Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Irrelevant mice

Recently I have lost a few stone in weight and in attempting to adjust my steroid medication to fit with my new BMI I have knocked myself out of kilter and am really knackered.
Therefore - instead of spending the evenings pulling thistles and digging beds in advance of the garden club coming on Saturday, I have been making what Euan is terming "those highly irrelevant mice". This is as in "And are Connell Garden Club going to be impressed with these ranks of highly irrelevant mice?". I should point out that, while I am sitting on the deck embroidering dresses for mice, he is busy strimming a path to let the garden club members into the garden.

When I was small the magazine with the craft patterns in it was "Woman's Weekly" - my Gran got it, storing it under her sofa cushions to keep it in mint condition until our visits. Then my Mum would make things from it - mainly small soft furry toys. the main designer was a woman called Jean Greenhowe so when I saw a book of her patterns I snapped it up.

They are a contrast to today's toy patterns - whereas today's hand crafted toys scream out Japanese inspired individuality, these aim for the bland expressionless uniformity of mass production. The aim was to make something as good as you could get in the shops

I was feeling tired, I had some brown felted blanket scraps, I needed something fiddly and fairly brain free to do so I decided to make a dormouse. The photo is from the Jean Greenhowe book - a fleecy dormouse in a dormouse house.

And here is one of my irrelevant mice - oddly they look nothing like the Greenhouse version - it reminds me of being a teenager and desperately trying to fit in, buying the same clothes as everyone else and somehow still looking different.


Gigibird said...

They look like little choir boys!
Give yourself enough time to get your medication right and enjoy making some more lovely mices.
Well done for shedding the weight!!

Tracy said...

cute as cute can be x
congrats on the weight loss - it will take time for your body and mind to adjust to the new you - enjoy the down time whilst it lasts, you will be off running marathons and absailing before you know it!
tracy x

Samantha said...

Hi Jane,
I have that book and quite a few other Jean Greenhowe books too. They are great inspiration.

Well done on your weight loss!

Jane said...

Lynn - I'm not surprised they look like choir boys - they began life, as a blatant attempt to appeal to youngest daughter,as angel mice. Older daughter thought the wings too fussy so they came off. Perhaps I should go the whole hog and add ruffs!

Tracy - I'm not at all sure about that running and jumping!

Samantha - there are other books? Wonderful! I am always amused at the popularity of all the new "tote bag and coaster" books on the market - almost all my designs are inspired by 1970s craft magazines - my Mum has a full run of "Craft" which tackled everything from carpet making to building your own playhouse to enamelling and tile making. I always wanted to make the 4 foot high clay lamp shaped like an onion with small houses on it - where the light shone out through the windows.
Were people just more adventurous in trying things out back then?


Wild Rose said...

Well I think that your version is adorable! What a great project - I tend to save crafts for winter, as it is far too hot here at the moment to do fiddly things...having said that, I'm struggling with lavender wands at the moment!

Marie x

carolyn said...

Love your irrelvant mice - will they appear on the website?
I remeber Jean Greenhowe books from the library when I was a kid she had some wonderful ideas.

Love Honor Disobey said...

awww you sweet adorable tiny mouse making sweetie pie! I like your mouse so much better than the Greenhouse one. Yours looks crafty and shabby chic and she is ever so cute.

What you said about the buying the right clothes and still not fitting really hits home for me. I have never fit in and I have always been mad about fashion. This probably explains why I became a Punk at age 12! Not fitting in kinda sucks but in my opinion, it's the hallmark of a true artist.

I think you are lovely. I think your mouse is lovely...and words can not express how lovely I think your garden is.
Hugs xxx

p.s. thanks for the really nice comment on my recent blog.

Jane said...

Gina - Thanks. I have been inspired by your posting to change the way I do the blogroll side of this site - it will take me ages to get round to it I bet!

alice c said...

Congratulations on your weight loss - I know that in comparision to all the other things that you do it is only part of your life but overcoming steroid induced weight gain requires tremendous will power. Be proud of it!
Thank you for taking my comment on nettles in the light hearted spirit that it was intended!

Jane said...

Alice - I sort of saw the weight as part of my illness - as I no longer regard myself as ill it seemed the right time to get rid of it.

I don't really have much willpower at all but have a diet where I can drink red wine and eat dark chocolate so all is not bad!

Nettles are good - nettle soup got me my filming gig!

countrymousie said...

I love them - we must all be cousins!!

Anonymous said...

You are so clever. You obviously find this theraputic. My mum used to know a lovely lady who was incredibly talented with the sewing kit and she made all kinds of dollies and things, selling them and making herself a tidy profit. Looking at some of the toys of today, there really is no comparison to those wonderful hand crafted toys. Congrats on losing weight but don't overdo it. I'm sure you're fine just the way you are.

Crystal x

Anonymous said...

Why so disparaging?! The designs were wonderful and totally unique. Nothing like anything you could or can buy anywhere. The toy designs nowadays on the other hand..... It's a shame you dis such a marvellous designer who was such an original and wonderful toy maker. She came up with her own techniques and nobody else had toys that looked like hers, she was totally self taught too. My mum collected those patterns and I was desperate even as a teen to have some of them. I then made some for my own daughter. I have this book and pattern and used to just stare at this little house and my daughter really wanted it too. It's a shame you say mean things about it, while making such a cute mouse too. Not sure I really get you to be honest. Oh well just visiting in passing.