Friday 29 April 2022

Adding to a story stitch by stitch.


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

Pat Bravo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah XX

Friday 8 April 2022

Threads of life...


A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread.

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

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

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

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


1 1\4 Cups (250g) sugar

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

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

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

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1\2 teaspoon of baking powder

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make a warm drink and enjoy!!

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

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

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

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

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time, stay safe and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX