Monday, 1 September 2014

And They Call it Cushion Love

Hello folks.  Happy September!  It's been a long time since I've managed to drop by my blog but it has been a very busy Summer for us all.  I hope you've all had many fun times.  The Munchkin is back at school today and so here I am, back at my table in the Den and ready to share some of the Summer's adventures.

The days have definitely turned Autumnal already.  It feels too soon for me, dedicated lover of Spring and Summer that I am, but the imminence of a new season always brings with it a hint of excitement, I think.  Luckily, the descent from Summer is eased by the re-apperance of some of my beloved roses.  Scented and blowsy with their many petals, these are all David Austin varieties I have planted in the garden here (I think I had seventeen types at last count).  This final flush always seems so precious.

I've been able to spend quite a bit of time crafting outside.   It always forces me to sit awhile, enjoy some peace and quiet (neighbours permitting!) and indulge in some hand work.  I've become a little bit in love with yet another raft of vintage fabrics recently.  A little different from my first loves, those fabulous florals of the forties, these are of a more delicate and faded nature.  Yes, they might well be flowery (old loves die hard) but they might also include ticking and gingham.  They might well be French but there will be some soft English eiderdown fabrics in there too.  Delicious!

Hexys were my starting point.  I always love doing these, it's such a portable hobby, easy to pick up and put down, never an excuse not to have a bit of craftiness with you.  

I've taken it about here and there.  It went to Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts and of course, it went to Crafty Wednesday at Stag and Bow.  I have now finished two panels which are going to be the fronts of cushion covers.  I have a special spot in mind for them.  All shall be revealed in good time!  I am now missing this hand sewing project (though I have many more, it's true), maybe a larger piece is in the offing.

There have been lots of lovely outings over the Summer, of course. The other weekend, the Munchkin had gone off to Scout camp so the Mr and I found ourselves heading for an old favourite haunt in Sussex: Lewes.  It is a town which has everything really.  Lovely old buildings, fabulous foodie places to eat and lots of moochy vintage and antiques shops (not to mention a fabric and patchworking supplies shop).  It's not as good as Bridders but it's up there!

We parked up and strolled through the charity shop nearby, a little hidden and tucked away behind the main street.  We were lucky to strike gold right away.  From my childhood, I remember my paternal grandfather's house in the Cheshire countryside, it was a cottage in a converted old stables.  His wife had great taste and the interior was dreamy; I can see it in detail to this day (though he, and indeed she,  died long since and I haven't visited for a long while).  They had a beautiful antique full size dappled rocking horse on the landing.  I loved it and always coveted it (sadly not to be).  There's just something about rocking horses.  So I could not resist bringing this little old fellow home.  I love his faded paint, his soft woodwork, worn with the little hands and feet of many generations.  He is of course, dappled, too.

He won't stay here in front of the fireplace but until the fire is lit, that's where Dobbin is resting for now.

So, stitchy stuff.  Oh, there's been a fair bit of stitchy stuff going on here, it has to be said.  At this year's Festival of Quilts last month, (another post to be caught up on there), I treated myself to a book I'd been after for a while from the stand of Cowslip Workshops.  I had met the book's writer, and indeed owner of Cowslip Workshops, on previous occasions and so I came home with a bundle of fabrics and Jo Colwill's book "Cushions and Quilts".  

There was a particular project I'd wanted to do since seeing her book at the festival the year before.  Let's get to it, then.  I patchworked the front following the digram in the book, though I used my own fabrics and in the end, I used vintage fabrics from my stash rather than new ones (except the linen edging).

I had more work to do to the front, somewhat more tricky, which involved appliqueing some flowers then free motion quilting them.  It was the first time I had used Jenny Janome for FMQ but she coped really well and I was pleased with the outcome.  I then set about some hand embroidery but I was a little hampered by the Furry Inspector's need to sleep on the job!

Before long though, I had brought the various pieces together, including the unusual fastening, and it was finished.

My appetite well and duly whetted, there was a second project I was just dying to get my teeth into.  It was the cushion on the cover, a yummy mix of ticking squares and appliqued hearts.

The background was easy enough, just a matter of cutting those squares with the lines of the ticking straight, piecing them together and bordering with linen.  I managed to scrounge sixteen different ticking squares from stash.

Then it got a little more tricky.  Oh yes, I had fun choosing the vintage fabrics for the hearts but then it was time to applique them. Fiddly little...  I've done applique successfully before but the method suggested in the back of the book was very different and being a good girl who always does the right thing, I decided I should give it a go.  You never know what you might learn and all that.   Oh my.  Much as I love the finished look of this cushion, I did not get on with the applique method.  I felt it was unnecessarily hard and fussy and there are easier ways to get a more perfect finish.  Each to their own of course, but I'll be sticking to my own way with a bit of freezer paper.

Soon, it became a little more restful.  Time for feet up in front of the box and a spot of hand quilting.

