Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Slumbery Ta-Dah

Hello readers, greetings from sunny London! Today I am hanging around, (waiting to hear the car is ready to be collected after its service,) so when the sun appeared I snatched up my camera and started snapping.

I thought we'd have a "flannel ta-dah"! I encouraged Vorey to vacate the bed and then set about shaking off the errm, odd bit of cat fur and making the bed look a bit pretty. So pretty, a ginger friend decided to take up residence.

Ummmm, cosy!

I feel a tad miffed that my ta-dah moment has been hijcked so the pictures here are the best I can do. I am very pleased with the flannel, it's so super soft and cosy and I've made it quite a big quilt so there's plenty to get snuggling in, good job as there's generally a fair few bodies in there vying to claim the flannel!

I've had various questions about the flannel so here's a bit of a re-cap in one place. The actual flannel fabrics came from varying sources, collected over at least a year. I've bought vintage sheets and pillowcases, whether from thrifty sources or the backing sheet which came from the Country Living Fair (it was still only £8). You need to check for wear as flannel does get bobbly; some is delightfully acceptable, what you don't want is for the fabric to look worn. I picked up the odd new pretty flannel sheet, TK Maxx is always a good source. My sister assisted by looking out for flannel and bought me a gorgeous vintage-looking piece from Abakhan in Chester. I bought the odd new piece or fat quarter myself, from quilt fairs and also my local sewing shop which sells narrow flannelette sheeting on the bolt with the intention that it be used for baby bedding. Steer clear of the cutesy prints and stock up on the florals and polka dots. I then had two main sources of vintage flannel; one being Kim of Worn and Washed, whose stall my sister and I always head for at the Festival of Quilts. Kim sells strip rolls of 5" wide "pre-loved" fabrics, including flannel. I bought one of those ages ago. I then asked my fabric friend Donna if she had any flannels and she came up trumps with a fab selection. In the end, I think I must have had a dozen different designs from her.

I pieced the top in a pretty much haphazard fashion (so very enjoyable!) I then layered the vintage backing sheet and the batting. I chose Dream Puff batting which is polyester and has a high loft. I felt this would work well with the flannel and give a nice pouffey feel for maximum snuggle-ability. I then hand basted the quilt layers (how boring?) because flannel can be quite loose weave and prone to shifting, also because I felt it would be nicer sitting quilting it on the sofa without lots of metal pins sticking in me.

I then proceeded to hand quilt using big stitches, utility style, with prettily coloured perle cottons, size 8 . Thanks to Kate, I did indeed use a sashiko needle for the quilting which worked a treat and provided many a pleasurable hour in front of the fire in the evening. (You can get the batting, sashiko needles and the perle cottons from The Cotton Patch).

I decided to bind the quilt with strips taken from a vintage candy striped sheet. Oh happy days, I think this is marvellous! It's a budget option if you have picked your sheet up thriftily (I have stockpiled a few over the years), because the sheets are wide it yields very long strips (fewer to join) and the cotton is fab quality so will be hard wearing. I thought a flannel binding would get worn and bobbly very quickly, the edges of a quilt take the most wear. The only thing is that the sheeting is quite thick so a little tougher to hand sew but a price worth paying.

So there you have it, my first but certainly not the last adventure in flannel. I'd still like a shot of the quilt on the line but that all depends on the furry friends, of course! (Update: I've just checked, there is only one ginger there now, Charlie Boy ... but Vorey too. I give up!) I've had some enquiries about making flannel quilts to sell, thank you kindly. I've probably got enough flannel to make one smaller quilt but it will have to wait a while.

As my flannel ta-dah was cut short and as I was in the bedroom anyway, I thought we'd let ourselves go today with a double ta-dah (gasp) and have a look at our bedroom, which you may recall was being decorated at the end of last year.

I've been having problems with both my camera and photo software such that the photos are in disarray so apologies that I have spent time searching for the "before" photos in vain. The paint for the walls was colour-matched by the paint shop to the background of the wallpaper, a trick of which I am fond. I think it looks like a pool of melted vanilla ice cream and is a good foil for everything else that's going on in this room. I painted the fireplace which formerly was very black and masculine. It's not original to the house, although it is an authentic period piece, and wouldn't have been our choice, but we decided not to replace it. I used (many coats of) "All White" by Farrow and Ball (with a metal primer underneath).

Once the main decorating was over, we trotted off one weekend to Bridport with a shopping list which read:

Vintage etched mirror
Vintage glass candlesticks
Old Lloyd Loom blanket box
Old side chair
Old lamp base and lamp shade

Quite unbelievably, we managed to find every single thing we wanted amongst the street market and charity or vintage shops. Here (in the photo above), it's the mantel mirror you can see, a bargain at £14, and the glass candlesticks for £5. The divine rug came from the lovely Clare at Vintage Home, purveyor of the most covetable vintage items. Always worth treating yourself to a few seriously beautiful items to lift the whole scheme.

We didn't feel we could replace the bedside tables which were relatively new. I think they may well get a paler paint treatment, it's just psyching myself up to getting round to it! Likewise, we already had the lovely Barcelona chair. Arguably, I wouldn't have chosen it to go with this new colour scheme but well, it is a nice and comfy chair so it stays, adorned with quilts, cats and so on. I had covered the headboard a while ago using a vintage woollen blanket and the tapestry picture on the wall came from the Country Living Fair. I swapped the bedside table lamps for the ones in our guest room which I preferred. These had previously received a makeover a few years ago when I recovered the shades in my fave Cath K ditsy floral print and added a velvet trim.

The main challenge in this room was to curtain the windows. There was no doubt about changing the previous curtains which had been ravaged by the fierce afternoon sun this room receives, but I couldn't find any vintage ones large enough, with the triple bay window measuring a staggering 14' wide and 10' long. I really wanted Cath Kidston ones in the beautiful linen upholstery fabric but a quotation for over £1200 made me think twice! So, I turned to eBay and watched for a good while for curtains big enough. One day, there they were, £250, an awful lot more affordable and they are beautifully made, inter-lined curtains which apparently once came from a grand house in Dorset. They are now "slumming" it here! I had them dry cleaned (£90, eek!) and replaced the narrow header tape with a deep one which I actually took off our previous curtains as it was in perfect order. They hang much better with a deeper heading tape.

Because this room faces onto the road, we put up some simple Ikea roller blinds in a light fabric, just to shade the room, which we keep down all the time. They are great and let the light in but obscure the view. I opted for some pretty glass curtain hold backs from Laura Ashley.

I did indeed find the lamp base and shade. I have become quite obsessed with lamps recently but that's another post! The vintage glass lamp base was £5 and cleaned up a treat. I stockpile old lampshades from charity shops for a few pounds and like this one, I cover them with vintage fabric. You may have seen this sort of style in Cath K, they're pretty easy to make for yourself. I dislike overhead lighting (practical though it is for certain purposes) and am a big fan of lots of task and table lamps. We already owned all the vintage pictures, radio and so on.

We also came up trumps with the blanket box at the vintage market. I've yet to recover the lid as I can't decide on fabric (the original is pretty but damaged) but this has been a great find as I have been able to store all the bedding in here and free up space in my utility room. It is also, of course, an extra kitty seat!

It is now a home to my vintage embroidered sachets, one for your nighty, the other for hankies (for which I do have a little weakness).

The chair, well yes, we found that ready-painted round the street market. Unusually, I even bought the cushion on it, also from the street market (it's one of those things about which I usually think "I can make them myself") but I just really loved the fabric. They were both very reasonably priced and it's always nice to support your local hard-working vendors, don't you think? The print is an original Eileen Soper which accompanied the Enid Blyton nature stories for school rooms back in the 1950s. (That rather delightful vintage double wedding quilt recently arrived from America, via eBay, oops.)

The Munchkin is a hardened thrifty shopper with a keen eye for a good vintage cushion!

And you probably spotted the wallpaper already. When we moved in, there was a whole wall full of built-in wardrobes which were great for storage except they didn't have any doors to hide the clutter. Finally, we have had simple MDF doors made which are painted inside and papered on the outside with this pretty, vintage-looking Anna French rosebud wallpaper. The paper has been sealed with a special decorators' matt varnish.

