Friday 29 April 2016

Me Made May 2016

Hello! When this post publishes I should be sampling the sights, sounds and hopefully scrummy food of Amsterdam, fingers crossed for some veggie options! As May begins while I am away I wanted to nip in before it does to tell you that I have signed up for Me-Made-May 2016
I have wanted to do this for a few years now but have either missed the sign-up date or feared that I wouldn't have enough me-made garments to see me through the whole month, well this year I decided to take the pledge!
I, Wendy from this blog right here oh and this one over here (The Vintage Pattern Files), sign up as a participant of 'Me-Made-May 2016. I endeavour to wear at least THREE me-made items each week for the duration of May 2016, which I will attempt to document here!'
I am hoping by setting my me-made garments to just three a week I will be able to easily keep to this target and may occasionally exceed it. It certainly should be a fun way to make the most of my lovingly handcrafted garments as the weather warms up and will no doubt help to highlight the gaps in my wardrobe that could do with filling (I've got an inkling it will be 'need more separates, no more dresses!').

If you fancy joining in yourself then there is still time to hop over to Zoe's Blog 'So, Zo...' and take the pledge, it is really very flexible and designed to be a bit of fun rather than a strict challenge, so if you think it's something you might enjoy then why not have a go!

Wendy x

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Wendy's Week - Patterns & Packing

Hello, I hope you are having a great week and looking forward to the bank holiday that is just around the corner here in the UK (sorry if there's no holiday where you are I'm sure you'll have a lovely weekend anyway)! Thank you for all your get well wishes it's very kind of you all, I can confirm I am feeling much better now and have been super busy to make up for my much needed lazy spell last week!
~ Patterns & Packing ~
- 18th - 24th April -

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week - Patterns & Packing Beautiful Spring Blossom // Officially a geek // Lots of new old knitting patterns // A gift of sewing patterns // My Anderson Blouse // Packing for a trip
Beautiful Spring Blossom // Officially a geek // Lots of new old knitting patterns
// A gift of sewing patterns // My Anderson Blouse // Packing for a trip

- Renewed my membership to the I.O.W Steam Railway. I haven't already made myself sound like a teenage boy what with Airfix kits and my love of sci-fi, I have gone one better and I am now a member of a steam railway too! OK, I've actually been on and off been a member from birth as my parents have been members since I think the 70s, but now that I have started regularly attending the annual 1940s weekend, it seemed only right to join up myself and help support them all year round, as nothing beats a steam train ride for a little bit of time travel!

- I went to the cinema! On Tuesday I went with my best friend Diane to see Disney's new version of The Jungle Book. It was great I won't lie I wasn't expecting very much but it was really good, it even had a couple of the original songs which was a nice surprise, my favourite character had to be Baloo played by Bill Murray, his voice was perfect for the part! How similar it is to the original cartoon I can't say as I have actually only ever seen the first half, due to it being the video of choice at Junior school for filling in the last day of term when we were all too demob happy to be expected to do any work which also meant it was always, without fail, turned off before it reached the end, so I know the beginning very, very well. The end? Well, that's still a mystery!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week - Patterns & Packing - Patons 607 Home Fires Fair Isle Jumper Dr's Wife Season 2

- I Bought some knitting patterns! My obsession with that Home Fires Fair Isle is still going strong and thanks to the amazing Liza from The Vintage Knitter I now am the proud owner of the original pattern (amongst a few others which I couldn't resist, see header photo)! I lucked out when found the original pattern on The Vintage Knitting Lady website so I knew it had to be mine. The original cast on and ribbing that I did for the jumper has turned out way too big so I will need to rip that back and start from scratch anyway though the pattern that I originally charted matches up perfectly, which means all I need to do now is work out how many stitches to add for a (much) bigger size and I will be ready to get started! If you are as besotted with ITV's Home Fires as I am, then do pop over to Liza's blog where she has created the most fabulous 'Home Fires: The Knitwearpost matching up the knitwear in the show with its original patterns, it is really wonderful and is making me want to add them all to my must-knit list!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week - Patterns & Packing - Packing my suitcase with my hand made wardrobe
The mini wheelie bin is a belated birthday present for my brother, if you have ever been to Liverpool you'll understand why!
- Started Packing for my trip Tomorrow I will be heading off up to Liverpool to meet my parents and brother, before flying off on Friday to Amsterdam for the bank holiday weekend! I need to stop for a second to appreciate the fact I have typed a sentence that has the word 'flying' in it without the usual stomach-churning terror, yes my nails are still bitten in anxiety, but the therapy I am taking is certainly starting to work! We are going to explore the city and to take a trip to the Keukenhof to see the tulips in bloom. I am really looking forward to our trip as it's somewhere I have wanted to visit for many years, especially the Keukenhof, as if it is in full blooming glory it should be really magnificent. Expect lots of pictures on my return!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week - Patterns & Packing - Vintage Sewing Patterns

