Vintage Christmas Stockings

I loath using the word ‘vintage’. Not quite sure why, I think it’s because of it’s overuse and the fact I’ve been collecting antique clothing and objects since I was a child so I slightly hate how fashionable it has become (I was so before my time *joking*). It’s also an age thing, I think, I struggle to think of 1980’s as ‘vintage’….probably as I wore the stuff first time around. Still, it’s often the only word that fits, so welcome ‘Vintage Christmas Stockings’.DSC_0098It started as an idea a couple of years ago. I had bought some vintage (I’m going to use the word with abandon now) napkins when I was buying old Christmas stuff on Ebay and I couldn’t help but think they’d make great cuffs for Christmas stockings.DSC_0100The plan was to combine them with some stash busting, specifically reducing my tweeds and a few Christmas cottons that I have. The problem is, as always, I tend to imagine the finished thing in my head and I then struggle to compromise on that vision.DSC_0104The red tweed looked too ‘dull’ so I considered some linen, also from my stash, but that felt too similar in texture to the linen cuff. I like contrasts of texture ūüôāDSC_0156I ended up buying some boucl√© wool in a crimson red. I also abandoned using the Christmas printed cotton for lining as the wool is a little stretchy and I wanted a matching stretchy lining so I opted for some nice, cosy, green brushed cotton.DSC_0208I’m not sure if it show in the photos, but I added a little shaping to the top cuff to make it kick out slightly (I like to think it’s these details that make my work my own).ChristmasStockingTeddy2Then I embarrassed myself by buying the newly arrived Christmas stuff from the local supermarket as photo props – coins, Quality Street, a Lindt Santa and some walnuts and oranges.ChristmasStockingBaubles1But I liked the photos taken with some of my vintage decorations best.ChristmasStockingsAllThe photos look really dark on here…it’s one of the problems when photographing red and at this time of year.ChristmasStocking2

You can find them in the shop and on Folksy.

 

 

 

 

Gran’s Pouffe…

Continuing the ‘nibbling’ I thought it would be good to post some of the half-written blog entries; this one is from 2014 (!!???) and the reason it hasn’t been completed is that I never actually finished the inside of the pouffe so I kicked myself into action and got it done on Friday – hurrah! – another satisfying ‘tick’.

2014….


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Along with my attempts to work on winter things, I am also trying to make a little time to finish projects for myself and the home. Some are long overdue, like covering this pouffe which is past it’s best. It belonged to my Gran and she used it in her bedroom; it had¬†a loose cover on top, in fact, one that I made to match her curtains (I remember, with great guilt, that it took me forever to get around to doing this for her), what you can see above is what was underneath the loose cover and it’s in a bit of a state.

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I believe Gran made it¬†herself and in true sentimental ‘me’ style there is no way I’d ever get rid of it, despite it looking like a dog’s dinner. It has followed me around for many years from home to home (it came to me after Gran passed away) and at one point it had a Marimekko lose cover to match F’s baby room, but I’ve always planned to give it a more permanent finish.

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These photos were taken in November 2012 (2018 – insert eye roll here as even I am amazed it’s been in production for so long!), so I guess that’s when I actually started to put my plan into action. I was up for doing the job properly, I had furniture¬†tacks and everything and with scant memories of upholstery classes whilst doing my degree I was full of enthusiasm but, the honest truth is that the staple gun won in the end and did a very decent job too.

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The fabric is Almedahls Mustard Körsbärsträdgården Scandinavian Fabric bought from Hus and Hem.

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I’ve had is squirrelled away for quite a while, but, I really like it and wanted to save it for a special project, which I think this is. I like the idea of a bold, slightly oversized print. ¬†I must say, I am slightly worried about sun fade damage, which I think will happen quite quickly (2018 – it hasn’t faded that badly, but then it’s not in direct sunlight and I’ve gone on to buy some of the same fabric to make a door curtain in our utility room to match the bright yellow rubber flooring).

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The pouffe is built from a simple handmade wooden box, similar looking to a wine crate, that’s then covered in wadding and finally a layer of cream fabric. ¬†All of this was base was in an ok condition so I kept it and simply covered over the top.

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Underneath, the original rubber feet had started to disintegrate so they had to go and I replaced them with Kendrick Shepherd casters because I have an obsession with putting everything on casters.  I used some linen that also came from Gran via my Mum (curtains that were left in the farmhouse when Mum and Dad moved in there) and some badly attached bias binding to line the edges.

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And this is where the pouffe got abandoned, as it’s easy to forget that the inside needs doing when it looks OK closed. So we jump to March of this year (we’re still in 2014 here, blimey I dragged this one out!), in the above photo. ¬†I had forgotten I’d taken this, I tend to load photos into blank posts ready to add the words at a later date. ¬†This is Smelly, my cat, I mentioned in an earlier post that she has been ill for a while and the vets couldn’t find out why, despite trying many things and spending a small fortune, sadly she didn’t make it and I had to have her put down at the end of the school holidays. Gutted. I’ve had her for 16 years and it was one of the many ‘pants’ aspects of the hols but, as I said at the start, let’s not dwell…(again, this is all from 2014 and we’ve had two other cats die since!! We also now have two alive and very healthy cats so it’s not all doom and gloom).

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I wanted to copy the original cover as closely as possible, I’d already done the same folding on the sides, next I made a copy of the fabric handles. ¬†I love the bird pattern and wanted to make sure the handles didn’t interfere with the continuity (I spent FOREVER getting the pattern in a good position for the main cover and lid to give maximum appeal) so I took the time to match everything up and I think it works well.

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This is clearly as far as I got in both writing the post and the pouffe itself; it’s been sitting in the living room by one of the chairs where it has a lovely wooden chess board on top to stop anyone shoving a coffee cup directly onto the fabric!DSC_0082The hold up was the inside. I had bought some shot orange linen to sew a lining (similar to the original) but it just never got done and the idea didn’t sit well with me either. The original fabric lining was quite stained and dirty and the neat side of my brain couldn’t cope with the same thing happening again, I wanted something more practical inside and that could be wiped and cleaned, if needed.DSC_0087So on Friday, I bought a sheet of MDF and it got a permanent box lining instead. Today it’ll get varnished and then I’m attaching two brass chains on either side of the lid to stop it flopping back and toppling the whole thing over when opened.

Job done ūüôā

Rose Tattoo Purses

I have been up since seven but amazingly have only managed 930 steps so far today (it’s mid-afternoon, as I type) which is hilarious. To be fair, I didn’t put my counter on until after showering but considering I’ve done two loads of laundry, baked bread, tidied and cleaned the kitchen I am amazed at the minimal step count. The problem is that I’ve spent the rest of the time attached to my laptop editing photos, updating websites and now writing blog posts. It just shows how blooming long all this stuff takes and how horribly inactive I am whilst doing it.

Let’s get on with the post.IMG_20160427_130829Forever ago (running theme here!) I was a bit obsessed with traditional vintage style Sailor Jerry tattoos, at the time I was researching tattoo swallows for aprons (still to come, when I finally photograph them) but the style, in general, is one I really like. If you don’t know who Sailor Jerry was just google him and you’ll recognise his work straight away.

IMG_20170627_095348I figured an oversized rose, outlined in black would look really good on a purse. The block colouring style of tattoos translates really well to applique and this vision was my starting point.¬†I spent forever coming up with my own design, which is really difficult as there are so many copies (Sailor Jerry is iconic and therefore frequently imitated, especially¬†the roses and swallows). I used a real rose photo and based the shaping on that, repeatedly simplified it down and then blocked the colours in. I often work on tracing paper then I use a printer to enlarge and decrease the size until I’m happy with it.

Originally I stitched black edging (top photo, LHS) but didn’t actually like that and ended up opting for using different colours for each part of the topstitching. It kind of defeated the point of my original idea, which was for it to clearly resemble a tattoo, but things do often change as they develop.DSC_0003

After much debate, I cut the rose as a single block of fabric and not as individual petals. I’m really glad I did, it saved me a mountain of work and it makes absolutely no difference to the final design.IMG_20170912_135942Most of the fabrics are simply what I had in stock and the main body of the purse is a deep claret cotton velvet. It’s quite difficult to capture on camera, especially as I often have to lighten photos but the above image is quite accurate.IMG_20170913_082304For the lining I used some stunning fuchsia shot silk, it adds a real pop to the purses and complements the wine velvet really well.DSC_0067Gluing the frames on nearly sucked all the life out of me, as it always does, but the plus is I’m getting really good at it without getting sticky fingers. I was a good girl and just got on with it and then rewarded myself with cake (which on less than 1000 steps in half a day I should NOT be doing!).DSC_0063And they are done. And listed.HandHeldRoseTatooPurseAnd would make a wonderful Valentines gift, I think; certainly, I’d be thrilled to get something¬†similar!

Right, I now need to go and run about for a bit and earn my wine this evening.

Job done. Next?

Glyndebourne 2017: La Traviata AND Don Pasquale

This year I was spoilt rotten and got to go to Glyndebourne twice!

