Thursday, 24 December 2009


Have a wonderful time and see you in the New Year!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Day Out in Devon

Today Linda and I drove down to Devon to Tavistock. Neither of us had ever been there before and we were interested to go to see the layout of the Pannier Market. The journey took us about 2 hours and was well worth the time spent as when we arrived in the Town Centre we were both entranced. What a beautiful place it is. Very ancient and with gorgeous architecture all around and the wonderful ruins of the Abbey. The Market is very impressive as well. We were going to see if it would be possible to have a pitch there with our French Textiles. We were delighted to see several fellow dealers that we have known for a long time working there. They thought we were a long way from home but not so. We are so used to getting in our cars and driving for miles to go to work that it is no hardship at all - especially when we are going West. Unfortunately the Market is full at the moment but we have put ourselves on the waiting list. It may seem a long way to go from where we are in Dorset but since we have been going to Cowslip Workshops at Launceston, Cornwall, we have made many contacts in Cornwall who are always asking us when we will be going there again so it seemed the right thing to do. We will be keeping our fingers crossed very firmly.
We are due to go to Cowslip Workshops again in May 2010. This seems such a long time away but once Christmas is over the months will fly by especially when we start going to France again shopping!!

Bridport Christmas Craft Market

We had a lovely day at Bridport Christmas Craft Market on Saturday and in spite of the foul weather we had plenty of enthusiastic customers. The Hall looked lovely with plenty of festive goods on sale.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Time Wasters

I am always bemoaning the fact that I seem to run out of time. The jobs stack up, the dealines get closer and closer and I seem to run around in ever increasing circles. I have a load of sewing to do before Linda and I take off for Cowslip Workshops next week-end. It is the annual Christmas Craft Fair and I like to take some things that I have made using vintage textiles as well as bits and pieces of the raw materials. Every time I think 'Oh I need to get in that cupboard' or 'I will use the embellisher to do that job' I am cut short in my tracks as I can't bear to disturb my sleeping felines. They always manage to perch themselves just where I want to be. Sometimes I do have to be a bit hard hearted but most times things are put off for another time, but with three of them around the house it gets hard to find somewhere to work. Never mind I wouldn't be without them. Oops I have to go I am being prodded in the back by Archie who wants to get on my lap!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Ilminster Textile Fair

Today I was at Ilminster for the Talent for Textiles Fair. As usual it was a lovely day with visits from many familiar faces. Ilminister is always a very social occasion where we mix business with pleasure.
We will be returning to Ilminster on March 24th 2010 meanwhile in the not too distant future, Friday in fact, Linda and I travel to Bisley, nr. Stroud for the Rag Market which is run to raise funds for the Stroudwater Textile Trust This is another interesting quality Rag Market and this time we will be joined by John Gillow, of 'World Textiles' fame.

Favourite Things

These are my favourite things at the moment. Most of the garden has been decimated by the latest rain and wind but these miniature cyclamen soldier bravely on in their Turquoise pot on the pond wall. I see them every time I stand at my sink and they make my day!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Hardy Quilters

The Hardy Quilters is my local Patchwork and Quilting Group. We meet on the third Monday of each month, except summer holidays. We are anxious to recruit new members as we are a comparatively small group. We meet at Osmington Village Hall which is a lovely large, light room, with all essential facilities i.e. toilets and kitchen for making a cup of tea!! We hold various workshops throughout the year and have visiting Speakers. Some of these Speakers are nationally known and travel quite a distance to talk to us. With spiralling costs it is essential that we recruit more members to enable the Group to keep going and still enjoy the benefit of visiting Teachers and Speakers. Anyone wishing to join the Group will be welcomed with open arms regardless of skill. There is great opportunity for Beginners to learn the Basics and then go on to form their own style of working. Many members have been with the Group since its birth and are traditional patchwork and quilters but there are also members who approach things in a different way and use innovative techniques.

If you would like to join our Group please contact me. Have a look at the Blog I have just created - or our email address is There is a link in the sidebar to the Hardy Quilters Blog.

The photograph shows the Group quilt made for the Quilters Guild Challenge - Button Up Quilt - in 2008. This one together will all the other submissions were buttoned up and displayed all around the walls of an area at the Festival of Quilts.

