Wednesday, 27 January 2010


Warning! This blog post contains scenes of mild construction!

It's bedroom revamp day today, people. Well, let's say semi-revamp as it's basically little bits 'n' pieces that are within my control (and ability). I suppose it is therefore, more accurately, prettifying. More serious jobs like building wardrobe doors and painting and things remain to be done. Let's just gloss (ha ha) over those for the mo' though, ok? The weather is still rubbish and dull but I fear if I wait for a sunnier day to take better photos, I could be waiting a loooong time.

So, it was out with my girl toolkit... This was bought for me by my Dad when I bought my flat, back when I was footloose and fancy free. I thought it was so sweet of him. I really have used it, too!

Out with some decidedly less scary looking tools, too...

I somehow managed to grapple the headboard off the bed and onto the floor. What's going on in my room? says Charlie Boy.

I less helpfully managed to rope in some really useless helpers...

Yes, the Munchkin really does have the satin bound edge of a woolly blanket round his neck. Don't ask.

Oh I'm bored with ugly pictures, so (excusing the unpainted wall, pretty please?)...

... ta-dahhhhhh!

Yes, the crocheted cushion I started a few weeks back (read about it here if you fancy) was soon completed. I enjoyed that little project. Another one in different colours maybe?

Somebody asked me how I made the cushion up (literally speaking) when I posted about the back of the cushion. I blocked all the squares, crocheted them together then sewed by hand all round the edges of the big crocheted square onto a piece of old white cotton (thrifted sheet) just using simple over stitching. I made up the back two pieces of the cushion with the button closure then pinned the front and back together, keeping the front uppermost so I could see where I'd attached the crocheted square. I then sewed all round the edges on the machine using a zipper foot so that I could get the stitching right up to the edge of the crochet. Simples?

Time to give my hot water bottle (which is actually one of those miraculous microwaveable thingies) a spruce up. That navy blue flannel, teddy bear patterned cover was not really that cool. Might I point out that the hot non-water bottle was lost for years and only found when I removed the headboard as it had fallen down the back!

I used a rather delectable vintage rosebud print fabric from Donna which I bought at her house sale (and I'd actually forgotten about!) Rather yummy, isn't it? I spent an enjoyable hour or so doing a bit of hand quilting using vintage perle cotton for added prettiness and added some satin binding and a gorgeous blue glass vintage button. I used some leftover quilt batting for the lining. Hmm, cosy. Such an easy project.

Onto the pillowcases. Did you spot those, you beady eyed readers, you? I whipped those up using some leftover flannel (from my patchwork quilt) for the backs and some pretty Cath K fabric for the front (the nice new fabric she now sells which has a sort of cosy flannelette feel to it). I crocheted the edging using a pattern from Crochet Adorned (remember we've talked about this before and here again?) and threaded through a snippet of pink velvet ribbon.

The pretty embroidered pillowcase underneath is a recent TK Maxx bargain.

And you probably saw the headboard? It was a chocolate coloured ultra suede which was so not going with my new look, girlfriends, so I dug into my extensive collection of woollen blankets and off I went a-revamping. I was going to make a loose cover but decided to be lazy and get busy with the staplegun instead.

You saw him, did you? It took him all of five minutes once the bed was all freshly made up this morning to regain his rightful place. He still looks a bit grumpy at all the palaver, though.

See this warm rosey covered thingy? Well, it's nice. It's cosy... And it's mine. Got it?

Now my dear friends, I shall sign off from bloggy duties as tomorrow I am off up North for a while, back to the homestead, sadly for a funeral, but I'm sure a few other adventures shall take place. Have a good week, won't you?

Monday, 25 January 2010


No, not stray dogs or even kitties but pretty things; goodies and treasures if you like. Herewith a display of all the objects which have been rehomed chez le HenHouse following the weekend thrifty trawl.

First up, here are my goodies from Nostalgia at No 1, Niki's wonderful new shop (see my blog post below for a proper gander at the shop and all the delights therein). In fact, the fan was from a charity shop near to Nostalgia at No 1 but the other goodies are from Niki, honed down from a wide array of lovelies on offer.

