Just moved back to England after almost sixteen years living in S.W. France - the weather is a bit of a shock.

Homepage: http://www.thetialys.wordpress.com

Successes and Failures

Summer seems to be gearing up for arrival in the West Country (UK) and the gardener in the house (who is not me) is very busy with greenfingered goings on at weekends and whenever he can snatch some time away from the computer and meetings for half an hour or so.

A living willow heart bought at Saturday’s farmers’ market but will it be a success or failure? I’ll keep you posted.  The pond is alive with the sounds of mating goldfish which is unfortunate as we were already trying to give some away before the watery lovefest began.  Does it make me a bad person to say I hope they eat their own young?

Gardening is supposed to be relaxing but, honestly, from a bystander’s point of view it seems very stressful.  It’s either too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry, too many bad insects, not enough good insects, expensive plants fail, weeds thrive.  There are failures but enough successes, I suppose, to make it all worthwhile for a keen gardener.

This is also true for projects in the kitchen and the sewing room, although not usually as dependent on the weather.  I had some ‘oops’ moments in both rooms at the weekend but it won’t stop me carrying on.

I made a seagull themed circular tablecloth for one of the garden tables to match the seat pads and I ran out of bias binding about 30cm before the end.  This was due to my terrible grasp of Pi (?) matched only by the equally mathematically challenged assistant in the haberdashery shop.  Still, I made it work by adding a spare piece of bias binding I had in my stash to plug the gap as it were.  I actually wish I’d had more of the gingham as I think it’s more cheerful than the plain green but, heyho, it’s a garden tablecloth and who will care?

‘Failure’ obviously didn’t want to be outdone however because the rather nice Maroc style solar lantern was flung to the floor as a gust of wind lifted up the tablecloth and shattered one side of it into a million pieces.

In the kitchen, this cake, fresh from the oven full of almonds and lemon curd, looks like a lovely, tasty success….

……but it was a dense, sticky, bland, not to mention expensive failure.  I blame the recipe and, in all honesty, this time I really believe that to be true so I won’t bother to share it.

However, I did finally finish my tailored jacket project and will share the process soon as part of my ‘Challenging Myself’ series.  There were many hiccups along the way (right up to sewing the button on at the end actually)  and one or two niggling issues with the finished item but, by and large, I’m counting it as a success.

Also, to end on a high (and cute photo) I knitted a jumper and made a pair of jeans to fit a polar bear.  I think they are successes and, if not, the bear won’t complain.

How was your weekend? Did you have more successes than failures?



, , , , , , , ,


Oops It’s Scraphappy Day

It’s the 15th already and I haven’t done anything for Scraphappy.  This is partly because I have been trying to finish an ongoing project that has taken me far too long, partly because, as soon as I have finished it I’ve got a long queue of other things waiting for me and mostly because I’ve been too disorganised, uninventive and slow to recognise time rushing by.

As it used to say on my school reports, ‘the potential is there if only she would apply herself’ and, even more frequently, ‘inclined to chatter’.  I daresay you are amazed about that last quote and can hardly imagine it being the case.

So, sorry about that (‘could do better’ was another one) but there are some blogging friends who have probably risen to the challenge and here is where you may find their interesting takes on using up their scraps.

Kate, Gun, EvaSue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys, ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith NanetteAnn,

Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti, DebbieroseNóilinVivKarrin, Amo, AlissaLynn(me)  Hannah and Tierney

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.


Challenging Myself No. 1 – Waxed Cotton

As I’ve had a long break from blogging, and I haven’t been totally unproductive in the intervening months, I do have quite a few things to show you if only I can find the relevant photos, can remember what I made and how I made it and can motivate myself to write some posts without boring you to death,

So here’s my first attempt at bringing you (and myself) up to date with some of the things I’ve been doing

Much as I love making dresses and blouses I finally came to some conclusions:

  1.  I have far too many of both
  2.  Yet, I still fall for the ready to wear variety so seem to acquire more too regularly (especially as I now volunteer in a charity shop a couple of times a week and – staff discount 😏).
  3.  I feel I need to challenge myself a bit more in construction techniques
  4.  I want to spend more time and take more care over making things instead of just churning out easy to make stuff in relatively cheap fabric although I’m not promising I won’t be doing some of that too.

