Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fabric... and French or maybe Fondant Fancies

Fabric.  Let's talk fabric.  I rather like it but then you know that already.  I think my first love will always be the fabulous florals of the 1940s and thereabouts.  I also like the modern reproductions of those cute fabrics of the 1930s and '40s and I am partial to some full on 1950's blowsy roses.  More recently, I've found I also have an appreciation for fabrics of a more faded and gentle nature.  I had a few here in my Den and I rooted for some more at the outdoor fair the other week.  I was submerged in "the look", being decidedly French, faded and floral I'd suggest, when I went to the Cabbages and Roses brocante  a few weeks ago so I think it's all just an inevitable snowball of influences.

Order book cleared and "time for a rest" declared,  I have found myself spending a little bit of time in the garden, when the sunshine has permitted it.  I was accompanied by some delicious fudge and some delicious French scraps.  Oooh fancy!  (I had an aunt whose favourite declaration that once was.)

When I just have to be doing something with my hands (not popping piece after piece of sea salted caramel fudge in my chops), a little project like these raggy brooches fits the bill.

Whilst I'm idly selecting scraps from my comfy garden sofa, I can look right to the bottom of the garden where the roses are gaily blooming away with wild abandon.  That's my absolute favourite at the front: Jubilee Celebration by David Austin.

If I'm lucky and Mr HenHouse is at home, he might join me and play some of our growing collection of Glenn MIller 78s on the wartime gramophone.

I inevitably have company of the furry kind, too.

Talking of France and all things French, the Munchkin was away on a school trip to the very same place last week and finding ourselves child-free, the Mr and I decided to hop over ourselves and collect our wine which had been trucked up to Calais from Bordeaux.  It was an utterly glorious day for crossing La Manche.

We made the obligatory stop at the hypermarket where we ended up with yet more wine, fizzy this time, and all manner of weird and wonderful goodies.  Violet liqueur anyone?

Back at the ranch, it was time to get sampling and make the most of these light evenings.  Love it when good fizz is so cheap you don't have to save it just for high days and holidays.

All this Frenchy business got me thinking and I decided to retrieve and sort out my rather meagre collection of old (mainly) French fabrics.  Well, it's meagre in comparison with everything else.

I was in need of a new bag for Summer.  Something pretty to accompany me on my trips.  It didn't take long for a spot of patchworky magic to take place.

The very next day, the bag and I went on a little pilgrimage.  Hopping off at Sloan Square tube station, I strolled up Chelsea's Kings Road and found a little side street I must have passed many times,  by the name of Sydney.  There I found my destination.

For those of you who want to know, it's two little shops joined together side by side.  One has clothing (not really my bag), the other has homewares.  Oh yes.  It is very beautifully arranged, I found myself wishing it was bigger.

I walked round many times, taking it all in and seeing all the fabrics in the flesh.  A little disappointingly, you cannot buy any fabrics  there and then, they are all kept in the warehouse and have to be ordered.  I guess that saved me a few (a lot) of pennies and I came away happy with a hyacinth candle and some fabric samples for me to make my choices.

The bag enjoyed its trip (but oh!  I lost that beautiful vintage brooch).  Full of inspiration, I didn't need to be asked twice to get sewing.

Bags, bags, bags.  Well, ok, four of them to be precise.  Red themed French Fancy ones.  Oooh, I like them.

Pinky pastel, Fondant Fancy ones.  Hmm, maybe I like those more?

I can't get enough bag making at the moment!  I have quite an enviable collection of bags I think, but then when you make them yourself, there's nothing stopping you.  Good job my taste doesn't run to the Mulberry!

I've also finished some raggy brooches.

Thanks for reading. Xxx

P.S.  Yes, a couple of bags, along with some raggy brooches, currently remain in my Etsy shop here.


  1. Your bags are lovely. I wish I could just run them up so quickly! I started a quilted bag a few months ago but haven't touched in - well - a few months!

  2. Love your bags and all those wonderful French fabrics :) I adore David Austin roses and am slowly building up a collection

  3. Bag making must be crossing the pond! I started a Akemi Shibata patchwork today! Love your David Austin roses. And the FIZZ! Oh my. That looks divine.

  4. Hen your bags are divine...I love the subtle colours.
    maybe one day i will get in to this patchwork malarky one day soon .....?
    bestest d xx

  5. The bags are gorgeous. May I join you in your garden and listen to the Glenn Millar recordings and smell your roses my idea of heaven. Sorry to hear you lost you beautiful brooch,
    Julie xxxxxxx

  6. Hi, your bags are super, love the colours. You have the right idea, sitting in the garden sipping sparkly stuff, my idea of heaven. Regards Sharon x

  7. Thank you for posting the Cabbages and Roses pics! My husband and I went all the way from Florida to London a month ago and I actually forgot that I wanted to visit that store!! I know - how in the world could that happen?! At least I can look at your pictures! :o) We arrived ahead of the rest of my family, spent 3 days in London then picked up my mom, sister and brother-in-law at the airport and we all drove to Wells, Somerset where we stayed in Vicars Close for a week - absolutely heavenly place to stay! Anyways, sad to be back in Florida (bet you don't here THAT often!!) because I'd rather live in England! Do you know anyone who would hire an American? :o) Dream on, dream on . . . Anyways, love your photos as usual and I LOVE that frock you made! Beautiful!

