Thursday, 26 September 2013

Crafty and Chatham

Hello readers, how are you?  Hope you're all really well.   The Munchkin has gone back to school of course, and I've been making the most of some free time.  Last week, I headed to Chelsea to the first Decorative Living Fair to be held there (rather than in Kent).  I picked up some pretty goodies, of the vintage variety, of course.  There was definitely room for more stalls so I hope they will persevere with this event and it will go from strength to strength, I'm sure, just like the fabulous fair in Eridge.

There has still been lots of family time, of course.  For us,  it's been a case of another weekend, another Forties do.  Still, as the season starts to draw to a close, we're making the most of it.  I took the opportunity to wear my favourite '40s ensemble in Autumnal colours.

We were fortunate in that this event is relatively nearby, held just over the border in Kent,  at the former Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham.  If you are a fan of "Call the Midwife" on tv, you will recognise this place as the backdrop.

The vintage village was a sight to behold, always my favourite as a fan of home front history, and one lady always makes a brilliant effort and this time had a Ministry of Food display.  So many covetable kitchen items!

Mr HenHouse fancied going to the theatre...

... predictably, the Munchkin was to be found in the sweet shop!

That evening, we quickly changed outfits, something more suitable for jiving of course, and headed off to see a favourite singer perform at the fantastic Rivoli Ballroom, which is Grade II listed and a perfectly preserved example of a 1950's ballroom.  What a night!

So I was quite happy to have a little quiet time and sit down to craft on Monday morning.  I had a date with lots of felty anemones.

I've recently been very lucky (and eagle eyed) and picked up quite a bit of authentic make do and mend jewellery for my collection.  It has now branched out from felt; it seems I cannot resist leather, bell wire or nuts, either!!

On a similar vintagey note, my Spy in the North (aka my wonderful Mum), has been thrifting on my behalf and has recently had a run of luck with the embroidered cloths, culminating in this beauty.

I wasted no time in using it as a prop for photographing my latest makes.  Inspired by my collection of original wartime jewellery, a new posy brooch has been born.  Anyone can follow a pattern but I like to come up with something different every now and then.  Ok, so actually a few posies have been born!  I can never stop at one, not when there are all those delicious Autumnal colours to play with.

I picked up this yummy hand knitted top at the '40s event on Saturday.  It looks pretty nice accessorised with a posy, I think.

This black crepe dress I bought at the event at Crich Tramway looks less "like you're going to a funeral" (the Munchkin's words!) with a bit of colour from the felty buttercups.

I've just been doctoring this tweed jacket with some vintage buttons, now a posy.

Ok, I got carried away with the photos!

I'll leave you with a pic of my furry friend, Jacky Ginge, who is never sad to see a little photo session underway, not when it means he can sneak into the otherwise locked guest room behind me. (The light is good in here.)  Cosy!

Should you be feeling in need of a pretty posy, you will find a veritable plethora of the same in my little Etsy shop.

Thanks for reading.  Something different next time, promise! Xxx

Friday, 13 September 2013

Tales of Twinwood

Hello there!  Well, I'm still playing catch up with my blogging, and I wanted to record another fabulous Bank Holiday weekend at the vintage festival known affectionately as Twinwood.

Twinwood was an RAF base during the Second World War and is now a museum which also holds this special festival dedicated to vintage every August.  It's a fabulous mix of outdoor live music on several stages, dance floors home to jiving and jitterbugging, lots of vintage and retro shopping opportunities and a chance to dress the part and admire the many classic cars.  I always love the two-tone ones, myself.

The Vintage Salon (usually based in The Custard Factory in Birmingham) had a pop-up hairdressing salon at Twinwood and as it's the area of my "look" with which I always struggle, I delightedly booked myself in for hair styling each day so that was my first port of call in the morning.  Lyndsey and her team were delightful and skilfully worked their magic on lots of ladies.

The weather was not kind that weekend, it has to be said.  This had a big effect on what I wore.  In the main, I knew I couldn't wear any of my nice vintage shoes because it was wet and muddy underfoot, in fact I spent the weekend with pumps and ankle socks on my feet!  I went for a '50's style on Saturday and more of a '40's look on Sunday (below).  Oh if only I had this service every day!  Definitely something to which I could get used.

The shopping was simply fantastic.  There is a smattering of tacky repro stuff but there's an awful lot of really good vintage and quality retro, too.  It's an event where you really do feel spoilt for choice and I defy anyone to leave with any pennies in their purse!  I fell in love with this patchwork jacket but it was a teeny size and too expensive to justify buying just for the "collection".

