Monday, 31 January 2011

The Sad Tale of Princess Angora

Princess Angora was dreamed up one Christmas for a little girl who adored dolls. Her creator - who might have been the little girls mother - had a million and one tasks to complete before the Christmas holiday and so took all the supplies that she would need away with her in a little red case. In Munich she queued in a packed shop the size of a postage stamp for the perfect 100% wool felt, nothing less would be fit for a princess. She toiled for hours to come up with a pattern for the doll that would fit just so in the royal carrying case

Night after night, after the little girl had gone to sleep and in poorly lit hotel rooms, the creator/mother worked on the tiny mattresses made from Liberty Tana Lawn and filled with only the finest wool batting.

She begged some green wool off a bemused but kind German felter for the pea that only a princess would feel. The pillow was made from vintage linen embroidered by some similar creator/mother decades earlier. The dress was a pig to do without the usual tools of her studio but the creator/mother persisted.

The creator/mother had recently been given a tiny ball of angora yarn known to knitters down the ages as 'Fuzzy Wuzzy', it was the stuff of legend, the creator/mother had gazed in awe at sixty year old black and white patterns for this most glorious fibre in the world, but had never imagined that she would see any in her lifetime. But the creator/mother loved her little daughter so much that she gladly sacrificed her previously thought to be extinct 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' and nearly went blind stitching in every individual hair. The creator/mother thought that the little girl would love this beautifully hand crafted version of the Princess and the Pea Fairytale....

Alas the creator/mother had not bargained for Father Christmas popping in to Sainsbury's for a £4.99 Hello Kitty who would triumph over the fair Princess Angora in the little girls affections!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

A Busy Making Day

The much talked about tree house began to take shape today.

The muesli bars from the new Leon book were a hit.

Another Neep hat awaiting a trillion ends to be sewn in and a good blocking.

Saturday, 29 January 2011


I couldn't resist this cute little fella who arrived the other day.

I found these stashed napkins that had been waiting around for some decoration, and they were all done in half an hour, just following the blue transfer line, simple.

My original mammoth embroidery project continues, I am enjoying sitting under it whilst quilting because the batting is wool.

The Christmas wreath never made it up this year because of new UPVC doors and so I thought I would use it to display some of the bundle of Amanda Jane dolls clothes I picked up from a charity shop. They were all really well made in England in 60's and 70's. Lots more to do something with, watch this space...

Thursday, 27 January 2011


How cute are these coats? Just the sort of thing that my babies wear and I might have a go at one for next winter for Miss Belle.

Mad Men or what?

These patterns and many many more - including one Miss Belle has picked out as her wedding dress - have come from a friend's mother in her eighties who is having a clear out. How lucky am I ! They even have jottings about adding an inch, lengthening, who they were made for in what fabric and even receipts for said fabric. I aspire to this woman's order.

No craft comes without practice and she has served her time, her garments are the best handmade that I have ever seen, and you know I always inspect the inside of anything first! She must have done the required 10,000 hours.

The notes are fabulous, a work of art in their own right, how lucky am I?

A friend from the W.I. gave me this the other night, it was her great grandmothers, 'Mrs Beeton's All About Cookery'. I have looked at many a copy of Mrs Beeton but have never bought one, wasn't sure why, but it is obviously because this very kind friend was meant to give me this particular copy. Again it has notes in and I love a book with extra notes.

I do love it when someone offers me something in a tired plastic bag with the words, "If you don't want it sling it out", always a sure winner. It is so great to be thought of.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

London Weekend

As it was exeat weekend we sneaked off to London for a bit of a pig-out, Odette on Saturday and Corrigans on Sunday. Corrigans excellent as always although I would advise going on a weekday to enjoy it at its best.

Whilst in London for the weekend we stayed near to Millbank Estate and were fascinated by the buildings and the washing lines, reminding me of back to backs with washing in the entry.

The Fourth Plinth looked really good when we popped in to The National Gallery for the Bridget Riley exhibition.

New season fabrics were in at Liberty and I managed a few metres, including some darling Lauren Child.

Bridget Riley, Arrest 3, 1965.

'Threads of Feeling' at the Foundling Museum was good and sad at the same time, an exhibition of the patches of battered fabric left as tokens to identify deposited children when they were later collected. Only 152 children were reclaimed out of the 16,282 admitted between 1741 and 1760. Most poignant was the yellow ribbon tied across a child with a note attached asking to please leave this on the child - plenty of growing room - so as to ease identification later!

Purchased a few items from Rokit, you can't go wrong with a full length fitted wool coat for £20.

By chance I heard about 'Woody Sez' on Radio 4 earlier in the week and we got excellent seats for Saturday night at the Arts Theatre. Never been to a show before that had a pre-show and a Hootenany afterwards, music was brilliant, craftsmanship of the players reflected their practice, and so... more practice.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Christmas Holiday - Big Catch Up!

This is the view from our hotel in Munich over the roof of the railway terminal. One complete side of our two storey room was a window, brilliant until we lifted the blinds one morning to see workmen trying to clear snow off the roof. After a detour to Brussels, Munich was plain sailing, the only after affect of the cancelled flights across europe was that our little hire car turned into a eight seater bus, it was top speck though with tinted windows!

After a few days shopping and eating in Munich we set off for the InterContinental in Berchtesgaden, our favourite Christmas retreat.

We did a spot of light sledging, snowballing and walking, Betsy was light enough to be able to walk across the top of the snow whereas us bigger ones were knee deep.

Christmas Day lunch was a bowl of chips by the fireside, no rushing around the shops or slaving over a hot stove, can't understand why it's never featured in Good Housekeeping Top Tips for a hassle free christmas and the like. In fact I am very proud of myself for resisting all magazines that offered the perfect glossy christmas last year, must keep it up.

By Boxing Day we were a little more adventurous with the sledges and so decided on a little 5km run from the top of the mountain down into to town with a cable car ride back up, what could be more pleasant?

What fools we were, it was a fair old hike to get on the run...

...once on it it was bloody dangerous, here are Andrew and Louis about to cross a proper functioning road, that has cars on it. Note the locals on the picture have crash hats and goggles, the ice spray was relentless.

Here they are again coming in for a pit stop before dropping, literally, under a bridge for the final run. The boys lost control of their sledge and indeed lost their sledge once or twice but I am pleased to say the girls stayed in control all the way, apart from hurtling down backwards at one point. If you ever find yourself on this track, keep your feet down all the way and hurl yourself into the snow mounds every couple of hundred yards or so, it worked for us. Had we any idea of the speeds we would reach and the danger we would probably not have gone, but the disclaimer we signed was in German and we have we have never had as much fun in our lives, roll on next year.

We spent the rest of the time recovering by the fire, the flue for which is the massive tube going up the middle of this photo, the fire just blazes away in the middle of the room, being waited on with constant food and drink all helps of course.