Monday, May 31, 2010

I've got one of those!

I bet you Cath Kidston fans know what's coming next, don't you?
"Badge Blanket

In homage to the Scouts, we have introduced this nostalgic blanket to our range which is ideal for sitting on outside or curling up under on the sofa. The blanket has a number of patches on depicting familiar images from around the British Isles
L 166X166cm (50% wool 50% man made fibre)
Machine Wash one blanket at a time in cool water.
Line or tumble dry on gentle lowest heat setting."

Well, I'm happy to tell you that "I have one of those!" and I made it, too. Obviously, my mum helped...
First I was an American Brownie Girl Scout.
Then I was a British Brownie Guide. Wasn't so convinced by that stage...
But I went on to join the best Girl Guide Unit in our area...
... and finished off in the later '80s as a Ranger Guide.
I wasn't one of those gung-ho campers. For me it was all about good food and activities and songs round the campfire, not starting a fire with one match, I'm afraid.
But I faithfully recorded all the camps and jamborees I attended around the hem of my utility-blanket poncho...
...and swapped (and bought) badges with enthusiasm.
Our Guide Captain, who was the village butcher's wife, was a marvellous woman - one of the best leaders I've known. She had a stunning Camp Blanket, probably dating from the 1950s onwards I suppose, and she inspired a lot of us to start our own.
I did go for quantity rather than quality, being me - a friend collected only Guide and Scout badges, and had a fantastic collection - but I loved to buy or be given badges from anywhere I or a family member had visited.
My dad was in the Navy, which gained me some excellent glittery badges - all sewn on the front where I couldn't accidentally sit on them - ouch! The old green and blue guide badges near the top of the above photo were earned by my mum. A real family blanket...
I really adored all the embroidered badges. The US and British Navies made some really plush ones...
And this Canadian Trillium badge is probably my mother's favourite - she had been a Guide in Canada and was in the Trillium Patrol, although I don't think the badge dates from her time.
And that's the story of my Camp Blanket - my "homage to the Girl Guides" as Cath would put it!Our boys aren't Cubs or Scouts - the Toulouse English-speaking troops don't appeal to them and there are no French ones in our immediate area, sadly. (Boy, do they have great hats? I would do a lot to get my sons wearing a Baden Powell hat like some of the French Scouts who hike through our town, but it's not to be...) However, Son 1 found me editing the first photo soon after I'd been working on my Blog Shop, and exclaimed in concern: 'You're not selling THAT, are you?' so he seems to have some appreciation of all things Scouting and Guiding...
I'd really like to thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. It is wonderful to me how loving and supportive this blogging community can be. My mum had a marvelous weekend - friends from her church choir came to sing for her in her own sitting room!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Edinburgh finds and news of my mum

You've all been so lovely, asking after my mum and also my shopping trips! I think you know how much my mother enjoys it when I go out and come back with some great finds - after all, she's the one who taught me how to shop thriftily! So, at the church jumble sale last Saturday I bought: A 1970s Scandinavian embroidery on linen - very charming. Two Laura Ashley knitted cotton scarves - very cheap! And a Lakeland Limited Christmas Card kit - very handy!
In the charity shops, in addition to the MOP buttons and some trousers, I bought: the remaining Artemis Fowl books - our boys are now big fans. A cullinder - we needed one after the last one melted! An Irish crochet mat - I'm beginning to collect this - maybe we shouldn't mention this to Ben... A cut glass drinking vessel. Two bone china mugs including one in the Hooker's Fruit pattern collected by my Mother in Law - found in the '50p per mug' basket, where they had clearly been put by someone who knew less about china than the ladies who served me! I could see they were a bit cross that someone had been that daft...
And wooden pegs, including some great dolly pegs and that one hand-made whopper - I love to think about the women who've used them in the past. Plastic pegs perish in the sun out here and just crumble into multi-coloured debris under the washing line or in the peg bag, so it's great to have a sudden increase in wooden ones...
And in an antique shop (which I tend to avoid), this fabric-covered box from the 1930s (you can see the inside with my pegs - so vibrant)...
... to add to my collection of fabric-covered boxes. I hummed and hawed about this one, as it's so much darker than the others, but I think it looks quite good! It would really go with one I sold in my blog shop, but there you go.
Now, I've told you all over the last year and a bit than I've been blogging for my mum, who is very ill. She has now moved beyond the treatment stage for her cancer, and is receiving palliative care. I have never gone into details about her illness because this blog has been very much for her, and she hardly wanted to read about cancer, or burden you all with it, but she's now too ill to see the blog, so I can tell you this. She is still really happy with her family and friends, and able to move cautiously around the upstairs floor of her beautiful house, looking out on her thriving garden. She still wants to know all about the blog and what we all get up to!
Knowing that I have made such good friends, with whom I have so much in common, through the blog, has been really important to her happiness this last year. I have a feeling that I'll be blogging a little less now that I don't have my former incentive to post daily, but I'm going to aim for three or four posts each week, as I really enjoy being part of this blogging community, and I truly appreciate your support in so many ways.
If you are thinking or praying for my family (and I'm so grateful that so many of you have told me you are), please remember my dad too, who is my mum's main, and truly devoted, carer.
Now, talk to me about my finds, as well as my parents, please!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weighing Buttons... the things I do for blogging!

