Thursday 16 December 2010

Good G-wreath! It's nearly Xmas!

There are wreaths a-plenty on blog land at the moment and I'm going to jump on the band wagon and show you the three (yes, three!) wreaths we have up at J and P Towers.  Just to warn you, the photos are my worse yet.  The light was rubbish today and I really must get to grips with the workings of this camera of ours - reading the instructions would be a start. 

On our front door is this one made of plastic bags - the sort you find at the supermarket (smallish transparent ones) for fruit and veg - cut into strips and tied onto a wire cottage hanger fashioned into a circle and topped with a pink bird of indeterminable type:

Here it is again.  Unfortunately, my rubbish photo does not really convey the shimmery, almost magical quality the plastic bags impart (yeh, right....):

A close-up of the pink birdy thingy:

Here is my famed (who am I kidding?) felted wreath that I featured on a previous post, topped with what I foolishly thought at the time was a festive robin, only to realise very quickly that it's a feathery imposter and not a robin at all.

This is one that Little Miss J and P made.  Take a bit of cardboard or stiff paper and cut out a circle.  Using old wrapping paper, cut out lots of leaf shapes and stick them in an overlapping stylee onto your circle.  Complete with a bow.

Here are a few more home-made decs (made mainly by Little Miss J and P) for your delectation.  Drawings stuck onto a peg and pegged onto a lampshade:

Birds with concertina paper wings:

Angels.  If you look closely, you may notice that someone has stuck photos of Little Miss J and P and Mr J and P on the faces.

Well that's all folks.  I won't be blogging now until the New Year as next week, Grandpa J and P is coming to stay and I've got to try my hand at baking (mince pies and birthday cake).  Baking is not my thing, so wish me luck!  I've also got to pack for our forthcoming holiday.  Yes, another holiday.  YeeHaa.  More about that when I see you next!  Have a lovely Xmas and wonderful New Year or, as they say, where we're going, Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo.  Ciao tutti. xx

Friday 10 December 2010

Cold Turkey and Xmas Prezzies

Well, I have to admit that I've been in "cold turkey" the whole week.  Our internet connection has been down for 6 miserable days and I haven't had the opportunity to read any of my favourite blogs - boo hoo!  I'm champing at the bit to see what's been happening in lovely blog land.  However, before I do, I thought I'd show you what I've been buying for Xmas prezzies this year.

Last year, I made a number of prezzies for friends and family (lucky old them, I hear you cry!) - lots of snake draught excluders, knitted wrist bands with a skull and crossbones motif for Little Miss J and P and cousin, a black knitted tissue cosy with skull and crossbones motif and a white pompom embellishment for my lucky sister in law and a pair of knitted mittens with, you guessed it, a skull and crossbones motif, for the very lucky Mr J and P.  (Mittens for men.  Discuss.)  Sorry, no pics to show you as Little Miss J and P, who's extremely scatty, managed to lose the wristbands almost instantaneously, and Mr J and P, who wears his mittens incessantly (so he tells me) is at work at the mo.

Anyway, enought of this nonsense.  This year, I've been scouring charity shops, Xmas Bazaars and the like for gifts.  Here is what I've got, so far:

A large linen table cloth (£2 at a Xmas Bazaar):

The Merry Game of Floundering.  20p from a Xmas Bazaar.  A fine old game where each player has to put together a flounder by throwing the dice where each section of the flounder corresponds to the number on the dice:

A game right up my street (20p Xmas Bazaar):

The object of this game is "to dress a character with clothes from the Jumble Sale as quickly as possible however odd the result".  Here are the characters "before"......:

And after:

I got these delightful gifts at a Vintage Fair for £1 each (wish I'd bought more). 

They are only a few centimetres wide and tall and contain.....

Can you tell?  Plastic "snap" rain bonnets from the 1960s.  Jumbo size with 3 different fastenings to accommodate your beehive.  How wonderful is that!  I remember my mum having the exact same thing.

Still on a rainy theme, this large Cath Kidston rain cape in fabulous nick - £3 from a charity shop:

Some old books (50p each from the charity shop).  Think I may keep The Nun's Story - loved that film.