For my first ‘challenging’ make, I decided on an anorak which I thought would come in handy in the transitional months where it’s not too cold or rainy or hot (the last being the least likely in the U.K.).

I decided on the Kelly Anorak by Closet Core as I’ve used their patterns before and find them very good with useful online tutorials to watch.

I fancied making it with waxed cotton fabric – a challenge all of its own – and found a British company selling it by the metre at a reasonable price.  I chose an antique finish so that it would already look ‘pre-loved’ as if I’d actually been on some country walks (aka dragged through muddy puddles a few times by the dogs) and not just down from London on a weekend break in a clean Range Rover (we have a mud covered Ford that’s scratched to death caused by having to dive into hedgerows on a regular basis avoiding horses, cows, tractors and mad people doing more than 20mph on blind bends. Oh, and I might have taken the turn into our driveway a little too snugly on one occasion.).   Anyway, I digress.  My plan was to treat each stage of the make almost like a separate project or at least those parts of the project I’d never done before such as gusseted flap pockets, a separable zip, a hood, underlining, drawstring waist and, most terrifying of all as they would be done last and could ruin the whole thing, metal snaps – hundreds of them or so it seemed.

I’m pretty sure I took photos at each stage for your future delectation but who knows where they are in my complicated online filing system so I’m afraid that means that those of you who like to see the process (mostly Kate) will be disappointed.  Suffice it to say, I underlined it in ordinary cotton fabric which is not wax resistant so there might be a few grease stains in places (inside the hood is one),  I was inordinately proud of my gusseted flap pockets (tribute photo above), I wish I’d made the hood slightly less deep as I feel a bit like I’m wearing blinkers when I wear it up and I made Mr. Tialys come and keep me company when it was time to attach the snaps because I was terrified to be alone with them.  Perhaps I thought I could somehow blame him if something went wrong with them.

There you go – the highs and lows of the process in words instead of pictures.  I’ll try to do better next time.

Anyway, a bit wordy so here are some photos of the finished article.

I haven’t been drained of blood in this photo – that ghostly white vision is just the neck of my mannequin. (Just in case  you’re not wearing your reading glasses)

Even more snaps in the back view

Worn casually open when you just can’t be bothered to tackle both zip and 9 or 10 snaps.

and, finally, an anorak in windswept action.

Next time I grapple with some pin tucks.  Although that might be after I’ve shared the 2D felting of multiple mushrooms.  I imagine your excitement knows no bounds.

Hopefully see you then.




, , , , , ,


Scraphappy Day April 2023

Happy to be back with Scraphappy and ready to show you the highs and lows of my efforts this month.
Firstly, I have to show off my beautiful new pink cutting mat bought at the recent crafting event I visited.  I also bought the heart shape there but already had the coordinating pink crochet hook which coincidentally makes this pic Instagram worthy fodder – or would do if I ever used my IG account so it’s just for you instead.

Had to buy a new mat after I did some ironing on my last one like a complete muppet

Years ago, inspired by some of my fellow sewing/patchwork bloggers, I started a ‘parts department’ and actually bothered to cut some fabric scraps into lots of different sized squares and put them into labelled poly bags.

Those were the days – now I just shove any scraps randomly into a box.

So, despite having a tailoring project that I started around 18 months ago still on the dress form as well as several other things on the go, I saw a project online and decided it had to be done without delay.  I think it’s called enthusiasm – or procrastination –  I am prone to both.
So, I spent the next couple of hours listening to music whilst randomly poking 2.5 inch squares of fabric into a polystyrene heart with a 3.25 crochet hook because why wouldn’t you?
I have seen some lovely versions using coordinating colours which, I might do in future but, in the spirit of Scraphappy Day, I just poked in any old colour as long as it was the right size (this latter requirement soon to change).

This is how it starts

Halfway up I realised my parts department didn’t have as many parts in it as I had fondly imagined.
In desperation I reached for the bag of 3 inch squares and just poked them in a bit deeper.  When they also ran out and I thought the 5 inch squares might be pushing the ‘size doesn’t matter’ theory too far, there followed a scrabbling through my random scraps box for pieces big enough to be cut into squares and all colour and accuracy caution was thrown to the wind in my rush to finish before all my Spotify playlists ran out.

It’s nothing if not random but I like it.

So, I feebly pressed a push pin into the wooden door of my sewing room and hung the finished wreath up in a rush to show you the results of my efforts.  Evidently I didn’t press hard enough.
**!!###** I think was the gist of my reaction.

