Thursday, 9 May 2013

Busy Bee

Hello readers.  I hope you enjoyed a restful/fun filled/generally brilliant weekend.  So great to see the sunshine appear here in Blighty!  Well, I don't know about you, but for me it's been a busy old week.  Some of you asked to see my quilts on display in the window of Stag and Bow, so here you go.  So nice for me to see them there!  I think they look good with the new lettering on the window and have apparently attracted a lot of attention.

Tuesday night was week one of my Patchwork and Quilting course.  5 lovely ladies arrived at Stag and Bow to learn P&Q from scratch.

They are a lovely lot and all seemed keen and enjoyed themselves, starting on their own quilt.

We selected fabrics and laid them out, learned how to organise our rows and finally, start chain-piecing them, before pressing.

I can't wait for next week, here's hoping they feel the same, when my ladies start learning to make a sandwich, of the quilty variety, and make a start on quilting.

We nipped off to the West Country on Saturday morning, just in time to catch the brass band playing and have a good mooch round the shops.  A visit to Girl's Own Store was a must, of course.

On Sunday, we had a fabby time at the giant flea market at Shepton Mallet.  We arrived early and were rewarded with lots of treasures.  We rewarded ourselves with a cream tea back at the cottage in the afternoon.  The drinking glasses, large plate and book were all very cheap loot found this weekend, easily costing less than a fiver for the lot.  I love thrifting!

Talking of cake, I whipped up a giant sponge for crafty Wednesday morning at Stag and Bow yesterday.  My waistline is not going to forgive me all these indulgences, I fear.  (I found the green fabrics at Sunday's flea market so wasted no time incorporating them into my hexy patchwork.)

I grabbed up my ever-increasing hexy project to work on.  I started this intending it to be a sewing machine cover but have since decided I don't want to use it for that after all (what would happen when I bought a new machine and it needed a new cover?  All that work wasted.)  So, I'm just carrying on.  So far, I have managed to keep all the hexagons different and they are all vintage fabric, mainly 1930-1950.  As I get new ones, I add a hexy to my pile to incorporate into what I suppose is becoming a small quilt or throw.  I will just keep going and work on it every now and then when I have the time or the urge.  I love that it's a sort of archive of my vintage fabrics.

A few new (old) fabrics arrived yesterday, and the sunshine and emerging flowers outdoors, prompted me to have a little rearrangement of my Bagpuss table to inspire my Spring-time making.

Talking of making, last week was spent concentrating on these...

Yes, it was back to posies, lots of them, 1940's style.  These were so popular during the Second World War because real flowers were not readily available and equally, it was very difficult to buy jewellery as metals were being used in the war effort.  Enterprising ladies, with the help of the magazines of the day, were encouraged to make these posy brooches using felt, which was unrationed, to cheer up their outfits, which were becoming somewhat jaded with the clothes rationing in place.  I worked on some new designs, working to original patterns or drafting my own patterns based on original posy brooches in my collection.  Sometimes, I tweak the patterns as some of them make up into huge-sized posies, and the felt we have available today is nowhere near as thick as that used in wartime, so the flowers often need extra help to keep their shape.

I trundled off to Stag and Bow to take my wares for a window display.

I think they look cute on this gorgeous green knitted top. The shop sells yarn and knitted this one up as a sample.

This frame was from the £1 shop and I painted it green, as you can see, and inserted a padded, vintage fabric covered board to allow me to pin my brooches to it.  An easy and cheap make over which looks a million times better than the tacky original!

So, this Saturday is the first posy-making workshop at Stag and Bow.  Do you fancy it?  Stag and Bow is a gorgeous shop with lovely owners (you can read about it in a past blog post here), located in Forest Hill which is less than a 15 minute rail journey from London and then literally a two minute walk across the road from the station.  We'd love to see you there, there are a couple of spaces left, starting at 9am (until 12) on Saturday, the workshop costs a bargainous £38 (all materials provided).  The tea and biscuits will be out so we'll have a good old natter and of course, you'll be able to go away with your own posies and some new skills.  Just ring the shop if you are interested.

