Friday, 26 October 2012

Pro Euro

When we arrived back from Yorkshire at the weekend, I peered through the French windows in the kitchen to survey the back garden.  It's really a dismal scene of decay, shrouded by Autumn mists, and not in a pretty way.  However, I spotted afar, some pinky dots on the wooden rose arbour and was rewarded for venturing into the garden to find that some of the rose bushes had indeed sprung a few late season blooms.  Oh happy days.  Snippety snip.  It didn't stop there, as my home grown dahlias are still flowering away with abandon, too.

I love flowers, errrm you've probably noticed.  I always like to have a jug of flowers in the house, it seems nice to have something real and living inside(though I guess as they've been cut, they're actually dying, oh dear!)  It's an absolute treat, I think, to be able to step outside and armed with the kitchen scissors, snip away whatever takes your fancy to make a little posy to bring the outdoors inside.  I hadn't thought I'd still be able to do this so a happy girl I am.  In the Den, the dahlias in their clashing colours are taking centre stage.

I have so many dahlia blooms, that in the kitchen, (ah, my pride and joy), I have a couple of shaggy white-tipped red ones in a favourite old Bridport-market-bought milk bottle.  I'd never normally have flowers over here by my hob, ooh how fancy!

There's another whopping purple one on the island.  (The eagle eyed amongst you will note that the sad and empty cake stand has been replaced with an almost empty biscuit jar!)  It's a sad fact that taking photos for the blog is becoming more of a chore than a pleasure at this time of year, with the generally gloomy weather and dull  lighting conditions.  This photo testifies to that.  Ah well.

My absolute favourite rose, David Austin's Jubilee Celebration, is still flowering away and smells divine.  I can't think of another flower I'd rather have here, sitting prettily in their much-longed-for green milk glass (did you know that Re now have a concession in Liberty?  Swooooon.)

In case you were thinking life is all utopian around here, you should know that the other end of my delightful kitchen, being the room that is more usually our sitting room, is looking like this.

No element of the work we've had to have done here this year has been simple, nor has it gone to plan.  Work which should have taken twelve to fourteen weeks is now in its thirty-third week.  Dare I say that we are hopefully nearing the end and unfortunately, the almost-last job is to have the original floor in this room replaced because it was not capable of repair.  Similar, antique boards have been sourced so here's hoping for a good result.  Meanwhile, there's the constant banging of nails, sanding and so on and if you ever wondered what it looks like underneath a one hundred and forty year old floor...

It's not pretty!  It's also blooming freezing.

Let's escape.  Before we head off to the Den, I remembered there are more roses in the lounge.  They don't last long, you can see their petals dropping after a couple of days, but maybe that's why I appreciate them so much.

Upstairs, I decided it was time for a new project today.  The cold spell seems to have landed and I need another project to snuggle up under and hand quilt in front of the fire.  The furry friends agree.

I know that I have blogged about these fabrics before, they date from around the 1930s and emanate mainly from Europe, particularly France and Germany.  I had a "thing" for these when I discovered them a few years back and fought many a hard battle on eBay to grow this particular stash!

I have previously made some little lavender bags, covered coat hangers and several of these lovely Dresden plate cushion covers.  This one resides in my guest room.  The others went to Australia.  Quite a journey. 

This fabric was generally used for bedding.  Why oh why can one not buy bedding as delightful as this any more?  I have one entire pillowcase which I am finding I cannot cut up (all the other fabric is fat quarter-ish sized).

In truth, I did cut up another pillowcase but it had lots of rust stains so I was able to cut those out and salvage the rest.  The pillowcases are, of course, European-style, large and square with a buttoned closure.  I've never found these particularly practical myself, though pretty they undoubtedly are, and yield a lot of fabric.

So out came the rotary cutter, it's time to make a quilt just from these fabrics.  Some have a brushed feel and they are all a little faded and worn, and just deliciously soft and oh so pretty.

I'm only going to make a smallish lap quilt, nice and manageable, I wouldn't dare make a bed-sized one which the furry friends would instantly claim, and subsequently demolish, with their furry clawed adoration.  I figured on 5.5" cut squares, I want them to be quite small when finished, and thought I had maybe twenty different blue-toned fabrics so I'd cut three of each.  Yikes, several hours later, I have errm, quite a lot more than twenty blue-y designs!

I haven't even started on the pink and purple piles, though they in truth are far outnumbered by the blue.  I love this stage of a project, when after many hours of ironing and cutting, I am left with a neat pile of squares all ready to be easily sewn together.  That's my true love, the patch working.

The weekend beckons, as does tonight, a date with my better half, and Mr James Bond at the cinema.  Oh but I am far too excited!  Have a good one, whatever you do...


  1. You must be a very patient woman, but once that floor is finished it will be gorgeous, that's for sure! Your taste in fabrics are gorgeous, and I love the look of your blog... and if I were to visit your house I would have to have a sniff of each and ever flower :)

  2. Dear Hen

    Gorgeous flowers!! Alas, my dahlias were a disaster and after being lovingly brought on indoors were gobbled up by slugs - do you have any tips?

    Have you done a kitchen reveal? I'd love to have the grand tour!!

    Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt....

