Update on recycled Christmas card baubles

Daughter No.2 returned for Christmas from Vietnam, where she is Country Director for MAG (Mines Advisory Group), a humanitarian mine action NGO which not only clears land mines but also trains and employs the local population to  do so themselves. She travels all over Vietnam overseeing their many projects and, when she has time, she tries to find out more about local textiles. Among the lovely things she brought back were some Christmas baubles like those I blogged about on 12.12.12, but the ones she brought are fabric covered – bright batiks whose snippets of pattern make you long to have the odd metre of each of the constituent fabrics. She also brought back fabric for her own patchwork which had the needle wielders among us pawing at it with ill-concealed desire.  Promises to leave us with some of these brightly printed textiles evaporated in the heat of packing over-large suitcases and the rush to find a train that was able to get to London along the flooded reaches of the  Thames valley. However, for a few days, it was as if the Silk Road had been re-routed via South Oxfordshire as out of her baggage and under the Christmas tree spilled all sorts of lovely things: a jade necklace, lacquer trays and bowls, make-up bags printed with sprigs of blossoms and flowers like the decoration on the finest porcelain, finely marked shells, batik prints in black on white to hang on the wall, small, beautifully made, batik-printed silk elephants in shades of indigo which went straight on the tree and looked quite at home there and, lastly, I think,  hand-painted Vietnamese blue and white pottery. But the caravanserai will return and as she knows we love the fabrics, birthdays should pose no future problem.

Vietnamese bauble: card covered in different silks


Vietnamese bauble: card covered in cotton and paper

Now the dust of the whirl of visiting family has settled (and the stout-hearted vicar spent an entire day driving children to Goring/Oxford/Reading) and after nearly all the bedlinen, towels and table linen have been washed, I have to stop myself rushing off to cut out circles of card and circles of silk and setting up a production line with armies of little pegs and vast amounts of glue.  And this I do by reminding myself of the simple fact that one bauble took about 2 hours to make and so it seems probable that one with silk glued on to the card will take at least twice as long. “Life”, as Shirley Conran said of stuffing mushrooms, “is just too short.”

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