Man made splendour

We also visited Penrhyn Castle when we were in Wales which is a stunning mock castle built in the 1820s for the wealthy Pennant family who had made their fortune from slate.

Penrhyn Castle

It is even more impressive when you learn that it was only a holiday home, used for a couple of months a year.

My favourite areas were the great hall, built to look like a cathedral, the amazing staircase made of dark and light stone and the drawing room with its beautiful silk damask wallpaper.

Penrhyn Castle 3

Penrhyn Castle staircase

The Drawing Room at Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd showing the oak chairs and sofa designed by Thomas Hopper and the dazzling silk lampas (brocade) and curtains

As with all the Trust properties that we visit I love looking for the details of the construction, like this wonderful door and the brass grille in the great hall that was part of the heating system. Such gorgeous work.

Penrhyn Castle 2

Penrhyn Castle 4

On a less grand, but equally lovely scale, we visited Plas Newydd, built beside the Menai Strait for the first Marquis of Angelsey who was a hero of the battle of Waterloo, again it was firstly used as a holiday home but later the family lived there full-time.

Plas Newdd house

This beautiful bedroom belonged to one of the women who lived there in the 1930s and it is just the sort of place that I could see myself actually living in.

Plas Newdd interior 2

Plas Newdd interior 1

I love the delicate fabrics on the bed, the beautiful printed wallpaper and the muslin spot fabric for the curtains and dressing table, so romantic!

There was lots of beautiful work on display at Erddig as well, stunning mirrors and furniture and some beautiful silk stitchery.

Erdigg interior 3

Erdigg interior 7

One of the best parts of the house for me were the housekeeper’s sitting room and the servants’ attic rooms, full of evidence of the sorts of stitching that the household staff would have been doing.

I love the way that these rooms look, a little shabby but so real, so unlike the grandeur of Penrhyn but just as interesting.

I have just had my birthday and my lovely children bought me lots of presents including a very nice quilting book so I will share that with you in my next post.

I am spending the weekend hand-stitching and watching TV, finishing off applying lace to lots of things for my steampunk outfit for next weekend and and working on some more embroidery for bags for Yarndale.

Hope that you all have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Family Heirlooms

During our recent craft evening at Rosemari’s house I was able to take some pictures of the things that she has been working on and with. She has inherited her grandmother’s sewing box containing a lot of unfinished items so for the last year has been working on this hexagon quilt which is now completed.

Rosemari's quilt

This is a Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern with smaller flowers in between the flowers, a very apt pattern for an inherited quilt! This Pinterest page has lots more pictures of this type of pattern, they are so pretty and were really popular as a quilt pattern. There is some more information on the pattern and links to instructions here at Patterns from History.

The quilt is a fascinating mixture of fabrics and many of them had the backing cards still in them, I love vintage things like these, not just for the item but for the social history aspect of them as well. It has been really lovely to see the progress on this quilt.

Rosemari has now decided to make a patchwork back to the quilt in the colours that will suit her bedroom decor so that it can be used which means she will have a great combination of her work and her grandmother’s.

The other thing she has are some embroidery cases containing stitching thread. The threads are not vintage but the cases are. This one is made of linen with beautiful embroidered flowers that are very similar in design to some of the ones I have on tablecloths and other vintage stash.

Rosemari's stitching roll 2

These embroideries were probably sold as transfers or given away free in magazines which explains why there are so many similar ones. With some of the ones that I have just been using for my log cabin blocks you can still see the blue outline of the transfer.

If you want to have a look at some more vintage motifs there are lots of sites that offer them for free, this one French Knots   has over 300 motifs to print off. The brilliant NeedlenThread site also has a vintage embroidery page with links. This site also has lots of other beautiful free embroidery patterns to print off.

Rosemari's stitching roll 3

Rosemari's stitching roll 4

Rosemari is now working on one of the embroideries that were left as well, it is about half completed and as you can see she has all the threads she needs for that and any more she wants to do.

Rosemari's stitching roll 1

It is lovely that she is able to carry on, not only the tradition of stitching but also her grandmother’s actual work. It makes them very special pieces.

