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


  1. Wow - that's what I call an interesting blog post! You've been packing so much in lately. Look forward to seeing your finished quilt. I have 2 on the go, but have a very poorly husband to look after atm. No sewing for me at all - so I'll keep popping back to see yours, to keep me going!

  2. Always enjoy your blog. Loved the nightdress, had to enlarge the screen to see the details. Is there a scallop on the edge of those sleeves?

  3. I sometimes wish we still lived in London - I could do with a couple of days window shopping and wandering about . It's very cold here in the hills too and snow is being talked about - well it might give me time to do some sewing!

  4. Phew Hen, I'm exhausted.....I'm going back for another read, there's so much in this one!
    Your quilt looks wonderful, and your hoop is divine, so very pretty! :) x

  5. I'm tired out after just reading this! thanks for the heads up on the new look fair, it was getting a bit the same all the time so will look forward to it. Really love the 'thingy' it's so pretty, makes me want to hide the knitting needles and make a 'thingy' of my own!

  6. Was that one post? You do have a busy life. Wonderful finds too. Your quilt looks amazing and I'm sure it was worth the back ache. I feel the urge to sew now!

  7. So much going on in your life this week! I am really impressed by the mammoth quilt project, and well done for getting it all finished by 9am. What an achievement!

  8. Lovely post! Love the quilt. I just love proper old fashioned embroidery, and have just found my love of it again after few years of cross-stitching. I used to always embroider a lot as a child, and would sneakly embroider in needlework class at school, thats probably why I and the teacher never saw eye-to-eye, but thats another story!
    Its cold here today, but they say the weather will improve here by the weekend, hope it does, I off to do a Vintage Fair!
    Julie xxxxxxx

  9. It just feels like November doesn't it? Great cakes,quilting,embroidering- do you have more hours in the day South of the Thames? If so, I'm swapping sides!

  10. You must be so organised. I always start the day with oodles of things to do and end it having done barely any of it. Must try sticking lists everywhere, ditch the chocolate breaks (too many of them) and lengthen the crafting times. I find your posts so inspiring. Loving the scrappy quilt, it looks fantastic. I got as far as cutting out some of the strips and making one piece of fabric with them. However, I made them rectangles rather than squares. (Actually a mistake in cutting, but works, thank goodness) And the rest of the material has been cut into strips and is glaring at me from the bed of the sewing machine.

  11. Vicky from The linen Garden make Selina that lovely hoop. Do you follow her blog

  12. Lovely post Helen - and I know what you mean about it being freeeeezing right now. Hope the wrokshop goes well - sadly it is a little far from East Sussex for me, but will wait to see what amazing creations your pupils make.

  13. Hi Hen what wonderful pictures. I have always wanted to get to the Fair but never made it unfortunately - perhaps next year.....sigh. I loved your embriodery and say the unfinished picture on Mollie Makes, thought it was fab but yours is much nicer. I agree with all the other lovely posts, I am so impressed with the amount of work you produce, I am sooo envious and wish I could produce a quarter of what you do. The quilt is absolutely amazing, just breathtaking. We are girding our loins here in North Wales waiting for a big snow to arrive tonight around 10pm - my goodness will spring ever come. I only wish I could come to your class, would love to make some flowers, I have a couple of your brooches and just adore them, wearing one now. You have a lovely weekend and keep warm Hen and long may your wonderful blog reign over us.
    Lots of love
    Dorothy :) xx

  14. You have been mighty busy! Lack of sunlight here and snow on our first day of Spring - methinks has absolutely turned me into a slug! I can not get motivated to do squat! Seeing what every one else is up to helps some! I LOVE your quilt. I know it is not meant for the floor, but that pattern and those colors look so lovely right there on the floor-boards. Maybe someone will come up with quilt rugs? We have the Country Living Fair here in the U.S. but yours looks much more interesting. I have never been but would love to go someday. You have to tell us how you stay so organized? Have a great day lovely!

