Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Talking Japanese

It's well known that anything that's fabric related is my thing and I love finding vintage fabrics to use for my creations. When I first delved into the shopper's heaven that is Ebay, looking for vintage fabric, one of the first sellers that caught my eye was Kimonopetitjaon. They sell fabric taken from vintage silk, wool and cottom kimonos. Many of the pieces that I buy have been woven in 35cm widths, I'm assuming for the sleeves of a kimono, which are ideal for creating cushion covers.

Cushion cover made from vintage fine wool kimono fabric
The kimono is a Japanese full length traditional garment worn by women, men and children.
They are T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimonos are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right and secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back.

The floral fabric on this cushion is cotton
Kimonos are works of art in themselves, and are often displayed on the walls like a picture, with a pole going through the sleeves, showing their T shape. As the kimono fabric that I buy is taken from vintage kimonos, these means that the cushions etc that I make are only made in ones or twos making them unique.

Lavender sachet made from silk kimono remnant

As the kimono fabric that I buy is taken from vintage kimonos, these means that the cushions etc that I make are only made in ones or twos making them unique. It also means that my stash of kimono fabrics can only get bigger, if I don't bid for them when I see them, I won't get another oppoortunity.

Lavender pillow made using silk crepe fabric.

Some of my vintage cotton kimono stash.

Some of my vintage silk kimono stash.
The items I've made from vintage kimono fabrics are available to buy from the Elsie May and Bertha shop.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Flowery frocks and a surprise visit to Liverpool

Had a surprise visit to Liverpool. My other half decided to take me out for lunch. We went to the Italian Club (at the top end of Bold Street if you know Liverpool). They're currently working on expanding the dining area into the back of the building. You needn't worry that there's dust getting to the (very delicious) lasagne as they've built a false wall in front of the wall they're going to knock down.

Now,down to the important bit, what did we have to eat? We had bread and olive oil to start with. There's nothing like good bread. We then shared antipasto misto, a delicious conglomeration of Italian meats, including my favourite mortadella, rice salad, new potatoes, green beans, grilled peppers, aubergine and courgette, and huge olives.

Mid-way through antipasto
I also managed to squeeze in a little slice of chocolate and ricotta flan, which was beautifully light.
Chocolate and ricotta flan
After lunch we took a stroll down to the Bluecoat, where had a quick peek in the Display Centre, they sell beautiful items made by artists from all over the country.

Next we went to one of my favourite shops, I'm not getting paid for this, honestly, John Lewis' (or George Henry Lees - GHL - the old name of the shop before it moved to the Liverpool One development). Having sent the better half to occupy himself looking at the electricals, I set out on a leisurely walk around the ladies clothes - a delightful occupation. One of the advantages of a department store is that they have ranges from lots of different labels. Flowery summer frocks are on show at the moment, and as there were some such lovely fabrics, I thought I'd take a few snaps to share with you.
Apologies for having to view the above with your head to one size, for some reason Blogspot is putting them in that way and won't let me change them!


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Springing into life

At last, after the barreness of winter, some of the plants in the garden are starting to poke their heads throught the soil and new leaves are starting to grow on stems.
Hydrangea starting to sprout its leaves
Normally, our garden doesn't get too bare in the winter, as living here, on the Wirral Peninsula, we have our own little micro-climate that usually prevents us from getting really cold winter weather. This usually means that there can be roses on the climbing rose and big green, fleshy leaves on the lilies, even at Christmas. However, with the heavy snow that we had before last year's Christmas, everything was knocked back into the ground. Lots of gardens have lost their cordylines, which are popular plants in the gardens around here, though I think ours have managed to survive.
Narcissa, with a grape hyacinth just popping through.
So it's lovely seeing the yellow heads of narcissa dancing in the breeze and the purple of the crocuses. Even are lilies are now thinking of poking their heads through the soil.
These crocuses in the wall basket on the back gate, are new ones that I put in last year. I love the dark royal purple against the yellow.
I actually think that the cold weather has actually done some good to the bulbs as we have far more popping up this year than we did last year. These streaky purple crocuses above, made a very poor showing last year, but they've popped up all over the place this year. Hopefully this is a good sign for the look of the garden for the rest of the year. All we need now is some warmer, or at least brighter, weather rather than the grey cloud. Here's hoping for a good summer, anyway.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Vintage finds

After reading a Thrifty Mrs' blog post on her kitsch vintage finds, I thought I'd share a few of my best buys. Now I am supposed to be buying stuff to go into the Elsie May and Bertha vintage emporium when I go charity shop shopping, but it's suprising how many items arrive onto my shelves, rather than be posted onto the site. The problem is I only buy what I like and unfortunately (from the other half's point of view anyway), this means I hang onto more than I should.

Price and Kensington bath salt jar
This bath salt jar is one of my latest purchases. The gold leaf on the lettering is a little worn, but apart from that it's perfect and it only cost £1!

The little plate at the back of this picture was also bought this week, for 10p (I also bought some lace and linen chair backs, and two pieces of lace at the same time, this came to a total of 70p, I still felt a little guilty when I left the charity shop even though I donated the 30p change!). The flowers have been painted on top of the glaze, so the plate was probably bought as a blank and decorated at home. The large slops bowl and milk jug were bought in Oban.

Ironstone coffee pot.
I collect red and white china to match the red toile de joy wallpaper that's on the walls of the dining end of our kitchen diner. This coffee pot was a £3 bargain.

I bought a pair of these soup bowls and plates for £3 for the pair. I've also begun to pick-up  brown transfer patterned plates. I especially like the ones that have colours added like this one, which was 50p.

Another one of my coloured brown transfer plates, again bought for 50p.

This green, pressed glass vase is my favourite vase. All types of flowers look good in it because of it's fluted shape. I've had this a while now so I can't remember what I paid for it.

The cruet set in this photo is incomplete as it's missing its salt dish, but it's beautifully made out of silver-plate and the jars are moulded glass. The jug is another 50p find.

You could easily start your own collection without spending too much money. You just have to be prepared to regularly visit your local charity shops, as their stock changes really quickly, so you never know what you're going to find.

Hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my vintage finds.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Elsie May and Bertha giveaway.

To celebrate Elsie May and Bertha's sixth month of trading (I know, it's a lame excuse, but what the heck!) we're giving away one of our cushions.

The Elsie May and Bertha giveaway cushion.
The cushion is made from beige linen and  a has vintage fillet crochet oval appliqued onto the front.

So, what do you need to do to win the cushion? You can do this in one of three ways:
This giveway will be open for the whole of March, the winner will be announced on April Fool's Day, Friday 1st April 2011.

Any current followers etc will automatically qualify.

Good luck.