I have been doing lots of embroidery myself over the weekend and have been having a lovely relaxing time, hope that you have had a nice weekend as well and thanks for visiting.

Little Pretties

I am very much looking forward to the weekend ahead, I have some time off in lieu of all the marking that I have been doing the last few weeks so have a four day weekend to look forward to 🙂

There will of course be much crafting and hopefully a couple of walks with Jake and Ted the dog. Hoping for some blue skies as we have had a dreadful week here, gales and cold wet weather, not at all summery.

However there has been distraction in the form of very pretty fabric being delivered. I was in need of more Liberty to widen my choice of patterns for the vintage log cabins so was very pleased to find some new suppliers of Liberty who offered different selections.

Liberty squares 1

This first set came from Zuzucrafts on Ebay who have lots of choice of colourways in their packs, this is a 5″ by 5″ scrap pack. Lots of gorgeous little prints!

Liberty squares 2

Then I found a mini charm pack of Liberty from Vickbmouth at Ebay. There are 50 squares in this pack and they are perfect for making the sorts of needle books and pincushions that I have done for Sarah for Yarndale.

Liberty charm pack 1

Liberty charm pack 2

Liberty charm pack 3

My final purchase for this week, though I really must stop buying fabric now 😉 ,was a scrap pack of Lecien fabrics, which I have taken a selection from for the picture below.

Lecien fabrics 1

I have wanted some of these ever since seeing them on Jenny of Elefantz’s blog. I am also planning to use these with some of the vintage embroidery for log cabins and they came from Pretty Fabrics and Trims.

They sent me a lovely personalised e-mail to confirm my order and then this little tag on the order, what great customer service. They asked me to share what I make with the scraps which I will do.

Lecien fabrics 3

I really love all of the small flower prints and may turn some of these into little house pincushions like the one in the first photo again as I gave away all the last ones to the girls at our recent craft evening.

Lecien fabrics 2

I have finished the Splendid Sampler block which I was embroidering, this was on my to do list for this year and I love the way that it has turned out.Excuse the photo quality, no light here this morning!

Elefantz Splendid Sampler completed 1

I altered the design slightly from the original which I posted about earlier and used variegated Cottage Garden hand dyed thread that I got from Quilted Hearts. This is being made into a hanging for my craft room.

I am currently stitching another one of Jenny’s designs in variegated thread as well, a gorgeous bird design which is one of her free designs from here. I will probably finish that over the weekend as her designs are so quick to do and so beautiful.I am hooked on Orange is the New Black on Netflix again, am half way through Season 4 in preparation for the new season which is released today.

So I do hope you all have plans for a lovely weekend as well, I am feeling very happy and relaxed at the moment, it has been a great year in my new role and I am looking forward to a summer full of fun stuff and lots of opportunity to use my new fabric!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

Vintage and useful

One of the reasons that I collect vintage embroidery is that I can’t bear the thought of someone’s work not being appreciated. All those women who have sat over the centuries doing their, ‘work’, for it to languish unloved in the corner of a charity shop is so sad.So I have to rescue them.

Some of the things I have rescued have been turned into little ornaments and pincushions but this is the first time that I have made something large and very useful with them.

So here is the lovely vintage log cabin bag!

Vintage log cabin bag 1

As modelled by my lovely son Jake, four of the blocks were stitched together for the front. I decided against sashing, partly as I was short of fabric, the denim is from one of his old shirts so the bag is 50% recycled.

The bottom of the bag is boxed out using two inch cut outs, using the same technique that I have been using for the pouches. There are also long handles sewn to the top edge before the lining was stitched over them and a small closing flap with a magnetic clasp.

Vintage log cabin bag 5

I did but new fabric for the lining from Simply Solids as I needed half a metre and did not have that much in my stash, this is Dashwood fabric but am not sure of the name of it.

Vintage log cabin bag 3

I put in two pockets and even managed to work out how to trim them with some more of that lovely Liberty print that is in all of the blocks.There is a patch pocket at the back as well.