Friday, 23 October 2009


I have added a link to this fabulous charity website. You will need to scroll down to the links section. Please, please have a look at it. They are doing such wonderful work for our troops. We are busy getting a parcel ready to send out to Will. His wish list is very basic - digital clock, boiled sweets, thick socks (they are only issued with 4 pairs!!) camping pillow. He is fine, although not enjoying working nights!!! It is amazing how matter of fact he is about it all. I suppose they just concentrate on every day matters and don't explore the wider picture too much. He is into his second week now -only seven more to go!!

Monday, 12 October 2009

First Tour

This is my eldest Grandson with his Grandad all ready to go back to Base and make ready for Afghanistan. Everyone put on a brave face for him except myself. I wasn't there as I was working and that was a blessing in disguise. If I had been there I would probably have started his mother off as well!! She did very well to keep control of her emotions and not blub all over him. He hates it!!!! We are now all counting the days until he is home again. Hopefully in time for his Christmas dinner! His is only a short trip this time but he will be there again next year. He is an adventurer and we as a family have to get used to the fact that he will always put himself up for front line. It is what he has been trained for and what he wants to do - it is hard for those who love him to see him off. I passed them on the road on my way back from Shepton Mallet which is an other story.

The day started early and was dry. Weather forecast was promising. Linda and I had an outside stand so took the Gazebo and tarpaulin. We set up in the dry, feeling pleased with ourselves that we had gone prepared. We had breakfast, did some business and then it started. A fine misty drizzle that gets everywhere. Then the wind got up and that did it. The Gazebo took off but was saved by being tied down to Frieda the Volvo. It was resting upside down on the roof of the car!!!!! We managed to get it down to ground level again for a little while but it went again and this time was done for. We decided to pack up and go home. First we had to collapse the Gazebo which was not easy as it had become twisted so we had to enlist the help of the Security staff at the site!! All the time this was going on everything was uncovered and was getting wet. All our lovely textiles, vintage clothes, lace, buttons, haberdashery got soaked. The men took away the remains of the Gazebo to the dump and then to add insult to injury the wind took the clothes rail and everything went down in to what was by now mud!!!!!!!!! All the beautiful laundered white baby gowns and victorian underwear all wet and muddy as well as a gorgeous 1960's designer suit and 1920's black velvet jackets. Oh my word, what a test for the sense of humour!! Now the work starts; it is three weeks until our next Fair and everything must be ready to go out again. My worst job will be to salvage all my beautiful buttons and resew them on to new cards. Not what I had anticipated having to do at all as I still have curtains to make for the living room, and some new stock items for the Christmas Fairs. Oh well, no peace for the wicked - I don't think I shall ever attone for my sins, or is it all the mirrors I have broken????????????????

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Napoleonics at Kingston Maurward.

There are times when getting up at 5 a.m. to get in the car and drive for miles to work is a chore but not today. I was up at 5 a.m. but only had to drive 8 miles to Dorchester and today was one of the days I loved my job as I was heading to the Internation Napoleonic Living History Fair at Kingston Maurward House in Dorchester. When I arrived the camps were still sleeping in readiness for a busy day of drills and battles or from over-indulgence in the Beer Tent the previous evening!!
I was the first Trader to arrive in my Hall and I quietly and leisurely set up my stall as I had three and a half hours to do so. I was more or less finished by 8.30 a.m. so made my way to the Restaurant and had a full English breakfast!!! Well it was going to be a long day and as I was on my own I was not sure I would be able to get away from my stall for Lunch.!!
I was pleased with the way it looked and was looking forward to an interesting day. I wasn't to be disappointed.
Soon people from differentt walks of life began drifting in to have a look around before the activities started. A few of my readers may know that I am a sucker for a uniform and there were plenty of those about today. No Sean Bean but you can't have everything.!!
The photograph above shows my favourites of the day. The lady was my first customer and was lovely and I admired her Revolution type costume (it must be the stripes). Then her husband arrived before I knew he was her husband, if you know what I mean! It was the blue ticking patches on his knees that made me think they were a couple. The other gentleman was a friend of theirs . Last but not least the photograph below shows my lovely little friend Natalie.
I have known Natalie since she had just left School. She came to work in my shop and got hooked on Antique Textiles and Costume and went on to take a Degree in Costume for the Stage and Screen at Bournemouth Arts Institute. After she graduated she went to London to work at the Rose Bruford College of Performing Arts and was there for quite a few years. She is a member of the Napoleonic Association and now is in business for herself making historical uniform and costume for Re-enactors, the National Trust and private individuals. She makes the most exquisite things for herself and others and works very hard. I am very fond of her. Take a look at her Blog

