Friday, 13 October 2017

New Hampshire in the Fall .....










Autumn the years last 
loveliest smile ...

William Cullen Bryant.











Good Morning to you all, we are here safely and not tired at all, the flight was fabulous Virgin Atlantic know how to look after people. We are oh so excited to be back.  We are staying in Henniker as we usually do for a few days when we arrive and we are looking forward

to our visit to Quilted Threads and of course on our Wedding Anniversary we like to go to The Canterbury Shaker Village and this year will be no exception we are staying here for 4 nights and we arrived early hours your time last night so this is our first day today or will be soon.....
Having let our friend know we have arrived safely who is staying at our house to look after it and have a break too.

What I can see through our windows are the most gorgeous colours of the Fall and the most beautiful river, I can not wait to go pick up some of those beautiful leaves to press into my journal.  I pre ordered some wonderful hand dyed shaker threads so I will be going to see the wonderful Becky
and her team to pick them up at Quilted threads and possible pick a few more items as well .... it has to be done!

We have, in the past, stayed at The Colby Hill Inn on every visit here but our lovely friends Mason and Cyndi have sold it and we were late booking this year as we were not sure if we could go so anyway the long and short of it is we are staying somewhere else here and our room has window/door that opens onto the River here in Henniker.. It is breathtaking!  The sound of the rushing water over large rocks and trees of all colours lining the banks is just gorgeous. I am very happy indeed.
Autumn/Fall is in full swing here and the colours are outstandingly beautiful I can not stop staring out of the window.  I can not wait to get out there on our very first day and take a deep breathe and then get on with picking up leaves .... 

There will be our visit to the most wonderful vintage emporiums ever over the next few days and again we will more than likely come away with some wonderful vintage treasures such as threads and mother of pearl buttons and I will photograph things for you along the way to show you upon my return ... It is  a really good Vintage emporium and it is large with lots of people having inner little shops.  Last time we were in there I did not know where to look first it was so good, so I have high hopes for that visit over the weekend at some point or indeed it may even happen today.  We have no fixed plans as we wish to relax.

It is warm and I am waking to my very first day, surprised I slept to be honest with you all because I was so excited to be here but we are about to get some breakfast and watch the birds feed as normal.  There are always some blue jays about and some most spectacular red cardinals as well.  Also the little chipmunk's normally come out to play and they are so very funny indeed.  I may pop in here from time to time so keep and eye out but I would like to show you all so much when we return and I have collated the photos you may be interested in.  Becky lets me take photos in her beautiful clap board shop for my blog and I am privileged because photos are not normally allowed....
For now we need to just relax and have time out together as it has been a very hard and frantic few years to be honest.  Hold hands and bumble and of course it is the land of cake and muffins so guess who will be a happy chappy! Nicki Conway!!! ...



The excitement is building here so I will leave you all for now.  My official blog day back is Monday 6th November  . I will pop back on here for my Halloween message however on 31st October ....

I am afraid jet lag gets the better of me so I will take some time out to sort myself out .. thus the date above for my return.  There will be so much to tell you so be prepared to make warm drinks and cosy down for ten minutes .....

Any stitchery treasures I find along the way will be photographed and I will share with you the week I am back and tell you of all our adventures.  There may be a few longer blogs so be warned!  Still hopefully after an absence you may enjoy some ten minute reads....

Breakfast is calling because my lovely husband loves his breakfast here it is the one country in the world that serves cakes for part of the breakfast! and you know how he loves that by now!   so I will leave you now and just say I hope you all have a wonderful weekend I am so excited to be here and to be having time out together.  Lots of things planned and so our first day starts and so as always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Canterbury Shaker Village -- The home of creativity and peace.










Hands to work
Hearts to God.

The Shakers.















Well the time has come for me to leave you this week and there will be a post tomorrow .  I wanted to show you today The Canterbury Shaker Village and also what they have to say about the Shakers and the village that has been left to the trustees and volunteers to restore and look after.

I am trying to think of how to describe this wonderful place to you.  I can only tell you how I feel.  There is a calm and beautiful atmosphere here that I have never experienced before.  When you walk around there with the Autumn leaves in the most gorgeous of colours and hues with a slight warm breeze and the quiet that surrounds the acres of land that it is on, there is a peace and tranquillity that wraps itself around you.  The sewing rooms with their inventions of 100 years or more ago and the Sisters amazing talents and tiny stitches.  Gorgeous threads on show and pincushions and fabrics all displayed for us to look at. Here is what the village has to say about the Shakers.



Discover_Shakers

The Shakers

Durgin_DorothyElam_AidaCanterbury Shaker Village was established in 1792 when followers of founder Mother Ann Lee formed their seventh community in Canterbury, NH, which remained prominent for 200 years. The Village has operated exclusively as a museum since 1992 when the last Shaker sister in residence, Ethel Hudson, died. The few remaining Shakers live at the Shaker Village in Sabbath day Lake, Maine. At its height in the 1850s, 300 people lived and worked in over 100 buildings on 3,000 acres at Canterbury Shaker Village.
The religious group that we know today as the Shakers was formed in 18th-century England when dissidents from various religions, including English Quakers and Methodists, formed a religious society based on prophetic doctrine. The group, formally called the United Society of Believers, were known as Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of their use of ecstatic dance in worship.
Frost_MargueriteThe Shakers emigrated to the United States in 1774 and eventually established nineteen self-contained communities from Maine to Kentucky. Canterbury Shaker Village is one of the oldest, most typical and most completely preserved of the Shaker Villages. The Village contains the only intact, first-generation Meetinghouse, built in 1792, and Dwelling House, built in 1793, in their original locations. Overall, the Shakers were the most successful communitarian society in American history.

