Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Simple decorations for Spring and making stuff

Thank you again for taking time out of busy lives to leave comments here.   I greatly appreciate that you do that - it is the glue that keeps us together I think. Note that I tried a bit of Derren Brown psychology in my last post title!

Please do not post on pinterest etc - I think I might have to write this each time sadly.

  I have recently read how blogs are on the decline as social media sites are on the rise and that the interest is more in the photographs than the words.  Mmmm - I will ponder this very carefully.  


Chapter One
A few years ago an elderly gentleman was selling some of his old things at a  car boot sale - I remember him well.  One thing that he had for sale was a swan's egg - kept in an old cardboard Easter Egg (that strangely had part of both edges cut off) - we had a chat about it I remember.  It was his as a child - about 65 years before.  Mmmm - I was not too sure about a buying a swan's egg....not too comfortable....but thought that I might use the old cardboard egg for something.  Gentleman insisted that I took the swan's egg too - all for 50p...mmmm....still wasn't sure about that swan's egg....

Roll forward a few years and I remembered those eggs the other day....(they lurk in the 'Spring/Easter Cupboard' - which in reality is the top part of the 'Christmas Cupboard'...oh dear). I had to sift through "one or two" other vintage cardboard eggs BUT I am NOT going to show you a lot of old seasonal things this year...no...no...no.  This year we shall focus on a few bits...

So decided to decorate the old cardboard egg - it no longer fits together as it has been cut off in places.
Just some little bits and bobs glued on - nothing in particular - old bits of lace,  1930s ric rac, hairpin lace doily inside (not quite seen in photo....just as they state in magazines....I find it very irritating when they do that....), crimped some old fabric and voila!

I did have some mini chocco eggs....but I ate them during the 'crafting process' (by  fancifying 'making stuff' we can  write a book based on some nice photos and a little bit of wordage...I notice that quite a bit in Smiths also..mmmmm again!!!!) so had to make do with some flying saucers....then I ate those too.....its hard work taking photos...

Sifted further through the 'Spring Cupboard' and got very sidetracked by some very nice bits and bobs but settled for some old tins as a backdrop (noticed on ebay the other day that a nice old bunny tin that I also have sold for £65!!  Bronte also has one in her bedroom....)

This squeeky lamb was the children's and two/three years ago I threw it in the bin....it has a VERY LOUD SQUEEK AND DROVE ME MAD.....Bronte secretly rescued it so it earned  its place in the Cupboard forever.

I was going to fashion some wheels and have SQUEEKY LAMB  pulling it along but I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO DO THAT so had to settle for close proximity work instead...hope that is ok.

Tra la la to you all

I am rather partial to a nice bunny tin......sorry that you can see bananas peeking over the top far right...that would never happen in a book!

Chapter Two

Whilst gandering in Smiths ( irritated by magazines wrapped in plastic so preventing the gandering process but serves me right) I noticed a proliferation in dyed eggs this 'saison'.  Nothing new of course - been happening for hundreds of years and I too have been an egg dyer since a child.  What is that  I hear you say - you demand proof!  Read on reader.

  Back in the 70s I was quite a crafty child (no comments please) - rural living meant that natural resources were close at hand and it was a time of rekindling 'old crafts'. For example I remember very well my mum and I  fetching in the last bits of straw from the field so that I could make  corn dollies (tradition determined that the last of the straw would be used for this).  Basic corn dollies are soooo easy to make - I still have my corn dolly making booklet that I used to help me.  Similarly with egg decoration -  I still have the same book that I used then to help with making natural dyes.  My favourite decorations were made using wax (old melted candles) drawn (using old ink nibs...that I still have...oh dear) on the egg and then dyed using onion skins or red cabbage or anything that might add a bit of colour.  After dyeing you simply melt the wax away to reveal your masterpiece.

....and here is one that I made earlier...

....quite a bit earlier.....

....1977 in fact.

This diary of mine is from 1975 and I was still dyeing eggs two years later.  How this egg has survived many house moves over the years I do not know - it is a blown egg, not boiled, so no 'counter forces' from within. This particular egg I made as a Christmas present for my mum... by the way I would also have a go at making the things on Blue Peter. Did you do that too?  I remember making a pin cushion from an elastoplast tin (in the shape of a flower) and a pencil case (in the shape of dog) from a washing up liquid bottle.  
Good times!

I was an avid and meticulous diary keeper from the late 1960s to the 1980s - if need be I can tell you what I ate Easter  1975, what I did at school and  probably what the weather was doing.  The big event for a Friday in March was that I went to the library and got a book out about decorating eggs (and I had chips and pie for dinner at school) ....by nature I am a do'er and if I have an idea I will act upon it.

Life for me is not about: 'I wish I had...'  life for me is about: 'I am glad that I did...'

It was only in the last three years or so that I got rid of the basket that I describe above.  Here I am detailing the price as always - this was some Christmas money that I had saved - I was given 50p by my Granny that year.  The basket  was one of those larger wicker lidded ones, I lined it with some old fabric (old for then!) and made little pockets to keep my sewing bits in.  So nothing has changed has it really. I remember the jacket that I also describe my mum has made - it was a 1940s style that was popular that year. You cannot read it properly but I also write how my mum managed to squeeze a skirt for me out of some leftover fabric from making two jackets for an uncle!!!!!

