Monday, January 2, 2012

New year, new house

First of all the very best wishes to everybody for the year ahead and I hope it is a peaceful and creatively plentiful one for all of us, wherever we are.

And to celebrate the atart of a new year, what else but the completion of my new house? 2012 is definitely going to be the year of Charles Dickens, it being the bicentenary of his birth and already, here in the UK we have had, in the past few days, a TV adaptation of Great Expectations and a radio rendering of A Tale of Two Cities.
As it happens both books were written at Gad's Hill Place.

As you see, I strayed from that original intention of including lots of garden ... the memories of the shawl and that wonderful quilt exhibition at the V&A last year kind of took over. I loved those old bedcovers appliqued with little domestic shapes which held significance for the embroiderer and the embroiderer's family. Like this one, made around 1850 and donated by the West Kent Federation of Women's Institutes to the museum.

So I have put in hearts to indicate Dickens's love for his garden (certainly not, by 1856 when he purchased the property, his love for his long-suffering and mentally abused wife which by then amounted to pathological hatred). There are quill pens and books, teapots, cats and dogs (which were a particular feature of the successive Dickens homes) and glasses of port.

And here, as promised, is a photo of my beautiful cashmere Paisley shawl which dates from around the same time, bought by me in a junk shop for about 5 shillings (yes, it was THAT long ago) in a Croydon junk shop when I was an art student and a gang of us would comb the surrounding junk and charity shops during lunch hour.
In the good old days when real bargains and very old stuff could be bought for a song.


  1. Really good stuff. Happy New Year to you.

    I thought you did that second image , Almost looks like your work.

  2. I love this one Amanda - very patchworky!

  3. Love the squares within squares effect. I'm back after a long stint taking care of both my mother and partner (not that they're out of the woods yet, but at least I have some personal time back to hunt through posts from my favorite bloggers). It was a Dickens of a holiday season for me from Thanksgiving through New Year's. God bless us one and all.

  4. Oh yes, very patchworky! Wonderful. Love the colours. Your beautiful shawl was a real bargain!

  5. Hallo everyone and a happy new year backatcha Alan. I first visited the V&A (so I am told) as a toddler. It has obviously been a massive (and strangely growing as I get older) influence!
    Thank you Mary - I bet mine are quicker to do than yours.
    Sorry to hear of your family problems Robin. I know from experience it's not just the physical practicalities that consume ...
    Thank you Deb, and as for the poor pickings in junk shops these days - I blame the TV shows which have made everyone grow antique expert antennae.
    Sorry for the multiple posting folks - Have only just caught up due to computer freezing problems
    Happy New Year again!

  6. Happy New Year! Let it be full of interesting and challenging ideas and inspiration.

    I love your/Dicken's house and I like his books, so I guess I will have to get the Great Expectations on DVD; it will be great to see it as I've just read the book.

    I wish it was possible to buy good things for a song these days, but probably the one who seeks, finds?

  7. I think your border idea on this house is brilliant, Amanda!! Love the effect and all the particulars of Dickens' life. Also, your Christmas card from several posts down is divine!!

  8. Great Expectations was beautifully done, Kristina. And had a very different take on Miss Havisham.
    Hi Judy. It was a Home Sweet Home idea. Seemed to chime with the sentimental side of Dickens.

  9. Hiya, Mumbers. Is Gads Hill house still a girls' school? I have yet to get there despite doing a number of Dickens pilgrimages and should really go and see it. Bleak (Fort when he rented it) House in Broadstairs is now available for holiday lets again.

    Happy 2013 to you.