Monday, 28 October 2013

Red Gingham Cushions and some vintage bargains

Now that the sewing room is neat and tidy after my recent sort out, it is both easy and a pleasure to go in there with an idea in mind and just get on with it and make it happen.

A few years ago my Mum gave me a length of vintage gingham that she had left over from many decades ago - a deep crimson red woven cotton gingham with quite large checks, and I had been hanging on to it until the right time.

Now that the weather is cooler, it seemed the perfect fabric to make into some cheerful cushions for the sitting room so on Friday afternoon I made two, and finished them with a tiny cream cotton lace trim.

They look cheerful and cosy teamed with the vintage floral linen cushion that I made last year, and are just right to perk up the sitting room and give it a warm country look.

 On Saturday we had a trip to the Kent County Showground at Detling, near Maidstone (J7 M20) for the first day of a two day Antiques and Collectors Fair. It's the first time we've been, and it won't be the last - only £4 each entry, plenty of free (but muddy!) parking and you can take your dog (we left Logan behind as we didn't realise dogs were allowed, so next time we'll take him - he would've loved it, he loves meeting other dogs and has always enjoyed wandering around boot fairs!)

It was pretty wet and windy, but we went well wrapped up and wearing wellies, and armed with plenty of cash!

First buy was this well-shaped sturdy Victorian carved chair in very good condition - just needs recovering and the hessian underneath replacing, and I think I shall leave it unpainted. I though it was not a bad buy at £20 (after a bit of bartering) with an old coffee sack thrown in to replace the bottom - I shall probably wash the sack and make something from it.

I fancy covering it in a warm wool or tartan if I'm keeping it dark wood .......or maybe cover it in the old hessian sack?  I have some antiqued brass upholstery studs that would go well with the sacking.....

Now there's a thought. What do you think???

Next I found a lovely old watering can - there were quite a few of these on various stalls in varying conditions and priced around £15. I paid £10 for this one which has a good solid bottom.

And there's the sack underneath......

My husband spotted this walnut veneered bedside cabinet - in pretty good condition, well made and solid with only the odd scratch, he thought it a bargain at £20 (once negotiations were complete!)

Most importantly, the top is in very good condition.
Too good to paint even though I'm not a great lover of brown furniture unless it is a lovely piece.

I was lucky enough to track down Heather (the lady I buy old linens from at my local flea market) inside one of the covered buildings, and after a good rummage through her stacks of vintage and antique linens and cashmeres, I found this lovely pair of pillowcases. 

So a pretty satisfying trip. Both pieces of furniture were a lot cheaper than similar items found in nearby charity shops and furniture warehouses.

Thanks for all your comments on my last post - the scarf has grown a little more since then, and is very nearly finished, but I think I have shared enough photos of it for the time being!

I've just finished another project today which I'll share with you next time, possibly in the form of a tutorial - I want to share how easy it is to make something that I was a bit wary of making, but when I couldn't find a decent one to buy but having then found the right "base" to make my own, it turned out to be quick and straightforward.

Show you next time!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Crochet and a calm workspace

I am really enjoying making this makes up quickly and neatly, and both joining as I go, and sewing in the ends as I go, means once it's finished it's done.

I ran out of white yarn yesterday and a quick trip to my nearest yarn shop (Hobbycraft 5 mins away) soon sorted that. I had also run out of a teal colour, and ended up buying these three lovely wool mixes - well, it was buy two get one free, how could I not?!

So I chose the teal, a pale duck egg blue/green, and a gorgeous soft, pale limey yellow - a sort of celery leaf colour, not dissimilar to Farrow and Ball Pale Hound, which I am very tempted to use on some of my kitchen cupboards.

The pretty note pad I picked up from John Lewis.

On the strength of having a crochet work in progress, I am joining in Chrissie Crafts and Ladybird Diaries Bloomin Crochet-a-long!  Click on the button in the sidebar or on the links above to check it out, join in and see the gorgeous crochet projects others are working on!

My sewing room tidy-up is nearly finished now, and I am loving crocheting in this calm workspace

Oddments of lace and trims I wrapped round some old business cards.....

various ribbons, trims and a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll......

vintage lace edgings from old tablecloths and some vintage buttons below

I still need to paint both these shelves( housing cushions) to match, probably just in white....although another tall Billy bookshelf in white to match the one we bought last week for this same room (see previous post) would be even better, and provide even more storage!

 ......and I need to make a curtain to go around the cutting table to hide all the baskets and bags of fabric underneath.....

Last Friday we fought our way through the torrential rain, floods and crowds to see Crosby, Stills and Nash in concert at the Royal Albert Hall, arriving with only 10 minutes to spare (due to a last minute change in travel plans when we found the main road linking to the M25 at a complete standstill, meaning a rush to the nearest station!).

