Tag: little lion

More and More of Less and Less

Painting with Toddlers - Misericordia

We’re hitting the Age of Great Turmoil (nothing political for a change, just a Little Lion starting to navigate the 18 month – three year rapids) and I’m finding myself stripping things down to my most basic needs.

Designing a Prototype Bag

Cutting a Prototype Bag

After a rather unfortunate run of bag disasters while in Japan (I broke two straps in two weeks), I decided that the solution was not to carry less stuff but to make a stronger bag. So I’ve made a prototype bag and I’m road testing it. I’m pretty pleased with it, but I’ve hit a snag at the fabric stage.

Waxed Fabric Choices - Misericordia

While I investigate the options (I’m pretty sold on the yellow for the body of the bag, but I’m not sure what to make the waterproof base out of), I’m trying to finish up another pair of trousers and knit myself a hat. Pretty much anything in order to avoid going to the shops and participating in the seemingly endless awfulness of people to other people in the name of commerce.

Prototype Bag - Misericordia

I’m even stripping back my camera usage and seeing what happens if I use my phone photos for the blog (reviews are welcome).

Kipling at Work - Misericordia

If you need me, I’ll either be sewing or resorting to the prop of all parents of young children, hiding in the cupboard eating cake.

On the Shelf

Do you remember Emmeline? Little Lion’s godmother Liz made her, and has been adding to her exquisite wardrobe, in the manner of Sarah’s doll in A Little Princess.

Emmeline - Misericordia

I felt bad that she was tucked into the bookcase (to keep her safe from little hands), so an appeal to eBay gave us this rather lovely handmade wardrobe.

Emmeline's Wardrobe - Misericordia

I think it might take a little renovation (I might paper the inside and at the very least change the knobs on the door), but at least it gives her a safe space to sit.

Hang up your things, dear - Misericordia

(Does she look like she wants something to read?)

Waving Them Off

While I do have another 76 new myrtle leaves that I could show you, I thought for a change, we could have something different.

Two of our favourite members of staff at Dragon and Little Lion’s nursery are moving on to other things. We decided to make themĀ  a little something to say thank you for all their care and patience over the years.

I spent the first six months or so of Little Lion’s nursery career popping in to feed her on my way to work, and had lots of time to chat about the joys and trials of our kids with E. As befits a young lady with very strong opinions, I thought a rather Tudor colour scheme and regal font would suit her daughter.

Millie hand embroidery - Misericordia 2016

L was one of Dragon’s favourites, she shared his love of Star Wars and general sillyness. He spent years pulling on the neck of his t-shirts and stretching them out of shape, and it was only recently that we realised that he was trying to copy an off-the-shoulder top that she wore (which led into a useful discussion about what sort of necklines would be best for that sort of thing), and he still pops into nursery for a chat with her.

She’s off to start a university course, so we decided to make her something inspirational for when the studying gets a bit dreary.

May the Force Be With You - Misericordia 2016

It was a bit of an emotional handover, but I was really glad that we were able to give them something to remember us by.

Next week it will be straight back to the leaf updates.

Bunting Frenzy

I can’t get over how miserable I was this time last year…

Bunting Layout - Misericordia

But here we are, and I’m up to my elbows in a very pleasant project: Little Lion’s Birthday Bunting.

Bunting Layout - Misericordia

It started when The Flat Buddy offered to organise an interactive baby shower for Dragon and we came up with the idea of people making and sending in bunting flags. It was a huge success, and hanging out of the Birthday Bunting marks the beginning of birthday festivities.

Blue and purple bunting - Misericordia

Now that The Flat Buddy is several hundred miles away, I organised Little Lion’s Bunting Appeal (discovering in the process just how much work went into the whole thing) and again was properly overwhelmed at how lovely people are.

Taggy Lion Bunting - Misericordia

Even Dragon got into the act, designing two flags and doing some of the stitching himself.

Dragon's First Embroidery - Misericordia

I’m looking forward to getting it all stitched together in time (I hope) for birthday festivities on the weekend (and more cake, which we missed doing this week).

Shirt Label Bunting - Misericordia

Deeds not Words Bunting - Misericordia

In lieu of cake, here is a photo of the Lovely Young Man posing expertly in his Gentleman’s Relish. Because he is as wise as he is tall, he’s already worn it enough to avoid the Boyfriend Jumper Curse, which we’re all very pleased about.

Gentleman's Relish - Misericordia

Done and Done

An unexpected feeling of accomplishment is filling the air.

Hoop back - Misericordia

I’ve finished my last commission (no photos, the usual gift embargo applies until the New Year) and I’m ready to set myself some impossible crafting goals for the holidays.

As an aside, I tried a new method of finishing the back and I can’t decide what I think about it.

Here we have the makings of Little Lion’s Hebrew name embroidery, her name means queen, so I pondering something regal and ornate.

Gold and turquoise embroidery thread - Misericordia

I’ve also promised Dragon some work on his quilt, so here’s hoping for a few quiet moments (and possibly a slightly more seasonal chill in the air) to make good on my promise!

I hope you make it through the last week before the holiday, don’t forget the odd deep breath and solitary outdoor walk may make all the difference.

