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Thursday, August 30, 2012

September Sunbeam (2012)

I hope Joleene at Amaranthine Night and Roger at Three Hoodies Save the World enjoyed their month basking in Sharon's Little Sunbeam.

This month I've decided to stick with the idea of two recipients.  One reason is that it allows me to include both somebody new as well as someone who I've already featured in the original week-long version.

So without further ado - during the month of September Sharon's Little Sunbeam will shine on:

Kylie at Lucy Violet Vintage (I'm still revelling in Kylie's wonderful generosity in sending me the Carlotta print!)


Retha at Paper Dolls and Other Paper Toys  (Retha does not post all that often, but when she does her paper dolls are lovely.  Retha I'm hoping this will encourage you to share a little bit more with us!)

Sharon's Little Sunbeam is my own personal 'no strings attached' award.  It is my way of thanking the people who enrich my blogging experience.  After the recipient has been introduced a link to their blog remains on my sidebar for a month.  There are no conditions attached to the award.  The recipient does not need to answer any questions, pass the award on or even acknowledge that they have received it.  All they need to do is bask in my little sunbeam and enjoy it!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Carlotta Comes Home

About a month ago I did a post on the art of Carlotta Edwards.  In it I mentioned that two of her ballet prints hung in my bedroom when I was a young child.  The originals are long gone but last year I was able to replace one of them - Margot Fonteyn as Giselle.  The other print called L'Aiglon remained elusive.


After I published the post Kylie from  Lucy Violet Vintage left a comment that she had a copy of L'Aiglon she could give me.  True to her word Kylie posted it to me - all the way from Australia! - very carefully packaged as the print is framed under glass.  I think we were both holding our breath that it would arrive intact - and it did.  This post is an enormous THANK YOU to Kylie for her wonderful kindness and thoughtfulness.  

The print I had as a child was exactly the same as this one - in an identical white frame.  Last year I missed an eBay bid on a L'Aiglon print with a brown wooden frame.  I think I was always hoping that if I did find one the frame would be the same as my original copy - and here it is.  Carlotta has truly come home!

I was going to hang just the L'Aiglon print next to my dressing table, but my husband suggested we put my two childhood memories together.  They are now the first thing I look at when I wake up in the morning.

My bedroom has always been blue and white.  My knick-knacks are all passed on to me from either my mother or grand-mother.  This pretty little ceramic house (to the left of the pot-plant) is actually a container.  The top section comes off and you can keep small objects inside.

My dressing table is also full of handed down memories or gifts that my sister has given me.  I can remember many of them on my mother's dressing table when I was a very young child.  Sometimes I'm sad I don't have a daughter to pass them on to, but hopefully one day I might have grandchildren!

It almost looks like the room has been modelled around the Carlotta pictures, not that they are the new arrivals - they fit in so well.  Kylie also gave me this blog link to an early post of hers that includes my picture as part of a ballet theme.  I had not discovered Kylie's blog when the post was published so did not know it was there until now.  If like me you enjoy vintage ballet-related items this post is a must-see.

All of my duvet covers are plain-ish white, but some of my pillow cases are embroidered vintage ones that originally belonged to my mom.  (I never thought of them as being vintage until recently but I guess they must be by now!)    

Taking these pictures has given me another idea.  This week I also won another surprise parcel from Barbara at March House Books - a beautiful embroidery transfer and skein of thread.  I'm going to scan and copy the transfer so I always keep the original but I've decided I want to try something new - I'm going to buy some new pillowcases and use the lovely flower patterns on the transfer (and perhaps the birds as well) to embroider them in a similar way to this one.  But that will be another story . . .

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bride Doll Book - Lowe

This is a very cute little set.  The dolls in their brightly coloured swimsuits have a wonderful cheap 'n cheerful appeal that reminds me of the free cut-outs we used to get in magazines or the back of cereal boxes.  

The bride's dress is very pretty but I just adore the two bridesmaids outfits.  I love the different colours - pink and green like Neapolitan ice cream  They have the shimmering satin glamour that only the 50's could produce.

The little groom hardly looks old enough to be out of school!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Pattern of Three

This blog isn't supposed to be wordy, or about me - but yesterday was such an unusual day I can't resist writing about it.

My mother always used to say things happened in three's.  When I was very much younger I was fascinated by the ancient Welsh Triads.  Before the written word became widespread and few people were able to read - knowledge, ideas and folklore were grouped together in threes with a common point of likeness.  It is quite an effective method of remembering something.  I can recall quite a few of these triads after more than 30 years.  Here by way of example are 3(!) of them:

Three things no man can rule : a baby's crying, a woman's tongue and the rumour that runs in the market place.

Three things no man can alter : the stars in their courses, the flow of the tides and the pattern that unfolds from the given word.

Three things hold the secret of life : the corn in the earth, the child in the womb and the dream at the heart of the harp's song.

Yesterday morning three strange things happened to me on the way to work:

Because I live in the Wicklow Mountains but work in Dublin I have to leave home just after 6am in the morning to get to the office on time.  My journey starts with my husband driving me to a train station (roughly half an hour away by car) and then I commute into town by train.

Yesterday we got into the car and the battery was stone dead.  I have no idea why - it has not happened before and since then it has been fine again.  It was far too early to think of disturbing any of our neighbours so my husband said we would have to push start the car.  He is recovering from a snapped tendon so my teenage son and I had to do the pushing - me in my business suit - I must have looked a picture! Then we had to run down the hill to catch up with him after he managed to get the car going!

We had not gone very far before we came across a small herd of ponies that had somehow escaped from the field they were supposed to be housed in and were milling about on the road.  A few other cars were already in front of us and someone was clever enough to whistle at the ponies, get them into a straight line and encourage them to turn off into a side road so that the traffic (all 5 or 6 of us!) could continue unimpeded.

