Wednesday, 29 June 2022

A stitchers journey of slow stitching and journals ... and a beautiful Brocante!


Every Stitch Adds To The History.

When I begin to come to the end of a project it is both sad and happy in equal measures somehow.  The fabric and embroidery art is beginning to come alive, with each piece of vintage fabric with its own little story to tell and each tiny stitch you are effectively adding to its history with whispers of its past.  From the age of the French antique linen that the design is being stitched onto, to the ages of the fabrics and every tiny thread and stitch you are bringing together a story of decades and history.  

For me, at least, I get a little sad that this particular piece of art is finishing.  It is like saying goodbye to a good friend at the end of a wonderful day.  The happy part is sorting a fresh project with its own memories contained in its weave of antique fabric and linens and adding again to its story yet to come.

Getting all the components together laid out on my studio table, fabrics, threads, buttons and linens or quilt pieces along with my notes and little sketches, the anticipation of the new creative journey makes me happy indeed.  At the end of everyday I always tidy a little and thread a few needles up ready to start afresh the next morning.

On dark days ( that happen even in the Summer) I have candles and twinkling lights and on hot sultry days I have the stable door half open and will be there with a cool breeze and the sounds of birds singing away.  Sometimes I have my radio on and it is a really happy, cosy place to be.  

Slow stitching really is a form of therapy for me and I feel so lucky and blessed to do what I love on a daily basis.

My journals and notebooks are very important to me and keeping forms of records of sayings and quotes or sketches and ideas.  I am a wordsmith at heart and even a single word on a piece of stitchery can change it, it can evoke all sorts of thoughts about a piece.  From Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron or Louisa May Alcott and so many more greats I borrow their words to merge with some of my stitchery.

I like to sketch little ideas for future project, just little rough sketches and ideas that I van embellish on as I go, but the essence of what I would like to achieve is there on that page with some words or quotes that again could add to its future history

I never travel without my diary, one should always have something sensational to read in the train!

Oscar Wilde.

So last weekend I travelled to West Sussex to The Country Brocante Summer event and oh was it worth it.  It was stunning.  The event was held near Wisborough Green and you drove into a large field to park.  Then you followed the bunting and laughter on a pathway through a little wooded area, which was dotted by stalls and craft people.  One lady was weaving baskets.  There were flowers and displays everywhere through the woods.  Then it opened out into a large field and there in the twinkling sunlight were so many white marquees and gazebo's decorated beautifully.  It was truffling heaven indeed. I know that I must have gasped, every little detail had been thought of, which included the ice cream tent being blue and white stripped so that you could see it out of all the white stalls. Several gorgeous coffee vans and a great cafe selling the most wonderful salads, which on such a warm day was just what was needed.

So with my trusty basket I began to explore, it was like vintage heaven.  I met up with some of my lovely friends Simone of Ayres and Graces, Sue of Suitably Vintage and Suzi of Hearts and Kisses.  It was so good to see them.  Simone and I worked out we had not seen each other in person for 4 years!!!  catching up and the laughter was a true tonic.  Now it was time to go and find treasure and in no particular order this is what I found.

I bought four double pieces of very old American quilt pieces, so when I cut them into each
square I will have eight gorgeous quilt pieces for one of my workshops later in the year,  A Christmas themed one of course!  The colours our beautiful and there is a right amount of wear on them to make them even more beautiful in my opinion.  What do you think?

From the same person I also bought a large piece of blue and white antique American quilt with stars.  It has four square in total and I feel a beautiful wall hanging coming on with this piece of history.  I really want to keep it all together and there will be words only stitched on this.  My thought is that it will read "A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars"  What do you think about that.  I really think it would suit this beautiful piece of old quilt.

I am imagining some really old and carved mother of pearl buttons on there too as I have some that are stars that I bought a few years ago for the right project to come along.  They are very rare and feel this is the right project to stitch them onto.

I also added to my every growing collection of cotton reels, I love both Coates and Sylko threads.  The Coates ones remind me of my beautiful old neighbour who worked for them and I am always
thinking of what he said about some.  I like to think when I am looking at them at a fair such as this, he is walking beside me and there nodding at my choices.  The Sylko threads always have such wonderful names such as these Light Apple Green,  Eau-de-nil, Parma Violet and Scarlett.

A while ago now I found a old rolling pin in a charity shop

in the little town I live in and it was a Nut Brown one.  Beautiful china rolling pin with worn green wooden handles.  So when I was truffling about imagine my delight that I spied a vintage tin mould made by Nut Brown as well with a star on the top.  I could not believe my luck that in a field in West Sussex it was waiting patiently for me to find.

