Friday, 14 October 2011

Keep Calm and Clear Off

In the midst of chaos and generally feeling out of control (something which is very alien for the control freak that is me,) what better than to look at fabric. Nothing is likely to bring me more pleasure (except maybe sewing with fabric and of course, buying fabric). Piles in the Den were getting seriously topple-y and as a few new supplies arrived, order was needed in the vintage quarter of stash central.

Handy then that you just happen to have a nine year old keen to earn a few brownie (should that be Cubs) points?

I'm actually quite enjoying this Mummy, he declared after a while. That's my boy. All will not be forgotten when you turn ten next week. Really? How did that happen? That explains the grey hairs then.

But the real chaos is not going on in the sanctuary of my Den, the Den was merely a little diversion. We have never decorated our bedroom since we moved into the HenHouse and it really is (past) time. Yes, that plastered patch on the wall was a doorway that was blocked up and has remained unpainted ever since. Shameful. My beautiful silk curtains took a battering in the fierce sun that floods this room and have become tattered so have now been taken down.

We've never really liked this fireplace. It is not original to the house and doesn't really suit this room though it is an authentic antique piece. We're not going to the trouble of replacing it but I did think it would look better in a less dominating colour. I've got so far as priming it and buying the eggshell paint but there I've had to stop for now.

The real issue you can see below. In one way, it was great to move in and have this whole wall of wardrobes. In another, it would have been really nice if they'd actually had doors! We've had trouble in the past getting someone to make doors for us but finally we've struck gold with our faithful and much treasured handyman. But my oh my, how much stuff we had squirrelled away in there. It took me most of yesterday to clear my section. And the dust; oh dearie me.

The spare room now resembles a cross between a charity/junk shop (which has not received the Mary Portas treatment) and a car boot sale without well, the car boot.

I show you these photos not because I think you're going to find them thrilling but because I want to be able to look at them in a few weeks and see progress! So tomorrow, in comes our super decorator and the transformation can begin. Usually, I love the decorating process and I'd have the whole room scheme planned but other than choosing the wallpaper, everything else is still up in the air.

On to prettier and more fanciful things. As you know, I have a thing for these little felty and/or vintagey brooches.

This special one came from Niki's fabulous shop when we visited a few weeks ago. It's so unusual and seems to be made from a thin plastic, dating to the 1940s.

The big anemone was made by yours truly one morning and has adorned many an outfit since. And then there are these treasures...

I bought these from the Vintage and Handmade Textiles Fair a few weeks ago. They are clearly genuine 1940's pieces, the felt has those beautiful colours it's hard to replicate. I love the round one with the little whirls of felt and I do believe the other is in the shape of a "V" and would have been made to celebrate victory in the Second World War. A bargain for a fiver (see what you miss if you don't visit these fairs?!)

What I really love is that when I turn them over, I can see they never actually made it into brooches and I am enthralled by all those hand worked stitches from seventy years ago, imagining the hands cutting all those little felty leaves, selecting the colours. As a maker, seeing how someone else works is really really interesting.

So, a sneaky half hour in bed this morning, (in the spare spare room - Charlie Boy is thrilled and has taken up permanent residence on the pile of eidys,) saw the little felt pieces finally become brooches as my own fair hands sewed on brooch pins. This weekend, they finally shall be worn as we recreate a little of the era of 1943. Yes, off we go for a little jaunt while Steve the decorator and Lola the cat sitter take over.

(Dress from the London Vintage Fashion Fair in Hammersmith last Sunday.)

See you in a while...


  1. Enjoy your weekend away - a good time to go! Cant wait to see the newly decorated bedroom. I must do that thing of taking everything out of the wardrobe soon - so daunting.However, its how you rediscover treasures too!
    Cant believe the time is flying - he will be a teenager before you know it! Mine were only 8 and when I looked again, 24 and 19! Enjoy it all! xx By the way - your dresses and brooches look so pretty

  2. Beautiful brooches.
    Your bedrooms look like home from home. We seem to continually live in chaos here!!
    Have a great weekend (decorating?)

