Manly prints, two Lauras and a question

Mr Teacakes recently became the proud new owner of an ipod Touch...with a wonderfully glossy touch screen and a shiny chrome back...all gorgeous, but easily scratched. He asked me to make a cover for him and now it can sit safely nestled in its pod holder even when he's listening to it.

I find it so hard to find manly fabric, but in the absence of anything that overtly says 'I am MAN' (what would that fabric be like, I wonder...I'm thinking of a print that encompasses Ferraris, tiny Speedos, pumped muscles, with a few dead puppies thrown in for good measure...thank goodness I haven't found it!) I chose some natural linen and a black woven material that I had in my stash, along with some black silk for the lining. I embroidered his initials on the top of the case, which goes some way to making up for him not having the actual ipod engraved.

Each evening Ian puts it on the bedside table on top of one of the books that I bought him for Christmas. I chose Musicophilia ~ Tales of Music and the Brain for him as we'd both so enjoyed reading Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat many years ago as part of our degree courses...but I'm wondering if this book is a little less riveting, as despite its presence on the bedside for the last six months he seems no wiser as to its content, but deceptively, it looks very well-read for the front cover is now even complete with coffee stain....perhaps he's The Man Who Mistook His Book for a Coaster?

A small item equates to only a few hours work always seems to be the thought that I often start out with, but actually I find tiny things are often the most fiddlingly difficult to work with on a machine...this was no exception and the children now have the multiple prototypes in their toy boxes to prove it - I so dislike it when they rescue these botched creations from the means evidence of projects-gone-wrong unexpectedly leap out at me from in amongst the dinosaurs and Lego bricks.

For the last three years Zebra-girl and I have always spent this particular weekend just gone in London, at my sister Laura's - after a countdown starting many weeks before that normally culminates in such anticipatory excitement in the hours before meeting, that at least one of us exclaims that it feels as though our head might fall off. The focal point of the weekend is always going to the Royal Ballet School's annual matinee performance at Covent Garden's Royal Opera House on Sunday afternoon, but this year we squeezed in so many other treats too: The National Gallery (to see their Picasso, as Zebra-girl has been copying his 'strange faces' paintings recently...unfortunately the example currently on display has a disappointingly normal face with all features in their correct places), a visit to Princess Diana's Playground, late-night dining out, early-morning Strawberry eating (drizzled with the juice of limes for extra yummyness), controlled explosions at the Science Museum and a wonderful treasure hunt around my sister's flat that led to new nightwear for both of us (this too is an annual treat and Zebra-girl now has the most exquisite collection of nightdresses from these weekends - amazingly all of them are still wearable due to the fact that we tend to buy nightdresses so that they are a lovely ankle length for the first year of wearing them). So much fun...and as my sister said, all the nicer for knowing that we have it all to do again next year. Above are the pastels that Zebra girl used for 'pastelling' with (her words) while Laura and I dressed in the morning.

Other lovely treats this week were these goodies that arrived from Laura Baillie (there's a theme developing for good things being given by those named Laura in this post) after I won a giveaway on her blog - such beautiful packaging. Laura's giveaway was a pair of the most beautiful handmade earrings, which I had told her I would love for my grandmother (being without earlobe holes myself)...they are absolutely beautiful and I believe similar can be purchased here in Laura's etsy shop. She very kindly included a little piece of loveliness for me too - thank you, Laura.

Thank you so much for all your sewing machine advice...I have one more thing that I am curious about though (would it be permissible for each blog post to end with a research question this week?)...I would love it if anyone has an opinion on the capability for a machine to do a stitch that resembles a hand-stitched quilting stitch...not having done any quilting (but knowing that it is something that I might like to do in the future), is that actually an advantage in a machine, does anyone quilt this way or is it a feature that will most likely go unused?


  1. Hi Florence,
    I came across your blog today and loved having a read through of your posts. I think the ipod case came out nicely, I totally understand your quest for manly fabric and sometimes wonder what it would look like myself. Linen is always a good choice and engraving too.

  2. You Ipod case is fabulous and oh so manly!! I know exactly what you mean, my hubby once asked for a quilt and I did make him one which seems to pass as manly enough - it is tough though!! And don't you love all of those failures in the toy boxes just waiting to mock you each time you help pack up the dont toys - hee-hee, sounds soooooo familiar =)

  3. Grandmother Teacakes - that's so cute! We've just got a new batch of phones here, 3 the same, and I'm thinking they need manly cases so we can tell them apart.
    My Bernina has a hand-quilt stitch and although I use it, I don't use it for quilting. Or haven't yet. It needs that invisible polyester thread and it makes an ok looking hand-stitch but I've only used it for outlining pockets and such on clothing.