The vintage knobs we had stock-piled from the architectural salvage stall on the Bridport street market. This wall of wardrobes with doors has probably effected the most change to the room, now it generally looks pretty tidy.

I approve, says Charlie Boy. Don't forget the eidy?

At night, it's rather a nice place to relax, too.

Well, Jacky Ginge thinks so!


  1. Its very pretty. I do love the new quilt too - looks very light but cosy and warm. They are my sort of curtains! Now you have done your room will you help me do mine......?
    Julie xxxxxxx

  2. I want to move right in---having a serious love affair with that flannel quilt, girl!! Thanks so much for sharing how you went about making this one. And your lamps shade are to kill for... :)

  3. It all looks delightful,how lovely to be able to find all the things on your 'wanty' list! :0)

  4. What a great post, and loved all the bargains, the curtains definitely a great bargain, and Bridport always seems to come up trumps. It looks so cosy no wonder your cats certainly approve.

  5. Such yummy photos! I love visiting your blog and seeing them.

  6. oh wow hen, it all looks so pretty.
    you have been very busy but certainly worth it. it looks so cosy at night.
    i have been searching for a lloyd loom linen basket - i have searched on ebay but some are very expensive or they are in a bit of a bad way.
    i also love the fireplace.

  7. We have just had fog for day's now, lucky you with the sunshine :-) the quilt is just stunning and your room sooo cosy. its all lovely xx

  8. It looks so lovely and cosy. Be careful of that radiator as it will damage your beautiful tall-boy!

  9. Thanks for sharing that with us.It's a lovely room.

  10. Ooooh, beautifully cozy, very nice!

    : )

  11. You've done a good job making that room cozy and inviting. Love the quilt! I'm finishing a crocheted Teddy Bear today and then will do a "photo shoot" and a blog about it. Fun fun. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  12. Wow what a gorgeous bedroom. I'd happily move in!Perhaps it'll be enough to motivate me to get ours done...
    Nice to see all the Dorset treasure going to a good home.

  13. Wow what a lovely room, love the white fireplace and jinks I spotted your bush radio, I have one of those too in my kitchen. Love your new header too :) Have a lovely weekend

    All things nice...

  14. Looks great- those glass curtain tie backs are excellent-as are the curtains.Sometimes shopping just works and everything on the list appears like magic.
    So glad you enjoyed using the shashiko needles,I find them really good with thicker threads.
    Cats are particularly fond of flannel/brushed cotton quilts ( as am I).I'm working on one at the moment and keeping them off it while I'm working is a task and a half!

  15. How lovely your quilt is. The hand quilting with colored thread really makes it. So simple and so beautiful.

  16. What a gorgeous room and all your hard work on the quilt has paid off! I LOVE posts like this that give you a mosey round people's houses always good for inspiration for new projects! :-)

  17. Great post Hen!
    The addition of something that purrs in home photos is always a joy.
    You should be an interior decorator for sure!

  18. Gosh, what a lovely bedroom, large too.

  19. Beautiful room, thank you for taking us on a tour and telling us its story.
    Love the flannel quilt, no wonder your handsome cats find it so snuggly.
    A really cosy relaxing bedroom.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend.
    Carol xx

  20. Looks really cosy and welcoming. Lovely!

  21. What a lovely cosy room, no wonder the pussy cats like it xx

  22. Hen, this quilt is truly stunning!
    Absolutely beautiful! And what a most gorgeous backing sheet you managed to get for the back too!
    No wonder you can't get the little kitty kats off :o)

    Your bedroom looks truly amaing too! I love all your little glass touches. I do like a bit of glass..
    Your photos are amaing in this post..really, really lovely.

    Hope you have the bestest of Mothers Days my dear, and are truly spoilt!
    Take care Hen.
    Love n hugs,
    Donna xx

  23. It turned out quite beautiful!

  24. It's lovely Hen. I love that you have a story for everything in makes it special. :) Love the quilt, it looks SO cozy.

  25. Everything is wonderful Hen, right down to the last detail. And what wonderful proportions your house has, too. When I come back in my afterlife, I want to be one of your cats! Mary x

  26. A very cozy looking room, no wonder the cats want to curl up in there.


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