Friday, 27 May 2011

The Kitchen Front - Time for Tea!

Thank you again for all your lovely and helpful comments on my last post!  I'm sure you will all be glad to know I've finally got myself a teapot! Hurrah!! Though I'm not sure if I am lucky or unlucky; lucky as I found it in the very first Charity shop I attacked, which was quite a result especially as none of the others had any at all!
Tea Anyone? Brewed in my spiffing new teapot, in a very RAF Blue and some yummy Potato Biscuits
Unlucky? Well after reading the lovely Miss Marie's comment about the Backyard Market near Brick Lane I feel a bit disappointed as I would have loved to peruse said stalls, as I had the perfect excuse to buy a tea set!! Well, perhaps I still can? I don't have any proper china tea cups yet, only mugs so I ought to buy some, surely it would be rude not to!

Also thanks to another lovely comment left on my last post, I now have the most perfectly patriotic little tea cosy pattern to knit up for my new Pot! - Too many P's in that sentence perhaps!!
How Cute is this Cosy!!!
The lovely Anna who blogs over at 'Audrey's tea shop' has created this wonderful Union Jack Tea Cosy Pattern, which she has made available for us to download on Ravelry for free! Ain't she kind!! I can't wait to give it a go!

So, on to the tea! Well it tastes really really lovely it has a much fuller flavour than my PJ tips, it has much more taste without being too strong or bitter. It actually reminded me of the tea I used to drink growing up. My parents only ever drink loose tea as my Mum was convinced that tea bags are 'just the dust and sweepings off the floor' this is not quite true see wiki but none the less, it took them until quite recently to surrender to the charms of the humble bag!

Inside of the tin there is a handy little leaflet which Henrietta Lovell (the tea lady) explains how to brew the perfect cuppa - it's quite technical you know - she also explains that due to the fact the leaves are of a high quality they can be 're-infused at least twice' which is great because it lowers the cost a little. There is also some rather interesting info about the creation of the tea which you can also see here.

So to go with my hearty vintage brew I thought I would cook up some tasty wartime treats.  I had intended to have a bash at these Carrot Scones that Land Girl 1980 recently posted about (which sound scummy). But alas on closer inspection if my fridge I found I had only one rather wrinkly looking carrot and decided it was probably best to avoid disappointment (and possible poisoning) and have a look at something else. So after nosing through some of my wartime recipe books, I plumped for some Potato Biscuits.

Plain or Sweet Potato Biscuits
4 oz Plain Flour
4 oz Rolled Oats or Barley Kernels
1-2 teaspoon of salt (only a pinch if making sweet)
3 oz Margarine
4 oz Cold Mashed Potatoes
2 oz Sugar only sweet version

The thinner you make these the better!
1. Mix the flour, rolled oats and the salt.
2. Rub in the margarine.
3. Knead in the mashed potato until it forms a stiff dough. No liquid should be used.
4. Roll out the pastry to 1/8 inch thick cut into biscuits.
5. Place on a baking tray and cook in a slow oven until crisp but not brown (about 15-20 mins)
6Cool on a cake rack or anyway the air will circulate around them to make sure they will stay crisp.

I made the sweet version which was really quite nice, I found that is is definitely better to roll them on the thin side as they are quite heavy and stodgy otherwise.

I will leave you with a video of the RAF Tea Blitz Party which the lovely Annabell 'The Vintage History Student' pointed me towards. It looks like a rather fab affair! Enjoy!

Wendy x

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Cupa Chari-Tea

Last night whilst doing the dreaded weekly food shop I spotted this cute little tin in the tea section.
Available from Sainsbury's and The Rare Tea Co.

Intrigued I had to have a closer look and found that it was a bespoke blend made by the Rare Tea Company to mark last years 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The label says: Loose leaf tea made by traditional methods. This is tea as it used to be.Calming in times of National peril, fortifying when courage is required. When only the best will do.

This sounded convincing and I felt I had to give it a try. It's a little expensive at £4.50 for 50g but as 7% of the price goes to the RAF Association Wings Appeal and to support the RAF museum I though it was for a good cause.

Small problem, though it was only when I got home I realised I don't own a teapot!! Gasp!! So I am off to the Charity shops to hopeful find a small teapot and maybe just a few other things too... well its all for a good cause!

Wendy x

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sew It - Red, White and Blue

I have been completely inspired lately by blogger's revamping of their vintage pieces to make them more individual and ultimately more wearable.One of these talented blogger's is Katie who blogs over at The Little Red Squirrel, her transformation of a so-so 80s dress into a stunning 50s dress, is just delightful! Also after reading Charlotte's blog post, on her wonderful revamped charity shop dress (click here to see it) I was inspired to take part in her 'Made Do and Mend Challenge'. 

