Monday, 13 February 2017

A House Where Time Stood Still

Its great when you have wonderful neighbours, but we've sadly waved goodbye to ours as they've recently sold their house, which has been in their family since 1928. How amazing is that?

Their house was like stepping back in time to the 1940s or earlier; full of brown furniture and plenty of original features like this wall paper:

But, as our neighbours spend most of their time abroad, they only wanted to take a few select pieces of furniture with them, not a complete houseful. So as a "Thank You" to us for keeping an eye on the house over the past few years, they asked us to take whatever we wanted before they sold it off. 

Seriously, I couldn't believe what they said and kept asking if they were sure. Their reply was that they'd rather us have the things that we liked as they knew it would be treasured and wouldn't be far from its original home. 

Husband was particularly happy with his choice of a dis-armed hand grenade, which was originally kept on a bedroom mantlepiece; cue lots of 'pull out the pin' jokes!

There were so many lovely pieces of furniture like marble washstands, a chaise longue, chest of drawers etc., but we couldn't fit it all in our house and I didn't want to take things just for the sake of it. So, we settled on some smaller objects, like the Staffordshire flat-back watch stand above, some Union Jack flags to add to our collection...


I reckon these must be from the inter war period, as the large one is printed linen, whilst the bunting appears to be rayon.

The large flag lives in this old iron umbrella stand, which stands in the same place in our hall as it did in our neighbours'...

I'm going to black it up with grating polish once I get the time. Doesn't the owl look lovely?

We didn't take much furniture either; only this mahogany what-not that fits in neatly beside my craft table and makes a handy place to store my art equipment, and a stick-back chair; the cushion cover is a recent sewing project. The arms of the chair are well-worn and as its surprisingly comfy, I'm sure this was once someone's favourite seat.


However, I did find wallspace for this Victorian pastel of a Romany boy. I'd always admired this picture and the boy's face reminds me of a friend's son. Its such  beautiful picture and his eyes follow you around the room, but not in a freaky way though, more of an inquisitive look.

To give you an idea of how much of a timewarp the house was, these are some of the newspapers that were scattered about...

...these date from 1916!

Our neighbours also asked Husband if he could clear out their sheds for them too, which hadn't been touched for at least twenty years. That'll be another blog post, but Husband did find this marmalade jar in one of them that only needed a good scrub up to be as good as new...

 It makes the ideal vase don't you think?

Monday, 16 January 2017

New Knits & Free Finds

Fingerless gloves have to be one of my favourite knits. They're quick, practical and ideal tv-knitting during episodes of Sherlock - what's not to like? I've completed two pairs already this year and am planning more. 

For the first pair I returned to one of my favourite patterns by Twisted Stitches, which uses 4ply sock yarn and 2.5mm dpns. Instead of my usual choice of Colinette 'Jitterbug' yarn, I used some stash yarn in the form of Cascade  'Heritage Paints' that a friend gave to me years ago. 

In contrast for the second pair with their cable pattern, I used some chunky Rowan 'Felted Tweed' in the 'Aubergine' colourway, which knitted up far quicker than the thinner 4ply! 

The pattern is 'Beech' from Rowan Knitting Magazine No. 50; again knitted on dpns but 8mm this time. 

Photo source
Now, I love the colour and texture of the Rowan yarn, but I found it so splitty to work with and it broke at inconvenient times when I was doing the cable pattern, which resulted in me having to rip back a few rows to re-join the yarn. I wasn't happy about that! However, these are the ideal mitts to wear when driving Archie the Morris.

I'm having a bit of a creative rush this month, as I'm also doing some embroidery (I'll save that for another post perhaps) and I've got back into life-drawing at long last. 

I've always enjoyed life-drawing and went to various classes over the years, but it was after talking to a friend who also goes to the same class, that gave me the impetus to sign up for the spring term. My first lesson was last week and I really enjoyed it, getting back into the flow, working with charcoal and pastels.

Finally, I'll end this on a 'kindness of strangers' note. Walking back home on Saturday I noticed a sign outside an open garage reading: "Free - please take otherwise its going to the tip". Well, you can't resist an invitation like that, can you?

There wasn't much there, but I did leave with a hoe (practical eh?) and these lovely 1950s/60s glass Christmas baubles and artificial berries:

Luckily I had a pen on me, so scribbled a few words of thanks under the original message. 

Wasn't that a lucky find?

Saturday, 31 December 2016

That Was The Year: 2016

Well, its that time of year for me to have my annual blog review of 2016's makes, finds and general doings, and I don't know about you, but for me this year has flown past at a ridiculously fast rate.

2016 saw me hardly doing much knitting as I was pooling all my efforts into getting the business up-and-running, working on the house and spending a lot of time outdoors in the orchard trying to tame its overgrown and long-forlorn corners, and rejuvenate the neglected fruit trees.

I started a few knitting projects, but they fell by the wayside (as usual). Those that I did complete were my teacosies, Fair Isle beret and a last minute Christmas present for Monkeychild: a mermaid blanket. She'd seen these on the 'net and suggested that one would make a welcome present. There was no way I was going to buy one when I could knit something far better (and we all know that homemade presents are the best!), so I found a free pattern on the Black Sheep Wools website (Link), brought the yarn and on the 24th November cast on for the blanket. I didn't finish it until the 23rd December which was very close to the wire and was the most concentrated amount of knitting that I've done in a long time; but it was so worthwhile to see the look of happiness on Monkeychild's face when she unwrapped it on Christmas morning!

Sewing fared similarly, with my 1970s maxi dress that turned out to be 'meh', Monkeychild's Alice in Wonderland dress also based on a '70s pattern (these were my #VintagePledge2016 projects) and her summer romper suit. 

To be honest, I haven't been visiting the charity shops as often as in previous years so my finds have been rather sparse in comparision. Though I have had some great buys in those that I visited and other places; here's some of my favourites...

From Top left: 1970s Jeff Banks blouse, 1940s evening dress, 1970s Indian print dress, Pied a Terre boots & 1930s enamel sign

However, being outside in the orchard either working, playing or relaxing has been one of the year's greatest satisfactions that we've all enjoyed as a family. 

From digging up the brambles at the start of the year, evolving the greenhouse border from an overgrown rubblepile to a colourful flowerpatch, watching the wildlife appear and just sitting outside with a tea first thing in the morning (or a beer in the evening) - simple pleasures that are truly the best and what I'm looking forward to the most in 2017.

So on this final note, the VK household wish you and yours all health and happiness for 2017...

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