Friday, 28 November 2008

Pretty in Pink

Do you remember that film?  The quirky Molly Ringwald who worked in the record store, her strange friend Duckie who had a secret crush on her, enter posh boy Andrew McCarthy to sweep her off her feet.    Hmm, I loved that in my teeage years!  I'm digressing again, aren't I?

It's a pretty miserable day here today.  I've been waiting all week for things to brighten up so I could take some half decent photos.  Hooray, yesterday about midday, the sun peeped from behind the clouds...typically, then the 'phone call came: your car is fixed, you can come and pick it up.  Obviously, by the time I was in the car, the sun was a distant memory and the rain was coming down.  So, as I seem to be saying all too frequently these days, apologies for photos that are possibly less than brilliant.

Let's brighten things up a bit.  And what better than with lots of PINK!  This week, I was seized by the need to make some slippers.  I had ages ago bought a pattern for ballet style slippers from "Favorite Things" (American spelling, by the way).  So, I dug it out along with this Amy Butler "Daisy Chain" Dandelion pattern fabric which I'm rather loving at the mo' and hey presto...

They look a bit bonkers and curled up when they're not on your feet, sort of like Rumpelstiltskin slippers.

Hmm, note to self, need a tan.  Time for a holiday.  I wish...

Did you spot that yummy tablecloth?  I bought it from Lucy Bloom at the Vintage and Handmade Fair last weekend.

I can't wait for next year's (hopefully) sunnier weather to lay out a nice table for tea, cake stand, Victoria sponge, you get the picture...

There's been a lot of crafting going on at the HenHouse recently (as usual).  I've been the recipient of some rather lovely books which have been occupying quite a bit of my time.

My "subtle" hints to Mr HenHouse to get me this for my birthday obviously worked...

Oooh, I love this book.  Making fiddly little flowers really appeals to me.  I like projects which I can start and finish in one go.  Here are some pretty pages from inside...

I've whipped up quite a few flowers from this book including a pretty poppy and leaf in a delicious chenille yarn (from Loop, eye-wateringly expensive for a ball of wool but a necessary luxury).  I still need to make the centre but I omitted to buy black chenille yarn at the time.  Oh dear, I suppose I'll have to go to Loop again...

The book is useful because it has a diagram of the stitches for each design and each round of stitches is shown in a different colour, handy for a novice like myself, so I've been able to muddle through a few patterns.  Still quite a few to go to keep me out of mischief. By the way, it uses American terminology so if you're not American, you'll need to get used to thinking of their double crochet as British treble crochet and so on. There is a conversion chart inside (I copied this so that I could have it next to each page as I worked a design).

Next up, someone on my crochet course had this book over which were  all oohing and aahing so off I went, surfing trusty old Amazon.

Another very suitable book for me as it's just lots of little projects. There are more flowers, various "granny" style squares, initials, ideas for flowery cushions to crochet...

I've made a few flowers and I am making an "H".  I've also made this motif...

I also have clever Lucy over at the marvellous Attic 24 to thank for my addiction to her flowers. 

These are great, simple to make in a spare half hour, the chance to combine some pretty colours and endless possibilities to use them to embellish all sorts of things.  By which I mean slippers, of course...

My last book, which arrived this week, was Alicia Paulson's first book, "Stitched in Time".

I think her blog, Posie Gets Cozy, was probably the first I came across, do take a look if you do not already do so.  She has fantastic original ideas and her colour and fabric combinations are to die for.  

The book is sub-titled "Memory-Keeping Projects to Sew and Share" and the idea is that rather than having all your memories stashed away in photo albums or boxes of baby clothes hidden in the loft, you incorporate them into sewing projects so that your memories are with and around you every day.  The projects are split into three sections:  1) For the Little Ones; 2) For Every Day; and 3) For Special Occasions. 

In "For the Little Ones", you might applique a beautiful family tree, make a mobile using greetings cards given celebrating the birth of the baby and photos of the baby etc, a patchwork quilt made from baby clothes, a growth chart, a sleepover pillowcase bearing your 'phone number, a cute stuffed pony and more...

The "For Every Day" section features a laundry bag made from old shirts, place mats and cushions with your personal photos printed onto fabric, a recipe card apron, a pot holder etc.

The last section, "For Special Occasions", has projects to make banners and garlands, a doll, a monogrammed stocking, a bag for storing wedding shoes and a little ring pillow amongst other tempting ideas.  

In the appendices at the back, there is general advice on sewing techniques and materials.

I haven't yet done much other than have a look through the book (I fear this could be one of those books which is so lovely to look at I never get around to actually making anything!)  How beautiful the pictures are though.

I know lots of people have discovered the new sewing magazine, Sew Hip. 

 In this first issue, Alicia Paulson was featured along with some photos of her gorgeous studio.  Every time I see this, I get an urge to paint my den duck egg blue!

I'll report more on this book as and when I get round to making something.  I just thought you might want some more ideas for your Christmas list...  Talking of Christmas, I suppose I should get back to making some more gifts.

Happy weekend everyone!  Hen x


  1. Golly Hen you've been busy. Loving those slippers, they look lovely.
    The books all look great. I am yet to find Sew Hip around here, may have to see if I can get it through work.

