Sunday, 23 February 2014


Re the previous post - Angie was delighted with the embroidered picture I gave her - and I discovered that the reason for her 'lighthouse obsession' is because both her Dad and her grandfather were lighthouse keepers.  Can't be many of those about.

Thanks to Roisin, aka Dolly Clackett, whose inspirational blog on her plethora of handmade frocks (where DOES she put them all??),  I was compelled to send for this pattern - the Emery dress by Christine Haynes
I found a UK supplier here.  And of course, while I was perusing,  I couldn't buy the pattern without buying some fabric.  (It's not a rule of their shop you understand, just good economics - by getting two lots of fabric I avoided the postal charge.  Well, it makes sense to me.
The fabrics are even lovelier in real life than they looked in the pictures -

I realise that a dress with little Russian dolls all over it isn't really very age-appropriate but I like it, so maybe I'll make something a little bit more sensible with it.  Or maybe not.  Watch this space.

And the winner of the giveaway?  Surprising there was more than one blogger who would fit into this little pattern - so names out of the hat, and the winner is .....  Lauren of Lady Sewalot - I look forward to seeing the dress on your blog sometime!
Although I only had one 'cut out and ready to sew' vintage dress, I also had some other tiny vintage patterns, so I drew another name - and the second winner is Alice of Moonbeam, so she'll be getting a couple of patterns that will never fit me!

Babooshka - Kate Bush

PS - I just found out that Babooshka is the name of the headscarf she wears, and not the doll, which is actually called a matryoshka doll
You learn something every day.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

You're Leaving

My friend Angie has a special reason to celebrate today, retiring from a job she's done for 30 years, so I wanted to make her a little something.  It's of absolutely no relevance to her job (she's not a Lighthouse keeper) but she does love lighthouses, so here's what I made
All from fabrics that I just happened to have about my person -  mostly recycled - and appliqued, machine embroidered and mounted onto a deep frame.

Congratulations Angie - you'll have a great time.  I know it's been said before, and it'll be said again - but -you'll wonder how you ever found time to go to work.

I'll be announcing the winner of this giveaway at the weekend.

You're Leaving - Bluehearts

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Skinny Minnie

A bit of a giveaway today - but I think it's going to be of limited appeal.
A while ago I was given this fabulous pattern ..
and not only that, but the pattern was already pinned onto the fabric and cut out
It's all ready to sew, apart from the armhole facings.  The pattern pieces are there, but are not pinned on, and there is enough spare fabric to cut them out.  The fabric feels lovely and silky and I should imagine it's an original vintage rayon.  The only problem is the size - its a 12, and not only that but a vintage 12, so the measurements on the envelope say Bust 30" Waist 25" Hip 33".
Bust 30" - that's about the same as my waist!  I don't think I've even met anyone that tiny.  I suppose you could eke out another couple of inches by taking tiny seams and decreasing the darts, but with the best will in the world it would NEVER fit me.  So, if you are a skinny minnie and will make this dress and are prepared to post a picture, it's yours.  (In the unlikely event that there are two of you out there that fit the criteria - I'll do names out of the hat!)

Skinny Minnie - Bill Haley and The Comets

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Takin' The Train

I had to travel into London on Monday and Tuesday for work.  The journey in on Monday was fine, but coming back there was a "problem with overhead cables" and I had to get off five stops early at Gordon Hill. Ooh, how exciting, I've never been THERE before. Staff said they had no idea when the problem would be resolved, and they would attempt to sort out replacement buses.  Knowing how long it was likely to take to organise buses, and then to make the journey in rush hour, stopping at every station en route, AND as I wanted to get home this week, I found three other women bound for the same destination and we queued in the cold for a cab.  After about half an hour we were at the front of the queue - just as we heard that the trains were running again.  I didn't feel bad about not using the cab though.  When we asked for the price we were told it would be £32 for one of us, or £15 each.  Even with my rudimentary mathematics ability - that's nearly double the fare for taking three extra passengers who all wanted dropping at exactly the same destination!  I guess that's what they mean by 'making hay while the sun shines'  Except, of course, it wasn't.

Then yesterday, on the way in, we were forced to disembark at Drayton Park, another station whose delights had thus far passed me by.  This time it was a broken down train.  Obviously, they couldn't have kicked us out at the previous stop, Highbury and Islington, where we could have easily got a connecting Underground train.  No, they chose Drayton Park, where there are no tubes, no buses, no Station staff, just a bunch of disgruntled passengers who didn't know Drayton Park from the back end of a bus.  If there had been a bus to compare.  So, ever the bossy boots organiser, I took charge of another small group of ladies who were similarly unfamiliar with the locale, and together, we battled against lashing rain and and strong gales for 20 minutes until we reached the safe haven of Highbury and Islington.  (everything's relative, right?)

I bade farewell to my newly-met fellow explorers and made my way to Bethnal Green via Oxford Circus and Liverpool Street.  In spite of the unplanned adventure, I was still a bit early for my meeting (I do always like to leave plenty of time for unforeseen eventualities) so I nipped into the Museum of Childhood for a little look around.  I think every child in Tower Hamlets, who was under the age of ten, had been instructed to go to the Museum and run around screaming their lungs out, but I guess that's to be expected in a Museum designed for kids. I'm glad it's not like that at the V&A or I might have to consider relinquishing my membership.  Anyway, they were enjoying themselves, and I did too. I had a lovely wander round and I saw an identical Sindy to mine, dressed in her weekender outfit,  
(she's mine)
and a Spirograph which I also still have, complete in a pristine box.  
Anyway, enough of the travelogue.  

I decided there was no rush to get up this morning, and I deserved a bit of a lie-in after the trauma of the past two days (if you have to commute on a daily basis, you SO have my sympathy) so I took the opportunity to finish my book.
Some books take me ages to read, even if I like them, but I only started this one at the weekend so that's very good going for me.  
I've had this book for a while, and as I'm trying to clear my bookshelves, I grabbed it and I decided to read it or bin it.  I bought it from a charity shop a couple of years ago - not, I hasten to add, because it was a Richard and Judy recommended Summer read, but more because of the reviewer's quote at the top "If George Clooney had walked into the room I would have told him to come back when I'd finished". 
I'm not sure that I'd have taken it that far, but knowing I had this book to finish, I would certainly have missed him a lot less after he'd gone.

The blurb on the back says that it's based around a real murder at the turn of the twentieth century.  I'd say that although there is a true murder mystery at the core book, the real story is wrapped around that.
I wasn't even sure I was going to like it to start with, but 20 or so pages in, it had grown on me, and by 100 pages I couldn't put it down.  I am inclined to 'skim read' bits of books, especially long descriptions, but with this book , I wanted to read every beautifully written word, you can almost hear the narrator's voice in your head, telling you the story.  Having finished it, and read the author's note and ackowledgements at the back, I can begin to understand how she made the telling of the story so real.

So, far from binning it or passing it back to the charity shop, I am going to circulate it to all my friends who I know will love it, and then when I finally get it back - I'm going to read it again.

Takin' The Train - The Saw Doctors