    S x

  3. Pretty flowers you have inspired me to step into my garden to see what is there despite the wind.
    Pretty fabrics can't wait to see the new quilt.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  4. Still a holey floor...aaargh! I bet the cats have explored every single nook and cranny below the boards.
    Lovely fabrics. I'm sludging...and cutting my Chrysanths before the frost arrives and wrecks them tonight.x

  5. I so agree that the floor job is scary! You would adore the Shabby Chic line of bedding from Target here in the USA. Can you order from them there in the UK? I drool over that bedding every time I pass it in the store. It can be a bit pricey but it is all so lovely and deliciously beautiful.

  6. Lovely colourful fabrics.....xx

  7. I know just how you feel about not cutting into something. I have a collection of feedsacks which still have the label on and I cannot bring myself to use them!!

  8. Love the whole post, but I do so identify with what you say about gloomy photography conditions...

    Well, I'm chuffed to have made you envious with my édrodons! With all your lovely French fabric, I would have thought you would be blasé about it all! I've cut up some French pillow cases in my time, but my charity shop doesn't usually turn up anything as pretty/old as the ones you have there. Your quilt is going to look lovely.

  9. lovely post,hope the work gets finished soon, enjoy James Bond :) Xxx

  10. Always a fulfilling read popping in to the Hen House on this cold, wet freezing evening. Lovely warmth emanating from the proposed flannel lap quilt. Sunshine substitute with the beautiful flowers, roses are my favourite, the pink one looks so like velvet, enticing one to reach out and gentle touch with finger tips.
    I am never disappointed in my visits to the Hen House, thank you for the smiles you bring.

    Peg xx

  11. After years of working in a very stressful centre, never knowing what issues may walk through the door, I find measuring, cutting, ironing and folding fabric so satisfying! Previous collegues would think I had gone mad! Ada :)

  12. oh I can't wait to see your finished lap sized quilt with those lovely, lovely fabric's Hen! I've actually just set up a new online quilting fabric shop in the UK selling lots of 1930's reproduction prints, which I know you're a fan of ;) so I thought it may interest you to take a nose?

    Best of luck with your floorboards too!!
    Jessie, xo

  13. Dear Hen, I am really lookimg forward to see your nue blue quilt. Have a good time with James Bond. Nicolex

  14. You can't go wrong with plenty of blue, Hen!

    Rachael x

  15. oooooh such yummy fabrics! *drools*

  16. Such a treat to see your fabric stash. I'm not sure whether to be happy or not that contractor woes there seem to be just the same as those here ... nothing ever done on time or budget! Hoping to pick snapdragons here tomorrow. My goal is to have fresh flowers as many months of the year as possible ... even if it's one tiny snapdragon on Nov. 1!

  17. Such beautiful fabrics...the older style is so appealing :)

  18. Lovely flowers, my roses are all gone now :( Looking forward to seeing your finished quilt xx

  19. I am sure that your kitchen will be super lovely when finished.

    Good luck with your lovely quilt, you are so talented Mrs hen.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes, I was lucky to celebrated another one.

    Julie and Poppy Q

  20. I draw your 'homey' posts up around me like a well-loved quilt---Lovely lovely post.

  21. Hi Hen.. how was the movie? I love all the flowers you managed to harvest and bring in.. I noticed I have some rose buds outside and want to cut them and bring them in.. it's cold and rainy and miserable outside, I'm sure the flowers would be happier inside!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-) (Did you check my blog this week? I have lots of seaside photos from our week at the Oregon Coast.)

  22. What a mix of delights Hen - I am with you on the dahlias, they just keep going when everything else has all but given up! And what a range of lovely fabricos - I bet you spend ages just looking and looking and looking at them (that is what I do a bit too often - ahem!).
    Best wishes

  23. I am with you - a house without a fresh bloom ...... I fill jam jars, glasses, whatever. Hope you enjoyed Mr Bond - we did. Good luck with the floor. x

  24. Is an inspiration to see many ideas decor, woven floral plates end wonderful.


  25. hen, I would LOVE to see pics of your kitchen redo ,did I miss a post on this, or have you not done the reveal yet?
    We are in early stages of planning a big renovation of dining/kitchen and I am beginning to try and formulate ideas of style and design...looking for inspiration!!
    LOVE the late dahlias, glorious colours and a real reminder of late summer, so precious as late as October.
    Much love

  26. what gorgeous fabrics Hen...cant wait to see it

  27. Such a beautiful post full of pretties, and that vintage fabric is gorgeous!! xo Heather

  28. Love all your gorgeous dahlias, Hen! I must plant lots more next year too :) Good luck with the new floor....the sight of the raised floorboards in your house reminds me of when our kitchen was done a few years ago...well worth it in the end!
    Helen x

  29. ahhh your pretty pictures and flowers do cheer on a cold day like this

  30. Hi's good to be back...and thanks for popping by!

    I loved the new JB film...going to see it again next week with Chris.....YAY!

    Just catching up with all your doings....all

  31. Your flowers are beautiful, and as for that fabric, well, what more can I say........heaven, in little piles of fabric! :)

  32. Hi, I love your blog, nice to find it. I know how you feel about the light, photos are a nightmare, .. however yours look nice. Lovely blooms, and fabrics.

  33. Beautiful home ! From, @peppermintplace xo


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