Friday, July 13, 2012

Real Winter

How I wanted this jumper in the winters of the early 80s, as worn by Princess Diana! 
Image from

As is the case most winters, I have sinusitis. But this morning my doctor said to me, "But these are the winters we used to have - real winters." I thought this was an extremely good point. One of the things I remember most from my 1970s childhood is the very distinct seasons - long, hot summers made up of school holidays, waiting for Christmas, playing with your Christmas presents and scudding down the slip-and-slide in the backyard and long, cold winters punctuated by hot meat pies, open fires and warm homemade jumpers. So I've decided to make the most of the month and a half we have left of winter and enjoy it for the real, distinctly seasonal time it's proving to be this year!

And this ad reminds me so much of watching TV during winter in the early 80s...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Winter Musings

Even if the novel I'm in the process of writing is never published, I have to say it is a most excellent journey to be on. I have so much on my reading list at the moment that I really don't know where to start and I have all sorts of ideas coursing through my mind! Which is just as well because this winter is super dreary with rain, grey skies and low temperatures almost every day.

As well as or in conjunction with my writing, I have been getting creative in my Etsy shop, being inspired still by all things Victorian and Edwardian. I think I may have posted some Ernst Haeckel images before, but I couldn't resist these, so typical of the Victorian habit of documenting nature with extraordinary detail.

These images are from

So, here are just a couple of images of bits and bobs I have made for the shop, with a photograph of some of my ancestors in the middle. I love his moustache in particular and so I am now using this as my Etsy logo.

This necklace is available at

This necklace is available at

As well as continuing on with A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, I am also getting stuck into Virginia Woolf's stream-of-consciousness novel Mrs Dalloway. Have you read it? I've just found a lovely clip from the film version with the always wonderful Vanessa Redgrave as Clarissa Dalloway.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Neat and Plain and Set in Gold

I couldn't resist showing you this ring, which belonged to Jane Austen. So pretty! Such a plain, striking setting and I love the stone.

Read all about it here (which is where the image is from) -

Friday, July 6, 2012

Woolly Goodness

Image from the V&A website

It is so cold here at the moment. If we're lucky, it crawls up to ten degrees (celsius) by lunchtime each day, and it's been widely acknowledged around about the place that it's one of our coldest winters for quite a while. Now I know that those of you reading in Europe and North America are sunning yourselves in the rays of summer goodness (enjoy it while you can!) but personally, I am thinking of wool, knitting and sweaters! So, I was very pleased to find free downloadable 1940s knitting patterns at the Victoria and Albert Museum's website. If you're feeling the chill and you're a vintagey type person, check them out at  Personally I have my eye on the V-neck.

Speaking of the V&A and in keeping with my theme of late, there are also lots of lovely bits about different eras of dress on the site too. I made a beeline for the nineteenth century section myself!

And, with yet another segue, I'm reading The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt at the moment. Love it. Lots of lovely Victorian era detail. Have you read Byatt? I think she's a love-her-or-hate-her kind of writer. What do you think?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Upon the windowpanes

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the windowpanes.
~ T.S. Eliot

It is so foggy here this morning! Almost 11 o'clock in the morning and still it hasn't cleared. As cold and as grey as it is, though, there is something quite magical, mystical and otherworldly about fog. Out driving this morning, I thought to myself "Anything could be on the other side of this!" And of course, the only thing on the other side of the fog was exactly what I had expected to be there but it's the promise of a whole other dimension emerging through the grey-white gloom that makes fog so appealing (or scary, depending on your point of view!)

Having a nose around on the Web just now, I've found some lovely Australian paintings all about fog.

Morning Fog by Janice Gumbleby. Available for sale at

South West Fog 2 by Kathryn Ryan. Image from
Passing Trams by Clarice Beckett. Image from

Keefers Jetty by Clarice Beckett. Image from

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Past is a foreign country

As you know, I have a great love for vintage clothes and jewellery. My current obsession is all things Edwardian (thank you Downton Abbey) - not as frilly and fussy as the Victorian era but still very pretty. I have been looking at sewing patterns for Edwardian style blouses with a view to finally mastering my sewing machine as well as knitting patterns for Edwardian cardigans and sweaters with a view to...well, finally finishing a knitting project. The question is, though,

How do you wear vintage in everyday life?

I know this topic has been covered elsewhere many times before but I have never found it to be satisfactorily answered. In my own case, I want to wear something a little different, but I don't want to look like I am a fully-fledged member of a re-enactment society on my way to an event. Neither, and there is no nice way to say this, do I want to look...barmy.

So, what do you think? Do you wear vintage? How do you do it?

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