The colours of the fan (spotted in the window), drew me in. "Buy me" it said, I'm lonely and unloved...

I bought this little collection of cute vintage booklets from Niki. They have the most lovely illustrations inside.

Moving on swiftly (it was quite a productive day after all), a few pretty textiles made it home. I bought the gorgeous dress/apron from Lizzie at the Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair. It even fits me so I doubt I will take the scissors to it. Isn't the fabric just divine though? Thanks Lizzie, your stall was one of the highlights of my thrifty day. Quite how you managed that cold weather with your stall outside, brrr, you are a lady made of tough stuff!

The little dress was hunted down from a table top full of vintage dolls' clothes. No, I don't have a thing for dolls but just look at the fabric on that dress. Pink - check. Turquoise - check. Stripes and rosebuds - check. It's just so me and for £3, it had to be mine! I've given it a handwash but am finding it hard to cut into it despite the fact that I have no need for a doll's dress. Hmmm, watch this space, maybe after a glass of wine later. (It looks much better now it's been washed in the Munchkin's gentle bubble bath!)

Here's a close-up of the glorious (to use the Munchkin's current favourite word) pinny from Lizzie (colours are a bit washed out as the naughty camera was determined to use the flash and I couldn't really be bothered to try and override it, forgive me please). It is truly luscious though.

Also from the Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair, some lovely cigarette cards to be employed in papercrafts here in the den.

In fact, I made quite a good haul of vintage paper goods with lots of cards and yet more books of cigarette cards (much time spent yesterday over a steamer trying to get the cards out, grrrr)!

I particularly love this cute little card.

And this one, too!

There is always a good button stall inside the main hall at Shepton Mallet and I picked up some pretty ones for my stash. I found a lot of buttons at one of the stalls outside too, from a delightful lady and they were very reasonably priced so that was very good indeed.

On to my fave charity shop. I was distressed after Christmas to find the shop was shut all over the Christmas and New Year period so Saturday was the first chance I've had in ages to visit. Bingo, I was not disappointed!

Pretty brooches languishing under the counter had to come home with me for my ever-expanding-for-no-reason collection.

Pretty plate - definitely had to be rehomed.

Oooh yummy. Look at this "variegated" crochet! I was thrilled when I pulled out first one vintage trimmed pillowcase from the drawer, swiftly followed by its pair. They are homemade too. Wish I knew how to recreate that crochet edging.

Well, there you have it, the highlights of my thrifty weekend. Back at the cottage, Mr HH put up the portiere rod on the door and with the aid of some curtain hooks from our neighbour (I knew I'd forget something), we hung the door curtain I'd made. Oooh, cosy; be gone nasty drafts.

This was a bit of a thrifty, vintagey endeavour too. The beautiful barkcloth fabric on the front came from Donna's last house sale. I found the lining here at home, in the "abandoned ironing basket" in the spare room. I have no idea whatsoever where it came from but it was almost the perfect size and already hemmed. I wanted to use 1" heading tape to keep up with the vintage look so I salvaged some from a 1970's curtain from my flower power fabric stash here in the den. Job's a good'un!

A spot of crochet took place to jolly up this drab terracotta pot.

I do have quite a few fake flowers around the cottage. I buy fresh ones once we are there if we're staying a few days but I can't really keep real plants there as we can't water them frequently enough. This geranium jollies up the bathroom, especially now its pot is all snuggly and stripey.

That's all for today folks. Bedroom/bedding reveal next, perchance? Better get on with making it then! Cheerio for now...

Sunday, 24 January 2010


I am sure many of my fellow bloggy writers and readers will know of Niki and the beautiful blog she pens and goodies she sells over at Nostalgia at the Stonehouse (You do? Good. You don't? Get on over there!) Recently, Niki excited all her fans by announcing that she was opening a shop of her very own and indeed, that special emporium, Nostalgia at No 1, opened in the Somerset town of Shepton Mallet last Thursday.

So where did the HenHouse gang go this weekend? Where do you think?! I'm taking you with me. Come on...

