Tight Lipped Tuesday #13 (or The Iris Witch Trials)

Earlier this week Wild Daffodil posted about some brown and purple iris in her garden and said they were ugly and looked like witchy flowers – even posing some in a cauldron.  I said I had some a little like those and some fully brown ones and she said yuk – or something similar – so I said I’d show her a photo (or two).

So, in defence of oddly coloured Iris varieties, I present

🧡❤🧡

🧡❤🧡

🧡❤🧡

💜💛💜

💜💛💜

If I ever change my mind though, I have the cauldron ready.

 

 

 

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Nosy Neighbours

There’s nothing like spending a Sunday morning spying on the neighbours.

Of course, they’re mostly interested in the four legged and winged ones.

I hope your Sunday will be slightly more interesting.

 

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Stashbusting for Summer Part 1

I haven’t made an actual pledge or promise but I am really trying to use my current fabric stash for sewing projects before buying anything new.  It’s not always going to be possible – I recently ‘had’ to buy some rigid denim for example – but I’m trying.  I really do believe I have fabric supplies beyond life expectancy and that’s not a sensible place to be.  I don’t want to posthumously entertain the executors of my will by listing the beneficiaries of various fat quarters, jelly rolls and assorted yardage but, on the other hand, I don’t want all the lovely fabrics I’ve collected to be cast, like pearls before swine, on the undeserving or, worse, the unappreciative.  Does that make me a bad person?

Anyway, while I’m still breathing, I have made a start by using some fabric I bought either from a charity shop or from somebody’s general clear out – I don’t remember now – I’ve had it a while.

The pattern is a French one called Dorothie from a company called ‘Slow Sunday Paris’ .   I was reading a post from a blogger I follow who, despite not speaking or reading any French, had a delve into what the French Indie pattern designers have to offer.

As I’ve lived in France for 14 years, I felt a bit ashamed because, apart from ‘Deer & Doe’ who offer their patterns in both French and English, I had never bothered to look at any others, although I have made the odd thing from French magazines.  ‘Slow Sunday’ do now offer a few of their patterns in bilingual versions but this isn’t one of them (yet).

So, here is my ‘Dorothie’ in stash fabric which, coincidentally, happens to be in an ‘on trend’ colour.

I love those sleeves, they’re just that bit different – not too floofy but a nod to the current trend for a bit of a ruffle.

I also like the way the collar sits and the pleats beneath the front yoke are another nice detail.

Will these tiles ever get grouted in?

The sleeves are set in with just a little floof and the back yoke also has a few pleats for interest.  The slightly longer and curved back hem is just the right length – on me anyway – and I like the little slits at the sides too.

The buttons were also from my stash so, as you can tell, I’m feeling pretty happy….

……especially as those tiles have finally been grouted in . This bathroom project has, for various reasons, been a very long one and it’s not finished yet.

I really like this pattern and will be making another one in the fullness of time – from stash fabric of course.

If you like the pattern and don’t read French – never fear – what has been done by others was to buy the PDF version and cut and paste the instructions into Google Translate et voila!

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A Seriously Scrappy May

I decided to get serious for this month’s ScrapHappy day.  There’s not much fabric that’s scrappier than the long bits cut off the sides is there?

I’ve been saving them for a while.

I like the ones with writing and colour swatches on best but not all selvedges are printed equal and some are just too narrow to be useful.

I decided to do a little quilt as you go piece so took a scrap of fabric leftover from the shirt I made Mr. Tialys and a piece of wadding and drew  round a large embroidery hoop to get a circle of the right size.


Then I laid a couple of selvedges right sides together across the middle and joined with a quarter inch seam through all the layers which is where the ‘quilting as you go’ comes in.

Keep pressing each strip open and adding another, the circle slowly starts to fill in.

I put the whole thing into the large emboidery hoop and trimmed the excess selvedges and wadding very close to the wooden edge, leaving some of the backing longer to glue down onto the surround.  You can see the quilting and pretty fabric so I didn’t want to cover it up with another back.

The result is an unusual wall hanging for my sewing room which has the added appeal of reminding me of past projects I made with the fabrics formerly attached to those selvedges.  I deliberately framed it so the selvedges run diagonally (in case you were wondering) because I think it looks a little more interesting than if they were running horizontally.

 

And all from a box of cut off edges.

As you can see, I have quite a few more.

I’ve got an ‘ongoing’ scrappy project to tell you about too. My suggestion to my Wednesday afternoon sewing friend was that we could make a pixelated sewing machine wall hanging out of 1.5 inch squares.  Unsurprisingly, she seemed a bit dubious, even slightly unenthusiastic you might say, but went along with me anyway bless her.

