Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Bit of This and That.

Well, I was looking back through my blog and it would appear that it has been a while since I’ve done a catch up post, so I’m here to try to rectify that!

So what have we been occupying ourselves with lately?  Well, let’s go back quite a few weeks, back into October, to be precise, when the weather was unseasonably warm, and the evenings weren’t as dark and chilly as they have been of late.

October started out pretty poorly really, when we had a decidedly scary few days when some planned building work went awry.  The back of our Victorian house is rendered.  It wasn’t something we had done, it was done many years before we bought the property, but we had always wanted to have it refreshed as there were some cracks in it, as happens in old properties.  Anyhoo, the builders turned up with cement, sand, mixer, all that gubbins, and the craziness and mess began. 

Argh, the dust!  I’ve never seen so much dust.  It was literally everywhere; in the cupboards, over all my precious things, at the front of the house, the back of the house, up my nose!  I’m sure you get the picture. 

I won’t bore you with the finer details, but the long and the short of it was that on the second day, they discovered that the moron of a builder who had done some previous work on my beloved home had basically rendered the property to cover a multitude of his sins and shoddy work!!  Cue tears, fretful phone calls to parents and chocolate consuming!

Thankfully, the builders were incredible, (I think my tears had a hand in that) and when plied with bacon and egg sandwiches, with added dust!, they worked tirelessly to put right what had been done oh so wrongly, and made everything good once more, with not a shoddy bit of brickwork in sight!  They were even kind enough to let my curly haired girl have a go at rendering!

Understandably, our daily routine was up in the air, and it took me a couple of weeks to get things straight again, hence my sporadic Facebook and Blog updates!  

However, the half term brought with it a week off together, so we made the most of it.

Somewhere we’ve always fancied visiting was Crich Tramway Museum.  It’s quite a trek from home for us, some 160 miles, but we combined it with a little hotel stay so we could enjoy an entire day riding the trams without a tiring journey home. 

The girls loved it and my Mr was like a child in a sweetshop looking at all the trams in the shed!  The village had been lit for Halloween, so we waited until dark, when many people had gone home, and saw the woods in all their eerie glory!  M isn’t that keen on the dark, so stayed firmly at my side, her warm little hand held securely in mine.  C, dressed in her dark winter coat, found it hilarious to creep up on her dad in an attempt to frighten him!  It is on days like this that their personality differences really show.

The end of October meant it was time to pick the pumpkins which had been so lovingly grown by the girls.  The pumpkin plants ended up being gargantuous, creeping their way over an immense amount of the garden!  Who knew they could grow so big!?  Not us, that’s for sure.  The girls’ were rewarded for their green fingers, and the plants yielded these weighty beasts (and a tiddler to boot!)

A couple of weekends ago, we went to Cornwall for a real whistle stop tour!  We spent little more than 30 hours in my Mr’s beautiful home county, and we were asleep for 15 of those, but we had a good reason for going.  We did the annual family Christmas present drop off and we picked up our new car!  I’m not really that fussed about what car I travel in.  My only requirements are that it will get me from A to B safely, but I have to admit that I am a little bit enamoured with our new automobile, not least because it has heated seats and can keep my backside warm in the coming winter months! :o)   

On the way home from Cornwall, we stopped, as we always do, at Reading Services (oh how I dislike motorway driving!) and were persuaded by our two little monkeys that there was a “need” to bring some tasty delights back home to East Anglia.  Mmmm……..doughnuts!!!!!

On the 16th, we celebrated 12 years of marriage.  I can’t believe I’ve been with this man of mine for over 13 years!  It’s been a fantastic journey.  We had a lovely family meal, and then just the two of us went to watch The Imitation Game at the cinema.  The film was brilliant, a worthy watch, so much so that I hope to go again.

When my fingers have needed a break from the knitting needles, I’ve picked up a spot of crafting of the felt kind and have made some more posies, and have finally added some more anemones to my Etsy shop.

A friend kindly informed me today that it is only 4 weeks until Christmas Eve!  Are you ready?  I’ve dipped my toe in the water, so to speak, and made a start, albeit a feeble one, on preparations for the big day!  Four cakes baked, I must add not all for us, and 3 puddings boiled.  The house smelt fabulously festive.  Ever since I was a child, the smell of the cake baking slowly in the oven has signified the countdown to Christmas.  I can’t deny it, I am more than a little bit excited about this festive season :o)                   

Talking of festive makes, I have decided, maybe foolishly, to once again make some handmade gifts.  I fear I’m being a little ambitious, as I have picked some not so small projects.  One is a jumper for my dad, quite a simple design, not Fair Isle like the last two!  The other is a jumper for my mum, a design she has wanted to have made for an age, but, as is so often the case, never got round to.

