Sunday sewing

28 Apr

What a productive weekend it’s been! Disappointing news on Friday afternoon could have made it otherwise but instead I’ve chosen to keep busy – while finding time to chill out too!

Yesterday I caught up with the lovely B to see The Dancer Upstairs at the French Institute as part of the London Spanish Film Festival. Two hours of Javier Bardem plus the hefty slab of coconut and orange cake that followed made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Check out the beautiful rainbow I saw that evening, too…

Rainbow

It reminded me of a quote I saw on Pinterest recently:

“Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.”

Today, I had my usual early morning walk with the lovely Putney WI ladies (another gloriously sunny AM at Richmond Park) and now, I’ve just finished crafting my first needle case, Sarah Moore style. What do you think?

Needle case 4

Advertisements

Walks and wonders

14 Apr

20130414_093038

What a glorious weekend we’ve been having! The sun has finally come out and it seems as if spring has finally sprung! I made the most of the good weather with an early morning walk around Richmond Park with three of my WI members. We meet outside the beautiful Pembroke Lodge before setting off for a one-hour stroll around Sidmouth Wood and Pen Ponds, before climbing up King Henry’s Mound to admire the view – you can see all the way to St Pauls on a clear day.

Yesterday was an equally successful day. On my way into town I passed a skip where some beautiful pieces of furniture were being thrown away. I couldn’t lug it all home but did manage to salvage some bits and pieces – like these handles.

20130413_140120

I’ve been wanting to get some like this for ages so am very excited, not just about finding them but also by the fact that they were free! It seems there are treasures to be found everywhere, you just need to take the time out to stop and look.

Let there be light!

7 Apr

How wonderful a weekend it’s been! Not only has there been glorious sunshine – and warmth – but I’ve also been back home in Somerset to see family, friends and learn a new skill. Yesterday, I attended a three-hour lampshade making course with Louise of Lolly & Boo. It was held at the beautiful Reading Rooms in Stratford-sub-Castle – here’s the view from the carpark:

20130406_165200

Having never made a lampshade before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Louise advised each member of the group (there were eight of us in total) to bring half a metre of fabric and, when we arrived, we were able to choose our size of shade – 15cm, 25cm or 30cm. I’d come with a cotton material with a large floral print so opted to make a 30cm standing lampshade – for where, I’m not yet sure!

20130406_142801

It turned out that the whole process was surprisingly straightforward – you line your fabric with PVC to give it tension, then use sticky-back tape to secure it to the wire rings. Rolling the fabric around the rings was tricky – could have done with a third hand – but I think the end result turned out pretty good. Not bad for a first attempt.

20130406_164124

Louise was so friendly and encouraging, and made the entire experience fun and easy to follow. Now I’ve mastered the basic technique, I’ll definitely be giving it another go.

lollyandboo.co.uk

Crafting and cream tea = my perfect weekend

19 Mar

There’s nothing I like more than cosying up indoors on rainy days to craft, especially with a generous wedge of homemade cake to keep me going. So imagine my pleasure on Saturday to find myself driving through a torrential downpour to Northchapel in West Sussex for one of vintage queen Sarah Moore’s new crafting masterclasses. I could hardly contain my excitment!

The schedule for the day was to create a personalised notice board, make fabric corsages and lavender cushions, and giftwrap locally produced soaps in antique maps and papers – a lot, perhaps, to cover in one session, but with a seemingly endless supply of scones, Victoria sponges and tea – served using antique chinaware – it was a challenge I couldn’t wait to tackle.

And Sarah Moore is a fantastic teacher. Inspirational, encouraging and patient, she soon had our small group busily cutting antique wallpapers into hexagon shapes and sticking them in a patchwork over a standard cork noticeboard. The transformation was almost instant and it was amazing to see how, given the same basic materials, every one of us created a design unique and completely different.

20130318_141911

We stopped for lunch – a picnic style affair with quiche, figs and potato salads, and apricot crumble (served in vintage teacups) – before continuing with our makes. The velvet lavender strawberries and rose-scented roses smelt heavenly, and ended up looking so wonderful I’m not sure I’m going to be able to give mine away…

Sarah Moore soaps

Sarah Moore soap

It was such a treat to be able to devote a day to crafting – somehow the rain outside made it all the more justifiable – and it was also wonderful to have the opportunity to meet other likeminded makers with a love of all things vintage. When the class came to an end, although I didn’t want to leave, I also couldn’t wait to get home to start sourcing materials for my next project – needle, thread and pinking shears here I come!

sarahmoorevintage.com

Have your WI cake and eat it!

