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’.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


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


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.



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.


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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  1. #1 by claire93 on January 1, 2017 - 14:06

    okay, my curiosity is aroused . . . what’s this about the extra kitten????
    Looks like you gave and received some gorgeous gifts, including that orange retro bag (you can’t win them all) and leather satchel made by Mr T is brilliant!

    • #2 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 11:26

      The kitten – around 5 months old – appeared outside our house about 4 weeks ago. He was obviously used to people, was very affectionate and, later, we discovered he was used to using a litter tray. Of course, we took him in and I put posters up all around the village, at the vets and on ‘Chat Perdu’ and ‘Pet Alerte’ on Facebook. Nobody came for him which didn’t surprise me as I think somebody had driven over from another village and dumped him in ours. After a quick health check to make sure he didn’t have anything nasty, he started mixing with all our other animals and then, when he started to show some dominant behaviour towards the other cats I decided to get him ‘done’, vaccinated and tattooed. I took down the posters and, if anybody comes for him now, they owe me over 100 euros! This will really have to be the last time we can do this though. We have six now, plus I feed the five in next door’s barn when he’s away (which is more often than not) – and I’m actually a dog person more than a cat person!!

  2. #3 by katechiconi on January 1, 2017 - 14:07

    The only resolution I have is not to make any! Works every year 🙂
    I don’t know how much you can make with the quantity of yarn you received, but is a pair of mittens to go with your handsome hat a possibility? Maybe with the odd cable and perhaps in stripes…? I hope 2017 is a good one for you, and that life saves its disasters for someone else.

    • #4 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 11:20

      I’m looking at a knitted hedgehog pincushion pattern! However, I’d rather make a French coffee press cozy as I do actually need one so I might look if I have enough for one of those.

      • #5 by katechiconi on January 2, 2017 - 13:20

        That sounds a much better idea; something you actually need and will use regularly.

  3. #6 by sew2pro on January 1, 2017 - 17:30

    I would have said the same thing about orange and yellow a month ago and then I saw a beautiful mustard silk shirt in a charity shop (not my size) and I’ve become obsessed with the colour (which is halfway between orange and yellow) and seem to only have eyes for mustard. So likewise, I’m sure your charming bag will be a winner.

    And Mr T’s leather bag is unbelievably beautiful: I can’t believe you didn’t emotionally blackmail him into giving it to you!

    Wasn’t Stitching Santa was great (what a lovely and generous gift from Anne)? Thanks for persuading me to take part instead of just watch.

    • #7 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 11:17

      I like mustard too, especially paired with navy blue. It’s a colour that I suspect might not suit me though – I never know how you can tell these things – I ought to have had my ‘colours done’ years ago but never got round to it.
      As husband is still making ‘prototypes’, I am getting bags to ‘test drive’ and got mobbed by some French ladies recently when carrying a large black satchel who demanded to know where I got it. When I told them my husband had made it they wanted to know where we lived, where his workshop was, whether he sold them, where he sold them, etc. – they were quite insistent and I had to fend them off. I missed the chance to do some market research by asking what price range they thought it would be in as he really needs to decide which path to take if he starts selling them. The one in the photo above was mostly done on his industrial sewing machine but others are completely hand-stitched.
      I’m glad you took part in Stitching Santa. I worried this year about my knitting partner as she doesn’t blog but uses Instagram (in German) and crochets whereas I only knit. I find the sewing ones easier to choose for. I hope Sheila will do it again next year – I think she will as it’s definitely growing in popularity.

      • #8 by sew2pro on January 2, 2017 - 13:38

        That’s very funny about Fending off the French ladies. Just as well they didn’t want the husband!!

  4. #9 by sewchet on January 1, 2017 - 18:48

    What about some boot toppers? You know the ones – lacy bits that look pretty poking out the top of your wellies to glam up a country walk. Did your friend still not like the bag after opening it? I dislike orange, yellow and brown retro things, but love the bag. Love the kitten/tree anecdote. Hilarious!

    • #10 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 11:06

      Boot toppers is an idea – thanks – although I don’t generally make any attempt at all to look glam when I’m dog walking as you can tell by the photo! She did like the bag – I think it was mainly home furnishings she was referring to.