For those who read this blog often, you’ll know it’s a big treat for me to go to Glyndebourne and I enjoy everything about it; the opera, the costumes and sets, the food and the dressing up. I was trying to describe it to a friend and it came across as just posh…which I guess it kind of is…but I tend to think of it as being more eccentric and very, very ‘British’. Not everyone brings a picnic or dresses up, but most people do and I relish the chance to wear ridiculous clothes I couldn’t really put on for anything else.IMG_20170801_100908As always the eyelashes come out. I have a small collection of these now, all from Paperself.IMG_20170801_095435I wore the birds, again. These have been on the go for years now, partly as I chop down the full lashes into sections and also because they can be removed and re-worn a number of times. They have stood up to this amazingly well, considering they are made from paper.IMG_20170801_103628Even just the small section produces quite loud lashes (I put them on early and generally before the rest of my makeup as for the first hour, I feel like there is a butterfly/spider on my eye! After a while I forget I’m wearing them).IMG_20170801_121551And I wore these! God I love these shoes. They were on my wish list last Christmas and I was super lucky that my sister bought them for me. They are definitely not for everyone, but I like them and couldn’t really give a stuff if other people do or not, people are generally polite enough to hold their comments back and just pull incredulous faces, which I can accept. They are from Irregular Choice, who are famed for their slightly bonkers heels (and they have a sale on, as I type).IMG_20170801_125420I figured the loud heels were the star so wore a nice, plain, black wiggle dress. Cue grumpy photo….I really don’t like having my photo taken, even when it’s me doing it so sorry I always look like I’ve got the hump.IMG_20170801_121706Finally, the bag, in this case one of my two Sarah Culleton¬†clutches. I love this too, especially with its little vintage brooch, Sarah adds one to each bag she makes and I really do think it’s the finishing touch.sdzcitild0majm0qp3b6This first outing was to see La Traviata, which was (as you’d expect from Glyndebourne) both beautiful to look at and amazing to listen to.o31xu4kxjgoqdt2dbalaFor trip two (which was in the same week…I know, I am so spoilt)IMG_20170805_120812I wore a beautiful dress my Sister gave to me.IMG_20170805_120922 2with matching stockings! I get excited about matching stockings; sad, I know. What Katie Did have plenty to choose from and their new coloured seam stockings have even deeper welts which are much comfier if you have *ahem* rounded thighs, as I do.IMG_20170805_120600For both trips, I set my hair overnight in pin curls. I’m getting better at the brush out and sleeping in pin curls is much easier these days. It does damage my hair, though, so it’s only something I do for special occasions. It’s a shame I didn’t get a photo of the back as I managed a proper Rita Heyworth wave, which I was rather pleased with.IMG_20170805_144215For the first trip, I was with the usual group of ladies, and we ate in the restaurant as the weather was initially set to be a bit grim. Annoyingly it turned out rather sunny and although the food was delicious, it felt as though something was missing by not enjoying a picnic in the beautiful gardens, so for the second visit (just me and my Sister) we brought out own food…and a table…and chairs…plus candles and flowers…you just have to, it’s part of the fun even if you do look a chump carrying it all across the grass in your high heels. We were quite jealous of the group who had set up a table next to us and had brought a candelabra!IMG_20170805_163910~2It was lucky we had one eye on the weather and a waterproof picnic rug to cover our table and food as just before the performance a brief storm hit. It was quite dramatic seeing everyone run for cover in their finery, packing up as much as they could carry as the thunder rumbled above and the heavens opened. The sun was back by the long interval, so all was well.tzxtj5hq2wuitfnvvbcdThis second outing was to see Don Pasquale, oh what a treat!uhe4z2w8ft82emtgioblThe rotating set was very, very clever, the costumes were fabulous and mixed with the comic story and beautiful performances was a real winner, for me.¬†wtpvyd1bxqdp8garw5urI’ve never been disappointed by anything I’ve seen at Glyndebourne, but this was one of my favourites.ueocl429opj8x2giskqvWhat will it be next year? If I get invited next year (fingers and toes crossed)….I think the swan shoes need a few more outings yet ūüôā

Merry Christmas

Well, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be, and I’m about to log off, relax and enjoy an afternoon glass of wine with (hopefully) some crap Christmas telly.dsc_0206I did finish some of the new aprons, but there wasn’t a chance to photograph them (red is very difficult in good light, but in winter, almost impossible). I’m happy to have the ‘reject’ one to keep and wear on Sunday (I always keep the one I am least happy with), the rest will be for next year now.dsc_0002I bought an extremely cheap box of tat from Ebay…dsc_0004to use with some tree rejects (the things that weren’t strung etc) to make a wreath. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but I love it. It only took about 20 mins to make and then a painful hour to fix to the door!dsc_0007It’s on just in time for the weather to turn nasty, as the remains of Storm Barbara head our way. The door has a small overhead porch so I’m hoping it survives alright, but as pretty much everything on there is plastic, it should be OK.freddieSo that’s it. I’m quite excited about not leaving the house for a few days and for the first time in forever, we genuinely don’t have anything planned for almost a week (we do have guests, here and there, but I have a stocked freezer and cupboards, ready). I’m thankful we’re all healthy and happy and together for Christmas so I hope for the same for everyone I know.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 20017.