Remember these Murano glass fish?  They were all the rage once weren't they?  £3 charity shop buy.

A rather battered bread bin.  But I rather like it for its batteredness.  A present to myself for £10 from the Vintage Fair.

An apron which Mr J and P bought from the Charity Shop - £1.50.  I've taught him well haven't I, dear readers?

A revolving desk calendar which I've just won on ebay.  A tenner.  A little expensive, but it's a thing of great beauty, I'll have you know!

Hope your Xmas shopping is going well. I'm off now to read blogs with a cup of coffee and a mince pie. Huzzah!

Friday 3 December 2010

Button up

Now, dear readers, I'm not going to talk to you about the snow and how flipping cold it is and the state of the nation's pavements (they are like ice rinks).  Nor am I going to talk about how our boiler has broken down and we have no heating or hot water for the foreseeable future.  Nor am I going to talk about Christmas - prep, decs, prezzies or otherwise.

No, dear readers,  I am going to talk about buttons.  Get a load of these little beauties that Mr J and P brought back from a recent charity shopping spree.

Didn't he do well?

So, what have I done with these buttons?  Well, I've come over all crafty and I've decorated a couple of very plain IKEA frames with them.  Wanna see?

This one has all green buttons complete with a green gingham embellishment!

What do you think?  I spent rather a long time playing with the different colour and style combinations.  In fact, I have to say that playing with them was the best bit!

Such fun!  I heartily recommend this craft project.  It's incredibly easy and very satisfying.

The photos I chose to put in the frames were suitably vintage - old ones of my mum. I do like looking at old black and white photos.  Everyone always looks so elegant and beautifully dressed.

Love the bouffant in the one above.  Note the screaming child (me).  I remember that occasion very well; wasn't very keen on those pigeons!

Love my mum's sunglasses in the one below and the jaunty little neckerchief:

The one below is of my mum on her wedding day.  The coat was blue mohair, she had a blue feather fascinator in her hair and matching blue suede shoes.  I remember those shoes very well as she eventually gave them to me but for the life of me I can't remember what happened to them (boo hoo).

Well dear readers, I'll love you and leave you.  I need to move around as I'm in danger of turning into an icicle sat here.  Keep warm everyone (sob).

Thursday 25 November 2010

Come Drool With Me & Swimming Costume Drama Part 2

I've always been fearful of........quilting.  Yes, you read that correctly quilting - eeeek!  Scarey!  Yet, I adore the patchwork look. 

Recently I came across this book "Quilting in No Time:  50 Step-by-step Weekend Projects Made Easy" by Emma Hardy. 

It was going cheap at The Book People (for those who aren't familiar with it - it's a website for cheap deals on books ).  I checked out the reviews on Amazon and what sold it to me was what this reviewer said  "If you're a dedicated quilter you will be disappointed in the disregard for quilting techniques and in fact the lack of  much quilting at all (it focuses on the patchwork side). "  Perfect, I thought, a book about quilting without complicated quilting techniques - just the thing! 

Well I'm very pleased with the book.  The instructions are easy to follow and better still, there's lots of lovely pictures of fabulous patchwork.  Brace yourselves, dear readers, there are some seriously delicious pictures to follow.

Droooooool with me over this lovely red cushion (not literally, you understand):

Loving the pouffe:

I am swoooooning over this gorgeous rug:

Check out this darling draught excluder COMPLETE WITH POMPOM EMBELLISHMENTS (sorry, I'm shouting with uncontained excitement):

Oooooooh noooooooooooooo, three of my favourite things ever in the whole wide world:  patchwork, pompoms and BUTTONS (sorry, the excitement is reaching fever pitch here at J and P Towers):

Deep breaths now, dear readers.... an apron:

Breathe in 1-2-3............ breathe out 1-2-3........pretty patchwork curtains:

And relax...........a picnic blanket:

Every night I take the book to bed with me and ooh and aah over the pictures, sometimes stroking them and occasionally giving out a little frenzied yelp in excitement at all the stuff I'm going to make (this is normal behaviour, is it not, dear readers?). 

