Tuesday, 27 January 2009

One (slow) step at a time

Oh dear, I think I've been taking this winter hibernation malarkey a bit too seriously - I am in serious danger of turning into a sloth (just like them, I have taken to moving very slowly and only when necessary). I hate to say it but the sewing machine has only been out of the cupboard once since Christmas and that was just to alter the waistband on Little Sister's trousers ...

That's not to say that all is lost on the crafting front, I do have some ideas brewing in my head and have taken heart from seeing all the little components needed for my next project slowly (again that word slowly) being assembled in the corner of the room. I blame the weather - this morning the sun is shining, there's a whiff of fresh, exciting air and I am feeling, if not galvanised, then a little more optimistic re all things crafty. Roll on spring ...

I have been spending evenings, lying sloth like on the sofa, watching the excellent BBC4 programmes on Fashion. Every week a different decade's Style has been analysed and discussed. It's been riveting. I loved the one about the 1940s in particular, the ingenuity of women at home "making do" during the war and the change of styles post-war. Reusing, recycling, reinventing garments, it was fascinating to watch. I have a copy of "Make Do and Mend" and love pouring over it, it certainly was true of these times that "necessity is the mother of invention." I love haberdashery and collect buttons and bows and all kinds of old trimmings, rummaging through my button tin reminded me that even the number of buttons that were allowed to be used on garments in the 1940s was restricted.

Big Sister got these two wonderful vintage fashion books for Christmas. I have been spending as much time as she has, ooohing and aaaahing over the images.

There's me wondering some days if anyone would notice if I shuffled to school in the morning with my pj's still on (don't worry I haven't yet ...) and then I glance at these beautiful groomed, elegant models and despair. Well. no, despair is not what I do, if I'm honest I long for the chance to try them on - just for a few minutes, a few twirls in front of the mirror a shimmy around the bedroom ... instead of a shuffle in my slippers.

The other thing I've been watching and really enjoying is the repeat of The House of Chanel, again on BBC4. Big Sister and I have been riveted to it. The talent and dedication of all involved has been a marvel to watch. From the truly amazing designs we've seen emerge from Karl Lagerfeld's hand, to the skill of the seamstresses in the studio, their patience and hard work and then the final catwalk show - it has made fantastic viewing.

All set against a parisian backdrop which makes it all so much more enticing ... One of the real characters of the show was Chanel's braid maker, Mme Pouzieux, who works on her farm and has been making braid for decades for the fashion house, originally for Coco Chanel. All this made on a loom she made herself and is still using. If you get a chance to see any of the repeats, I really recommend them.

Anyway, back to the crafting, from the sublime to the ridiculous! I have made a few things, this new birdhouse being one of them. It looks rather French with the toile paper I think. Sorting through my bits and bobs has made my head a little clearer and I have decided to list some of my boutons in my Etsy shop.

They may inspire you to get on with your sewing, or, like me, just sit on the sofa and admire the packaging !

See you soon!


thriftymrs said...

I have been loving ths style season it is terrific. The house of Chanel is one of my utter faves. It's just like a soap, but with KL!

Kim McBirnie said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with taking it easy in January - the rest of nature does! I can't believe I've missed those programmes on Beeb4 - serves me right for swearing off TV!

Sal said...

Talking of shuffling to school in your pjs..well I went to school in my slippers once..that was when I was a teacher! We had to turn around and go back home to fetch my shoes..what a pillock!! ;-)
Nice post,Kim;-)

Simone said...

I think I'll have to give BBC4 a go after reading about your programme recommendations. I love your description of being in a sloth like state! I have been a bit like that too recently!

MaryPoppins said...

We have had a discussion regarding sloths in our house, it went on for hours, explaining the pronunciation to our daughter and what they are and then we had to go and fing a photograph of one :)

Thanks for joining in on my giveaway, I am not surprised it is your bedroom, it is Divine :)


Tracy said...

