How times change! When I was a small girl, red and spotty meant that you had some unpleasant disease which required quarantine and absence from school.
Even in the Ploughboy's youthful lifetime, red and spotty meant medical emergency. On the day that he woke up covered in rather startling red blotches, and I took him to see the doctor, we were speedily despatched to hospital, where they wouldn't even let us into the children's ward. Instead we were confined to a little room while the red spots gradually disappeared as the Ploughboy became more interested in the toys. I was beginning to feel that I had imagined the red spots in the channelling of some childhood trauma when finally a medic ventured in to see us, but luckily the stress of medical attention brought the blotches out into a wonderful angry red again, and completely mystified the hospital staff.
We never did find out what caused them: his first taste of pheasant; chocolate; grubbing around in the dirt; or general parental incompetence, but they disappeared under the influence of copious quantities of piriton, never to reappear.
Of course, nowadays, and probably due to the benign and roseate influence of the Great Cath, red and spotty is the thing to be, and when I found myself in urgent need of a birthday present for a very stylish person, a red and spotty fat quarter and a Keyka Lou pattern came to my aid.
So a pleasant afternoon spent in the company of my sewing machine and the Easy Envelope Clutch Pattern, which comes in two sizes, produced these two rather charming little red and spotty numbers. The downloadable pattern is very clear and easy to follow, and comes with actual size pattern pieces.
I have made a resolution only to use books and patterns which come with full size pattern pieces to cut out. I have one or two books in which the patterns at the back tell you to photocopy at 195% or some such completely unhelpful number which does not relate to the normal proportions between paper sizes, and (in my probable incompetence) I find this completely impossible to do on my little home printer. I know I could probably drive a few miles to a copy shop and pay for them to work it out and do the printing, but I would rather have a correctly-sized pattern, or pieces that will print easily on my A4 printer in the first place, especially when I have paid for the book.
So this is one of the reasons that I like Keyka Lou patterns, and the second is that the patterns leave nothing to my faulty imagination, and invariably turn out well at the first time of trying, thus maximizing my productivity on the last-minute present front.
(I won't mention the Saturday afternoon I wasted on a notebook cover I tried to construct from a book that promises to have you producing stitched creations in no time at all, where following the instructions to the letter produced a cover that, try as I might, I could not squeeze onto its notebook, and then had to be ripped up and turned into a lavender bag in the face of a present emergency.)
And such was the magnificence of the red and spotty effect of this birthday present, the recipient could not believe that I could possibly have made the little bags myself - which possibly tells you more about the deficiencies in my craft skills than their excellence, but I felt a warm glow of competence, which is quite unusual and most welcome.
For the fabric aficionados amongst you, I bought the red spotted fabric at the Vintage and Handmade Fair last year - I can't quite remember who from, but the very pretty trellis fabric in the background (which I am saving for myself) was from Donna at The Fabric of My Life, whilst the purse lining was made of some leftovers from a smock top which I made for a princess who grew out of it almost immediately, which was rather heartbreaking, but princesses will be princesses, and the bare midriff look is no longer all the go.
And finally, the red buttons are once more from my inheritance, my grandmamma's button tin, an inheritance which has proved its worth on many occasions.
So have a good weekend, make a few presents (take my advice, don't leave it to the last minute), and remember that Monday is giveaway day, so come back and say hello again then.