They say pride comes before a fall and, in this case, it seems appropriate.

Tips and Tricks:
                                1. Use a circle instead of a heart – those points are vulnerable.
                              2.  Don’t be quite so determined to get those squares so close together.
                              3.  Maybe use an even smaller crochet hook.
                             4.  Don’t be a muppet and hang finished masterpiece on dodgy fixing.
Then you might not have to do this with parcel tape.  You’re welcome.
However, all was not lost as nobody will see the back and, as long as I take the time to put the proper fixings on, it might still be a keeper.  Hopefully for a bit longer than 10 minutes this time.

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 or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate, Gun, EvaSue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys, ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith NanetteAnn,

Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti, DebbieroseNóilinVivKarrin, Amo, AlissaLynn(me)  Hannah and Tierney

, , , , , ,


A Good Time To Start Again

On Thursday I dragged  invited Mr. Tialys to a ‘Craft4Crafters’ fair in Exeter which, now that we live in the West Country, is not too far to travel and would be the first time I’ve been to one of these events for years as they were fairly rare in rural France on such a scale.

Even so, I consider that I showed restraint and even managed to buy supplies only for crafts I already do and not be tempted down new alleyways of creativity for that way madness (and a lot of unwanted stuff in the sewing room) lies.

A pretty plaque to go on the outside of my sewing room door 

Most crafters I meet are lovely people but, I must confess, politeness and patience were sadly lacking in a few of the attendees.  Mr. Tialys is 6’4″ but was elbowed out of the way and glared at on occasion by fierce women half his size as he innocently stood by watching me spend money and woe betide the stallholder who had sold out of a desired item as they were given short shrift by many a disgruntled (and rude) customer. Still, by and large it was fun and I haven’t gone overdrawn.

A badger’s nose. I threw caution to the wind and bought two.

I’m behind in showing you what I’ve been making this past year or so but I do have my will to create lovely things back now and, considering that I’ve bought fresh supplies today, I’d better start blogging about some of the previous projects before I start on the new ones otherwise I’ll forget what I’ve done.

French knickers for a mouse just because.

Before I went to the event I researched who would be exhibiting and saw that Dawn Gill would have a stand displaying her lovely jewellery.  I was determined to drop by and say ‘hello’ as our paths have crossed in Blogland and it’s always special to meet a virtual friend in ‘real life’.  I think I introduced myself as ‘Tialys’ instead of ‘Lynn’ but, thankfully, when my husband wandered up I didn’t introduce him as ‘Mr. Tialys’ as that would just have been silly.

Thank you for your patience if you are still following my blog and I look forward to showing you my successes and failures in the sewing/knitting/felting/crocheting sense again and will probably go on about some other random stuff too.




, , , ,


Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who reacted to my last post about the loss of our daughter Bryony last Christmas.

Whether you commented or didn’t have the words but let me know you’d visited with the ‘like’ button, some for the very first time, I really appreciated your kind thoughts and the fact that some of you shared some personal stories of your own with me.  Most especially, I am glad to have passed on some information about SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy)  – especially to a few of you who have more cause to be aware of it –  in the hope that lives will be saved in the future.

Christmas is fast approaching and, obviously, will be a very difficult time for our family.  We are not going to hide from it though – we do have another daughter to think about after all.  Bryony absolutely loved everything to do with Christmas and we will continue to celebrate it as I’m sure she would have wanted us to.  There will of course be more tears but also some smiles and, hopefully, even a bit of laughter as we share memories of our funny, brave, loving daughter and sister.

I will hopefully return more fully to blogging in the new year but, in the meantime, I hope you will all enjoy a healthy and peaceful festive season.

If you would like more information about this little known risk associated with epilepsy you can find it here.



Slowly Resurfacing

Today is SUDEP Action Day – an annual awareness day to shine a light on SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) and other causes of epilepsy-related deaths.

Resources - SUDEP Action Day

So, hard as I’ve found it to write, it seemed like a good day to explain the reason for my prolonged absence from blogging to those of my readers who don’t know the circumstances and also show my support for the work of SUDEP in the hope it will help somebody else by acknowledging the risks of epilepsy and thus taking informed decisions in managing the condition.

Our youngest daughter – known to some of you as Miss Tialys the Younger – was due to come over last Christmas Eve with her sister to spend Christmas and New Year with us.

