Showing posts with label 1950's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1950's. Show all posts

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mrs Egeland Confesses: I'd Make A Lousy Fifties Housewife

Yes, readers it's true. I've come to accepted that I would have made an absolute pigs-ear of being a good housewife in the 1950's.

As much as I would love to live the lifestyle others have so bravely and dedicatedly taken on, living to as far as possible to the standards and social norms of that era I do not. As much as I admire the ways of life, the traditional stay at home wife role, the domestic goddess who always looked her best and kept her husband happy, in an age of patience and good manners, in a simpler time, I have come to accept that had I been born, had my personality been as it is today, I would have made a horrible housewife.

I am at heart an artist, a creative who will quite happily sit and paint rather than wash the floor. I can easily get zoned- out whilst writing or drawing and completely ignore the war zone of dirty dishes in the sink and the hoovering left undone.

A Woman Of My Era

I like my home to be tidy and clean, as do we all, but so long as there are plates to eat off and clothes to wear I can and will leave the chores until later to do something more enjoyable, more creative. I have more self-will than self-control and as much as I dream of the day when I will be able to stay on top of my laundry, ironing, cleaning schedule in a zen-like state, with perfectly coiffured hair, and manicured nails I know that in reality, that day, is far off and quite possibly will never arrive.

I am, it has to be said, a woman of my era. I work part-time, I find entertainment online and via my iPhone, I like using my free time to pamper myself and indulge in my passions. I am not as organized as I could be, not always on top of my chores, I expect my husband to do half of them, I don't bake as much as I'd like, although I cook daily, and as much as my little heart yearns for the pastimes of past times I find my knitting is always half done and my sewing is always waiting to be finished. Even this blog has, as you will have noticed, fallen by the wayside.

Without the modern conveniences of a dishwasher, a tumble dryer and a washing machine would I have to spend more time washing dishes and doing my laundry? No doubt I would, and that would require my spending more of my free time doing those things, but I doubt that it would make me more organized. Because at my core I am a creative, go-with-the-flow, spontaneous sprite who revels in writing fantasy novels and painting pictures of Vespas whilst listening to big band music and RPG soundtracks.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Daubling In Art: Copying A Photograph.

You may not know this but I like to paint and draw. I’m not bad, although I would never attempt to call myself an artist, or try and persuade people to buy my work, I paint because I enjoy it. Well, whilst browsing Pinterest I found some incredible photographs, that really blew my mind and since the likelihood of my owning such incredible photographs is remote I decided to copy one.
Mrs Egeland’s Note: If the person who took the photograph is unhappy and feels I have taken a liberty by copying it and blogging about it I apologise. It was being sold on, so please go there and have a look at the artist’s site.

Born Free…

Anyway, last weekend my darling husband took a man-cation, he went off for a weekend in the mountains with his bro (as in bro-mance). So I had the apartment all to myself, meaning I could eat exactly what I wanted, watch exactly what I wanted and do exactly what I wanted without worrying about if it fit in with him.
Oh the joys! I don’t know if all married women feel the same or if I am just horrible, but sometimes its nice not to have to worry about him, or what he wants once in a while.
So whilst enjoying my free time a little, I decided to take on the project of copying the above mentioned photo.
I had an old sketch I didn’t really want to keep anymore, so I painted it white and began.

I did a rough sketch of the basic shapes, then I realised I’d gone wrong and so I had to paint over the details that were misplaced and put them higher up. I also realised that some of my colours were too dark. So I changed them very slowly because it took me a while to get the colours I liked.
The next photos are how it progressed.


The last two photos are the finished painting and the original photo so you can see how they compare. I’m really happy with it. Of course its not as good as the original photograph, but I’m really pleased.

