Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Hello readers!  Back in the Ole' Smoke we are and it seems the mini heatwave has returned.  Most welcome it is, too. It's hard enough coping with the nights drawing in without cooling temperatures thank you very much.  Especially when last Winter's gas bill has just arrived, ouch.

I've realised that my posting is rather out of synch.  There I was, posting about trips to Crich and the like, and I've completely missed out the Festival of Quilts.  I will back peddle to there soon, I promise.  Too much inspiration there not to be shared.

Meanwhile, having uploaded some photos today, there are a few nice vintagey ones of our holiday to show you.  We found a shop in Matlock which had gone to a lot of trouble to display its wares rather prettily.  Some of the stuff was new, repro if you like, but there was some genuine vintage, too.

Loved this table setting and desperately lusted after the 1940's "Lusty" table, no less, but alas, nowhere to squeeze it in so in Derbyshire it stayed.

We ventured out one morning to a collectors' fair in Bakewell.  The stalls inside were not my cup of tea at all, but the weather was good which allowed for some outdoor stands which were right up my street, somewhat like a more expensive up market car boot sale!

One lady had a whole bevy of genuine 1940's make do and mend goodies. Oh how we lament not having bought the rag rug.  (Are you reading, oh rag-rug-selling-lady?  Please may we have it?!)

We made a nice little haul but I was disappointed to find only a couple of charity shops in Bakewell which seemed determined to focus on cheap modern or new stock.  The West Country it ain't!

While we were away, I was not idle, you know.  I am not an idler.  There was reading of the vintage variety to immerse myself in.  Yes, I imagined myself reclining on the moquette sofa looking rather like this.  

In my dreams!

There was quite a lot of crafty action and after Crich, I was in full-on 1940's mode.  You guessed it, it involved felty stuff at the kitchen table.  (Well here, it was breakfast, to be precise, I did let everybody eat.)

I worked on a new design based on a vintage posy I bought in Totnes.  Crikey, the Instagram filter has made this look a little crazy.

Back here in the Den, oh how I missed you, a new piece of painted utility style furniture is in situ.  Love, love, love its vanilla ice-creaminess and its £40 price tag.  Oh, and the vintage Rupert the Bear wallpaper lining the drawers.  Do you line your drawers?  It is something of which I am most fond, myself.

After an enquiry about the posy on my patchwork bag (see last post) from the lovely Christine this morning, I pulled my proverbial finger out and stocked up my Etsy shop with all the latest posies I have been making.  As always, they are based on original wartime patterns or original posies in my collection.  A lot of these are more time consuming to make, more fiddly, larger in size and so on.  I have found some fabulous pure wool felt which is more expensive but is giving stunning results.

Loving this giant marguerite, they liked their posies BIG back then!  It really makes a statement.  The suggestion in the original pattern is to wear it with a black frock but I've worn mine with anything but!  I actually really like it with my more 1950's style outfits.

The anemone posy is a modified version of the original I made for myself from a 1940's wartime pattern awhile ago. Love the fat bunched up centre!  Such a lovely and nostalgic flower, don't you think?  It often seems to evoke special memories in people. I grew the real thing for the first time last year and they came back this year in Spring good as gold.

This carnation design is an amalgam of two original patterns.  It invites you to tweak its ruffly centre.

I've also made some more felty pin cushions which are also in my Etsy shop.  (Coral one sold, thank you.)

I am always happy to make items to order in the customer's choice of colour, it's an easy matter of sending me a convo via Etsy or you can always get hold of me in the comments section here.  I've been asked a few times to make a whole co-ordinating set of pin cushion, needle case and tape measure and they do make a super gift.  Me, biased?

I came back from our trip raring to get going on a quilt commission, something I'd been asked to make before going away.  I had a lovely time shopping for some fabrics for it at the Festival and having worked like a crazy lady for the past week, I was happy to send it to my super lovely customer yesterday.  I look forward to sharing some more snaps with you soon.  It's something a little different for me and it has turned out really stunning.

The decks cleared, it was time to make the most of the sunshine and start on a little makeover programme today.  More of that soon, then.


Well, I must toddle off to the post office and then get back to my orders.

As always, thanks so much for reading, it is always my pleasure to have you here. X

(The designs shown in this blog post are copyright of HenHouse.)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Bag Lady

Hello readers!  It seems I am finding more time to blog whilst on holiday, usually when I am awake early before anyone else stirs.  I like to make the most of these few hours to myself and today, I'd like to show you one of my recent makes.

So last week, with the annual pilgrimage to the Festival of Quilts on the horizon, packing and sorting for a week away thereafter and well, just lots to do, I had the urge to spend a day sewing something completely new.  Does this happen to you?  Inconvenient, isn't it, but very enjoyable and a tad indulgent all the same.  I'd created a new display on my inspirational "Bagpuss table" (sorry, I forgot to take a pic before I left), and the fabrics I'd brought together on there were calling to me.  I'd been collecting them a while.  Truth be told, they're not the colour palette I usually work with but I loved them just the same.  Whenever I think of 1940's style, this colour palette always comes to mind.  (I did fiddle around with this selection, and discard a few I felt weren't working, before I started.)

