Sunday, 30 March 2008
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).
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
In the early Summer of 2007 (which is when the above picture was taken...just in case you begin to wonder later about what the relevance might be) I finally bought a book that I'd had in my Amazon wish list for some time. It was the Crafter's Companion, edited by Anna Torborg. I had no idea at the time what an impression it might have on me or even of the existence of the online world of craft and sewing that it is based around, and that I would soon choose to become a part of. There was an overwhelming feeling of relief as I devoured the words on its pages and then followed the links online to the blogs that it talked of - it opened up to me a community of people whose thinking so often felt familiar and recognisable to me; a need to constantly create, when logic so often might say that it would be easier, and even cost less, to buy the same thing from the shop; as well as so many who share an obsession with colour and order - a people who will be delighted by a rainbow of cotton colours, tactile wooden toys, the ordering of colouring pens, a haul of vintage buttons or the satisfaction of storing a fabric stash in an aesthetically pleasing way....and a general willingness to preserve a little more of the 'old-fashioned' in their lives.
2. How did you come up with your blog name?
When I was about eight my mother read to me a short series of books about a little girl called Flossie Teacakes...and I suppose Flossie is a variation on Florence, so I identified with the character and carried the idea of her with me past the age of reading the actual book . However, despite calling my blog Flossie Teacakes, which may seem like an open invitation to call the author 'Flossie', that is something of a self-created undesired side-effect that I hadn't thought through when choosing a name for my blog - as an adult I've found being called Flossie somewhat undignified. I wonder whether anyone else feels similarly, but I find the whole idea of name shortening a troublesome ground (she said, straightening her petticoat...yes, I know that statement probably makes me sound freakishly stuffy and formal) for unbidden name shortening with anyone other than close family and old friends feels like an imposition, unless the person has introduced themselves, or signed themselves off in that way, in which case name lengthening seems equally inappropriate! Does anyone else feel the same...oh please say I'm not alone on this!?
3. Do your friends and family know about your blog? What do they think of it?
My family and closest friends know about my blog and all read it from time to time, and their reactions have been lovely. Zebra-girl enjoys scrolling down through the pictures and seeing bits of her life on there, but also likes looking at other people's blogs. I think the idea that you can get such a snapshot of someone else's world fascinates her. I sometimes question how it looks to family and friends that my blog is very much focused around the things that I create and the edited highlights of our family life which can create the appearance of a sort of vacuum....I worry that it may look as if the other things that go on in our lives are of no consequence...but it's not that at all...just a lack of desire to bare all about either myself or those around me.
I always start with a picture...and I don't think I've ever done a post without one. Normally, once the image is uploaded, I start writing and a lot of things that I hadn't even been aware that I was thinking, or thoughts that were only half-formed, spill out onto the page jumbled up with some bits and pieces that I've been making or thinking about making.
5. Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?
I can remember deleting one comment that was about 2000 words long and rather religious in tone and completely unrelated to my post, but that's it.
6. Do you check your stats? Do you care how many people read your blog? If you do care, how do you increase traffic?
I used to check stats often when I first started blogging, until Mr Teacakes pointed out to me that site traffic is rather irrelevant, as you only know that people liked what they saw and read if they leave a comment or return again. I think that's a slightly simplistic view, as there are lots of lovely blogs that I choose to only lurk on, but even so, his words have seeped into my subconscious somehow, because I only check occasionally now. I think site traffic is probably increased by doing tutorials...but to write or order my blog in a way that purposely increases site traffic would most probably be at the expense of how much I enjoy just using it for what it is...so yes, I'd really like people to read my blog, but I wouldn't change it to make that happen. Having said that, I really appreciate it when people share sewing tricks and tips that they've found helpful, and so I do try to do that when it occurs to me.
7. What kind of blogs/posts interest you?
Probably the same things that most others are attracted to: I love blogs that are well written, have nice photos and are full of the author's personality. I like it when you have a sense of the place that they might be writing or working from and what the hustle and bustle of their daily life entails. I like blogs that feel like the owner has taken the time to make their page feel like a virtual home...so many with their colourful headers and busy sidebars feel like a familiar and favourite armchair to sit down in when the page first loads. And of course...lots of sewing inspiration is always good too...
8. What do you like and dislike about blogging?
For me, blogging is a catch-all for many of my favourite things - it involves writing, photography, sewing, and the opportunity to record the best bits of my life with Mr Teacakes and our children. Although when I first started to write a blog my reasons for doing so were fairly straight forward, my continuation of writing a blog is partly because the idea of leaving some document of our daily existence for our children appeals to me.
