Wednesday, 31 January 2018

February .. a month I love.

















February is the border
between Winter and Spring.

Terri Guillemets.




Can you believe we are already in the second month of this year and of course it is a short month as well, February the month of love and I love to stitch.  I have embraced the cold weather and I have become very Hygge and Lykke in my ways when it comes to the Winter season.  It is a time for nesting and lighting candles and warm fires and eating cinnamon buns .....
It is a time for baskets with stitching and making and creating and throwing ourselves into the creative process and not getting unhappy with the bitter weather, rather like a mini hibernation.  It is still a time for the warmth of quilts and red and white colours and enjoyment of this beautiful month. Soon enough it will be Spring and the weather will bring us out of our comfy, cosy days and with stitching in the beautiful sunshine and in our gardens, beach or the countryside by a stream.  I enjoy all our seasons and try and embrace each one with happiness and enjoyment.

Also today, as it is February, I will be cutting out little hearts for my jar of hearts.. it needs to be done! February is  for me a time to bake muffins and banana loaves to slice and have with cinnamon butter and a drop of cinnamon honey in my  herbal teas of an afternoon.  Spring is budding along the roadsides and in the forests and the year is beginning to unfold.

Thinking this morning in my chair here in my stitchery room, whilst cuddled into a vintage quilt and hot water bottle on my back and hands around my first cup of coffee of the day it occurred to me that I change things around for the seasons.  I like to have warm coloured quilts on the beds and change pictures around.  Christmas brings out Christmas sampler I stitched and so on.  Do I have a Valentine sampler? no I do not but I have time to make one for this year.  Not an elaborate or large one but a sampler never the less.  So I am going to set aside a little time to just doodle one out and see if I like it and to stitch it.   How remiss of me I thought and then my mind turned to hearts and my jar of hearts and so the seed was planted and the threads of my thoughts turned to fabrics and words.

Sometimes we can over think a design or a picture and really the simple ones are usually so striking and beautiful so it really should not take me that long to come up with something that will look pretty in our home every February she says! but of course there is the usual truffling to be done in the fabric and quilt pieces sections ... Oh maybe I was a bit too quick to say it should not take long, what I should have said was when I have chosen all the components for the little picture THEN it should not take me  too long ..

 Reds and whites are my favourite colouring for the Winter months and it is so Valentine so I think it will be lots of fun to create something that says Love because after all it is what makes the world go around or should do at least.
This is going to be a really fun project I feel and not too complicated and drawn out just simply like a shaker design with some meaningful words ... I am now going to be on the case!

This month although on the border of Spring can be a cold and bleak month so the best thing is to keep busy and make our home cosy, warm and inviting.  Gorgeous smelling candles can help they say a scent can evoke memories or indeed happiness.  Mine for this month is a light cinnamon and apple and reminds me of my Mums apple crumble .... so much so I had to make one the other day. I love
cream with mine but my husbands favourite is custard.

The other day I made some heart shape fire lighters with pine combs  in with a wick, I have winter spice scent in them and when I put one in the fire and light it the room gives out the most gorgeous aroma and with the fire blazing fairly quickly.  I enjoy making them when I can and made a batch of twenty four to keep us going over the next month.  Can you see the little wick at the front of the heart? it is so easy to light.

As you can see it is the month for hearts in this house with hearts in jars that I make out of old kilner jars and heart fire lighters, red quilts and cosy and warm.  I have a heart shaped large muffin tin as well so it will be time to make some of those for breakfasts as well.  The best thing to do in the darker and colder months of the year is to make our homes cosy, smell of baking and cinnamon and light candles and darker corners of our homes.  It fills us with happiness and makes these months less gloomy.

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












Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Gentle Art .. of hand stitching
















Those who sleep under a quilt, 
sleep under a blanket of love. 






Days like to day that start with a good old rummage in my paisley and eiderdown fabric stash have to be great, how could they not be! it is such a happy thing to do and actually it looks warm and cosy in there and very beautiful.  I could almost crawl in and curl up .... I needed to find a piece of fabric that I know I have and would be perfect for something I am going to be stitching so it was not just for pleasure ( although it is always a pleasure!) I am pleased to say I found it but not straight away so I had a good fifteen minutes of pure indulgence ... she writes with a smile on her face.

The gentle art of hand stitching is such a pleasure that sometimes I forget it is work.  Mixed media is exciting too when I use extremely old papers and envelopes with my work.

I am a history buff as well and love genealogy and writing and so when I get some gorgeous antique empherma to work with well of course my mind does a wander about who wrote it, who was the person they wrote too.  The handwriting always says education, therefore upper class in the day with ink and paper and of course the ability to read and write.

As I write this to you I am looking at the night become day and there is a hard ground frost on the lawns outside along with some glimmering frost on neighbours garages I can see.  It is like someone has been sprinkling glitter around and the effect is magical and so very beautiful too.  The bi product though is it is very cold indeed and a quilt is wrapped around me with a hot water bottle, which recently has become my very best friend in the world!!

I did venture out earlier with the crunch underfoot and my foot prints left on the icy grass and there is breakfast for all out there and the all important just warm water for them to drink or bath in.  We have two bird baths in our garden and there are two large pebbles in each for the tiny ones to fly on to so
that they feel safe.  I am only just now seeing some birds appear ... They are too cold and snuggled in their nests I think.

Today is mainly about sewing but I am having a phone call mid morning from a dear friend in Wales to catch up, its been too long and we have both been so busy and of course Christmas.  Laura owns The Quilt Sanctuary and I have blogged about her business before, she is a very talented quilter and makes some gorgeous quilts.  She also has a long arm quilting machine and sells beautiful fabrics from her web site.  You can look up The quilt sanctuary on line.

We will be making a warm drink and having a half hour chat and I am very much looking forward to it.  It is strange most of my dear friends do not actually live on the South Coast of England but further afield and abroad so our catch ups are by phone and in between that it is email.  This year though I am going to make the trip for a weekend  to see her in person.

Also today is an early mark on stitching as I really must catch up on my mail, mostly snail mail and I am looking forward to writing to my friends.  I have a bundle of beautiful hand written letters that I would like to reply to and so I am going to be ink on paper later as well.