Gardener_Blanche


The Shakers’ revolutionary Christianity shocked their contemporaries. They challenged almost every mainstream ideal of American society during their time. Shakers believed in communal ownership, pacifism, dancing in worship, equality of the sexes, celibacy, and living simply. Most Protestants of the day found that bringing dancing, whirling, and clapping into a sacred space and elevating it above the word of God, spoken by an ordained minister, was sacrilegious. But to the Shakers, the dancing signified a communal, not individual, relationship with God, which was a powerful symbol of the Shaker cultural system.
Despite the monastic characteristics of their communities,  the Shakers were not primarily a contemplative religious society. According to founder Mother Ann Lee, the Shakers devoted their “hands to work and hearts to God.” They believed in community ownership, but were aggressive
entrepreneurs, launching industry after industry, developing and adopting new technologies, and reinvesting the earnings into community enterprises to encourage greater growth and productivity. At their height,  they were highly successful in competing with the outside world. By the 1830s the Shakers at Canterbury were rich in buildings, land, cash, wood lots, livestock, produce, industry, community possessions, and community skills. The Shaker “brand” quickly became known for quality, integrity and reliability. Shakers cared for the poor and used resources and profit for social good.
Today, the museum at Canterbury interprets 200 years of Shaker life through its exhibits, buildings, gardens, programs, and tours. The museum has an enviable collection of Shaker objects, manuscripts, and photographs along with surviving architecture from all periods of its history. Canterbury Shaker Village is a unique resource for learning about Shaker architectural intent and early Shaker community planning and design, as well as the many periods of Shaker life. The postcard-perfect setting hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year, making it one of New Hampshire’s most popular cultural attractions.

******


When you visit there is so much to see. Not only all the buildings that have been beautifully restored and filled with the original artifacts but also the beautiful land to walk around including the Shakers cemetery.  They did not believe in personal gratification in life so they did not want it in death.  Instead they are all buried there but with only one stone that tells you who they are.  It says simply SHAKERS.

They have a lovely cafe for visitors and it not only sells drinks and fruit and snacks but does really
lovely handmade breads and soups for lunch at this time of year.
There is some original art that some of the sisters did and you can buy copies of some in the shop if you like it.  There were talented seamstress's and of course the famous Shaker box makers as well.  There are people who still make them there today using the tools and the same old ways.  You can watch them make them and these are  sold in the shop.  The maker is written on the bottom of each box.
I like to wander around and pick up different coloured leaves and press them in my journal and they have all stayed thus far the same colours which is amazing.  Some of my leaves are 10 years old now so I will be collecting more.

This is where we will be on our Wedding Anniversary wandering around here all day and bumbling.  There are two more buildings open that were under renovation last time that we have never seen and they found some belongings to one of the sisters there they had not seen before so lots new to look at as well.  Its the walks and the atmosphere that bring us back every time we go to New Hampshire, oh and the sewing rooms for me and the soups for my hungry husband!
I hope you have enjoyed a little look around where I will be in a few days and think of me immersed in all this plus I will have already been to see Becky at Quilted Threads to pick up my hand dyed shaker threads ....  Ooooh I really can not wait, when I get them back to the Inn where we are staying they will all be laid out on the bed to photograph and look at.  I can be a good hour doing that ... only a stitcher will understand, oh and my husband <3


Do not forget to tune in here tomorrow and all that remains for me to say is   Happy Stitching! XX







Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Hand stitching and Design Day -











Winter is an etching,
Spring a watercolour,
Summer an oil painting,
and Autumn a mosaic of them all!

Stanley Horowitz





I have set up my work table and it is fairly bare and most things are away in their places ready for a

clear start upon my return to work.  Today though I am going to be continuing in my design journal so that is out along with my water colours and some pencils and a putty rubber.  I am set up for the day or at least a few hours of work as I am doing a few last minute things around the house and yesterday I finished cooking for our freezer.  I like to get a few home cooked meals ready for when
we return home and the jet lag has the better of me.  I can manage to take out a lasagna from the freezer and then later pop it in the oven ...  I have been cooking chili, cottage pies, lasagne's , beef stew and made sure there are sausages in there ready ( sausage and mash or a cassoulet  always goes down well) ... Being that it will be November I have plumped for warming winter dishes.

I always think of my husband and his hours he works and when he comes home from his long day, with leaving in the dark and returning in the dark, then I like to think he walks in to the open fires alight and the smell of something lovely in the form of one bowl meals ....

Yesterday I really enjoyed my day of thinking, pondering and sketching along with writing down ideas to be able to continue today. Also some more embroidery of the needle case.

In addition I decided that possibly ribbon closure would be best for my needle case as I have been enthusiastic as to what it will contain I think! with a button popper I think it might pop open all the time.  That said buttons will feature on there anyway .. it has to be done1

I really do not think it will be finished before we go but this lady is trying her best but without rushing and ruining it. So it is a bits and bobs day and my last day of working in my room as well.  It is ok there are blogs all week.... I just wanted to stop today as far as stitching is concerned  so that I can  also will be visiting my Mum a few times before we fly as well.  I have told her I am going to
America and when she sees me at the moment she does not remember. that I have told her anyway.  I think I tell her for my own piece of mind like I tell the birds that it will not be me feeding them! All oblivious to it but it makes me feel better that I have said it out loud!!

 My sister and my Mums  sister will be frequent visitors in my absence but she enjoys my sister and I together the most.... She is in a beautiful place with amazing staff and they know I am struggling with this but have assured me my Mum really will not know how long I have been gone and to have a huge rest ... so I will.