Enjoy the rest of the week... Xxx


  1. I wish I lived closer. Stag and Bow looks like a fab shop and I would love to do one of your courses.

  2. Oh I so wish I could come to your workshop, but I feel my 6 weeks old baby won't allow this kind of frivolity on my part just yet...
    Your posies are simply beautiful, and I hope you have a great time on Saturday.
    Any more courses running in July or August?

  3. Oh how I would love to come along! Good luck with all your workshops.
    Julie xxxxxxx

  4. If I still lived South of the river I would be at your workshop in a flash! The posies look like such fun to make. I love what you have done with the photo frame, such a great idea for displaying brooches. Your quilts look so classy displayed in the shop window. I look forward to hearing about how the workshop went. x

  5. Just the sort of post I love to read, lots of interest, different things to look at. Thank you...and you saved the best to last - I just love what you did with the picture frame. I think I might just have to find a frame myself to pin my brooches into. Philippa xx

  6. Hi Hen,
    It must be very rewarding passing on your skills to the ladies.I'm sure they love your classes.
    I have a tea set in the same china as your pretty plate(with the scones).
    Lovely finds,you always find such great bargains!

    Bellaboo X

  7. Just beautiful! I love the new posy design. A Needlework Illustrated pattern by any chance??
    Tasty cream tea and even better, you made it the Cornish way with jam first. As a Cornishman, Mr Y is a connoisseur of cream teas, as his waistline confirms!
    So pleased your first course went well, how exciting for you and how brilliant that you get to share your passion and knowledge with other people!! I look forward to seeing some photographs from your posy course. Lucky, lucky ladies who get to come along.
    Have a great day x

  8. Wish I lived closer! I can't believe I missed the flea market, I was talking to my dad about it on Sunday & said I'd check the next date :( x

  9. Brilliant- the quilts in the window look wonderful,likewise the framed brooches.Good to hear classes getting off to a roaring start!

  10. Sweetheart they look fab on that little green jumper! I'm glad your sewing class went well, I'm sure your passion for craft and lovely fabric oozes out! I'd love to get to the Girls Own Store one day! :) x

  11. Lovely thrifty finds. I'm not far from Shepton Mallet. I must look up the next date. Your quilts look fabulous in the shop window. I'm not surprised that they are drawing attention. Hope you have a brilliant workshop on Saturday.

  12. Stag & bow looks like a lovely shop. Your quilts looks wonderful in the window!

  13. oh I wish I could come, I love the brooches, such a cool way to display them, it all looks beautiful ! good luck, i'm sure it will go swimmingly, Mim xx

  14. Thanks for the lots of inspiration this week. I'm going to find a frame to display my brooches I make, it'll be especially good for photo taking. I fancy having a go at some felt flower brooches, I need to make something for my Aunt's 80th birthday so these would be ideal. Though I live way to far away for your class so it may be a bit hit or miss. I've also got a bit of a yen for hexy patchwork since reading about yours so I might dig my scrap basket out and get cutting. One more project can't hurt can it!
    Happy sewing x

  15. Hi There, O why O why do I live on the other side of the world??!! I would have loved your workshops and I would have been the best customer ever!!!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  16. Fab to see your handywork on display!


  17. I would love to visit Stag and Bow. Your quilts look so beautiful in the window. The class looks wonderful, I'm really glad to hear it's going so well.

  18. So beautiful! There is just too much to comment on everything that I loved about this post. Just know that I will be returning for a longer look-see later today! Love it!

  19. I don't know what I like best about your post today! I love all of it. I would love to spend a day with you going to thrift shops, sewing(I love your Henie project) and then having tea and a chat. It would be so much fun.