When I found Suzi Hearts'n'kisses I saw to my delight a little wall hanging stitched by her and it had Little Thimble stitched on it! Well now that had to come home with me.  I have not put it up yet but it will get done this week.  Thimble Cottage will be all the better for this piece of
stitching in my porch somewhere I can tell you.

Further along in a smallish marquee there were some lovely vintage pieces and I never leave any stone or box
unturned for you do not know what may be waiting to be found.  There were some antique wooden bobbins I thought but they turned out to be little spindles from chairs that were not used.  I looked at them and took one out to see if it would stand on its own and to my joy it did.  They were very dirty but I got some and and as you will see from the photos they were black.  I got
them home and put them in a large bowl of hot soapy water and gave them a good old fashioned scrub a dub dub.  They dried over night on my drainer in the kitchen and then I gave

them a bees wax and polish and as you will see they are perfect for an idea I have for an Autumn workshop. I had designed something a while ago and was on the look out for something that was a little different but would work and I believe I have found them.

Now I know some of you will be wondering if I actually bought any small quilt pieces and gorgeous vintage eiderdown fabrics, well of course I would not disappoint you all .. grin.  I bought from lots of different places there but it turned into quiet a beautiful haul of really outstanding little pieces for my stash and for projects yet to

be.  It is so wonderful when there are little bits of fabrics all in a basket to sort through, for me it is all part of the thrill of the truffle.  When you spy little bits that are just you and what you are about in terms of creating it really makes you smile.

Hunting around I found a few more things, some old wax paper deeds which will be for a project and work shop at some point.  Then I found two little hand thrown and painted jugs for my ever growing jug collection, they were so

very pretty and do not take that much room up on my groaning dresser in the kitchen.  They are very Summer related so they are on my dresser now and very happy indeed. One has a daisy with a little bee and the other a rose.  Dear little things and great to put milk in serving someone a tea or coffee.  Every jug in my cottage is used for something... They all have their moments in time.

My last little purchase of the day was this dear little

antique card and at the back of it there is the senders hand written message, I just could not resist at all and I think you will all see why as well.. It is delightful and I really do not know what to do with it except put it into a glass frame back and front and hanging it in my studio, where it can be removed from the frame from time to time to look at it all.

On the Saturday the show ended at 4 and it was time to bid a farewell to a really beautiful fair and wonderful friends and exhibitors.  The day was not quiet over as we went to a local old pub for a drink and a light bite before heading off back to Dorset once more.

I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings today and it has not been too long for you.  Hoping you have enjoyed a peek into my sewing, journaling world along with a little peek of a wonderful weekend filled with treasures and laughter.  I could have filled up this page with so many wonderful photos but I picked but a few.

Well that is it for today and hope you all have a wonderful weekend coming and enjoy this beautiful weather that we are still having here so far.

Take care and as always Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

Friday, 24 June 2022

Antique Quilts, beautiful, functional, tactile and Collectible.


We stitch together quilts of meaning to keep us warm and safe, with whatever patches of beauty and utility we have on hand.

Anne Lamott.

The other morning the postman knocked on my door and handed me a fairly large box.  I could not think what was nestled inside.  Pondering over the package I sipped at my morning coffee.  Well I thought just open it up then.

I carefully opened the box and inside was a beautifully wrapped something in brown paper tied with a beautiful ribbon around it.  There was a beautifully hand written "Thank you"  on the brown paper.  I began to carefully open it up and a gorgeous antique, red and white quilt was folded neatly and smelt beautifully fresh and hand washed.  I could not believe it, the I remembered seeing the patterned fabric and remembered purchasing, what I thought was a large piece of antique quilt, however this was very much a whole complete antique quilt.  This tells you I had purchased a bargain.

Eagerly I opened it out to reveal a hand quilted large quilt.  The tiny neatly hand stitched had nine to an inch.. it was old.  Looking closer and doing a happy jiggle dance at the same time I saw it was not pieced but printed fabrics, each side different and all in glorious red and white.  I looked carefully and could see that the red was indeed in Turkey red, Oh the joy!

For those of you who do not know about Turkey Red cotton, it is a complex dyeing
process which involved many steps and some caustic chemicals.  It has a distinctive wearing pattern as the yarn was dyed and then woven into fabric.  The colour stays bright but the process causes the threads to wear which when it ages you can see little white striations there in.  It was widely used to dye cotton in the 18th and 19th Century.  It is made  using the root of the Rubia plant and is a long and laborious process and originated in Turkey and said to have been brought to Europe in around the 1740's.

In France Turkey Red is known as rouge d'Andrinople .  Anyway I wondered if I could find out more about this process  and upon searching I found from the notes of a Manchester dyer in 1786.

