Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year - A time for reflection

So, the dawning of a new year is almost upon us.  Only a few hours left.  How are you spending it?? 

Me?  Well, we've headed west and as I type this, I'm snuggled down in Cornwall enjoying a much needed rest, accompanied by a rather large box of chocolates!  As to ringing in the new year, I don't much care for big celebrations and will instead let January 1st creep in while I sleep soundly in my bed :o)

Although I’m not one for parties or a great explosion of noise at the stroke of twelve, there is something rather wonderful about the new year.  
The coming of the midnight hour acts as a seal to the 365 days that have gone before it.  All those things, both good and bad, which cannot be changed and now belong to history, like a chapter in the life of our little family of four.

In the last few hours left to us in 2012, it’s a time for reflection, I feel.  A "recap", so to speak, on those things that the year 2012 brought us.

2012 could very well be called the year of the jumper!  When sifting through the photographs for this post, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the woollies that ended up on the "made it list" but didn't realise quite how many had been done - no wonder my fingers are tired!  In the 366 days of this wonderful year, more than 20 woollies have bid me farewell and headed to pastures new - just take a look :o)

There are some things that happened in 2012 that I'm rather proud of and it wouldn't be right if I didn't include them in this little round up of the year. 

My corsages being sold in the Snibston Discovery Centre alongside their
CC41 clothing exhibition.  

Photographs of my brooches making it into Bead Magazine and one of
our jumpers making a "blink and you'll miss it" appearance on the Turn Back Time
On the vintage front, well, where do I start?!  2012 has certainly been a boom year from a finds point of view.  With vintage very much being "en trend" there has never been a better time to seek out those special pieces.  From knitting patterns to vintage clothing, the market has been a busy one and there are some that I'm especially fond of.

From a family point of view, it's been a good year.  We've had mostly ups, occasional downs, but we've come through it unscathed and very much for the better.  With the girls so small, we're acutely aware that every passing year, every passing day in fact, is one that we shall never get back and try, as best we can, to make the most of each and every day :-)  2012 saw Caitlin turn 6 and Molly turn 5 - our girls are growing so fast.

As to the tradition of resolutions?  I don't go in for all that.  I know that if I made them I'd only break them and so don't set myself up to fail.  Instead, I write myself a list of "hopes" for the coming year. 

1.  To write more.  Both on here and on a personal level.  My brother bought me a beautiful raspberry pink leather journal.  I like the emptiness of the page, a blank canvas for the year ahead just waiting to be filled.  I've kept a journal, ad hock, for the past 5 years but this year I hope to make the filling in of it an almost daily occurrence thus creating a wonderful keepsake for the girls to treasure in years to come.

2.  Learn to crochet - properly!!  I really want to master this art to make use of all the lovely vintage patterns that are out there!  This should be attainable thanks to the kindness of Julie over KC’s Court who sent me the book that she used to teach herself how to crochet.

3.  To sew more and make use of some of my lovely original patterns and fabric that I've had for years.

4.  To use up some of the wool moutain and stop buying more!  (as if!!)

I hope you've enjoyed my little round up of the year :o) 

I wish you all a happy, healthy 2013 - lets see what it has in store for us all!! :o) xx

Friday, 28 December 2012

A Very Vintage Christmas

Well, what a thoroughly lovely few days we’ve had but I must confess that I’m glad that this evening has brought with it a much needed rest and a chance to put my feet up.  I hope you have all enjoyed the festivities :o)

Mr Y is watching one of his Christmas DVD’s, the girls are tucked up in bed and while I take some “me” time and munch on some chocolate orange, (as if I haven't eaten enough chocolate these past few days!!), I thought I’d share with you a little of what we’ve been up to :o)

Christmas Day was spent at home and began at 7.15am when the girls were woken up by a very excited Mr Y who simply couldn’t wait.  Stockings were opened and breakfast consumed and a relaxed morning was had before the arrival of my parents and brother.  Once lunch was finished, which, I’m happy to say went entirely to plan, and everything had been tidied away, the eagerly awaited unwrapping commenced!!

I was incredibly lucky as my nearest and dearest had cunningly been accumulating vintage goodies over the course of the year which meant my presents were a veritable feast of vintage lovelies. 

From a jewellery point of view, Mr Y had found yet more pretty brooches to add to the collection.  My favourite has to be the little squirrel one in a rare pale blue and black combination.