I was hankering after a new bag.  I've always loved the patchwork bag I made a few years ago and had been meaning to make myself another.  You can never have too many bags, right?  So I began cutting squares of these gorgeous vintage fabrics.  I also wanted to incorporate some bits of vintage embroidery, as I had with my other bag, and so I rooted in my "cutters" drawer.  I found one cloth with a complimentary colour scheme which already had a nice ivory coloured background.  The other cloth I found, which was damaged and thereby suitable for chopping, had a white background which I felt would look too stark.  So I hacked a section off.  A large bowl and some tea bags and hot water later saw me doing this...

Yes, tea dying the vintage cloth.  It came out looking great after about half an hour's soak and a quick rinse and dry in the sun.

Time to get patchworking.  Arranging the fabrics and piecing them together is my favourite bit.

I didn't want to waste pretty and costly vintage fabric on the base so I decided to make this as a separate piece and used corduroy as I know from experience that this area needs to be made from something hard wearing and not too easy to get dirty.  I also felt it was sort of utilitarian enough to go with the '40's vibe, too and finally, and importantly, it was available there and then from The Stash.

It wasn't too long before it began to take shape.  

I wanted to add some purchased handles and managed to find what I wanted at The Festival of Quilts on Thursday.  Guess what I did in my hotel room on Thursday night before the boys arrived to join me?

I used a pretty vintage feedsack for the lining.

So by Friday morning, my bags were ready to shop, shop, shop!

Here in Derbyshire, we're enjoying some lovely moochy days around the Peak District.  We enjoyed market day in Bakewell and a wander around its pretty streets.

We went to Monsal Head for a gigantic Sunday lunch (the portions up here are amazing!) but more importantly, to savour the breathtaking view.

To accompany a little late afternoon crafty time, there has been this, of course...

And time to look at that new bag.

I decided a handmade posy would be a good finishing touch.

Just so you know, my bag goes well with the vintage wardrobe!

There are often stalls at the 1940's events where you can purchase vintage clothes and the like, so it's nice not to have to ruin your carefully planned outfit with a modern carrier bag!

 Thanks for reading. Xxx

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Stepping Back at Crich

Through the wonders of t'internet, readers, here I am (hopefully) blogging from my bed in our holiday cottage in The Peak District.  I therefore really hope this blog post reaches you looking tickety boo.

Last week, I made my annual pilgrimage to Birmingham to spend two days at the brilliant Festival of Quilts. The boys joined me along the way and we then headed for this beautiful county of Derbyshire and have treated ourselves to a whole week here, staying near Bakewell, to get out and explore.

Yesterday was a real highlight as it offered the opportunity to visit somewhere we had never been, but long wanted to, and to step back in time for a 1940's event, too.

Crich is a village in the beautiful Peak District.  Set high up, the surrounding countryside is breathtaking. At its heart, is a tram museum which recreates a village street scene. The wonderfully preserved trams, dating back as far as the Victorian era, trundle up and down the cobbled street all day long, with various places along the way to hop on and off.  As we were there to attend the 1940's wartime event, the trams running were all authentically from that era.

The village even comes complete with bandstand and many attractive buildings: a sweet shop, tea room, bank and even The Red Lion pub (yes, it really serves drinks!)

The bandstand was home to some really good 1940's style entertainers.

The first thing we did, of course, was hop on a tram.  The Munchkin wanted to go upstairs, predictably, and it did offer a super view.

I turned out for the day in summery fashion, a first outing for these original '40's frock, hat, bag and shoes.

Mr HenHouse, in his RAF finest, caught up on the news. 

After an exciting little ride, off we hopped to explore the street which the museum had taken the trouble to dress as if we were back in 1940.

We met some characters along the way; this spiv had some stockings to peddle on the black market, gasp!

These ladies from Norfolk were having fun in their pretty pinnys.

A lot of people at this event had taken the time to get into the spirit and dress '40's style and with the backdrop of the period buildings, it made for a brilliant spectacle.

These RAF boys were making the most of their time off on leave!

There were a lot of vintage vehicles present too, all of which helped add to the atmosphere.

Part way through the afternoon, there was a parade through the street and a whole line of military and civilian vehicles drove down, along with their occupants all dressed in various vintage guises.

All day, there were lots of trams running, to admire and easily hop on and off.

There is also a museum which holds many trams from the 1800s onwards with interesting displays to further your knowledge.

One building had window displays devoted to make do and mend and the Munchkin was eager to try his hand at making a rag rug.

There were also some modern day sellers in attendance and of course, I relished the opportunity to add to my '40's wardrobe!  All in all, it was a really super day and if you get the chance to visit, I recommend it, especially when the street is really brought alive at a 1940's event, of course.