  • 1. Boil cotton in lye of Barilla or wood ash
  • 2. Wash and dry
  • 3. Steep in a liquor of Barilla ash or soda plus sheep's dung and olive oil
  • 4. Rinse, let stand 12 hours, dry
  • 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 three times.
  • 6. Steep in a fresh liquor of Barilla ash or soda, sheep's dung, olive oil and white argol (potassium tartrate).
  • 7. Rinse and dry
  • 8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 three times.
  • 9. Treat with gall nut solution
  • 10. Wash and dry
  • 11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 once.
  • 12. Treat with a solution of alum, or alum mixed with ashes and Saccharum Saturni (lead acetate).
  • 13. Dry, wash, dry.
  • 14. Madder once or twice with Turkey madder to which a little sheep's blood is added.
  • 15. Wash
  • 16. Boil in a lye made of soda ash or the dung liquor
  • 17. Wash and dry.[2]

So as you can see from the above it was a long process and not terribly appealing!

Originally when I thought I had purchased a large piece of antique quilt it was for cutting up and making things but this quilt will not see a pair of scissors it would be sacrilege in my humble opinion.  Having to re-think about making something with the quilt to "it's a keeper" is a pure pleasure and a wonderful unexpected surprise.  I will go truffling to find some red and white quilt again and smile at my good fortune. 

Here in Dorset we have had the most glorious weather of late,  really very warm but it has been wonderful sat outside under a huge umbrella for shade at the table.  Hand stitching out there and watching the birds busy hunting around for worms to feed

their young and the bees so diligently at going from flower to flower collecting pollen, it is the Summer sounds of a little garden I love with the warmth bringing the sweet smells of lavender and roses carried in the warm air.

Bee's do have a smell you know, and if they do not they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.

      Ray Bradbury.

Tonight I think a walk down by the river to check on the family of swans.  Originally they had eight signats but it seems only four have survived.  I took this photo early one morning by the River Stour and hope that they still have their four young.

This year I have not spotted our otters yet, probably I am not early enough to be honest with you, it is one of my Summer joys seeing their beautiful and inquisitive faces staring at you from the water,  makes me smile so.

Here at Thimble my studio remains lovely and cool to retreat to and remains a good heat to work in.  It is not good when hands get to warm and the needle slips through your fingers.

This weekend I am off to a Vintage Brocante and I am so looking forward to it, I am

not sure what the weather will be like but as it is mostly in large marquees it really does not matter to me.

Wandering around truffling for treasures and meeting up and catching up with friends is such a delight.  After 2 years of no fairs at all and not seeing friends in person, I no longer take it for granted at all,  because of Covid I am sure we all appreciate our freedom so much more, I know I do.

Well I hope you all have enjoyed today's musings and mutterings from here in beautiful Dorset and hope you all have a really wonderful weekend.

As always be careful and take care and of course Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

Monday, 6 June 2022

Threads of time studio

 A peek inside and out of my studio, where I will be taking workshops.

If you are interested please email me for further details.

  Come to my table and share with me warm gingerbread cookies and cinnamon tea ❤️

All the slow stitched projects will be created from gorgeous antique French linens and antique fabrics. Tuition all day and a homemade lunch are included.

I hope you enjoy the little video .

Sarah xx

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Inspiration, fabric art and the wonderful Decorative Living vintage fair.


Without craftmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind

Johannes Brahms.

When I get to the end of my sewing day, I really like to tidy my work space, thread a few needles in preparation for the next morning it brings some order to the start of my working day somehow.  It stays where it is but a bit of getting rid of snippets of cut off threads, hearts are cut from little pieces of fabrics and popped into my jar of hearts and then snippets for mice go in that jar.  

I am not hugely tidy when I stitch and sort through gorgeous fabrics and threads to create but its better for my creative side to start off this way at least!!

The last few days have been about designing and also taking photos. The other weekend I went off to the wonderful Decorative Living fair and it did not disappoint.  The weather was perfect to sit outside and take in the delicious views and sip a lovely cup of coffee and also to eat lunch. I managed to truffle around and find some wonderful bits and pieces and catch up with dear friends, It was a beautiful and relaxing weekend indeed. I found this little hand painted textile design from Lyon in France for a silk manufacturer .. it is dated 1902 and it is simply stunning.  It is now with my framer and will grace my bedroom wall I think.  It is so simplistic and stunning.  The colours and hues look like it was only just painted.  There is no fading at all.

On the same stall which specialised in old papers and cards I also found this delightful card which is really a Birthday wishes card I found these mice who were just too cute to over look.  I love mice, not in my kitchen you understand ( unless they have

little waistcoats on as Beatrix Potter favoured) however when there is such a wonderful depiction of them in a watercolour how could you resist at all.  I photographed them on a piece of old quilt and with two of my antique carved mother of pearl buttons ....  They appear to have made a cosy home in an old envelope and look very happy and cosy, would you not agree? 