  15. This is a beautiful post Helen....but whoah there, you are using my fav Denyse Schmidt fabric as backing?????
    I don't even have a single scrap and am yet to see it in the flesh...that said it's going to be an awesome quilt, bad back or not x

  16. beautiful ever, I tend to agree with you about the country living fair,I love it but after so many visits I find I buy very little too, in fact last spring was my last visit as I thought I'd give it a miss for a while, hopefully moving to Devon will make it more of a treat next time. Your scrappy quilt is exquisite, look forward to seeing the finished article :)

  17. Lovely pictures all through your post . I love your Henhouse sewing. You are lucky to get to the Country Living Fair, I would love to go one day.
    Sue x

  18. Wow you have been busy. My scrappy tripalong was added to my pile of UFOs, but seeing yours has made me resurrect it,as you say there's nothing like sewing on binding when the weather's cold.

  19. I'm exhausted just reading this beautiful, beautiful post! Thank you for taking us along on all of your fun adventures. I love the coziness of your home, your quilt, your old "new" rug and the moldings around your ceiling. Along with everything else in this post. It just screams out "home"! Thank you again, I truly enjoyed this post. (And I had a hot cup of tea in my hands as I read it!)

  20. Gosh some splendid photos there.You have been busy, I'd love a visit to Loop even though I don't knit - bit of crochet now and again.
    Machine quilting - can I pass on a tip from the Esteemed Barbra Barber, championship quilter many times over. I did some workshops with her...YEARS ago! She says if you let the pile of quilt which is within the machine space i.e., between the bit where the needle is and the bit parallel to it, if you have it loosely scrunched rather than rolled it is easier to deal with. It's true, the roll is like a rigid sausage, much harder to deal with.

    I have given up machine quilting large quilts because I just couldn't face fighting with all that bulk! See what you think. Lx

  21. Hi Hen!
    Another fascinating and inspiring post! I have just had my 18 year-old son helping me to get onto this comment page!!I am definately IT incompetent and it all left me very baffled until now!!! I just needed to be shown!!!Sorry I didnt get to asking him earlier because I have loved your jottings over the winter months but couldnt get the blessed thing to publish!!!!Hopefully now I am on the right road!!!!
    keep up the good work as I love catching up with all your latest creative ideas and I have done more sewing than ever because of your inspiration. What else is there to do in this weather except sew and eat chocolate!!!Thank you Hen!

  22. Hi there Hen!
    have just had a master-class lesson from my 18 year-old son on how to comment on your lovely jottings!!! Have tried before to no avail but then, I am IT illiterate!!!!Have so enjoyed your gorgeous jottings over the cold winter months and will do my best to comment!!! Loved today's post- you are so inspiring. I think I have done more sewing since reading your blog than ever before but then, what else is there to do in this weather except sew and eat chocolate!!!!
    Thanks again Hen and keep writing.....we are reading!!! XXX

  23. A lovely post, though it's made me want to go down to London! You found some beautiful things and you are right about the night dress, it's gorgeous.
    I bet you get loads of people in your class, if only I was near, I'd be there too.
    Love your bargain rug too :-)

  24. A wonderful post Hen with something for everyone! It is hard to know what part to comment on! The chocolate cake looks delicious as does the fruit cake. Your home looks so cosy and organised. I aspire to having a lovely home like yours! Good luck with the workshop. I am sure you will be a great tutor! x

  25. Well, you've been busy having fun being out and about and also cozying up at home and getting lots of things done! I sure wish I could come to your workshop, but the commute would be a killer.. from Oregon, USA. :-) I am excited to have gotten a vintage sewing machine day before yesterday! I have all sorts of photos of it on my current blog post, I hope you pop over and see! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  26. Can I come and live with you? Seriously. You have the most beautiful things in your home, the most interesting events close by and you're really fun. :)

  27. Now that's the sort of post where you should have said to get a drink of what you fancy, a choccie bar and then you'll begin. Lovely to read about your very busy week, and I envy you being able to just pop out to Islington and then the Country Fair. I miss London SOOOO much! Loved this post. Take care. Chel x

