Friday, 28 February 2014


Hello all you Lovelies out there, how are you all doing? I had planned to write a couple of posts this week but do not know where the time went - well, I will rephrase that - I do know where the time went and it wasn't on something I wanted to do like crafting and talking to all my lovely friends out there in Blogland.  On top of all this I am having a big problem transferring my photographs onto my blog which is so frustrating as I am not a computer expert.  I use Picasa 3 which has worked just fine up to now but is now refusing to upload my photographs which is causing me a huge headache.  I seem to have spent so much valuable time trying to sort it out..........any advice warmly welcomed Folks.  I love gadgets until they go wrong and it is a big reminder to me that we rely too much on computers but then I wouldn't have got to know all you lovely people would I.  I hope the weather and life have been kind to you all - it has been chilly here, although quite sunny but yesterday we had a dusting of snow which didn't settle for long and today has been very sunny and very cold.

I wanted to catch up with the last blog about our visit to Victorian town of Blists Hill in the lovely county of Shropshire, a place which is dear to my heart.  I am sure that there are many other places like this all over the world and I do love visiting these types of museums. At Blists Hill there are a number of houses which have been set up as they were in the Victorian era - some have been taken brick by brick from somewhere else and rebuilt here which is just amazing.  I know that in the USA they do this type of thing which is fabulous.  Below is our  youngest Peep running towards the Squatter's House, called this because a family would inhabit the place and have squatter's rights.  You can see the tin bath outside the door which was used once a week when everyone would use the same water!  I can remember my Grandma having one outside but I think she used it for washing the clothes as they had a bathroom with a bath and hand basin but the toilet was outside.

You can see this lovely bonnet which would be an essential part of a lady's wardrobe, it was such a classy period.  Also have a look at the crochet blanket, these were everywhere so it was obviously popular then.
My goodness these boots and shoes look so hard, I am sure many had blisters and sores which must have been so painful.  If you want to read a really good account of life at this time I can recommend Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson - I read this for my GCE many years ago and loved it.  I was lucky enough to visit the village when my boys were small and it was magical to walk up the road to the school which Flora described in her book.  Flora died in 1948 and talked about how busy the roads had become - goodness knows what she would say now.

This was the lady in the Toll Cottage when people would have to pay to continue on the road - a bit like our toll roads now.  She was knitting cotton dish cloths and had just taken the bread out of the oven, it smelled delicious! She told us that Victorians rarely smiled on photographs because it took so long to take a photograph so it would have been an effort to maintain a fixed grin.
 All set up for tea - how nice.
The baby's cradle next to Mother and Father's bed - you can see a hexagon quilt behind it.  The cradle doesn't look that comfy and I am sure they didn't have much padding under the child.
We were told that the fires were kept going all day because this was their oven, their hot water, their drying facility and their central heating.  The room with the fire was very warm but we found the other rooms very cold and miserable.

This is one of the outside toilets, not very nice at all.  Victorian toilets were usually down the bottom of the garden, well hidden from view and children were taught that they should never let anyone see them approach the 'privy', it was considered very bad manners to do so.  Some of the toilets had room for three or four people at once so families could go together.  I was reading only last week that ensuite bathrooms are considered a must for most families in the UK now so goodness knows what the Victorians would think.  Actually they would probably think we were very uncouth as Victorians viewed toilets as something very unpleasant and they would not want toilets in the house - how times have changed.  I can remember my grandparents have toilets in their back gardens and we never really thought anything about it - of course everyone had a little pot under their bed for night use - goodness me!
These two lovely ladies below were a delight.  They were busy sewing and knitting in front of this cosy fire.  It was quite a well to do house - part of the GP's house with the surgery next door. 
 My little granddaughter was delighted to see a tiny work basket which she would have loved to have had.

This lovely shop was the Post Office, a delightful place with so much to look at.  The post was very expensive then but highly reliable. 

Below is the Postmaster having a little chat with our Peeps.  They loved this shop.
 Time for tea.
It was such a cold day when we visited so it was lovely to go into the houses with their fires roaring.  There is something so magical about a real fire - for the first time in my life we don't have one at home and I really miss sitting around in the cold evenings with the luxury of a lovely fire to keep us cosy.
Another very nice lady, quite serious when having her photograph taken.  All the actors in Blists Hill were so knowledgeable and helpful.  You can see a very old sewing machine at the back of the photograph.
Some nice patchwork here - knitted and fabric.  It was freezing in this bedroom and we were told about 6 children had slept here from around 10 years of age down to 1 year.  There were a couple of toys and one candle, all very meagre when compared with today. 

