Friday, 11 September 2009


Do you have favourite words? I know I do. I'm fond of lolloping (as in "lolloping along"), I'm partial to serendipity too, because as well as being interesting sounding words, they conjure up interesting images. Another pleasing word for me is "cosy", mainly for the image that comes into my head and the warm feeling it gives me. Are you getting it too?

So we're getting cosy today but perhaps in a way different from what you were envisaging. This isn't going to be another of the plentiful posts abounding in blogland at the moment about Autumn because I don't want to accept that the Summer is over. I lurrrve Summer and to be fair, we've had great weather in London this week so to me, it's still Summer. Yes, resolutely.

Do you recall my trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC a few weeks back? I treated myself to a few books, one of them was "Quilting in no Time" which is seriously the most divinely beautiful eye candy. The settings for the photos are to-die-for and the fabrics used in the projects are right up my street. I find so many quilting books very old fashioned, not so this one. Herewith, a few eye candy pages for you...

So, all my little jobs over for the week, I was finally able to just make something, just because I wanted to, just to enjoy myself. So I turned to Quilting in no Time and selected the tea cosy project.

Here I am, having patchworked the front panel together. It was evening by this time, hence the rather "dusky" setting. I probably shouldn't have started sewing something so late in the day but after our time away in the country, I was gagging to get at the stash and the machine!

I chose to use the reproduction 1930's fabrics which I bought at Tikki Patchwork and at the Quilt Festival, I really do love these and have been itching to make something with them. I like to take a photo of the patchworked fabric before I chop it up, it always looks so lovely even before it is made up.

Beware! This is not at all a difficult project, in fact I hadn't realised making tea cosies was so easy, but I discovered that the smaller the squares are that you patchwork together (these are 2 and 3/4 ") the more difficult it is to get them to line up properly and the more obvious it is if they don't line up properly! I cut my squares out using a ruler and rotary cutter which is not only easier and quicker but tends to make your pieces more accurate so I would suggest doing that if you have the tools, rather than cutting a paper pattern as the book suggests.

Rather than using bobble trim round the top edge of the tea cosy, I opted for some large ricrac, I just personally think it looks better (also easier to sew!) I would also suggest cutting your lining slightly smaller than the outer tea cosy pieces. This ensures the lining fits cosily inside although it takes a bit more manoeuvring when you fit the outer tea cosy inside the lining to sew them together. I always do this for bags too, otherwise the lining is too big and doesn't sit nicely inside.

One other thing about this book which I'm afraid annoys me. All the pattern pieces, which are at the back of the book, are very small and all need to be enlarged on a photocopier. I do wish they had included full size pattern pieces, given that most of them are quite small, I think they could have included them full size if they had put a few more pages in the book. I'd gladly have paid a few pounds extra on the book price for the convenience. Lacking a photocopier on hand as I do, I used a vintage linen tea cosy I had here as a guide and drafted my own pattern piece. Just a warning if you buy this book.

So, I made not one tea cosy but two as I wanted to make something for my sister. I finished the second one this morning and after I had sat at my table sewing all the little buttons on, I encountered a problem. It seems a furry friend had taken a liking to the tea cosy!

Get off, Charles! Cosy doesn't mean you are supposed to make yourself cosy on it! Purrrrrr, umm, lovely and comfy, says Charlie-Boy.

Meanwhile, I'll show you a little something I made as a gift for friends of ours who have recently had a baby. I used a picture from an old soft toys sewing book I have to make this pig. It feels lovely as it has very soft stuffing inside and a fleecy flanelette outer so hopefully baby will like it. I would have put little buttons where the straps of his braces meet the trousers but that wouldn't have been safe for a young baby. Just shows how health and safety has moved on since the '70's!

Ah, Charlie boy has kindly vacated the tea cosy. Anyone ready for tea then? Shall we go into the parlour, as my nan would say.

Here's the tea cosy I made for my sister. I put little buttons onto this one.

Actually, most of what you can see in this photo has been thrifted. The table cost £2 from a boot sale; the little glass for the flowers, the book and the traycloth and china were thrifted at various times too.

Do you like the teacup and saucer? I found a pair of them (with sideplates) last week on one of our outings in the West Country. They are intended to be teacup candles but I've grown quite fond of them...

And did you spot the traycloth? I bought that last week too. The embroidery is beautiful. I find lots of embroidered linen with flowers on and even crinoline ladies but images of cottages are much more difficult to find. Sadly, it has a hole so I think I shall be taking the scissors to it!