My girls are off swimming today, happy time spent with their Grandma, and I should be doing some of things that little eyes shouldn’t see this time of year!  Instead, I think I’d much rather curl up, knit, and watch a festive favourite.  My afternoon will more likely than not look like this.

I hope all is well with you, wherever you are xx 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

We Will Remember Them

No remembrance service for us this year, as we will be on the motorway, travelling home from Cornwall.  It seems strange that we, as a family, aren't marking this day in the way we normally do, but we will be wearing our poppies, and we will be remembering.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

1940's Wedding Buttonholes

Almost a year ago, I was contact by a fellow blogger, Emily, who blogs over at Emily’s Vintage Visions. 

She asked me whether I would be able to make some of my felt corsages to be used as buttonholes for her wedding!  

I was honoured, and a little overwhelmed, as well as nervous, as I’d never done anything like it before, but I needn’t have been concerned, because Emily was an absolute pleasure to work for.  

The theme for the wedding was 1930’s/1940’s vintage.  Emily chose the colours she wanted, to match the wedding bouquets she was so cleverly making herself, and I set to work on some posy designs using original 1940’s patterns, the end result being these beautiful, bright posies.

For some reason, I didn’t get any proper photographs of the posies before they left England, bound for America, so please excuse the over bright photograph which was taken at night, using my phone!

I posted the package off in May, and was thankful that it arrived safely, but I thought nothing of my little creations until I received a happy email last month to tell me that the wedding had been a huge success, and that my corsages had gone down very well. 

Emily kindly sent me these photographs, taken by Kris Jarrett Phtography and Media Productions, so I could show how they looked on her special day.  You can read Emily’s blog post about her beautiful day by clicking here. 

Congratulations Emily and Cori! x

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Stitchcraft March 1941 - The Cover Jumper

It has been a while since I've done a woolly post.  To be fair, it has been a while since I've done a post of any kind, but we'll just gloss over that, shall we?!

The jumper that I have just finished has to be one of my all time favourites!  It was knitted from this pattern, an early wartime Stitchcraft magazine, from March 1941 to be precise, this was the cover jumper, a fantastic part cable design with the neatest little button and buckle detail.

It was knitted in Adriafil Azzurra, a beautiful 4 ply which is 70% wool, 30% acrylic.  This wool knits up just like an original 1940's wool, and the colour range they offer is comprehensive.  I love this wool so much, that I may have already stockpilled some of their scrumptious autumnal shades!!!

I used the Avio blue, the Bordeaux is what I'll be working with next.
Although it is hard to tell from the photographs, the buckle and buttons are actually a really dark blue.  They were made in the 1930's or 1940's and even though they aren't a matching set, they look pretty darn good together, even if I do say so myself. 

I love how this one turned out.  Although it has a couple of rows of cable per pattern repeat, it knitted up really rather quickly, and took just a little over 2 weeks to complete.  

This was a commission piece, and I have one more jumper to knit to go with it before it heads overseas :o)

If you fancy giving this one a go yourself, then the pattern is now available as a PDF in my new Etsy shop, 1940's Patterns, which you can find here.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

1940's Anne Adams Dress

Life isn't allowing for much blogging time at the moment.  All is well here, but September brought with it the start of a new school term, and we're all a little bit busy! 

I have lots of makes I want to get up on the blog, but I haven't the time for many words (that might be a good thing!!), so please forgive me for the photo overload!! xx

This dress was made from an original 1940's Anne Adams sewing pattern from America.  It was made using original 1940's rayon silk, which falls and drapes beautifully, but is a slippery blighter to work with!!  It is a generous size, and will fit a 46" bust, 38" waist and 48" hip.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Vogue 5364 – 1940’s French Blouse

Ok, so the blouse I’m posting about today isn’t actually from France.  The title refers to the design of the fabric which, you’ve guessed it, has a French theme, Paris, none the less!

Trying to get on top of my, um, fabric hoard, I’m trying to adopt a kind of one in one out philosophy.  I keep amassing beautiful pieces of fabric, but don’t use it as quickly as I’m buying it, because knitting and felt work seem to take priority.  With the extended summer break, which is now almost at an end, I've been keeping my sewing machine busy, and am ever so slightly making a dent in the stash!
Whenever we go to events, one of the things we always hear people say is that they wish it the clothing was bigger.  There is no denying that your average wartime woman was smaller than the average woman of today.  So, with this in mind, I went about picking out one of my larger blouse patterns, and ended up going for this Vogue pattern from 1948.

The blouse is quite a simple design, just three buttons, no fancy gathering or puff sleeves, quite a sleek, somewhat sophisticated, design, which I felt called for a similarly themed fabric.

