Sunday, 4 July 2010

There are two sides to me...

Mmmmm - updating this post as I see there is a link on ghastly pinsect to this....I wonder if you read this blog?????? If you do then you will know my thoughts....

This has always been my trouble - I like too many things and too many different styles.  Hence my house ends up looking a hotch potch, rather than the unified, streamlined icon of design that I would wish for!!!  These two placemats sum up the 'problem' quite neatly. On the left we have a typical 1950's geometric design - I like this because it is bold, colourful and makes an impact.  On the right we have a typical 1960's flowery design - I like this because it is pretty, colourful and makes an impact. So everywhere in our house has a bit of both and everywhere there is a bit of clashing going on with the two very different tastes.  Which is your favourite?

A Dolly Darling has come for tea

Do you remember these?  My sister and I loved them and would save pocket money for several years to buy one - we had built up a nice little collection over the years and eventually (as is the way of most things in life) they were put away (in a very nice vanity case I seem to remember) in the loft.  Spin forward in time many years - I had left home, all my sisters had left home and my mother was about to leave that home.  My brother had returned home (from one of his many sojourns abroad) and was helping to clear out that loft - along with my old doll's house all of our treasured Dolly Darling collection was thrown away.....and burnt.....Fast forward a good few years and about four years ago I 'found' my favourite (school days)  Dolly Darling for sale.  Back together again

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I have got to stop making bags!

However I just have  a few more to make!  Yesterday we popped over to the Isle of Wight (10 minutes on the Hover and 10 minutes from our house to the terminal - so it is popping!) - lovely time on Ryde beach, stopped for tea at grandmother's and of course popped into the charity shops (rude not to!) - bought a few bits and bobs including this piece of embroidery for £2.  Started sewing within five minutes of getting home...

Do you remember Aqua Manda??

When I was about 12 my older sisters all had Aqua Manda - I never did - how I longed for a bottle of perfume or talc.  I admired the bottles from afar and examined the adverts in Woman's Own.  I never did own any of these exotic potions...until day!!! At the car boot I bought an unopened bottle for 50p - so something that I had yearned for has been reduced to such a low value! How times have changed.  I might put this in Bronte's 70's bedroom and it will go a treat on the shelf

Monday, 19 April 2010

Tailoring your cloth to match your china...

I find it that it is always best to, wherever possible, match your china to your tablecloth!  I had been watching this tablecloth on Ebay but decided, in the end, that I had FAR TOO MANY tablecloths and did not need another.  To console myself I went out to the charity shops - there, glimmering at the back of one shop, was the very same tablecloth I had spied on Ebay!  £1.99 and no postage to pay!  Lo, it was taken home, washed, dried, ironed and china matched up.  The cups and saucers (and plates..) are from the 1950's, I think that the tablecloth might be a little later.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Vintage Crinoline Lady tin - vibrant wonderful colours adding joy to a room

I have had this tin for a couple of years or so - it has been housed in my Cupboard of Wonders (see Flickr) but that is about to be overhauled (ie: redecorated!) so it has been 'upgraded' to a shelf.  The colours are just marvellous and the four sides tell the tale of our Crinoline Lady meeting a young man, getting married, having a baby and living happily ever after.  Altogether now - 'Ah, sigh!' !!!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Vintage bag in the making - Nine stages of making a vintage hand embroidered Crinoline Lady bag

Well, I escaped briefly over Easter  to my 'sewing room' and made this bag and I am posting how to make such a creature.  Please note that I rarely measure ANYTHING (that includes flour, marg and fabric!) - I am not sure where this all stems from but I HATE measuring!!  I really don't think that it matters as all that needs to happen is that everything is even - no two bags are the same size or shape as the fabric will determine the outcome.

Stage One - fabric selection.  At this stage you spend a good hour cursing and swearing because you are looking for THE one piece of fabric that you have set your heart on.  Of course you can't find it first time round, that would be  ridiculously easy - at least one hour must pass and then you spy it, lying right in front of you.....You also have to locate the right fabric for the lining....another hour spent!

Stage Two - spend another hour fiddle faddling around trying to use the maximum use of embroidery balanced with the right proportions of the bag (trust your eye (just the one!) as we 'umans know the right proportions).  Then, with right sides together,  sew a rectangle around three sides (leaving the top!) - using another vintage fabric as backing (I try and always use the same fabric). I cheat further by using any straight lines on the fabric as my guide (none of that fancy measuring a line for me!)

Stage Three - Snip off the excess and turn right way round to check the proportions (then find out that your eyes are not quite as accurate as they used to be and adjust accordingly!). Try and not to snip on a crowded table, that way your ensure that you do not snip through the piles of fabric that are layered underneath...

