You know, I made a promise to myself when I wrote my last post that I would really try to write a blog once a week. Once a week, I thought to myself, that’s more than do-able. It turns out that’s not really the case when you have a very active baby who rarely naps during the daytime…
However, I have managed (with the help of Aidan and his wonderful photography skills) to get some items listed on eBay. They were bought a few weeks ago: perusing chazzers is something that we can still do with a baby in tow.
The pictures of the Serpentine dish are my favourite. The seagull reminds me of this video by Metronomy:
Aidan and I celebrated our ten year anniversary last Saturday (ten years!!!) and he got me a digital radio to match our Cambridge Audio stack. Unfortunately, it was too late to listen to the BBC 6 Music Greatest 100 rundown on it, but it’s barely been turned off since. Most afternoons, Corliss and I have a dance around the living room to whatever either Radcliffe and Maconie or Steve Lamacq are playing. Great fun! If we’re not dancing, we’re playing, reading, cuddling or just laughing at each other:
She manages about three minutes before she starts to whinge – it’s about the length of one of the stories!
Aidan has been continuing with the West German Pottery selling since early January. In fact, these are what he has ending this evening:
If you click the pictures, it should take you to the eBay listings for the relevant items.
Tonight, we’re having Rachel round as it’s her birthday today. Happy birthday, Rachel! This is the lady in question:
I’ve given up all hope of finishing one of her presents for this evening… and the other one hasn’t arrived yet! So, we’d better hope I can get some tea on the table at least!
Until next week*…
*By week, I mean month and most likely the month after that. Shall we say… May time?
It’s that time of year again… cold, dark nights; clocks are turned back (this coming Sunday!); blustery days… Halloween and Bonfire Night are just around the corner. This year we’re having a Halloween party and have asked people to dress up. Aidan and I have got some pretty snazzy costumes to wear – although, as I’m typing this, mine isn’t exactly finished… or started… To get some ideas for the food and drinks, I decided to look up vintage Halloween adverts. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I wasn’t disappointed. Here are some of my favourites, gathered together in one place. Thanks to anyone I’ve nabbed them off!
I’m not sure I’d want to answer the door to that last kid… My favourite advert out of these is the Pepsi one. Perhaps next year, I’ll be able to copy that costume rather than being restricted to ones of a rotund nature!
I think that finally the nesting instinct must be starting to take over. Many of the people I’ve spoken to about being pregnant mention the dreaded ‘C’ word before long: cleaning. Apparently, this urge to clean every surface, wall and floor in sight starts to kick in prior to the baby arriving. As of yet, this hasn’t happened to me (no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life); but the slightly more enjoyable ‘K’ word has started to appear: knitting. I am feeling the urge to knit everything and anything I can!
Let’s be clear about this – I’m not a very good knitter. Until I got pregnant, the only thing I’d ever knitted was a scarf for my sister Megan, which was pretty rubbish and resembled a draught excluder by the time I’d finished. But now, with the help of the modern wonder that is t’internet, I’ve managed to make a blanket and a little cardigan:
I used this pattern for the Super Easy Baby Blanket from the Purlbee website and this pattern for the cardigan. Despite being the simplest knitting patterns on the planet, I still managed to make lots of mistakes… I was accidentally adding stitches on to the blanket at first, until I realised that I was pulling the wool over the needle incorrectly at the end of each row. I wish I’d realised this BEFORE I’d added on nearly 40 stitches obviously… Numerous holes and dropped stitches appeared at points in the blanket. I managed to sew the cardigan together incorrectly with some pieces inside out. However, I’ve also learned how to fix most of these errors, the basics of casting on, off, knit, attaching buttons, weaving in ends, changing colours, ‘tinking’ (I think it’s called), which ‘feet’ stitches are supposed to have forwards on the needles and probably a dozen other little things that three months ago I had no idea about.
It’s compulsive though. Now that I’ve realised that I can actually knit a bit, I’m feeling the urge to make anything and everything. One of my twitter friends, @knitstixnstring who runs a knitting group in Glossop, told me about a website called Ravelry, where people can upload free knitting patterns and share their projects. That’s it. I’m hooked and I’ve spent far more time than I should have trawling the projects on there to find things I can have a go at next. My current project is this little tank top by the Thrifty Knitter. I’m doing it in the same wool as the cream colour of the blanket, then I’ve got ideas to make something in the yellow as well.
