Monday, 26 September 2011

Out with the with some different old

I had such a good weekend and many thanks to those of you who came along and made my open house so successful and so enjoyable. Sometimes people tell me they could not imagine turning their home into a shop but I love it. Its so much better to display my finds and designs in surroundings that suit them rather than trying to cram far too much onto a stall. Often when the sale is over and an item remains unsold I find it staying and changing an arrangement that was getting stale; alternatively something will be sold and in comes a replacement from another room or a cupboard. So this weekend I bid farewell to the old man painting I had grown to love but rediscovered the lovely charcoal portrait executed by my son some years ago.

Yesterday I was off to Manchester to the textile fair which was thoroughly enjoyable and very well attended.
Although on my own I managed to dash round buying before the fair got busy and am very pleased with the goodies I will add to the pile for this weekend's sales in Chipping Sodbury and London.

Love this somewhat faded straw hat which would sit happily on a hook when not on a head.

And these very typical French child's boots, in remarkably good condition..can just imagine them teamed with woollen socks and a cotton overall.

The clogs are even smaller..toddler them with the boots... and so beautifully made although not necessarily very comfortable

I also picked up a couple of fabric covered boxes in reasonable condition; both are glove boxes so I've photographed with a pair of my vintage gloves.

I love this classic Provencal check fabric most often found in red or blue. It is often made into kitchen textiles as in this shelf edge. Its great for shelves or mantels but I think these pieces would be lovely at a window

 This is a real fresh apple green so I used it as a table runner with this bowl of cooking apples from our tree.

Neither Ken nor I can claim to be gardeners but we are feeling very pleased to have fabulous harvests of apples and pears despite our lack of work.
Finally this lovely display box for embroidery threads in great condition. I love these boxes and can even use them for threads, buttons etc but equally they are great for jewellery or stationary.

They'll be in the car on Saturday but if you'd like to buy just email for prices. Come and say hello if you come to either the Vintage & Handmade Textile Fair in Chipping Sodbury or the Textile Society's Fair in Chelsea..I'll be doing my best to display far too much in too little space.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

open house this weekend

I've spent the afternoon reorganising the ground floor of my home to accommodate my open house sale this Friday and Saturday. I love playing shop and working out how best to display my designs and vintage finds.

It's lovely to display cushions on sofas and chairs rather than piled on stalls but equally it's fun to place bags on mantelpieces or lampshades lined up on a bench.

When I first started my business in October 2003 I relied almost entirely on these open house sales. My long suffering friends became customers and brought along friends, colleagues and relatives and so it grew.
Now I stand at several events most months as well as seeking out new trade customers but I still love these more relaxed sales. Walking downstairs to sell certainly certainly beats the 5.30 am starts I've been experiencing recently.

I love seeing people I haven't seen for several months and catching up with news, especially after the summer holidays; we'll have a coffee or glass of wine before they browse whats on offer. I enjoy introducing customers to one another and they often recognise people from a previous sale.

A new one for this sale is a competition; the first person to identify how this wooden board was used originally will win a hellish designs voucher. If you want to join in just email me your idea.

I add to my database of email contacts at each fair I attend but if you'd like an invitationto the sale just email me.

Alternatively I will be setting the alarm ready to drive to Manchester on Sunday for the textile fair..details on the left.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Going to the Fair

In Nottingham the fair is Goose Fair; an enormous and hideously expensive fun fair which seems to get bigger and last longer each October. Bah humbug but I hate it! No the fair for me is all about early morning drive, setting up the stall and crossing fingers tightly that customers will like what they see enough to part with their hard earned cash.
I am in the middle of a long series of fairs through September and October but Saturday's is unusual in that it is all about craft rather than antiques. This is the first Selvedge fair, organised by the textile themed magazine of the same name, I've attended so not sure what to expect. The list of exhibitors sounds grand so I'm feeling somewhat nervous and its in London which shouldn't make a difference but seems to. So I was found yesterday mocking up my stall in the kitchen in order to maximise the small but expensive space I will have.
Its hard not to add some of my antique finds to the mix but know there is little point taking items that can't be sold. I could not resist this little set of hooks bought at the weekend from Paula at the Country Chic fair in Ripley.

