Friday, 22 March 2013

Pretty Pastel Fair

It's a week of exciting adventures, dear readers, and today I set off by rail for Kingston Town (no not the one in Jamaica).  I was there for a special event, the likes of which I had not been to before.  After an easy stroll through the shopping streets of Kingston, there was no missing the venue.

Yes, this was the venue for the official book launch of Selina Lake's "Pretty Pastel Style" with most excitingly, its accompanying fair.  The entrance foyer had been beautifully decorated.

Oooh and there was the bike, the promised raffle prize, adorned with stunning David Austin roses.

The fair and book signing was being held in the upper hall and the staircase led us enticingly upstairs.

The hall was a very pretty room in its own right but even more so when filled with lovely-looking stalls.

I was delighted by the beautiful makes of Lucinda and her company Sesame and Lilly.

She has used pretty vintage fabrics and trims to super effect.

A lot of her work was beautifully detailed and you needed to look close to see all the dinky beads and stitches.

This contrasted with the goodies next door, lovely handmade items crafted from wood with painted details in pretty colours by Anna Wiscombe.

Peach Blossom has some very pretty paper products including those covetable stripey paper straws, glassine envelopes and doilies. I love a doily!

I was taken with these pretty painted egg cups on the stall of MiaFleur.  

They also had some original vintage pieces, some of which had quirky touches added, like these lace-trimmed tea towels.

Next door, I was very pleased to see Nicky Grace and her gorgeous handmade items, as I loved the images of Nicky's home in the book.

Lovely cheery colours on a rather un-Springlike day.

I then found beautiful flowers and pretty objects, courtesy of Love Lane Vintage (I understand you can find these two sisters on Facebook and Twitter but I will leave that to you as I cannot find my way round those sites!)

I came home with a pretty posy like the one pictured, it smelled divine because of the petite paperwhites tucked within it.  The ladies are running a country brocante in Sussex in April (I imagine you shall find details on Facebook).

At this time, I felt it was time to refuel so headed for ...

What delights awaited me.  Again, I was impressed by all the effort the ladies had gone to to make it look so lovely.  There were pretty tablecloths and more gorgeous roses on each table and piles of teetering vintage china.  I even found a friend serving the teas!

Cakey Bakes had a fab display groaning with yummy things to eat and drink (I can vouch for the chocolate orange cupcake).

There was also an utterly amazing cakey display made specially for the event!  Yes, those books are made of icing.

Ladies were sat with Yvonne of Yvestown learning to crochet and there was the opportunity to enter the draw to win that pretty bike.

Back in the main hall, there were a few stalls remaining over which to swoon.

I also chatted with the folks from Plastikote who had brought out a new range of very prettily coloured spray paints.  Thank goodness, this feels like one product I've been waiting for.

The things they'd made and sprayed looked fab and thanks to them giving me some cans of paint to try, I shall get back to you and let you know how that goes.  (I was told you can find Plastikote on Facebook and they will happily answer any of your queries there.)

I've saved one of my favourites until last.

You may recall that in my post the other day, I showed you an embroidery in a hoop that I had been working on.  This was inspired by a photograph in Selina's book of a gorgeous original item made by Vicky Trainor whom I was lucky enough to meet today.

Vicky and her friend were delightfully chatty and the stand looked beautiful, both the handmade and vintage items.  You can find Vicky at The Linen Garden and drool over all the beautiful things she makes there.

(To the lady who enquired following my post the other day, yes I started my piece with a bit of salvaged embroidered teacloth and then appliqued and embroidered onto that.)

So, all in all, a really lovely day.  I just wished there were even more lovely  stalls to prolong the experience!  A huge amount of effort had obviously gone into decorating the venue and it was lovely for me to see so many makers who were new to me.  Without a doubt, this fair had the friendliest stall holders, they really were a delight to chat with.  I also bumped into some fellow Instagrammers and had a lovely natter with them, too.  