As much as anything, I’m enjoying learning a new skill. I love learning new things and whilst I can’t really do much DIY around the house (funnily enough, not something I enjoy learning how to do…), this is a hobby to keep me occupied on the big countdown. We’re off on holiday next week to Suffolk, and I’m pretty ginormous now and not particularly mobile. Therefore, I’m envisioning days spent in front of a log burner, knitting away…
Before anyone asks: no, I’ve not lost my mind and yes, I’m feeling fine… I’ve actually listed some things on eBay. There are quite a few banana boxes of stuff lurking around the garage, attic and most likely my rather large built in cupboard; things that have been bought in the past to purposefully sell, or I’ve decided against keeping for myself for whatever reason. Currently, I’m feeling the pinch of a long summer holiday, paying out for baby clothes and bits and bobs for the house so it seemed like a good time to get some eBay listing done.
Who am I kidding?
There’s no way I would have done it if Aidan hadn’t persuaded me to!
You can have a look at my Ebay items here… About half are listed at the moment, the others will be going on this evening.
There’s a huge mixture of stuff. Some of the dresses have come from Germany, found during our West German pottery buying trips. Others are ones I’ve bought for myself and no longer fit me. I wish I could wear the Marks and Spencers tea dress! I don’t think I’d take that off if it fit me. Alas, I’ve got no hope of getting into a size 8; certainly not at the moment, and I don’t think ever!
Other than the eBay listing, this weekend has been spent cooking food for Aidan whilst he paints like a demon and then knitting like my own demon. I’m making a baby blanket using this pattern from the Purl Bee blog. I can’t really knit that well, so I’m using this as a practice project. So far, it’s taught me how to cast on, actually do the basic knit, change colours/threads, fix a ridiculous mistake (using frogging), that stitches have different orientation and how to be very, very patient when you make a mistake then put an entire row of 140 stitches back on the wrong way round. Once the blanket gets a bit further along, I’ll post some pictures up. It’s not really that impressive looking at the moment. Aidan will probably have decorated the house before the blanket is completed; the baby almost certainly will be here first! I just hope the baby isn’t so big that the blanket won’t fit round after all of that effort…
There are lots of little bits and bobs (hence the title) knocking around the house that I keep meaning to blog about about, but somehow have never got round to. The last month has been a busy one, to say the least, and although the next few months look to be equally as hectic, I want to make sure I don’t let the maintenance of my blog slide. We still manage to fit in accumulating lots of retro and vintage goods around the business though. Just wouldn’t be us if we didn’t!
So… where to start?
We’ve been to Germany twice this year: once in February and last week. On every trip, we manage to find a vintage lady print. Whilst on this trip we just found another version of J.H. Lynch’s ‘Tina’, last time we found the picture by Torina above. We’ve only ever seen ‘Carmen’ the gypsy woman before, so this is a new one. This time in Germany, we did see a radically different Torino print, featuring a 1950s style beauty in a bathing suit. However, there was something about the face that put us both off, despite the apparent boobage action that features in all of Torino’s babes! It was all a bit out of proportion. After debating whether to sell this particular Torina totty, I think we’ve decided to keep it. She suits the front reception room’s current decor, so she’ll at least sit in there until we decorate.
Presents in the past few months have also been fairly retro:
The pots came from Aidan’s brother, and the Conversational German LP from his dad. Aidan got me this as a random present:
It’s a beautiful, vintage Liberty scarf and he said it was ‘just because’. You can’t really get much better than that as a reason. I’m not sure what era it’s from; at a guess I would say 1980s. So far, I’ve been too timid to wear as it is so, so delicate. I could also do with some suggestions of how to wear it other than just draped around my neck in what I hope is a slightly artful manner.
The floors upstairs are nearly finished, thanks to a superhuman effort by Aidan and his dad. I think these will be done this week, maybe even this evening if I know Aidan like I think I do… Once these are done, then we’re going to put the old carpets back down to protect them while we remove and replace the wallpaper upstairs. Downstairs is another matter. I’m not sure what or when we’re going to get started on doing down here. Upstairs is a big enough task for now and we’ve got a nine month deadline in place… well, five months left now.
We bought this mushroom night light from the Emmaus charity shop in Mossley a while ago, but I forgot to photograph when I wrote about a few other things we’d had from there. It needs reconverting back into a light, as someone has removed the fittings from inside it. It was going to be sold, but now we think we’ll keep it for the baby’s room.
