Wednesday, 4 March 2015

West Country Adventures

I think it's time to catch up on all the fabulous treasure hunting we've been fitting in down here in between all that decorating.  You know what they say about all work and no play...

We are lucky to have a rich hunting ground for such treasures nearby.  One of our regular haunts is Shepton Mallet, whether it be the antiques or flea market.  The flea market tends to be a favourite because it is more moochy (and prices tend to be cheaper).  There haven't been as many stalls over the Winter months because obviously, the weather is not too great but there is always a handful of sturdy folk who brave the cold.  They are rewarded with plenty of eager shoppers.

Of course, I am always on the look out for textiles.  I am now wondering why I didn't buy that red flowery one!

Some sellers make a real effort to style their stall and have themes to what they are selling as with this colourful example below.  Others pile it all on and the sturdier amongst us get down and have a good rummage!

I see this stall with its roses in bottles at many of the fairs including Ardingly.  I've no idea if they ever sell any as I keep seeing them, sometimes months apart!  Very pretty, though.

Paper ephemera has become another favourite of mine.  This seller had come all the way to Shepton from Brighton.  What is it about old script writing and parchment paper that is so appealing?  It was quite pricey, though.

We have a big car and we know how to fill it!

Almost better than the treasure hunting itself, is getting back home and having a play with all the goodies I've found.  Over the last few months, I'd been on the look out for pieces for the sitting room we've just decorated (so nearly ready to show you that, just the curtains to hang).  When I get home, the Furry Inspector is always ready for a good sniff!

Other than the fairs, there are lots of pretty villages and towns in the West Country to visit.  The other week, we popped to Honiton, just over the border in Devon, which is a town known for its many antiques shops.  I was on the look out for a side table for the sitting room (which we did indeed find) however on perusing one of my favourite shops, I could not leave this gorgeous Suffolk Puff quilt behind.   Made with many 1930's feedback fabrics, it was a must-have for my collection and in fabulous condition.  Drool!

If you've been reading my blog for some time, you'll know how fond we are of Bridport.  It's such a friendly town and we now know many of the shop owners and street market traders by name and have a good old natter.  Nothing is better than a Saturday mooching the street market and nearby vintage shops then heading to The Stable for pizza and cider.  I rarely come away empty handed though some weeks are better than others, of course.  As usual, textiles are my favourite and I've added some nice bits to my stash in recent times.

Hmm, more fabrics, a gorgeous pin cushion and I can never leave behind an old tape measure which is in inches only.

My style and tastes have evolved a little of late.  I still love the flowery 1940's vintage look but I've also become fond of faded country house textiles, many of which have come from across La Manche from France.  I'm building up my stash of such fabrics and have been trying to add some reds.  These fabrics are sadly very costly when you do find them so I only tend to have them in small but precious amounts.  I couldn't resist the vintage red leather baby shoes I found on a stall at Bridport's street market.  Too cute!

I don't just go out buying fabrics to look at, of course, I really do use them!  You may remember that I started a hexagon English Paper Piecing project a while back.  I enjoyed whiling away the evenings making the little rosettes and finally, the piece was large enough for a cushion front.  I set to, making the cushion cover on my old Singer Featherweight, making my own covered piping for the first time in many years and (yikes!) deciding to insert a zip alongside it.

It was one of those days when everything just went right and after a morning's work, my cushion was completed.  The idea was for it to look as if it had been made from a section of an old patchwork quilt.  I'm quite chuffed with it.  Of course, I have a new EPP project on the go already!  More of that soon.

Back to treasure hunting, the recent flea market at Shepton Mallet was absolutely heaving.  I wonder if this fair is going to become a victim of its own success.  It now attracts a lot of dealers which makes it rather less fun for the everyday punter.  The organiser is obviously happy and the entrance fee is going up from £3.50 to £4.50 at the next fair in April.  Hmm!

I am happy if I come home with a handful of vintage fabrics and even more so, if like last time, I can add a vintage quilt to my collection (do you see how it's now becoming a collection!)  Last time, I was lucky enough to find this rather divine feedsack grandmother's garden quilt at a lovely thrifty price.  The Furry Inspector wasted no time in getting on with his job as soon as I walked through the door and laid out the quilt for inspection.

No, Charlie Boy, it's not for you.  Awww mum!

I decided to give it a bath which I'm not sure I'll do again in a hurry!  It was incredibly heavy when wet and of course, it is not easy to get them dry at this time of year.  Anyway, it is now fresh and clean and just needs a couple of seams fixing and one patch mending.

Well, that's it for today, lovely readers, I have a date with a paintbrush for the rest of the day! 

Enjoy the sunshine. Xxx