Tuesday, 28 February 2012

February Monthly Make

So, it would appear that I am cutting it fine, again, with my February Monthly make.  I did complete it on the 21st but time has slipped away from me and I’ve not had chance to show it, until now.

With February being a busy birthday month for us, this month’s make is the birthday cake that I made for my oldest daughter.  As with all 5 year olds awaiting the arrival of their birthday, this cake had been talked about for weeks and we’d been counting down the “sleeps” until the big day ever since my youngest daughter turned 4 in December!!  Indecision had surrounded the design of the cake – such a tricky decision when you are only 5!  After much thought she settled for a Hello Kitty cake and I breathed a sigh of relief that the previous design of Ariel on a rock had fallen by the wayside! 

Plans made and ingredients bought, I set to work.  Armed with copious amounts of ready roll icing (hateful stuff) and plenty of food colour pastes, I coloured the icing the necessary shades of “Kitty” and subsequently ended up taking my youngest to pre-school with hands like the Incredible Hulk! – food colouring is seriously hard to shift from your hands! 

The Kitty itself was a challenge!  Having a head bigger than the body just wasn’t going to work in icing so the Hello Kitty adorning this cake had eaten too much cake itself and was sporting a much rounder midriff!! 

This is the finished article.

The cake was very well received, and her little face made the “Hulk hands” worth it.  I can also vouch for the fact that it tasted amazing, once I’d cut the yucky icing off my slice :o) 

For her birthday outing, we took her to a local farm which has rare breeds.  The birthday girl, like Mummy, wasn't keen on feeding the animals but youngest had a wonderful time and was especially taken with the Highland cattle which open their mouths and stick out their tongues waiting for food.

Mischievous little monkey :o)

Slobber and original 1940's teddy bear coat are not a good mix!!! :o)

My parents came with us but weren’t exactly dressed for the farm!  Never one to like his photograph taken, I had to catch this shot from a distance – quite smart don’t you think??

The weather was very kind to us with bright sunshine and clear blue skies.  We had a lovely picnic and, as you can never have enough cake, I made some birthday cupcakes (with proper icing).

The littlest certainly enjoyed them.

Hmm, now what to do for March???

Monday, 27 February 2012

Our week in the west.

My other half was born and bred in Cornwall and our half term was spent back home with his family, in a small village just outside Perranporth.  Perranporth is known for it’s golden sands but it was far too cold this time to venture onto the sand – maybe in the summer!  We left Suffolk after a 4 inch covering of snow and didn’t travel in ideal conditions.  While driving through Cambridgeshire, the car recorded a temperature of -10 – pretty cold don’t you think?! 

We had a busy week, spending Valentines Day in St Mawes, a beautiful little town on the south coast of Cornwall.   I’d never been before but will certainly be heading back.  It’s picturesque and SO much quieter out of season; parking is at a premium if you visit in the summer.  From St Mawes, you can look across the river Fal to Pendennis Castle, which is well worth a visit.

I was surprised that these hadn't been removed and sold off as collectibles, but the old petrol station had 3 of these old pumps out front.  I love that enamel sign!

This cost of Cornwall isn't as sandy as the north coast so the girls had a lovely time collecting brightly coloured sea snail shells and watching the fishing boats.  This is my oldest, just turned 6, who, unlike her free spirited sister, was willing to sit still long enough for me a get a shot of her!!

Just after this was taken, her smile was replaced with tears after she went walking with her Dad on slippery rocks and fell flat on her face.  Previously wobbly baby tooth was made significantly wobblier!  It fell out two days later :o)

From St Mawes, you can see St Anthony head lighthouse.  Seriously narrow lanes, which resulted in much covering of ones eyes (I obviously wasn't the driver), but well worth the trip because, hidden on the cliff face, there is a WW2 battery, gun store and observation post – I was in my element. 

The week went so quickly, and we had many lovely days, but the best, for me, by far, was our trip to Penzance!!  We always make time to visit Penzance because it has some brilliant shops which normally yield a vintage find or 2!  Some which are well worth the visit.

Steckfensters - has a varied collection of items from railway signs to old baskets, vintage clothing to push bikes - go and have a rummage :o)

Kitts Corner - a small vintage clothing shop full to the rafters

On the main street, near the railway station (my husbands favourite place), you'll find “We Have What You Need” which is a great vintage clothing shop, some lovely bits from the 1940’s but at £75 for a trilby, it’s a bit on the pricey side.  I also found Buttons & Bows, a snug haberdashery tucked away on one of the side streets.

As with all Cornish towns, if you're peckish for a pasty, there are plenty to chose from but for the fussy, pasty hating (much to my other half's horror), me, there is always the Cornish Hen Delicatessen.  It gets my vote for the exterior colour alone!

The week went all too quickly and we soon found ourselves back on the M5 but we returned from Cornwall with these vintage patterns, just 50p each from one of the charity shops.

Looking good there Mr Bond!! :o)

And this brooch, a valentines gift from my other half! 

Lamb or deer??  What do you think?

Am already looking forward to returning in July to see what else I can find :o)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

All sewn up...........

………well, I’m half way there!

Last week, we spent half term at my husbands family home in Cornwall.  They live near Perranporth and we had a lovely time.  The week involved pasties, patterns and posing, a post on that to follow soon.

I decided to take a break from knitting and instead took with me some of the jumper pieces that had been stashed in a bin liner, as mentioned in this post.  

