two tales of one market

Laura: Could anything be better than a day spent catching up with the lovely Annie? A day spent catching up with the lovely Annie whilst mooching around the Bath Vintage and Antiques Market, that's what! So much prettiness to browse and so many vintage goodies to lust after! Of course our favourite stall was the emporium of vintage craft gorgeousness that was Canvas and Cloth. It took enormous self-restraint to for me leave with just a card of buttons. D and the boys headed straight for Mrs Stokes and her pop up tea room, where they were placated with yummy cakes until we were able to finally tear ourselves away and reward the little ones for their patience with a trip to Victoria Park. The sun shone, the company was fab (and much missed!), the tea came in vintage teacups and the bunting was handmade. Perfection!

Annie: The trip to the Vintage Market in Bath was such a treat-so many lovely things to look at. The old tools and jugs and homewares as well as plenty of crochet blankets and handmade goodies. The stall that I think we were both particularly taken by was the lady selling all the sewing goodies. All those reels of cotton drawing you in, and then lots of beautiful buttons and embroidery patterns and tea cozies. So much to touch look at and assess luckily they have a website so I can keep going back to check in.

The loveliest thing is just being able to browse around all the bits and pieces, gain ideas and inspiration from everything on show. These were some of my favourites.


thrift break

Dear Annie,

Twitter was a complete mystery to me until you suggested that we join. I'm still learning and I certainly wouldn't want to attempt to explain its intricacies to anyone who has never used it - I found these tips invaluable when I was finding my way around. One thing that I do like is #thriftbreak (follow the link for an explanation of hash tags!) . Thrift Break is where people share details of their latest thrifty finds, often accompanied by photos. I love having a nose at what people have unearthed, I love that people are sometimes interested in my own second-hand hauls and most of all, I love the concept of stopping for a 'thrift break'. Who needs a cup of tea when you can be searching out teacups!

The English student in me (searching for layers of meaning even with just two words) enjoys the fact that #thriftbreak could also be interpreted as breaking thrift news (love that concept), and that if you're nowhere near a junk shop, you can still have a thrift break by reading about other peoples adventures in thrift. (Yes, I really have thought about it far too much!)

I'm almost always accompanied on my own thrift breaks by my two small assistants. The disadvantage of this is that I can never give the thrifting my full attention. The advantage is that it's amazing what you can fit into/onto/under a buggy- even small items of furniture get lugged home that way.

These are some of my finds from the last couple of weeks. My favourite was the picture frame, which cost just one pound from the car boot sale. D despairs of me, I think, but as the whole lot cost less than fifteen pounds in total, he really can't complain- it's preferable to an expensive shoe habit, after all!

My favourite part of it all is the element of mystery... who knows what the next thrift break will bring!?

Love from,



Sleep is for Whimps

Dear Laura,

Your blanket it looking fabulous, I am looking forward to you teaching me how to join and block. Here in DC it has been hot hot hot. The heat wave is so intense that it feels like you have put your face in a fire every time you go outside. Now my Britishness usually stops me for ever saying that anything is too hot. but 106'F or around 43'C is actually too hot! Finally I admit it, I surrender and I will stay inside as much as possible. 

So that meant that this weekend, once all chores were done, boring shopping and cleaning, and once the painting commitments were finished I could actually start on my dress. Start, that's right it is getting a little tight, I am flying on Tuesday evening so I only have the rest of tonight and tomorrow evening to finish! yikees! Well I have just finished putting the zip in and realised that it doesn't do up, luckily I had planned for this, so will need a little adjustment then tidying up. (Here are a few videos of my making process. Edited out as they don't seem to work, i'll try to put them in properly tonight.)

And finally a taster of the dress so far.


I am staying up tonight so that all I have to do tomorrow is hem! I think that means I won't sleep until I get on the plane on Tuesday, well sleep is over rated anyway...

lots of love



joining in

Dear Annie,

It's a long time since I mentioned my granny squares crochet blanket! I wrote about the story of our blankets here. We both began our blankets in January, but I think that you've made better progress than me!

I've been distracted by other projects- namely my quilt- and the poor granny squares have languished, unloved. I rather lost enthusiasm for the blanket because it seemed such a huge undertaking. Which is why I decided that the time had come to join some squares.

I tried out a variety of joining techniques and colours, but in the end I opted to join using the technique in this pattern (from an old Rowan magazine that my Mother-in-law kindly lent to me).

I've decided that my best chance of finishing it is to keep it small, so I'm aiming for 8x10 squares, probably with a white border to match the joins. As you can see, I'm not even halfway yet, but I'm feeling inspired to carry on.

As you can probably tell, I'm afraid that I was far too impatient to individually block my squares, so I'm hoping that I can get away with blocking the whole blanket after it's finished (whenever that may be!)

Love from,


PS: Details here on Ravelry.


One Week One Dress

Dear Laura,

Next weekend I am going to a wedding, I don't yet have anything to wear. you see the problem is, I was trawling ebay but nothing really struck me. Then I went to my usual vintage/consignment shops around DC and still nothing. You see I am a bit picky and I know that I can make my own dress which I will like much much more. So with only one week before the wedding I am going to do it! Foolish maybe, but there is nothing like a deadline to get me into action.

A while ago I bought this material, not only did I like it but it actually made me of L whose wedding it is next week. Now I have had it for a while and I used a bit of it.

and so now it doesn't quite fit around my (what I thought was a rather petit, but in fact it turns out large) bum.

