Friday, 26 August 2011

Our bedroom

A few weeks ago I blogged about my living room, and as I received some favourable comments I thought that I'd share the rest of our house with you. So here's the next one on our bedroom. All of the photos in this blog are my views of the room when I'm bed as they're the views that I see so often. So much so, that most of the items in the room, such as those on the shelf above the radiator are faced towards me as I'm the one who spends most time in their (my better half gets up once he's awake, but I like to linger reading my book or magazine etc).

My bedside table. The pictures are of our old family cats, Guinness, Charlie and April. The underneath shelf houses my magazines and books to be read.
Now, I know that I'm really lucky in having such a large bedroom (it's 15ft x 17ft 6in approx.) and, as we have a dressing room, there aren't any wardrobes in their. The current decorating scheme was updated last year with the Laura Ashley wallpaper on the walls behind and next to the bed (you can see photos of our bed in my 'Dressing the Bed' post).

The samplers on the wall were embroidered by me. The pile of cushions in front of the glass cabinet are the ones off the bed, with bedding being stored in the two chests.
There's a settee at the bottom of the bed.
The chest of drawers was made by my husband when we were first married. The dressing table I've had since I was young.
I made the curtains from Ikea bedspreads. The pictures are of two distilleries, Dalwhinnie and Talisker.
My two companions, Jack at the back and the back of Ollie.
Our bedroom my not be hotel chic, but it has everything we need and is extremely comfortable.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Charity shop finds - books and fabric

Prompted by the queen of thrift, A Thrifty Mrs, who has posted her charity shop finds in her 'Sunday Spied' series, I thought I'd share my charity shop finds with the world, well the people who read this blog anyway. If you've not visited A Thrifty Mrs' blog before, I urge you to go and have a browse through her writings.

Yesterday I made my usual Wednesday trawl around our local charity shops. We have a good selection in Wallasey and New Brighton as there are St. John's Hospice, Age UK, St. Vincent, British Heart Foundation, Roy Castle Foundation, Barnardo's, Claire House, Sue Ryder and Oxfam, though some of them carry a lot of new stuff, which I'm not really interested apart from the cards.

I found this book in Oxfam for the princely sum of £1.99.

McCalls Sewing in Colour.
Though this book was first printed in 1964 and this is a 1974 reprint, so some of the styles of clothes are well out of fashion (though some of the 70s ones are 'in' now) there are some great instructions for dress-making and for soft-furnishings.

Full of useful dress-making information
That book was my only find in Liscard, so I popped on the bus to New Brighton, the home of my favourite charity shop, the St. John Hospice shop (they do have a book shop in Liscard as well, but I didn't go into there). Here, in a full shop (there was lots of furniture in there this week) I found the rest of my finds, another book, an old needlework magazine, some fabric and a bar brooch.
The fabric - a large piece of red cotton, a grey velvet and a lovely flowered print. All of which will be used to Elsie May and Bertha projects.

Charity shop fabric finds.
The book - this was Anna Griffith's 'An Introduction to Embroidery'. I already have lots of other embroidery books, but I always find something new in each one, so can't help but buy them.

Another embroidery booked added to my collection.
I like the idea on this page for creating a picture using french knots.

Using french knots to create a picture.

The magazine is a 1956 edition of 'Needlewoman and Needlecraft', and it still has its free transfer still inside.

Needlewoman and Needlecraft 1956 edition.

The intact embroidery transfers.
There are a couple of knitting patterns for two lovely 50s jumpers.

Two knitting patterns.
Last, but not least, I spotted this diamante bar brooch under the counter when I went to pay for my other items. I'll be making a brooch cushion to go with it in the not to distant future.

A vintage diamante brooch.
I only had to spend £4 for this little lot from the hospice shop, £2 of which was for the brooch, that's a bargain.

Pop into your local charity shops to find your own goodies (or you could buy something from the Elsie May and Bertha Vintage Emporium).


Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Finishing Touch

I have a few handbags, well a lot really! Unfortunately, I don't have the opportunity to use them so often now that I work from home. I'm also one of those people who likes to have her handbag to match her outfit, which is one of the reasons why I have so many. I'm also the same with gloves and shoes. Though I do have a problem with the shoes, I have wide feet so there's a lot of lovely shoes out there that I could only fit my big toe in.!

 Anyway, less about me and more about what this post is supposed to be about, the 'Finishing Touch' exhibition at the Lady Lever art gallery. It's about women's accessories and covers 1830 - 1940, that's shoes, gloves and bags, what more could a girl want, so I went to have a look yesterday with my Mum and Dad.