  3. Oh for just a 5 minutes supermarket style sweep through that fabric stash ;)

    One day we'll get round to decorating our bedroom - perhaps next year!

  4. Oh dear Hen, you are worse than me! Seriously, you could charge for people to just come and admire your den! Tiina

  5. Your house looks amazing, bet the bedroom looks great when you do finish it :) loving your fabric piles, so colourful and pretty, so envious!!

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  6. Your fabric stash is truly adorable i could have a field day in there looking through each one ,i love it and the broches are so sweet ,your such an inspirationxx

  7. Your blog always cheers my day - which I really needed :)

  8. Hen, thank you for showing us those pictures of the bedroom before the big transformation. It's somehow reassuring to see that even someone as dedicated to order and beauty and style could also face a very big challenge. And...take it on!

    Those vintage almost-done brooches are really delightful. Wonderful that you have given them that final touch that allows them to get out and about.

    As always, best wishes to you. xo

  9. Oh your fabric stash is amazing!!! I could look at it for hours... and its making me want to go and sort mine out.. Good luck with the decorating, cant wait to see finished pics. :O)

  10. Munchkin is pretty cool, isn't he? Enjoy your weekend.

  11. Have a nice weekend!

    Pomona x

  12. All that fabric I would be in heaven if I had that amount!
    Those brooches are amazing.
    Can't wait to see your room when it is finished
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  13. I have to admit to having serious fabric envy when I first started reading this post :o)
    But as I read further down, I now also have 'a happy helper' envy too :o)
    What a sweetie your little boy is.
    I'm (hopefully) looking forward to seeing some photos from your upcoming weekend. It's lovely seeing you all dressed up from the forties, and most inspiring too!

    Your dresses all hanging up look gorgeous Hen, as does your new one ready to wear this weekend :o)

    I really do love those vintage posy corsage/brooches...they remind me of some my mum had from the war!

    Have a fantastic weekend, and may you come back to a most gorgeous bedroom :o)

    Kindest regards,
    Donna x

  14. Oh my all that fabric is just beautiful! <3

  15. Oh bless the Munchkin - he's a real star.

    Looking forward to seeing how this room is transformed; bet it's going to be magical. x

  16. That's a serious ammout of stash you have there Hen I've seen a well stocked shop with less fabric than that!! Love the little felty brooches they're so sweet and look lovely on your dress have a fab time and don't forget your ration book!! Lucey x

  17. The 40's brooch found the perfect home with you Hen - I know that you will love wearing it. Thanks for the mention, and again, it was lovely to see you and the boys - thank you for visiting my little shop.

    Good luck with the decorating - Hope you'll be all sorted soon,
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Niki :)

  18. What great finds the little felt corsages are and you've done a lovely job with the anemone - I especially like the "V" one and it looks great on your dress.

    Enjoy your trip back in time this weekend :o)

  19. Lovely brooches & your fabric stash is growing!!! :) x

  20. I'm loking forward to seeing your finished bedroom - it's always nice to redecorate but quite a mess while it's happening.

    How did I miss those brooches - that's the trouble with being behind a stall!

  21. I know what you mean about the feeling of out of control...currently the garden and the studio and the conservatory are suffering...argh!
    Love the brooches.

  22. ooh are you going to Pickering war weekend I might see you there if you are
    xx fee

  23. Thank you so much! I showed my lovely husband your fabric stash and was able to say "Well, my little collection is nothing like this!" I was thinking that if I had a seriously fabulous stash like your one I would be like the cat who got the cream. XXX

  24. Great colours and so beautiful house!
    Have a nice Sunday!

  25. oh how I love to see your Den! What a lot of fabric and it's great you have a happy helper. I hope you had a nice weekend away escaping the decorating going on at your house. Did you get my email I sent last week about your notecards?
    Take care, Ali :)

  26. Hi! I love all your things here! Best greetings Riitta Sinikka / Romulyyli-blog.

  27. Wow! You have a very voluminous fabric stash. Wonderful! I love your pretty brooches.


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