Tag: dragon

Of Ice Queens and Parenting Foibles

Parenting is a bit like trying to drill holes in the walls of our Victorian flat.

From the outset you’ll never be quite sure whether you’ll remain as unyielding as surprise masonry or as soft and crumbly as lath and plaster (or in fact be made entirely of newspaper and Polyfilla, but I can’t make that relate to parenting, so lets pretend we haven’t spoken of it).

My large weak spot is costuming. I’m starting to be able to tap the figurative walls and guess when this indulgence will rear its head, and when an invitation to a Frozen birthday party appeared, I knew it would be better to anticipate than react.

Luckily, I’ve been spared the princess-mania and since Dragon’s favourite character is Olaf the snowman, I could suggest a t-shirt rather than a full ensemble.

I’m pleased that this one came together with an investment of £1 in charity shop clothing and some felt (not to mention that I feel I’ve escaped very lightly without metres of sparkly tulle).


In the Walled Garden – Baby Quilt

This baby quilt feels like the end of an era.

Many moons ago when I was child-free and full of time that was my own, a very good school friend had a baby. So what could be more natural than to make her a quilt?

(Look at wee Kippie trying to help!)

Then I had a baby, then she had another baby. I didn’t want anyone to feel I was playing favourites, so I made a quilt. I enjoyed it, but it took a little longer than the first one (still under a year).

Then we had a synchronous increase in family size, her youngest arrived at about the time I discovered there was a Little Lion on the way, and I’ve been working on (what she assures me will be) the last quilt in the series.

It’s a mixture of machine and hand quilting, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out in the end. (Although I have to admit I got a little stuck in the middle of it all.) Plus, I’ve managed to finish it within the one year self-imposed limit!

I think I’m going to give quilt-making for other people’s children a little break; for one thing I now have two quilts to finish for my own offspring and I’m also finding that hand sewing as a way to relax from hand embroidering is not quite as soothing as it might be.

But watch this space for Dragon and Lion’s quilt updates because I’m determined to get moving while my nesting spell is upon me!

(The photos of the previous quilts link to their original outings on my blog, if you fancy seeing more photos or reading more about their creation.)

Holiday Happenings

I think I’m slowly starting to embrace the festive atmosphere.

After last weekend’s slightly manic dash from craft fair to teaching night out to craft fair, Dragon and I decided that it was time to break out the Muppet Christmas films (we’re holding off on Muppet’s Christmas Carol for another week) and try to relax properly.

We’re having a rare holiday at home, which I’m really looking forward to, Dragon is at the age where traditions really start to stick, so I’m hoping we can create some good ones. (The Star Wars ornaments bode well, I think.)

Of course, I have four commissions to get through before I can really consider myself on holiday, and I should probably unpack the craft fair boxes and bags that are lurking at every turn, but I have a cunning plan on that front…

I’d like to offer you 20% off anything on the website until 31st December, just to save me putting everything away! Use the code ‘holiday’ at checkout and you’re away.

I’m making a concerted effort this year to buy exclusively from local or handmade sources for my gifts, and it would be lovely if everyone could at least buy one more thing from a friendly face than they did last year.

I hope you’re all managing to stay toasty wherever you are, I’m slowly adding layers of legwarmers, cowls and shawls as the weather dictates!

A New Member of Staff

I’ve just looked at my holiday craft fair diary (you can see it here) and it’s looking so busy that I thought it might be an idea to recruit a new member of staff.

After due consideration of potential candidates, we decided that it would be better to train one up from scratch rather than hire someone who wasn’t versed in the ways of Misericordia Mansions.

what does that spell


Unfortunately, this process takes a while, so the new employee won’t be joining us until March, well after the holiday rush, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Dragon is looking forward to his position as line manager, and we’ve given the new recruit the honorary title – Little Lion.

(Any and all advice about how to seamless expand an embroidery empire will be gratefully received.)

