Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A Cold Week So Far

Hello Lovely Friends how are you all doing.  Do step in out of the cold and have a warm drink, maybe some lovely cake?  It is so good to see you all again and I don't know about you but the weeks seems to running away with us, I cannot believe that we are nearly in February.  I for one will be glad to see the end of January, always my worst month but nearly through it now thank goodness.
I am nearing my 100 post and wanted to give you all notice that I will be holding a secret giveaway in a little time - I am not going to tell you what it is as it will be a surprise for everyone and hopefully for the winners will be pleased with what they receive.  As always I am giving prizes to two winners so keep tuned lovely Readers and you may be lucky.
I am so pleased to say that I finished my hot water bottle cover and am delighted with it.  I just need to sew the ends now and put the buttons on the bottom.  This is the first pattern for crochet that I have ever followed and I am delighted that it worked out so well.  I used some of my stash up and am thinking about doing some for next Christmas, is it too soon to start?  A lot of the ladies in my sewing class are already buying up the Christmas fabrics and making Christmas stockings ready for next year, I am not sure that I am that organised and would probably lose them somewhere in the house or forget about them all!  Hope you like the cover, I do.
Do you believe in fate?  I wonder why sometimes things happen to us or we meet a particular person or find something.  I thought I was very lucky in the vintage fair at the weekend and am still drooling over the vintage Liberty pack which I found.  I have been thinking about this a lot and wondering why did I stop at that stall and why did I ask about the parcel - it is all mysterious.  I was very busy at work yesterday and don't usually stop for lunch but will go and bring a coffee back to my room instead.  However, yesterday I was so cold all day and couldn't get warm and for some reason decided to go for a short stroll into town just to see if I could get warm.  I wasn't going for anything in particular, in fact, I nearly turned back but I didn't.  I walked past a charity shop and as I did the lady was putting something in the window which caught my eye, so I popped in.
A lovely sewing box which had only five minutes before been handed in for selling.  I know that I shouldn't buy anymore boxes but this one was calling me lovely Readers.  Look at the inside of it, it is hardly used at all.
It had lots of things inside it and had obviously been well looked after by a sewer.  The shop lady said that someone's daughter had bought it in as her Mum has passed away and none of the family were interested in keeping it.  I thought it was wonderful.
There was some binding inside and a little box with buttons in, plus loads of sewing needles and thread.
There were three sewing cases, one was plastic, you can see the photograph on the front of it.  Another was a very old leather type one with a little motto on the front.
As you can see some of the needles are extremely old and they have obviously been well used.
This is the top tray which lifts out - gorgeous and what a bargain.   I am so happy to have found it and if I hadn't gone for the walk then I may have missed it.  I like to believe that it was meant for me in some way, do you feel the same about things you find or am I just being silly.......
Yesterday I had a lovely surprise from a dear friend of mine - Cally who is one of the kindest people I know.  She is a very talented lady and I am trying to persuade her to restart her blog as I know that she would have a big following.  Why do we all love surprises, especially through the post - I think it is our inner child who is always around inside us.  I know mine is - do you all get the same thrill when something unexpected arrives?  So what was in my lovely surprise parcel.  Well, firstly two gorgeous tea towels, yes Folks she knows me very well.  These two are so lovely I don't think I can bear to cut them up.  What do you think?
Then the most beautiful pair of bedsocks knitted by Cally's talented Mum - thank you Cally's Mum!  They are my favourite colours - red of course and white and they fit perfectly.  I took this photograph before I started to wear them last night and they were so warm and toasty.  Perfect!
Even more delights to come..........I walk to work and back every day trying to make sure that I get at least 15000 steps per day - I don't always achieve this but on my worst days I reach my 10,000 steps so warm socks and good shoes are the order of the day.  Just look at these below - they are just the most comfortable pair of socks - I wore them today and they are just so soft and toasty (this seems to be my favourite word at the moment!).  Thank you for these Cally they are lovely.
And just look at these lovely Friends, everything made by Cally - the card is just stunning and my favourite colour brooch which I am wearing today.  What a glorious parcel of goodies.  It has been a struggle this month but having people like Cally and all of you lovely Friends out there has seen me through so a huge thank you to you all and please Cally restart your blog soon, we all need to read it.
What am I working on now?  Well my two little female Peeps are completely in love with the new Disney film called Frozen which is about two sisters (apparently, I have not seen it yet, have you?).  Anyway I managed to get hold of some the Frozen fabric and have teamed it with some of the blue satin type fabric I used on the placemats.  These are still in progress Folks, nearly finished the second one!  I thought the blue satin blended well with some of the colours on the Frozen material.
I am going to make two cushions, one each for them with their photographs on.  If you remember I had sent off two to be printed on to fabric and they have just arrived.  I cannot show you the photographs but I have included just a glimpse of them - MollyFelicityDesigns has made a tremendous job of them Folks and I am over the moon with them.  As you can just see below, she has put their names on the photographs.
