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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

November magazine

The new issue of Nene Valley Living is out now. As usual, I compiled our annual gift guide, using products from local independent shops in what always turns out to be a rather marathon photo session for photographer Lesley Anne and I. Although we style the shots, the products aren't necessarily the ones we'd personally choose, as we are trying to cater for all tastes. That's fine, it's always a challenge to make them look as good as we can. For the cover, I made some cookies, and slipped in a lovely piece of fabric, a 1930s print with a kitchen theme that I found at an antiques fair last year. I think it was £3 and I really love it.

Some of my other finds came in handy, too:

The dog and the bear were auction purchases and I knew if I bought them they'd have to earn their keep. The little tin stacking toys are also from my stash. Now I am thinking about a Christmas cover and I'm wondering if I can utilise those home made patchwork baubles that I can't stop making at the moment.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Seeing in black and white

This is me and my two best friends from university (that's me with the bow...vintage lace, I believe!). I've been making 50th birthday cards today, as these two both have their birthdays in the next two weeks. I trawled back through old albums and  made memory scrap books for them both. I still have letters that we sent to each other, tiny notes that we passed to each other in the library or pinned on the notice board (no mobiles, or even a house phone in those days), cartoons and drawings of people and places, scraps of poems that we either wrote or copied out, and issues of our university newspaper that we all worked on. Then there are our adventures in London, followed by partners, weddings, babies and now teenagers and even twenty somethings, in R's case. What a roller coaster ride. I need tea and a good book now. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Weekend make

The weekend passed in a flurry of family activities, and by Sunday night, I was itching to sit down and have a go at a simple making project, inspired by a Christmas magazine that I bought recently. This was such a lovely, simple thing to do. I had a pack of cheap, bog-standard Christmas baubles in the cupboard, so I got those, and all the teeny tiny scraps of fabric that I haven't been able to bring myself to throw away over the last few years, just off cuts from various schemes of mine....

I just covered each bauble with a selection of square or rectangular shapes, and pasted them on with Wilko's wallpaper adhesive, which is my go-to glue of choice ;)
The result was very satisfying. I found that an old egg box was the perfect accessory to help me make the patchwork baubles, and to display them afterwards. 

You could make retro baubles, by theming your scraps, or just a random mish-mash, like these. I might also try just using one fabric. The possibilities are endless. Best of all, it involves fabric, but not sewing, which as you may know if you have read my blog before, is not my strong suit. 

Finally, some roses from the market to cheer up the house, and another of my cracked old jugs with writing.

Have a good week everyone

Friday, 26 October 2012

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes to my Mum today. It's a special birthday, but she'll kill me if I say which one....we had coffee and cakes in a lovely new tea room in Stamford this morning.

Latte and an almond croissant, made properly on the premises. Lemon meringue for M.

Just too pretty to resist taking photographs.

We're going to see Warhorse in London next week as her birthday present, and there is another little trip lined up for her at the end of November, too. Clue: Christmas. Market. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Still feeling bruised after yesterday's news, so have battened down the hatches today. The house is full of the smell of ginger biscuit tray bake (my son's favourite and the easiest recipe in the world). I am planning the local magazine's Christmas issue but not concentrating very well. 
The table came home with me from the weekend's sale, It belonged to the stall opposite me, and I could not resist those little legs and the formica top.
Thanks for all the comments yesterday, it was really helpful.

* PS Full ginger biscuit recipe now in 'comments' section 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Something cheering needed

It has been a dripping, grey, foggy day here, so I needed to look at some photos that are warm and friendly.
I am feeling sad because we have just heard that an elderly family member has been the victim of a scam that has robbed him of a lot of money.
Please, if you have elderly folk in your family who live alone, warn them not to accept work from strangers who call at the door offering to cut their trees or replace loose tiles. 
My relative, who is in his 90s and physically frail, but usually very much on the ball, has been defrauded and intimidated by three cowardly men who knocked on his door. The fraud took place over a number of weeks. I simply cannot believe that people could be so cruel.
The police are involved now, but I wrote this post because I want others to be aware of this practice. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday sale

Had a really good time at the sale today. It wasn't the most successful one I've done in terms of sales, but I did enjoy the ambiance and chatting to the people who came along. I thought you might like to see some of the stalls. There were some brilliant things at amazing prices. I love this lady's vintage style (above). She has lots of retro 1970s things, and displays it really well. 

There were around 30 stalls in the Hall.

An eclectic mix on Cherry's table....

I must admit to experiencing some 'stall anxiety' and even 'stall envy' at this sale. For the last couple of years, I've only done a few sales, always at the same venues where there aren't many other vintage dealers,or where people know me and my stuff. This was different, and for the first hour, it did seem that everyone was making a beeline for anywhere but me! Thankfully things got better as the day progressed. 

I sold my patchwork suitcase, which is great. Now I can make another one. 

Tiny jigsaws. 