The latest car load from Germany is being slowly decanted from the van-car to the garage by Aidan, but straight into boxes as we’ve got space restrictions in place. There are a few things that have made it into the house already, including two rather large chairs we brought back, so I’ll get photographing those at some point this week.
- Fish, Wallpaper and Plates (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- Colours of Spring (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
The latest batch of Ebay sales came from my parents. Last year, my dad and sister did their own mini German road trip and came back with a few West German Pots of their own. I bought a couple from them, including a gorgeous Italian dish and an amazing Schaffenacker piece. This week, Aidan was selling some of their other pieces:
The sales have already ended now, but it’s always worth a look anyway. If you want to see what else Aidan has for sale – ending next week – just click here. If you happen to spot one of your new purchases in the pictures above, say hello! Always lovely to find out where the pots have gone to.
Apologies for the lack of blogging recently – far too much to do with the house and work. Hopefully, the end (as far as work is concerned) is in sight. I cannot wait for that final GCSE exam to be done! As much as I’ll miss my two year Eleven classes, I’ll definitely enjoy the extra free periods I get in return. More blogging will ensue at that point, I promise.
Are you nostalgic? As a generation, are we harking back to past eras more than any other generation before us? Or this a natural human action: to yearn for something we can never truly have – or replicate? It certainly seems that there are more and more people of my age who look to their ancestors rather than their contemporaries for inspiration, style and a way of life. I consider myself no exception to this.However, for me what began as inspiration is turning into a way of life, in more ways than one.
A few months ago, we moved into our new house and so far the duties have been divided like this: I cook. Aidan does everything else. Actually, that’s not strictly true. We share tidying, washing, clearing up; but he does the DIY. Which, currently, is the most pressing of our needs for the house and the task that needs the vast majority of time spending on it. As I type this, in front our amazing wood burning stove, he is upstairs sawing floorboards, laying them, removing old nails, hammering in new ones. I made the breakfast this morning and will do the washing up after I’ve written this, before starting on my planning for the week.
I don’t see this as ‘falling into traditional gender stereotypes’. I plan our meals and do the cooking because
I’m better at it than he is I enjoy it; Aidan does the D.I.Y. because he is better at it, and I physically can’t. My do-it-yourself skills extend to just about managing to take some wallpaper off the wall, and to be honest I’d still prefer it if Aidan did-it-himself.
The two magazine covers above show two different approaches to home improvement as a couple in the 1950s. The first picture shows the wife assisting her husband, whilst wearing full makeup and a lovely set of pearls. The second picture shows the wife performing tasks herself, wearing more appropriate garb. Initally, when I looked at these, I thought, “I’m offering neither assistance nor help,” in the way these two wives are. What does that mean? Should I be at Aidan’s side whilst he fixes, saws, hammers, nails, curses and creates?
This third Homemaker picture probably typifies our roles more closely, although without me being quite so perfectly turned out, or with such a small waist. At one point in my life, it might have rankled me that I was fulfilling such a stereotype. Yet now I don’t see it like that, not really. We’re both in charge of the areas where our skills lie. We both have made the choice about how we operate as a couple. If I don’t want to cook one night, Aidan does it. If he’s getting fed up over the traumas of D.I.Y. I pep him back up and go to B&Q with him, not just leave him to sort it out because he’s the man. The key is, it’s a choice.
And that’s where it differs from the 1950s. How we choose to lead our lives does not get judged in any way by friends or family. If things changed tomorrow and Aidan became chief chef whilst I wielded the hammer and nails, nobody would bat an eyelid. (This is strictly not true; no-one in their right mind would be anywhere near me with a hammer in my hand, but that’s not the point). In the 1950s, the woman probably still was expected to clean the house and feed her family whether she’d helped with the home improvements or not; society pretty much dictated that and to do otherwise would be to face disapproval. How many men from the 1950s would have finished tiling the bathroom, with their wife on hand to help, then gone and cooked the evening meal, and washed all that up afterwards as well? Yet you could still argue that these same men may have had a day at work as well as the evening or weekend of D.I.Y. as well. The argument swings both ways: women and men were expected to behave in certain ways, fulfilling specific roles, whether they wanted to or not. Nowadays, certainly in my personal world, the choice is down to the individuals involved.
