) crafting when the results are hidden from view in a drawer.

mad dogs and Frenchmen . . .

Temperatures are boiling hot in our corner of France again this week.  It’s approx 36°C here at the moment (in the shade) during the day, and not going much below 25°C at night.  We’re sweating.  Staying indoors during the hottest part of the day, and then enjoying a dip in the spa late afternoons to cool off.  But, also having to brave the heat because Gibbs needs his exercise.

Last week I showed you the floatable toy I made for Gibbs, and I’m pleased to say, it’s holding up very well.  We’ve been taking him to the park every day and the first thing he does is dive into the lake.

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You can just make out his toy, in the centre of the ring of water circles . . . he’s become a very competent swimmer in a very short space of time.

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And this game could go on and on and on, if Gibbs had his say.

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However, we also go to the park for a few “educational” activites.  Including obstacles.  Of which this is one.

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It took him a few days to become brave enough to do this, but now he walks up the ramp, across and down the other side on his own. 

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There’s a lower platform where he hops up, sits and then jumps off.

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And then there are tunnels to run through, hurdles to jump over, tyres to leap through, and much much more.  For the moment, and in the space of only 10 days, Gibbs has learned to do 6 of the (approximately) 12 obstacles on the course.  But what he really enjoys is swimming in the lake and charging around playing with the other dogs we meet.

happy unbirthdays in July

July flew by, and with it, four more friends celebrated their happy unbirthdays!  Yes, they did, indeed!  And what little surprises did I make to send?  Well, I had such fun making zippy pouches a while back, following instructions from this French magazine

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that I went and bought some more felt and short zips, to make a few more monster pouches.

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Here they are . . . a couple with odd eyes, because I didn’t have enough small black buttons, but hey, they’re monsters after all.  Monsters are allowed to have odd eyes.

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They don’t seem to mind, and look happy enough.

Anyway . . . who were the lucky unbirthday people this month?  Well . . .

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The bright pink one winged its way to Kate, in Australia, along with a Liberty fabric card kit.  I know that Kate loves Liberty fabric, so this was a must for her.

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To Emma, also in Australia, the green zippy monster (sorry about following photos, taken at night without flash) and a small cross stitch kit.

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To SusanP, in New Zealand, I sent the turquoise blue zippy pouch, which has cat paw prints all over the ribbon, and a different Liberty fabric card kit.

unbirhtday Flo

And to Flo, in France,(Flo doesn’t have a blog) the darker blue monster, along with some DMC skeins for embroidery projects.  I do hope ladies had as much fun opening their surprise parcels as I did making them up.

best layer of the month # July

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Apart from Miss Moneypenny (on right in photo), the other hens seem to be taking something of a holiday at the moment.  Total numbers of egg was Miss Marple 9; Miranda 11 and Miss Moneypenny 17.  So 37 this month, which isn’t actually too bad.  We were able to enjoy a couple of omelettes, some hard-boiled eggs with salads, gave some to the neighbours and I also made some chocolate mousse. 

“such fun!”–happy dancing

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One of my favourite quotes (for all you Miranda fans) . . . and photos of “such fun!”, made with blocks from the F2F2 swap, organised by Kate

Those who follow my blog will remember this adventure began in June last year, when I joined a block swap, and spent 9 months, making and posting blocks to other ladies in their chosen colourways.  Until it was my turn, in February.  My colour inspiration was

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And I think you’ll agree that the finished quilt as just as bright and colourful as these Rainbow Lorikeets.  A big thank you to Kate, the organiser.  But also to Lynn, Sandra, Sue, Susan, Moira, Gun, Esther who were the other official members of the swap.  And a thank you to Avis, who made and sent 3 blocks for my birthday, so I would have a total of 30 blocks for this patchwork.

It’s big.  It’s the biggest I’ve ever made.  Finishing up at 87” x 73” (that’s 220cm x 185cm).

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I added 1” orange sashing to each block before quilting and did the assembly using the QAYG (quilt as you go) method.  Using a splodgy/dotty print fabric on the back and repeating the orange bands.   Each block was quilted differently, by machine, and each block has the name of the maker embroidered on it, very discreetly, in orange thread.  That way, in the years to come, I’ll remember exactly who made what.

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So there you have it!  The swap was a wonderful learning experience, helped boost my confidence and really was “such fun!”.

my little helper

Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be having a happy dance in the next few days, depending on how much help I get from my little helper.

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Yep, that’s my F2F2 quilt you can see on my lap.  All quilted, assembled and with binding machine sewn on.  More than 300 inches of binding.  And I’m now on the last stage of hand-sewing the binding to the back.

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Don’t I look enthralled?  lol.  It’s not so much the (more than) 300 inches of hand sewing that’s the problem.  It’s my little helper.  Le Bleu seems to think this quilt is fine and finished, just as it is.  And not helping at all.  My husband’s reaction is “Just push him off!” but awwwww  he looks so peaceful.

Meanwhile . . . photo of another of our cats.

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Yup, Ducky, who still looks as if he lost a fight with a mini lawn mower.  Fur seems to be taking ages to grow back!  It’s been 3 weeks since the operation.

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Now that the scar has healed, it’s almost invisible, but you can still distinctly see the two darker marks of the nasty cat teeth that bit him.  All that will be a thing of the past, once fur grows.