Sunday, 31 May 2015

Talent for Textiles

Here we are, the last day of May already.  Just how exactly did that happen?  We've fitted so much into this month even though the weather has been a deep disappointment.  Well, you know how obsessed us Brits are with the weather!

I've shown you before, pictures taken when I've been to the Talent for Textiles fairs here in the West Country.  I've been to the one in Ilminster several times but a few weeks ago, it was being held in a different venue further over into Dorset.  It seemed like a good excuse for a jolly.

We headed to Wimborne which we had heard was a pretty market town.  Finding the venue, or rather the parking, proved to be interesting (there's a separate postcode for the car park, we later found out!) However, undeterred, we arrived at Dean's Court where things were in full swing.

Before entering the grounds proper, we discovered a delightful little shop and cafe, all part of the Dean's Court experience, known as The Squash Court.  I fell head over heels swoony-in-love with the little potager-style garden.  That beehive!  Those foxgloves!

Inside, the shop did not disappoint either.  You may recognise it, as it has been featured before in magazines such as Country Living.

On through the secret garden style entrance and Dean's Court stood before us.  Pretty fine, too.  It is still a private home, handed down through generations, and now operates as a wedding venue.  The gardens are also open to the public.

For me though, the draw was the fair which was taking place over on the far lawn inside a marquee.  The setting was pretty idyllic and tables and chairs had been set out along the riverside behind the marquee where one could sit and eat the yummy cakes also on offer.

Inside, there were lots of pretty displays to treat the eyes and tempt the purse.  My experience of the Talent for Textiles fairs is that they are not large but they are generally very good quality.  Unlike the fair in Ilminster, which is free to get in, entry to this one cost £5.  Hmm.

I selected a few pretty goodies carefully, fabric being the main draw, of course, and also enjoyed catching up with many of the dealers who I would now class as friends.

Afterwards, we headed off to find Wimborne Antiques Centre which I previously had heard about.  This also took some finding and I'm sorry to say was the worst antiques centre I've ever set foot in!  It would have been a complete waste of time had I not spied a single lonely old chair, resplendent in original ointment pink chippy paint.  Gasp.  It had to come home.  That was the best £7 I've spent in a long time!  I couldn't help piling my newly-homed fabrics on the seat and admiring it at length!

Talking of all things pink and pretty, this little lot represents some of my spoils from the rather fabulous Vintage Bazaar jumble sale which was held in Frome recently.  Well worth a visit if you can make the next one, there were some genuine bargains on offer.  (A visit to The Washerwoman's blog will let you know when this takes place.)

My other favourite purchase in Wimborne at Dean's Court was this dear little embroidered pouch for holding embroidery silks.  I have a weakness for old 1930s/'40s embroidery as you know and there is no better combination than flowers and lettering, I think.  I have similar pouches for stockings, night gowns, gloves and knitting pins. I am going on an embroidery workshop in the Summer and I am looking forward to taking this beauty with me.  I filled it with some interesting linen threads I also bought at the fair.

That's where I will love you and regrettably leave you today, readers.  Until next time...

Monday, 4 May 2015

Vintage Treasure

Some of us have been taking it easy round here.

Charlie Boy is our only furry friend for now and never a more pampered cat would you meet.  He is eighteen years old now and a little more frail.  We treasure every day with him even if he is driving me slightly bonkers with his extreme food fussiness at the moment!

Meanwhile, I'm finding that early wake-ups are the norm for me with these light filled Spring mornings.  Yesterday, the rest of the HenHouse woke to the smell of freshly baked orange carrot spice muffins. (That's genuine sunshine in that there photo!)

When  we're not outside gardening, which is what mainly seems to be filling our time these days, I have of course, been slotting in a little making time.  It has been out with the ticking...

...and busy busy at Sally Singer.

My quest for textile treasures has continued and been very successful, I'm pleased to say.

Lots of delicious cushions have been emerging from the Den.

Now in my last post, I recapped on some of the trips we've fitted in, including visiting the Vintage Bazaar in Frome, after which we had a wander up Catherine Hill, well known for its vintage shops.  Teresa guessed correctly when I asked you what we might have brought home with us.  Gold star!

For a long time I've been hankering after an old French cot bed or similar to put in the newly decorated guest room and pile up with cushiony quilty heaven.  I pondered trying to turn a modern Ikea daybed the Munchkin had used at the cottage into a substitute but when I spotted the crib that day in Frome, which was my true heart's desire, the deal was done.  

It did not have a mattress but I just happened to have stockpiled some ticking for the very purpose so I set about making one to fit the old cot.  I made a simple bag type cover, using the ticking inside out for a more faded vintage look, placed two old duvets inside for padding and hand stitched the end closed.  I then set about the slightly more tricky task of tufting the mattress which I did with a very long doll needle, strong button thread, some discs of felt and mini rolls of linen.  Et voilĂ !

The cot bed was soon piled with cushions but what self-respecting quilter can have a cot bed without a quilt?  I decided something faded and vintage was in order and a fair few hours ensued, cutting a stack of 3.5" squares from my precious stash.  Every square is different; a charm quilt.

I decided to have fun with this quilt and rather than laying out the blocks first, I set about just randomly sewing them into pairs using my old Featherweight.  I then sewed these into pairs so I had a block of 4 squares.  I did then arrange these out on the floor.

It didn't take me long and the top was pieced, backed and hand quilted simply.  Later in the evening, Charlie Boy and I enjoyed some cosy time on the sofa while I hand stitched the binding which was made of strips from an old French linen sheet.


I backed the little quilt with a vintage French floral sheet.

It looks just right on the old cot bed.

The cot bed has proved perfect for my many cushions.

There's pretty ticking and floral hearts, lovingly hand stitched hexagons and gorgeous tactile old quilt blocks.

I have enjoyed being able to restock my Etsy shop  and there they wait, looking for new homes should you fancy a peek.  

I'll leave you with some freshly picked white bluebells (saying that seems very contradictory?) which the Munchkin found for me in the garden yesterday.  Happy Bank Holiday Monday, folks. Xxx