Post doctoral bliss

Much as I enjoyed doing the doctorate I am glad that it is finished. I am just waiting to have my final examination which will probably be in about 6 weeks time. Meanwhile I have been really enjoying having lots and lots of free time to do creative things and have been making some more Barbie clothes as Christmas presents.

I have been inspired by some amazing sites that I actually found during my research for 1940s fashion so will post about those separately. I bought a pattern for these latest dresses from this Etsy seller , excellent value at only £2.76 for a digital download of all of these lovely 80s style fashions.

Barbie dress pattern

 

I have made four dresses so far, two using the pink dress pattern in the top right for inspiration, minus the bottom ruffle and extending the length of the dress.

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Barbie gowns 6

All fabric came from stash, I think the black and gold ones were originally from Kerry as they look like sample from her dress fabric for medieval gowns. I did buy the little roses.

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The pattern was a little fiddly due to trying to finish seams that were only and inch long but very quick to make and I really enjoyed going through the stash to find all the gorgeous fabrics as I don’t usually make things with silk and velvet.

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Barbie gowns 10

I am hoping that developing my skills with Barbie patterns will help me with making clothes for myself as I need to get better at using patterns generally. I have been watching lots of sewing sites and the answer seems to be to make mock ups or toiles of each pattern for fit.

I used the bodice pattern from the blue dress on the top right of the pattern and altered the skirt to make this lovely little cocktail dress.

Barbie gowns 1

The skirt is actually two layers, silk and chiffon, so it looks really pretty close up. I have enough silk left to make the coat on the bottom row to go with it.

Barbie gowns 2

The final dress was another cocktail dress, using up some of the velvet that I abandoned last year after trying to make a jacket for me. I paired it with some black silk for the top and some lace from my stash which I stitched on then embellished. I am very pleased with this one and think it looks really elegant.

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I have lots more ideas for gowns so am hoping to get at least four more made before Christmas. I am also knitting, just finishing off a Little Cotton Rabbits bunny at the moment for my youngest great-niece’s birthday at the end of the month and working on a doll’s blanket for the local school. It is lovely to just sit and watch Netflix and work on these projects in the evenings with the candles lit 🙂

I hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and are going to have a good week ahead. Term is in full swing so I may not get much done before next weekend when lovely Kerry comes up for a bit of sewing!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Inspired by Marsden

There are many things that I love about Marsden, the moors and reservoirs that surround us, the lovely village with its river and canal, all of the entertainment here and my lovely friends but one of my favourite things is the random sheep we have wandering around the village.

I love the way they just meander across the roads, they have a particular favourite grazing spot on the mini roundabout at the bottom of the road and they stop the traffic regularly as they cross from there. They do think they own the place so I was pleased to make some more of my lovely inspired by Marsden sheep bags for Yarndale.

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I love stitching these, they take quite a long time to do but look cute. I only had time to make three this year but hopefully people will like the colours that I have chosen.

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I also made two pouches with felt flowers on, these are very quick to do and I can see more of these being made as gifts.

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I have been having a very productive time making Christmas gifts including some haute couture for Barbie so when those are finally finished I will be able to post about them. I have bought an actual pattern and am hoping that by practising on Barbie size I might improve my own dressmaking skills. I am having fun anyway!

I hope that you have had a nice weekend, it has been lovely today and I have just been for a walk to the reservoir in the wonderful autumn sunshine. I have made a slow cooker stew for tea and a delicious sticky toffee banana cake so all is right with my little world 🙂

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Historic Scotland

We were staying quite a distance away from most of the National Trust for Scotland properties but did travel across to the other coast one day to visit the historic town of Culross.

We stopped for a cup of tea in a very cute little cafe and as I was looking out of the window I thought it looked familiar and I might have seen it in a film and turned round to see a signed picture from one of the stars of Outlander. I have really enjoyed this historical series, particularly looking at the costume, so I was really interested to hear about the locations that were used for the series.

The two pictures below show how the market square above was transformed for some of the scenes in one of the earlier seasons.

