Monday, 28 May 2012

Home-made Dressing

With a bit of time to spare at the moment, I thought that I would try and teach myself how to work a vintage dress pattern.  I have only ever made one dress before and that was from a modern pattern.

So, when I came across one on Etsy, in a larger size and for a decent price, I thought I would give it a bash. I made a mock up from a thrifted duvet, and then I set to work on proper material.

I am pleased I had a bash before using decent material - which actually only cost me £1 from a carboot sale -  because it made me a lot more confident of when making something I could wear in the street.

But, before I could begin, I had to clear the work surface. Of this...

The Moof sure do like to be in and on everything I am trying to work on. I shooed him and his fluffy pants away and got to work.

I learnt my lessons from my previous make, and used the table as opposed to the floor and my knees.

And once all the bits were cut out, I set to hemming. I find something very therapeutic in making neat lines with pins.

I am a bit of a scatterbrain when it comes to making sure things are okay. So. I kept checking that I did, in fact, have my right sides together before sewing into place.

Close up of thumb! *Gaaaaaah!*

I plan on making a copy of this pattern in something a little more durable. If anyone has any tips -  I would love to hear. I made sure it was all folded up neatly and protected from the Moof. Who would of quite liked to of made a bed on it's rustleness.

Once I had made the top and bottom, it was time to join them together. Which is something I have fluffed on the other occasions I have made a frock. The instructions were not clear, and it took a lot for my brain to work out. Sigh.

But, I finally got there, despite them not matching up exactly. I panicked about that for a while, until I realised that this mistake enabled me to custom size it with the aid of some hand-stitching.

It was then time for some embellishments. I am no where near proficient enough to tackle button holes, so I just stitched them on. Cheeky cheat.

But I did sew on some grosgrain ribbon in a luscious chocolate brown.

And then I thought about a brooch to wear with it. I picked this 1940's beauty up at a local car-boot for 20p. Yes. Twenty pence. 

There are still bargains to be had out there folks.

And my cheeky stitched on buttons, which remind me of the moon from... errr.. Button Moon

And so - this is the result.... of my Home-Made Dressing..

I am not usually a trumpet tooter -  but -  I have to say -  I am rather bloody proud of myself.

I teamed it with a knitted bolero, my trusty brown heels and a scrummy dark green hat that I picked up from the high-street (M&S I think). I had not actually worn it out of the house since buying it back in the winter months.

And here is me, leaning up against a wooden wall. Natch.

Roll on more warm weather, as I think this could look rather nice with sandals, sunnies and a big straw hat.

Have a good week folks!

Monday, 21 May 2012

LandGirl on VE Day

Finally -  I have found one. A time machine!! And where do you think I headed?  

Yes folks. I was there -  on VE Day, 1945, getting my feet into a good old shin dig and snogging every soldier I could find. 

I spent it with 3 of my bestest friends and we had a hoot!

Alas - no. I fib to you all. What a shame. This was no time machinery. 

This was created by a fab friend of mine when she was messing about with her photo package thingy on her computer. Ain't she the clever one!

It made my WEEK -  so I thought I would share it with you all. That said, if I do find a time machine, and I firmly believe one to be out there.. somewhere... then you shall be the first to know.  

I just hope it doesn't contain anyone by the name of Amy or Rory aka The Pointless Characters from Dr Who.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Oh! What A Lovely War - film review

Having been lent this by Penny Dreadful Vintage, and with my time of looking after The Christmas Cat coming to a rapid end, I thought I had better give this a butchers before I had to handed it, and Elsa, back to their rightful owners.

I wish I had not waited so long to watch it, for I immediately wanted watch it again so that I could take it all in. I thought, whilst it was on, that I may struggle to put it across to you guys how I felt about it. But, I shall try.

For me, it shows simultaneously, the bare bones of The Great War and the dream like fantastical quality of the times as they happened, coupled with the nightmarish reality we can still feel today.

From the song and dance atmosphere at the breakout in the seaside summer time of 1914, I was taken on ride. A ride that I felt was spinning me about and making me feel sick, whilst calming me with the songs of the age. A Long Way to Tipperary. Keep the Home Fires Burning. And my favourite, Taking the King's Shilling (although I have a feeling this was written for the show to the tune of an original song.)

I adored the subtlety's of the film. The score boards of the dead. The female drivers. The tinkling of soldier songs throughout.

I felt like I was watching something almost unbelievable. Which is how I feel about the lead up to, the execution of and the aftermath of World War 1.

It can be viewed if you know little or nothing about the War, because it will educate you. That said it will ease the confusion if you know some info, or the poetry of it all might be lost and lead to frowning. And, if you know more than a little - then you will find it entertaining, amusing, humbling and poignant.