Vespa, The Italian Stallion

Vespa is iconic all on it’s own. From films like Roman Holiday with the ever fashionable and stylish Audrey Hepburn to Disney’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie with fashion forward if not quite as stylish Hilary Duff, it has pervaded our media. For me it represents the style of the 50’s, the Italian idea of la dolce niente (the sweet nothing), of freedom and fun. Its a lovable scamp that races around the streets of Rome looking for love and gelato. Whilst researching the Vespa I came across this:

I couldn't help but want to share this with you. I do love the Vespa, but what's not to love? With the painting I have brought a little of that Vintage style with all that the Vespa represents into my life and living room.
For more information on Vespa, there is a link above, and also Wikipedia has a lot of information too.

So until next time,


Monday, May 19, 2014

Inspiring Crafts From History: The Norwegian National Dress

This last weekend was Norwegian Independence Day, 17th of May. This year commemorated 200 years of the Norwegian Constitution. It was a big deal for Norway, and that meant that the usual Norwegian Independence Day celebrations were especially grand this year.

Perhaps you are thinking that my blog-versation today isn’t the usual post of tutorials or ideas. You’d be right. Don’t worry though, I am not going to bore you with the ins and out of the Norwegian Independence Day.  However I thought that looking at the past might give inspiration for the present.

A Little Bit Of History

During 17th of May, National dress is worn and children are allowed to eat as much ice cream as they want. People parade the streets in their national dress, the “Bunad”, and in Bergen it inevitably rains some of the day. People fly the flag with pride from their flagstaff's and balconies. I personally don’t do any of this, except maybe eat ice cream, because who needs an excuse to eat ice cream. The Bunad, or Norwegian national dress hasn’t really changed much in the last two hundred years.

It all started as folk dress or farmer’s wear. It was different in different parts of Norway, each province having their own dress. In or around the 1800’s, Norway was griped with a national romanticism, suddenly it was important to have a national dress to go with their newly found national identity. 

Above you can see examples of Bunad’s from all over Norway. People tend to wear the bunad from the area they were born, raised or where their grandparents come from.

The Bunad was a status symbol, it indicated marital status, wealth and status in society. Even today, a Bunad can easily cost 30,000kr (about £3,000, 3,700 euro or $5,000), they are usually a conformation gift to teens, and its usual that they can be taken out at the sides so that they last a lifetime.

The Inspirational Folk Art

They are artisanal pieces of clothing. They are usually highly embroidered and the silver pins, and decoration are what make these outfits so expensive.

Above is an older piece showing the incredibly impressive embroidery from a bunad. Below is edging on a bunad skirt. Its this craftmanship that is so inspiring.

The silver jewellery, clasps and embellishment pieces are also highly decorative. Like other folk art of the middle ages from other countries, craftmanship was highly prized. Women embroidered their clothing during their free time, taking pride in embellishing things. Its a shame that we can’t say the same today, but we live such a fast paced life that taking time to embroider, knit or make clothes has become just hobbies for those inclined to do so.

I am one of those inclined to do so, I love trying to bring that embroidery and handcrafted feeling to my home. I suppose in that way I am more old-fashioned even than the 1950’s, when modern fabrics, mass produced clothing, home decor and machinery was all the rage. IMG_0719 (800x577)

Here is one such item, the pillow I made with the word Home embroidered on it. Its not a difficult thing to do, so long as you can sew then you can embroider.

I hope that this post has inspired you to embroider, to make something for generations to come to enjoy like the Norwegian national dress, or in fact any countries national dress. Take pride in your handiwork and make everything to the best of your ability.

Please subscribe and comment below, tell me about your handcrafts or embroidery projects. I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time,


Monday, May 12, 2014

Splendid Sewing: A Hobby Basket

Dear Readers,

I recently commercialised my blog by adding a few more adverts. You have probably noticed, or maybe not, and you’ve only noticed the posts. Well, I hope I have your continued support in spite of the advertising. However, please feel free to comment on it below. Back to today’s subject.