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Blogger's Block

It has been a while since I added a new Blog. I have been very busy doing one thing and another, mostly working, and I just haven't had the time or inclination. Its been hard enough trying to remember where I am supposed to be going next so writing anything amusing or interesting has been well down on the list. After the Textile Fair at the American Museum I was at Shepton Mallett 3 day Fair, which turned out to be very successful in spite of my misgivings. I think the weather helped a lot, it was a wonderful sunny week-end and as we were outside I think that was more than fortunate.

This last week-end I was in France on our annual pilgirmage to La Foire de St. Michel at Brest. The weather was gorgeous again which always makes life easier as we walk miles during the day up and down the hilly streets of Brest looking for goodies to bring home. This year we didn't find as much as we have done in the past but we were pleased with what we did find. The washing machine has been working overtime today getting things ready for this week-end. I am at the International Napoleonic Fair at Kingston Maurward House, Dorchester on Saturday and Sunday. I am really looking forward to it as I love Living History Ren-enactment. I shall be taking lots of gorgeous French linen/hemp shifts and sheets as well as a selection of gorgeous 19th century buttons, lace and clothing. I have been ironing gauzy white muslin skirts and blouses as well as frothy white petticoats. I love to see all these lovely white things hanging around together.

Unfortunately my digital camera has died and so has the spare one. I was unable to take any photographs and am quite bereft. I hadn't budgetted for a new camera this month but will have to get one from somewhere. Mine gave up the ghost at Shepton Mallet which was a pity as I had a lovely shot of Linda stood on top of her car removing tarpaulins from the top of the Gazebo!!!!!!!!! Oh well, perhaps the Council Tax can wait for a couple of days!!!!!! I can't go to Kingston Maurward without one. As well as spending the day washing I have been slaving over a hot sewing maching making myself something to wear. Empire line is not my preferred choice of waistline as I am a bit too voluptuous up top but at least it will hide my expanding waistline. I really must go on some sort of diet!! As soon as I haved acquired a new camera I will post some photos!!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

American Museum at Bath

The recent Talent for Textiles Fair at the American Museum near Bath was a great success. We all had a very busy day and Linda and I were especially pleased to have lots of customers for our fabulous French linens and goodies. So thank you to all of you who came to make the day such a success.
These lovely Bears were brought all the way from France and are entirely made by hand with vintage french fabrics. Nathalie their maker takes the greatest care with them and makes their clothes as well from vintage fabrics and lace that she hand dyes herself to make them truly unique.
I am sure you will agree that they make a lovely display. I wonder what they made of their first visit to England!!

Monday, 31 August 2009

FOQ Purchases

These are some of my purchases at the Festival of Quilts. Plenty of messy stuff for me to play with. I am really anxious to get on with some rust dyeing - now I have no excuse. Stitching patterns for shibori and some strong thread. I need this for my impending dyeing day with the Spinners, Weavers and Dyers dyeing day.
I was delighted to find the 'Roses from the Heart' stand and came home with three kits for the bonnets I have signed up to make. On the list of convicts I managed to find three with the same names as friends. More about this project in an other blog.
And this is the fabric that I wasn't going to buy!! Lovely Japanese fabric fat quarters from 'Seven Islands' who come from Los Angeles every year with the most irresistable fabrics.
Last but not least the reproduction mid 19th century prints for the two quilts I am contemplating. Doesn't seem a lot but it made a serious dent in my wallet!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Adventures in Cornwall

