Thursday, 31 January 2013

Experimenting with leather and lace...

 Dear, oh dear what are we going to do with you....

Thank you for your cockade comments.  There is a future business in that somewhere...perhaps Hungary...

Bronte has put in a request for a leather rucksack (fashioned in the same way as this one here....I winced a little as with my RUBBISH (double emphasis) sewing machine that is a trifle ambitious.  That said it has been going round in my head ever since (along with a few other ideas that are still to come to fruition) and thinking how best it could be done.

I purchased special needles for sewing leather (pricey indeed)

I scanned charity shops looking for a cheap old leather jacket (or similar) to chop up for bag - last week I found a WONDERFUL jacket - the softest of soft leather and only 4.99 (to be honest I don't think that people realised that it was leather as the original label was furled up/faded plus the leather was so soft it appears to be fabric at first - my beady eyes spotted it).

Carried said jacket home - aloft - like 'Lion King' - chanting as I went!

 Bronte LOVED the jacket and now wears it all the time......

Back to the drawing board......

Hunted in cupboards and found some scraps for EXPERIMENTATION.  Following on from the tweed and lace post here I hoped that a leather and lace combination might look quite nice.

I went to insert pricey special needles into the sewing machine - with my not so beady eyes I had picked up 'needles ordinaire' by mistake but paid the price of pricey!!!  Undaunted I remained steadfast in my goal to experiment and see what happened.  I was very careful of the pedal pushing at first as I feared backthrust and blowouts! But lo - I found out that  'needles ordinaire' slice through  leather as a knife through lard!

Who knew!

This was a simple basic thing to make - just stitched the bit of lace to front and back.

Whilst rifling through some buttons I found one half of an old metal buckle so used that instead as a fastener.

I meant to sew this piece in the other direction but never mind.

I made two little snips to put my chosen ric-rac in and there you have it.  Took about 10 -15  minutes - including sorting time!

(Martha: "It shows").

 Remember this was an experiment and will do better .Next time in the leather and lace experiments I hope to reveal a rucksack!

Adding in some old photos of other 'doily' items that I have made -  so this is Bronte 'modelling' an old apron that I added bits to several years ago.

Funnily enough this apron does not look so trim around my own waist...

Doily bunting is simple to make - I think that this was for someone's wedding

Wistfully thinking about the return of Spring and flowers in the garden again

I lurve our old garden seat (Arts and Crafts - but no hearts) seen right at the bottom of this photo - it is the most perfect 'fit' and perfect design in my eyes.

In case of panic remember that I use damaged linens for chopping purposes - I have one or two of those......

Spring is around that corner - I can see it peeping....

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A quickly cobbled cockade....not a post title that you will come across too often!!!

Glad that 'Prejudice and Pride' was of interest - tea making and all!

Thank you also to dear Pam for your cockade enquiry - because of this 'proper' work is yet again delayed as this morning I thought that I would tackle the ancient art of cockade-making (I hate to give the impression that I am all thin air and no substance.....I have quite a bit of substance thank you very much!).

As 'cockade-making' is not within my usual sphere of 'skills' (guarded use of word) I did a search and found this handy link here:

To my chagrin I found that I did not have the handy dandy (Jack-a-Spandy) Ikea cork board required so made do with the underside of our 1970s place mats....handily made from cork!  I did a little ferreting around and found that I did indeed have a reel of grosgrain ribbon....phew....that nearly put the kibosh on the whole thing!

I have recently bought a new camera (separate post about that) and still finding my feet/eyes with it so not the best photographs.  I know that SOMEWHERE in this house is some World War One red, white and blue ribbon that I was going to make the smaller central cockade with.  I really cannot spend the entire day cockade-making (!) so decided to use a 1970 Suffolk Puff (!!!) instead ( I handily have a bag full of these made from a great mix of 70s fabrics).  What a combo!  The button sorting for the middle took a fair while but AS I CANNOT SPEND A WHOLE DAY sorting this out  I finally settled for a plain old black button.

I do not like these photos so have made them very small...

I confess to spending a little bit of time trying to find an old French copy of Victor Hugo's book for background interest that I KNOW IS HERE SOMEWHERE...but settled for some 50s Paree fabric and the cockade jauntily placed on the lovely little straw bonnet that I have not photographed before but whittle on about here...

Decided that these photographs were not the best so tried different backgrounds....yet another time waster....

