Tuesday, 27 January 2009

All Sorts

Hello everyone. It's a bit of a mixed up post, full of bits 'n' bobs really, today, a brightly coloured jumble, just like a bag of "All Sorts" funnily enough. It's simply things which have caught my eye on this glorious sunny, blue-skied, dare I say it, decidedly SPRING-LIKE day.

Jacky-Ginge noticed he hadn't appeared on (his) blog for ooh, at least a few days.

These hyacinths smell nice...

Have you caught my best side yet?

All the furry occupants of the HenHouse make a beeline for my den. Well, it is rather marvellous and I find it difficult to get out of here myself. Good job the rest of the house is pretty nice otherwise I'd probably move a fridge in and I'd be all set for bedsit-style living! Our house faces West so in the morning in particular, my den which is on the back of the house, gets all the lovely sunshine. As we all know, cats will always find the sun to give themselves a good toasting. My old table, in front of the big sash windows, is their favourite resting spot and they vie for space there throughout the day. Not only is it high up and sunny, from here they can see the entrance to the back door and utility room (or "cat feeding room" as the Munchkin calls it) and hence, their cat flap (woe betide any unwanted visitors).  They can also see the whole of our and next door's (nice) garden complete with bird feeding station and many birdies. Oh my, that makes for happy boys! If one jumps up to find a furry occupant already in situ, much peeved hissing can ensue. As you can see, Jacky-Ginge made it there first today.

Charlie-Boy was not such a willing participant in my spontaneous photo shoot.

Aww, mum...

(Check out that lovely stash in the background, though.)

After much rattling of cat biscuits, he grudgingly allowed us this one...

Vorey, quite frankly, was having none of it.

So, post lunch, the sun has moved round to the front of the house and if I want to photograph anything, I have to decamp to another room, so I'm decamping to one of the spare bedrooms. This room gets great light; the previous owner of the HenHouse was a bloke who used to (try to) paint and this was his painting room (as he was very pretentious, I imagine he referred to it as his studio!) Here I find myself photographing my new fabric with which I shall make cushions for the sitting room sofa. I have to confess, the Christmas ones are still there at the moment (I'm not superstitious) but the fabric took an age to arrive (thanks Royal Mail, especially for your £8 handling fee). Isn't it divine? It's Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party range. Not feeling in a sewing mood today (you're shocked, I know, but it's rare and won't last) so I am just gazing at it lovingly for now.

What else shall we look at in here? Ages ago, I embroidered this little picture. I happily found it fitted into a standard Ikea frame (I know, I know, I should have had it framed properly) but I generally have a few such frames hanging about, and for now, it's sitting on the fireplace.

What about this gorgeousness?

Whilst in Honiton on New Year's Eve, I spotted this in one of my fave shops there. When I met up with Mr HenHouse and the Munchkin, they mentioned  to me, have you: a) seen the grandfather clock in that shop? b) seen the eiderdown in that shop? Have you not bought it, we thought you'd love it? Well, I didn't need any further encouragement. So, Mr HenHouse got the clock and I got the eiderdown. You see, it's not me that spends the money round here! It is brightening up what is a very lovely but very duck-eggy room.

That's all today, folks!

Monday, 26 January 2009

A Square Meal

Anyone for tea?  Cake did I hear you say, on a pretty thrifted glass cake stand?  How could I refuse you, my friends?  Hang on, I'll get out my best china, too.

Want to look closer at the "cakes"?

So this is how I spent the latter hours of yesterday and this morning.  Nothing edible, I'm afraid (although you wouldn't really have been able to eat them anyway, so I hope you'll forgive me!) but oodles of yummy square pincushions.  What a joy, choosing all those gorgeous combinations of fabrics, then ribbons and to top them off, some pretty buttons.  I mustn't forget to thank Mr HenHouse for his help with the "tufting", you really need a good strong man to pull ribbon on the end of a big long needle through layers of fabric and stuffing.  Thanks, big boy!

