Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Come on the blues (or the pinks)

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to my recent Christmas open house and made it the most successful home sale I have ever held. I loved being so busy, although apologies to the customers who had to wait while I mulled a new batch of wine having turned the original to red wine jam whilst chatting to a customer. It was lovely to have such a sociable atmosphere with friends meeting up and customers recognising one another from previous sales; just like Christmas proper!

My final Christmas sale will be on Saturday 1st Dec in Chipping Sodbury at Jayne and Michele's lovely Christmas Vintage and Handmade fair. Hopefully the last Christmas fairies will fly to new homes, stockings will be bought to hang and the 2013 diaries chosen as gifts. In addition I have lots of vintage goodies which would make great presents for the vintage lover or indeed treat yourself.

But before the weekend I get to meet the latest addition to our family. I am headed off to take care of my grandson whilst my son and daughter in law head off to hospital for the planned arrival of baby no 2 tomorrow. It is rather strange to know the exact date but makes childcare arrangements a simpler operation and if we know the date the gender is still a mystery. So the knitting is on hold until the little one arrives, not so much colour as style I think..so watch this space

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

in haste

I'm busy getting the house ready for this week's Christmas Open house but just wanted to post a few pics in the hope I can tempt you to come along. It's been a busy couple of weeks with sales in Woburn, Harrogate and last night at my sister's in Sheffield so its been several days since I was at home properly. The cats are pleased to see me but it hasn't stopped raining since Monday so no chance to venture out into the garden to pick the ivy and holly I had hoped to place in vases and jugs. Instead I've bought several tiny Christmas trees which are just the right scale for my Christmas fairies.

I like an wooden sledge to display Christmas presents in the hall or under the tree; actually prefer the indoor variety to gliding over that white stuff. The watering can is a perfect Christmas red

I've made lots of different fairies this year so you can be sure of a unique gift; all dressed in vintage fabrics and packaged in a calico bag. Fairies are shown with Christmas stockings made from vintage quilted cotton.

I love this American tin star in  brick red

These green parfait jars make a good Christmas decoration, fill with a candle or with ivy as I had intended to do

As you can see the weather is gloomy outside but these linen shades cast a warm glow

Cushions and eiderdown in warm red and golden tones

I like this painting both for its simple style and turquoise and grey colours. The parfait jars filled with French threads are both decorative and a useful gift for a seamstress
Back to the garage to bring in more stock to display and cushions to fill the sofas; and then mincepies to make and mulled wine to brew.
Hope you can come along, if you need more details please leave a comment

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

More Christmas sales

The Selvedge fair was fabulous...PHEW, what a relief!  The customers surged forth from a long queue outside at 10 to a roomful of frantic last minute shoppers at 4; lots of lovely interested people who were there to buy. It was probably just as well that I had so little time to look as there was serious and expensive temptation in the room (and corridors outside).

We were indeed packed in and I found, having built my stall around a new shelf I had bought earlier in the week, that it was impossible to engage with customers from behind the stall.

This was a good thing as it forced me to sell more actively than I usually like to and is a lesson for the future.

The most exciting sale of the day was to Priscilla Carluccio who bought one of the monogrammed cushions having complimented me on the precision of my workmanship. I'm afraid to say I didn't recognise her although had inwardly admired her simple Guernsey style sweater, ethnic fabric coat and short stylish hair but as we discussed retail and design she mentioned her shop (sadly now closed) Few and Far. It was then that I realised I was in the presence of design royalty and was able to tell her how much I had enjoyed visiting her shop/gallery which was always an inspiration.

Of course in London its possible to see anyone including a lovely customer I had last seen at a very wet summer fair in Norfolk and who I did recognise. There was such talent in the room from those who source fabulous fabrics..thebluelinencupboard, Beyond France, Polly Lyster's Dyeworks and indeed vintage linen doyenne Jane Saatchi to incredibly talented makers. I was sorry not to have had chance to photograph more but lovely Ellie Evans had a stall full of gorgeous, embroidered pieces and to her right a girl called  "Holy Smoke" who made all manner of pieces from grey linen.

My lovely, and long suffering, neighbour was Jessie Chorley who became a friend for the day. I had heard about her work and shop on Colombia Road but never seen her work....ethereal hangings, pictures and journals using embroidered text and found items. Completely unique and inspiring, suffice to say she was surrounded by admiring shopppers all day.

So back home to restock for this week's fairs in Woburn and in Harrogate.Really looking forward to seeing old friends both amongst the stallholders and customers and to relaxing with my daughter who lives in Leeds
The monogrammed cushions sold very well in London and I've made up the final two. On a linen ground I've surrounded these with a lovely creased linen and a toning floral print.

The Selvedge fair focussed mainly on my handmade designs but I have bought lovely vintage pieces for these fairs..as ever finding room for them all on the stall will be the challenge.

I will have chance to show them all the following week at my open house; do leave a comment if you would like an invite or indeed any more info about the fairs or stock in this post

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

French monograms for Christmas

Last week my parcel from France arrived packed with lovely antique monograms all ready to be made into cushions. Originally part of wedding preparations for the bride to be these monograms would be sewn onto tablecloths, towels, napkins and sheets.

 They are of course double but I usually separate the 2 letters to make more saleable items it being difficult to find customers with the right combination of initials.

I have completed a pile of small cushions in most of the alphabet..sadly no M which is usually popular...using vintage linen to complete the patchwork surround. Filled with a plump feather pad they make a lovely gift for Christmas or indeed wedding or christening gifts.