- I was gifted some Vintage Sewing Patterns! Last week I got a message from one of my Facebook friends David, who I met (albeit virtually) through writing this blog over our shared love of the history of WWII's home front. He contacted me to ask if I would like some old sewing patterns that he had been given in a house clearance and were only going to be binned if he couldn't find a home for them, obviously, I snapped his offer up and so they arrived this week! They are fabulous, mostly they date from the 60s & 70s and most are in larger sizes, which is wonderful for us more curvaceous gals! I am honestly blown away by his kindness in thinking of me, it's really touching just how generous people can be, so with this in mind, once I am back from Amsterdam I will be hosting a giveaway so that I can pass kindness forward to you lovely lot, so watch this space!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week - Patterns & Packing - Sew Over It Anderson Blouse

- I finished my Sew Over It Anderson Blouse! As usual I could look happier about it in this photo, but honestly, I do really love it! I will write a more detailed/waffelsome post once I can get some better photos of it but it's done, I think it's great and I've already worn it twice! The fabric was a challenge at times, more so in the poor cutting out than in the sewing together, and basting the pieces before stitching worked a treat, thank you, Cate! It's by no means perfect, there are some dead wonky seams, but it has certainly given me the confidence to start on the dressing gown soon which is all I was really hoping for anyway, and now I have a bonus top to boot!

Have you any exciting or crafty plans for the bank holiday weekend?

Wendy x

Thursday 21 April 2016

Wendy's Week - Sniffles & Sewing

Hello, hello I hope you're having a wonderful week and looking forward to the weekend, I know I am! So here is what I got up to last week

~ Sniffles & Sewing ~
- 12th - 17th April -
Wendy's Week - Sniffles & Sewing - Onions are sprouting // Beau  snoozing // A massive June Bug Cocktail // Bonnie & Clyde // Sew Over It Anderson Blouse // A fridge magnet from Petra
Onions are sprouting // Beau  snoozing // A massive June Bug Cocktail //
Bonnie & Clyde // Sew Over It Anderson Blouse // A fridge magnet from Petra

- Got a touch of the sniffles. I ain't gonna lie I didn't get much done this week I caught a cold on Thursday and so most of my weekend was spent lounging on the sofa, taking cat naps and watching lots of TV, rather than catching up with all my projects, which was a little irritating as I have lots to do, but sometimes you just have to accept it's better to just relax. Beau kept me company by lying along the edge of the sofa under my feet so that I didn't get lonely, he is sweet like that!

- I went out for drinks on Friday. This may well have contributed to me feeling rotten all weekend, as I met up with my pal Phillip for drinks and dinner at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford. As you will see from the above picture we had massive cocktails in the TGI Friday's bar, that one's called a June bug, I can't remember what was in it but it was very delicious and far too easy to drink so we may have had more than we should! Oops!

Wendy's Week - Sniffles & Sewing - Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Clothspot Gorgeous satin fabric

- Began the Sew Over It Anderson Blouse! After spending a few hours sticking all the pattern pieces together, I managed to fit all of the fabulous Anderson Blouse into the remaining fabric from my dressing gown. I have started sewing the bodice together but it's certainly not been easy, the best way I have found so far is to use a walking foot and have the machine on the slowest setting. I will be taking Cate's fabulous advice  on my last post and be basting my pieces together from now on as anything that will make it easier to stitch accurately is worth trying.  I have also been serging/overlocking the raw edges which has been difficult as the fabric tends to stretch and warp under the overlocker. I can live with the results on the blouse, but I am thinking of biting the bullet and doing French seams for the dressing gown, it will take longer but should give a better result!