  20. The patchwork quilt with every one different is really beautiful, the felt brooches are lovely, but I kept on scrolling back to that Victoria sandwich cake! oh for a piece of that with a cup of tea... wish I had the confidence to pop in one Wednesday but I'm one of those (hate meeting new people) people ♥

  21. Your quilts look absolutely gorgeous in that shop window. Who could fail to want to go in and have a rummage?

  22. Thank You for such an enjoyable blog. I just found you recently. I am in Southern California and love life. Many Many interests, never enough time in the day.
    I would love if you could give the recipe for the sponge cake it looked wonderful. A little jam and a sprinkle of powdered sugar am I correct?
    I will visit daily and have a delightful week. Blessings, Brook

  23. Thank You for such a delightful blog, found you recently. Love if you could share your recipe of the sponge cake? I will visit daily and have a wonderful week.
    Blessings, Brook

  24. Love the posies! Maybe you could do a tutorial for those of us in the states??

  25. Your quilts look amazing in the shop window and your posies are fantastic. I think there is a supplier of thicker felt, the 100% wool stuff, but I can't remember their name off the top of my head. I found them in an internet search for something else completely unrelated and, as usual, got side tracked into looking at their website. I'm with a fair few of the other commenters here, would you consider doing online workshops for posy making?

  26. Hi Hen oh I do so want to come to one of your workshops - well to all of them actually! I have two of your lovely brooches and wear them all the time - I adore old brooches and have a big collection, wearing one every day. However, your two get more outings than the rest and I always have lovely comments about them. Hopefully I will get down to see you soon and be one of your students. Have wonderful post as always which I loved reading.
    Lots of love
    :-) xxxx

  27. What lovely posies and quilts. Wish I lived nearby and could attend a class or two. I'm dying to make a quilt but have no idea how to begin. How do you make sure all the squares are 'square'? Those hexies for example, how do you get them all the same size? Hope you don't mind me asking. Perhaps I should search You Tube, its full of information lol. have fun at your class x

  28. Wish I could win the Lotto and come and sew with you hen. You make it all look so glorious and lovely, and a piece of sponge cake would be perfect. Hope you get some lovely ladies to join you.

    Enjoy your spring weekend.

    Julie and Poppy q

  29. Hello Hen! Your quilts looks os beautiful on display!! And, your posies and hexies are gorgeous!! I always love seeing your pretty fabric and creations!! Have a most lovely day! xo Heather

  30. Everything is so pretty! Your quilts look beautiful in the window, it would surely make me stop to look in if I were passing by- and oh how I wish I could drop in from over the pond to do just that! And the posies! Love the embroidered little tablecloth with your cream tea.
    Thanks for your postings- they are a cheerful addition to my day.

  31. Beautiful post Hen...I'm coveting your hexy patchwork so many yummy fabrics ;-) Will you be doing the V and H in May?

  32. Hen, your post just sings of Springtime!

    The garden cream tea table is definitely inviting, and I also admire your amazing thrifting finds.

    On to the! Having each hexagon feature a different vintage fabric is a wonderful idea, and your growing assemblage really does contain a textile archive. I also think your felt brooches are rather splendid. How fortunate are the folks who are able to attend your workshops. How clever the shop owner is to have your talented self doing these sessions.

    Best wishes, xo

  33. If only I still lived in London...or maybe you could move to the New Forest perhaps?


  35. Your sponge looks just like my mother-in-law's, and just as delicious I'm sure! Love those two green found fabrics; they're perfect for your sweet hexie quilt. Have fun at class!

  36. Dear Hen
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You provided me with a lovely catch-up hour, reading through all the posts you've written recently that I've not had time to read.
    I'm feeling just a little sorry for myself - all those lovely crafty materials I put by to enjoy in retirement may have to go to my friend as I've just been told my eye-sight is failing very rapidly, my stove is dying and won't heat up well enough to bake a comforting cake and, in the hurry to get the veg patch in, Captain America (my usually wonderful husband) seems to have forgotten I live with him, constantly feed him, clean up after him and even put up with the stinky pipe tobacco...... boo hoo, I feel so neglected, LOL!
    Well, the bloggy read I've just had has put me back together mentally and I'm off to finish my quilt - hang the eye specialist (well, maybe not literally) I refuse to give up on my hobbies. And you are there to encourage me - thanks again!

  37. WOW what gorgeous eye candy!! Your quilts look fab hanging in the shop window and your sweet little posies look delightful displayed in the freshly painted frame!!
    i too love and collect vintage fabrics, however, i cannot bear to cut into them. In saying that, i admire you for being able to do so, and i'm in LOVE with the gorgeous vintage hexagon quilt you're making, please let me know if you ever think of selling it :)) cheers...Marian


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