Monday, 31 January 2011

VE Day becomes VA Day

This week I am joining in with Donna over at Brynwood Needlework for her first ever Memory Lane Monday. I am also hoping to link with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday this week.

I hope Donna will forgive me for stretching the rules a little bit as this post is not about one of my memories but a celebration of my dad's.

My dad was 80 yesterday and we had a family lunch in celebration.

This is a photo of the real VE Day celebrations in his street. My dad can be found at the end of the arrow!

Dad has often said the war years were the happiest of his life. He went from living in a flat in Tottenham to being evacuated to Norfolk, living with an elderly couple who taught him the ways of the countryside and fed him with home-caught, home-grown food. He learned to catch rabbits, make music with a blade of grass and to hang around the nearby American airbase in the hope of some gum!

Keeping this in mind, I decided (at the last minute unfortunately) to have a VE Day type celebration for his 80th birthday. As his initials are V.A. I decided to change it from VE Day to VA Day:

The idea only came to me on Saturday afternoon, so it turned out to be a real wartime 'make do and mend' decorated theme. Red and blue napkins were found and arranged on top of white table mats and tablecloth.

Would you believe I had red and blue fabric left over from making my son a quilt about ten years ago? I used it (and an old white bedsheet) to make bunting:

The Union Jacks were printed from the internet and stuck onto chopsticks. Here are a couple stuck in an old milk bottle we found in the attic:

I brought my Nan's old radio down from the attic as well. I think this is a 50's radio rather than a war-time one, but you can't have everything!

The food I kept to traditional English. Pea Soup, called 'London Particular', Roast Beef with all the trimmings followed by jam roly-poly and custard (Gary Rhodes has wonderful recipes for the pea soup and the roly-poly). Just the kind of nostalgic food my dad loves.

Here he is blowing the candles out on the roly-poly!

So Donna I hope you will forgive me for changing the rules slightly. I wanted to acknowledge my dad reaching the grand age of 80 and letting you all see the wonderful photo of the real VE Day.

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y, D A D!


Andi xx

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Make of the Month

I have joined Annie at The Felt Fairy and pledged to make one item a month. This is a big thing for me as I tend to procrastinate, as you will see as you read on.

This month I have completed a dressing gown:

The fabric is called 'From the Hip' from Alexander Henry's 2000 collection. I bought it a number of years ago (too long to remember exactly) and had to order it from the US as it wasn't sold in the UK.

Fortunately, my BiL works a few months a year in the US, so I had the supplier ship it to him in Albuquerque and he brought it home for me (what a lovely BiL I have).

At the time, the only pattern I could find for a robe was a Vogue pattern. I'd have preferred Simplicity as, although I've made clothing before, I'm not the most proficient seamstress and I need clear cut instructions.

Eagerly I cut the pattern and the fabric, made all the notches and marks... and here is where I question my sanity:

Girls, I tried to sew this thing together on CHRISTMAS EVE! Can you believe it? What was I thinking? Nowadays, my fingers rake through my hair in disbelief.


The Vogue instructions were not easy to understand. The Vogue diagrams could not be deciphered. I became frustrated and put the whole project away where it has sat for years, forgotten, in the bottom of the wardrobe until this past weekend when I rescued it.

My pledge to make one thing a month was the thing that spurred (Ha!) me on. I couldn't let this wonderful fabric go to waste...

So here it is:

I have fulfilled my pledge for the month of January. Thank you, Annie, for encouraging me. The sense of achievement is very high considering how long I've ignored it.

And I pledge never to buy a Vogue pattern again!


Andi xx

Monday, 17 January 2011

A little tip

Just a little tip:

never leave your knitting bag

where your son's big clodhoppers can find it!

A useful tip I thought I'd pass along.


Andi xx

Friday, 7 January 2011


Happy New Year everyone! We had a houseful at Christmas with thirteen on Christmas Day and Fifteen on Boxing Day. It was loud, it was busy, it was fun!

I was busy before Christmas making this doll for my mum:

Mum fell in love with a 'Time Out' doll that was in the cottage we rented during the summer holidays. If anyone sells them here in the UK, I couldn't find them, so I sent off to the US for a pattern and had fun making 'Lottie'. It was even more fun searching for clothes in all the charity shops. Everything but the stuffing was recycled - I even found (unused, still packaged) hair pieces in the charity shops, which pleased me so much.

Here are a few of my favourite presents I received this Christmas. Mum really came up trumps with this button tin from Oxfam which she'd filled with cs buttons:


My eighteen year old son was brilliant. He had braved the haberdashery department at John Lewis (I presume) to buy me two balls of wool:

I'll have to look for something to knit with just this wool. If any of you can point me towards suitable patterns, I'd be very grateful.

Are any of you familiar with this picture?

It's the 'knitted tree' by Carol Hummel. I loved this idea so much I have spent time knitting for my own tree in the garden. It's long work as I don't knit very fast, but it's coming along. Anyhow, my SiL and niece (aged 10) knitted me these contributions:

I've been so thrilled and touched by every one of these gifts which were sooooo appropriate. I love, love, love them.

Now, I'm not sure how much time you'll have if you're interested in this next item, but I had added to my 'watched' list on eBay (UK) this collection of buttons:

They are being sold by digital1971. I started watching when the price was about £1.99, thinking 'oh they're nice - I'll keep my eye on those.' The last time I looked the price was up to £122.00!
I don't think I'll be bidding.

The seller also has this collection of jewellery for sale:

Just enlarge the pic if you can and drool.


Andi xx