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


  1. Fabulous finds!!! You have certainly moved to the right place for treasure hunting!!! xx

  2. I haven't been to Shepton for a while, must go again............. Honiton bought back memories of every nearly every Saturday there between 1986 and 1990, (we lived in Sidmouth then) We used to have coffee and mooch round the antique shops, great fun. Lovely Hexi quilt,and I love your Hexagon cushion.
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  3. I am so jealous of you being near Shepton. I must ake more of an effort and attend these more often. Love your treasure finds, and that Charlie cat, so cute!

  4. I do miss a good flea market and it's a shame that many are becoming so successful that the bargains are not what they once were. I struggle to find diamonds in the rough in my local charity shops these days.

    Victoria x

  5. Love reading about your adventures and great finds!

  6. Love that old quilt! Actually love all your finds. So much fun to see the new home decorated.

  7. The "red flowery fabric" that you referred to in the second photo looks identical to the turkey red reproduction fabric that I have a few yards of in my Civil War stash. Just let me know and I would be happy to share some with you if you'd still like some.

    Your Grandmother's Flower Garden and yo-yo quilt finds are to die for. It's a good thing you can't see the drool all over my keyboard as I type this. As a matter of fact, I love all your treasures! *sigh*

  8. I love that Suffolk puff quilt! So much work went into that. I've made a few puffs in my past but never enough to sew into any kind of project. Maybe that would make the perfect "travelling" project during the summer holidays. Puffs at the beach? For sure!!

  9. The quilts are so beautiful. I'm glad you're able to get to so many markets where you're living now, it must be a wonderful new life there.

  10. Your puff quilt is divine.. I have a basket full of "yo-yo's" that I've made for a table centerpiece in xmas colors.. I need to get it put together. You should try making them.. they are so fun! But you probably have made them already. I am just dying to see more of your house! Lucky you to get to attend those fairs.. what I wouldn't give. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  11. I dont think I would've been able to leave that suffolk puff quilt behind either ... I have serious "treasure envy" if there is such a thing :-)
    Your new paper pieced cushion is just beautiful & I rather love your furry inspector too - very beautiful markings on him.

  12. Thank you for such a nice long post! Love hearing all your adventures. Have you ever seen French Generals fabric for Moda? Looks like the pricey French fabric you like.

  13. Amazing finds as usual :) I visited a house today that you would absolutely love. It belongs to an elderly bachelor who had commissioned a pair of Art Deco style cushion covers for his two Lloyd Loom chairs. The house was a chalet bungalow built in the 1930s and completely unchanged (apart from the odd modern thing like telly, etc) Tiny little rooms all scrupulously clean and tidy and cleverly displayed crockery, furniture and other items all from the 30s and 40s. Fabrics abounded from the same era and all carefully cared for. He has lived in the property for 46 years with his mother for all but the last 20 years. she was an artist and a collector of Art Nouveau items of which there were many. It was like walking into history an amazing and private sight. You would love it.

  14. Such lovely treasures! I wonder how the name 'Suffolk Puff' became 'Yo-Yo's' once it crossed the Atlantic. Or perhaps it was the other way around? An interesting quilty puzzle to solve I guess. Do you have any ideas?

  15. Good evening Helen,
    After a busy day in was good to sit down and read your latest blog post....I'm watching escape to the country and thought if you!
    I'm a stones throw from the countryside.....and loving it so much.....this week, I've sorted out the old built in victorian wardrobe in our room....I'm very pleased with it....I'm thinking of lining the cupboard doors with laura Ashley wallpaper.....after we've restired the Minton tiles in the doing room this coming weekend.....busy busy busy.....see you soon!!

  16. Wonderful blogpost! Love all your pictures , so inspiring!

  17. I have some quilts made by my great Grandmother that I am very careful of. I fill my washer with water and detergent and turn it off. Then I can add the quilt and hand wash it in the drum after which I can advance the dial and drain the machine and spin it out. Then I allow it to fill again while I keep watch so that it does not agitate and rinse and spin it again. It is so much easier on me. I have a top loading machine and do not know how your machines are across the pond from the USA so may be this will work or not for you.

  18. Love the new fabrics, lucky finds. There is a brilliant American Website all about Featherweights which I thought might interest you, I use it if I ever need some information. April who runs it is sooo helpful, she helped me with my beloved Featherweight. She also does a neat walking foot that fits my 221. (please note this is not a sales type of email, I have no connection with the site) I have learnt how to service, repair and look after my vintage Singers by using sites like this. I now can strip down my machines and replace parts when I have to.
    Hope you find it useful. You won't get any painting done there is loads of info to look at.
    Regards Sharon

  19. Lovely finds ! Look at the colour of that bath water !!!

  20. You've found some lovely treasures. I enjoy Shepton but haven't been for a while, I think it might be time for another visit :) x

  21. I so enjoy your posts! Your finds are always interesting. Thank you for sharing your adventures and sewing projects!

  22. Hello, I love your crochet, it is beauty, I love this colors, I follow your blog, I have a blog about crochet with free patterns and free crochet diagrams, visit me , hugs from Brazil.
    Visite meu blog - Tita Carré - Crochet

  23. Hi, love your blog, just found you, love the fabric and Miss Marple for sure. Love your craft area, what fun! I am your latest follower from a little town outside Las Vegas Nevada. It's 80 degrees today and windy at about 50 miles per hour now. I am in playing on the computer and Pinterest and that is where I found you, and so glad I did! Stop by for a visit if you get a chance, I haven't been posting like I should but oh well maybe another day huh :) I am at Lovely post and I will here awhile, love the UK, wish I lived there!!!! Kat =^.^=

  24. Missing you :). I do you that you and yours are well sweet lady. Xx

    1. Thank you so much for enquiring after me. I've just been so busy! I'm going to try to get back on track and have just written a new post today. Xxx


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