Thursday, 30 September 2010

One for my Baby

Well goodness me, is that the sun I see shining outside, lighting up the sky and making me feel decidedly cheerier after what started out as a very trying week: car in the garage, locking myself and the Munchkin out of the house, suffering a painful bad back being just the highlights. But hey, today is Thursday, which by my basic mathematics mean one more day to the weekend, one more day to a very expensively fixed car returning and one quilt finished which I can even go outside to hang on the line in the sunshine. I mean a quilt's not a quilt unless it's been a part of the obligatory washing-line-photo-shoot, is it?!

So this was me about an hour or so ago, feeling rather elated that I had only the final few inches of binding to hand sew. Faced with that sunshine and the chance to get outdoors, I was keen to get this quilt polished off this morning. I mean, I only have three more to finish for waiting customers and the small matter of two others on the go for myself! Life's never dull round here.

Before we go outside though, we're going upstairs to the top floor, not in the attic but just grazing the eaves of this much-loved gorgeous house we call home. Not sure we've been in here together before but this is our "Blimp Room" (so named after the Ikea bedding which aged three, the Munchkin declared had "blimps" on it!) It's next door to the Munchkin, in fact I'm rather hoping he might move in here before long as he'd have more room and I could hopefully get him in one of these rather nice old wooden beds rather than his "ladder bed" (another Munchkin-aged-three phrase).

So to explain, the Munchkin is turning another year older next month. Golly, where have the years gone? So I decided it was about time I made him a nice boyish quilt before he gets too teenager-y for this sort of thing and wants hideous camouflage bedding or something. As I mentioned, the Munchy has what he terms a "ladder bed" so it's high up and has enclosed sides, making it deeply unsuitable for showing you his quilt (along with the proliferation of untidy junk in his room). Hence, in the blimp room we find ourselves.

Yes, it's true I've made a quilt without any pink in it. Without any flowers in it. This is a decidedly boyish little photo shoot!

So, the Munchkin's quilt is based on "pinwheels", otherwise known as half-square triangles. Relatively simple to execute so long as you're accurate and get all those points meeting up. There is a good tutorial on this design in the second issue of the online Fat Quarterly magazine.

Each pinwheel block is a mix of a primary coloured polka dot fabric and a cute boyish fabric. There's a fair bit of Cath K cowboy, trains, boats and Stanley the terrier in there, along with a lovely Moda fabric with Spitfires on it (found recently at Fabrics Galore), a fabulous green vintage-style cowboy fabric I hoarded years ago and some dinky multi-coloured toadstool fabric sent to me by my sister just this week. Oh, and because the Munchkin's first love is cars, a couple of fabrics with cars on searched for and found on good old eBay. Oh and a 1930's style fabric in yellow with dogs. Think that's it!

I've backed it with cosy white flannel and hand bound the edges with a red bubbly fabric.

I wanted this quilt to have movement to it, so that it would interest the Munchkin whilst he's cosying up in it. So, I chose the pin wheels, lots of different brightly coloured cottons and was gearing myself up to have a go at free motion quilting it, you know, to give it that bunched-up, squiggly look. Then Fat Quarterly's blog came to my rescue with a technique for quilting in wiggly lines by altering a basic zig zag stitch on the machine. So, I gave it a go. I used a slightly smaller stitch length of three, and found the fabric bunched up a lot even though I used a walking foot but it has given a good old-fashioned wrinkly look to the quilt and I think the Munchkin is going to enjoy tracing those wiggly lines!

I would have made the quilt bigger if it was to go on this single bed but as it has to fit inside the ladder bed and cannot drape down over the edge, I have made it narrower.

Outside then, into the sunshine for a bit of washing line action!

I'm really pleased with the quilt, it's so bright and cheery and it feels gorgeously soft and no doubt it will be even softer once it's been washed (and loved!)

Here's the wavy line quilting which you can see more clearly on the back of the quilt. If anyone else does this, I'd be interested to hear your tips on how far apart it's best to space the lines and what stitch length you prefer.

Doggy decided it was time for walkies!

