Tuesday, 21 January 2014

It's a start.......

At the beginning of each new year, I always vow to bring fresh flowers or a flowering plant into the house as often as possible. 

This time of year it often means buying from the flower stall in the big town 15 minutes drive away, or from the florists in the smaller, nearby town - a proper little town which boasts, amongst other things, a florists, a newsagents with Post Office, a butchers, a bakers, a jewellers, a good old-fashioned hardware store, and even a small family-run Department store.

It is a little gem of a place.

On top of all that, it has all the usual charity shops and banks, hairdressers and selection of take-aways.

It also has free parking, a railway station close to both the high street and supermarket, with regular trains to London one way and Ashford International the other, and a Waitrose within easy walking distance of all the above, as well as a huge Costa's with outside seating for warm, balmy days (but a wistful memory at the moment).

It really is a little gem of a place, a piece of Old England, a relic of what the High Street used to be a like a few decades ago before the out-of-town supermarkets and DIY stores came along, driving the smaller businesses and butchers, bakers and hardware stores out of business. Before the building societies, hairdressers, charity shops, and pound shops took over. 

It is not pretty, or picturesque, like many of the Kentish villages in the area. Lots of the buildings are plain and unattractive. But it is always buzzing. The little high street is always busy with people going about their everyday business in a way that is hard to do in most other high streets these days. You could shop daily here if you wanted.

You can get your shoes re-heeled, a key cut, a hair-cut, buy a ring, a joint of beef, and a bouquet of flowers. You can buy a mason jar for preserving, or a pot of paint for decorating. You can get your passport photo taken in the Post Office, send a parcel abroad or borrow a book on travel from the little library. You can buy a loaf of bread, or a loaf tin to bake a loaf of bread. You can hop on a train and be in London in less than an hour or be in France in just over an hour.

The coffee shop is always busy, the high street is always bustling, and you can buy anything from a carpet to a ball of wool in the wonderful little department store (where, incidentally, my daughter had her first summer job this past summer in the old-fashioned school uniform department, and where she took a record sale of over £1,000, right on closing time, from a customer from Russia buying uniform for their child off to boarding school nearby!).

So once I find my crochet mojo this year, I have somewhere to head for, to satisfy any yarn urges - not a huge selection, but I like to support the department store for fear that we lose this treasure of a shop. In fact I like to support as many of the shops as I can, as I realise how lucky we are to still have them.

These are the second pair of fingerless mitts I made from Cute and Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench, using the same pattern as before, but adding a contrast trim and thumbs.

Despite the weather, I have managed to get lots of long walks in over the last few weeks, choosing my moment, dodging the showers. It means a shower in the bath for Logan on return, as wherever we go, across the fields or through the many orchards, there is thick, squelchy mud and huge puddles.

Once dry, Logan is content to lie on a cushion on the back of the sofa and look out of the front window, where, even though it is a fairly quiet and narrow lane, there is enough activity to capture the interest of any self-respecting dog guarding his property.

A few cars and the odd lorry delivering to the pub at the other end of the hamlet, and dog walkers and horses. 

As you can see from the photo above, one of his favourite cushions of the moment (and I do change them around rather a lot!) is a vintage one I picked up recently.

A lot of work has gone into this one, reverse applique, white on white.

It is not perfectly executed, but someone had the patience and interest and skill to finish this cushion, and the overall effect is lovely.

Inspired by this cushion, and prompted by a very timely post by the talented Clare at Selfsewn, I felt inspired to seek out a book I have had a few years, and to have a go at some reverse applique myself.

Using a ready cut motif from the Alabama Stitch book, I transfered the design onto a piece of an old shirt of my husbands, and placed it over a large vintage orange linen napkin. 

(My regular readers won't raise an eyebrow at all at my choice of fabrics, knowing well that I favour using up-cycled and vintage fabrics where I can, giving them a new lease of life!)

And that, I'm afraid, is as far as I have got for the moment!

But it's a start.

I am hoping to find time in the next day or so to do a little more, but I think it will be a slow old project, and me being impatient me, I will have to start (or finish?) another, quicker project!

What are you working on at the moment?????


  1. I love your Nicki Trench fingerless gloves! I am making a stripy pair by Sandra at Cherry Heart for a friend at the moment and would like to try these next. Will have a look for the book. Thanks! :)

  2. I love supporting all the little business on the old main streets when I can too. As for the yarn shop, nowadays they usually have no problem bringing in the yarn you want if you ask them too. If you don't mind waiting, they usually don't mind doing it!
    I am intrigued as to your newest project: please make sure to post a photo when done. Something like that would look lovely with a small floral underneath too, as long as the pattern didn't show through the white fabric. The original version is quite lovely as your dog has already show you! My dog is currently curled up in the blanket I'm crocheting. It's taking me forever to get it done, but at least it's getting enjoyed in the interim!
    Such fabulous finds in your last post too. It almost makes me want to run out to the thrift stores - almost but not quite as it's minus twenty degrees celsius here today and I just want to curl up with the dog and my unfinished blanket...
    Have a wonderful day:)

  3. Your little town sounds perfect, you are so right so many town centres have been ruined!
    Your reverse appliqué looks lovely, looking forward to watching it progress!
    As for what I'm working on, well you Gill...more rabbits! ;)
    V xxx

  4. Your little town sounds like a delightful place to live and so many lovely places to be able to shop! I look forward to seeing your new work as it progresses - very interesting. xx

  5. Reverse appliqué is beautiful. Good for you ; )

  6. Lovely pillow/cushion, and good for you for treating yourself to flowers. That's something I've vowed to do for my home through the winter, especially, too. The Carnations are lovely.

  7. Nice to "see" you again! I can't believe how fine your Alabama needlework piece is! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

    Logan looks clean & comfy! I should give a Duke a tubby after his morning business! LOL

  8. Keep going, it gets easier!
    My friends first born is a Logan, he is 15 now and has very similar floppy hair!!
    Thanks for the link up.
    I am still appliquing and have started a sketchbook.....and another quilt!!

  9. hello love the new stich chushions looks very great and pretty and with this cant of weather its always nice to have some flowers in youre house it gifts a bit of fleur at home

  10. Love visiting towns like you describe. They are becoming rarer and rarer.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  11. Beautiful makes! The gloves are so jolly, and the appliqué is lovely, very nice post! Chrissie x

  12. Gill, your reverse applique looks beautiful so far--love that orange/linen combo--and your little town sounds just perfect! I have so much fun imagining your English Country life. :)

  13. I don't always like carnations, but those ones are very pretty. Your new sewing project looks interesting. I can knit and sew, but never been able to crochet - I'm going on a 1 day course in Feb :). Abby x

  14. Lovely post - pretty carnations, beautiful makes, but I'm afraid Logan rather steals the show! :o)
    Jane xx

  15. Just caught up with your last couple of posts, been having computer issues!
    Love the zingy colours of the tulips, they never fail to cheer.
    Both you and Clare are such talented seamstresses, i always admire your makes.
    That AS book was a great present for you!
    Lisa x


Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment - I love to read them!
Gill x