He excelled himself further by finding one of the wartime bracelets that I’ve waffled about in a previous post!  Isn’t it lovely?!  I’m nervous to wear it for fear that it’ll get caught or rubbed on something.

As you might have expected, there were lots more knitting patterns including some of the Weldon’s wartime series like the Homefront Woollies one that I picked up a couple of months back. 

When I exchange gifts with my parents, well, with my mum really, I’m often reluctant to part with the vintage items that I have bought her.  This year was no exception and I'm not ashamed to say that it took every ounce of willpower to hand over the green leather 1930’s handbag that I’d bought her.  It seems Mum had had the same struggle as the tag on one of my gifts read "you're lucky you're getting these" :o) 

Last up for today, but by no means least, is my favourite gift.  Another neat little find by Mr Y, a much longed for Dewhurst Sylko cotton reel box.  Isn't it charming! 

Boxing Day was spent at my parent’s house.  After a very tasty lunch, we all headed to the coast with the intention of taking a stroll along the prom.  The weather had other ideas though and just as we arrived, the heavens opened.  The gentle stroll turned into a hurried sprint before that, too, was abandoned in favour of coffee and Christmas cake at home in the warm. 

Although the day itself may be over for another year, we have plenty to look forward to.  It’s my birthday on the 30th, which I still get excited about, and we hope to get together with Mr Y’s family next week.  He doesn’t go back to school until January 7th and I intend to make the most of each and every of the twelve days of Christmas :o)!!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

So, the day that so many of us have been preparing for over the few past weeks and months is just a few hours away!!  Are you excited??

We're pretty much sorted here.  Vegetables prepared, wrapping finished (just!), the dining table set and the house tidy (ish!). 

The girls stayed up late and watched the eagerly anticipated "The Snowman and the Snow Dog".  Did you catch it?  I shan't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet, safe to say, a few tears were shed by sleepy little eyes (and not so little eyes) and a box of tissues is advisable if you are an emotional soul like me!

They have left their offering for Father Christmas; a mince pie, sausage roll and a can of Tango - entirely their choice - lets hope he enjoys it!!

They are now snuggled and sleeping soundly in their beds, no doubt dreaming of what lies ahead.  I remember finding it nearly impossible to sleep on Christmas Eve, minutes seemed like hours and I thought "he'd" never arrive.  Thankfully, the girls are good little souls and don't wake us in the early hours, instead waiting until the more reasonable time of 7am.  I was never that good and invariable woke my parents in the wee small hours - they never complained though :o)

We have my parents and brother celebrating with us tomorrow and I shall be doing the Nigella bit in the morning and so, with lights twinkling and the bowl of chocolates beside us, we are making the most of some peace time this evening before the chaos, which will undoubtedly ensue tomorrow!!

All that's left to do now is to wish all you lovely followers a very merry Christmas.  I hope you all have a wonderful time :o)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

So, the big day is almost upon us, just one more day to go, and I have to admit that I’m pretty darn excited about it.

I always get excited at Christmas, I blame my December birth for my love of winter etc, etc, etc.  This year, for some reason, I feel more excited than normal! 

Although the weather isn’t in the least bit festive (rain, rain and more blasted rain) we’ve had a wonderful few days which have placed us well and truly in mood. 

The tree is up, a twinkling sweet smelling spruce, and is adorned with my treasured decorations.  I love the familiarity that the unpacking of the same Christmas decorations brings. 

All of my decorations mean a lot to me.  Most were bought before I’d met Mr Y, about 15 years ago, when the purchasing of a new set of Christmas baubles had become a tradition.  My mum, Nan and I would make a yearly trip to the local garden centre where I’d agonise over which new baubles to choose before retiring to the coffee shop for tea and cake (cake being something my Nan was very fond of). 

These delicate glass globes hold very special memories for me and that’s why I’m a total control freak when it comes to decorating the tree.  Amazingly, only 2 have been broken over the years; the first by our dim-witted black Labrador with his ridiculously whippy tail and the second fell at the hands of an inquisitive toddler. 

Alongside decorating the house, the cakes have been iced, but not before causing me an immense amount of stress!! 

You see, Friday saw my electric mixer give up the ghost.  It happened just as I’d past the point of no return having added the icing sugar to the egg whites.  I dithered as to whether there was anything I could do to salvage the ingredients but found the pondering made me madder than even and so, as any rational person would do, I placed the entire bowl into a sink full of water and threw the mixer onto the stone floor!!  Practical? No.  Therapeutic? Most definitely!!

