Saturday, September 15, 2007

September Sunshine.

Today the sun was shining, but I couldn't help but think this would be one of the last warm days of the year, so I decided to make the most of it with some outdoor activities.
I recently found this little wall shelf in my friends junk shop. I felt it needed a re-coat of paint so set to work with 'Morris Blue' - an eggshell paint 'inspired by a colour found in many of Morris's wallpapers and fabrics. William Morris (1834 -96) was a pioneer of the Arts & Crafts Movement'.

Perfect drying weather!

Also this week I bought six vintage eiderdowns in wonderful Paisley designs. I thought they would all benefit from a good clean, so loaded up the washing machine with the first one.
In case anyone has ever wondered if it is possible to wash feather filled eiderdowns, let me assure you that it is. I have washed many in my time and they always look the better for it. Do make sure that there are no holes or thin areas, where feathers could escape, or you could end up in rather a mess! They can withstand quite high temperatures, but be aware that the colours may fade slightly; something many of us intentionally try to achieve, for that classic faded floral look!

The secret is in the drying, which needs to be done as quickly as possible so as to avoid brownish watermarks on the cotton covers developing, caused by the colour leaching from the feathers. I tumble dry mine first, then finish them off in the sunshine. September sunshine is just perfect for this!
Perfect drying weather!!

I then turned to my hydrangea bush. Its pink summer blooms have now mellowed to a warm bronzey, red - perfect for drying. Some people say that you should pick them, stand them in an inch of water until it evaporates to create the perfect dried flower heads.
I always hang mine upside down in our warm cellar. This seems to work well and if kept out of direct sunlight, they hold their colour well too.

Perfect drying weather!!! OK, I seem to be repeating myself a little here! But they are best picked when any dew has left and they are naturally drying themselves.

Finally to round off the day, I picked all of the rose buds that I could find in my garden and arranged them in an enamelware jug. If this was to be one of the last warm days of the year, these will help remind me of it for at least a few more days....

Soon it will be time to wrap myself up in one of my cosy vintage eiderdowns!
Hope you are enjoying your weekend,
Niki x


  1. You have been busy! I love the hydrangeas. I think I need to plant some. Thanks for sharing all your tips!

  2. Hi Niki,
    I love that color paint. The lovely down blankets look so cozy.
    I didn't realize that you could wash them.
    Love the hydrangeas, I am drying some myself right now.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. How relaxing to paint with that wonderful view in the background!

    Everything you pictured is just yummy. I really enjoyed "visiting" your home today.

  4. Very beautiful pictures!

  5. It was way too cold for outside projects this morning...

    not that it really matters but I am so sad to have been deleted from your favorites~~~ boohoo

  6. Love the paint color Niki! I wonder if we have that here in the US? Blues are my absolute fav!

    It is so funny you posted this because I just passed up on a vintage eiderdown yesterday at a local shop. The tag said it was from a local museum. It was dirty and I wondered if I could wash it?? Maybe tomorrow I will have to go back and get it! lol

    Now can I ask you a silly question, when you use them (since I live in the US we don't really have eiderdowns)are they meant to cover the whole bed and hang down the sides like our "comforters"? Or do they just go on top? I have always wondered this??? Maybe I am living under a rock??? lol

    Gorgoeus Gorgeous ones you have there! xo Heather

  7. Yes I have been doing a spot of painting myself Niki! I am looking forward to seeing what vintage lovelies you fill your shelf with!

  8. It's perfect weather for doing things like that and it's really nice to be out in the sunshine. Lovely pictures, I like the colour of the shelf. I've got a feather duvet to wash, it just won't fit in my washing machine...I need to be brave and go to the launderette but they scare me a bit, I don't know what I have to do!

  9. Just wondering is there any way to get rid of the brown staining from feathers?I have a few that someone has obviously washed before and they would look much better without the brown tinge!

  10. Thank you all for your comments.

    Heather, to answer your 'silly' question(!) - eiderdowns are designed to lay just on the top of the bed, with no over-hang. I have sold standard double ones before and people have thought they were singles, because they do seem quite small. They are great used on a sofa though to snuggle into on a chilly evening - and they give a room vintage style too!

    Hi Kristy,
    I use 'Vanish' spray on any brown stains on my eiderdowns before washing. It doesn't always remove all of the stain, but fades them at least. (Drying as quickly as possible is the key to keeping them free of watermarks.)

    Hope this helps!

  11. I will vouch for all of that Niki, and to anyone else wonderding. They wash up great in the machine, and after they have been washed I put tennis balls in the tumble dryer to help the process:)

    Don't your eiderdowns look great airing together outside. We've had some great weather this September, I hope it continues.

    best wishes Ginny

  12. Niki the view from your deck is just unbelievable! Not everybody has that!
    I have never owned an eiderdown and will have to put that on my list...because they are so vintage pretty! Especially in September sunshine.