  4. The weekend sounds heavenly.

    As for engraved iPods I can tell you that they take an age to be mended if they need to be mended, whereas if you have an unmarked one it seems they simply send you a new one toot sweet. Poor Mr J was without his for almost a month and we have never made that mistake again. The cover is a much better idea :)

  5. Love the ipod case! And I think you've pulled off the manliness (though I'm slightly worried about the dead puppies!).

    Your weekend in London sounds like a lovely family tradition!

    Sorry no advice to add on the quilting machine. My toyota is nominally a quilting machine, and it does all I need it to, though it doesn't have a hand quilting stitch.

  6. Oh I love the case. It's so difficult to make manly things. And I remember well "the man who mistook his wife for a hat" I had to do a presentation on it for my degree too. A hand stitch feature sounds very desirable, my quilting machine doesn't have one but then I don't do a lot of quilting anyway. I would definitely use that stitch if I had it though.

  7. Hello Florence. A lovely post as ever. Your weekend sounds wonderful and just the sort of thing your little girl will look back on with such sweet memories.

    Love the ipod case - think they should be a feature in your shop though I sooo agree with you about the fiddliness of the smaller items.

    As to the quilting question - I have a Toyota too bought for me by Mr Dave as a Christmas surprise. As yet I have never attempted a quilt but am trying my hand for my daughter's birthday. I didn't even realise there was such a thing as hand-stitching on a machine and don't think mine has it, but it sounds a really good thing to go for if possible. xx

  8. Thats very clever! I'm sure Mr Teacakes was thrilled.You have inspired me-husband loves a gadget and currently has pinched a couple of my Cath Kidston cosmetic pouches to keep them in!I'm sure he would love something in 'manly' fabric instead.
    I handquilt( perfect tv watching/wine sipping activity) but I do remember everyone getting excited about the handstitch on the new Jenome Memory Craft.x

  9. Thank you for your lovely comment! Laura does mean loviliness you know, as I'm sure your sister has told you he he he! I sounds like you had a wonderful girlie weekend and packed in loads of cultural bite. Sorry I can't help with your quilting question, not my thing. x

  10. That packaging label is the most gorgeous blue!

    My Bernina does a 'hand-look' stitch but you need to use a 'monofilament' thread to achieve the look and the 'look' is not bad. I've never seen a machine perfectly mimic hand quilting. Some quilters mix hand and machine quilting to reat effect bu these are mostly wall hanging and art type quilts. For most quilting though you can accomplish something good with a machine. For sewing in the ditch (sewing where you've previously sewn) a machine straight stitch is fine. In fact for most quilting operations the straight stitch is enough, you may wish to lengthen the stitch though. For free-motion quilting, meandering lines, circles etc you need to get acquainted with your darning foot - feed dogs lowered - stitch length set to 0 and draw/paint with your thread. It takes practice but it feels great when you get the hand of it. A BSR foot (Bernina stitch regulator) is designed to simplify the process but it still needs practice to get the best out of it.

    I love quilting and I love the way the thread and the quilting patterns/designs can change and unify the colours and patterns of the fabric your working with. It's a vast 'sewing' area really, so many styles and approaches!

    Sorry for the essay Flossie Teacakes I do enjoy reading your blog. Thank you.

  11. Well lets see...firstly, your ipod cover is lovely (or should I say 'handsome'). And isn't 'The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat' a great book? Actually, I found 'An Anthropoligist on Mars' a compelling read too! Oliver Sack is a remarkable man, with an amazing compassion for human beings. Your weekend sounds lovely, and how nice to receive such beautiful gifts in the mail! And lastly, I'm afraid I have no idea about the quilting stitch you are asking about...but good luck with it. Thanks again for another lovely post :)

  12. Florence, I adore that case! I want one for my husband. I love your work and that's why you have been awarded the Arte Y Pico Blog Award by me, Natasha at! This award was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creativity, and for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium. Please visit for the rules for award acceptance.

  13. I keep telling my dh that I will make him an ipod case but he thinks it will be all roses and birds. Maybe I should show him yours!

  14. My name is .....Laura.....
    you did a very good job with the "I am a man" i pod cover.
    Nice blog!
    regards Laura

  15. Hello Florence!

    I am afraid I cannot help you with this particular research query. Maybe next time... I must say though that the ipod case is so excellent! I love your idea about embroidering the initials on.
    You write with such wit and style and today you really cracked me up with the comment about the book being mistaken for a coaster!!!
    Funny laday- you have a good weekend!


Post a Comment

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