So, there it is, the Munchkin's first quilt, all ready for lots of snuggling! I can't wait to give it to him- patience, patience- though I guess I should be prepared for it being beaten into second place in the birthday pressie prize list by that ginormous box of "World Racers" Lego hiding in the cupboard!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Chilly Times and Vintage Vinyl

Brrrr, there's no doubting that Autumn is now here, is there, readers? We've embraced the drop in temperatures by turning away from boxes of cereal back to porridge, and of course, the best thing about the colder weather is roaring fires.

Ah yes, you can guarantee there'll be somebody furry bagging the best seat in the house!

Yesterday we attempted some gardening before the rain drove us indoors, so we decamped to our "parlour" and lit the fire in there for a change as Mr, make that DJ HenHouse, entertained us. He dragged up his decks from the cellar and spun a few records; vintage ones, of course.

The reason we've gone vinyl crazy?

Well I hardly slept on Friday night, I was so excited about Saturday! Off we went to Kempton Park, not to the races though, but to this show...

The Munchkin was beyond himself at all the (admittedly fabulous) vintage cars.

Don't fancy my chances of parallel parking that one!

Why don't cars come in colours like these anymore?

My faves are the "two-tone" ones.

I think this one looks like it has a face (quite a scary one!)

Indoors, there was much waiting to entertain us at this show. Lots and lots of records, of course...

Kitsch barware... Now where did I put my Britvic pineapple?

Atomic housewares...

Not to mention a fabulous band, "The Rat Pack", to entertain us.

Who could blame those who knew how, from getting up to jive?

Downstairs, there were serious shopping opportunities. Radios unmatched by the largely style-less numbers they produce today...

Record players including the infamous Dansettes...

And not forgetting the serious beauties. Hmm, quite easy to go mad over these, I think.

Many of these are real labours of love, found languishing in cellars and lovingly restored taking hundreds of hours over many months to return to their stunning vintage beauty.

There were Wurlitzers as well as AMI, Rock-Ola and Seeburg jukeboxes, all the best names from the '50s and both before and beyond. The 1950s models were most definitely our favourites, though.

Need to complete the look? Fabulous diner sets were available in any colour vinyl you would like. This one would pretty much be my idea of diner heaven, though.

There were also slot and pinball machines and much merchandise associated with the golden age of the '50s from companies like Coca Cola.

I wouldn't mind that Nipper!

We had a truly fab time at Jukebox Madness, there was lots for each of us to enjoy and it only cost £20 (for all of us) to get in. It's difficult not to get carried away surrounded by the absolute creme de la creme of all things jukey.

Oh oh, this is looking dangerous!

Now this is a very fetching Rock-ola Tempo I jukebox from 1959, thinks DJ HenHouse.

Will he or won't he?!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Vintage in Chatham

On Sunday, off we set into Kent, headed specifically for the old naval dockyard in Chatham to attend the 1940's event. There was everything you could wish for from the vintage vehicles to keep a certain Master Munchkin happy to the wonderful Cinque Ports Lindy Hoppers....

Steam engines for my other half...

Rather wounded planes...

Excellent recreations of a wartime shopping experience. The Munchkin headed straight for the sweetie shop!

There was a very informative display about making your rations go further in the kitchen. No wonder they were all so thin back then!

The Munchkin and I shopped for groceries...

Many people had really got into the spirit of the event with great costumes, my favourites being this couple who had been "bombed out" and hence were trundling along with their wordly belongings. When they include a Fair Isle tanktop and a crocheted granny blanket they're obviously worth saving!

The best bit of the day for me was the wonderful vintage weddings display. Alongside the original photographs of wartime weddings, were displayed the dress and accessories worn in it. It was lovely to read the history behind the photograph, all about the couple getting married and their lives. Most men were in active service of course, and were granted as little as 48 hours leave in which to come home to marry.

The turquoise bridesmaid's dress was wonderful. It was common to borrow both wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses due to the wartime shortages. The lady who owned all the exhibits told us that it was common for the bridesmaids to wear a rainbow of colours, rather than a matching set like we would today, as they wore what they could get hold of. I rather like that idea!

The dresses were beautiful, tiny of course, but the models were a bit "interesting"!

It was heartening to hear that most of these wartime marriages lasted for many happy decades.

What a wonderful collection.

Of course, I did not come away from this event empty handed! But I refer not to the usual vintage clothes and accessories ...

...but to this gorgeous eidy.

Well Charlie Boy approves!