Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Crafty little treasures

A little while ago, Wilma from the lovely EmpressWu Designs blog held a giveaway for some gorgeous tag sets she had created. TAGS! No way could I not enter such a giveaway, you know how much I love tags :-). And guess what, I was one of the winners, yay! All the tags looked fantastic in her photos, but I tell you, I was gobsmacked when I opened my little package, they are totally awesome fabric tags. Big, bold and beautiful, with a Circus theme -

Aren't they just fabulous?

Also waiting for me when we got home from the cottage on Saturday evening was my ATC swap package from Kimberly of ArtJoyStuff. Kimberly is the most amazing swap hostess and always surprises us with the sweetest little gifts. Look at this! -

That little box is just so cute!

And here are the terrific ATCs I received in the swap, beautifully packaged -

and OMG, the ATCs themselves, they are AWESOME! - 

From left to right, the ATCs are from Sheng, JoAnne, and Maggie. Thank you so much for creating such fabulous ATCs!

As much as I miss the tranquility of our French cottage, I was happy to be back in my craft room. I missed the last few Tag Tuesday challenges because I didn't have any craft supplies with me in France, so I was happy to be able to create a tag for this week's challenge, FRIGHT NIGHT -

Thats all, folks. Thank you for visiting, it is always great to see you here ;-).

Oh, and before I go, I should really tell you - visit Marie's Lost Bird Studio blog, she is having a giveaway which you'll love. Go check it out HERE!

Toodlepip xxx

Thursday, 23 October 2014

A bit of a mixed bag

The first part of this post really is about a mixed bag - a mixed bag of gorgeous craft supplies which arrived at our home in England just before we left for France. The oh so talented Sandy from Quill Cottage had a little competition a while ago to find a new tag line for her blog, and because she just couldn't make up her mind, she decided to give everybody who entered a gift - a little bag of craft goodies!  It was such a lovely treat to receive it.

Beautifully coordinated little treasures, ready to inspire and to be made into some lovely little projects. And all in the colour palette I so adore. Once again, Sandy, thank you so very much for this really beautiful surprise.

I didn't take any craft supplies with me, as were only coming to the cottage for two weeks, so the only thing I have done was fixing our boys' cuddle quilt. I had made the quilt at least 25 years ago, for the kids to snuggle under when they were ill, and middle son took it with him when he moved into his own home with his family. Bless him, he loves the quilt and it is used every day, so it frequently needs repairs to the seams. I spent a few hours yesterday stitching it all up yet again. 

I did make a tag before we went to France though, which I haven't shown you yet, so here it is -

Mother Nature is amazing. Last year, my wonderful friend Christine gave me 5 or six little sticks from her fig tree. Just twigs from when she trimmed it down for the winter. She told me to just stick them in the ground and they would root. Yeah right, lol. Twigs, hmmm. But......... she was absolutely right and two of the sticks started sprouting little leaves in the Spring and grew a little. And grew some more. I was delighted, fresh figs are so delicious, and I was hoping that following year we might get a fig or two. 
When we arrived back this time, I couldn't believe how much the little cuttings had grown in the few weeks after the summer when we were in England, and I was gobsmacked to see loads of figs growing on them! Too late in the year really, but goodness me, can you believe it, all that from little bare sticks in one year! -

Also growing this time of year are fungi. Masses of different fungi all over the place. This morning on my walk with the dogs, I found some which we were pretty sure were edible field mushrooms, but my son won't let me eat them, lol, doesn't want me to keel over and die yet, bless him. The variety of fungi growing all around us is astonishing, I only took a pic of one lot in the garden, because it was such a nice dewy, sunlit cluster -

Our Poppy girl likes her creature comforts ( and the tv ), but she gets herself into the most ridiculous positions sometimes. Just look at this -

A lady she ain't, lol.

Thank you so much to all of you who commented on the kitties in the last post. The weather turned really cold a couple of days ago, and I think they have now all moved on to a new home, hopefully in a warm barn. 

We are going back to our home in the UK in a couple of days. I know I will miss the peace and quiet of this place the minute we set foot on English soil, lol. I find it difficult to cope with all the traffic and the masses of people. But at least I will be back in my craft room, yay!

My Chrome issues still persist, I don't know whether any of you have the same problem. I know I am not the only one, as there are threads on the Google forums about it. Whenever I need to open a new page, for example to comment on a blog or to print something, I just get a blank page. Very frustrating because then I have to use Firefox, which keeps ' not responding ', arrgghh, and I can't stand IE, never touch it any longer. So I haven't spent much time on the computer and haven't read or commented on many blogs. There should be an update to Chrome in a week or so, which will fix the problem. 

