Somebody Stop Me!

If you are a Liberty fabric lover I just thought I’d give you the heads up that they have a lot of their tana lawns and silk satins online now for 50% off.

Here is my stash so far

Liberty of London Fabrics

(the top gold bit is the paper wrapping!)

I can’t promise I won’t go back again for more – somebody needs to help me out here!!  My excuse  reasoning is that I have a project in the wings for which I have decided to use Liberty tana lawns – it’s not that I haven’t got a stash of it already but I couldn’t resist a few more at that price.

If you fancy treating yourself , you can find it here but don’t say I didn’t warn you that the temptation is great .

 

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Sewing Box Solutions

Well, I knew the blogging community would come through for me.  I now have answers to all my questions – some of which I hadn’t even thought to ask – so thanks for all your help and I have added the correct names to the list below in bold.

numbered-sewing-box

  1.  This is all metal with a hollow top that unscrews and a hollow tube inside – a retractable pencil?    A hole punch for adding a crocheted edge to fine fabrics.
  2.   A flat tool with cut out shapes at either end – one slightly wider than the other – and a slit at each end.  A ‘toothbrush needle’ for making rag rugs.
  3.   A pointy thing that looks like a little awl.  An awl.
  4.   A pointy thing with a tiny hook at the end.  A hook for crochet lace.
  5.   A thimble   (there are no flies on me)
  6.   Embroidery Scissors  (I’m getting good at this!)
  7.   Needle Case
  8.  Scissors
  9.  Flat tool with one pointed end and one rounded with a slot.  Threading Bodkin
  10.   A little hook – but what is the proper name/use .  Button Hook
  11.   Mini Knitting Needles
  12.   A doubled oval shape which is open ended.  Tatting Shuttle
  13.   Bobbins/Spools

Judging by the amount of lace related items and the fact that, when you lift up the tray, there are some examples of lace inside, I would imagine this belonged to somebody that made lace .

”No shit Sherlock”  I hear you say but there you go.

I hadn’t really thought about that little hole underneath the tatting shuttle but, as somebody pointed out, that would have probably had a little ribbon or hook to make it easier to pull out the tray.

Also – why the mirror?  It had occurred to me that it might be to check one’s appearance but dismissed it as madness.   However, apparently, such madness did exist in days gone by when people didn’t go to the supermarket and drop their kids off at school in their jammes, but refreshed their make up and did their hair in case of unexpected visitors or in case the  husband came home from work early and surprised them in their state of disarray.  If I get unexpected visitors when I’m in a state of disarray I just don’t open the front door.

Also, it has been suggested that this set is from the early 1900s  which is probably not too far off the mark although it could be as late as the 1950s.  Not sure.

Anyway thank you to all who helped me identify those tools – I think we’ve got them all now by a combined sterling effort.

Unless you know different, of course.

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What’s In The Box? – A Sunday Quiz

Everybody loves a box, don’t they?  It’s so intriguing to lift the lid and see what’s inside.

Antique Sewing Box

I spotted this lovely wooden box with inlay veneer – I think the wood is burr walnut – and once I opened the lid and looked inside – I just couldn’t resist it.

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I think it’s quite rare to find one of these sets in good condition and also with all the original tools inside.  Love the padded lid with the bevelled mirror – what’s the idea of  a mirror in a sewing box by the way?

Antique Sewing Box Tools

It needs a bit of a clean but, by and large, it’s in good nick considering its age which I’m guessing might be the 1930s perhaps, maybe a bit older.

As even I am not that old, I can’t identify some of the tools so, in case you don’t have anything better to do on a wintry Sunday, maybe you could help me.

I’ve numbered the tools in the photo below and have filled in the ones I already know – scissors anyone? 😉 – but some of them I have no idea.  I think those little spools are maybe boxwood and the tools themselves appear to be some sort of bone.

Any help to fill in the list below would be appreciated.

numbered-sewing-box

  1.  This is all metal with a hollow top that unscrews and a hollow tube inside – a retractable pencil?
  2.   A flat tool with cut out shapes at either end – one slightly wider than the other – and a slit at each end.
  3.   A pointy thing that looks like a little awl.
  4.   A pointy thing with a tiny hook at the end.
  5.   A thimble   (there are no flies on me)
  6.   Scissors  (I’m getting good at this!)
  7.   Needle Holder
  8.  Scissors
  9.  Flat tool with one pointed end and one rounded with a slot.
  10.   A little hook – but what is the proper name/use
  11.   Mini Knitting Needles
  12.   A doubled oval shape which is open ended.
  13.   Bobbins/Spools

As you can tell, I don’t have many of these tools in my sewing box so although I’ve a vague notion of what some of the unidentified ones are for, I don’t know the proper name or the exact purpose.