- My brother sent me a gift! As much as his Wartime Farm Pullover travelling the world has become a tradition, so has him buying me a marvellous fridge magnet from the country he has visited, this trip was no exception and so I have my very own Petra fridge magnet and a Polaroid of him in his Pullover to add to my rapidly growing collection on the side of my fridge!

Wendy's Week - Sniffles & Sewing - Bonnie & Clyde Costumes History Channels Mini Series
{Image Source}

I watched a lot of TV & did a bit of knitting- Feeling grotty gave me the perfect excuse to do a bit of knitting front of the telly, which means I managed to watch a fair few films, Small Soldiers (perfect family Sunday sofa viewing), Divergent, (despite being a fair bit like Hunger Games it was rather good, in a dystopian sci-fi kind of a way) and Django Unchained, (really good, very shocking, funny and had mostly warranted violence, which for a Tarantino film is unusual) also I finally got around to watching the History Channel's Bonnie and Clyde mini-series which I've had on DVD for ages, it was actually Cate's Vintage On The Web post which reminded me that I hadn't watched it yet, so it was time to remedy that!

Wendy's Week - Sniffles & Sewing - Bonnie & Clyde Costumes History Channels Mini Series
{Image Source}
I did enjoy it, not as much as the late 60s version, but it was really good, it certainly takes a slightly different spin on the story with Bonnie being shown as more of the mastermind behind their crime spree, but it works. The clothes? Well, they were epic!! It is actually worth watching this show for the fashions alone as Bonnie's wardrobe is utterly fabulous. After watching the extras on the DVD, yes I am that kinda girl, I discovered an interview with the costume designer, who mentioned that she found a whole wealth of fabulous original 1930s woollen dresses which they used for all of Bonnie's wardrobe (apart from the iconic jumper in the top still, that was made by the costume department), she figured they would be perfect for Bonnie as the woollen fabric would not crease and so would always look good, as being a criminal on a crime spree there isn't much time for ironing!

Wendy x

Thursday 14 April 2016

Wendy's Week - Swing & Swatching

Hello, lovely people! I hope your week has been wonderful so far!
This is what I got up to last week...

~ Swing & Swatching ~
- 4th - 11th April -
Wendy's Week - Swing & Swatching My Hurricane is progressing // Watching Home Fires with Beau // Getting ready to go out in my new 70's dress  // Swatching sweaters // Swing Syd Lawrence Orchestra // Fabric tester extraordinaire
My Hurricane is progressing // Watching Home Fires with Beau // Getting ready to go out in my new 70s dress
 // Swatching sweaters // Swing! // Fabric tester extraordinaire

- I cut out a new sewing project! When I bought the gorgeous Cloth Spot floral satin a few weeks back, I bought it to finally make a version of Butterick B5152, a luxurious 40s dressing gown, which I have been dreaming of for years! Well I finished cutting out the last pieces this week, the fabric is very lightweight and a bit fidgety so it was a little more time consuming to cut out than I had anticipated, so I have been taking my time to do it slowly and cut it as neatly as possible. Of course, Beau was there to help me, never let it be said that any fabric has entered our home that he hasn't given the furry butt of approval to!

I'll be honest am anxious about sewing this up as I haven't sewed with such delicate fabric before, I'm thinking I might try something a little smaller first and thanks to the thoughtful ladies at Cloth Spot I do have a few meters left over (they spotted a flaw in the fabric and gave me a few extra meters to help me work around it, what service!) so I'm hoping to squeeze in a Sew Over It Anderson Blouse which as it's loose fitting it will be a good place to practice my slippery fabric stitching skills! Oh and any advice will be heartily welcomed!