(sorry mirrors, one handed photo, horrible mess in the background)

It is a challenge, I am going to make it in from one piece in the front and one in the back. It will have a zip, and hopefully have straps, it will be knee length, and that is all I know so far. I will keep you posted.

lots of love



knitters in the city

Dear Annie,
This weekend, our trip to London for a family wedding serendipitously coincided with Knit Nation. It didn't take much persuading for my fab and uber-crafty Mother-in-law to join me for a little trip to the marketplace.

I managed to take a few little snaps of some things that caught my eye (including the mini cakes in the tea salon of course), but I was rather distracted by all the gorgeous yarn, and the excitement of seeing knitters everywhere- knitting, chatting and modelling their amazing creations.

Sabrina met us there, and we caught up over a coffee before perusing all the delights on offer. We were rather enamoured of Ysolda and her lucky dip. I came away with a Ravelry pattern voucher, J with a project bag, and Sabrina with a copy of Whimsical Little Knits signed by the lady herself.

I bought a couple of p/hop patterns, but miraculously (and to D's relief), just one skein of yarn. Beautiful, silvery four ply yarn, half silk, half merino. The shade was called Moonstone. I was powerless to resist!

Knitters in the city; a very enjoyable jolly indeed.

Love from,


PS: Thank you very much to Kath at inverleith for the award, we really appreciate you thinking of us. Do pop over and see Kath's  fantastic crochet skills...


High on a Hill

Dear Laura,

Moving to America (cheap electronics) and having my first proper paying job (not having to decide between spending money on food or heating) and a lovely boyf who buys me presents, seems to have increased the amount of gadgets I now own. Which in turn has led to me being able to make lots of lovely gadget cosys. The latest gadget was a present for my birthday. So my favourite bit first choosing the fabric.
Crossing the cascade mountains in Washington, high on a lush plain, boulders the size of cars standing upright in the middle of corn fields flung there by ice ages thousands of years previously, the clouds so low in the sky it felt like I could reach my hand up and touch them, there was a small town, one road, one dinner, absolute quiet and no one on the street. We stopped for lunch and much to my delight the only other place open (except of course from the coffee shack, literally a shack you drive up to in the middle of nowhere and order coffee, and it is really good coffee) was a thrift store. 

There was no stopping me, skipping my heart out I flung the door wide open to reveal a dusty shop where the contents might have been on the shelves for decades, and there in this shop in the mountain plains where the air was thin and the sun shone so brightly was this yellow fabric. I thought I might have actually reached heaven. There wasn't a lot of it, maybe half a yard and there was also a crochet hook (the hook I have been using to make my blanket). I grabbed them from the shelves hoarding them so that no one else might beat me to these goodies and asked the very old lady how much they were. As she said 10 cents I nearly fell over, I looked to R to check that I had heard correctly and searched my pockets for the 10 cents then rushed out of the shop in case she had made a mistake and was going to claim my goodies back.

I have loved the material ever since I saw it and have been dying to use it but just haven't found the right project, but now, now I have exactly the right project. The only problem being what material to line the case with. 

Yes a very recognisable material to some, I had this in pink, yellow and green as bedding as I was growing up. I claimed this pillow case from my parents home some time ago, it is excellent. Again the right project had never presented itself to me, but here it is my new gadget cosy.

Here it is at home with the others, you can read about them here and here.

I think that must be it now, there are no more gadgets in this world surely. I love this case because it has so many memories sewn into it.

Lots of love

p.s. I am so envious of that sewing box you bought. It is awesome.


box of delights

Dear Annie,

This was the charity shop find that I told you about. A sewing box. Isn't it sweet? I'm guessing from the shape that it's 1960s or thereabouts. I saw it in the local charity shop and initially left it there, because I thought it was a little pricey. It kept calling me back, though.

It came complete with treasures- all manner of buttons, a thimble, a row counter, a crochet hook... I love the fact that someone has collected and kept these treasures (over several years- there was a shilling in amongst the buttons) and I'm glad to be able to add them to my own collection.

In the end, I couldn't resist it. The money went to Save the Children (certainly a worthy cause) and the box came home with me, Baby R kindly sharing his buggy with it.

I rather think that it may be destined to be a new home for my collection of quilting fabrics.

Love from, 

PS: I made the loaf cake again: this time with half raspberries, half redcurrants and I used this trick to make the buttermilk. I added orange zest (instead of lemon) and drizzled it with orange icing. Summer cake heaven! Definitely my favourite recipe of the moment.


Birthdays and Romper Suits

Dear Laura,

A few days ago as you know I turned a grand old age, of which I couldn't remember until my dad reminded me (it wasn't a big one that I did remember). Your awesome card arrived on the day itself which was the best. I love it so much I am clearly going to copy it and send it to other people. And today even more excitingly, a soggy package was awaiting me at the door and inside was a gorgeous planning book "things to make and do".

oooo it is so pretty and has lovely illustrations inside, this is one of my favourites

I have lots of projects to fill it up with already. I also bought myself a present. I wasn't supposed to, in fact I was dress shopping for L and M's wedding but I got a bit side tracked by this awesome romper suit.

It was just so cool I couldn't resist. Now I have to adjust it a little bit because there is the odd rip, and I am not quite the swelt seventeen year old I used to be. I am very excited by it though. This will be the first project for my new book. So now I am off to find a beach and a cocktail to enjoy my new romper suit fully.

Lots of love


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