I spotted that distinctive blue paintwork a mile off. The pace quickened. Come on!

The Munchkin found himself a little corner with the cute doggy display so that I could get on with serious mooching.

Firstly, though, I spent ages nattering as who did I find inside but Isabelle and my lovely pal, Louise. It was a complete surprise to meet Louise (and her other half and mum), which really made the visit for me! Apologies to Mr Louise and Mr HH who looked bored to tears, ha ha! We girls can chat and we can shop and don't they know it!

Of course, the time came when I could natter no longer and needed to get down to serious investigative work. The beautiful dresser is an obvious focal point when you step inside. I should point out that shelves had been plundered somewhat by us eager shoppers!

The bed looked so cosy, I think I could probably be found there on slow afternoons, amongst the eidys!

There were some beautiful vintage clothes and hats available and a particularly gorgeous rosy dress. If only I were a size 10 ( ha ha big haaaaaa!)

Yes, I love pansies. This hat was much more beautiful in reality than the photo suggests, actually.

There were pretty covered coat hangers hanging on the bed. I was captivated by what were clearly stunning eiderdown fabrics used to make a couple of them.

More tempting goodies...

And more!

Some pretty prints adorn the freshly painted walls and can you spot the lovely curtains Niki has made using vintage fabric?

I have a severe weakness for vintage aprons so I did very well to resist this one. It did look very at home on the mannequin, though.

Ah, it was lovely and quite a treasure to be found in Shepton Mallet. You MUST visit if you are in the vicinity (and make a special journey if you're not!)

And were there purchases? Oh, of course there were. But then you knew that! There was also super thrifty shopping in my fave charity shop earlier in the day and of course, the antiques fair was on at the nearby Bath and West Showground, so it seemed silly not to pop in. But those, my dear friends, shall have to wait until another day as this Hen needs her beauty sleep!

Friday, 22 January 2010

A Mixed Bag

Hello my friends. So sorry I haven't posted for much longer than I intended. To be honest, I've been struggling to do justice to the things I have to photograph with this miserable dull weather and when it has been nice, I've had a couple of days out of the house and running round like a nutter. The Munchkin is doing very well at school and loving it though the new routine is taking some adjusting for us all! We're shattered (well, I am!) Thanks so much for all your well wishes.

Well, here's a bit of a quickie post as I am, customarily, rushing! I promised to show you the extra cakes I whipped up at home, using the techniques I learned on my cupcake course a week ago. Here they are...

I really loved doing the wild rose embossed cakes so I tried them with icing in different colours because for white icing to stand out, you need to use a dark/bright sugarpaste underneath to contrast.

The cakes remain largely intact, partly because I can't bear to eat them, partly because I am trying to cut down on naughty food. One person has no such weighty worries however and dug in with gusto!

I was lucky enough to received a surprise parcel containing some absolutely gorgeous goodies from a good bloggy friend and even customer. Thank you so much, Louise, I was really thrilled. I have a special little something for you too and shall get that off to you when (if!) I am more organised next week.

I loved the fabric and chopped into it straight away and put a square into my crazy nine-patch quilt top. It's coming along but waiting reinforcements from my pal, Donna Flower!

I had to take the car over to Battersea for a service yesterday - dull! However, it was not so dull when I realised I could dump the car at the garage and jump on a bus to Clapham from where I walked to Northcote Road and straight into Living Vintage, of course!

Talking of quilts, look at these vintage stunners they had there, featuring my fave types of ditsy floral 1930's prints.

Fabric LOVE!

This one was so lovely, a "friendship quilt" as each lady who has made a block has embroidered her name in the centre of the "plate".

I am also happy to report that I finished the crochet cushion last weekend. I am, as I say, stuggling to photograph it well, and there have been a few other crafty changes to the bedroom so I will hopefully show you all those together next week. Until then, I will tease you by showing you the reverse, made up in a gorgeous vintage fabric I picked up in Ludlow and a few vintage buttons which I think came from my nan's stash.

Now I really must rush as I have a date with Nostalgia at No 1 tomorrow! Have a super duper weekend, won't you...