As you can see my day is broken up into wonderful sections and I am very much looking forward to it. There will be plenty of warm drinks consumed today as well.  There is a post office run to send out some gorgeous vintage fabric inspiration packs to some customers and that has to be done this morning as well.  It should not take long but the lady at our local post office always smiles when she sees me and coos over how pretty the packaging is and we do have a little chat about making post beautiful .... if there is not a huge queue behind me that is.


Then there is my news for you all I am going to be putting together little embroidery kits and you will be able to purchase them from me.  They will be my own design and all you will need to do is use your embroidery thread to stitch them.  They should be available very soon so if you are interested in this then contact me by email at www.homespunstitchworks@gmail.com for more details.  There is still a little bit more work for me to do but I can tell you a bit more.  Also about the boxes of vintage fabric inspirations as well.  I have also started a group on here called vintage slow stitching if anyone would like to join here.

Anyway I must be off as there is so much to do today and I am over my time already.  The sun is out now and that means it should be a beautiful day.  Have a wonderful day whatever you are doing and as always Happy Stitching! XX


Monday, 29 January 2018

Faded Beauty ....













With slow stitch after slow stitch tension
fades and my  lips curl to a smile.
The faded beauty of preloved
 fabrics on which to stitch  upon Is magical.

SJH








Needles are threaded and the cosy scene is set. Candles at the ready and the fire just waiting for a
match to strike.  Today is nothing but delicious hand stitching .

When I have a full day of hand stitching it is like with each tiny stitch I make in the folds of the faded and preworn vintage fabric the world and all it's hustle and bustle fades away and it seems that you become almost one with your work.

I get into a flow and rhythm and it is so enjoyable and relaxing, I am very much looking forward to today and the start of my working week.

My sweet birds have been fed although they do not seem aware yet as it is still dark and await them stirring from their nests.  As I was curled drinking my first coffee of the day my mind wandered back to last year and was wondering who had my scraps of vintage paisley fabric and if it is so comfy and cosy and pretty - they might well just want another five minutes roosting time this morning!!

Since then I have been saving more little thin strips of paisleys for this years nesting and indeed when I see signs of them breaking twigs to patch up their homes I will again pop some out in our pear tree and it will be strictly on a first come first served basis.  I believe I have collected enough for at least 6 lots so there might be an 'up market' row of nests in the neighbourhood very soon.  Not to be seen on Zoopla! ( for anyone not in England reading this Zoopla is a on line Estate Agent/ Realtor)

With Christmas well and truly over I am looking forward to the Vintage Fair Season to kick off and it just so happens that the first I know of is a smaller more intimate affair that will be run by Lizzie and Jack of The Washerwoman fame.  There will be fabrics, threads, buttons, haberdashery and all manor of vintage goodies on offer.

This fabulous Spring pop-up textiles fair  is on Saturday 10th February 2018 and is from 9am - 2pm at Lydeard St Lawrence Village Hall near Taunton TA4 3SE.  It will be a grand rummage with antique and vintage textiles, French toile, upholstery fabrics, scrap bags and a collection of vintage costume including 1930's wartime dresses and I personally can not wait.

I may see some of you there.  Lizzie and Jack go over to France to do lots of their buying so there will be treasure abound and a hall full of vintage goodies.  It is a wonderful event as you can meet up with friends and also be able to ind a few fabrics for your stash ladies.

The very first time I met Lizzie and Jack a few years back now I purchased my first good large piece of vintage paisley.  It had never been used and still had the wax on the fabric and it was about four meters  --- I still have some left today that I can not bare to part with.

When I have the pleasure of going through my fabrics I tend to remember who I purchased from and mostly I have to say which fair it was at, not every time for the fair as I do go to a few in each given year.

This is part of what I am always saying that there are memories concealed in the weave of old fabrics and I wish oh wish they could tell their story.  Were they a part of someones wardrobe of from an eiderdown that once sat proudly on a beautiful bed ... when were they cut up and where have they been hiding for 100 years!

We are coming to a close of January 2018 already can you believe it. In two more days it will be February and so the earth turns and much too fast these days it seems to me at least. How can it be over a month ago since Christmas Day .... 

I also need to start decorating for February and get all the hearts out in bowls and hanging around and of course decorate the little light up tree in our dinning room that changes for every season and occasion in our home.  They all stay there until March when the blossom goes on the tree and then Easter is added ... Summer and so on and so forth. 
In the garden I have some beautiful snowdrops and the bulbs are pushing through the ground.  Spring is not that far away just a month really because February can bring some very cold spells and further snow as is its want -- it likes to surprise us.  I am happy with open fire and candles for a bit longer as I really have not finished my hybernation just yet.  It was a long bout of flu for me and it has left me very weary and very cold ( hot water bottle helps with that - still) and so just at this moment in time I am happy stitching and resting and enjoying the cosiness of the hygge we have created here in our home.  I love the reds of the quilts still and they are there until Easter ( if it is cold at Easter they stay until May)

Well for this little bit warmer Monday morning I am going to wish you all a great day and get to my hand stitching.  As always Happy Stitching! XX






Thursday, 25 January 2018

For the love of vintage ... & the slow stitch.












When our eyes see our hands 
doing the work of our hearts,
 the circle of creation is completed inside us!

unknown.










Textile art is for me so beautiful and creative, we can express ourselves and stitch wonderful tactile things - it makes my heart sing.

Simple designs turn into stunning textile art and sewing a sampler for example is amazingly good when its kept simple.

 Let your work speak for its self - this is my motto I work by and I trust it.  When we look at our creations we know instinctively if it needs a little this or that or indeed it needs no more!

Textiles with old papers work beautifully and you now have a mixed media piece.  Add words either typed, embroidered or written by hand and you have a piece that is unique and combines different beauty and mediums, of course it has to be behind glass and something that does not need to be laundered ever, for obvious reasons - but it will be a statement piece that will catch the eye and get people talking.

Slow stitching is becoming one with your needle, thread and fabric and there is no speed to it as there is in machine work, I feel it lowering my heart rate and helps me crate a piece of textile art that has a little piece of me entwined in its threads, weave and layers.

In WW1 the injured soldiers shipped back from war and recovering were given needlework to do and it helped them not only earn a little income but it mended their damage minds and memories.

