Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Out and About

We're having a mixed old bag weatherwise here in the West Country but it hasn't stopped us from getting out and about and on the whole, the sun Gods have shone on us.  Although there are aspects of shopping in London that I miss down here, it's also fabulous to be able to visit all those places and events we've wanted but not been able to, if for example they've taken place mid-week.  There really is a lot of wonderful treasure down here and with a new home to kit out, we couldn't be in a better place!

Last week, we headed to the antiques fair at Shepton Mallet, where we usually go to the flea market.  It was a bit pricey to get in at £10 each but we thought we should give it a try and it was a surprisingly nice day to be outside.

There are four indoor halls at this fair which make it a good option even if the weather is not good but my favourite stalls were those outdoors.  You can't take the moochy instinct out of me!

There was a wide range of goods on offer from gorgeous old glass shades in pretty colours...

...to textiles of the pretty and vintage and rather French variety...

...to more French goods in the form of enamelware, textiles and tableware.

The inside halls tend to be dominated by sellers of pricier dark wood furniture, fine china and jewellery.  It was good to find loveliness late in the day in the form of a friend's stall, Sue Meager of Vintage to Victorian, which was groaning with goodies.

We hadn't realised this fair didn't open until midday as the flea starts at 9.30am.  It shut at five pm but it was really annoying to see many dealers leaving from as early as 3pm onwards.  I appreciate it is a long day as they have to arrive to set up but £10 is a lot to pay for entry and I don't think it is acceptable when after only three hours of opening, you can't look at many of the stalls because they're all covered with cloths and the owners have disappeared.  As we had arrived an hour or so early , we popped over to Frome to the reclamation yard as we are in search of a fireplace.  There were some nice ones but a bit more measuring is required first and they weren't half pricey!

Living full-time in the West Country also meant I could go along to the Wednesday Talent for Textiles Fair in Ilminster.  This is a small event in the arts centre but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality.  There's also a wonderful cafe and free entry.  The setting really enhances the whole event.  Favourites such as Donna Flower, Lizzie the Washerwoman, Sarah of Blue Zinnia  and Sue Meager were also there so it's also nice to have a natter.

Sue had some completely fabulous Victorian patchwork, both blocks of a quilt in progress, individual pieces and even bits of fabric the maker was obviously intending to use to finish it.  Sue says it was found in an old suitcase and the condition of the items was superb, you would never have thought the colours of the fabrics were so rich and vibrant.  The hand pieced hexagons still had their original papers in which from the back, you could see had entrancing hand writing on, probably being old letters re-used as templates.

On the way home, how could we resist the temptations of the cider farm?

It is like a step back in time to visit this place and as it is apple harvesting season, the yard was in full swing and the air scented deliciously with apples.

Last Saturday, we headed for Bridport.  It was a lovely day so the crowds were out but if you ever visit, the key is to go early.  You get a better chance to look and chat, the first pick of the goodies and most importantly, somewhere to park!  The vintage area around St Michaels has really come on in recent years and I rarely leave empty handed but without having spent a fortune, fortunately.  Some of the traders have a really good eye and I thought this was a lovely, simple window display.  I fell for the large white jug but was dismayed to find it was for display only, not for sale.  

It is sad that there are plans to redevelop this area (and others) for housing.  Someone in the council needs to get a grip and not ruin the magic that is Bridport and all its history (did you know the town was once renowned for rope making).  A group has formed to try to save the trading area and I do hope they succeed.

Eek!  I fell in love with these too, as did everyone who saw them!

Well, I've managed to re-home some lovely goodies over the past few weeks.  Textiles have figured large, as you might have guessed, and I've been collecting thrifty old china plates, too.

I've had the idea to put some up above the kitchen mantel as you can see.  I can now keep my eye out for more on my travels.

A certain furry someone is not immune to the considerable charms of the wood burner now the cold weather is setting in.

There's been lots of hand washing of rescued textiles going on and now I need a bit of making time.  Dare I say, a rather large event is round the corner in December and so I had better get my (snowy) clogs on!

So much fabric, so little time!



  1. Lovely pictures! You are so lucky to find these fabrics, they are beauties....very one of them! Hope you´ll find some time very soon to work with them.
    Lovely place at the wood burner....our cat loves it too! She is waiting all day when I´llstart the fire...

  2. Thanks for tips about Shepton Mallet fair as I've still yet to visit it even though its not too far down the M5 for me. Your lovely photos are very enticing and I think I should take plenty of pocket money! You've also brought some beautiful textiles too and no wonder you can't wait to start making with these.

