Saturday, 21 February 2009

Reading Matter...

My one weakness (in the manner of Dorcas from 'Larkrise to Candleford') is a subscription to a lovely magazine. The delight when the postman drops these paper bound visions of loveliness through my letter box is well, ~ I can't think of an appropriate word ~ but I know that you will all understand...

These are such little luxuries in my life now, finding the time to read without any interruption is rare, so I look forward to planning 'me' time in the day when I can sit quietly with a cup of tea and a fresh magazine to open up and discover the treats inside. The result is usually a mixture of thoughts in my head 'oh why can't my house look like that?' or 'I could try and make one of those' (when I get the time) but mostly I am simply inspired by the wonderful creators and creations that appear as each page is turned.

Over the years I have become a little more discerning in the publications that I buy ~ I used to indulge in every home and crafts magazine out there, but now have whittled the selection down to just a few of what I consider to be the very best...

Here goes the list; 'Victoria' ~ bereft was I, when this gorgeous magazine left the scene and now it is back! This comes directly from the USA in airmail packaging along with another favourite, 'Romantic Homes'. The best English magazine by far still has to be 'Country Living', closely followed by 'Homes & Antiques' which actually just keeps getting better and better (I give a gift of this one each year to my mum and get to read it when I visit!) If you haven't discovered 'Selvedge' yet, then you must, this is a real treat for textile enthusiasts and I just love it ~ this was on my Christmas list and I devour it from cover to cover.

'Romantic Homes'


My absolute new favourites though, are the American publications from Stampington, which I discovered by chance last year. Oh my oh my, if you have not yet managed to see a copy of any of these gorgeous magazines then treat yourself... Magazine is really not the right word to describe them ~ more like reference books to keep forever, heaven forbid that one of these should see a recycling bin! The special titles to look out for are; 'Artful Blogging', 'Where Women Create', 'Somerset Life' & 'Sew Somerset' but there are many more to indulge in if you have the opportunity!

I also have a passion for reading old magazines ~ when I say old, preferably pre~1920. I adore the advertisements and the typography used and the content is fascinating too ~ full of inspiration for projects. Here are some I have bought recently;

'The Home Circle' dated 1905

love the little drawing and typography on this feature...

Edwardian issues of 'Needlecraft' 1909

the advertisements are decorative in their own right...

and look at the little treasure I found inside one of the magazines ~ a silk thread sample card

I even managed (in between reading magazines!) to get a little sewing done this week and finished a few more lovelies to add to my shop.

large 'handbag' filled with lavender made from a 1930's paisley & floral eiderdown fabric, trimmed with an old lace collar, 1920's silk velvet ribbon and old glass beads ~ a small handbag with a vintage whitework embroidered collar piece & two mini lavender hearts in vintage faded floral linen, old ribbon & buttons

I'm going to sign off now, as it is Sunday evening and 'Larkrise' beckons ~ does anyone else dream of owning a shop like the one featured ~ the drapers & haberdasher's? Have you seen the reels of ribbon on the shelves? I wonder, when I watch; are they originals found by the prop buyers for the BBC, or are they recreated and if so, who has this fabulous job?! I think I would start hyperventilating if I ever walked into an old shop like that!

Until next time...


  1. Hi Ali

    Your blog is always such a joy to read! Your photos are gorgeous and those magazines look fascinating! Must have a little look at your site again later, I do have look often but I've not seen you do mini hearts before. The eiderdown fabric on that handbag is divine, I will have to restrain myself from cutting mine up!!!!

    Thank you for your lovely comment by the way, the encouragement is much appreciated :)

    Mel xxx

  2. HI, I really enjoyed reading your post. I'm going to take a look at some of those magazines, they look great.
    I love your lavender bags and hearts, they are sooo pretty.
    Take care.
    I'm off to watch Larkrise too.

  3. belle ballade

    I love your blog!!!!


  4. Hi Ali,
    Just had to stop by when I saw your post!
    I too love all my "reading matter". I simply cannot bear to part with any publication because each one is so special. (Something my husband just cannot understand) I love the recipes, the photography, the inspiration that they have given me and can go to any one of them at a moments notice and find exactly what I am looking for.
    Your photos are wonderful, I especially like the thread sample card ~ what a treasure.
    ~ Rebecca

  5. Hi Ali
    Your post was of great interest to me as I used to buy Victoria Magazine. When it stopped being published, I was so very disappointed as it was my FAVOURITE magazine and had read it for years. I have recently subscribed to Romantic Homes Magazines and now through your blog I hear that Victoria Magazine is being published again, YOUPI! I shall subscribe to it now! You have made my day. Thank you
    I enjoy watching Larkrise to Candleford too, a nice way to relax on a Sunday evening.
    Isabelle x

  6. What a lovely post!

    I'm afraid I don't currently subscibe to any home magazine... just tend to pick them up when I like the covers. Know what you mean about the excitement of 'the magazine on a doormat' though as I do receive my bunny magazine, Rabbiting On, (yes really) every quarter. Me and Humphrey rabbit love it!

    It's funny you mention haberdashers - I had my first trip to one yesterday! Well, a department (in House of Fraser) anyway - to buy some bits and bobs as I have just - just this weekend! - started a bit of sewing. It was like a foreign country to me but there was a lovely young girl who told me all about different needles and things!!