Nothing like a little vintage fashion to lift the spirits! Fun post, Kim! Love these books...and all your vintage buttons! Ah, the sloth-syndrome...I do think it is common to most northern- hemisphere inhabitants this time of year. I have it too--LOL! I'm so ready for spring already! With 14 inches of snow here though, it will be a while yet until any signs of spring show...*SIGH*...Happy week to you & yours ((HUGS)) Oh, stop by if you get a chance--I'm having a fun Valentine Giveaway this week! :o)

Nessie's Nonsense said...

Hi - Happy New Year!! I so know what you mean, I fell into a deep sleep for half an hour last night -at 5.00 pm!!! The books are lovely, what an elegant era that was!!

Vanessa x

Sew Recycled said...

Thankyou Kim for the most perfect High Tea!

I think that perhaps we need to dress for the next one in something a little more glam.

Lovely lovely books, oh how I wish we could swish in those skirts.

By the way, I love the posh word for buttons! Tee Hee!

Vintage Tea said...

Haven't all the fashion programmes been great to watch!

Victoria x

MelMel said...

Such an interesting post...really enjoyed it!xx

periwinkle said...

I've always had a bit of a thing for 50's style. When I was in my early 20's I used to buy this style of dress from vintage places and wear them. I still have a couple of ones that were hand made tucked away in a dresser, to think they could be 50 - 60 years old now ... wow never thought of that before ..
lisa x

Wild Rose said...

I've got round the problem of not getting the sewing machine out by leaving it in the corner of the living room ~ gathering dust!

Roll on spring!

Marie x

fiftiesgirl said...

Lovely post.
Theres an award for you on my blog x

Cowboys and Custard said...

If I had a wonderful svelte figure like yours I would be running up those taffeta skirts as I type.. but alas my middle age spread is running amok!
You mustn't feel guilty for moving slowly.. as I know that wonderful mind of yours is full of ideas..
and you do take the most beautiful photos and that requires a lot of energy from the digits!

Cowboys and Custard said...

I ought to explain before people get the wrong idea... I meant running some taffeta skirts up on a sewing machine!!

The Whispering Poppies said...

What an inspiring post, Kim! It makes me want to get off my "bum" and go book-shopping for an old fashion book (now there's a topic I've never hunted down in my favorite antiquarian bookshop here... now I have something to look forward to later in the week thanks to this post)! =)
PS - 5 more episodes of "Duchess" and we've finished it! =O

Primrose Corner said...

Kim - those pictures are gorgeous. I've a photo of my Gran with a hairstyle like the first photograph - it's not her though. I'd love to have a reason to dress like that, in big flouncy skirts, all elegant and pretty. Unfortunately life only allows me to wear trousers.... 'cos it's too hectic for anything else much. Walking with my husband means I need flattish shoes too 'cos he frog marches everywhere and I like to pretend to keep up. i haven't been to school in PJ's but I have managed it in slippers.... at least they weren't fluffy ones!

Elizabethd said...

Is it sloths that hang upside down??
The fashions in the 50s and 60s were so interesting, especially anything by Chanel.

LittleGem said...

Hi Kim, love your post today, such lovely pictures and those books look full of inspiration. Your birdhouse is wonderful too xxx

Shabby Chick said...

Love your pics Kim, your blog is so pretty. I could have sworn I was a follower but it seems not, must remedy that! Yes Michele makes some stunning cards, I could have bought tons but I had a grizzly child and impatient husband in tow!

Mel xxx

prettyshabby said...

Ah I watched one of those programs and never found it again, it was really interesting, the post war period was such a fantastic era for new fashions.
as for the sloth like state..hmm know exactly where your coming from there Kim! Ive been known to drive Pete to work in my pyjamas..well you can get away with it in winter but not so much in summer! Enjoy the slothing..it's winter you're allowed to!
love those 50s postcards by the way

Thimbleanna said...

It sounds as though your relaxing evenings have been just divine. I often wonder about those fabulous housewives of the 40's and 50's who used to get all pretty in their dresses and aprons, even when they had nowhere to go. On the days I am home to sew or do housework, I'm always at my grubby best, in sweats or jeans and sometimes think maybe I should dress up a bit more!

lou said...

