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Hen Doorstops and Upcycled Furniture

Another glorious September day – we had the pleasure of an old friend’s company for lunch today and were able to eat outside; what a joy! I really do love being able to spend so much time outdoors while it is still so warm. Not that cold weather puts me off, it’s just then you have to do something to keep warm and it’s such a lovely feeling to just sit and read outside in the sunshine.

A recent purchase (actually, it arrived this morning, but don’t tell Him!) was this book “Handmade Glamping”,

Glamping book2Glamping book

Flicking through it briefly (I aim to snuggle up this evening and read it from cover to cover) and swooning over the gorgeous styling it has made me determined to buy an old caravan. You know the sort, a Seventies doer-upper that would be perfect for filling with masses of multi-coloured crochet blankets, bunting in ice cream shades, cafetiere cosies and a multitude of other pointless-but-pretty essential handcrafted goodies.

We’ve been Campers with a capital ‘C’ all our lives but recently I have been yearning for the (relative) comfort that a caravan promises to provide compared to a tent. All the preparation and hassle of packing, erecting tents, inflating airbeds (that invariably spring a puncture at 2am) just isn’t worth it unless you plan on going for a week. A well stocked caravan is ready to go at a moments notice and could be used for weekends away, potentially far more often and earlier/later in the year.

Yes, this is the year I am going to get a caravan, so if you know anyone wanting to get rid of one….?

Talking of pointless-but-pretty essential handcrafted goodies, I made these little beauties during the week –


What are they, I hear you cry? Why, not only are they easy on the eye, they darned useful too – Hen Doorstops, of course. Only these are a bit posh made of linen/cotton and silk.



Remember the pair of bedside tables that I found in the charity shop the other day?


Yes, I know there’s nothing wrong with them just as they are but, although they’re the perfect size, they simply didn’t suit the style of our bedroom like this.

So I painted them black.

Yes, really!

Bedside table

Bedside table4

The thing is, we have a sort of French bedroom – the Corbeille bed came from a château in France, the chandelier is a French bronze antique…

Bronze Chandelier

We have these two French antique mirrors ready to be hung –


And they had to match the eBay linen cupboard that I painted last year –

Linen Cupboard

As everything else in the room is old and a little rough round the edges, I distressed them a tiny bit. The walls are “Downpipe” by Farrow & Ball and the bedside tables are “Railings”. Not everyone’s taste, I’ll admit, but it’s cosy and romantic at night and, as it’s dual aspect with French windows and a balcony facing South, it is surprisingly light, bright and airy during the day. Best of both. And we love it, so there!Bedside table2

Has anyone else made any pointless decorative treasures lately, or made a bold decorating decision?


Tea Cosy Tutorial

There has been quite a lot of interest in my ‘Camper Van’ and ‘Hen’ tea cosies, so here is the tutorial I promised.  I would love to see any that you make – post your photos on my Facebook page:)


You will need: –

  • a sheet of A4 paper
  • 1/4 metre of fabric of your choice
  • 1/4 metre lining fabric
  • 1/4 metre polyester wadding
  • motif (for appliqué)
  • iron-on interfacing
  • matching thread
  • cotton tape
  • bias binding

On an A4 sheet of paper, use a large plate to draw the rounded corners of the tea cosy.


Using the paper template you have just made, cut TWO each out of your main fabric, lining and some polyester wadding.


Take your chosen motif (I cut out a Camper Van from the Fryett’s range) and iron onto fusible interfacing.


Cut roughly around the motif and pin onto one of your main pieces of fabric. Stitch all around the motif three times. You can be as neat as you like, although I “scribble-stitched” using the freehand machine embroidery method.  This allows the fabric to fray very slightly and adds to the rustic charm.  You could use a close zigzag stitch if you prefer, to enclose the raw edges for a neat finish.


Trim the excess fabric from the finished appliqué.


Cut a 4″ (10cm) piece of non-stretch cotton tape.


Fold the tape in half and pin to the right side of one of your main fabric pieces as shown to form a small handle.


Pin your fabric, right sides together, sandwiching the cotton tape in between.  Pin your lining, right sides together.  Stitch all the way around the curved edge, leaving the bottom, straight edge, free.


Turn and press.

Trim the wadding by 1/2″ (1cm) all the way around.


Slip the lining inside the cosy, wrong sides together to hide the seams.  Now insert the wadding in between the fabric and the lining (front and back) as below.


Pin the bias binding around the bottom of the cosy, enclosing all three layers.


When you get to the end, cut to length and fold under before pinning over the cut end.


Sew close to the edge of the binding.


And there you are – finished!


You can customise it to suit your style using any motif.  Here’s a variation with more free machine embroidery.



This is one I made out of beige linen with a hen appliqué.


Feel free to share on your own blog; a link back to this page would be appreciated:)





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Rooster inspired Hen Tea Cosy

We keep hens.

That is to say, when my husband moved down to Somerset from London he made the typical Escape To The Country statement “I-want-to-keep-chickens-and-grow-a-vegetable-patch”.

As a born and bred Somerset lass, the novelty (if there ever was one) of such things has long since waned.  Don’t get me wrong, we loved picking and eating our own home-grown veg, after all, nothing really beats a freshly picked carrot eaten straight from the (pesticide free) soil. As children we even used to set up a stall on the front lawn to sell the surplus to our neighbours down the road.

It’s the laborious journey to this bountiful harvest that I don’t miss, mainly the never-ending removal of waist-high weeds that myself and my three siblings seemed to be constantly battling with. The stinging nettles and thistles fought us every step of the way, not to mention the dreaded slug of which I have almost a phobia (“Limaxaphobia”, apparently).  I had visions of my husband doing the ‘nice’ bits ie. planting and picking, and I would probably be the one left with all the rubbish jobs as he works long hours.

So no vegetable patch.

But what about chickens?

Long story short, I relented and surprised hubby with a build-your-own chicken coop for his birthday a couple of years ago. He’s a blokey type of bloke and enjoyed building the coop and run so much that I nearly didn’t bother with the hens, but Christmas was only three weeks later so present shopping was easy that year.

We started with six hens, two of which quickly became broody and prompted the donation of some fertilized eggs from a farmer friend for them to sit on. Twenty-one days later we had three black chicks which turned out to be two hens and a cockerel.

And what a handsome beast he is! We gave him the unimaginative but obvious name “Cock” and he definitely rules the roost among his harem of girls.


I now thoroughly adore all nine birds and could watch them pecking their way round the garden all day long.

Watching them peck for worms and other tasty titbits reminded me that I had some fabric remnants from a roman blind in my son’s bedroom called “Rooster” by Clarke & Clarke – here’s what I made with it: –


Photos of the hens will be sure to ‘wing’ their way onto these pages before very long and will no doubt inspire some more hen creativity in one form or other.

For those who would like to make a similar tea cosy, a tutorial is on it’s way shortly so “follow” the blog to make sure sure you don’t miss out!