By the way, the tray lifts out and there is a storage compartment beneath which holds some pieces of old lace .  Lace is something else I know nothing about so there might be another quiz next week 😉

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Christmas Cats, Woolly Hats and That’s That for Another Year

Despite having six cats and three dogs roaming around the place, we put up a large ‘real’ Christmas tree in one room and a smaller ‘artificial tree’ in another.  They survived – relatively unscathed – until the new kitten (don’t ask) discovered he could shin up the centre of the artificial one creating havoc and mayhem among any food and drink stuffed, semi-comatose humans in the vicinity who were then forced to move at an unwelcome rate in order to prevent bauble breakage on a massive scale.    I suppose he found it all very amusing as, once achieved, he repeated it ad nauseum until, last night, I got fed up and took it down.

Cat in Christmas Tree

Having mulled (and drunk) enough red wine not to want to count the empty bottles, I decided to get up off my arse while still possible and hike up a small mountainside with the dogs.  I made Mr. T. take a photo of me to show me wearing my hat that came in one of my Stitching Santa parcels.  Despite the dark glasses and luminous dog harness I am not registered blind – just saying as I suddenly realised it might look like that.  Stan’s harness actually says ‘Ball Junkie’ and not ‘Guide Dog’.

Roquefixade

Thanks to Sheila over at Sewchet who organised the Stitching Santa again this year, I received a lovely package from Pippa at Beads and Barnacles in the U.K. who got me as her sewing recipient.

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Ignore the clove stuck orange – she didn’t send me that – I was on the way to mull (yet more) wine when the photography urge came upon me.

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Pippa had made some very useful pouches and a bag for me to keep stuff in and even a length of bias binding she had made.  Can you spot the blue fabric in the middle?  I did take larger photos of it but the colour didn’t come out right so this is the best view of it.  It is boiled wool jersey which I have never used before.  Any tips or suggestions on what to make with it?  Pippa suggested a sweater.  I have 1.5m and it has a slight stretch to it.

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Also in the parcel was a useful pattern and one of her lovely knitted hats which I am modelling for you in the above dog walking picture just to prove to her that I will actually wear it – she seemed doubtful for some reason.

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As I’m a knitting person as well as a sewing one, I thought I’d go for the knitting Santa too and, just in the nick of time, a day or two before Christmas, my package from Anne in Australia arrived.

(There’s that orange again – don’t worry you won’t see it again as it is now saturated with spiced wine – a bit like me – at the bottom of the bin)

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Anne chose two lovely hanks of wool from Plant Craft Cottage in the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne where the yarn is hand dyed – these ones with eucalyptus leaves apparently – so I’m now looking for something to knit with them – there is 25g of each colour, it is 8 ply Australian wool, needle size 4mm and gauge 22st to 10cm.  Any ideas knitting friends?

Ceramic Buttons

Three beautiful ceramic buttons were in the package

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Plus a lovely pencil drawing of a shell from Anne who is a talented nature and botanic artist so I’m very happy to have a little example of her work.

I was chuffed to bits to receive all these generous gifts and thanks again to Sheila for organising us all.  Sign me up again for next year!!

There was another gift that wasn’t quite so successful.  A few days before Christmas I went out to lunch with a friend of mine and we browsed about in some shops for a while.  We went into a home décor shop where each section was themed by colour and, as we passed through the orange and yellow ‘retro’ section she said ‘I can’t stand those two colours – I wouldn’t have them in my house’

Which was a shame because this was what was in the gift bag I’d handed her to put under her tree when I picked her up at her house earlier.

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Oops!

A more successful gift was this satchel that Mr. Tialys made for a close friend of ours who spent Christmas Day with us this year.

mockcrocsatchel-1

It is modelling for me on the bonnet/hood of her car as she was leaving the next morning with the bag stashed in her boot/trunk and I remembered I hadn’t recorded it for posterity and made her unpack it again.

So, that is that for another year.  I have made a couple of New Year’s resolutions but, after the disasters last year of my Firsty February (where I attempted not to drink any alcohol for a month and failed) and my Fabric Fast (which lasted 4 months instead of my pledged twelve) I will let you know what this year’s ones are if I actually manage to keep them and, if I don’t, nobody but me will be any the wiser.

