Wednesday, 28 November 2012

I'm Addicted to...

Ooh golly, there is a myriad of possible responses to that title. I'll keep it simple and tell you that for now, the answer is...FELT!

In addition to the delightful 1940's felt posy Mr Sneaky-in-a-good-way HenHouse presented me with for my last birthday, there was also this cute vintage felt needlecase. 

Inside, it contained an old card of mending thread.  I love the illustrations on these old cards and have quite a little collection now (more of those another day, perhaps).

In fact, I have become quite obsessed by vintage sewing notions such I now feel I can honestly say that I collect them.  On Friday, a gorgeous addition to my collection arrived all the way from America in the form of this cute "Sunbonnet Sue" style needle book in a  divine green felt.  On Sunday, a visit to the fabulous Dairy House Antiques in Dorset yielded the pink felt needle case.  The attention to detail in the making of both delights me.

I couldn't actually use these vintage pieces of history though, oh no.  I could make myself a new version, though, couldn't I?

It felt lonely and needed some friends!

The felt frenzy didn't stop there, dear reader!  Some little fairly ordinary, but oh so useful, tape measures were transformed, too.

By now, I was quite gripped with my wish to create a whole collection of pretty and practical sewing notions.  I was going through my wartime magazines, as you know, and they contain many ideas for needle cases, knitting bags and so on.  It seems pin cushions were also "staging a comeback"!

Pin cushions it is then (sorry about the fuzzy shot, it hasn't really got light all day here).

And then what else might be useful?  What are you going to keep all your "nifty notions" in?

Last week, in the corner of my Den, I came across a couple of stockpiled vintage sewing baskets.  They looked sad and to be honest, they'd probably been there a few years, forgotten about and collecting dust, in addition to the general grimy-ness with which they originally came into my possession.

Much elbow grease and a bit of creativity later...

Inside, a surprise awaits...

And of course, I could suggest that I know just the range of nifty notions to compliment it!

All these goodies shall be accompanying me to Chipping Sodbury to the super duper Vintage and Handmade fair on Saturday and when time allows, I shall also be updating my Etsy shop next week.

Toodle pip!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Well I Never!

So last week, I was engrossed with my wartime magazine binders.  Finally it was Friday evening, I packed them up into one of my wicker baskets, vintage naturally, and off we set through the floods to the West Country.  You may recall that I collect flower pictures, particularly embroidered scenes, and have a wall of these at the cottage.  Did I remember to take a photo of this? No, of course not.  But you've seen it before, no doubt it shall come round again.  There are more pictures dotted around the other walls, too.

The one in my little corner caught my eye.  Purchased a few years ago from the local antiques centre for about £20.  Pretty colours, garden flowers, apple blossom tree, peacock: right up my street.

What was it about it that was so familiar?

What had I spied in one of my 1940's magazines?

Well blow me, I was very chuffed to make this little discovery.  Perhaps a lady sat through the blackout evenings, maybe even down in the shelter, embroidering this picture, enjoying a little pleasure from her wartime magazine.  Seventy years later, it is being appreciated once more.  Serendipity.

And just because... our pretty dining room shelves.

(Please excuse pants photography weather.)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Felt Frenzy

Sorry again, it's been too long since I have managed to pay attention to my neglected blog.  I don't know where the days go but I am enjoying getting back into my crafty ways so much that the hours just fly by.  I think one problem with my blogging is that when I do get round to it, it then takes me forever to photograph and write up a post as I have so much to record, which can then put me off doing it, if I'm honest.  I need to write smaller posts more frequently, I think.  That's the plan!

For my birthday, the frankly rather sneaky-in-a-good-way Mr HenHouse presented me with this delightful posy brooch, which I had admired on one of the stalls whilst we were away in Pickering.  Oooh, there's little I love more than a Forties' felt posy. It looks perfect on my tan coloured CC41 coat.

(Sorry it's not brilliantly in focus, I blame that rather gorgeous Marshall and Snelgrove box!)

So this week, in the run up to the rather fab Vintage and Handmade Fair (1 December, don't you know), I have been having fun with felt.  It started with needle cases (I need to show you those another day) and today, had me turning back to this tome.  I know I have blogged about these two books before, they are homemade binders full of wartime magazines found one serendipitous day in Lewes.  One reason I loved them so much is that they had a lot of patterns for felt accessories.  Be still my beating heart!

So whilst watching The House of Elliot on DVD, (seemed appropriate, if a few decades out!), I had a go at this posy brooch in my favourite pinks, the pattern taken from the page "Crafts for Convalescents", such ideas being apparently in great demand back then; sadly lots of convalescents, I suppose.  I am not aware that I am actually a convalescent, the postie may have thought so when I opened the front door still in my nightie at 11am, (crafting outfit of choice), but did not let that stop me.

We know each other well enough by now for you to know that I would not stop at one?

