Tuesday, 3 September 2013

How to display these fabulous pieces?

Several weeks ago I bought these two fabulous pieces of children's clothing; French in origin but as as to age I can only guess at sometime in the 19th century.

The workmanship is amazing particularly in the blouse/shirt. The back and front are pintucked and lined with a striped serge, the sleeves gathered and set in and a sweet stand up collar

The little waistcoat looks as though it was intended to be worn with the shirt and both appear to be the right size for a one year old.
My three year old grandson surprised me by being keen to try them on but they are far too small and truth be known far too itchy for any modern child. The rather rough wool based fabrics would have been uncomfortable next to the skin and very difficult to wash..did the toddlers of the past not vomit and spill in the same way as those in my experience do

So as they will not be used as originally intended I decided to frame them and display on a wall.
Last week I thought I had found the perfect frames, although not big enough for both the larger could contain the shirt and the smaller the waistcoat; then both would be hung side by side to show their connection.

So far so good, so far as the framer's shop! It has always been a mystery to me why some retailers would rather say no than yes but on Saturday morning we had the misfortune to meet two in the space of an hour. First the woman who took delight in telling us they didn't have what we wanted and how would she know what was in their other branch, "she wasn't there was she?"
And then the framer himself who said no he couldn't use my frames and even if I bought new from him it would be too expensive to be worthwhile...nice that he knew how to not spend my money for me!

So we're back to our usual DIY solutions but if anyone knows of a more accommodating framer perhaps you could let me know
Hopefully I'll be able to post pics of the framed items sometime in the not too distant future
You can see the clothing if you come along to my open house this Friday or Saturday and offer advice!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Autumn Open House

Been having major problems with Blogger so its been ages since I last posted; relied on Facebook instead but you know I like to chat on so really prefer a good blog!
Really enjoyed Lucy's Lovelane Brocante in Sussex, an insane amount of driving in one day but lovely friendly people when I arrived more than made up for it

This fox terrier puppy was the hit of the day, posing happily for everybody
Bought this white hydrangea which sold my zinc container last Saturday at the Cotswolds Vintage Fair

Julie and Kristina had worked so hard to keep this fair going and it was a great success; I enjoyed seeing customers old and new and gossiping with my neighbour Jo

Not much time to buy but found these lovely letter scales now weighing coffee beans on my coffee table

Wasn't sorry not to sell this enormous French mustard pot, it looks great at home filled with wild fennel
Yesterday was Kempton and at last some sunshine after the washout last time. The day didn't start too well however when an extremely rude customer allowed his poodle to wee on a bag of cushions as I tried to unpack them; fortunately the bag was still closed and waterproof! Couldn't believe how offhand he was but as the day was a good one am wondering if this is like the good luck that descends with the bird poo which lands on you??

Have sold a record number of lampshades over the last 2 weeks so am determined to restock before my open house next weekend.

Have also bought several really lovely French crocks which are also good for displaying the wonderfully aromatic fennel

Will be parting with this lovely old bamboo chest of drawers as have found a table for the alcove in the sitting room
Come along and see..and lots more..Friday 6th September 10-9pm and Saturday 7th 10-4pm
Email hellish44@hotmail.com for details

Monday, 29 July 2013

Back on the road again....

I'm not sure whether it makes any kind of economic sense, especially considering the price of fuel, but planning a holiday around standing at a vintage fair is a lot more fun than slogging up and down the M1.
I had a lovely time at Lucy's lovely Sussex Brocante in the very pretty West Sussex village of Wisborough Green. How I wish I could be there every month and many thanks to all the enthusiastic customers who funded my break. It was a long time since I had last visited Sussex and I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Bloomsbury group's farmhouse, Charleston, and to Virginia Woolf's house in nearby Rodmell. I also enjoyed visiting Igigi, mentioned in the last post, which satisfied needs corporeal (great Welsh rarebit) and ethereal.
And so off again at the end of the week to lovely, lovely Cornwall and most especially the Roseland penisula with tiny Porthscatho almost at the end. Oh will the weather behave? It was so lovely in Sussex to stroll around in a sundress and sit on a beach but tremendous thunderstorms saw us hurtling back to reality on Tuesday evening here in Nottingham.

This though is the perfect weather to escape to my greenhouse, although the level in the water tank is becoming dangerously high; a greenhouse which nurtures my soul more than it ever did plants and truth be told is an extremely useful stock cupboard.

