Saturday, 1 June 2013

Welcome Summer

Hello Everyone, it is so lovely to see you all again.  Do come in and make yourself at home.  Well, the last couple of days have been rather nice, not hot mind you but not raining or cold thank goodness.  I even started to sort out some summer clothes in the vague hope that I might get to wear them over the next month or so.

Yesterday was a full day as I had to return to Liverpool, my home town to sort out some business.  I had arrived really early as I do love the feeling of being in a busy city when it is quiet and just starting to wake up.  People were slowly coming into the city ready for work and the shops were not yet open. 

It was fine, I walked down to the Pier Head to see my wonderful Liver Birds who stand on the top of the Liver Building - most of you will know the story behind these birds.  There are two of them and they have never produced any offspring - well not to our knowledge anyway!  The fable goes that if they ever fly away then the city of Liverpool will be no more.  It was opened in 1911 and survived two world wars.   Although Liverpool suffered dreadful bomb damage, along with many other places, during the World War II the Liver Building remained intact as it was used as a landmark for the incoming raiders so those two birds have seen so much since it opened its doors all those years ago.  When I got home I realised that the photograph I had taken was not that clear so when I am in Liverpool again I will take a better one of the building.   Apologies for the history lesson but I just love those birds!

While I was in Liverpool I had time to pop into the new Museum which is right on the waterfront and took this photograph of the Liver Building from inside.  Everyone was drawn to the huge picture window upstairs in the Museum. 

I found the cutest little idea in the Museum.  I apologise for the quality of the photographs but there were so many children around playing so I wasn't able to really focus properly.  At first I just thought it was a painted door until some children opened it up and I realised that it was in fact a cupboard.

Not sure if you can see it properly but the children playing with it were getting a little fed up with me trying to muscle in with my camera.  I just thought it was a super idea for a cupboard at home as you can see they have put little spaces under the house for all the equipment and the children were having a great time moving things around and playing house.  I have seen some similar ideas in the various magazines I am addicted to when sets of shelves have been modelled to look like the inside of a doll's house using vintage wallpapers and vintage doll's furniture.  I had mentioned this to my long suffering husband last year and I swear he thought I was regressing back to childhood!  I would love to hear if any of my lovely readers have seen similar models in the magazines.  

While I was in Liverpool I did also visit one of my favourite vintage shops called Purlesque.  I have been visiting Jane for a few years now and have always found really interesting things to buy.  She is so talented and uses vintage fabrics to upcycle them into the most amazing things.  Look at these gorgeous collars made out of vintage embroidery, don't they look so cute. 

   Jane also sells masses of great vintage clothes and household goods.  It is always such a good place to visit and browse.

However, Jane had some sad news as the lease on the shop is not being renewed so she is now going to concentrate on an online shop and vintage fairs.  If you are around Liverpool this month do pop in as she is having a big sale and you might pick up a bargain or two - go onto her website for more details.  I am hoping to be able to get to see her again before she leaves but hopefully will keep in touch through the website.  It is a sad reflection of life when really talented people have to struggle but I am starting to realise just how supportive and strong the creative community really is.

This brings me on nicely to my fantastic day out today in Llanwrst.  You may remember that I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been invited to a crochet day.  I set off this morning very early in glorious sunshine.  Louise, whose house we were using for the course, was just so welcoming and kind.  Lovely readers, I have to say that crafting and cakes seem to go hand in hand.  A lot of the gorgeous ladies on the course had baked some scrumptious treats including three different soups, crusty bread, lemon drizzle cake, cheese scones, flapjacks, butterfly cakes, muffins and rock cakes - and we hadn't even started the course yet!  Wonderful!  There was a constant supply of tea and coffee as well as the company of a fabulous group of ladies of all ages.  Tracy had kindly travelled all the way from Lytham-St-Anns to teach us all how master the art of crochet.  Tracy was so supportive and had a quiet aura which enabled us all to progress at a rate of knots.

As you know I am a relative newcomer to serious crochet and have tried to crochet a bag but found that the sides of my work either start to move inwards and end up looking like a triangle or outwards, getting wider and wider........not a good look for a bag.  The lady I was sitting next to was a really experienced crafter and was on hand to help us all out at the other end of the table.