They thought about beauty and not the horrors they had seen - it is a soul mending exercise that also produced some exquisite works of embroidery and  art.  Some of the finest detailed and neatest embroidery I have ever seen was stitched by these soldiers and I am lucky enough to own a little
needle case.  I found it in a little old antique shop in the New Forest years ago for pennies .  The detail in the tiny flowers! honestly it work to be proud of.

I look at it and think about the man who stitched it and what he must of been through but I like to imagine that whilst stitching it he could forget awful images and filled his mind with beauty instead whilst he was slow stitching at least ... It is true that ' Stitching mends the soul' and our minds.  I know it helps me when I am sad about my mum and also it is a joy when I am happy too.

Well I tried again with my mum and it did not go well but I will try again in the next week.  I have been giving thought to my mums piece of stitchery that I would like to start and complete but I really do need some of her writing.  I have found a letter from her and it has with lots of love Mum on it so I could trace that off thanks to some of my readers saying that to me.  I am still going to try for a little more at least one more go.  She did not want to settle to it but was more awake so it gave me hope that I will get something maybe next time.

I can not believe it is Friday all ready, my week has gone fast and not at all to plan but sometimes it is the nature of the beast.  Yesterday ended up no stitching at all as my sister and I would not leave my
mum all day.  It was a bad one and not one we wanted her to endure on her own.

Today she has other visitors so I have the day and I am going to make the most of it.  I am very behind and want a good few hours with me and my stitching.  I have already set it all out and I am hopeful to really make some headway on some slow stitching. It is cathartic as well and somehow creating and sewing really does make me happy.  I do love my job, in case you all did not know that by now!! ( out loud laugh as I wrote that!)

I have so much to do and complete and lots of letters to write as well over the weekend so I am hopefully going to get my head down and tick some things off of my ever growing list of things to do.



Whilst I was sipping my first coffee in my chair in my stitchery room and cuddled into  my hot water bottle and vintage quilt I was watching the garden for activity.  Because of the very bad weather we were having this week the garden has been so dreadfully quiet, no sign of my feathered friends.

I crept out early and put a veritable feast for them out there and as the sun has come up - yes the sun!! I can now see Miss Muddy Beak and Mr Robbin redbreast, the chuckle brothers are in residence as well and Squire bushy tail too ( he has been renamed)  it has made very happy to see they are all well and accounted for.

The reason I am SO pleased is a new cat is on the block out there and been sniffing around our garden, not seen this one before at all but a hunter it is.  I go out there scarring him and actually look
like a demented Medusa  in the wind and rain the other day.  I do not want him to get homely in our garden.... now when he sees me there is a look of ' oh no not her' on his face and he jumps over the back fence.  So this morning as I type this the birds are feeding and all is well with the world, the sun is out and it is not raining today.

So today is all about some serious stitching and my basket awaits me,  and so with that in mind I wish you all a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to and of course Happy Stitching! XX














Memories in stitches












Memories warm you up
from the inside




Memories are made by all sorts of means and I personally believe there are memories contained in fabrics and quilts as you all know by now.  Each piece of gorgeous vintage fabric has a story to tell if only they could speak.  I have been thinking and doodling for months as I want to stitch something that has a memory of my mum.

Where as I can normally think of a design this has had me stumped, honestly have a mental block when it comes to any sort of idea.  I have been thinking of getting my mum to write her name but I have left it too late I think.  Where as she used to write down everything - almost like beautiful minds! now when I try to get her to write something, anything she just stares at me blankly. 

I need to catch her on a good day and when she is more awake and then my idea is to embroider over her words that she has written.  I would love her name or With Love Mum XX anything really.

Then there is what to do with it as I really would like something different.  I have racked my brain but to no avail.  Any ideas ladies ?  I really need some help here.  I need to get her handwriting to be able to make anything possible but she gets frustrated if she can not do something or she feels pressured in any way so it is baby steps every time I go visit at the moment this is my first part of my plan 'mission write something'.....

There is the wall hanging, or quilt ... but I am trying to think of another thing to put together and I am coming up blank just blank... So please if you have an ideas for me, anything, leave a comment on here because it is something I need to make soon if I can.

I was going to get her to write on a piece of fabric but then I though maybe write on a piece of tracing
paper and then I could go over it and place it on the fabric so there is room to stitch around it etc.  I keep thinking of the nightmare if she writes but to close to the edge then I can not make anything out of it ... that is as far as my thought patterns have gone as you can clearly see.

I read some words about dementia/altzhiemers and it was so true.  It explained it to me and how it is not only for the person it is happening to but the family members left helpless and watching, and these are the words....

Have you ever walked along a shoreline, only to have your footprints washed away? That's what Alzheimer's is like. The waves erase the marks we leave behind, all the sand castles. Some days are better than others. 

The part where it says erase the marks we leave behind was what got to me and this I think has made me want her handwriting most of all ....   So I am going to concentrate on that later today as I am going for a visit.  Hoping she is a bit more awake and alert and then I am going to coax her with a milky coffee (decaf now) but she loves it and then try and get her talking .... then the mighty pen is going in her hand.

Yesterday was spent going through my little sketch book with little ideas that I have popped into the margin.  Then I read in my holiday  journal about our day at The Canterbury Shaker Village and the memories jumped off the page it was wonderful.  I am thinking of a very simple sampler to frame and pop on the wall ... it seems to go with the ethos of their ways and also words can be so beautiful as well they start up our imagination.


Looking at some of their art work as well like their tree of life or the dainty flowers they water coloured with words so I have been inspired by these images and have started to design something that I think will be beautiful and that they themselves would be pleased with.

I had all the colours out of my hand dyed shaker threads too, all in a row on the dinning room table with the lights on ... I was hoping for a little sunlight to really look at the colours but to really honest
with you I know them inside and out ... I look at them an awful lot, they are a peace of art in their own right. Truffling around in my threads is a pleasure to me and often gets done!

The shakers loved their seasons and nature and so I went with that in mind and had a little play on scrap paper and then I have decided what to sketch out slightly neater.  Then the process is keep looking at it just in case I think a change to it is in order.  I am not ready to start it yet so I can afford some staring at it time anyway.

The fun I had yesterday and it really cheered me. I can report my coughing is getting less ( shhhh as I do not want to jinx it but although it is a chesty cough I noticed yesterday I went some hours with out coughing, the relief on my ribs!!)  All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun day.

