Christmas present T shirts – another stag beetle

An entire month has passed since I last blogged. I would like to say such a long gap has come as a surprise to me except that not a day has gone by without a little voice chastising me for not settling down to write something. I think when I got back to full time living at home, something in me sagged and then I found myself wilfully wallowing in sagging. The rot started with not having a Christmas card design ready to embroider in November and then, although I’d managed some hand embroidery for the Christmas list while I was dividing my time between Cheltenham and London, I realised I hadn’t done nearly enough sewing. I would have regarded it a real failure to have cut down on projected presents, so the only thing to do was put the head down and get on with things. However, the handmade Christmas cards – well any Christmas cards – have been jettisoned. (I shall suffer for it and will probably spend the first three months of the new year sending handwritten  letters and emails to people reassuring them that we are still alive and haven’t forgotten them!)

T shirt with appliquéd and embroidered stag beetle for an 8 year old.

In mitigation of what I at first thought has been a slug like December, I now remember that I came home with my grandson’s very sneezy cold and took to bed for nearly a week. At the point of my recovery, a new floor was laid in the kitchen and as cupboards and shelving units had been emptied and pulled away from the very scuffed walls, I gathered unwilling elements of myself together and set about the much needed repainting. (My paintbrush hand is still twitching and after Christmas I have my sights on the little loo downstairs and our tiny bathroom upstairs. I used to do lots of painting and decorating but somehow seem to have got out of the habit. Not entirely sure I’m any longer flexible enough to get down and paint behind the loo but I don’t think I’ll think about that until the moment is upon me. The thought of nice clean paint work and the after effects of a job well done may be just the spur I need.) Meanwhile my husband gave a talk in Chapel Arts in Cheltenham on Christmas and Art as well as 2 Art Appreciation sessions for Cheltenham U3A. I managed two out of three of these talks but by the time of the last one, with postal deadlines looming, I  tucked myself up with needle, threads and a batch of unadorned T shirts for the children in the family – well that is 8 of them will be beneath trees in time for Christmas and 2 will arrive sometime after (one, I have yet to start!) You do your best.  (Memo to self : start much earlier next year. These things always take longer than you allow.)

T shirt with appliquéd and embroidered stag beetle for an 8 year old.

Daughter No 1’s Achilles tendon injuries seem to go two steps forward and one step back. Having resigned from her Downing Street job, she and her family had escaped to her husband’s family in the North-West to recuperate over Christmas. She promptly went down with Covid and now she, her husband and children are quarantined on one floor of the house until just after Christmas Day. A handwritten letter from my grandson (photographed and sent by phone) told me his mother hadn’t been too unwell with the virus. He’d been passing the time learning to play ping pong and that together they’d been reading John Masefield’s Box of Delights. (Perhaps they can find the BBC TV production of 1894 which I remember finding very atmospheric in a slightly eerie way. Strangely I was reminded of this recently as I listened to Dominic Sandbrook and Tom Holland’s podcast ‘The Rest is History’ [great to listen to and argue with while doing embroidery.] It seems it’s become a tradition in the Sandbrook household to watch this every Christmas, although Dominic did add that his wife thought it was rubbish. Well, there you go.) This T shirt is for said grandson. A stag beetle (v. like one I did earlier).  The T shirt is purple as that’s favourite colour – fortunately he reminded me of this not long ago.

More T shirts to follow. Life seems to be voluntary lockdown for most people at the moment, so there’ll be lots of time to sew and read – which sounds alright to me. HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

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  1. ceci
    Posted December 23, 2021 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I remember watching the Box of Delights on BBC/US with my kids when it was new-ish. Very exciting. We then found 3 Masefield books to read out loud, which required a bit of reader editing, as I recall. On the holiday card front, we went to New Year’s cards a few years ago, which we feel comfortable sending practically til spring.

    It sounds like you got a lot done this month, under challenging circumstances!


    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 23, 2021 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I remember enjoying Box of Delights too – good to know someone so far away enjoyed it too.
      Thanks for comfort on the not sending Christmas card front!

  2. Posted December 23, 2021 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    That stage beetle is a stunner!

    I must admit that the “always takes longer than you expect” thing is why I no longer make Christmas presents, unless I have an inspiration very much earlier in the year!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 23, 2021 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Rachel.
      I prefer to make things rather than buying them, especially for children when they have so much anyway.
      You’re right, one does have to be organised about making things – and about having the inspiration – and usually I am … just not this year!

  3. Mary
    Posted December 23, 2021 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    You’ve had a busy and tiring time these past months so not surprised you’ve had to take some time to restore your equilibrium…not to mention your energy levels. Amazing stag beetle t-shirt design and execution. The wearer will be delighted, I am sure, as will all the others receiving gifts from your talented hands.

    Commiserating with DD1 on the seemingly everlasting tendon healing. I spent a year in and out of a boot, before and after a surgical repair of foot tendons. Obviously, I’m a lot older than DD1, but still, it did seem like a (forever) forward/backward process. Sometimes more of the latter, than the former. Sorry to hear she contracted the virus on top of everything else. Hope she and her family are restored to full health soon.

    Wishing you and yours have a Happy Christmas.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 23, 2021 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Kind of you to be sympathetic, Mary. But, really I was fortunate that once I was home I didn’t actually have to do anything in particular, so there was nothing to be pressured about. (Sewing is a joy and a salve, so I don’t count that!) What I did, I did as and when I felt like it and then, after I’d done it, I could flop in my chair with a needle in hand or a book. Being back as company for my husband was really the most important thing as he had started to find being on his own quite difficult.
      You’re right about the healing of the Achilles tendon being a seemingly interminable process. Although, at 40, a certain amount of youth is on her side, her frustration at not being able to be anywhere like as active as she used to be is hard to cope with. It’s a horrible injury and I would wish it on no one.Thank you for your empathy.
      Happy Christmas .to you and your family too, Mary

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