Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pom Pom Tiddley Pom

A few weeks a go I decided I wanted a pom pom garland for my stairs this year instead of the green fake one I've used before.

First I bought the wool, in semi Christmassy colours

I knew there was a quick way of making several pom poms at the same time, much quicker than wrapping round cardboard that I used to do as a child.  I tried making a frame out of an old wire coat hanger but it was a bit hazardous with the hook so I bought  frame from multipom.

You wrap the wool around the frame and then tie it at equal distances - I wrapped 110 times and made 4 pompoms at a time

Then you cut in the middle of each tie, do a bit of trimming and fluffing up, and voila, pompoms!

I then threaded them together to make a garland.

Now they are tied onto my stairs (with the ends tucked well out of sight to avoid becoming a cat game!)

I chose the colours not just to match the chair but also to co-ordinate with the vintage glass baubles that I brought back from Mum and Dad's one weekend, treasures found in the loft.

They are now hanging on the tree, along with some modern ones.

It's slightly wonky, but who cares!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant 2016

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Granny's Dresser

When my granny died 23 years ago I was desperate to have her dresser but didn't have a house big enough so it was put into Dad's shed.  About 12 years ago Dad told me they were chucking it out and as I still didn't have a house it would fit into I couldn't really insist they kept it so I assumed it they had indeed chucked it.  But, this summer, whilst moving the swing-boats out of the same shed I found something covered up with a dust sheet and asked dad what it was - it was granny's dresser!

First of all I brought the base home.  In the cold light of my kitchen it looked quite a mess, 22 years of living in the shed as well as many many years of nicotine from her cigarettes had to be cleaned off.

It cleaned up quite well and I could start to see the real 1930's style and shape.

Then I brought the top home.

I stripped off the nicotine stained 1970s wallpaper that my grandpa must have put on the back and discovered some really pretty paper, possibly 1950s, underneath it, but it was too torn to keep so it all came off.

After more cleaning I painted the back boards.

Putting the top onto the base was quite easy as my highly organised Dad had put the original screws (and the key) into the drawer of the base.

Today I put some treasures in it.  Some of my great granny's china,

some Royal Tara china that I bought with the money that granny left me in her will,

and some other bits I've acquired over the years (mainly from charity shops).

It's a little tatty well loved in places, but I'm so pleased to have it :-)

Monday, November 16, 2015

A New Lampshade

When I gave my dining room a new look in the summer I didn't get round to doing anything with this lampshade.

It used to be ok with the cream walls but it really didn't go with the new white or with the new chair covers.

When I was at the Knitting and Stitching show in October I saw lots of stalls selling kits to make your own lampshades but none were the right size so I did some online research and decided to reuse the original frame.  I bought some fabric locally and ordered the laminated backing and sticky tape.

The parcel that arrived was slightly larger than I was envisaging!

This weekend I set about making it.  I pulled the old cover off the frame and used it to make a template.

I cut out the laminated backing and fabric and joined them together (much more easily than I'd imagined).

Then I wound the sticky tape around the edges of the frame.

Winding the frames onto the laminated fabric was quite tricky (now I know why most of the kits sold were drum shades and not angled coolies!) but I got there eventually.  Then I had to fold the fabric over and tuck it under.  If I did it again I'd leave more fabric to turn over as some of mine is slightly short in places.

And there you have it - one new lampshade!

And I have rather a lot of laminated backing left over so if you want a new lampshade you know where to come!

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Day Trip to London

On Wednesday I left Suffolk in torrential rain and headed to London.  When I got out of the tube at Tower Hill I was mightily relieved that, whilst still grey and overcast, the rain had stayed in Suffolk.

After a short walk I was at the Fashion and Textile Museum to see the Liberty in Fashion exhibition. 

The exhibition worked through time and I particularly liked the dresses from there 1910s, 20s and 30s  (very Downton Abbey).

This child's dress from the 1930s with beautiful smocking is so similar to those still worn by little girls today. 

It then moved though the 1940s and 50s.

I remember wearing dresses similar to these of the 1970s, especially the one on the seated mannequin at the front!

Although I never had anything as bright as this 1960s number!

It's a lovely exhibition although I was sad I couldn't be there for the guided talk as they are always excellent and add an extra dimension.  But I couldn't stay.

By the time I had walked back up to the Thames the sun was coming out so I decided to take a river bus from Tower Hill up to the Embankment.

After a quick lunch in the crypt of St Martin's, I walked up to Cambridge Circus to the theatre to see Matilda.

Mum had bought me the ticket back in April and I really enjoyed it - the cast of children were amazingly talented, the set was stunning and to see a child launched into space by her pigtails was very clever (no children were injured!).

I can highly recommend both the Liberty exhibition and Matilda - all in all a very good day, and I didn't get wet!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Take One ...

Take one pack of co-ordinating tea towels, wash and unpick the edges,

one piece of foam,

one cheap chest (full of bird food, cat food, gardening gloves etc)

instigate some late night sewing,

and voila - one covered seat in the still relatively tidy conservatory.

With the sweet little bird cushion (a £10 purchase from Dunelm) it looks, and feels, rather a pleasant place to have breakfast or a cuppa.
Remember mum's loft? It looked like this at the end of July

well now it looks like this

it's not totally finished but it's getting there.  
Amongst yesterday's discoveries was this handle and wires in a lovely wooden box.  

After asking on twitter I now know the wires are ties for sacks the handle twists them together.  I'm guessing it was something to do with my fenland family but I have no idea why there are so many, but you know who to ask now should you ever need to tie a sack up!

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I was poorly most of last week so have had to have a very quiet weekend.  However I'm not good at sitting around, especially when all I can see around me is mess.  So I tidied.  Lots.

I tidied the conservatory,

I tidied my bedroom, 

although this still needs some work as I can't get rid of the carrier bags for another couple of weeks, (I'm waiting to collect my Granny's 1930's dresser from my parents' shed) and I tidied my study,

now I can sit down to work tomorrow in a nice clear space!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Unconventional Dad

If I were to tell you that my Dad:
  • took us camping on Clapham Common when we were kids, because his friend owned a circus that was pitched there for the week,
  • took us to Longleat, where another friend was the estate manager, and we bottle fed lion and tiger cubs in his house,
  • took me, aged 5, to the London Palladium where another friend was the stage manager, so we got in for free and I sat on the steps in the stalls and watched Cinderella with Ronnie Corbett as Buttons,
  • made a lion out of artex and hung it on the wall in the dining room (I think it's still there),
then you might not be surprised when I tell you that in his shed, amongst quite a lot of other stuff, he has a full size set of swing boats.

He used to take the swing boats to fetes but has decided that now, as he's nearly 83, that he wants to sell them.

Slight problem; he needed a photo of them in order to sell them and they couldn't find one.  'Never mind' said I, 'I'll help you put them up and we'll take another photo'.

This wasn't quite as easy as it sounded as
a:  Dad couldn't remember exactly how they went together and 
b:  on our first attempt we discovered that several of the nuts were missing.

Dad was dispatched to buy more nuts and this weekend we had a 2nd attempt at putting them up.

Not easy, but I love a bit of problem solving, and we got there.

I'm immensely proud of my unconventional Dad, and the slightly wacky childhood that him and my mum gave us.  Love you both.