Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Milly~Molly~Mandy and Billy Blunt do some gardening............

Hello again and thank you once more for your kind words about my corners!  Your kindness about Mr Langford was touching -  he did give me permission to use his first name but Mr Langford was always Mr Langford.   I am running a couple of weeks behind so I am late replying to your thoughtful comments but I will do so ('She is always saying that isn't she...') and will put some Jammy Dodgers in the biscuit tin in case you pop round.

Time and tide wait for no man  and here we are with a new purse..........('She made time for that right enough...')

The other day I thought to myself:
 'I am in dire need of a new purse......' 

In truth I had overheard the ladies at the till in the Co-op chatting about purse standards dropping since 'The Wonder Years'........... .

I was not too sure about 'The Wonder Years' but set about trying to remedy that very situation as best I could.  Thank you again to Beachcomber for the idea

This then is my Milly~Molly~Mandy purse.  Sadly I had no suitable black Sylko with which to embroider and had to make do with grey - I then 'cheated' and darkened these photographs in order to pretend the blackness. Sorry about that....life is just one big facade......

Bronte then chirped up: 'Are you  going to 'colour' the embroidery in?'


This is part of the new embroidered purse range entitled: 'Embroideries from our past'.

These purses will feature a mix of :Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh (only EH Shepard....but then you knew that already didn't you), Magic Roundabout, the works of Tenniel and Scarfe.  If this goes well I will venture into some Holbein, Van Beyeren and end with your basic Kandinsky just to keep Bronte happy .

I have eclectic tastes!

By pure chance one of my old plant tins bears an uncanny resemblance to the one in  the drawing!

I like the earnestness of Billy Blunt

I had to do some searching for the reverse but eventually found this 50s fabric with a splash of colour which was sufficient to enhance the overall effect I think.

Inside is a bit of blue

In progress.....can you see that the fabric is cut off an old tablecloth!

Below are a few of the grandiose 'Spring makes' which I announced last time.

Some little lavender bags in a little wicker basket (I did not make the basket)

 Made a few different 'horse' purses - this one looks wonky but really it wasn't

I did not make this tablecloth

Maille made her first macaroons

.....and I ate them..........

 Accompanied by a nice cup of tea which I did make

(this blog post is getting more colourful as we progress through it)

The embroidery which I finished the other week has been used  for a pocket on a drawstring 'seaside' bag

I was going to insert eyelets in the bottom corners but got cold feet as last time I tried that it went all wrong -  this time I sewed the straps in place and covered with a button.

I was quite pleased with this until I showed it to one of my sisters (YES - YOU) who made less than favourable comments..................

I had yet more strange looks when I was taking these photographs - perhaps I looked a little odd sitting on the children's old chair supping my tea and staring wistfully across The Solent!

I decided not to paddle my feet but did eat my sarnies in a Force 8 gale ( have checked my Beaufort and this is about right.......)

Made some other bits but not really worthy of viewing to be honest - let us call them 'conceptual art' pieces and be done with it.

Thank you as always for calling in.

I am off to the Co-op to spend my sixpence...........

PS: I am trying very hard to get a batch of work completed so that I can have some time off next week - managed to distract myself by blog writing so now I am all behind again!

PPS: Given that there are some fellow Radio 4 listeners out there did you hear last Sunday evening Tim FitzHigham recreate Sir John Throckmorton's 1811 attempt to have a coat made from scratch - from a sheep's back to his own in a single day (reminded me of that old Blue Peter episode with the knitters).  I thought it was a great piece of radio programming and I was on the edge of my seat nearing the end - better than the Great British Sewing Bee final even (though that is going to be a nail biter!).   As it is only the first episode I will make a point of listening in to the rest.

PPPS: What I love about the radio is that it doesn't tie you down like a telly does - you can move about with a radio.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sewing room tales: My 'other' chair, new to me cupboard, new to me table, Spring makes and tea!

I think that my April Fool's Day post missed the mark (not quite Mr Dimbleby's standard perhaps!) but I am pleased that I was able to make someone snort her breakfast through her nose (no name - no pack drill!)

The year is gathering pace and so is The Great British Sewing Bee - I am on the edge of my vintage seat with it all!  I had divided loyalties last night as I was desperado to finish a little Milly Molly Mandy embroidery (thank you for the idea Streetcomber) for a purse (in DIRE need of a purse this week.........). I would like Chinelo to win - there I have said it.

By the end of this post you might be a bit fed up of this corner!

My sewing room is getting a 'bit full up'.....not  necessarily with sewing-related things.  Looking at this photograph every single thing, apart from the radio and daffodils, is second hand.