So this morning here I am getting everything ready for my visit to my Mum later today and also getting the fire ready to just light when I return.  I will be sorting out my project basket ready to just pick up and get stitching along with checking the candles and replacing any that are burnt out.

When I get in ( hopefully with my trophy of some writing)  I can then just switch into slow stitching mode.  I am going on the search for some tracing paper on my way to mum as the more I think about it the more I believe it will be better so wish me luck!

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















Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Simplicity of designs ....












Let everything you do or say
be seasoned with grace.

The Shakers.








Tomorrow being Wednesday is my day where I usually have a little sketch and also look through my other designs and sketches to see what I am going to make or discard.  I have some things to make for print so I want to see if there is anything there that is spec or can be tweaked maybe.

I am very much wanting to do a sampler type design with a Shaker/Primitive theme attached to it.  As you all know I am very interested in The Shakers and their lifestyle and particularly in the sisters who were so talented at stitching and painting/art work.  They too loved words and poems and I did some sketching whilst at The Shaker Village last October so it is time to revisit my sketch book and see what I can use.  It was a beautiful day and no rain and it was warm with a little breeze and I have put that in the margin of my book.  I can see me being immersed in it with all the wonderful memories that will no doubt come back....




The image that you see on your right is something that I took a photo of  there and you know it just sums up the simplicity of their beautiful life and also gets me thinking about things to sketch and what ideas I can come up with for this new sampler.  I love lots of the primitive images and the simplicity as I have said, sometimes less is so much more and that is going to be my aim for this piece that I want to create.

Looking out of my sewing room window at the icy rain I can not help but wish it was snow, it is so beautiful and the world falls a little silent in it.  It is like having a white blanket of peace thrown over the land.

The south coast where I live does not have much in the snow department and being very close to the sea and the salt air does not help the snows cause.  I think the snow would be more cheerful than the icy rain that is hitting at the window as I write this.

The birds are not keen on this weather and the garden is very quiet and I am imagining now that the birds are still tucked up in their nests waiting for a break in this rather brutal weather to come down and have breakfast.

I too am later today I was nestled in our bed very cosy and listening to the rain and dropped off again! Then when I woke I thought I will just have a quick truffle around in my linen stash and the time just flew I am afraid.

Not only will I get inspiration for the design that I have spoken about in my my sketch book but also in the fabrics that I see and choose for it so there was some pulling out of gorgeous linens and fabrics.

I love every aspect of going about a new project from sketches to seeking out gorgeous vintage fabrics, linens and other treasures - to putting it all together in a project basket for the design I have decided upon to the slow stitching process which is almost hypnotic.

Sat by the fire with candles and fairy lights aglow and lucky enough to think in the warmth of our home is such a treat and as I always say I am very grateful that I am able to do it especially on such a bitter January day like today.  It is a sleety rain that is pattering on my window but my little star fairy lights are brightening my view and still not a bird in sight not even flying in the sky.  That is unusual as there are normally seagulls which seem far more hardy in their mission for food.

With the primitive sampler in mind there is no frivolity at all but I must always have a button in my work it is my thing so I will try and choose one appropriate to what I sketch and finally start to stitch.  Tomorrow then is when I will work on what to sew.  I am going to have a wonderful day immersed in this project.  It will not be started for a while as I need to finish what I am working on at the moment and finish up some more little pumpkins ... I have become really addicted to them as well.

I will have to have a good look through my fabrics and buttons and of course choose some hand dyed shaker threads too.  It is a day of pure wonder for me.

Today though I am behind my time and after I have finished writing this blog it is go have some breakfast and then it is go around and light candles and sort the fire out ready to light.  Then check in my project basket for the little pink and white three mice who still appear and I think sleep in my project basket at night all cosy in the paisley folds  (if you are just joining us here the three mice are the ones that I bought before Christmas and they have string tails and button eyes and have been having adventures around our home)

When I am sorted I am going to sit and slow stitch today but will keep my jotter by me just in case an idea should pop into my head but I need to concentrate on what is needed today.  Well what do you know the rain is stopping and leaving behind a very grey cold day but I spy some little hungry birds who have started to come for their breakfast.  I think I will go and join them from our dinning room I can watch them as well and have my late breakfast too.  What ever you are doing stay warm and cosy and if you do not have to go out today light some candles and stay off the treacherous roads.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you back here on Thursday morning.  As always have a wonderful Happy Stitching kind of day! XX







Monday, 22 January 2018

January in slow stitches!














Some may wonder if hand sewing with its
seemingly endless stitches, has a real place
in today's busy home.  Just a comfortable place
like a rocking chair in a nursery.

Sarah Howard Stone.











The love of slow stitching is a common thread that I share with most of you that read this blog, other wise I am sure you would not be reading this.  It is a process where, in my humble opinion, we mingle with the weave and thread and our love of stitching and designing of a piece actually sinks into the fabric and that is part of our joy.

January is a great month to sit and stitch because it is a bleak month other wise, after all the excitement of Autumn and Christmas it seems to be a bare month so making ourselves cosy and happy and creating something beautiful and breathing new life in to pre loved and pre owned fabrics and notions makes for much lovelier few weeks.

Words too I enjoy and it could be why I love writing this blog four times a week. Slow stitching, sketching, calligraphy, writing and truffling are on my top 10 things to do along with reading as well.

Even one word on a piece of work can change it and how people look at the piece you have created. I love the poetry of a word or a sentence and I have a little journal full of quotes from people whom inspire me, ones I have written myself and just the odd word that opens up my imagination to a design or idea for one at least.

The enjoyment I get from creating is enormous and keeps me happy and content, it is a bad day when I can not settle to picking up a needle because normally it is where I go in my head when stitching and it is a very happy place.  Who would not love to create with such wonderful old fabrics, buttons and threads. It is a privilege what I do every day and I try never to forget that.  Going into an office or a shop and working away from home now I think I would crumble.  I enjoy working at home and simply love my job.

In addition I really love writing on here and I am so thankful for all your comments both on here and on my Homespun FB page , feedback is so good and it keeps me going so please always feel free to leave comments either a short something or a long chatty one... I too enjoy a read you know. <3

Now lots of you who read this blog then go over to the Facebook page and leave comments, you can of course leave them on here save going back and forth but what ever you are comfortable with, I go to both pages and read what is written and reply.