Linda and I have just returned from 3 days in Cornwall. We have been at Cowslip Workshops again with our vintage French textiles. We had decided that we would leave earlier than usual and give ourselves some extra time to have a look around instead of going straight to Launceston. We set off about 10 a.m. Thursday morning in beautiful sunny weather and decided to go to Port Isaac as neither of us had been there before. We arrived there about 1 p.m. and were looking forward to a good lunch. We drove into Port Isaac and saw lots of people on foot ascending and decending steep hills but thought nothing of it. I saw a sign that said 'Beach Car Park' so said we might as well go and park there!!! Alarm bells started ringing as we slowly inched our way down the steep narrow road swarming with visitors. At the bottom there wasn't room to swing a cat and the car park was the beach and it looked as if the tide was coming in!!!!!!!! My poor car was groaning with the weight of its load of textiles and would definately have sunk into the sand if there had been room!!! Oh dear, what to do now?? No room to turn around so the only way out was up the virtually perpendicular road on the other side of the port!!! The sign said 6' wide. I had no idea how wide my car was but the chap in the car behind said we could get up there, so up we went - in 1st gear!!!!!!!!!!! Poor old Renee - the old girl did good and made it.
We decided to follow the coast and went on to the next village, Gaverne, I think it was. We hung around waiting for someone to move off so we could park and watched a Boat being towed into shore by a Tractor. After parking we went to the Pub only to be told we were 10 minutes too late to order any food. The joys of England!!!!!!!!! So that was it - feeling absolutely starving we decided to high-tail it back to Launceston where we knew we could get something to eat if we got there before 4.30 p.m. We were not disappointed, we tucked in to the most delicious quiche and salad, all made with their own produce grown in their organic garden. Then it was time to get to work and unload everything and set up for the morning customers.
We had a busy couple of days and it was lovely to be in such peaceful surroundings. The nights are so still and quiet. Jo gave us a lovely home cooked meal Thursday evening and Friday evening we ate in the Restaurant. It is always a treat to be at Cowslip where we can truly mix business with pleasure.
This is Jo our lovely hostess with her two boys! 'Winston' the Golden Retriever and 'Mr. T' the Flat coat Retriever. They absolutely adore her and she them. Mr. T takes 'Ducky' everywhere with him and when they went on holiday to Exmoor recently Ducky went too.

Festival of Quilts and More

Well I am back from Birmingham and four exhausting days enjoying myself!! I had a foul cough and sore throat for most of the time but still managed to enjoy myself. Some of the quilts were more than amazing and the individual exhibitions were just fantastic. I spent quite a time at my favourite place 'The Virtual Studio' watching Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn produce amazing surface design fabric. The fabrics produced in their workshops are an art form and just need to be hung. Cutting it up doesn't come into the equation.

Chunghi Lee, the Korean Artist had a wonderful exhibition of Pojagi and her fabric installations screen printed with 'the ordinary worman' were amazing. I went to her lecture Friday afternoon but the dreaded cough meant I missed some of it. Needless to say I made quite a few purchases but didn't get the books I wanted as they had sold out on the first morning before we arrived!! I must confess that I did buy some fabric - more American Civil War reproductions - I have a couple of quilts in mind to make and need a big stash of these.

I helped on the Little Gems Tombola stand, this was very busy every day and a huge sum of £9,700 was raised for the Guild Museum at York. A very satisfying reward for everyone's hard work.

Saturday evening we went to the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Cabaret evening. This was great fun and after our meal we all had a chance to test our dancing skills!!!!!!!!!

We drove home on Sunday morning without any hold-ups feeling tired and exhilarated with everything we had seen.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Sheds and Stuff

Linda has been talking about sheds on her Blog recently and asking for photographs of others sheds. Well here is the inside of mine, nothing fancy, frilly, or girly twirly in here (lady in the corset excepted!). This is where I go to work and to escape the infernal television.
As usual I have too much stuff. Everything but the kitchen sink is in here. Not a lot of working space but on sunny days like today I work outside. I have been working in my shed all day today on my Journal Quilts. Trying to catch up before the end of the month.
This is what has taken me most of the day! I cut strips from some of my hand printed papers and fabrics and wove them together. The Air was fairly Blue during this process! Then I printed over the whole thing with Indian printing blocks in acrylic paint and gold paint. It is another of my 'Earth from the Air ' series and the original photograph is of Indian hand dyed cloths laid out on the ground to dry. I have the stitching to do yet but I think it will be OK.
Of course once I had got out the paints and printing blocks I had to go on. This is a gold acrylic paint print on some fabric I put in my Indigo vat a little while ago. Now - what to do with it???
This smaller piece I could use as a Journal Quilt. The printing block is the same one as I had used to make a paper cast which I used in a previous Journal. I need to be speedy as the end of August will soon be here and that is the deadline for this phase.