In our garden our roses are still budding and I have lots of sweet peas as well as foxgloves, its really strange.  It is like Spring has popped up to say hello to Autumn! The leaves are all red out there and it looks like Autumn yet in parts its Spring too... I do not know what weather we will get in New England so I have decided to layer.  Its the only way.  T-Shirts for hot days but should it be colder then a long sleeve T-Shirt under them.  Thinner jumpers and cardigans and both flip flops and warmer shoes with sock ... Think I have covered it all just in case.  I popped in some gloves too as my hands get cold if it is cooler - great for pastry making !

Then it has been the evening wear for dinners out as we are going to some lovely restaurants in NY
and Boston where it is more dressy so dresses have been packed too... I am done basically.

I have decided on a cross stitch pattern that I would like to do so that is in a basket in our lounge so that this week I can at least start it before we go and it is something to work on through the Winter evenings along with stitching up so of my hexagons for my Winter Star wall hanging.  With our lovely friend Joanna here I am not sure how much I will get done but there will be evenings when she is with her Aunt and not here or other friends so it will be something for me to pick up and put down when time permits.  I can not just sit and do nothing at all. I am a terror.  I do not stitch when we are watching a film or one of the series we like to watch but when my husband is watching a car related something I am happy to stitch but be with him....

I have changed around some quilts here and throws and put new candles out for our return so that it is all cosy and warm.  The log baskets are filled just in case it has turned cold in our absence and we can Hygge down tired but happy.

Well that is it for today and I will see you back here on Thursday as normal this week.  Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX
















Monday, 9 October 2017

Colours of Autumn, a design kind of day!













I see the turning of a leaf dancing in Autumn sun
and brilliant shades of crimson glowing when 
the day is done.

Hazlemarie Matte Elliott.


This morning I was up with the larks and sipping my first cup of coffee of the day snuggled into my
lovely old quilt, sat watching the birds starting their busy day.  It is now a matter of days before our break and I am working through the things I need to do but my head is still in work mode and I am having thoughts of designs to stitch so today I give in to that and I am going to firmly plant myself with my sketch journal and pencils and have a little scribble about and see what I can come up with.

In addition I will continue with my needle/embroidery case that I am having lots of fun doing but not a lot of time was spent sat stitching over the weekend .. where does the time go!

I was trying to decide over the weekend about the closing of the little ( well actually its not that little!) needle/embroidery case.  I had lots of my ribbons out to see if it might look good and work, so I can just tie a bow, or do I use a popper but have a button stitched on the front so you press that then the popper shuts it .... still not sure!

You may wonder why all this dilemma over a needle case but I like to do everything the best that I think it should be.  I like naive things but they have to work and I am particular about the sort of
things I love so for me this is not only functional but will be with me all my stitching days I hope.

I thought about have pins in there too and some applique pins ... I may have to cut some more felt pages and it will need to be a secure close because its going to be a fat little book indeed!


I have now chosen the fabric to border this little book and the sewing machine is threaded and ready to go.  I am still hand embroidering and think I chose the right cotton thread that is thick too...  I am only on my first page embroidering as I want to go slowly ( which with the thickness of everything it is slow pulling the thick thread through.  Then I will be looking to see if I like it before moving on with it or cutting out another felt page and changing the thread entirely.

This morning I saw our really tame fat robin and he looked so handsome sat on one of our shepherd hooks. I went down to feed the birds and was talking to them.  Saying our friend will be feeding them whilst we are away and she will not hurt them and not to be scared ( honestly if anyone could hear me they may have called an ambulance! I guess) ... I always talk to them all and they are really becoming accustomed to my voice and me being there doing things whilst they are feeding.  Someone else they might just fly off ... they will come back for food I am sure but there was me thinking I should tell them about it anyway. !!

If I do not get this little book finished by the time I go then of course it will be ready for me to come home to, something to pick up and continue with along with 4 design baskets that are ready to go as well.  I was going to take the needle case with me but some has to be done on the machine and of course I have some trees to embroider and then stitch up when I return.  I think it is enough stitchery to carry around America as we will be out everyday so it really is only the plane journey's mostly.  Coming home overnight is too dark to see it so have decided to be sensible and only take my trees.

Instead of extra stitchery I will be taking my rough design book for ideas so I can write descriptions and little sketches and then when I return I can do it neatly in my design journal.  I am hoping to gather lots of different ideas and thoughts whilst away in different places.  The colours out there are changing and the ocean is vast with lots of different gift from the sea than here so I should have lots to work with I am sure.

It is amazing what you can take on the Virgin planes as carry on and as long as it does not weigh like you have packed your kitchen sink ( in case it falls from the lockers) then I have a lot of room.  I bought the new Country Living Christmas Magazine to take which was £4.99 I had a quick flick through when I got it home and saw that some of those images and to do's are from older December Country Living magazines from the past!! I was not impressed so I hope it is good. I do not want to look too closely now or I will have nothing to flick through but if you see it in the shops then do have a quick look to decide whether there are new things in there that you might like! I keep my Christmas Country Living magazines you see and so if it is all from past ones I will be very disappointed indeed.

Well that is it from me today and I will see you back here tomorrow.  Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX










Friday, 6 October 2017

Needlework case and tiny stitches!











Listen! the wind is rising and the air
is wild with leaves.  We have had our 
Summer evenings, now for October Eves!

