Monday, 28 May 2012

Are You Ready?

How was the weekend then, readers?  Mighty fine here in good old England, it was.  We've waited a long time for this glorious weather and so we're darned sure we're going to make the most if it.  Thanks so much for your well wishes for the fair.  The footfall was definitely down but who can blame folks for making the most of the sunshine outdoors?  I had a good natter with my fellow stall holders and made the odd essential vintage purchase.

It can't have escaped your notice, in particular those of us from Blighty, that this weekend sees the Jubilee Celebrations for our wonderful Queen. So the question is: are you ready?

What are you planning to get up to over the four-day holiday weekend.  I'm looking anxiously at the weather forecast and hoping it shall stay fine to allow for a little outdoor partying.

Most importantly, I'm having fun thinking of everything "red, white and blue" and digging out treasures to decorate for the weekend.

Today, it is absolutely glorious here so I loaded up my basket and off out into the sunshine I went.

Time for a little Jubilee-style shoot.  Gorgeous, fragrant red roses which are so abundant in our front garden at the moment have found a home in the vintage Sadler jug I bought a few weeks ago.  Oh how I have been waiting for that moment, to snip those blooms and place them in that rescued rosy red and stripy blue jug.

Out too went the Union Jack cushions I made last week.  I can't say I'd mind keeping them but that would be a tad greedy (I do already have one for keeps).  So I took some snaps then regrettably headed back indoors for a good while to load up the photos into Etsy; the little downside of this sewing business!

Indoors, I took the opportunity to snap lots of other goodies, too.  Our home was built in the 1870s and has good thick brick walls and huge sash windows meaning it actually keeps beautifully cool in this weather so it's nice to retreat indoors for a breather.

So there are lovely lampshades, brilliant bunting, beautiful bags and pretty pins.  Yes, I've swallowed the alliterative dictionary!

Just what you need for a Jubilee-themed celebration and all Summer long, in fact.  I never manage to take my bunting down all Summer once it's up and why the hecky thump should I?

Not everything was red, white and blue themed, promise!

There has to be pretty pastels, especially a bit of Cath K and Liberty Tana Lawn.

Oh dear, another one sneaked in there!

Phew, that was a marathon of snapping and listing!  If you fancy any goodies to give your celebrations a bit of handmade homespun pzazz or your home (or indeed you) wants a little love, please find all these additions in my Etsy shop.  I've offered free postage on some items and special deals when buying more than one item. 

Me?  I'm back off outside with something tall and cool (no, not Mr HenHouse, he's not back from work, yet)!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Made in England

Well it's time to get packing after an industrious week.  Tomorrow the boys and I are off to Chipping Sodbury for what promises to be another super Vintage and Handmade Fair.   I seem not to have taken a photo of my mock up stall in its entirety, oops.  I blame the heat (or the rose wine I've had to drink to keep hydrated, you know how it is).

One of the Fair's organisers, Jayne, has written up a nice piece about the Fair and the town of Chipping Sodbury.  We hope to see lots of familiar faces and welcome new ones, too.

So now I can relax, well once the car is packed up, but I'll leave that in the capable hands of Mr HH once he gets home later.    Coming with us is a large collection of entirely handmade brooches, I love to make these and was sewing a few up on the train yesterday to and from the Chelsea Flower Show which drew many enquiring glances!  My latest creation are these, in honour of the Jubilee next weekend but let's be honest, the Union Jack is fabulous all the time.

More Union Jack fever in the form of these lavender-filled hearts, fashioned from vintage blue floral fabric.

It's officially the season of wonderful Summer weddings and garden parties.  Every well-turned out lady needs a unique bag made with yummy 1950's fabrics to be the belle of the ball.

A few patchworked book covers have been run up, some with Cath K ditsy florals and others with Liberty Tana lawn, which I think are particularly gorgeous (if you don't mind me saying so, but then it's hard to go wrong with LTN).

Cushions, well I don't know about the good folks of Chipping Sodbury and beyond, but I can never get enough of them.  Here the Union Jack has a new twist with a central panel of lovely vintage embroidered linen.

It wouldn't be Summer without some bunting flapping in the breeze.  Here's some that will be perfect all Summer long, not least next weekend's Jubilee celebrations.  I've used pretty fabrics in red, white and blue: florals, polka dots and vintage stripes.  

Lest I forget, some more vintage embroidered linen with a gorgeous butterfly motif was begging me to be combined with my precious "buttercup" fabric range.  Ooooh pretty!

Finally, thank you for the lampshade love in my last post.  I've indulged my continuing obsession by running up a few for the Fair.

The HenHouse gang hope to see you between 10am and 4pm in Chipping Sodbury tomorrow and otherwise, wish you all a super weekend whatever you may get up to.  Long may the sunshine last!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lights, Camera, Action!

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy here at the HenHouse.  The building works are now in their third month and I am pretty cheesed off with the whole business, to be honest.  I'm used to the luxury of having a lovely peaceful house to myself most days so the constant presence of smoking, singing builders is unsettling to say the least.  I've found it hard to settle down and get on with many sewing projects but that's not to say there hasn't been a fair amount of making over going on.  

