Monday, 31 December 2012

December - and goodbye 2012

Here it is - December, my last digital collage for 2012.  Its been rather a self indulgent project but looking back through the months it is nice to remember those odd moments when I've pulled out my camera to take a snapshot of something that has caught my eye.  And of course I want to remember things I've made for future reference.  

Happy New Year to you all and if you are celebrating tonight enjoy yourselves - I'll be wending my way to bed with my cats, my hot water bottle and my new Kindle - honest!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas 1968 - and Merry Christmas!

A Very Happy Christmas to all my blog friends - I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry New Year!

I've just time to manage one last vintage Christmas post - this one from Honey magazine December 1968.  And yes, all those "young, gay and get-ahead" trendy young things (me included!) were being crafty even then!  And in case there are still one or two last minute gifts to wrap or cards to give here's an idea or two for a swinging Christmas 60s style.

In this issue, as well as fashion and make-up advice for looking your very best for the festive party season, ideas for presents, romantic stories and yes, hints on how to get your man, inside there was even a papercrafting gift.  I've had a go at making the man-you-want-for Christmas paper mobile but I was doing it late at night and in a hurry (as always!) so its not perfect.  Perhaps you can do better.

Four 60s favourite men are gifted here - Dustin Hoffman, Donovan, Michael Cane and Christopher Jones.  You've seen these optical mobiles before I'm sure.  Just print out on copypaper, cut out, stick back to back and score zig-zag style - I used my score board.

There are another four pin-up men on another page and if one happens to be your vintage favourite I can scan it if you wish to have him hanging over your bed or laptop - Hywell Bennett, David Hemmings, Terence Stamp and Steve McQueen.

There are even some paper dolls dressed of course in the height of 60s fashion - here are two: Gypsy Rose Raver and Jenny Jones Harlow!  Oh happy memories of my youth.  I seem to remember I even enjoyed the odd Christmas party or two in 1968 - I was just 20 years old and compared to girls of the same age today, very naive, but I think we all were unless you shared a flat in "Swinging 60s London" - something we all aspired to!  But of course it was just fantasy.

I hope you've enjoyed my glimpses of Christmases past.  I'd like to thank all my faithful blogger band for encouraging me in my ramblings during 2012.  Here's to a Healthy, Peaceful and Happy 2013!

Friday, 21 December 2012

December in the Garden

It's a while since I've managed to see the garden in daylight but one day last week I had to visit my Mum in the early(ish) morning and managed a wander with my camera.   The sun was still low in the sky and the brilliant Hawthorn berries (we call them haws) were lit like Christmas lights.

I was in luck too - although the sun was shining most of the garden was still covered in picturesque frost.  Sometimes the bottom of the garden stays frozen all day as its in deep shadow at this time of year.

However my spiky mahonia is covered in sunshine yellow flowers (which I never normally get to see), and I'm glad I didn't pull it out as punishment for scratching my arms and legs all summer when I passed by unwarily.

As you can see, my Romanian willow arch has been woefully neglected for a couple of years and I really do have to cut it back in the spring before it's leaves start growing - I never like cutting off branches and boughs that are showing buds.

And don't you think this little shrub would be perfect for creating a Christmas arrangement - red stems, dark green leaves and white snowball berries.  I'm not sure what it is - the label went missing a long time ago.  It could possibly be a Pernettya (according to Google).

But I do know what these beautiful seedheads are - my Clematis Bill Mackenzie has run riot but its only in winter, when the leaves of the little birch tree have fallen that you can see just how far it has rambled away from its original frame.

Those fluffy seedheads could easily be taken for little lanterns in the gloom of late afternoon - if I could get to see them.


The last few days have been miserable, dark and wet and I may not see the garden in sunshine again until the New Year so I'm glad I was able to record its decaying beauty before it all springs to life again in 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas 1933

Firstly, I would like to thank Godelieve for sharing her lovely Christmas banner with everyone this year.  I always admire her seasonal banners but never get around to making one myself.  Its gorgeous Godelieve and I'm proud to have it on my blog this Christmas.

And now for more inspiration from Christmas past.  Here's another lovely Bird's Custard advertisement - this time from the December 1933 issue of Needlewoman magazine.  Unfortunately the cover of the mag is completely destroyed so I can't show you it here, but you might like some of the Christmas gift projects.

I really like this crochet book cover and think it would make a lovely present for a book lover.  As always if you right click on the image, open in a new tab and then enlarge you can read the pattern or save and print the page.

And what do you think of these knitted toys?  The Jack and Jill dolls are very sweet, though a simpler embroidered face would be more appealing today.  Knitted doll's clothes and rabbits are always popular and timeless gifts for little ones - but Bill the Lizard looks more like a crocodile to me!  I love little green Esau - I'm just not quite sure what kind of an animal he's supposed to be!

There are a few nice little cross stitch charts - motifs that have been used to make calendars for 1934.  Two very 30s sailing ships, a silhouette of a crinoline lady at a spinning wheel and two trees (below).  The funny little chart for the bookends is rather cute too.  If you fancy any of the charts or knitting patterns let me know and I'll send you a scan.

