Monday, 30 January 2012

For the need of a pincushion

One of my better half's bug bears when I'm sewing, is my habit of sticking the pins and needles that I am using for a project into the back of the settee I'm sitting on. And leaving them in there! As I've been making pincushions for Elsie May and Bertha, he thought a good idea would be to make one for myself.

Using the back of the settee as a pincushion!
By the way, I do have pincushions already, one in the workroom upstairs that I made last year, and two downstairs. So why can't I use one of those I hear you ask? Well, the upstairs one needs to stay upstairs as it'll be downstairs when I want it upstairs and vice versa. As for the two downstairs, well they're full of pins and needles, so it's more difficult to spy the ones I'm using at any one time, hence me sticking them in the back of the settee. For the sake of marital harmony I've made myself one.

It's made from a couple of samples I had from Vanessa Arbuthnot  (see the picture above)and is filled with sheep's wool. I fill all of the Elsie May and Bertha with sheep's wool, when I can get it, as it is slightly oily, which helps to keep pins and needles free from rust and gives a really firm cushion.

A collection of Elsie May and Bertha pincushions.
Pop over to the 'Things for sewing' section of the Elsie May and Bertha website to see the pincushions that are currently available.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Mollie Makes - a review (of sorts)

I like my magazines (although for financial reasons I'm having to reduce the number of subscriptions that I have). They give me both pleasure and ideas.

I was quite wary when I saw the first issue of Mollie Makes on the shelves. I'd known it was coming because I follow @MollieMakes on Twitter and it sounded interesting. However, when I saw the first edition it didn't grab me straight away and I thought that the £4.99 price tag was a bit heavy (being a bit skint at the time) so it went back on the shelf.

During the next few months I read a lot of reviews, comments, Twitter/Facebook feeds about the magazine, so when issue five came out, I had another look and bought a copy. From then, dear Reader I was hooked. I'm not sure why the fifth issue struck me more than the first, perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind.

Anyway, the magazine - it's a wonderful mixture of vintage, making and crafting, with articles written by a range of people from the UK, USA and Australia etc. Even if you don't make/craft yourself, this magazine can point you towards those that do.

Although the magazine appears to be quite small, it packs a lot in, and, because of the range of the content, I find that I constantly have a nose through my collection (I have six issues up to now) when I want a visual 'lift' or am looking for inspiration. Something that I can't say about my other magazines. So I do feel that I am getting value for money.

Each issue a 'gift' on the front of the magazine, a small make, calender, ribbon etc. Unfortunately, I haven't made any of the makes so far, being too busy doing my own stuff, but the 2012 calender (with its beautiful Fryd + Design images) is hanging in our living room.

The magazine is made of good quality paper and the photography is really good. It also lists lots of addresses to websites and blogs. It's always interesting seeing what other people are making and what they blog about. Even the adverts are nice to look at!

Each issue has a number of tutorials (for issue 10 these include, crocheted wrist warmers, a messenger bag, cactus-shaped pincushions and tattoo inspired embroidery). There are peeks into people's houses and work spaces, which is something you don't usually find in a craft magazine.

I'm not sure if this is the magazine for you if it's a traditional craft magazine that you're after, as Mollie Makes has both a retro and vintage vibe along with a fair bit of modern thrown in (felt monsters anyone?). As such, it is very much of its time, picking up on the general trend of making, crafting, reusing and thrifting that is so popular at present.

What do you like to read?


Please note, these are all my views and I have no connection with the magazine (apart from reading it of course!).

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A few of my favourite things - teacups and saucers

First, I must own up that for the majority of the time, I have my 'cups' of tea served in an enormous mug, but we do try to use 'proper' cups and saucers at the weekend, especially as I have a few vintage sets. The photo below shows some of the cups and saucers we use.

Since I was quite young I have collected cups and saucers (some with plates), with some being vintage and some new (though these ones are usually seconds). I also added a couple to my collection when my Mum and Dad down-sized to a smaller house.

Vintage/antique teacups
This Susie Cooper cup and saucer was one of my Mum's.

This teacup and saucer have hand painted birds and flowers on it. It was probably bought as a blank and painted at home as the paint is on top of the glaze. I like to imagine that it was painted by a genteel lady of leisure.

If I had to choose, I'd say this trio was my favourite as it has one of may favourite colour combinations, green and pink.

This trio (cup and saucer plus plate) doesn't have a marking so may be foreign, but I love their faded beauty.

A quartet of trios:

New (when bought) teacups and saucers.
This Aynsley cup and saucer was a present from my sister and her husband, I'd spotted whilst shopping in Selfridge's in Manchester over 10 years ago (where does the time go?).
These Royal Albert cups and saucers are seconds and bought over a couple of years. I like the juxtaposition of the flowers against the black background.

Strictly speaking, this may be a coffee cup, but I liked the pattern!
What are your favourite things?


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Bauble envy

First of all, Happy New Year. I hope 2012 is kind to us all!

Those of us in the Elsie May and Bertha world had a lovely christmas and a peaceful new year (we don't do the staying up till past midnight on the 31st December thing).

Today I'm going to share some photos of christmas baubles with you. They were all on two of my sister's christmas trees (she does 3), I think they're all lovely and could have quite easily swiped them, regardless of the fact that they don't go with my christmas colours of red and gold! However, being the good big sister I just took photos!

This first set of photos are from the tree in her (enormous) living room, which is decorated in blue and gold (the tree, not the room).

The second set of photos are from the tree in my sister's hall and are all Disney ones. I love Eeyore's pink bow on his tail - and the wonderful thing about Tiggers are Tiggers are wonderful things!

Did you covet any baubles this Christmas?