Once I'd decided to raid the Carlton Ware cabinet, I went a bit bonkers.  I love all these Spring-like colours.  It's even quite bright and Spring-like here, today.

More cheese, Gromit!

I don't know what it is about making things en masse, but they look so much better, all in a little collective huddle.  That said, I'll probably not want to face another square pin cushion for quite some time!  I should have recovered by the time of the Vintage and Handmade Fair...

Now who ate that last one?

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Crochet Corsages

Why spend £30 in Liberty when you can get two (and a bit!) for that price in my HenHouse shop where everything is lovingly and fussily made from the best materials!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Haberdashery Hamper!

A few weeks before Christmas, I happened across a tabletop sale in a local-ish church yard. Much of what was there was fairly junky and then there was this sorry little creature...

It became mine for the princely sum of £2.  I'd been after one of these old sewing baskets for a while and have seen them in vintage shops for £20 or more so I was pleased to find this one.  It could have had prettier coloured stripes than brown but at £2, well I can't complain! It's been at the back of my mind to give it a revamp ever since. I spent yesterday making needle cases (more of that later) which somehow sparked my memory of the sad, abandoned little sewing basket, so I got up this morning determined on a makeover (for the basket, though I probably could do with one too). 

My little basket was looking pretty grim at 10am this morning. In fact, the pictures make it look better than it was because it was truly filthy!

I ripped out the old fabric which had definitely seen better days and soaked the inner plastic tray. I set to the basket (basketweave being just perfect to harbour years of "vintage grime") with a toothbrush, hot water and a bit of elbow grease. Once dry, the fun could begin. Here we are mid revamp...

Et voila!

I'm so chuffed with this!  I'm going to take it to the cottage where I think it will fit in just nicely.

So, yesterday, I finally managed to cut into a vintage embroidered tea cosy and made some little needle cases.  Before you fall to the floor, shocked, thinking "sacrilege", I always think a thin linen tea cosy is a bit of a daft idea as it's not exactly going to keep tea warm, is it?  If it was a real full-on crinoline lady beauty (like my sister has), I wouldn't have set to it with the scissors, but it wasn't so I felt justified.  I have been meaning to make a needle case for myself as I have such an array of needles: wool needles, beading needles, embroidery needles, dolly needles.  When I make my crochet corsages, I need three different needles which is what got me thinking that it would be good to amalgamate them in one place.  When I was in Cath K on Thursday, I spotted the needle cases and thought, ah ha, I can make one for less than £8, and probably much nicer, too (in my little opinion).  I had several pretty embroidered motifs left over from the tea cosy once I had made my needle case so I made several "needle case friends" to grace the HenHouse emporium.

It's been quite a sunny day here, today, I hope it has been nice with you, too.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Anyone for Shopping?

Yesterday, just like today, was pretty miserable, weatherwise, here in the big city.  Having been holed up indoors all week and needing to go to the post office to post a bag to one of my lovely customers, I thought I might as well hop on the train (the station is right next to the post office, you see) and take myself off for a bit of retail therapy.  Want to come?

A nice lady in my crochet class had alerted me to a little shop on Carnaby Street (in Kingly Court to be exact) which apparently sells yarn.  What more inducement did I need, especially as Carnaby Street is a stones throw from Liberty?  If you don't know Carnaby Street, it is a very trendy area, for people infinitely younger (and of course, trendier) than me!  Undaunted, I found Kingy Court easily and rather nice it is too, a quiet little sanctuary from the bustling streets outside.  There's even a cafe, yay!

And so to "All the Fun of the Fair", tucked up on the third level...

Ooh, look at that knitted food in the window. Let's hurry inside and see what goodies are on offer. Well, a very nice selection of yarn and some brands which I have not seen before. A bit of variety is always nice. Reasonable prices, too.

More knitted cakes, quite yummy!

Drooling yet?

