Sunday, 8 June 2014

Hello Everyone - did you think I had forgotten you?

Hello all my favourite People, how are you all doing?  It has been a little while since we last spoke - I won't go into the ins and outs of work as you know I have done all this before.  All I will say is that, thankfully, I am back with you again.  I hope you are all well and happy.  I have missed you all so much.

I got home yesterday, a bit fed up with work and found a little parcel waiting for me in the hall.  I had not idea what it was and opened it up quickly. Look what I found - such a gorgeous letter from Jackie from the lovely Jackie's Crafts.  Do go over and check her site out as it is wonderfully entertaining and so useful for ideas and tips.  I was so grateful to the lovely Jackie for taking the time to write personally to me.  Jackie had also included a gorgeous handkerchief holder which is so useful and in my most favourite colour - thank you Jackie.

Look at the fabulous card below which Jackie had made herself, it is wonderful and one I will keep forever. You are so talented Jackie. 

Also look what else I got - isn't it perfect..........I haven't quite fathomed out how mandalas work yet even though there are hundreds of blogs showing us all how to do them - it always take me ages to figure new things out anyway.  Jackie your gorgeous mandala really helped me understand why everyone is raving about them - thank you so much.   You put all my favourite colours in too Jackie -  perfect!

We had the little Peeps last weekend so it was all systems go.  In the back of my cupboard in the sewing room I found a half completed bag and we wanted to make something sweet for my gorgeous daughter-in-law.  I had found a beautiful heart on a tea towel that I had in my scraps bag and came up with this.  It fitted the colours of the bag just perfectly.  Do you like it?

On the other side I had put a panel which a lovely lady called Bobbie Oliver did for me.  I found Bobbie on Etsy.  She is the most wonderful lady who is immensely talented in everything she does.  I just adore her embroidered panels which really add something extra to anything you make.  Look below to see what Bobbie did for me on this bag...........I just love it!  Lesley did too. 

In sewing class I have been trying to get on with some work and will show you all what I have done in the next post. However my lovely sewing teacher Rachel found this super pattern last week and guess what it doesn't have any buttons or zips!  This sounds just perfect to me so I sent for one before they all went.  Rachel had made one this week and was wearing it on Tuesday and it looked perfect.  She is going to help me make one so all I need to do is get some fab fabric ready for her.  You can make it in any length so I think I will be making it into a longer length tunic and I can hopefully wear it with white trousers in the summer.

Now it has been a really full week and this Sunday I was asked very unexpectedly to do my first shift at Blist's Hill!  Well it was a baptism of delight I must say.  I got there nice and early but was quite nervous as I didn't really know what I would be doing and how it was all going to work.  I didn't even have much time to take any photographs today as I was so busy.......however I have put a lot of pictures on before so you know what it all looks like.
There is a lot to learn but today was just getting used to being in the house and obviously relating with all the visitors.  We have to light the fire when the houses are opened but, as it was my first day, the lovely girl I was working with, Melissa, had already done this by the time I arrived.  I was placed in the Duke of Sutherland's cottage which is an actual cottage which was taken down brick by brick and then very carefully rebuilt at Blist's Hill.  It would have belonged to the manager of one of the mines and he lets out two of the rooms in the back to the local doctor who uses these for his patients when they come to see him.  I will give you more about the history in later posts.
The range is just gorgeous and Melissa had black leaded it all on Friday so it looks in tip top condition.  Below you can see the fire just getting going. 

Below is the little scullery which would have been used to prepare all the vegetables ready to be cooked on the range - it is amazing how these women managed to feed their families so well with so little help.  On the lower left of the photograph you can see the brown sink which is so shallow compared with our big white ones today and the draining board is wood so is scrubbed each day - no plastic here.  Everything was so labour intensive and our world is so different.  I can remember my Grandad making paper edgings for put on his shelves in the kitchen and I thought they were adorable when I was little.  I always wanted some in our house but Mum would never put any up.  I suppose they are equivalent to our bunting.  Some creative soul has made up some really pretty ones for the house.  On the clothes maiden there are a couple of aprons and a long pair of women's drawers - very good for draughty cold cottages.

In the corner there are two sewing boxes, a small one for a little child and a bigger one for the Mother of the house.  These created a lot of chat among the younger girls who came into the cottage.  I was able to show them all the silks inside them - there is so much interest in crafts today and it is wonderful.

On the wall was a wide range of books which the Victorians would have read - many families were just too poor to own any books other than the Bible which every house has.  The family in this house was obviously a little more affluent so could afford more books.   

Below is the room which the doctor would have used to meet up with his patients.  It smelled of polish and disinfectant.  Often families couldn't afford to pay for the doctor and his prescription (two payments) so they might just go straight to the pharmacist and ask for some pills to help them recover.  Today we take so much for granted here in the UK but this is how it used to be before the introduction of the Welfare State.