We had great seats, nearly dead centre in the arena 16 rows back - perfect!

Most of the audience were of a certain age, and there was even the occasional whiff of TCP............rather than that other, more potent, smell which would have been present back in the day, masked by the ubiquitous pachouli oil.......

apologies for the poor photos but I couldn't see to set my camera properly, so just had to point and shoot and hope for the best..... sadly hubby is hopeless with his i-phone camera

but it gives you an idea......

When they played "Winchester Cathedral" ( which was amazing ) it started with playing the organ, which was lit up dramatically - it was very atmospheric.

the whole concert was quite poignant, taking us back to our younger and more carefree days with our lives ahead of us and life seemed like one long party.........

Our friend had last seen CSN live in Toronto in 1974!

The guys themselves were incredible - as talented as ever, one in his late 60s and the other two in their early 70's, they rocked the night away..........Our House,  Love the one you're with, Teach your Children........lots of old favourites and many new songs too......they are still creating and performing new songs........they seemed to really love the evening.

They played from 8 til gone 11, no support band, and just one 15 minute break.

Hats off to CSN. 
We, and they I think, had a ball!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Still on a crochet roll.........

This is the latest project I'm working on, a lacy scarf. 

After searching for a simple lacy motif in my crochet books, I ended up making up my own design to achieve what I had in mind. And after a little trial and error I ended up with a round of trebles into a 6 chain ring in a colour ( with a couple of chains in between) then a second round of double treble clusters in white, joining as I went. 

I shall be in a hurry to finish this now as last week I ordered a couple of crochet books by Nicki Trench, and the first one, Cute and Easy Crochet, has now arrived to tempt me into starting more new projects before finishing this one!

I want to make some of these pretty lacy gloves, for Bella and for myself.......

photo from Nicki Trench Cute and Easy Crochet

And we really need a cafetiere cover..........

photo from Nicki Trench Cute and Easy Crochet

oh, and of course some of these cute covers for jam jars........

photo from Nicki Trench Cute and Easy Crochet

oh, oh and I MUST have one of these for all my crochet hooks................

photo from Nicki Trench Cute and Easy Crochet

It's a gorgeous book, full of inspiring projects and divided into three sections, so there's plenty of projects to make whether you are a beginner, or expert, or just wanting to improve or try new things. 

I loved Nicki Trench's patchwork book A Passion for Quilting that I bought earlier this year, and which inspired me to make Bella's quilt, and I'm loving this book too.

Can't wait for the other one, Cute and Easy Crochet with Flowers, to arrive - and I bet I'll find the perfect flower that I could have used for my scarf!

Check out Nicki's blog here.

photo from Nicki Trench Cute and Easy Crochet

But,  before making any of these tempting projects, I shall be strong-willed and finish this scarf first.

Really I will.

This week I have also been having a bit of a sort out in my sewing room ( which is usually an absolute mess ) and a new Billy bookcase from Ikea has helped re-gain some order and provide some extra storage.

 This white bookshelf now contains a lot of my stash next to an existing shelf full of vintage cushions ready to sell

 to the right of the door are cushions pads and more cushions

 my sewing table is now under the eaves

 and my cutting/laying out/ironing table under the window (still covered in "stuff" that I'm sorting)
Under this table are baskets and bags full of vintage linens and laces, blankets, recycled work shirts, etc etc...all waiting to be transformed into something new and useful........

and then at some point the room needs redecorating...note the wallpaper border.....and the splodgy window that my thoughtful husband started to prime thinking I would paint it..........but I just want to get back in here and sew! 

 So I am happy to gaze upon a bit of order for once!

 washed vintage linens and laces

 washed vintage embroidered linens... I still have bags and baskets full to launder......

 vintage French linens, tickings and antique european grain sacks and mangle cloths.......

 vintage floral linens and barkcloths.......

 various vintage fabrics from all over the world.....the US. Switzerland, France and the UK

 and more modern and new fabrics....blues, greens and yellows.....

ginghams, checks and stripes...... 

 reds, pinks and purples........

but there is STILL a load more sewing "stuff" tripping us up the landing whilst awaiting a new place in my sewing room - boxes of ribbons and trims, embroidery cottons, etc etc - so that's what I'll be doing this weekend, trying to cram it all in without losing the new sense of order and space that I created!

But first, tonight, a trip to London's Royal Albert Hall to see Crosby, Stills and Nash - a real blast from the past! Little bit before my time to be honest, but not for hubby and his friend, but I should recognise quite a few songs as I was teen in the 70s, and I well remember and love Marrakesh Express and Teach your Children! 

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post - they were so much appreciated!

Hope you all have a great weekend!