These are sewn straight onto the fabric but Rachel from my sewing class is going to help me with these as I don't want to make a mess of them.  I am using my faithful Lillyblossom pattern again as it is an easy one for me to follow and I get good results from using it.  I am hoping to branch out a bit this year and make a different style of cushion.............
I must say that Sarah from MollyFelicity is so helpful so do pop over and see what she has to offer.  I have my eye on some map fabric as I noticed in John Lewis that this appears to be a new trend. 
Well lovely Folks that is it for now.  I do hope you are all keeping fit and well.  I hope you will come back again soon, please leave a comment if you have time as I do love to hear from you all.  Sending you lots of love and don't forget the Secret Giveaway coming very soon.  Big hugs to Everyone wherever you are in the world.  Dorothy:-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Day of Treasures

Well Lovely Folks how are you all doing this Sunday?  Do come in and make yourself at home, so lovely to see you as always.  It has been a really wild night here with a lot of torrential rain and wind.  Thankfully we are not in a flood area but I send out lots of love and best wishes to anyone who is suffering with this at the moment and hope that the weather calms down soon.  I was unsure this morning whether or not to go out as it was so horrible but, at the last minute, jumped in the car and headed for Chester to a vintage fair which was being held at the racecourse there.  I had been given some money for Christmas to go towards a new coat but, after having my best one cleaned I decided that I could wait until next year for a new one.  I put my money away and thought I would use the money to spend at some of my vintage fairs which I love going to.   I always feel very guilty about spending at these as I am not a dealer or seller myself so end up keeping everything - or treasuring things as I like to say. 
I have been trying to catch up with my crochet hot water bottle cover.  It is the first time I have every followed a crochet pattern so a big first for me.  However, I must say that the instructions are written as I cannot for the life of me fathom out a pictorial patterns which is strange as I prefer these when I am knitting. Anyway after a few falters with the curved squares I have managed to get the front and back nearly completed last night.  I got the pattern from a lovely lady called Alexandra MackeNZie and you can see her website details below.  I am sure she is from New Zealand and her patterns are written for right handers and left handers which is good.
She also includes a pattern for a dinky little cover for all those small Peeps out there.
This side has to be completed, hopefully this evening.
This side is done now with the border on.  I am only using yarns which I have accumulated in my stash.
Now back to the vintage fair today.  I don't know about you lovely Readers but I have fallen in love with boxed handkerchiefs.  When I was a child this was a stock gift for Christmas or birthday - I cannot imagine what children would say nowadays being given a box of these for Christmas.  When you think of it they were very unhealthy compared with our tissues of today but are they environmentally more friendly....who knows.  I must have been given hundreds when I was a child and would love to have all these boxes back now.  I found this little one on a stall and fell in the love with the box, it is so 1930s/1940s.  Do you like it?
However, I was even more pleased when I opened it up.  What a feast for the eyes, aren't these so cute.  I love the designs, they are such pretty images and in a really good condition.  Perfect!
I also found this 1950 set.  These were very popular in their day - a tablecloth plus four egg cups and three spoons.  The lady offered it to me for £3 as there is a spoon missing - what a bargain.  The tablecloth is perfect apart from a little staining where the sticky tape has been but other than that it is a wonderful find.
One of my favourite stalls which I try to visit when I go to these fairs is a lovely lady who recycles so many things - I bought a little bed from her a while ago which the Peeps love playing with.  Today I spied this lovely 1950s wardrobe and wanted to know more about it.  It is in original condition and I love the three little doors - what's inside?
Well I can see some linen, flowers and a little potty for her!
Now I can spy a little lady, plus what looks like an eiderdown, pillow and mattress. 
Everything in the wardrobe has been recycled from something else which is just wonderful.  Look at this little pillow and part of a Dorma sheet, plus the mattress made from some old ticking.  Fabulous!
Here she is - Peggy, isn't she just lovely?  She reminds me of a figure I used to watch when I was a child from a programme called The Wooden Tops, I loved that show about a family in the country.  You are all too young to remember this but she takes me right back to those days.  Look at her dress and cardigan which have all been specially made for her from vintage materials.
She has her own little nightgown on a special hanger.
Plus she has her own little potty to save her going to the outside toilet!  I love the little verse.
Oh how luck we are not to have to deal with these nowadays!
Here she is tucked in tight for bed - she also reminds me a little of the Sophie Tilley dolls, can't wait for the little Peeps to see her.   I can seem more dresses being made.
