Doing our bit for the war effort

We had a brilliant time at Clumber. Sadly the weather was not kind to us on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a very damp day of set up and for those who were in the field displays and Ellie and her team, a very wet first day and not many public visiting.

We were fine in the Parsonage and so were very busy on Saturday. Luckily Sunday was lovely and sunny and there were lots of people there enjoying the displays and the music entertainment.Due to the nice weather we expected to be less busy on Sunday but had visitors all day.

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Clumber display 2

Clumber display 1

We very much enjoyed playing our new re-enactment roles of Margaret and Ann from the WI. It was very lovely to be able to sit and drink tea and chat to people in the beautiful surroundings of the Parsonage.

The really lovely thing about the event as Kerry said was that unlike medieval where we are giving people lots of information people were sharing their stories with us, their memories of rationing and the sewing and mending that their mums and grannies did and sometimes some very moving stories of their families during the war.

It was so interesting to hear all about their stories and to meet lots of different people. I didn’t get chance to see any of the events in the field during the day as we were quite far away from that part but we had a really nice chat to lots of the re-enactors on Saturday night at the beer tent and made a new friend who was doing a food rationing display.

Clumber display 5

Dawn (Mrs Mac) had a brilliant display and it was amazing to see how little food the actual weekly ration was, especially the bacon!

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I love bacon and easily eat four times that in a week.We also loved the cardboard wedding cake which lifted off to reveal a small sponge underneath.

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We had two tables, one for clothes rationing and one for the Make and Mend leaflets and there were some very good reactions to my ‘what will you spend your twenty coupons on?’ activity with a list of what things cost in coupons such as a raincoat for 9 coupons and underwear 2 coupons each.

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I also had lots of my vintage textiles displayed and the transformed shirt as well as the knitting patterns. We were lucky to find some lovely vintage cups to have tea out of!

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I am very glad that I took the crochet lace and pegs which were a last minute idea as I had lots of leaflets and they made a great display on the fireplace. I have also made a new set of marigold flowers for my hat which you can see at the front on the table.

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Here I am demonstrating the use of the darning mushroom.The visitors were all very complimentary about the jacket and no-one thought it was made out of tablecloths. I am very inspired to make something else now, maybe a summer blouse.

Clumber event 7

I do have some other pictures of the event which I will share with you later, I am going to be away for the next three weeks, in Spain and at a conference so I will see you all when I return. I am really looking forward to some sun and to lots and lots of sleep! It has been a very busy few weeks but everything has been done now so when I come back things will be much quieter.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Making do – the shirt transformation

I am well underway with all my lovely Make Do and Mend things for my display. I have not only been making things but also acquiring some really interesting things from Ebay. One of the lovely things about this period is that I can actually afford the real artifacts from the period, unlike medieval where they are all in museums or long gone.

I have so much to show you that I am splitting it up into several posts. This one is about one of the charity shop bargain shirts that I got for £1 that I have given a makeover. It did take me a little longer than the one hour they give them on the Sewing Bee but I really enjoyed the process and am very happy with the results.

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I won’t actually wear this one as it is a little short for my taste but will do the same again with other finds as I loved the experimentation. I kept the collar as it was in the end but altered the buttons for some that had a more vintage feel, took in the sleeves and shortened them, added bust darts and shortened it, using the spare material for a cute frill.

I was going to use this piece of embroidered doily for a pocket and so I removed the pocket (thankfully very carefully), and cut it out of the doily but it did not look right so I just used some of the flower motifs for the pocket and collar. I also added some vintage lace to the sleeves.

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I was inspired by advice in the books that I had bought previously on Make do and Mend such as the one below on making new clothes out of worn ones.

MDaM -shirt 2

I have just finished reading the wonderful Stitching for Victory book as well which has lots of similar adverts for patterns and detail about all of the sewing during the war.This pattern uses very much the same idea as above and could be bought for 1 shilling from the Girl’s Own Paper.

MDaM - SfV book 1

They also had an advert for a pattern for lingerie, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some parachute silk or old clothing that was suitable.

MDaM - SfV book 3

Stitching for Victory is such an amazing book that I will have to do a whole post about it, one of the best books I have ever read about stitching history, so much wonderful detail. It is currently available on Amazon for less than £3 so it is a real bargain as well. One of the very lovely things is that there are lots of quotes from the stitchers of the period, so often the makers’ voices get lost in museum exhibits and the history records so it is wonderful to have the words and pictures from all those wonderful people.

One of the other things that I am loving about this period is that I have so many techniques that I can use for my work. Medieval is wonderful but often I have not been able to do something as it does not fit the period whereas there are less restrictions with this so I am really enjoying that freedom, very much like Steampunk although it is lovely to do the research on the history as well and find authentic things for the period.

