Sunday, 30 March 2008

Patches of loveliness

By the end of last week I was feeling run-down and tired. When I drop Dinosaur-boy off at nursery I usually race home, turn on my laptop, open my email, check my phone messages, put on some music from my itunes folder, thread up my machine and start some sewing...but suddenly the idea of all this felt too much like multi-tasking, so I chose instead to leave my laptop inside my desk and enjoy some fabric-filled silence...and how very restorative it was! For I realised that computers whirr....LOUDLY! This is what I was halfway through making by lunchtime when I left to collect the little Dinosaur: a cushion for Zebra-girl's bed. My last attempt at patchworking revolved around a pre-cut pack of peach hexagons bought from Laura Ashley in the late 1980s, aged 11 (when peach was a hugely fashionable colour). I remember having a very frustrating time with it and being quite devastated by my inability to align the hexagons nicely, eventually consigning them to the bin. But Zebra-girl has been quite desperate for a cushion on her bed and my instinct was to try and squeeze a great many different fabrics into its creation, so that she might have the fun of gathering favourites, counting flowers and tracing shapes as she goes off to sleep. I love the idea that these materials that surround her in childhood, might later jog her memory as she sees a similar print on a dress or a shirt in a shop and that it will perhaps transport her back to evenings spent staring at the things in her room as she waited for sleep to come (for she does a lot of this type of waiting). So this cushion was to be my first grown-up attempt at patchwork....and I loved it. Although, I have decided that squares are probably an easier starting point than hexagons. I wanted to applique a rose in the centre, as Zebra-girl has been coveting this detail on the teabag holder that I made a couple of weeks ago.

When I collected her from school on Friday and told her what I was in the midst of making she was hugely (to a most unexpected degree!) excited and implored me to carry on immediately once we got home. Dinosaur-boy wanted her to play with him, but she insisted on watching over me, asking questions and encouraging me to work faster so that it might be ready for bedtime.

It was finally delivered, to gasps of delight (what a very gratifying recipient she is!) 20 minutes after she'd gone to bed. It appears to be a cushion of the sleep-inducing variety - horay!

Patchworking aside, as I'd been saying earlier in this post, by the end of last week I was just feeling exhausted and...well....haggered. Recently every time I unexpectedly caught sight of myself in a mirror I was shocked by how old and witchy I looked. On Thursday morning I measured my hair. It was 21 inches long. It was an excellent canopy to hide behind, I could tie it in a bow, cover my chest and part of my stomach up with it, drape it over my lips in a handlebar mustache several times over (if I felt inclined to do so) and lots of other interesting things...but ultimately I felt like it was dragging me down. By Thursday lunchtime my hair measured a mere 12 inches: a length less handy for tricks...less appealing to my children, who requested that I 'stick it back on'...less predictably responsive to being waved at carelessly with a hairdryer whilst reading a book...but I am feeling so much better for being in the company of hair that bounces like an excited puppy around my jaw.

(NB: Photo taken from a very odd angle due to the presence of a small Zebra working at my desk beneath the mirror).

42 comments:

  1. You have a great eye for combining fabrics Florence - the cushion is lovely.

    And I like the new 'do' - sometimes lopping it off can be very restorative - I know it's time to do mine when the weight of it starts giving me headaches.

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  2. Oh, I just love your new haircut. You look so pretty! The cushion too is lovely.

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  3. Great haircut, 21 inches, wow, I think the longest mine has ever been is 12!
    Lovely cushion too, I remember going to sleep staring at the patterns on the wallpaper, it was Holly Hobby, or something like that, but it was great to look at and find new things in :) At least yours has already been successful!

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  4. Nice patchwork skills, Florence, and lovely to see them so appreciated.

    I know what you mean about computers and the noise (the only solution is a mac - mine makes no noise at all), and the too much hair, and the weird frazzled feeling that can leap upon you and knock you over once you're well into your thirties... ;) Hope the weekend has worked some magic, and you feel a little less haggered.

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  5. That sounds spookily like my first moments of me time each day-normally at about 11.30pm, and I know what you mean about the unexpected mirror shocks- sometimes it feels like theres a completely different person in there!

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  6. Your hair looks wonderful. Great job on the pillow. I've been contemplating starting patchwork, but I'm a little concerned that it might take me over.

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  7. Great new hair do, and lovely cushion! Your little girl sounds like such a sweetie!

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  8. Gorgeous cushion Florence, very pretty indeed. As for the "chop" I recently did something similar - it felt quite liberating - your hair looks great.

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  9. I am so glad that I found your blog tonight! The cushion is just lovely.

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  10. what a beautiful cushion. I would be very happy with one like that. I love all the colours and the applique in the middle.

    Your hair is lvoely too. Nothing like a new hairstyle to boost you up.

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  11. Oh, what a lovely one you are! Your haircut looks like it suits you perfectly.

    The pillow is a delightful mix of some of my favorite designer's colors and patterns!

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  12. Hi Florence, sorry you are feeling a bit down. As to the mirror thing, all I can see in mine is my mum, very scarey!! The hair thing, I remember my Nan always telling me when she had long hair she suffered with headaches and depression and she laughed when the doctor told her to have it cut. She did in the end and it worked. Very strange.

    Your cushion is just lovely, well done. See you very soon :-)

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  13. Love that cushion Florence. I am having my first go since childhood too and am making baby Isabella a cot quilt; such fun though as ever I keep thinking I could have used other fabrics!!! Love the hair xx

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  14. what a beautiful cushion and made with some lovely sentiment. I think that a lot of damage was caused my making children sew hexagons they are so challenging!

    the hair cut looks great, hope you continue to feel liberated and refreshed by it.

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  15. I Love the cushion and your hair looks great!

