Birthday goodness

Saturday found us celebrating my father's 60th birthday. My mother had booked a dining room at one of our favourite places (a lovely boutique hotel) and they had created a wonderful menu for him full of his favourite foods (which happen to be some of mine too!). We had the most lovely day, made all the better for the presence of my childhood friend, Rhiannon, who came over from Australia. Sometimes the children and I lie in bed at the weekends and I tell them Florence & Rhiannon stories, which they love, simply because I was never naughtier than when I was in the company of Rhiannon. Their eyes become as big as saucers as they hear how as four-year-olds we painted bookshelves with a mixture of orange juice and talcum powder, and then as seven-year-olds how we sprayed our hair green and and were made to stand in the shower for an hour afterwards in a fruitless attempt by our parents to try and de-green us. The little Teacakes worriedly asked me if they might keep their bikes hidden in the garage during her visit, imaging that the person they had heard so much about might still be of the bike-stealing ilk...they completely failed to grasp that she was the same age as me, and had grown up too. Although Rhiannon's sense of fun is still so strong, that I'm quite sure she could convince me to do awful things even perhaps it is for the good that our time together tends to be short.

Towards the end of last week I was busy sewing. Each morning when my father wakes he spends time doing various exercises on something approximating, but a little thicker than, a yoga-mat...but my mother had reported that it currently had him leaping around rather more energetically than he intended, as the material of the mat seemed to be giving him small electric shocks! So my plan was to make a cover for his mat. I ordered an over-sized black and white floral print into my local fabric shop and then set to work....but best-laid plans rarely go smoothly...I realised (through my own gymnastic experimentation) that the cover slipped slightly when in use and that when you rolled it up post-exercise it started bunching my only option was to quilt the cover to the mat. My sewing desk had to be moved into the middle of the room to accommodate the unwieldy mat and my machine groaned and chomped as I made unreasonable requests of it. But somehow, as ever, it amazes me with what it can do (oh how I love my wonderful machine), and although I would have planned many aspects of it differently had I known of the many problems I would find in the making of it, it was a project just about rescued from the edge. By the time I finished it I was too exhausted to photograph you will have to imagine it.

The little Teacakes did lots of lovely drawings on some fabric for me, so that I might sew over their lines and then turn the canvas into a tissue-box cover. It was relatively easy to make as it follows the same principles that one might use for making a doorstop (of which I have made many!).

Dinosaur-boy drew this rocket....

and flower....

While Zebra-girl had to be encouraged to make her drawings less intricate, for I had only a few hours to make it before it needed to be wrapped...after several failed attempts at simplicity she came up with this cat.

And wrote the message that appears on the top of the box:

As anyone who is a regular reader of this blog may recall, Mr Teacakes is normally in charge of cake-making in our house, but he had so many other things to do last week that I decided to hand the decoration over to the little Teacakes. Faced with bowls of milk & white chocolate-covered raisins, glace cherries and silver balls they discussed their design (I had expected them to just randomly put them on) and then very carefully executed it doing half the cake each and meeting in the middle.

I love these candles, which I found in Paperchase...they also sell the ones that my mother bought to go on the cake at the top of this post.

As for my 30th birthday I took the whole week for my celebrations, for his 60th, my father has, quite rightly, planned an entire year of fun. I do hope he has the most lovely time. x


  1. Congratulations and a happy time!

  2. Lovely post...
    Happy Birthday to you both.
    ginny xx

  3. Sounds very special indeed.

  4. I love the embroidered drawings! It's something I've seen alot of, but have never attempted - they must make fantastic, unique & personal gifts! It must go on my "learn how to do" list. Sounds like you all had a lovely day.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful day! Your handmade gifts sound lovely too - it's often hard to think of ideas for gifts for men, but I love the idea of stitching the children's drawings on the tissue box. Your father must have been thrilled with all the effort you'd all put in to it!

  6. Hope he enjoys every minute of his year Florence xx

  7. What lovely family celebrations, handmade gifts are always the best in my book.

  8. What a wonderfully special gift the little teacakes made for their grandpa, a great idea and so personal! Happy Birthday to you too, and your Dad is so right, every day should have elements of a birthday bash :)

  9. What a lovely birthday present! I always find handmade gifts extra special. Your father must of been so please with his grandchildren and daugther handmade gift.

    Nice menu too. Sounds like you had a great day.


  10. What a happy, happy day! What more could any proud Grandfather ask for than lovely homemade presents and a cake designed and decorated for him.

  11. A lovely post ! Wishing mummy & grandad teacake lovely birthdays :)

  12. What a wonderful celebration it must have been! The embroidered drawings are such a lovely touch and your children must have been proud.

    Your blog is always a delightful inspiration!
    ~Emily xx

  13. Happy birthday to your dear Dad. He sounds just lovely and what fab presents and yummy meal.
    Loving the cake very tasty.

    If you pop over the my blog I've tagged you honey, so tag your it! lol


    Catherine x

  14. Happy Birthday to your dad.
    Sounds like a really lovely event. I loved the little touches like the printed special menu and the adorable candles. I'm sure he loved your home made gifts (they are the BEST in my opinion) and will remember this birthday for a long time to come.


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