English but now living in the south of France near the mountains and lakes. I love to talk, create stuff, hunt down cool vintage stuff and learn new things.
Posted in Arts and Crafts on August 15, 2018
I used to make little rabbit bento bags from a Japanese pattern which I made in linen and lined them with Liberty of London fabric. I got the pattern from a Japanese book which was mad to work out and they were fiddly and expensive to make. That post (and the one it links to) however, are still probably the most commonly read ones I’ve ever written.
So, when my Wednesday sewing buddy, Sandra, showed me a much simpler one in one of her (French) magazines, we made it a project for our sewing sessions for two or three weeks – well, we chat for most of the time otherwise it would have probably only taken one session.
These are far less fiddly, larger and quicker to make all round.
They make good small project baskets.
I’m not sure they’re quite as cute though.
Even though they are much more practical.
I’m joining in Kate and Gun’s ScrapHappy day because, although they are fairly large scraps, the linen and lining are left over from other projects and not new.
(I mean the fabrics are fairly large scraps, not Kate and Gun 😉 )
Have a look at Kate’s post for a list of all the participants and, if you like making things from scraps (doesn’t have to be fabric) we’d love for you to join us.
Hot yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions. I prefer doing the cobra and down dog in an ambient temperature so I thought I’d indulge in a bit of Hot Crochet instead – I might patent the name ; ).
I did use my yoga mat to block a blanket though – does that count?
This is the second version I’ve made of Emma Varnam’s Little River Blanket which I originally made with a lovely collection of 10g balls of Scheepjes River and Stone Washed yarn, bought as a kit from Black Sheep Wools.
It was fast and enjoyable to make so when I saw these little packs of 8 x 10g cotton yarn for 1.75 euros each in our local discount store, I thought I’d make it again. I had some Rowan cotton yarn in my stash which I’ve had for years so used that for the ‘every 5th row’ colour and the border.
Being 100% cotton it wasn’t too uncomfortable a Summer make and I laid out all the colours I sourced in order to make the same sort of graded effect achieved in the original.
If I’m honest, the feel and texture of the Scheepjes blanket is softer and more luxurious because it has some acrylic mixed in with the cotton but the cost of the 100% cotton blanket was significantly less so…….
Here they are both together – the original Scheepjes one on the right. I think they are both rather nice.
When I read other people’s blogs and see something I like, I tend to go off on a tangent and get enthused about a project even when I’m already knee deep in others. So, when I read Pauline’s (aka The Contented Crafter) about large crocheted mandalas as wall art, some white metal hoops were only a few clicks away.
We have a long, blank corridor and I thought a selection of 45cm and 35cm colourful mandalas would look good against the plain wall.
I used Lucy at Attic 24’s pattern called ‘Positivity Mandala’ but added a couple of extra rounds to get it up to the required size for the hoops I bought. (free Mandala pattern here
As you can imagine, I have lots of cotton yarn scraps left from the stripey blankets above – you might remember I recently asked for ideas about how to use them. The mandalas provide an excellent way of using up those 10g balls of cotton – at least in the centres. The rest of the yarn is from the range by Paintbox DK of which I have a vast quantity having bought a huge pack of the entire colour range some time ago when it was on sale at a bargain price.
The jury – aka Mr. Tialys – is still out on whether he wants these as wall art in the corridor and, anyway, I wouldn’t have used these colours for there but I did a practise run in the bedroom where the colours go very nicely and I’ve since hung it in the entrance to my workroom.
I’ll keep you posted if I’m allowed to make any more.
Remember my crochet dogs, taken from Kerry Lord’s book?
I can’t recall whether I showed you this little chap. He’s supposed to be an English Bull Terrier which, if I were to ever actually go to a breeder and buy a dog (which I won’t) this would be the breed I would probably choose – that or a German Shepherd (although, sadly the latter are generally two a penny in the refuges).
I found the patch a little difficult and I’m not sure whether it’s possible to blend black and white a little more efficiently than I have but I think he’s cute anyway.
My sister has a West Highland Terrier called Harvey and this is my rendition which will be posted in the next few days as a gift for her birthday.