Humbert Wolfe




It is Friday already and it really is going to be a busy weekend here.  The excitement is building and the cases are starting to get full.  Ironing done and dry cleaning picked up... I am going to pack my carry on later, I pad, Noise cancelling headphones, journal, stitchery and I will get myself some chocolate at the airport ..... I am on holiday! well will be.  The moment we are on our way to
Heathrow the holiday has started for us...

We enjoy our time at the airport wandering around duty free and of course sat in the club lounge with a drink and just relaxing awaiting the plane boarding.  To us is is all part of the holiday and its sort of like Christmas Eve, what I mean is, to us Christmas Eve is our most favourite day of the three days its the build up.  Everything is done and it is the anticipation of the time ahead. We relax on that day and enjoy everything including just looking at the gifts all wrapped under the tree.  They have normally been there at least a week but the magic on that day is like no other.

Today I am concentrating on my much needed needle case.  I wanted a large one for me and with a few felt pages inside.  The felt is hand made and is so soft, not like the sheets of it you buy in craft shops that has a stiffness to them.  This has wool, viscose mix and is super gorgeous.

On each inner needle felt page I would like to embroider some words.  I need a header, so beading, embroidery, sharp, cross stitch .. yes needles.

I would like it to be pretty and not just functional for me and its a go to and grab item with the contents that is needed to slow stitch.  I am thinking a holder for embroidery scissors as well.


I found a lovely piece of very old quilt and have cut out the outer piece of the book and I am going to trim the edges with some vintage pretty fabric.  Then I will embroider the words onto the felt pages.  Then to work out a holder type thing for my gorgeous scissors .. finally there will be some decoration as well.  I found a beautiful old monogram with a S on it so that is a must.  Then there is a really old hexagon flower with similar colours that may be appliqued on there.



For sure there will be buttons somewhere which is my signature.  I may do some other embroidery I
am not sure yet .. there are several designs for this little beauty and several ideas and as it is for me I can just decide along the way.

It is fun sat designing things for myself and I am enjoying it so much.  I am getting ideas for my next years designs and sorting my sewing room.  I have made some spaces for things in the hope that some new treasure will come back with me from New England .... be prepared that is my motto.

I like to know I can put things away when I get them and do not stand wandering around with it in my  hand deciding...  With jet lag they could end up anywhere if I did not do that.

I am hoping I can finish this project by early next week but we will see. Fingers crossed!

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us but enjoyable and I hope to also get some of this sewing done as well.

I am hoping that my smallest of embroidery hoops will fit over the felt pages.  I have gone for two different colours as you can see.  I like to use a hoop it keeps the stitching neat and tidy and it is so much easier for me.  I hope that it looks ok on this thick felt, I am so used to stitching on fine fabrics but hey its going to be given a go.

Hoping that you all have a wonderful weekend and that the weather stays good.  There is nothing like a lovely walk in the Autumn leaves when it is sunny.

I will see you back here on Monday bright and early and as always Happy Stitching! XX








Thursday, 5 October 2017

Days filled with stitchery and thoughts.....











Ah! Autumn, I love you.
My favourite season and my
cosy friend who returns loyally
each and every year.






Yesterday was a perfect day with leaves and sorting, I resisted the temptation of opening the book to look at my daisies that are being pressed, I wanted a  little peek but did not want to disturb the process.

The count down of our holiday has started and my head is full of lovely things.  I have sorted my holiday journal.. tick.  I have wrapped carefully my on flight stitching ( Christmas trees) .... tick.  The cases are down and being filled and a case within a case ... tick.  That of course is for the treasure that will be making the journey home with us already paid for up front ...

There are so many things that I am looking forward to when going back to New England in the Fall, silly little things but never less exciting for me. Things like walking through beautiful woods and picking up leaves.  Having a warm apple juice with  cinnamon ( its unpasteurised apple juice and with the spices it is so lovely, we can not get that here)  Going back to The Canterbury Shaker Village for the day and long walks on their vast acres of beautiful land with lakes too.  Meeting up with wonderful friends that we have made over there and the vast space that is America.....  I still remember the very first time I saw the American Autumn/Fall I truly could not believe the colours.  The photos did not do it justice and I went goose pimply when I stood in the White Mountains and looked over on a huge hill I remember gasping and it was our 10th Wedding Anniversary. Even now thinking of that memory makes an excited chill run through me.

Today my thoughts are with the sea in America and the sand dollars and seals that you see along the shore lines.  I was lucky enough to have found a huge carved mother of pearl sand dollar button that is very old indeed and I am still to decide quiet what to do with it.  My latest idea is that stitch it to a piece of pretty but not too fancy quilt and maybe stitch some words.  They need to be sea or sand dollar related and the only one I am liking at the moment is below.  We will see what else I can come up with.  I want it to be right and it is waiting patiently to be used and of course framed.


The sea, once it casts its spell,
holds one in its net of wonder
forever....

Jacques Yves Cousteau







I am so in love with the woods of America along with Cape Cod for the sea and this year fingers crossed whale watching ( weather permitting) .. Last time we went we could not go because the sea was too rough out where we were supposed to be going but this year I have high hopes for it and my camera at the ready...  We have both never done it before and both of us are so excited at the prospect of it.

The weather there right now is warm and that will mean I can take off my sandals and beach comb along the vast shores of Cape Cod.  It is a happy us that wander always on the look out for a gift of the sea that she gives up to the land.... It is a bumble time for us and a happy one.  Wandering along and not clock watching just enjoying the sea air and the vast beaches and different and beautiful shells and sea glass that can be found along the wet sand where the sea kisses the sand.

We want to treasure each moment of everyday and not rush it, in the hope that time might be kind to us and go just a little slower for us to take time out and relax.

