Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Didn't We Have a Lovely Time

...the day we went to Sussex. Normally, our weekends at home are largely filled with chores which I suppose is fair enough as every other weekend we are generally at leisure in the country. Sadly, because of the grim weather over the New Year, especially in the West Country, we didn't venture far from the cottage so last weekend, I was champing at the bit to get out and about.

Having read a lovely article in Making magazine, and various blog posts of moochy trips, I wanted to visit Lewes in Sussex and as it was near to one of the boys' favourite jaunts, the Bluebell Railway, it seemed a perfect day out for all our family. Off we set then...





First we stopped by the Bluebell Railway, which I've posted about before. This steam railway is fantastically preserved as it became a preserved railway as soon as it was shut by British Railways years ago. As such, it has retained so many original features. This is the railway you will often see in period dramas on tv.





Despite the fairly gloomy weather, we were cheered by the sight of the coal fire which you will invariably find at steam railways.





One of the platforms is home to this splendid newsagent's kiosk...





When it gets too cold, there's a lovely bar which serves hot pasties and the fine local Harvey's ale.





Once the boys had had their fill and Mr HenHouse had bought out many of the railway shop's books, off we set for Lewes. It's a very attractive town with Harvey's Brewery's gorgeous factory building at its heart.





We didn't have long enough to explore Lewes to the full on this visit but you couldn't help but notice the pretty architecture.





There are quite a few vintage shops in Lewes including book shops which we love as we are a family of avid readers. This was a quaint shop; shame about the grumpy old owner, I wouldn't part with my money to him!





This little lane reminded me of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury (the hill in the Hovis advert).





The exciting bit for me was a visit to this shop. Oooooooh, let me at it! The Patchwork Dog and Basket was featured recently in Making magazine and is housed in a lovely old building called the Needleworks which also has a cafe and many moochy vintage and crafty shops. Delightful! Apologies that I had dumped the camera in the car by this stage, busily dodging the town's many traffic wardens, so the less-than-brilliant photos come courtesy of my 'phone.





What sets this shop apart is that it is beautifully laid out and so full of character. It carries everything you could wish for: oodles of fabric, buttons and trims, lots of quilting notions the likes of which it's generally difficult to find, batting, books and so on. But there are also beautiful vintage quilts, both on display to inspire you and to buy, vintage baskets and covetable mini wooden drawer units and downstairs, a whole shelf of little vintage sewing machines.





There are many examples around the shop of quilts made by the staff members and jolly good they are too.





This is a beauty, don't you think?





Inspiration surrounds you...





There was a whole dresser full of ready-cut fat quarters and half metres of fabrics as well as shelves lining the walls with fabrics on the bolt. There were many ranges by Moda, including quite a lot of the French General range, a good selection of reproduction 1930's prints and an equally good selection of Civil War fabrics as well as utility fabrics such as linen and felt.





Downstairs there was a selection of battings, both ready cut in packets and on the roll, and a selection of sale goods. Hooray! They also hold a range of classes down here.





I did not come away empty handed as I'm sure you will have guessed! We were still in the Needleworks as the doors were closing at home time so it is a certainty that we will return to Lewes - hopefully in better weather. How about bluebell season?!

28 comments:

  1. Hi Hen, I so NEED to go there!
    It look so pretty, that book shop is so cute!

    Glad you had such a fun day, if the weather is good this weekend, we are hoping to go to Pickering to find that pretty tea shop you went to!
    Looking forward to it!x

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  2. Hi,
    Thank you Hen, ooohh.....things to buy! I love a good gift shop!
    I'm sure we will find a lovely tea shop somewhere on our travels...Yorkshire is full of them....woot!
    I'm so pleased with the little fire.....its a cosy little addition to the sitting room!

    Melxx

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  3. oohhh I feel a visit to Lewis and that gorgeous shop coming on this year :) .. how lovely.

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  4. Wow, that Needleworks shop looks great - v inspiring! Pity about the bookshop owner as we need all the independent bookshops to thrive. Love that house with the ?teal door:)

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  5. I haven't been to Lewis in years, it's so beautiful. Lovely photos, it looks like a lovely day was had.

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  6. Lewes with its hills is a very interesting place, and Charleston Farmhouse is close by. Gorgeous in late springtime.

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  7. Hi Hen,
    I see you've been to my neck of the woods!
    There's a lot to see in Lewes isn't there? Glad you found the fabric/quilt shop...it's really is a treasure trove. :0)

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  8. What a lovely looking shop! And isn't it amazing how some shopowners act like they are doing us a favor to wait on us?! Yesterday I advised the manager of a restaurant downtown (near my job) that the ramp into his back door was very slick. He just shrugged and never did clear it off that I could tell. I will hesitate to go there again after a snowfall. Bess

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  9. Yes, I can totally understand that you didn't come back empty-handed, it looks like my sort of cute dainty shop!