I managed to get 3 sewn up, they just need to have labels sewn in and then they'll be ready to come to our first fair with Little Vintage Lover which is on March the 18th.

First up is this one from Weldons.

Only the jumper was knitted this time because I wasn’t really happy with the finish.  It was done in Robin 4 ply because the colour is just lovely but I’m disappointed with how it’s turned out.  For a 4 ply, it’s actually quite a coarse yarn and not as soft and floppy as I expected.  The jumper is still pretty and it will be perfect for spring, but it’s not the texture I expected.

Next up is a chunky knit which would be perfect for today – the wind was bitter here!!  It was knitted from this 1945 pattern.

Please excuse the dodgy photograph!!

This one was knitted in Stylecraft DK claret and it has turned out really well.  The pattern called for a 4 ply so I was unsure whether a DK would work but I'm pleased to say it has!  The cardigan was meant to have a collar but it was really odd and wasn't working so I adapted it slightly and did a crocheted edge instead.  It was also impossible to get enough vintage buttons for this one so I went for some simple, modern black ones. 

The sleeves are the same length, honestly!  I should have checked they lined up before photographing it!

My photography skills letting me down again with this off centre shot!

Last up (for now) is a simple little sleeveless pullover from a pattern from January 1944 (can't find the original pattern to photograph - sorry).

Knitted in a 4 ply French navy, the pattern was for a service woolie!  Quite neat I think!

I hope you like the new jumpers, I'm off to watch Call the Midwife and then I'll be stepping back to 1938 to watch the new series of Upstairs Downstairs - serious clothes envy coming up! :o)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How to do a 1940's "do"!!

Hello all.  This is a very quick post because it's half term and we are having a break in Cornwall but I just had to share my love of this book.

As I'm away, I don't have access to the book and therefore can't share with you some of the images from inside but please trust me, it's brilliant.  I've tried and tested many a style and I love the way it shows you how to accurately re-create the 1940's look - no cheats in this one :o) 

I paid about £45 for it on eBay over six years ago and had it shipped from America.  Mine is an old library copy so it has a sticker mark on the spine but the inside is in great condition!  At the time, £45 seemed steep but I'm glad I bought it then because prices for it are now insane!  Take this one for example.  The seller wants over £198!  Seriously, great book but it's not worth that!  Even £72 for the used edition is still unrealistic when you consider that...............................
it's being re-issued!!!!!!! 

This great book is will be re-released in May for less than £20!!  I've already pre-ordered a copy for my Mum, it's well worth a look! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

More knitting patterns!

I don't know about you, but I’ve found that original 1930’s and 1940’s knitting patterns are becoming increasingly difficult to find.  I know that, you can get photocopies of patterns on Etsy and eBay but I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a pattern snob and while I will knit from copy patterns to protect the original, I still like to collect the genuine article. 

If you are after an original, they can cost a pretty penny on eBay.  Take this one for example.  

Photograph taken from eBay.

I’d had it on watch for a few days and it had stayed at a nice low price but just before the auction ended, it jumped to £9.51!  When you take P&P into account, that’s over £10 for one vintage knitting pattern!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have added this to my collection but the vintage pattern enthusiast in me did battle with the bargain hunter and the bargain hunter won!  Then there is this one! 

However, although this one slipped through my knitting fingers, there were plenty that didn’t over the last couple of weeks. 

First up are these two lovelies from the 1930’s. 

The Home Notes is more of a general magazine with some quite appealing recipes, apple snow or Japanese tartlet anyone??  It also has a page where beauty problems are answered, things like “A cure for warts”, “Remedy for Pimples” and “Am I too Thin” It only contains the one knitting pattern and that’s for the jumper on the front which is apparently “ easy to knit…….and can be made in a few evenings” hmm, we’ll see!  I love the language in this magazine, so very British, containing words seldom heard anymore. 

The Autumn Woolies booklet is also a little gem.  It has some stunning patterns, graceful ladies playing golf and it contains a photograph which wouldn’t be allowed in advertising today! 

Next are 2 new additions to my Needlewoman and Needlecraft magazine collection.  Number 7 from 1941 and 12 from 1942.  Both are a little disappointing from a knitting point of view as there are no jumpers but they do contain home ideas using needlework (the title says it all really!)  

Next are 3 patterns bought at a bargain £1.00 each.  I already have the middle one and have knitted this jumper from it but this copy is in far better condition than mine!

A simple cardigan and a neat bit of fair isle (not my favourite thing).

And last, but by no means least, are a batch of patterns that arrived yesterday.  I could have swung for the postie when he bent the envelope to force it through the letterbox.  Seriously, if it doesn’t fit, knock!  Thankfully, no damage was done to the patterns that I wanted and I’m over the moon with them.  I took a punt on these on eBay.  They had been listed as old patterns and there were just 2, long distance shots.  Lots of the patterns were obviously from the 1960s and 1970s but my eagle eye spotted some black and white ones hiding!  So, leaving the bidding to my other half (he likes to fight it out to the last second) I was pleased when I won them for just £6.60 plus £2.00 shipping.  Well, they were received today and I’m pleased to say that my eagle eye served me well.  Sure, I got a lot of patterns that I won’t be using so will pass on, but there were all of these……

My favourite from the job lot are these 3. 

Measuring just 4.5” by 7”, they were produced during the war when paper was in short supply.  I can’t wait to pick some wool and make a start on the middle one!!

Along with patterns, I’ve also been buying fabric of the vintage kind and once I’ve taken a good shot when we get some sunshine, I’ll be back to share it with you :o)