Glyndebourne 2016: The Barber of Seville

Another year, another opportunity to get glammed up and enjoy a fantastic day out at Glyndebourne Opera House, thanks to my Sister’s generosity.

DSC_0014It was a bit same old, same old, this year, in terms of my outfit. We were in for a slightly cooler day (well, not ridiculously hot and sunny, as it often is) so my vintage 1950’s cloak came out again, along with a regularly worn dress, but I did get new shoes!Eyelashes2Even my Paperself eyelashes returned.EyelashesI did try to take an outfit photo, which is very good of me as I do still HATE having my photo taken…capethis is the best I got, complete with a lampshade growing out of my head.DSC_0019This year, it was ‘The Barber of Seville’ which was just brilliant. Very easy to watch/listen too, and some amazing(ly fast), beautiful singing!

98861444_Barbiere_2_ARTS-large_trans++FmZwAHfbzbyjsBBHX-5Jh9NpogaFEjDXM6mMtQntxXcI know it’s being shown ‘live’ at various cinemas, if you’re interested.98861396_Il_barbiere_1_ARTS-large_trans++ejZIJAt9PEOrlPg-pDq6ICS0p4l5Gu-vHGcy9QMx2TIThe costumes and sets were fantastic, as they always are, but I did note that¬†‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ is back, which is still up there as my favourite set and costumes at Glyndebourne, so far!

The Cunning Little VixenI mean, look at the hens with their cockerel, all dressed as show girls – awesome.106867395_FirstNigh_297078c

Wonder what it’ll be next year (if I get invited) and perhaps I’ll make a change and wear something different…or not ūüôā

Butterflies at the Natural History Museum…

I went to London last Tuesday, all on my own, complete with book to read on the train (well Kindle…on my phone actually, Robert Harris ‘Enigma’ which I loved) to see the Wedding Dress exhibition at the V&A. ¬†It was great, not just the exhibition itself, but sitting on the train reading, having lunch in the museum and wandering around the galleries without bored kids in tow.

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But it made me feel guilty, as we rarely take the kids ‘into town’ and it’s only a 40 min train ride into Victoria, so I decided to take advantage of an inset day on the Friday and I took them to see¬†the Butterflies at The Natural History Museum. ¬†M was away for his IronMan in Austria (he did it – hurrah!) so it was just me and the munchkins and it was good fun. ¬†They became a bit tired and whiny by the afternoon and we ran out of steam and didn’t get around even half of the Museum, we’ve been before and will, no doubt, go again so this wasn’t a problem.

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The butterflies were great, it was quiet, there was certainly no need to have pre-booked our tickets, in fact we were allowed to go in early as there was no queue. ¬†Of course, like everyone else, I had my phone out the entire time attempting to snap photos of the ever moving beauties, but I made lots of time to just watch them and it was fascinating seeing the long, curled tongues sipping nectar. ¬†I’d have loved a shot of the chrysalis, all lined up, as they really were fascinating, but that area was quite busy and I don’t like to take photos at the expense of blocking other people’s¬†views.

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Charlie was keen to get his phone/camera out too and if you’re wondering why F has his hoodie up, it’s because the very first thing that happened when we stepped inside the tent, was a butterfly landed on his head and he instinctively tried to swat it only to have me yell at him in horror. ¬†Luckily it flew off before he smacked his own head, but he thought it best to put his hood up just in case it happened again. ¬†I think killing the exhibits might be frowned upon ūüėČ

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They loved both my frock and newly dyed hair. ¬†My top tip? ¬†Go through the side entrance to the museum (the butterfly tent is outside so you don’t enter from the museum anyway) as the queue was ridiculous, it was very, very long and I got totally confused why no-one was using another entrances, apparently it was simply because they don’t know to, or so the guard told me.