               This stall did very well indeed (above)

Time to pack away until the next one (on November 16th at Foxtail Lilly.)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Stall ready

With an empty house (empty of people, that is, not things....) and my work just about finished, I spent a happy couple of hours getting my stall ready for Sunday. According to the organiser instructions,  I had to specify the sort of things I would be selling, so there are not too many duplicates, and I chose children's vintage and things which might appeal to teenagers. This is my selection of purses and accessories (above). 

A stack of tins....and then it got too dark  for iPhone shots....

That's better, let there be light. It is soooo grey this afternoon, pearly grey rather than a really horrible murky grey, but I still don't like it.

Miniature tea sets, bricks and toy dogs, a tiny sewing machine in working order. The floral fabric on the cushion is really cheery. 

                    Beautiful piano shawl

Blankets, shoes and nursery chairs. A pink cot, and plenty more. 

The vintage and handmade sale takes place this Sunday, 11am - 4pm in the Victoria Hall, Oundle, Northants. Admission free. Tea and cakes on sale. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Down to earth

It always takes me a while to get back into the groove after a few days away. But I think I've come back down to earth now. I've had lots of deadlines recently, too, so the blog had gone to the back of the queue. Most deadline things are finished for this month, so I've got a couple of days to prepare  for a vintage sale on Sunday. It's taking place in Victoria Hall, Oundle, Northants, from 11am to 3pm, if anyone likes the sound of it. I think there are going to be about 20 stalls. I've finally finished the printers tray so I can take it with me.
The gaps are intentional, as it looked too much like an optical illusion when all the little squares were covered. 

I thought it might be right for a bathroom. The paper is washable/vinyl, so it wouldn't mind a bit of steam.

I've got some lovely goodies to take to this sale. Some of them are hard to part with, but they have to go.

I love the giant red and white sewing basket. It's the biggest one I've seen. 

My stall is quite small, so I will have to plan what I am taking quite carefully. I hope to do a trial set up tomorrow, rather than hurling everything at the table in my usual style. Just have a few cushions to make first. See you soon. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

A short break

                                                                   Nice, France

Last week flew past as I was getting ready to go away for a much anticipated long weekend in France. One of my oldest friends had booked a big house in Provence to celebrate her 50th, and her partner's 40th birthdays and they'd invited 20 friends to come along. It was so exciting, it seemed quite unreal until we were on the way to the airport on Friday morning. Husband and I landed in Nice at about 4pm, and had five hours spare while we waited for two friends, who were sharing our car to the house. We drove the short distance to the town centre, and stepped out of the car into bright sunshine, palm trees and warmth. It was glorious.

  We strolled around the old town, soaked up the Mediterranean atmosphere, and had a meal in a little bistro in a square. I love the colours of Nice. 

There were more French delights to come. The next day, a big party of us headed into Grasse, a place I've always wanted to see. The perfume industry is big in Grasse, there is evidence of it everywhere.

                                                  The Perfume Museum, Grasse

            Perfect little town for mooching around

We walked, sat in cafes and bought some beautiful soaps and lotions from the  Fragonard shop.

                Tamsin sampling the scents 

Saturday night was a birthday dinner and lots of celebrations, and then a chilled Sunday morning by the pool at the house, and a big barbecue lunch, before heading back to the airport at 2 o'clock. 

 Lemon birthday cake baked at the house by friend Ronnie 

Not even a storm at Nice airport, with lightning forking around our aeroplane could take the edge off a really wonderful weekend. I'd love to go back there, with more time to explore. Hope you enjoyed the sunny interlude. 

Just one final snap: is this what is known as a cool cat?

Friday, 5 October 2012

Show and tell

I've had such a lovely morning at Peterborough Festival of Antiques. I woke at 6am to the sound of rain beating against the window, but by the time I'd got up and had a mug of tea, the weather was blowing through and the sky was lighter, so I pulled on my wellies and set off. 
Sometimes, not having much to spend is a really good thing. You automatically discount any big items and spend longer sifting through the boxes and bags in and around the stalls. I found lots of lovely fabric, and the jam pots and jars that you can see above were only a couple of pounds each.

I had no shopping list, apart from wanting a few accessories for our Christmas gift shoot for the magazine next week. I was after a few vintage baking items for that, and I found a lovely weathered metal bun tin and a sweet old wooden spoon (£1).
A few pieces here will go to my next sale on October 21st, but I think the marmalade pot and a few pieces of fabric will probably find a home with me.

Quite a few of the dealers remembered that I'd been ill this time last year, and were so sweet asking how I was and telling how much better I was looking (at 8am with no make up and a high wind blowing I think that was quite generous!!). Seriously though, I like the antiques community, it's a small and friendly world. 

This lady's stall is always beautiful, and she has one of the cutest dogs I've ever met. She has a little shop in Hinckley, Leicestershire, called Vintage Treasures. I haven't been, but I a plan to. 

Finally, at long last, I managed to find some 1970s wallpaper.

It's a complete roll and it didn't involve taking out a second mortgage. I was so pleased with this.

Hope you enjoyed sorting through my treasures with me. Have a lovely weekend.