We’re doing the mini version you’ll not be surprised to hear.  Even that takes 388 neutral squares and 275 (or thereabouts) coloured ones.  I found the pattern on Craftsy (now Blueprint).

The idea was sparked off by me finding a packet of 1.5 inch squares I’d cut at some stage from a charm pack of batiks.  I have no idea what I was intending to do with them but whatever it was obviously didn’t materialise.

I rummaged through my scraps to make up the number of different colours I need but must confess I had to use a couple of new fat quarters in order to have enough neutrals for the pixielated background.

The 1.5 inch squares are arranged 5 x 5 to make a 5.5 inch square block and then joined together in horizontal rows of five blocks.

I’m not gonna lie, as my daughter says depressingly often, keeping those tiny squares joined accurately is, frankly, a bit of a nightmare for me.  I’m using a 1/4 inch foot on my machine but I still have a few wonky bits. Pixelation might be somewhat enhanced in my version.

I’ll be doing an update next Scraphappy Day but don’t expect it to be finished (or unwobbly).

If you like the idea of using your scraps (of anything, not just fabric) click on Kate or Gun(first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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52 Comments

The Little Fox

Remember these button eyes?

Most of you guessed a hedgehog or pointy nose dog but Bekki and a couple of others guessed right.

Its a fox.

But not just any old fox.  He is from the much loved French book ‘The Little Prince‘ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)

Well sort of.

Below is the way the fox is illustrated in the book – speaking wise words.  ***

In the (excellent) animated film version of 2015/2016 – the rights of which were acquired by Netflix  – there is also a plushie fox which is given to a little girl by ‘the aviator’ who is telling her the story of the Little Prince.

So, the pattern I used, which I bought from Etsy, was based on the soft toy in the film version.  You can find it here should you be tempted.

The instructions were originally in Italian and the translation is a bit ‘wobbly’ in places but the pattern pieces come together wonderfully well, as you can see.

So you can’t really complain can you?

I made him with sheets of a wool blend felt I got from Minerva Crafts which were, by a stroke of luck, on sale at the time.  Lovely to sew with – no fraying, just nice clean seams.

I expect a lot of you will have read the book either in French or English or will definitely have heard of it.  It’s very deep and meaningful and philosophical in true French fashion but the messages are universal.

Personally, I loved the film version which is very respectful of the original novella and, if you can, try to catch it, it’s in English.  Don’t forget the tissues.

Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux”

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

So true.

 

*** For me you’re only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you….” 
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEPqgSNLfK8

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Wednesday’s Walk

Because one or two of you asked for more ‘outdoor’ photos from me and because it was such a beautiful morning, I took my phone with me again on the morning dog walk.

I started off by checking on the peony which is quite old now – it was here when we moved in over 14 years ago but never really seems to get any bigger.  I think it’s called a ‘Bowl of Beauty’.

I thought I’d better get some washing out on the way  – love seeing white linen flapping in the breeze but shudder at the thought of ironing it – so I usually don’t.

Nearly at the top of the garden now.  There’s still some snow left up on those peaks.


His Lordship was with us again.

Usually lots of wild orchids growing but not so many this year.  Mr. Tialys says it’s because, due to the dry winter, the badgers would have dug up the bulbs.  I still haven’t caught sight of our badgers but there is plenty of fresh evidence in the form of poo pits.  I was going to take a photo for you but thought you might prefer one of an orchid.

Listening for something chaseworthy.

How come he’s allowed to roam about freely?

It’s an outrage!

O.K. enough of looking at the view now, let’s go back where breakfast will be served.

Leon leads the way and nobody’s allowed to overtake him otherwise he gets nasty.

Almost there.  You can see one of our lilac bushes to the right of the judas tree.   I don’t know whether the dogs appreciate the smell of the lilacs  but I certainly do.  I won’t bring them inside the house though as it’s supposed to be unlucky.  No point tempting fate.

Speaking of which, as it’s the 1st of May, the ‘Fête du Travail’ in France today and a public holiday, it’s traditional to give friends and loved ones a muguet or lily of the valley  for good luck on this day so here’s a ‘virtual’ one for you.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #12

One of my occasional Tuesday posts where I don’t say much (for me) but this could equally well have gone into my other, even more occasional series of posts entitled ‘Excuses Not To Do The Housework’.

I needed two dark brown or black buttons.

My main button jar is huge and has to be emptied out and searched through to find matching colours and styles.

I was fed up with it.

I’ve been meaning to have a ‘sort out’ for ages though not necessarily in the middle of a Sunday afternoon when I was planning to do something else.