  5. #11 by Frivolous Monsters on January 1, 2017 - 20:33

    Hope you had a good Christmas. Sadly we have long ago surrendered the Christmas decorations because of the cats. Now we are down to barely nothing. I have been beaten into submission, but it is what it is.

    • #12 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 10:59

      All the other cats completely ignore the tree(s) and I’m hoping this one will too by the time next Christmas comes around as he will be older, wiser, lazier and probably fatter, just like the rest of them.

      • #13 by Frivolous Monsters on January 2, 2017 - 14:36

        We have found some cats are addicted to plastic. Will lick and possibly eat plastic bags, chew wires at every opportunity, and the like. Some cats. There seems to be no shaking it. Good luck. The one I live with turned out not to do any of the above so I can trust him…apart from weeing on the carpet from time to time.

  6. #14 by Thimberlina on January 1, 2017 - 20:39

    what fabulous gifts – both the ones you and your hubby made and the ones you’ve received. I’m sure your friend’s taste in colours will change once she sees your lovely gifts, if it doesn’t give her my address!! I didn’t think you looked like a blind person, but after reading your comments you do and it really made me chuckle!!
    Happy new year to you, looking forwards to following you and your animals antics in 2017 xx

    • #15 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 10:56

      Thanks Ali. I sent my friend a message saying ‘sorry about the yellow and orange’ but she said she loves the design and was only talking about furniture 😉

  7. #16 by magpiesue on January 1, 2017 - 21:11

    Friends of ours swear by the loaded squirt gun they use to keep the cats away from their Christmas tree. Just a thought for next year. ;- ) What wonderful treasures you’ve received, and given! That satchel of Mr. T’s is marvelous. I hope it gets well used. Here’s to another year of creativity, friendships, and fun!

    • #17 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 10:52

      Thanks for the tip Sue. The strange thing is, he ignored the tree for the first week or so and then couldn’t leave it alone. All my other cats ignore it so, hopefully, next Christmas he will be older and wiser and do the same.

  8. #18 by Oh Sew Tempting on January 2, 2017 - 00:18

    I really enjoyed this post 🙂 I never resolve to do anything for the New Year but I always end up super busy. How that happens, I’ve no idea. Have an amazingly brilliant 2017 Lynn!

  9. #20 by Jodie on January 2, 2017 - 01:27

    What great swap gifts !!!! Iam impressed that you can hike up any mountain even a small one…and that bag the Mr made is amazing ! Does he use an industrial machine?

    • #21 by tialys on January 2, 2017 - 10:45

      He has bought himself an industrial machine and this one was mostly made on that but he has made other satchels in thicker leather which he entirely hand-stitched. He’s still a ‘beginner’ and is trying to perfect his methods, timings and designs so, in the meantime, family, friends and me of course, get to own some unique bags.

  10. #22 by Emma on January 2, 2017 - 13:13

    Such lovely gifts, you got spoilt! Happy new year! X

  11. #24 by Born To Organize on January 3, 2017 - 05:28

    I’ve been having fun looking at all the stitching and knitting Santas. What fun. I had to laugh when your friend pointed out that the loathed the very colors she was about to receive under her tree. Ah, life. I’m glad in the end she will be happy with your lovely bag. It’s cute!

    Thank you for sheltering so many kitties. It makes my blood boil to see cats abandoned in such a heartless way. It happens all the time. I’m glad you were able to save the tree ornaments from harm. And having your boy neutered means no more unwanted kitties from his lineage. It seems so simple.

    Most resolutions fail in the first thirty days, so I’ve given up making them myself. I am still trying to come up with a word for the year. Nothing is flowing so far.

    • #25 by tialys on January 3, 2017 - 10:01

      It is fun Alys – perhaps you might join in next year.

      • #26 by Born To Organize on January 4, 2017 - 02:39

        You know I considered it this year, but since I don’t have a sewing or knitting blog, per se, I wondered if it would be too challenging for someone to figure me out? Let me think on that.

