It’s Official, No Longer Any Doubt, Lock Me Up and Throw Away the Key.

Yes, now that we’re a 6 cat family, I’ve gone and bought a humungus cat tree.  I know.  I am probably now spoken about as the local crazy cat lady.

Luckily we have a conservatory, complete with cat flap, so we don’t actually have to share our living space with it.  Although, it’s rather handsome in my opinion, so I wouldn’t be too upset but I suspect I would be swiftly voted down if I suggested any such thing.
Multi Cat TreeCats being cats, you will notice that it is void of life.


Ungrateful baggage number 1 in her usual spot.

Ginger Cat

Ungrateful sod number 2 busily cramming his bulk into a tiny cat bed and ignoring the luxury accommodation just installed.

The other two fully growns are not even in evidence.

However, it was much appreciated by the kittens when Mr. T. was putting it together in the lounge.  I have recently taken to bringing them upstairs for terrifying  socialisation sessions with the big cats and the dogs.  They can’t really manage to get into it on their own but, with a helping hand, they enjoyed being way above the dogs’ questing noses and, after batting the hanging toys around for at least an hour, had a little nap in the igloo shaped bed.


Yuki was quite taken with the feathered pom pom and, at times, unknowingly, wore it as a hat.

kitten with feather toy

She’s looking a bit more like a kitten and less like a gremlin x guinea pig now isn’t she?

Anyway, I’m off to put yet another online order in with Zooplus (the pet food supplier I use and very good they are too) as I seem to keep running out of cat food.

I wouldn’t mind, but I’m really a ‘dog person’.

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Oops! I’ve Fallen Off the Fabric Wagon

It’s true – but only a little bit – all is not lost – honest.

 Before I ‘fess up however, a bit of a distraction. It’s a bit nippy today but beautiful – they did predict some snow and they were right –  so,when I set out for our walk this morning, as well as a lead, a couple of tennis balls, a ball launcher and three dogs, I hauled my camera with me.

Snow Pyrenees

The view from halfway up my garden this morning.

Log Pile

These logs will need getting down to the bottom somehow.


Perhaps we could rig up some sort of dog sled thingy.

Anyway, back to my falling off the fabric wagon.  A couple of weeks ago, we held a fund raising event for Dog Rescue Carcassonne and the Twilight home for old and/or sick dogs where a wonderful couple here in France have dedicated their lives to looking after these dogs that nobody else will take on.  Anyway, I didn’t have a stall myself this time and just went along to chat and spend money help out.  Some of the stalls had set up the night before and one had some fabric ‘scraps’ for sale.  The stallholder hadn’t yet arrived and I went over to have a look and spotted a tempting bit of something that looked a bit vintagey and a bit storybooky .


Vintage Fabric

When I had a closer look , there was around a yard and a half of vintage Red Riding Hood fabric with such cute designs like this

Vintage French Fabric

and this


that, without thinking, I nabbed it and, when she arrived, paid the 2 euros!! and put it in my bag along with 20 euros of cakes I’d just bought (oops ).

Vintage Red Riding Hood Fabric

It wasn’t until a couple of hours afterwards that I remembered I was on a fabric fast.  But it was vintage.  It was 2 euros.  It was for Dog Rescue.  What would you have done?  I’m back on the wagon now, honest.

I had taken along a couple of little dog coats that I had knitted because I was hoping that – being a doggy related event – somebody might come in with the right sized dog that they would let me dress up and use as a model.  Sure enough, a couple came in with their cockerpoo (a cocker spaniel mixed with a poodle) a lovely girl called Saren and she was just the right size.  I must admit I’m a bit confused that, all my dogs are mixes of something or other but are generally called ‘mutts’ or ‘mongrels but cockerpoos, shihpoos, labradoodles, etc. all have their own names.  They all seem to include poodles.  I’m pretty sure none of my dogs have ever been near a poodle so maybe that’s why.  The nearest I could get with mine would be a bordador or a shepcol and even they would be a wild guess. Anyway, I digress, she was a lovely girl who patiently modelled my knitted coats.

Serene Dog Coat

I wanted some photos on a model in case I decide to add them to my dog collar shop as another item I can sell to raise funds for Dog Rescue Carcassonne.

Cockerpoo Modelling Dog Coat

Or, I have asked if Twilight might be able to use some for the old dogs to wear this winter.  I’d better get a move on with my boyfriend cardigan then in case they say ‘yes’.

Off to re-light the log burner.

