Handmade jewellery pouches! And yarn. And a Victorian ceiling rose.

I’ve been making wee bags to coordinate with the costume jewellery in my collection.

The collection started out because I saw things “I just liked” (uh oh, sounds familiar). I love it all, but I seldom use jewellery these days.. The vintage pieces are in time going to be posted on Etsy (whenever I get around to take beautiful photos and prepare the listings). I also plan to attend some small markets or events, like the ABBS that take place this Sunday in London (near Kentish Town, details here).

All of the bags are hand sewn. I used different materials:

  • Harris Tweed wool
  • velveteen (the purple and the orange)
  • corduroy (the black with red roses)

The Harris Tweed was a one-of lucky purchase – they were remnants, probably small offcuts from clothing and accessory production. The tweed came in various colours: beige, greys, dark green/dark red, brown/green/orange and so on. It’s very beautiful but until now I didn’t have an idea of what to make with it. I’m very happy that I finally thought of using the fabrics for these small pouches, because they’re beautiful materials and I love the results! I plan to make many more, as spare time allows..

Here’s an overview of those made so far (they still need ironing). What do you think?

My handmade jewellery bags

Corduroy in black and red, with a lovely rose motif

Purple velveteen

Orange velveteen

Harris Tweed wool in assorted colours

Harris Tweed bags and vintage jewellery

This one was made by an old friend of mine with a sewing machine. It’s much larger and can be used to wrap presents.

 

The bags laid out for photo shooting and planning the next ones to be made

~ ~ ~

I also want to show you my last stash enhancement! Tangled Yarn is having a sale and soon it’s my birthday, so I treated myself to some gorgeous yarn by Shilasdair (a Scottish company based on the Isle of Skye). I already had some DK in Winter Loch and Summer Loch shades, to which I now added more of the Winter Loch (a dusty shade of blue), as well as some 4 Ply in Rowan Berry. These are the beauties (sorry for the bad evening light):

Shilasdair stash enhancement

Shilasdair DK in Winter Loch

Shilasdair 4 Ply in Rowan Berry

~ ~ ~

Finally I also would like to share one of the DIY activities happening in the flat. The ceiling rose is being restored to its original Victorian beauty. It’s a WIP and may take quite a while to complete.

Firstly a vintage fancy (and heavy!) chandelier has been bought from Belgium. Now the stucco of the rose is being restored: in time it had been covered by layer upon layer of paint and its beautiful details were mostly lost.

There is an absolutely ecological and healthy way to remove the crap engulfing the stucco: PORRIDGE! Hard to believe but it works!

Here is evidence of the proceeding – unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of it before starting works, but you can still see how it was in the outer circle of the rose (which has yet to be handled).

The ceiling rose stucco (central section) covered in porridge and cling film (it does look weird)

The porridge has been removed and the layers have come off with it

Gentle mechanical work with a small plastic spatula is required to remove the extra material from the corner areas

After most of the extra material had been removed. Notice the difference between the inner and outer sections.

I plan to be back soon with a small update about the preparations for the ABBS and my Etsy shop.

Good night!

The Fiver Curtain

(Vintage Way No. 2)

Finally this weekend I was able to dedicate some time to repurpose a lucky find from some time ago: a curtain in a beautiful shade of blue.

The material: curtain and matching haberdashery (all for a fiver). It feels like a linen-cotton fabric, so not bad at all.

The bathroom needed a small one to avoid or reduce see-through when the lights are on at night.

Luckily the width of the repurposed material perfectly fitted in our window, so the work needed wasn’t a lot.. but bear in mind that currently I have no sewing machine, so it’s hand stitching all the way.

Before being shortened

Out it came (part of) my sewing thread stash (lots of vintage threads and some less old – ebay, charity and market finds). For a quick refresh on some more of my stash, see this old post: Wooden Reels (no, this isn’t it all, and yes, they’re still stored in boxes). If I ever need a colour, I’m pretty confident it’s going to be in there, or at least something closely matching..

In my usual freestyle way, I didn’t do much of complicate measurements (i.e. none). After putting it up on the curtain rail I just marked the desired length in a couple of points, then proceeded to bast and cut the extra length.

