Although I bemoan the fact that due to having all of two hours in antenatal classes in a cramped hot hospital room, I’ve never been part of the NCT clique, I am lucky that shortly before Girl Lacer was born I joined an online forum for mothers having babies in the same month and even now, over five years later and even though we are not still on that same forum (we left and created our own), we are all still really good friends and although we’re spread all over the country and indeed the world, we still have our get togethers every now and then. Anyway, we always do a Secret Santa and this year for my Secret Santa recipient, who is a lovely lady, sort of the mother of the group, as unlike the rest of us she already had teenagers (or soon to be teenagers back then), I decided, along with the majority of my gift giving, to go handmade. A few of us in our group are into crafting now (in fact I think my Secret Santa gift, which was sent from Australia (so it really narrows the field of who my Secret Santa is – to about one) is very possibly hand dyed wool, as my friend hand dyes her own wool, so that’s exciting), anyway, we did a little questionnaire with the Secret Santa this year about likes and dislikes and my Secret Santa recipient was very specific about what colours she liked / didn’t like, so that made choosing a project more difficult, specially as they’re not my most favourite colours, I’m a more earthy colour girl and my friend most definitely is not. Anyway browsing the blogs, I came across some posts talking about some pattern .pdfs for sale from Aimee Ray (sorry I can’t remember the original posts). Ray wrote Doodle Stitching, a book I’ve done ooh at least three projects out of and definitely plan to do more, so I checked out Aimee Ray’s shop on Etsy and found these. I recognised quite a few of the patterns as being photographed in her book but not actually described, so it was great to find these patterns and I ended up buying the Happy Garden .pdf to make for my friend. It was a bit of a risk, my friend may hate Aimee Ray’s quite child like style and I wasn’t personally sure about the colours (which had been indirectly specified by my friend) I was having to use. So I made this thinking “I really must conquer my fear of my sewing machine and make things a bit more useful and less subjected to taste next year”. I was also trying out a new technique I’d read about here on Pimp Stitch about crayon tinting (do you know how hard it is to find crayola crayons these days?). Anyway, this is the result.
I didn’t follow the pattern completely, I’m not brilliant at transferring patterns and I also deliberately missed a few bits out, but it’s close enough. I’m really pleased with how the crayon tinting went, I think you wouldn’t immediately think it was crayon, it looks more like washed out water colour. This pattern took a while to embroider and whilst doing this I kept thinking “This going to look so naff” but when I finished the final details, I stood back, looked at it and thought “Actually, that’s not that bad”. I’m still not sure if my friend will like it and I have a feeling her husband will hate it, but it’s the thought that counts right?
My favourite bits are where the embroidered lines are crossing over each other, I like the texture and the slight 3D-ness of it, and I will be experimenting more with that in the future. I think I vaguely remember my mum doing something similar in some of her pieces.
And finally of course I had to wrap it up. I’ve been following Bugs and Fishes excellent gift wrapping suggestions and unfortunately most of my presents this year, being handmade (or at least hand adapted) have been of the soft and floppy variety and I didn’t think Bugs and Fishes suggestions would have worked quite as well with them, so I wrapped them in tissue paper but with my Secret Santa I had the chance (the frame by the way, I got from Sublime Stitching). So I chose the Vintage Stamp idea, I didn’t have any vintage stamps mind you but I did have some recently arrived stamps from Australia (my Secret Santa) and Japan (after a naughty addition to my fabric stash), so I used those and now my ‘vintage’ parcel looks as if it’s been well travelled before finally arriving at it’s final destination of ‘Lady Amanda, Haughtsborough Hall, Little Bottom, Essexshire’, which of course is not where she lives! I just hope my friend ‘gets’ it.