I'm storing some pots on the printer's shelves and stone bottles on the table

I've made these floral barkcloth cushions for the Homespun fair in Porthscatho; their soft greens and yellows are the colour of the roadside banks and possibly the greys are the colour of the skies but lets not be pessimistic, perfect for a country cottage bed.

The best seller at Wisborough Green was undoubtedly my lampshades, and thanks to their bulky nature this made a pleasant difference when repacking the car. Just time then between fairs to restock in the hope that Cornwall likes them. This Vichy check is usually popular, oh to find some bigger affordable pieces with which to make larger shades
I am no photographer but at least taking lots of digital shots helps; I thought I had understood that it is best to snap with the sun behind you but in my workroom the reverse seems to be the case. Generally I find items placed on the table below the south facing window are shown in their true colours.

Anyway it allows me to show how warm and golden the light is through this white linen shade thanks to its cream lining and yet how white it is when unlit, like the rain dashed windows on the edge of the shot

I like making these wide banded shades with something of the prom dress about them

This floral has been so popular for shades but this is the last, or possibly there's enough for a teeny one; a very pretty shade

Beautiful blue, I've placed this tiny shade on my favourite indigo tablecloth; again the last scrap of a favourite lampshade fabric

If you live in Cornwall or are lucky enough to be holidaying there, don't miss Jane and Gertie's lovely fair next Sunday or indeed a visit to their shop in Porthscatho..The Sea Garden
And if you go buying at Kempton racecourse.tomorrow..I'll be there on my stall  come rain or shine...slogging up and down the motorway in a day

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Life less Ordinary

It seems strange reading my last post lamenting the summer weather; over the last fortnight we've enjoyed the Mediterraen sunshine I described in Italy here at home! Its been very difficult to be disciplined and stay indoors to sew and I confess I haven't always done so. It was particularly challenging yesterday after a surprise present arrived from my lovely daughter in law.

The beautiful book, "A Life Less Ordinary" lay temptingly on the table whilst I sweltered in the attic making lampshades and cushions to take to the Sussex brocante this Thursday. I'm looking forward to Lucy's fair and a chance to explore the villages and towns nearby.

Knowing I was due to visit Brighton Becca had bought me this inspirational book; written by the owners of igigi general store and women's boutique it includes images from their Brighton shop and from their homes.
Zoe Ellison and Alex Legendre both appear to have both enviable homes and a fabulous workplace and this book particularly celebrates their working relationship.

In the afternoon I took it into the garden and,seeking a shady spot, read it on the old wooden bench near our summerhouse. Couldn't resist snapping Ted who was in his favourite summer sunning spot on the roof.

I love the font used in these transparent overlays which mark the beginning of each chapter, any ideas what it is?

The pictures filled me with plans to rearrange all the surfaces inside the house but heat induced lethargy preventing me from actually doing so...and who knows what new treasures I will find whilst away which will need accommodating on return.
If you're coming to Wisborough Green on Thurs please come and say hello

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

a brief taste of real summer

My summer open house at the weekend was brilliant, the most successful ever so many thanks to all who came. There was a brilliant mix of brand new customers and lovely familar faces and I really appreciate the effort made by all of you especially those who braved the downpours on Friday.
Despite the weather we enjoyed sipping Kir and eating strawberries and put a brave face on the British summer. Fortunately I had gathered flowers from the garden before the rains lashed down
But I had at least had a taste of what summer can be on our recent trip to southern Italy. Eating breakfast on a sunny terrace, reading trashy novels on a sunshaded beach, enjoying an afternoon swim and of course far too much red wine and pasta; for 10 short days this was our life!
Antique shopping was in short supply but I did manage to buy these beautiful pots.
They are traditional Puglian pots from the mid eighteenth century and used to store fish or vegetables over the winter months. I love the handles with "ears" and the soft yellowy cream glaze.
I'm looking forward to filling them with flowers given that preserving the garden's bounty is not me

How I would have loved to bring back more but the combined strictures of Ryanair and an anxious husband prevented this....but next year a kindle and 2 sundresses will be the sole occupants of my suitcase (possibly)
Back home the sewing machine has been shocked into life

I love this soft coloured Art Deco print with toning French vintage linen
This weekend I'm taking to the road with both hellish designs and my vintage finds and hope you'll come and say hello if you can
I'll be at the Country Chic fair in Spofforth in North Yorkshire on saturday and on Sunday I'll be in Norfolk at Gresham's School in Holt
This event was almost rained off last year so I've booked an inside stand this time just as the weather forecast promises a real summer weekend
Details of both events are on the left of this post...email for more info

Friday, 14 June 2013

Shopping Allowed

One of the best parts of my job has to be going antique shopping in "office hours"; all those fairs which were off limits when I worked in a school are now part of the working week. Even better when selling and buying at the same event! Sadly this is only possible for as long as the chosen items sell and bring in enough profit to feed the habit.
So fingers crossed that my current purchases will find favour when I price them up for sale at my open house in two weeks time!