  3. Love all the gorgeous fabrics! The antiques fair looks amazing.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  4. How much for the fair....... I remember when it was a fiver! Mind you we haven't been for a while! We prefer the outside stalls, the stallholders are much friendlier too.
    Your fabrics are lovely, can't wait to see what you make.
    Jule xxxxxxxxx

  5. You really do have so much fabric! It's so lovely too. Your china plates are very nice and I like the way you've displayed them.

  6. I like your posts, your fabrics, your pictures and everything is on your blog! It is so beautiful!

  7. Loved hearing about your excursions. Beautiful things to pick from. Thank you for sharing. How fun to have a new space to decorate!

  8. I completely agree with you, regarding the wonderful St Michael's area. I so wish I had bought that towel rack I saw on our last jaunt!!! When will I ever learn!! As for parking, if you don't mind a walk beside the river, and an amble through the Community garden and orchard, which is one way, coming out beside the Church. Or keep to the left and you come into St Michaels from the bottom, park in the football ground. The entrance is opposite Morrisons, through the old Brewery. I can't remember if it was 50p all day or for an hour. Also there is usually a lovely man selling raffle tickets for the football ground, but only in fine weather!!! It wouldn't be that far to have to carry all those goodies!!! X

  9. A lovely day out was had by all then :) We've been to Bridport, stayed there for a fortnight in a beautiful cottage. I loved the area, the indoor market shops were just starting then (oops showing my age lol) I loved looking around it. We have visited the very same cider farm with Mr B bringing home a fair amount of booty from there. We always had to leave room in the car to accommodate. The outdoor stalls look amazing and I'm pretty sure you were in your element. I don't think it will be long before you're creating gorgeous quilts again do you :)
    Thank you for sharing your lovely post.

    Peg x

  10. Such wonderful photos, I love all of the old and vintage stuff that you have found. I especially like the stove inbetween the two fireplaces in your shot of the reclamation yard. Old fireplaces are so pricy now because they are so popular. Hard to believe that only a few years ago people were ripping them out left, right and centre. Your kitchen fireplace looks lovely. How is your furry friend settling in to his new home? He certainly looks content enough :)

  11. Looking forward to seeing what you make with your lovely fabrics.

  12. What lovely, scrummy fabrics and other finds! Your log burner looks so inviting, too. Enjoy! xx

  13. Oh you tease.. just one photo of the fireplace in the kitchen.. I can't wait to see more of your new home! What a bunch of fun markets to visit! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  14. such a fun post! Thank you for sharing these events that otherwise I'd never catch a glimpse of! I love your sense of style!

  15. Lovely photos, lovely fabrics, lovely stalls....Mr B has agreed a day out to Bridport soon, I had better save my pocket money up! Lil x

  16. My head is spinning with the joy of seeing all those lovely fabrics! Wish I had been down in the the west country to see it all - Sighs :) Would love to visit Donna Flower sometime too.


  17. Wow what lovely fabrics, I try to buy French fabric when possible at Brocantes, here in France, I have managed to pick up some lovely ones, I would love to make something in patchwork. Whats the best template to use? for either hexies or squares, my homemade cardboard ones don't last very long before they become slightly inaccurate.

  18. Aaaah, I do miss living in the West County. Such a stunning place :)

  19. Sign the petition against the redevelopment of the car parks in Bridport on 38 degrees. http://www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk/news_view/34226/7/1/bridport-town-centre-car-parks-under-threat the petition and public outcry prevented the introduction of parking meters in the town last year.Worth a try!

  20. The house looks to be coming along beautifully especially with the plates on the wall. Want to wish you a very belated happy birthday hen, (I've only just read the last post, several blog posts went walkabout over the last few weeks, I feel a new computer coming on). And what a post that was, your photos of Donna Flowers shop were magazine worthy. xx

  21. I love your posts about flea markets and fairs and in general about your visits to different places and your photos .
    It is like I go there too. In my country we don't have so many flea markets and it is not so easy to find nice and cheap vintage items and fabric ,so it is nice for me to see pictures of them in your blog.
    Good luck with your beautiful makes.
    Greetings from Greece,
    Tina xxxx

  22. Hi Hen as always your Blog never ceases to inspire me! I am planning on visiting the West Country next spring & hope to go to a vintage fair as I would love to increase my stash! I have returned to EPP after a very long break! I am currently making a plump hexagon pin cushion & would love to make a cushion & a quilt. With my pin cushion I made my own templates out of card but found it wasn't accurate enough, please could you recommend where I can buy some solid & durable templates. I too have been lucky enough to find some vintage French fabrics at my local Brocantes, but I still can't wait to visit some flea markets & car boot sales, let alone charity shops which are in plentiful supply in the UK! Good luck with revamping your new house it looks simply lovely & it will be I'm sure a lovely place to bring up the Munchkin, hes grown a lot! Love & kind regards to you all Claire from Charente in France.


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