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Back home, I struggled to get going this morning. ¬†My attempt to re-arrange the studio and shoehorn all my ‘stuff’ in has got out of hand. ¬†I had hit the stage when it felt like I’ve been working for days but with no obvious results so I woke determined to sort things out. ¬†It hasn’t helped that I’ve not been sleeping very well, largely down to the humid weather we’ve been having. ¬†I waited patiently for the forecast rain all weekend, but it never arrived, we had the odd spot, but not the stormy showers I was expecting and certainly not enough to clear the air. ¬†Not only does it make our bedroom (built into the original loft) hot but the studio and kitchen, with all its glass is like working in a sauna.

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Today, I finally feel like I made it over the hump, as it were, and I can step into my workroom without tripping up on piles of boxes. ¬†Again, I’ve made myself crack on with unfinished jobs. ¬†The old office chair, kindly given to me by my bosses¬†at The Imperial War Museum (it was out by the bins ready for collection but is, apparently, a designer classic, clearly no-one knew that or I’m sure they’d have never have let me scavenge it!!) has been re-covered ready to go into F’s new room. ¬†Phew, another unnecessary thing removed from ‘my’ space (I use M’s Aeron chair, which is much better for my back and currently has no home…it’s a bit like his old camera, I figure if I borrow it long enough it just becomes mine…no? ¬†Have I got that wrong ;)).

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It’s the second time I’ve re-covered it, the first was done in the nice vintage gold linen, but that had worn through, so I’ve gone for a super heavy blue tweed. ¬†It doesn’t feel that nice to touch (it really is very weighty, when I sewed the Weekender Bag above, which I originally bought the fabric for, I nearly cried trying to get the side seams stitched together, with their multiple layers!) but it’s tough and should cope with a little boy mistreating it.

Nearly forgot to mention the lovely cushion came from Felicity at Eclectic Handmade.

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I’ve also finally glued and waxed a rocking horse I’ve had since¬†I was a kid. ¬†Yet more of the typical ‘junk’ I hoard. ¬†This has followed me around for years, I stripped it back in 2009, and sadly I can see from the photo I took at the time (as above) that storing it in the roof alcove, directly in front of a glass window, has done it no good¬†and has left me with¬†cracked paint to deal with.

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Oh well, it’s glued back together and waxed, maybe I’ll find time in another 5 years to give the head a coat of varnish to stop it flaking even more ūüėČ

I need to get back to sewing now, I am very aware how quickly this school term is flying.  Tick tock and all that!

Glyndebourne Outfits 2013 AND 2014…

Because, hey, apparently I’m totally rubbish at finishing and publishing posts I’ve half written, so here’s two years in one.

OK, for reference, Glyndebourne is a country house that hosts the annual Glyndebourne Festival in it’s grounds (the 80th year this time around). ¬†Apart from some wonderful music and singing, amazing sets and costumes, many of the audience go to town on their outfits and (weather permitting) bring completely over the top picnics, often with tables, chairs, flowers and candles to eat in the immaculate grounds. ¬†Over the course of the evening you eat a multiple course meal around the performance (starter when you arrive, then there is a big interval so you can eat your main course, usually with dessert afterwards, followed by candle lit coffee and mints at the end…..or is that just us!!?). ¬†My very generous Sister kindly treats her best friends and me to tickets each year and as I don’t get out much, I take it as an opportunity to dress up.

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When there a few years ago, we chatted about opera coat envy (oh yes, there are opera coats) and there was talk about my making some, but, in reality, the cost of the fabric alone (I was thinking tweed or velvet, Scottish Widow style) would be high, and then there’s the actual making, which I just know I’ll never get around too. ¬†A quick Etsy hunt showed it would be a much better idea to just buy a vintage one.

DSC_0108I found this 1930’s beauty quite modestly priced and it was swiftly delivered from Mexico City (the listing photos were a bit dreadful, so it was a punt, but one that worked out well). ¬†It’s been shortened at some point, so is a bit below knee-length on me, the lovely beaded ‘phoenix wings’ were in good condition as was the velvet and lining. ¬†I washed it. ¬†Now that was a gamble, but the white lining was more than a bit grubby so I chanced it, the dye did run a bit from the velvet but I managed to wash the lining separately so it ended up looking pretty good. ¬†I did quite a lot of fixing, as some of the actual seams were splitting and I re-stitched nearly all the beads on just to make sure they stay there over time.

