Tuesday, 19 July 2016

A sample pottery plate ...

Hi everyone

My regular visitors know that I have a fascination with china, glass & various pottery items.

I recently found this interesting sample plate by J.E. Heath Ltd - from the iconic Burslem potteries in Stoke on Trent.

What is fascinating is all the Southern African emblems which clearly shows the target market for it.

It shows how sales has changed over time & how far & wide the potteries of Stoke on Trent hawked their wares & how valued they were.

I know many of these places personally so this is a very interesting item. I can imagine a salesman hawking china with this as his sample item ... totally fascinating.

Thank you for stopping by & taking the time to read & comment. 
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A stunning new cake stand ....

Hi everyone

While doing the sideboard post, I realised that I had not shown you this lovely Oliver Bonas cake stand that I was gifted for my birthday by the girls & Andy.

I love cake stands because they cakes always look more tempting when they are nicely displayed.

It is a solid marble top on a copper / metal base. I love the richness of metals because they offer warmth & reflection of light. It is a generous size too which is very useful ...

Visitors to our home are usually greeted by a homemade cake on the sideboard so this is such a welcome & thoughtful gift. Freshly baked Victoria Sponges are my favourite bake at home.

This one baked for the arrival of my cousins, with South African cake forks & lifter ....

Traditional South African milk tarts / melk tert on the cake stand this past weekend.

A perfect gift that will be well used & enjoyed.  I love cake stands & hope you use them too.

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 11 July 2016

An African inspired sideboard

Hi everyone

This is my busiest time of the year so unfortunately my blog has been neglected of late. However, I am always thankful for your company & for taking the time to read & leave a comment.

As mentioned in my previous post, I have had visiting cousins with our shared South African ancestry.

In anticipation of their arrival, I changed the conservatory sideboard to include some favourite African plates & art pieces.

I used a guinea fowl table cloth on the table - bought on my last trip to South Africa

 I love feathers & guinea fowls are my favourite bird. The cloth, a bowl & a very colourful tray cloth in the same theme ... 

These stunning plates are made by a South African ceramic artist & each are hand decorated with raised details & bright colour that I love ... 

Mfuneko Dingiswayo  has a distinct style of art which is very pleasing. He was born in the Cape Town township of Langa in 1979 and he has won several awards for his work. I am fortunate to have 3 different ones which are beautiful art works & I love looking at them. 

I love these two little dishes too - how could you not enjoy their vibrant colour? 

I bought these on a visit with my parents & they remind me of that visit.

A clay guinea fowl looks just right too ...

Candles & another South African ceramic bowl look right with the other bright items.

A bright & colourful bowl by Siti Creations that captures the vibrancy of Africa so well ....

My sister gifted this beautiful platter to me & it is a favourite with its beaded insert & traditional design. The 3 South African animals are frequently seen on my sideboard as I love them ... 

This platter comes from the same region & copies the beaded inset.

I  kept some of my Ralph Lauren pocket watch plates on the sideboard because they fit in so well. 

The completed sideboard with some favourite things 

The sideboard was perfect for the visit & I love looking at it & knowing that these items are all chosen by 'the same eye' (mine) so they reflect a part of my heritage & they are what makes my home special to me. 

Do you have a favourite item? What do you collect? Do you have somewhere to display them? 

Thank you for stopping by & taking the time to comment. 
Dee ~♥~

Monday, 27 June 2016

A new course ....

Hi everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the season whatever it is your side.

I recently saw a beginners crochet course offered locally. My late Mother & grandmother were dab hands at crocheting but I took little interest & so never learnt to crochet. It always seems so social & relaxing with people chatting while they work away ...

I was relieved to find all at the course to be complete beginners, like I was because we were all starting from the same uncertain place.  I was pleased with my first effort - not too uneven at all.

The second lesson proved to be a bit more challenging with granny squares. It look a while to get my head around the pattern & how many stitches for each section etc. I admit to quite a lot of pulling out on this section.

On a Friday night, us three cousins were really rock 'n roll - sitting round crocheting granny squares so that I could get my homework done. They have both had a little lay off from crocheting but were now fired up again... 

I was quite pleased that mine were a uniform size & shape. I did not change colours on these because I was doing them while chatting ... 

Our final lesson was sewing our squares together with various methods to find which we preferred. 

 I was looking forward to learning to do this pattern in our last lessons once we had stitched up our granny squares.  I love the freshness of this pattern ... 

 For the practice, I used darker colours - it was quite tricky but we all managed with lots of help.

Not quite as bright or as pretty as the example but time was limited & so it was a small section to get our heads around the pattern.

After 3 lessons, I am happier about crocheting but realise that I still have a long way to go to be proficient at the techniques & being able to do it without pulling out too much. Like any new skill, it is all about practicing it & learning the terms associated with the stitches & patterns. 

Perhaps in time, it will become a more natural action .... 

What needlework skills do you have? Tell all,  
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Using vintage fabrics to make some gifts ....

Thank you to all the regulars who pop by even if I have been distracted by visitors & a demanding workload lately & have not managed to update my blog.

I have had visiting cousins that I have not seen since primary school & we have had a lot of fun catching up on years of news. 

My regular readers know that I am a great life-long-learner & so have done a crochet course.  While looking for some thread in my sewing box, I came across a vintage sewing / knitting bag from my hubbies grandmother - Ethel Maud. 

The cousins were quite taken by it, but one was travelling onwards, so Rue & I decided to surprise her with a gift of a bag after we found some handles in the craft shop.

We looked through my fabric stash (everyone has a fabric stash don't they) and found fabric we thought would be suitable. She favoured a vintage embroidered fabric & I chose a colourful one for Linda.

Having never made a knitting / crochet bag, we made it up as we went along. We selected vintage buttons & some robust ribbon to attach the handles then we were ready to sew.  This is the choice for Ruellen's bag.

Hot cups of tea helped with the planning - don't you love the fabric choices? 

Linda's bag, pinned & ready for sewing ....

The lining pinned in for stitching - carefully matched up & ready for stitching ...

It took some time to decide how to attach the handles to the bag but we decided on crossgrain ribbon & vintage buttons to match.  Rueben did the hand stitching while I was at work & it was a labour of love because of the layers of fabric ...

How gorgeous is this - one finished off ....

 The vintage buttons were just perfectly matched ...

 The second one went much quicker & the fabric is just as lovely. Rue selected large vintage buttons to complete it too with a paler crossgrain ribbon ...

The two bags - side by side - beautifully finished & ready to use. One was posted to Linda's next UK stop as a surprise gift; the other will be going home with Ruellen.

While the sewing machine was out & the buttons were being sewed on, I decided to make Rue a needlebook to hold her needles ... I have made several so it did not take long because I had everything I needed. 

The felt inside pages to keep needles safe ...

Good projects done together ... 

Thank you for stopping by & taking the time to comment & read. 
Dee ~♥~