I got distracted over the weekend and stitched up some tiny little hexagons with papers and vintage
fabrics.  I couldn't help myself as my husband was doing something and I actually went into my sewing room to look out at the birds in the garden because I had just fed them for the second time that day as they are so very hungry right now.  Anyway I then saw the tiny hexagon papers and thought Oh I will just cut a few out and before I knew it I had cut and stitched ten of them!! but it did not end there I then went on to make the tiniest of pumpkins as well to go on to one of my old wooden spools and it is out of the most beautiful fabric paisley and it is so diddy and when I was sat there looking at my little pile of loveliness my husband came to find me to see what I was up to and I said to him ' you have finished' and 'yes' was his reply.  Then he said have you just made that all and looking sheepish I said yes and I only came in to watch the birds feed..... honestly if he was working on a Saturday I would have something to say to him with his hours he already keeps but I suppose sometimes I do not feel it is work, just a love of mine.

The pumpkin I used gorgeous vintage thick thread to stitch around the pumpkin and when it is pulled in tight it actually makes the pumpkin shape.  I now want to make a whole patch! and its only January.

This very cold weather we are experiencing ( not cold to some of you reading this in Canada or America I know) but cold for us with bitter winds and hale and frost and we have had some heavy snow fall in parts of the UK and Ireland.
Well with the cold and the dark early evenings sat with the candles going and design/sketching or some sewing or writing it really helps lift the Winter blues.   It is another bitter day here on the South Coast of England and I still have my cough I am afraid and to be honest not lots of energy.  I can not remember when I last went for a walk so I set out over the weekend but the cold air just made me cough and cough .... that idea was abandoned until it warms a little or indeed my cough goes away.

Normally this time of year I love beach combing and finding what treasures the sea gives up because of the stormy winter seas that churn, all sorts of treasure gets washed up on our shore line but I honestly could not do it so it is light the candles and stitch....

Well that it is for today I hope you have enjoyed your read and as I say feel free please to comment and of course stay warm and cosy and Happy Stitching! XX


















Friday, 19 January 2018

Wishing on stars ....














Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.












On these dark early evenings when I am waiting for my husband to return from his very long day I have been sitting here in my sewing room looking out at the night sky.  The joy of a frosty night is stars!  I always look for the brightest one in the sky and imagine it is my Dad and it makes me smile.  The shepherd crooks with their fairy light lanterns twinkle in the garden and it is part of my day I have grown to love.

I have been sat up here and writing and it it has been a wonderful week or so doing that.  If it is a starry night then this is where I am to be found.

If it is a cloudy evening then I am probably downstairs by the fire and stitching little hexagons and listening to the crackles that the logs make in the grate and the patterns that form in the flames.  There is nothing like an open fire and the smell of one as well.  Although when you light a fire it can not possibly become really warm in the room instantly, it does seems like it and it is a very cheerful and welcome sight, especially for when my husband walks through the door at the end of his day.



I have gone star crazy and on the sill in my sewing room I have a very old barn star and star fairy lights as well.   It is such a gorgeous shape a star and very beautiful I always think.

This said I would like to design a simple sampler type picture featuring the words at the top of this page and stars.  I have some most beautiful antique mother of pearl buttons as you can see from the picture above but also some fabric ones mingled in.  Simple but effective I believe and it will remind me of my late Dad as well.

I think you may remember I bought some beautiful frames when I went to a vintage fair early last summer and they are made from old distressed wood so I am going to choose one of those and cut a piece of vintage quilt to size and away I go.  The quilt you choose has to not be a really thick piece because stitching words on there could be a bit of a slog and not good for the fingers trying to push the needle through.  I always though, when using quilt pieces, get my quilting wax out and get some on my needle.  I buy them in the Shaker Village and they are little pieces of quilting wax formed into a shape with a pattern on and tied with ribbon, again they make me smile when I get one of those out because the Shaker Village memories come flooding back.

The Shaker Village is looking for some staff at the moment and oh boy if I lived near there I would apply to do a couple of days a week or even a day because it would be such a wonderful day and not like work at all to me ...the serenity that the village gives to those who wander through the large white gates .  It is a through road as well even when the village is closed you can drive through.  On one side is the shop, barn and offices ( the office and barn are original buildings preserved} and then on
the other side of the road is the village its self.  Sorry I digress!

Anyway today I am going to look at what frames I have stashed and what quilt scraps that I have that will do for this project nicely .. I am thinking a piece of thinner vintage quilt that is not too patterned as I do not want to go crossed eyed looking at stars, words and highly patterned in a frame it may give people a migraine ! so you can all see where this is going can you not? Yesssss my readers it involves a truffle session in my quilt pieces this morning! now singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah-Zip-A-Dee-Day! enough to frighten anyone in ear shot, except the neighbours who actually have gotten used to my eccentricities over the years!

I remember my dear late neighbour came volting across my wall to get to me screaming at the top of my lungs, he thought I was under attack... well I was because a bloomin arachnid had  made itself known to me and I was going mad in my conservatory with my weapon of choice, a wet sock from the washing machine!! Miss him so much and boy since he died 4 years ago now my interest in vintage and antiques and Coates threads has tripled and with all the fairs that are now around the glass of wine and chats we would have had on the subject either by the fire or in the garden in the Summer.  He would have guided me in the right direction and is missed by all the neighbours and talked about weekly.

There is something comforting in having stashes of quilt pieces and fabrics.  It is a case of going through and finding the piece of something you wish to work with.  No popping to the shops just sifting through the little piles of gorgeousness to find just the right piece of history to bring out and add to.

So you can see I am going to have a wonderful few hours doing this but I have to remember I have set myself a goal and I want it finished and in the frame by the end of this weekend along with another little project,  so not too much time choosing and cogitating about which fabrics to use.  I have to be decisive and get on with the job in hand.

So on that note I am going to love and leave you and wish you all a really Happy Stitching Day! XX







Thursday, 18 January 2018

Vintage Happiness!











Happiness is different things to different people.
My happiness involves vintage fabrics piled in 
their cosy cupboard and drawers and me having
an hour or two truffling around in them.  To touch 
and feel and take in their newly washed and pressed
status, ready to once more be used and loved.

