Monday, 30 March 2009

Steamy Weekend

Saturday dawned bright and clear, time for the boys to get their railway fix.

Mr HenHouse, always up on what's going on where on the steam railway scene, had long since spotted that last weekend was to be the West Somerset Railway's Spring Steam Gala.  Lots of wonderful engines all to be in attendance (apparently).  After a bolstering cup of tea and hot buttered crumpets, off we set!

We did drop in at my fave local charity shop on the way so I could get my thrifty vintagey fix, to steel myself for the railway onslaught that was to follow!

A meandering drive through the beautiful West Somerset countryside found us arriving at this very quaint rural railway station.

The Railway had gone to a lot of effort to make sure everything was looking its best. There were lots of vintage treasures on display to satisfy even my aesthetic side!

But someone enjoyed themselves oh so much more, fulfilling a lifelong ambition (all seven and a half years of it, you know) to be a GWR engine driver at long last!

Always keen to encourage youngsters' interest in the steam railway, we were allowed a rare treat to go up into the signal box.  Oh so cosy!  A stove in the corner, a nice arm chair, kettle on. I could have really made myself at home with my crochet!  The boys were much more interested in all the levers and bells and err, things, of course.

We had a ride along the railway, jumping on and off at various stations to have a peek into the engine sheds and finally arrived at the terminus at Minehead.  The treat here is the new turntable.  If, like me, your knowledge of railways is somewhat patchy at best, the turntable is used to well, turn, the engine round at the end of the line.  It is quite something to see in action, seeing tonnes of steam engine being turned around.

Still with me or have your eyes glazed over at all this railway talk?  Let's move on to vintage prettiness.

A while back, you may recall I visited Cath K at Bicester (I know, it's hard to remember, I hardly ever go to Cath K...)  There I puchased some bargain blue cotton sheets with crochet edging.  Well, I turned the single sheet into two pillowcases (the sheet cost £8) and left the super king size one as it was (cost £20 as opposed to the original £90).  I am a bit of a white bedding freak so the blue is taking some getting used to, but they are really lovely quality.  I've teamed them with some stripey pillowcases (50p from the fave charity shop) but I need to make some new cushion covers because these ones are too blue alongside the blue sheets.  I apologise for the creases but the bedding went on late on Friday night when we got to the cottage and the photos I took then were all blurry because it was dark so the better photos are post-occupation, so to speak!

Our little cottage has just two rooms upstairs, our bedroom and the Munchkin's cowboy room, of course. It is very higgledy piggledy, roof rafters and beams everywhere at odd angles, the little windows peeping out of the thatch.  It really is the quintessential chocolate box country cottage.  When we went to view the cottage before buying, Mr HenHouse went up the (tiny little windy) staircase (no mean feat for a six footer) and shouted down "You're going to love this!"  A few shots around the bedroom reveal the cottage's quirky nature...

It is a complete contrast to our life here in the big city, both wonderful in their own way.  It certainly is nice, lying in that big Victorian bed with my snuggly eiderdown, hearing nothing but the song of the birds outside.

Now, I really must get on and do something productive today!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

You Can Never Have Too Many...

...golly, there are so many possible answers to that question, aren't there?  I might make this a regular blogspot as it's a little phrase which could be applied not infrequently in my world!

Today, it's pin cushions.

My first pin cushion came courtesy of Cath K, the little toadstool.

Then do you remember when I made this whopper?

That one is a free pattern from Anna Maria Horner.  It's jolly useful and my pin cushion of choice because I find its size useful when I am removing pins from in front of the sewing machine needle and trying to jab them into a pin cushion with my left hand whilst simultaneously sewing the seam guided by my right.  The Cath K toadstool is very cute but is sadly more use as an ornament than pin cushion as its shape means it likes to topple over when you're trying to stab a pin in it.

Undaunted, I still added this little number to my collection when Ms K brought it out...

Again, I feel big is beautiful where pin cushions are concerned but it's very sweet and decorative, all the same.

Then, you may recall I made these ones...

A few of you now have one of these of your very own.  That's a nice thought (thank you).