Creams, Yellows and Reds.

Pastel greens, apricots and pale blues.

Purples, pinks and so many, many browns.  Why is that?

That’s better.

Next time I need two black buttons the same size and type, it won’t take me all afternoon.

Any guesses?

 

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A Tale of Two Gingers

My lovely ginger boy, Henry, has had to have a trip to the V….E…..T.

He’s normally a big boy but was looking skinny, always looking for food and his back legs seemed a bit weak.

Anyway, a blood test, a blood pressure check and couple of hundred euros later, it turns out he has hypertension caused, probably, by some kidney problems.  Who would have thought such laid back animals as domestic cats could get hypertension? Anyway, he now has to have two different medicines administered orally with a syringe every day.   At the moment I’m keeping him in overnight then putting the medicine on a bit of tuna first thing so he’s hungry enough to eat it.  I’ve tried administering it directly down his throat but he chokes and spits and generally makes a huge fuss and the medicine often ends up on the floor.  The medicine for the hypertension will be for life so if anybody knows how to do this without causing stress – and thus more hypertension – I would be grateful for any tips.

The second ginger in my life is my pair of Ginger Jeans.  Yes! They’re finished – I was waiting for silver rivets to arrive before showing you.  If you remember my first pair – they turned out O.K. but I couldn’t bend my knees (or much else) due to using fabric with no stretch.  I made these ones in exactly the same size but, due to using the right fabric, they fit.  Who would have thunk it?

Here’s a full length pic.  I wouldn’t normally wear everything so cropped on the top with skinny jeans but, as this is all about the jeans, I wanted to show you them properly.

I probably wouldn’t normally wear skinny jeans with heels either but, because the pattern on this denim is so ‘extravagant’, I probably could ‘posh them up’ with a dressy top and heels.  Just thinking aloud here.

A few close ups of jeans laid flat so you don’t have to study my nether regions too much to see the details.

The silver rivets were ordered from Japan as I couldn’t find them anywhere else and wanted them to go with the silvery grey pattern and the top stitch thread I used.  I was quite pleased with my top stitching overall and I managed to hide a bit of a ‘wobble’ on the waistband with one of the belt loops.

I did a simple design on the pockets and stressed for a long time about where to place them.  Apparently pocket placement is a big deal with jeans.  How close should they be to the centre seam and the yoke, what angle of slant should there be, how high or low to place them – apparently all make a difference to the way your derrière will present itself to observers (should there be any).  In the end though, I pinned them on in the position I thought would be right but nearly did myself an injury twisting round to look at my own denim clad bottom in the mirror – Mr. Tialys being unavailable for comment – so on they went for better or worse.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say I’m excited by a coin pocket.

I’m wearing a belt, mainly because my jeans button is, unfortunately, half an inch too far in from the edge.  This is one of the two things that have made these jeans less than perfect – there’s always something isn’t there?  My sewing machine couldn’t manage its one step buttonhole function because of the multiple layers of fabric at the edge of the waistband so would stop mid-buttonhole.  I had to unpick it about three times and the fabric started showing signs of damage in that spot.  In the end, I resorted to the four step buttonhole on my very basic Singer machine (not my 1950s one) and subsequently remembered I had to do exactly the same thing with my first pair.  Shame I didn’t remember earlier.  It worked but I had to position it where the unpicking had happened to hide it so a belt will probably be the order of the day.

Since then, I’ve heard about a gadget called a ‘buttonhole height compensation plate’ which apparently solves such a problem.  I had a quick look – they’re only cheap – I just need to check if I can get one compatible with my Janome.  Because, yes, I’m going to make more jeans.

The second thing to moan about is that I have leg twist.  The inseam is trying to twist itself round on to the front of my leg at calf level. Apparently this is very common – even with high end ready-to-wear jeans – especially the skinny ones.  The pattern I used was Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans and Heather has you lay out the pattern pieces for the legs in a way that attempts to avoid this happening.  That is, the legs are cut out from a single layer of fabric and the front and back legs are laid on the fabric in different directions. Or, in Heather’s words ‘to help prevent leg twist, the best way to layout your pieces is front leg, back leg, front leg turned 180 degrees, back leg turned 180 degrees (make sure these last two are also flipped wrong side up so you’re not cutting the same leg twice!)   I cut mine out on a double layer 🙄  and couldn’t turn the leg pattern pieces because it would have meant the design on my jeans doing a different thing on each leg.

As I usually wear skinny jeans with boots, here’s a couple with me wearing the jeans ‘booted up’.  It’s usually too hot to wear jeans in the Summer here  but I think they’d look fine with sandals too.

