The Owl and the Pussycat embroideries


The owl and the pussycat (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Time is a very slippery commodity. This time last year I looked forward to polishing off all those projects enumerated on an ever increasing list tucked away at the back of my notebooks. With the luxury of few commitments and the prospect of no travel, I could indulge in the sewing and knitting that took my fancy, sometimes setting half finished things to one side awaiting either the flash of light or the slow envisaging of that certain something which in design terms would snap everything else together into completion. Boring bits, like making embroideries up into cushions, I could put to one side until I was in the mood for getting the  sewing machine out and trailing cut off fabric and threads throughout the house. The joy of life taken slowly.

The pussycat (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Last week Covid restrictions began to ease. Time started to go faster. Like a thoroughbred out of the traps, Daughter No 1 and family immediately left London for a seaside holiday in Devon, aiming to call in on us on their way home. Having sent no Easter eggs I wanted to make the children something a bit different. Suddenly, I passionately wanted to make the children little animal cushions. Bunnies would have been the obvious choice for so many reasons (both children are bunny mad and bunnies are so very inscrutably Easter) but years ago I had cut out a picture from a magazine with a rather simple white cat shaped cushion sitting on a patchwork bed and I was hooked by the image (see photo below). An owl and a pussycat were firmly in my mind. A week was surely long enough, I thought, as I compressed the following seven days into a flurry of sketching, embroidering and stuffing wilfully independent minded feathers into animal shaped ticking cases. And the result is … back to the drawing board. Embroidery ok, cushion pads, quite wrong.

The Owl (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

And yet, why so? About 15 years ago, I had made similar cushions for my husband’s twin granddaughters and I remember those working out well. This was a few years before I started blogging and at that time I never thought of taking photographs of  things I made. Their father later did send me photos but I’ve no longer any clue where they might be.

Head of embroidered pussycat (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

The embroidery is very basic to minimal. Cushions made for children must expect to be used, abused and misused.  I’ve mostly used running stitches, with a bit of satin stitch, some long and short stitches and detached chain stitch. Covers were to be slip stitched together, as the last thing you want when you hug a cushion is to get the end of a zip or the jagged edge of a mother-of-pearl button in your eye. I expect to make running repairs whenever I visit and probably every now and then I’ll be the one giving the covers a wash. Having failed at my first attempt, I was wondering whether to sew the owl and pussycat together and make just one pillow, but their mum thought they would each really like to have their own little cushion, so this week I shall try again and see if I can be more successful.

Head of embroidered owl (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Mummy Bunny, my grandson’s favourite companion, now herself seven and a half years old, had an adventure of her own on holiday. Realisation that she was missing came after a day spent on and by the sea, having lunch in a pub garden and at the end of a walk home. Mummy, not to be confused with mummy bunny although the latter may well be the spiritual substitute for the former when absent, set off on a whirlwind mission to revisit all places they’d stopped at during the day, hoping firmly that mummy bunny wasn’t lying in the insalubrious loo they’d visited quickly and out of necessity. Hope draining rapidly, she got to the beach as the tide was coming in and there, 10 feet away from Atlantic rollers lay mummy bunny, having a late afternoon sunbathe, oblivious to the consternation she’d caused. Relief wipes away pent up worry, so mummy mummy snatched up mummy Bunny with joy in her heart. Later conversation turned to suggesting mummy Bunny’s owner either take better care of his beloved or  consider promoting one of the other bunny family to bunny in chief should the precious one go walkabout again. Eyes grew big and soulful at this suggestion while the adults around hoped fervently separation will never happen again. Mummy Bunny is so close to the appearance of a scrumpled rag as not to be separated by a sheet of the thinnest tissue paper, so any attempt at ‘distressing’ one of the other bunnies  to approach mummy Bunny in appearance would be doomed to certain failure. It should be here noted that mummy mummy, distressed as she was by the disappearance of her little Steiff mouse in orange trousers during a holiday in Pembrokeshire, did seem to get over it. (But … then again, I don’t think she’d had it from being born and she was at the time all of five and a half whereas her son is two years older. )

Magazine cutting showing inspirational embroidered pussycat cushion

Saturday we tuned in to Prince Philip’s funeral on the television and thought how wonderful a pared down funeral service was with no sermon or eulogy to interrupt silent contemplation of what will come to all of us. Good weather helps to take the edge off grief at a time when those that grieve need all the help there is and Windsor looked its loveliest in the spring sunshine.

On Sunday, the family arrived for lunch in the garden. The very smallest person announced it was cold but once the sun had worked its way round, she had no qualms about sitting on a quilt playing with the Sylvanian Families that live here and their narrow boat that spends most of the year sailing along on the hearth. After May the 17th we should be able to go and stay the night in London with the family. Will we be brave enough? I feel time is rushing along ever faster.

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  1. Posted April 20, 2021 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The sudden acceleration is very noticeable here. The traffic has suddenly increased on the road outside, and I look up with a frown. Don’t they know there’s a pandemic??

    And I agree about Prince Philip’s funeral. It was somehow more moving, and more splendid, than a more splendid occasion would be. And the lack of eulogy in particular seemed very much in character. He never did like a fuss made, from the sounds of it!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 20, 2021 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Traffic has definitely increased and so have people on the pavement. Meanwhile, our excellent Red Cross Bookshop impressed me by its laxness, though they had taken away all sorts of little shelves between the main shelves which had previously made the shop tricky to navigate so now it’s easy not to bump into other people, which is very good.
      The funeral service was a model which many may copy to everyone’s benefit.

  2. ceci
    Posted April 22, 2021 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoyed the story of Mummy Bunny and am relieved it turned out so well. Perhaps she could have a new (bright colored” outfit to make her a bit more noticeable? We had similar near tragedies with each of our kids and had to explore all kinds of scary places in search of Panda and Super Grover, among others. The most miraculous was the recovery of one of them from the subway system lost and found – I had very little hope and was working on a fable where Panda went on an extended trip around town to visit his relatives at the zoo. We lucked out and didn’t need it!


    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 23, 2021 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Mummy Buuny has gone through life with just fur and no clothes – not sure can change that now, but thanks for the idea.
      Heartening to hear of the rescue of one your children’s precious companions from the subway system. Well done for doing something so obvious – yet so clever – as to look in the subway lost and found!

  3. Amara Bray
    Posted April 25, 2021 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I love to hear these stories of things happening just like we live in a normal world again, although I’m sure it was quite tragic for the small person. Thank you for sharing.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 29, 2021 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      We’re creeping back slowly to old ways but very much one foot at a time.
      Thanks for telling me you enjoyed bunny’s adventure.

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