Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jubilation celebration

Well any excuse to get the old stuff out really!! You might remember my union jack bunting from Flickr - this was a bargain car boot buy from last year - muslin and has 'Made in Britain' on each one, all for £4.

I bought a few of these Polish wooden dolls a couple of weeks ago at the car boot - the woman selling them said that she had over 100 (a woman after my own heart!!)

The cake tin is a fresh purchase (because I really, really needed another cake tin....) from a charity shop for £2.50. The two larger flags I think date from WW1 - bought decades ago in a charity shop

The old Melaware cups are in everyday use and have bought lots of these from car boots over the years - ideal for beach use!

In time for the Olympics I will get out more my London regalia!

In this embroidery I like how the '2' is embroidered in red, white and blue

This newspaper I have had for many, many years.  When we were nine we moved home and I remember very well foraging around in the attic and found a pile of newspapers.  I thought that was treasure beyond my wildest dreams!! All were about the Coronation and this is one of them!  When I took these photos I could not find my 'collection' (grand) of Coronation scarves - they will undoubtedly turn up after the event!

Recognise the envelope?  This is the one that I used for my 'Custards' purse a while ago.

I took advantage of a nice sunny day

I like all these photos so cannot decide which ones to edit out.....I will being doing this over the next week when I look at them 'live'.

I view the Jubilee as an opportunity to have some fun...

 I like these embroidered brooches - I have a variety of themes and Bronte wears them too! I was first given one by my sister Sue as a birthday present when I was about 12 I think - it is my favourite one of all (all tiny embroidered flowers).

The embroidered tray cloth I have owned since I was a teenager...sad I know

Now I do like a double damask tablecloth and buy them even in a parlous state as they are useful for lining bags and backing bunting!  There were some very large ones a few months ago in the charity shop - £3.99 each so not bad for quality fabric even if no good as a tablecloth.  As usual wearing wrong glasses but when I paid for them the woman remarked how 'this one has got crowns on...'. When I reached home I realised that this must have been a coronation tablecloth - it is peppered with crowns, anchors, daffodils, thistles and shamrocks and roses.  It is beautifully cool, clean, soft, perfect condition and just ruddy marvellous. Damask is difficult to photograph but  I hope that this hints at its wonderment!! I will use this for coronation tea as it is very large.

Moving forward to more frugal times.  The puzzle bottom left was given to me by my mum in 1977 - Bronte now has it. Extra large teapot for lots of tea, the tin I usually keep odd scraps of embroidery in and the tea towel is used for drying up! These were difficult years for our family - very little money (see Flickr for me going on and on and on about lean times as a child - how I longed for a Tressy doll but never to materialise). Mind you even worse in the 50s I think - thank you to sister Sue for bringing a lump to my throat when she told me that as a child she had to wear men's shoes to school because they were cheap.....
How I longed for something NEW and SHOP BOUGHT to wear as a child - how times  have changed!! There is no doubt my frugal ways today stem from our childhood and having to save money all the time. Memories of childhood include sharpening knives on our grinding stone (I was usually the one turning the wheel - which by the way now lives in my garden), collecting used firework rocket sticks as kindling each November (how I longed for our own rockets - the height of luxury I always thought), collecting wood generally was a daily event,  plucking pigeons and game generally (very sneezy), skinning rabbits, eating every last possible scrap from an animal.  Lambs brains on toast was considered a great treat and cows tongue was my favourite Christmas meal with bone marrow stew. Oh and hock....with dried peas.  Of course liver and kidneys were a mainstay (I hated it when the liver was chewy - I now realise that I was trying to munch my way through the portal artery and that distinctive taste of kidneys was probably...cough, cough). I marvelled that Steven Harris had gone to Spain for something called a HOLIDAY.  If you have not clicked onto something else I will continue.....unravelling jumpers for re-knitting, drying clothes by the open fire and keeping the ruddy fire going at all costs (no other heating/cooking/hot water source being available). The summer of 1976 was doubly hot! A dominant theme was NEVER WASTE WATER - even today a running tap makes me feel sick. Our water came from a natural spring  in the field and was pumped into a tank in our loft - if the water table was low then our water was low.  For some reason I was the one in charge of the pump and was always sent to run up and down the stairs to check the level in the tank.  We also had lots of rainwater tanks in the garden and this water would be used for hair washing and more general usage (buckets of water were used to flush the toilets during '76)!  Phew! Anyone else drank cabbage water - mixed with Marmite for flavour? I was talking with my sisters recently and recalled how a car driving near to our house was such an event we would gather and wave.  Anyone else have a mobile butcher - another key event. A mobile chip van would call out of the blue about once a year - well I only ever remember buying them the once.  Of course my older sisters will top all this with the pre- cess pit tales and how contents of a certain bucket were buried in the garden (we did have a large garden) and at least we had main electricity by the late 60s and a BATHROOM. . Do you think that this might explain some of my collecting nature and difficulty in letting go? Never did me any harm...