Saturday dawned and Mr Y came to the rescue with a shiny new mixer which, luckily for the household, whipped up the royal icing in next to no time and, voila, 3 snowcapped cakes with a little glitter for added sparkle!

In the evening, we went to see the pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It didn’t start out very well for littlest Y as she was terrified but the impressively mean witch and was reduced to floods of tears.  A cuddle and some popcorn later and she’d managed a half smile but it wasn’t until we were leaving the theatre that she finally brightened up.

Tomorrow will soon be here and brings with it many more things to do so I shall bid you goodnight and leave you with a parting snap of me in my playschool nativity from 1985, in the days when the costumes were all homemade, the manger animals traditional and we sung good old fashioned carols!  Yes, I know I'm sounding old ;o)

I'm the angel in the centre, standing right behind Mary.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Swap 2012

Look what arrived through the post for me this week.

A while back, I signed up for the Christmas Swap which had been organised by Lakota over at Faith, Hope and Charity Shopping. 

Lucky for me, I was paired with the lovely Wendy who blogs at The Butterfly Balcony

While I know I should probably have waited until Christmas (and if Mr Y had been here I'm almost certain he would have confiscated the parcel until the 25th!) I couldn't help it.  With curiosity very much getting the better of me and with the added enthusiasm of two little, Christmas hyper, monkeys, unwrapping it all was inevitable!!

I did manage to hold the girls back just long enough to grab my camera and take a photograph of the neat little brown paper packages which had been adorned with little snowflakes (which served as a reminder to me that I haven't done that with the girls yet! - another thing added to the list!).

For starters, there was the handbag!  It's a really lovely blue, which the camera isn't doing justice to, and is big which makes it perfect and practical for carrying all my handbag tat treasures in.  A charming addition is a little woolly flower! 

The next parcel, selected by a small helping hand, contained a green velvet stocking with applique poinsettias!  As unbelievable as it might sound, I don't actually have a stocking!  Sad, but true :o)  This, my first traditional stocking, is now hung up, waiting to be filled by the jolly man in red!

Next was a carved bone gentian brooch which matches my gentian bracelet perfectly - now to find some earrings :o)  Yes, I'm jewellery obsessed!

Swiftly followed by some skillfully knitted foot warmers/slippers (don't know what to call them!!) and a rather splendid collection of knitting patterns.  Now, this is where the not so nice, pattern fiend, side of my might show because I think, well, I know, if truth be told, that I wouldn't have parted with these patterns for anyone.  I'm very impressed that Wendy managed to give them away!  Rest assured, they have found a loving home ;o)

The best, and most thoughtful of the gifts, were the little crocheted angels which had been wrapped separately, one for each little Y!  The girls were beyond happy that they had been included and immediately hung their new, special, decorations on the tree.  They are so delicate, and have been worked so neatly.  I know they will be loved for many, many years to come!

The fair isle tootsie warmers are doing a sterling job as I write this post and I wore the gentian at the open air (and darn chilly) carol concert that we went to last night! 

As to what I posted off, I know that I'm safe to show you because, like me, Wendy didn't wait until the 25th either :o)

1) A little jingly bell tree decoration that I made. 
2) An Odhams knitting book that dates from the mid 1940's (a total charity shop bargain!) 
3) A Cath Kidston cottage tin with pins
4) Chocolate because, lets face it, Christmas isn't Christmas without chocolate (well, not in my house anyway)
5) A very mini Keep Calm and Carry On notepad
6) A turban that I knitted from a 1940's pattern and a tube of hand cream for "Wool Weary Hands!" :o)

I know that I will get use out of each and every item and many, like the angels, will be enjoyed for years to come - thank you Wendy for the time you took in selecting and creating my wonderful gifts :o) xx  I have thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Swapping with you!

Thank you also to Lakota for organising the swap :o)  It's been great fun x

Monday, 17 December 2012

Birthday Bonanza & Give Away Winner

"One week today and it'll be Christmas Eve!", was the announcement made by C this morning as she eagerly opened her advent calendar!  Really?  Oh heck!!  Are you prepared?  I feel I'm falling behind this year and just can't seem to get everything finished off.  I've still got 7 days to sort it though, right??

This week in the run up to Christmas is, as I'm sure it is in many of your own households, an incredibly busy one.  It includes a trip to the cinema, a carol service, late night shopping and the girls first trip to the pantomime - I'm so excited having not been myself for over 20 years! 