I had never done loop stitch before so the head has been waiting to be finished until I had time to sit, hook in hand, in front of a YouTube tutorial. I was worried I might not have made the loops long enough but she keeps him fairly well clipped anyway as she lives in Spain so I think it will be O.K.
Seems a shame to separate them really.
Right, now the yoga mat is freed up, I suppose I could do a few planks, shoulder stands and warrior poses. On the other hand, it’s a bit too hot.
Posted in Life in General on August 4, 2018
Just a quickie.
Can anybody identify this plant for me?
It’s got a very woody stem – part of which you can see poking up to the left of the flower head – and is currently around 50 inches tall (128cm). It’s still in its pot as we’re not sure where to put it until we know what it is and what conditions it likes.
That’s all for today – I’m off to my fainting couch to sit out the mid to high 30 degrees heat we’re having at the moment.
Have a good weekend!
I rather like the idea of my Tight Lipped Tuesday series so will take the opportunity of boring the pants off you with my recent trip across the border into Spain (aka Catalonia) with lots of photos and few words (relatively speaking!). Feel free to go and do something more interesting but my blog seems to have become my photo album lately and means I have an online record to refer to – so, a bit selfish really.
Mr. Tialys and I took a break of four days and drove down to the Costa Brava.
Only about 3 hours drive away.
We walked the coastal path to work off all the mussels and Sangria. The water was crystal clear.
So different from the usual perception of this coastline.
Did I mention the Sangria? The waiter raised an eyebrow when we ordered a litre jug between us but we were not deterred.
An interesting looking restaurant.
and an atmospheric interior.
The town of Begur is awash with bougainvillea.
As well as Moorish and Spanish architecture there are neoclassical examples dating from the late 19th century when merchants from here went over to Cuba to make their fortunes and returned to build houses. Lots of vaulted, decorated ceilings and beautiful tiled floors.
I love peeping in at courtyards.
We spotted this lovely view from the road and booked to have cocktails and tapas there in the evening to watch the sun go down.
On the way back home up the coast we stopped at Empuries which, according to Tripadvisor, is one of the finest historic settings in Catalonia.Two cities, one Greek and one Roman, set by the sea at L’Escala on the south of the Bay of Roses, named by Unesco as one of the most beautiful in the world.
The archaeological digs are still going on as I think they’ve only uncovered about 20% of what’s there.
Some of the mosaics they’ve found in the Roman city are almost intact which is amazing when you consider how long they’ve been there.
My quilters eye was drawn to them instantly.
We only stayed away four days as Mlle. Tialys the elder had come over for two weeks to house-sit with her sister for a bit and, as we don’t see enough of her these days, we wanted to spend some time with her too.
Back in France, we took her to our favourite restaurant to say ‘thank you’.
Then the girls and I went across another border to Andorra which is most famous for the skiing but, in Summer is very good for
shopping hiking, cycling, etc. Also, as we do every year now, we went to the free show that Cirque du Soleil put on here throughout July. This year was probably my favourite as the music was so good – usually, it’s a bit more like wailing for atmosphere if you get my drift – and the ‘surely not human’ bendy people put on their usual amazing spectacle.
Plus, it is tax free so it seemed a shame to go home without a bottle of gin or two.
Here’s a brief look at the Cirque du Soleil show – as usual with these shows I have very little idea what the story was about and the sound quality’s not great on this clip but you get the idea. I want those long stripey socks!
Not that tight lipped after all. Sorry.
Firstly, please accept my apologies if I haven’t commented on your blogs for the past week or so but we drove down into Spain/Catalonia for a break while my daughters house/dog/cat sat and, as one daughter doesn’t live here permanently, we’ve also been having some family time and I’ve been keeping off the screen and sewing machine as much as possible. Mlle. Tialys the Elder is here for another week but I just dropped in quickly with an update on the F2F third block swap organised by Kate.
During the 2016/2017 swap, I discovered the pattern for Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest quilt and made a couple of blocks featuring her foxes and also two hedgehogs because they were easily made into the correct size for the finished blocks (12 inches) that this block swap calls for simply by adding a border. It was interesting matching the colours they had chosen for their quilts to the pieces of hedgehog and each one is unique – I can guarantee you won’t see any of these in the wild.