I wanted a banner for my table display and was trying to think of what I could do when I spotted an embroidery of ‘make do and mend’ on my craft room wall. It was one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs that is waiting to be made up into something and it gave me the ideas to stitch the slogan onto something. I was looking for some vintage linen and came across this embroidered traycloth in my stash that made the perfect frame. I learnt to do chain stitch last year so embroidered the letters in the same colours as the original embroidery and am very pleased with it.

MDaM -banner 1

MDaM -banner 2

I am making a demonstration pair of slippers from some felt and scraps of Liberty for hexagons so I will show you those next time and I have just started making some gorgeous felt flowers.

I have a new hat that I ordered from Ebay that needed a little something. I remember seeing some 1940s brooches years ago on Hen House’s blog and thinking they were really lovely and I have come across lots of inspiration such as this diagram in the Stitching for Victory book so I am on with that at the moment.

MDaM - SfV book 5

I hope that you are all having a lovely creative time with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Favourite colours

Although I love purple I am also really fond of turquoise and pink, my craft room is in these colours and I love how they look together.I realised when I was sorting out photos for this post that both my recent makes are in the same colours.

I have been very productive on the doctorate front with about 10,000 words written this week and I am aiming for a few more before I leave for Poland on Monday. I will then have three weeks not thinking about it at all which will be brilliant. Much as I am enjoying doing it I am spending a lot of time staring at the screen and am really looking forward to reading books and going for walks when in Spain, and of course seeing Krakow which looks stunning!

I finished this little basket as a birthday present for a friend’s not so little girl last weekend, she is 11 this year and I was really pleased to be able to get some matching nail polish and toe separators as I know that she loves painting her nails.This is the smallest version of the Friends of the One Hour basket pattern and is available via a link from this blog for just £4. I have made this pattern so many times now it is so versatile and I love it.

I have also finished another outfit for Barbie, well nearly, the dress is still pinned together and needs the Velcro adding but that will be done before I take it to Spain as a gift for one of my cousin’s daughters.

Barbie coat and dress 4

I used the leftover shirt fabric as before with some other scraps and the coat pattern comes from my old pattern book that I mentioned in my original Barbie clothes post.

Barbie coat and dress 1

Barbie coat and dress 2

The coat is a little big but I think it looks very snug and the yarn is lovely and soft. I have a turquoise shrug to go with the outfit as well and another few dresses in progress to go with a pink version of the coat as well.

Barbie coat and dress 3

Although I haven’t started on the WW2 make do and mend outfit I have had a charity shop bargain haul and came home with a jacket, two shirts, some trousers and a hat all for £5 which I was very pleased with. I also bought a bag and a pair of sandals for Spain for £1 each. This is an RSPCA clearance shop where everything is £1 but I don’t often go there as it is out of town but was in the area and was really pleased to get all of that.

I will take some before pictures of the items and then I need to get cracking on that when I return, I am fast running out of days to do everything so if anyone finds a knitting pattern for an extra day a week please send me a link 🙂

I am off to Sarah’s now as she is having a wool de-stash, I am going to be good and not try and buy anything but am just going for a bit of a catch up, there may be wine involved!

I will be back in three weeks, take care, have fun and thanks for visiting.

I’m a Barbie girl ….

Do you remember that very irritating song some years ago that started with this? I recall the lines about it being fantastic and plastic and it did remind me at the time of my own fun playing with Barbies as a child.

I loved making clothes and houses for Barbie when Ellie was little. I made an entire apartment out of cardboard boxes, including all of the furniture and we loved doing that together, visiting the DIY shop for large samples of wallpaper and using old carpet and fabric scraps.

I have decided to make some Barbie clothes as presents for the younger cousins this year as all of them have the dolls and enjoy playing with them but don’t have an extensive wardrobe. I am hoping I might be able to do a little bit of knitting for them as well, I have not knitted for ages but think my wrist would stand some small items.

I have bought myself a model for fitting purposes, she came from the local charity shop.I thought I might be able to make a pattern from the jeans she is wearing.

barbie model 1barbie model 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do have a knitting pattern book from ages ago and have been looking up some new resources which I thought I would share with you. You can see that the owner of my doll also had the same knitting book, the ski jumper is identical and look at those fab 1990s disco outfits. I am sure I had some jumpers that were very similar at the time!

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I was also looking at Barbie sets on Ebay and was so tempted.They had the original Country Camper on Ebay which I remember getting for Christmas one year and was thrilled, that obviously sewed the seeds for my love of camping and camper vans.

barbie country camper

There is a newer version as well which is fantastic, look at all the options you have here, and a pool!