And here's another very stylish crochet gift.  I know tobacco pouches are a very niche gift in the 21st century but you might still have a tobacco smoking Grandad.  My Dad was a pipe smoker and on the very rare occasion a whiff of pipe smoke floats by I feel Dad must be just around the corner and I could catch up with him if I could get there fast enough!

And of course it would make a very nice change/makeup/bits and bobs purse.

Monday, 17 December 2012

I have been busy - honest!

The last craft fair of the season happened on Saturday - it was a quiet affair!  But although there weren't many customers I enjoyed the friendliness of the other stall holders and the lovely ladies in the kitchen who provided us with some delicious homemade pumpkin soup and numerous cups of tea to warm us up.

As always I saw the dawn the night before finishing things off and made more than enough Christmassy things that I'll now be putting away until next year. 

I didn't sell any Christmassy hair clips or crochet snowflakes - items that went really well at the last fair - so you never can tell what will be popular.  I'm already starting to think about ideas for springtime Eastery projects. 

But before that there are the family's Christmas gifts to get finished!  I glutton for punishment you might think - and you'd be right!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas 1946

Fellow crafters!  You know how it is at this time of year - so much to create, so little time!  And what you do create you can't share on line as its secret until 25th December.  I'm busy getting ready for another craft fair on 15th too.  I'm aiming to really get down to my family and friends' gifts after that - but only 10 days!  I'm definitely in panic mood - but hey, what's new, I kind of like it that way.  It wouldn't be Christmas without a few all-night crafting sessions!

But what to blog about?  I thought I'd share some of my old magazine collection again over the next couple of weeks.  The first is this edition of My Home magazine from December 1946.  In the UK wartime rationing was even tighter during the years following the declaration of peace so it was another "Make Do & Mend" Christmas for all.  I can imagine that home was where everyone wanted to be, with family and friends and thoughts of those lost held close.

Almost everyone was a maker in those days.  Mums knitted and sewed, Dads made things with wood, tin and other scraps.  Children loved to make presents and decorations and there were a lot of secrets to be kept and half made gifts hurriedly hidden when someone came into a room unexpectedly - happy times!  I love this knitted teacosy and only wish I had time to make one.

Turning the pages of old magazines really does bring the past alive for me.  I love reading the stories, finding crafty ideas and patterns, even following the recipes on occasion.  I love the adverts too.  Here are two products I still use every week and we always have a tin of Quality Street chocolates to dip into on Christmas day.  That distinctive tin is a tradition in our family and in many other families too I'm sure - though perhaps its not so much of a once a year special treat as it was when I was a little girl!

And if you want to see these pages up close right click on the image, from the drop down menu pick open link in new tab, click on the new tab and then you can zoom in.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Remember November

 November seems to have been a very dark month and my page has turned out quite dark too - but I can see quite a bit of red in there..... just hinting that Christmas is on its way to brighten and cheer us all up.  And as promised I've picked a winner of the little Christmas tree stamp and die from Wplus9 - its number 8 - yes you Carol!  AKA Inkyfingers - a prolific card maker, I know these goodies will be put to good use.  I haven't found your email Carol so I do hope you see this and send me your address.

And I've an update on the little bridge I reported on in my last post too.  I did go back the next day and it was still there.  I couldn't get up close as the field had been closed off by the council so I took the photo from the road.  As you can see the water level had dropped considerably in just 24 hours but I suppose we'll have to wait and see if its still possible to cross the river safely.

Oh, and just one more thing - can anyone tell me how to dissuade my cat from chewing my knitting needles!  Yes, I know I could just move them from the windowsill, but I like to see them there - and so does Jess too!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Stormy Weather

I did want to walk by the river today as I'm looking for the perfect fallen branch to paint white and use as a Christmas tree.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find just the right shape and size.  However when I saw how angry the river was I decided not to risk crossing the bridge and came  home to get on with some more cereal box tree decorations instead.  I got out my Nestabilities hearts and stars and added in some Wplus9 die cuts and stamps, old sheet music, kraft cardstock - plus a few rhinestones coloured with my Copics.

I do hope the little bridge survives as its been there as long as I can remember and probably long before that too.  I'll have to visit again tomorrow to make sure its still there.

I'm not complaining about my aborted walk as many houses have been flooded in our small town today.  You can see from the two photos how the river has swollen in the night.  I've never seen the water as high as this before and the usually quiet and slow flowing river I photographed in Spring  has turned nasty, flooded the housing estate you can see in the distance, the park and fields around. These poor sheep have almost been marooned in a small space at the bottom of their field.

Luckily I live in the old part of the town near the church which was built on top of a hill - there are some advantages to living on higher ground even if I do complain about toiling up and down with my shopping.  Hopefully the river won't rise any further tonight - though there is a worry about more water pouring off the hills that surround us.

Supplies: Wplus9 Folkart Flurries stamp set, Seasonal Sentiments die collection, Nestabilities basic hearts and basic stars

Friday, 23 November 2012

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree (and a giveaway too!)

