Monday, 23 December 2013

A Perfect Great British Crafty Christmas

This year there have been more Christmas programmes than you can shake a stick at. First of all we had Sarah Beeny's Great British Christmas revealing how we've celebrated over the last two hundred years.  Next was Kirstie's this, that and the bloody other, repeated every day for the last three weeks showing us how we can have a truly crafty/kitsch/homemade Christmas. Then there was Alex Polizzi's Perfect Christmas.....yeah right!  She presented her great big fuck-off house decorated to the nines in a wonderfully traditional style. 

What!!!  You mean to say you don't have silver chargers gracing each place setting at your table???

I can't say I've been inspired by this constant barrage of Christmas craziness. Here is the sum total of decoration at my home this year - the foliage was pilfered from neighbouring gardens!

But I am looking forward to seeing friends and family, relaxing, eating, drinking and laughing.

  To all my readers and stalwart commenters, (you know who you are) your continued support is much appreciated. I thank you all and wish you a very merry Christmas.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Such A Pretty Dress

It's been a while but I've been putting my time to good use, as you do at this time of year.  You know... making lists, buying presents, paying a lump sum off my mortgage and buying a vintage frock.

Yes indeedy and what a beauty...check her out.


I found her in a chazza on their vintage rails which are shoved up in one corner.  An elderly couple were dithering about and blocking my way, rather than push them out of the way such was my impatience, I turned my attention to the evening dresses which I could  access.  Not something I would usually make a beeline for (invitations to dinner dances rarely come my way these days) but on this occasion I was glad I did.  I couldn't believe my luck when I saw this sixties stunner so paid the required £22 and ran off with her before someone beat me to it.

 The fabric is taffetta-like, overlaid with georgette and look at the elegant bow detail and 'drapey-ness' on the back! Lush. 


I've tried to research Melbray of London with little success,  are you an owner of one of their frocks? 

Fortunately I just managed to squeeze my bulk into it although Magic Knickers will definitely be required. I've nowhere in mind to wear it just now but heeded advice from fabulous fashionista Vix, so when an occasion does present itself I'll be party-ready and won't need to dash around the shops like a greased weasel.  

I must say I do feel tres elegant in it.

Frock - St Catherines Hospice shop 
Beaded satin shoes, had them for years - Debut by Debenhams 
Fishnets - TK Maxx  

My approach to Christmas has never been more laid back, most presents are bought but not wrapped, cards almost written.. some posted, no decorations up at all...still not sure about that one.  Things to do in the coming week - shop for last few pressies and food, wrap parcels, make two dozen mince pies and freeze, enjoy a night out with friends, a pub lunch with relatives and I've even found time to fit in a smear test, yuk. Now I'm 501 I've been expecting the dreaded first mammogram appointment to drop through the door any minute....no doubt something to look forward to in the New Year hey?

I'm at work again tonight so will miss the Strictly dance-off and results show.... bugger.  Fervently hoping that Fit Patrick will stay in but he is the bookies favourite to be voted off. It looks like it could be an all female final. 

Who's your favourite?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sparklin' Star

Following a recent craft and natter afternoon with my friend Eunice, I was pleased to discover I have now made two thirds of my xmas cards, so whilst I'd rather be scouring the chazza's and junk shops I've been pressing on and here is a recent card of mine which I'm entering in the following challenges.

Less Is More - Sparkle
Just Add Ink - Star
Stampin For The Weekend - Feeling Festive

(excuse the photo quality, the lens on my DSLR is broken so it's back to the point and press temporarily)

I created a star frame with Xcut dies on red card and heat embossed it with red sparkly EP, not satisfied with the resulting sparkle I further added a bucketful of red glitter....man, did it get everywhere! A Hero Art sentiment and a gingham bow completed this simple card.  I mentioned in a previous post that I'm not feeling the crafting love this year and feel totally uninspired. Not that it's just cards I can't get excited about you understand, I've got a Christmas 'do' to attend next week with my work colleagues and I'm trying to muster up some enthusiasm about that too, blimey I sound like a right old misery don't I? Is anyone else feeling a distinct lack of Christmas cheer?