Wendy's Week - Swing & Swatching Swing Syd Lawrence Orchestra Angie Mills

- I swung along to the Syd Lawrence Orchestra. On Friday it was finally time for me, Alan and some of his lovely friends to go to see the Syd Lawrence Orchestra. I'd been looking forward to this for weeks and it didn't disappoint! The band was marvellous and as it was such a small venue we had a wonderful view of the stage and the band. The music was fantastic, including lots of Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, and Count Basie. Their singer, Angie Mills was fabulous and she belted out amongst others two of my favourite 'shower singing' songs (sung badly by me mind you!) Love me or Leave Me and Secret Love both Doris Day classics. The band also did a rendition of Benny Goodman's arrangement of Sing, sing, sing, with the most outstanding drum solo I have ever heard!

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend an evening and something which I would recommend, having never experienced a big band like this before as I am more used to seeing guitar bands in sweaty clubs this certainly seemed much more sophisticated! The only small negative for me was due to the event being in a theatre all the enthusiastic foot tapping from the audience was making the sprung floor bounce rather allot which did make me feel a little queasy, to begin with, eventually, I got used to it but early on it was touch and go!

Wendy's Week - Swing & Swatching - 1970's Maxi dress in a 1930's style

- And I wore another (new) 70s, Maxi Dress! I blame writing about my last maxi dress, as when I went to get the eBay link I spotted this gold sparkly number being auctioned off with only a few minutes left, and seeing that it was in my size I thought I would give it a go and blow me down I won!! The dress in the listing (see it here) looks so different in reality and by that I mean it's so much nicer. I was actually surprised how lovely this dress is. It's also a lot larger than the listing suggested, so I have had to add a few stitches in the front wrap to stop my underwear constantly being flashed. I'd intended to wear my Sew For Victory 2.0 Dress to see the SLO as I wanted to finally give it a proper outing, but I fell in love with this dress so much that I decided to wear this instead, as, despite its intense nylon content, everything about it screams 1930s evening dress. Plus it being floor length, yes even on 5'10" lanky me, it meant that my poor bruised shins (combine a clumsy nature and a push bike and well, lets just say my legs are more blue than anything else currently) could be hidden a bit more stylishly than by wearing my thickest of thick black tights!

Wendy's Week - Swing & Swatching - ITV's Home Fires Knitting pattern swatch

- On Sunday I caught up with Home Fires, which inspired some knitting. I'm so glad Home Fires is back! I really loved the first series, it is great to finally have a show that focuses on the women on the home front during the war, which obviously also means lots of fabulous forties fashions! The new series is no different and as I was trying to follow the plot the fab knitwear just kept popping up, one jumper in particular caught my eye and that was the gorgeous Fair Isle, sported by Frances Campbell the Drs Wife (see it better here). I was so smitten that I immediately grabbed some graph paper and my (overflowing) bag of odds and ends and spent the rest of the evening trying to chart out and swatch the pattern. I have made a few changes to my initial chart but I am so smitten that I have already cast on for the jumper, using as the base this free pattern by Subversive Femme, which I am hoping will work well, especially as it's in a larger size, fingers crossed!

Wendy x

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Wendy's Week - Planting & Playing with Planes

Hello, I hope you are having a fantastic week!
Here is what I've been getting up to...

~ Planting & Playing with Planes ~
-29th March - 03rd April-
The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planting & Playing with Planes - Instagram Header Planting my first seeds // Floral fabulousness // Keira and Me //  Garden tidying turban time // Airfix beginnings // Sewing in the spring sunshine
Planting my first seeds // Floral fabulousness // Keira, me and our paper plane //
 Garden tidying turban time // Airfix beginnings // Sewing in the spring sunshine

- Kiera came to play! As it's the school holidays, we have had a few visits from my friend and work colleague Christine's little girl Keira. I was prepared this time around and so we have spent our lunch breaks together playing with paper aeroplanes and running around in the spring sunshine kicking a football (it is a Disney princess ball) aren't we are such girlie girls!

