Sunday, 3 August 2008

Froggish sewing

The week before last found me packing for our visit to the Isle of Wight...I had decided to make the children goody bags to open in the car - they were filled with magazines, notepads, puzzles, bubbles and for Zebra-girl a beautiful handmade doll that I had secretly bought for her a couple of months ago at a fete. However, as I was dashing about assembling wellies and suncream at 10pm it dawned on me that as my children love soft toys more than anything else the lack of something to cuddle in Dinosaur-boy's bag may have been a crushing omission...which meant packing had to be abandoned and instead I set about some stitchery. Dinosaur-boy had been pretending to be a frog for much of the week, picking out green clothes and jumping, leaping and ribbiting his way through the last days of the walk to school, so I instantly thought of one of the old bean-filled frogs that Liberty used to sell in the 1980s (I wonder if they still do). I picked out some green Heather Bailey fabric that seemed quite froggish and then sewed faster than I have ever done before and a short while later a small amphibian was born.

I have mainly been making things lately for the little shop that Mr Teacakes is designing for me and so have spent far less time sewing things just for fun or without the feeling of self-consciousness that comes from knowing that one's stitchery may be viewed by someone other than family or friends...I have become slow and perfectionist, redoing things several times...so how liberating it was to sew just for my little Dinosaur imagining him delightedly pulling the frog from the bag early the next morning in the car. I wonder if anyone else feels this...do you sew in a different way when what you are making may potentially be sold? And that's a big 'potentially' because the idea that I may be merrily sewing together a small factory-worth of goods only to sell nothing isn't lost on me (but perhaps it is a win-win situation after all, for at least I would be left with a bag to co-ordinate with every possible outfit)....but I suppose it's like that in the initial stages of doing anything.

Anyway, our holiday...we have all returned very much browner (for the weather was perfect and sunscreen had to be plentiful to avoid being charred) and refreshed. Evenings were spent playing Boggle, drinking wine and for me, reading The Time Traveler's Wife, which was so hard to put down and a book that I completely fell in love with despite the writing being slightly more edgy than I had anticipated (and I realised that it also felt like a long time since I had read a book - I have tended to stick to the weekend newspapers which can be dipped in and out of and fit better around the busyness of everyday life...but I must make more time for books, as papers are not a substitute. My mother has lent me Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach which I am hoping to start tonight).

We stayed on a farm with beautiful views and amazing surroundings. Across the road we could walk up this path (above) and reach a place that on one side had breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside (shown below, and there was such a wonderful burnt sugary smell in the air as a combine harvester did whatever it is they do to whatever crop it was that I was standing next to here...perfect...so much fun to have one's senses assaulted by such lovely things with no idea of what they are, and that is the unique joy of being more of a town girl for 51 weeks of the year, I feel)...

and on the other side stunning cliff-top views of the sea...

Ian was beginning to look somewhat frazzled by working so hard recently and staying up very late in front of his computer every night had left him looking pale and dark-eyed, so how lovely it was to watch (from the comfort of the picnic blanket) as he did what he does best...that is scrambling around, swimming in stone-cold sea, making strange sea sculptures and climbing in inappropriate places on cliffs...all while delighting the children with his foolish ways.

The other piece of loveliness was that the farm cottage we stayed at had a magazine basket stuffed with every edition of Country Living dating back to 2006...you can only guess at the many happy hours spent leafing through those....

I have been tagged by various lovely people and so will hopefully post those this week...

22 comments:

  1. Wow, it sounds as though you had an absolutely wonderful time - I loved reading about it! Reading, seaside pottering, walking. Gorgeous.

    And what a sweet frog too!

    Emma

    ReplyDelete
  2. Delightful to read about your fabulous time! The frog is perfect in the Heather Bailey fabric!
    ~Emily

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah summer hols. Never fails to amaze me how much time there is in a day when you're outside of your normal life - hope you're refreshed and glad to be home :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the way you made something for your son. I remember doing that when my kids were young - the last minute scramble just because you love them and want to see the look of joy in their little faces. I am happy you enjoyed your holiday! Cherrie

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think you will love On Chesil Beach. I read it recently and found it so hard to put down. It's so compelling. I loved The Time Traveler's Wife too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife - it was edgier than I expected, too, but so compelling I raced right through it.