I was tempted, of course, by many things but was fairly restrained (whoever organised three fairs in one week did not take into account my budget!)

I arrived home happy and tired, to find that a certain furry ginger striped somebody was in exactly the same spot as when I left him!

Who can blame him!  Have a super weekend. X

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Snap Happy

Howdy folks, everything alright with you, I hope?  It's pretty darned freezing here today, I think I will have to de-camp from my Den as a cruel wind is rattling through the sashes, brrr.  My fingers are mis-typing with the cold!  What happened to that far-too-brief spell of sunshine we had the other afternoon?

 I foresee a spell downstairs sewing the binding on the scrappy tripalong.  Yes, you heard me right.  Remember this quilt?  Well, if you are able to follow me on Instagram, you will know that I finally psyched myself up to get on with this monster this week. 

Normally, I restrict myself to making quilts that are no larger than 60" in one direction because that is the width of my big table.  I learned a while back that constantly sandwiching quilts on the floor is a killer for your back.  However, the scrappy tripalong works so well on a big scale that I went with 36 blocks and a 72" square quilt.  As you can see, this meant a bit of furniture removal in the sitting room and some time on my knees. Ouch.  I was absolutely shattered after that, I can tell you.  I never thought of quilting as physical work!  I was kept company, of course, along the way.

Trying to be sensible, I decided it would be best to leave the quilting to the next day.  Hmm, I thought I would just fiddle with the machine and get the tension right though.  Of course, I couldn't stop there! No restraint.

An early start the next day (there are few benefits to living with a snorer), and the quilting was finished and the binding on by 9am yesterday. Go girl!  Just the hand finishing now and I will be glad to snuggle under the quilt while doing that in this weather.

But let's backtrack.  You'll probably have noticed that I'm sharing my Instagram shots with you in this post.  It's a good way to look back and see what I've been up to this week.  And golly, the weeks are flying by.

We've been entertained by the Munchkin and his fellow classmates in their tale of "Treasure Island".  A last minute dash of inspiration with an eyeliner and this pirate has an anchor tattoo!   There was "Red Nose Day" of course, which saw me elbow deep in chocolate gunge and Smarties but with someone keen to help with the "cleaning up".  I had to resort to the hoover to clear up the stray hundreds 'n' thousands (they don't call them that for nothing!)

He's not the only one who got cake, though, as of course, a spot of baking was fitted in, mainly for Mr HenHouse (whose favourite is fruit cake), and also so I had an offering for Wednesday's crafty morning at Stag and Bow.

That was more felty love going on.

The weekend's main event was the trip to Legoland, of course.  So pleased was I to fall in through the front door late on Saturday evening, wet and knackered, that I celebrated with a V&T.  It never before tasted so good.

Sunday saw a well deserved sit-down in front of the fire and a new project started and finished.  Inspired by "Pretty Pastel Style" (you see, I told you there was good stuff in there), I enjoyed working on this little crafty applique collage thingy. (The Mollie Makes free calendar for this month also bears the same inspirational photo as that in PPS.) In this picture, the thingy is unfinished.  Golly, it was most enjoyable and I think that sort of thing could become quite addictive.

Serious cosiness, zzz...

The furry gingers had pressing stuff on their minds, or at least seemed to be having some sort of "pow wow" about it.  What was it to be?  Sleeping, eating, washing, purring?

 Yesterday was an outing day.  After crafty morning, I headed off for ole' London town, more precisely, Islington.  I was of course, headed to the Spring Country Living Fair but I did have an idle wander along Camden Passage first (well, it is en route).

I admired Loop's yarny window but pressed on in search of vintage clothes shops and was not disappointed.  Annie's had me drooling over the most stunning 1940's frocks, though I eventually went for a practical 1950's circle skirt as I am in lurrrve with primrose at the moment and see this with a little cashmere twinset (if I had one, that is).

Further along, I also perused the market stalls.  Who knows whether a little treasure might be found there, per chance in the form of a 1940's velvet hat with a felt posy.  Aaaarggh!  Well as a collector of 1940's felt, I could hardy leave it there, could I?