These projects seem to have gone very well with the time of year, I think.  Along with the soft faded stitchy stuff in the sitting room, the kitchen has been filled with delicious smells from stewing apples (we are completely inundated with apples in the garden this year) along with wild blackberries made into a crumble.  I used up some leftover roasted rib of beef in a beef and ale pie with a puff pastry topping.  Oh my.  Heavenly.  Comfort food at its very best.

Before long, cushion number two was completed.  I mourned having finished it (not the applique, ha ha!)

The other Friday, that being ta-dah day, we were blessed with some gorgeous late afternoon sunshine so out into the garden I headed, under the boughs of the old apple tree.

The cushion has a more unusual welted design which was not difficult, if a little fiddly.  I used a contrasting pink gingham heavy cotton fabric for the side panels.  I also inserted a zip into the bottom edge for ease of laundering.  I love the look of the "pie crust" edging, again not hard but time consuming.  That's alright though, isn't it?  It's good to take a little time over things.

I love, love, love these cushions!

To top off a perfectly productive week, Mr HenHouse appeared home from work and just happened to have found a bottle of something interesting in the fridge!  

Chin, chin. Xxx


  1. Beautiful, beautiful cushions especially love the one with the white daisies
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  2. Love your work!!! The cushions are simply beautiful! Love the color choices and fabrics too.

  3. wow, love your hearts/ticking cushion...........lots of super stitching going on over summer

  4. Your cushions are absolutely beautiful! Love them both! x

  5. It's so nice to see an update from you, Hen. I'd recently been by to see if you'd written anything new and ended up reading some old posts I'd enjoyed before. Your cushions are beautiful. I love them both but the first one is especially appealing to me, I really love that fabric in the upper right corner of the patchwork, with the pink and gold roses in it. The tie-closure is very unusual and pretty too. I hope you have a good fall.

  6. Oh joy and bliss to see your return. I'm saving a more thorough read and peruse for weds 9am when both children have returned to school. YIPPEE! (YIPPEE for reading your blog not an over zealous yippee for children going back to school......honest!)

  7. Super nice work, as usual. I can't say I'm familiar with freezer paper but my interest is piqued and I'll be looking it up!

  8. Love Dobbin, the yummy home cooked things and the cushions would go so well in my farmhouse in the Oregon countryside!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  9. Stunning! Your appliqué and patchwork are delicious, good to read your post - chin chin! Sam x

  10. I absolutely love your stitching and am heading over to Amazon to look up that book. Do you ever do raw edge applique? I haven't tried the turned under yet, but I am going to have a go as soon as I can find a tutorial.

  11. I normally go for hearts but, on this occasion the flower cushion with it's unusual opening won! Lovely projects in that book!x

  12. Sim amiga,as almofadas ficaram lindas,parabéns.Feliz semana para você.Beijo.

  13. Hello mrs! Lovely to see you in my blog list. Adore your Dobbin. I grew up in Winchester and one of my favourite houses had an old rocking horse in the middle first floor window. I loved it! Beautiful cushions. Clever old you. Looking forward to hearing your exciting news! Hope the munch got on well today. Nearly a teen like my Fred. Love to you and CB. Hope he's not missing his old adversary too much. I bet you are. I've found sometimes the last one really comes into his own. Or maybe they're the only one on whom to lavish the love. Anyway big hugs to all. Sarah xxxx we missed you by one day in lewes I saw from IG. Think I'd have fainted if I'd seen you both xx

  14. Beautiful new cushions!! Love the flowers and the hearts are so sweet!! Have a lovely week!! xo Heather


  15. Such a lovely blogpost! Love the projects and all the photo's in it. Must visit Lewes some day it looks beautiful!

  16. Beautiful cushions, I love the gingham side panels x

  17. My you have been busy. The cushions are just beautiful, I especially love the firs tone with the gorgeous flowers on it. Congrats on finding thwe wonderful rocking horse too, is must be a rarity to have something so special. x

  18. Absolutely love those cushions. And your roses.

  19. Hen, what lovely roses and stitching you've shown us here. Welcome back and Happy September to you, too.

    I completely agree with you about not minding at all when certain projects take a longish time to complete. Hand stitching and knitting are very relaxing activities that can produce beautiful results.


  20. Fantastic cushions , very artistic and just adorable.
    I'm glad you are back , sharing lovely pictures of your work with us.
    Best wishes for the new season, from Greece.
    Tina xx

  21. Lovely pictures. I live in Lewes. Glad you love our town. It is certainly unique.

  22. You never fail to inspire me to get my craft on! These are delicious!

  23. These are stunning - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! You're so talented :)

  24. Hello Hen...I've moved.....posting again new house is High View a yummy town house in the potteries near Emma Bridgewater!!!
    Pop in and say hi....,,xxx

  25. Lovely to have you back and I love those cushions! Love The Blue Lady x

  26. Lovely post...your pictures really grabbed me...just stunning! Love the cushions too..such beautiful work.

  27. Oh my goodness!!! I just love these cushions! You do such lovely work. They are beautiful out in the sunshine!!


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