Tuesday 19 July 2011

All sorted!

Phew! At last I've managed to sort out my little sewing corner! When hubby first built me my lovely desk, I spent hours burning the midnight oil to get it looking picture perfect. Of course I mean picture perfect as I see it, not necessarily perceived in the same way by others. I'm one of these over obsessed people who cannot concentrate on anything (like sewing), when my surroundings are a mess! Even the odd paperclip, if not packed away, would drive me doo-lally. But, that was a year and a half ago, and after sewing many seams and lots of hollowfibre-stuffing later, my little corner was looking shabby, and was missing the chic. Of course it's encountered the old feather duster and hoover nozzle from time to time, but that's about it. Having said that, sometimes it went for a l-o-n-g time before that even happened! I can't believe I'm about to tell you this, but one day I was looking for something on the shelves. I hadn't done any sewing for a while, so hadn't actually paid any attention to my little getaway corner. Guess what I found...A very fuzzy, mouldy pear, which I can only assume my toddler (who was big into climbing at the time!) must have put up there during one of his explorations.Yuck! I kid you not!

But, thankfully, I've put on the old domestic goddess cap, and have taken to spit and polish with renewed vigour. I'm so proud of my efforts, and in the event of it being short lived, I thought I'd share some pictures with you, if only to act as incentive in the event of standards ever slipping again!

Everything tidied!
It took me hours again just to decide what to put where. You won't believe how difficult it is to find a place for everything when space is at a premium!

The back of the shelves are lined with wall paper that I bought for a mere £1 per roll! As we say in in the UK: Cheap as chips! I love, love, love roses, so I was chuffed to bits when I stumbled upon it in our local DIY store. It's been nearly two years, but I haven't grown tired of it yet!

Something has to be said for piles of yummy, gorgeous fabric, all neatly folded and stacked like freshly laundered towels. According to one of my dear friends, she has her own precious pile of tidy towels in the bathroom. They look very inviting, but when her kids help themselves to a towel from the pile, she makes it known to all that THOSE are only for display, and that the ones for use should be retrieved from the cupboard! My kinda gal...(Before long I'm going to have to tuck into my stash of fabric if I'm going to make anything! But until then, I'll just sit and stare at it's loveliness!)

Lace, lace, and more lace!

I have a very unhealthy obsession with lace, and have to have serious words with myself not to deck every nook and cranny out with Victorian abundance! I have to remind myself that a little goes a long way...for now.

I'll leave you with a few of the finishing touches. I would love to hear what inspires you in your creative zone, and do share some pictures if you like!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Rita Hayworth or Vera Duckworth?

Gorgeous Olga creation

Vintage nightgowns: Is there anything that encompasses feminine beauty and grace more than these glamorous, beautiful creations? I for one am totally in love with the flattering designs of Olga Erteszek, who started one of the most successful lingerie companies in 1948. The leading ladies of the silver screen were often pictured in elegant gowns, none more so than Ginger Rogers, who also had a stab at designing her own range of lingerie and nightgowns.

Now, imagine my excitement when I found a gorgeous vintage St. Michael's nightgown at a bootsale, one which set me back £2! No, really. That's it, TWO! I was so delighted as it is a perfect fit, and in mint condition. My balloon was momentarily deflated though, when I showed it to some of the ladies who attended the recent Clothes Swap that I hosted. Imagine my utter horror when someone said it's reminiscent of Vera Duckworth! We loved you Vera, bless your soul, but honestly?! 

Beloved Vera from British soap
Coronation Street
I was thinking Rita Hayworth, not Vera Duckworth. For those of you who are slightly in the dark, let me paint a picture: My dear friend said it reminded her of a lady with curlers in her hair, hanging over her neighbour's fence, cigarette in hand. In other words, Fag-ash-Lil! I think not. Let me replace that image for you.

Here is my bootsale find. Now, I might not quite be Rita's equal, but I think if she were to wear this nightgown, it would do her justice. The lace panel is sheer gorgeousness, and the lovely cascading layers of chiffon is delightful!

So, I might not wear this every night as I'm tucked up in bed. After all, a lot has to be said for comfy cotton Marks and Sparks jammies! But, occasionally I might allow myself the luxury of starlet glamour!

Have you ever considered to wear your nightwear out on the town? I'm not talking about your bare minimums! Ladies in the seventies often wore nightgowns as evening wear, and it's a trend that has been spotted more recently too.

Here is the very beautiful Eva Mendez rocking
what looks like a re-fashioned vintage nightgown.
If done tastefully, it can be a hit. So, I'm thinking I
might look out for a little number that is crying out for
a make-over. As for my lovely St. Michael's
vote goes to Rita. What do you think?

Friday 15 July 2011

Sew a little love: Frocks for free? How can it be?

Sew a little love: Frocks for free? How can it be?: "No, I have not been abducted by a little green, three fingered man! And no, my little row boat did not get sucked in by the very mysterious ..."

Frocks for free? How can it be?

No, I have not been abducted by a little green, three fingered man! And no, my little row boat did not get sucked in by the very mysterious Bermuda Triangle. I have merely been absent for a while due to the fact that I was on nurse duty to some snuffly kidlets, whilst enduring the tight grasp of a flu monster round my throat! O, and the fact that I've been a very busy bee participating in a little challenge that I'd been set, but more about that later! So, it's lovely to be back, with lots of ideas simmering away, and slowly taking shape, musings and projects I can't wait to share with you.

It's been a busy time in our household, with all three of our sprogs celebrating the addition of another candle to their birthday cakes. My little Nancy Drew wannabe turned nine, my big boy seven, and our baba turned two! Happy birthday!


On to business! There is a saying: Nothing in life is free. Well, I beg to differ! As part of a challenge that I had been set (of which I'll share more on over the next few weeks), I decided to host a clothes swap party at home, inviting all the ladies I know. I had never been to one before, but had been told that it's a good way to recycle clothes you no longer wear, in exchange for something from someone else's wardrobe that they no longer want. In principle, people can participate by bringing clothes they no longer like, want or wear. For every item they contribute, they're allowed to pick something from the stash. I had to work out the logistics of how to manage it without it turning into an end-of-season-sale-grabathon!

We decided that in order to keep things fair in the case of more than one person eyeing out the same item, the relevant parties had to play 'rock, paper, scissors' in order to win it. This would prevent a tussle, and any awkward wrestling activity that might occur. Hee-hee...Thank goodness my guests were all very generous in spirit, and very well behaved! Anything left over at the end of the swap was donated to charity. And the verdict: Great fun, and I gained some lovely new, albeit pre-loved clothes to add to my wardrobe.

Here are some tips to hosting your very own Clothes Swap Party!
  • Pick a date! Give people enough notice, as they have to make time to have a bit of a wardrobe clear out. Make sure to tell them to bring only those items that are clean and in good condition.
  • Send out invites. Facebook is great to reach all your friends, but a handmade or diy printed invitation is a nice touch. Let your creative juices flow! It's always a good idea to include 'the rules', so people know what to expect.
  • You will need: Sturdy clothes stands to hang items on, a table, lots of coat hangers, and a floor length mirror. It might be a good idea to allocate a room as the official changing room.
  • Never underestimate the pulling power of food! Ask people to bring a plate of nibbles if you don't want to cater for all of it yourself, and offer drinks. I found it was easier to have a hotpot ready, with tea and coffee and other drinks put out, ready for people to help themselves. It can get quite busy, and you may not get the chance to make drinks and man the swap yourself.
  • Make up some fun signs to put around the room.

  • Be sure to check if people are willing to donate any unclaimed items to charity. Be organized by clearing these into bags and dropping it off, otherwise your house will look like the aftermath of the Next sale!
  • Try to invite people of all shapes and sizes! The more, the merrier, and the better your chances of all round happy customers!
  • You can add interest to your party by inviting local charities or thrift shops to offer for sale a selection of their merchandise. Not only will you be doing your bit for charity by allowing them to sell, but you'll also be able to send them back with more donations!
Above all else, have fun with it! I would love to hear your clothes swap stories, new and old. I'll leave you with some happy snaps. Till next time!