On finally then, to the Country Living Fair.  They had changed the layout a bit this year and the entrance was the best I've ever seen, oh so beautiful.  I was glad I hadn't arrived until about 2.30pm as the crowds had dissipated (along with my cash?!)

I bought hardly anything at the fair, it was lovely but now I've been so many times, I have seen a lot of the stalls and know what interests me and what doesn't.  I lusted after some vintage plaster advertising torsos (you know, those glamorous ladies' heads) but at £175, they were way out of my league.  If you are popping along, I'm sure you'll have a lovely time.

It made for a very long day and I was glad to be back in my spot by the fire last night.  Do you like our "new" rug?  I found this all dirty and under some old furniture in my fave junk shop in Bridders the other week.  I asked if it was for sale and £5 later, the deal was done.  A few twirls in the washer (I figured I didn't have much to lose) and a spot of mending and ...ta dah!  One delightful "readi-cut" rug.  The furry friends approve.

And so this morning, it's always fun to look over one's spoils from the previous day's sport, no?  I love this pretty French vintage nightie which I found loitering on a market stall amongst the 1980s-trying-to-be-1940s clothing.  I think this is pretty enough to be a dress with a slip underneath (if feeling brave) or maybe shortened to be a blouse.  It has the prettiest hand-smocking at the shoulders, Peter Pan collar and little glass buttons.  Bargain! 

And finally, recently my mum dug out and sent me some old photos.  She knows I'm a sucker for sentimental old stuff like this.  One photo is of my nan and grandad on their wedding day so that inspired a morning with my journal (the one I started on my Jessie Chorley workshop).

I was so pleased to hear that many of your were inspired to start your own journals after my post about Jessie's workshop.

Well, I might now have an hour with my beloved old mags, all in the interests of research of course, and wrap my icy fingers round a mug of something hot.  I will give you more details another time (if you like), but I will be teaching a workshop to make my beloved felt posies, 1940's style,  at Stag and Bow in May.  It would be FAB-U-LOUS to see any of you kindred spirits there, too.

 Thanks for reading.  Stay cosy. X

Monday, 18 March 2013

Pastel Style and Giveaway Result Time

I'm here, it's true, I survived Legoland.  Only just mind.  

Anyway, where were we?  One of my readers spotted Jacky Ginge having a look at Pretty Pastel Style and asked me what I think of it.

What about what I think of it? says Jacky Ginge.  I think it's none too cosy to sleep on, shift it, please.

I have Selina Lake's other books (Bazaar Style, Romantic Style, Homespun Style) so was pretty excited about this one.  I haven't quite finished reading it yet.  I think this latest tome was one to which I was most looking forward because well, pastels and pretty is right up my street, I think.

What became clear when I started reading the book is that this is about pastels with a twist.  Take the front cover, those maroony cushions and the touches of 1970's brown (something you'll either love or hate).  

(Jacky Ginger will not get away from that book!)

That sort of style is what I think this book is aiming at, pastels with shots of other basically non-pretty-pastel colours.

Fairly soon, the book lets us know that it wants to encourage us to "create unexpected combinations" and team pastels with "rich textures and contrasting accents of super-bright colour".  There is the suggestion that "electric blue or neon pink work particularly well against chalky pastels".  Hmmm.  That was a bit of a surprise. 

Some of the writing in the early chapters of the book, referring to "sugar sweet pastels", alarmed me ; oh dear, I thought, they're right up my street!  There's talk of "saccharine visions", we're told to "...stay the cool side of sweet"... "keep the look sharp, rather than sugary"...  "forget rooms dressed entirely in sugary shades and lacking edge"... "prevent pastel overkill".  The schemes suggested in these chapters were valid but could have been better, more positively, expressed in my opinion. I felt like the author was having a go at me for liking pretty pastels.  Hold on, isn't that what the book's called?!  Maybe we differ on what constitutes "pretty pastels"?

