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It’s only a Handmade Gift but I like it…

Back in the summer I decided to hand make some of my Xmas gifts. I’d been told by my midwife to be organised this Christmas, in case Baby came early.aeeiving in Christmas Eve, Baby G didn’t actually impact on my Christmas preparations too much, but I was all ready just in case!

I have a vintage sewing machine which I’m slowly getting to grips with. It’s rather temperamental and I’ve had it serviced and looked at a few times during this project, making it rather a lengthy job to complete for such a small item.

Cloudy man was a present for my sister. She likes things with clouds on them and I thought this little plushie project was quite cute with his little welly boot legs. I got the pattern from Miss Daisy Patterns (https://missdaisypatterns.com/cloud-baby-free-sewing-pattern-tutorial/ ) and found it super easy to follow – even for someone like me who’s pretty hopeless at sewing! The only thing I changed was using those little mirror sequins for the cheeks. I had them in my sewing box and thought I’d use them up. Cloudy Man was very well received and now lives on my sister’s bed.

When we got our first VCR (quite late to the party – in about 1990?) we only had a few videos to watch, one of which – for some reason – was the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. We watched it a lot, had favourite characters, loved the songs, found certain scenes dull (fast forward!) and can all quote much of the film verbatim. This gift was for my brother – a quote from the film and the signature shirts worn by the brothers. I’m quite proud of this as I used a cross stitch generator for the lettering, but made up the pattern for the shirts myself.

I like the trend for displaying cross stitch patterns in these frames. It’s rather quaint and somehow fitting. I made a couple of others for family – just silly quotes. They’re very simple to do, but satisfying.

It’s such an old tradition to hand make gifts. You do need to allow time, I started my projects in the summer, but still ended up putting finishing touches to them in December! I always think it means so much more knowing someone has gone to the effort of making something from scratch. They’re often very well received and result in a sense of achievement you won’t get from buying all your presents in Primark. Go on – give it a go!

It is with a smug smile I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Vintage Babygro but I like it…

It’s not often you get to pass things from one generation to the next. Especially in these times of disposable goods and cheaply bought Primark specials. My Mum and I were most delighted this week to pop my little man in a babygro that was bought for my brother. It’s a Mothercare one and still in pretty good nick. Uncle Sam says he remembers it well and we thought Albie looked rather snazzy in it.

It kept him warm on our first jaunt into the city centre on the bus. It’s obviously good quality and robust enough to last a few more washes and wears.

I wonder which of Albert’s outfits I will be able to keep and pass on…

It is with a plan for a future wardrobe I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Gingerbread Muffin but I like it…

The thing about baking is that it’s rather disappointing when a recipe doesn’t go to plan. I always research and try to choose recipes carefully but I do struggle to commit to new challenges – preferring to rely on a tried and trusted friend who I know will perform as I expect and rise beautifully!

In terms of festive baking I’ve cracked a mince pie recipe, and last year I made Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road for the first time which was a real winner! One of my favourite Christmas flavours is gingerbread – I love the rich dark flavours combined with the spices and so I thought I should find something with these characteristics to add to my repertoire.

I read lots of recipes for gingerbread biscuits, but many of them seemed flawed – people reported dough that was flaky and difficult to work with. Too risky! This sent me in search of a gingerbread muffin – you know the big overblown kind of thing you get in coffee shops. Sometimes dry and bland and not actually something I choose very often, but perhaps a higher success rate than a biscuit?

Again I looked at some different recipes and found this one from Seasons and Suppers: http://38d.gs/2hoiriL . I adapted it slightly – substituted some of the honey for golden syrup, added nutmeg instead of ground cloves. I have to say, it says ‘easy’ and it really was easy. It would be a good one to do with kids as it doesn’t involve any heating or melting, just measuring the dry ingredients and mixing, then measuring the wet ingredients and mixing, then combining and popping in to your muffin cases.

The flavour is great: sweet and rich from the honey and treacle, but with a nice spiced edge from the generous teaspoons of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. When I make them again I might add some finely chopped crystallised ginger for extra texture and moisture. With a sprinkle of icing sugar these were lovely with a hot drink and have a nice warming flavour – not in the least bit dry or bland! Definitely adding these to my December bakes!