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More Messing With Collages

Thank you to those of you who suggested using Picasa 3 for making collages.  I have been playing and messing about instead of doing the housework and folding the laundry but what’s new?  I can see multiple possibilities for this game but, for now, I just wanted to concentrate some more of my F2F blocks into manageable chunks for your viewing pleasure.

These are my beautiful blocks from Emmely in the Netherlands who blogs at Infectious Stitches and managed to squeeze in making these blocks  before submitting her thesis.


I think the ‘pretend’ layout with the bands between the blocks has worked well as it imitates sashing which is what I was thinking of doing with the quilt that I will eventually make from the block swap.  Now I’m looking at it I definitely think it will look better with sashing  as the blocks are very diverse (although all the same size in ‘real life’)  and so beautiful individually  it will help them stand out more.

These are the three blocks I made for Avis from Oh Sew Tempting who is the recipient of all our efforts in November.  She asked for traditional blocks in bright blues and purples preferably using solids and batiks.  Well, I know the postage stamp block might not count – there are unicorns for a start – but, having learnt how to make that block, I’m now a big fan and the colours in the scraps of unicorn fabric left over from a quilt I made my daughter some years ago just seemed too good not to use.


Patchwork Collage Purples

Again, these are all 12 inch sqaure blocks but I used artistic license in my collage making frenzy.

I don’t know whether Avis is planning on putting sashing in her quilt but there’s a little preview in case she needs help deciding ;)

Our temperatures here have changed overnight – it’s raining and windy and snow is forecast.  The log burner has been lit for only the second time this year (the first time was when my Mum was visiting in October and she gets cold easily!) and I’m off to search for a woolly jumper to lounge about in.  How’s the weather where you are?

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Christmas Knits and Cute Kits

I have finished another big blanket and, this time, it is for my Mum’s Christmas present.  Sssh!!  I don’t quite know how she’s going to get it back on the plane but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


It has actually got a lilac fleck in it – to go with her soft lilac sofa – but it is very subtle and hasn’t come out in the photos where it looks creamy beige which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Despite having the wool for several more of these, I’m continuing with my Kim Hargreaves boyfriend cardigan ‘Drew’ from her ‘Storm’ book.  I’m really liking how it’s knitting up a sort of steely grey and it is sooo soft I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can wear it, although I’m not holding my breath.

Last Saturday night saw two of my baby kittens off to their new homes.  I was sad to see them go but very grateful that I managed to get them adopted as France is positively seething with unwanted cats and kittens.

Yuki is making great progress.  She still looks a little like a guinea pig crossed with a gremlin but now she is a fat one.  Being left alone with just one sibling, far from getting her bullied, is making her more playful and very strong.


I think she’s going to be a diva though.

Her brother – temporarily called Mac (short for mackerel because of his fur markings) may henceforth be called Mog.  If you live in the U.K. you will no doubt be aware of the T.V. advert Sainsbury’s has produced for Christmas.  A mini story featuring Mog the cat that has taken the viewing public by storm (usually it’s the John Lewis ad).   My daughters grew up with Mog books  – delightful stories by Judith Kerr – so despite the fact the real Mog is a girl and has a white chest and paws,  they think we should call Mac, Mog.

This is what he thinks of that idea.


For those of you who haven’t seen it (can there be anyone left in the U.K. who hasn’t) have a look.  It’s very cute and Christmassy and has a lovely message – plus the cat is hilarious.

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Making Collages to Avoid Visual Overload – F2F Blocks


Several packages arrived on the same day last week – more fabulosity from my F2F block swap partners.  For those of you who are regular readers but not participants, I appreciate that you might not want to see numerous posts on this so I’ve done some collages of the blocks that arrived last week and hope you can still see the hard work that went into them and the beauteous results.

I used a programme called ‘Shape Collage’ for the first two but, after that, it stamps its watermark right across the middle of the image unless you pay to upgrade so I made the last one myself. Any corners, points or other details cut off are purely my doing in the editing process – they are actually all perfect.   I do like the programme though so, if it’s not to expensive to upgrade, I might do so.

The first blocks are from Claire in the U.S. and I love the little orange birds and the unusual teal colour she’s used with the grey spotted fabric.


Patchwork Block Collage

The second collage contains blocks from Sue at the Magpie’s Nest.  Sue is the co-organiser of the F2F Block Swap along with Kate.

