Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tis The Season To Be Jolly. . .

Fa, la, la, la, laar, laar, laar, laar, laaaaaar.
Very excited as this week is jam-packed with festive goodies. Tonight B and I are off to a drinks party before meeting our muckers, Ange & Sue, at the Columbia Road Christmas Wednesday for a spot of late-night shopping and a bite to eat, tomorrow is It's a Wonderful Life at the Stratford Picture House and Friday is Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at Sadler's Wells - how much Christmas cheer can one woman pack into a week? Yay!!
Well (and you won't often here this) enough about me. Merry Christmas everyone - don't overdo it on the sherry.
Blog you next year!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Deck The Halls With. . . Fuzzy Felt?

This year (and as gardening is not the most lucrative job in the world if you're a one- woman- band) I've taken to making presents for people instead of buying them. Hopefully they appreciate the love and time that goes into each thing I make and forgive me for the fact that when I sew I create very kitsch items indeed!
Sewing holds fond memories of sitting with my mother and embroidering table cloths on a wooden frame and although I've got a lovely hi-tech sewing machine for cushion covers/curtains etc, I still make most things entirely or involving a lot of hand-sewing - I do love a nice bit of felt. At the moment I'm making Christmas decorations for some of my family and friends and am particularly pleased with my gift tag. I also like the Noel heart as it's quick and simple to produce. The tree and stuffed angel, however, involve a bit more fiddling about, but are a classics in waiting so Cath Kidston beware (pffffff, snort, guffaw).
I've made several items this year - a cycling sash, glasses case, bag with singling bird applique, a couple of clutch bags and a few blackberry cases in various colours and three rather smart cushion covers for the office/spare room. I don't think about it much, but I suppose I should feel fairly proud of myself as they're all my own designs and patterns and each one is unique. Oh well, if nothing else it keeps me out of trouble!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Cats and Christmas Trees

Back to Wendel's place for a final visit this year on a cold and foggy morning. Yay, I've finally made it to the back of the garden (well, at least down the right hand side!). Another day of clearing and discovering all manner of novel containers. You can just see at the bottom of the photo on the right what looks to me like an old piece of drainage pipe. This was buried under a bush but had, at one time, been used as a plant pot. I love that!
Actually I love working on this garden full stop as it's full of little treasures just waiting to be discovered and I feel as though we're finally getting somewhere. I can't wait to get back at it next year and to discuss with Wendel's owner what kind of planting she wants. I also have the challenge of building my first insect habitat - all very exciting.
Alas Wendel was absent again today - not sleeping but figuring out how he can get at the Christmas tree, which as you can imagine and like all cats everywhere, he's completely entranced with. He's definitely a fellow after my own heart where all things sparkly are concerned. Go Wendel!

Monday, 6 December 2010

It's All History Now

"Turn Back Time Pop-Up Shops and Events - step into the 1930s and meet our grocer as he opens his 'shops' across the UK. As well as taking you back in time through the 1930s grocer's shop, there will be advice on researching your own high street history, local artefacts to get 'hands on' with, and a chance for your old photos of the area to become part of a high street memory line."
I spent this weekend up in snowy Bradford helping out with the BBC's Hands on History project, which was tiring but great fun. I was on the dressing up section, encouraging children of all ages to don a period shop assistant's uniform and go and help Mr Turner the shop owner, or serve Mrs Howard (our best customer).
The shop space was quite small, but it was really well done with a time-line that followed that of the TV programme and with front of store being the 'shop' containing produce found at the time, complete with original packaging designs, old money and and ancient till. Fab!
The people of Bradford turned out in large numbers despite the weather and seemed genuinely interested in the exhibition and were sad that their city centre was in such decline, missing the local shops of their youth.

Staff uniforms & today's milk delivery


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow Ahoy!

Tuesday it started snowing and it was a tad chilly on the HMS Belfast today, although the view over the gun turrets from the Compass Platform was very atmospheric - I can imagine what it was like when the ship was part of the Arctic convoys in 1943.
One crew member recounts that he would've been swept overboard during a storm if it hadn't been for the fact that his hand was frozen to a turret door!
Fortunately for me it wasn't that cold on the Compass Platform, but our newest recruit was sitting in the Captain's chair with the duffel coat wrapped around her legs at one stage this morning. Not to worry, I'm sure she'll toughen up.
Apart from the brave one or two visitors (including a lovely economic historian from NZ) the cold snap managed to keep most folk at home/in hotels so the 'Chief' (Chief Yeoman) sent us home just after lunch, which I think our newbie was quite relieved about.