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Sometimes I really forget to appreciate the beauty that is all around, and am too busy rush, rush, rushing on to the next thing.

So the other day, while I was doing just that, I was hurrying to wrap a present that we wanted to get in the mail, and my daughter pulled some old wrapping paper out the box and said, “Mum, you could stitch those pictures!”

And I stopped, and looked.

Everything else went out of my head that day. I had to stitch some of those adorable little animals. And the Animal Pals Snack Mat was born. A combination of old world ticking stripes, crochet lace, and freemotion applique. I’ve had the biggest crush on ticking stripes for ages now, and knew this would be the perfect little project to start using them on. The fabric is thick and should be able to take all the stains that chubby hands will dish out to it.

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I’ve added lots of hand quilting for the lettering and plate outlines, and around the picture frames of the animals. It’s so relaxing to sit and do…I’m always a bit sad when it’s finished.

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Little lamb’s facial details are hand quilted as well, and topped off with perfect little 4mm buttons. I bought a large pack of these recently, and am going through them really fast! This girl loves her miniatures…

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Lamb’s pal is a zebra, complete with stripy ears and muzzle, and just a touch of aqua yarn for a mane.

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My second little project, which was going to be more of a quick photo prop, then turned into another labour of love to complement the snack mat. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. And yes, I do get distracted easily…

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I drafted my own bib template, after not being happy with any of the shapes I could find online. I’ve made mine a little ‘curvier’, remembering all my own babe’s sweet apple cheeks and dimply elbows!

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There’s more of my favourite neutral essex linen, little florals and checks. This Teddy Bib has a needleturn applique face, raw edge ears, and lots of more hand quilted details. And backed with ticking stripes, of course.

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I’ve now written up the tutorial for this little cutie… And next week I’ll get back onto my large to-do list, but trying always to stop and be thankful for the little things.

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