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This Sprucecrafts site has got links to ten other sites with patterns or tutorials for clothes.My favourite link out of all of them is this one Craftiness is not optional, not just for the wonderful blog name but also for all of the beautiful and very simple and adaptable ideas there are here.Pictures below are from the blog.

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I have also found a pattern for a little knitted shrug from this site.

barbie shrug

I am really looking forward to making some cute skirts and dresses with some of my Liberty fabric and my collection of lace, crochet and vintage embroidery. I was lucky enough to get these three new tray cloths on my charity shop trip as well and Barbie clothes will be great for using up the tiny scraps.

vintage traycloths jan all

 

I am planning to make more of the Liberty edged vintage log cabin blocks as below with these as well as eventually I would like enough to make a quilt.

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I think it would look really cute to try and make some skirts for the dolls with the embroidery on the bottom using the tray cloth designs. If I can make it work for a whole jacket I should be able to do it for some Barbie skirts!

vintage traycloths jan 4

 

Progress on the Steampunk Vampire hunter outfit is going well, I finished embellishing the hat and umbrella some weeks ago and have bought some new lace gloves and the black skirt in the same design as the red and purple ones.

I am really looking forward to Whitby next weekend, not only is it a chance to spend time with Ellie. Kerry and James but I can’t wait to see all the lovely outfits that everyone is wearing there.

I was very pleased, after fruitless hours of searching on Ebay for bottles and printable labels, to find this gorgeous perfume bottle that I am going to use as a holy water bottle. It was in a local shop for the bargain sum of £2 🙂 Isn’t it beautiful? I am going to hang it from my belt.

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 1

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 2

I will take lots of photos for you and be back soon with those. Meanwhile have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

It was the last few days before Christmas ….

And all through the house there was lots of activity, making the last minute baubles, finishing off a cross stitched ornament and lots and lots of cooking!

I think I am done now. I am now making a few more baubles just to experiment with ribbon, some may be gifted next year as I think I am going to give these again for 2019, (nothing like getting ahead is there, though I may well find something new to make before then.)

Xmas ribbon baubles 1

I do love the way these ribbon ones have turned out, they are a lot quicker to do than the fabric ones as I have used less layers but they still look lovely. Some of the decoration at the ribbon intersections is pins and some little metal balls pinned on.

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Earlier in the year you may remember I had a churn dash block craze and I made these two ornaments for my cousins then, I love the way that they have come out but didn’t realise until taking the pictures that the red fabric for the backing is on sideways – oops! The little charms are from Ebay here.

Xmas churn dash ornies 1

Xmas churn dash ornies 2

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I did not get chance to make lots of other things this week as I have had a lot of marking to do so still have some pouches to stitch together after Christmas but luckily not everything sold at Yarndale so I have enough things for gifts.

I did manage a little apron for Ava my nearly two year old great niece. I have made similar ones from this tutorial here before.

 

I used the same fabric back and front to make it so it is reversible, the tutorial pattern has a pocket included but though I cut one out, (you use the armhole cutouts for the pockets), it covered up too much of the cute elephants on the design so it left it off. All of this came from stash and I think I have had the fabric for about 5 years, it came from my last trip to China!

I have made lots of delicious focaccia for the festive season along with a gluten free chocolate, ginger and orange cheesecake and some mincemeat blondies which are our new favourite thing here, they are like a very squidgy soft version of Christmas cake and will be delicious with the rum clotted cream that I am going to make 🙂

Our Christmas will be a little fragmented this year as Ellen is working tomorrow and Christmas Day and Jake is working Christmas Eve and Boxing Day so wonderful Kerry is coming tomorrow to take me to Ellen’s for two days and three church services, (two at beautiful Clumber Chapel), then Ellen and I are driving back here on Christmas Day after church to spend the rest of it with Jake. At least we will be together for a little bit. I am then off to Spain for two weeks.

So I shall say Happy Christmas to you all now as I won’t be around again until mid Jan, hope that you all have a very good festive season and a great New Year’s Eve. I will be at the Chinese restaurant in La Marina as usual, dancing and watching fireworks.

Take care and thanks for visiting and see you in 2019!

Steampunks in Space – return from the Delta Quadrant

We had a lovely time last week at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre in Leicester. As always there were fabulous costumes and Captain Janeway was ably assisted by her first officer Ellen and companion captain from Serenity, James.