Have a brilliant 2017 and I hope everything you wish for comes true.

 

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Signing Off

F2F Block Swap 2016 Finished Quilt Folded

Just a quick post to show you that I really did manage to finish my ‘man quilt’ in time to give it to Mr. Tialys for Christmas.  Thanks to Kate for organizing nine quilters for the F2F block swap again this year  meaning that,  apart from the blocks I made for myself , I also received 24 blocks from Australia, the States, Sweden, the Netherlands and France all diverse and gorgeous in my chosen colours.  This swap,  just as last year,  helped me to improve on my existing skills and develop some new ones –  foundation paper piecing is my new addiction.

Finished F2F Quilt Full Length

Thanks also to Kate for encouraging me to finish it by blogging about the Quilt As  You Go method which we were both using  to finish our quilts, mine for a Christmas gift and her own for another charity auction to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Awareness which you can see here.

Here’s the back in case he gets fed up with looking at the front where you can see more clearly  – though not too clearly I hope as my seaming wasn’t always spot on (or anywhere near) –  how the blocks are sandwiched together, quilted and then joined with strips.

F2F 2016 Finished Quilt Folded

This quilt will go and live in London to keep Mr. T. warm in his ‘commuter flat’.

Some lovely blocks were sent to me and, because the full length photo doesn’t do them justice, I folded the quilt in half and photographed them separately so you can see each block more clearly.  Unlike Kate I don’t live in Australia and the quilt was too long to hang on the washing line without draping on the frosty grass so I had to take the photos indoors on a larger bed than the quilt is intended for – although it is fairly large at about 65 inches wide x 78 inches long (1.6m x 1.9m).

Here’s the top half

F2F 2016 Finished Quilt top half

and the bottom half

F2F 2016 Finished Quilt Bottom Half

The new – and unintentional – member of the family was testing it out for comfort while I was attaching the binding and I think it passed.  (More about him at a later date!)

Sleeping Cat on Quilt

I just need to ‘sign off’ on the quilt by making and attaching a quilt label which I will do tomorrow and I will sign off on the blog now until just after Christmas when I will hopefully be able to share the contents of my Stitching Santa parcels with you. (Update – received the knitting one today – phew!)

I hope you all have a very enjoyable festive season with lots of good food and good company. Lynn x x 

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Zip It!

 

Considering I’m always trying to avoid making clothes with zips, I have been taking the bull by the horns, facing up to my fears, throwing caution to the wind, putting the zipper foot on and making zippered bags like a woman possessed.

Here are some boxy ones – a shape that I think would make a cool man’s washbag too in the right fabric.  It’s always difficult finding hand made gifts suitable for blokes I find.  Unless you knit socks, which I do, but very slowly.

Boxy Zipped Pouches

Some cosmetic pouches (or anything you want pouches).

Cosmetic Bags

I’ve got some lovely linen/canvas type fabrics in my stash that I don’t use for patchwork or clothing so these are ideal.

Everybody’s getting one of these for Christmas this year – maybe even my Stitching Santa partners but I’m not spilling the beans.

A sneaky peak at what I’ve sent my stitching partner and, no, that’s not a cot bumper at the back.

Stitching Santa Wrapped Up

Not to be opened until Christmas morning!

Stitching Santa Sneak View

I found the knitting Stitching Santa a bit more of a challenge for reasons I won’t divulge.

Wood and wool sheet

However, it is packed up – just looking for the right size box and it will be on its way.

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So, speaking of handmade gifts suitable for men, I now need to get my act together and finish Mr. T’s quilt otherwise his stocking will be a bit empty on Christmas morning.

How are your festive preparations coming on?  Why does time appear to pass much more quickly at this time of year?

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My Specsavers Moment

My daughter went on her Christmas ‘works do’ on Friday night.  I vaguely remember her telling me where it was being held but it had slipped my mind.

She has a friend called Ricarda.  a pretty young german girl with long blonde hair.

So when she sent me a text with this photo of herself  – in something I took for a flight simulator – I texted back  ‘Fantastic photo – is that Ricarda?’

 

Star Wars Exhibition Madame Tussauds

It was only when Mr. T. , through his incredulous laughter,  reminded me that the company she works for had taken over a section of  Madame Tussauds in London where there is a Star Wars exhibition on at the moment, that I realised  I obviously need some stronger reading glasses.

https://www.madametussauds.com/

chewbacca

Wookie warrior, pretty young german girl – what’s the difference?