Oooooh, UPDATE! Just as I was finishing writing the above, Nick came in to tell me that the kitties are in the garden behind the house, under the little ( hole in the wall ) window to the barn! He saw two of them. I'll put a box with a blanket in the barn in case they have adopted it as their new home for now, lol. Hopefully when we get back they will be old enough and wise enough to stay away from our place when the doggies are here.

Gotta go and check on them now! Toodlepip xxx

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A little bit of French magic

We know that we are incredibly lucky to have a cottage in such a beautiful part of the world. Every morning when I open the front door and look over our garden and the valley, the view takes my breath away. Our youngest son is with us this time, and he took a time lapse video of the sunrise the other day. I love it so much and wanted to share these magic moments with you -

I took a few photos on my morning walk with the dogs yesterday. Some of the clouds were rising up from the valley and drifting across our cottage and garden, which made for a beautifully sunlit misty walk -

And then there is that other bit of magic..........

Shortly after we arrived at the cottage, the dogs became very interested in the half collapsed little wooden playhouse under the pine trees in the garden. My heart sank, because I suspected that we had a litter of kittens in there. My dogs are not fond of cats. Not at all. So for the next few days we tried our hardest to keep them away from there. Nick was sure that he had seen 4 quite good sized kittens in there. I had a look a couple of days ago and could only see three absolutely gorgeous little darlings, but only two stayed put for pics -

 A day later, we heard some very loud mewling from the wood stack behind the house, and sure enough, there was another kitten behind it. It looked like it had come from the same litter, it was the same size, we reckoned about 6 weeks old, and the same colouring -

But because it was so far away from the other kitties, we weren't sure and thought that perhaps it might be another litter. We left it for a day to see whether it was being looked after, but today it sounded very distressed We debated for a long time what to do, but in the end I couldn't bear the distressed mewling any longer. I got it out -

and took it to what I am convinced are its siblings. All three of them were curled up in a corner on top of the kindling we kept in there -

Our wood stack kittie went straight in, found the den mum had made under the kindling straight away and went in. That kind of made me think that it remembered it as home. Two of the three siblings went in straight after, and eventually the last one did as well, and they all settled down together quietly. I checked again a couple of hours later and all was well. Phew. I know these cats are wild farm cats, but gosh, just look at them, they are so beautiful and I can't bear the thought of anything happening to them. I hope they'll grow to be big strong independent cats who'll make their home in one of the many straw or hay filled barns around us, and keep warm over the winter.

Thats it for today. Tomorrow is forecast to be another good day, but after that the weather will turn rainy and much more autumnal. So, more garden work tomorrow!

I have a few more things to show you, hopefully in a day or two. Until then, toodlepip xxx


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A most delightful swap and an autumn pic

Before I show you the swap package, I wanted to post a photo for this week's AUTUMN theme over at the Our Beautiful World blog -

Our little lane is covered in prickly chestnuts from the ancient trees in our top field.

And now the swap! -

A little while ago, my darling friend Suzy of the wonderful Suziqusthreadworks blog suggested a swap, her beautiful and sumptuous luxurious fabrics for my gorgeous old French laces. Took me all of a millisecond to scream YES!!!! Suzy has the most amazing collection of fabrics. If you have ever had the pleasure of holding one of her collages or corsages or fabric books, then you'll know what I am talking about. Silks, velvets, satins and lace fabrics in rich deep colours, absolutely to die for. I was so cross with my camera, it just wouldn't pick up the colours properly, but I hope that with a little imagination you'll be able to tell how beautiful they are -

I wish you could feel all these gorgeous fabrics! I would have loved to take lots more photos of all these, but my poor camera just couldn't cope. The colours are so much richer and deeper than my lens could capture them.

I hope that one day I will be able to do justice to the amazing fabrics.

And you know what else was in the package? One of Suzy's stunning collages! That one photographed much better, thank goodness -

All those layers, all those embellishments, I just adore her work so much.

Well, dang, I totally forgot to tell you all that we are at the cottage in France for a couple of weeks! It is so peaceful and quiet and I am so happy to be back here. Hopefully we'll have some good weather for a few days so that we can do the work in the garden. I didn't take any craft stuff at all with me, but I do have some crochet hooks, knitting needles and wool here. I love sitting by the fire with a bit of knitting or crochet, might just have to start another blanket ;-).

Toodlepip, xxx