Sunday, 23 March 2008
The children danced to old songs played on my father's Wurlitzer and then retired to watch Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz...while I went to work on the project that my father has set me in preparation for his 60th birthday, involving the compiling of certain photographs. So as the others followed the yellow brick road, I waded back in time through boxes and boxes of old photos...which left me feeling unexpectedly time-warped and odd.
But, amongst others, I did find this lovely photo of my sister making lace at our old next-door-neighbour's house. Audrey taught my sister lace making when she was seven or eight...and I think she even tried to teach me at one point too. How lovely it was to be reminded of her bobbins and the beads that she decorated them with, and the sounds of clicketty-clacking that accompanied Audrey's own lace making as she confidently skipped them over one another.
I hope you all had lovely Easter celebrations.
And thank you so much for all the lovely, encouraging comments that you left for me on my last post - such kindness. x
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
And who might these two little girls be? They had to be on here, because what's the point of having something custom-made if it doesn't feature the lovely little recipients in its pictures! Their names are embroidered beneath them.
And it also includes some of my favourite bits from the original doorstop, like this house.
I was hugely flattered that someone likes something I've made enough to want one for their own home and it is a confidence boost that has come just at the right time, as Ian is currently busy working on making a little online shop for me, so that I might start to - hopefully (that's why the confidence boost was so lovely!) - sell some of the things that I make. In the last couple of weeks I've also had a few unexpected orders from friends-of-friends and friends-of-family, which is really nice, and makes me think that I should put any issues I might have about timing to one side, as things normally have a habit of happening at the right time if they're meant to.
I've now heard that the doorstop has arrived safely and that the little recipients are most pleased with it (thank goodness!). Oh, and if you haven't already visited, then the Molly Cup Cakes shop is definitely worth having a peek into for all its polka-dot hand-painted goodness and lovely Easter goodies.
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
One day last week Dinosaur-boy and I sat together eating soup and ciabatta for our lunch. 'Look, Mummy, it's a heart!' he had said giggling. I had looked up expecting to see an unrecognisable splot of soup on the breakfast bar...but was amazed to see that the soup from his spoon really had been spilt into the most perfectly-formed heart.
I shall miss sharing lunch with him in September...I wonder if I shall start looking for shapes in my solitary lunches and taking pictures of my finds to show when they come home...or if I will lose the will to bother making lunch at all once I'm home alone. Probably the latter, children are so good for giving adults a structure to their days.
Sunday, 16 March 2008
It seemed a suitable opportunity to wear my favourite dress: a knitted one that my sister bought for me as a surprise last year. I love all the different types of stitches used in its creation and the lovely scalloped crocheted edge that gives it the most wonderful flickyness once on...but mostly I love that it has a slightly 1960s feel to it, which is my favourite era to dress from. I realise that when you put these two pictures next to one another it might seem as though I had chosen to wear it in a strange bid to colour-coordinate myself with Mr Teacakes' cake...I can assure you that this was not the case and thankfully I spent the evening at the other side of the room from the sponge.
Moving around the tables was a magician from the magic circle...whose tricks were many and impressive and who whipped cards from my hand and hid them in his pocket without me seeing or feeling a thing, despite the fact that my palms were clamped firmly together with the cards apparently safe inside. Our taxi ride home was filled with plans to create a midnight feast that revolved primarily around a slab of brie and a french stick, as well as the need for a proper debrief as to how Mr Magic might have worked his tricks. The former was quite delicious, the latter produced no firm conclusions...as you might have expected.
Saturday, 15 March 2008
I have never quilted anything before and so this was a really good small project to sample it on....and I absolutely loved it, there's something so unchallenging about ploughing up and down the lines that I'd marked out that I found it a very absorbing and restful activity. Yet again, my walking foot was the most wonderful sewing companion, even if it was a little noisy.
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
I cut a rose from the white fabric and appliqued it on to the flap. I had no idea whether my machine would cope with doing something on that intricate a scale, but actually it was really good, so I then decided to try and pick out some of the smaller lines created by the inner rose petals...it was a sewing session, for once, where everything went right!
I over-locked the sides of the pouch (gosh, pouch is such an unpleasant word...sorry!) to hold it all together, which was a new technique to me, but I found the result most pleasing!
And here it is with my olive bowl that I picked up from the ceramics studio today...you can see I was working to a theme here! I have gone quite crazy for the combination of pink and red.
And on the left is Ian's pot...which I love.