I fancy that should I go to see 'Les Miserables'  (unlikely)  I will wear my cockade and take some knitting along....

'Allons enfants de la Patrie....'

PS: Sorry lots of shouting  and too much 'handily' usage - I put it down to Mr Sandman being here again today....

PPS: Off to make lavatory seat covers...

PPPs: Just in case the 'Cockade Police' are monitoring this I know that a Suffolk Puff is not the same!

Monday, 28 January 2013

'Prejudice and Pride' or how Jane nearly got it so wrong....

That  is me being chased by Mr Darcy - oh he is such a cad!

Mr Darcy prefers his beverages good and strong...

I like my tea a little fortnightly (two week...too weak - oh for goodness sake keep up at the back).  Seeing this cup in close up it looks as though one of the children have coloured it in!

In truth ("Sorry Jenny - just interrupting here - we did not really think that this was you and Mr Darcy you know!")  this is some china that I bought at the car boot  a couple of years ago - fine, delicato china -  deep saucers most suitable for trembling hands (though this is not a trembleuse).  Also some fine French linen curtains bought from a charity shop two years ago  - so far only used a little bit of the pelmet fabric to make a zipped bag or two...Also featuring one of my old books.  Never really discussed my old books here - I have one or two....cough, cough, cough....wretched cough..... and I have prepared a few posts on them - for now please note that this copy of 'Pride and Prejudice' (from the 1890s)  features the Arts and Crafts peacock motif that I so pompously  went on about in my 'Hearts and Crafts' post.   I shall be referring back to this book so please be prepared to answer questions at a moments notice (especially you at the back...yes YOU..) !!!!

Realise that it is not strictly of the right time period! I don't want the 'History Police' paying any visits

I think one of these went to live in America - perchance you recognise it - please let me know.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that I have TOO MUCH STUFF!Austen, J.  (1813) 'Pride and Prejudice', Whitehall, Egerton.   

Happy anniversary to 'Pride and Prejudice' - 200 years and light undimmed.  As Miss Austen was born here in Hampshire and lived in Chawton we shall be calling in on the museum this week.  I will wear my best mantle (as it has been chilly of late) and  bonnet with matching ribbon cockade...tra la la...

Having thought about it I might 'make' a museum of my own to cut down on petrol costs and save time!!

Got to dash - Darcy calling....

Next week: '70s Pyrex  and the role of women's liberation in the kitchen'!!!!

It is good to have variety in life don't you think?

'Don't fence me in....'

(Arthur: " Does anyone know what the blazes she is going on about....?"
Martha: " No one but herself is a bit sad don't you think Arthur"
Arthur: "Yes")

Friday, 25 January 2013

Font fiddling

Thank you as always for kind words - I will do another post one day about some other Arts and Crafts bits and bobs in our home.  I think that our gate came out as the winner! Dom's hard work paid off....I shall pass that on.

 These letters come from an old game - a copycat equivalent of Scrabble - I like this font greatly

This game dates from the 50s and you can tell that they were trying to modernise the game with a more 'fancy' font and reversed the black on white of Scrabble

 Font full frontal !

I note that dear Pam questioned my residency so nipped outside and took a photo of the plaque by the front doo.....

Not a very good photo but I hope that it puts your mind at rest Pam!!

Ending with the more 'conventional' Scrabble font - an old 'film' that I made very took a while for me to figure out how to do it

This Scrabble board and the older cardboard letters have been kept since childhood - replete with brown Sellotape keeping the box together!

Keep warm this weekend

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Home is where the heart shape is....Warning this post is quite brown...

Hands up if you have made a 'Heart Warmer' yet?  Sorry to read of so many mohair allergies - I will be setting up a 'Mohair repository' so that you may donate all scarves for 'alternate' use - all scarves welcome 'Chez La Cootard'

Sorry - photo is a little skew whiff!  I mentioned in a previous post my fondness for the Arts and Crafts movement (no - not the 70s  macramé one).  This began at the age of about 17-18 (odd child....) and I busily would buy up bits that took my fancy (providing it was cheap of course).  Along with the Pre-Raphaelites such items were not particularly in vogue at that time (not sure what was as I was always out of kilter) so able to pick up all sorts of things. Common denominators  are certain  motifs - hearts in particular but also trefoils, peacocks and honesty seeds.  The focus here are heart motifs in our house - bought several decades ago and  all nestles quite happily amongst things from the 50s and 70s (1950s and 1970s that is!).  I have no problem with that mix - that is how most homes have always been - a bit from here and a bit from there and ours is no different.  This is most ably illustrated by watching old editions of The Liver Birds where you will note that Beryl and Sandra's flat is full of things from the then contemporary 70s but also 50s and 30s (Bronte and I like to watch The Liver Birds and comment on the wallpaper etc)

Arthur: " I wish that she would get on with it"
Martha: "That's just what I was thinking - why use 570 words if 3 will do...."

