Wednesday, 22 May 2013
I'm planning a party for July. I always said that if I was feeling well and strong when I hit the half century, I would have a party with lots of music and dancing. So far, so good (touch wood), and so that's exactly what I am going to do. Plans are already well underway. I've had an invitation printed and I've sent most of these out. The village hall is booked. Now it's time to think about the details.
We can't have the party in the village hall near to where we live as it is very small and close to surrounding houses. The one I really wanted is in a gorgeous village called Fotheringhay (where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner), but when I looked at the list of rules and regulations, I didn't think it would be a good plan to go ahead there. So, the one I have booked is not the prettiest, but it's large, with a big car park and it is surrounded by fields. If, by any chance it is a warm, sunny evening, people can spill outside.
Last night, I got to thinking about how I can make that village hall look good on a shoestring, and I made a few sketches.
I think I need lots of colour. I've started stockpiling bright tablecloths, and I hope I'll find a few more at the car boot this weekend. They're the seersucker ones, not so sought after as embroidery ones, but much cheerier (and cheaper!).
I'm also hunting for old camping chairs in stripes and bright shades, as I'd like to put up a tent outside the hall and fill it with blankets and chairs. Paper pom poms, I bought lots of these at Wilkinson's at Christmas, and I've spotted a how-to-make-your-own in the summer Prima Makes magazine, so I am going to try that too.
My friend Tracey at Foxtail Lilly has agreed to do some flowers.
Bridget, who I work with, has a small catering business and will help with food.
We'll do our own music with an iPod and a big speaker.
Let's just hope lots of people can come now!
I will add some updates as the party plans progress. Let me know if you have any good tips or ideas....
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Sunday, 19 May 2013
This weekend I've been on a mission to start taming the garden. I needed plants, so this morning, with the sun peeping through the curtains at 6.30am, I went to my local car boot to see if I could find some. I gave myself strict instructions: no vintage for in the house, because I've just put everything away from my sale days and I would really like to keep the space clear for as long as I can.
I spotted this giant sieve which makes the perfect place for some geraniums. I have lined it with some coconut inner to stop the water spouting out of the sides but I think it will look really nice when the geraniums start to trail. It really is a whopper. I wonder what it was used for? A school kitchen? Someone offered to buy the sieve from me when I was walking to the car but I wasn't selling.
I also found some delphiniums for 60p each, so I bought some of those, too.
I came home and spent two or three hours digging, weeding, sweeping and sorting out old pots.
Still some way to go, but it's looking much neater than before. The day was fine and warm, it was beautiful to be outside.
I have sown some seeds, too, to keep costs down. I always put in plenty of cornflowers, as they are only 29p a packet at Aldi, and they always come up and provide a good display of colour. Great for filling in gaps.
I was tired today as we went to the cinema last night to see The Great Gatsby. It hasn't had good reviews, but we all enjoyed it. If you are a real stickler for literary accuracy, then no, perhaps it wouldn't be a great idea to go, but for sheer spectacle and a bit of escapism, I would recommend it. Leonardo DiCaprio is well cast as Gatsby and looks very fine in 1920s clothes. Carey Mulligan is also beautiful as Daisy, with creamy skin and incredible frocks. A nice weekend, I wish it could last a little longer. Hope you had a good one, too.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Usually, I love my job. It is interesting and I meet all sorts of different people, with no two days the same. But sometimes, not so much. An annual article about local bathroom companies is on the agenda, and it was sending me bonkers with boredom. I promised myself that if I got most of it done by lunchtime, I could go out for a quick stroll. Mission accomplished, and I was out of the door hoping to catch the last few rays of sunshine. It is some time since I've walked around the village and it is looking amazing out there. So many flowers that don't usually bloom at the same time are out together in one crazy, colourful kaleidoscope.
Butterflies and bees.
My route to the village shop. Then I thought I should check out the lilac in the church yard, because this is my absolute favourite (apart from lily of the valley, and they are not quite flowering yet).