'Does she not realise that it all looks SECOND HAND - I think that she thinks that I think it all looks brand new! IT ALL LOOKS SECOND HAND: 'PAPER BAG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD' SORT OF STUFF' . (How that made me laugh - courtesy of The HATTATS)

The wicker lamp shade was a lucky find on top of the wardrobe - I must have put it there a year or so and then forgot all about it!

'She calls that 'lucky'..... I would call it firewood'  

You may recall that in a previous post I had sold a cupboard in order to make room for a cupboard.....This is my £10 cupboard - nice and chunky, solid oak and just right for putting 'stuff' in.  The content of the cupboard is 'work in progress' as this is part of the previous cupboard content just 'shoved in' for now!  It was all a bit of rash purchase so I had not thought this through - still for £10 I am not complaining.  It is a funny old world because about a week later a different charity shop also had two very similar cupboards (slightly larger) but they were £95 each.

Please note that I have not dusted the glass! I am not a natural dusterer

Every sewing room should have one or tins in it I think...possibly...

At such times it is always best to have a cup of tea

I have various bits of this Dolly Days china - bought at a local car boot a few years back - along with my trusty teapot (£1). I have the matching jug but couldn't find it that day...gulp....

Realised that a bag hanging behind the door 'matches' the china!

Shelves are currently being constructed to go above this cupboard - we bought yet another larger cupboard in the Charity Shop Sales but 'deconstructed' it (it wasn't very nice but has nice wood) in order to make the shelving.   

I have finally sorted out the embroideries to make up the: 'Flying Embroidery Formation' on the other wall and then I will be done......though by then I will no longer have any space left to move..... or indeed sew in......

A few days later the daffs were out, the sun was streaming through the window and  I had dug out one of my old clocks that will eventually go on the wall

 Clock yet to be dusted....shameful really.....

I was a bit fixated by the shadows cast by the sun that day

However I am in the middle of making a Roman fort, road, temple, mosaic, lamp  blind for this room - it is going to be made of barkcloth floral fabric but cannot decide if there should be a vintage embroidered border down both sides.  What would you suggest?

'We would suggest that you HAVE A CLEAROUT'


 You may recall the pair of chairs bought last year for £2 each - the one I painted blue  was shown here and now here is the other one......a pink chair close up.....

Cushion close up really - though I love making cathedral window patchwork this is a very old charity shop purchase - in fact both cushions cost a £1 each many years ago. Ah yes, my friend, we thought they'd never end.......the days when most of my purchases were in the £1 or less category.

I find that nowadays a cushion is essential for my old back

'What is that yellow thing that has snuck in under the radar Jenny?'

Ah, yes, now then Missus ('Channelling Frankie Howerd this morning are we?'), this would be my 'new to me' table.  I am rather partial to a bit of Lloyd Loom.  This was NOT a £1 - this was £25 - it was in the charity shop when I bought the cupboard but I RESISTED it at the time. 


When I went back to the shop to give the manager her purse  the table WAS STILL THERE.



Thank you kindly Martha.  I will  have to get rid of my old chest (steady) to really make 'proper' room for this - but table is already fully laden WITH STUFF!  

How did I manage without it.

I was about to post this and then remembered the photographs which I had taken before all of  different china and different flowers

My sewing room is really a 'get away from it all/ listen to Radio 4 in peace' room (may I recommend 'Cabin Pressure' and 'In and out of the kitchen' if you are in need of cheering up - both make me laugh out loud - comedy on the radio beats the telly every time for me). I particularly like having the radio on and to hear the clock ticking - childhood memories.   I also share this room with all my files and books for work and frequently cut fabric on top of those files and books because I cannot be bothered to keep putting it all away and get it out again

Here I am flicking through the latest (!)  magazine.  What is the message that this cover is trying to convey?  Any thoughts?  I am thinking that I might start a caption competition here.

A very sad note here : this magazine was my very last purchase from dear Mr Langford.  I have mentioned Mr Langford many, many times over the years both here and on Flickr.  After a relatively short illness Mr Langford sadly died recently - we chatted on his  last day in his shop.  When he told me he was ill I made him  a little card  with 'Mary' on it to thank him and show the influence his shop had had - he was very chuffed - his shop meant a great deal to him.

I will miss him.

Thank you Mr Langford.

Sunny times for you all today I hope

PS: Realised that I have not posted the promised 'Spring makes' as indicated in the title so will do that next time

PPS: I was in  Milton Keynes for work last  weekend...and this weekend it will be Basingstoke...I live the high life I really do!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

La Cootard interview

La Cootard interview....

When we first went to La Cootard's residence we were a little nervous - what would she be like in real life and can it be true that she really has ALL THAT STUFF.  We knocked on the door (no bell we noted...you would think..wouldn't you) and waited....we could hear her thundering down the stairs  and.... we were IN!