Time to have fun with my vintage frocks.

Now I know they look so good, I had better make some for me!

Happy weekend all, and by the way, thanks so much for all the guest room love.  I know, I know, the kitchen.  You know what they say about all good things...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tuesday Ta-Dah!

Well, life is returning to normality here, whatever that is.  On Saturday, the sitting room furniture came home from storage but it seems really funny to have the room back and full of furniture again.  Now I am not tied up with project managing builders, making endless cups of tea and cleaning up, I have more time for the pursuits which more normally make up my days: sewing, quilting and blogging, of course.  So let's not waste time and as it's a relatively nice day and I have a quilty finish to reveal, get on with the show.

Let's back peddle though, as upon realising I was not going to risk my usual garden venue for the quilty reveal now it is sheathed in leaves and windfalls, but opt for the guest room instead, I realised this redecorated room hadn't had its ta-dah moment either.  Two-for-one Tuesday!  

Sadly, this was a room we had already decorated since moving here but had to be redecorated as part of the remedial building works.  I know some of you have spotted the wallpaper, well you're about to see a lot more of it!

So there good old Mr HenHouse found himself one Saturday, paper hanging gear in hand.  We make a good team, Mr HH and I: he's the muscle, I'm the ideas.  (He may not see it this way!)

We stuck to a similar colour for the walls and let the decorators get on with the "Borrowed Light" by Farrow and Ball.  It's a little cold looking today in the Winter light but it's a pretty colour I love.  We had previously papered this one alcove and it is a measure of my trust in Mr HH that I let him put up my beloved vintage wallpaper.  Generous, eh?

I was in my natural environment, just patchworking with paper instead of fabric.

I did also paste the squares.  How's that?

Before long, he had the job superbly done and I love, love, love my patchwork wall!  I collected the wallpaper pieces from Etsy, they came from America and date mainly to the 1930s and '40s.  LOVE.  Oh, I think I said that?

For some, it was not proving to be a particularly active day.  Never a good idea to leave the duvet on the floor round here whilst you're changing the bed.

Mr HenHouse wasn't done yet.  Being tall is another of his good points and the lucky man got to arrange the eidys on top of the cupboard.  Now I know they are safe from the furry friends and I can admire them from afar.

Meanwhile, I retreated to my Den to play with bits of fabric.  Golly, what a mess my table is.  I usually think I am uber-tidy.  (We'd just come back from France and I hadn't yet sorted out my goodies.  Honest!)

It all started to look quite fetching.

The gorgeous Durham quilt over the chair came from good old Bridport street market for a bargainous £30.

I never use this dress form as sadly, she is now many sizes smaller than me (she obviously doesn't like chocolate as much as I do).  I bought the '30s satin bed jacket many many years ago back in the days when there used to be moochy house clearance shops around.  I don't think anyone in delightful Catford really saw the beauty in satin bed jackets and this was pennies.  Their loss!


The other side of the room is looking quite inviting, too.

The patchworky squares on my messy cutting table.  What of those?

Oooh golly, could I love this more?  I raided my stash of all my favourite heavier weight vintage fabrics that I have been hoarding.  Barkcloths with 1950's roses, satin-faced chintzes with pastel posies from the 1930s', Liberty-esque waffle weave florals from the '40s.  I don't usually use these that often as they are not the right weight or texture for quilts, they come into play for lampshades, cushions and bags.

And covering blanket boxes.

This one came from Bridport for about £20.  I have seen many of these Lloyd Loom-type ottomans over the years, very cheaply at boot fairs and so on.  I find them very useful and have them at the foot of most of the beds.  I haven't come across so many in recent times so I parted with my £20 cash, a bit more than I'd have liked, but didn't feel too gutted at doing so once the end result was revealed.

Did you spot the headboard on the bed in that photo up there?  This is an Ikea bed, not one I'd ever have chosen myself to be honest, but it was left here when we bought the house and barely used.  I taxed my handy man (yes, that's Mr HH) with making a wooden frame to cover that nasty black affair, set to with some foam and my staple gun, et voila.

The fabric is a gorgeous Cath Kidston linen which came from the outlet store at Bicester for a thrifty £12 per metre.  (It was £35 in the high street shops and I love it, so sad it was discontinued so soon and wishing I'd bought more...)

So there you have it, a pretty guest room.

And the quilty reveal?  Do you remember those divine 1930's floral French and German fabrics from a few weeks back?  They've worked into a delightful quilt.  I patchworked this "free and easy", just picking up random squares, sewing two together, then pairs together and so on.  I wasn't going to make it this big but it kept growing!

Sewing with used vintage fabrics gives you a gorgeous soft and snuggly quilt.  Some are cotton, some are flannel, a bit tricky to piece together as the flannel is quite loose weave but actually, it went together really well.

It's backed with yet another old candy striped flannelette sheet and bound with a pastel polka dotted white cotton.  Another for the stockpile; mine that is!

