Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Have a happy Christmas and a great new year.

Lots of Love

Louise @ Elsie May and Bertha

I'll be back blogging in the new year


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas is coming - christmas cards

I don't always have time to make christmas cards every year, but I decided to this year and here are some of those that I have made over a couple of days. I've used bits off old christmas cards, scraps of fabric with some simple embroidery, stars cut out of some old music manuscript and the gift tags that came free with the December issue of Homes and Antiques.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas is coming - christmas stockings

When I was small me and my sister had two stockings, a plastic one that had our main christmas presents in and a knitted one. This knitted one has been a pair of socks that had belonged to my Mum's grandfather. They were hand-knitted and there was always a Terry's chocolate orange (in place of a real orange I presume) in the heel. These knitted ones have now disappeared, and although I have stockings hanging up as decorations around the house, I don't usually have one to 'open'.

The history of christmas stockings (with thanks to Wikipedia ).

There are many variations of the origin of christmas stockings, but basically the story went like this:

A long time ago, St. Nicholas was passing through village when he heard villagers talking about a very poor old man who had three daughters and who was worried what would happen to them when died.

St. Nicholas wanted to help, but he knew that the old man wouldn't accept charity, so he decided to help in secret. During the night he crept into the house through the chimney (hence the Father Christmas story of him coming down the chimney). He had three bags of gold with him, one for each of the girls, and whilst looking around to find somewhere to hide them, he noticed the girls' stockings hanging at the mantelpiece. He put a bag of gold into each of the stockings and he left. When the old man and the girls woke the next morning they found the gold coins and were overjoyed.The girls were able to get married and lived happily ever after.

This story led to the custom of children hanging stockings up and waiting for gifts from St. Nicholas. The oranges that were traditionally placed in stockings, may represent the bags of gold.

When the tradition began in Eastern Europe children put up their own stockings, but eventually christmas stockings were made for the purpose.

You can now buy, and make, christmas stockings in all shapes and sizes and bring them out every christmas.

All of the stocking pictured in this post are available from Elsie May and Bertha.


Monday, 14 November 2011

Spotted walking along the promenade

We walk up the promenade from Egremont to New Brighton quite often. It's a pleasant walk, there's only a one small hill, and you're away from traffic. It was a sunny day when these pictures were taken, which isn't always the way!

The pictures are of the following:
  • a daisy,
  • the Liverpool skyline and the Mersey estuary.
  • a curved wall, I just like the workmanship involved with creating a round wall out of oblong bricks,
  • georgian properties - the veranda on the first house is lovely,
  • seaside colour houses on one of the roads leading up from the promenade at New Brighton.
What do you see on your walks?


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Keeping cosy - hand-knitted throws

With the days and nights getting a tad cooler, it's the time of year to make use of all those  throws that have been knitted and crocheted. You could, of course, just turn up the central heating. But whether you don't want to do that because you're greener than that, or simply can't afford to, wrapping a throw/blanket around you, especially if you've made it yourself, is just the ticket.

Bed-sized throws

My Mum made this cotton one, using a kit from Women's Weekly (the magazine has just celebrated its 100th birthday). It's made from triangles that are sewn together to make squares, one they're done a border is added. She also has a single bed sized cotton throw that she uses downstairs, but this one is based on squares, knitted on the diagonal (see my pink throw below).

I made this throw, on our bed, from a dark brown aran weight wool that has felted slightly as it's been washed a couple of times. It's heavyish so doesn't move around the bed much and it is lovely and warm. It's also an easy one to make, as you can easily make it as big as you want. The basket weave effect is obtained by alternatively knitting and purling in squares. I knitted strips four squares wide, to the length that I wanted,  and then oversewed these together until I'd obtained the width that I wanted.

Keeping cosy elsewhere

This silvery grey throw is made in the same way as the brown one above, using grey aran weight wool, but it's more of a knee blanket size.

This pink throw has been made using the same pattern that my Mum used to make her single knitted throw, but it is made from aran weight wool, on bigger needles (obviously). The pattern is quite complicated, but when you have the hang of it it isn't too bad. Though I haven't managed to put it's border on yet, but that doesn't stop it being used to keep my tootsies warm!

This last throw is a sampler quilt made using a pattern from the Lion Brand Yarn website (there's lots of lovely free patterns on this site, you just need to sign-up). This one is also knitted in strips; two outside edge ones with a knitted edge (one left, one right), and two strips on the inside so that the different squares of stitches are alternated. Again this can be made to the size you want and has an lacy border added onto the top and bottom. This is a great throw for learning different stitches.

When I've got round to teaching myself how to crochet, I'll definitely be making myself a granny squares quilt.

Do you knit/crochet your own throws. What do you do to keep toasty?


Thursday, 3 November 2011

A sunny start to November

I took advantage of my new camera (see 'Aren't I a lucky girl?') and a lovely sunny morning yesterday to take these photos in the Elsie May and Bertha garden.

The garden is still lovely even this late in the year, and despite the fact it needs a really good tidy up!



Monday, 31 October 2011

Aren't I a lucky girl?

It was my birthday last Wednesday and I thought I'd share the lovely gifts that I received.

My birthday cards.
I received my presents from my Mum and Dad on the Wednesday, they came to our house for afternoon tea - Ray had made scones and a Victoria sponge.

'A stitch in time' mug and coaster set (from Lakeland), which also came with a useful tin.

This bracelet (with its matching ring below) came from John Lewis and is made from two lovely pieces of amethyst. The ring is also made from amethyst, it's huge, but a small ring would just disappear on my fingers.

My other present from them was a lovely box of violet and rose creams. I love these old-fashioned chocolates - the box is rather nice as well!

My sister and her husband came for lunch yesterday (Sunday). From them I received a great Sony camera. Our old one is playing up, probably from overwork. I've taken lots of pictures over the past year, both for this blog and the Elsie May and Bertha website, so this new one will be really useful.

My lovely new camera.

The other thing I received was a book of knitting patterns. I was given a book for my birthday last year called 'Vintage Fashion Knitwear' by Marnie Fogg. This is a lovely book of knitwear going back to 1900s, but it didn't have any patterns in it.

1940s knitwear.

So when I saw this book, 'Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters' by Lise-Lotte Lystrup. This book has some lovely vintage knitting patterns that have been updated for modern fibres and sizes. I'm looking forward to making some of them.

Evening top from 1954.

Tube top and bolero, from 1951.

If you like to knit, and like vintage-style this book is definitely for you.

I was a lucky girl, wasn't I?