S.J.H







On the occasions I talk myself into needing to start my morning by checking on and truffling through my vintage fabric cupboards and drawers it is a very happy and contented me that starts her day like this.  I do however have to be a little strict with myself because I could do it the full day through, honestly it is true!

The picture is inside my vintage cupboard early this morning so please excuse the shadow, it was still dark and the world was at slumber but after my husband left for work I just could not settle down for another hour or so.  I went down and made a coffee and sat in bed and drank it with the window open and the curtains pulled back to here the dawn chorus .. however I just had to go and sit on my little stall and look through some lovely vintage fabric and quilt pieces and for no particular reason than I felt like it!! 

I feel the same about my button boxes and thread box and some may shake their head in disbelief, others of you will totally understand my addiction...






It is a really lovely way to start to my day along with writing this blog for you all to read, then I know today I am off downstairs in my chair and the open fire a little later and hand slow stitching.  Happy me!

The quilt is ready for my knees and the little wire basket is full of beautiful vintage treasures for me to create and stitch with.  I enjoy each day and all the parts to my work and daily life and for that I am very grateful.

This quilt that you see on the chair I bought in the Canterbury Shaker village about 10 years ago and is not old but it was such a beautiful lap quilt and the provenience of it being from one of my most favourite places on this earth was far too tempting not to bring home with us.

When it is on my lap or waiting over the back of my chair it brings a smile to my face and a thousand happy memories come flooding back to me of one of the most beautiful and tranquil places here on earth. As I am stitching I think of sitting there in the old school room and watching the video of a lady who was brought up in the village and who left there when she was 18 years old.  She went back every year to visit her Shaker mother ( not her blood mother who died when she and her brothers and sisters were very young) and she would take her gifts.  She said she felt so loved by the shaker sister and she loved her back.  The story makes my cry every time I sit there and listen to it but its tears of pure happiness.

The shaker shop is where I bought the quilt and as I sit and stitch all these sorts or memories come back to me and if I close my eyes I can see the gorgeous coloured trees and the warm Fall breeze on my face.  The memories that fabrics evoke in me and live within their layers.

Today also I would like to to take some photo's but it really does depend on the light and if the sun comes out to play.  If it does it will be down tools and snap away so that I get some more done.  All these little things that go on behind the scenes of this blog ... I love doing it, do not get me wrong but they are things that take up time.  With the staging of it all and getting the light just so.  Gathering bits up and then putting it all back.

I can be sat stitching with candles going and it is very dull and misty and then a break in the cloud and I am up and off to get the camera and a armful of goodies to snap at.

My little wire basket is a favourite of mine and just the right size but things can fall through the wire mesh gaps .. so I have a little hand embroidered vintage linen mat at the bottom to keep things from dropping out all over the place. little glass bottle of needles, things like that.  We have antique parquet flooring and it can be slightly unforgiving if something delicate drops on to it.  Little shards of glass and thin embroidery needles can be hard to clean up.  I do have my pincushion to pop my working needles into as I go.... I have stopped sticking them in the chair after some horror stories I have heard.

I will also be stepping out to go sit with my Mum and help her drink a milky coffee with a sugar which she is very partial to, hoping she will be a bit more aware today but well if she is not I just have a little chat to her, rather like I do with you on here.  I will tell her all about the birds in the garden and about my stitching antics.  I am going to take along some hand stitching as if she is on a quiet sleepy day I can stay with her a while and still work and chat but she is not on her own.  Actually she is not on her own she has a one to one all day with her but they can go do other bits whilst I am there and gratefully they bring in trays of drinks.  I have been going just for an hour this
week  most days to give her a milky drink so I know fluids have gone in and even when she is unresponsive and looks like she is sleeping I can get her to eat a little too..... Mother and daughters bond I guess.

It has not been a bad start to this year Mum is being cared for in the most wonderful of Care Homes and I am feeling stronger daily after this bad virus/flu bug.  I still have a cough and a slight sore throat but I am not feeling like I can not do anything.  I am more tired but apparently that is all part of it and it will soon lift.  My design book is filling up and I am enjoying adding to it and also the diary is filling up with wonderful vintage fair dates and it is still only January! 

When I was a truffling this morning and carefully going through the little piles of fabric in the cupboard I found some stunning old eiderdown fabric that I had forgotten about and that was like finding buried treasure!  That has come out and I have it on my work table to study it and look at it and then look through my design journal and see what I can use some of it on because it is a stunner. Simple things really make me smile and it was a lovely surprise and reminded me of where I bought it and my joy then of finding it in a pile of fabrics for sale and thinking it had been hiding and waiting for me to come along to bring it home.

My husband has asked about me making some muffins too, I made up a recipe for a breakfast muffin which is relatively good for you ( as much as cake in the morning can be) but he can take one or two on the train in the morning with a banana to have with a warm drink going on in to London.  He makes me laugh because he calls that his first breakfast as when he gets there he goes and gets a large pot of porridge and fruit pot to have at his desk.  Honestly you would think he would be the size of a city but those of you reading this that have met him know he is not! .. where he puts it all I will never know.  Still I will be making a batch for him on Sunday so he can take start on Monday to take some with him.  That is if he does not eat them all on Sunday!!!

So that is it for me today and I must away to my hand sewing.  I think the sun is going to make an appearance today so it says on the radio so I look forward to that.

Have a good day and try and keep warm and as always Happy Stitching! XX


























Tuesday, 16 January 2018

I count my day complete when I am sewing!


















We have to trust our own choice after all, and end with
 the simple belief that what pleases us is beautiful.
Indeed, no other rule is of any use to us, and if we do but honestly
 please ourselves, and make forms which
genuinely give us pleasure, we shall find ourselves credited
 with the power of designing beautiful things. 

Richard Hatton





Yesterday turned out to be a productive day and I am pleased with what I achieved.  Sitting by the fireside and stitching for hours was really calming and cosy as well as busy and fruitful.  This cold dull weather we are having affords me the candle light and fairy lights and the warmth and glow of the open fire.  With a quilt over my knees and a basket full of stitchery at my side I am one happy and contented worker.

