In homage to the Molly Chicken blog
Firstly, thank you so much for all your entries to the Hoop-la giveaway! Jule was the winner, as determined by my jabbing finger as I scrolled the computer screen up and down (it's a highly technical procedure). I've just visited Jule's blog, to see where the hoop will end up and was delighted to discover evidence of some insanely wonderful piglet baking (no actual pigs involved) - I think I may make my husband a birthday cake in January just like this one! Serendipitously, in a freak matching-blog-post-whirlwind, my post for today contains a fabric pig-in-mud. If ever there was a hoop winner that was meant to be, it is this one! Jule, please get in touch with your mailing address and I'll pass it on to Kirsty, so that she can send the chalkboard hoop out to you.
Unfortunately, due to being out-foxed by a series of frustrating practicalities, half-term fun only really started for us when the week was nearly over, on Friday. However, luckily my son had an inset day on Monday, so we were able to make up for some of that. He initially asked to spend the day baking, but when faced with a request from his parents' already-bulging cheeks that it be savoury, not sweet, he went off the idea and refused to succumb to requests to make us stilton and broccoli cornish pasties, no matter how much we pleaded with him. Instead, we settled upon some sewing and he came up with the idea of making a crocodile version of the mice that I'd first started making for him six years ago, around the time when he first started school. The original Mousey-in-a-bed pattern was created by the, now defunct, Molly Chicken blog and you can find it here. Molly Chicken was one of the first blogs that I read regularly and it still feels such a shame that it's no longer tended to. Whenever I use this pattern I always wonder what the author of Molly Chicken, Lyn, is up to now.
I've returned to the Molly Chicken Mousey-in-a-Bed pattern regularly over the last six years, as it's incredibly quick and easy to make (I love felt for that) and can be changed to suit a child's own tastes. I once created a Pig-in-a-Bed-of-Mud based on it, and another time, a Ladybird-Wrapped-in-a-Leaf, so I was more than happy to have a go at making a Crocodile-in-a-Swamp-Bed with my son.
He was so pleased with how this turned out. We spent a long time referring to books to try and get his shape right and my son eventually suggested sewing down the ears to make them into eye-covers instead, which worked brilliantly and makes it look much more crocodiley.
He used a mixture of machine and hand-sewing. And I was excited to see that the alphabet on my machine, which I've always shunned, actually turned out beautifully when used on felt.
My son is slightly bored by the prospect of a straight stitch (and a mother insisting that it's really all that's needed) when faced with a chart of over 100 more interesting potential stitches, so he came up with the idea of sewing down the layers of wavy felt he'd cut using a similarly wavy stitch.
My son's room is invariably an absolute mess, but he does often create 'displays' of things within the chaos. This is what greeted me when I went into his room later in the day. The mice have mostly lost their beds down the back of the radiator, but it's nice that he still has so many of them.
If you have a spare half-hour and know a child (any child!), I'd implore you to have a go at making one of these mousey-in-a-bed creations - they seem to stand the test of time, appeal to all ages of children and are easy and satisfying to make (and if you don't like working with felt and have bigger bears to accommodate, you could always try my Three Bears' Sleeping Bag Pattern - it takes a little longer as it's constructed in a different way, due to using fabric, rather than felt, but it's still a relatively quick make).