I have been searching for a boite d'allumettes for a while now,  an antique large match box that was hung either in kitchens or by a fire and I finally found one that I fell in love with instantly.  It is made from wood and hand painted.  This would not have been from a grand house but therefore it is perfect for Thimble cottage.  It is so simply and faded and to me stunning rather than a china one. It has come home with me and I want to now repaint the Chimney breast and refresh it in my lounge, as can you believe I moved to Thimble 2 years ago and it has flown by.  Then it will be fixed to one side near the log burner.  This is a job for this
coming weekend I hope.

In addition on the same stall I managed to find the most scrummy of cake plates in red and white. I have been keeping and eye out for some time now and there it was actually next to the match box.  I could not believe my luck.  I like to sometimes pile different round cheeses up and decorate with edible flowers when I have friends around for cheese and wine... I think it looks beautiful and thought it
would look good on this colour antique plate.  So happy with my carefully wrapped purchases I kept on wandering around this most beautiful of fairs..

I also bought some really beautiful old round boxes one was a medium size and two tiny ones.  I thought they were really beautiful.  One for staging in photos and two you could make some tiny little things like brooches or something like that and use them as gift boxes for the recipient ... They were also wrapped carefully not to squish them  and got home safely as you can see.

It was at this point it was coffee time and I found
somewhere to sit outside and take in the breath taking views .. the coffee was welcome and it was one of the best I had tasted in a long time.  I like my coffee black with no sugar and if it is burnt or old coffee you can taste it because no sugar or cream/milk means there is no masking of taste at all.  The sun was shinning and you could hear lots of laughter and chatter.  Two ladies sat at a table in front of me and proceeded to pop a cloth on the table and get out all kinds of goodies from a antique picnic basket, it was such a delightful sight as you can see and done with such style I thought.

I was off again and found a friend of mine Sue and she and her lovely husband had a stall there and I was able to find a selection of some wonderful pieces of antique quilts.   I actually had a little list of colours etc I was looking for so I was able to tick those off my list.

Then to my joy I found a most rare find of a long strip of hexagon antique quilt, it is about 2 mtrs long and 12 or so inches wide.  It was coming home with me.  you can see some of it on the very top photo with the large reel of mile long cotton on top.  The J P Coates large cotton reel was a truffling find but not at this fair.  I have emailed J P Coates to see if they can date it for me.  It was most certainly a prop for a shop, I believe but I would love it dated.  My old neighbour who used to work for Coates for over fifty years and would have loved to see it and imparted his knowledge of it to me over a coffee, however if you are a regular reader you will know he died some years ago now.  I miss him so much for so many reasons but that we would chat threads for hours, well that is what I miss I guess the most along with his humour.

I spied a gorgeous quilt panel too and I am really not sure what to do with it except maybe try
date it and stitch the date onto it and frame it.  Sometime there is no need to add anything to a piece this large and beautiful.  It will hang somewhere at Thimble and will indeed be treasured.  I thought about stitching a quote on it but I am at the moment unconvinced.

I was so happy with my treasures and went back to the car to take them out of my basket and go back.  Having gone back in I could smell this most wonderful aroma and saw a lady had a candle burning on her stall of handmade candles.  It was wild rose and I bought one for me to light and keep in the hallway.  When you have that alight for a few hours the smell goes through the cottage and makes it smell of Summer!

I bought a few packs of scrap fabrics but have already started on them so they did not get a photo, sorry about that.  It was a great weekend catch up with friends and in truffling heaven.

So I have been sorting through the fabric and quilt pieces.  Writing down what I paid and folding and putting away. I have had some great ideas for projects and generally having a wonderful time in my Threads of Time Studio.  Sorting through things and tidying up for workshops.

My Mum has been somewhat poorly and other issues so that has taken up a few weeks of May to be honest.  She is still with us, much thinner and she does not really talk BUT she holds our hands and smiles at us and that is worth its wait in treasure.  I do take her in bits to show her and I chat about my stitching.  She listens and smiles even though she was never a sewer herself and indeed my Sister takes after her.  My love of it comes from my Fathers side and would be my Great great great Grandma.  She was a quilter and sailed over on a ship to Canada.  She lived in Old Alresford originally and settled in Ontario I believe if my memory serves me.  I have a photo of her and her life story from a distant cousin who has a journal of hers.  I must look for my information and tell you about her some day soon.  She was very talented apparently and loved to cook and sew.  I love those two things as well.

Life here at Thimble is busy and I love this dear little cottage so much.  My foxgloves I planted when I got here have multiplied and the show this year is so wonderful.  The rose is growing around my rose arch slowly but surely and my herb and edible flower bed I planted is growing up every year.  I am in my third year here and very happy indeed.