Here she is later in the evening fraternising with somebody from Game of Thrones.

 Star Wars Exhibition Madame Tussauds

Only joking about that one but I know this isn’t Carrie Fisher.

Star Wars mania passed me by.

I want to say this was a real Specsavers moment for me but I don’t know that anybody outside of the U.K. would know what I mean.  Specsavers is a high street optician which has the tagline ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ – they’ve even had approval to trademark the word ‘should’ve’ I believe – and, over the years,  they have produced a series of ads with various situations where the person comes a cropper through not being able to see properly.  I know I’ve directed you to a few ads lately so I won’t do it again.

Oh, go on then.

 This is a very good one because of the beautiful music but, I must confess, I’m rather partial to the one where the vet starts to panic when he can’t find a cat’s heartbeat, only to realise he is trying to operate on his assistant’s furry hat.

I blame it on the hideous cold I’ve had – I think it might have affected my eyes.

Back to the arts and crafts next time – I promise.

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Struck Dumb

Scrawled Notes

I have been laid low by my first cold in years – which I could have coped with – but it turned into laryngitis.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a hideously painful throat in my life before but my memory’s got further and further back to go these days so I can’t swear to it.   OMG – the pain was excruciating.  So much so that I – who have a phobia of being anywhere near a hospital – nearly took myself off to A & E on Sunday morning as swallowing was so painful and as I was trying to cough at the same time I thought it would cut off my breathing.  As is clear, I am still here but have been silent since Saturday morning.  Mr. T. had always fantasized about such a thing but was soon disabused of the notion it might be ‘a good thing’ when I was unable to answer requests, questions, commands, etc. yelled from the other side of the house but could remain serenely silent and await the yeller – being Mr. T himself or Mlle. T. the younger – to actually approach me and speak in measured tones.  Then, the waiting game began whilst I scrawled my replies on a block of notes which finally became useful after years of perching on the edge of the desk.  It transpired that, over time, where my handwriting has been abandoned in favour of the keyboard, it is now almost illegible.  There followed scenes of what would have been hilarity if I’d been up to laughing, where husband and daughter tried to make sense of my scribble in a desperate attempt to communicate with me.  I think I might actually try it again one day when I’m only pretending so that I can sit back and enjoy the show.

Quilt as You Go Joining Progress

In an effort to take my mind off the throat that seemed to have taken over my whole body and made it all hurt – I decided to press on with joining my F2F Block Swap quilt together and, encouraged by Kate, who is also joining one up with the quilt as you go method, and the fact that I sort of realised I’d quite like to present this to the husband for Christmas, I started cutting up the strips.  I won’t bore you with the strips put on upside down, the not catching the binding in at the back first time round and all the other little mistakes I made in my Paracetemol/Ibuprofen Alternating state of mind but, suffice it to say, it didn’t go well at first.  However, here are the top and bottom corners of the quilt, laid side by side for ease of  ‘fit in photograph’ and now I have the right side to do which will consist of two sections of 3 blocks across x 3 blocks down.  Then, there will only be one long vertical strip to sew down between the left and right hand sides and I will have a 5 x 6 block sized, husband sleeping on his own in London (at least he better be!) sized quilt.  Kate was thinking that this method would avoid the necessity of doing long strips between each completed row and, so far, it seems to be a good idea.  Kate explains it much better here should you be interested in going down this path yourself.

A Handmade Bauble

Then this came in the post and I was very touched by it as Claire is always making little impromptu gifts for people and sending them out to them and it’s almost as if she knew I was in need of a bit of TLC. So germ infested hugs and kisses to you Claire for such a lovely thought  – your timing was perfect.

and finally……..

I love this ad from Poland which is really sweet and funny, encouraging for a post-Brexit Britain and so in the spirit of Christmas so, if you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy!

I’m off to drink more honey and lemon in hot water – I’m almost up to adding a tot of something stronger in it but I’ll wait until after 6.

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Darth – A Life in Feathers

I have known Darth since he was an egg

Egss in Fabric Basket

Back in 2006, 0ur four black hens went broody all at the same time and a neighbour gave us four fertile eggs for them to sit on.  Only two hatched and the proud parents got off the nest to make sure their little peeping yellow puff balls were eating and keeping safe.

Hen Chicks

At this stage we had no idea if they were male or female and, by the time it was obvious that one of them was a male, we didn’t want to to do anything about it.

