Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A few hours out

Hello Everyone do come in and make yourself at home. It is so wonderful to see you again, I'll just stick the kettle on and we can have a natter.  How are things with you?  I do hope life is treating you well and that you are feeling happy and contented.

Not sure if you remember but a few months ago I became the very proud owner of a gorgeous 1940s larder cupboard which has stood in our porch patiently waiting to be restored.


Time has come and gone so quickly and I was starting to get worried that it might end up staying there, loved but untouched..........However, after a bit of pushing and encouraging shall we say, my lovely husband and I (although I am just the gash hand!) have made a start on it during the warm evenings we have had.  It is coming along slowly but nicely Folks and the paint has now arrived - I finally decided on cream and blue - went from pink, turquoise, light green.....all the shades of the rainbow but we both decided that blue and cream would be perfect.  I have quite a few comments about the colour and most of you were also suggesting the blues/creams.  We have started sanding it down, it is too fragile to be dipped so it all has to be done by hand.  I am so glad that we have made a start on it, can't wait to fill it.  My husband says that if you give me a cupboard or a bag I shall fill it in two minutes and still be looking for more space.  Anyone out there like me on this?????  Here it is so far Everyone.

 This little steel compartment has it's own little bread board so I am wondering if they kept the butter in here to try and keep it from melting.  Remember this was the 1940s and during the war so not many refrigerators about then.  There are also three little vents which I want to keep in but my husband wants to take it as he thinks they are unhygienic but I am only putting fabric and yarn in here so nothing will be spoiling.  I want to keep as much of the original stuff as I can lovely readers to maintain the dignity of the piece.  What you all think Folks?
This is obviously a little holder for small plates maybe and there were some hooks for cups as well - really brings it home to you when you think of the big fitted kitchens a lot of us having nowadays.
This last photograph of the unit shows the whole lot - it is lying down in the garden as the moment but we bring it in during the evening in case it starts to rain.  I really can't wait to show you the finished produced Folks and will keep you in the loop with this one. 

 Last time I spoke with you all I showed you some fabulous seaside fabric which I had bought from Lauren's shop when I did the workshop last week.  I wasn't sure what to make with it and some of my lovely readers did give me some ideas including making a skirt - not sure if I am up to this yet but agree it would make a fabulous 1950s style skirt (although I think I may be a little too old for this style now lovely Readers!).  In my mind I am still 19 years of age but sadly my body doesn't agree with me.......
However, back to the main story.  My friend had contacted me to ask if I could do her a favour - she needed a little bag to take away on holiday and wanted something similar to the one I had made in Liberty Bell - the one with the beach huts on.  However, it needed to be done really quickly and I didn't have the time or the fabric to do a similar one. 

I had found a pattern in a magazine called Bags from the lovely Helen Newton who has a fabulous website called Lillyblossom.  Do have a look at what she has Folks as she is an amazing designer and has a wonderful Etsy shop.  I found her years ago and she started me off making bags from tea towels and for a couple of years everyone had bags made from Cath Kidston tea towels!

My family and friends must have groaned when they saw me walking in with these.  I just loved making them as they were so easy and Helen's patterns were just fab so it was a pleasure to make them.  Every time CK had a sale I would be there looking for the tea towels.  Below is the magazine where I found Helen's fabulous pattern.


I only had an evening to do the bag for my friend so had to work quickly.  I had some fabric left over from the pinny with Vicky Walker at Lauren's shop and thought that this went well and looked 'seasidy' enough.  I didn't want to chance putting zips or anything too challenging as time was so short.
I managed it quite well - a few blips but then I think I can live with them and my friend is over the moon.  Would welcome your thoughts on this - must, must try to calm down with the bags for a while although I have a crochet one on the go and one to make from Helen Philipps book from a jelly roll.   More of those in another post Folks.


Yesterday I managed to have a few hours away and try out a new workshop.  It is in a place near to where I used to live many years ago, just outside Frodsham in Cheshire.  It is not far from the beautiful Delamere Forest - I didn't have time to stop yesterday to take any photographs for you, so sorry but I promise next time I visit I will. 
The place I visited is called Lady Heyes Craft Centre and it is a number of little outlets outside the town.  The one which had caught my eye was called Sew Simple and the owner, Ella Vaughan, offers 3 hour classes three times per week.  Ella is a fantastic tutor, she has such an eye for detail and precision.  She teaches mainly patchwork and applique.  I am a little afraid of patchwork because of the precision cutting which I have talked about before so I was a little hesitant.  I am more interested in applique after working on the VW bag so hoped that I might do some of that.

When I arrived Ella was so welcoming and promised that by the end of the session I would feel more comfortable using the rotary cutter and would go home with a completed block - oh Folks she did have a lot of faith in me - I quickly felt under pressure. 

There were only two of us in the shop which was lovely.  Ella works on the premise that she wants to give her learners her full attention so limits the class sizes to three at the most.  This is just wonderful as you are getting practically one-to-one tuition from a really experienced and talented lady.  Another lovely lady, Olive was on hand to keep the shop customers happy and she also was obviously a talented sewer.  My class mate was a really nice lady from Runcorn who was also setting out on her patchwork journey but was a little more advanced than I was so didn't need the baby talk...........

