Two Wooly Collie Crosses

As I haven’t done a post for a while, I thought I’d just drop in to show you my latest needle felted portraits which are both of collie cross type dogs.

The first one is my girl Flo.  She has many expressions and this is just one of them so I will probably do another one of her looking sly and another looking ashamed, the latter look generally following closely behind the former.

I bought some brightly coloured felt as a background for this one but, even though it is easier to needle felt on to, I think I prefer the more ‘arty’ look of natural linen.  I’m not completely sure though so coloured felt could still figure in future portraits.

My sister in law sent me an e-card last week which was an animated version of her new young rescue dog wishing me a happy birthday in, what I imagine is my SIL’s voice slightly distorted to sound as if she’d taken a lungful of helium. Either that or she has a rare talking dog.   As it’s her birthday in July I thought I’d take a screen shot from the card and do a portrait for her birthday as a surprise.

So, here’s my version of Callie.

I need to frame her but can’t decide whether to use a large embroidery hoop or a deep frame.  The hoop will be a lot cheaper to post as Mr. Tialys is still stuck in France so can’t be my mule for items I want taken over to the U.K.  – nor indeed items I want brought over from the U.K. – but, so far, I’ve been waiting since the beginning of May for some hoops I ordered to arrive so it might be a frame after all.

Do you prefer the felt (doesn’t need to be green) or linen look?

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Scraphappy (birth)Day – June

Pssst!

I’ve got something to tell you.

Make it quick Short Stuff I need my sleep.

Well, today is the 15th of June so not only is it Scraphappy Day – hence the basket of felt scraps –

but it’s also The Servant’s birthday.

She’s how old? I don’t believe you.

It’s true, she remembers The Clangers * and she was even a bit too old for them then.

I’ve got her this flower.  What have you got her?

Let me think…..

Hmmm.  I’ve given her plenty of mice before but she doesn’t seem to like them.  She looks cross and calls me disgusting so I think you’re off the hook.

I’ll have to think of something else.  Maybe a lizard.

What are you doing done up like a cat’s dog’s dinner anyway?

She made me this little waistcoat out of scrap felt.

It even has a little vent to accommodate my tail.

I think the embroidery and the gold button from the vintage button jar make me look as if I’m wearing a Mayoral chain of office.

My whiskers are made from real horse hair taken from The Servant’s friend’s horse – does that count as scrap?

I’ve no idea, now shift over and let me get some shut eye, I think The Servant has spun this tale of a very small scrap project out for long enough now.

 

 

For my non-British readers.  The Clangers (1969-1974) was a series that chronicled the melancholically funny lives of the Clangers, a flutey-voiced family of woolen, knitted aliens living below the surface of a knobbly little planet far out in space. Their misadventures brought them into contact with such unlikely creatures as the Soup Dragon, the Froglets, the Iron Chicken and the Glow Buzzers.  (IMDb)

 

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #27

For a couple of weeks now the lockdown in France has been eased considerably and, from this week, it will be further relaxed with bars and restaurants opening.  Why don’t I feel like going out then?  I seem to have become a voluntary recluse.

However, after I WhatsApped a photo of myself to my daughter last week and she compared me to this character, I have felt pressured to make an appointment with the hairdresser.

The Addams Family’s Cousin Itt

I think if I took a leaf out of his book and put on a beret and some sunglasses I could carry off the look for another few weeks.  What do you think?

 

 

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Pooch Portrait Gallery

Remember my first forays into 2D needle felting and, in particular, dog portraits?

I thought you might like to see how I’ve been getting on since I started at the beginning of February.

My dog Stan was my first go but I could see room for improvement.  Which was just as well otherwise why pay for a course?

The next one I did was a Trailhound.  I don’t have a Trailhound, and don’t know anybody who has but the photo was in the course for us to use as a practice piece for a smooth coated dog.  Even though he was only my third go – I did a practice Jack Russell too which I showed in an earlier post – I think he’s still the best thing I’ve done so far.

I was really pleased with him and the practice will come in handy for when I do a portrait of my girl Flo as she has a similar look.

Next I did another practice piece, copying the Lhasa Apso photo on the course to try out a longer haired dog as I wanted to do my sister’s Westie for her birthday.

The long hair was difficult but I think I made a passable portrait and I was pleased with the collar.

We lost Phoebe, our lovely German Shepherd back in 2013 and I didn’t have that many suitable photos of her to copy but I used what I had and I’m quite pleased with the result.

I’m sure those of you who paint will already know how many different colours are present in things you previously thought of as comprising only a few.  I used so many colours of fibre in those ears and, close up, I thought it looked ridiculous but, once you stand back, it all seems to work.

Then it was time for the Westie.  He’s called Harvey and my sister adores him so I wanted to make my first portrait for somebody other than myself a good one.

Again, the long hair, going off in all different directions, was difficult but hopefully she’ll be able to recognise her beloved fluff ball.  To be honest, I think most Westies look the same but I’m sure their owners don’t think so.

I won’t be framing my practice pieces, but for the others I found some good frames in Ikea which are perfect for textile art because you can sink the image quite a way down from the glass.  At least it was glass when I bought this one to frame Phoebe but when I ordered another four of the frames online the glass had been replaced by some sort of polycarbonate.

