Sunday, 3 September 2006


A little while ago Elli asked me about our British obsession with hot water bottles, I offered to send her one, and a swap was born. I duly collected a few things to go with said bottle, wrapped them up and then put off going to the post office in my inimitable style.

The day before I went to Paris I finally took myself off to queue and queue and queue, read bizarre greetings cards, entertain myself by thinking of all the languages I could learn if I only I'd buy those shiny shiny tapes, and fill in a customs declaration. I got home to find the postie had visited while I was out, and left behind a miraculous parcel.

I didn't post about it then because I was packing, trying to get my head around going to university again, buried deep in L'Assomoir* and generally being disorganised, and as a result my photos aren't that great. (There is no need to point out that my photos are never that great. My camera is still broken, sadly; I took it back to the shop and they vaguely fixed it but now it only takes good photos on Tuesdays, bleached photos on Thursdays and Fridays and none the rest of the week. I have therefore acquired my mum's camera for the indefinite future, which I can't work out at all). I'm going to use them here, however, because the items in the package have already been put to very good use and spread to the four corners of my house.

The first thing I found on opening the package was one of Elli's brilliant needle rolls. I've always admired these on her blog, but somehow she managed to pick out the most perfect fabric for me - well, ever. (I'm not very surprised by this. My respect for Elli's gifts of taste and perspicacity knows no bounds. Still, when someone you've never met makes a better decision for you than you would have made for yourself, it calls for a few moments of awed reflection).

I can't really explain why I like mushrooms so much, or find them so endearingly funny. It could have something to do with the fact that, years ago, two entirely seperate groups of my friends discovered this website and went around singing about badgers and mushrooms for a while. Or it could just be their astounding and endlessly varied shapes, or the joy of finding them unexpectedly in woodlands and fields, or the way they spring up in fairy rings. (I know, they're mycelia. I still love them). As for gnomes, well - garden gnomes. 'Nuff said. (If you're not convinced, go here).

I have no idea why this picture is so blue. The colour is almost accurate in the photo above, but this one shows you the detail of the fabric which - have I already told you? - I love.

The other great thing about the needle roll was the layers of surprise it contained. I'd open one end and find one little present, take an excited photo, prepare to put it away and then feel something solid in the middle, unwrap another little package, take another photo, find another present.... It was like pass the parcel, only passing it continuously to myself, with the best surprises ever. It happened so many times I'm not going to show you the whole series of photos, just the first one when I thought I'd found all (and because I love the card),

and the last one, when I actually had:

In the picture, clockwise from top left: Ski Sweaters and others in his & her sizes, published by American Thread Co. I don't know when because ski-inspired clothing is so timeless, but it originally cost twenty-nine cents; Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme, to which I am now officially addicted; Kiss my Face lip balm, in a perfect stick for keeping in my raincoat pocket (for some reason, when I leave the tin of Burt's Bees lip balm which I carry with me at all other times in my raincoat pocket, something always goes wrong, and only a stick will do. Never have I owned such a fine one before: it looks great, tastes delish and smells even better); lengths of vintage ribbon that I had previously gushed over on Elli's blog, and now have to come up with a project worthy of; lovely old bakelite buttons; and hand-made stitch markers in the luminous colour combinations only Elli can come up with.

Thank you so much for my wonderful parcel, Elli! I love each and every item and treasure them every time I see or use them.

(In the case of the cuticle cream, this may not continue for very long).

*In English, sadly. Although as soon as I finished it I hopped off to buy a copy from a bouquiniste, which I am reading very very slowly with a huge dictionary and the English translation to hand.


Marie said...

Welcome back!
What a wonderful swap! Burt's Bees products are terrific and I love the needle roll. I have some similar gnome and mushroom fabrics (I completely understand your obsession with mushrooms...I too love them and find them endlessly amusing) that I had been planning to do a quilted pillow top with. :) Think I'm inspired to start on that soon...
Silly question but what exactly does a hot water bottle look like?

Ashley said...

Blogger ate my comment on this yesterday, but I would like to thank you ever so much again for causing me to have to sing "badger badger badger badger MUSHROON MUSHROOM" quietly to myself all day, even though I resistd clicking the link for fear I would do exactly that.

Sigh. It's a lovely DPN case, anyway.