Thursday, 30 July 2009


I do hope you won't find this post yawn-inspiring!  May I present my latest creation?  The sleepy owls.  When I was little, I used to love those soft, furry flanelette sheets (the Munchkin does now too).  A while back, I made the Munchkin an owl, I made it from flanelette and much cuddling later, "Baby Owl" is now looking quite sorry for herself but any offers to wash her are flatly refused!  I'm sure fellow parents will recognise this scenario.  And so, for maximum "cuddle-ability" I decided to use the flannelette again for these new little owls with sleepy eyes.  I also raided my recently purchased stash of divine 1930s style fabrics.  

I didn't use any buttons on these owls as buttons do present the possibility of a choking hazard for little people.  Of course, adults love owls too, as I found out when I met some of you at the V&H Fair!



I love choosing the combinations of fabrics and felts for each one.

One of my (other!) favourite bits is thinking up names for them all and faffing with bits of pretty cardstock, ribbons and letter stamps to make up name tags.  Ah yes, the child in me has never died!

The Sleepy Owls are quite cosy in my basket but are looking for lovely new homes here.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

New/Old Treasures

Ahhh, sunshine; ooohhh, blue skies;  6.50am Sunday morning; it can only mean one thing: car boot sale!

First, whilst everyone else is still tucked up in bed, I make a fruit loaf to take for my in-laws, MIL is recouperating after a major operation.  Hen's answer to any illness: cake.  That simple. By 8am, I am in Sargeant Major mode, decreeing everyone must get up and be ready to leave the HenHouse at 9am - SHARP!  Imagine my dismay then, fruit loaf still steaming away in its tin in the boot, when we turn up to find...NO boot fair.  Grrrr. Only one thing for it, carry on into Kent and go to the boot sale near the in-laws.  Okey dokey.  Golly, never seen so much rubbish at a boot sale; any boot sale which has an enormous open sided lorry out of which a dubious bloke is selling "fresh" meat over a tannoy is instantly a turn-off.  Still, may as well take a look...

And what do you know, we manage to find a few goodies.  Everyone else seems to be interested in rather horrendous gigantic furry toys or electrical gadgets.  I couldn't be less interested in those sorts of things if I tried.  Luckily, this does mean that no one else is interested in old medicine cabinets at 50p, vintage blue and white stripey jugs for 30p, a Horlicks mixer for 20p, old tins and haberdashery bits, all for 70p and some flowery old tablecloths, 75p.  But we are!

Back at the HenHouse and something I bought a few weeks ago has finally kindly turned up in the post (the first lot having been lost, it seems).  Now I am usually a die-hard white cotton bedding fan.  The odd bit of embroidery has crept onto the bedding in the guest room but that's as adventurous as it gets, I leave the colour and fancy stuff to the cushions which can easily be changed.  But you know, I fancied something different, mainly because I'd seen a completely divine fabric print in various magazines over a number of months, nay years!  I finally decided to track down the bedding (The Laundry) and make some our own.  It's very strange, looking at the bed and not seeing white but I do love the print, its a perfect marriage of vintage style floweriness but with a modern touch, I feel.

(If only Mr HH's bedside table usually looked this nice!  Wasn't sure steam train mags or books would really enhance "the look".  Sorry love, I've put all your junk back now, though!)

Must show you the spotty bottom pillow cases...

Carrying on the bedroom facelift, aaaaaages ago, we bought many Enid Blyton/Eileen Soper prints from the fabby This'n'That in Totnes.  They've been at the framers in Bridport for months as they waited to get enough matching wood for the frames.  We finally picked them up a week or so ago.  Right, so there are ten of them.  And they're quite big.  This is a classic case of falling in love with something and then having to find a home for them.  The wonderful one with the bees (I just love anything bee related) has found its way into our bedroom.  Again, I get a start every time I walk in there, you know how it is, when you put in something new and you're not used to seeing it there.

They have definitely given the house a bit of character.  Only three more to find homes for!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Glorious Colour

I have been looking forward to (last) Saturday for a while and having had Friday mulling around at home to recover from last week's antics and a very rare lie-in on Saturday morning, I was raring to go!  East Sussex here we come!

We were off to visit Sarah Raven's garden at Perch Hill.  You may know Sarah Raven from her appearances on Gardeners' World or you may have some of her gorgeous books.  She is well known for her bold, bright and zingy approach to flower gardening and is the lady behind the "cutting garden", yes, she manages to grow really stunning flowers just to cut them all down.  But she does then arrange them all beautifully.  She is also an accomplished cook and has thriving veg and fruit gardens too.  Ok, got the background?  Off we go then...