So, in 2016, Susan over in Texas got this one –
and Claire in France got this one
I couldn’t resist revisiting this pattern for this year’s swap and – bearing in mind the participants who have already received one and the fact that not everybody might like a hedgehog in their quilt (although I can’t imagine why not 😉 ) – I made this blue and white one for Sue over in Washington as one of her three blocks for July.
I’d never made one for myself so, not to be left out, I made one in the neutral colour palette I’d selected as my colour choice this time round.
Plus, a paper pieced favourite of mine called ‘Banded Star’ – a pattern you can find free on Craftsy here.
With the receipt of these brilliantly executed (though not brilliantly photographed) blocks from Moira …….
and these lovelies from Nanette………
I now have all my blocks here and ready to be assembled into one big beautiful quilt or, quite possibly, two smaller fabulous throws. I chose a neutral palette so that I could display them in the living areas of the house more easily so two smaller ones would make sense.
As usual, with sampler quilts, I will probably QAYG (quilt as you go) and might even have a go at hand quilting this time so you probably won’t see the finished article any time soon but it’s time I tried to improve my quilting skills and this will be an ideal project to do so. Expect minimalism!
Two more scrappy blocks to show you this month.
I’ve decided to make them – or at least nine of them – using scraps left over from making the F2F blocks so, each month I’ll make three 12 inch blocks for that month’s participant and, with the scraps, make a block for my eventual scrappy quilt. That’s the plan anyway.
Confused? Join the club.
I was ‘Miss June’ and chose neutrals for my F2F colour palette so this is the scrappy block I made after making my own three blocks (well, I’m still part way through the third one but you get my drift).
Sue, from Washington, is ‘Miss July’ and her colour choices were different shades of blue with white. Some of these scraps don’t appear in the blocks I made for her – the butterflies wouldn’t have been right for instance – but it’s predominantly blue and white so will serve as a reminder of the blocks I made for her.
I have loads of yarn scraps left over from my Little River Blanket – remnants ranging from 3g to 5g – and I’m wondering what to make with those. Anybody got any experience using up such things? I’d be grateful for any ideas. As I’m making another of these blankets, I’ll have another 48 so the possibilities are endless – aren’t they?
If you want to make use of your own scraps – can be anything, fabric, yarn, paper, whatever – just contact Kate or Gun who organise ScrapHappy Day on the 15th of every month and, if you have something, Kate will link to your blog, if not, nobody will mind.
Here’s a link to Kate’s post this month where you will see a link to the other participants.
Posted in Pets & Problems on July 12, 2018
Hello again, it’s the last Tialys chicken here with news for you about my search for a new family after my last companion died of old age and left me feeling lonely.
On Monday, Mme Tialys let me out of my hen house and, before I could even have a sip of water or a peck at some food, she tried to pick me up. Well, I wasn’t having any of that sort of nonsense, so I led her a merry dance round and round my run, hiding in the bamboo and behind some nettles until she gave up and went off to put cream on her nettle stings, change her nice dress she’d put on that morning and leave for a meeting – she was late apparently, serves her right.
The next morning, the same thing happened, only this time she was ready for me. All exits blocked, cage ready, I was nabbed.
This is me in the back of the car with all my leftover food – it was torture as I hadn’t had breakfast. I’m sitting on a newspaper with a photo of a half naked man on the front – apparently it’s Aidan Turner aka Poldark. He’s alright I suppose but he’s got no feathers worth a mention so I peed on him.
Half an hour later I was in a new place.
Mme Tialys has some good friends who she says, if ever she comes back as an animal and needs a home with humans, they would be the ones she would want to adopt her. When they saw my ad on Tinder, they said I could go and live with them and their chickens (and horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, etc.) so Mme. Tialys took me there to see if I approved.
Mme. Karen is holding me in the cage while Monsieur John distracts the others with some noodles.
Let me at those noodles, I’m starving.
I was gratified to see that I am the
fattest biggest chicken there so I did start duffing a few of them up just to show I wasn’t going to take kindly to them ganging up on me or anything. Monsieur John asked Mme Tialys if she had a muzzle for me. Cheek!