I have an ever growing a pile of eBay and charity shop bargains which I've bought with the idea of playing around with to make them a better fit or to improve their style. So first on my revamp list was an eBay purchase won a few weeks ago. I thought it looked lovely in the pictures with its floral pattern and lovely pussy bow neckline and 70s does 40s styling and it does look cute, but only on Vera, when I put it on it was a different story, I felt more like it was wearing me than me wearing it!
Loved the bow collar but the thickness of the fabric meant it was suffocating!
I felt totally swamped by the bow which felt way to high and strangled by the button up to the neck collar. So I started by cutting off the ties that were on the collar.

Bye, bye bow
 This scared me a little but proved really quite simple due to the fabric being synthetic it didn't fray so I was able to chop off the straps tuck in the raw edges and leave a shirt collar!

Newly cut and folded collar.
The skirt was way too short for the 1940s look, a common problem on me being a bit on the lanky side! So I took down the hem and gained about an inch, I realised this was not quite going to cut it, so unpicked the now defunct neck ties and ironed them both flat, by some miracle, there was just enough to attach to the bottom of the skirt with two seams at the sides! This gave me 3 inches in total, just enough sit below my knee!!

Can you see the join?
Now though I loved the shape of the sleeves by they were just too tight on my chunky arms so I decided to unpick the stitching around the cuff to see if I could reduce the bulk, to my surprise it was all one piece folded back on itself so I could let it down for much more room! Not as 40s but at least wearable.

Also, I felt that with all that pattern going on it was too much and it needed breaking up with a solid colour somewhere on the body. So I went wild with some royal blue satin bias tape which I attached to the centre of the belt, around the newly shaped collar, cuffs and hem. I then swapped the cheap clear shirt buttons for 5 lovely royal blue buttons I found in the market for all of 10p.

So there it is. I think all in all I am really pleased with it, I can't wait to get the chance to wear it, hopefully if the weather is fair this weekend I'll be able to get some pictures of me in it, I have the perfect blue wedge shoes I bought an age ago in Sainsbury's which I think will go with it a treat!

Wendy x

Monday, 16 May 2011

Knit It - Rambling Rose Knitting Pattern

I promised this pattern back in Feb and it has been gathering dust in my Blogger draft section since then, it's a veritable wasteland for ideas many go in never to see the light of day again!

Anyway, this is a really cute pattern which I designed myself totally by accident! When I was re-teaching myself to knit, I started on a pattern which needed yarn overs (YO), it was something I had never done before, so I decided a practice was needed, I grabbed some scrap wool and went to work. I got just a bit carried away all those YO's and I when I had finished I found I had ended up with a very curly bit of lacy knitting, which once it had been rearranged a bit, it made a cute little rose!

~ Rambling Rose Pattern ~

(Stash Buster)

They are really quick to knit, take very little wool so are perfect for using up those leftover scraps in your stash. You could make them into a 40s style brooch for a coat or bag, or add them as an individual touch to a gift when attached to the wrapping!


You can use any size needles you like with any thickness of wool in any shade you like!
(For mine I used 4mm needles and DK Yarn)

(Video tutorials for all these stitches at bottom of page)
YO - Yarn over. Wrap yarn around the needle between knit stitches, to create a new stitch.
Sl.1, K.1, Psso - Slip stitch onto the right hand needle without knitting it, Knit the next stitch, then bring the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch. This will create a decrease which leans to the left. 
K2Tog - Knit two stitches together.

Please Note: This pattern was designed by The Butterfly Balcony for free and is for personal use only.

The Rose
Cast on 6 sts.
1. Knit all sts.
2. *K.1, YO,*, rep * to last stitch, knit last stitch = 11sts.
3.  Knit all sts.
4. *K.1, YO,*,rep * to last stitch, knit last stitch = 21sts.    
5. Knit all sts.
6. *K.1, YO,*, rep * to last stitch, knit last stitch = 41st.
7. Knit all sts.
8. *K.1, YO,*, rep * to last stitch, knit last stitch = 81st.
9. Cast off all sts.

Curl up the knitting to form the rose shape 
(it should want to do it naturally) and fasten together.