I'm going to bog off now as I've nothing cheerful to say and I really don't want to become one of those blog whingers. A humungous pile of ironing and the Strictly results show await. Have a good week folks.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Uniforms I Have Known

I recently asked Curtise about her new job, whether she would have to wear a uniform etc. and this got me thinking about all the uniforms I have worn over the past ...ahem, thirty years.  Regular readers may know that I've worked at Gatwick Airport doing one thing or another, nearly all of my working life...would you like to see what I was wearing?
 If so, please sit back,relax and enjoy the picture heavy ride.

My first uniform was Air Europe's where I worked as a 'Cabin Attendant'. Here I am as green as they come in 1984, aged 21.

This was a high quality uniform - Aquascutum no less! And after take-off we wore a grey pinny to ensure it stayed clean... disposing of sick bags was a regular chore.

Make up regs were very strict - foundation, blusher and toning lipstick were the order of the day.  At Air Europe all cabin crew were made to retire at the ripe old age of 36 as they were considered too long in the tooth to continue! WTF?   

A year later I found myself working for a smaller airline - British Island Airways and compared to Air Europe their uniform felt very drab indeed.

Hostie or Private Eye ?

  Brown shoes were virtually impossible to find in the 80's (apart from Van Dal!) and almost always I had to buy a different colour and dye them.

After a couple of years we got a new uniform which was very of it's day. In summer, a shirtwaister dress with shoulder pads and detachable neck bow and in winter a skirt and boxy jacket.I was glad to see the back of that Stetson when a new style hat was issued too.

"...your lifejacket is equipped with a light and a whistle"

I had a lot of fun at BIA where I learnt to schmooze with the Flight Deck crew....

and post flight, drink copious amounts of alcohol whilst counting the bar takings.....hic.

By 1989 things were looking dodgy at BIA so I jumped ship to Caledonian Airways.

Here I am (front row) after receiving my 'wings'

The tartan uniform was very recognizable after a certain TV advert and was made by Kinloch Anderson; kiltmakers to Her Maj and the royal family. Being 100% wool it wasn't half sweaty arriving in Barbados!

'Cally' was a much larger airline and for the first time I was flying on wide-bodied aircraft to long haul destinations.  Uniform regs were exceedingly stringent. 
 'Short hair must not touch the collar, ponytails must be no longer than 10" and tied back with a black velvet ribbon 1" wide.  Earrings must be gold or pearl studs only'

At our initial interview we were weighed and once 'on the line',  monitored.  Anyone seen to have put on weight was called into the office, put on the 'fat list', grounded and instructed to diet....  it seems utterly unbelievable nowadays.  The largest sized uniform was a 16, I wore a size 10 but was still told by the old bat who ran uniform stores " you can't afford to put any weight on those thighs" 

After a long haul flight we let off steam at room parties in the crew hotel and many a drunken shenanigan took place.

I could tell you lots of stories about what happened to rude passengers....but I don't want to put you off your tea!

Over the years I worked my way up through the ranks from 
No.2 (not the most pleasant job title) responsible for the on-board bars...

to Cabin Service Co-ordinator, leading a crew of eleven on an aircraft configured to seat 393 passengers.  After promotion to the most senior rank I had the dubious honour of wearing a plain navy jacket and my jabot was now edged with lace!

The millenium was a milestone in more ways than one, it marked the end of my flying career. In Sept 1999 I was informed that my rank was being discontinued and that I could continue with the company as a Purser or take voluntary redundancy, I chose the latter.
Fast forward 14 years and in that time I have held positions as a check-in agent,

 Flight Despatcher - the most unglamorous uniform of all
(hi viz, ear defenders and hobnail boots!) 

 and .  Here's my latest uniform,

Have you worn a uniform?   Would you like to wear a uniform to be rid of those "what shall I wear" hassles or do you hate to be indistinguishable from the rest?

See you soon.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Man Comes On And Tells Me How White My Shirts Can Be

What a stroke of luck!  This week's Less Is More challenge is Christmas Card- Use a Bird....and what have I been making for the past two days ?  I see Margaret had the same idea...great minds and all that.