- I finished my Sew Over it Vintage 50s Box Pleat Skirt At flipping last!! This as it has been the most frustrating sewing I have done in a while, nothing to do with the pattern mind you that's great, it is my own skills that have infuriated me,It started by me realising I had cut the skirt too long and went increasingly wrong from there as every attempt to rectify the hem went ever more skew-whiff! Anyway, it's all done now and I hope to get some snaps this weekend!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planting & Playing with Planes - Making up my Hurricane Airfix kit

- Started on my Airfix Kit and it is really progressing! I choose the Hawker Hurricane as my first victim, mostly as it appeared to be the simplest of the bunch, I'm not actually sure about that anymore but it's certainly been fiddly enough to mean that I have spent a lot less time in front of the gogglebox (though I do love that show) which was the main aim and I've even found an unexpected use for some of my recently purchased sewing clips (see header photo) they are actually perfect for holding together small bits of plastic while the glue dries!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planting & Playing with Planes - Planting Onion sets and chitting potatoes

- Talking of Hurricanes we had some bonkers weather. Storm Katie hit the south over Easter I woke up on Monday the garden was a disaster, my little Lean-to greenhouse was at the other end of the garden and the shed that I am storing in panels for a friend had been tipped over and my pots and seed trays were strewn all over the garden. I there was a bright side, (though honestly, this wasn't that bad just irritating) as for once my procrastination in planting had meant that this year I didn't have to see all my little baby seedlings destroyed as they had been last year with a similar storm, which was great but it did also remind me that I ought to get cracking with planting something! So last Sunday I peddled down to my local garden centre and picked up some onion sets and some seed potatoes (discounted due to how late in the season I was buying them, result!), I have put the onions in seed trays (just to give them a head start) and have set the potatoes to chit, so as long as the weather is kind to me for the next few days I should have something to plant out very soon!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planting & Playing with Planes - Wendy's vintage 70s Floral Maxi Dress

- Treated myself to a new 70s, maxi dress. I have been restraining myself when it comes to eBay lately, but as I recently sold a few things and had some lovely Paypal funds burning a hole in my pocket, it seemed the right time for another look! I bought this dress from Bird Girl Vintage who always has lots of pretty 70s pieces sadly most are in small sizes so when I saw this, it just had to be mine! I love maxi dresses, I was initially drawn to them for the fact they have a wonderful 1930s feel but I have since also fallen in love with their 70s mostly nylon brashness too! I have lots already lurking in my wardrobe which I hope will all get an airing this year (once it warms up). I wore this all day on Saturday and despite being in a centrally heated house, I still need a cardie too, come on warm weather I ready for you!

Have you been tempted to buy anything for warmer weather?
Wendy x

Monday 4 April 2016

Wartime Farm Goes to...Petra

My little brother has once again been on his travels around the globe, this time, he has visited Jordan. As always he has been keeping me and my parents updated with photos of his trip - We have finally got them to use Whatsapp, this is a serious achievement for my folks who are both in their 70s and anti-technology, but now they both have smart phones they are getting braver at using them, incidentally we seem to have created two emoji loving monsters they use them for everything!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wartime Farm Goes to...Petra Images by JTPB
Photo Credit  JPTB
As usual, he looks to have been having a wonderful time, he's been trekking into the desert, ridden a camel, seen lots of Roman ruins and even camped out with the nomadic Bedouin.

The Butterfly Balcony: Wartime Farm Goes to...Petra Bedouin images of Jordan by JTPB
Photo Credit  JPTB

But the bit that has made me really, really jealous is his trip to Petra and a visit to the beautiful treasury, it's been somewhere I've longed to visit ever since I watched Indian Jones as a kid! Only the penitent man shall pass, only the penitent man shall pass!!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wartime Farm Goes to...Petra Tresury Image by JTPB
Photo Credit  JPTB
He knew how jealous I was of this trip (because I kept on telling him) and so he was thoughtful enough to send me now what is becoming something of  a tradition, and I love him even more for it, a photo of his Wartime Farm Pullover in front of the Treasury building! 

Arghh, it's so cool!! I am currently working on conquering my fear of flying (well all my many phobias actually) so hopefully in the not too distant future I'll be able to make the trip myself, but seeing this makes up for the fact I'll have to wait a while longer!

Wendy x