Stage Four: If correct turn back again and then make folds in the bottom of the bag to get a bit of extra width to the finished article. Fold the  bottom corners across the seam - it is good to get this right so that the seams meet up when complete.  Stitch across the corner, check that the seams do indeed meet (not cockeyed, as father would say!) and snip off the excess!

Stage Five:Then snip two lengths of plain fabric for the handles (I tend to use the edges off the same cloth) - size and length are not measured as they don't need to be, so long as they look right and are both the same size - do the same with two lengths of vintage patterned fabric that you will use for handles and lining. Use the tried and trust fold and finger press method (see Flickr for how successful that has been of late!) to get a straight edge that will be your stitch line (my table has a handy straight line along it)

Stage Six: Sew the handles - this is where you wish you had cut the fabric a little wider as now there isn't quite enough to fold under the seam!  However, we sally forth using our wonderful 'finger press method' (which I will quickly go and patent!)  tuck the seams in, pin rapidly and sew all in piece (none of that stitiches right sides together, making a tube and then turning the tube and then top stitching - do it all in one go!)

Stage Seven: Making the lining - you need to create the lining, using the same method that you created the outer bag with.  Do not measure! You have now  absorbed that you do not need to measure - you simply lay the outer bag on top of the fabric you wish to use and cut out!  You do need to make the bottom corner folds, in the same way you did the outer layer.  Make sure that the lining is within a cat's whisker the same size as the outer bag (otherwise you end up with tucks and folds all over the shop!).  I admit that this is a palava if the fabric is the slightest bit stretchy - many a bag remains unfinished because of this fault in the design process!
Stage Eight - Fitting it all together.  My least favourite part and the bit where I swear like a Navvy and the children run and hide - this is where you find that HAD YOU MEASURED it would all fit together perfectly.  However, we NON MEASURERS, having been so smug for the last hour, now find an awful lot of egg on our faces and secretly just push our work under the table.... If, by some miracle, it does fit together then process as follows:  With wrong sides together fit the lining inside the bag - I pin the bottoms together so that it doesn't move about as I do the 'WORST  BIT OF ALL'.  This is folding in the tops of the bag and fitting the handles - at this point the air is blue with fury (why, oh why, didn't I measure the **!!^% thing). But the essential bit of advice is make sure you stick to the 'NO MEASURE RULE' (ironic choice of words there I think!).  I use a cotton reel to ensure a small degree of accuracy for handle distance.  Just pin like crazy  before the wretched fabric, that you chose so poorly in the first place, doesn't start shifting about like sand in the desert!

Stage Nine: Stand back and admire!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Some things that have got to go to a new home....

I know that I keep going on about the changes in our house (and it does seem to be taking a long time, unlike certain telly programmes where it is all done with a sweep of the hand!) - but here are some more things that have  got to be re-housed.  Our lovely, mini size, childrens  Lloyd Loom chair (because it is not as if I don't have any others...) and my Imperial Typewriter (which my children have never taken a blind bit of notice of until I brought it downstairs and they now think that it a great contraption - especially the bell at the end of the line! Ping!).  I did play the Typewriter Music to them to add in some atmosphere!  I think that Ian Fleming wrote James Bond on something similar!  I intended to do the same, just like that,  but somehow I have never got round to it.  Anyway here they are for posterity!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Crinoline ladies and their endless variety

I am a little partial to those crinoline ladies of yore - why are they so popular I wonder?  For me it is the endless variety - even the same embroidery patterns are never embroidered quite the same way twice.  I bought two items featuring this perennial lady at the car boot last week - a jug and a printed cushion cover (bizzarely this was buried inside another cushion cover and wrapped around a towel!).  Both rather sweet. 

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Delicate teeny weeny chintz cups

These were rediscovered yesterday as I was decanting stuff from one room to another (plus half a dozen teapots strangely!) - I did have the teapot at one stage so I am not sure where that has evaporated to.  Are these coffee cups or tea cups?  They are balanced on their teeny weeny saucers in this photo.  I have a multitude of tiny vessels that I use for flowers or doll's tea parties!

Monday, 29 March 2010

New sewing room in progress...

Well there was a big change at the weekend when the children moved up to the top of the house - great excitment (what with the clocks going back they didn't go to sleep until gone 10 o'clock).  Mother in Law is coming from the Ise of Wight for Easter so we had to hastily  cobble together her room.  It has been like a giant logistic puzzle - decanting two bedrooms on one floor up to the top, and moving 'stuff' from the top down.  Still lots to do but this is the first 'draft' of my sewing room (a rather grand title for a little room but in here I will let rip - full on vintage displays at every turn!) - note the piles of fabric, no shelves to put them on yet! As this is south facing it will be nice to get all the light and we are near the sea so the seagulls will keep me company!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Some Spring bunting that I have made from an old tablecloth - I will post a tutorial on how to make bunting (if needed), as it is such an enjoyable past time and a great way of using fabrics that otherwise would be destined for the rag bag!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Maille's new/old elephant mug

You can't win with children can you?  We have enough mugs in our house to provide  tea to an army so I thought I would pass some on to  the charity shop.  I dutifully cleared those from the very back of the cupboard, that I know have not seen the light of day for about a year or so.  Just A FEW days later my younger daughter was teary eyed as she could not find her suddently SPECIAL elephant mug.  There was, by now, no chance of rescuing it from the shop but LO I found a delightful little mug to replace it!  It was duly gift wrapped and presented, and accepted with good grace!