  8. I love your bags, they are so pretty, and love how you seem to make them all look so easy to ,make, not one but 4, just like that!!!
    Thanks for the stroll round Cabbages and Roses, I like that your share your trips around London, I can't remember the last time I went, and I know I'm not likely to go again any time soon.
    Your garden is looking beautiful, such a perfect place to relax with Glen Millar and some fizz!!
    Have a good week
    Linda O xxx


  9. Just want to say hi, and I just found your blog and have been reading it (fun, fun, fun) I like your stile.
    Edda Soffia

  10. So sad about the brooch. I lost one willed to me by my aunt many years ago and have always wished to have it back.

  11. Love the bags, you just seem to knock them up in seconds! I've just finished ( eventually) my 1st quilt for my daughter, and would love to know how you make your quilt labels? Are they written on fabric, or printed on? Thanks for all your inspiration. xx

  12. Someday, somehow I'm going to fly across the ocean and go to Cabbages and Roses. Thank you for the lovely photos!

  13. Awesomely straight quilting despite the bubbly!

  14. How heavenly enjoying the outdoors with beautiful roses, music and delicious goodies. I love your sweet bags too!

  15. I am in love with your bags! I have been reading your blog for quite some time and am ashamed to say this is my first comment. I love to knit and crochet and as of late have found myself getting stuck on images of sewing, quilting and other fabric goodness like the bags in this post. I think it's time to find/dig out my sewing machine!

  16. Love your bags, you have an amazing eye for putting fabric patterns and colours together. You seem to whizz your projects together in no time at all! I myself find there are not enough hours in the day for all the wonderful things I want to make, but you definitely inspire me to try and find the time! x

  17. The bags are so pretty. I would love a gramophone! I think I might add a gramophone to my 'vision' book (really a glorified Wishlist)!

  18. Lovely Hen sorry I have not been around for a while but things have been toooo busy for all the wrong reasons. However, what a joy to catch up with you this afternoon - you are a lucky girl going to Cabbages and Roses, I adore that shop and could happily live there. Your latest work is just divine as always and makes me long to have a wonderful throw at home - I do particularly love the bags and have put that on my 'wish' list to show to a certain person! As always Hen a joy to visit you, I hope you are having a wonderful afternoon, always think of you when I am in Chester. Big hugs and loves

  19. Oh your roses are beautiful1 and your bags and brooches are charming!

  20. Oh Hen you do cheer my day up, I'm not miserable just tired from travelling :). The bags are beautiful, the fabrics are so pretty and the dress is Lush! I love it. I know you're not getting as much time to blog lately, like myself so it is nice when you do. I've spent the past few days at our bolt hole and managed to cut out 8 quilt kits apart from the backing fabric. We're off on Wednesday for the rest of August so I knew I needed to get prepared ;) I can't finish them off the table isn't large enough for me to spread the quilt etc and baste it so that will have to wait for home time. I can't do it on the floor because I can't kneel down. Enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to your next post.

    Take care

    Peg xx

  21. I love your blog!!!
    XO Kris

  22. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life and your amazing creations. I found your blog a few days ago and am happily reading backwards. I just got to your entry about how much you would like people to comment. I am by nature a bit of a lurker - IRL I can be somewhat reticent - but certainly if you would like readers to comment, it is the least I can do in return for all the loveliness you share!
    I had no idea there were WWII reenactments in Great Britain, and your glimpses into the past are so interesting to me. (I love BBC America programs, especially those set during the wars.) Here in California, our history is so much shorter than Europe's - so many buildings are post WWII. Your cottage is the stuff of fairy tales for people like me...
    I am a crafty person - I have a BA in FIne Art, and I have been crafting and sewing my whole life. Your happy productivity is encouraging me to make more, myself. I thank you for that, too!
    I envy the abundance of thrifty goodness available to's just not the same, here.
    I look forward to reading all the way back to your blog beginnings, not reading too fast, I want to savor it!

  23. that was a lovely read and I I love, love, love the quilted bags. Amanda x

  24. Your new bags and brooches are beautiful, Hen! I love the soft colours and the fabrics you have combined. Lots of other interesting things and lovely photos in this post too.
    Happy weekend.
    Helen xox


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