Chickens and Sewing Boxes


A few months ago I heard, by chance, about a job in a workshop that’s not two and a half hours (by train) from The Boy, so I decided to get in touch. A number of emails, a couple of visits and a week’s trial later and they offered me the job, which was rather exciting. And then the stress of finishing my long-term projects in my current job, finding a flat and dealing the Kafka-esque bureaucracy (seriously, Switzerland, Das Schloss is a sort of satire; not something to model your system on) hit me. So I was pretty glad to get back to Blighty for 10 days’ break in the real world.

Unfortunately a couple of weeks before I got back we lost all but two of our chickens to the fox. The two that survived were fairly traumatised but seemed to have bonded over the experience. 10 ex-battery hens were parachuted in to comfort them (and to continue the egg supply.) They were unbeLIEVEably scrawny, poor things (my sister described them as oven-ready, which just about nailed it) and looked rather forlorn compared to our remaining, glossy birds.


The new feathers are coming through, but for now they look a bit like hedgehog spines.



A feather-duster chicken.


Ex-battery bottoms, and well-feathered ones.


This one reminds me of Roadrunner.



A brave hen investigating an equally brave cat.

I’m normally collared to do a bit of mending whenever I go home, because a) I’m often at a loose end without my own sewing projects and b) I’m still at the stage where I actually rather enjoy it. This time however my dad needed something stretchy mended, and since my mum’s ancient, hand-cranked sewing machine doesn’t do zig-zagging, so I retrieved my Granny’s machine from the loft, got out my other Grandma’s sewing box and used them both. (Actually after a promising start, when I actually came to use the zig-zag stitch I couldn’t get it to work properly. I think there’s a problem with a cam – the needle moves both up and down and side to side, but the two directions aren’t properly in sync with each other.)



Cat approved.



Between photographing chickens, trees and sheep, I also managed to get in a bouldering session with my sister, bake two not-entirely-successful batches of hot cross buns and see a number of friends including the little girl who has now thoroughly out-grown this, which I made for her last September:


And indeed, this (which I hope she hasn’t yet outgrown:)



Two nights before I left we caught the end of Storm Katie (or rather, the end Storm Katie caught us) and we came down in the morning to find a branch from one of the pine trees in the drive, a dent in the bonnet and the car’s badge on the floor. It’s been around since Lady Di hasn’t, so on its last hubcaps anyway.



The Remains of 2014 – Travel Wrap


Here’s a wee travel wrap thingymajig that I made as a birthday present for my little sister who’s off travelling the world soon. Again. (Not jealous. Not jealous. Not jealous. Repeat until convinced.)
Anyway, she’s one of those irritating people whose birthday is ridiculously close to Christmas, so even when you’ve thought of a Christmas present for them, your work is only half done. I wanted to make her something that she’d actually find useful. There aren’t that many situations where you’ll find a thick woolly jumper (Christmas present, coming up here soon) useful in the subcontinent in summer. Continue reading “The Remains of 2014 – Travel Wrap”

The Remains of 2014 – Rusty Kelly

Ok, here’s the first of my attempts to clear the backlog of blogging that built up towards the end of 2014. In no particular order. Certainly not chronological.


I don’t wear skirts all that often. They’re not hugely practical for my work, and the rest of the time I tend to just throw on a pair of jeans without really thinking about it. But I do like skirts, when I remember them, and when I found some corduroy in a gorgeous rusty / russety colour on the reduced stand of the fabric section in Karstadt, in that town-just-over-the-border-where-I-certainly-don’t-go-to-take-advantage-of-the-cheaper-prices, I sort of knew that a nice warm autumn/winter skirt was on the cards. Continue reading “The Remains of 2014 – Rusty Kelly”

Two Airelles


You may remember that I was given a couple of Deer and Doe patterns for my birthday. And that I was psyching myself up to make a couple of Airelle blouses. One as a sort of wearable muslin on cheaper fabric, and the other on some lawn that I spent far too long deciding on. Internet shopping is terribly addictive, but also the bane of my life. Time just slips by. Continue reading “Two Airelles”

On and off the needles.

This is a bits and bobs sort of post, just to put down all the bits and bobs of things I’ve been doing that have been flying around in my head since the last post. Unfortunately none of them is in a finished enough state enough to warrant a full post all to itself yet, but just in case you thought I’ve been getting lazy in my sewing or knitting, here’s a little proof that I haven’t.


My sewing machine has spent more time in its case than out recently, due to a few emergency birthday jumpers.  Two are nearly finished (for the two birthdays coming up,) but the one for the birthday that was in June in still in pending. That’s just how I do things. Anyway, a jumper for a summer birthday can surely be delayed a bit? Continue reading “On and off the needles.”

My Saltspring Dress

When I decided to start sewing properly (ie from patterns) I did a lot of looking at Indie pattern sites and going through their patterns picking out and bookmarking patterns that I thought I would wear (very important!) and that fitted into the “beginner” category. Sewaholic has a number in this range, and I ordered one in PDF form to get on with, while I waited for the others that I ordered in printed form to arrive from Canada (I’m materialistic, me.) Saltspring was one of them (the other is the Alma blouse, which is intermediate level – I’m also ambitious and not a little impatient.)


Continue reading “My Saltspring Dress”

China-blue Top


So here are the long-promised pictures of that top I’ve been going on about.

It started life as a pillow-case in the sale in Coop, reduced down to a couple of francs, and I bought it purely for the fabric, as Swiss pillows are much larger than the ones we’re used to in the UK. (Actually, it turned out that this one was the right size for one of my English pillows, so I have less scrap fabric left over than I expected, but there was still enough for a top that I fit in.) Continue reading “China-blue Top”

Starry starry night


This should have been a Christmas post, but you know how it is just before Christmas, particularly if you’re the sort of person that draws up a list of presents that you’re going to make, and then leaves it until the last moment to actually make them.
And anyway, I still have a few of the spares, and the ones that went wrong, and they do nicely as non-Christmas decoration for me: who said stars are only for Christmas? Continue reading “Starry starry night”