Posts Tagged red and white polka dots

Wake Up And Smell The Violets

VioletsI sort of knew that violets have a strong scent because there’s those sweeties – parma violets is it? – and also some incredibly strong (and cheap) perfume which I vaguely remember they used to sell in our dear departed Woolworths when I was a tot but I don’t think I had ever encountered the smell  ‘in the wild’ as it were.  We have tons in our garden and they have been bursting out all over for the past week but I still don’t recall smelling them.  Then, yesterday, I went to my friend’s house, parked the car, opened the gate to her garden and I was met by a wonderful waft.  It was a hot day (for March) and maybe  it was very still but the air was definitely full of scented violets.

Talking of going round to Sandra’s, who is my sewing friend, sometimes when we are trying to think of a project to do next, we mess around with little bits of fabric and some tried and tested patterns and this little owl was the result of that session.  I remembered that I had some vintage(ish) folding scissors at home so I left sewing his bottom on until I got home and attached the scissors by a black ribbon, stuck in a decorative pin et voila!


I like that, in french, one of the words for ‘owl’ is  ‘chouette’ which also means ‘nice’ or ‘cool’.

I also asked her to help me with my fumbling crochet attempts.  I am trying to make individual roses to make a blanket but, at this rate, I’ll be lucky to end up with a coaster – although that won’t be any good as the surface is raised and the cup would keep falling over, but you get my drift.  I don’t know what goes on with this crochet business.  It’s supposed to be easier than knitting and I’m good at knitting.  I am having trouble recognising what is a stitch, what is a loop, what is the first loop of the first round and the 3rd loop of the last round – Gaaah!  Anyway, here are my attempts so far.  Do you think it will matter if they are all slightly different sizes?  Will it really matter when they are all joined together?  Should I have used fiendishly expensive Rowan yarn when taking my first baby steps?

crochet rosesAnyway, I promised to show you my knickers didn’t I?  I know you have all been waiting anxiously to see them and now I can reveal those frilly, ruffly, artfully frayed babies!

vintage mannequinShe looks a bit stressed doesn’t she? Not my favourite vintage mannequin but my antique ones have a pole where the sun don’t shine so I couldn’t get the knickers on any of them!  I think these bloomers are cute for sleepwear and, once I’ve ironed out a few of my first timer mistakes, I am going to make some more. I am going to give these to Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder for wearing as sleepwear as, let’s face it, if you put those on under a frock you might as well be wearing a bustle!  However, she did point out that her duvet cover is almost the exact same red and white polka dot pattern and she might disappear into the bed and nobody find her which as the mother of a daughter living away from home and getting up to lord knows what, doesn’t sound too unwelcome a scenario to me!

I’m always searching for vintage, quintessentially french fabric but don’t often find it so was pleased to find this the other day.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

vintage french fabric

I’m still working on hand quilting the birthday quilt – only 2 weeks overdue – but did have to stop for a while as I am completely unable to function using a thimble and, as a result, vaccinated myself against something with the end of the quilting needle and had to give it a rest.  It has now healed up so I will start again tomorrow.  On the hand quilting front though, I did find this in a charity shop which doesn’t go with my décor, is too heavy to post so cannot be offered for sale, and is therefore totally useless to me but could not, under any circumstances, be left under a pile of polyester  sheets, ignored and unloved when somebody, somewhere had gone to all the trouble of putting all those stitches in various patterns, no doubt vaccinating herself against things and using up all the plasters in the medicine cabinet, only to have it flung out with last season’s clothes in a bin bag.  Don’t worry somebody, somewhere, I have rescued your hard work for posterity and will appreciate it more than the ungrateful wretches for whom it was made.

hand quilted throw DSC_0041

Look at all those stitches.  How could you throw something like that out?  I have told my daughters I will come back and haunt them if I ever see one of my quilts in a dog bed.

Have a great weekend and I hope you find lots of violets to smell. x


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What A Time To Run Out of Fat Balls!


We have just had about 3 days of  snowfall which, coupled with a strong wind causing it to drift, made for some deep snow in places and the birds were frantically feeding on our balcony.


We usually get lots of blue tits, great tits and the occasional marsh tit but, this time, we got some more unusual visitors.


This goldfinch and a few of his mates became regular visitors – they have never been before so it was really good to see them.  Note the fat balls getting low.

siskinA Siskin at the sunflower seeds.

DSC_0055A chaffinch in the ‘waiting room’ as I call the gingko bilbao tree in our front garden, where the birds watch our balcony to make sure it’s safe before feeding.

hawfinchThe most exciting visitor – a Hawfinch.  Apparently very shy and usually hidden but willing to emerge for some grub.

DSC_0011Salem enjoying some cat telly or some may call it cat torture.

DSC_0002Salem and a goldfinch pretending not to see each other.  Note the fat balls now completely gone and we are snowed in so I can’t get more.

We’ve been cooking up some rice for them but it’s difficult to feed some of the birds who usually take worms and things although, even they have been braving the balcony to forage.   I feel I am compensating (just a bit) for my 4 cats.  I suppose , out at the back of the house, the birds have been taking more risks than usual to search for food and  the Ginger beast, Henry,who would make Garfield look skinny, killed two birds recently.  Lord knows how – I think he must sit on them, I can’t imagine him running.  The cats can’t get out on the balcony so I feel I’m providing a safe haven.

Quilting with Cotton Perlé

The 18th Birthday came and went and I am still hand quilting.  Not entirely my fault this time as I had to wait for supplies to arrive.  Well, I suppose if I’d ordered them earlier they would have arrived in time but I am good at shifting the blame.  I am quite enjoying this quilting with cotton perlé no. 8 (get me being all technical), not least because it is allowed to do big stitches as they are supposed to be visible plus you can choose from some lovely colours.  I’ve quilted 5 stars –  only another 20 to go.


On the knickers front, I have made a toile for the retro 1940s big pants which is fine but my 4-way stretch jersey hasn’t arrived from the U.K. yet and I’m beginning to think it has got lost.  So, in the meantime, as I haven’t got enough other things to do, I sent for another pattern which is for more ‘normal’ size knickers with cute ruffles which you could wear as sleepwear or perhaps under a voluminous skirt or dress unless you want a somewhat bizarre panty line. For these it is possible to cut the fabric on the bias which enables you to use lots of lovely cottons.   I haven’t finished them yet but here’s a sneaky peak.  Yes, thank you, they are supposed to have that frayed effect – you tear the strips of fabric instead of cutting them but the jury is out on what I think about it.   Next time, I might make neater ruffles.  I’ll see how they look when I’ve got the other leg hole done and the elastic put in.  Cute polka dots though, aren’t they?

By the way, in case any of you have any trepidation about the modelling of finished knickers, fear not.  I will employ (or coerce) a younger, fitter, smoother, leaner version or use a mannequin.  Or, I might just decide not to show you my knickers at all.

I hope, what with the title of this post, the names of certain birds and now tantalising glimpses of knickers, I am not attracting the wrong sort of visitor.  However, if you have arrived here by way of  certain Google searches, I do apologise for any false hopes I may have raised.

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