Saturday, 5 October 2013

Memoir of a misspent youth

My parents recently moved house to consolidate the family a bit in Monmouthshire. I'm very fortunate now to have both my parents and my brother, sister-in-law and nephew living in the same town as me. Now, if my sister and brother-in-law could be persuaded to move from London with my other little nephew, we'd be completely sorted!

One of the side-effects of my parents moving after 37 years in the same house (and all of my childhood), is unearthing all the abandoned possessions belonging to me and my two siblings. There's now a positive treasure trove of boxes and plastic crates sitting in my garage, waiting to be sorted. Having delved into one the other weekend, I found a veritable archive of my youth.

First up is this lovely tapestry portrait of an Alsatian, painstakingly stitched from a kit given to me for my birthday. Not so painstakingly that I didn't miss a tiny patch of stitching on the bottom of the tongue. That still annoys me a bit. Almost to the degree that I'm thinking right this minute of finding a bit of wool to finish it off. 

Next is my much-loved pyrography kit. I was so delighted with this Christmas gift, though now an adult, I do question my parents' judgment in giving the clumsiest child in the world an electrically powered red hot burning tool as a toy. Still, absolutely the best present ever.  


Inside the box, there are even some leftover bits and pieces of 'work in progress'. Such as my watercolour name plaque. Don't worry, I've never tried to pass myself off as an artist - despite having a constant need to create, I never exhibited any aptitude whatsoever for drawing and painting. 

Lurking in the corner of a box were two books which I'd actually had my mum hunting the attic for just a few months before they moved. Having turned up a blank, we assumed they had been given away long since, so I was really thrilled to find them again, the Anchor Book of Freestyle Embroidery Stitches and the Anchor Book of Crewel Embroidery Stitches. They are really beautiful books full of instructions for a wealth of stitches, with sample projects to stitch as well. (Long since out of print, there are 'new' editions: The New Anchor Book of Crewelwork Embroidery Stitches: Techniques and Designs (The New Anchor Embroidery Series) and The New Anchor Book of Freestyle Embroidery Stitches.)



I also unearthed a small screen printing sample made at secondary school. This has already been spirited away and put to use as a teddy bed cover. Preparing our screens and printing was one of my favourite activities in CDT (craft design and technology), and I'd love to do some more screen printing at some point. I like to think I might make a tidier job of it second time around.

And last but not least, my thimble collection. Or at least, a tiny part of it.  Because, after all, when you're not actually crafting, you might as well be collecting something crafty-themed.

There are other delights still to find - I know my parents still have embroidered felt cushions and plaster of Paris blown eggs amongst other things. Or at least they did before moving. I wonder if they made the cut? To be fair, I did make a LOT of stuff, couldn't blame them for thinning it down a bit 20-30 odd years on.

I was a proper homebod as a child; while many teens were out on the razzle, I was treating myself to a woman's weekly so that I could cut out and file away the knitting patterns. I'm hoping that I've produced future teens of the same ilk!


  1. awwww, how lovely to have all that stuff. My parents moved about ten years ago but had chucked everything out well before then anyway. They are so unsentimental!

  2. love your pyrography kit, craft kits from back then were brilliant - no health and safety!

  3. What fun rediscovering all this treasure

  4. I had that same pyrography kit! In fact, I still have it - it survived the purge when my parents moved house a few years ago. Both my grandmothers have the decorated spoons hanging in their kitchens too.


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