Along with the mad Christmas rush, December is a busy birthday month for us.  Three of us celebrate December birthdays which means that come New Year, we're all a little "caked out!!"

Mr Y has the first birthday and he celebrated yesterday.  Did he spend it relaxing with a train book while being served tea and cake?  Far from it.  His "special day" began with a trip to the supermarket to do the weekly shop - not how I'd choose to spend any day of the week, let alone my birthday!

Today is littlest Y's birthday and she has turned 5 - my how the years pass.  I can't believe that 5 years ago today she was a tiny little bundle, it seems like only yesterday.  I don't wish to have my baby back, as I truly love to see her grow and develop a little more each day but the celebration of each growing year makes me want to hold onto her just a little more tightly. 

In preparation for the day, the evenings of this past week have involved cake making of the most complicated style following her innocent request for a Yoshi cake.  When I saw the smile on her face as she blew out the candle, I knew that the stained hands and late nights had been worth it :o)

I think the girls are partied out!  They certainly don't need anymore sugar for a while!  They stumbled sleepily into bed this evening and not a peep has been heard since. 

However, before the birthday girl headed off to bed, I got her to draw the winner of the Christmas Give Away.  We're not very technical here so no random number selection thingy or any of that complicated stuff, oh no, here, we went for the quick and easy names into a Santa hat and let little fingers pick the winner!  Congratulations to Jax Black, this little bundle of goodies will be winging their way to you shortly, just send me an email with your address and I'll pop them in the post :o)


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

1, 2, 3 Wartime Woollies!

It's decidedly nippy here this evening, it has been all day actually, with the mercury staying firmly below zero.  We've reached the half way mark on our advent calendars - how can that be??  December the 12th already yet there is still so much to do!

Things have been moving at a snails pace here.  Some kind and very generous sole (the finger of suspicion is pointed firmly in Mr Y's direction) has shared their germs with me so I've been feeling rather under the weather and haven't felt like doing anything very productive.
In a bid to cheer myself up (and because I've been having a little play with the immensely frustrating Photoshop) I've done a little collage of what I've been up these past few days!

1. A "must" at Christmas     2. A paper snowflake decoration (although we still don't have the tree up!!!!!)         3. Finally got round to writing my Christmas cards     4. Tiny Christmas cupcakes which were enjoyed at the home education party     5. Our sweet smelling Christmas wreath   6. Mini gingerbread men (they were tasty)
  Taking an enforced rest, I've spent a lot of time knitting and crafting and have almost put together my parcel for the Christmas Swap! 

Snuggled in the warm I've also finally been able to bring some kind of order to the snaps I took of my most recently completed woollies and so I have not 1, not 2 but 3 to share with you!!

First up is one from a 1943 pattern featured in one of my beloved Stitchcraft magazines. 

I've knitted it before in Stylecraft melon and a beautiful, unbranded, pale pink cashmere so you might think that it would have been easy.  Well, so did I and so I motored through the front and both sleeves before tackling the back.  Having reached the shoulders, I discovered that I'd gone 2 stitches out of sync which meant the nice neat "square" design was wonky!  Argh, I can't tell you how I swore.  Disheartened is an understatement, furious and frustrated with myself is closer to the mark. 

However, not to be defeated, I pulled it back and started again and am pleased to say that it "turned out nice again" ;o)  The yarn chosen for this one was Stylecraft 4 ply in pale rose and I used little clear patterned buttons.  It's a really pretty little cardigan jumper which I think, and hope, will be perfect for spring, although I know it's had a little outing already! :o)

Next up is another of the ever popular waffle jumpers which was originally featured in a Needlewoman and Needlecraft magazine.

Again, Stylecraft yarn was used, this time in shades cardinal, fern, cobalt and silver grey.  I really like Stylecraft for both quality and value.  You get good yardage and the 100% acrylic isn't at all itchy, which from my point of view, is a very good thing.

The waffle is quite a time consuming jumper to knit because the colour of the wool has to be changed every 4 rows.  It's also quite a time consuming one to sew up because the stripes get sewn together in the corresponding thread so lots of needle threading and snipping of wool.  It really is worth it though because it's such a pretty jumper in a really easy stitch - well worth a try :o)

Last, but by no means least, was a cardigan knitted from this Bestway pattern.