For a directing debut from Richard Attenbourough it is a corker. The costume, the casting, the location (mostly the now destroyed Brighton West Pier) -  it is all fantastic.

In short -  see this movie.

A 9/10

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lumber Jill's

Today is the 67th anniversary of VE Day and I thought I would spend time remembering a group of young women who are often left off the radar.

We have all heard of Land Girls. The headscarves, the dungarees, the cow milking, the fields.

But, there was another group of women who are often forgotten and who's work was just as vital to the war effort.

The Women's Timber Corps.

At first, the Women's Timber Corps (WTC) was just an addition to the Women's Land Army which was set up in 1917. But a little over 2 two years into World War II and it was clear that a separate unit was required. 

The WTC was officially launched in 1942.

They were affectionately known as Lumber Jill's.

Although Land Girl's would have undergone some forestry training  to prepare them for the duties of a working farm, the Timber Corps were trained to a far higher, specialised standard.



1930’s, image from Hulton Deutsch Collection.

They worked in all weathers, from snow to sunshine. They underwent training in everything from felling, snedding (stripping side shoots from felled branches), loading, working with the horses, driving tractors and also how to operate sawmills.

The work was often back-breaking and the hours were long. 

Accommodation varied from regular billets in local houses to purpose built huts within the forest.

The Women's Timber Corps had roughly 6,000 member by the time is was disbanded during 1946. 

They worked alongside various male Timber Corps from Canada as well as Italian and Germans POW's.

Many Lumber Jill's were dispatched to vast areas of forest in Scotland where they met, danced alongside and fell in love with servicemen stationed nearby. 

Many moved to Canada and Newfoundland after the war.

Uniforms were identical to the Land Army, with the exception of a green beret as opposed to a felt hat. They also had a purpose made Bakelite badge which contained a fir tree instead of a bundle of wheat.

Despite their invaluable contributions, it took some 60 years for a purpose built memorial to be commissioned. 

Carved by sculptor Malcolm Robertson, she is life size, made from bronze and gazes out over the surrounding forest in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park near AberfoyleStirling, Scotland.

And there you have it. A group of women who wheilded an axe, dealt with splinters of magnitude and yelled TIMB-ER! on more than one occasion.

All images linked to. Majority courtesy IWM Online Archive.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

WW2 Eggless Sponge

Do you like historical cookery? Are you allergic to eggs? Are you fresh out of them? 

Do you fail, like me, to crack an egg into anything without the addition of shell?

Or do you just like cake full stop?

If so - then read on....

I have graced the blog before with my WW2 cookingness -  and my Carrot Scones are now a firm staple at Land Girl Heights. Just like those, this recipe comes from my beloved Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten.

I tend to double this recipe and bake it in a big springform tin. It it quite a claggy cake, and can be a little crumbly due to the lack of binding egg. But it sure is good!

Here is the method....

Cream together the butter & sugar...

Avoid licking the spoon. I fail at this...

Add in the Golden Syrup and mix in...

Add in some of the milk...

And some of the sifted flour & baking powder mixture. 
You can also use plain flour with 5 teaspoons of powder.

Fold into the butter-syrup mix. You are aiming to get air into the mix, so fold and fold again...

It should look something like this once it is done...

Grease and line the bottom of your tin. You can split the mix between 2 smaller pans to make a sandwich sponge, or you can put it in a loaf tin.

Pour in the mixture and spread it out evenly..

Shove spoon in mouth. Polish off remaining mixture in the bowl. Feel a bit sick. 
This step is optional.

Bake in oven for about 35 -40 mins, at about 180°C / 350°F / GM4 

Leave to cool, turn out, have a cheeky slice....

Or slab.

This cake reminds me of the sort of thing served at school. Usually with lashings of custard, that hinted at being chocolate flavoured.

It keeps for up to a week (not that it ever lasts that long at mine) and can be frozen. It also works well as fairy cakes and with flavouring or colour added. If you wanted to make a chocolate sponge, then you could substitute some of the flour for drinking chocolate.


*Adapted from The Victory Cookbook

Thursday, 3 May 2012

MDGA #1 - Teapot-tastic!

So here we go folks -  the first of the May Day's Give Away's...

Could this be winging it's way to you, in all it's glorious 

I have too many pots for tea. I have been told this by The Beard. 
So I am sending this one out into the world of you guys.

I am none too sure of it's age, but it sure do have pretty flowers on the sides.

To be in with a chance of grabbing this give away, simply follow the below conditions and hurrah -  you are entered.

1) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or Hello Cotton -  leave a comment

2) Tweet : I have entered the @LandGirl1980 first May Day's Give Away Teapot-tastic -  leave a comment.

Open world wide and closes June 2nd 2012.


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