I bought this Easter tree long ago and out it comes each year. The branches are very accommodating and bend nicely which ever way we so choose .. or should I say 'the children choose', for tree decorating is purely their domain. I have even resisted the temptation to move a decoration or two from overfilled branches, in order to give to those with none!
So we are getting ready for Easter. My parents join us tomorrow and, seeing as I've not seen them in way too long, I have to say tomorrow won't come soon enough.
But we won't be celebrating Good Friday this year. Oh no no no, there is something way more exciting and important in our diaries, excitement levels are running high and the (long) countdown is very nearly over ...
We've just had a fun weekend with friends in Dorset, during which we visited Tyneham (near Corfe Castle). This is such an interesting place, an unfortunate village whose 252 inhabitants were forced by the War Office to leave in 1943 so that it could be used by troops as a firing range. The evacuation was supposed to have been only temporary but after the war the Army placed a compulsory purchase order so the villagers were never allowed to return. It is still used for military training and the village is only accessible when the firing range is open to the public.
Tyneham is tucked into a valley where wild garlic and bluebells grow and a pretty stony beach is only a short walk away. The buildings lie in ruins, except for the church and the school, which was closed down in 1932 and has been preserved as a museum. I spent most of my time here, fascinated by the pictures on the walls, the beautifully illustrated desks with original school work displayed under glass on the tops. Such neat and pretty writing with beautiful drawings. And in the foyer there was a row of coat hooks, one for each child, with its own wooden painted name plate. I particularly liked this one for Violet Cake.
Violet Cake. What a wonderful name. And inside the school house, her nature study work was every bit as appealing.
After a good, long, look around the village, we wandered down to the sea. The water was so calm and the atmosphere so peaceful, despite the fact it was fairly busy, and we had a fun time building stone towers, searching for crabs and identifying the variety of fossils that lay embedded into the rocks.
And that night we slept so well having had our fill of fresh ozone and exercise.
I expect you have picked up on my love of sewing clothes for my girl but, of course, there are only so many she can realistically wear. It's been on my mind to try selling some for some time and now the overlocker's up and running, and there's a fairly healthy supply of vintage goodies in the stash, I've finally plucked up the courage and added some skirts to the shop.
These limited edition skirts are all made from 1950s fabric and two from wonderful barkcloth. If you're not familiar with this, barkcloth is the most beautiful medium weight textural cotton, mostly associated with the 1940s through 1960s and commonly used in curtains and other home furnishings. I love using it for clothing because, aside from the beautiful prints, the cloth is just so interesting and tactile.
But holiday time now means a shift in the creativity that happens around here. Hmm, I think we shall begin with decorating the Easter tree!
Whilst recently browsing in a local hospice shop, I managed to find a skirt made from heavenly pure Scottish wool tweed. When I got it home it immediately went to the washing machine and I half expected it to be ruined to be honest, thinking it wouldn't really be the end of the world. But it came out looking exactly as it did beforehand, only cleaner .. and smelling far sweeter!
Originally I thought I might make a holdall type of bag but because the skirt was such a large size, there was a good amount of width there and perfect for a pair of cushions which we are in need of, as it happens. I thought long and hard about how to embellish them but in the end decided to leave them au naturel. Sometimes plain is best, I think. There's something really satisfying about making cushions, it is one of those projects that takes very little time, yet there's so much reward. I backed them with unbleached antique French linen, nice and slubby and with the envelope back, they were a cinch to make too. I was able to save the other components to the skirt for other purposes - the elastic can easily be reused, the olive lining is now on the shelf for the future and there is still more fabric for another, smaller, creation. Not bad for £4.
These will grace my sofa very nicely I think. I love the very Britishness of the tweed, to me it conjures up images of twinsets and pearls, country estates and tramping through the heather, grouse on the moorland, plus fours on the golf course and, of course, our own Queen Liz!
What things do you think of as being typically British?
We went to the very first West Norwood Feast yesterday. Apparently the area is going to become a festival of pop-up culture once a month and given it's easy to get to, it may be quite the place to go.
There are four themed markets in various parts of the main high road; Gardeners' Corner, Artisans' Market, Food Fair and Retro Village. It's there that I bought this vintage plate cake stand. Like pick 'n' mix there was a selection of plates to choose from, all with holes punched in the centre, so you could make up your own. I only found two plates I liked but bought a drill bit to add a third layer whenever I want. That was a lot of fun!