Friday, 29 March 2013

I'm Puzzled

I've had an enormous amount of hits on a recent post (cheers to herself), but am completely puzzled as to why.
'New York State of Mind' is a nice enough post but why such attention? Have I featured on some fabulously glamorous and busy popular site?
Can anyone out there tell me?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


In a bid to help me learn Italian, which dear reader I have set my heart on, (donna aska me why I just have a hankering), I have been watching Federico Fellini's films.

Federico Fellini 1958

Oh my, what are they all about? Fantasy, dreams, desires, daydreams, ambition, memories et al.
It doesn't really matter, they are enormous fun. Most of the characters seem to be mad or in the case of most of the women neurotic or hysterical. I'm not even going to try and analyse the content, just enjoy the theatre of it and hopefully pick up a bit of the lingo.
The striking images are enough for me, the Italian backdrop and the strange creatures that float or march across the screen are pure entertainment.

They remind me a little of  the Parisians that peopled the work of Toulouse-Lautrec, what do you think?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Oliver Messel

Oliver Messel self portrait at the age of 19?
"Meeting the small, mercurial, comfortable and immaculately dressed man that was Oliver Messel, one would never have suspected that he was the most famous theatrical designer and decorator Great Britain had ever produced. He was rare among the practitioners of his art in being a painter first and then a scene designer, having acquired his craft through making theatrical masks and painting portraits".
Charles Castle

Tilly Losch and chorus in the 'Dance Little Lady' number from Noel Coward's 1928 revue
Evelyn Laye in the 'white on white' bedroom set for the Cochran/ Max Reinhardt  production of 'Helen'  (1932)
 Messel also designed lavish sets and costumes for Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)
Oliver Messel was born with a silver spoon in his mouth in 1904. Uncle to Anthony Armstrong Jones, the Earl of Snowdon, who married Princess Margaret. His family owned several beautiful period houses, one of which, Nymans, is very close to my home in Sussex.

Now owned  by the National Trust it is open to the public, but is a shadow of its former self due to fire damage in 1947. Although there is a 'new' wing designed by Messel.

The year before last they held an extraordinary exhibition there of Messel's work including early programme and set designs for Glyndebourne as well as some exquisite props.

Statuette of Bacchus in the Penthouse Suite, Dorchester Hotel, decorated by Messel.
In his later years the sensible fellow moved to Barbados, where he carried on with his painting, film and theatre work and even designed homes for his wealthy neighbours.

The Gingerbread House in Barbados designed by Messel .
There is a mass of his intricate, romantic and fanciful work to feast on, if you have the time to seek it out.

" I attempted to use every device to make as much magic as possible"

Saturday, 23 March 2013

My Belated Tribute to International Women's Day

Fancy a chuckle? Watch and listen to these formidable eccentric women and you will believe anything can happen in this crazy world of ours, god bless'em all.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Felted Beauty

Dolls copyright Julie O'Brien
I mentioned this trio of lovelies a while ago now. Their clothes and accessories have been made from yarn that has been dyed and hand spun, and either knitted up or felted. Their very individual faces have been needle felted. Their creator is a member of the same Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild as me. Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend some time with her and she initiated me into the art of needle felting.

It all starts with this stuff, wool tops.

Very strong extremely soft and malleable.
I'm hoping one day if I work hard enough I may be able to create something like this.

 Here is my first offering, which let's face it has more the look of Casper the ghost or ET than Snow White.

But this little 'beauty' isn't finished yet, she may yet move on from her duckling status and become a swan. I'll keep you up to date with her progress.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Wool House

It's all about wool, natural, renewable and sustainable. It's a tremendous exhibition backed by The Campaign for Wool, and everybody involved in this extraordinary creation has given their time for free.

Such an inspirational event, do try and get to see it, be prepared though to get very excited about textiles and yarn.  Somerset House on the Strand until March 24th,  admission is free so you've no excuse.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Off To See The Wool House

Both images via
Popping up to take a squiz at the Wool House tomorrow amongst other things. I shall tell all upon my return.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Simpson Piccadilly - a British Tradition

Evening Dress 1936

Fashion for the Phoney War 1939-1940

Sportswear 1940s

Looking tailored even in an air raid, no need to let standards slip.

The first round of upcycled clothing?

High spirits in the late 1940s.


When Simpson first opened it's doors in 1936 it was perceived as the height of modernity, the store itself and the tailored clothing on offer. All these years later I look at these fashion plates and absolutely adore the British heritage and tradition they evoke. In a non jingoistic way I'm so pleased to be British.

A bit like this guy.  Although his tailoring is not so subtle as Simpson's.