So, the pin cushion supply in the den dwindling, it was time to make the one in Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts which I've had in my mind to make for ages.  Oh my, this is very pretty, I rather like this one.  What better than the opportunity to combine 8 pretty prints together.  And faff about shaping it into segments with embroidery thread.  And to top it with a crochet flower.  Of Course.  May I present the "Wagon Wheel Pin Cushion".  Ta dah!!!

But it looked so sad on its own so along came Red...

Did I stop there?  You know me too well.  But you know what they say about safety in numbers...

It's a perfect size too, about 5" in diameter.  It certainly dwarfs its shop-bought contemporary!

Another thing you can never have too many of, as we ladies know too well, is bags.  Especially ones that can carry your shopping or your everyday bits'n'bobs (perfectly sized for magazines) but not those nasty un-eco friendly plastic ones.  Even better, one crafted from pretty flowery and polka-dotty fabrics with a bit of gingham ribbon and a crocheted flower (predictable aren't I?) to boot.

Bag mooching can be undertaken here if you should fancy.

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Weekend

Saturday dawned bright and clear and despite thinking I should be doing lots of things at home, I thought we may as well make the most of the weather so off we set, heading South towards the coast...

Yes, to Hastings, Brighton's lesser known neighbour.  We parked up and strolled along a good length of the front, finally ending up in the old town, which is rather eclectic to say the least! First stop had to be the old fashioned sweetie shop for some strawberry bon bons.  Mr HenHouse was very disappointed when he requested to buy "a quarter" that the lady informed him it was now 100g.  He really does not do metric (as you might imagine from someone obsessed with steam trains!)

I just loved this screen as I adore anemones.  Shame about the cigarette connotations!

We still had not managed to find the main reason for our trip to Hastings by this point.  If you read my post about the Christmas Country Living Fair, you will remember I was rather taken with the goods on a particular stall, their wares being from a shop, yes indeedy, a shop in Hastings.  Oh the wonders of the mobile 'phone which meant I could look up the address.  So, we finally found High Street, undoubtedly the best bit of Hastings (IMHO).

There were quite a few vintage and homewares shops.

This one was pretty interesting, full of retro clothing and furniture.

We found the infamous Judges' Bakery.  I was very hopeful on seeing the pretty window display that they had a tea room but sadly not.  Can't help thinking there's a missed opportunity there. Hastings is certainly not land of the tea room, it could do with taking a leaf out of Totnes' book!

But onto the real jewel in the Crown.

Made ... Hastings.

Hmm, even the exterior did not disappoint, it's painted duck egg blue! A quick peek in the windows whetted the appetite...

Made in Hastings has featured in Country Living and Coast magazines several times.  The shop sells the wares of home crafters based in the local area.  I had a good chat with the charming lady manning the shop on Saturday and she told me they have about 100 producers and at Christmas, that number rises to about 150.

Inside the front part of the shop with its lovely vintage haberdashery cabinet serving as the counter, (I want one, pleeease!) lots of lovely items were on display including my personal faves, the artwork of Claire Fletcher, the illustrator.  I bought quite a few of her cards at the Christmas CL Fair and she is known for having illustrated Jools Oliver's children's book (oh to have a little girl and therefore an excuse to buy this book!)

Through to the backroom (sorry, my photography skills, or rather lack of them, let me down here!) There is a charming old fireplace and lots more lovely goodies.

So, I very much enjoyed visiting Made in Hastings but was a tad disappointed by Hastings as a whole (perhaps I just didn't find the best bits).

Yesterday, was of course, Mothers' Day and I was presented with some goodies by the Munchkin.  Home-made wrapping paper no less which apparently sported a portrait of me!  He had bought me the present himself, with his own money (at the Yeovil car boot sale the week before!)  It was a little Lilliput Lane cottage.  Mr HenHouse tells me that the Munchkin was adamant he had to get it for me because "mummy likes cottages and she likes those flowers round the cottage".  Clearly well thought out.

I was also treated to breakfast and lunch cooked by the boys, including a yummy pud.  

I had a nice restful day, getting up very early, as usual, which meant I started off making some more crochet hook rolls.

This must, in turn, have inspired me to do a spot of crochet myself.

I hope all the mums out there enjoyed their day.  Unfortunately it looks as if the sunny weather is behind us as typically, just at school run time, it looks absolutely awful outside!  Best stay put for a bit more crafting then?  (Once the small person is safely picked up, of course!)