Monday 17 October 2011

vintage love: Clothkits puppets

I love these vintage handmade puppets, not just because they are bright and well designed, but because my Mum made them for me and my brother to play with. I am a pretty sentimental person, and these puppets bring back lots of happy memories, particularly of my Mum sewing at the dining table. They are designed by Clothkits and date from late early 1980s. Clothkits was a big part of our childhood, my Mum regularly ordered kits to make clothes for herself and for me. I remember the pre-printed fabric arriving through the post, my Mum would pour over the instructions and then the sewing machine came out...

Alongside clothes, Clothkits also made toys. This set of four puppets features a lion, an elephant, a tiger and a clown. They are bright and chunky and really appeal to small children. So much so that my brother's daughter regularly performs puppet shows at Grandma's house. Now I have my own daughter, she has also grown to love these puppets, either playing with them herself or watching one of the many shows performed by her cousin. My brother's daughter has had us all in stitches with her stories, which mainly revolve around the fact the lion cannot be King of the Jungle because he is wearing a vest. Its amazing how much fun children can have with four simple puppets and lots of imagination...

Clothkits is such a brilliant business model, as it says on their website:

"well designed clothes without the fuss of paper patterns. All the cutting lines are printed directly on the fabric in a simple format that means even the inexperienced can make garments with ease."

I'm so glad the company has had something of a revival since 2008, it would a shame to lose a business that plays such an important part in my generation's memories. They even have a lovely collection of archive photos uploaded by members of the public on their website. It's worth having a look to see if you recognise anything you wore as a child!

And with the growing popularity of 'make do and mend' and sewing in general, a whole new generation of people are falling in love with the company.

Monday 3 October 2011

self-sufficientish 2011

Every year I blog about my attempts at being 'self-sufficientish', originally inspired by this website, it's basically an attempt to grow as much food at home as possible, eat seasonally and save some money too!

2011 as by far been our best year for homegrown food, thanks mainly to my Mum and brother taking on an allotment. I must admit, I was sceptical at first thinking they would have no time to maintain it properly and all they would harvest was a variety of weeds. But I've been proven wrong. My Mum has barely been able to keep up with the produce that has been bursting out of the soil. My mum and brother can't dedicate all their time to the allotment, an evening here, a Sunday afternoon there, but what they have planted has grown like mad. Every week my mum has bought us a bag of goodies, ranging from potatoes, onions, courgettes, cucumbers, the best strawberries I've ever tasted, massive blackberries, tons of runner beans, one or two celeriac, a handful of my brother's precious peas, and the most amazing garlic.

In fact we even managed to have a 'no supermarket' meal, which is a first in this house. In August we had an amazing Spanish omelette made from eggs from our friend's chickens, potatoes, onion and courgette from my mum's allotment, tomatoes and herbs from my own garden and it was absolutely delicious. We are all so reliant on supermarkets these days, that it was nice to have one meal where we hadn't had to hand over a single penny to one of them!

I'm also a convert to 'fridge pickle' I know it doesn't look like much, but believe me, it's very tasty. Basically my Mum had a glut of onions and cucumbers, so she went online to find some recipes and found whole websites devoted to using up gluts produced by allotment produce, which is handy! To see the full recipe, please visit this very useful website

I can honestly say we have never eaten so well as we have done this Summer, the produce has been organic and seasonal, extremely tasty and taken minimal cost to produce. We've also enjoyed seeing our young daughter eat such lovely, fresh food. If you get the opportunity, I would wholeheartedly recommend signing up for an allotment, my mum and brother are now complete converts and are already planning crops for the Winter and next year!

***blog giveaway winner - many thanks to everyone who took part in my Autumn giveaway - the lucky winner picked at random is...JillHogan. A selection of vintage trims will be winging their way to her soon***


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