Friday 29 March 2013

Easter Wishes

Just popping in with Easter greetings for you all. Here at Flutterby Patch in England's north-west corner the sun is shining but the wind is still bitter and our garden birds have very ruffled feathers as they go about their nest building business.

They look so chilly we've been tempted to knit them little coats. Don't you just love this picture of a cutie knitting coats for the birds who are all waiting patiently for the little garments to be completed. I'm not sure the clothes on the line are bird-shaped! 

The pictures are from a 1985 calendar which of course was much too cute to throw away when the year ended. I've tried to find out the name of the artist but the only clue I have is the name 'Nina' marked in the corner of some scenes. If you think you know the creator of these sweet pictures I'd love to hear from you.

Here is the page for April showing two little children painting eggs for Easter. They've gone into the barn and taken mother hen's eggs for their paint dipping experiment. A little bluebird is acting as their assistant. Mother hen looks on as her white eggs emerge from the paint pot a lovely shade of red.

Wherever you are in the world, north, south, east or west
 I wish you a very Happy Easter.

Monday 25 March 2013

Cottage garden fairies

I've been busy making little fairies this week and was hoping to show them having fun in our garden but unbelievably we are still in the depths of winter. The garden remains cloaked in white and the wind is bitter and so my little girls are posing beside their favourite cottage pictures.

Each fairy measure just 6ins (15cm) and wears a little knitted sweater, stockings and shoes.

An apron with pocket is worn over a pretty floral skirt. 

The wide brim on the felt hat is pinned back with tiny beads.

 And imitation leaves have become fairy wings.

I know many of you are experiencing similar topsy-turvy weather conditions at the moment. Unbelievably at this time last year Britain was in the middle of a heatwave and water supplies in several areas were running dangerously low. What a difference a year makes. Let us hope things warm up in time for the Easter holiday.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Stars and fairy dust

Here at Flutterby Patch we are dreaming of warm summer days to come and hoping that this year they will actually stay for a while. Last year the sun popped in to say 'hello' early in the season and then packed his bags and returned only fleetingly. Sadly, when summer days remain cold and damp our tiny garden fairies hide themselves away.

In previous years, when the weather was warm and summer days long and golden, we often spotted them hard at work around the garden. They swept their tiny pathways.
They gathered tiny eggs laid in the meadow grass by their tiny hens

And when their work was done they busied themselves making daisy chains.
Last weekend, when unseasonal snow once again cloaked our garden, I decided to add a few more flutterby fairies to the little family we already have. 
So out came my prettiest floral fabrics and with a sprinkling of stars and fairy dust I'm currently busy with needle and thread whilst continuing to dream of summer days to come (and I'm hoping to add a little bit of fairy magic to our dismal UK weather forecasts!)

Monday 11 March 2013

Paper dolls and a dolly chain

Whenever I visit a bookshop I go straight to the children's area as I love looking through brightly coloured titles written for little ones. When I discovered 'The Paper Dolls' book recently I knew I couldn't go home without it.

The story is written by Julia Donaldson, author of the much loved Gruffalo books. The illustrations are by the very talented Rebecca Cobb and they fit the story perfectly.
The story starts with mummy helping her little girl to make a chain of paper dolls.


The dolls' have comical names which are repeated in a little rhyme throughout the book; just right for little ones to remember and recite at the appropriate pages. 
The little girl and the dolls play happily together.

They have all kinds of adventures until one day! . . . . . sorry, it would be unfair to spoil the ending!

I used to love making paper dolly chains when I was young but these days I'm more inclined to make them from fabric. . . . . and so, inspired by this sweet story I gave it a go!

I made five little girls. Their hands are made from 'Velcro' so that they can be linked together to form a chain and dance.
With a piece of fluffy fabric attached to a pin board the dolls can be attached individually.
and each doll can link their own hands together as shown above.
All you have to remember is to put one Velcro hand facing forward and the other facing back.
These 4 inch (10 cm) squares of brightly coloured fabric that I purchased from Ebay some years ago were perfect for the dolly chain project.
I didn't have a pattern as I wanted each dolly to look slightly different. Each one is approximately 6 inches tall (15 cm). They are stuffed with tiny amounts of toy filler and their faces are drawn on with fabric pens. I used coloured wool for the hair and stitched it to the top of the head only. Too much hair would make the head too heavy.

If you have a little one in the family I'm sure a chain of dollies (paper or fabric) would provide hours of playtime fun.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Homeward bound

I wonder if anyone remembers this curtain fabric from the 1980s? The name is 'Clover' and my daughter had it in her bedroom when she was very small. She had wallpaper that matched and I papered not only the bedroom walls but also the wardrobe doors. It was all very girlie and pretty. My daughter has her own house now and is currently moving to a larger one and has decided that her old curtains would look just right in her new bedroom. So out of storage they came and yours truly has spent the last few days relining and altering them to fit the new window.

The wardrobe that I covered in matching paper all those years ago is now in my sewing room and holds my ever growing stash of fabric. The inside of each door is covered with another pattern from the 1980s which daughter loved to bits. Recognisable to many of you I'm sure is 'Strawberry Shortcake and Friends'.
My daughter's new house is larger than her current one so she'll be able to accommodate more of her possessions, especially books. She's always loved and collected books and the enormous bookcase in her old bedroom is full to overflowing.

I've selected a few favourites which bring back fond memories.
Not only does daughter have the books she also has all the figures and associated buildings etc.
Little Miss and Mr Men books (and TV programmes) are still popular with children several decades after they first put in an appearance.
Dick Bruna books are still loved
I'm sure the beautifully detailed Brambly Hedge illustrations will live forever. Daughter owns all the books and I have the matching china!
The Jolly Postman stories by Janet and Allan Ahlberg were huge favourites. Each book contains a series of envelopes with a card or letter inside that relates to the story. Absolutely wonderful.
Storybook life can seem more appealing than the daily goings on in real life don't you think. The Flutterby Patch playroom can provide such a life at times and you'll often find me having a few friendly words with my knitted dolls and bunnies. My daughter has retained her love of childhood playthings and also sells toy patterns. Her little knitted family has been living with my 'gang' since before Christmas (keeping well away from the mess of bathroom replacement and house decorating that has been going on at the new house). With so many inhabitants our playroom has been quite chaotic at times but great fun for all concerned.
But today has been a time of 'goodbyes'.
Lucy gives a final hug and kiss to her little white bunny friend.
Kate reassures this little panda that they'll meet again very soon.
Polly shares a few last minute secrets with her pig and kitten playmates.
And Lulu escorts two friends to the box boat that will carry them to their new home.
Getting into the box boat was great fun especially as the pirates insisted on climbing up a knotted rope.

Eventually everyone managed to squeeze on board and the voyage to the toys' new home could begin.

In typical storybook fashion Lucy and Polly stood on the quayside and waved a fond farewell with white cotton handkerchiefs.
Keep smiling girls, spring is just around the corner and there will be plenty of sunny days ahead and perhaps a trip to the 'new house' to visit old friends. Now won't that be fun!
The toys in the box boat are made from patterns sold from my daughter's 'Toyshelf' Etsy shop.