Just as I was leaving the Fair I had to stop to let someone pass me and I spotted this little parcel on a stall which intrigued me.  I asked the lady behind the counter what was in it and she said that there is a history to this parcel.  Her grandmother had been in service in the early part of the century and this had been a gift from her employer.  For those lovely readers who do not live in the UK, a long time ago girls of a very young age would go into what was called service in a big house where they would live with the family and be part of the employees who looked after the house and family. If you watch Downton Abbey you will know exactly what I am talking about.  The girls and boys would be taught many skills and would work their way up the ladder starting out as teeny maid.  In many of the houses the employees were well cared for but this was not the same everywhere.  This situation changed around the Second World War when everyone had to go into the Services to fight and it was never the same after that.  Anyway, back to our story.  Now the little bundle didn't look too promising, in fact it looked in a sorry state really but I wanted to know about it.
The lady then opened it up to reveal two packages - very intriguing!
She unrolled one of them to show the most fabulous thing I have ever seen.  Inside each of these little pockets there is a roll of silk thread which also given a shade name and some are numbered too.  I wasn't expecting this.
 As you can see the cards are all pieces of memorabilia which the family would have used.  The one below is a piece of an invitation to a meeting in Chester in 1911 - how fabulous - she obviously recycled all the bits of paper she was given or told to throw away.
 This one appears to be an application to buy shares and is dated 1908.  Only the very wealthy people would have bought shares in those days - around that time the wages of a farm labourer living in a tied cottage were around 10 shillings a week (half of a pound in old money)  (50p in today's money) so you can see by the amounts below the family would have been very rich to be able to afford these shares.
A lot of the threads are wound around calling cards - when people called on friends they would give their calling card to the maid so that they could be announced properly and shown into the drawing room.  If the family were out then the calling card would be kept so that they would know who had been visiting them.  The one below is obviously a family card - I wonder who the Frost family were?
This is the red bundle in all it's glory.  I just love it.
The green bundle was the same with different silks in it, again using calling cards, bits of bill heads and invitation to wrap the thread - she had even put tiny slits into each piece of paper to catch the silk when she had finished with it.
Now if that wasn't enough lovely People, there was more.  The parcel also contained the piece she was working on.  A tablecloth from Liberty, how wonderful - sadly she hadn't been able to finish it but it is all here.
Here is another little card for you to see - I would have loved to have gone to this sale - wouldn't it be fabulous if we could all go!  I love the bottom bit - boxes of work sent on approval, what would that mean - oh what joy to have a look at those.
Here is another card, sadly only half of one - I am not sure what the Police Aided Clothing Association would be, possibly collecting money for the poorer families of the district maybe?  Remember that this was before World War 1 when there was a great deal of misery and poverty around at that time before the introduction of the Welfare State and NHS - if you were poor in 1911 there would be very little help for you.  I know that my Great Grandma had 14 children and they only had a three bedroomed house so goodness knows how they managed.  I know that some of the girls went into service which helped tremendously.
The photograph below shows a small envelope which obviously contained a letter of some sort, sadly missing, how I would love to read the contents.  Our lady obviously didn't waste a bit of paper.
This is the green roll - from what the lady at the fair told me, the whole package was the gift from the family so it must have been a wonderful thing to have.  I think the outer green fabric would have been spread out on the table to ensure that the piece being embroidered was kept clean, and then obviously all the silks were put into the little pockets - these remind me of the Advent calendar I made before Christmas.
The tablecloth has Liberty written on it which is fabulous and obviously this part of the cloth hasn't been finished yet.
I wanted to show you a close up of the work done, it is so lovely and neat. In those days girls would have been taught to sew and cook properly and it is fantastic to think that these skills are still around and young people are interested in sewing/homecrafts.
The section below is the back part and you can see how neat it all is - my front part wouldn't be as neat as this!
I asked the lady why she was selling it and she had that it had been passed to her Mother who had left it in the cupboard for 40 years - she said that they just wanted to get rid of it as they felt it was of no use to them.  I couldn't believe this as I could never part with something like this as it is a huge piece of social history.  I feel as if I have won the lottery dear Friends - finding something like this gladdens my heart for some reason and I will always treasure it.  My husband thinks I am a bit loopy as he hates anything old and wouldn't have it in the house if it was up to him, we are all different and some of you may feel that same.
I am so glad that I went out today as it was horrid when I left this morning with the wind and rain.  All these treasures were waiting for me and I am as pleased as punch with all of them.  I wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you for your wonderful comments.  You have got to be the most kindest and warmest of people that I have ever 'met'.  The old dog is still around but I managed to lose him in the fair and hopefully he is completely lost somewhere in Chester now trying to find his way back.  I hope he sleeps in the fields tonight and doesn't bother anyone else for a while. 
I hope you have all had a wonderful Sunday - Happy Australia Day to all our wonderful friends there, especially the lovely Joy - I hope the sun has shone for you and all your family.  Take care and be happy my lovely friends and speak soon.  All my love, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx