Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Vintage Beauty....

Ever since I was 8 years old, I've collected vintage costume & accessories. My very first purchase was a paper parasol, intricatel handpainted and with a bakelite marbled green handle. Such things were very easy to find, and very inexpensive back then. I would find them in junk shops, at jumble sales...friends of my parents would sometimes give me things, too, once they knew I was interested...and many were birthday presents from my Mum & Dad. I used to have several antique tailor's dummies, to display outfits...this is the only one I have left now (from the 1940's) This particular outfit is one of my favourites...a silk satin coat in eau de nil with fringed scarf...and underneath is a nightdress which matches exactly...

this is a photo of the back shoulder, showing the gorgeous cream lace...

and look at those delicate hand-stitched pintucks in the bodice....
It might seem a strange collection for a young child to have...but I've always been obsessed with history - especially social history, those little snippets of the everyday that show us how those who came before us lived, worked and died. I adore imagining who wore these clothes...
these are details from some peach silk lounging pyjamas from the 1920's...

they have incredibly wide legs and a wraparound top...imagine living the kind of leisurely life where they were de rigeur! The 1920's & '30's were wonderful for women's clothing...so chic and flattering!

This velvet cutwork sleeveless evening jacket is divine...and the details are perfect...see the carved jet buttons at the waist?


Perfect little polished trees - gorgeous as jewellery in their own right. There is very little (outside couture) to match these now...
I have costume from many decades...including a wedding dress from the 1860's (which is packed away very carefully, as you can imagine!) Some of my favourites are from the early 20th century...Edwardian and pre-WW1...very Downton Abbey!
This wedding dress for instance...

cream silk satin  over a long, straight skirt of gossamer light silk netting..tiny seed pearls embroidered onto the bodice...

gorgeously rolled waistband...

and the embroidery on the front bodice and at the back too...faded slightly now, but the pinks, greens and tiny golden glass bugle beads give you a good idea of the absolute beauty of this gown...

A little earlier is this lilac day-blouse....just an everyday item, to be worn with a separate skirt...

although as you can see, there's very little that's 'everyday' to our modern eyes...

isn't it fabulous? Look at the double sleeves....that yoke with the pale gold and lilac embroidery...

But there's another side to this period...beautiful & special as these clothes are...and that's the torture that women must have endured to wear some of them!

The brass hooks and buckles that hoisted the poor corseted girl into ramrod-stiff place and kept her there...and the wire that kept the lace collar at the neck upright...

how it must have dug into that delicate skin, rubbing & scratching!
I'd love to go back for a day to many different times, to experience a little of life as it was...but ONLY for a day! I'm under no illusion that times past - especially for women - was mainly difficult, often painful & frequently dangerous....but it's wonderful to be able to look at my collection-to stroke the soft, natural materials and dream of a world very different to ours!
Have a gorgeous week everyone! xoxo

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Alice picks the winners...& a prickly visitor...

Firstly....thank you so much for all the lovely comments on the last post. It was wonderful to read about your own gardens...or those you love...or those you'd like to have...or even just how much you enjoyed seeing mine! The best part of blogging, for me, is the opportunity to meet new people from different places - most of which I'll never see, but can visit through you!
I had so many entries that I decided to let Alice pick the winner. I wrote everyone's names down on a big piece of paper, laid it on the rug in the lounge & picked the first one that Alice touched with her nose! And that name was...........................DANIELLE! Congratulations, sweetie. If you'd like to email your postal address to me (use the address at the top of the blog) then I'll send it off to you as soon as I can.
As an extra 'thank you' for so many entries, I decided to let that wet nose pick one more name! BETTY (from cold Melbourne!) will receive a special, tiny prize....let me know your details too!
I'd really like to send you ALL something!
Does my love count?

And Alice's, of course!

There was a rare little visitor in the churchyard, recently...I thought you might like to see him (one of you mentioned hedgehogs, I think...and how you'd never seen one) We had another daytime hedgey last year...it's so special to see one, healthy & safe (as opposed to squashed on the road which is how they are usually spotted) that I had to pop out & take his photo...

just before he tucked himself away under the cool, dark tombstone for the rest of the day!

It's warm & sultry today - maybe a storm brewing. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend -I'm so looking forward to the Olympic Closing Ceremony tonight. I can't believe that it's all over, already...but hasn't it been great?
ENJOY!! xoxo

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Garden & a Giveaway...

The garden is looking so darned beautiful at the moment that I had to show it off to you! Instead of my usual vegetable bed, this year I planted bee & butterfly friendly flowers in relays...one sowing, then a wait of 2 weeks and another sowing...to ensure blooms all summer long. It worked so well that I had to put in some twisted willow edges to keep the foliage from completely blocking the path!
Candytuft, borage, poppies & cornflowers now run riot among the more established plants...
A dwarf buddleia adds it's particular vibrant magenta and delights the butterflies....

Under the shade of the olive tree, the nasturtiums and white snowballs of the hydrangea tumble over each other...

while the crocosmia, lavender & catmint add their particular vibrancy to the mix. I can't stop looking at it! The secret of all this lavish gorgeousness may lie here...

although, as you can see, we've had some beautiful hot sunshine, it's been interspersed with amazingly 'sharp showers'! Difficult when planning what to wear, but fabulous for the plants!
I'm so thrilled to have received all the wonderful comments from new followers after my last post...as well as the equally welcome visits from old friends. To celebrate - and because of the Olympic pride we are all feeling at the moment (isn't it amazing? I'm not a huge sports fan but it's hard not to be drawn in by such fantastic performances...Jessica Ennis! Michael Phelps! Chris Hoy! So many inspirational competitors...) I thought it was time that I had another giveaway!
There is a garden & a British theme to this one. It's open to ALL followers...wherever in the world you may be, so don't think that's a barrier to winning!
Here are the gifts that I'll be thrilled to send one of you...

First is this beautiful Emma Bridgewater Jubilee commemoration tea caddy. It's a lovely tin - the 'steadfast & true' bit you can see is an extra cover on the inside, under the lid. It will make a wonderful storage tin when the tea is all gone (English Breakfast, naturally....)

Next is this cute bundle of 10 seed collection envelopes...they come in 2 designs...so you can collect seeds from your own plants & either store them or give them away as a little gift to a gardening friend...

and lastly is this really sweet garden bunting! It's waterproof & designed for hanging up against a shed or greenhouse...or garden fence...or across a vegetable plot attached to some bean stakes...or anywhere you want to adorn!

So, there it is. Hope that you like everything! To enter, just leave me a comment on this post...tell me anything you like about either your own garden or one you love....or just say hello! I'll make the draw a week from today, on Sunday August 12th (the Glorious 12th!)

Hoping you have a beautiful sun-filled week....with my love xoxo