And just to prove I can bend my knees this time…….

Now I’ve got the fit right with the Ginger Jeans which is an excellent pattern, by the way, with a very useful sewalong on the Closet Case blog, I will definitely make more pairs, but thought I’d make some more traditional jeans next with rigid denim (i.e. no stretch) in indigo and gold top stitching which, of course, will be much more visible so has to be perfect.  I’ve ordered the new(ish) Dawn Jeans pattern by Megan Nielsen and will try to source the perfect denim to make them.  Of course, the fitting issues will be different so another challenge but, hey, sewing projects would get boring if everything was too easy wouldn’t it?

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A Cuppa for Scraphappy Day in April

Again, my Scraphappy project this month comes out of looking for ideas for my sewing sessions on a Wednesday afternoon with my friend, Sandra.  Having finished our coats (well, I have) I wanted something a bit less ‘major’ to do round at her house – lugging coat fabric, lining, my machine and all the other coat making paraphernalia round to her’s was a bit of a nightmare – so I bought a pattern I’d had my eye on for some time.

Patchwork Pottery’s teacup (or coffee/hot chocolate mugs) pattern.

When I’ve made make up and wash bags in the past I’ve generally used some linen/canvas type fabric for the outer and kept all the scraps as it tends to be a bit more expensive than cottons.

I thought they’d be perfect for this pattern not least because one of the fabrics actually has cups on it.

Of course, the teacup is my favourite.

But I made a coffee mug too.

The teacup is just the right size for bits and pieces for sewing – or even to keep tea bags in when travelling.  A pair of reading glasses even fits inside.

The coffee cup is large enough for a pair of sunglasses or even a crochet hook and some yarn for a small project.

Apart from wool, fabric is my scrap of choice (in other words I have loads of it) but I know Kate welcomes all scrap projects.  She reminded me recently, when blogging about her kitchen renovations and having shelves made from the same wood as her worktops, that Mr. Tialys had made a knife rack out of an offcut of our wooden worktops and a magnetic strip so, for the sake of variety, here it is.

If you want to turn scraps into something useful – doesn’t have to be fabric and doesn’t have to be every month – pop over to Kate’s blog and let her know.  Have a look at what everybody else has been getting up to this month. – here’s a list of people who often participate if you want some inspiration.

 

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki and Pauline

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Buds, Blossom, Badgers and Bats

Well, ‘cats’ actually but the alliteration didn’t work.  No bats to see here although there will be plenty swooping about at night soon.

In between waiting to sew up the side seams of my jumpsuit (see last post) which, I must say, looks very good on the hanger and waiting for my silver rivets to arrive from Japan(!) so that I can show you the finished jeans which I think might actually fit me, I took my phone with me on our dog walk this morning.  I keep meaning to take it with me as our garden is very steep and some can’t be seen from the house so I wonder how long I would be lying up there with a broken ankle or something with the dogs, taking advantage of my supine position, trying to eat me before anybody realised I was missing.

Anyway, here are some pretties.

Leon likes to come with us but cries if we go too far.

White lilac about to burst forth

Likewise one of our many Iris

Pretty apple blossom – though the apples are never up to much.  A bit blurry but I do have two dogs on leads so not too bad really

We’ve only ever had one quince from this but there are lots of blooms this year so perhaps we’ll get more.


Our Judas Tree about to bloom

but even though the grey lichen looks pretty against the purple, sweet pea-like flowers,

I don’t think it bodes well for the tree.

Leon likes to have a little rest half way round.

There have been lots of piles of poo and holes dug around the place and after weeks of thinking the wild boar were coming further down the hill to dig up roots because of the very dry winter we’ve had, Mr. Tialys spotted this on the hillside at the top of our garden.

It’s a badger sett.  Notice the pile of earth they’ve moved out and it looks like the doorway has a lintel across it which is formed by a rock they’ve obviously dug under.

I must take myself up there one mild evening with a book and sit and see if I can spot any .  How exciting if I got to see one or even a family group.

I won’t take the dogs with me and the sett is the other side of the fence we’ve put up to keep the dogs in a smaller area so they shouldn’t be bothered by them.

                                                   Photo taken from the British Ecological Society here

Although, I’m a bit worried about my hedgehogs that usually snuffle around in the evenings a bit later on – I think they can become Badger food.

This is a bit closer to the entrance but I didn’t want to go too close in case I caused any stress.

 

There is an informative blog post on the subject here if you think you might have badgers living close to you.

See – I do go outside sometimes 😎

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