    Love Charlotte

  7. Oh wow those are great magazines!! thanks for introducing them to us!! I would love to be in your shoes.. Here in Kuwait its not easy to find all sorts of magazines..especially ones that are related to design.. Modern design magazines are all over the place though!

    Your blog is a Gem! Im so happy that I found it !!

  8. Hi Ali,
    What a nice post, it felt like something from another time and I didn't want it to end. Very good reading! I too love the magazines. The textile one sounds lovely and I love the Somerset ones to dream over. I don't know the series you've spoke of, but it sounds like a feast for the eyes. I hope it comes here, maybe they'll show it on BBC America - I certainly hope so!
    Have a lovely week. Always enchanting visiting with you.

  9. Hi Ali! Thanks for the SWEET comment. I just LOVE your blog. It is full of everything. I love the old magazines you neat. I have also been a fan of the same current magazines.....I just have to add Oprah, and Living. I also LOVE the things you made ~ SO CUTE and Romantic! Have a GREAT day!!!

  10. Thank you for following my blog, this way I've discovered yours and I just love it! I gave you a link on my blog, I hope you don't mind?
    Greetings, Annelies

  11. Hello Ali,
    I'm so glad that you are recommending the Stampington magazines, as I subscribed to 'Somerset Life' a few weeks ago, but am still waiting for my first issue...

    Aren't those French tickings in Selvedge stunning?! I'm always surpirsed by how many combinations of a simple stripe that there are.

    Your hand made work is a delight. I believe we share a common interest.


  12. I read your post and thought I had written it myself. My absolute favorite magazine is Victoria followed by Romantic Homes. I have all my Victorias in binders and every month I pull out all my old copies for that particular month. I enjoy reading them over and over again and the photography is the best bar none.

  13. Hi Ali, now I have discovered your blog!! It is just beautiful and we have a lot in common so I am going to add you to my blogroll so that more people will find you!! I will certainly be back!!

  14. What a delightful post. I too subscribe to Victoria and Romantic Homes. Also to the US version of Country Living. I pick up the Somerset publications at bookstores and grocery stores as they catch my eye. A quiet house, a comfy chair and one (or more) of these publications will satisfy me for hours! Lovely photos of them too!

  15. What a lovely blog....I have just discovered seems we are kindred spirits..and that there are many of us! I will be back to visit you often!

  16. Love all the magazines - how do you get Victoria sent from the US ?
    I used to collect all their books.

    I'm going to look up selvedge and those others.

    Lovely items that you've made as well.

    As for home schooling - I dont have a teaching background at all which I actually think is an advantage as we learn together and I dont have any fixed ideas about how things should be done.


  17. I put a link to the Victoria magazine website on my last post. You can subscribe online and they will post directly to the UK (costs a bit more for postage but worth it!)

  18. well I hope you said it in Dorcas's hushed tones too! Honestly, I watch that programme with the remote in myhand, so I can turn up the sound when Dorcas is going on about her many 'one weaknesses'! I think there are only two weeks of it left, I will be sad.

    I love Victoria. I was introduced to it by a friend in Canada, who sent me a copy from April 1997, then a few more also out of date. What a revelation. I thought it was fabulous, and there is nothing even slightly like it here. When it ceased to be I was heartbroken, but then totally overjoyed when it came back! Last year I did a magazine swap with a friend in the US, I sent her Simply Knitting and in return she sent me Mary Engelbreits home companion and Victoria. We stopped at Christmas as it was getting too expensive to send SK each month. I need to subscribe to Victoria though, as I'm really missing it. Thank you for the reminder. :O)
    I have bought a couple of old editions on Ebay too. It really is worth every penny.

    I relate to the 'not enough time' thing though. I end up with a couple of copies each of Martha Stewert, Delicious., Country Living, Vogue and Country Kitchen on my bedside table, just waiting to be read. And now I am addiction to Easy Living (it's so grown up, I now I really am one myself now!), so that's another for the pile!!!

    Listen to me rattling on. Little one has gone oh so quiet, and that's never a good sign. She's looking lovely this afternoon in her pink ballet tutu. She said 'mum be a bally dancer' and for just one minute I thought of trying to squeeze into that tutu.....


  19. Hi Ali,

    I loved your reference to Dorcas from Larkrise ... we're hoping to get the next installment later this year in Canada.

    You've listed many of my favourite magazines ... Victoria is still a must read along with Romantic Homes and the US version of Country Living. While in Walmart today I noticed that they now carry the UK version of Country Living so I've made a mental note to pick one up next time I'm there.
    Somerset Life is my new must have read. My April issue of Romantic Homes arrived today and the first thing I did was make a cup of tea so I could sit down and enjoy it. Bliss!


  20. Hi Ali!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog...Yes time fly's with kiddos!
    I am with you on the magazines...kind of junkie with many publications!
    I am hooked on Artful blogging and where women create. Can't leave without Veranda!My list to long! lol
    Have a great week;-)

    Loved all your vintage pics too!

  21. Hi Ali,

    I am at a loss as to how to respond to this post! I adore my magazines and love that you have found some American treasures I know nothing about!!!
    I look forward to receiving Martha Stewart Living from America, and the two magazines I buy regularly in the UK are the two you mentioned: Country Living and Homes and Antiques. I will have to keep a keen eye out for Selvedge!


Thank you for stopping by ~ I love to read your comments..