After a lot of thinking and a bucket of fear I finally got to opening up one of Mum's fabric boxes this week. Pip (CAT-EO of Tiger Lily Crafts) needed a new mat to go under his food bowls. The old ikea 90p mat was an eyesore. It has to have been at least 4 years old! Rather than going out and buying a new one I decided to make one for him myself.
For a long time now I've been meaning to get back to sewing. Time has always felt against me with working at TLC. I got into some bad habits after Mum died last year. Working long hours without breaks to pass the days. Throwing myself into work helped me to cope in a way. But lately I've realised this isn't a sustainable lifestyle. I've been taking steps now to limit my work hours, spend more quality time with James and the pets and give myself a creative outlet.
The Quilt as You Go fish placemat made sense as a small step back into creativity. When I went to look for some fabrics to use it was serendipity. Mum had some colourful cat fabrics that were already cut into small-ish pieces. They just needed a little bit of trimming to fit the strips I needed. I hate waste so it's great that I could make use of such small fabric pieces which might otherwise have been thrown away as scraps.
As backing for the placemat I used a piece of chambray to make it a bit sturdier. The chambray is a remnant with a printing fault (can you spot it?). At first I was going to put it right side down to hide this. But I ended up keeping the text visible...
Pip is a proper old gent. My brother and his wife got kittens when he still lived with my parents. Mum had hated cats and I was indifferent but we both fell in love with Gizmo and Lucie. So we begged Dad to let us get a kitten.
We went to the Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary where they had a whole room of kittens looking for forever homes. When we walked through the door one cat came marching right up. She was missing a front leg and made the weirdest noise. It was as if she had told all the other kittens to back off - these humans were going to be hers. So we adopted Poppy.
Mum's favourite flowers were poppies. When we visited the First World War heritage sites in France and saw all the poppy fields she was in her element. She wore her poppy every year with pride. And tried to name every pet after her favourite flower.
Except Poppy wasn't a girl. It was my sister-in-law who spotted the issue (or pair of them?!) while cat sitting for us. Poppy promptly became Pip. We later adopted another cat and Mum got her wish this time: this Poppy was definitely a female!
So with his missing leg, attitude problem and mix-up over his gender it seemed appropriate that the writing on Pip's placemat is as quirky as he is.
And there we have it. A small start made to working through Mum's stash and making the most of her collection. I don't know what she intended to use this fabric for or where it came from. But I am certain she would approve of how I've used it - no doubt it was bought in his honour.