Her habit was to phone us every evening around 7 and, when she didn’t phone on the evening of December 23rd I thought it strange as she was excited about Christmas and I expected her to be asking what time we’d arrive to collect her the next day so, when I couldn’t get her to answer the phone, I became so worried I decided to drive over to her flat which is an hour and a half away.

When I arrived and could get no answer by knocking on the door, I let myself in with our spare key and found her collapsed on the floor where she must have been since the morning.  I called the paramedics but it was too late.  The police came, I gave a statement, they drove me home. She was 26.

The post mortem was inconclusive but, as there were no suspicious circumstances, an interim death certificate was issued so we could go ahead with her cremation.  However, they needed to do further investigations on her brain and, after six months, we had an official cause of death which is ‘sudden unexplained death in epilepsy’ also known as SUDEP.

She was on medication after she had a seizure in 2020, while her father and I were still in France (on lockdown) and her sister had taken her to hospital in the UK where they kept her in for almost a week and prescribed the anti seizure meds on her release.  So, in a way, the post mortem result was a relief because it was sort of what we anticipated and not something more sinister but also because we take comfort from thinking she wouldn’t have known much about it.  However, it’s also a bit surprising because although she was on anti-seizure medication, she wasn’t what I think of as being ‘properly’ epileptic – whatever that is.

She was on the autistic spectrum and I worry that, on certain occasions where she told us she’d felt ‘weird’ or had episodes where she couldn’t speak, these might well have been petit mal seizures rather than the autistic ‘meltdowns’ we put them down to.

None of this speculation changes the fact that she has gone from our lives at the age of 26 and that we are still coming to terms with it and nothing will ever be the same again.

I registered her death with SUDEP Action and filled in their questionnaire to help with their research into this fairly uncommon cause of death and, hopefully, it will help people in the future.

I would like to start blogging again but forgive me if, although I do try to read your blogs, I don’t always feel like commenting and sometimes might just press the ‘like’ button.

The urge to sew/crochet/knit etc. has only fairly recently come back again – strangely those things were of no help at all to me during the darkest days.  My only salvation was reading – I read so many books that I’ve lost count – but it was the only way I could escape and, still now, when I wake up in the night or early morning and my thoughts won’t let me rest, I reach for a book.

She hated having her photo taken as she got older but I can’t resist putting one of her on here from when she was little and didn’t care.

Bryony Kate 24th February 1995 – 23rd December 2021


Please don’t feel as if you have to comment – I know it’s difficult to know what to say.  A ‘like’ will do and will let me know you’ve read it.




, ,


Dear Reader

I just wanted to let my regular readers know that I will not be blogging for the foreseeable future.

We have suffered a family tragedy this Christmas and I cannot turn my mind to anything else at present.

I hope to come back to blogging eventually but it is very low on my list of priorities at the moment – I’m sure you will understand my absence.



The Greatest Story

I’ve been a bit sparing with my posts this year what with one thing and another but, as I sign off for the festivities, I thought I’d try to bring a smile to your face before I go.

Knowing how difficult it is to get a dog into a Christmas costume – believe me I try every year (and cats are even worse) – I had to share this special nativity play with you made by members of a chapel in Swansea, Wales.

Just click on the image below, wait for the video to load, put on full screen and don’t worry, it’s not all in Welsh although the Welsh accent is lovely.


I hope you enjoyed that little bit of fun.

I wish you a very merry Christmas wherever you are and whoever you’re with.

, , ,


Sraphappy December 2021

I had to scurry around for this month’s scrap utilising day but, if my contribution is unexciting, at least it’s seasonal.

I had a kit to make a 2D needle felted picture and there was some roving and yarny bits left over.  When I thought about making a gnome or two, some of the curly pieces came to mind.

I needle felted a ball for the head/body, a little nose and a pointy bit for the hat then added the curls for a very unkempt beard – but that’s gnomes for you.

It took quite a long time so I had a go at doing the same thing with some scrap double knitting yarn but it took just as long and his hat isn’t as neat,

So, a new addition to the bauble box and some curly bits used up – I told you it wasn’t that exciting.

However, it is Christmassy and I wish you all a good one in case I don’t get chance to post again before the new year.

They will have company later just got to get last year’s baubles out of the garage.


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 or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose



, , , , , , ,