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These last three photos were taken a few weeks back, as the poor thing has been waiting for a new button before being carefully stored away (I don’t like to leave dark coloured things, or ‘dust catchers’ on display in case they get sun damaged, or worse, clothes moths move in).

ad3b753b788513c93e2f2e174208e00bThe rest of my outfit was matched to the cloak, from things I already owned. ¬†There was this fab Orla Kiely dress that sat on my wish list¬†for months, I remember being a bit gutted that in the sale, there were none left in my size, then my pathetic ‘keep looking at it’ method paid off as some more were listed and I snapped one up.

f45334c3ad9536d0f4944316a0401333My shoes were an addition to my Chie Mihara collection, courtesy of a Christmas gift, ‘Anuncio’ in the brown/gold colour. ¬†I notice that these are still hanging around on some sites in the sale, even after a year or so.

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A rare chance to get my nails done and drag out some family jewellery, the ring was my Mum’s and the bracelet my Gran’s. ¬†I used to wear the ring daily when I was an art student but it mostly sits in a box now and rarely wear gold, I tend towards silver and more modern style for day-to-day wearing, so the bracelet doesn’t come out much either. ¬†Shame really, I must wear them more often.

DSC_0058 A very dodgy selfie complete with out of focus bits.glyndebourne lunchFor the first time, we abandoned plans for a picnic. ¬†The year before we’d eaten in windy, cold, dampness and it rather took the fun out of things, so we booked into one of the on-site restaurants. ¬†It’s a quick turn-around for the serving staff, you choose your food order in advance and the starter is in place when you arrive, it was yummy as well as pretty. ¬†Sadly this was the only photo I took of the day itself. ¬†We did take pre-Opera nibbles and champagne to have before, setting ourselves up on a side lawn to try to stay out of the wind, only to discover we had a prime view of the dressing rooms, which didn’t put a few of the male singers off from stripping down to bare chests in front of the glass. ¬†It was a bit like a Diet Coke advert but we’re maybe a bit old for leering (not!).

(Incidentally, we saw ‘Falstaff’ which was funny, easy to watch and well designed; not as exciting, visually as ‘The Cunning Little Vixon’ which we’d seen the year before, which had AMAZING sets and costumes, but still good).
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Now for this year. ¬†I did consider wearing one of the many floor length dresses I own, largely donated to me by my Sister, as it’s a rare occasion that I can wear a proper long frock, but then I fell in love with this amazing number some time at the end of last year. ¬†Clearly, it’s not me in the photos, but the shop owner (Animal Head Vintage – what a cool name!)

il_570xN.337204434Being a little…humm…’larger’ it’s not quite so flattering on me, as it hangs off the bust and makes me look like a little dumpling, but I don’t care, I LOVE it! ¬†As it’s another just under knee cloak, the rest of my outfit is the same as above, just in case you think I go the whole hog and wear all new. ¬†I have no problem recycling outfits, I am happy to (and often do) wear a favourite frock over and over with no shame, for a couple of very busy Wedding and Christening years I pretty much wore the same two frocks in rotation, everyone must have thought I owned nothing else (which is clearly not true, as those who read this blog regularly know).8bc39a98977cf0ee2c32425f59b07ea2Besides, it gave me an excuse to finally buy a jewellery¬†piece¬†from Bill Skinner, in the form of a Tiger Bracelet,

product-bs-nw052-g-77I’ve a bit of a crush on the dome necklaces and rings too, which is the fault of Maison Bentley Style, for¬†blogging these beauties some time ago, but for now they’ll have to sit on the wish list.

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We’re going to see Don Giovanni this year, which is an opera I know (phew) and have seen other productions of, I read this one is well staged and from the above publicity photos, I know I’m going to like the costumes.

The flaw in my plans will be if the sun shines, then I’d roast in the large opera coat as we’ll no doubt take a posh picnic to eat in the grounds, but it’s looking a bit stormy right now; and clearly I should be writing¬†this AFTER I’ve been, but I know myself well and bet I don’t take any photos on the day, so I may as well publish now.

On other news, the boys go back to school today after half-term (spent in Centre Parcs for their joint Birthdays) and despite the house and garden needing attention, I’ve promised myself a week of sewing, as I haven’t done any in ages. ¬†Besides, M has come down with a stinking cold and is at the stage where you feel lots of sympathy, but at the same time would like to kit him up in one of those infection control tents as seen in the movies, or in my case, hide out in the studio, donning a mask and lots of Purell before entering the rest of the house. ¬†Perhaps I can give him a bell to ring so we know when he’s coming and can clear the room? ¬†Actually it wont be needed as he’s coughing so much you couldn’t miss him (I joke, but it’s crucial Iron Man training time so it’s bit of a disaster for him really).

Back soon, maybe with some Glyndebourne photos?

Yorkshire and Love Ur Look…

My Yorkshire break was wonderful.  Relaxing, renewing and sadly, not long enough.