I've stocked up with lots of linen grainsacks as they make the perfect outdoor bench cushions or rustic garden table runners; note toning French plates for summer desserts.

The room is filled with the scent of peonies, how strange that I had never noticed before what a strong scent they have, similar to an old fashioned rose. These tall glass jars perfectly support their long stems but are equally good for storage; I have several filled with cards of buttons.

I'm thinking of leaving these pots on the table, they look so at home there. A selection of crocks from Normandy used to store preserves.

I love these misshapen bottles and think they need to be displayed in groups. They are handmade using the coil pot method and were probably used to store Calvodos; the most irregularly shaped possibly made when the potter had imbibed the contents!

Another saltglaze French jug but a particularly beautiful example

In the year of the 60th anniversary of our queen's coronation a little bit of royal history; a mug commenmorates the Diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria with a portrait of both the young and older queen

Been using my hipstomatic app to take these atmoshperic pics. Thought the style suited these smokey pharmacy jars; the dealer I bought them from offered cleaning instructions little knowing I had bought them because of the effect of their mysterious contents

French child's working boots

Lovely glass wall lights are difficult to display but love them against this marble platter; these huge plates from Northern India are perfect for candles

A group of American storage jars in potato basket, these bottles look so sweet filled with garden flowers on a lunchtime table, let's hope for a return to sunnier weather

I'll be parting with all these treasures at my open house on Friday/Saturday 28/29 June; do please come along

Friday, 31 May 2013

Telling the story

One of my favourite trade customers always talks of the "story"; we need to tell a story she says.
By this she means choosing cushions and shades which work well together and draw the customer into their grouping in order to promote a purchase or maybe more than one.

I find these stories often emerge as fabrics lie next to one another in piles in my workroom or accidentally as I place cushions in bags ready for fairs. The starting point for this story was a lovely vintage French floral with pink roses on a red ground. it looks great with cream or beige and tones with stripes as in this image

Sometimes there may be a positive/negative connection as in this group.

Finished cushions and shades sit in a muddle on the chaise longue in my workroom awaiting pricing and photography. However I decided to bring these down to my bedroom for neater shots; this little sofa is such a favourite piece. I recently made this simple loose cover from a lovely slightly crumpled linen sheet I'd bought

I often make both cushions and shades from the same fabric in case someone is looking to coordinate them in a room.

I like this "waisted" shape shade and have accentuated it with a wide striped band.

The floral panel shade is a regular favourite and I like using a toning stripe if possible.

If you see anything you like just email for individual photos

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Time to restock

Seems a while since my last post and I guess the reason is 2 weekends away from home selling at fairs.
The salvage fair was great fun despite an incredibly wet Saturday; the marquees proved watertight and customers visiting on that day were obviously the keen type and spent well. I had wondered what stock to take to fit the brief and the garden containers, rustic cushions and fabrics did sell but in addition I sold more pretty lampshades than average.
So this week time to restock and its nice to be home in the peace of the workroom albeit with builders downstairs banging a hole in the wall! The new Laura Marling will hopefully keep the choas at bay.

I like this very simple shade in beige linen, a good size for bedside or living room and lined in cream for brighter light.

Another simple but very effective fabric is this cream textured linen; I've chosen to give it a simple tie finish

This is the third and sadly final shade in this beautiful French faded cotton. The colours are perfect Farrow and Ball; the background matches Pigeon or shown here against Hardwick White...sad I know.....

This is classic French, lovely blue Vichy check, named for the area of France where it originates and sadly increasingly hard to find. It and its pink counterpart make lovely shades which give soft diffused light.

When I saw this piece of fabric at the V&H fair on Saturday it said lampshades; lovely soft draping fabric with perfect cottage roses print. This is quite a large shade but I'll make some smaller ones from the rest of the fabric
I've just opened an Etsy shop, hope you'll take a look, and hope to put some of these shades on it. I'm also intending to update the blogshop, just click on the link to the right