  13. WELL THAT WAS NICE NIKI. Looks like you had a perfect day.

  14. Thank you Niki!! I am thinking I just might have to go back for the one that I passed up the other day! lol

  15. Oooh Niki what a wonderful post. Thanks for the tips on washing the eiderdwons, I need to wash the one I finally managed to win on ebay. Stupid question - what do you wash it in? Soapflakes, ordinary powder or liquid? Your dried hydraengas are beautiful, my three precious heads went all limp and black sadly. I was trying the inch of water technique so I'll try upside down next year. Really enjoyed reading your sunny post.

  16. I don't own one single eiderdown. I think I need to remedy that! Yours are lovely!!!

  17. Gorgeous! All of it! The English countryside is spectacular, too!


  18. I love your curtains in the last photo-so gorgeous!!!

  19. Yes, it was a wonderful late-summer-weekend,and I hope it was not the last for this year.
    Good idea to dry the hydrangeas. They look so nice then. I always want to dry them, too, but then I cannot cut them because they look so nice in the garden.

  20. I have missed a few of your blogs, time flies!! I had an eiderdown as a child, they are popular here in Australia too, but mine probably got cut up and made into something else! My mum had a habit of reusing things when they wore out, that is probably where I got it from...
    I love the shelf, and the colour, which I have used for things too.
    I visited Bath a few years ago, and didnt see that building, just the touristy things! What a shame, I'll just have to come back!

  21. Lovely eiderdowns Thanks for the washing tips Sun is shinning here today Need a cardi though as not too warm

  22. I love that paint colour, It has been perfect washing and painting weather hasn't it? I remember the first time I washed one of my eiderdowns, I was petrified!
    Kim x

  23. I have that same paint. And I didn't know that about the down - alas, in Paris we don't have dryers - everything must be hung out to dry, which is a problem in the winter.

  24. Hi Niki

    Haven't we had some wonderful September sunshine?!

    I must get out into the garden and cut the hydrangeas for drying - a friend popped in at the weekend and reminded me!

    I have washed many eiderdowns and find they come up lovely - some of the huge ones won't fit in my machine though!

    Clare x

  25. What a gorgeous post, all those colours! As for those eiderdowns - delicious!

    Julia x

  26. The last late summer weekend was wonderful.I hope it wasn't the last
    of this year.The picture is very

  27. I think it must be the season for it as I too have been washing eiderdowns all week!

    I adore hydrangeas they are one of my favourite flowers ever.

  28. You truly have been busy but we have to take advantage of our last sunny days.
    What a sweet shelf I love the color blue. Where are you hanging it.
    Your hydrangeas are gorgeous I'm going to try drying some. Thanks for the neat idea.
    Linda at somewhereintyme

  29. How lucky you are to find such lovely things in your recycling trips. It is so exciting to find these charming vintage castoffs that were crafted so well they stand the test to time to be recycled into today’s modern world.

  30. I fell in love with the paisley eiderdown - I have some fabric almost identical to it that I've been wanting to make something out of!

  31. Oh what a lovely shelf! And that blue is gorgeous! And that view, oh my. I love that paisley material. I've washed mine before also. Lord knows way back when, there were no dry cleaners! Oh and the smell of the fresh linens once they come in. I am so ready for cooler weather! Your hydrangea colors are beautiful. Love that red. Wow.

  32. Anonymous9:11 pm

    Hi, the shelves look really good and such pretty eiderdowns. Sunny September days are just right for getting these kind of jobs done. I've been painting up some bits and pieces in the past few days and really enjoyed it...will blog them soon.
    Margaret and Noreen at THY

  33. Love those eiderdowns. Gorgeous paisleys. Your flowers are gorgeous. I've put in two hydrangea bushes a few years ago, but am having trouble getting flowers. Any suggestions?


  34. Anonymous6:06 pm

    I have never heard of an eiderdown. Love the print and the fluffy look just makes me want to find something similar for my King size bed to snuggle with all the kids on a weekend morning.

    Love your blog by the way!
    Mama to four~

  35. Those vintage eiderdowns look so beautiful and so nice to snuggle up under!
    Thanks for mentioning that you can wash them. I never realized.


  36. Anonymous4:25 pm

    thank you for this post, I have been searching the net to see if I can wash my feathers!! I shall do so tomorrow if the weather stays good xx

  37. Hi Niki I have washed eiderdowns as you suggest and they have always come out brilliantly. I recently bought one that has a small tear in it. Do you have any top tips for mending it? I want to do it before I wash it so as you say I don't end up with a washing machine full of feathers! It has a dry cleaners lable on it which says Feb 1965 on it. So it is quite old. I would love your advise. Thanks Sophie Xxx


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx