Monday, 27 June 2011

Salvo Fair Knebworth House

The other day my mate Alex mentioned that he was going to the Salvo Fair at Knebworth House. As I had a day off, and have never been to one before, I thought I'd tag along. It was a whacking £15 to get in, which I thought rather steep, especially as the prices inside aren't rock bottom. We chose to go on the trade day - although how that differs from regular days I'm not sure (except on a trade day you have to pay alot more to get in - hmm.) Alex came home with an old chair that he's vowing to re-cover and a beautiful lamp from a ship. The company he bought it from,  which specialises in nautical ephemera, also sold Doctor Who the bulb that perches on top of the tardis! It's these sorts of discoveries that make a day out like this so enticing. Imagine a similar discovery taking place at Ikea?!

For my part, I bought a plant pot holder for the wall in which to display some jolly geraniums, and then I went slightly off-message! Attracted as usual to anything in the textile department, a fragment of patchwork caught my eye, as did a collection of beautiful hankies. It was the colours really that excited me and I'm sure will provide me with lots of inspiration. I also picked up a giant wooden darning mushroom for £10 - a little more than I wanted to pay - but I still managed to bargain him down from £20 - so who's grumbling? Not me! These mushrooms are fascinating in themselves, but they also make a great little hat block for cocktail hats. I've blocked felt on a similar one very successfully in the past and am looking forward to having another go.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Creative day out in Deptford?


Ok - I've had this idea! How about coming on a vintage/creative day out to Deptford one Saturday?

We'd start early with a quick coffee and a trip to the flea market to hunt for rags to turn into riches. We'd then drop in on Deptford's fab retro clothes shop to get the low-down on high-end vintage and check out my favourite local haberdashery. After brunch at the train-carriage cafe, we'd head to the charity shop and I'd give a heads up on customising. Then it's back to mine via Gimcrack where the owners curate an interesting selection of hand-picked second-hand goodies...

Chez moi - an afternoon of crafting lies ahead - with everyone having the chance to make a purse/wallet or mini-bag out of a vintage tie as well as a textile necklace.

We'd finish with tea and cakes.....

What do you reckon? Tourism with a twist? Book now!

Friday, 17 June 2011

My Hebridean working holiday - part 2

My two weeks on Tanera were marked by unremitting rain. The weather was so bad that the tourist boats (on which the cafe relies) were cancelled on all but two days due to stormy seas or unwelcome downpours. As I was meant to be working in the cafe in exchange for my holiday house - this left me with something of a dilemma. How was I to repay my hosts for my accommodation? I baked the cafe's faourites in anticipation of visitors, but there are only so many batches of brownie or flapjack that a girl can fit in the freezer. Fortunately I'd brought my sewing machine with me thinking that any loneliness would be chased away by my Brother. I was therefore able to exchange baking for sewing and willingly stitched for my supper instead. I made a little curtain for the butler sink in the loo block out of an old duvet cover (check it out if you ever visit!) and lots of cushion covers for the holiday cottages that are scattered around the island.

I started to feel like I was on some sort of sewing retreat and in my spare time I got to work on the two dresses I'd planned to make during my stay. They were both run up using the same pattern. I'd really intended to make one from an original 50's pattern that I'd bought at a fab second-hand bookshop in Stroud -  but the fit and style just didn't work, so I quickly abandoned that idea. Here are the completed dresses captured in a rare moment of sunshine!

And here I am wearing one of them back home in London - at one of my regular haunts! I think I look much more at home in this outfit than in the anorak and wellies at the start of this blog entry!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Today's fleamarket find

Oops! There goes the wheel!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My Hebridean working holiday - in bite-sized chunks!

Bloggers who don't blog are a very annoying breed. Many apologies for having become one of those. Hands up - I've been pretty useless of late. So what happened on my shoestring holiday? 

I know I should have updated you sooner. 

Well,  I've discovered, much to my surprise, that I've become a city girl. I really had no idea that I was one. I'd always thought of myself as very much at home in the back of beyond. But you know what? Nine years in London have spoiled me. After only five days I found myself begging for the latest edition of Vogue to be ferried back to the island! I realised that I've come to love the constant variety, the distraction, the plethora of people, the ever-changing fashions, the pleasure of birdsong in the middle of town, and the comparative warmth of the climate down South!

For two weeks this rather soggy windswept path was my daily commute. I was immediately surprised by how unfit I was. A 20 minute walk left me breathless. I'd always thought my forays into Deptford and back kept me in reasonable shape. How wrong I was! Here, the handful of hardy residents happily slung luggage for a family of four onto their backs and hiked merrily up the hill or shouldered with a shrug a sack of logs for the fire! I immediately realised I was out of my comfort zone!

More to follow...