You may recognise the "More Tea Vicar" tea cosy as it appeared in the Emporium pages of Country Living magazine recently.  I highly recommend you visit this shop, the lady shopkeeper is charming and chatty and you are bound to be tempted by the goodies on offer. I came away with quite a few bits, my fave being this gorgeous angora yarn in the most scrumptious colours. The Munchkin was highly amused by the photo of the angora rabbit on the front of the wrapper!

Perhaps you might like to visit the shop's website?

So, I staggered out with my purchases and my eye was caught by this rather amusingly named shop across the way...

Ok, I think the sign was a bit far away for the iPhone so it is called, "Fur Coat, No Knickers" (cue: much childish giggling.) Look at the fabby window boxes; yes they are indeed miniature roses planted in old handbags...

This shop has been set up by two ladies who source costumes for theatrical shows and it is full of the most stunning vintage ball gowns and accessories...

The dresses are just so beautiful. The lady shop assistant said they get quite a lot of girls in looking for a dress for their wedding as the shop has been featured in some of the bridal mags. I suggest a visit if you are in the area, it's every girl's dream.  Sigh...  Failing a visit in person, you might like to take a look at the shop's website where you can see close-ups of the stunning dresses and there is a link to their blog featuring real life brides in the shop's dresses, too.

Back down to the ground floor, this display caught my eye:

Not much chance of getting into one of those glorious '50's ball gowns once you've tucked into a few of these!

Next door was a vintage shop. I have to confess, this made me feel ancient as most of the stuff had a very '80's feel and to be honest, is stuff I've chucked out!

I made haste to Liberty. I was very restrained in here, just one ball of yarn and two buttons. Liberty is, quite frankly, a bit of a mess at the moment as they are having a refit. The lady on the yarn section told me Liberty is now concentrating on "Fashion" (I think that means clothes, oh boring!) so everything else has been moved around to make way and the wonderful Rowan section has been shunted from its lovely cosy side section right into the central atrium area and it's just nowhere near as nice; and I said so. If you have been to Liberty, you will know what I am rabbiting on about!  

Anyway, I spotted these on my way round, aren't they just too cute!  Knitted cuckoo clocks!

Sorry, separate photo for the pendulum bits...

Fancy one of these lovelies? Well, you can have one; just get your £225 ready please.

I think Folk Art is going to be a big theme for the coming year. Anna Maria Horner's new range of fabric, "Good Things" is, I believe, based on Greek folk designs. I spotted this Liberty fabric, new for this season. Nice isn't it? It comes in several different colours but my eye was naturally drawn towards the pink. How surprising!

Near to the section with the readymade Liberty print shirts, they have installed this rather marvellous old fitting room. Sorry, the bright lights didn't make for the greatest photo but isn't it marvellous? A sort of upmarket, vintage and girly tardis?

Time to trek all the way to Marylebone High Street now, yes, in the rain. Oh the dedication!

First stop, the Emma Bridgewater shop. I am in love with the Union Jack range (which probably will come as no surprise to you) so I was thrilled to see some new items. This tin is one of them:

The catalogue tells me there are plates too but they didn't have any of those yet.  Better get saving...

No photos in Cath K this time as I was too busy ogling things and juggling the things I was buying - and watching the clock because school finishing time was creeping ominously close. Instead, I'll show you what I bought.

The Breakfast print and blue Stencil Print fabrics are in the sale (£12 instead of £18 per metre). I imagine they are going to be discontinued. (However, I did spot some kitchen teatowels in the stencil print which has been rejigged in an array of pastel colours.)  More excitingly, did you spot my lovely new tins? And the plate? This is part of the new range coming out in this pretty pastel floral print. There is a whole range of china (including a rather nice butter dish). The tins have stickers inside - cute- but they need to say things like "buttons" and "ribbons" for me!

I also picked up this book of notecards. I don't think these are new (except to me) but they are really nice, the vintage inspired ones being my faves.

Righto, that's it for now, everyone. Sorry about the quality of the photos, if you saw the weather here, you'd understand why! Must get on with some crafting now. Have a lovely weekend, fingers crossed for an end to this rain...