Splendid Sewing

In my life, I am well known among my friends and family as a competent seamstress. So when someone needs something made, fixed or altered they look over at me with puppy dog eyes and ask me to do it. I find it hugely flattering that they ask me, occasionally I over extend myself and take on too many “projects” leaving me exhausted and stressed trying to finish them all, but thankfully, my friends are gracious and patient. Of late, I have tried to rein myself in and stop taking on so much , that’s why what I am bringing to you now, was just a pleasure to make.

The Brief

My friend is an avid crocheter, she gives presents to  all our friends who are expectant mothers of booties, baby blankets and little dresses all made with her crocheting. She is now, happily, expecting her second and asked me to make her a bag for her wool and crochet hooks. This was the brief, the bag had to be:

  • Retro in style. She, like myself is a lover of the 40’s and 50’s.
  • Big! As I said she’s an avid crocheter and she has a lot of wool.
  • Packable. There are plans for my dear friend to move in the near future, so it was important that the bag could be flattened down and easily packed.

The Design

With all that in mind, I started to design and plan. It had to be retro! The picture that came to mind was of a vintage purse, rather like the photograph.

A rounded top then. The great thing about the 50’s was that the designs of that period were desperately trying to forget the austerity of the war years. Everything was sleek and colourful. New, modern, innovative, colourful, bright and cheerful items were what people wanted, everyone looked forward with optimism to the future. When you are trying to recreate that look, with those things in mind, you have a free hand with colour.


Which is why I eventually choose these two fabrics. A PVC red fabric with stripes and this jolly patterned fabric with florals, and gingham.

Time To Cut To The Chase

I was a bit haphazard about the size, I knew she wanted big so I traced around my biggest handbag to get the size of the side panels. IMG_0924 That’s how I got these!

I decided to line the inside of this basket with the second fabric, so after cutting out the bottom panels…IMG_0925 Like this.

I traced around the side panels on to the second fabric, like this…IMG_0927 twice, of course!

Then I cut four side panels from the second fabric. Two panels per side, since I was lining the inside of the bag with the second fabric, but I also wanted the side panels on the outside to contrast with the red striped first fabric.

And So To Sew

Constructing this bag with its lining was a challenge. It took me quite a while to figure out how exactly I was going to put it together so that it would look how I wanted it to. So I started by:

  • Stitching the two large red side panels to one of the red base panels.
  • Then I stitched the inner large floral side panels to the red large panels. IMG_1041
  • After that I stitched the second red base panel to the floral side panels to make a sort of misshapen tube thing.
  • Next I stitched two of the smaller floral side panels together. Leaving the other two to one side.
  • Then I stitched that panel to one side of the large red panels and the base too. I also stitched it to the two large floral panels and the second red base. IMG_1042IMG_1043
  • Next I stitched the one of the other smaller floral side panels to the other sides red large panel and base.
  • After that I stitched the other smaller floral side panel to the large floral side panel and the second red base. So that it was like a large misshapen deflated ball of some description.
  • Then I turned it all the right way round and pushed the floral half inside the red striped half to make a bag. IMG_1044IMG_1045
  • I made a pocket in the open side panels.
  • I stitched an edge around the top the bag and I was done! IMG_1047IMG_1048







I haven’t shown my creation to my friend yet, so I’m hoping she likes it. I’m quite happy with it, and I think it fulfils the brief she gave me.

I hope this tutorial has given you ideas for your own hobby baskets. I’m sure you will make much better versions of it than I have. Please subscribe and comment below.