I will be honest and say I love this book for its images and not for its words.  I make myself read them, rather than just treating this book as a coffee table purchase, but I don't feel I learn anything from the words in these books.  To me, they feel like filling and so much of it is not rocket science;  "Another innovative approach to pastels is to use them as accents in a mainly white scheme" (page 14). Innovative?

Golly, I don't like to be negative (but I am a Northerner and straight with it).  So let's get on to the positive stuff now we've got the negative out of the way.  And you know, it's not to say I didn't find things to please me in Pretty Pastel Style because the majority of the images do actually go in for the "pretty" approach to pastels.  I particularly loved the images shot in the home of Nicky Grace (above and below).

I am familiar with the images from Yvonne of Yvestown's fabulous home but very happy to see them here in their quality-printed glory.  The internet is great but you can't beat having a real book in your hands, can you, especially a heavily visual one like this (Kindle is fine for trashy novels)?

Do you know what I think my problem is with this book?  It's that it's called "Pretty Pastel Style".  In parts, that's exactly what this book is about, especially in many of the pictures which I like, but on the other hand, there's been an effort to be different with the injection of neon and the non-pastel shades.   

I'm not sure I think the words always go with the pictures and I will stick my neck out and say I don't think they go with the book's title.  Why put down "candy colours" in chapter two when we are shown just that in images elsewhere in the book?  I wonder if these issues stem from the fact that this book is produced by a team, a stylist choosing the images, a writer for the words.

Perhaps they should have called it "Modern Pastel Style" or similar. It's not to say I don't like '70s brown, maroon or lime green but they are not what I would term "pretty". 

As these sorts of books go, I guess my own preference is for books like those in the "Perfect English" series (eg. Perfect English Cottage by Ros Byam Shaw, fab author, one of my fave books.  I wrote about it here.).  They allow me to see the homes and read about their owners, I can make my own mind up about the style and how to recreate or adapt it should I wish.  That's just me.

I wonder what impression I've given with this book, Pretty Pastel Style? I am glad I have bought it and I know I will enjoy going back to look at most of the photos which give me inspiration and eye-candy pleasure.  I have seen a few reviews and comments on other blogs and funnily, enough, one lady loved the cover and the fact it was not "sugar sweet" so there you go. Remember, all this waffle is just my honest opinion. I don't doubt I'll be first in the queue for Selina Lake's next book, something to do with neon maybe! (I also will be reporting back to you from her fair on Friday).

You know one reason why I started doing this book review (other than to answer somebody's question in my usual long-winded way) was to show you something I've made inspired by the book.  So there you go, that's a good thing about it!  I think that will have to wait for another day though, time marches on alarmingly.

Now on to other business!  The matchbox tweeter.  Thank you so much for all your entries, I've tried to delete mistaken multiples etc to get a fair number for the draw.  Sorry it seems some of you have had trouble commenting, it seems comments were actually there even when it looked to commenters that they weren't as some comments were left several times (eg. 6!  Oh the popularity!). Sorry your time was wasted as a result. 

It may have been a Blogger-generated glitch (please note angry lady, this is not within my control, please vent your frustration in their direction!)  I wonder if you've noticed the message which pops up after you've left a comment, which is that comments are "moderated".  This means I do read each comment to make sure it is not advertising or spam before it is published, I don't otherwise delete, so you will not see your comment appear straight away.

So, of the 115 entries, the random thingy has done its work and chosen... number 101.

If my dodgy counting is correct, that makes Josie-Mary the winner.  Please get in touch with your details and the birdy shall fly away.  

Toodle pip, back to the chores. X

P.S.  I have sorted the no-reply blogger thingy (by clicking on the down arrow next to my profile pic in the top right of the screen, choose "Blogger Profile" then "Edit Profile" and check the box next to "Show my email address"), thanks for the advice.  So now if I leave you a comment on your blog, you have my email address. Please know, I am not offended if you do not reply again.