Have Grandma's vintage scales - will weigh buttons! Angela asked me to weigh this large haul of mainly Mother of Pearl buttons in Imperial pounds and ounces. Well, in my parents' house, that's the only measurements you'll get!
It doesn't look quite so huge a haul when I pour it into the pan, but it really is quite something, coming as it did mainly from one Charity Shop (Marie Curie Cancer Care in Corstorphine, Edinburgh - lovely alliteration, don't you think?) I paid quite a lot for these, but cancer care is something very important to our family now, so I could hardly begrudge being asked to pay a fair price.
So, how much do you think this haul weighed, dear readers?
More than an ounce, obviously...
And more than two...
The weights go up by doubling...
It's a huge pleasure to use these scales which were such a part of my childhood. Then, it was my grandma who put them away still dusted with flour - now it seems to be me! This flour is from a rhubarb crumble I made for my parents. We did enjoy it...
Look, a pound, and not quite tipping!
But one pound and one ounce takes it over.
So let's go for one pound and half an ounce, and a low-level view of my mother's beloved garden.
There you go, one pound and half an ounce's worth of buttons, from Marie Curie Cancer Care and St Columba's Hospice Shop, Edinburgh! They are now safely home with me in my button tin, which looks just like the one Serenata found this weekend, only more battered...
I have really appreciated your kind thoughts and prayers as my mum has been getting iller. I'll post more about how things are going later in the week, when I've had more time to reflect on the situation - for the moment I can just tell you that I had a really special visit to my parents and am very happily back home now!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

O Flower of Scotland

I took all these photos this afternoon around Edinburgh's Inverleith Park and Botanic Gardens. Some of them match the words of Scotland's unofficial anthem - some of them don't! I hope you enjoy Scotland in the sunshine, anyway...

O flower of Scotland
When will we see your like again?That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think againThe hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly heldAnd stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think againThose days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

That's a sad song, to me. But it was a beautiful day! Tomorrow, the jumble sale and yes, Liz, I may have exaggerated: perhaps it was more my own BIRTHweight in buttons! Shall I weigh them? Photos to come...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Edinburgh Visit - the story so far...

Hello my friends! I haven't taken any photos yet for you but the story so far in Edinburgh is that I have:
  • Picked up prescriptions and gone to Tescos a lot!
  • Had lots of great chats wth my parents.
  • Tried to find tempting, healthy food for my mum.
  • Watched lots of daytime TV with my mum.
  • Been out on lots of jogs and walks to counteract the boredom of daytime TV in large quantities!
  • Enjoyed the sunshine...
  • Read your kind and thoughtful comments and emails - thanks so much.
  • Spoken to Ben and the boys on the phone, who are quite enjoying the freedom of a Mummy-free week (trip to Madonald's, computer games, Spanish Omlette meals late at night...)
  • Bought nearly my own weight in buttons (photos of the buttons to follow, for proof).
  • Bought a great second hand waterproof jaket for Son 1, who loses these things for a pass-time.
  • Bought all the Artemis Fowl series of books for the boys (yes, of course from Charity Shops!)
  • Looked through a magical collection of Victorian Sewing Artefacts with my mum (and photos will follow, I promise).
  • Found a poster for a local Jumble Sale on tomorrow! I haven't been to one of those in decades! I will report, dear readers...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buying and Soaking and Washing and Drying...

I've loved reading your comments about the collection of match box covers I found - thanks so much for all your suggestions and memories! I've now finished the washing, drying and ironing of my Vide Greniers linens, and have scheduled this post for my travelling day tomorrow (or today, or Wednesday, anyway...). So, what did I find? Two of those French stencilled rose plates you ladies were suggesting I collect... OK, I've started! A lovely enamel bowl (Chinese again) to balance the other one - same link as before...
This charming, although destoyed box, dating from 1876.
And a tangled heap of linens, including grubby collars sold 'as seen' by the descendant of their wearer.
Some are for adults and others for children.
It all came up very well after a 12-hour soak in Vanish!
But oh, still a tangled, cleaner mess once they came off the line...
But the iron did the trick!
This is a square cloth.
This is a long, oval-ended one.
I took the opportunity of soaking the doilies I'd condemned as no more than 'curious' the other day, and they came up brilliantly, too! Well done those who spotted their potential.
This Irish crochet came up sparkling white. It irons like cotton, but I'm not sure it is... could it be viscose, perhaps?
This one is marked and damaged (white paint, somehow!) but it's only chemical lace anyway, even though it's so pretty. So less valuable, in that it wasn't hand made like the rest.
And to cap it all, the last piece of ironing (one of my lovely big tablecloths) was straight back into the Vanish when the cut on my finger from a broken bowl re-opened. Is this how I'm repaid for being so very, very good about the laundry? Well, so it seems!
So, ash cloud allowing (and I think it will), I am leaving Ben and the boys behind in advance of a Bank Holiday weekend, and flying off to Edinburgh. My mum is not at all well, but we are very much looking forward to having some family time together. I don't know how much I'll post whilst there, but I hope to point my camera in the direction of her vintage sewing boxes at some point...