The big Selvedge fair in London is almost here (see previous post for voucher for reduced entry cost) and I'm really busy with last minute preparations. Somehow a London fair always makes this provincial lass nervous and being in the company of such textile heroines as Jane Saatchi and Tamara Fogle makes this fair even more daunting. So if you're coming please come and say hello and make me feel at home

The stall is tiny so its a challenge to fill it without distracting from an attractive display. I will be taking cushions and lampshades as always but also Christmas gift ideas such as these candles in Christmas bags

Lavender sachets with Christmas labels make lovely stocking fillers

I've made a selection of Christmas stockings from quilted scraps

And of course this year's Christmas fairies currently hanging out on my workroom mantel..spot the antlers also bound for Christmas sales

See side bar for details of other fairs to come

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Selvedge Winter Fair

Not sure if you're planning to brave the crowds and Christmas shop in London?..but why not combine it with a visit to the Selvedge Winter Fair on Saturday 10th November

Print off this voucher to allow entry for 2 for price of one.
The magazine dedicated to all matters textile has held fairs showcasing craft and design for the last few years but this will be the first fair held in the beautiful Chelsea Old Town Hall.
I love this venue, drawing a veil over the hideous unloading in a cramped street and up 2 flights of stairs, as the rooms are huge, wood panelled and lit by wonderful, large windows.
The following images were taken at the recent London Textile Society fair at the same venue.

I will be taking a similar selection of cushions, shades, fabrics and vintage finds

Sorry, this is blurred but don't seem to have another shot of this side of the stand

And when you've had enough inside the hall its a mere step to Heals or to the fabulous emporium, Anthropology; if I'm not on the stall thats where I'll be!
Come and say hello

Friday, 12 October 2012

French detail

How nice it is to sit down and with a few clicks of my new wireless mouse be back in touch with the blogging world. Our phone and internet have been out of action for a week (don't get me started on BT ) and, lovely though my i phone is, trying to write a blog or browse the net on it is only for teenagers with better eyesight than mine. I was forced to reflect that, whilst lauding all things vintage and battered, my antique textile business relies on 21st century technology. Interestingly the cause of all our woes was most basic and fittingly archaic; the phone cable had worn through rubbing against the branches of the enormous tree planted outside in the last century.

Last week whilst trawling the stalls at the Peterborough fair I spotted an ancient heavy brown bakelite hairdryer and wondered who would want to buy it. I prefer functional things to be functional and why lift this monster when a lightweight efficient version exists; this from the woman who has a set of skittles on display!
Anyway to the post I intended to write on Monday morning after several days away from home selling.
I realise my blog shop has been neglected again! and so will update the stock later as well as adding a selection of new goodies. There's a French flavour to most of my new acquisitions so hope you share my love of these.

Really love this sweet little French school uniform, an overall complete with draper's label (see image at top)
The collar is false, embroidered beautifully onto the striped fabric

I found 2 scraps of quilted toile, very small and expensive but really interesting stories

I have seen this image before and a friend translated it as "the mouse has escaped"..presumably hiding under the girl's full skirt

Often the most lovely fabrics depict quite violent scenes, imagine sleeping under a bedcover decorated with this battle scene. I hope however someone will, like me, appreciate the fine drawing and lovely soft faded mauve of this print

Quilted Provencal printed cushions and a linen bolster case from Alsace in the background

I've mentioned this classic Vichy check before and love its pink glow when lit as a lampshade; this is the latest shade I've made but have 4  in stock. It was traditionally used to back quilted toiles but is gorgeous in its own right

The floral is a new fabric find and I love it. The first shade sold as soon as it appeared on the stall so I've made another

A nice example of these French fabric covered boxes which are so useful for storing jewellery, scarves etc (functional you see!) Image of the outer is on blogshop

A simple canvas hatbox which will make useful storage for your woolly gloves, hats, scarves or indeed one smart hat depending on your lifestyle

This is a simple but very effective cotton quilt, reminds me of American Shaker designs. A lovely lightweight double with cotton wadding it is perfect to put over a duvet or simply a cotton sheet in summer
Hope you'll take a look at the blogshop..click on this link or on the image at the top right of the blog
Internet access allowing I can send more info and images; just leave a comment and I'll get straight back to you.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

British Folk Art

I enjoyed an inspiring day out last Saturday when my husband and younger son came with me to Compton Verney. It is often a visit from Alex that sends us forth looking for a good lunch and artistic/literary diversion; an excuse to escape the endless gardening chores.

I had been intending to visit since a couple of friends recommended the gallery. Compton Verney is a beautiful Georgian mansion in Warwickshire which was almost derelict when acquired by Peter Moore in 1994 and reinvented as a 20th century art gallery The adaptation is very sympathetic with the cafe and shop in a modern section which fits in seamlessly.

We enjoyed all the collection; paintings from Britain and Europe, a wonderful Chinese collection (apparently Mr Moore's particular enthusiasm) and a large collection of British folk art. There is also a gallery which houses the collection and works of Enid Marx and her friend Margery Lambert. Marx was a textile designer and illustrator and used the ceramics and folk art pieces to inspire her work

Alex set up this arty shot, shame his father wasn't playing his part

I can thoroughly recommend a visit, and do try and visit on a fine day as the grounds are beautiful. Cafe is very good too!
Rather like Chatsworth without the crowds

It was good to have had a day contemplating others' work as this week is manic. Lots of buying to do before the autumn fairs get under way;washing, painting, sewing, pricing purchases and then off to sell...fingers crossed!

Come and see me in stylish Chelsea on Sunday at the London textile society fair (details on left) or, if you're a fan of the long standing Festival of Antiques on the East of England showground , I'll be in the Nat West building LO21. This Friday and Saturday from 10-4.30
If you're interested in any of the items shown please leave a comment and I'll get back to you