Due to postage costs this year's cards are one layer!  I've used a branch from the Cardio Oriental Blossom set to make a twiggy wreath and the owl is by Inkadinkado.  I added 'berries' with red memento ink and the end of a paintbrush, gem stone eyes and glittered some of the branches.  Finally I added a string to hang the wreath and a festive bow.  Not sure which colour way I prefer, how about you ?  Linking also to Make It Monday.

I've had the last week off work and have been busy doing some long overdue jobs around the house.  Recently I found a TV unit in a charity shop for the bargain price of twenty five quid,  I've been looking for one of these for years...no really.  My parents donated this as a temporary measure when I moved here, 

seven years later.....and it's still here, looking like something from student accommodation and not what I want at all.  I've been hoping I'd stumble across the perfect unit but alas it was not to be, instead I found this and thought it 'would do'.

The condition was fair enough although the orange pine was not to my taste, so a little makeover was in order. (I think I may have bigged this up somewhat in my last post, please don't be disappointed.)

 My first idea was to bleach the top and paint the rest but after experimenting with this idea for a while, it was hastily abandoned. Unlike Emma Kate, I don't have the patience of a saint and wanted to finish the project this side of Christmas.
I decided to keep the orange interior as painting inside would be a bit of a bastard I feared and I wasn't confident I'd get a professional finish. I quite like the contrast...what do you think?  Wires now concealed and all my crap stored in the drawer. The shelving unit has now been pressed into service in my craft room, which has never before seen such organisation.  
Belatedly linking to Magpie Monday and Op Shop Show-Off.

It's a busy weekend for me, there are more xmas cards to be made, I'm out tonight for a meal with friends and Dad's coming for a roast dinner tomorrow.  What are you up to ?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Canterbury Tales

I've been down in Kent this week where I visited Canterbury with my aunt who's also been known to frequent a charity shop once or twice.  The plan of action was to look at the sights... (this city is steeped in history) and then hit the chazza's.

The Butter Market

This courtyard directly opposite the entrance to the Cathedral has served as a focal point for the town for 800 years.

The Cathedral entrance

There has been a place of worship on this site for 1400 years. During the Civil War of the 1640s, the Cathedral suffered damage at the hands of the Puritans; much of the medieval stained glass was smashed and horses were stabled in the nave. During WWII the cathedral escaped any serious damage thanks to brave fire watchers who dealt with the incendiary bombs dropped by the enemy.  


 We didn't go in the Cathedral as we have visited before and after wandering leisurely through the town found a lovely Lithuanian cafe for a spot of lunch.  We were shown to an upstairs table where we could people-watch to our hearts content and were entertained by the staff in the restaurant opposite - seconds earlier the bloke on the right had been canoodling with a female kitchen hand!

In the 17th century the Huguenots introduced silk weaving into the town and their houses on the River Stour are a much photographed attraction.

I wonder if 'Chas' Dickens.... a Kentish man, penned any of his famous works here?

Once the light started to go we needed no encouragement to head for the chazza's.
Being an affluent Cathedral city I expected to find some posh schmutter and I wasn't disappointed.  I spied labels by D&G, Aquascutum, Windsmoor and Jaeger to name but a few and I managed to bag myself a Hobbs cardi.

Although wool, it's gossamer fine so this will be stored away until next summer.  I also found a cheap xmas cake tin (50p) and a Glenn Miller CD. 

Now back home I'm working on my latest upcycle, showing here soon. Don't miss it!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Scavenger Hunt October

I'm fashionably late for my October entries due entirely to the scarcity of weathercocks hereabouts.
Hmmm, can't say I was keen on that subject Susie but wasn't going to be beaten.  Here we go then.


Yes it's obvious but suspected everyone would be doing pumpkins this month.


Two windows found at the same Saxon church as the weathercock





Bin men were five days late after the storm that never was...


The Quad 'Copter in action

Home made

Black & White

a seaside cottage

 Coffee time


My cousin Zoe on her hen night


Had to scour the local area for weathercocks, I found this at the fourth church.
Serious cropping was required!

 Fridge Magnet

From Dad's recent travels

Get yourself over to Made With Love for the November list and to see other October snaps.

Tomorrow at work, I will be learning to drive a huge tractor and snow plough, now that really will be worth a picture...wish me luck.