Leaving Go

This week has mainly been about leaving.

For the first time I left the house with two children and returned with none.

It was a very exposed, almost naked feeling (a little less so when I remembered to retrieve my house keys from the pocket of the baby carrier).

Even more emotional than leaving my children, I’m about to drop my sewing shears off to be sharpened, with the prospect of being separated from them for upwards of three weeks.

I have no idea why it feel so wrenching, perhaps because almost everything else I use is one of many (needles, threads, hoops), whereas the scissors are unique.

I’ve also had them much longer than even the Lovely Young Man (and we met 17 years ago on Wednesday) – my fabric scissors since I was a teenager, and my pinking shears were my granny’s.

But in the spirit of the week, I’ll stick emphatic name labels on them, take a deep breath and go.

Playing Away

I have a confession to make, I’ve been flirting with another media recently.

(No, I haven’t started vlogging.)

I keep finding myself craving paint, pencils, and brushes. This has only been amplified by a ‘thank you’ voucher for Greyfriars Art Shop which is gently smouldering a hole in my pocket.

I’ve been working on Little Lion’s baby book (and catching up with Dragon’s book) and I’m really enjoying it. Sometimes I can even release my grip enough to let Dragon* help.

As my maternity leave comes to a close, I’m pondering the next steps for Misericordia. Since I’m running a part-part (part?) time operation, the evolution of my work can feel very slow sometimes. My mind certainly works a lot faster than my fingers!

I definitely want to work a little more drawing into my embroidery, but what that looks like remains to be seen.

While I’m pondering, what are your favourite art supplies? This voucher needs spending!

*Check out the finished birthday turtle costume finished well over a week before his birthday!

Joining the Club

I’ve noticed that there are some interests, hobbies and products that draw people together.

My dad has a vintage Alfa Romeo, and when we went for drives, owners of similarly beautiful-but-impractical cars would nod or lift an index finger off their steering wheels in a subtle salute.

This has followed me into adulthood, although our nodding fraternity choices are a Brompton bicycle and an Ergo carrier. But as I spied a knitting needle case on the table at a recent play date, I realised that there is a similar clanship among people who make.

About 75% of my friends are makers of some sort. A reasonable percentage of those have made things since childhood, before the recent crafting boom. Interestingly, LYM’s friends from school are consistently excellent makers and top quality pals.

For that reason, we asked Liz to be Little Lion’s godmother. Not only can I rest safe in the knowledge that Lion will have a better understanding of cricket than I, she will be sure to know how to dance with decorum (even if she chooses not to) and will always, always submit her taxes well before the deadline.

In addition to these skills, Liz turns her hand to quite an enviable array of making genres from knitting to tailoring.

So when she presented Little Lion with this beautiful rabbit, we were thrilled for all sorts of reasons. It’s a gorgeous bunny, beautifully made, with a properly serious grown up expression – just a hint of Waldorf doll about it (we take our teddies very seriously in this house). But best of all it’s an entirely unique and handmade thing, which she will learn to treasure (as soon as I decide to let the bunny down off the mantelpiece, which may take a few years)!

You can read all about the bunny’s creation on Liz’s blog here!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Blast Off

Here’s the ark curtain I’ve been agonising over for a year.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

Sometimes large pieces take a long time because of the time it takes to physically complete them, and sometimes it’s the existential crisis that takes the time. This piece was particularly hard-fought, and took lots of both.

The initial design fell together really quickly, and the applique went very easily. I decided to see what it looked like at that point in the ark, even though it felt unresolved.

10th ark open

I wanted to combine elements which reflected the community’s place within the Scottish and Jewish artistic landscape. There are nods to trade union and suffragette banners as well as elements of the Scottish Arts and Crafts movements.

The skeleton of it was right, but it needed more texture and movement.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I was particularly pleased with the banner, the silk is gorgeously papery in feel, and lets me give a feeling of flutter into the text, but that contrasted with the flatness of the tree.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I stitched things, I picked them out again. I added hundreds of seed stitches to the French knots in the etrogim (yellow things like monster lemons). I pondered quilting techniques, tone on tone embroidery, trapunto, and finally did a little tentative leaf embroidery.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I stood back, I looked up close. I hung it on a door, I laid it on the floor. I took photos in black and white, and in colour. I haunted Pinterest, I copied Art Nouveau drawings, paintings and furniture. Finally, I decided on the only sure thing and applied an Arbitrary Deadline, Little Lion’s baby blessing.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I think it’s worked in the end. At any rate, I now have a template to base the other pieces on, so hopefully I’ve paid my debt to my muse in advance.

Ark design and construction: Sorell

Metalwork design: Lauren Fox

Moderate or Good, Occasionally Poor

I’m wafting gently through the weeks at the moment.

The weather is nothing special, I’m in the middle of two medium to large projects that I can’t really show at the moment, and my companions are mostly silent (but good company).

It’s quite soothing, but the odd day of excitement (Dragon’s school induction!) takes me rather by surprise and I end up needing half a day staring out the window to get over it.

I’m still picking away at things, even if it is in slow motion.

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