We were soon clucking round a cup of tea.  No cake was dispensed and Asda mugs were disappointingly used....later we checked as to why and she said too many 'friends' half inched stuff so now most china was kept in a heavily locked room.  However it was lovely to hear La Cootard's light, tinkling, delicate (!) laughter particularly when we asked where she got her choice items from:

'Well' she tinkled, 'I source - let us pluhheeeze get the terminology correct - (tinkle....tinkle) goods from a wide area  sometimes I go as far afield as Havant though usually I keep to a mile circumference of the house'.  At this point we were disappointed all over again as we had envisioned items being gleaned from exotic locale the world over!

'Is it true that you were once offered a book deal?'

We asked the question tentatively as we had heard that this was a sore point with La Cootard.  A little thunder cloud appeared over La Cootard's head and we saw her assistant quickly move in to lend a supportive arm.

 'I decided not to write the book' La Cootard retorted 'The intention with my  new book was that it  would blow the lid off the 'thin in content' books offered elsewhere....no names, no pack drill. My book was intended to be packed with NEW ideas and inspiration but the publisher decided that what they really needed was a rehash of everything that had been done before...The publishers also highlighted that a photograph of an ageing nude woman sporting nothing but  a subtly draped vintage embroidered tablecloth  (which I had insisted on being on the front cover and had been highlighted in the contract)  would...in their words..... :

'Cause more offence than it would delight'.....

At this point La Cootard bid a hasty retreat to the 'small room' where we could hear a  great deal of nose blowing  (her assistant shoved a few delicately embroidered vintage hankies under the door).  The nose trumpet  was coupled with a few: 'Why, oh whys' - all emanating from beneath the badly fitted DIY/ botched door job that she had 'oh so artfully' shown on her blog a few weeks previous and expected everyone to make kind comments about....

To be honest we were not sure if she was more upset about the book deal or the refusal of the front cover photo : a bit of both perhaps.

We felt that this was not the time to deliver home truths about ladies of a 'certain age'.....

Eventually La Cootard emerged... a little blotchy faced.... from the 'small room'.  She was wiping her face on an original 1950s towel (that disturbingly had a semi-clad floozy emblazoned across it....oh the irony!).

We hesitatingly restarted the interview : 'What drew you to all this stuff in the first place La Cootard?' (we all want to know that one!)

 'Well I could say that it was a childhood where we had very little - but it is probably borne from a fear of debt.  In my day (cue children... eye rolling...) second hand meant CHEAP and CHEAP meant that I could buy more STUFF - money went further so it was obvious really'.  We certainly had to agree with her on this point - there was an awful lot of stuff and an awful lot of awful stuff.

As La Cootard appeared to have settled down we thought we would go for the 'killer question': 'Could we please ask how many tablecloths you have?'

We held our collective breath.  We could tell that  La Cootard was trying to do some quite difficult calculations (at one point Pythagoras was muttered and Pi(e) squared).  Clearly she was  mentally walking round the house trying to add things up.  After a bit of heading weaving from side to side - eyes pointed upwards in order to focus -  the answer came:

 'I have absolutely no idea'.

During the interview it was apparent that La Cootard's ego had been bruised by 'vintage experiences' (Country Living  'gate' still hung heavy, missed opportunities, 'It should have been me', 'I would have looked good on the small screen' and 'I was making those years ago.....'..... mutterings in a similar vein).  She was in danger of gathering more than  a whiff of resentment about her.  This faint whiff gathered speed during the interview to an almighty crescendo of bitterness, thus necessitating the dispensing of even more delicately hand embroidered handkerchiefs  (via a beautifully embroidered handkerchief case we hasten to add)   At one point we did start to think that she might run out but we were assured that there were 'plenty' more upstairs.

We did not doubt this for one minute...............

As the interview drew to a close we asked if we could possibly take a photograph....perhaps a photograph of something that she had made....something 'special'.....something that the readers might like to see.....something for the world to gaze upon.........you know...something NICE.

At this point La Cootard went into a paroxysm of fury....we had no idea we had inadvertently touched  the rawest nerve ending of all the very raw nerve endings in the whole  Kingdom of Raw Nerve Endings !  At one point foam was seen fizzing from the corners of her not so pleasant mouth.  We gathered that the interview was complete.....

After conducting a full body search for vintage items and exposing all photographs to the full glare of the sun La Cootard ushered us off the premises. We departed with a final  shot of La Cootard as she manfully (!) tried to muster a glimmer of humour and a glimpse of  decorum about her embroidered self.

There she stood......

in the doorway......

with a hint of a tear in the corner of her left eye.......


waving  a piece of  beige coloured cloth as she grimaced and forced a smile through the grittiest teeth we ever did see....


