Friday, April 09, 2010

Flowers, fairies and boxing clever

As the gardeners among you predicted, my fears that I had lost many of my shrubs and plants in the unusual January snow were unfounded.  When I returned from my five week visit to Oxfordshire, I was greeted by a mass of blooms:
The camellias are as lovely as ever
The hellebores are looking good
especially my favourite chocolate variety
 and there is a solitary hyacinth peeping through the undergrowth

Seeing all the new life in the garden inspired me to have a go at something new myself. I have probably mentioned that I was thrown out of needlework classes when I was 12 - the teacher thought I was better suited to physics. I have taken up quilt-making in recent years but haven't had the confidence to join a group or to try anything complicated but I decided to step out of my comfort zone this week and make a little bag - fully lined and with box corners! Behold, pictured appropriately in the garden, my little Flower Fairies bag:
the Candytuft Fairy on one side
and the Lilac Fairy on the other

I learned how to make the box corners from this clever tutorial. (Isn't Google great!) I will be heading back to the quilting supplies shop for more Flower Fairy panels to make bags for the many little girls we now have in the family. This first example will be packed and posted to Edinburgh on Monday for my great-niece's birthday. I hope she likes it as much as I do. I know I haven't climbed Everest or completed the London marathon but  lining a bag is a great achievement for the girl who was made to read aloud to the class rather than be allowed to use a sewing machine back in 1957!


  1. Both the flowers and the flower bags look really lovely...
    isn't it nice to find yourself good at something you were never expected to be good at..
    Extra satisfying somehow :0)

  2. The bag is adorable and congratulations for redeeming yourself. The nuns tapped me on the head when I was in grade school and told me to just move my lips when everybody else was singing. Never got over it and never learned to carry a tune either. :-)

    PS: Most of my flowers came back after the bad frost we had too.

  3. Lovely bag - and lovely flowers!
    The snow is almost gone here, but so far we have only snowdrops in the garden.

  4. Val - yes, there is great satisfaction in that - even if it takes 50 years to do it!

    erp - glad your plants recovered too. I've never had such a winter while living in Devon and really thought mine were lost. Good old Nature. We never quite recover from those early put-downs though, do we?

    Margaretha - I missed the snowdrops while I was away so I hope you'll enjoy yours a bit more and let me share in their beauty vicariously. Perhaps you will post some photos?

  5. Your garden is beautiful! Here in GA the camelias bloom in January. A lot of them were nicked by the cold, but it is still a nice treat to see blossoms in the winter.
    I think you should have jumped back into the sewing game much sooner! Your bag is adorable. I just love flower fairies. You'll be unstoppable now. :)

  6. Delightful! Both the garden and the bag. And cheers for overcoming silly teachers. I know the feeling. ;)

  7. Told you so!! Everything looks beautiful.

    Love the bag. I also was 'discouraged' from sewing and did Latin instead. Which actually turns out to be useful...occasionally.
    I had a new sewing machine for Christmas from my husband. I've always wanted one. I keep looking at it, guiltily, but can't lay an egg on a project. I think this is partly as crafting supplieas are so expensive I don't want to make a mess.

  8. Your garden looks so pretty, and I love the bag. I can imagine the next generation of the family all strutting around proudly displaying their handmade bags.
    I am very jealous of your skills. My own sewing skills start at stitching buttons back onto whatever they fell off, and end with making very ugly repairs to whichever horses turnout rug got ripped in the fields. x

  9. Being made to read to the class? What a cruel and unusual punishment!
    I love your garden.
    Many moons ago we used to live in the New England tablelands (in NSW not America) we had an "English cottage garden" with Hellebores and other delights.


    Publish or Perish

  10. Hi everyone
    I've been back in Oxford, collecting Millie and her Mummy and baby Benjamin. They are here to stay for two weeks so, once again, I won't get much time for blogging.

    The garden is producing new delights each day. This morning the bluebells and magnolia were showing off - even though they are at least a month later than usual.

    As for the off-putting teachers many of us seem to have suffered, we all seem to have got on despite them but the self-doubt always lingers underneath, doesn't it? My one fear as a teacher was that I might be responsible for the same damage to a pupil - I hope I was always accepting and encouraging but one can never be certain.

  11. I'm so impressed!! Wonderful. The plants you mentioned will never be seen in my cool hilltop garden. :<( I had a teacher who made me sit in a corner with a dunce cap on because I couldn't draw. I still can't. And never have missed being able to do so. Sadly, the bad teacher stories outnumber the good. But oh, the good ones are shining lights, as I'm sure you were!

  12. m, a bit o/t, but it might affect your garden. Are you seeing any of the ash from the Icelandic volcano?

    We were traveling out west when the huge Yellowstone Park forest fire was raging and the ash covered everything hundreds of miles away. I can't imagine the debris from a plume four miles high!

  13. erp - the cloud is so high that we can't actually see it. Only aircraft have been affected - everything here and in many parts of Europe has been grounded; there has also been a health warning for people with asthma and other breathing problems. I'll let you know if I wake to a grey-covered garden one morning!

  14. Nan
    There are new plants coming out every day now. Mine is very much a spring and early summer garden but everything is a bit late this year so perhaps it will last a little longer.

    I'm horrified at the thought of that dunce cap! I thought they only appeared in Edwardian children's stories.

  15. I love those bags, they are beautiful!


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!