    April xx

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  16. I have tagged you as one of my favourite blogs - please stop by and have a look

    April xx

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  17. Glad to hear your latest news. I love the cushion. I have some patches lined up for something, and you are pushing me in that direction! Did you get the Caroline Zoob book that I mentioned before, as she talks about chldren looking at things as they lie in bed? It brought back memories for me, as did your comment.Now the hair is very nice. i am not trying to flatter you unnecessarily, but you do have a beautiful face, so your hair should frame that, and now it does!

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  18. Hi Florence - Your cushion is gorgeous. I have some of those fabrics in my stash too! - Also your new hairstyle is great, hope you are feeling a bit more energised this week - I have been meaning to try some patchwork, I have just got a book out of the library for beginners! - Natalie x

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  19. What a wonderful haircut for spring. It really does suit you, such a pretty face to show off!
    Lovely cushion, I wish I could make something as nice that would send my eldest off to sleep so swiftly!
    Stephx

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  20. Your hair looks great Florence! Hope you enjoy your swingy new do. Beautiful combination of fabrics in your cushion, I'm sure she will love and treasure it. How marvelous that it has magical sleep inducing powers too!

    The face in my mirror is looking very haggard too, after a weeks' worth of chicken pox and limited sleep! But I lopped my hair off the last time I felt run down like this, wonder what I can do to turn back the years this time!

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  21. I love Zebra girls pillow and I love patchwork too and for me it has to be in squares. I haven't progressed past them yet! Patchwork has some lovely memories with Katie Twinkles and myself as teenagers!. 20 years later and each square holds a memory. The cushion we made together has just recently been 'patched' and now holds memories for my daughter also. I am sure Zebra girl will cherish it for ever!

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  22. Hello Florence,
    Gorgeous cushion, she looks a real cutie fast asleep on it.
    And even gorgeous hair, you look a million dollors hun.
    Have a lovely week.

    Hugs.

    Catherine x

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  23. lovely cushion - lovely hairdo - you look very young and pretty indeed

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  24. Your patchwork project is quite lovely. The colors and prints are comforting and celebratory of Spring all at the same time.

    I like your new haircut and your comments about noise and feeling haggered. When I felt that way some months ago, I also had my hair cut short. It felt as though my whole world got lighter and much more manageable.

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  25. Very pretty cushion-- lovely hair do too
    Lisa x

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  26. The cushion is beautiful, I'm sure Zebra girl will treasure it for ever! And happy hair cut to you!

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  27. Your hair looks fab - it really suits you shorter! (and shows off your face, which deserves to be shown off!)

    I am so unbelievably envious of that cushion. That is the type of cushion I dream of sleeping with. Pretty and talented. Humph ;) *wanders off in a bit of a sulk!*

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  28. What a beautiful patchwork cushion! The colors are perfect for a little girl. I'm sure it will be loved for years to come.

    You look great in your new haircut!

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  29. Love the hairdo Florence, it really suits you! I think the spring sunshine puts a spring in our steps too dont you think?
    The cushion is lovely and obviously has gone down well!
    Sarah
    x

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  30. This is the first time I have visited your blog, but I will definitely return. It is a great read and visually lovely. The patchwork is gorgeous and the dinosaur toastie (I have read down the page a bit!) is very very cool.
    Have a great day.

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  31. You do such lovely work - that cushion is incredible - I love the colors, patterns, and your incredibly perfect and clean stitch work - folks like me only dream of sewing that well.

    Susan

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  32. A sleep inducing cushions! A tutorial please...

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  33. Ooh yes, I remember those patchwork kits from Laura Ashley - I had a pink one...never finished either!
    I love your cushion, lovely combination of fabrics.

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  34. It is so good to step away from the computer sometimes - the buzz is not just the sound of the machine but the constant drip of information from every direction. If you can walk away from it you can find peace and quiet really quickly.

    That is the most adorable picture of a little rosebud sleeping on a special cushion!

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  35. Hi that cushion is is so Lovely you are one clever creative girly. That is so strange about the haircut.As friday just gone I had my haircut to jaw length and it all springy it was half way down my back. I had been looking in the mirror thinking how tired i looked and what had happened to my youth!. I think my hair was dragging my face down and now it is not my daughter said she wanted her hair cut like mine (thats quite a compliment coming from her!). hair feels better and !. Youre hair looks lovely too and hope it all feels springy too !

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  36. What a gorgeous pillow....love the photo of your sweet girlie laying on her new pillow! FUN!
    I am laughing out loud at your witchy hair comment.......i feel the same way, lots of days! Just can't bring myself to chop my locks off......my whole life I've had at least waist length hair! :)))
    I usually flip it up or something like that. ;)
    Happy Spring!!!
    Laurie

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  37. I love your hair! It's looks so light and carefree.

    The cushion is beautiful. I love the appliqued rose and all the pretty fabrics.

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  38. That cushion is sooooooo lovely! Your haircut is very nice! like it this way!

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  39. your cushion is beautiful- I love the combinatiopn of fabrics, no wonder youir little one was so pleased, what a clever Mum she has!
    Nothing beats a good haircut- yours looks great!

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  40. Thank you for dropping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. Oh my Oh my that patchwork is adorable and I soooo rembember the peach and green of laura Ashley in the eightys and my first patchwork was from there too...
    It made me think of festoon ballon blinds/curtains with all the thrills and trimmings...and I have to admit I used to love it!!!

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  41. Both you and the pillow are gorgeous!!

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  42. Great patchwork Florence, really pretty fabrics. Your hair looks great too. I always feel better once my 'witchy' locks are cut back to just below shoulder length. I feel lighter, younger and it certaainly gives me a spring in my step.. It's HB tonight. Enjoy x
    ginny

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x