Anyway, enough of this patchwork craziness.  I would like to say thank you to those lovely people who left comments and suggestions on my previous post entitled "Swimming Costume Drama".  The vast majority of you thought that I shouldn't chop up the 1950s swimming costume that I've had lurking in my wardrobe for too long and many of you suggested that I display it.  The lovely Sonia of Raine and Sage told me that Simone of Beach Vintage had framed her collection of swimsuits like so:

And this got me thinking.  The 1950s cossie is such a an iconic style and shape that I thought perhaps I should keep it intact.  What sealed the deal, was discovering a large IKEA picture frame in the charity shop for £4 - exactly the right size.  Take a look:

Yes, it's in pride of place in our front room where I can gaze at it lovingly.

Friday 12 November 2010

Swimming costume drama

...or, should I say, swimming costume dilemma. 

What is she on about now, I hear you cry.  Well, recently, I re-discovered this little beauty languishing in the back of my wardrobe.

Beeeeoooootiful isn't it? 

I bought this 1950s swimming costume about 13 years ago at a car boot sale, never wore it (dunno why as it did fit if I remember rightly) and had it on display in the bathroom of our old house.  Since moving house 10 years ago, I'd forgotten all about it it until now. 

It's made of cotton, has a lovely ruched front with an elasticated back.  It has a detachable strap which buttons onto the inside so the lucky wearer can wear it halter style or strapless.  The orange tulips are gorgeous, don't you think?  And even more vibrant than my pictures show.

Sadly, the elastic at the back of the cossie is no longer elasticky (no, I don't think that's a word either).  So, the dilemma is:  do I keep the swimming cossie as an almost but not quite fine example of the 1950s swimsuit or do I transform it into ..........(1950s swimwear fans, look away now)......a cushion cover (or some such thing)!

What would you do?

I've also got a largish number of 1950s/60s dresses which I  used to wear, back in the day, that are also languishing in my wardrobe.  I'll show you them sometime.  I still wear a couple of them but the rest don't fit me anymore and I can't bring myself to sell them.  Oh dilemmas, dilemmas..........

Friday 5 November 2010

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie

Bit of a Spanish theme going on in this post. Does anyone remember the classic hit from 1977 "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" by those two dusky senoritas (Mr J and P's words not mine) that made up Baccara? I've posted a video below just in case you want to be reminded or to acquaint yourself of its fabulousness. It's one of Mr J and P's favourite songs - he has a nose for the classics you know.

Anyway, my dearest amigos, I admit it.....this is all just an excuse for me to bore you to death about our latest Spanish holiday.

Grandpappy J and P is one of those lucky devils that lives for part of the year in the UK and the other part in Espana, on the Costa Blanca, in the town of Altea. Altea is reasonably unspolit and the old centre has retained some of its character and charm.

The nearby town of La Villa Joyosa is also still characterful in parts.  It is famous for its chocolate museum (we've never been) and its pretty coloured houses.

Benidorm is hugely high-rise (it's known as Las Vegas by the Sea).   If it's a good old British fry-up you're after or shops selling pork pies or a visit to a "traditional English pub", then Benidorm is the place to go! 

Still, there's no getting away from the natural beauty of the place - large, sweeping bays, good sandy beaches (and verging on the empty in October) and the backdrop of the Sierras in the interior is most impressive.

One of the highlights of the holiday for a saddo like myself was going to the Rastro in Benidorm (a flea market).   Here's a pic of little Miss J and P getting it on down:

Not only did we strike lucky with a snorkel and mask set for a mere 1 euro but an episode of the TV programme "Benidorm" was being filmed. For those of you who live overseas or who have a social life and actually go out on a Friday night, "Benidorm" is a comedy series about the exploits of various characters on a package holiday in er....Benidorm!


With that piece of riveting information, I'll say "Adios Amigos" and leave you to enjoy the marvels of Baccara.  If you watch all the video, you will also hear the Sex Pistols over the closing credits of Top of the Pops.  Yes, you did read that correctly - Baccara followed by the Sex Pistols.......the mind doth boggle.