Monogram for a little boy

VCSF monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I designed this monogram embroidery for my grandson a long time ago (he’s now 4) but, wouldn’t you know it, I ended up making an embroidery for his little sister first.  (which might be viewed as a bit of an insult as she’s only 9 months old!).  After completing another long promised embroidery (the rhino, two posts back) I knew what I had to do.

VCSF monogram: detail (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I find monograms for little boys a bit tricky, so tend to go for colourful geometry or architectural themes. Flowers are definitely out (though you will glimpse a hint of Knossos in the lilies in the top corners, but they’re stylised so they don’t really count) and I’m not really a bunny or tractor sort of embroiderer. But who can argue with a nice classical temple – perhaps one to Athene so we can chat about the importance of being wise as opposed to clever. I thought of adding a ghostly owl (looming behind the initials) and even the exhortation ‘Be wise’ on the pediment. I then got very carried away and sketched one of the horse’s heads from the Parthenon – you know, this one, so dramatic with open jaw caught in the act of neighing  and audaciously scultpted to come out towards the viewer, breaking the architectural line forming the base of the pediment as it does so – pretty splendid! (Do go to ‘more views’ on the British Museum link and look at the first full front view on the bottom line, the horse is just visible to the extreme right .) But then, whoooa, enough is enough. I reverted to the design as it first came to me.

Lots of sewing means lots of sitting listening to BBC iPlayer. Most current fiction I delight in hearing rather than reading – rarely do I want to rush out and buy the book and at least while I’m listening I’m doing something productive with my needle. My latest novelist find is Josephine Tey. I picked a paperback of ‘The Man in the Queue‘ (1929) in Cheltenham’s wonderful Red Cross book shop and very much enjoyed the detective and the Richard Hannay’s ’39 Steps’ style romp through the Scottish heather. On paper ‘The Daughter of Time’ (1951) on BBC iPlayer didn’t sound up to much – a invalided detective lying bored in a hospital bed, mapping out the cracks on the  ceiling above his bed and thinking up nicknames for the (incredibly well educated) nurses who tend to him. But I stuck with it and found unfolding before me a thorough disquisition on the ins and outs of Richard III and the princes in the Tower. Wonderful. Brilliant. It was so good I kept having to listen to whole episodes again.I’m now totally convinced Richard didn’t do it! Josephine Tey (a pseudonym naturally) was an elusive character. She wrote just a few books, lived very privately and often even kept her friends at arm’s length, having to guess at what she was doing. John Gielgud, who regarded himself as a friend, was surprised to read of her death (from cancer of the liver) in The Times during a matinée of A Winter’s Tale – he hadn’t even known she was ill. If you want to be entertained and educated, do listen to it – sorry for those of you not in the UK who I don’t think can avail yourselves of BBC’s radio archive.

VCSF monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)


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  1. Amara Bray
    Posted February 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Hand sewing with a story going sounds like bliss. So happy for you that you found a new treasured author. That is the best feeling- knowing you have wonderful stories ahead of you. I have quit finishing stories I don’t love. Too many really good ones out there, so why waste time on the bad or mediocre.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      It is pretty blissful, especially if you add in a bit of sunshine and a good cup of coffee.
      It does require a certain bravery starting to call time on books you’re not into – well done, I think it’s the right thing too.

  2. Posted February 24, 2018 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    I love The Daughter of Time, and I’ve read a couple of other Josephine Tey books. I might well give that a try, to see whether I get along with audiobooks!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      I find it hard to believe The Daughter of Time has never passed my way before – surely someone would have recommended it by now!
      What else this wonderful is out there unknown to me? Still its nice to know life still has great possibilities.
      But Rachel you can sew while listening to audiobooks – what’s not to like?

  3. Wendy
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Mary – I too listened to ‘ The Daughter of Time’ on iPlayer, stuck with it and was completely enthralled; not just with the theories on who murdered the Princes in the Tower but the fascinating description of Grant lying in a hospital bed in the 1950s for what seemed like weeks, with nurses, and even Matron, frequently popping in to see how the detective was, bringing and taking away meals and yes, toddling off to the nurses’ accommodation to bring him their school history books. The American researcher with the flapping overcoat was an absolute delight. Why have I never heard of Josephine Tey?

    Your embroidery is exquisite and gives me great pleasure to gaze at….

    • Mary Addison
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Best thing on iPlayer for years! Also on iPlayer until recently there was a play by Nicola Upson ‘An Expert in Murder’ with Josephine Tey sleuthing murders committed during performances of one of her plays in the West End. That too was very good. I love the way Tey’s characters are never perfectly predictable and humanity creeps through where not always expected.

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