O.K., you’ve showed me where the noodles are kept, you can clear off now Lightweight.
So, I won’t be lonely any more – there are 14 other chickens here including some funny looking Leghorns and it’s obvious that Monsieur John is a complete softie where his chickens are concerned so I’ll soon have him wrapped round my little chicken foot and doing my bidding. I might even try to squeeze an egg out for him every now and again.
What do you think of my new place?
As a contrast to my last post which was all about neutrals, here’s one to make your eyes bleed.
Do you remember this box of 50 gorgeous little 10g balls of yarn – a mix of Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed in all the colours of the range? They looked so pretty in their box that I wanted to hang it on the wall like a picture.
Still, I managed to get a grip, opened the box and, mixing the little 10g balls with three full sized ones in the colour Moonstone, made a cheerful little blanket designed by Emma Varnam.
The finished measurement is just 90 x 100 cm which is fine for a lap blanket, a baby blanket or something to throw artfully over the arm of a sofa or across the back of a chair.
Mine is a bit smaller as I missed out one of the widthwise repeats and, once I realised, couldn’t bear to undo what I’d already done for the sake of an extra few centimetres but, no matter, I like it muchly.
So much so, in fact, I’ve started another in some more mini 10g balls of yarn I have found locally. The Scheepjes yarn is a cotton acrylic mix and is lovely and soft to the touch and a dream to work with. The new stuff I’ve bought is all cotton and so doesn’t feel as soft. The texture and drape is different and I made up my own mix of colours but, actually, it’s very light (so far) and therefore a comfortable project to work on in these hot evenings. Also, the yarn was about a third of the price of the Scheepjes so I can put up with it being a little less pleasant to work with. A quick pattern that can easily be done in front of your favourite Netflix binge.
I bought the original yarn and pattern as a kit from Black Sheep Wools in the U.K.
Then I must master Loop Stitch and complete the Westie dog I’m supposed to be making for my sister’s birthday in August. I only need the stitch for the head piece – I’ve already got the body, legs and ears made so I should stop procrastinating and get on with it or her birthday will have been and gone.
Yes, I finished this one but that’s an English Bull Terrier and she’s got a Westie so that’s no good.
I know some of you are still managing to brandish hook or needles in the Summer heat but have some of you put them away until it cools down a bit? I used to give up yarn related activity in the Summer but now I’ve discovered crochet I find it more doable than knitting in the hot weather. Can you tell?
This was the draft for my next blog post. I was looking at it and thought it would be fun to show you what passes for my thought process. Lots of blah, blahs is how my posts always start and, some might say, how they generally carry on. So now you know.
I must just put in a bit of real blah though to say that all these gorgeous blocks – going towards my neutral palette F2F quilt – were received in the last few days from (in order of photos) Robin in Australia , Esther in the Netherlands and Kate, our esteemed leader, also in Australia. Those last two were ‘spares’ sent by Esther and Kate in case I wasn’t happy with one of the other three they sent me. As if! I don’t call them ‘spares’ I call them ‘bonuses’.
Normal blahing will be resumed as soon as possible.
Posted in Pets & Problems on July 4, 2018
Plump, attractive, mature lady with all her own feathers looking for somebody to strut with and possibly share some snails and bugs. Has own transport and can sometimes squeeze an egg out. GSOH (good sense of hens) essential.
I am all that is left of the Tialys flock.
In the old days there were a few of us and we had a handsome cockerel called Darth who looked after us.
I used to chat with him and we sometimes had a laugh together by pretending not to see that a kitten was stalking us.
These black hens were the oldest and had been Tialys chickens since 2006.
Darth died last year aged 11 and only me and Grandma Black Hen were left. We flew up into a tree earlier last year when the weasels came and decapitated our last two sisters right in front of us.
Last weekend, Grandma Black Hen started to fade and then she died – she was 12 years old and my last friend.
I came rushing out of my coop this morning as usual –
I heard Mr. & Mrs. Tialys say they don’t want to keep chickens any more so they won’t be getting me any new friends but they are worried I’ll be lonely.
I am too.