Thursday, 30 June 2011

Mini collection 37


Here are some old patchwork quilts, which I love. The two bigger ones in the picture above we use on our bed in winter.
 The quilt with triangular pieces was (we were told) made by sailors on board ships on long journeys. The fabric is their old shirts. This could of course have been dealer's hokum but it pleased me immensely to think of hoary old sea salts sitting on deck sewing the quilt that was now on my bed. It is embroidered with the name of a ward in a hospital where I guess it had been donated. The old flannel cloth is very soft.

The other large quilt seems very old and is in quite bad condition. The cloth has 'ripened' and is falling away from the backing. I mend it every so often but it's getting very fragile now.
Some nice fabrics in the smaller quilt too, mostly satins and silks.
This one is hard to photograph because we had it framed so it's behind glass. It's a cushion cover made of cigarette silks. The back is great too -- it's crazy patchwork. I thought we'd had it framed so that you could display either side, but when I took it down you could only see this side. It hangs in our loo.
Finally, this last quilt isn't old, or not very. In fact it's 15 years old as I made it for my son when he was born. The only interesting thing to say about it is that the pattern is one I glimpsed on a TV news bulletin -- it was on a quilt hanging up on the wall in Colonel Gaddafi's desert tent!
     I hope you like my quilts -- I feel quite passionate about them.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Mini collection 34

my life in badges -- almost: the many found badges skew the picture somewhat!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mini collection 33

1970s gift-tags (saved since childhood)
Never one to back down before a challenge. The collections will go on...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Mini collection 32

Just a very few small elephants. Oh no, are the little collections running out of steam? I'll have to focus my mind...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New diary

old (left) and new
I've been buying the Redstone Press diary for years now but it's a big beast, made bigger by all the pockets it has which entice you to store things in them. I have a bit of a pain in my neck (don't misread that!) and I was carrying round a hulking great bag with about three paperbacks, three notebooks and this massive diary in it. It had to stop. So I've made myself a new diary.
It recycles some recycled plastic covers from an old notebook, and I designed the insides on my computer.
20 people with the same name as me
It has a frontispiece of twenty people with my name -- my maiden name. There was no point trying to find twenty Jane Houshams!
I think I'll keep the design and elaborate on it for next year, with more pictures. It was easier to make the verso pages into 'Notes' than print dates on both sides but I will do that next time.
An indulgence -- reproduction of a page from a book I wrote when I was 6. I got my year of birth wrong. But I'm still intrested in book.
All bound with the trusty Bind-It-All machine. It weighs about a quarter of the old one.

Mini collection 28

Some heads (not all) including some clowns (still not quite all) and a few stray deer from the herd to the left

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Mini collection 23

When I was a child almost everything I had was small. The smaller the better, as far as I was concerned. If my toys were on a miniature scale, then I could pack a whole world onto the kitchen rug. Five of the above little dolls are from my childhood. The second from the left is Miss Julia Locket, bought quite recently from a car boot sale, still in her plastic bubble -- she is a doll I wished for as a child. She has a serene and knowing face, like a fortune-teller. To her right is another new doll, bought to mark the changing times.
     All the others are about forty years old. The one with pink hair was prized as the most minuscule of all -- she also lived in some sort of plastic pod, now lost. Lucy and Angela, the two without clothes in the middle, were central to my life for far too long. Lucy (and several unnamed, unloved identical sisters) had an ever expanding wardrobe of clothes made from tiny rectangles of cloth with a cross cut in the middle as a head-hole and a fraying scrap of the same fabric for a belt. These outfits were haute couture in my mind and I never seemed to tire of taking them on and off again.
     Angela once had a pink duffel coat attached to that hood. What happened to it? I know what happened to Angela -- she got locked in the loft at my old house for about twenty years. Deeply traumatised, she was only freed from her prison when I crept into the loft a few years ago looking for my old school exercise books. I also found evidence of another crime that day: Muggins, my ancient red plastic mug, had also been incarcerated there for even longer, abandoned after being cruelly used by my father to bail out a roof leak. Muggins was my equivalent of a dummy and I used to chew it (disgusting, I know). My father unfortunately did a degree in Education and Child Psychology when I was a toddler and used me to practise on. I had been encouraged to throw my actual dummy on the fire as an act of 'empowerment'. I will do a blogpost on the study he did of me -- it's funny.
     The kid in the pink knitted dress is an interloper, the pathetic replacement for lost Angela but clearly lacking her empathy and quiet charisma.
     The last doll is Belinda, one of several such dolls bought from the Cambridge Toy Shop during holidays in the Fens at my great-aunt Winnie's house. I played with these girls a lot because they had cost me nearly all my holiday money, but they were no match for Lucy and Angela.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mini collection 21

weirdos on wheels
Would you like this little gang to be waiting for you at the end of the street?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Collector's Lot