They are french and really fun, sure someone will snap them up for a children's room when they have played their part in my stall.

I will also be taking my bags which play a minor role in most of the home based vintage fairs I have been standing at recently.

Another favourite are these gorgeous stencilled cushions, wonderfully distressed and with a deep blue stripe running through the middle. Note to self, must not keep these cushions!
Wish me luck with my travels and many thanks to the motorist on the A1 who pointed out that my roof box lid was flapping open. Unfortunately sticking up a finger in his rearview mirror initially confused me into thinking he was anything other than thoughtful...anyone want to devise a better system of communication on the road?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Autumnal beginnings

I love September possibly because it often brings the best weather of the summer, although as I write the garden is being buffeted by gale force winds. The first day of the month, last Thursday, seems a distant memory but it was a gorgeous day here with the warmth of a summer against the autumnal colours just showing around the garden. It was lucky then that I had bought a bag of clams at the fish market in town the previous day; although our market has steadily contracted over the years it does still boast good fish stalls and an invaluable haberdasherers.

Looking for a recipe for spaghetti vongole ( I realised I had only ever eaten this in restaurants and had never cooked it) I was pitched into an Italian controversy..rosso ou bianco...Jamie v Nigella. Being married to a tomato phobic helped resolve the debate here. We both enjoyed the clams and I took a pic as never before had leftovers looked so pretty.

The garden with the last rays of sun
The other great thing about September is that as the schools return the vintage fairs all begin again.
I will be busy every weekend of the month and will hopefully see all the friends I've made in the vintage world over the next few weeks. First up is the Country Chic fair this weekend in Ripley..near Harrogate
As I've been standing at these fairs since 2004 I've made lots of friends amongst both stallholders and customers. A small group of dedicated dealers, delicious refreshments, a pretty village setting; it is a perfect recipe for an enjoyable Saturday or Sunday. Many people seem to stay for most of the day browsing and rebrowsing. Visit Polly's website for a list of dealers.

I will be taking this sweet wooden box to sell; as a cat lover I can't resist these when I see them.
The wording says "amidon au chat" and the first time I bought one the French dealer explained that the box was a display piece to advertise the soap inside. Why a cat?..because they are always washing themselves.
Obvious really!

Would make a lovely gift for a cat lover and is a decent size to keep sewing bits, cards etc in.
Just a taste of whats going in the car alongside the usual cushions, lampshades, aprons, jugs and mirrors

Thursday, 1 September 2011

the tyranny of Farrow & Ball

Whilst at the Edinburgh Fringe I enjoyed Ruby Wax's show Losing it which described her history of mental illness and recovery from the most recent breakdown. One of the points she amusingly and poignantly made was how difficult it is to be the modern woman expected to be the perfect wife, mother and homemaker whilst holding down a successful job. Of course this is nothing new but I did laugh out loud, and recognise myself, in the woman who has to repaint her home everytime there are new colours added to the F&B paintchart. She made up a few names but Elephant's Breath certainly does exist and will feature in my next decorating project. Although I know it will differ only slightly from my favourite grey/off whites..Hardwick White, Old White and Slipper Satin...I feel compelled to buy a matchpot of Missel because it is such a beautiful word. Somebody very skilful must sit inventing these names.

However when I sat down to turn the French floral from last week's blog into cushions I realised how truly fabulous the F&B pigments are; whichever painted surface the cushions were near seemed to enhance their colours. Whether it was Old White (workroom) or Hardwick White (bedroom) or guest room (Pigeon) they all worked.

Love the green/blue of this plate..

Don't usually decorate my mantel with cushions or lampshades but just to show how lovely this shade of grey blue is as a background.

Have recently acquired a fabulous large piece of pink Vichy check I am making lampshades in it. I love this old French cotton especially when a bit faded but it is often holed and stained so it is great to have a piece big enough to make several shades.
 It gives a lovely soft light shown here against Old White wall. I for one am lamenting the demise of the 60 watt bulb, hate the awful greenish tinge given by energy saving bulbs.

This lovely old anglepoise recently restored to full working order..thanks a perfect match for the Pigeon walls. I have a very similar one for sale at Hardwick White I think.

Love to hear from you and if you're interested in any of the items visit the blogshop or leave an enquiry