Welcome to “Mildred’s Marvellous Wonderful World of her Meandering Musings!” Mildred is my bright blue Citroen who used to be driven by my late 93 yr old mother.

Mother never passed a driving test ever,,, she drove lorries during WW2 with searchlights and ack ack guns  on the back. She then, as a Lance Bombardier attached to the Royal Artillery, pointed the guns in the right direction and politely asked a man to press the fire button because women were non combatants. 

Her daughter had lorry stuff in her blood as well and went on to instruct mostly men in the Army to drive big noisy lorries with various appendages hanging off the the back as trailers, plus articulated tank transporter things… My best day ever … Full parade square of men waiting for their instructors. One poor lad was told he had Staff Sgt Terry Reynolds as his instructor. He was a bit upset because the only person left on the parade square after everyone else had gone to their lorries was me and the RSM.. I walked over and said I was taking him to to the medical officer for an eye check because I was concerned he was possibly not fit to drive. My name was on my army jumper and my rank was on my arm …. how difficult could that be? Oooops, ladies apparently don’t teach men to do men stuff… Oh yes they do…. So funny!

But if nothing else my military service means I don’t suffer fools or bullies either. I served, I continue to serve in my private life as well with integrity, empathy and generosity.

Mildred is a bit like me ….getting on a bit, strange shape, usually reliable and has attitude with a capital kick-ass “A” …. Mildred is more than somewhat grumpy at the moment … She has gone nowhere since her driver got “Shielded”. Mildred is beyond Grumpy as she hasn’t moved now for 15 months, no jolly jaunts or adventures that I could blog or write about as her “Marvellous Meandering Musings”. I am fed up with her glaring at me through the front window saying….. “Where are all these promised “Marvellous Meandering Musings” then?” … so OK Mildred just for you I will try a bit harder.  

 

All my previous blogs are HERE

Right let’s just get to the nitty gritty……. Bondage…. well if you had been anywhere near my sewing machine a week ago as it spat out broken needles with regular venom you would understand that sewing stuff made of webbing, canvas, and plastic sliders plus alligator jaw closures was never going to end well! 

My husband teaches people to drive cars and has a mahoosive success rate. Enter stage left mother of a previous successful pupil who knows that her daughter’s ex driving instructors wife can sew…. with me so far……. Equestrian mother with a website selling great products made in a factory in the midlands. Factory don’t deliver in time for a major horse event needing special “bibs” for the little people …. sorry but I am old enough to remember the adorable rotund “Thelwell” pony ….. I gave in and it was simply the worst thing I have ever sewn… straps akimbo everywhere…. you can’t make a mistake when sewing through vinyl when no spare vinyl to rescue the situation. Trying to work out where the sliders and closures went and how they worked was beyond bonkers. But I managed it much to the amusement of my husband who genuinely believed I was making bondage gear! 

 

So next is restraints…. sorry but no salacious gossip here either.. These are about head restraints…. as in the ones you get in cars. We used to go to Hannover in Germany a lot, pre travel restrictions, because that is where my husband’s cousins live and where he was born. Just over the road from our usual hotel in Hinüberstrasse Hannover is a quilting shop, called Quilt Inspiration…. a very dangerous combination! On one of many visits he accompanied me probably to ensure that my carry on luggage for the flight was still within the limits to carry back again.

He spotted a fabric he really liked by Makower so bought some for me … well actually him…. as a driving instructor to be honest!

Fabric was stuffed into my carry on bag and then made into wonderful things …. the real challenge was head restraints for the driving school car. I made a pattern by pinning scrap cotton onto the head restraint and used a biro to draw the stitching lines. I used Velcro to make them fit between the posts but still able to be removed for washing. 

 

I used the rest to make him a shirt.

Since then I have updated my own self drafted design to use elastic around the bottom instead of Velcro which works really well. They were made in the same Makower fabric but in a different colour way for the latest driving school car plus some face coverings which are mandatory when teaching pupils.

 

Oh and he got another shirt as well……

 

Right…. where was I? . Oh yes dachshunds. Before I met him, my husband had dogs, but one in particular was his favourite, a miniature dachshund called Pip. My husband knew I did sewy things which he still insists even now is still called knitting. I can’t knit so this is quite bizarre. When we met I was still into embroidery, I had a broken sewing machine so he had never seen me in full on demon sewing foot to the max pedal mode. He just saw the hand stuff I did or had done in the past. 

Back then I had professionally designed cross stitch, black work and red work embroidery. As to be expected some of my designs were a bit quirky, clocks, wine bottle jackets and unusual subject material. I did design more traditional samplers as well. I was invited to teach classes in the USA at stitching shows and had a wonderful time in New York, Des Moines and several venues in California.

 

I collected old needlework samplers and tried to research their origins. One successful investigation led me all the way from the UK to the USA and then Slovenia where it was deemed that this discovery was so important that it appeared on National TV. 

I started collecting antique needlework tools as well to use as accessories for photo shoots alongside my antique sampler reproductions from my own collection. Well that was like Alice down a never ending rabbit hole wasn’t it, as I found more treasures and researched more about each item. 

 

I put on a final exhibition in my town as part of an Arts Festival prior to a lot of it going to a specialist Needlework Sale at Bonhams. You can’t move from a 5 bed house in Sussex to a 1 1/2 bed cottage in Oxfordshire with so much “stuff” even if it is beautiful.  

 

I went out with a friend to a lovely sewing shop called Cupcake Cottons in Burford, sadly now closed. They had a wonderful jointed teddy bear made in faux leather fabric so I bought the fabric but forgot to buy the teddy bear pattern. Duh! Instead I found a Dachshund pattern to make instead.

So I made the husband, then fiancée, who didn’t know I could even sew or knit, a mini “Pip” the dachshund.  Pip has been on all sorts of adventures including a trip to France to research the last movements of a man on our local war memorial. He goes to his Pupil’s driving tests hidden in the boot for good luck, and with 4 grandchildren I might need to make some more to continue the tradition of Pip the wonder dog! 

 

 

I made a double sized version as well called Pippa. She won’t be leaving home apart from supervisory visits to future offspring. 

 

 

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