The extra length has just been cut off

The bottom has been basted, ready for trying it up

Then the edge was fixed – the result is not particularly pretty, but works. There was a little fiddling with the basting as in the middle section the length was slightly longer. Then the two layers were fixed together with a small, mostly hidden stitch. And that was it: new curtain’s up!

“New” vintage curtain is up!

It still needs a curtain hook to hold it on a side when open, then the haberdashery blue rope can be put to use too.

I was very happy to repurpose the lucky find: “new” nice curtain for a fiver.

Environmentally friendly: check; economic: check. Win-win.

~ ~ ~

As some may have noticed I don’t blog very often. I thought about it, and I believe it’s due to my instinct of presenting things only when they’re complete. This way I miss out on the spontaneous update and just putting it out to the world really.  So I end up having quite a few photos of things I’ve done, seen or am making, but actually posting very little of them. Also, life often gets in the way and throws many things at you – sometimes there isn’t just enough energy left to sit, edit photos and write it all down. I wonder if that’s a common problem with bloggers?

Anyway, next time (this week!), I will discuss:

“New” Curtains. The vintage way.

In the bedroom there were some really unappealing wooden blinds, which were inherited from the previous owner.

I really dislike blinds (understatement).

Recently I was lucky to find a set of vintage Jonelle curtains, in cotton fabric and made in England. They look like new, clean and crisp. The price tag was very friendly, which was a nice extra. *Happy*

The only things needed were a pole and some hooks to hang it.

And finally yesterday we scored a very nice wooden pole (it has acorn shaped finials!). Acorns and oaks are one of my favourite plants, so the acorn motif was just perfect. *Happy*

Today we took the old ones down and put the ‘new’ curtains up… I just love them!

What makes me even happier is that the whole thing is very environmentally friendly – only the pole is a new product. I even had vintage brass hooks to use, so didn’t need to buy the crappy plastic ones. *Very Happy*

Another day in vintage life style.

Do you like and buy vintage?

The curtains are made of Jonelle pure cotton, in green/cream with a leafy motif.

The curtains are made of Jonelle pure cotton, in green/cream with a leafy motif.

img_8425

The curtains finally hung, only need shortening

img_8426

355601_r_z001

The pretty wooden pole with acorn finial

img_8433

Vintage brass curtain hooks

img_8423

The old wooden blinds.. now gone on Freecycle

img_8432 img_8429 img_8428

What does a mouse do with a £20 note?

Well, there are many mice in this universe and I cannot tell you what each one would do, but I can report on what the mouse I know has done.

Firstly, it went on a stroll through the local high street, where – by coincidence – there is a high concentration of charity shops.

While there, it thought that in winter there is a bad draft coming from the windows, and maybe this could be fixed somehow. Likewise, it is impractical to have needles here and there, and a little needle holder may be useful. Said mouse also has a liking for blue and red combined together – a bit like you would have in some folky/nordic patterns.

Thus, the mouse proceeded to purchase various material for making and upcycling projects. I was a bit puzzled by what the mouse could do with the things it got. I could not guess, so the mouse had to explain me. I wonder if you can guess? The mouse kindly allowed me to provide some photographical clues.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image Image

And this one is not a clue, but simple evidence:

a little blue, white and red dress

a little blue, white and red dress

the little dress, front view

…and there is also some pale blue lining.

what a cool brand name

The brand is Happie Loves It. You cannot not love this.

As a little side note, I will inform you that it is customary in our household to blame a phantom mouse for any misfit – mostly involving culinary excesses, like having an ice cream in the night.

Give-away and thank-you’s

Give away: get your chance for a present :)

First things first – my long due thank you going to two really nice ladies who have made for interesting post reads since I joined the blog world: Heather of HKnits and Kate of fashion label Maison Bentley for their kind nominations, respectively for the Liebster Award and the Sunshine Award. I want to apologise for my ‘crappiness’ in not following up – I’m really bad at questions and answering them! I truly appreciated your nominations, it’s just me that I’m no good with those things… ♥

Next, it’s about the announced give away. How this works: post in the comments something about your favourite indie yarn. Alternatively, you can tell about your favourite item (book, vintage, etc). You can participate from any part of the world. Why that: it would be enriching to read stories from other people – by exchanging stories, we celebrate the beauty, variety and uniqueness of each product. And what are the prizes? There is a choice among the items you can find listed below. I tried to include different things, so hopefully the winner can choose the most suitable to her/his taste. Unfortunately, I had to exclude heavy/large ones because those could cause an issue with the shipment. Some of the items are new, others are used or vintage. Prize announcement: A random number generator will proclaim the winner, which will be announced on Saturday 25th May. Please post your comment by Saturday 25th 11am BST (here is a time converter to calculate your local time).