Rambling Rose Free Knitting Pattern close up of lace pattern
What all of those YO's look like once finished.
Updated Pattern 13.12.12 - Noticed an error, which has been rectified in green below. Sorry:)

The Leaf

Cast on 3 sts.
1. K.1, YO, K.1,YO, K.1. (5 sts)
2. Purl all sts.
3. K.2, YO, K.1, YO, K.2. (7 sts)
4. Purl all sts.
5. K.3, YO, K.1, YO, K.3. (9 sts)
6. Purl all sts.
7. K.4, YO, K.1, YO, K.4. (11 sts)
8. Purl all sts.
9. K.5, YO, K.1, YO, K.5. (13 sts)
10. Purl all sts.
11. SL.1, K.1, Psso. K.9, K2tog.
12. Purl all sts.
13. SL.1, K.1, Psso. K.7, K2tog.
14. Purl all sts.
15. SL.1, K.1, Psso. K.5, K2Tog.
16. Purl all sts.
17. SL.1, K.1, Psso. K.3, K2Tog.
18. SL.1, K.1, Psso.

Break the yarn leaving a length a few centimeters longer than knitted leaf. 
Then pull through loop to fasten off.

Thread an embroidery needle and work the yarn through the back of the leaf until

you reach the cast on edge.

Rambling Rose Free Knitting Pattern finished and worn on black velvet coat
Attach your leaf to the back of the rose and add a saftey pin.

How to Videos:
Yarn Over

Slip 1, Knit 1 Pass Slipped Stitch Over


I hope you all like it, I would love to see your finished versions!

Oh, and if you have any questions or suggestions then please leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

Wendy x

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Supersizers Go...Wartime!

With all the Royal wedding excitement and patriotic street parties that have been happening all over the country I was reminded of a BBC series that was shown a few years ago called Supersizers Go... It was a series hosted by Sue Perkins (comedienne) and Giles Coran (food critic) where they tested the diets for various eras by living on them for a week.

This is a look back at an era which is supposed to be lighthearted and fun, to highlight some of the health benefits of theses diets. But I have to say, though I loved the series and their silly chemistry, I found their apparent lack of respect for the era they are re-living got a tad irritating. There is an element of mickey taking which I found a little grating at times; I guess this is what makes their relationship and the show work. Perhaps it just further highlights just how difficult life could be back then and how lucky we are to have the choices we do now, or perhaps I'm just feeling far too protective of an era I have a huge respect for?! I suppose their style is a bit like some of the wartime food not always appealing, but it does the job!

That said it is definitely worth a watch as it brought to light (for me at least) a few new and interesting facts I had not known before and it has Mike Brown Author of 'The 1940s Look' sharing his some of his vast knowledge on the era.

Wendy x

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Giveaway Time - The 1930's

Hello, dear followers! 

I'd like to start by saying a big old 'Thank You' to all that have left lovely comments on my blog recently, thank you for taking the time I really am grateful to you all :) You may remember that a while back I promised you all a giveaway, for sticking with me! It has as usual taken a bit longer than I hoped to post about it, this is due to me deciding to make one of the prizes myself. You will be glad to know the wait is finally over, so now without further ado, here is what you could win in 'The 1930's giveaway'...

Get the 30's look, with inspirations from Stitchcraft and a Vintage, styled crochet beret to Adorne your Barnet!
1. An original copy of December 1937 Stitchcraft Magazine (from my collection)
Sadly it is missing its free transfer, but as it is over 70 years old, I guess it's understandable!

I have collected a few Stitchcraft Magazines over the years and I love them all, but must confess that the ones from the 1930's are my favourite. They really capture the end of an era just before the world was about to change forever. They are packed full of vintage inspirations, lots of knitting patterns, gloriously stylish adverts and lovely homely recipes. It really doesn't matter if you can't knit, as it's just as much fun to gaze at all the vintage pictures and adverts and get a snapshot of the era!

What you'll find inside this issue ...
More fabulous Knitting Patterns including the knitted dress on the cover!
Knitting Paters Galore: A sporting set for Him and Her, a toddlers dress, and ladies cardigan.
A few homely makes including some Christmas time recipes (not very summery I know!!)

2. A 1930's style Puff stitch Beret in a vibrant cherry red, made from the same pattern as this and lovingly (slowly) crocheted by yours truly! Oh but don't let that put you off :)

A Puff Stitch Beret for unleashing your inner 30's starlet or perhaps for a sojourn in the French Resistance. Oh and I'm really not as miserable as I look, Promise!
So there you have it what do you think?  Is it something you would like to get your mitts on?
If so then here is what you need to do:

1. Be a follower of the blog.
2. Leave me a little comment below.
 It's that Simple!

I will post this giveaway prize to anywhere in the world so please feel free to join in! This contest will be open until 31st of May 2011. After that one winner will be chosen at random. I will then post the winners name on the blog and it will be up to the winner to get in contact with me to receive their prize!

Good Luck!
Wendy x