All my own design cobbled together from various bag ideas and some of the tote bags I already have in my craftroom. I love it and will be using it lots this summer 🙂

Vintage log cabin bag 2

I have just got some more Liberty from Alice Caroline as have decided to make more of these blocks, they are very soothing to do and so quick to put together that I shall do these when I have a spare half an hour here and there.

This is my favourite Liberty supplier, I love her website, look at that banner! I would love someone to buy me all these prints, what a rainbow of loveliness.

Alice Caroline Banner

I have got lots of other ideas for using my vintage stash on Pinterest, here are some of my favourites.

Vintage Crinoline Lady cushion

This lovely cushion features the crinoline lady, I have a few of those in my stash and is from Nostalgia at the Stone House blog. Nikki the owner of the blog makes beautiful dolls as well out of vintage fabrics and lace.

Vintage hexagons

And look at these gorgeous hexagons from Brodibidouillages  , I did make some like these a while ago as shown  below but had trouble with the edging so must dig them out and try again.

bee quilt progress

There are some beautiful things on this blog Isa Creative Musings as well, so much inspiration!

We are off to Ashby de la Zouche castle this weekend again for our annual show there, praying for fine weather. It has been so hot for the last two days here while I have been inside marking but the forecast is for rain Sunday and Monday. Typical Bank Holiday weather!

Hope you have a nice weekend planned whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

A bunch of flowers

I have had a very lovely weekend, full of crafting and good company so I am feeling very happy. You would have been able to see some photos of all the beautiful flowers in bloom here at the moment, the rhododendrons and clematis are all out and I was planning to take some photos on the way to my Simply Solids workshop yesterday for you but it started raining heavily so I just ran for the bus instead. Never mind I do have some floral treats for you in a bit.

First the workshop and the new shop. It opened in September but due to working lots of weekends this was my first visit. It is huge compared to the old one with a separate workshop area and so much fabric, and zips and lovely, lovely things.

Simply Solids new shop 2

Also my lovely friend Helen has started working there part-time so I was able to have a catch up with her as well. Here she on the left is with Lisa, one of the shop’s owners.

Simply Solids new shop 1

Do go and visit if you are in the area, it is is Slaithwaite, another pretty little village about 4 miles from Huddersfield. They also have online shopping.

The workshop was great, I made a block in rainbow fabric, the block was a lot simpler than I thought it would be, using the sewing strips together into a tube then cutting strips apart technique, so would definitely make this one again.

Scrappy Trip Along block 1

I will use this block for a kid’s bag, at least they won’t notice the less than perfect matching of the squares 😉  solids are so unforgiving but I love the colours.

Scrappy Trip Along block 2

I have been working on the lovely vintage embroidery log cabin blocks that I showed you last time,I ended up making five and am turning them into a bag for me.

Vintage log cabin block 11

This is the completed quilt that Hen House made from hers and I think more of these would make a very lovely quilt indeed. Not sure I have enough Liberty to do that as only have scraps so that may have to wait.

Hen House vintage embroidey quilt

Here are the blocks in detail, I have tried to use Liberty that co-ordinates with the central embroidery and love the scrappy nature of these. Not my usual style of have everything matching but I love them. These four will go to make the front of the bag with some denim from a recycled shirt.

This one was a bit bigger than the others so is going to be a pocket on the back for things like sunglasses as this bag is coming to Spain with me in August.

Vintage log cabin block 1

Vintage log cabin block 2

I am working at home a lot this week marking so am hoping for a little late afternoon crafting each day if all goes well. Hope that you have a nice week ahead. Thanks for visiting.

More inspiration!

It is another wet and grey weekend here, I am secretly quite pleased as I had planned a sewing weekend so feel no guilt at not venturing out 🙂

Now that I have given Mum her birthday and Mother’s Day presents I can show you some of the latest lovely things I have been looking at. I am being very good and am finishing off things rather than starting new projects, apart from some hand stitching for evenings, but I have some new things on my wish list.

