Little Christmas markets

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some of today's purchases

some of today’s purchases…

[Edit: this is a post from last week that was held in my drafts for want of pictures]

With Christmas almost around the corner, there have been a few local markets taking place. Originally we only knew of one of them, but walking up to the venue, we discovered another one on the way – so we had to check it as well 🙂

The “mystery” market was inside St. Stephen’s Church, Rosslyn Hill, a beautiful 19th century old parish church located not far away from Hampstead, London. As I was in a hurry to check out the stalls, I forgot to take any pictures… doh! Anyway, you can see some lovely & happy shots showing this beautiful church in this photojournalist article on a Scottish wedding in London (I think the photographer made a great job! do have a look at the link).

St Stephen's Church, source: St Stephen's Trust

St Stephen’s Church, source: St Stephen’s Trust

This unplanned visit turned out to be the deal of the day: the Christmas Fair hosted yummy food stalls of many types, many crafts (including knitted items), some assorted and vintage products, and even had a stall dedicated to pensioners (they could get a product pack at a very advantaged price), which was fairly crowded. The fair was lively and well attended, well worth the visit!

They had many nice things on sale, so there was constant temptation… In the end I purchased quite a few items, mostly those that had a practical use. To make up for the lack of pictures from the fair, I will show the purchases I made 🙂

♥ baby bed set

♥ baby bed set

This is a baby bed set, probably home made (it had no labels) and unused (mint condition): there is a duvet cover, a sheet and two mini pillow cases. For £6 it was an absolute deal. I’m planning to reuse the fabric, as I have no kids. Look at the stunning fabric pattern…. ♥

cute motifs

...more details...

…more details…

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

Short after, I spotted a table with really nice home products… I took an organic bubble bath for a new-born baby, scents for the house and assorted soap bars:

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Sheep soap bar... how could I leave this?

Sheep soap bar… how could I leave this?

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

Apparently, there is a Christmas Vintage Fair coming up on 8th December, so if you’re nearby, you may want to pop in for a quick browse. More details on Pop Up Vintage Fairs webpage.

The other fair, which was the one we originally went out for, was taking place at the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Church. A brief history of the pretty building courtesy of Wikipedia:

The chapel, which stands on Rosslyn Hill, was at first a simple wooden structure. Said to have been built in 1692 by Isaac Honeywood who lived in the adjoining mansion, the Red Lion Hill meeting house was first replaced in 1736 and then, having become unsafe, rebuilt in brick on roughly the same site in 1828. The current building (using the old brick chapel as its hall) was built from 1862 to 1885 in the Neo Gothic style. Two of the building’s stained-glass windows are by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris and another is by Henry Holiday. […] Its stone arches and pointed ceiling vault give it an excellent acoustic, making it a popular recording venue.

The Hampstead Christmas Market hosted many crafts products and largely locally or UK made. They were beautiful but (understandably so) the price tag was more substantial and many were of little practical use to me (i.e. I hardly wear any jewellery). I remember a stall that had woollen traditional fabric capes made in the UK – absolutely gorgeous items at a reasonable price, but I would have no use for them; though, the brand name was a bit unfortunate: Moth (WTH???!). For the life of me I couldn’t find any online reference to the brand. There were many other lovely items, from customised paper, cards, sewn stuff to knit and decorations. But by that point most of my budget was depleted – I did buy one thing though, and gathered quite a few business cards for later 🙂

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

Lavender bag kits by Little Hands Design

This is a kit by Little Hands Design to make three cute lavender bags. I was impressed by the decorated fabric, so although I could have easily made some myself without purchasing the kit, I wanted that particular one 🙂 Plus, the kit includes all necessary bits and accessories in one neat pack for an affordable price and I can support a local business. Checking out their website, I noticed that they also offer sewing and crafts classes in London and may attend some when my budget is in a healthier state.

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

After the markets I still wanted to visit a last spot: there is a small bric-a-brac seller in Hampstead who usually has some interesting things at reasonable prices (that’s were the tartan blanket from my previous post comes from). I found some more bargains…

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

A very last info:

If you’re around London and love animals (sheep in particular), there is a festive event on the 15th December – Christmas Fayre at the Farm. At the last local fair they brought farm animals and I was able to pet a sheep or two for quite some time; this is the farm who provided the creatures. Kentish Town City Farm was founded over 40 years ago… obviously, I’ll be going! I can’t wait!!