  2. I love the slippers, especially with their litle crochet flowers...very girly.


  3. I love Pretty in Pink, the breakfast club, St Elmos fire....and the list goes on....!

    Adore the slippers hun, wonderful!

    Have a super weekend!xxx

  4. oh dont give me more books to add to my "must buy" list you know how easily led i am :-D
    slippers are fab very impressive !
    also can i just thank you for all the pictures you put in your posts - it makes it so nice to read and see all the lovely photo's and make decisions over what things I need to buy :-)
    have a lovely weekend
    Lesley x

  5. I'm not, i've picked it up about 5 times, so

  6. Hi Hen, I just love your blog and way that you describe everything. I now feel that I have visited the Vintage & Handmade Fair! Those 3 books look really interesting, I have put Vintage Crochet on my Christmas List; this book is written by Loop's owner. But I now think I will add the other 2 crochet books. I have toyed also with buying Alicia Paulson's book; now from your review I think I will! So thanks Hen for making me more skint! Kathyx. PS. If you are ever at a loose end whilst in Somerset, give me a buzz and the cupcake was gorgeous, although it was so pretty I felt guilty scoffing it.x

  7. Yes! I loved "Pretty In Pink" too!...and Breakfast Club! **LOVE, LOVE, LOVE*** those slippers!...and the books! I'm heading over to right away!! Thanks for all the inspiration! *smiles*

  8. Hen, I've said it before, and i'll say it again, your book reviews are absolutely superb.
    I would like all three of those books please.
    I just bought 2x sewhip (managed to get 1st edition rescued from the WHSmith returns skip, as the 2nd ed was in today)...I'm saving the read for the weekend. Second ed has article on Betz White, yummy....

    And the flowers and slippers look amazing, thanks for the nod to the Attic, so glad you've been enjoying them. I have to say they look fantastic in the middle of the granny squares, I think you may have just designed my next cushion cover for me!
    Love Lucexxxxxxxxxx

  9. I love Pretty in Pink - one of my favourite films, along with Say Anything, St Elmo's Fire, etc. etc!

    These books look lovely - you have so many fabulous books it makes me a little bit jealous :o)

    Thanks for following my blog, too!

    Have a lovely weekend. I'm taking my mum Chistmas shopping in Leeds on Saturday and then getting back to the DIY on Sunday. Hope you're doing something fun!

    Tracy xx

  10. You are one talented lady!!!

    Have a great weekend

    Victoria xx

  11. Another great book review but I agree with Lesley.... stop making me add books to my amazon wish list... it's getting out of hand now!!! Love the slippers, the flowers look great on them. I love these flowers, I've made loads!!
    Not sure if I'll get the sewing machine as it doesn't do button holes, I may just dig out my
    1960's one that still works ok... I just can't lift the damn thing!! :)

  12. Love the slippers and you have really come on in leaps and bounds with the crochet, have you seen the crochet and knitting books by Jan Eaton? How is the knitting coming on?

  13. Hiya Hen
    thanks so much for your lovely comment on my sewing post - I'll get there, LOL.
    I love the 201 crochet book, and have used it a lot. I also love crocheting flowers, and have long coveted the flower crochet book. I'll pop it on my Christmas list, or I'll never get around to getting it.
    Your slippers are yummy. I'll progress to slippers one day! xxx

  14. As always a lovely blog..

    Just mailed you to ask again about your car, I now read it's fixed! Brilliant news, hope you didn't have to go to Dartford on your own.

    Love the slippers they look really cool, and the flowers are gorgeous, even just piled up like that...hope your keeping them away from you pussy cat though, I could see them as a lovely cat toy to chuck around and chase after..getting caught up in their little paws.

    I simply LOVE loop!!! I did a couple of knitting classes there! Think I may have said that to you before though..

    xx xx

  15. Evening Hen.....

    How has your day been?

    I've had a good with a friend and buying pretties..

    hope your car is back on good form!


  16. Hi Hen....i love a real tree...we will prob get ours next week....i will try to buy a smaller one, last yr it was far too big, for our tiny room...LOL!

    Have fun making your home all festive!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!xx

  17. Hello Hen!
    So many lovelly pictures!!
    I love your sleepers, and your crochet flowers! (I wish I knew how to crochet, but now I just started to learn how to sew, so crochet has to wait a little while).

    You made me want to buy this book from ALicia!! But I don`t think I`ll be able to do it now... The shipping I`d have to pay to get it here is to high... Maybe it will have to wait untill after Christmas..
    ANd don`t even get me started with the xmas issue... I`m in the middle of a crafting frenesi for xmas! I so wish I had more time...

    Lots of kisses from Brazil!!

  18. I have not seen that new magazine yet so I better go find it! Thanks for the tip!

    I just bought Alicia Paulson's book, and I love it too. Not sure yet what to make first.

    Your slippers and crochet flowers are fantastic!

  19. LOVING the amy butler daisy chain slippers! I made a baby quilt with the same fabric(because it is soo lovely and cute); but those slippers are absolutely wonderful!


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