Here are a few snaps of some of my favourites from the fair...
Vintage yumminess from Alexandra Vintage:
Quirky jewellery & gorgeous artworks (inc lovely pictures printed onto felt, then embroidered - so much delicious texture!) from Half & Half:
Books and charming, romantic postcards from independent poetry publisher The Emma Press ... plus colourful cards, artwork and gifts from illustrator Anne Wilson.
Pretty handmade textiles from The Token House (love those fabric gift tags, and the knitting happening behind the stall!).
Colourful handknits and knitting patterns from Alabama Whirly:
Plus lovely, chic ceramics by Lauren Denney:
I chatted to some of the stallholders, had a cuppa and a completely delicious brownie from the folks who run the Shed cafe...
... and bought a sweet mixtape postcard from The Emma Press:
The card with the fab knitted mistletoe (which comes with a link to download the knitting pattern so you can knit your own mistletoe - isn't that great?) is by Suzanne... a.k.a. Knithappens, a.k.a. Alabama Whirly a.k.a. the superstar founder of Jelly and an all round lovely lady whom I met via Etsy many years ago.
As well as enjoying the delights of Aunt Elsie's, I was given a tour of Jelly by one of the "resident" artists, Mark Andrew Webber. Such a fab space, with lots of treasures inside (like a knitting robot and a giant pompom!).
It was great to meet Mark and chat about his work, and his creative process. Earlier this year he completed a huge linocut map of Berlin which is even more impressive "in person" as it is in the photos I'd seen of it.
After Aunt Elsie's I walked around the corner to Reading Museum to visit a few of my favourites from their collection and to check out their current exhibition: Making Faces: Tudor to Modern (more portraits!)
I really enjoyed this exhibition - the chronological grouping of portraits from the different eras worked really well, especially as it's all in one large room so you can easily compare them and get an overview of the changes just by looking around the space. I also liked the little cabinets with everyday objects from each period (the mobile phone from 1998! OMG) and reading a bit more about some names I recognised from Reading's history.
Then I took a walk (which felt very autumnal though it is, of course, December)...
... to the river...
... to visit the Riverside Museum at Blake's Lock.
Despite having gone to school in Reading for 7 or 8 years, I'd not been to this little museum before. It's very sweet - one building with a gypsy caravan and some displays about life on the river, plus the Turbine Hall where you can see the old machinery and look out over the lock.
Those windows, man! *Swoon*.