I still think they are good though and very reasonably priced if you are thinking of framing any textile work.  The model is called Ribba, they come in both black and white and they cost about 7 euros.

Next up, will be my beautiful Flo

I’m still really enjoying myself with this and working with lovely pure wool fibres is a treat.

Thank you for visiting my gallery.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #26

I think my dressmaking mojo has returned with a vengeance………

………….. ‘just’ the waistband and rivets and buttons to go now

………and if I haven’t done too much of this during lockdown,

Photo by Anton Belashov on Unsplash

I might actually be able to wear them soon.

 

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ScrapHappy May

Scraphappy Day has come around very fast this month.  I’m amazed how the time has flown considering the restrictions on our movements which I thought would make it drag.

As a result, I was a little unprepared so I’m showing a new version of a project I’ve made several times before, some of which I showed on a previous Scraphappy day.  Sorry about that but the timing was good for me as my youngest daughter has expressed an interest in sewing and, although I’m not holding out much hope, I want to encourage it as it’s more useful than some of her other interests.

So, I made her one of my needle books.

I had some of this fabric left from a project I can’t remember making but there were large pieces cut out of it so I know it exists somewhere.  The fabric is significant as one of my daughter’s nicknames is ‘Bea’ and the logo for my handmade shop on Etsy is a dragonfly.

The inside lining and pocket are made from a bit of patchwork I had left over from a quilt I made for a baby .

I used some scrap felt for the ‘book’ and thought I’d include these cat themed scissors and heart pin in the package.

Together with a selection of odd buttons, it might give her a bit of a kick start to a sewing future and, if not, well she can pass it all on to her sister who does sew.

While I was in the needle book groove I made another one which isn’t from scrap but I’ve been dying to use this fun Japanese linen blend fabric for ages.

To be honest, this fabric would also be fairly relevant to Mlle Tialys the Younger – but don’t tell her I said so.

 

EDIT: just showed the second needle case to Mr. T. and he pointed out that’s not how sloths hang 🙃 .  Doh!  This will have to be a spare needle case for me now. 🙄

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

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42 Comments

Stockpiling Summer Dresses in Lockdown

Just before the lockdown started and I lost my dressmaking mojo I completed this Cheyenne Tunic from Hey June Patterns.

If you think it looks familiar and you follow Love Lucie, you are right.  She made a monkey one too in a sort of burnt orange colour and, although I admired it and had already made the pattern up once myself in a double gauze fabric, I had no plans to add monkeys to my wardrobe.

Then I went shopping in Toulouse – aah, those were the days – and saw the same fabric in both this golden yellow colour and a dusky pink.  So, despite the fact that I probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention in the normal course of events, I recalled Lucie’s lovely version and felt it was fate and had to buy some.  My friend advised against the pink as she said it didn’t do me any favours.  She was actually more specific than that but suffice it to say it was enough to make me decide on the yellow and feel vaguely depressed about my complexion.

Shortly after I’d finished it we went into lockdown and it just sat forlornly on the mannequin.  Well, as forlornly as something yellow covered in monkeys can look.   So I lost my dressmaking mojo.   The only thing I thought I might do, as I had the pattern, denim and all the trimmings already purchased, was make another pair of jeans.  Luckily, this idea was superceded which is just as well as any jeans I make now will, hopefully, be too big for me when Mr. Tialys is able to go back to work in the U.K. and leave me to resume the minimal feeding/drinking/baking I usually employ when left alone and don’t have a six foot four male to take into consideration.

Last year I made a clutch of summer dresses and don’t need any more.  In fact, I instructed Mr. Tialys, and anybody else who will allow me to give them instructions, not to let me make any more summer dresses.

There was a pattern that caught my eye though.  It had 20% off.  I knew I already had some fabric that would be perfect for it.  I often ignore instructions even when I’ve asked for them.  So, I bought the pattern even though that same honest friend told me the style probably wouldn’t suit my shape as it has a fitted bust and high waistline so would make me look ‘all bosom’.   This time, I didn’t let her sway me although I decided to make the dress a size bigger than usual forgetting that, when I do that, it usually fits me round the bust but is too big everywhere else and I lowered the waistline forgetting that I have quite a short waist so a high waist drafted for a normally waisted person is not high on me. So then, I had to do alterations which I hate with a passion.

I took the shoulder seam up which hoiked the waist up but also the darts so I had to shorten them.  Then I had to alter the sleeve armscyes so they would match up.  Then, there was too much ease in the back because, a) there should be ties on the back of the dress which I don’t like so didn’t add which meant the ease was sitting there not being used and b) I’d made it too big for me anyway.  So, I added darts in the back.  It’s practically a whole different dress!

Love the pockets!

Having faffed about with the pattern to make it both fit and suit me, I thought I might as well make another one and, this time, I would finally get around to learning how to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) so that I could make the smaller size I need but accommodate my embonpoint as the French so delicately put it.  This is yet another valuable skill I now have thanks to lockdown.  Some of the others are choosing really bad films to watch on Netflix and not realising how bad they are until halfway through, becoming very discerning about how dark dark chocolate needs to be before I will eat it and how to avoid cooking/dog walking/shopping whilst having somebody else in the house who will do it instead.