  As far as I recall we did not attend any celebration in 1977 - we did not live in a town, village, city but lived by ourselves in splendid isolation.  I wish things could have been a little easier for our mum and dad - life was  hard for them and I never appreciated the difficulties that must have brought until more recent times. I am very lucky that 'making do' is something that I opt to do rather than have to do.  We are all cut from the same cloth in our family

Jubilation Celebration

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bike tra la la

A very hot day today!  Gave my bike its promised mini  makeover - just painted it with leftover sample pot paint and reused blue bunting from the garden (Dom didn't  like it as he had to stoop to go under it).  A new seat cover - just a very rough triangle shape and elastic threaded - the fabric will easily 'mould' itself to the shape of the seat (especially with a heavy weight on top of it......cough, cough). You may recall the fabric from my old trunk makeover.
I could not see a thing  on the camera when I took these photos so not the best - I might have had the setting on night vision by mistake! The paint is pale blue - by late afternoon I have already decided to go a bit darker....

Cannot decide whether I should redo the basket too - what do you think?  If you preferred it how it was before I will paint it back tomorrow.

Painted the bike in the garden in order to conceal paint drippings.  Excellent that it was soooo sunny as the paint was dry as soon as I finished painting (no hairdryer needed - which is what I usually do in my haste to complete something!).  Whizzed indoors to get my faithful Vacco Vacuum flask.  Then thought about the children's vintage picnic thermos set.....I used to 'force' the children to use this on all picnics.  Teeny vacuum flasks (filled with squash) and sandwich box - all in its purpose built wicker basket. Have you ever read 'Mrs Armitage on wheels'?  Then you will understand my friend....

Remember a previous posting about 'smallness'?  There is something so charming about it all I think. A second after taking this photo the bike tipped over and I thought that Vacco was done for!!  All intact though.  Removed Vacco for following photo...

Okay - so thermos - check
sandwiches - check
cushion - check
sun brolly - check
beach bucket - check
larger size bucket (for big fish) - check

Big bucket courtesy of Mr Langfords (see previous postings regarding the wonderments at Mr Langfords!) a few years ago.  You never know what Mr Langfords will have in store! I have one or two buckets...bucket blog planned....

A pleasing clash of patterns - in my eyes at least. 

Made this little bag last night (finished at 22.30 to be exact) - I was going to try and sell this then realised that the sewing machine had skipped a stitch, wretched machine it really does need to go to the menders before I chuck it out the window (or into the sea!).  I like the buckle and spent a goodly amount of time threading it up and down just because!

Added a bit of lily gilding on the reverse - 

This type of bag is perfecto for keys and purse I find

Will be making panniers for the bike but will have to spend an age deciding on the fabric first - I will keep you posted! 