Many Hands and Happy Returns

Misericordia Mansions has been a hive of activity this week, but not of the usual kind.

Piles appear on all available flat surfaces, surmounted with shopping and to do lists.

We even get the apprentices involved (trousers – not seen).

All for a rather special event this weekend.

Not everyone has been quite so carried away with preparations…

Light Relief

I’m up to my eyeballs at the moment – a commission, a massive community project that I’m co-ordinating (and consistently forgetting that I am also designing and making several rather large pieces for it), plus exam prep and the usual assortment of projects for friends and family that I’m months behind on.

So for light relief, here’s proof that I’m a Proper Grown Up.

Radcliffe and Maconie on 6music recently asked for signs you know you’re a proper grown up and I had a wee ponder. At first I thought that being genuinely excited about a parking space might top my list, but now I suspect that buying light fittings is right up there.

We’ve now replaced almost all the light fittings in the house, along with the light switches (who knew I would have strong opinions about a light switch?) and I have never been happier to usher the motley crew of wicker, peach suedette and paper lantern* shades out of the house. Even the hovel got a nice new shade.

This is officially known as the Jelly Mould, Mum bought it for us as a first anniversary gift. Our seventh anniversary is on Monday and after sitting in a box for over five years and a brief spell as a living room light in a rented house it finally took its place where it belonged to be.

The kitchen lights came from Manchester, and as soon as I can find an extra non-standard, non-metric sized nut and bolt combo, I can get the other shade and cage up. (Suggestions of helpful websites gratefully received.)

The Boy picked his own, mainly because it was blue…

The rest came from the truly astonishing Meadows Lamp Gallery. I have lusted after their refurbished (Art Nouveau!) goodies for years and now they’re mine!

The (very) long-term plan is to get something truly spectacular for the dining and living rooms, but I think I’ll have to give my penny pot a chance to catch its breath for a bit!

*Because I know my parents are reading this, I appreciate the irony of the fact that I was determined to replace the paper lantern shade from the old house at the new. I’ll add it to the list.

Commission – Ellen

I made this piece for my gran’s 90th birthday at the end of February. It’s one of the first pieces I’ve made about someone I know and I really struggled with it!

The first thing I knew was that it had to be bright. From purple hair and turquoise eyeliner to Indian fabrics and sequins for all occasions, there is always lots of colour around Ellen.

ellen and dragon

I also wanted to capture her sort of energy; curious, enthusiastic and irrepressibly sunny. (Does anyone else get letters from their grandparents about roadtrips across the States, politics in the Middle East and art – all within the same paragraph?)

In common with many people who stride easily past their four score years and ten, Ellen is an irrepressible optimist. She got a tattoo at 80, and can be counted on to denote her approval with an ‘aw, isn’t that darling!’

Ellen hand embroidery - Misericordia 2014

I’m not sure I’m ever going to adequately compress the essence of the person who helped me make my first quilt, showed me that more is more when hanging pictures in your house and let me try on every bright and beaded item in her wardrobe at the same time into an embroidery, but here’s hoping I get another chance to try in 10 years!


Further Balderdash and a Little More Nonsense

Those of you who are avid readers may remember that I made Dragon a costume from one of his favourite books.

Dragon's Costume by Misericordia

He received a lovely illustration from Holly Swain, who drew the pictures.

But it has taken me rather a long time to get everything organised…until now. So here are the two, ready for their close-up!

sgt rockhard

I’m really very pleased that he’s got a whole wall full of original art, you can’t start moulding their taste too young.


From left to right are Dragon’s bris certificate (very limited edition!), my embroidery of his Hebrew name, two prints from Penelope and Pip, and our own Sergeant Rockhard. Then at the bottom, Lucinda, Amos, Bunny and Little Lamb.

That reminds me, I did some drawings of Little Lamb and Bunny that I keep meaning to do something with. What do you think?

bunny web   lamb web


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