Loved the fabric of this swimsuit, too and the stunning burgundy coat behind.

Some stalls also have some homeware and haberdashery items.

Oh, I wish I'd bought that unfinished honeycomb patchwork you see below.  The one that got away.  I have exactly the same hosiery pouch in which I keep my best silk CC41 stockings.

There are many top photo opportunities throughout the site.  The Munchkin is always interested in the cars.

Mr HenHouse took opportunity of the poor weather and wore his RAF flying suit which, with its heavy woollen fabric, is not suited to warmer, sunnier days.

Back in the main arena, we had set up camp with our folding chairs and picnic table.  There is a different  musical act on every hour from about midday through to about 10pm.  Here, members of the John Miller Orchestra are playing whilst strolling through the crowd.

The one bad thing about Twinwood is the food available which we have learned is pretty dire, so now we always go well prepared with our own picnic.  It was a tad novel to have the umbrellas up at the same time!

The CC41 (utility) exhibition was on once again, I always love looking at this and stepping back into the past.

A spot of make do and mend was going on.  So many covetable items!


There were beautiful CC41 clothes on display.

There were also glass cabinets housing all sorts of wartime goodies.  Here you can see plastic bell wire and the jewellery skilfully made from it as there was no metal available to make frivolous jewellery, just for important items like wedding rings and interestingly, cufflinks.

Mr HenHouse popped to the authentically styled NAAFI for a cup of tea.

Meanwhile, the Munchkin and I enjoyed some rare sunshine and lusted after the little caravan.

Despite the truly British weather (pretty dire on Saturday, not too bad on Sunday), we saw and listened to some fabulous music, found some special vintage bits 'n' bobs for the collection and generally had a thoroughly marvellous time.

Always nice to have a reminder.  Especially of the felty kind.

Enjoy the weekend. Xxx

(Please respect my copyright and do not copy photographs of individuals.  Thank you.)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Me Old China

It started the other day, quite innocently. You see, I had bought a new-old lamp on Bridport's street market and having cleaned it, I decided it would look good in the guest room, with my patchwork wall as a backdrop.  So far so good.

I always like spending time in this room. It's hardly ever used to be honest, but I suppose for that reason, I can keep it looking pretty perfect and wander in now and then for a little sensory pleasure when maybe everywhere else is not looking so perfect!

There was already a lamp on the dressing table, however. It's a pretty one but not as marvellous as the thrifty vintage one.  I didn't want to get rid of it, you never know when it might come in useful after all, so I decided on the old trick of stashing it in the wardrobe.

Was I distracted by the eidys on top of the cupboard?  Yes I was.  Zzzzzzzzz.

I couldn't help but notice that I'd already done a bit of stashing in the cupboard's direction.  There were four smallish cardboard boxes shoved in the corner (it's only a shallow Victorian cupboard/wardrobe thingy, occupying the alcove).  I knew they contained china and I decided to have a look.

Oh dear, what had I started?

I reasoned that I should try to sort it out and get rid of some.  I can't honestly remember the last time I opened the boxes and used any.  Good intentions, Hen.

As I unwrapped the tissue, I oohed and ahhed over the contents, treasures thriftily picked up at boot sales and zealously hoarded away.  I like that one, I thought.  That's a beauty, I cooed.  I began to put the keepers to one side over on the mantelpiece.

I also found my vintage cake forks and tea spoons.  Oh good.

On the dressing table, I piled up the items I felt I could let go of.  It wasn't a very big pile.  Oh.

I think I'm among friends here.  I know I won't need to explain to you a process whereby I was meant to be sorting through hoarded goodies and didn't end up parting with very much.  Sigh.  

The mantelpiece looked very pretty so I couldn't resist a snap (Instagram makes you do this sort of spur-of-the-moment thing).

With china on just about every surface, I was reminded by a glance at the far wall (which is my makeshift design wall), that I have to finish this quilt.  I'm tempted to add yet more to the quilt top as I love making the blocks, but I think I'll be disciplined and leave it as it is.  I'll order the batting today, as I want a really thin request weight.  I will.  I actually bought the backing in Liberty yesterday.  Progress, of sorts.

I briefly admired the patchworky wall.

And finally realised I'd better pack away and get on with something purposeful.

Nice light though, eh?!

In the background, I've finished the hexy project I've been working on.

If sunny days should ever return, I will make the most of the light and take some proper snaps to show you.

Toodle pip for now. Xxx