Kentish Town City Farm - herdsman sheep

Herdsman and sheep, picture by Kentish Town City Farm

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repairing

please mend me

please mend me

The title should have read “mending”, really, but as my work hasn’t followed any manual or good practices, I opted for a more humble word.

I am a supporter of repair & reuse: I like the idea that it’s not always necessary to produce new things; often it’s possible to give old items a new life. This is good on many fronts – the environment, the purse and one own creativity. So I have been buying old things with the aim of making something out of them. I’m sure there is some hoarding aspect in this behaviour of mine, but that’s another story…

Today I made a start on repairing a very nice blanket acquired recently for a couple of pounds (a tiny fraction of its new price). It’s a British made all wool throw, made by Burkraft. Beside a thorough wash, it needed a good mending.

Burkraft blanket

Burkraft blanket

Burkraft, dress Stewart, all wool, British made wool

Burkraft, Dress Stewart, all wool, British made wool

The colour scheme is very pretty – it contains most of my favourite colours, plus I love tartans. With regard to the tartan, this is the “Dress Stewart”. A bit of research brought to light that the Dress Stewart is one of the royal tartans (source: Scottish Tartans Authority, Royal Tartans):

STEWART DRESS – The Dress version of Royal Stewart with the predominant red squares replaced by white. Worn by the female members of the Royal family often for evening occasions but also worn for Dress occasions by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Edward.

The yarn used for the mending is 100% pure wool and although I’m not certain, I believe that it is produced in the UK. It comes from a large cone bought from a UK yarn producer.

...and the pure wool mending yarn

…and the pure wool mending yarn

one of the holes

one of the holes, it’s huge

The repair took quite some time, in fact it’s not yet fully done, but you’ll get the idea from these pics:

As you can see from the photos, the results are not to a professional level [***].  Perhaps I should have consulted books from my reference library…. 🙂

Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework (1940)

Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework (1940)

With the same great yarn, I also mended some minor spots in a wool cardigan bought (not really cheap) from a local charity shop. I forgot to take a proper photo of the cardi, but here below you can see it while taking a bath 🙂

Cardigan taking a bath before mending and reuse

Cardigan taking a bath before mending and reuse

and while I’m at it, here is a gratuitous snap of the sheep skin hat (£1 second hand), also enjoying a bit of soaking in the bubbly bath…

IMG_4070

I sense that I have a crash on natural shades at the moment, it must be the sheep influence… baaaaa

farm tin, note the ♡ sheep ♡

farm tin, note the ♡ sheep ♡

It’s getting late, the update on the knitting WIPs will have to go in the next one.

Sweet dreams xx

 

[***]  surfing the net, I came across this UK based company who provides professional mending services: British Invisible Mending. If anyone is in the look for repairing a special item, they may be an option to consider. I think they also do mail orders for those who can’t visit their premises. (Small print: as usual, it’s not an ad and I take no commission out of this!)

 

grazing sheep

Look at what I came across a few days ago: an enclosure full of woolly creatures ♡

I took the pictures while precariously standing on a stone wall with a very uneven surface… For a while I even contemplated the option of getting inside the enclosure; in the end I discarded the idea because of the unpredictable reaction that the creatures may have had and the wall and my outfit would have not been suitable for a quick retreat.

I was even shooting some short videos, but my free WordPress site won’t let me post videos!

Can you guess where this was taken? It’s in England and is a former Roman town…

Our English Coasts

At a charity shop I found an old art magazine by The National Art Collections Fund, containing articles about Botticelli and the Pre-Raphaelites, among other interesting ones. Skimming through the pages, my attention was drawn to a picture: it was familiar but at the same time not really. It was familiar in that its object was known, but the painting itself was until now unknown to me.

It’s a natural view of some English coast… but you may recognise a special element in it. Look at the following picture, aren’t those woolly creatures just beautiful?

Our English Coasts ('Strayed Sheep'), William Holman Hunt, 1852Our English Coasts (‘Strayed Sheep’), William Holman Hunt, 1852

Digressing from the woolly theme, I’d like to briefly present another work associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. A later follower of their style, John William Waterhouse painted Ophelia in 1910, after some preparatory studies. I like those colours, the line and decorative elements of the dress, its beautiful corset and gown and the simple flowers. Ophelia and her tragic fate and unfortunate love was the object of many of his paintings.

Ophelia, John William Waterhouse, 1910             Ophelia, John William Waterhouse, 1910 (source: Wikipedia page)