I found my beautiful mermaid the last time we went and she has the most beautiful face as you know, now of course I am not talking at the shore line but one of the little boutique shops that were near a place called Stonington in CT...  We are visiting Chatham this year and that is by a wonderful harbour that have working fishing boats.  The seals wait there bobbing in the water on their backs and dozing in the sun.  We could not understand last time why they were so near the shore but it became apparent as the fishing boats came in and were putting all the bits of fish they did not want or need after they had cleaned them back into the ocean .... it was feed time for the seals and what a sight it was too!

So one of my things today is I am going to be doing research on the laptop and look and see what quotes and sayings I can come up with for my long over due picture with the sand dollar ... it has spent to long in tissue in a drawer and it is time for the beauty to be looked at.

I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy your day.   I will be doing my research and keep on with a little tidy and leaf work here.

Happy Stitching! XX











Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tiny Autumn leaf stitching ....











A Fallen leaf is Summers
wave  goodbye...



This morning early sat in my comfy chair in my stitchery room and sipping at my large cup of coffee I was staring out of the window and watching all the birds having their breakfast, today they had a treat because they had a bunch of our grapes from the garden to pick at and the robin and Miss Muddy Beak were making short work of them....

In addition to watching the world go by I had my list out and was going through it and ticking off what I have done and of course adding to it as the thoughts entered my head.  I have to say I am now making good progress on the lists.  

Then I got distracted sorting out the little Autumn leaves I have been cutting out for stitchery work and I decided that those will be what I work on today, to me it seems that kind of day.  I have the candles going and I feel all cosy and happy in my work room.  I can keep going off and doing something at the moment and then coming back to my slow stitching, the joy of having caught up on my deadlines means there is  nothing at the moment that has a urgent expiry date and I can flit from one creative pursuit to another and it is very enjoyable indeed.  Some days out in our garden it is still like a warm Spring day and that is why I think some of the plants are confused, certainly foxgloves and lupins that are going for a second show after dying off and my roses are unbelievable this year ...



Never the less Autumn is here, the leaves are changing colour and are a stunning crimson and
gorgeous dark greens and oranges.  They line our back border in the garden.  It makes my heart sing to be honest because the palette of colours is outstanding, more so this year than the last few.

Mr Squirrel is busy, very industrious today and is loving the acorns that I pop out there for him.  There is a very large oak tree along our road but further by the sea and I go along there and pick up acorns and the little acorn cups for me to craft with but Mr Squirrel has the spoils of my treasure and I pop around 10 or so out there daily right now.  He can not believe it with his peanuts in the shells as well it keeps in busy running about and very industrious indeed.  So funny to watch and he has now been fondly re named to 007 Squirrel because he is up and about and dangling in all sorts of places.



It is now October and my excitement builds as it will not be too long now.  So much to look forward to over the next few months and even January things are not going to be dull here.  It is true there are no Vintage Fairs for a few months and everyone is taking a break but I have my stock cupboards full and I will have great fun designing and painting things.  I choose to have my first cup of coffee in my stitchery room daily and adore the view to the garden where there is so much of nature just there going around its daily life and it makes me feel happy to have that time to ponder.





I went in the garden earlier and picked some of our daisies from our border the pink and white ones and they are so pretty.  I have now wrapped them in kitchen roll carefully in a row.  Then I press down on them to make them flat and in the right position to press.  They are now in a vintage book and back in the bookshelf, which is tight to stay there until my return.  I think something with these in will be lovely and I already have some ideas written down in the journal.

Can you see the most lovely colours of their dear little petals.  I wanted to preserve them.  Soon they will die back and have a Winter snooze until next year so I wanted to be sure to get some in from the garden to press before that happens. 



I would like to add them to a mixed media sampler that I have the perfect very old frame for and I think they will fit in perfectly with my idea that I have. 

For today though I am going to be doing some cutting out of leaves and some fabric is crying out to be cut in to teeny hearts for my jar of hearts .. which I have had a wonderful china label made for it as well that simple reads 'jar of hearts' ... perfect.

I have some sorting to do in one of my small drawers that has got a bit jumbled and I have things to keep me happy and content for today.  I also have to write a piece for publication so there we have my day mapped out for me.  It should keep me out of mischief ... with any luck and a fair wind!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX












Monday, 2 October 2017

Excited little stitches.












Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
 and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth 
seeking the successive autumns.

George Eliot





Just a little note about George Eliot ... did you know that Mary Anne Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era ...





We are in the month of October and this is officially Autumn now and the month that we go on our
holidays for 3 weeks .... To say the excitement is building is a total understatement.  Packing has  sort of started but even doing the on line Esta which is a document you need to enter the States with was exciting to do, my husband thinks I have turned into a child like creature and everything we do right now is an adventure.  I feel refreshed from the start of this year where I felt like I was 100 years old and seemed to have the weight of the world on me.  Now I feel happy and content and this is due to the fact that my Mum is being well taken care of and we can actually have a little us time which has not happened for 2 years ... Just care free time and safe in the knowledge she is safe and well cared for, helps us relax and unwind.

Sewing is a passion for me and designing stitchery too so when you are travelling to the land of creativity well the lists have started of what I am looking for and there is space for unexpected treasures that I might find.  Threads are so easy to pack and they weigh nothing practically and fit in even the most crammed of suitcases! Some Christmas shopping will take place as well because not only do I like being ahead but actually it is about getting someone something they will love and that it is totally different from anything on the high street.  As you know I pre order my hand dyed shaker threads but also this year I have pre ordered a quilting book that I have seen and it from America so by buying it there I same quiet a bit of money.  There will be other books and I have gone for light clothes and layering system to keep warm should I need to.  This enables me to have extra weight in all the cases and also an extra case to fill anyway should it be needed.  Christmas shopping whilst there will be so much fun.