It is with an increasing repertoire of Christmas bakes I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Wet Set but I like it…

In honour of my Hen Do I decided to have another go at a Wet Set. For the uninitiated, a wet set is a method of curling your hair using rollers. You know in old films you see housewives with their hair in curlers, wrapped in a headscarf? That’s a wet set in progress. Wives would have their hair in curlers all day and whip them out and style their hair quickly just before their husbands came home from work. I’m not sure why they bothered as, if 1940s husbands were anything like the Dr (my fella), they probably wouldn’t have noticed if their wives had a scooped out pineapple on their head!

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I did have a go at a wet set when my hair was a bit shorter here but not for any event, just for fun.

I had some help from bloggers By Gum By Golly and Retro Chick and I grabbed all the equipment I needed from Superdrug and Boots. I’m still learning but I love the effects and I think I might try and do a few more over the next couple of months and see if I can perfect a technique that works for my hair.

I decided to add some curls as part of my Hen Do prep. I had the house to myself so I had a nice long bath, opened a bottle of Babycham, washed and conditioned my hair and then put my hair up in curlers with a spritz of Setting lotion.

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I used sponge rollers and then put my hair up in a cotton scarf. I don’t mind sleeping in curlers actually – some people find it very disruptive. I found them less annoying than the Dr’s snoring!!

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The next morning they were all still there – I have been known to tear unruly rollers out in my sleep!

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This is the point at which I got very excited, cos: CURLS!

I combed the curls through gently with my fingers and teased through a smudge of Boots Curl Creme. I added a beautiful spray of orchids from Uptown Curls and I was good to go!

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I was very happy. And I definitely prefer it to a scooped out pineapple. The Dr has yet to comment on it…

It is with a curly top I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Hygge but I like i…

What is Hygge? Let me tell you… It’s a Danish word pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ and it roughly translates as ‘cosiness’.

Hygge is one of the reasons Denmark is often voted one of the happiest countries in the world. In a place that has long and gruelling Winters, people have learned the value of light, warmth, good food and good company.

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Hygge is about warm, cosy interiors, filled with candles and throws. Evening spent with bowls of warm nourishing food, warming drinks and cherished friends. And I for one think it sounds flipping awesome.

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In the UK we hit January with a massive hangover (either alcohol induced, food induced or both) and immediately guit trip ourselves into starting new diets and punishing fitness regimes. We analyse ourselves and make New Years Resolutions, promising to floss, drop 9lb and form a deep and meaningful relationship with kale.

Rather than punishing ourselves wouldn’t it be better to relax into this climate? To cuddle up under a blanket with some hot food and a nice glass of grog is going to make getting through Winter that much easier. Accept that outside is not a pleasant place to be, accept that your drive to excercise will diminish, and accept that time with people you find easy to be with will do you some good.

I wonder if we’ve lost the art of Hygge in the UK. I doubt my grandparents started each new year with an improved fitness regime and promises to wax more regularly. In days gone by did winter mean more time by the fire, more books read and more hot meals? I expect so. Just goes to show – this whole vintage thing isn’t such a bad idea. Sometimes we lose sight of the best way to do things!

It is with the knowledge that ‘You can’t translate – you have to feel it…’ I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only an Ercol sofa but I like it…

You may remember me making the purchase of a lifetime a few months back (http://itsonlyvintagebutilikeit.com/home/its-only-ercol-but-i-like-it/). I had hankered after one of these vintage Ercol sofas for years and finally nabbed one for a reasonable price on eBay.

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This is where it lives now and how I’ve accessorised it. I went for a mess of big bold cushions and its nestled in a corner of my dining room. I was worried it might not be comfortable but the sprung base makes it very comfy, and the replaced elasticated weave underneath means it doesn’t sag either. Lots of overstuffed cushions mean you can recline with ease too.

I’ve added some of my favourite Nikki McWilliams (http://www.nikkimcwilliams.com) biscuit cushions. I’ve been buying Nikki’s stuff for years now and this Christmas the Dr treated me to a dark chocolate Tunnocks Caramel Wafer which blends in perfectly.