You can pick any one entry among all the bulletpoints listed below (for ease of choice, items have been grouped in categories: yarn, fabric, book, cute thing). Any question, please let me know.

YARN
there is a bit of variety to choose from, starting with local wools and then continuing with some summery colours and sock yarn.

      • Jamieson & Smith Natural Shetland, 100% wool, 3 x 50 gram balls, handwash only. Apparently it’s perfect for colourwork as it blooms nicely while blocking to help with any irregularities in tension; the yarn looks scrumptious and is dye free (colours are made by hand, sorting fleece according to shade).
        Jamieson and Smith, Natural Shetland
      • Shetland 2-ply 100% wool in shades purple, grey, midnight or flintstone blue, a fine 1/9nm yarn that gives ca. 900 metres per 100 grams. You can choose all in one colour or some of each shade. The yarn comes from cone and is oiled but blooms once hand-washed. The total weight will be circa 300 grams (approx. 6 yarn cakes) and will be winded up in yarn cakes, either single or multi-stranded to your choice. You can read more about this yarn in my previous post Shetland
        Shetland 2-ply
      • Wensleydale/Angora (75%/25%), DK weight, naturally processed by a small English producer; suitable for knitting and felting; 4 x 50 grams balls (approx. 120 yards/ball) in a natural creamy colour, handwash only
        Wensleydale-Angora indie English wool
      • Bluefaced Leicester wool, dyed by The Natural Dye Studio, 4-ply sock weight, 100 gram skein (360m/394yds), 2-3.5 mm needles, handwash
        Bluefaced Leicester wool, The Natural Dye Studio
      • Bluefaced Leicester wool mix (85% BFL/15% Donegal nep), dyed by Skein Queen, shade River Pebbles, 4-ply sock weight, 100 gram skein (400m/435yds), handwash
        Bluefaced Leicester wool, Skein Queen
      • Blue Face Leicester, DK worsted spun in Yorkshire, England from 100% British wool, 3 x 50 gram balls
        Blue Face Leicester, locally produced
      • Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, 55% wool/33% acrylic/12% cashmere, 50 grams/110 metres, 4mm / US 6 needles, 2 x 50 gram balls, happy shades of apple green and strawberry pink for a summer vibe
        Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
      • Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed, 2 x 50 grams skeins, 50% silk 50% wool, 109 yds/100m in each, 4 mm needles, with its silk component is a nice option for spring knitting
        Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed
      • Regia sock yarn, 75% wool/25%polyamide, machine washable, made in Italy, 3 x 100 gram balls, each balls is enough for a pair of socks.
        Regia sock yarn

FABRIC

      • set of two fabric cuts: spring flowers motif, approx. 110 cm width x 70 cm length, drapery light material, it would seem suitable for a summery sleeveless top + ethno style motif, approx. 110 cm width x 90 cm length, lightweight, suitable for example for a sleeveless shirt or a light informal skirt. You can also see them in the first picture of this post.
        set of 2 lightweight fabric cuts

BOOK

      • Waking Up in Iceland by Paul Sullivan, an interesting account by an Englishman who visited Iceland for some months, easy to read, it offers a glimpse of the local culture, music and traditions (choice between new print copy or Kindle edition)
        Waking Up in Iceland
      • A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gödel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau, the book is rooted in a mathematical/logical background, I found it to be an interesting, although not exactly lightweight, account on two 20th-century key figures, who had sharp minds, peculiar characters and shared a singular friendship (new copy)
        A World Without Time - the forgotten legacy of Goedel and Einstein
      • Arthur: Roman Britain’s Last Champion by Beram Saklatvala, 1967 (vintage copy with some ageing)
        Arthur: Roman Britain's Last Champion
      • Cross Stitch Cards and Keepsakes by Jo Verso, containing personalised designs for birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Christmas and various occasions (copy from my reference collection, that is used but in good condition)
        Cross Stitch Cards and Keepsakes
      • 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton (copy from my reference collection in very good condition) + 250 Patterns of Crocheting (a quirky vintage pocket paperback book with b/w illustrations, language is Chinese!)
        200 Crochet Blocks & 250 Patterns of Crocheting