1920s portfolio of patterns.
One thing that I did learn was that originally shoes were made the same for both left and right feet, not shaped at all. In fact they sort of look like long tubes.

These shoes were Queen Victoria's.
These blue slippers are tapestry and lined with fur.
These boots are made with silk, and have lace ties up the side, but notice although the laces are on different sides the shapes of both the boots are the same.
Pointy 1920s shoes, at least by then the shoes were made for left and right feet separately, though they're still really narrow.
These slippers belonged to Queen Alexandra before she was married, the fronts were embroidered by her maid
These 30s shoes came from Russell and Bromley and could almost be a pair of today's shoes.

Handbags - there weren't too many handbags, but the ones that were their were beautiful.

This bag is decorated with glass beads.
Another beaded bag, though it is a lot later than the one above.
This is a combined muff and handbag, though it is made from beaver.
I'd definitely give this 30s evening bag house room, and certainly wouldn't look out of place today.
Hats, we don't wear them as often these days. In the 1830s you'd wear a cap in your house and a bonnet outside, depending on your social station of course. I have a couple of hats myself, a cerise cloche-style hat, a wide-brimmed blue and white sun hat, a couple of straw summer hats, and a few woollen ones.

A couple of Victorian ladies with their bonnets and parasols.
A wedding bonnet, with beautiful lace.
The back of a brown straw bonnet decorated with ostrich feathers.
The green part of this hat is made from horsehair while the bronze fabric is silk.
This hat is decorate with artificial pansies and an ostrich feather.

A 1920s straw cloche hat.
Gloves - at one time a woman wouldn't haven been seen without gloves and they were worn inside and out. These days we tend to only wear them outside to keep warm in winter and, of course, that would have been one of the reasons why women used to wear them in the house, as there was no central heating!

A pair of long lace mittens.
Jewellery - again there isn't a lot of jewellery in the exhibition, but there is is beautiful.

A selection of brooches.

A lovely necklace and ear-ring set.
These pictures just show a few of the items in the exhibition, and it, and the rest of the gallery is well worth a visit if you're in Port Sunlight. You have plenty of time to see the 'Finishing Touch' exhibition as doesn't close until 11 December 2011.



Friday, 5 August 2011

Lavender's blue dilly dilly

Lavender in my Mum's front garden
I love lavender. I know I say I 'love' something a lot, but in the case of lavender I really mean it (I really must come up with something new when I really like something. Ooh three 'reallys', must do something about that as well. Anyway I digress).
More of my Mum's lavender
Lavender has loads of uses:
  • you can use it in cooking - last Sunday my Mum used a few lavender flowers in some poached plums, it added an almost ginger flavour. But there's lots of other things such as shortbread and ice cream it can be added to. You just have to remember to use it sparingly otherwise it can overwhelm whatever you're adding it to.
  • to help you to sleep - add a couple of drops of lavender to water in an oil burner to release the fragrance. Pop a lavender pillow under your own pillow or a lavender bunny in a child's bed (we have a nice selection at Elsie May and Bertha). Plus there's lots if lavender scented candles and incense sticks out there, may I suggest The Lush Candle Shop for burners, lavender oil and lavender candles?
Elsie May and Bertha lavender pillows.
  • soaps, bath oils etc - lavender's so lovely and relaxing.
  • keeping away moths - if you put lavender sachets in your drawers or hang a lavender heart on your hangers, the smell keeps moths away from your clothes. Moth prevention is definitely important if you've been following the cashmere trend of the past few years. Moths love cashmere. Again, Elsie May and Bertha has a wide range of lavender hearts and sachets.
Lavender bunnies from Elsie May and Bertha.
Of course, you don't have to buy lavender goodies from Elsie May and Bertha (but, of course, I'd love it if you did). It's easy to knock up a lavender sachet or heart yourself. All you need is some scraps of fabric, dried lavender (you can buy this or dry your own lavender from your garden) and some stuffing (if you want your heart/sachet to be really plump, otherwise just add the lavender). Decide what shape you want to do, a square or oblong is the easiest, or create your self a heart template. Right-sides facing use running stitch (smallish stitches are best as the lavender is less likely to spill out) around the edges of the fabric leaving a gap so your can turn it inside out and fill it with lavender. Once you've done that, sew up the hole, and Bob's your uncle.
Elsie May and Bertha lavender hearts.