It is with a place to recline and relax I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Christmas 2015 but I like it…

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We spent Christmas 2015 in the North with the Dr’s family. We started with a long drive – the Dr drives and I sleep or listen to music or read or, more often, sleep! A quick cuppa from Starbucks kept me going.

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Spending time in his family home means lots of embarrassing pics of him and his brother when they were lads. Awwwww! Little 80s thugs!

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On Christmas Eve we left the village of Whalley to visit Clitheroe.

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This is the packed (!) Christmas Eve train. To be fair, Whalley is a small station and we only travelled one stop!

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I didn’t take many photos of Clitheroe, only this one of a Nativity scene just near the castle. It’s a quaint town and I picked up a few cute bits. Some good charity shops too – still regretting some Meakin china I didn’t buy!

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After an amazing lunch courtesy of the Dr’s Mum we headed out for a walk through Billington and Whalley and I snapped the river Calder through the railway arches. A day or so later this burst it’s banks and Whalley was infamous on national news for a few hours!

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Because I wasn’t at home to open my Mum’s stocking, the Dr made me a little one – I think he did well don’t you?

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I was was a very lucky girl and these are just a few gifts I snapped with my phone. Lovely Mary Berry egg cups – quite partial to a boiled egg so these have given me a new idea for Saturday breakfast

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I do not know where she found it, but this is the best apron ever! Mother-in-Law-to-be Barbara made a great choice.

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These retro ornaments will fit right in to my vision of a vintage Christmas and I can’t wait to put them on my tree next year…

These are just a few of my gifts, I’m having some trouble with my photo editing software now so I’m using my iPhone which isn’t ideal. I will post more pics. I’m also hosting a little Christmas do for my family tomorrow so I’ll be sharing what I’m cooking and I’ll be getting more presents!

It is with anticipation I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only an Eiderdown but I like it…

imageI love my bed. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before. I’d had my eye on it for some time and so when the Dr found me my dream house I’d decided it was not time to hold back on the dream bed! He’s very accommodating and agreed to the bed even he likes neither the material it’s made out of or (I suspect) the colour. imageI have lots of nice duvet covers. This one’s Cath Kidston. And I splashed out on some nice white cotton pillow cases to pair up with those nice Rosalie ones from IKEA a few years back, but I still felt the bed was missing something.

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When I was little I remembering toddling in to my parents bedroom in the morning to wake them up. Both my Mum and Dad were not morning people and I’m sure as a baby I inflicted the same amount of sleep deprivation on them that most newborns do, so that added to their ability to sleep late when the opportunity arose.image

Attempts to rouse them were rarely welcomed and after a while I developed a routine of padding into the bedroom and climbing onto the bottom of the bed, wriggling under their cold-to-the-touch gold eiderdown and ‘top and tailing’. I’d lie on my back, head between their toes, and stare up at the patterns and knot holes in the wooden boards on the ceiling until the weight of my hot little body and my general fidgeting induced one of them to get up and make me my Ready Brek. Due to this little daily brouhaha, and me generally being a slow child, I took to calling this bed-dressing garment an ‘underhide’ rather than an eiderdown, because I hid under it…imageSomething reminded me of this recently and instantly I knew what I needed to complete my bed! I looked at lots of vintage eiderdowns on eBay but in the end plumped for this beauty from Next. it was on the sale and I can’t find a link to it now, but it’s a lovely rich raspberry colour and has a super soft velvet edging. It’s double sized but I like it folded and ready to keep my toes warm. I used a voucher from lovely friend Rach to buy it so it was a gift to us too!

I’m happy with the way the bed’s looking now, just lots of other things I want to do in the room!

It is with cosy toes I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Past Times Repro Shop but I like it…

It’s not often you come across something that might be totally unique and is something you’d really love.

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Lisa is an old friend I ‘found’ again recently and was delighted to find this is her latest venture. I immediately invested in a couple of rationing style chocolate bars for my classroom when I do my WW2 topic at school.

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I think Lisa’s chocolate would be an ideal gift for older relatives or for someone who loves vintage packaging. It’s funny how vintage packaging is a very vivid walk down memory lane!  You can find her on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/Past-Times-Repro-Shop-1475340269446217/ ) and make your purchases there too. A few of her items may find their way into the stockings I’m making this year!

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It is with a watering mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!