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Scotland Culross-Outlander 2

The whole of the town is beautiful, there are such gorgeous cottages along winding streets leading up to the hill with views across the Firth of Forth.

We also visited Culross Palace, really a manor house rather than a place with amazing painted ceilings. No pictures were allowed inside so I only have ones from other travel sites.

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Scotland Culross Palace

There was a gorgeous garden as well that goes all the way up to the hillside. There were some wonderful thistles and cardoons. The gardens were also used in the filming as they grow lots of traditional herbs there.

The most wonderful thing for me was that there is a Culross Needlework group who have been working on some gorgeous things to decorate the rooms. This picture is from the National Trust website.

Culross needlework - cloth

There were so many amazing examples of 17th and 18th century embroidery including sweet bags, pillows, pincushions, bed hangings and coverlets.

Sadly I have not been able to find many other pictures of their work apart from these few from the Trust website but there is an article about them here. They had also recreated one of mine and Ellen’s favourite pieces, the Layton jacket, which was in one of the bedrooms.

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Scotland Culross_detail_jacket_

With each piece there was information about the embroidery and the stitches used. It really made the place come alive and I hope it is something that the Trust encourages at other properties.

We also enjoyed a visit to Kilchurn Castle which stands in an amazing location at the end of a loch near where my friend lives. It was a gloomy and wet day when we visited but I can imaging the castle in all its glory and its location makes for some amazing photos.

We also met a lovely pair of Highland cows and had a chat to a photographer who works there taking amazing photos in all seasons.

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This is one of mine from across the loch through the rain in a very nice hotel where we had some tea and a chat to Jake all the way in Japan via the miracles of the internet.

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We ended our trip with a visit to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, which Ellen was particularly keen to see as they have built a box around it to preserve it from the weather. I love the Art Deco designs of Charles and Margaret Mackintosh and her wonderful artwork and embroidery.

A really excellent holiday combining all of my favourite things, camping, mountains, historic houses, needlework and of course family and friends. I will definitely be back soon!

Yarndale is taking place this weekend so hopefully Sharon and Sarah will have had a good time, I managed to make a few things for sale so I will be back in a while to post pictures of those. I am having a very relaxing and creative weekend. I was hoping to do a bit of walking but it has been so appallingly wet that I am quite content to stay in and watch the pouring rain from the comfort of my sewing room.

Hope you are all having a lovely time and are not too wet where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Scotland the beautiful

The holiday to Scotland seems a while away now that we are gearing up for the new term but I am planning to go back next year as well for more exploring. I have been to Scotland a few times before but not for about 14 years and the beauty of it never fails to amaze me.

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We stayed just above Loch Lomond for the first three nights in a lovely campsite which is right on the West Highland Way. There is our lovely green tent with wonderful views over to the hills.

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Most of our fellow campers were walking the 90 odd miles of the way so we just saw them arrive early evening and then pack up and leave the next day. We did feel sorry for them the mornings it was raining!

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The campsite is called Beinglas and I can highly recommend it, very lovely with a bar and restaurant and well equipped shop and a little river running through it.

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The main access bridge to the site had been flooded but Ellen did a brilliant job with going up and down the slightly bumpy back access road.

We stopped en route at a the gorgeous Lowther Castle in Cumbria, another Victorian castle build which is now a ruin with very creative gardens within its walls and beautiful parkland which is slowly being restored.

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There were some lovely little follies and architectural treasures all around the park.

I love these hydrangeas in the picture above, they always look like they have butterflies landing on them.

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Our first day was a trip to Lochgoilhead for a wander which was just gorgeous,it was a slightly cloudy day and I just loved seeing the clouds hanging over the hills.

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There were some beautiful plants on our walk and interesting moss and ferns on the walls and lots of mussel shells.

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Scotland Lochgoilhead 13

We visited the old church as well. I love the decoration on the gravestones and the rusted ironwork.