For the other tea cosy, I decided to add a few crocheted flowers to the front rather than buttons. Now that I've made the one with buttons though, I think I prefer that one so I may yet change it!

My gift is all packaged up and ready to go...

Happy weekend everyone and if you might excuse me, I think I spotted some tiffin in those photos that needs eating!


  1. Love "Quilting in No Time". I'm pinning pieces for Sofa Throw p10 as I write using Lizzy House Red Letter Day...I know got side-tracked checking happens!

  2. As ever, absolute eye candy, what beautiful treasures. I just adore vintage needlework, so I am in heaven looking at your lovely things. Love the tea cosy!

  3. Beautiful tea cosies. An all around great post. Nice to see Charlie-Boy getting in on the act! I must say though that the little piggy had me in stitches! That expression and the fit of his trousers really amused me. He is sooooooo cute! I bet you'll be making loads more piggies! x

  4. Afternoon Hen!
    What a lovely cosy!
    My fave word(one of) that word!

    We are having my Niece over to stay tonight, tomorrow a farm visit...

    The green fabric with the little white ovals, rose inside....reminds me so much of the new CK pattern...Provence....pls can you tell me thename of the one you used, I'd like to try and buy some....many thanks!

    Have a super weekend!


    P.s......I've emailed you...:>)

  5. Those tea cosies look fab-u-lous - what a great idea.

  6. It is more summer than autumn here today hen, but it has taken so long reaching Cornwall that it isn't surprising we're all banging on about the change of seasons!!! Lovely post and great tea cosies too x

  7. I'm definitely not thinking of Autumn yet either - still summer for me too.

    Lovely post and very pretty tea cosies.

  8. I just wanted to sit down at that beautifully laid table, have a cup of tea ( with you ) and eat that very yummy looking piece of tiffin. The tea cosy turned out ever so well, the ricrac was a great idea.

  9. FUNNY.......Cosy and Lolloping are words we use! I thought lolloping was a word mum made up when I was a child, and cosy is the word that counjours up so many things for me - warm fires, good books and hot chocolate. That tea cosy is really lovely.

  10. What a lovely post!

    I love your fabrics and thrift finds.

    Isnt it a shame that people buy ck stuff and think they have a vintage home, on the other hand we dont want them buying all our thrifty finds!

    Have a sunny weekend!


  11. Your sister is v lucky to be getting such a lovely gift, the buttons look great on it.

  12. Very summery here today Hen, we've had a lovely lunch out at a local country pub! I've got loads of washing dry too.Love the pretty images in the book. Your cosies are fabulous!Lucky sister!
    Rachel x

  13. How very Milly Molly Mandy!
    This book has been on my wish list for ages, your lovely tea cosy may just have pushed me over the retail edge!

  14. The cosies look very - er - cosy! Well done! Quilts made with large squares are quick & easy to make too.

    Cats are funny aren't they? If you are trying to do something they have to sit right on top of it to be the centre of attention.

    I spotted the tiffin right away!!


  15. Lovely, lovely teacosies! 'Cosy' is a word the French love - they use it to describe typical British style, which is more colourful and cluttered than French. Thus, if they see cushions and comfy chairs and colours they think 'So Breeteesh, so cosy!' You find it all over the mags... I hope that's what French friends think when they see my home too, rather than 'quelle bazzar!' (what a mess!) or however they spell that!

  16. Adorable tea cozy! I love it! :-)

  17. Lovely stuff Hen although I do think you should make a patchwork cushion for the pusskin!

  18. The tea cosy is fab and Mr Piggy... soo cute!

    Have a great weekend.

    Victoria xx

  19. Cosy is definately one of my fav words lol.

    Love the tea cosies and I just adore the fabric you have used, so summery.

    I'm very impressed with the pig also, my boys (I have 2 year old twins) would have loved that so I'm sure your friend's baby will, very special indeed.

    Have a wonderful weekend

    Gail x

  20. ah lovely!! I might pop to amazon to have a look for that book, I've been thinking about doing some patchwork of late..... just need more hours in the day :)
    Thanks for your comment on my last post, I was glad of the sunshine so I could wear my glasses all day! Have a good weekend x

  21. Hi Hen,

    Love the tea cosies!

    Have a fab weekend :-)

    Rose XXX

  22. Love the giant ricrac - I have been trying to find some of that for ages. It's the dark evenings which say autumn to me - and of course we agricultural types get up so early that there's a definite chill in the air. But it's nice and sunny in the middle of the day still. I think that book is going straight onto my Xmas list - although the cosy is probably not quite as easy as you make it look!