Knitted with King Cole DK in a shade called petrol, this cardigan actually ended up being my favourite.  The yarn is good quality, isn't itchy, gives a lovely finish and is wonderfully snugly - perfect for this chill we're currently experiencing. 

The pattern, again, was quite easy, just 5 rows of 3, 1 rib divided by a knit row.  The band was knitted separately and proved to be the trickiest piece of the entire thing because achieving the scalloped edge in the thicker wool was somewhat of a challenge!

From a button point of view, it was impossible to find vintage ones to match but luckily there were these 4 plastic faceted buttons in the stash which matched perfectly - result!

I have to admit that I felt somewhat relieved when I ran in the last thread because it meant I could finally get them posted to the incredibly patient customer.  The order had been going on for many months, far longer than I would have liked, and I was very frustrated with myself that I hadn't been able to get through them more quickly as I try so hard not to disappoint people . 

This was the jumpers, packed and ready to go.

Sending a jumper to the new owner is something I find really nerve wracking.  Silly as it might sound, I always worry that I've not got the fit right or the jumper won't have turned out as the customer had envisaged. 

Thankfully, this time, I needn't have worried because the knitteds have found a happy new home with the lovely Hen and if you take a peek at her lovely blog, HenHouse, you'll see that the pink cardi has already had an outing and looks amazing! :o)

That's it for orders for me now until January 2013.  I'm giving my fingers a much needed rest for the next few weeks so I can concentrate on getting rid of this blasted bug and can then focus on all things festive!!

If you haven't already entered, there are still a few days left to be in with a chance of winning the Christmas Give Away for the Daniela Turudich 1940's Hairstyles book, just click here for more details :o)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas Giveaway

Hope you're all staying warm.  We've had another sprinkling of the white stuff overnight so a day snuggled in the warm is in order.

As a thank you to followers, old and new, for sticking around for my wafflings, and because it's Christmas, my favourite time of year, I'm doing a little giveaway.

Up for grabs is a shiny new copy of the incredibly popular, and once ridiculously expensive, Daniela Turudich book "1940's Hairstyles".  I adore this book.  It's jam packed with helpful and clear instructions to help you on your way to the perfect 1940's barnet!  A must for anyone who wants to achieve an authentic '40s look :o).  You'll also get one of my felt anemone corsages and, because Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Cadbury's, a little box of Roses:o)

To make sure the book reaches it's lucky recipient in time for the impending festivities, I'm sorry to say that this is a UK only giveaway.  Fear not though lovely overseas followers, I'm planning another giveaway when my Facebook followers reach 1,000!

To be in with a chance of winning, you must be a follower of my blog via GFC or Bloglovin' or a follower of my Facebook page. 

To enter, you can;

1. Leave a comment below telling me what your favourite Christmas song/carol is.  Please make sure you leave me a means of contacting you in case you're the lucky winner!! 

2. For a second entry, simply share this giveaway on your own blog and then place a separate comment below to let me know you have  :o)
3. For a third entry, pop over to my Facebook page and tell me your favourite carol/song on the giveaway photograph.

Entry will close at 10pm on Sunday December 16th (Mr Y's birthday!) and the winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday December 17th (M's birthday!).

Good luck :o)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

1940's Christmas cards

Well, this is the scene that greeted us this morning from our toasty warm home.

It was quite a surprise, I can tell you.  Granted, it was only a small smattering, but it was enough of a covering to turn the girls into bounding bundles of excitement! 

This first dusting of the winter coincides very nicely with the post that I had written up for today :o)

A number of years ago, Mr Y presented me with some vintage Christmas cards.  They were produced by a company called Novo Laugh and date to the late 1940's or the early 1950's.  They are all in perfect condition, unwritten on and with their original envelopes.  Where they had been all these years, I don't know!  They came from America and I remember the slightly concerned look on Mr Y's face when he handed me the parcel.

When he bought them on eBay, he'd only seen the front view with the colourful illustrations.  They are bright and quirky and he thought I'd like them.  However, once they arrived and he'd opened them, they were not entirely what he'd expected.

You see, they are what, in their day, would probably have been called saucy!  Compared to some of the positively offensive cards you can buy now (yes, I know I sound like an old prude) these little lovelies are tame, to say the least. 

At the time of their printing, I imagine they may have raised a few eyebrows but not today.  A few have mild innuendo but nothing offensive, shows how times have changed, I suppose.

Enjoy! :o)