Friday, 29 October 2010

Nearly There!

Morning readers, here we are at the end of another week, crikey where did that one go? I have been insanely busy since we arrived home from Yorkshire and I must confess am feeling a little jaded. However, I am also feeling pleased with what I've achieved and verrrrry much looking forward to tomorrow. More of that in a minute.

The other morning we woke up to a splendid sky across the capital so I grabbed my camera and headed outside in my pjs at about 7.30am. A pink sky, well that needed to be captured.

Another reason I have been shall we say, slightly hindered this week is that my little friend has still been at home on half term. Sometimes, I was able to secure a little peace with the aid of a good book...

...other times he was not so sedate!

So the reason I have been so busy this week is that tomorrow sees the very first fair, the "Vintage Bazaar" in Frome. This has been organised by two pros, Clare and Lizzie and there will be a whopping 40 stalls at the event all of which seem to be of the highest and gorgeous-est calibre. I hope many of you will be able to join us and get a head start on your Christmas shopping. Who needs (or wants) the high street? Do you remember this strippy patchwork and those lovely embroidered circles in this post? Well now they have undergone their transformation.

I truly adore these cushions (may I say that?) and I have kept back one length of strippy patchwork to make one for myself when time permits (probably next year at this rate!) I must again thank my lovely customer Mantha, who gifted me the gorgeous embroidery. Hope you approve Mantha! (Thank you also to my lovely customer Joanne for the beautiful crocheted cushion, it looks very much at home here, as you can see!)

Other strippy patchwork, it seems I just can't get enough, has been transformed into pretty covers for address books. I've used some gorgeous fabrics for these which I've accrued recently, modern and fresh but with a vintage flavour.

Also in the "stationery" line, I have had printed a large selection of postcards and gift cards bearing all the best HenHouse images over the past few years. There are photos of the furry friends, the Den, fabric, cushions, quilts, roses, you name it, they're there! Quite a few of you have received these along with your purchases recently and the feedback has been really positive. The gift cards will be available for sale singularly and the postcards in packs of 5 (all different).

Not forgetting my most beloved vintage fabric patchwork. This time in the new and seasonal guise of hottie covers. Hotties are microwaveable heat pads, so much easier than faffing with boiling water and stinky rubber! I have made several, coming with either turquoise or pink binding and vintage button closures. They are quilted with pure cotton batting for maximum snuggliness!

More seasonal fun comes in the form of these limited edition 2010 festive sleepy owls, Gabriel and Nicholas. I love this red polka dot flanelette which I sourced from America and along with lustrous gold metallic thread, stars and snowflakes, they are a special take on the popular sleepy owls.

Twit twoo! As you may imagine, the Munchkin is loathe to let these go!

And what is that I see you snuggling on, Gabriel and Nicholas?

Out into the garden then for a spot of show and tell. It was a bit gloomy by the time I was ready to take these photos but I think the fabrics are jolly enough to brighten the darkest skies!

I have worked really hard to have two quilts ready to bring along to the Fair. The first is my first ever Christmas quilt. I have been making the star blocks when I've had an odd hour or so spare over the last few months and have enjoyed selecting all these gorgeous Christmas themed fabrics. I do think so many Christmas fabrics are very old fashioned, not so these!

The quilt is uber snuggly, with Dream Puff high loft super warm batting and is backed with red cotton flanelette. The quilt measures a generous 48" x 68", perfect for all the family to snuggle under on the sofa while eating Quality Street and watching old films!

(Please excuse our "half done" garden border!) Hopefully your eyes are firmly drawn to the lovely quilt!

I have used quite a bit of quilting on this quilt, sitching both in the ditch around each block and then in a crossed star pattern across each block. This makes the quilt deliciously pouffey!

Secondly, a quilt which has been a long time in the making is this very special "Weekend in Amsterdam" quilt, so called because this new gorgeous fabric line is called "City Weekend" and the design of the blocks is called "Dutch Windmills".

I was lucky enough to pick up a jelly roll (a set of 2.5" strips) of these fabrics at the International Festival of Quilts in August. I pieced the blocks and sewed them together but have had to wait until very recently for the yardage of the fabric to become available to add the borders and binding. The quilt is crafted entirely from cotton and has the highest quality cotton batting which gives a real vintage feel. It is backed with a tiny pink gingham cotton. This is probably the most time consuming quilt I have made to date by a long shot!

I also have a fantastic selection of cushions to take along to the fair. There are vintage patchworked squares cushions, both square and rectangular, these gorgeous hand quilted heart themed cushions made with vintage feedsack fabric and many more!

Last but not least, one very special item which has claimed a lot of my time is this little beauty...

This is the second vintage crib I have managed to make over, the first recently went to a very happy owner, and I am hoping this one will make a little girl happy on Christmas morning.

It has the added feature of having a drop side, just like a real crib. It has the usual gorgeous bedding, a fitted pink floral flanelette sheet over the mattress, a pretty vintage French top sheet, a vintage woollen blanket, a vintage embroidered pillow case and not forgetting, a proper patchwork quilt, hand bound.

Phew! Now all I need is to get in the car and head West. I have fingers and toes crossed to see many of you tomorrow for what promises to be a wonderful day. I hope everyone has a great weekend. xxx

(P.S. The promised third and last holiday post shall follow next week.)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Out and About on our Hols

So on a beautifully sunny day with bright blue skies, we boarded the steam train again, this time headed for the coast.

We took the trip from Pickering all the way to Whitby. If you catch the correct train, you can go all the way by steam.