After I finish work for the day I am going to either be sewing around little hexagons and diamonds for the Winter Star wall hanging ( as I am now calling it because I am not doing the full bed version) or I am at my desk writing letters to my Happy Mail pen friends or doing Calligraphy ( which is used in Happy Mail too) .... I have found a balance that is suiting me right now.  My husband is not a 9 to 5 worker and his day starts at around 5am and he is not in before 8pm so I tend to be doing until he gets home when we then sit and have our meal and talk about our respective days .. he says my days are far more interesting then his!!.... I feel for him in this rather cold weather and he leaves home in the dark and returns in the dark this time of year.

 In the Summer months we are able to have dinner in the garden and I light the BBQ and we cook on there and sit.  In these Winter months it is by the fire and at the table or our meal in a bowl evenings it is by the fireside and on our laps, which we do enjoy and it thaws him out too.


My stitchery room is cosy after work and I can sit at my newly (nearly finished) desk design and I
can create with candles going and look out at the fairy light lanterns all twinkling in the dark.  The birds are all in their nests but I still love to look out at the pretty lights .... Or as I say sat by the fire with my patchwork going ... my early evening is far calmer and cosy than my poor husbands commute home to me.

I bought two sets of little battery operated star lights when I was in America, one set is for the little bottle brush Christmas tree that goes on top of my old vintage tin carriage and the other is for my desk and I am trying to decide where and how to wrap them around something so they twinkle of an evening when I am here.  This will be the last thing I do when my desk is finally sorted but I keep going to them as I want them up so much... they may even go on the window sill in front of me when that is finally sorted as I would like it ...





Journals are my other thing and I keep them for all sorts of things as you all know by now.  It is strange because my husband bought me the most beautiful Aspen leather journal two Christmases ago and I have not used it yet.  We were discussing it last night and he asked why ... I said I want it for something really special and I do not know what it is yet.  Maybe I will transfer all my quotes and sayings in it and then put little comments in there ( for future generations) it is such a beautiful journal in its own box with shear tissue paper that opens up like turning a book page to reveal this most stunning of stationery ... I think I am a little scared of starting it but that will never do as I am a believer you never save anything for best ... who knows
what is around the corner.  Live each day to the full that is my motto in life.



So this is something I need to have a good think about and start to use and right now the quotes and sayings are the best idea I believe as the little journal they are in right now is not a great one and more like an jotter really .... The other idea was family tree things to right out some stories that I have been told by my parents and what I have found out .  It may well be this is the idea that will win out but whatever one it is, it needs to be addressed.

My sewing basket is ready to go and I managed to relight the fire this morning so it is happily awaiting me to snuggle down to a good few hours of sewing.  Tomorrow I want to have a morning of going through my design journal and my notes and ideas book that I started when I was in America last year.  A cinnamon tea will have to be made and there are still a few liqorice comforts to munch on Oh happy me ( that will be later in the day as it it too early for sweeties just yet!

Well the light is now getting better and I can hear and see the birds calling for their breakfast, I did not fancy going out when it was dark this morning with my torch.  It was cold and icy and just starting to spit rain it seemed to me on the window so now it is time to answer their singing and chirping and get the kettle on once more before I start in earnest.

I hope you all have a wonderful day today and you stay warm, dry and cosy and I will be back here on Thursday morning bright and early.  As always Happy Stitching! XX











Monday, 15 January 2018

Frosty mornings & Stitching.




















“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

 J. R. R  Tolkien











Hoping that you all had a wonderful weekend and you are ready for your week ahead.  It is so very cold here and Jack Frost has left some beautiful patterns on the leaves of flowers and the tree bark in our garden.  I have braved it out there and got rid of the ice on the bird bath and put some more fresh but slightly warm water in there and the birds are enjoying their first warm drink of the day as well as me right now. 

They have their crushed nuts, pine kernels and mealy worms to munch on this morning and a treat of some blueberries as well to keep them going.  Miss Muddy Beak is today Miss Blue Juicy Beak and enjoying every morsel out there it seems....  Worms today are far from her mind.






I have my day planned out and it involves hand stitching by the fire and watching the flames make

patterns in the grate whilst I create, that is as far as I go this morning.  I think also there is going to be a little rain which only adds to the madness out there and makes the roads slippery so in I stay happily and am so grateful my commute to work is no more than walking down stairs today.

 The candles will be lit and its going to be a Hygee kind of a day. Plenty of cinnamon tea and I have some liquorice comforts that need eating up! they do honestly so there are some already in a little cup for me to have, they help me think of sweet things!

The hand dyed shaker threads had to come out early this morning as I was looking for a few threads that I needed and I have to admit to taking my time as I love going through them and looking at the hues of the hand dyed thread.  It has its own shading in it as the colour variation goes along the skein and it is stunning.  I was remembering our holiday in New Hampshire and going into Quilted Threads to see the lovely ladies that have become good friends over the last 10 years and picking up all my threads that I had pre ordered and a huge smile came across my face.  I could quiet easily pack within in hour and head off again, I love going to New England and there is talk of a revisit soon.   I really think I could live there ..... Although I would miss the vintage fairs too much .... but I could visit every year for a month and be more than happy.

I have my vintage quilt over me whilst typing this and of course my hot water bottle in my back which is making me very happy right now.  I am remembering to sip at my hot coffee and to look out of the window to see the antics of the chuckle brothers ( two one year old magpies) and they are fooling about in our elderflower tree right now and making me  laugh out loud! one is hanging upside down
squawking at the other it amuses me no end.  They are celebrating because I put out some bacon for them earlier and they enjoyed their breakfast as much as Miss Muddy!

Whilst I was rooting about this morning I found a little bag of fabric bits that I have drawn little hearts on and as yet not cut out for my jar of hearts so I have popped them in my work basket so that when the light really fades later and my stitching day is over, I can cut them out and pop them in the jar.

Do you remember this gorgeous length of grey lace trim with embroidery on it that I bought from Caroline Zoob about a year ago well I looked it out this morning as I think my design that I am working on could use some of this... I cut some of the plain part out for something else a while back and feel some of the scraps might do for something else I have in mind so that is now tucked into my ever growing 'things to do ' basket ...

My sewing room is taking shape with me sorting it out a bit and the space that I am in the middle of
creating is starting to look and feel good to me.  My sewing machine now lives down on the floor beside it so that it is easy just to lift it up to do any machine work that might be needed and I have a space then to either put my laptop ( which lives there as its used daily) or that gets put to one side and I have calligraphy and letter writing space or indeed the typewriter is brought across to use so as you see I am slowly getting my work desk in some sort of order.  I added a sticker that I bought in America to my wooded Windsor and Newton box (for inks) and it is a Harry Potter one that says ' I solemnly swear that I am up to no good' with little foot prints going along it .... it had to be done! with all the inks and quills it looks like it has always been there.