Well I think you are all up to date ish... I did go on a truffle this last weekend somewhere else so I will show you that next time.

Have a wonderful weekend and as always take good care of you....

Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

My foxgloves and in there somewhere are 3 rusty tin chickens, you can just see some of one of them, I think I need to go rescue them and bring them forward... don't you?

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

The gentle art ... of little tiny stitches.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Love the life you have imagined.

Thoreau 1817 - 1862

It is May already and I am not sure where this year is going, the world needs to slow down a little in my opinion. Although the days of the beginning of May are a little warmer the evenings are still chilly here in Dorset.

Thimble has under gone the yearly transition from Winter to Summer in the colours of the throws and different cushions.  There are always plenty of throws around and candles to light.  Cosy is the word along with my mind set of Hygge as well.  "There's no place like home" - Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The early Summer months can still bring a chill of an evening as I said, not cold
enough for an open fire but you need something.  

The porch at Thimble is rather large and so I am lucky enough to have a wardrobe out there to

hang all my coats along with a beautiful Lloyd loom chair with a blanket across it and a patchwork cushion made of antique quilt.  There is a small piece of quilt hanging on the wall over a hanger and some framed in a battered but beautiful frame.  There is a lamp out there and candles too.  It welcomes all who step inside.  The quilt has changed to different piece with a lighter feel to it but to me it feels happy and cosy.

The little wall hanging that says Thimble Cottage that my beautiful

friend Vintage Dahling had made for me by the equally beautiful  Suzy Hearts who stitched it for me.  It has pride of place and was the first thing that was put up when I moved in.  When I got the keys to Thimble there was the post and there it was.  It is beautiful and very precious to me indeed.  There are always fresh flowers in a jug, sometimes picked or sometimes bought depending what's available at the time, I always have a smile when I open my door because I feel its such a welcoming sight.

Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

I had a beautiful long weekend and went truffling in Honiton and also to the Dorset Brocante, which was a stunning venue in Wimborne.  The treasures that were found and came home with me! The weather was kind on the Bank Holiday, which made it all the better.
It was in Wimborne at the magnificent Deans Court and there were rows upon rows of marquees outside to loose yourself in.  I might of bought a quilt and a new cupboard, painted, chipped and gorgeous which has been put into my porch with the lamp on and the other one has been put into my bedroom. and that has now got books on it and candles..  When I got it all home a bit of a Spring clean went on to move things about.  You will see the photos above.

Of course there were some fabrics, well linens actually and I bought some beauties.  All at some point will be cut up and stitched upon.

One of my most beautiful pleasures is having my first cup of coffee in bed.  The curtains are pulled the window wide open and my pillows all plumped up.  I sit and listen to the bird song and stare out of the window sipping at my coffee.  I have a pen and notepad and if my mind wanders to things I must do or remember or indeed an idea for a project jumps into my thoughts, I write it down as I go.  That half hour is so precious to me and a real treat in my eyes.  The  new/old little table with a drawer and a bottom plinth, now in my bedroom has books on it that I am in the middle of reading and that frees up my bedside table a bit too.  There is a little coloured glass vase with flowers in and I light the candle and it brings a beautiful warmth to a corner of the chimney breast that is in there.

Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom.

Benjamin Franklin.

The cottage now is has had a bit of a re-arrange and spring clean and my sewing that had spread to my dinning room has been tidied up and is back in my studio and so today there is some sorting to do out there and then the gentle art will begin once more.

I want to get my watercolour paints out as well and do a little design work for a picture for myself

so I need to get a shake on and tidy up a little. I have often said it but to be an octopus with lots of hands would be great some days..  I found that with carrying around a little note book I can write things down and then do them later, without running off to sort something whilst being in the middle of something else!!

It will not be long now and I will be able to sit and stitch at the garden table as well and take in all the beautiful scents of the summer that fill the air with my roses starting to bud and my hanging sweet pea basket starting to sprout, its something else to look forward to.

Yesterday I was sorting through my little stash of hand dyed ribbons and writing down shades that I thought I might need.  I have to tell you I bought a beautiful old green enamel bowl, which now hangs in the utility.  It is just the right size to dye small batches of linen and I love it ..  anyway next week I think a little natural dyeing might take place as well.

This coming weekend I am off to Eridge Park to the Decorative Living Vintage Fair on Saturday, its a fairly long way a way from me so going on Friday evening and staying over night.  It is always such a beautiful fair to be sure.  It is on Friday and Saturday and I will be on the Saturday, hoping that there still will be some beautiful treasures to be found.

The weather has been so very warm and then has turned colder and wet today.  However on

Monday my Sister came to stay for a couple of days and it was warm and beautiful.  She brought with her Peanut her beautiful boy dog and we went for amazing walks through woods and by rivers.  We were able to have lunch and dinner in the garden and I had picked a large bunch of cow parsley and popped it in a jug on the table outside.  We had some wine and a Italian platter and sat there in the warmth.  Caught up on all things girly and tried not to talk Mum as we adore her but sometimes its just nice to be care free - for a while anyway.  Peanut was so happy and always cuddled up.  I took a photo of his paws in the air.  My gorgeous niece calls his pads "beans"  so his feet are called toe beans!!  Just take a look at how adorable they are!  It was a real tonic to have some time together just us and oh yes Peanut too.

As I said today is a very wet day, such a contrast.  Its cold and the rain is going sideways! So the fairy lights, lamps and candles are aglow.  I have decided today I am going to do small pieces of slow stitching and sat in the lounge in a cosy chair with a quilt over me.  A cinnamon tea is in order and that is where you will find me.  

So for today these are my ramblings and you have been brought up to date with Thimbles comings and goings.  The slow stitching basket is out and the kettle is on.  Its time to do some serious work.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead and the weather changes for the better.  Take great care of yourselves and as always Happy Stitching All!

Sarah XX

Friday, 29 April 2022

Adding to a story stitch by stitch.


To be creative is to let little pieces of your heart go and place them into each project you make.

Pat Bravo.

I am reminded every day I have the chance to pick up a needle and some thread and add to the story. To stitch together something beautiful and unique, to patch a small scrap of fabric to a piece, that I am truly blessed and happy.  It is true what they say that sewing mends the soul and the mind.  Happy am I to create and let my imagination go wild, a whimsical world in a way but the happiness and tranquillity that is felt is so wonderful.  I do count myself very lucky, it is a very happy place.

It has been very busy of late with stitching for workshops and putting together packs for those on each particular course.  I have spread myself everywhere from the studio into the dinning room table so that
everything can be checked and wrapped beautifully and its been supper on my lap in front of the log burner for a week.... not that I can complain but not so good for the posture! 

Recently I have been to some vintage fairs and I went to two at the Malvern show ground.  The first one was antiques inside so smaller items and I found some gorgeous silver antique pin cushions for my collection.  The first is this most gorgeous and fairly rare bear.  He makes me smile.  The seller cleans all of his stock and there are two camps on this, to clean and polish or to not.  I am not sure what I feel and probably sit on the fence on this one. Sometimes it makes them look newer than they really are. I love this little chap and so happy that he has come home to live with me.

The second find was this beautiful silver frog and I photographed him on my antique hexagon pincushion as I thought it looked like a beautiful vintage and whimsical lily pad!

He makes me smile too, what is so lovely is that they all sit in one of my antique printer boxes that are hung on the wall in my office.  Each has its own little cubby hole and my collection is growing.  I am lucky enough to own some beauties and I have 7 of them.  I was looking for the silver chick with the yellow fabric in the body.  I was so shocked at the price they reach, between £200 and £495 .... The ones that have red or green fabric are cheaper by a long way but to me, do not look like chicks at all.

Then a few weeks later, Easter Monday in fact I went to Malvern again and this time it was inside and out, the sun was shinning and warm and I met so many friends there too.  At one point I had a bundle of goodies in my arms and a basket full,  Apparently they could just see my feet scurrying along with vintage fabrics and a welsh blanket and three old fire buckets running about!  It must of looked like Paddington bear on the loose!

Last weekend I made my way to the Vintage Bazaar in Frome and again met up with some dear dear friends, one of which I had not seen in person since 2018! I think when we saw one another we squealed! The VB is one of my absolute favourites,  Not huge, never over priced both to get in or to purchase and boy do you find some great things. Some fairs now are around £35 - £65 just to walk through the door, which is somewhat eating in to your spendies.

Then joy of joys this Bank Holiday Monday there is a fair just down the road from me in Wimborne in Dorset and I am very much looking forward to attending this one.  Beautiful big house, marquees and stands outside too.  After not attending any for years due to Covid they are all opening their doors once more.  It is so wonderful to see things in the flesh and not online, there is something about sorting through antique fabrics.  Looking at the patterns up close and of course the feel or worn fabric so soft and gentle. Always I wonder if it could speak and the history of its life, who owned it and what it used to be.  Soak in the atmosphere and of course bump into great friends, make new ones and have a coffee and a chat with some as I did in

Frome... there is nothing quite like it ...