So, the hens got a cockerel and so did we – and so did the neighbours.

Cockerel in his Prime

Here he is in his prime.

Darth with Mum (one of them)

He had various hens passing through his harem and one of his original mothers is still alive.  I suppose at one time his mothers became his lovers – fowl I know but that’s the way they roll in the chicken run.

He spent the next ten years or so making a lot of noise and probably upsetting quite a few people although they never said so – or not in so many words.

He survived several new dogs arriving who were not ‘chicken friendly’ at first and there was plenty of wishful thinking going on.

german shepherd with rubber chicken.

Regular readers will know he’s had a few problems lately including scabby legs, overgrown spurs (who remembers the hot potato treatment?)  and wobbly spells but a ten year old cockerel is pretty unusual I think.

Saturday before last he slipped off this mortal perch and is hopefully now roosting on a higher one with the lovely smooth(ish) legs of his youth.

Rooster

Darth Incubator

2006 – 2016

(Because even chickens deserve an obituary)

 

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What I’m Doing Instead of Zumba this Saturday Morning

**Warning: Heavy with craft photos and dog related text but all for a good cause.

This is Taz my ‘who knows what mixture of breeds?’ dog – we have had him since he was a pup.

Elderly Dog

He’s getting on now and, at eleven years old, he’s going grey, losing his hair and getting a bit grumpy.  Just like a lot of  humans really.  Much as I love him, he is a bit of a pain in his dotage.  He spends his days foraging for food, grumbling at the cats, lying across the kitchen floor in front of the fridge/cooker/cupboard/wherever you need to get to and bumping into things as his sight is going.  He spends his evenings sleeping, snoring and ‘scenting’ the air with the gaseous results of his aforementioned foraging and his nights wandering the corridor and aimlessly scraping at doors before sinking into a deep sleep.

I can only imagine then, what it must be like to care for 30 old dogs in your own home.  I don’t think I could do it but, luckily, there are people that can.  Mike and Leeanne came to France from the U.K. and have somehow found themselves dedicated to the care and comfort of elderly and disabled dogs by starting the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs or, as we are in France, Twilight Maison de Retraite pour les chiens you can read all about them here .

Twilight Maison de Retraite

This Saturday we are holding a fundraising event for Twilight and, although I don’t do craft fairs as a rule, I’m going along with some of my wares to see if we can’t help with the food, extensive vet bills and general running costs of caring for so many ‘retired’ dogs all in one place that Mike and Leanne face.

Of course, I will have my dog collars for sale….

Hand Made Dog Collars for Fundraising

Some dog bandanas……

Dog Bandanas for Fundraising

some simple tote bags (who let the cats in?)……..

Simple Tote Bags for Fundraising

some more cats disguised as angels……

Scented Cat Hanging Decs

a couple of knitted dog coats…….

Knitted Dog Coats

a few key fobs made with the leftover dog collar materials……

Key Fobs for Fundraising

the results of my recent foray into needlecases……

Quilted Needlecases

some mini poufs that have been taking up space in my workroom for a little while…….

Hexagon Cushions

likewise some doorstops……

Fabric Doorstops

four or five padded message boards……

Padded Noticeboards

a set of coasters…..

Reindeer Coasters

a rather fetching linen handbag I made which has Eiffel Towers on the lining fabric – très chic …..

Linen Purse

and a partridge in a pear tree an owl with a Christmas tree

Bookend

I just hope there will be people looking to buy some stocking fillers and I don’t come home with all of it .  I usually do my part by buying home made cakes (especially the ginger cake and Christmas pudding as they aren’t easy to come by here and Debbie makes some scrummy ones),  the bottle tombola (the bottles are generally full of something alcoholic) , some second hand books and whatever else takes my fancy.

I can always go and fling myself around in Zumba next Saturday but I’ll leave the last words to Mike and Leeanne to explain how Twilight came about.

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We started Twilight in the summer of 2009, in memory of losing our Kizzy, and needing to find a friend for our elderly but happy retriever, Teg.
It became evident, searching the pounds and refuges, that if you were an old
dog, life was not always so good, and your ending might be premature and/or without dignity.
So now we offer limited places for elderly dogs who are lost, abandoned or bereaved of their owners.

We are not a formal refuge, just mere volunteers with the time, space and love to share our calm home with the dogs ?en famille?. Twilight, La Maison de Retraite pour Les Chiens, the old doggies home.

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