I’m wondering what I’m trying to say here… there’s no argument as such. Perhaps I’m doing nothing more than trying to justify a lazy Sunday while Aidan works. Or giving myself a reason to show case these pictures. What is becoming clear to me is that I could do more D.I.Y. if I wanted to. After looking at these Homemaker magazine covers, part of me is thinking that Ishouldbe doing more. At the very least, I could be serving up his meals with a much nicer dress on…
I began writing this thinking about how we – i.e., Aidan and me – are keen to replicate some of the mid century feel within our own home, and that these magazines could provide some of our inspiration. What I didn’t realise was how much the lifestyle itself was rubbing off on us as well.
Last Friday it was mine and my dad’s birthday, missing out on sharing the happy day with Queen Elizabeth herself. The weekend before, my family came to visit to celebrate. I’m sure I’ve mentioned last year about me and dad sharing our birthday – we no longer share a cake, but it is lovely to ring each other up and do a mutual ‘Happy Birthday’. Although he did point out this year that despite me being able to drink legally for ten years now, we’ve never actually been out for a birthday drink on the day itself…
We had a great day out at the Stockport Museum of Hatting. Providing a fantastic (and huge) landmark in Stockport courtesy of its giant red brick tower, the museum is well worth a visit. As long as you can find it. Even with a sat nav and that tower, my dad still struggled! He’s not known for his navigational skills.
I received a vintage hair styling kit amongst other things from my sister and a Benefit voucher from my parents, which is currently burning a hole in my Important Box. Definitely needs spending soon! I attempted to use the styling kit on Friday. It wasn’t successful for a first go… I’ll try it again when I have more time and patience!
My nan brought over some old Ladybird books she’d salvaged from the local primary school:
Aidan got me some lovely things, as always. The vintage and retro picks of the lot were:
The black and white West German pot on the right is in the Ankara glaze by Carstens. I love it! I collect this glaze; mostly the collection is built up from the more common blue and black style. This means I now have one red and black, and one white and black. The glaze on this is constructed slightly differently: it has the black underneath the other colour, rather than on top of it like the blue and black version.
I also got this:
This weekend has been quite busy. We went out for a meal on Friday night (actual birthday night) with a few of our friends, to my favourite restaurant TNQ, which if you’ve never been to, I can’t recommend highly enough. Saturday equalled D.I.Y. Enough said. On Sunday, some of our regular, and favourite, pottery (potty?) people, Steve and Lesley, came round to pick up some Ebay purchases and grab a few more pieces. They never leave empty handed! And it’s always nice to know the pottery is going to a new, loving home. Steve brought me these fantastic magazines:
We spent a while on Sunday flicking through these, and I cannot wait to get to grips with them properly. Expect lots of pictures of a D.I.Y. nature to accompany our own renovations. These magazines form the ‘bonanza’ part of my blog post today – and quite rightly so.
Have you had some kind of bonanza this week? If so, ‘scuse my nosiness, but what was it? I’ll probably bore you to tears with mine before long!
Famous Celebrity Birthday Sharers for April 20th:
Adolf Hitler (oh dear)
George Takei (yes!)
It seems slightly surreal to be writing about Easter when the weather resembles the depths of Winter. Easter equals Spring, birds chirping, drip drip drop little April showers… not, hide indoors because it’s a blizzard outside.
One of the things I love about my Woman’s Own magazines (amongst many) is how the covers vary from month to month, season to season. Many modern magazines are fairly homogenous; these ladies have character, and although the basic format stays the same, there is still an individuality to each one. These Easter issues are beautiful.
The sheep cover reminds me of when we went camping a few years ago at Easter and it snowed! We were on a small working farm, halfway between Llandudno and Conwy. At the time, we didn’t have a car so we’d walked a good few miles to get to the farm, then had about a seven mile walk to Llandudno and again to Conwy (we were at the third point of a triangle between the two if that makes sense). If I remember rightly, the first night there it hailed. Despite zipping sleeping bags together and wearing virtually everything we owned, we were freezing. The next day we walked into Llandudo and it snowed. So we bought a duvet and some scrumpy cider… I’m not sure whether it was the duvet or the cider, but we were toasty that night.
That’s also the night I hallucinated that there were goblins running around the outside of our tent, but the less said about that the better…
Bet she never hallucinated about goblins running around her tent…