Once, long ago, when my son was about two years old -- so it must have been around 1997 -- David and I were on the Channel 4 show Collector's Lot. I can't remember how this happened; I think David must have put us in for it. I was quite tied up in those days trying to be a Good Mother (ha ha ha ha ha) but we were invited to travel down to Henley-on-Thames to be on the show in the run-up to Christmas.
box of Spiderman TVs
We were quite excited. The reason we had to go to Henley was because the show was being filmed in the home of Gray Joliffe of Wicked Willie fame. Regular readers will know by now that my memory is increasingly dodgy and many things from my past are now destined to stay in a murky soup for the rest of my life. However, various details of this experience have retained a strange and unsettling clarity.
For the recording, David and I were going to be interviewed separately: he was going to talk about our collection of miniature televisions (our no. 1 collection, if truth be told) and I was going to do cracker toys, to add a seasonal flavour to the programme. I took my part very seriously and contacted Tom Smith's, the oldest cracker manufacturer in the country, for information about the history of crackers. They sent me a lot of stuff which I worked up into a spiel and more or less memorised.
We packed up all the little tellies and the cracker toys old and new. Then the three of us drove down (we lived up North then) to Henley, making an early start. When we got to Gray Joliffe's house, David was mysteriously struck down with a violent stomach upset. Was it nerves, I don't know, but it cast a terrible pall over the day. He sequestered himself in our car instead of going to the 'green room', which I think was some sort of outbuilding in GJ's domain.
When it was time for us to set up we gained access to the house itself, which was quite grand and decorated very lavishly with items from the period during the Eighties when Wicked Willie was such a massive success. GJ must have had a grand time spending his royalties on tables made of stacks of glass sheeting and the like. Our child was allowed the run of GJ's bedroom while we were recording and was guarded by young TV researchers. I feared for the giant vases.                                                                                                               
While David was off doing his bit and suffering his own private digestive torments, I had to focus on my cracker toy presentation. I set out my bits of plastic tat in nice rows and waited for my turn. Imagine my dismay when, instead of lovely Sue Cook, our presenter was Bill Oddie! Bill rotten Oddie! He didn't seem very interested in my plastic lovelies and I remember more clearly than anything else on that whole day that he held one of my treasures up to the camera and he had the most enormous blue Mickey Mouse sticking plaster on his big fat Bill Oddie finger. It eclipsed the cracker toy completely. I'm amazed the producer let him have it in shot. 
Bill Oddie on an earlier Collector's Lot being a subject rather than a presenter -- showing off his Mickey Mouse collection
So they did a take and I recited my piece about the history of crackers and cracker toys. Not too bad. Then they said they'd do another take, so this time I talked about which ones I liked best and which ones were endearingly horrible. Then they said, 'That one's good, we'll go with that one' -- so what I had completely failed to understand was that there was very little editing. The second take simply replaced the first take -- and my history of cracker toys was instantly consigned to the cutting room floor. Oh well.
The final ignominy came when we were packing up all our bits and pieces and I tripped over one of our boxes, breaking the leg off a precious telly and cracking the screen of another -- a Disney one, must have been the curse of Oddie.
cracked screen
Our night in a hotel in Henley (can't remember if it was paid for by the TV people) was somewhat dimmed by D's lingering malaise. And when we got home the next day we discovered that our toddler had managed to leave his beloved Cookie Monster figurine behind in GJ's bedroom.
However, a couple of days later Gray himself returned it to us, which was extremely kind of him, especially after we had winced at his Eighties taste.

So, all in all, it was a memorable occasion, topped off by the agony of seeing ourselves on TV a few weeks later. We had a video of it on VHS but I've no idea where that is now -- thank the lord. Now, if you press me, I will tell you about when we were on Boot Sale Challenge, which was even more humiliating...
Oh, I forgot to add that, later on, we were in the Collector's Lot book -- but no picture so it's a bit boring.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Mini collection 18

cracker toy dogs
I'll have to get back to doing some proper posts soon! Or as well... It's becoming something of a personal challenge to keep this going. Still, it's Postman's Knock this weekend so there will be proper stuff flying around.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Mini collection 17

plastic nasties
Thanks for the encouragement to continue showcasing my hoarding habit online. This morning I give you ... plastic bugs and crustacea (possibly).

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mini collection 16

birdies
Not sure how long I should keep going with this... Is it getting too silly?