Anyway, I know Mr Teacakes will disapprove of this question....but does anyone have any tea recommendations? My addiction to collecting new flavours has become the source of some resentment in my house and when I'd accumulated over 40 different varieties Ian forced me to do a cull and resign at least 35 of them to the garage, only permitted to re-enter the house on a strict rotation basis. My two favourite staples are Licorice Tea and then the rather dull, but trusty, Peppermint tea, so this leaves me with only three other possibilities at any one time! The man is a teabag tyrant!
Monday, 10 March 2008
And here is a stack of fabrics that Ian also bought for me, after Mette of Erleperle wonderfulness had pointed us in the direction of Tilda fabrics. Each piece is a little smaller than a fat quarter, and will be so useful for applique pieces. He also bought me a Damian Rice CD, which I love...but I think it was sort of a present for himself too, as he was just so desperate for me to stop listening on repeat to the same two Damian Rice songs that I'd downloaded from itunes. I am now listening to my new CD and interspersing each track with a quick replay of my old favourites...this pleases him...a bit.
Our little Zebra was beside herself when she realised that it was soon to be my birthday and that Ian would be home too late each night to take her shopping. I suggested that she could make me something instead, but she said that wasn't a 'proper' present...I asked her whether she thought that all the presents I'd made for people for Christmas weren't proper presents either...I could almost see the cogs whirring in her lovely sweet head and by the time Ian came home she'd thought of what she wanted to make me: a Mummy's Catalogue, for which she carefully took her own pictures of, and wrote about, some of the things that I had made around the house (Dinosaur helped too apparently, in grumpy sort of way). It is adorable. Though the conversation that Zebra and I had reminded me of a conversation that I'd had with my grandmother when I was small. For Christmas one year I'd picked two tiny, tiny pottery creatures to give to her and had been quite delighted with them. But on the day, my sister handed over her gift and all that I could see was how much bigger it was than my own paltry looking parcel. I sat there with tears running down my face. It was only when my lovely little grandma (who is about 4'11) said to me: 'But I'm small...does that mean that I'm not as good as all the other grandmas?' that I was finally able to stop weeping. I think of this conversation often since I was reminded of it by her recently. As she had retold the story to me she went over to her corner shelves and got down the little figures that I'd given to her nearly 25 years ago...
And some books from my mother & sister: The Soft Furnishing Workbook and Where Women Create: Inspiring Workspaces of Extraordinary Women - the latter was responsible for some changes to my own workspace (read: bedroom)...it involved saws, nails and lots of other trappings of faire du bricolage (sorry, DIY is too hideous a term to use, yes my chosen term may be a little pretentious for an English speaker, but at least it doesn't conjure images of lurid orange aprons in a B&Q warehouse...no?). More on that later though, when the transition has been completed.
And finally this beautiful pot that I have quite fallen in love with - it is a gift from my mother-in-law. It always amazes me that the angle of a head can be so very expressive.
Saturday, 8 March 2008
In the morning we went and painted these little olive bowls at a ceramics studio. Once they're glazed they will be bright red and pink...but for now they are subtle and pastelly. Ian chose to do his in pink and red too as he knew those are the colours that I would most like in a kitchen accessory, but halfway through painting, he stopped and asked: Do you think my pot is a bit girly?....Mmmm, well yes! But I love it and I love that he created such a fabulously camp pot in my birthday honour. Surprisingly his is the one on the right...see, it really is very delicate and pretty! He had to bite the heads of some chickens afterwards to re-centre himself (not really...obviously).
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Making Tissue-paper hearts - the Zebra way...
They first took a sainsburys bag and smeared pva glue all over it, then layered lots of beautifully coloured pieces of tissue paper over it and liberally added the glitter. Once this had dried they were able to peel it off the bag in one piece. They then drew hearts on it, cut them out and this bit of loveliness is what you are left with!
Zebra-girl took this photo of it hanging in my bedroom window.
Dinosaur-boy came home with these delicious choclate hearts that he had made with his nursery teachers. He was very definite that they were only for me, and that he absolutely mustn't eat even one...it took quite a lot of persuasion for him to share them with me...but once he'd started, he didn't want to stop. They were delicious.
On Sunday morning I woke up to giggling and excited leaping next to my bed. Ian had obviously been up for some time with the children and they'd arranged a treasure hunt all around the house, with their own hand-drawn clues, which eventually led me to a Pizza Express gift voucher, so that I might take them all out of tea! Once there, the children were given a daffodil each, which they have now put in tiny vases in their rooms. They have also taken every possible opportunity to play 'Pizza Express' with one another. This picture below was taken in one of the many 'restaurants' that they have set up in Zebra-girl's bedroom. I hear the waiter doesn't always give you what you've asked for, but it seems to have a good atmosphere.