You know when you see pictures of chic, beautifully styled picnics involving wicker baskets, pretty blankets, baguettes and wine? Well, that never happens to me. I - sadly - don't often have need for something called a picnic napkin. My al fresco dining usually involves small children, sweaty babybell cheeses, warm cartons of Ribena, slightly squashed ham sandwiches and a pack of baby wipes. So when I saw the pattern in Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for these napkins I thought: that's lovely, I want to make that, but it's not for me. But then I thought about possible thank you gifts for teachers and the guilt-inducing fabric stash I seem to have acquired, and it occurred to me how nice it would be to make these for Angus's lovely nursery teacher who is a gem of a woman and has without doubt gone out of her way to make Angus's time at nursery a happy one.
It is simply two rectangles of fabric sewn together with a little pocket on one side to hold some cutlery and a ribbon to tie it together when it's rolled up.
I could see a real difference in my sewing on this project after attending the sewing classes. I wasn't rushed or tense. I sat down and calmly took my time and did everything I was taught; I washed and ironed the fabric, I measured and cut carefully, I pressed my seams, my lines are straight and both napkins are - by some miracle - the same size! Incredible, I know.
I ordered the disposable wooden cutlery from here and I think it adds a nice finishing touch to the whole thing. Details like that always make me happy.
I made two as she is getting married this summer and I thought that while I might not be having many romantic sunset picnics with champagne corks popping, she might.
The cream and blue striped fabrics are from Hobbycraft and the floral fabric doing a pretty good Cath Kidston imitation was from Ikea a few years ago.The top section folds down to hold the cutlery in place...
...and it all rolls up in a very satisfying way.
I made a little label just in case she unrolled it and wondered what it was.
We gave Bella's class teacher - an equally warm and hard working woman - a breakfast box containing Marks & Spencer croissants and two jars of homemade jam. I know not everyone likes to go in for the teacher gift thing, but it's something I really enjoy doing.
We are all settling into the rhythm of the school holidays here. Bella and Angus bickered and fought all weekend, like they were marking their territory, but today they are starting to settle down and have remembered how to play together again. The playhouse is a big hit - I will post about it this week. The main appeal seems to be opening and shutting the curtains. While the south of the UK swelters we've had cooler temperatures here. Half of me welcomes the respite but the other half really wishes the sun would come back. It is the summer holidays, after all.
And the royal baby has arrived! I had a dream a few nights ago that the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a girl called Doris. Yes, Doris. A great old-school Hollywood name, but an unlikely choice for a future monarch. Anyway, it's a boy so it's a good thing I didn't place a bet.