The first present was a new book, Quilt Petite, I think I found this as a recommendation on Amazon and then I went and looked at the blog of the author, her name is Sedef and the blog is called Down Grapevine Lane. She lives in Australia with two very cute kids and produces the most gorgeous things and is generous enough to have lots of tutorials on her site.

Quilt Petite Book 1

The book is just the sort that Mum loves, she does not read blogs and likes doing small projects so this is perfect for her. There are so many cute things like this Dresden pillow and hexagon doll quilt and the cutest thing of all is that pillow with the little girl’s feet and the rabbit!

She had a sew along for the book so you can see all of the lovely things that people made here. I am planning to make a Teddy Taggie Blanket for Ava from her tutorial, they look like really lovely quick makes.

The second book that I bought for Mum was All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. She loves English Paper Piecing and this is a great book for extending skills.

All Points Patchwork Book 1

I love these pentagon flowers and the other ideas for combining shapes.

All Points Patchwork Book 2

All Points Patchwork Book 3

I am using the blog post that I wrote in Jan to remind me of all the things that I want to do and have just started another of The Splendid Sampler squares, this is the one by lovely Jenny of Elefantz and I am making it for my craft room.

31-splendid-sampler-jenny-reynolds-block-collagev2

She has just posted a gorgeous tutorial for using a vintage doily to make a needlebook, it is so lovely, you can find it here. Picture from Jenny’s web site.

ELEFANTZ doily needlebook main pic

So I hope you have all got a lovely weekend planned. Enjoy yourselves, whatever the weather and thanks for visiting.

 

Fabric Serendipity

You know when you have some fabric that has been in your stash for ages, maybe 7 years say, and it is really beautiful and every so often you take it out, look at it in its perfect stack and then put it away as it is not quite right for the project you have in mind and you don’t want to waste it?

Tea cup theme fabric 7

And maybe it is just the wrong colour, or the print is too large or too small or the theme is just all wrong. But one day when you are looking for something completely different for a project and you come across this fabric and something just says to you, ‘I now know what to make with this beautiful stuff!’

Well that my friends is fabric serendipity, one of my favourite words which means happy accident, and it happened to me at the weekend. I was actually looking for some lining fabric for the spool design pouch at the end of this post that I had finished stitching when I came across this gorgeous tea themed motifs and tea cup fabric.

I remember ordering it from Simply Solids when they first set up as I loved it and bought both the graphics print in several colourways and the very lovely tea cup print on both blue and cream backgrounds.

It nearly got used last year when Ellie was considering a tea theme for her Steampunk outfit so I gave it to her, and she gave it back a few weeks later.

I have just completed a mug rug for my Mum which is below, inspired by the Sew Illustrated book again and have used their motif but added a fabric band in Flurry from my scrap stash and buttons. I was very pleased with this and as I was searching through the stash for a blue lining for the spool pouch suddenly thought, ‘tea themed mug rugs…….. what a good idea!’

So here it is, I am using the individual tea cup motifs appliqued on with zig zag machine stitch, they are also stuck on with Steam – a – Seam fusible double sided web for extra staying power.

Tea mug rug 1

The linen is some I have just ordered from this Ebay supplier Ainsbury  , it is a beautiful quality and excellent value at £7.99 a metre. It  was a bit too beige for the Dresdens I have made but knew it would come in handy!

Very happy, loving the co-ordination and the crochet lace and the little vintage buttons! Now got to get back to what I was doing and finish the other pouches that I have embroidered. Is it any wonder that I have so many WIPs?

I did finish the spool pouch though and this one is mine all mine, love it and am taking it to knitting group tonight to show off!

Sew Ilustrated spool pouch 5

How very apt is that stitchery! At least this week I have had lots of crafting time as I have been getting up very early to do my marking so I can finish early and have a couple of hours each afternoon in my lovely sunny craft room 🙂

I am leaving for Spain on Saturday for two whole weeks with my lovely Mum and aunt and will have lots of time for reading and crafting and just general relaxing. Even though I holiday a lot I still get very excited at the thought of being away so shall be , as we say in the UK,  a giddy kipper for the rest of the week!

Take care, see you when I get back and thanks for visiting.