CUTE THING

      • sheep stamp Leaping Sheep Border, size ca. 13 x 3 cm, for those who love all things woolly this is a cute new rubber stamp, locally produced by Inca Stamp
        + two little silk pouches (13 x 11 cm)
        Leaping Sheep Border stamplittle silk poaches
      • set of two prints with a natural subject, size 18 x 24 cm each, made on fine paper near Florence, Italy
        Prints on fine paper, made in Italy

This is my first give-away… hopefully I did things ok. I look forward to reading your stories!

Change is the only certain thing in life

Usually my wool colour range is oriented towards cold, natural, or Christmassy shades – it has no ‘alternative’ colourways. I mentioned in a recent post that change is the only certain thing in life and we ought to embrace it. Yesterday, on a rather low-mood day, I did just that.

ImageImage

Unusual for me, I braved Oxford Street on a Saturday (if you’re not familiar with that, it’s a busy day and place to be!) to buy some fine DPNs that I had set my eyes on while ago – maybe they would work well with my Shetland 2-ply yarn. While there, I was squeezing some wool (you can’t do that on the internet!) and almost bought some in natural tones, but instead decided to opt for another one I had seen online earlier, which is from a local producer and sold through a small yarn shop.

And then the unexpected happened… May it be because of some Flashdance posts I have been reading recently? Or perhaps due to a need for something less conventional? I ended up buying this chunky yarn in black and red, plus some more in neon green to go with the flashy pink wool snapped at the charity shop.

ImageFab Big by Patons, shades 08233 Neon Green, 02311 Black and 02348 Poppy

ImageAnchor tapestry wool, colours 8434 and 8454

Candidate items would be:

… suggestions are welcome.

Skull neck warmer, free pattern by Birdface  Flower neck warmer, free pattern by Birdface                    Neck warmer, 2 free patterns by Birdface

Image Image          Anticraft – Knitting, beading and stitching for the slightly sinister, by Rénee Rigdon and Zabet Stewart, photo by Al Parrish.

Image                                         Legwarmers they made at the ‘Flashdance: Movie and Knitting’ workshop

But there is also another confession that I have to make: the chunky yarn is 100% acrylic… well, at least the other pink one is 100% wool. I can hardly believe I did this!! I just couldn’t find there any neon wool made of… er, real wool. So if you know of any, pretty please, would you share your sources?

On the same tour, there were a few definitely more conventional finds: a handful of fabric cuts and some wool in Nordic shades. Yes, I swing from one extreme to the other… Am I the only one?

Image

Image

On a lazy Sunday stroll in town I found..

[of colours, nature and harmony]

a few more pieces that aroused my interest. More details in another post, here just a peek..

flower field by the deep riverflower field by the deep river

 

green is for Hope
green is for Hope

 

at the foot of the mountain
at the foot of the mountain

 

Observing the folds in the photo above, my mind associated the image with the 16th-century ‘Bathing Feet in a Mountain Landscape‘ silk painting by Hsieh Shih-ch’en (please have a look at the page, I’ll wait for you): if you follow the link, zoom-in the image to see the details and the serene person resting in the nature. From the Arts Connected’s webpage here is a peaceful inscription from the painting:

In deep seclusion the eastern wind blows fallen blossoms,

The whole river of spring water ripples with cloudy mist;

The wanderer’s song has ceased and he is entirely at leisure,

Resting by an old valley pine while the sun has not yet set.

(Hsieh Shih-ch’en)

[Disclosure: I’m not an art expert.. just came across this while searching for some definition!] I hope these last words brought some calmness and harmony into your first day of the week. Take good care x