The last time I wrote a blog  the first week of this month I said I was off out somewhere special and promised to tell you about it.  It is in Dorchester which again is just down the road from me and called Sculptures by the Lakes.  It is outstanding. Set in 26 acres of land there are lakes and they have 50 sculptures dotted around it is breath taking. It is owned by Simon Gudgeon and his wife Monique.  Simon is the main sculpture there.  The photo were you can see my feet at the edge of a bridge over a lake has a sculpture in the water which are words and they say .. " Love builds bridges where there are none"  This place is magical.  Walking around all the amazing sculptures you realise that the plants are outstanding the colours and the hundreds of different plants .. Then when you are looking at the map they give you and the information that Monique is a Holticulturist and that makes total sense.

There is also the Art Gallery there and it represents works by a number artists both local and international including over 30 by Simon.

There is the Cafe by the lakes which has a relaxed and cosy feel to it and  all food is freshly prepared by

a team of chefs.  It is very much a seasonal menu and most of the produce is grown in their kitchen garden, which you can wander around in as well.  Homemade cakes and great coffee.  It is licenced so you can have a glass of wine or gin and tonic whilst waiting.

Then they have there the Artisan's Pantry which stocks fantastic food and drink. It also offers a service of build your own Picnic in the park with a tempting selection prepared by the team at the Cafe.  There are little places to rent for the day by the lakes including a shepherds hut, The Island and Pavillon.  You can of course bring your own picnics and drinks and pop it all in one of the above if you have hired it for the day.  Then wander back for your lunch.

Finally there is the Artisan's Bazaar which is a gift shop and predominantly local artisans and producers. Candles, throws, gardening tools and antique garden tools with wire worked birds on them for ornaments in the garden .. stunning.  I bought two beautiful throws and some candles which smell divine and a antique spade with a wire blackbird on top.  It now sits in one of my pots.  It caused a stir for a few days as Mr and Mrs Blackbird would not go near it.  I have already decided at Christmas ( I know its not Summer yet however ..) I will put a red ribbon bow around its neck.

It was a beautiful day with gorgeous weather a great coffee and a outstanding lunch.  The walk around the lakes and seeing nature with sculptures that complimented the country side was a real treat and I highly recommend this as  full day out.  No dogs are allowed and no children under 14 because of obvious reasons.  They do not want to be responsible for young children and deep waters.  It was

peaceful and cultural rolled into one. Wonderful walk and  wherever you looked there was beauty and nature entwining effortlessly ...

In the second lot of photos on the top left is a face and it was mirrored into the water moving gently with the ripples of the clear lakes. In addition all plants are labelled so you can take a photo of them and their name if you would like to put them in your garden at home, you can remember their name to go to your garden centre and purchase but some of them are for sale at Sculptures by the lake as well.

So this long weekend here I have some fairs to go to and I will also be making packs for workshops.  Wrapping each one individually for each person to unwrap and begin the workshop and the fun and laughter of the day.  There will be a meet and greet with a drink and biscuits and then off to Threads of time studio.  We will be stopping for lunch in the dinning room and in the afternoon there will be a tea break with homemade cake served.  Every person will also get a bottle of water to sip throughout the day.

I am having fun designing and stitching a sample for each course, hunting down the fabrics, ribbons,
buttons etc, this does take time as you can imagine.  The fun doing it though does not seem like work to me at all.  Finding enough of something is tricky on occasions.  Enough for me to make a sample and for 6 others to stitch as well.

If you are coming from afar I have found a most beautiful farmhouse bed and breakfast, which has a sewing theme going on and you can try and book in there.  There is parking and it is literally a five minute walk from Thimble Cottage.  The Town of Blandford is a beautiful market down with coffee shops and little independent shops and of course you have the River Avon that you can wander along and watch otters playing and plenty of Kingfishers, along with other wild life.

This Sunday is the Frome Independent which see the Town full of stalls from Artisan makers to antique and vintage stalls.  That is where I will be wandering around and it looks like the weather is going to be beautiful this Bank Holiday weekend, no matter what the weather it is beautiful there but is is so much more enjoyable when the sun is out and you can sit outside a cafe and have a coffee and watch the world go by, I always think.

Today is a little tidy up, because as I mentioned above I have rather spread around and then some slow stitches for me.  It rather looks like a bomb has gone off, an antique bomb of threads, fabrics and journals ..grin!

Anyway that is you all up to date with my ramblings.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend whatever you are doing and as always stay safe and HAPPY STITCHING!

Sarah XX

Friday, 8 April 2022

Threads of life...


A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread.

It is already April and the weather here in beautiful rural Dorset has been very changeable to say the least.  One day it was cold and snowing with snow clouds looming over the entire sky as far as the eye could see.  It was cold and dark and then the clouds blew away towards the sea and bright warm sunshine dominated in the afternoon..  I had lit candles and cosied up to stitch and then as if by some divine intervention the brightness and the warmth of the sun shone down and the candles were blown out and the natural light filled my work room.