Until next time,


Monday, May 23, 2011

The World Economy and Rockabilly Revival

Oh gosh, doesn't that sound awfully droll and serious. Not at all like my usual self! However it is something to consider, after all fashion and social changes have always been affected by the global politics and economic climate. I've been thinking about this for a while now, how the period of economic instability has thrust us all into period of global budgetting and belt tightening similar to that of the "American" Depression period and for Britain the WWII years. Those were periods in history when poverty was rife, when ingenuity had its hey-day and when everyone was looking for any means necessary to keep clothes on their backs, food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads. Whilst the Rockabilly is usual associated with 1950's rather than the late 20's - 1940's, although many Vintage-ites love and look back on all eras, its merely the idea of looking back on easier times that I refer too. The 50's were a time of relative wealth, romance, innocence and social change. We live in a period of financial difficulty, when there is a renewed interest in making clothes, re-using things in unusual ways and being green (although in previous eras it was better known as being thrifty and savvy). The idea of reliving nicer times through our clothes and fashion is not new, but is, like most things in the 21st Century, another means of escapism. (That is another topic for another blog) These days the only real difference between the economical strife of the past and these is the technological advances. These days the world is smaller, shrunk by the media, internet and the cellphone. These days we know more about the sufferings of other countries, we watch as powerful countries invade and conquer, we take part in the media recording news events on our cellphones, we blog our opinions, record our struggles and make contact with people from all over the globe. In previous eras technology was limited and mostly found in science fiction, at least those things that we have come to take for granted, cellphones, internet and flat-screen TV's. News was found on radio and in newspapers, they were occupations and careers, news was more local and less international. We are in the midst of a revival of thrifty mentality, of innovation and ingenuity, or recycling not just in the name of environmental awareness but for the sake of saving. As much as I appreciate my materialistic lifestyle, my technology I applaud this renewed interest. I revel in this look at the past, in this escapism! If you are interested in books on the subject there are a few I can recommend such as: Rediscovered Treasures: A New Life for Old  and Sew Retro

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Nostalgia Come Christmas Time

This time of year brings out the familiar images of Santa and his red suit and his large coca cola bottle. What strikes me every year about the jolly fat man is his some what vintage looks! Of course, its easy to explain, since Coca cola really came into its own in the 1950, when it became part of the every growing youth culture that had previously had not existed. Children and young adults did and wore the same as their parents and elders, only smaller. But that's besides my point, when the cold wind blows and winter time with Christmas time comes along we hark back to simpler times when a family unit consisted of one father, one mother and children. Its a trend we see every year, looking back to yester-year to the cosy fireplace hung with stockings and the children with their parents. Before the complicated relationships and lives we live today. We look to the Victorian's, the originators of the Christmas tree, or well the ones that decided to bring it indoors and decorate it with candles, anyway. The enchantment of the blazing fire and family atmosphere with simple but happy entertainments, the yule log, chestnuts roasting, and an extravagant meal etc. Suddenly at this time of year we found ourselves surrounded by 50's housewives making the perfect Christmas dinner, and the panick sets in. It must be perfect! Everything looks backwards, "It's A Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Carol" and all the rest of the feel good morality movies that are traditionally shown at this time of year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I love the vintage from Victoriana to the 1950's, I love to see the pictures, the 50's skaters, the victorian children. It just struck me how much we yearn for those simpler times, how much we long to have a little piece of that nostalgia at Christmas time, cooking shows tell us we can achieve it and interior design magazines show us how to create the mood. The Pin-Up style has hit the run way this year, but really its always been with us, hiding in our memories of Christmas experienced by our parents or grandparents. The dior skirts and the twin sets, the perfect housewife and her perfect family with her perfect husband enjoying the perfect yuletide. Mad men brought us the 50's/60's stylings but the last 20 years or so we have idolised that ideal for Christmas in those era's. So I'm personally going to enjoy the three day weekend we have this Christmas with the cute 50's images surrounding me!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