On the Friday, when I rushed from the train station to collect the kids, someone at school asked me where I’d been, they then mentioned that I must be excited to see the boys and asked if I’d missed them….humm….the honest truth is not really. ¬†I mean, of course I missed them in a way but it’s not like we were apart¬†for long and I didn’t realise just how much I’d relish this time out, it’s been a long (9 years) time coming.¬†IMG_20140513_082924

Every day started with breakfast in bed. ¬†Sadly, I woke at 6 am ish despite having no-one to wake me. ¬†The luxury of coffee and a dippy egg (I’m mostly not eating bread at the moment, but carbs were one of the holiday highlights), followed by a book read (Longbourn – thanks Fran, for the tip-off!) then a bit of walk planning was heavenly.

IMG_20140513_104307Most of my walks looked like this, at some point.  Typical Yorkshire Dales view, old lanes, dry stone walls, lots and lots and LOTS of moss.
PANO_20140513_134206The weather was mixed. ¬†I packed badly, originally thinking it’d be sunny, then realising not so reverting back to wet weather, cold walking gear, only to find that although it rained a little on the first day it was quite glorious between showers and on Wednesday I felt¬†ill-dressed for the hot, summer sunshine.
IMG_20140513_134104I walked 12 miles on day one, from Burnsall (where I stay) to Grassington (to see my Nana and usually my Aunts, who sadly weren’t around on this visit). ¬†From there I walked to Grass Woods, and what a beautiful little fairy wood it is! ¬†I’d forgotten just how nice. ¬†It was drizzling at this point but it made it all the more pretty, a kind of damp, green wonderland. ¬†It’s the last known natural habitat of the Lady’s Slipper Orchid here in the UK, we went to look at it once, with my Dad, having to be lead there by an arranged guide and step over trip wires that keep it guarded. ¬†I read it had a police guard last time it flowered and is appearing (in it’s cultivated form) at Chelsea Flower Show this year.
IMG_20140513_154311I walked back via Linton and Thorpe, I had hoped to take lots of nice photos, but I really struggle with using my phone verses my ‘proper’ camera, partly it’s just that I can’t see what I’m taking a photo of, due to the sun reflexion and also I have no idea what is being focused on so they tend to come out blurred.

This is ‘Manor House’ in Thorpe, it’s my new house crush and is where my Great Gran and her family lived. ¬†I felt like a bit of a stalker trying to photograph it discreetly and had to attempt to avoid the blue wheelie bin that’s just out of shot on the left, hence the not best angle, I thought it might be pushing it a bit far if I wheeled the bin out of the way for a better photo! ¬†Incidentally, if my Fairy Godmother is listening, I’d happily take the old family farmhouse at Beckermonds or better still, Gran’s house in Burnsall…any will do!IMG_20140514_141533

IMG_20140513_140632IMG_20140515_102057I mostly took photos of walls, moss and green things. ¬†I was wondering what makes walking here so different to my local area of Kent, apart from the vastness of the landscape and the feeling of history you get from the geological formations. ¬†I really do think moss plays a big part for me, it’s everywhere, especially in the woodland areas and it’s what makes the difference from walking in a bluebell wood here in Kent to one Up North. ¬†That and the quietness, most days I didn’t meet anyone, especially when out on moorland.

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Day two I was meeting a family friend for lunch, ¬†so I walked afterwards, from the¬†house I grew up in, where my brother now lives near Bolton Abbey (he brought me back and dropped me off after lunch…in fact he was my taxi service and dinner companion – along with my SIL – ¬†most evenings for which I own him a huge thanks!) back to Burnsall. ¬†It was hot and sunny and I was badly dressed in jeans, when I should have been in shorts. ¬†I took photos but they are not great, so I’ll spare you. ¬†A highlight was stuffing my face with a chocolate 99 from the ice cream van at Barden Tower bridge, for which my Bro had to lend me money in advance, after I realised I’d come out walking for a second day with no cash. ¬†I took a selfie but I just look hot and sweaty so you don’t need to see that.IMG_20140515_111458IMG_20140515_112802

On my last day I walked up onto Burnsall Moor via Thorpe, I had hoped to make it to Barden Upper Reservoir but I mostly got lost and wandered around knee deep in mud whilst trying not to step on all the slugs. ¬†It’s all peat and bog up there and I had visions of ‘Jamaica Inn’ style being sucked under, having recently read the book. ¬†It didn’t help that it was grey and a bit wet and I met no-one on my few hours walking. ¬†No drama going on in my brain then. ¬†Still, I gave up and walked back down to Burnsall, thinking all the time that the people who do the yearly fell race there are nutters as it’s quite easy to step badly on your ankle just having a potter, let alone a competitive run!