Well Lovelies what did I wear?  My little Peeps thought I would be wearing a gorgeous silk gown of red or purple - how I wish this could have been!  However, the lady I am portraying is lower/middle class and this is the dress she would have worn.  I couldn't wear any makeup and could only wear jewellery which were appropriate to 1900.  I wore a little china brooch of flowers on my blouse and some tiny earrings to match.  I couldn't wear my bracelet or watch so it all felt a little different.  I took my crochet bag which I made years ago plus some hexagons to make up if I had time.

I do love my hat which is so pretty, I shall post a better photograph in another post.  I was asked not to show any flesh at all at any time apart from my face and neck.  I have to wear my hat outside at all times which felt strange at first but I did get used to it as the day wore on.
I had a fabulous day talking to all the visitors coming into the cottage - lots of them were interested in the patchwork I was doing and the bags I had made.  It was lovely as I had quite a few compliments about my work and one French lady took lots of photographs of my bags.  The children were just a delight and I asked them what the toasting fork was used for - one little boy suggested it was for taking teeth out and another little girl suggested toasting an animal of some sort on the fire!   They couldn't grasp the fact that there was no electricity at all at that time - they were all very interested in the old flat irons and were intrigued that they had no leads on them to plug in. 
All in all an exhausting but gorgeous day.  The sun came out and I enjoyed every minute of it - I left home around 7.45 am and got back around 6.45 pm so it was a long day but I am going back next Sunday for another dose!
Well my lovely Friends I am so glad to be back with you all again.  I hope to hear from you all soon and will be writing to you again very soon.  Have a fabulous day or evening depending where you are in the world.  Big hugs and loves, Dorothyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  1. You look lovely! Glad you had such a good time. I love the kitchen, I think people sometimes forget how antibacterial wood is anyway and a good scrub with a bit of elbow grease and maybe some bicarb and you're done. xx

  2. What a great first shift and you look fabulous. Doesn't seem like work at all!
    Jacqui x

  3. I am sure that you would never forget your bloggy pals Dorothy!! I am so glad that you went to Blists Hill already, it looks and sounds as though you had an amazing time, you look so great in your outfit!!! I hadn't thought about the dressing up aspect of things. I can see that you will just love doing this and will fit right in and be a great attraction in your own right as you will be able to share all sorts of things with the visitors and enjoy what they share with you too. Happy times ahead! xx

  4. Hi Dorothy you look wonderful in your photo and it sounds as if you thoroughly enjoyed your day.
    I'm so pleased you liked your gifts and I enjoyed making them for you. The bag you have made for Lesley is brilliant too.
    I hope this week is better than last
    Take care
    Hugs Jackie x

  5. Congratulations on finding a wonderful volunteer position!! You look very sweet and the perfect Victorian lady in your costume. This fits you perfectly Dorothy as you can do a little sewing and I know you love chatting with people. Looks like a lot of fun into the bargain. I knew something that suited you would turn up, and this has got to be it! Enjoy your week, you sound like you're on cloud 9 :) Wendy x

  6. Great to catch up Dorothy, I think that bag would be great to keep my icing tips and bits and bobs in for cake decorating. I am glad she liked it. Glad you enjoyed Blists Hill. Jo x

  7. Oh Dorothy, I love your costume.
    On a similar line as the Toasting Fork, I saw some youngsters in a Museum studying the dial phones that we used to have. They could not get used to the idea that there were no push buttons ;0)

  8. Your work looks like so much fun, I really like history and this would be a great day out.

  9. What a lovely post Dorothy. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your day in the cottage and seeing all the wonderful photos you took.
    You look the part in your outfit. What fun to dress up.
    Lovely gifts both given and received.

  10. Dorothy you look fabulous as a Victorian lady! What a wonderful post full of exciting news. It sounds like you really immersed yourself in your new role and brought so much more to the visitors. It is such a fabulous place-I love the detail in the cottage, especially the lovely paper trims on the shelves. You have been working on some beautiful craft projects again too! Love Alison xx

  11. What a marvelous opportunity! You look adorable and friendly. You mentioned not showing flesh, does that mean you must wear gloves, too?

    Thank you so much for sharing so many photos. I live in my little cottage, and work in our cafe, but I don't get out much except to go to the supermarket, church and the library. A lot for a hundred years ago, but not much for these days of autos.

    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  12. Great post lovely Dorothy, and you do indeed look lovely in your outfit for the day! I'm so glad it's working out so well for you - I think it's ideal for you and they are so fortunate to have you and your gifts gracing the cottage! Lovely card and gifts from Jackie, how very thoughtful and kind, and I do like Lesley's bag - you are such a clever cookie my friend! Enjoy making your tunic - it looks like a lovely pattern!
    Much love from me to you, Joy xoxo