Vintage multi coloured crochet blanket and vintage tin - not for use on Pinterest or other sites

We are s-l-0-w-l-y decorating the children's bedrooms. Bronte's is going from a 1970 retro purple to plain white with splashes of multi- coloured bits and bobs. The blanket I have had for ages (genuine vintage, with holes to prove it!) and I bought this large tin at the weekend for £1 - this is just the colour scheme that I was looking for so ideal. I/we are going for the hipply flower look I think - should be good.....when its done! In the meantime I have to find a good home for all that purple stuff I have collected!!!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Keep the Home Fires Burning with Woman's Own

I bought this yesterday and baulked at the idea of buying the piles of others for £2 (was I mad!) - however, I chose this one carefully because I thought that it had the best cover (though there is another delicious one that I am thinking of sneaking back to get..)
I poured over this with my children and was amazed by the talents of these women - very much the emphasis on healthy living.....

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Vintage Easter tins and crafting

Well as the days are now getting a tinsy bit longer I am more inclined to get on with sewing - I hate sewing in a fag end light (as my mother would say) ditto that low in the sky glaring light of winter. It will soon be the perfect light so the table is spread with fabrics all of varieties. Yesterday I ran up some cheerful bunting for the front of the house - made from bag of 1970 Laura Ashley scraps that I found. Also took some pictures of one or two of my vintage tins - can you have too many tins? Aren't they just the most useful item for squirrling away bits and bobs. I particularly like the detail on the vintage bunny tin - as the bunny family are baking the sides are peppered with images of kitchenalia!

A vintage hand embroidered Spring bag in the making

Well I made another Spring bag today - this was made from an old embroidered tea cosy, so not too large. I love the embroidery on this as it has all the right Spring colours (not that it is Spring like here - the fog horn was going out at sea all night long last night!). I did make this bag to sell but (like so many other things) I have taken a liking to it so I shall keep it for now. I shall tra la la along the High Street with it and pick daffodils along the way ! To compensate I routled around and found another Crinoline Lady bag that I had made some time ago and have not used - I am trying to instigate a one in one out policy...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A vintage Easter in the making

Just as at Christmas so Easter is a time when I can routle around my cupboards and, 'ta dah' rustle up some vintage Easter bits and bobs. Of course there is vintage bunting to be found and delicious vintage tins - with an Easter type theme. These are dispersed around the house in that Country Living fashion. I am busy making Easter Egg Hunt bags - all from vintage hand embroidered fabric (otherwise rendered useless due to some sort of damage) - I then force them into use by making by children tra la la around the garden looking for eggs (eggs which I could have simply handed to them in the morning (they are of that age when the hunt bit is not so charming as it once was!). Anyway here are a selection of vintage Easter delicacies!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Creating bags and bunting from vintage fabric

I had a very pleasant Mothering Sunday - making bags and bunting from a selection of vintage hand embroidered fabrics. Bags and bunting are the easiest things to create and add charm and olde worldiness (!) to any room... sometimes they go a bit wrong, namely because I hate to measure anything and most of my sewing is done by eye. Add to this the fact that I am also spinning many other plates at the same time and there is plenty of scope for it all to go wrong!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Welcome to the Custards

Gosh my very first bit of blogging - well now that I am here I am not too sure what to write! Blast!! I was so full of hope and promise! Anyway just like many hundreds, if not thousands of women I dream of that little tea shop, with vintage china, home baked cakes and crisp linen and there I am tra la la'ing around smiling at customers! Never to be I'm afraid so this is my virtual little world where I can live out in that vintage world of cosiness and loveliness. Of course I would like to share all of the lovely bits and bobs that I have aquired over the years and share also my love of things old and not so new.

My main likes are making 'stuff' out of vintage fabrics and hand embroidered fabric - this results in a house having an awful lot of vintage bunting (this is changed with the seasons, of course!) and far, far too many bags. The range of 'stuff' covers pretty most of the last hundred years! That means things from the Arts and Crafts Movement, through to the 1940's (excellent for Crinoline Ladies!), the wacky 1950's and on to the 1960's. I sadly can produce a teaset from each decade and then co-ordinate it with a tablecloth.....I have many failings. I shall list those failings (in no particular order): old books, tablecloths, vintage china and fabrics (and a few others... chairs, clocks...)