I love my papercrafting dies...... you may have noticed that already!  Last year I used them to make cereal packet decorations for the Christmas tree and as I've added a "few" more dies to my collection since then, I thought it was about time I put them to good use.

I was addicted to making these Angels in 2011 but this week I've gone to town with my new Christmas tree dies, one from Papertrey Ink and one from Wplus9.  And once again I've used cereal packet card as my base as its just the right thickness to cut nicely with the dies and of course its free

My very favourite cereal, both for card and to eat, is the Dorset brand.  I was busy die cutting the boxes the other day when I thought how nice the trees looked 'in the buff' so to speak, ie without a top decorative layer.  Dorset cereals come in a number of different varieties and the box graphics has had a new look recently with each cereal variety having its own colour scheme.  I really like the kraft colour one and set about cutting the trees more carefully so that I could utilise the best bits of the box design.  I thought my little trees were perfect for creating a garland and all I added were a few felt hearts and wooden beads before crocheting them together.  I really like how it turned out.

My other trees are more conventionally crafted - adding vintage sheet music, layers of stamped cardstock, or of course using the matching stamp set. 

If you'd like to have a go at making a small forest for your Christmas tree, I've decided to have a little giveaway - a sort of Christmas present for all my loyal followers - you know who you are!!  I've loved the recent releases from Wplus9 and was absolutely delighted to find Emily at Make the Day Special had started stocking the stamps and dies right here in the UK - yippee!!!  I added an extra set to my last order and if you'd like a chance to win your very own Pretty Patches Tree stamp set with the matching die just leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner on 1st December - which will leave you plenty of time to eat lots of cereal and make some trees for yourself before the 25th.  I used my Cuttlebug to cut the shapes but if you don't have a die cutting machine you I'm sure the old way of drawing round the shape and cutting out with scissors will be just as efficient - if a little bit more time consuming.  A few small elf helpers might speed things up!

Supplies:  Stamps - Wplus9 Pretty Patches Tree; Waltzing Mouse Stamps Nordic Christmas, dies - Wplus9 Pretty Patches Tree; Papertrey Layered Postmarks Holiday die collection

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembering Frank

This Remembrance Sunday I'm remembering Frank Beckett Hayes, my Dad's older brother.  I don't know much about him as I never met him.  Mum says he was the 'black sheep' of the family - I don't know why, perhaps because he never settled down nor had much to do with his family - except when he wanted to borrow money - which I'm led to believe was too often!  I wish I had known him.... however I did carry out some research into his experiences in the First World War some years ago as my Dad had told me Frank had been awarded the Military Cross - an award for bravery.  I found he had been attached to the Machine Gun Corps (you can see the crossed gun badge on his uniform) and found the award listed in the London Gazette, the official newspaper of Parliament.  The Gazette published the dispatches of the Commanders-in-Chief, listed officers promotions and appointments, gallantry awards and much else that is useful to the WW1 researcher.  You can search it one line for free.

After Frank died I asked Dad if he knew what had happened to his medal - Dad didn't know but thought Frank had probably sold it!  I wish I could find that medal and bring it back into the family.  

And when I think of what Frank must have lived through in those years as a soldier..... a young man whose life up until then had been spent in a small peaceful country market town in North Wales...... it is not surprising that he found it hard to settle down to normal family life after four years of war.

So today I'm especially remembering Frank, as well as my Dad, my Grandfather, and all the other members of my family that experienced the deprivations and horrors of war. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Vintage Yarns

Once again I'm in a last minute panic about a craft fair tomorrow!  For my last fair I made a few crochet flower hair clips and as they seemed popular I thought I should make some more.  Most of those in the photo above have been made using vintage yarn I've found on ebay and in charity shops and, yes, I have been able to make myself break into the skeins - something I usually find really difficult.  But needs must and I've found it very pleasant to work with something that has lain forgotten in a draw or workbox for many years.

This Robin Perle is very pretty but the very devil to unwind - it nearly drove my Mother round the bend trying to unravel the knots I got the first skein into and she usually loves untangling for me.  You can see it looks quite wild!  The label states it is coupon free so these definitely date from the 1940's or early 50's. 

This Jewel yarn from Pearsalls and Hayfield is much more sensibly packaged - the end is pulled out from the centre without unwrapping the skeins.  And of course this keeps the yarn in pristine condition.  In fact I have to say that all the yarns I've bought have been in perfect condition without a hint of mothballs or damp.

This "Artificial Silk" is really beautiful.  All these yarns are made from Rayon and although I knew it was a man-made fibre I had to google it to find out exactly what its made from and it turns out to be manufactured from plant-based cellulose.  So its not completely artificial and doesn't come from anything horrible like oil or coal.

It all has a lovely sheen as you can see in the photo above, and I expect most of it was bought to make those pretty crochet doilies that were so popular in times gone by - and still seem sought after by crafters today for modern projects. 

I've found it quite difficult to package my clips to my liking and this is my latest attempt - but I'm still not completely happy with how they look.  I just used a die cut tag and cut a slit in the centre to slip the clips through - but of course the clips don't lie flat and the whole thing is rather bent.


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