Here is my most favourite shop in the whole town - the draper's shop.  How I loved it and so did our little ones (the female ones!).  It was such a feast for the eyes, so much to look at and take in.  I could have lived in this shop Folks, I am sure you would love it too.
 The ribbons were just glorious and she told us that all women and girls had bonnets which would have been adorned with ribbons of every hue - how fabulous.

The lady in the shop actually makes all the aprons and sun bonnets and there were many visitors buying these ready for the summer for their little ones. Victorians really worked at keeping their skins pale because if you had a tan then that meant that you were a lower class person working outside in the fields.

These dresses and hats below were just stunning.
 How nice, no cars!
 The pharmacy was just fabulous.  In those days all the medicines were made in the shop by the pharmacist - my lovely daughter-in-law was in a pharmacy before having the children and she said that up to around 20 years ago medicines were still mainly made onsite.  However, once the EU came into force then all this was stopped which meant that costs for medicines just went through the roof - progress
The pharmacy smelt just gorgeous as there were many soaps and potions for sale - there was also a dental surgery which looked very scary and painful.   We did get a little smile from the lovely pharmacist though and the little Peeps spent ages picking some goodies for Mother's Day which we have hidden and which I will show you in another post.
I must say that I adore these sets of drawer and would love them in a huge sewing room - do you like them?  I know that I could probably fill every single drawer.

Well my Lovelies I need to catch up with all your blogs now.  I have more things to show you as I haven't been completely idle this week although I have struggled to do much craft unfortunately.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend wherever you are in our wonderful world and keep happy and safe.  Sending you lots of hugs and loves as always.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Mystery Giveaway

Hello all my Lovelies out there, I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  We did here as my eldest Son came over to stay so we had plenty of quality time to catch up with all his news.  He is a active traveller and enjoys many treks in all parts of the world - the next long one will be to base camp at the foot of Everest so it was really interesting to hear where he will be going.  I hope you all have some relaxation time and enjoyed being with your family and friends. 
This post will be quite short (sigh of relief from all of you!).  I was going to do the mystery giveaway yesterday but completely forgot to ask my Son to pick out the winners.  I had to catch up with him this morning and get him to pick out two numbers - I am sorry Folks but haven't worked out how to do it online yet, apologies.  However I do have three little photographs to show you which I will explain in the next post. 
We met up with our Little Peeps recently at Blist's Hill which is a Victorian village and spent a magical day with them there.  One of my favourite shops of all time is the draper's shop which is full of magical things all of us bloggers like.  For some reason she doesn't stock any yarns and I meant to ask her why as knitting was very popular then.   The photograph below shows the shop window and my two girls (and me) spent ages looking at all the little things in it.  The linens from around that time are just so lovely but must have taken ages to starch and iron - unless you were rich and had servants of course.
Here is the lady on her machine in the shop.  She makes such gorgeous sun bonnets and aprons and I was tempted to buy the girls one each - however - they are becoming much more fashion conscious now even at there young age and I don't think they were too happy about wearing one!  You can see one of the bonnets on the stand on the counter - she uses an old Singer machine with a treadle and said that it works wonderfully well.  The ribbons are just fabulous and I will show you more of these in the next post.  What I wouldn't give to have that shop, although I am not sure I would allow customers in as they stop you crafting!
The little bed below with the quilt on really caught the girls' eye and they have now asked me to make these for them - I have been talking about a quilt for ages haven't I so there is no excuse - and I wanted to start small anyway!  The lovely little quilt reminded me of a gorgeous blog which I follow - the second I saw the quilt I thought of her - that's right - Helen Philipps.  I am sure most of you have found her blog by now but she has such fabulous makes and I always find inspiration in her books.  If you haven't seen her blog do pop over to have a look.
Well Folks this is short and sweet as I have to leave for a meeting now but will do a longer post about Blist's Hill I promise.  But what about the giveaways you are all shouting - I have just spoken with my Son and he has picked out two numbers.  One of the winners is directly linked to the photograph above - yes, that is right.  Helen you are a winner so please get in touch and I can sort out sending you the prize.  The second winner is the lovely Amy from the fabulous love made my home blog - do pop over and catch up with what Amy is doing.  Well done to both of you - do get in touch soon and I can send your prizes.  I will be doing another giveaway in May as it will be a year since I started my blog - cannot believe how time has flown.
I will speak to you all very soon, meanwhile do take care and have a lovely day.  Sending you lots of hugs and loves, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxx 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Thank goodness it is Friday!