Last year, our trip to Whitby was a little marred by nasty weather, not so last Thursday.

I made a beeline straight for a certain shop. Last year, we only spotted it late in the day once it was already shut. Up the hill I determinedly puffed, and suggested to the boys that we might reconvene later, once I'd had my fabric fill chez Judith. Very satisfying it was too.

And reconvene we happily did, at our favourite place for lunch, the infamous Magpie Cafe. The queue was not so huge this year and in no time we were tucking into the best fish and chips you'll ever eat.

Let's not forget that while we were away, there was a certain special occasion, one Master Munchkin turning another year older.

I knew the Lego would go down a storm, but what about my handmade offering?

I think from the expression, it's going to be ok. Phew!

In fact, even though he's only just got up, the Munchkin decides he needs to try it out straight away!

I think it has the seal of approval and on the Munchkin's bunkbed it goes each night.

What's a birthday without cake (four days old having been made at home before we set off, but who's counting?!)

All too soon, it was Friday and off we went to that most beautiful city of York. This is truly the perfect city for us and has everything; shops, culture, restaurants... We split into girl and boy camps again, in the interests of maximising what little time we had. The boys headed here... the National Railway Museum. They kindly took some photos for me of the Royal Carriages as I loved these last year, in particular the quilts, of course.

I positively cracked up when Mr HenHouse showed me this shot! One for the scrapbook methinks...

Meanwhile, it was left to me to do the cultural thing...

I mean the Minster is very nice and all that but time was of the essence you understand. So whilst I took a quick shot of it, I thought you'd rather prefer some more in here!

First up, I was positively drooling over the new limited edition prints. Is it so wrong to lust after all four? Ok, just the pink one then. Or maybe the yellow and red one? For starters. Oh I don't know.

I had to snap this cowboy sofa bed to show the Munchkin later.

I also had to show you this. I love the chair but look at the blue cushion. Trust me, the photo makes this look better than it is. Vintage apparently, at £46, if only you could see how badly the points were matched and the nasty '70s fabrics. Miaow! (Sorry but it was truly awful. Eek.)

This, though, rather captivated me, and it was "only" a curtain on the changing room. Those of you lucky enough to have visited one of Cath's stores will know that she often curtains the changing rooms with quilts (they have eyelets through the top to hang them). This beauty was pieced entirely from small squares of eiderdown fabric. Now that's real vintage! How many eidys were harmed in the making of this quilt, I wonder!

Further along Stonegate, I encountered this quirky and cute shop, Ness. I understand this is the only on so far in England (quite a few shops in Scotland).

What do you think of this?

Pretty dreamy, hey? But you didn't think they were all real china plates hanging on the wall?

Ah no, behold this absolutely stunning wall paper in the changing rooms. I understand it is by the divine company Avoca.

We did indeed meet up again, and where else but Betty's famous tea rooms for the full works. Seems the Munchkin worked up an appetite at the NRM.

Whizzing forward a bit, for this is a bit of a "miscellaneous" post, we broke the long journey back to London by stopping here on the side of the oh-so-glamorous A1(M)!

Well, this diner was most certainly "ok" by us, if not one for the dieters. Crikey!

Not a real jukey in sight though.

One more special holiday post to go...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Wartime in Pickering

Well hello my dear readers. Here we are, safely back in the HenHouse once more after a lovely week away in North Yorkshire. We so enjoyed ourselves when we spent a week there last year, wild horses would not have kept us away! Arriving in the charming market town of Pickering mid way through Saturday, we were propelled right back into 1943 as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway held its railway in wartime event. Oh marvellous! Now where did I put that hat?

On the way to the railway, we were able to admire this Spitfire, though the train seemed a safer bet for transport!

The Munchkin decides to spend his pocket money on a magazine, sold from the back of this travelling shop-in-a-van, to read on the journey.

Time for a little trip on the train then. A steam engine of course, and what a treat it is as the scenery of the North York Moors which we shall ride through once more is utterly beautiful. We were oh so lucky with the weather and were able to wrap up against the cold whilst enjoying the blue skies and bracing fresh air!

Choo choo!

Mr HenHouse settles down to read what is happening in the war.

Safely in Pickering town, where else could we head but to see the lovely Anne at her fabulous shop above Reeds in the main street, more importantly, to visit Anne's cafe which she sets up but once a year specially for this wartime weekend, (read Anne's blog here.)

Doesn't it look stunning? To me, it's everything my fave place would be: both gift shop (with the most gorgeous - often handmade- things to buy); and tea room complete with vintage china, embroidered cloths and delicious homemade cakes.

Oh Anne you really outdid yourself!

Anne and her helpers all dressed for the part too, this lady looked great in her gorgeous vintage pinny.

Meanwhile, we were hungry! There's me and the Munchkin with my mum as my parents dropped in for the weekend, too.

I indulged in a little dandelion and burdock - that took me back a few years!

There was much to watch through the large picture windows, a prime view of all the happenings in the street below. Hello Dad!

Down in the high street, many many people had dressed up for the event. What marks this railway event apart from others is that the whole town of Pickering really gets involved.

Loitering, we find a certain young evacuee having rather a jolly time.

Ultimately though, it all proves rather tiring and the lull of the steam train sees him nod off for forty winks, destination unknown!

Last year, we stayed in the same cute cottage and also took part in the war weekend, taking lots of photos. If you fancy a read, you can have a look at my post from last year here.

We had a really wonderful time but you know, it's also good to be back! Two more holiday related posts will follow this week...