Then it was back to the campsite for the last BBQ of the year in the UK, I have however just booked my flight to Spain where I shall be spending both Christmas and New Year 🙂 so I will be having a BBQ on Christmas Day after a picnic lunch on the beach.

We went to Scotland specifically to see my friend Sue who has partly retired there, she is living in the most gorgeous cottage, not quite in the middle of nowhere but about 2 miles from the main road in the forest with amazing views.

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Scotland Sue 1

It was lovely to spend the day and night with her, especially after a slightly damp end to our camping, the wood burner in the cottage was much appreciated!

We also managed to pack in a bit of a tour of Scotland to see some of the National Trust for Scotland properties so I will be back later in the week with some pictures of those. I hope that you have all had a nice weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Butterflies and sunshine

Lincoln Steampunk was brilliant again. We did not have as much time as usual wandering around the castle area due to some confusion about catching the bus to the campus to see what was going on there but saw lots of lovely costumes as always.I really loved this purple angel with working wings.There were also some beautiful and unusual costumes like the black ballgown with cogs and the book spine corset dress that had the most amazing ruffle skirt.

It was very hot so we were happy not to be doing too much walking. We spent some time at up the University campus where we bumped into a woman we recognised from last year.She had previously been wearing a Death Star dress and Millennium Falcon hat and this year she and her partner were dressed as two more characters from Star Wars, with a twist. I give you Gin Solo and Teabacca!

How brilliantly creative is that. I love the detail here with the gin bottle belt and the tea holster complete with cup and the marvelous gun.It never ceases to amaze me the ideas people come up with.

There were lots and lots of butterfly costumes and pretty flowers, these two sisters had made beautiful parasols by appliqueing flowers to plain umbrellas and I loved the butterfly head dress here.

The ladies from Lichtenstein were there again with the usual fabulous themed costumes. This year it was sewing accessories. I only managed to take one picture of them while I was at the event, so these are from their Facebook page. They are so beautiful and the detail of their accessories is amazing.

We bumped into some more friends from Steampunk, who were also wearing very brave costumes for such a hot day. Here are Fox and Sian. At least Fox is not wearing 7 stone of armour on a boiling July day as he often has been. And there were plenty of chances to stop for restorative tea which we don’t have in the 1400s!

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Ellie looked amazing, you have already seen the Worth dress but it deserves some more pictures and more of the beautiful hat which is new for this event. She is so clever and really suits the elegant Edwardian look.The hat was a plain cream one from the charity shop and I think the black lace really makes it look stunning.

We also bumped into a couple that we met at Clumber on the 1940s weekend, I love this red, white and blue ensemble. This women told us previously she had about 50 hats which I think is splendid, as I said in my last post we need more hat wearing, preferably very beautiful and ornate ones as well.

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I was very pleased with my new hat, everything stayed attached all day. I have now bought myself a glue gun so there is no stopping me now in my ability to create wondrous things!

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Lincoln - selfie

We are definitely going to go for the whole weekend next year as one day is just not enough. Of course that will mean at least 5 outfits as we would like to go to a ball as well so I really had better get cracking. I do have 3 skirts and a jacket to use as a base for a creation, as well as the tablecloth jacket but I need at least 2 more outfits really. I had better get scouring the charity shops for more bargains.

I have had a very pleasant rest of the weekend,I only worked Saturday morning so there was lots of crafting time and catching up with friends. I do love this time of year, lots of new beginnings and plans for the autumn.

Hope that you have a lovely week ahead, term starts next week so it will be very full on then so I am making the most of the lull. I will be back later in the week with pictures from Scotland. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Costume inspiration

The recent visit to Bankfield Museum gave us so many ideas for future Steampunk costume. There were some lovely fashion plates up the stairs and decorating the rooms and then some gorgeous Victorian gowns. I really love this purpley/grey one on the left here and Ellie would love to make the pink one below.

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The dress in the foreground of the picture above was originally purple and you can see that on the fringe and the mottling on the back of the dress. The one at the back is so elegant, I love the shaping on the jacket.

We also loved the fact that they  had dress up, and not just for children. These top pictures were really high quality reproductions of two of the Regency outfits they had on display, the embroidery on waistcoats from this period is always stunning.

There were also some displays of local textile production, including a lovely collection of hat pins, cuff links and buttons all made from casein which is actually milk protein! Fascinating to think that buttons can be made of milk.

It is so nice as well to see pictures of the women who made the hat pins. There was such a huge demand for them then. I think it is a great pity there is not more hat wearing, and I don’t just mean woolly ones in winter. Bring back hats for everyday wear!

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There was also the display of the gorgeous costumes from the Gentleman Jack TV series, part of which was filmed in Halifax, at Shibden Hall where Ann Lister lived. This is the fourth TV costume exhibition we have seen, the others being Victoria, Downton Abbey and a sneak peek at some of the Wolf Hall ones from before the exhibition . I really like seeing the clothes in detail, close up without the cases the museum pieces often have to be in. The sleeve silhouettes on these dresses are gorgeous and I love the lace shawls.

In the cases round the room there were also some fascinating needlework tools and accessories and samplers, I love seeing things like these, they really make you think about who was using them and what they were making and the skill level of these very young needlewomen.

One of the most interesting was this pincushion made from a shell. You can also see a walnut thimble case in one of the above pictures, next to the miniature sewing machine.

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I have started reading the Elm Creek Quilts book series again, I first read them all about 10 years ago and loved them so have the joy of re-reading all 20 books in the series and was very excited to learn that a new story is being published. It is definitely making me want to make more quilt blocks again after all the Yarndale stock is finished.

I am interspersing time in the craft room doing that with finishing off a knitted animal and then am going to work on some Christmas and birthday gifts. As well as more Barbie clothes I really want to make a quiet book. I have been doing some research and have found some gorgeous ideas. I particularly love the ones that are little doll houses like this one in this video. Look at the cuteness of the little cat and teddy and that wonderful wardrobe!

Quiet book doll houseSo many lovely things to make and luckily more time to do them! Jake is happily finding his feet in Japan, the doctorate is done 🙂 apart from the final proof read and printing off so I can indulge myself in all manner of crafty loveliness with all this free time I now have!

 

Hope that you are having a nice weekend as well. I will be back soon with some of the Lincoln Steampunk costumes.Take care and thanks for visiting.

Halifax at War

We had a lovely day out after dropping Jake off at the airport and our first stop was back to the brilliant Bankfield Museum where they had a really good exhibition about the town’s involvement in WW2.

Halifax at war 1

This was the same place where we saw the excellent Women Traveller’s exhibition in the Spring and once again I was really impressed with their interpretation.

As well as the wealth of original artefacts on display there were some really lovely examples of civilian dress, some of these were Utility garments. We really loved these beautiful dresses.

What we really liked was the focus on the town’s involvement, Halifax has been an important textile centre for centuries and so the exhibition talked about the involvement in making wool for uniforms.There were lots of original publications about textile production during the war which was really interesting for me.

There was also some lovely Make do and Mend areas with some familiar things. I was very excited to see an original slipper pattern as you may remember that I bought a copy of one like this for my display. We were also pleased to find that we girls could be useful to the war effort as well as decorative 😉

The museum also had just opened their new costume gallery and in addition had an exhibition of costumes from the Gentleman Jack TV series. This tells the story of Anne Lister, one of the women featured in the Women Travellers’ exhibition, so I will do another post with all those pictures.

I have been having a wonderful relaxing week, mainly embroidering sheep for this year’s Yarndale stock. Jake has started his teaching and is enjoying teaching Primary age children in the centre of Tokyo.

Teaching starts tomorrow for me so I am looking forward to meeting a new group. I do have Sunday and Monday off to carry on with the Yarndale bags and pouches as there are only a few weeks to go! I don’t know where this year has gone, the summer seems to have flown by and I am sad that it is over but as usual looking forward to more time to stitch.

I hope that you have had a nice week and have an enjoyable weekend planned. Thanks for visiting, take care and I will see you again soon with more costume loveliness.