But first, it wouldn't be right (nor British) not to talk about the weather.  It's a little dull here at 7am but there are exciting promises of sunshine later!  AND this coincides with the week of Chelsea Flower Show, oh happy days.  Most thrillingly, I have been able to pick my first peonies from the garden and also, the first roses.  And they just happen to be seriously divine.

I can't tell you what variety they are as this rose was already here when we moved in.  To look at it, you would now think it is a climber but I'm unsure whether it was always a climber or has just gone slightly mad in recent years!  It vies for first place as my favourite rose in the garden and has a heavenly scent, too.

It's been a delight to snip off a few blooms and bring them indoors, to arrange them in my new (old) china rose jug and arrange them on the table on the landing just outside my Den.

You may recall that this is the site of the "Bagpuss Table".  Whilst making yet another run to drop off things at the charity shop last week, I ended up coming home not empty handed.  This bamboo table called to me, all £5.50 of it.

And did you spot my new lamp?  I have become quite giddily obsessed with lamps, dear reader.  This one was spotted at the Shepton Mallet Flea Market, £8 for a bargainous 1930s/'40s oak barley twist lamp base and a shockingly dreadful 1980's shade!  No problem: a spot of new braided flex courtesy of Mr HenHouse later, and a lampshade with delicious vintage fabric from yours truly et voila.  What a team!

What to put on those handy shelves under the table top?  It had to be piles of delicious vintage fabric.  These are generally of a heavier weight, so those I would use for cushions and lampshades, rather than patchwork.  This delightful sight greets me every time I go upstairs.

What of the original Bagpuss Table?  Fear ye not, that has simply moved to the next landing and had a little makeover of its own.

I recently came to be in possession of this brown lamp.  It's very un-me, don't you think?  But none the less, it had indeed sat in the spare bedroom for a few years but was liberated last week when I turned that bedroom into a full scale quilting den, getting rid of the bed and so on (more of that another time, oooh it's exciting!)

This lamp did look nice in the environs of the chic calamine pink and mink bedroom but had no home elsewhere in the HenHouse.  

But it is a tale with a happy ending.  One can of pink spray paint and a recovered lampshade later and the Bagpuss Table has a new lamp.

More lampy stuff has been going on downstairs.  This time, I bought the 1940's oak lampbase on eBay and recovered a charity shop shade with some gorgeous French red rosebud fabric which came from Lizzie (The Washerwoman).  Yes, I am quite quite potty about these fabric lampshades.

We bought the little 1940's glazed cabinet at the Shepton Mallet Flea and I made a little door curtain using that same yummy fabric.

Finally, (are you all lamped out yet?), our beloved Bridport yielded a rather lovely Globe Wernicke bookcase.  I have wanted one of these for ages and imagine our joy when we got it home to find that an original CC41 plaque is attached to the back.  We somehow managed to find a spot for it up on the top floor landing, an area which is largely the Munchkin's domain (the top floor, not just the landing!) and before I knew it, he had claimed the bookcase as his own.  He has selected items he owns and made a fabulous little display, all on his own.

Yes, there atop the bookcase is yet another lamp.  The base came from Bridport's vintage area for a few pounds, the lampshade was 50p from a charity shop and it was a simple job to cover it with some groovy retro Spitfire fabric and finally, a very Jubilee-esque trim.

Hmm, surely there must be more surfaces here in need of lamps? I feel my love affair with making over lamps is not yet over. I urge you to get making over lamps yourself, a very satisfying and thrifty affair indeed.  One thing's for sure, no one else is going to have a lampshade like yours!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

1940 on The Bluebell Line

Well, how lucky were we on Saturday when the day dawned bright and sunny.  Off we set for the rolling Sussex countryside for a little trip by steam train.  All aboard!  

The Bluebell Line is a very picturesque heritage railway.  It is literally in the middle of the countryside, thank goodness some clever folks thought to preserve it as it makes a fantastic destination for a wholesome day out.  The stations are particularly fine with many original artefacts.  They are often used for films and tv, indeed The Railway Children was filmed here.

Back we go to the 1940s.  Mr HenHouse purchases our tickets (of the proper cardboard variety).  Off we go.

Signs alert us to the fact that there could be an air raid at any time so it's important to know where the shelter is.

Looks like we've been beaten to it!

Choo, choo.  What better way is there to travel than by steam?

Perhaps we'll just treat ourselves to a cuppa and a home-baked cake before we set off.

Maybe a newspaper for the journey?

There are interesting displays of wartime ephemera.

Opportunities for retail therapy of the vintage kind!

It's time to hop on board.  I quite fancy this carriage!

I enjoy seeing the fields of bluebells through the window but the Munchkin cannot be distracted from his latest book.

The sunshine holds and we decide it's time for our picnic lunch.  Ah, splendid.  We've had far too few opportunities to indulge in this sort of thing given the recent weather.  Cheers!

Mr HenHouse treats us to some superb tunes on the gramophone.  Wow, what an atmosphere that creates!  Time for a little jive perchance?

Phew, I think I'll catch up on my reading, so important to make do and mend, after all.

All too soon, it's time to leave.

Goodbye, Bluebell.  Until the next time...