When we reached the station there was not a car in sight.  Usually at least a dozen or so are parked there and by this time I was much later than normal.  The only time this has ever happened before was a day when the trains were not running.  I asked at the ticket office and was told everything was ok so my husband dropped me off and drove away.  I felt a bit apprehensive - especially when the electronic board changed from 4 minutes to 3 and then back to 4 again.  But eventually the train arrived and I was on my way - definitely the most unusual start to the morning I think I have ever had!

Then when I arrived home from work in the evening I had three lovely blog related surprises:

First there was a parcel waiting for me from Kylie at Lucy Violet Vintage .  When I published a post about Carlotta Edwards a few weeks ago I mentioned I was looking for a print that had hung on my bedroom wall when I was a very young child.  Kylie had a framed copy of the print in question and she very kindly sent to me (at great expense all the way from Australia!) so I can have it to enjoy.  I'm absolutely thrilled and want to do a proper post by way of thanks but this is just an initial show of appreciation!!

Then I visited Barbara at March House Books Blog and discovered she had drawn my name as the winner of a lovely embroidery transfer and skein of thread (the story behind this is interesting in itself but I won't go into all the details here!)  I'm not usually lucky with this sort of thing  - it felt like this was turning into my birthday!

The third blog related surprise wasn't done especially for me but I was really thrilled to see it all the same. I was scrolling down my reading list and noticed Donna at Donna's Designs had just published a post including the Rose of Sharon.  I've always been curious to know what the rose I am named after actually looks like - and now I know!  Finding this was a perfect ending to a truly amazing day.

Emailed to me by my sister


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guinevere Paper Doll - Almost a Queen

I know - the next dress I was supposed to make was for poor neglected Morgana.  Instead I just couldn't resist going back to Guinevere and continuing with her sartorial progress from lowly handmaiden to queen.

I found the way Guinevere's clothing evolved during the first 4 seasons of Merlin fascinating.  I've enjoyed making this paper doll more than any other.  In terms of blog page views she has been a great success also - another reason why I have been encouraged to finish the set.

Guinevere - Queen of Camelot

Season 4 saw another shift in Gwen's costume design.  The pretty pastel dresses with their elaborate corsets are gone.  In their place are gowns that are more sleek and sophisticated.  Small details such as the dainty silver chain belt hint at a rise in status.  But although these are no longer the gowns of a lowly servant they are also not yet the shimmering silks and satins of the nobility.  The material is practical and designed to last.  Gwen is not yet queen - instead she brings to mind a wealthy merchant's wife.

Guinevere - Season 4 Lilac Dress

Guinevere - Season 4 Lilac Dress

Guinevere - Season 4 Lilac Dress Sketch

Many of Gwen's dresses in Season 4 are blue - some are so similar it is difficult at a glance to tell them apart.  The colour choice is quite clever - it retains a link back to some of the gowns she wore in Seasons 2 and 3 even though the styling is totally different.

This outfit reminds me of the denim pinafore style dresses I wore when I was a teenager in the 70's.  The leather detail - in this case the belt are (for me) also very reminiscent of that time.

Guinevere - Season 4 Blue Dress

Guinevere - Season 4 Blue Dress

Guinevere - Season 4 Blue Dress Sketch

I have one more dress to make for this particular doll - the Coronation Gown.  It has been a fabulous 'journey'.

Season 1 dresses for Gwen can be found here (posted 10 July 2012

Gwen's lilac dragon dress can be found here (posted 2 July 2012)


Season 3 dresses for Gwen can be found here (posted 13 July 2012)

Gwen's Season 5 Velvet Burgundy dress can be found here (posted 6 Aug 2012)

 The companion Morgana paper doll can be found here (posted 1 Jan 2012)

 Copyright Sharon Souter - not to be used for commercial purposes

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Its 1966! - And Girls Just Want to Have Fun

This was undoubtedly my favourite 'Girls' annual.  It was given to me as a Christmas present in 1965.  I would have been 6 years old at the time and I can remember this annual giving me years of enjoyment.

In an age when there was no TV (S Africa only got TV for the first time in 1975), no personal computers or Internet and no gaming consoles, annuals like these were a major source of entertainment.  For me they had everything - below are just some of my personal highlights . . .

Famous celebrities with humorous captions. . .

Sweet things to make . . .

Craft ideas - I can remember being intrigued by quite a few of these and may have attempted some  

Cliff was the main heartthrob! - appearing in a pantomime of Aladdin . . . 

Of course the Beatles were there too . . . 

And most importantly for me a ballet feature (The Nutcracker) . . .

There was even a ballet related story (this was the one I poured over the most) . . . 

Other stories galore - many of them had a horsey theme . . .

Not all the stories were in comic book form although many appear to have been illustrated by the same artist.  If anyone would like to see the full story of the two I have featured leave me a comment and I'll include them in another post.

See the full story in Dream House (posted 4 Sept 2012)

The full contents page -

What more could a young girl in the Swinging 60's ask for?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Story - The Lady and the Dragon

I didn't have time to put together the post I was  intending to publish this week, so instead I thought I'd include another quick 'Sunday Story'.  This is an other personal favourite of mine.  I often mix up the work of Nadir Quinto and Jose Ortiz but I think these illustrations are the work of Nadir Quinto (please correct me if I'm wrong about this!)

This illustration was originally included in a post called Delightful Dragons (bizarrely enough I've just noticed I published it exactly a year ago today - 12 August 2011 - a pure coincidence!)

The title illustration appeared on the cover of the magazine, the story is inside.  I think it is quite clever having a picture like this that takes place some time after the events of the actual story

This story appeared in 'Once Upon a Time' children's magazine.
Issue #63 published 25th April 1970.


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