Saturday 3 August 2019

Busy, Busy

1934 photograph of exercising on a treadmill in lipstick and high heels
Exercise in Style in 1934
Image: via Pinterest

Dear Reader, I'm just popping in to say, Hullo! It's been Business As Usual around these parts; just the usual merry old stuff that we ladies get busy with. There has been lovely time spent with friends and family, of course, but not much in the Culture Department. As it's Winter, I'm trying to shake the ol' bod' out of its lethargy by choofing off to my Calisthenics class a couple of times a week, which is rather invigorating, and so healthful.

1920s photo of girls on treadmill in tap shoes and headscarves
The 1920s were just as Fashionable
Image: via Pinterest

In between the Magic Pudding known as Domestic Chores, I've gone a bit mad for needlecraft in its various guises. The giant mending/project pile has finally started to be addressed. Ye Olde Sewing Machine has been perched on the dining room table, making itself right at home, so dinners are being conducted in the, ahem, comfort of the cosier TV-room. While I'm making steady progress, I've been a little stymied by not owning a dress form in my size, so a lot of faffing about with the pinning and shaping is required. This girlish French mannequin may look good in her alcove but I'm not going all Belle Epoque this season:

Photo of French Belle Epoque pigeon-breasted dress form with shell beads
Pigeon-Breast, anyone?
Photo: Flying With Hands

I recently went to an embroidery workshop to refresh one of those previously taught skills that seemed to have slipped by the wayside in these more Modern Times. It did mostly come flooding back - muscle memory is a thing! - and I did wonder why the recent decades have not seen me engaged in these Womanly Pursuits, as I really enjoyed myself, but it's become fashionable again to get all crafty with your spare time, so I'm all for Joining In now. Behold the fruits of my Mad Toil:

Embroidery photograph
It was hard to stop the embellishing!
Photo: Flying With Hands

Not to everyone's taste, I admit, but I have plenty of Ideas for where this refreshed skill is going to be directed. My dear Mother very carefully said that while she admired the result, she Did Not Want to be on the receiving end of any of my labours in this department. Message received!

I also partook of an Introduction to Crochet class, which is completely new to me, as my endeavours at autodidactism were getting me nowhere. Nothing exciting to show on these pages yet, but again, I have Ideas percolating. Sadly, it may not be a skill I will get to Master as the long fingers of Pipistrello make it all rather tiring and it doesn't make for a genteel image to see me in action!

There have been only a few books read recently as it's all been a bit busy, busy. But a separate post will be devoted to that. An excellent, borrowed read was Amy Bloom's, White Houses, a fictionalised account of the affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, seen through Lorena's eyes. An easy read in between the goings on and extremely entertaining. Thanks again, Effervescent R!

Photo of the novel White Houses by Amy Bloom
Following on from the Franklin & Eleanor biography read earlier this year
Photo: Flying With Hands 

And finally, those tomato photos coming in from Northern Hemisphere correspondents has Pipistrello all wistful for the taste of Summer, despite loving all the delights of the Winter. When you're not Feeling the Love with the tomatoes on offer, just go mad with lashings of celery salt and olive oil and roast them for your soup. So much more interesting. Cheerio for now!

Photograph of tomatoes and eschallots ready for roasting in the oven
Let the oven do the work of the Sun!
Photo: Flying With Hands


  1. That's exactly the equipment I use to work out on! ;) -Jenn

  2. Hamster-wheel fun!! I'm hoping you're similarly accessorised, Jenn!

  3. I very much like your embroidery piece!

    The old-timey exercise snaps made me smile. :)

  4. Thanks, Bea! ... There are lots of great pics on Pinterest of gals toiling at their exercise routines in heels and lippie. You do wonder why active wear has gone all clunky and masculine in the shoe department since a perfectly good chorus-line workout can be had in a pair of heeled tap shoes. It's all so serious these days!

  5. You have, indeed, been keeping busy. I never really got into any type of needlework - although I have finished 3 or 4 tapestries. I don't seem to have enough time on my hands to do much of anything these days. Even my journal entries have fallen behind.

  6. Keeping up a journal on top of all the writing you do is a job in itself! Swings and roundabouts, for me as I can't keep too many balls in the air. That growing pile of sewing has been mumbling at me incoherently from under a chair in the sunroom for years!! I've finally pulled it apart to make some sort of sense of where to start, and will be chugging through it for some time yet. The definition of slow fashion?!

  7. Exercise is always a good thing, keep the moving parts moving. I just read an interview with Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City creator), who said she now works out for an hour every morning, whereas in her youth she would have been having cocktails with friends.
    I have many tea towels and pillow cases that my grandma embroidered and/or added crocheted lace to. She told me her mother and MIL forced her to do it, to sit still, when she was pregnant. She was always extremely active, and it must have been torture. I treasure these pieces, that remind me of her.

    I LOVE IT!
    AS for needlework I did that beautiful stuff as a young girl!I can't BELIEVE YOUR MOTHER SAID THAT!!!!!!!
    YOU can always send me ONE!!!
    I will put PETER and PINKY to sleep with it or next to them!YOU know our A LIKE TEDDY BEARS!
    My friend from MELBOURNE is HERE!!!
    I will GET MY AUSTRALIAN FIX for the next couple of weeks!
    Glad you are keeping BUSY!!
    CIAO BELLA..........XX

  9. Ha, Taste of France, that made me laugh!! Yes, those cocktail hours are more gainfully employed with Self Improvement these days - subbing exercise classes for sweating on a dance floor and trying to get the 9-hours for trying to see the sunrise!...How lovely that you have your grandmother's handiwork, still. She'd be delighted to know the fruits of her labours (all puns intended) are being treasured down the line!

    Contessa: Now there's an idea, bella! I sent you a card for your birthday but who knows when things get to America from here. Sometimes easier to just hop on a plane - Enjoy your visitor!! Oh, it sounds like your bears have come out from hiding! xx

  10. NO CARD YET!

  11. Your needlework looks beautiful. I love those old photos of the women exercising. They look so glamorous!

  12. Thank you Stephenie! I do rather wonder why organised exercise today has to be so fraught and noisy and unglamorous. There was a time when even the stout of figure would spend their days walking and horse riding and whatnot and then their evenings dancing quite energetically, all without getting dishevelled and sweaty. I expect the stamina of our forebears must have been off the scale! So of course you would go for a trot in your lippie!


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