As we are going to Canterbury Shaker Village I will be picking up some more shaker boxes along with some other treasures that they sell there.  One is a Christmas present for someone I know will treasure it as well.  I have been collecting them for some years now and I have nearly all the sizes in a stack ... great to look at and great to use.  The trick is to fill each box with something so it is solid and does not crush in the case .. perfect for threads and cottons don't you know !!

They sell little wax stars and hearts that hang on ribbons and these are for needles when you are quilting so they glide through the layers of fabric and wadding.  I like to pick up some of these, they are really great value, light in weight, useful items and make great little gifts...
I am now sorted properly for what stitching I am taking away with me so that is a tick and I have actually finished what I needed to stitch before going.  So 10 days of twiddling my fingers when it comes to sewing ... not on your life!  I am doing personal projects at the moment and designing for next year and enjoying my self immensely ..

In addition to that I have been making envelopes out of pretty paper for when I write to my pen pals so that has kept me amused and happy as I have been working on the Christmas envelopes and they are really very pretty.  I love sending and receiving happy mail.  It is lovely when a pretty letter drops on your doormat and you can make a warm drink and cosy in a chair for a chatty long letter read.  I now have eight pen pals and they are from all over the world and it is wonderful to correspond with like minded creative people and chat about ideas and also what we can all find in our own respective countries ...
We bounce ideas off of each other and share our creative papers about or stickers.  One of the places that I will be visiting in America is a incredible shop called ' Paper Source' if you are reading this from the States you will know about this shop with rubber stamps, papers, creative everything including the new thing chalk ink! yes I have that on my list of purchases to make.

I thought today I would go through my sewing room and tidy drawers and cupboards and have a little hoover and dust just so it it all kept up together.  Then I can look out of the window at Miss Muddy Beak who is loving digging around our soft damp earth in the borders of late.  My husband put in a irrigation system and so it keeps the borders all cold and damp.  The garden and hanging baskets, pots
are all doing so well still because of it.  When he talked about it I was not sure because  strangely I like watering but to be honest with you on busy days it is a blessing that it is done twice a day and I no longer have to think about it.  All I need to do is keep any eye on the bird baths for water and the little fountain we have ....

Because I am ahead of my game with my stitching I think this week will be mostly designing and I want to look through my design journal and check out what I have in there already.  I love the freedom to be creative and so for today and a few other days I am going to let myself sit and stare out of my sewing room window and go off into my creative space in my head and think of ideas that I can turn into stitchery patterns to make.  I might even get my water colours out as well.

My holiday journal has come along and I left room for a contents and happily been artistic along some of the pages, still leaving room to write.  I have made leaves and acorns from old papers as you know and some I have used my water colour paints on and others I have just left natural.  I have used leaf stickers and bits of fabrics and hand written some quotes in some of the pages.  It is looking really lovely and I am hugely please with it.

So for today I will say goodbye and get on with my list of things to do.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and of course as always  Happy Stitching! XX



Friday, 29 September 2017

Little finds of loveliness ....












Ah Autumn, I love you.
My favourite season and
my cosy friend who returns
loyally each and every year.



Treasure Hunting ... at these kind of events is even more enjoyable some how.  Meeting up with friends old and new and being in the middle of the countryside and alongside Daylesford Farm shop as well it really was such a wonderful pleasurable day as you know.  So what did I purchase, when trying to be good - no easy feat because there was so much wonderful vintage treasure I had to keep pinching myself... Then of course the next day was the West Country Textile Fair and again the fabrics, threads, buttons and French goodies was so unbelievable.  I was good over the weekend believe me but I did come away with some gorgeous treasures that I would like to share with you today.

Daylesford Brocante 

In no particular order here is what I was able to truffle.

Well the first thing I did was go and order some ribbon tags from Rosehip with words on that I would like.  They will be sent through the post to me in a week or so.  You will see them over the next few months in photos on here.  I gave a list of what I would like and discussed fabric colour for the fabric ribbon.  Meeting the maker was indeed a pleasure and it was a lovely while choosing and also looking at her wonderful stall as well.



Then it was off to see Nicholas and Steele for some vintage empherma.  I was hoping for some papers and some bus tickets very old bus tickets and you know what Holly and Steve had both.
I was so happy.  The papers came in bundles with ribbon tied about them and so I picked a bundle that suited my needs and the ribbon I loved the best - had to be done.

Then it was the bus tickets and they were 20p each and came in all sorts of colours so I went through
them all in colour order and picked the colours I liked and thought I would use.  I had such fun doing that and I think it was a great idea so that people could have what they would like.  I will be crafting with these.












Little Wren Vintage a long while was spent here as you know not only shopping but chatting
to great friends.  If I over looked something then Chris might say have a look at this so it was like having another pair of eyes.  Christine was browsing through all the goodies and it was a great time.
So I spotted the dearest little very very old red and white bowl.  I am always looking for things for my desk in my stitchery room to put buttons and such in when I am working and for me as long as it has that function and is beautiful I am happy.  Then there was the matter of some gorgeous Suffolk Puffs all in light lavender/purple colours and to top it off a most lovely timeworn and pre loved piece of old quilt .... Perfect.







From The Old Haberdashery it was some beautiful threads for me and I got five of them. They are now snuggled down in the drawer that they all go in (with a still little bit of room for some more!) and I was very pleased to find these ones.  Sonia was saying to me she had been on the look out for some lovely and different sylko threads and she thought she had found some good ones and I agreed totally.