Patchwork Block Collage

Sue must have been reading my blog and seen my dog habit as the block that is a little hidden has a central text that says ‘My Alarm Clock Wakes Me Up By Licking My Face’ which is definitely what would happen if my dogs were allowed upstairs in our bedroom.

Patchwork Block Collage

These four are from Nanette.  There are four because she called the one in the bottom right hand corner her ‘stuff up’ block as she thought the colours were wrong.  Not at all!  I love those geckos and that block will blend in fine with all the blocks I’ve received as a whole.

Nearly there now.  I have a few more to photograph and a couple more to arrive – which have been held up due to having the wrong postcode on the envelopes due to an earlier administration error but I am holding on to my confidence in the postal services and have everything crossed they will arrive.

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A Tale of Two Kitties Part 3 – Medication, One Amputation and Two Reservations

The house of kittens is taking its toll on my time.

They are getting bigger, more energetic, more hungry and generally more demanding.  It’s so entertaining to see them playing together though and, when I go down to feed them, I usually spend far too much time just watching them.

Kittens05.11 (7)

I had to take little Yuki to the vet last week.  She (for he is a she!) still didn’t seem to be able to eat properly and had started to lose weight.  The others were more than twice her size and she was getting knocked about a lot at playtime.  The vet said she had severe diahorrea and gave me a syringe full of gloop to give her twice a day for two days and some tablets, twice a day for five days.  I worried.  She has a skull the size of a walnut and trying to force tablets down her was not an easy task.

Kittens 7.11 (25)

He also said her tail was broken and disappeared with her for two minutes and, when he reappeared, the above was what was left of her tail.  I barely had time to be traumatised.

Since then, she has been gaining weight.  She sits in the middle of the food dish so none of the others can get any and sucks up the food noisily and slowly.  She generally needs a wipe down with a damp cloth afterward!

This is her now on the left.  Still very small and she looks a bit like a guinea pig crossed with a gremlin but look at that little face.

Kittens 7.11 (30)

I embarked upon a campaign to get the kittens adopted – apart from her of course as she’s far too little and delicate to leave ;)

Kittens 7.11 (6)

I had a surprisingly good response – bearing in mind that kittens are ten a penny in France – and these two have been reserved by very nice families and will be leaving in a week or so.

Kittens 7.11 (12)

Then there’s this one.

I sort of let him hide behind me when they came looking because I’m not sure we can be parted.  I have a good excuse.  Yuki needs to learn play from her siblings and she’s only just gained enough strength to join in the rough and tumble so I can’t keep her on her own – she needs to learn.  Well, I can’t can I?   Will having six cats make me ‘odd’?  Do I care? Maybe I’ll keep him another couple of weeks and then restart the adoption campaign halfheartedly in earnest.  I’m already being picky.  My hairdresser told me yesterday that her sister was looking for a kitten and I said I’d bear it in mind but she wants ‘an indoor cat’ because she lives in an apartment with only a balcony and I’m not sure about that.

What would you do?  Could you be sensible?





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More Blocks from Across the Pond – F2F Block Swap



Last week I received some more fabulous blocks for my forthcoming quilt which will be made from blocks sent to me from blogging friends worldwide who are participating in the F2F block swap.  This package came from Christina in the U.S., who doesn’t actually have a blog, and she kindly provided me with the names of each block design.  I don’t usually like to ask, in case it’s something I should already know!Liberated Star Patchwork Block

Liberated Star

Infinity Patchwork Block


Rolling River Patchwork Block 

Rolling River

I’m not 100% certain about the way the Rolling River block should be viewed but it looked good whichever way up I turned it so I settled on this one.

The more blocks I see the more pleased I am with the colours I chose and, as it so happens, Christina has chosen very similar colours for herself when her month comes up so that should be easy for me.

I received 3 packages all on one day yesterday so I’ll maybe combine those in one feast for the (patchworkers’) eyes blog in a couple of days time.

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Blocks From the Netherlands – F2F Block Swap

I received two packages last week – one from the U.S.A. and the other from the Esther in the Netherlands.  I said her blocks deserved a post of their own and here’s why –

Foundation Pieced Block ipatchandquiltHow stunning is that?

Foundation Pieced Blocks ipatchandquilt

I can’t imagine me executing something this perfect – sorry ladies!

Foundation Piecing ipatchandquiltPossibly my favourite – though very difficult to choose.

Esther from ipatchandquilt not only made these beautiful foundation pieced blocks but she also designed the patterns.  You can see some of them on her blog here as well as some stunning quilting designs.