Clearly, I’m back now, and mildly depressed about it. ¬†I have a throat investigation this afternoon (due to¬†years of acid reflux, I’ve been putting it off for 6 years, since I had the last one, as I know it’s horrid but I’ve agreed with the consultant¬†that he’s going to give me ‘elephant’ doses of sedation this time). ¬†Poor C has to have two grown up fillings (don’t feed your kids dried fruit, or those sticky snacks made from fruit only, as they are evil for little teeth) and despite M having done a great job whilst I’ve been away, I feel overwhelmed by everyday life and the endless lists of jobs.
I_0701806629708_00_20140508 I_0701806630315_00_20140430On a very positive note, I have both the above dresses on their way from the Love Ur Look pop-up shop in House of Fraser. ¬†I had ordered just the top one but having seen how quickly things are selling out, added the second. ¬†I’ll report back on fit and quality when they arrive but figured I’d best write about them whilst the shop is active, so you can go grab one, if you wish.

Right, off to have my last glass of water before I’m no longer allowed to eat or drink anything until after my procedure. ¬†What joy.

 

Leaning tower of books…

I feel like today’s post is a bit of an interlude (should there be a photo of a potter’s wheel here?!) but I am trying to get a grip on things at the moment, not in a bad way, but there are many things, in general, that I have been putting off and it’s time to get on with them, in order to stop me from feeling like this

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In the last few days I have booked appointments with the doctor and dentist, finally bought soil needed to get the garden seedlings started and next on the list, I want to clear the piles of all sorts that cover the surfaces of my studio so I can properly get back to work.

There are:

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books, many from my Birthday and Christmas that are waiting to be read or have been already, and need putting away;

DSC_0032(you may think these photos are staged, they are in that I cleared a bit of desk to photograph them on, but otherwise they have been sat here for weeks, just hidden under mountains of fabric and threads…and my desk really isn’t all that big!)

DSC_0037vintage jumpers and skirts, also dumped in my studio waiting for any needed repairs, or cleaning, and that probably need to be packed up for next winter now.

DSC_0039Vintage patterns waiting to be sorted through. ¬†This is most of my stash, collected over many years and it’s in dire need of a good tidy.

I’m also going to decide, in the coming days, whether to change how I work. ¬†Basically, I might skip summer sewing altogether and in doing so only work on autumn/winter products. ¬†I know that in the professional world that’s how it’s done and I can see the advantages, how wonderful, come September (after the long school holidays when sewing becomes abandoned) to be ready to go, with work complete, photos taken and items already listed?

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The downside is I am generally quite influenced by the weather, I’m not sure I can be thinking of Christmas in the balmy (yes, yes, this is the UK so I might be dreaming here) summer days and from a blogging point of view I would perhaps feel I should keep things hidden until the proper season before posting about them, which would feel restrictive as it’s never as much fun writing about making in retrospect. ¬†It would also mean there wouldn’t be new items in the shop for some time, a problem as it’s quite important for me to keep it updated. ¬†Ho-hum, one to think on there.

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As it is, I am happier to have some more space around me now, both physically and mentally, ¬†it makes me feel I can breathe more easily…if you ignore the air pollution warnings we currently have and resulting Sahara sand being dumped all over the place. ¬†I was a bit amazed to see the plumes of dust rise into the air when a fat little wood-pigeon landed on the trees in our garden a moment ago, there was so much that I genuinely thought next door had lit a garden fire…most might have noticed the sand and dust on their car but ours is always so filthy I just considered that normal ūüėČ .

Lastly, I just pledged some money on Kickstarter¬†for the wonderful project called ‘Lightcase’.

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Which, to use the designers (Dominic Crinson and Brenna Jensen) own words, is:

“Lightcase is basically a mini photographic studio that gives you a quick, affordable and low-tech way to get clear, sharp and well lit photos. We designed it especially for creatives selling in the various online marketplaces such as Etsy, Folksy, Made it, Zibbet, Ebay… but it’s also a great tool for bloggers and for social marketing on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and just about anywhere you need great photos of what you do.”

Fabulous idea…could do with being a bit bigger for me, but is still too good to miss. ¬†If you fancy knowing more you can read about it here and pledge here. ¬†Clearly I now have a vested interest in their raising enough pledges but I also thought it was a great idea generally for sharing.

Oh, in case you wondered, the little birds are typical of the random (but precious, to me) ‘junk’ that fills my world and I couldn’t resist photographing them before they were put away ūüôā