Anyway, with FBA skills now in hand, I proceeded to make a sleeveless version of Megan Nielsen’s Darling Range dress – for that is the pattern of which I speak – in some other fabric I already had and, although it is pink, it is brighter and has a lot of black in it so will not hopefully have the same effect as the pink monkeys.

I still added back darts rather than use a tie on this version .  The sleeveless hack requires some bias facing which I did in the same fabric.

Some restrictions are supposed to be lifted here in France as of tomorrow.  At the very least we are not going to need a permission slip – filled in and signed by ourselves 🙄 – to leave the house and, although the ‘ladies that lunch’ lifestyle that a lot of people fondly imagine I enjoy, won’t be resuming any time soon, at least I’ll have dresses for when it does.

And monkeys of course.

 

Have you used your time in lockdown to learn any new skills?

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41 Comments

A Wren’s Nest

AMONG the dwellings framed by birds
In field or forest with nice care,
Is none that with the little Wren’s
In snugness may compare.

from ‘A Wren’s Nest’ by William Wordsworth

 

Just sharing this perfect little nest of moss amongst the ivy in our lean-to shed right down the other end of the garden where we keep the lawnmower, the empty pots, saucers and garden wire.

We’ve seen the little wren hopping in and out but I don’t want to disturb her too much.

I hope it will be safe from the cats.

 

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32 Comments

Getting Cross With Cross Stitch

My ‘real life’ sewing friend and I are always searching for new projects to do on our (pre-lockdown) regular Wednesday afternoon three hour sessions which are interrupted only by two tea breaks and a cake.

Anyway, undeterred by previous rubbish patterns in magazines, we were seduced by this little cartonnage house made with card and fabric and – shock, horror – cross stitch.

If you read my blog regularly you will know that cross stitch is one of my ‘never say never and I mean it’ things, like sea cruises and anchovies, but I thought, nothing ventured nothing gained and she can teach me.  Plus, how cute is that little house with roses round the door and windows.

I should have known better.

For starters, not only was it a French magazine but it was a French magazine translated from the Italian.

For followers, (is that even a phrase?) the pattern was absolutely terrible and the only way we managed to work it out was because we had both previously done quite a bit of cartonnage work.

There were no helpful pictures of the actual construction or the inside to help – only diagrams which didn’t make any sense and photographs of the finished piece.

To top it all, they had you glue each end of the apex of the roof onto the slender tops of the front and rear facade which we decided was ridiculous because if you had anything of any weight inside it would make carrying it around a bit risky in case of droppage followed by spillage and also, it’s quite deep so would be fiddly to reach for things at the bottom.

So, we decided to leave the roof unstuck and, if we’d made that decision earlier, might not have bothered with the handle.

All this faffing around took us several weekly sessions and many cups of tea and pieces of cake to come up with the house shaped box.

And then…….

Came the cross stitch.

I cannot lie.  I very rarely give up on something but, after two sessions of managing a couple of crosses – and even they were wrong – I threw my toys out of the pram, swore fluently in both French and English and refused to continue.  I said I would figure out a way of making those windows and that door out of something other than fiddly strands of thread that you have to separate into thinner fiddly strands and then watch it run out just as you are mid-way through a stitch.  A way where I wouldn’t have to use a magnifying glass to see where to place the stitch and then, when I actually managed to do one didn’t look like a cross anyway because it was so tiny or, more likely, because I’d done it wrong.  Something that wouldn’t send me home feeling I’d wasted a couple of hours and needing to take a painkiller for a headache.

I thought about little felt windows and doors.

Even though I had subjected her to a mini tantrum and ranted about how awful counted cross stitch is and why does anybody ever do it, my friend forgave me and, better still, when I went back the next week, she’d done it for me.

I’m a bit ashamed of myself but I think I did a good job on the yoyos.

At least I now know that counted cross stitch will stay on my ‘never say never and I mean it’ list for ever and ever.

Do you have a ‘never say never and I mean it’ list?

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39 Comments

Sunday Stunners

I took a break from sewing and felting to throw a ball for the dogs and indulge in a bit of outdoor photography for a change as there are some particularly pretty goings on in the garden at the moment.  The photos are mostly in close up so you can’t see the weeds.

Rhododendron growing in a pot on the terrace.

Hundreds and hundreds of tiny yellow roses climbing up the terrace wall.

Capturing this beautiful peony before the rain spoils it.

Snowball Viburnum before it turns white.

White Lilac

Lilac Lilac going mad in the old chicken run

Phlox on Stone

Rhododendron again just because.

I’ve probably never appreciated my garden as much as I do at the moment as well as all the hard work Mr. Tialys has put into it over the years to make it somewhere lovely to be – weeds and all.  We actually ate weeds the other day.  He made a nettle and cleaver omelette served with garlic mustard leaves for lunch.  I was a bit suspicious but he had some too and I’m still here and probably full of nutrients.

 

 

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