As the sun began to sink lower in the evening sky....

and just before we turned to head home....

we saw that the cloth had caught the very last breath of wind for the day...

it was fluttering gently above her head.....

and there.....

emblazoned on the cloth.....

embroidered in her own fair hand......

in a range of clashy colours....

for all the world to see.....

were the La Cootard's final words for us......









'It has all been rather lovely.....'


until we meet again.......

tatty bye everybody....tatty bye...

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Vintage rambling........

Goodness I have been bowled over by your kind comments on my last post and pleased to have made even more people cry!  I will be replying to each and every one : each  and every one made me also a little teary.

Thank you very kindly for all of your kind words.

This week we have no sobbing women.......

I thought that I would avoid  ubiquitous flower shots for Spring and share this instead.

This is just  the first run where I am testing the transfer ability of my new embroidery transfer pencil (which might in fact be a pencil ordinaire thinly disguised).  Yes - a new 'gadget' (though I don't think that it counts as high tech....)

Once I had finished the embroidery I realised that in enlarging the image I had managed to distort it - so my two happy ramblers look a little older than the original I think.

 I forgot that you were supposed to transfer the image on to greaseproof paper and then managed to burn the papier ordinaire which I had used.

I managed to track down nearly the right colours just by going through all those odd tiny bits of Sylko thread which I keep wrapped around bit of old birthday cards.  You do that too? Glad that I am not alone.

Initially thought that I could get away with just a simple back stitch for the outline - but the instructions were right -  it needed to be a whipped back stitch.  Can you see where my hand clearly wobbled when I was using my embroidery transfer pencil........

For reasons I cannot fathom I rather liked how the young boy's shorts turned out!

 All done in haste (as usual) but I will use this embroidery as a  pocket on my new 'Bag for Rambling along the Highways and Byways Bag'.  What do you mean you don't have a 'Bag for Rambling along the Highways and Byways Bag'?  Crikey!

 I will be sewing all the other motifs for a range of bags in the new 'Bags for all sorts of unexpected occasions bags'.  What do you mean you don't have any  'Bags for all sorts of unexpected occasions bags'? Crikey!

I will also be making a 'large purse come small clutch type thing' with the figure reading a book motif.  What do you mean you don't have a 'large purse come small clutch type thing'? Crikey!

 As well as these pretty designs this magazine also  has a range of home makes that would make even the contestants on 'The Great British Sewing Bee' quake I think!

I always like to think that I am up-to-date, current, on-trend so I am only 80 years late here........

How I would love to see the competition winners in the flesh as 'twere.

It was clearly a 'dog eat dog' world of needlework : Well done to Miss Climpson though sorry to hear that some 'excellent pieces of work had to be disqualified because the design had been traced out of the straight or the foundation material allowed to become puckered'.  Crikey!

Despair too for Miss Tradewell for 'an interesting picture of an enchanted forest which was spoilt by too much detail'.  Crikey again!

A similar fate befell Mrs Stillingfleet's cathedral whose 'lines of architecture were crooked'.

A harsh world indeed.

 Still the holidays are nearly here!

EVEN I DO NOT HAVE A "CUSHION FOR THE RIVER".........but wish that I did....

A change of topic.....

The other day I made a 'series' of lavender bags : this one is from  soon to be launched 'Old Rose' series.

I do not have a tin with lavender on it which I consider to be a weakness in my tin collection.....

Beats the smell of moth balls I reckon.

A change of topic

I have made some of the bunting from this fabric each year for many years now - the  fabric dates from 1960s

This year I have also made a matching purse (not yet photographed) .....no hope is there......

A change of topic

Predictable and sheep-like am I.....

Of course I have taken photographs of Spring flowers!

Spring flowers are just spiffingly wonderful

Yet more of the cheapo bulbs planted last November now coming good.  All sorts of tubs and tins have been pressed into action of course.  This one with the crocus only has one handle so I didn't feel bad about putting holes in the bottom.

Drink in that sun - how I have missed it

Found a nice knife in one of the pots..this is used for slicing and dicing plants.

Hellebores - simply splendid

The End

I love to go a rambling....
Along the seaside track
And as I go
I love to sing
My newly embroidered knapsack on my back

My newly embroidered knapsack on my back.............

Not quite the end.....

PS: I decided to do this little embroidery too.

I added sparkle to my needle

Then we decanted to the beach

 I got some funny looks whilst taking these and I also had to battle with the wind blowing the embroidery over.

This will be emblazoned on the front of a tough canvas duffle bag I think: not quite decided but I am in dire need of something to put the sandwiches and flask in when the 'full picnic set' is not quite called for.
You have those sorts of days too?
So glad that I am not alone with these sorts of issues

A tough canvas duffle bag with a little embroidery on the front might fit the bill.

Any thoughts?