So what is this?

This large and heavy object lives on our dining room table - dates from 1900s, has lovely coloured tiles (a bit bashed but hey!)  and inlaid with little pewter hearts peppered around the edge.

Arthur: "Yes - but WHAT IS IT?"

I am coming to that Arthur - patience is a virtue - this is a lemonade or drinks stand as you might have seen in a drinks establishment of that time.  How lovely. I used to have a very old metal lemonade bottle holder (with lovely Edwardian lettering around its triangular edges) but no longer sadly - I would pair the two together and 'make' the children play shop with me...I hope that they are not scarred for life.....

I will add in some other Arts and Crafts heart things scattered around the house here:

A little bowl that lives on a small oak writing bureau (that I bought from 'Skippy's Nearly New' junk shop in Brixton thirty years or so ago - anyone remember that shop?)

Hearts are quite often 'inverted' in the Arts and Crafts world (as these tiny ones on the bowl are)

I remember someone asked on this blog if it was a pulpit seen  in our dining room......!  Sorry I cannot recall who asked that but it is not a pulpit but an Edwardian cloak cupboard (must be a proper name).  We bought this from a shop in Crystal Palace about 25 years ago (not sure why I find it important to tell you those sort of details) - the partition on top is for hats and there are hooks in the main part for cloaks/coats.  Also not sure why but it has lived in our dining rooms and I just like looking at it!

I use this for housing some more Arts and Crafts pots (yet another weakness....)

This cupboard also benefits from having lovely trefoils which, as you will see in a minute, is the main reason why I thought our present house was the one for us (I am ashamed to say that the white bits you can see  are some bits of Blu Tack...)

My £5 chair with cut out heart

I have bleated on about this chair before but here are some others with cut out shapes...

Though this house was in a right ruddy state before we bought it I remember seeing the stairs with this motif in each an every spindle and thinking: 'Oh, that matches our furniture'

A mirror bought from the old Greenwich market a few decades back - lives in our hall

Mirror lives above the Arts and Crafts seat that I garbled on about previously. Dear Hattatt when that moment of the 'Great Downsize' arrives - as it surely one day will - I will let you know and you will be most welcome to this lovely piece.  I very much like the idea of things going to appreciative homes.

If you are still here I will press on...nearly done...

These hearts are on a washstand in our spare bedroom 

...and yes I do 'force' guests to use the jug and bowl for washing purposes - cold water at that (ha ha) !!!!

I was about to post this post and realised that I had forgotten about another favoured heart item - our front gate!!! I have mentioned our gate before but I do not think I posted 'before' pictures.

This is how it looked when I bought it ......

As soon as I saw those hearts I knew.....

Now I am not fond of things being over restored and it certainly does not have to look pristine but this gate was sadly pretty rotten in places

Poor long-suffering Dom (who is not a builder/carpenter/plumber etc) painstakingly took the gate apart.  He photographed it along the way so that he would know how to put it back together again.  It is fantastically well made with peg joints and it is very,very, very, very heavy.  It took a while.... but...

It cheers me up when I go through it (sad but true) and I like leaning over it to chat to my neighbours -even the postman tells me how he likes our gate.

Front path could do with a clean...

FINALLY -  and this is possibly my favourite heart item - our 1900s copper umbrella stand (I bought this from a shop off Chapel Street Market  (London) again 25 years ago.  It also sits by the front door (other side) and I love it greatly.

It is quite beaten up but I love how it has been made from a single sheet of copper - curved round and riveted back onto itself and there, on both 'sides', is a repoussé heart.

I have always liked the combination of copper with oak and will write more about copper 'bits' another time..

Please let me know if at any time I am boring the pants off you

Arthur: "You are boring the pants off me" 

You don't count Arthur....

For now that's it from the 'Hearts and Crafts Movement'  !!!

PS - Contrary to any impression that I may convey we do not live in a museum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!