    I made a frog like that for my son years ago. He still has it somewhere among his treasures (he'll be 25 next month!) The fabric you chose is lovely.

    Lorrie

    ReplyDelete
  7. looks like a really lovely holiday - what a treat to have a basket of country living to look through! I have a frog like that from Liberty's - probably from the 80's!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds great Florence. As for your shop, I worried about that too but I think if you have confidence in your products it comes across and all sells. I thought at the very least I would be left with the Christmas present situation sorted for last year and ended up sewing more items to keep up with orders and extrato keep up with my own presents! Golly, those late nights in my sewing room after children had gone to bed are still a strong memory! xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks like you had a lovely holiday!
    I really enjoyed that book too, have you read The Island by Victoria Hislop? It's another book that I didn't want to finish as I was enjoying it so much!

    ReplyDelete
  10. That frog is adorable! So glad you had a good holiday.

    April xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a gorgeous holiday!! I so agree about the sewing too. You can't imagine the hours I put into the swap pieces I do - oh actually, it sounds like you can. I doubt you'll have anything left in your shop - all your work has such charm and loveliness it will snapped up!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I remember those frogs!! And this one's very cute too. The quality of your sewing always looks wonderful to me. It's the money aspect, isn't it? Feeling like what you're producing is worth it...well, I don't think you have any worries on that score. Just dive in there, and I think you'll be just fine! On Chesil Beach is a wonderful read, heartbreakingly wonderful. Hope you enjoy it. A really lovely post, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sounds like you had a lovely holiday. I have two of those Liberty Frogs still on my dresser and this looks every bit as wonderful
    Take Care
    CLare x

    ReplyDelete
  14. oh your holiday sounded dreamy! i'm so pleased you all had a great time. the suprise bags for the children? wow...you think of the loveliest things...they must have been delighted! (i do indeed remember the liberty frogs and i remember buying one for my mum years back...your creation is fun and perfect!)

    i'm v excited about the shop news! when do the doors open? and yes i confess that my stitchery for me is not so much about perfection on the inside seams as about being good to go! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your vacation sounds lovely--goody bags and years of Country Living? What could be better?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lovely to have you back! I have to admit that we had a cheap version of the frog as a doorstop in our first house. He was filled with some sort of pulse I think and actually went mouldy. (I am no better at house-keping now!)
    My sewing for selling has a kind of reverse psychology...'no one will ever buy it so they won't notice that the lining could be neater....' For presents, swaps and 'commisions' I am anxt ridden and picky, just like I am the rest of the time!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sounds like a great holiday! You are a very good mum to shoehorn the time in to make that frog for the goody bags while packing for your week away! He's very cute.

    And yes, I sew in a completely different way when I'm making things to sell. When sewing for me and my children I am a speed merchant cowboy, but I am like a totally different person when making things for the shop - a painstaking perfectionist! Hope all the preparations for the grand opening are going well - looking forward to seeing it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sounds a lovely holiday. The good thing about getting things ready to sell and then they don't sell is that you are ready when it turns out to be someones birthday and you don't have time to make something! I made 5 bags and only have 2 left becasue of that!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think that is such a good idea to give the kids goodie bag for the trip. Nice photos!

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  20. OOPS. It should, of course have been 'discover,' which is a feature of Google reader that presents you with a list of blogs covering the same subjects as your own.
    I must say I have enjoyed this post for the lovely English summer holiday scenes which have been sadly lacking in my life lately.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It sounds like the perfect holiday. The Time Travellers Wife is on my pile of books to read so good to hear it recommended. Love the frog by the way - I'm sure we used to have one of the Liberty ones many years ago!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh my goodness, I know this is really random, but I made a frog EXACTLY like that in an elementary school sewing class. The fabric was almost identical, and the shape and eyes were the same too!

    ReplyDelete

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