And my last purchase that day was some fabrics which I bought from Rebecca Shelton-Agar and these were gorgeous.  I loved the colourways and to be honest with you they were all in a basket with others and it was truffle time, and I love that.  I somehow seemed to just pick out these ones which blend perfectly so I am am so very happy.  I pressed them before putting them away and now they are happy and waiting to be chosen later on next year for a design that they can feature in.

As you can see I was extremely restrained given the goodies that were on offer and being good for my trip to America.





In addition we were heading to  The West Country Textile Fair the next day as you know and I wanted to have some spending money there so this is what I purchased last Sunday there.



Firstly I went to see Donna Flower Vintage and had a look around the choice was incredible and it took all of my will power I can tell you.

Baskets of vintage quilt pieces all tied in bundles.  Fabrics neatly pressed and folded just stacked in neat little rows.  A whole little thread shelf with jewel like threads and so so much more if you remember the photos from yesterday.  It was a wonderful choice of so many treasures.  I did take my time and making a little pile of things that I felt I needed to come home with me.

So what did I purchase well some dear little buttons on a card that were blue and so pretty.  They will stay like that and may even in time be framed but I loved them and they were unusual.  Then there were some threads, well look at the colours!! - Some antique quilt pieces which are so very pretty and well paisley .. I ask you.  The light on the photos are not great it is a dull day but you get the general idea of how wonderful all the bits were.  I was just paying when I spotted some threads in their original box and they somehow jumped in to my pile to pay for ... Happy Happy.





The Washer Woman had a very large piece of paisley and I had to bring the darling home with me.  The colours and pattern and well it is getting more and more difficult to buy.  Possibly because I have the world supply but hey there is was on the second day of the fair and it had stayed hidden until I got there at lunchtime!!  Andrew bought a 1920/30's man hat stand and he has it in his man shed to clean and do some repair..... but here is my paisley.

Look at those colours!











Last but not least was Sue of Vintage to Victorian now I had fun with the haberdashery there too.  I bought a few bits as you will see and some never used linen round threads one cream and one red ( not the threads with the peg and ribbon, although they are beautiful too)

Then the full card of linen covered buttons .... treasure!










There was a panel of old linen with red work on it and it was Christmas! I looked at it and thought you need a contrasting border put on you and then you are a Christmas table cloth so that is something I can tackle later ... I just loved it so much.









And that Ladies and Gents was my last weekends haul from the Cotswold's and the West Country vintage fairs.  I was happy with my little purchases and it all fitted into my basket.  I really was a very good girl indeed.

There are no more fairs for me before we fly so I have popped away my bounty and I am very happy.  I think that one the pieces of old quilt might be made into a Christmas present so we will see if I can at least start that before we fly.

I am now looking forward to showing you my vintage goodies and treasure from the American trip but you will have to wait until November when I return, because I have no clue as to what they will be and I have not bought them yet!!....

I hope you have enjoyed a peek at the vintage stitchery goodies today and hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.  All that remains for me to say is Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday, 28 September 2017

West Country Textile Fair...















By all these lovely tokens September days are here, 
With summer's best of weather 
And autumn's best of cheer. 

Helen Hunt Jackson





Well as promised the adventure of last weekend continues because after staying over in the Cotswold's we got up and breakfasted and went to Ali's shop ( Betty and Violet) to say goodbye and then headed down the M5 to Taunton.  In a picturesque village of Lydeard St Lawrence is a village hall and this is where yearly three lovely ladies take it over with all their gorgeous stock of vintage treasure and sell all weekend.  The A team had got together and all under one beautiful old roof! 

The Washer Woman ( Lizzie and Jack), Donna Flower Vintage and  Vintage to Victorian( Sue) - We arrived at lunchtime to a wonderful welcome of coffee and cake! yes I know .. There is a lady in the village that make them for the fair and this time it was carrot cake and a ginger cake with large bits of gorgeous ginger on top of the icing!

The hall had coloured fairy lights on the beamed ceiling it was warm and inviting after our two hour journey ( which was so much better than the journey the day before, the traffic was not bad at all and
we had the music on with the blue skies above) ...

There was music in the background of the hall and a fresh pot of coffee was made and I had a large cup of that to start ( cake was later) and it was lovely seeing them all and catching up.  They had been there on the Saturday too and this was the second and final day when we arrived on the Sunday.  I had also organised to meet one of my lovely readers of this blog there and there she was Julie with her husband and we finally after talking and emailing for 2 years or more met face to face!  What a treat.  She had got there a little before me and had her cup of tea and was busy treasure hunting herself.  
So lovely to finally meet you Julie and say hello in person.  It was such a great place to meet because it is a intimate and cosy fair with a huge amount of atmosphere and laughter.  The bag that you had with you that you made was stunning and it was just so lovely to meet up with a like minded and talented stitcher such as yourself.

It was time for me to look around at all the goodies that were set out beautifully in this hall, trestle table after trestle table was filled with fabrics, threads, laces, trimmings, buttons, motifs, french laundry ribbons, linens, antique quilt pieces, antique whole quilts, vintage patterns and so so much more... Let the truffling begin and off I set - forgetting all about the list and having a great time.

There was constantly people coming and going but we were there the whole three hours left of this wonderful vintage textile fair in the heart of the West Country.  I wanted to catch up with them all and later Donna Flowers other half turned up and my husband and Johnnie love to talk cars.  Jack found time to have a chat with them and so the 'boys' were all happy.  I wanted to not only look at everything and take photos but indeed have a chance to catch up with all three ladies and we managed it and had a few

laughs along the way.