Most weeks and  most days I was busy making something - I must have been a one-child industry I think!

 Above I also document how I learnt a new string game - My teacher Mr Everett taught it to me - it is the one about  a rich man sewing up sacks of gold and then in the night robbers come, undo the sacks and steal the gold.  I have done that little game many, many, many times for young children and they are fascinated by it.....just as I was all those years ago.   I still love string games and know how to create an Eiffel Tower out of a single piece of string...

Cat's cradle was child's play...!

Below I detail how I would like to make a patchwork quilt.

Instead of leaving it and not making a patchwork quilt I did something about it ("I am glad that I did") and  did indeed go on to make that quilt, using all  bits of fabric leftover from  old dresses that our mum had made.  I still have it...it took me several YEARS to make by hand because for some reason I chose a pattern that had lots of small pieces in it (plus I was busy making all that other stuff!!!!).  I went on to make about one a year by hand - using scraps.  One quilt I went on to sell at a car boot of my own....I had hand quilted it.....why, oh why.....(an instance of 'I wish that I had not...')

On one day I might make a hedghog (sp).....

...and the next a tote bag.

I decorated the pocket with fabric crayons (I remember that bag very well...the first of many...ha ha) and topped the day off with making a sand frog and a 'tiny felt mouse' (oh and tidied out a cupboard too I notice)

  Sign of the times that I made Womble bag - I remember that I made the pattern out of newspaper just as I do today! I used fabric pens to design a stencilled W on the apron that I made too. This was all for the Womble that I also designed and made myself - I cut up some old brown courdery trousers to make it I remember.

Remember you're a Womble...

The written word has always been very important to me - a way of documenting thoughts, doings and events...just as a blog does today.  Though this blog does not document everyday (or indeed every day!)  life it does log one aspect of it that has been a continuous thread (see what I did there!).  

Did you/do you keep a diary too?

Still not sure what to do with that swan's egg....

Toodle pip and tatty bye in equal measure

La Cootard

PS:Have had some interesting emails regarding pinterest lately.  Odd that despite me saying otherwise some have told me that they knew better and  that I really would like to have my photos there and that my photos should be shared with others to see.  Funny because I don't think that and sharing right here is what this blog is for....I am quite happy with my little corner of the blogosphere thank you very much and I do not need to justify why that is so.   Quality not quantity!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Do not read this post!

Well, only read it if you have a bit of time to spare....I go on a bit!

Just another kindly reminder about not posting on pinterest please....still seems to be missed by people....

Made a few of those over the weekend - these have been burning in my mind for ages!

To my dismay I found that I had no sandpaper for finishing - so I had to use the very, very coarse sandpaper off the sanding belt.  After I took these photos I went to B&Q and bought some kinder stuff

I think that they are quite purdy!

Trying to be arty again....

In case you were wondering (!) this is a different Peter Rabbit fabric  to one used for the bunting I posted about the other day - this is the pinky version of that fabric.  I think that is purdy too!!!

It also comes with a white background....oh dear.....

Remember how I said that I like things to match up....

The top block I made with an old Ladybird illustration.  

I am making a raft of these....for why I do not know!!

I have also made some of these with some very colourful original 70s wallpaper! 

As they might clash with these ones I will post those a different time

Just catching up with some other photos from the past week or so

Dom (Dominic) made his soda bread on St Patrick's Day (it is made quite often in our house...by Dom). Dom is Irish - the children have Irish passports - Bronte's middle name is Erin, Maille's is Onora,  Maille does Irish Dancing every Monday night, I like a pint of Guinness now and again, I can play Danny Boy on the piano, Dom takes his rugby and the Six Nations very seriously, Finbar Fury used give us his old Topper comics when I was a child (a long story),  I have met 'The Dubliners' and the most marvellous late Ronnie Drew and Banjo Barney.  The Dubliners make me cry....The fields of Athenry....


He made some lovely soup to go with it and surprised me by getting out green plates for the bread.

No presents needed for Mothering Sunday - just tea and cake required  (though Bronte made a lovely card and Maille wrote a lovely poem - more than enough).

We have got one or two cups, milk jugs and teapots in our house.........ahem.......... but these ones crop up time and time again....I think it is because they are at the front of the cupboard.  I promise a change around for Spring

I know that it is a bit dull to see endless pictures of tea and cake but it is a mainstay in our house.

I use my fingers to eat cake....Dom uses a fork...we are all different....

Lemon drizzle was my choice for Mothering Sunday.

Cake close up  (in reality practicing with camera...still)

Fire still required to keep us warm

Had some nice things happen this past week - some unexpected kindness from various sources at work (unexpected so extra niceness)  and also dear Alex from Vintage Parade emailed me to say that a photo of my stall that I had at her fair last year was in this months (I think) Pretty Nostalgic magazine. 
 I have not read this magazine before but seen the blog on-line - anyway here is a link to Alex's website and more kind words 
If you squint you can see me hiding behind my bunting 

So let us review: Cath Kidston commission - check!
H&A mag - check!!
Mollie Makes mag - check!!!
Pretty Nostalgic little photo - check!!!!

What have I got to complain about - if I had half a business brain I would have an empire by now!

Final check will be attempted this June when BBC Antiques Roadshow arrives FIVE MINUTES walk from my house!! My sisters and I will be doing EVERYTHING possible to be seen in the background - grinning inanely and perhaps waving to YOU!! 

Ha ha. 

Such fun

Doors being widened again to accommodate head enlargement!

Sadly I have another essay to write and a growing pile of work to do so must press on with reality.....


Thank you for calling round it is greatly appreciated and comments are my motivator for keeping going

PS You do realise that it is nearly a quarter to April!!!

PPS: Was intending to do a follower giveaway this side of Easter but as time slips through my fingers as sand in an hour glass I might have to make it a Spring giveaway instead!  Keep those eyes peeled....

PPPS: The wooden building blocks belonged to the children when they were little - all odd, different sizes, not 'special'

Friday, 15 March 2013

It's half past March...

Hello again and thank you for calling in. 
 I hope to be blog visiting later today and replying to kind comments on previous post - thank you again. 
Also to reassure that though some embroideries are in drawers they are all used on a regular basis...I use old stuff a lot!

Can I  apologise that I have cocked up the format of this blog and everything is now all jumbled about - I have no idea what I have done or how this came about.  The 'behind the scenes staff' are working on this!! Ha ha.  Also adding a request for these photos not to be placed on pinterest (no pin codes have been in place since last year, requests, politeness also in place) - I realise that site is loved by many and I am the odd one out...always the way...

You may have gathered from reading this blog ("You mean we are supposed to READ it"!!) that I like china/fabric/tablecloths that marry up  with:
 a) the season
b) the day of the week
c) the WEATHER and so on.

 Due to this  certain 'things' are/can  only used/seen at certain times of the year/month/day in our house (Christmas/Easter being obvious ones).  Some things ('Auld Lang Syne cup) have a  very specific - blink and you miss it -  opportunity.  This will be clarified at the end of this post when I indeed  missed that slim window .....

So for me Spring ties in very neatly with bunting and embroidery - heralding the start of something fresh and growth anew.  Spring is simply the best time of the year I think and we have finally been able to get out into the garden and do some proper gardening. Spring is a time for getting on and doing stuff.  This includes a little bit of sewing - not so much because busy elsewhere - enough to keep me going.  

Disclaimer: Anything that involves cutting into the embroidery I use damaged cloths - sadly tablecloths often have burns (?!) and stains right in the middle when even a carefully placed teapot is not big enough to cover damaaaaje.

I cannot remember why I made this so long

Also 'old and damaged beyond recognition' books - something can be salvaged from them.  I have gone on before about using illustrations as paperweights but of course bunting is an easy thing to make too.

Somebody might recognise this bunting......made from a favourite old book of mine that was beyond repair save some of the old coloured illustrations.  This copy dates from the early 1900s

Cheering colours and I especially love illustrations that have lots of little 'sub' images to keep you entertained

A simple thing to make (you may have come across my Ladybird bunting 'tutorial' on the Mollie Makes blog last year) so the whole world can be buntingfied in a trice!

Each Spring for the past few years I have made a little bit of bunting from some vintage Beatrix Potter fabric.  Here you will find other things that I have made from this fabric for a previous Spring

And a few little Easter Egg gathering bags

As a close up of the bunting pictured  below is on Pinterest I notice (goodness knows why as it looks very ordinary in that photo) I thought that I would dig out a photo of the original in complete form! The original post was one of several that I deleted a while ago when Blogger was telling us that we had too many photos.   I don't think that I have this any more but would have to go drawer rummaging in order to check!  The reverse fabric was some very nice (if I say so myself) 50s sateen floral fabricos.

So it is indeed half past March and time is ticking 

Please ensure that you are using the correct tablecloth for this time of year...it is not half past February or indeed half past April but Half Past MARCH

 Pluheeze make some attempt to get it right.  

Along with 'bottom alignment' these are the essentials in life.....

No slacking here please - tsk, tsk... 

My 'slip' in previous years has been to read this as a quarter  past June- can you imagine my chagrin upon realising such a catastrophe!!!

Ha ha

In order to doubly emphasise the urge to use things at very particular times  here is one of my favourite cups (I am partial to a nice cup).  It must (treble emphasis... with bells...and extra whistles....comedic effect) only be used in the morning.  The cup clearly illustrates sun rise...not sun down....not mid-morning blazing sun...but sun rise.  

The day is broken by supping of the tea

Come on people you are with me on this.................aren't you?  

If we start using specific cups at the wrong part of the day that might just spell the end of the civilized world....

....oops too late

Anyway must go as  it is indeed time for tea

Time check...

PS: For those who like to know such detail this cup dates from around 1910 and should only really be used whilst holding out little finger at an angle to the cup body...

Standards Timothy...