Hello my Lovely Friends, how are you all. It is really wonderful to see you again, do come in and make yourself at home.  I had  planned to write a couple of posts this week but unfortunately I have had to work over for three nights making the week extremely long and tiring.  It is just the time of the year with an Open Evening where I work and having to cover for people off ill.  Hopefully spring is on the way and things will calm down.  The interview went well for my voluntary work and I am now just waiting to be matched up with my elderly person.  They had a few people available for me to visit but I would have to travel around 30 - 40 miles one way which I felt was a little far with the time I have available.  Hopefully they will find someone nearer for me. 
I have been trying to keep up with all your fabulous blogs and leave messages but the last few days have been frantic as a lot of my students are attending university interviews so it has been tense for all of us.  I like to think of all my learners as part of a big family - I have 6 groups in total to look after which is around 100 students and I think they are all just fabulous. They range in age from 20 to 50 and are all aiming for vocational degrees in nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and social work so it is hard for them, working on the course and maintaining their families and home duties. 
I set myself a challenge to make three small bags with zips by myself without the guidance of Rachel my sewing teacher.  I only managed two and these have been sent off to my lovely granddaughter and daughter-in-law. Rachel is on holiday this week so no sewing classes which was pretty helpful as I have to work over and might not have managed to go to my classes.  I have really missed her though.
I made my daughter-in-law's first.  I am not sure if you remember this fabric (the one with the stripes) but it is one of Cath Kidson's line which I bought ages and ages ago.  I am not sure if they still stock it but it is so lovely to work with - just a dream.  The pink lining is a small piece of scrap which I found in my sewing basket.  At this stage of my design it is all a bit hit and miss I am ashamed to say is very hit and miss and this continues throughout the making process.
I cut out some hearts and flowers to decorate the bags with pieces of scraps from my basket.  In think they look so pretty.
Below is my lovely granddaughter's fabric.  It is very chic and French which I hope she will love as Paris is her favourite city.  You can see all the bits of applique pieces laying on top of her fabric.
I wanted to put a heart in the centre of the bag and her name on the front so had a few experiments with the yarn to see what the effects would be. 
I had bought a glittery type thread which I thought would look fab.
I tried both the glittery and the ordinary thread out on the machine - see what you think. 
As you can see the glittery thread is a little vague whilst the ordinary thread is much more distinct.  I guess that it is a case of working out the tension on my machine to get this one right. I did manage to use it on the inside of my granddaughter's bag which was quite effective.
Because I was short on time this week so went with the ordinary thread for speed.  I used a blanket stitch to secure the heart on each bag.  I must say that I do love blanket you like it too?
I used a plain fabric to line Lauren's bag as I wanted to put some little flowers and hearts inside it so thought a cream material would look more effective.
I had set myself a challenge this week to insert three zips but only managed two.  I was pleased though with the results as I am trying to get more confident with these, particularly with the finishing of them.  My new machine is so helpful with the lovely patterns it can do - I have fallen in love with it Folks.
This is the lining of my daughter-in-law's bag - the scrap piece worked really well and looked very pretty.
So what was the end result?  Here they are, I hope you like them.
Well all my Lovelies I must love you and leave you now as I have to get some housework done before my eldest Son comes to stay tomorrow for the weekend.  We are all going out for a meal for my husband's birthday so I want to make sure everything is spic and span.  I also need to catch up on all the blogs I have missed this week.  Looking forward to doing that as it is always a treat to see what everyone has been up to.  Don't forget that my mystery St Valentine's giveaways ends tonight at midnight and I shall ask my Son to do the honours tomorrow and post the results on Sunday. 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend wherever you are in our beautiful world.  Keep safe and happy and leave a comment if you are able to as I love to hear from you all.  I took this photograph this morning before leaving for work as it was nice to see the garden a little sunnier than it has been, although it was raining soon after!
Sending you all lots of hugs and loves.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Giveaway!