  28. I'm totally in love with your quilt, it will be gorgeous when it's finished. And I see you line it with Denyse Schmidt fabric? I love her designs. You did find some beuatiful items. And wow, you live in a very beautiful house, what I can see of it. Groetjes, Gerda

  29. What a wonderful post.So interesting and so colourful.You are so creative and talented.

  30. Love all the pics your shared with us, the gingers are adorable and so full of personality. What a great find in that rug--good for you! And lastly, your grandmother looks so happy and full of hope for her future. Family pics are a great treasure aren't they?

  31. Lovely post. Why do cats always sit on quilts when you are working on them! Can you tell me what size your strips were for your tripalong quilt? I really like the colours you have used. Thanks

  32. It's amazing what you can pack into a week! I love "following" you around. Thank you.

    Those two fellas look like they're about to have a bit of rough and tumble. Probably a bit too mature and sensible for all that xxx
    Lots of love xx

  33. I am off to the Country Living Fair in the morning with my daughter weather permitting ! I have been really looking forward to it and can't believe we are getting more snow.We have our day planned out to include a wander around Camden Passage, brunch at The Breakfast Club and maybe a little treat to take home from The Hummingbird Bakery. I love your rug, I have a couple of very similar ones that could do with a clean but I have always ben wary of putting them in the machine. Seeing how yours has come up I think I will give it a go.
    Ann x

  34. Those Gingers look very naughty! Your new blanket is beautiful. Love the things you make

  35. Wonderful post! I love the applique collage "thingy"- beautiful! Everything is so interesting and fresh. Love your family pics, those of your grandparents and the Munchkin. He does seem the sweetest young man. And the ginger boys and on and on. Thanks for the lovely peek into your week.

  36. oh that quilt. it is amazing - I love it!

    Nikki x

  37. Wonderful post, Hen, you've been so busy.
    Amazing quilt, love the bright colours.
    Cakes look yummy!!, and to have a little helper is great!!!
    Your applique 'thingy' is very pretty, is it done on an old table cloth??
    I love that you home always looks so cosy and inviting!!!
    Some nice finds in the market, love the little hat.
    And finally the Fair, I've never been, but would like to go, but such a long way to come for the day, wish they did big fairs like that down here in the South West.

    Love to all
    Linda O xxx

  38. Lovely post, great photos, just love your home. And my parents were called Edward and Muriel!

  39. Fab post Hen, love the rug (bargain!)the pretty nightie/blouse to be..cute, and your journal is looking really good.......

  40. Stunning crafts as always! I am truly inspired by your applique! I may have to encorporate something similar in my upcoming wedding - just love it! :)

  41. That quilt is amazing...I love your flower tins and this was a wonderful post. It has brightened my day!

  42. Oh I adore that quilt!!! Any chance it will end up in your shop?! I wish my back was strong enough to be able to quilt; I can't sit at the machine long enough though :-(

    Love the furry friends - any tips for getting kitten fur off projects? My cat Mandu's fur sticks in everything; it drives me nuts. The old masking tape trick seems to fluff up the threads I'm working with though, and I hate how that looks!!

    Goodness me, I sigh a breath of enjoyment each time I read your blog!! I'm not always well enough to comment, but I love everything you write!

  43. Thanks for the lovely post Hen. I have just finished a journal (inspired by you) for my friend's bday. It's full of quotes and paper ephemera! Love it... Hope she does! Sue xx

  44. Hey Hen,,,would you mind letting me know the name/whereabouts of the Bridders junk shop? Am heading there on Saturday for a week (yippeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) and as I've been to precisely zero fairs since November, I have some saved pennies. Many thanks!!!!!!!!!

  45. Hi! I just discovered your blog by way of MemeRose. It's so lovely, cozy, and creative! With all the colors, sweets, ginger cats, and kid stuff I'm feeling right at home! Beautiful!


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