Ella showed me the pattern I was going to be following and then asked me to choose three pieces of fabric that I just couldn't live without.

I was immediately drawn to the reds and pinks - she shop is like an Aladdin's Cave Folks so anyone who is near that part of the world do call in and see her.  I could have spent hours looking but knew I had to make a decision quite quickly.  Olive was really kind and helped me to find what I was looking for - hope you like them.

The third colour is a pale green which hasn't come out that well in the photograph.

Ella started by showing me the correct way to hold the rotary cutter, how to iron properly and also the impressed on the me importance of always going back to check that the fabric is still straight.  She also urged me to get a quarter inch foot for my machine as straight stitching is another key factor of patchwork - my heart sank here as straight stitching is not another of my star qualities in life!  I had a little chat with my fellow student and confessed that I can be a little slap dash at times and she confessed that she was too but that Ella had really helped her to overcome this tendency. 

The time just whizzed past and I didn't stop to take any photographs, I am sure you all know what I am like now when it comes to classes - terrified of being left behind.

Ella was just wonderful in that she was always to hand but didn't take over.  If something wasn't right she would explain it to me over again and then I would take it out and redo it.  I must admit that I was pleased with the finished piece.

Ella suggested a small cushion but I am going to try and make a doll's cover for the little bed we have here for the grandchildren.  I bought all the materials needed to finish it and that I could try my hand at stitching in the ditch which Ella explained to me.  I must confess that I am not sure that I have the patience for patchwork but it is so pretty that I want to continue with it for as long as I can, only to help me perfect the rotary cutter.  I adore the work of Helen Philipps (link above) and if you have a look at her wonderful blog you will see the fabulous things she makes, so dainty and pretty, they just melt my heart.

Finally lovely Readers one little treasure to show you.  If you remember on the last post I did mention that I am not a monarchist in any way (not that I would wish the Queen any ill feelings of course - wouldn't like to spend this summer imprisoned in the Tower of London!)   However I do love collecting anything from the Coronation period.  It is not particularly the event but the fact that it marked a set year in history so I have some brooches and mugs on my shelf at home. 

This one is of Edward VIII who never was - his Coronation was set for May 12th 1937 - unfortunately before that he abdicated with an American lady called Mrs Simpson whom he later married.  It would appear that the Royal Family never really forgave him - in some ways he was a favourite of mine as he seemed to kick against the family traditions. 

The current Queen's father was then crowned on the same day in May 1937.  Our current Queen was only a wee girl then.

 When her father died, her mother coined the term Queen Mother and remained so until she died. 

After the death of her father, our current Queen was crowned on June 2nd 1953 and we have obviously been celebrating her long reign this year - 60 years on.

I particularly love this little plate made by Clarice Clift - I adore her pottery and found this one on eBay for a small sum - probably the only piece I could ever afford.  It is only tiny but I just love looking at it.

Last week whilst looking on eBay I noticed a sewing basket for sale.  It was from the 1950s - I do have a number of baskets and my favourite is the one in the main picture of my blog which I bought from Henhouse.  She had refurbished it and I use it every day. 

However the one on eBay was a little different and I managed to secure it.  It arrived today and I am really pleased with it.  Not sure if someone has glued in two handkerchiefs on the top and bottom or if it was originally sold like this.

You will notice that it says souvenir on each of them.  It doesn't matter how the hankies got there  because I just love it.  Would be interested to hear your views on these finds lovely Folks. 

I will finish now as I still have work for my day job, plus two bedrooms still to tidy up.......I have a day off tomorrow so am  going to see Sue from Creative Stitchers.  She helped me make my red dress and have a sewing class so I am having some time off in Cheshire once again.  Do have a look at Sue's blog, talk about talent everyone, this lady has it dripping from every finger.  Have a look at the wonderful things she has been making for her friend's wedding.  I was lucky enough to have a wee look at the wedding dress and it was out of this world - all done by Sue - a fabulous lady who has a great personality.
Well Folks that is it for now.  I will see you all very soon, thanks so much for dropping by, I do love it when you call in, wouldn't be the same without you all.
Lots of love, Dorothy, :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  



  1. Wow, you have been such a busy bee, Dorothy! I am looking forward to seeing the cabinet finished, I'm sure it will be's hard work doing all that painting and needs to be done slowly! I love your new bags they look gorgeous. And so does your sweet quilt block. I think you will find quilting easy, especially after all the sewing practice you've been having recently. Take care, hope you keep cool in these high temperatures and enjoy your crafting. Thank you for your very sweet comments too :) xo
    Helen x

  2. Oh my goodness, Dorothy, I might just have to have a go at a tea towel bag! What a good idea! I have just been playing with my sewing machine today and I can now manage a reasonable straight line. This is massive progress for me! Patchwork is just a dream...I hope you enjoy your time with Sue. Lesley xxx

  3. HI Dorothy,
    I really like the bag that you made for your friend. Your Patchwork is very good for a first go, not so sure that mine would be so neat.
    It might be an idea to keep the vents in your cupboard so that the air circulates a wee bit.
    Take care

  4. I wonder if that little metal box was for the bread? It would keep mice out.

  5. What a lovely crafty post. I adore your tea towel bags - what a great idea. Your seaside bag is very pretty also and your patchwork looks wonderful. You have been very busy!
    M x