Lilac just out, with a few buds left to come...and they smelt incredible.
As I was heading home, I met a lovely lady and her husband, I often see them at auctions because they buy boxes of bric a brac to sell in aid of the chapel restoration fund. They wanted to give me an enamel tin, and to show me the lady's amazing collection of vintage and antique buttons. It was fascinating, she has so much knowledge and I had great fun looking at her beautiful, orderly collection. I wished I could have stayed longer but I had to head home to finish my deadline...but she said I can go back any time. That's the lovely part of living in a village.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Buttons. I love them, I have thousands of them, I cannot walk past a button box or tin at a car boot sale without making it mine. The problem is, once you've sorted the wheat from the chaff, where to keep the nicest buttons? Last weekend, I found the answer.
These little drawers were on a stall at the giant Bank Holiday car boot sale. I think they were originally used to store typeface, as the compartments are labelled. They're not especially old, but they are perfect for a button collection. I have bid for drawers like this at the auction before and they always go sky high and out of my reach, so I was pleased to buy these for £18.
Some of my favourite things won't fit in, like this little brown bag of bone buttons from France.
And the buttons on cards.
I had a successful sale at Foxtail Lilly last Saturday, and I did part with a few of my buttons. I made them up into little packs, green glass, red glass and so on, and they were really popular. I'm glad to know that it's not just me....
Friday, 10 May 2013
I was 50 yesterday, which still feels really unreal. It sounds sooo old. Still, what better excuse for a day out? I went to London to meet two dear friends for lunch. I could only grab them for an hour or so as they were working, but we had a lovely time chatting with a glass of wine in the Cafe Delauney on the Aldwych. Then I took myself off to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the London Fashion and Textile Museum. This is a small but really beautiful collection of paintings, quilts and knitted designs.
I had a lovely hour wandering through the rooms, soaking up the explosion of colours.
If I'm honest, I am not too keen on very tightly designed quilts, I can appreciate the skill involved but they don't do much for me. These, however, are a different matter because the colours used are so amazing. I also loved Kaffe Fassett's still life paintings.
Ginger jars by Kaffe Fassett
A lovely painting of jelly moulds.
After my tour I sat down with a welcome cup of tea in the museum cafe....
before heading home to celebrate with the family.
I'm going to be having a party in July, once all the boys' exams are over.
Fifty isn't so bad...:)
Monday, 6 May 2013
So many people tried on this little 1950s dress, but like Cinderella's slipper, no one could make it fit
Well, it was a lovely day for a sale. Everyone was ready for a sunny bank holiday. I set up my stall in the middle of a village green, which was soon thronging with people.
I met so many people, old faces and new ones. People love to chat. Sometimes they want to tell you about the memories evoked by certain things, "my mother had one of those...." Buttons seem to be especially evocative. I love it when people comb through my big linen hamper, searching out a treasure or two, and emerge triumphant with something to take home, and maybe upcycle into something new. I had quite a few American customers today, and my stock seemed to find favour with them. There was a man who was grieving for his brother, just wanted to get out of the house, and treated himself to a rose teacup and saucer, and a young Aussie guy who was fascinated by a wooden French knitting spool, bought it, and was off home to see if he could find a tutorial on YouTube.
This is me with my stall (wearing the SeaSalt dress I posted about a while ago!)
My friend Lucy was at the stall next door, and opposite was a lovely retro and vintage dealer. Behind was a bread stall from the local artisan bakery, which meant that there was a steady supply of freshly baked almond croissants, foccacia, sausage rolls and Danish pastries....and this time we'd remembered a flask of coffee to keep us going.
I sold lots of things, but there's still lots left for the Foxtail Lilly sale in Oundle next Saturday, 11am -3pm.
- I'm a freelance journalist living in Northamptonshire with my husband and two children. I love visiting auctions and markets and writing about my inexpensive finds. I'm the editor of a local magazine, so I find out about loads of interesting things that are happening in my community, some of which I would like to share here, too.