My old bike is relatively famous - you may remember that my photographs of it were featured on the display screens at the Royal Festival Hall and Southbank for last years Vintage Festival in London.  Also few months ago I was cycling into town and was stopped by a young man who admired my bike (I clutched my bag a little tighter at this point).  Fear not - he was asking if I could possibly stay to be interviewed for an article about pollution and cyclists.  I said that I must press on to the post office but if they were still there when I returned I will stop.  Well strange things happen to me sometimes - turned out it was the BBC and they were filming a piece for the South Today news.  Laura Trant (those of you in the south may have seen her) interviewed me and we got chatting about my bags.....the cameraman got a little tetchy because there was too much vintage bag chat!!  To cut a long'ish story short my interview was on the lunch time and evening news and there I was cycling around on my bike! Who knew!!! Best of all is when I hear pleasant comments about my bike when tra la la'ing. Mind you when I parked it at the supermarket today I was next to a bike that had been completely there's an idea!!!!

Just remembered that my vintage maps were featured at Southbank too - along with a few other bits and bobs from our house! Anyone planning to go to the next event at Boughton?  One of my sisters lives nearby so thought we could stay there but I cannot figure out if you have to pay to go in or just pay for 'events'.  Anyone any the wiser as I would love to go but far too much money.  If free to go to shops etc perhaps we could organise a 'meet' - I will be wearing a black hat and a red rose...oh and plus some clothes!!!

Oh dear now I see this photo I am thinking.....oh dear, oh dear....

 I wish you warmth and sunshine

PS Still planning giveaway - decisions, decisions! PPS thank you again for not posting on Pinterest - I sense that Pinterest has lost interest

This week in praise of............. embroidered maps

I love a nice embroidered map and I thought that these would serve as a suitable post for the Olympic torch as it wends its way around our shores (it is practically wending its way past our front door so I am going to ensure we do not miss it!).

These are some previous photographs of mine from Flickr but I look at my cushion every day and luuuurrrvee its embroidery. The larger blue map is one that I have often seen in Cath Kidston shops -  not for sale  - I keep pondering what to do with mine and think that framing it is probably the better option.

Dear Mary of the Vintage Cottage sent me this book of embroidery patterns and there between its covers was the design for my embroidery.  You must have a map cushion!!!!

I think that the red line of embroidery indicates the route - ho ho!

I have this particular embroidery several times over - as I discussed with a friend recently it is quite ridiculous to accumulate more of the same...cough, cough.......................cough.....! In fact I must get rid of some of these but find it hard to choose which to keep...

Thank you again for not posting on Pinterest or elsewhere

Waiting all year for my peonies....and then it rains

One of my favourite flowers are my  tree peonies (from my Mum's old garden) - I wait all year for them to s-l-o-w-l-y come into bloom, I count the buds and carefully prop up the branches (in previous years they have broken under the weight of the flowers!).

Sometimes we have a shower of rain but we can cope with that...

Then one day they burst open...

Each one is as big as a plate and I wish I could eat my dinner off them!

Then the proper rain came and it did not stop - I covered them with fleece but the wind just squashed them -  I hate doing this but I thought that I might as well pick them rather them being ruined by the weather!

A bit battle worn and by the next morning the petals had dropped - but in a lovely way I thought!

The petals are nicely scented

I keep this old photo of Bronte and Maille on the mantlepiece - I think that this was my 'Changing Rooms' paint phase, this is the hall from our old house (prior to the green is was bright yellow!).  Just to note that they are both wearing vintage (though back then they were known as second hand..) Marks and Spencers little mackintoshes (dating from the 1960s) Maille's was particularly lovely I remember.  I must still have them as I cannot believe I would have thrown them away....I may have to spend a few days looking for them...

Also posting a photo of our terracotta figure (bought from a junk shop in The Northern Territory one or two years ago...cough, cough).  We were backpacking at the time and we protected it in our rucksack by wrapping it in socks and shoving it into Dom's trainers..she made it home unharmed.

I hope that your flowers are unblemished! Since writing this the sun has been shining away and another peony of my mum's that has never flowered open up in all it glory - I will add a photo of that later