Friday, 4 March 2016

World Book Day Blog Tour - Fantastic Mr Fox

When Becki of Dobbin's Bobbins asked me to be involved in this World Book Day Blog Tour I jumped at the chance! I LOVE books!! When I was growing up, one of my favourite things to do, was find a quiet corner and curl up with a good book. Getting lost in the pages for hours. I still enjoy this simple pleasure today, but there's sadly less time for this now!

Roald Dahl is one of my favourite authors from my childhood and I've chosen Fantastic Mr Fox as my inspiration for this make. Did you know that Roald Dahl would be 100 years old this year? There are some excellent events going on around the UK to celebrate. You can find out more here
Fantastic Mr Fox inspired door stop.
I really love how Dahl engages the young reader with such imaginative descriptions; you can conjure up the most vivid pictures in your head of what is happening!  Mr Fox's character is great, with his daring and adventurous nature, getting into trouble with the three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. The farmers have the most brilliant and quite disgusting descriptions and then they are summed up in this little ditty which the local children in the book sing:
"‘Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean.
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were none the less equally mean.’"
I have the fondest memories of my dad reading this book to me and my siblings for the first time. I can't have been older than 7. I can distinctly remember begging 'just one more chapter, please?!', but my (younger) brother had fallen asleep so we had to wait for the next instalment the following evening! I found my original copy of the book, complete with tea stains on the front cover and my name and class number pencilled inside, when we moved house a few years ago. I bought a new copy when I decided to read it to my children recently. They are a little bit young for following longer stories (they are only just four), but they must have enjoyed it, as they have recounted bits of it to me.
My original copy and the new one. Different Illustartors - I do love the original illustrations for the detail in them; but you really can't beat a Dahl - Blake combo!
On to the make then... I prefer to make things for myself or my house, so I knew almost straight away that it would be something for the house (although I did waiver and consider making something for a child, but then I'd have to make two as I have twins, so that decided it!). We redecorated our living room just before Christmas and I'm still looking for accessories and art work for it. The rooms colour scheme is orange and grey (see my Pinterest board for more info) and so a fox door stop seemed very appropriate! 
I've included some extra shots of the room so you can see how well the door stop fits in!
Our curtains were purchased from the made to measure service at John Lewis (such great customer service - it is true!). I could have made the curtains myself, I have done so in other parts of the house. However decided not to for several reasons; there are two windows in the living room; one of which is a three meter long curved bay window; we wanted floor length curtains for extra warmth (and our house has high ceilings, as it's a 1920's semi, so that makes the drop nearly two and a half meters! That's a lot of fabric to work with!!); they needed to be blackout lined because we have a street lamp outside the window and I hate working with blackout lining! Finally, Christmas was approaching and I was short on time! The curtain fabric is a beautiful linen called Botantica Bird, in the French Grey colour-way. And why am I telling you all about the curtains?? Because John Lewis included the unused fabric in with my curtains, so I had some spare sitting in my stash perfect for a door stop! The other fabric was purchased from my local store The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley. I picked out a couple of fat quarters - a burnt orange coloured cotton and a light grey/brown, plain linen, along with a sturdy canvas webbing for the handle.
The fabric - cotton and linen.
I didn't use a pattern for this. I made a simple template for the doorstop pieces after deciding how big I wanted the door stop to be. I then drew out some ideas for the fox, ensuring that it would fit comfortably on the front panel. At first I couldn't decide whether or not to make a cute fox, which is very fashionable, or go down a more representative style. I chose the latter because it's in keeping with the curtain fabric, and will better stand the test of time in my living room.
My pattern for the door stop.

I copied out the fox design, with a fabric marker on to the orange fabric (I practised first on a blue cotton to get it right). I didn't have an embroidery hoop, so I decided to stabilise the cotton fabric with a fusible medium-weight interfacing. Then I free-motion embroidered the fox using black thread, then white thread for additional details. 

My practise attempts and the finished fox.
Mr Fox, before I cut him out and fused him to the front piece.
I have only ever used this technique on felt Christmas decorations, so I was nervous about doing it for this project. But I'm really pleased with the results and would feel more confident about using the technique again. After I was happy with the fox I carefully cut around it and used Bondaweb to attach it to the front panel. I should have done this earlier on I think, as obviously I then had to sew around the edge of the fox again to finish securing it...isn't hindsight great!
Close-up of Mr Fox.
Photo-bombed by these little monkeys!
What every home-made door stop needs - dried food goods!
I then sewed the door stop together and stuffed it with a polyester toy stuffing and weighted it with a bag filled with store cupboard favourites - couscous and dried beans!! I hand sewed the final seam together using a ladder stitch.
Wobbly ladder stitching to close up the stuffing hole.
And viola! A lovely door stop, that fits perfectly into my living room and gives me a fantastic reminder of such fond childhood memories. I'm really happy with this make! 
A Fantastic Mr Fox inspired door stop (hanging out by the fireplace where there was a bit more light for the photos)!
Close-up of the handle.
Fantastic Mr Fox  door stop in his rightful place!

Before I leave just a quick reminder that Becki has the most wonderful selection of prizes in the giveaway. There are four to enter!! - check them out and enter here!!

And finally, thank you to Becki for hosting and to all the others on the tour - there have been some awesome creations so far and still more to come!

Monday 29th February
Dobbin’s Bobbins
While she was sleeping

Tuesday 1st March
Fairies, Bubbles & Co.
As It Seams
Wednesday 2nd March
Sewing With Kate
Call Ajaire
Thursday 3rd March
Sew Shelly Sew

Friday 4th March
Sewn In The Attic

Just Add Fabric
Saturday 5th March
English Girl At Home
Made by Sara
Paisley Roots
Sunday 6th March
Sew Country Chick
Dobbin’s Bobbins

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