Thank you for reading through today's ta-dahs, well done, now reward yourself with a cup of tea and a nice slab of cake, preferably from under a snuggly quilt in a pretty pretty room.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Fab-u-lous Fair

Well, it's been a busy few weeks, keeping me away from my little old blog, but with a few milestones passed.  Wednesday saw the end of the building works here, all 39 weeks of them.  I can't tell you how glad I am to see the back of them and have our home back.  It coincided with a visit to the Country Living Fair and my birthday, oh dear another year older, just about hanging on to the "thirty-something" title.  I was a bit disappointed with the CL Fair, mainly because it was so busy that I simply couldn't be bothered to wait to look at some stalls.  No matter, I came away with most of my pennies intact and a good job that was, too!

Today, I headed off into London, something I rarely do on a weekend but I was on an exciting mission.  I usually find my way round London pretty well, I've lived here for seventeen years after all, but West London is not my natural stomping ground and I was a tad lost.  Perhaps it was because I was rather sidetracked by the attractive sights on offer all around me.  Some of London's tube stations are absolutely stunning to look at and do you know, I don't think I've ever emerged from South Ken before, I've just got off and followed the tunnel straight to the V&A.

I picked my way through the streets admiring the gorgeous houses and garden squares.  Ah, England is so beautiful.

I so love this pink front door.  Funnily enough, having seen another one in Bridport, I have been thinking recently how wonderful it would be if every time I came home, I saw a pink front door.  Don't think the boys would be too keen.

I finally found my way to the Kings Road and Chelsea Old Town Hall.  I had a date with my first visit to the Selvedge (magazine) Fair.

The hall itself is absolutely lovely, a really great setting.  As you can see, it was very busy, but not unpleasantly so.  There were two further rooms full of stalls plus some more in the corridors.  Oooh my giddy aunt.  Good job I saved those pennies!

I knew from the Selvedge website that some of my favourite crafts people were going to be there but I was pleasantly surprised to find so many more and such delightful people to meet and talk with.  Obviously not everything is going to be to any one person's taste but I generally found the workmanship superb and the items on offer exquisite.  Let's have a look at a few highlights, shall we?

Matilda-Rose had made some lovely items with vintage blankets as the base cloth, snippets of Tana lawn and some fine free motion stitching.

Cindy Incidentally with lovely Liberty fabric applique teacups.

I am already a big fan of Claire Fletcher's work having been introduced to it through Made in Hastings.  Her work is unashamedly girly and pretty, so right up my street!  Her illustrations are just charming.  A while back, I decided I really wanted to support talented crafts people and buy a special piece of work every now and then and one of her painted tambourines hangs in my Den.

I was also pleased to meet and chat with the lovely Sarah Strachan whose work was new to me.  I noticed that Sarah is featured in the current Selvedge magazine.  Oh look at that cute crocheted blanket.

I loved the miniature patchwork quilt you can see and Sarah explained to me that the patchwork effect is actually painted onto the cloth  Too cute.

Everywhere there were beautiful things to exclaim over.  Out in the corridor, the knitted "Best in Show" cats and dogs were going walkies!

Having first read about Abigail Brown in Homes and Antiques magazine, I have admired her work for some time so I was thrilled to see her work in the flesh.  I adored the little owl, he had such a cute expression on his face but the most comments from fellow visitors were exclamations over the fabulous flamingo.

Having lusted over one for ages, home came the pink birdy.

More excitement awaited round the corner when I beheld the stall belonging to Jessie Chorley showcasing the gorgeous goodies usually found in the Colombia Road shop belonging to her and her friend, Buddug Humphreys.

What is it about these pieces I love so much?  I looked at them a long time, admiring all the little details.  Jessie herself was a delight to chat with.  I think a place on one of her workshops must be secured soon.

And finally, I couldn't have been more thrilled to find Julie Arkell in attendance.  Both she and her stall were looking wonderful and it always amazes me, the new ideas she comes up with and makes her own.

I was so very taken with the crazy patchworked flower brooch in pink...

All beautifully and quirkily displayed.

Ooh, rabbit brooch love.  Could that black one need to come home with me, too?

Julie had the lovely idea to copy postcards which I think her grandfather had brought back from the First World War and combine them with her stitched "everlasting" poppies for Remembrance Day, and every day thereafter.

The lovely lady herself.

Oh what a perfect treat of a day.

Perfect from the lovely poster advertising the fair to the amazing items on offer and the equally pleasant visitors with their compliments on my 1940's cardi.  I bought this at the Chatham Dockyard event and it hangs on the outside of my wardrobe every day for me to admire.  Today, I finally wore it for the first time and I remembered I hadn't shown you.  A perfect cardigan, there can be no doubt.

Do go to the next fair if you get the chance, you have until March to organise your trip.  I'd better start saving...