Honeysuckle T shirt for the mummy of a six year old who already has one

Navy T shirt with honeysuckle embroidery (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

My husband’s daughter-in-law liked the T shirt I embroidered for her daughter so much that she asked me if I’d do something similar for her. She’s small and has longish, dark, very thick hair and a smooth complexion, so the sharp colours of the honeysuckle on a background of navy blue should look really gorgeous. It was a delight to make and a pleasure to be asked.

Detail of honeysuckle embroidered T shirt (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Gradually, little signs of what we used to regard as normal are creeping back into our lives. This week the gardens surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral opened and instead of parents, relations and nannies crowding on a narrow bit of pavement to collect our children from the cathedral school, we are now able to sit amid flowers and foliage until the children emerge. Buses and traffic have been very erratic recently and on Thursday I arrived nearly 45 minutes before pick up time. It was sunny and hot so I chose a seat directly behind the east end of Wren’s great building. Children, out of sight, at their last lesson of the day, were playing a noisy game of basketball in the sunken playground behind me, so I’d be in no doubt about when school would end. I regretted not having brought a book to read, especially as my current reading – The Stone Mason: A History of Building Britain – by the modest but exciting Andrew Ziminski, includes writing about his own work on the cathedral (though I haven’t got to the bit of the book on St Paul’s yet). Coincidentally I’d bought the book from the bookshop in Tetbury which we’d visited with the recipient of this T shirt. when we stayed at Owlpen Manor.)

Detail of honeysuckle embroidered T shirt (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

With no book and a feeling that scrolling through one’s phone is the wrong thing to do on a sunny day in such a glorious setting, I raised my eyes and considered the building before me. Attending Evensong in the cathedral with my grandson, we had had the good fortune to sit in the choir. “Did Christopher Wren do all this” he asked, looking round.  “No” was my short answer just as the choir boys started up – though I really wanted to engage in conversation and add Wren that wasn’t the only genius at work on the cathedral, for the choir stalls themselves are resplendent with the virtuoso wood carving of fruit, flowers and putti by the baroque master  Grinling Gibbons, a man with a name as engaging as his talent. Now, here on the outside in the festoon panels beneath the windows I could see stone echoes of those wooden choir stalls. Looking at a book on him, I realise these were probably not by him – we know he did 26 similar panels which can be seen under the windows along the length of the building — but those I was looking at are very much of his style with deeply incised flowers and fruits, pickable and pluckable, if only you could reach them. Clean and straight lines of good modern building can be uplifting and pleasing, but there’s something very special about glancing upwards and noticing that three and a half centuries ago someone spent time and skill labouring to turn stone into such visual delight.

Grinling Gibbons woodcarving – detail of his Casimo panel (in the Pitti Palace, Florence)

The first photograph is fairly true as to colour of both T shirt and embroidery. I’m disappointed how grey the navy looks in the other pictures and even crosser that after many attempts, I have nothing better to show. Grrrrrr.

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Roses on a cream T shirt for a 3 year old


Rose embroidered T shirt for a 3 year old (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I have an ongoing battle trying to embroider roses and feel I never quite capture that certain roseness of a rose. Quite often they turn out more like peonies or poppies and even my best attempts have a certain squashed quality as if they’ve been sat upon or have emerged flattened from decades lying trapped between ancient ball gowns in the bottom of a musty trunk. Of course it doesn’t really matter as the roses I add to bits of clothing are purely decorative and not meant to be embroideries of biological exactitude … but, like the search for the perfect recipe for a baked cheesecake, chocolate brownies or aubergine parmigiana, every so often, you just have to have another go! And that’s why, my roses are reserved for children’s clothes and any aspiration I may once have had for the sophistication of  Dolce and Gabbana’s gorgeous multi-petaled bundles of loveliness remains a dream, intangible and just out of reach.

Detail of Rose embroidered T shirt for a 3 year old (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Last week saw a successful first week back at school for the little ones, though this week feels more momentous as the littlest one will be doing whole days for the first time. Suddenly getting the house in shape and putting bookshelves and cupboards in better order seems possible … and there may even be the odd hour during the afternoon when I can get a bit of embroidery done. How very grown up we’re all feeling!

A sprig of roses – on a T shirt for a 3 year old (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

The roboboot – disliked and beloved in equal measure – is off and we are getting used to a new and softer footfall on the stair. Muscles, ligaments and tendons, awakened from being cosseted in a cosy nest of cushioned fleece and rigid plastic, are at the moment are tending towards inflexibility and even stubbornness but day by day there’s definite improvement. As the weather is mild, warmer and sometimes sunny, I feel I can say with certainty that things are looking up!

Roses on a T shirt for a 3 year old (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Other attempts at roses:

an embroidered letter O http://www.addisonembroideryatthevicarage.co.uk/2018/11/09/an-embroidered-alphabet-letter-o/

rose embroidered cardigan for a little girl http://www.addisonembroideryatthevicarage.co.uk/2013/10/21/rose-embroidered-cardigan-for-a-little-girl/

rose embroidered baby cardigan http://www.addisonembroideryatthevicarage.co.uk/2013/01/26/rose-embroidered-baby-cardigan/

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