In the back of my mind is the fact that I have a very busy couple of months ahead. There's the Munchkin's eighth birthday later on next month, I'm going to be chalking up another year myself shortly after, there's the half term holiday in October looming and the delights of the Country Living Fair and most importantly, the Vintage and Handmade Fair on November 14. So, I'm making a few bits and pieces now so that I don't feel quite so manic come November. I've indulged in a few beautiful pieces of vintage fabrics from Donna recently. These generally spend quite a bit of time on a special shelf in my den, being taken out and stroked and oohed and aahed over every now and then. Eventually, I get the urge to see them made up into something, they always look even better. Probably my favourite thing when it comes to sewing is combining different fabrics, trimmings and the like. When it comes to my vintage fabrics, I feel quite mean, though, because of course, they are predictably more costly to buy and so I tend to use them in smaller amounts. Perfect then to use them for deliciously fragrant little lavender bags where I can combine patterns to my heart's content! This morning, I've spent an hour or so blind-stitching all the openings closed which I actually found quite soothing!
The yellow stripey and rosebud fabric is from Donna, combined with some vintage lace and a 1930's reproduction print.
In these ones, the middle fabric came from Donna, it's one of my favourites. It has a wonderful nubby texture and yes, yet more rosebuds. I've combined that one with one of my favourite retro style fabrics and a simple ditsy floral cotton.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, I probably don't need to tell you that my favourite colours are pinks and blues/greens/turquoise. I can't narrow it down any further than that! A lot of my fabrics conform to this colour palette and so therefore, do the things I make. Not always though. I stood back and looked at the little sachets I'd made and thought maybe I should shake the colour palette up a bit. I chose two lovely red/white/black vintage fabrics from Donna with errm, rosebuds on, and combined them with a modern spot and some retro print fabrics. And you know, as I was sewing the strips together, I wasn't at all convinced it would work but completed, I really do like them.
So, there they are. I must resist the temptation to make anymore! I'm planning on selling them at the Fair but if anyone fancies snapping some up in the meantime (then I could make some more!) or perhaps you're unable to make it to the Fair, please feel free to get in touch. You can find my details in my blogshop.
Now, isn't this post entitled "Book Love", I hear you cry? Onto the books then.
Did you spot the book on the top, entitled "Laura Ashley". I've been waiting for this book to come out for a while. It was finally published earlier on this month and once it arrived the other day, I've been devouring it. The story of the success of the Laura Ashley business is wonderful and so inspiring. Laura and her husband, Bernard, started the business screen printing tea towels on the kitchen table of their Pimlico flat early in the 1950's. They then went from strength to strength to the business we know and love today. I'm still reading it (one of the few "coffee table" books I'm actually taking the time to read properly).
There's a lot of text about Laura's early days and some lovely family photos; here is one of her wedding day.
The book then tracks the progress of the business with many illustrations of the fashions through the years.
Pages of lovely fabric archives.
Selected pages from past catalogues.
For some reason, when I had my initial flick through, I ended up reading the last few pages and found out that Laura died on her 60th birthday in 1985 in what was a completely tragic accident. She was staying at her daughter's house and got up at 4.30am to go to the bathroom. She didn't put the light on for fear of waking everyone which had the disastrous consequence that she mistook the stairwell for the bathroom and fell down the stairs to her death. Such a sad and shocking tale, what a waste.
It is a wonderful book, I am thoroughly enjoying it and recommend it highly if you are interested in the Ashley tale.
Onto more wonderous pages in the form of the book I bought the other week from Girls' Own Store whilst out and about in Bridport, "Perfect English Cottage". I happened to spot it in there and whilst I usually wait and buy books from Amazon to get some discount, I wanted to snap it up there and then! The owner of Girls' Own Store has her own Dorset cottage featured in the book.
From the very first page, it is mouth wateringly, tremblingly, excitingly gorgeous!
The first section (of five) is entitled "Romance" and the cottages in this section (including Sara's from Girls' Own Store) are just so gorgeous, right up my proverbial street!
Each "part" ends with a recap and suggestions on how to achieve that style.
There are further chapters on "Character", "Holiday", "Simplicity" and "Elegance" all featuring very different and beautiful homes. Some are not necessarily to my taste but I can appreciate them all the same. My sister and I agree (she wanted a copy straightaway too!) that the first section is our favourite and the book is worth it for that alone.
Onto an even better book, though. When my parents came to visit us at the cottage, they brought me a surprise gift from my sister, the scrap booking queen! When I say scrap booking, I do not mean it in the sense of buying co-ordinating papers, punching out shapes and all that sort of thing. I mean cutting out and collecting all sorts of lovely images and compiling them all together. You may recall I wrote a post a while back now about Adele's home and her scrap booking fetish! Well, this time, I was the recipient. Lucky, lucky me!!!
Want to see inside? Such a collection of deliciousness, all the things I love...
There's a mixture of images taken from mags, family photographs (you might recognise a few faces!), pictures pinched from the blog, I think, and cards from favourite shops and places.
This page has a feature on Cath K from what must be an old mag. The fabrics featured are ones long since retired, ones after which I lust!
It is definitely my favourite bedtime reading.
Recently, I have been a very lucky girl. First I received the scrapbook, then various lovely cards and gifts from blogging friends. I feel very privileged when I receive these and touched that people go to such effort - just for me!
Here are some of the lovely cards I've received over the last week.
One of my wonderful blogging friends floored me with a fabulous package of goodies; the beautiful retro card and several books she thought I would like. In particular, I just love this one which B sent to me after my enquiry about feedsack fabrics after I visited the Quilt Festival. It is seriously gorgeous to look at whilst having some great practical advice and lovely projects, too.
Sorry the images are not great but awful weather means awful light for photography too! Now I must dash as a certain small person is awaiting mum's taxi!