What a lovely post!
I have been ooohing and aaahing over the vintage fashion books aswell!!!

I love your birdhouse, beautiful!!!

I thought it was just me who
cannot get focused at the moment; I think we all need some sun on us.

Enjoy the rest of the week…love Lou xxx

Little Knitter Gem said...

What lovely buttons - and the books look wonderful!! I haven't yet come across the Style programme on BBC4 - iPlayer will need a visist, methinks! :)

Gemma x x

Curlew Country said...

Wish I'd caught these, I think BBC 4 is fantastic channel. I love how it shows all the fascinating sort of things that used to be made for BBC 2.

Love those glamourous ladies, I have another 40s dance coming up in May and need to get my hair looking like that of the lasy on the first card. Wish me luck!

Steph - who is also battling with dragging herslef out from under teh eiderdown every morning!

Gill at Lucy Locket said...

Seems we're all feeling a bit slow Kim, I get home from work, flop onto the sofa and am often asleep by 7.30pm! Not good, I keep thinking I should do some knitting or something, but as my daughter would say , "effort"! I've got ideas formulating in my head though,once we've had a bit of sunshine I'm sure we'll have more energy.

Heidi said...

Hi Kim! I will soon be getting more BBC channels and other British stations when we get our new satellite set up. Jos has to buy a special foot for it so it can sit on the flat part of our roof instead of bolting it into the house. Your collection of books and buttons is very impressive. I can see you would be able to spend a pleasant afternoon sitting with a cup of tea while looking through them.

Hugs ~

Jess said...

What a wonderful update, I am a sucker for vintage buttons on cards! Thank you for the link to the House of Chanel, I must find the episodes somewhere it sounds wonderful. And i have just been given a loom, i'd love to see how the braid is made.

Sea Angels said...

Hi Kim....gorgeous books, I would rather look through them than work ANY day. I think it is hard to just keep working..to keep coming up with fresh ideas every few weeks. Reading through the replys on my blog everybody works flipping hard whether they have to go out to work or stay at home. SO do not be hard on yourself, January is a dreaming month and I beleive we all need to look after ourselves a bit better this year, and not work ourselves to death. I feel really inspired by big sisters books and your lovely writing...and those buttons I just love the turquoise ones.
Have a creative (thinking) week
Hugs Lynn xx

mollycupcakes said...

Sounds like you've got the Jan Blues honey. It's such a funny month, everythings low after the wonderful Chirstmas time and things are still sleeping getting ready for the spring.
I find it hard when the weathers so dull. But hey, it's nearly Feb yeay! and then Spring will pop on her pretty hat of blooms.
Chin up honey, pop on a smile a day to keep the blues away lol
Happy hugs and sunny thoughts.
Catherine x

Kendall Micayla said...

Those buttons are so pretty! I love them, I was just recently in a antique store and was drooling over them.

Isabelle said...

Now, I've always hated 50s styles, because I was born in 1950 and so as a teenager, I thought of the 50s as the epitome of frump. And I was of the generation who were very briefly forced to start wearing clothes like their mothers - before teenage fashion was invented in the early 60s.

Funny how to someone younger, such things seem elegant!

Jemm said...

My goodness, what a georgeous blog!! I love all the vintage photos. Did you take them? Did you make all those wonderful tea cozies no where to be found in the coffee-drinking USA?

Amanda said...

Wow I had no idea such programmes were on tv - I rarely get chance to watch it these days. Sounds like a great bit of hibernating has been done - and too right with the weather the way it has been! I cannot help but look out my window and notice the clearing skies and softer breeze and feel heart-warmed and optimistic as the promise of Spring comes our way!

Btw have just left you a little surprise on my blog!

Hollypop's said...

Loved looking at your pictures. Thanks for leaving a comment, sorry not to have got back to you have a computer nightmare at the moment.