    Pomona x

  23. In my family we have always used cozy as a verb. As in "come cozy down with me on the couch" "cozy in over here" etc... Also I went to college with a woman named Serendipity. She was called "Seren", similar to Sarah, but with an "n".

    I've been thinking about tea cozies lately, thanks for sharing that beautiful patchwork version.

  24. Heavenly quilt book Hen!

    Your tea-cosy's are fab, love the fabrics you used. Your sister will be cock-a-hoop I think!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Sarah x

  25. Theres lots of words i love - serendipity, beautiful, lovely are a few.

    I've seen that picture of the little curtain in the kitchen - so gorgeous, i love it xx

  26. Beautiful tea cosy. Must ask though, why is Charly boy wearing a pink Fez?

  27. The lamp behind Charles makes him look like he's wearing a tiny pink fez! I love the little piggie. He looks like he should be starring in his very own children's book.

  28. Loving 'COSY' and SNUG'
    But then I love this end of the year so I would!!
    The sewing pretties look great!! Although in the pic of your kitty I did have to look twice as i thought he was wearing a Fez hat!! SOrry I'm so random I know!!
    It just made me chuckle!! Great post hun xx
    Annie x

  29. Absolutely charming. Great colors. The antique table it is purched on is so so beautiful. I so enjoyed reading your blog today. Nice job.

  30. Hello Hen, I have that book in my Amazon basket waiting patiently to be purchased one day..looks really lovely, only problem is I have the 'no time' for all those lovely projects.
    Liking the fabrics you used for that pretty tea cosy, they look like feedsack fabrics, lucky sis!
    Now is it me or does Charlie boy look like hes wearing a fez in that last picture of him? "ahha just like that"
    Enjoy the sunshine, I'm holding onto summer too! x
    ps really lovely article in Ideal home by the way! x

  31. I would like to be your sister!!! Everything is lovely, I've never seen such a beautiful tag!
    Have a lovely weekend, greetings to the Munchkin and your lover!

  32. Beautiful cosy - even more beautiful cat! A real ooooooooh, aaaaaaah, big smile day on your blog.
    Lucky sister.

  33. What a beautiful way you have of telling a story about your creative energy. When the inspiration comes from, and how you do a bit of playing around to make the project take off for the stars!

    I am sure that you are encouraging many folks to make a tea cosy or three. Your lucky sister will be receiving a gem.

    Best wishes. xo

  34. The tea cozy is very cute! Wish we had the tea tradition here in America. I love the little table you found at the boot sale. My husband is a furniture maker and would love to have a photo of it if possible. All of your things are always so bright and cheerful. I enjoy following your blog. Thanks! mcthekat@gmail(dot)com

  35. Oh such gorgeousness Hen!! LOVE both the word cosy, and your delicious creations too.

    I was shopping on Friday in York and happened to pick up this very book for browsing and loved it instantly...didn't have enough spondoolies left by this point to buy it (had just been in CK!) but it has def shot to the top of my amazon list.

    BTW....which book did you buy in Girls Own Store????? Would love to see!


  36. Oh, and meant to add that I am SO with you in preferring summer to autumn, I'm hanging on tight to these gorgeously sunny days we're having right now and not letting autumn in just yet, it can damn well wait till October! Although the CL mag this wkend has some seriously beautiful autumnal pages....

  37. Gorgeous tea cosies (and Pig), love the feline endorsement

  38. Lovely tea cosy! I have that book too but havent made the cosy yet,that really inspired me! Lovely post

  39. The tea cosy with the flowers is the one for me. Sadly I hate tea, even the smell, but tea cosies are another matter.

    Charlie looks incredibly cosy especially with the Fez effect hat of the shade behind.

    Lisa x

  40. Hi Hen
    Cosy is a words I like. It conjures up lovely images and a safe feeling. I also like the word serene. Something I would like to feel more often.
    I love Charlie Boy's facial expression. It says it all 'Don't even think about moving me'....
    It is a great book, I love the pictures & projects.
    Lovely creations, Phoebe very taken by Mr Pig so I'm sure your friends' baby will love it.
    Take care
    Isabelle x

  41. I love the tea cosy, it's just perfect especially the one with crocheted flowers and I love the 1930s prints. Please let me know if you decide to make any more to sell in your shop or for the V&H fair, I will be first in line to buy one if you do.
    Ann x

  42. love your work. It's amazing.
    greetings from Holland,


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