23 Feb

Little Miss Married Putney WI

Just back from the first WI cake sale, in aid of our chosen charity Regenerate Rise. What a success! We were holding it at the Regenerate Rise centre on Felsham Road as part of their monthly café, where they open their doors to members of the public and invite them in for a cup of tea and a bacon butty, and to find out more about the work they do in helping to prevent isolation of the elderly within the local community. Our table was positively laden with WI members’ homemade wares such as fudgy chocolate slices, hazelnut cookies, butterscotch brownies and Bara Brith loaves that sold within minutes. Needless to say we completely sold out and raised over £100 for the charity – not bad for our first time. The WI cake sale will now become a monthly event, as part of the Regenerate Rise cafe, so do come along and meet us – what better way than over a piece of cake!

putneywi.wordpress.com

Let’s hit the road…

17 Feb

It feels like ages since I was last up in Scotland, even though it was only last month! Now that M and I have got a set of wheels again, we’re putting them to good use with the wee car’s first long-haul adventure to Edinburgh. I love a good road trip – any excuse to visit the Tebay services to stock up on yummy local treats and handmade ceramics. What a great weekend we had too though. We caught up with C and L (happy birthday L!) for a delicious dinner of wood-oven fired pizzas at La Favorita, which has recently reopened following a refurb – check out the light fittings, now on my wish-list for when M and I have our own home again! I also managed to finish off my latest knitting project – a neck-warmer for M, for when he’s on his bike to college. My first attempt at stocking stick, since my course with Mrs Moon last week – I’m quite chuffed with it, what do you think?

Little Miss Married neck warmer

Knit one, purl one

9 Feb

It’s official. I am truly a knitting addict! Having been taught the basic knit stitch by a colleague from work, I have been creating endless scarves and snoods for friends and family, and can’t get enough it. But, I’ve also been keen to master purl – I’m told that once you have these two stitches you can knit anything! So I signed up for a morning knitting course at the stunning Mrs Moon haberdashery in St. Margarets.

Mrs Moon Little Miss Married 2 Mrs Moon Little Miss Married 1

From the moment I entered the shop, I knew I was in for a treat: a warm welcome and floor-to-ceiling displays of brightly-coloured yarns, ceramic buttons and knitting patterns – I couldn’t wait to get started. There were only three of us in the class – the average amount – so it was easy for Mrs Moon co-founder Karen to keep her eyes on what we were all up to and give us personal tips and guidance. We started off going over the basics – casting on and knit stitch – then moved onto purl, stocking stitch, and how to create a rib pattern. We also practised increasing and decreasing stitching and learnt how to cast off – all in the space of three hours. At £35, it was incredible value for money.

Mrs Moon Little Miss Married

Before I left, I couldn’t resist buying a stunning ivory baby alpaca and merino wool mix by Debbie Bliss, which I intend to transform into (yet, another) snood, this time using moss stitch. Watch this space for the results…

mrsmoon.co.uk

If you read one thing this month…

6 Feb

Gone Girl Little Miss Married

…make sure it’s Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Amazing. A real page turner that I couldn’t put down. One of the recommendation quotes says it’s the book you’ll want everyone to read so you can discuss it with them, and I agree. So far, I’m not having much luck in finding anyone though so, have any of you read it and, if so, what did you think?!

I’m a fan – of fans!

3 Feb

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 3

After signing up to it at the end of last year, today was finally the day when I returned to the wonderful Fan Museum in Greenwich for my fan-making taster class. I’d been feeling a little silly all week when I told people what I was going to be getting up to at the weekend because surely fan-making is just pleating a piece of paper, which anyone can do, right? Wrong! The course began with an introduction by Helene Alexander, the museum’s founder, to the history of the fan, its different styles, and the varieties of materials used to make them over the years and then it was over to us (a group of six) to try and replicate the traditional Chinese and Fontange shapes ourselves. I’d treated myself to two beautiful papers from Libertys, especially for the course – one a vintage-looking map of central London; the other an intricate Oriental-themed pattern. What I hadn’t realised it that when you print paper, it distorts the image meaning straight lines become curved and colours richer and more intense. There’s also a real skill required in attaching the spokes of the fan to the paper, and ensuring it opens and closes correctly; there’s so much more to fans than meets the eye. After three hours, we all had two fans to take home. If you look closely, mine aren’t perfect but, for a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m planning to frame them and put them on display. Fans are works of art, after all. Check out these examples from the museum’s latest ‘The Fan in Europe: 1800-1850’ exhibition – stunning.

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 1

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 2

thefanmuseum.org.uk

When can I move to Stow?

27 Jan

Just back from a lovely visit to see my friend KT in Cheltenham and we had so much fun! It was a real treat to get out of London into the countryside and we headed straight to the idyllic Cotswolds village of Stow-on-the-Wold, somewhere we’ve both always wanted to go to, but never quite managed it. It was so pretty, especially in the snow. We mooched around the shops – fantastic selection of greetings cards at Eklektika, and the most delicious mix of vintage treasures and home furnishings at House Etc – before returning home for a Saturday night in (Take Me Out!!!) with a meze-style supper. Yum!