  12. #27 by dezertsuz on January 3, 2017 - 07:30

    I’m glad to read your friend liked the bag after all. It’s adorable fabric, and certainly going to brighten up any space it’s in, and be useful as well. I was going to say she could just forward it on to me. LOL Your gifts are fabulous! Love those buttons. No clue what you can make with anything. I quilt, that’s it. =)

    • #28 by tialys on January 3, 2017 - 10:04

      But you do what you do very well! I am a bit of a Jack of all trades and wouldn’t say I’m an expert at anything really.

  13. #29 by jendavismiller on January 3, 2017 - 14:07

    Your posts never fail to make me smile. Or laugh out loud. Fabulous gifts you’ve received and given! Pretty buttons, nice blue fabric, cute hat. Lovely little owl bag (my mom hates mustard fabrics – I’m being drawn to them more and more) and that satchel! Sweet new Christmas kitten. Resolutions? Probably not. I just want to get a move on with my sewing. And read more. And get in shape. But they’re not official resolutions. 😉

    • #30 by tialys on January 3, 2017 - 15:08

      That’s the secret to resolutions – don’t make them official!

  14. #31 by Beads and Barnacles on January 3, 2017 - 14:10

    🙂 I’m Glad you liked the presents. It wasn’t so much that you wouldn’t wear it but that I didn’t want you to feel you had to should you not like it/ have one you have already made yourself 🙂
    We need to make a french press cozy as well, but will probably make it out of quilted fabric. You could possibly knit a fancy piece and then mount it on a quilted backing to give it a bit more stability/longevity.

    What a fantastic leather bag, if he needs any more prototype testers sign me up :p

    • #32 by tialys on January 3, 2017 - 15:16

      I have made a similar(ish) one but I made it for my husband in dark blue although on particularly cold mornings I have been known to nick it for dog walking purposes. However, the one you made fits me perfectly and the colour suits me better so now I have my own. I must admit that I am a little worried about making a French press cozy with such lovely yarn – probably better to use acrylic so that it can be slung in the washing machine. I think I’ll stash it for now and something will present itself to me in due course. What will you use your boiled wool jersey for? I’m wondering if I could use it to make one of my favourite t-shirt patterns – a long or 3/4 sleeved one. I might have to go up a size as there’s not quite so much stretch in it as some of the jerseys I would usually use but I think it would work. I’ll let my husband know that he would have no shortage of testers for his bags 🙂

      • #33 by Beads and Barnacles on January 5, 2017 - 17:36

        yeah I think if you were making a tshirt pattern you would def have to size up as it isn’t as stretchy as many jerseys. I was planning on making a jumper from the plus size section of one of the Burda style magazines that I have but I made it in another fabric and is way too large at the neckline. I’m not sure whether to try and fix it or look for another pattern. possibly just a raglan sleeved jumper pattern.

  15. #34 by Kim on January 3, 2017 - 16:30

    Still giggling about the ‘not blind’ comment. So funny!
    have you checked out Ravelry to see what can be done with the quantity of yarn you have? It’s always my ‘go to’ spot to see what can be made with rash purchases :). I got one of Pippas hats in my parcel from NIkki of Beads and Barnacles too! Aren’t we lucky?
    Your husbands bag is gorgeous. Bearing in mind the cost of satchels in such places as the Cambridge Satchel Company he should price them high 🙂

    • #35 by tialys on January 4, 2017 - 11:14

      I had a quick look on Ravelry but need to do a bit more of a thorough search. If I don’t find anything I’ll probably stash it until the perfect project presents itself.
      One of my daughters has a couple of satchels from a similar satchel company and, as with all handbags he can get his hands on these days, my husband pores over them for construction and design tips and then criticises the workmanship or quality of the leather and/or hardware. He needs to decide where to pitch his future production – if he’s going to individually design them and hand stitch them, he’ll have to go for the luxury market but, without a name like Michael Kors or Chloe stamped all over them, he will have a slow start. Still, we shall see.

  16. #36 by Lisa Isaacs on January 5, 2017 - 08:55

    Your posts always make me giggle. I am sure your friend loved the purse you made here. It’s gorgeous! As is the bag your clever husband made! Hope you had a lovely Christmas.

    • #37 by tialys on January 5, 2017 - 09:05

      Thanks Lisa – lovely to hear from you. A happy New Year to you and yours. x

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