This is my first full week of work and blogs and its going to be a busy one.  I have made a list so that I clear my mind of ' I must not forget this or that' and its a case of just sticking to some sort of routine if possible and getting everything started and rolling.  My first thing of a morning is the warm drink and watch the birds whilst my laptop is firing up and doing its checks then of course its writing on here and taking photos daily.  Then after that there is everything else along with a good few hours slow stitching... the thing about working in your home is you can put a wash on or quickly clean the bath but you have to structure your day or you are all over the place and nothing actually get done.

My project baskets are starting to fill up a little and as I have been early morning rummaging around in my sewing room and seeing bits that would be great for some of my designs.  I have them in each particular basket and I can decide when I start to make, what is not used can easily go back but having it there to look at as I walk by them lined up makes my mind up somehow, almost like when you are painting a room and you do a few little samples on paper and stick them to the wall to keep looking at them in different times of the day when the light changes --- this is how I am with fabric, buttons and lace bits that I will or will not end up using.

Well for this Monday morning this is it for me and I am off to start my day.  I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings this morning and I will see you back here tomorrow.  Have a wonderful day and keep warm and cosy .... Happy Stitching! XX




























Friday, 12 January 2018

Vintage fabric creative day!















“Imagination is everything. It is the preview
 of life's coming attractions.” 
 
Albert Einstein 




Ah! vintage fabric and cloth that holds memories and their own stories within their weave,  I love to touch it and gaze upon it and imagine its past and its future that I can add to its story with tiny stitches and hopefully add to its beauty once more!

Going through the beautiful fabrics has been wonderful and very much missed I found out yesterday ( I had not realised how much) I did not go to my stitchery room over the holiday to do any work, however it is the best view in the house for the back garden so I did on a few early mornings take my drink and hot water bottle with me and stare out at nature whilst the house still slumbered contently...

On one of those days my little Grandson joined me with his cup of tea and snuggled on my lap and under the quilt and sharing the hot water bottle... He looked out with me quietly and and I told him the birds names and all the things I think about and imagine, he smiled at me and said Nonna you love doing this don't you, and I replied yes darling ... he said I can see it in your eyes! .. My gorgeous old soul is only eight but boy he has a key to my heart too ....

In addition I would like to draw your attention to the beautiful three spools of silk thread in the photo on the left above. They were bought in France by my lovely friend from Devon for part of my Birthday present.  He has family that live out there and he went for a visit and was lucky enough to come across a street Brocante and saw these and bought them for me.  He tells me I would have hyperventilated as there were hundreds of them .... I can just see me struggling back on the plane with a suitcase full and my clothes binned in France to accommodate them ....

They are a beautiful blend of rose colours and I am going to have to use some for embroidery of delicate little flowers on a up and coming design... I will not use it all though as I would like to keep some forever.

I am thinking a bit of a trip over to this Brocante for a few days to see what I can see.  They are not bargain prices I have been told but if you are buying to use and not to sell on then well a few more would be great, so many colours to choose from apparently .... if I had a tail now it would be wagging!



Today I have noticed little snowdrops just starting to peek out of the earth in our garden with their
tiny bobbing white flowers that bow like they are shy ... they are a favourite of mine this time of year and it says to me Spring is around the corner in a matter of weeks. Although with this bitter weather at the moment Summer is still holding its ground in a corner ( my rose bush).

I love to pick some of the snowdrops and pop them in my snowdrop jug (its a Susie Watson design) and I can enjoy looking at them in the house.  They sit on one of the fireplaces but when I light the fire they are moved for the evening so they do not over heat.

The diary of events has started to fill up I am pleased to say and dates are coming in thick and fast for the new season of vintage fairs.  I will of course be sharing them with you on here in the next few weeks as the first is in February, lovely and early and we do not have to wait so long this year.

I will do that one and the ones I know of for March which includes a Vintage Bazaar date so be on the watch out for that towards the end of this month. If any of you know of a vintage fair and know ALL the details then contact me and I will add them to the list  ... first one is for February and March.

This week has flown by and of course it has been a short week for me with only starting back on Tuesday but never the less the time has gone way to quickly, this has been my slow start week with not much needle work being done as I have been faffing around with my sewing room a little but I do
like to get my works space just so and then I am able to get my creative head on and work well.

It has been such a cold week and it is set to stay with frosty mornings next week to come as well.  I will be sat by the fireside with my stitching and my note book just on the off chance that an idea or thought pops into my head and I can then write it down so as not to forget the thread of it.

I am hoping for a very productive week of staying in apart from visiting my Mum and really getting some slow stitching and calligraphy done.  I am excited with my designs to see them come together this year --- I feel I have a design book over flowing with some lovely things to make and share so watch this space over the next few months.  I am also going to be selling a couple of fabric and mixed media inspiration packs as well in the Spring when I get to sorting them so again keep an eye out for the little sale that I will be holding.

I have some good lengths of paisley fabrics and I want to make some ribbon from some of it and pop it on old cloths pegs for use.  I have a list of things to be done and it is a case of working through it in the next few weeks but mostly I have a need to create and that is my focus.

Words and some calligraphy are about to be tried and tested as well and in the words of one of my favourites and whom, if I could, would love to have to a dinner party here but it is impossible as you will see .....

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy
 of being called an idea at all.” 

Oscar Wilde


This idea of mine has got to be put to the test and I have several ideas on how it may, if I am lucky, work! I come up with all sorts of ideas and some work and some do not but hey design and creativity is not for the faint hearted is it...
There is some wax involved as well from a great little gadget called a hot sealing wax gun and some rather fine wax seals ..... must be careful not to burn my finger tips other wise sewing might be an issue next week ... that is if a key component actually arrives through the post today other wise the 'lets see if this works and looks as good in my head' will have to wait until it does.  As yet I am unsure about the wax part but all else will be good if it can work.

All that is left for me to say today is I hope you have a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to, Keep very warm as it is bitter out there it seems to me.  Enjoy your weekend and as always Happy Stitching! XX