I am off to the Festival of Quilts next Thursday - whoopeee!!!!!!!! I can't wait. Three days staying at the Hilton, swimming in their lovely pool. Not to mention the Quilt Show. Note to myself - DO NOT BUY ANYMORE FABRIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

In the Wars

This is my Ginger Tom 'Gerry' asleep on a half made corset! recovering from a battering this morning. He had to be rescued by my husband!!!!!!!! Locked in mortal combat the two cats had rolled over and over down next door's garden steps. Now Gerry has a poorly leg (not too bad I hope, can't afford a Vet bill at the moment) and a cauliflower ear.

Journal Quilts for Festival

These are the four 2008 Journal Quilts that I have chosen to be exhibited at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham as part of the display of 2008 Journal Quilts on the Contemporary Quilt Group Stand. I stuck to a theme last year which was the Jurassic Coast. As I live and breathe it every day it was very much a personal experience. I already had a huge sketchbook on the subject made for the Creative Sketchbooks City and Guilds course that I did a couple of years ago and I was able to draw a lot on that. It was a very enjoyable experience and now I have twelve little quilts which illustrate the wonderful coastline and all my favourite places.

This year it is a different format which is also great but I am having to be strict with myself to stick to my subject. Hopefully some of these will go on display at Exeter Stitchcraft Show in September.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Supremes at Bath Fashion Museum

I had a wonderful day today at Bath with Linda. We travelled up to Bath where we met Yvonne at the Assembly Rooms for the opening day of the Exhibition that she has been organising - 'The Story of THE SUPREMES from the Mary Wilson collection'. It was fantastic - very cleverly arranged so that on entrance the whole of the exhibition is not in view and to see everything you must follow the layout of tall false walls which are covered with images and information about the Supremes from their foundation in 1959. Running alongside the glamour of show business are displays of black and white photographs and written information about what it was like to be a black person in the USA in the 1960's dominated by images of Dr. Martin Luther King. There are also plasma screens showing video footage of the Supremes in Concert and Martin Luther King speaking at various rallyes. The sound from both these things is running at the same time so that you can hear Supremes hit songs and Martin Luther Kings voice delivering some of his famous and unforgettable addresses. This is not intrusive, the volume is set at just the right level, so that you are aware of it and one does not overpower the other. I think it is a triumph. It creates a powerful and dramatic atmosphere. I have to confess it moved me to tears. What is it about Martin Luther King that is still so strong and potent after all these years?? His voice never fails to affect me.

The dresses are glorious in all their sixties and seventies splendour. Lots of glam and glitz. It is a beautifully put together Exhibition and I think Yvonne should feel very proud of herself for masterminding the design. There is much more to it than a room full of 'old frocks'. That's blasphemy from a Vintage Fashion Dealer!!!!!!!!

Mary Wilson was there too this morning. So beautiful in the 'flesh'. More beautiful than the photographs and a very gracious and charming lady. She signed our books and posters for us. For me it was an unforgettable experience. The exhibition runs until the 31st August. It is well worth the trip.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs - this was understandable as most of the dresses are featured in a V&A book 'The Story of the Supremes' which is all photographs with a Foreward written by Mary Wilson. This is the book that I bought and Mary signed for me. I apologise for the quality of the photograph at the top of this post but I forgot to turn off the flash!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Last but definitely not least.

We stopped and had a long chat to the Dyer. One hundred per cent natural dyes. The dyes used to produce some of the lovely colours in her basket were - walnut, weld, woad, madder and cochineal.
Some of the paler reds and pinks were obtained by using exhausted dye baths. Clever stuff and something I intend to have a go at soon. I have been collecting onion skins for ages and have a good stash now. So watch this space for Natural Dyed Fabrics.

Field Kitchen Fare.

Hand milling stones for oats and wheat.

Doesn't it all look delicious. REAL food. The smells coming from the food cooking was making us feel hungry, but alas we couldn't buy any of these tempting things. Thanks to Health and Safety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they weren't allowed to sell it. I particularly fancied some of the Brie Tart but had to make do with a Hog Roast and a cup of tea. It was quite delicious but ordinary compared to the rest of the things we saw. We did however manage to find an authentic trader with a licence to sell food and tried some of his apple cakes!!!!!!!! What can I say? Basically a sweet scone mix with cinnamon and apple in the middle and cooked on an open fire griddle. Those were the days!!!!!!!!!!!