Cue this little piece of loveliness.

The fabric is a vintage, probably from the 1950's, and the photographs don't do it justice, because it is actually a really pale pink shade. 

From a distance, it just looks like a plain old piece of fabric, but when you take a closer look, the fabric is actually covered in a French themed design of poodles, the Eiffel Tower, jive dancers, the moon, and some other buildings that I can’t identify!

Because the fabric design ran in an up down direction, the main pattern pieces all had to be cut in the same way, i.e. top to bottom, all pointing the same way.  It was a tight squeeze, and there were only fragments of fabric to spare.

Matching buttons to the fabric was more of a challenge than I thought it would be.  Because the fabric has a sheen to it, plastic buttons would be too dull in comparison, and therefore glass was the only way to go.  Clear glass looked totally wrong, so in the end, 3 rather scrumptious vintage pink champagne coloured flower buttons were the best option. 

Regrettably, 2 out of the 3 buttons have a tiny nibble on the back, as is often the case with 50+ year old buttons.  Personally, I don’t think it matters.  They are vintage buttons, and it does happen, but I’m hoping the new owner won’t mind either.
The blouse has been photographed on a dummy which is far too small for it, hence the overly baggy look, and the fact that one sleeve looks longer than the other!  It is pictured with the skirt from an original 1940's pin stripe suit.

The pattern was a dream to work from.  I didn’t have to make any changes to it at all.  All the pieces fitted easily together, and the entire thing took less than a day to construct, although it took me weeks to actually do the final finishing!! 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Summer Roundup

The end of August already?  Hmm, it seems that our extended summer holiday has kept me away from Blogger!  At the beginning of the holiday, with the weeks stretching before me, I had grand plans for numerous posts, plenty of makes and hoped to catch up on lots of cataloguing of my patterns.  In reality, I’ve actually achieved very little of what I’d hoped to, but I have a good excuse; I’ve been out and about with the family having fun!!

So what have we filled our time with?  Well, looking back, we’ve actually done an awful lot. 

We did a vintage fair in Heydon, Norfolk, which was lovely, but I sent Mr Y off to Sheringham with the camera, so no pictures of the fair, but plenty of the trains!  The weather was glorious and there were oh so many beautiful things to buy, but I was good, and all I brought home with me were some more knitting patterns and two 1950's blouses for the girls.

We also touted our wares at the 1940’s event at Ramsey, but again I have no photographs because I didn’t venture far from the tent.  Well, that’s not entirely true, I did venture down to see just one lovely trader who had, yes, you guessed it, more patterns!   She also had some 1940’s black suede ankle boots with Astrakhan trim in a rare larger size, but my mum, being the vintage hunting pro that she is, snaffled them first!! :o)

I may have also acquired some more patterns.  More patterns than I probably should have done. 

I bought, and fell in love with, some incredible pieces of new stock.  Some amazing ox blood red suede CC41 shoes, an incredible lavender coloured crepe dress and coat set and a whole collection of lovelyness including a 1940's Harrod's evening dress, 1930's day dress, 1940's pink moygashel dress with pink piping and a silk vestee from the 1940's :o)

We’ve travelled the highways and byways of East Anglia and visited Colchester Zoo, Minsmere, Sutton Hoo, Dunwich Heath, Land Guard Fort, Holt, Sheringham and Parham, to name but a few.  We’ve been swimming and walking, and paddling and riding.  Wandered through the leafy forests and ambled along the pebbly Suffolk shore.  The girls have dug for treasure and built sandcastles, grubbed in the dirt and come home filthy.  We’ve picked flowers, picked blackberries and picked (and munched!) delicious strawberries.  Eaten picnics in the shade of a tree and eaten over indulgent meals out.  Had cuddly, snugly film nights in and child orientated trips to the flicks!  Phew, no wonder we have welcomed our beds at the end of the day!! 

Racey, C's much beloved, and once white polar bear.  He goes everywhere with her.

We had family staying with us for 2 ½ weeks, which curtailed the adventuring a little, but the increased time at home did mean I was able to finish off 2 jumpers, a blouse and a dress.


We did some decorating, well, I picked the colours and my Mr did the decorating!  I also put him to task on a bookcase, so my once dark oak bookcase is now shiny and blue, the perfect home for some of the girls’ book collection.

All in all, it has been a pretty jam packed 3 months.  Having my Mr home has been absolutely incredible. I think we squeezed in as much as we could and I will never forget this gift of time that we have had together.  It’s been a blast, but as a lady who likes routine and order, I am eagerly awaiting things to get back to normal here on Wednesday, when we will start the countdown to the autumn!!