Thursday 26 May 2022

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


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

Johannes Brahms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

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

Wednesday 11 May 2022

The gentle art ... of little tiny stitches.

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

Thoreau 1817 - 1862

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

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

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

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

The little wall hanging that says Thimble Cottage that my beautiful

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benjamin Franklin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah XX