I am humbled by all this gorgeousness dropping through my letterbox. I have done some foundation piecing in the past – perhaps it’s time to give it another go.

After all, having told Kate, one of the organisers of the swap, that I was never, in a million years, going to bother cutting piddling little scant 2 inch squares and faff about with interfacing, look what I did.

Postage Stamp Block

I liked the block Kate sent me using this method so much that I decided to give it a try after all.  I used very thin fusible interfacing – as it was what I had to hand in a large enough square, and although it was a pain to mark up, it makes for a block that is not at all stiff.  I think, if I am to continue in the postage stamp style, I will mark up a grid on some muslin and use it as a template underneath the interfacing as suggested in the tutorial.  Also, I might try cutting a plastic template for the scant 2 inch square you need to cut the fabric.

I’m hooked – my matching is never this good using any other method ;)

and in case you’re missing the kittens

Three Tabby Kittens

I’ve got somebody coming round to see – and maybe reserve – them later on.  I might hide the biggest one – he’s so gorgeous and bound to be the first to go.  No, No! I must be strong.

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New Blocks from the U.S.A. – F2F Block Swap

I love the excitement of small parcels arriving from all over the world for the F2F block swap I’m participating in.

On Friday I received another package and, this time, it was from the States containing three blocks from Susan over at Desert Sky Quilting.

MyF2FBlocksfromSusan (3)

On Friday I received another package and, this time, it was from the States containing three blocks from Susan over at Desert Sky Quilting.  A dramatic touch with the very dark grey and blue fabric in this one with the central pinwheel.

MyF2FBlocks fromSusan

A touch of orange with the turquoise here.  Apparently the orange  colour was outside of Susan’s comfort zone and she included some lovely orange fabric for me to play with in the package.

MyF2FBlocksfromSusan (2)

I think this is my favourite one.

This package arrived, despite the fact that Susan had sent it before we realised the post (zip) code was wrong – as did Kate’s from Australia –  so I’m quietly confident they will all arrive eventually. Esther’s blocks also arrived on Friday, from the Netherlands,  but they are also worthy of their own post so they will be in my next one.

A kitten free zone on the blog today did I hear you say?

Well almost


Yuki – still tiny but trying to build him up and am going to try goats milk when the shops open tomorrow.

Tiny Kittens

Getting some cuddles from the ‘big’ sister.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.


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A Tale of Two Kitties Part 2 – Yuki’s Story So Far

Hello, my name is Yuki (apparently the younger human in this house is a fan of all things Japanese) and I want to explain why the older human isn’t blogging about sewing or knitting or dogs or getting anything else done at all.YukiDay2 (11)Yuki

You might have read that I got stuck behind a wall.  My mum must have dropped me there and couldn’t get me out.  I cried and cried but the human who lives next to the barn had gone away for a couple of days and nobody heard me.  In the end, I couldn’t make any noise at all.

Suddenly, somebody realised I was there and got me out.

YukiDay2 (2)

Are you my Mummy?

I am very tiny now because I missed my food for two days and the human took me next door to where there is usually somebody home and they are used to animals like me.

They put me in a spare bedroom because there are big cats who live here and also big dogs.

Even though the humans came and played with me a lot – they say I’m cute – I felt a bit lonely and followed them around and sucked on their feet.  I liked to sit inside the human’s t-shirts and go to sleep and they said they might make me something called a ‘papoose’ to keep me warm.

YukiDay2 (7)

I’m not sure how to play with this and there is something inside that makes a loud noise.

Suddenly, there was a fuss and the human from next door made a delivery

YukiDay2 (4)

It was my sister

Then he came back

YukiDay2 (6)I think that’s my brother

and finally

YukiDay2 (8)Somebody else to show me how to play ball.

There are four of us living in the spare room now so I have warm fur to snuggle up with.

The humans here say I need to put on weight.  I weigh 270g and the others weigh 470g but they say I have now survived two nights since being stuck so they are hopeful.  The others are lapping from saucers but I’m still having a bottle as I’m so little.

YukiDay2 (9)

That will be me soon!

YukiDay2 (5)

There is a bowl of stones in the room and I think we are supposed to do our ‘business’ in there.  Here’s my big brother showing me how it’s done.  I don’t know how he knows this – cats are just clever I think.

The humans have said that, if I survive, even though there are already four big cats living here, even though they said ‘no more cats ever’, I have such ‘character’, they couldn’t possibly part with me.

YukiDay2 (1)

I don’t know why, do you?

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