Perch Hill is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, or at least in the midst of acres of lovely rolling Sussex countryside.  We park in a field and set off in the direction of the sweet pea scent filling the air.  Yes, it is that strong.

We enter the "cutting garden" which is designed beautifully and amazingly well kept, not a weed in sight.  The gravel pathways are lined with arches crafted from willow (grown in the local coppice I believe) and are  laden with every variety of stunning sweet pea.  The beds are filled with vibrant colour.  At this time of year, there were lots of dahlias.

Yes, LOTS of the most divine dahlias indeed.

There's also a very productive area with herbs, onion and shallot plants, beans and rhubarb.

Seriously coveting those rhubarb forcers.

Throughout, there are attractive areas to sit and rest.  How anyone can have their garden this immaculate but have time to rest I do not know!

Beautiful gladioli.  Sarah doesn't grow any old flowers, she grows ones with the most amazing colours.  She also plants them next to other fabulously coloured flowers for maximum ZINGGGG!

Behind the house, is the Oast Garden which is non-productive (ie. not for cutting or eating), purely for enjoying.

More stunning colours, more divine dahlias.

Travelling round to the side, there is the main vegetable garden.  Even this looks completely breath-takingly beautiful, very well ordered and with those all important colours again.  It's also impressive because the sight is sloping but this doesn't seem to have been a problem.

The backdrop is completely gorgeous.

Ah, well that was all very tiring, time to head indoors.  Can't turn down an opportunity for retail therapy...

As well as various home and garden accessories, you can buy many packets of seed.  We were particularly taken with the sweet peas and the Munchkin duly chose a couple of packets.  Watch this space next year!

Sarah's lovely books were for sale.  Sarah was present herself for a Q&A session (so busy I couldn't even get near the door) and to sign books.

Plants were also for sale.  A couple of those dahlias I'd spotted in the garden have made it back with us.  Am all fired up with the idea of my own cutting garden.  That was until I got back and saw the weeds I need to conquer first!

What could be better than a stop for tea?  The cakes were seriously scrummy as was the elderflower cordial.  They seemed to have set aside a section of a gigantic greenhouse for tea.  It was all executed in that same exquisite taste with attention to detail.

And to top off the afternoon nicely, I was pleased to note on the way out that Sarah Raven even has her very own henhouse!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Patchwork Crazy

So we thought we had an exciting day on Wednesday but yesterday, it got even better!  A while ago, I read on somebody's blog (very sorry, I read so many and I simply cannot remember which it was) about a patchwork shop in West London, in Kew and it has been in the back of my mind to make a visit ever since.  Even better to visit with someone who I knew would be just as enthusiastic as me.  So we drove from East to West to arrive at Tikki Patchwork.  I know you want to come along!  It even has a beautiful old shopfront.

In we go.  Where do you look first?!

All of the walls are lined with fabby shelf upon shelf of lovely fabrics.  There was Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, gorgeous linens from Japan and my favourite, '30's reproduction prints.  (And much more!)

You can see that stunning, inspirational quilts were hanging from the walls.  We loved this Kaffe Fassett one.

Yep, there's more!

The lovely '30's prints...

Lots of books to guide and inspire you...

Fat quarter and jelly roll packs to set you off on the quilting path...

Another lovely quilt made from the 1930's reproduction fabrics sat in the window.

As if that wasn't drool worthy enough, there was another, different one, on the wall.

Once we managed to drag ourselves away from Tikki Patchwork, we headed over to Kew Gardens which was just a stone's throw away.

Wouldn't mind this pad!

It was very hot and humid in the infamous Palm House.

The highlight for us, though, was the Waterlily House.

The Munchkin was most in love with this furry specimen.

We had a great day, got stuck in the cafe at one point whilst there was a gigantic storm, and arrived home with our purchases, tired but happy.  Today, we decided we needed a chill-out day at home after the heady excitement of the last few days.  The Munchkin's nanny has just had a big operation so we decided to make her something to give her when we next visit.  He drew out a butterfly on paper as a pattern then proceeded with the felt, buttons and embroidery silks to make her something we hope she will treasure.  He is very chuffed to have mastered blanket stitch!

I, of course, am blogging and my sister is getting on with her tapestry.

Have a great weekend, everyone.  So far, the weather forecast for Sunday is good: car boot sale here we come!