Hello all my favourite Lovelies out there.  How are you all?  I hope you are all safe and sound after the wild weather we are experiencing.  On Wednesday a tornado hit us here in North Wales, yes a tornado, who could believe it!  I have the greatest respect for all the people in countries who have to suffer tornados, floods and freak storms as part of their natural weather pattern, you are all so brave in coping with such natural events of Mother Nature.  Thankfully our home is fairly ok and we didn't have any lasting damage, although a few bits and pieces seem to have flown away out of the back garden.  Yesterday very few students from my groups were in as they had been badly hit by the winds and a lot of schools had closed down.  I walked to work as I knew that many roads had been closed in order to remove the trees and debris.  Many people were without electricity for many many hours.  We are the lucky ones and our prayers continue with the poor souls down south where they are still really struggling with the awful conditions brought about by the flooding.  We take things so much for granted such as a safe environment but then when things happen we realise just how vulnerable and tiny we are in this beautiful world of ours.
Do come in out of the cold Everyone, it is wonderful to see you all again, make yourself at home and have a cup of tea and some chocolates?  After all it is St Valentine's Day - sending you all good wishes and hopes that you have enjoyed lots of happiness and smiles today.

I was very lucky and received two St Valentine's Day cards - one was from my gorgeous hubby, left on the doormat this morning as I was leaving for work, such a nice surprise.
My second card came from some of my lovely students from the Philippines who are such a delight to work with.  They are all about to enter university and are a joy in our classroom sessions.  It was a great surprise and made me smile as they obviously have taken note of my love of red and pink and glitter! 

Unfortunately it has been a really cold and rainy day, this photograph was taken just after I arrived home today.  It is very sleety now and the forecast is snow later tonight, so we shall wait and see.

My lovely Hubby surprised me with a crochet book for St Valentine's Day which was pretty amazing.  You could have knocked me down with a feather as it was the last thing I thought he would buy but after my amazing day with Lucy from Attic24 he obviously noticed that I had fallen in love with crochet.  It was such a great surprise and I felt happy setting off to work this morning.

I love these little titles and have the sewing and baking books from this series.  They are only small so you can pop them in your bag and are stuffed with information, very clear pictures and so really nice little projects to get you going.  Obviously anyone with a lot of experience in crochet would find them too easy but for novices like me they are perfect.
I haven't had time to really look at the book yet as I have only just got in from work but I am really looking forward to reading it later.  I have a quick flip through and liked this cover for a coffee maker, looks really classy.

After much waiting I also got my hands on some of Aneela Hoey's new fabric which is just delicious.  It is quite expensive so I just got a small piece and will use it for something for the little Peeps.  The whole range of Hello Petal is just divine so do have a look when you can.  It is freely available in the United States and should be available here in the UK now.

Now my gorgeous Friends - the St Valentine's Day Giveaway.  I have two prizes, both the same pattern but made with different tea towels.  I have enjoyed making these but hope the winners like them too, taking into account that I am new to sewing.  I have taken some photographs of the two of them to give you a little sneak preview of them.

They are both made with lots of love and affection.  I asked Rachel, my sewing teacher if she thought they were good enough to give as prizes as they were home made.   She laughed saying not homemade but handmade which is something totally different.

Although I have used two sets of tea towels, one from Sainsbury's and the other from John Lewis, I did put in some extra little bits and pieces.  The photograph below shows a small piece of vintage embroidery taken from an old tray cloth which was fraying quite badly but I loved the work on it.

As you can see one is a pink spotty one!  This is from Sainsbury's and the fabric was just so easy to sew.

The photograph below is the tea towel from John Lewis, again such great fabric to sew.

This tiny flower is fussy cut from the John Lewis set and it was so cute I couldn't resist using it.

I hope you like the patches, they are from a fat quarter I bought ages ago.  I love them and cannot for the life of me remember where I got them from.  The crochet flower is one of my new found skills in crochet - I am really proud of this.

Do you like the cute pattern? My new machine is perfect for all these little extras which I love using.

There we are Folks, some little glimpses of the two giveaways.  If  you like the look of them please send me a message telling me what your favourite love is in crafting.  I will put all the names in a hat next Friday and we will have two lovely winners. 
Well my Lovelies I have to go and prepare tea now and sort out the house.  I have an interview next week for a charity and am hoping that I will be able to start this soon.  I made a promise to myself in January that I would try and do some charity work with the elderly so am hopefully going to become a volunteer visitor for someone who lives on their own without any family.  I am really excited about this and know that it will be so rewarding for me and hopefully for my nominated person.  Wish me luck with my interview!  I will hopefully be chatting with you all very soon.  Do take care and look after yourselves and enjoy the rest of the day/night depending on where you are in our wonderful world. Sending you all lots of kisses and hugs, please leave a comment if you have time as I so love to hear from you all :-)xxxxxxxxxxxx