More Pin-Up Commentary

I'm feeling inspired today. Not long ago I wrote about the introduction of Pin-Up/ Rockabilly style in mainstream fashion, today I feel justified and right on the money! I have just read the latest issue of Elle Norway, and found an article about the latest "lady-like" style (i.e a return to those elegant retro late 40's and 50's styles). In this era of economic difficulties and a harsh technological world we look longingly at the simpler times, times when a man was a man, a husband who brought home the bacon and a woman was a woman, a curvacious home-making wife. Even Mr Marc Jacobs himself reflects on the time period with his 50's inspired gowns for Louis Vuitton, worn deliciously by the likes of darling Elle Macpherson, which I'm coveting and lusting after like Homer Simpson after a doughnut. Said article, and the arrival of my vintage 1950's corset, has inspired me to glam up this evening. Getting out my retro-reminiscent 50's green polka dot dress which I bought back in Blighty, pulling my hair up into something that might look a little like Victory rolls, pinning a flower in said hair and dabbing on some hot red lipstick. No matter that I'm about as close to a 50's housewife as Mary Poppins is to Courtney Love, I feel like I just popped out of "Pleasantville" and it was certainly a nice surprise for my husband, who came home to his wife dressed up, instead of slouching in jogging trousers as I make us dinner, like usual! Everyone it seems needs a little glamour, even British TV has got Joan Collins glamming up Britain, one woman at a time. I'm certainly feeling a little push in that direction, and I will do my best to AT LEAST have some lipstick on everyday, even if that's just for cleaning the toilets! I also noticed as I flicked through my magazine that hats are making a serious comeback, and for that I cry "Hoooray!" Seriously considering buying myself a bowler hat, in fact more hats in general. Because who can resist a hat! Speaking of hats, another collection I'm drooling over is Jean Paul Gautier's Saville Row inspired line for Hermes which is just sexalicious! Just a few more dress sizes down and BAM! I'm going be smoking in bowler hats, man-ish style coats and leather! Not that I'm not in my heart of hearts a "Rockabilly" but every one likes a little all British tailoring, right? Okay then, for me, I'm done. Till next time!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Watching him sleep

Hey folks, I haven't been around in while, but here I am. This is the first time in a long time I've been in a "normal" relationship, i.e. one where I live in the same country/same town as my significant other. I put normal in speech marks because these days long distance and internet relationships are relatively accepted as a normal way to date/court/be with some one and I'm covering my ass. Anyway back to what I was going to write about, which is, "watching him sleep", which I find myself doing a lot. We've yet to move in together, don't ask about that one I don't even fully understand it, but mostly at weekends I watch him sleep, huddled under his duvet. It's like looking at the child I hope to have with him, there's a certain amount of passionate possesion I feel when I watch his sleeping and occasionally frowning features, his roughly messy brown hair and his slightly round aquiline nose... (believe me I realise I'm contraditing myself on the nose thing)... He's a hulk of a man, wide protective shoulders and his towering height, something I appreciate since I'm no dolly, measuring in at 183 cm, I'm lucky enough to find a man taller than I am. Ask most tall women about whether height matters in a man, and she'll probably tell you "No!" but then if she had to pick between a man taller than her and one smaller, chances are she'll take the tall guy. Anyway, getting back to my subject, he's taller and wider than me, which is... in my humble opinion... the way it should be and yet when he's curled up under the blanket his cheeks pink with warmth, the delicate brown eyelashes lying on his cheek below a maternal, possessive creature crawls out of the bowels of my psyche and all I want to do is stroke his soft brown hair and make sure he has enough blankets. I've experienced this sensation in the past, with others I've loved, and I've come to the conclusion often enough that it's my nature to be this way with the men I love. I am a maternal creature in the depths of my soul and I was created to be both mother and partner. I used to be filled with ambitions, ambitions to travel, become a published author, to be a free-spirit, but at the tender age of 25 I'm devoid of ambition, excluding that of settling down and growing roots. I'm at my most content when I'm caring for someone I love, be that cooking, cleaning, ironing shirt or fixing holes in socks. I am pathetically a 1950's woman in the 21st century, something which when I analyse I realise I'm glad for, since I readily take for granted the freeness and emancipation that comes with womanhood in 2oo7 but perhaps may not have been so readily given in 1957. So I return with fondness to the sight of my love, cuddled up in a nordic duvet, asleep, dreams filling his head and feel the sensations of the growing maternal creature inside my bosom.