I have mostly been working on covering journals and a beautiful little book of pressed flowers as well.  Some of these will be workshops here at Thimble this summer.  The pressed flower journal is coming along beautifully and covered with gorgeous beautiful antique and vintage goodies.  Each beautiful hand made paper pages will one day be filled with pressed flowers and there name both everyday and Latin names and some will have a quote or poem hand written in sepia ink.  I do believe that the course will be a really beautiful day ... I have pressed some beautiful flowers to put in my book and it will be on show at the course.  If you are interested in course dates and information please message me on here or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog.

As you will see at the top of this page a stunning array of antique threads in the most wonderful colours and hues, these too will be used by all on such days.  I bought them from the lovely Sue Meager who now sells when she has a destash in her work room.

I have also been busy in the kitchen as well and making more of the little leaf cinnamon cookies and as you can see on the photo they look good enough to eat! they are really rather moreish I must warn you... So here is the recipe.


1 1\4 Cups (250g) sugar

3\4 Cup(170g) of room temp butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

21\4 Cups (335g) of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1\2 teaspoon of baking powder

1\4 teaspoon of sea salt or use salted butter.


1. Add the butter and the sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk until it is fluffy and paler in colour.

2. Add the egg and the vanilla and whisk again until well combined.

3. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt if using.  Mix again this time with your hands        and make sure it is well incorporated, it will be slightly crumbly but hold when pinched                  between fingers.

4.Turn out dough on to a well floured board, bringing it all together.  Then wrap in clingfilm and       put in the fridge for half hour. It is now time to pre heat the oven to 350 F, 180 C.

5. Put grease proof paper on a baking tray ready and choose your cookie cutter, my choice is a            small leaf shape.  

6. Get the dough out of the fridge and now the choice come roll it all out or cut in half and wrap        half in cling and pop in the freezer ( it is happy there for 3 months)

7. Roll the dough out at around 6mm thick.

8. Cut out cookies and place on the baking tray.  The importance of resting dough in the fridge is        so the cookies do not loose their shape in the baking.

9.Place cookies in the oven and bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges are just slightly golden.

10. When cooked place on a cooling rack.  Place on a plate and dust with icing sugar.

Make a warm drink and enjoy!!

I can not tell you how lovely they are.  A friend came to stay here a week ago and I made a fresh batch for afternoon tea.... they went down really well indeed.  

It has been busy here at Thimble not only with visitors but my sewing.  My fabric shelves are all of

a dither with messy piles where I have been looking for just the right antique fabrics and button etc.. So next Monday there is to be a fair few hours first thing tidying up.  I now could not find a thing to my shame.  The trouble is I get an idea, grab my sketch journal to design something then I am off finding fabrics and threads straight away so that it can go in my pile to make.  Then with my excitement I go back to what I am stitching at that moment and so it goes on.  If I had a tail it would permanently be wagging! ...

" Slow down; there is more to life than simply increasing it's speed"

~ Mahatma Gandhi

In other news here the hedgehogs have woken from their Winters nap and the feeding has begun here in earnest, also there is a pair of Blackbirds who come in the garden and weed my pots looking for juicy worms and other bits I put out for them and of course my three very tame crows who come down and call me.  Yesterday there was a big noise in the garden and I ran out to see the crows fending off the most beautiful and very large eagle... yes an eagle, stunning beauty but a little scary too! he had decided the fresh minced beef I had put out was easier than hunting at 11 am in the morning!

I am out at the weekend and I will take some photos, Its not a vintage fair either but I know you might like to see this amazing walk through grounds with lakes and ... well wait and see.

The Vintage Bazaar is on later this month in Frome at the cheese and grain so I will be going to that and I am very excited to go and not only catch up with dear friends but also go with my little list to purchase vintage goodies. I went to a beautiful small fair last weekend at Broadhembury near Honiton and it was a talent for textiles event.  I bought some beautiful little bits and also caught up with Jack and Liz Van Hasselt of the Washer Woman fame.  It was such a beautiful sunny Saturday and a stunning venue.

Next week is the start of Easter weekend and I am off to Malvern to an enormous antiques fair, staying over in a country pub over night as well.  The journey there is a good three to 4 hours away so going on Easter Sunday and back on Easter Monday.  Its starts at 7.30 am so it seemed the most civilised way of being there... 

Whilst on my walk this weekend I will hopefully pick up a few wild flowers to press for the pressed flower journal... I already have pressed some Helleborous from my garden and some bleeding hearts in various sizes ... they have come out beautifully retaining shape and colours.

Well that is it for today, I hope you have enjoyed my vintage ramblings today and hope you all have a beautiful weekend what ever you are up to.

Until the next time, stay safe and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX