Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Fair!

I do, of course refer to the marvellous Vintage and Handmade Fair which, if you've been reading my blog at all in recent times, you will know was taking place yesterday.

So, on Thursday morning, off we set with an extremely full car to Somerset to stay in our cottage for a relaxing few days.  I purposely did not take any crafting supplies with me so that I really would have a rest before Saturday.  And rest I did!  Thank you everyone for all your good luck wishes in advance of the Fair and I'm sorry if I didn't get to reply to some of you because we have no internet connection at the cottage.  

Let's whizz on to Saturday then.  Up very early before 6am, re-pack the car, and set off to Chipping Sodbury, just a bit late.  It was beautiful scenery on the way there, in glorious sunshine too, which did help to take my mind off things because my tummy was really quite full of nervy, excitedy butterflies!  

The setting up was quite frantic and it soon became clear that I had an awful lot of stuff for my little table!  Anyway, I did my best.  It is at this point that I have to admit that the only photos I took on Saturday were of my own stall.  I took these literally moments before people started coming in and once the doors opened at 10am, it was really very busy for most of the day and I would only have taken photos of the backs of people's heads!  So, I hope you might like to see the photos I did manage to take.  Lots of it will be familiar!

Jayne's husband kindly roamed the hall (when the poor man had not been press ganged into washing up for the tremendously popular and successful tea and cakes stand) and you can find his photos  via Jayne's blog here.

I had a really wonderful day at the Fair.  What more can you ask than a chance to be shopkeeper (every little girls' dream surely?), meet wonderful people and scoff fabulous cakes?!  A very big and heartfelt thank you to all of my customers, existing and new, and to all those who stopped by to have a good natter.  It was lovely to finally put some faces to names and to meet lots of new faces too.  It doesn't get much better than chatting about sewing, crochet and vintage, does it?  I posed for a very amusing photograph for the local paper, with lots of stuffed lavender hearts dangling from my fingers(!) and met one of the directors of the Sew Hip/Inside Crochet magazines who asked to take one of my crochet hook rolls to feature in their magazine and asked if I had any sewing features I might like to include.  

I managed a quick whizz round the Fair ten minutes before closing time and realised later with regret that the only downside to having a stall is the fact that I couldn't shop at everyone else's.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have "peddled my wares"(!) at the Fair, a massive thank you to the inspired organisers Jayne and Michele.  It's a marvel that not only did they have all their own goodies to collect and make but they managed to organise such a successful event, too.  I was lucky enough to have a lovely neighbour at the Fair in Jayne and on the other side, the tea and cakes stand!   How I am now regretting that I only managed one piece of tiffin... 

This is turning into an Oscar speech, sorry about that, but mega thanks also to my Mr HenHouse for making my easel and various other items for me and helping to lug all the "stuff" into and out of houses, cottages, halls and a car.  Luckily, there was a fair bit less on the way back.  I think the poor Munchkin was particularly grateful for this, shoe horned as he was into the only seat in the back of the car (the rest having been folded down with big boxes on top) and with a very large green glass jug of peonies on his knee.  He was quite pleased with the pocket money he earned this week!

We stayed locally last night and enjoyed catching up with my Mum and Dad who had travelled down to the Fair, too.  Today, we even managed to fit in a car boot sale!  More about today's finds soon...

Here's to the next Fair and if you didn't make this one, you really must put the next one in your diary without delay!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sayonara, Adieu, Que Sera...

...and all those little words of which I have only a vague idea of  their meaning (you'd never guess I liked languages at school). Still, not as funny as the Munchkin who yesterday explained to me that "romantic" is when mummies and daddies go off to have quiet time together! Still haven't stopped laughing at that one. As my mum said, the innocence of youth, hey?

Well, the words are meant to be a sort of fatalistic "farewell" for a few days because I'm just packing away all my things today to head westwards for the Vintage and Handmade Fair. If by some remote possibility you are not aware of this marvellous event, please see my sidebar and come along if you're in the neighbourhood (if you hitherto were not expecting to, I suggest now is the perfect time to pester your other half for a "romantic" weekend away!) Now we do have a big estate car but I am concerned at the mounting pile outside the door to my den and in my den too. I set foot in Poundstretchers today to buy some plastic storage boxes (golly, can't imagine buying anything else from there!) and am stashing all my handmade goodies away lovingly inside them.  I feel like I'm moving house.  (Yes, slightly exaggerated, I know!)

They really are just the tip of the iceberg; there's still my pink padded frame, its new easel (thank you, Mr HenHouse for that) and the Lloyd Loom crib, of course.  Oh and the camping shelves.

I've been making some new goodies this week to take with me.  I've been collecting pretty vintage teacups for a while and so once I had a reasonable amount, I loaded them up and off I went into the kitchen.  Golly, this is much more fun than I remember any of my chemistry lessons being!

I'm thrilled with the results and in the interests of quality control, I had a "romantic" evening (snigger)  with one last night...

I've found some pretty boxes to package them in...  

I decided against embarking on any major projects today but have had fun "faffing".  Taking my cue from Cath in her fabby book "In Print", I dug out my matchbox collection (no, we are not talking tin cars) and set to with my scraps basket.  Why have a pretty candle and not have a pretty matchbox to go with it?

I had to give some thought to how I was going to titivate my table.  Yesterday, I made some bunting based on the "Happy Birthday" bunting in Alicia Paulson's "Stitched in Time".  Today, I went off in search of either a hot pink tablecloth or hot pink fabric to make a tablecloth. Instead, I plumped for a couple of pretty throws, spotty ones no less.  The Munchkin (my half-term shopping companion) and I reasoned we could cuddle up with them in the tipi thereafter.

Not a brilliant photo (golly, it's miserable outside today isn't it?) but yes, I like that, I do.  No one should have trouble spotting me at the Fair anyway!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  The weather forecast down South is GOOD and I hope it is everywhere else, too!  If you are coming to the Fair (and I know some of you are, yippee), please do say hello, it's always nice to put a face to a name.  Now I must go and make brownies because just in case you haven't been tempted enough, there are also going to be lovely teas and cakes at the Fair and I can tell you, I make a mean brownie (and Jayne's tiffin is fab!)

Hen x

Edit: Oh dear, one glass of wine too many tonight.  I somehow managed to "reject" a lot of comments which I obviously didn't mean to do.  I've tried to get them back but it seems I can't.  My heartfelt apologies to those of you who so kindly took the time to comment; I loved reading your comments and thank you so much for your many good wishes.  As a little aside, I am planning a giveaway after the weekend, I know, it's about time!  See you all then...

Monday, 25 May 2009

Beautiful Bank Holiday Weekend

Hello all.  Hope you've had a good (extended) weekend and had some sunshine to enjoy.  We were blessed with lovely weather in the West Country.  Saturday morning saw us arriving bright and early in the marvellous Bridport.  It was very busy and the brass band were playing in Bucky Doo Square.  Golly, I do love a brass band.  I think the Wessex Military Band have been our favourites so far but they are all brilliant.  There were plenty of stalls in the street which yielded a few pretty finds.  I rather liked this old biscuit tin...

...and this enamelled bucket made it home with us too.  I think I will plant it up with some of the pretty flowers I bought (there are some very good, very reasonably priced plant stalls along Bridport's street market and in the Country Market, ie. the W.I. Market, too).

Mr HenHouse spotted this for a measly 10p at the car boot sale.  Perhaps it will keep the Munchkin quiet for a bit?!

I nipped into Girls' Own Store, as always, and picked up these cute melamine bowls.  Now the outdoor season is upon us, I needed no further excuse!  I spent a fair few minutes amusing myself with various colour patterns once I got home.  And yes, of course the pink one is mine!

So, it was definitely a weekend for outdoor frolics and feasting, don't you think?  Time to give the bunting Mr HenHouse bought me, way back for my birthday, its first outing in the back garden.

The Munchkin had other ideas to amuse himself.  Now Daddy has signed up for the village cricket team, a trip to the car boot sale saw the Munchkin kitted out with all his own gear, too...

In between bowling, Mr HenHouse made sure we didn't starve.  He's reading the paper too; who says men can't multi-task?!

Now the English soft fruit season is beginning, there could only be one choice for pud, couldn't there?

Ummmmm, English (indeed Somerset) strawberries and cream...

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Chelsea Flower Show

Yes, it's nearly the end of May and so time for that most wonderful of flower shows, the Chelsea Flower Show.  Ready?  Off we go, this way...

Off the open top bus then, and into the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Very grand, isn't it?

Well, it was a beautiful day, thank you very much, weather gods.  On with the summery dresses. Thursday being the first day that the Show was open to the public, it was really rather busy, much busier than we remembered last year.  Gardening has apparently been gaining in popularity and so it seems, has the Flower Show.

That big white tent you can see is the Floral Pavillion where you can admire all the amazing stands of flowers and fruit and veg.  More of that later, people.  Let's stay outside for now and enjoy the sunshine.  Let's look at the show gardens before it gets, well, even busier!

Here is the garden sponsored by Laurent Perrier, (designed by an Italian, Michela!)  It was good to see that there was a bit more colour in the gardens at Chelsea this year.  There was plenty of purple again.  What is it about purple and white in gardens?  The ruby peonies, dark purple irises and bronze fennel complimented each other so well.

Can't for the life of me remember what this garden is (I'm afraid I'll be saying that about quite a lot of the gardens!  Every year, there seem to be more to remember.)

We liked this garden below, it was good to see a splash of brightness with those orange candelabra primulas.  The BBC show criticised this garden for being too dated but it was interesting to overhear comments from the public that they really liked these sorts of gardens. I think some of us find the trendy ones just too trendy.  What's wrong with flowers? Colourful ones, preferably.

Here's the garden sponsored by the Daily Telegraph which won the best show garden.  Quite trendy still but you could see why it won.  Although the plants were predominantly, you guessed it, purple and white, they were beautiful.  The foxtail lilies were amazing.

This is the Quilted Velvet Garden.  Oh how I could have kicked off my (new) shoes and had a slouch on those cushions.  Not quite sure how you were meant to get to the cushions?  Leap frog across those grassy black boxes, presumably, whilst hopefully not impaling yourself on a spiky tree!

This was one of the smaller gardens.  Liked the colour in this one (and the alliums).  It is, of course, the obligatory PURPLE!

Liking the oh-so-tidy veg garden here below.  Very much disliking those pillars which seem to have what I can only describe as graffiti written on them.  This garden was a project in collaboration with homeless people and prisoners, I think.  Not really my cup of tea.


And here is the infamous garden of James May, all the flowers and trees and whatsits being made from plasticine.  Hmm, it's a bit of fun but I personally thought it was a waste of a show garden space.

There was quite an emphasis on "eco chic" this year and several gardens featured spots for wildlife, such as log piles.  What is that large can doing in there?  That's horrid!  I think this was the "1984 Garden".  

A garden for wildlife...

We did like this one.  This is the Perfume Garden and occupied a very large plot.  It smelled divine as the name might suggest and was based around the story of perfume made for Queen Elizabeth I.  There were lots of roses, lavender and  irises.  We like those; proper plants.

The Chelsea Flower Show is not just about looking at gardens.  It's also about SHOPPING!  Want to go browsing?

Got a spare £20,000 or so for one of these?

Pink and green; my fave.

Time to head into the Floral Pavillion now.  Prepare to be amazed!

Amazing alliums from Holland...

Lovely peonies.  From Somerset, too.

Oooh, delphiniums.  Complete giants!

Dad, this one's for you!

Oh golly, golly, golly gosh!  Don't think my little kitchen garden will be producing anything remotely on this scale!

Ah, my fave stall.  Lupins from Devon with stalks an inch thick.

It's a close-run thing.  Are the lupins really my favourites or the David Austin English Roses?  

Exhausting this, isn't it?  Time to enjoy the sunshine mid-afternoon with a sit down, listening to the brass band and a glass of something cheeky...

Well, I had to support the Laurent Perrier garden, didn't I?

Just time to head round the courtyard gardens.  We always really like these; there's something about their much smaller size which makes them more accessible to us mere gardening novices.

The English/French designed garden...

The winner of the Best Courtyard Garden, the Fen Alchemist's Garden...

Ah well, time to head South of the river for home.  Sorry to be a bit sketchy on the details of the gardens but I'm still feeling a bit the worse for wear today and it is so busy and there's such a lot to see that you often can't read the names of the gardens or take it all in.

To finish, I must tell you that I did manage to track down...

...a HenHouse!!!

Thanks for coming, sister dear!