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  10. I love Lewes so much!! My husband is from aroun there so we get to pop down quite often. I did the beginners patchwork course at the shop and it was brilliant, they are so friendly and knowledgeable; it's nice top shop somewhere where the staff love what they're doing and know what tey're talking about! x

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  11. I enjoyed your post very much today! HUGS MARY

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  12. Oh I love Lewes too! OH works there and we're always mooching around. Glad you enjoyed yourself.
    Kimx

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  13. It really is a shame about the grumpy bookseller...that shop is really interesting! They have a 'quilt shop hop' here where you go to different shops (there are more than 50) and get a little pack of fabric and a stamp on your 'passport.' If you visit a certain number of shops you're entered to win something. I imagine you'd enjoy that. :)

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  14. Oooh - my sort of shop!
    Julie xxxxxxx

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  15. Hi Hen I had somehow clicked on 'subscribe to your comments' - not sure how but I have unsubscribed now! My stepson and his wife and children have moved to Tunbridge Wells and we went on child-free day to Lewes - it was wonderful. I too spent almost two hours in the quilting shop and came away with Moda French General FQ packs. The quilts were lovely and so was the owner. Pauls wife is a designer and she boughts some of the fabrics to use the colours and adapt the patterns. I thought the twon was perfect and we ate in the cafe near the bridge where we had an excellent lunch. They bought my husband some of the Harveys Ales at Xmas, you have reminded me of the perfect day we had there.

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  16. I ALWAYS ENJOY READING YOUR POSTS... AND THIS ONE IS JUST AS LOVELY!
    KEEP UP WITH THE WONDERFUL WORK THAT YOU ARE DOING!

    DEBBIE MOSS

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  17. I ALWAYS ENJOY READING YOUR POSTS... AND THIS ONE IS JUST AS LOVELY!
    KEEP UP WITH THE WONDERFUL WORK THAT YOU ARE DOING!

    DEBBIE MOSS

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  18. wow wee what a shop, I want to go NOW, Now do you hear...
    What a great day for all off you its not easily pleasing boy, man and yourself all in one day out.

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  19. The shop look slovely Hen. A belated Happy New Year to you by the by! x

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  20. Wow you always have the most amazing days out. I would love to have visited the sewing and fabric shop, Wow what some inpsirational quilts and fabrics. A lovely post. dee x

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  21. Hello - what a lovely day out and I would loooove to go into that fab shop. Do you have this months Making mag - my lovely friend Louise is featured - she has the most wonderful workshop and runs courses etc. Have a peek at her website Hope and Elvis. I went yesterday and had a fabulous time. Louise was also in Homes and Antiques I think it was October issue - shes getting quite famous is my pal - it's where I went on the Julie Arkell workshop. If you have the H&A mag and see the little bed the quilt on there is mine. Oh I was so proud I told the lady in WHS - look this is my friends house and look this is my quilt. Will have to do a post about it as I am beginning to ramble. Bye.

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  22. Lewis is one of my favourite places especially for antique shops and markets, and the shop you visited guess what, was closed when we went, it looks fabulous - perhaps next time.
    Jillx

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  23. Happy New Year Hen!
    What a coincidence...Hubby and I have been thinking about booking our one week summer holiday this week and wondering where to go this time, and in conversation, Sussex came up as we have never visited...
    You make it very tempting...apart from Grumpy Bookshop Man...Think perhaps Mary Portas (Secret Shopper) should pay him a visit!
    ;-))

    Niki

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  24. You should have popped in for a cup of tea - I live about a 2 minute drive from Horsted Keynes!

    I think Lewes is one of the best places to shop for fabric and antiques - I love it. I particularly love the flea market and there's a shop (I forget the name) - it's down past the new bit of the highstreet and is 5 floors of vintage bits n bobs/antiques.

    Just to let you know I have another lovely raffle over on my blog, tickets are £1 each.

    Sian x

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  25. Hi, I love your blog. You have great taste and your collection of handmade items is beautiful!!

    I am new to this and I was wondering if you could help me. I would like to raise money for charity by making things to sell. I have already started making bookmarks but am planning to make other things like gift tags and greetings cards too. However, I have never sold anything that I have made before, not online anyway, and I was wondering how I should go about setting up a blogshop. Also, if you could let me know how Etsy and Paypal work, if it's not too much trouble.

    I don't want to sell the bookmarks on Ebay because they take charges and I'd like as much money as possible to go to charity.

    Thanks in advance.

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  26. You always find the most wonderful places - I remember the last post on this - still want to go! xxx

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  27. Hen, I can only imagine you were almost weeing yourself with excitement! This shop could almost be described as a mecca for quilters by the look of it! Love Vanessa xxx

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  28. Just loveliness in Lewes! I have not been there for a while - but I do remember the grump in the book shop!

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