Firstly I went to see Donna with coffee and she had gone to the kitchen to get it for me and it was great just stood there sipping away at that and chatting about her shop, family and general vintage chit chat.  The work that goes in to being at a fair is enormous and for those of you who think it is a glamorous life then think again.  Not only have they got to source all the stock but fabrics have to be washed, pressed and folded as do the quilts and eiderdowns.  Then there is making sure of stock levels and getting it just so with so many baskets and gorgeous little display cabinets, lamps and more.  They do trial runs and set it all out after they know what the size space they have to display.  The travel to get to where they are selling and the packing up after along with cleaning the venue.




I spent ages looking through the threads on this gorgeous shelf unit of Donna's I mean why wouldn't you for a start but the colours and sizes it was like finding a precious jewel mine for me.

Then there were the quilt baskets with pieces of old quilts washed and wrapped beautifully, a basket of pieces of delicious fabric bundles and fat quarter size pieces of old and very pretty fabric.  I was in wonderland and I had hours of this to just enjoy myself.... 










Then there was this very old Clark's Anchor box of silk threads for embroidery just there! Oh my I was in
treasure truffling heaven and totally in love with buttons, threads, fabrics and more!
Truly I was having a great time.  What was so lovely is that you could keep going round and looking and matching this with that or deciding.  This was turning out to be a great vintage treasure hunt weekend indeed.








People coming in and the hall filled with chat and laughter and I moved around to where Lizzie and Jack were, I had kind of gone a different way around - for those of you who know me really well you will now know this is totally who I am.  Like an excited puppy.

Well so much to look at and I had spied some paisley on Lizzie's stall earlier and we had organised to look at a gentleman's hat stand for my husband so some choosing was being done and some catching up with how the weekend had been for them all and our journey going on the Saturday.

Bearing in mind there was some gorgeous and I mean gorgeous old fabrics that Liz had to offer I was fairly restrained but still had to look through everything just because.






There were boxes of buttons and baskets of lace and ribbons along with an old basket of French rubber stamps which were used to ink the image onto fabric for embroidering.

Rolls of old but still beautiful ribbons on shelves and so much fabric folded and display I just wanted to see everything.  I am so much looking forward to finally making our house move so I can buy some of the old furnishing fabrics and fabrics to cover foot stools and chairs with ....









Then there was this little pile of my kind of sewing and applique fabric and of course as I said I had spied some gorgeous paisley fabric from the moment I walked in the hall.  I am like a magpie when it comes to it and to me it just glistens and is like a beacon, even in a huge pile of other fabric I can almost sniff it out!!

Now it looked lonely don't you think and you can see why it was calling out to me!!







Now it was time to go a truffling at Vintage to Victorian / Sue, and we had a lovely chat first catching up on the time that she has taken off of fairs to just do things she wanted to do, as I said earlier the work that goes into to it all is huge.

 Sue is a wonderful gardener and knows so much about plants and things, my go to guru when I see a beautiful tree or flower - I take a photo and send it to her and she will let me know what she herself knows about it.  I am writing it all down for our forever home so that I know what I would like in the garden.

Well Sue has decided to actually give up the vintage fair circuit but is however hosting a large three day event next year in the Spring at The Dairy House.  I will be giving you all the details of this huge event where the haberdashery and gorgeous antiques will be amazing nearer the time with date,times etc.

Sue will continue to sell vintage haberdashery on line and at The Dairy House and she will continue with the West Country Textile Fair as well so do not panic vintage lovers.... She will from time to time pop up at fairs of course either on a visiting or helping capacity so she is not disappearing from us all. 








Now it was time to get in and truffle through the threads, buttons and cottons.  It was so exciting to just rummage about.  It is all part of it for me and looking through a box of goodies and finding something that is beautiful and you can use is just the cherry on top.

Look at the picture on the left A Cupful of Buttons for £5 how fabulous is that. !  This is the type of thing that makes a great vintage fair event for me.











There was a basket with little red and white samplers in and other embroidery bits.  Pegs with French laundry initial tape wound around it, threads, spools and fabrics and lace ... such a great fair with only three stall holders but with oodles of goodies, like walking into the best shop in the world!

Well the day was coming to the end but we stayed and helped pack up.  I got my lesson in packing boxes with goodies ... I was born to do that! and the putting away, packing the cars and vans and of course the sweeping, vacuuming and moping of floors.  Kitchen and toilets to be cleaned along with all the tables and chairs put away again.

 The hall looked like a new pin. This is hard work and the part of any fair that we the visitors sometimes forget.  With all that they do to bring these events to us the prices on the tickets are well worth it ladies and gents ....

There was a scary moment too, not where I was packing thank the lord but across from me, which was too bloomin' close for my liking a big black arachnid appeared I nearly keeled over.  I wanted to run but did not know where to run and which direction because the one thing I have learnt is they run too and if they head in the same direction as me I feel I am being chased and then of course huge panic and fear set in for me! ... eeek. I swear it had boots on! .....It was duly removed from the equation and brave me continued, well I thought myself brave anyhow.

We all said goodbye and went on our way home.  It was a lovely drive back to the South Coast although it had started to rain.  We stopped off for a meal ( you can not live on cake, sometimes
vegetables are required!) and then got home around 9.15pm ...

We had a wonderful weekend with lots of wonderful friends and we were wished a happy holiday as we will not see any of them before now. It will be November when we meet up again.

Well that is it today and I hope that you have enjoyed a little look at The West Country Textile Fair,  they will be doing it all again next year and I will of course publish the details on here as well for you all.

Have a fabulous day and as always Happy Stitching! XX