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Steampunks in Space 2

Ellen’s costume was brilliant, she made the bolero and hat herself and it all looked so good together. She now has an extensive wardrobe of pieces that she can combine in different ways like the corsets, leggings and bustle. The phaser is from one of her University fancy dress outfits.

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My hat was decorated with some little model ships and some control panel pictures, pictures taken in the toilet again as the light was good there!

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This year they also had some costumes made with a space theme by various members of the Seamstress Squadron which were on display, such talented people!

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The tie fighter hat and Death Star costume below was the overall winner of the costume competition along with her Steam Trooper companion. Such creativity!

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Not only were there the great costumes to admire but also all the brilliant stuff at the Space Centre, we didn’t do any of this last year meaning to go back but ran out of time so never did.

There were some great interactive activities, designed for kids which we really loved like the mining activity where you had to control a bucket with levers to load rocks and this chair which again was lever controlled.

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We are both really concentrating on the display screen here as it was really difficult to control.

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We also really enjoyed seeing what we look like under infra – red, Ellen is the one with the really cold nose! Picture courtesy of James.

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I remember the first moon landings and many years ago we went and visited the Space Centre in Florida as part of a fantastic US holiday so I have always been really interested in this, particularly the human stories behind it. I have read biographies of both astronauts and control crew and loved the Hidden Figures movie. I am waiting for First Man to come out on DVD so I can watch that.

I am still working on embroidering stockings, hopefully they will be all completed this week and then I have a little bit of frantic machining to do to get everything together. Where does the time go, I am sure last time I looked it was only October!

I hope that you have all had a good week, I am looking forward to the last couple of weeks of teaching and then being on leave, and going to Spain, it will be so good to see my Mum as I haven’t been since July.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Marsden Magic

Sadly I have to report that the black velvet jacket got abandoned on Thursday, I was already having trouble with the bodice fitting, the seams kept slipping as I was stitching but the final crunch came when I realised I had cut down the sleeves too small again!

I have so much trouble with fitting, everything was far too big when I first cut it out and I thought I had trimmed just enough off but it was not to be so I now have a bag of large velvet scraps that I will do something with at some point.Next time I attempt a jacket I am going to do a toile first and get the fitting right before I cut!

I was disappointed but at least I had the lovely red skirt and my old velvet jacket to wear. Ellie came up for a few days and I was saying to her that evening that what I really wanted was to find a charity shop jacket that I could adorn, preferably a man’s dinner suit but they were so hard to find.

We went for a little walk and a bit of charity shop browsing the following afternoon and a miracle occurred as one of the charity shops had not one but ten brand new men’s dinner suits on sale and one of the ones in my size was a beautiful shawl collared one, with the collar made of black satin. It fitted really well apart from the sleeves being too long and the whole suit was only £10 🙂

Dinner jacket 1

A few hours of adding lace yesterday and I now have a beautifully decorated jacket for next weekend, without all the stress of sewing black velvet! I am very happy and relieved. I have also put lace on the cuffs and pockets.

Dinner jacket 2

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Dinner jacket 3

The little red insert in the pocket is a cut off from altering the waistband on the gorgeous skirt I bought some time ago, I love the style of these and will probably end up with one in every colour!

Steampunk red skirt

Ellie also found some boots for herself in another charity shop which she was really pleased with having been on an unsuccessful shopping trip on the way here to a huge shopping complex where she trailed round every shop unsuccessfully. Marsden truly is a wonderful place!

My theme for the Steampunks in Space event is Star Trek and I am taking inspiration from Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, with my outfit.

Captain Janeway

We have some comm badges that we bought from Etsy and I have some tiny space ships to decorate my red hat and hopefully some printouts of the control screens.Ellie has made a lovely bolero jacket and still has her phaser from a previous outfit so we are ready to beam aboard and go where no man has gone before! Photos of all the outfits to follow plus all the other amazing stuff, we were so in awe last year.

I have also been making more delicious bread, I made an olive version as well this weekend, I really could just live on this, it is wonderful.

Nov bread baking

We had Christmas bauble making part two on Friday, at a friend’s house and there were lots of people there, I think in total about 12 baubles got made and everyone enjoyed themselves so that was great. Only a couple of photos due to lack of light and being busy but don’t these two look lovely?

Nov baubles at Janes 1

Nov baubles at Janes 2

Nov baubles at Janes 3

After next weekend I must crack on with the Christmas stockings and gifts, as it will be only a month to go, every year I think I give myself lots of time to do things and then it all evaporates!

At least I now have a jacket to wear to Whitby Steampunk in February as well so will just concentrate on making some capes. I have the capelet/bustle from the black velvet cut out and that doesn’t have to fit so will put that together for an extra layer and the just embellish the red hat again.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.