I admit that I had a mental block when it comes to reading crochet patterns so this was something I wanted to have a go at today.  We practised the casting on and then just doing rows of crochet trying out different stitches including double crochet, half treble and treble.  I coped with these well but did find that I was not finishing off the rows that well so mine were not straight.  Lydia, the lovely helper next to me was there to guide me and show me the error of my ways...............after a few tries I could see clearly where I have been going wrong all these years.  At last I managed to produce something which resembled a acceptable piece of crochet.  You can see some of the errors I was making at the start of the crochet square - by the way the cute little pink flower is not my handiwork unfortunately but the lovely Lydias.

Lovely people there is something wonderful about sitting and spending time with others, learning from one another and creating something at your own level and pace.  Life is usually such a rush so to have a day when you can relax and not feel pressurised to produce a 'set amount of work' is such a gift.  You can see why sewing circles, knitting and craft groups are so popular as we all have so little time to spend on experiences such as this. 

Before we knew it lunchtime had arrived and Louise had thoughtfully set out chairs and tables in the garden so we could relax in the sunshine and enjoy the wonderful food which had been prepared.  It was so nice to sit and get to know everyone and swop stories about our lives.  People are so interesting and we don't always listen to the stories of others because we are slaves to the clock.  The lovely Lydia is French and was telling me how she came to settle in this little village in Wales.  A really talented lady who had come across to Britain to learn the language and had stayed.  She enjoys so many crafts including knitting, patchwork and crochet and is at present making a wonderful crochet blanket for each of her two girls.  They have been involved in the whole process including the colours of the squares, the buttons, embroidery and little adornments which will make such special heirlooms for them both.  Lydia was saying how things had been passed on to her and how she treasured them so much.  She has promised to send me some photographs when they are finished and I will post them for you all to see.  Already I have ideas of what I could do for my grandchildren...............the list of 'to dos' gets bigger everything folks.

What I loved about the blanket was that it was unique and colourful.  I thought the edging of the little pink flowers really finished it off.  Lydia was saying that when her girls get married she may well make them a big blanket for their home - wonderful!

After lunch we all went back inside, full to the brim with gorgeous cakes.  We set about making a flower brooch, something I had really been looking forward to.  Tracy had made one up for us to see and had bought some vintage buttons and brooch backs so that we could complete our projects to take home.  I forced myself to try and follow the Rowan pattern as Tracy went through it step by step, demonstrating each step carefully for us to copy.  Mine came along well and I was pleased with the first part - remember that I had been following Mom of 5 Daughters fabulous blog to crochet a flower so had a good idea of how to do it but really wanted to be able to follow a pattern competently.

The second and third petals are quite tricky to do and I must admit that I am so glad that I had followed the practical demonstrations before as I don't think I could have mastered it using the pattern only.  Tracy was on hand to show me exactly how to do it correctly and on I went.  I finished it and was so pleased with the result and only have to sew on on the back and buttons now - maybe even put some of my beads on lovely readers!

I had a little time left before the course finished and Lydia kindly offered to show me how to crochet other small flowers which would make really cute little trimmings.  You can see some of Lydia's handiwork here and in the second picture, my baby steps.

Well all good things have to come to an end and it was time to head off home.  I had a most wonderful day and am hoping that another course will come again soon.  A huge thank you to everyone I met today, it was such a pleasure to spend time with you all and I leaned such a lot.

Well folks, I hope you have had a good few days and life is being very good to you all.  It has been such a pleasure to see you all again and I hope you will call back very soon.  Please leave a comment if you can, I do love to hear from all of you.  Hope to speak to you all very soon.  Lots of love, Dorothy :-) xxxx


  1. Your flowers look great! I had exactly the same trouble as you with finishing rows of crochet. I could keep going in a row for ever, but when it comes to turning and starting a new row the trouble starts! Thank you for your lovely supportive comments on my blog - much appreciated. Lesley x

  2. Hi Lesley lovely to hear from you, hopefully you have cracked the straight rows! Thank you for calling in it is always lovely to see Lesley.
    Lots of love

  3. Hi Dorothy! Lovely to 'meet' you through my blog comments. :-)
    Jenny of Elefantz

  4. Hi Jenny so glad you dropped by, so nice to see you, need to let my lovely readers know all about your wonderful blog in my next post.
    Lots of love to you