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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter days

Have a lovely Easter break. 
It's still too cold for gardening here, so I'm probably going to tackle some DIY today. We'll have a trip to Norfolk tomorrow to see family. 

Enjoy your days....

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday morning

Battening down the hatches today. Coffee, flapjack, a coal fire....

I made a long cushion for my pew, using some fabric I bought at Peterborough Antiques Fair, and an old nylon eiderdown for padding. Total cost = £7.50. The fabric is an old curtain, much-washed linen, sun faded and tumbled.

I've started a new project. I'm making a full sized patchwork for our bed. I have no idea if I'll be able to do this, but at least the bit with the squares is straightforward, and I'm having great fun choosing my fabrics. I'm going for a palette of reds and florals, I want it to be bright and cheerful. 

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the pretty old Durham quilt I found at the fair on Friday.

Definitely having a colourful moment...

Stay warm, everyone.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Antique-ing in the snow

It was a chilly one for Peterborough Festival of Antiques this morning, but I'd set the alarm for 6am and I decided I'd go despite the snow floating past the window. I'm really glad I did.

Well wrapped up in thermals, coat, sheepskin lined boots, gloves and hat, it was good to be out in the fresh air. I did feel sorry for some of the dealers in the outdoor area, as the wind was howling and the marquees were taking off. But people were still buying.

I sold a few things on ebay last week, so I had a few pounds to spend. I wanted hooks for the bathroom, and perhaps a little the end I bought the hooks from my friend Tracey's shop, and decided that I'd use a cabinet that is in my shed. But I did come home with some lovely fabrics, an old quilt, and this....

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Why I'll always try to shop vintage...

               Tulips in my Salvation Army shop jug

I can't remember the last time I bought a piece of new furniture, apart from the occasional piece of Ikea for the boys' bedrooms. But we have just finished having our bathroom refitted and I needed a tall, skinny cupboard to make the most of a very odd little corner space. The only one I could find was in Next Home. I thought it was very expensive for what it is (a pile of MDF), but I couldn't think of a way round my storage problem, so today I set out to purchase it.
I arrived at the large, new out of town store to find the Home department deserted. After about 20 minutes a pleasant man said he could not help me but would try to find someone who could. Another 15 minutes passed and a lovely Australian lady said she would go to the store room and find my tall cupboard. "We have got loads of them!" she said. "You can't move for them back there!"
Another ten minutes passed. A different assistant came. Bad news. No cupboards left. 
"You sold them all!" I said.
"No, I sent them all back," she explained. "We have nowhere to store them."
"'re a shop. You are a very big shop...."
"We don't carry any large stock," she said. "Where would we put it all! Imagine if we had all those wardrobes and beds back there...."
"I just thought...that's what furniture shops did. Sold big things."
"You might be able to order it," she said uncertainly. "But it won't be here until next week...."

To add insult to injury, the cupboard is self assembly, so I've got that to look forward to as well. 
It's vintage all the way for me from now on. Friendly service, great prices, fully assembled, and if I don't like it, I can repaint it with no qualms about the cost.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Another ray....

Thank you for your super-positive reaction to my last post about lemon curd. It seems that plenty of us were ready for a bit of colour and sunshine. As it struck a chord, I thought I'd show you the cake that I made with the lemon curd this morning, for no good reason other than to inject a little more brightness into another grey day.
A Victoria sponge, flavoured with lemon zest and sandwiched together with a very thick layer of yellow goodness.

Posing here on one of my favourite linen tablecloths, the blue of a summer sky with beautifully embroidered primroses, daffodils and other spring flowers.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Little pot of sunshine

At last, I am feeling better. It has taken a while and I haven't had much appetite. Yesterday I decided that the only thing I wanted to eat was lemon curd spread on thinly sliced white bread. I couldn't get it out of my head, and so I decided that I'd better make some, as strange food was better than no food at all. 
It was surprisingly easy, the ingredients are just lemons, butter, sugar, and eggs, all stirred up together, perfect for building up a body. And what a beautiful colour! Just what is needed, although we have had a sunny day here today.

It lifted my spirits in so many ways, and the smell was just delicious. I have made two pots of this, and a bowl full, too, which I'll probably put inside a cake. 
It's nice to be back :)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Knocked off me feet

Well, that is not a week I wish to repeat in a hurry. I've been wiped out by a virus, completely and utterly blown sideways. No energy for photos, or making, or anything at all really. I crept into the doctor's today and got some antibiotics, so let's hope they'll will kick it into touch.
Normal service resumed next week (I hope....)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A day of calm....

Last week was all about rushing and hassle, so it's lovely to be slowing right down today. We started the day with coffee and hot chocolate in our nearest market town. There just happened to be a tiny vintage fair taking place. We had a little mooch round, my sons doing their best to look politely interested. I only bought a £2 square of fabric, but I really enjoyed browsing.
Now we're home and lunch is being made for me. I've been finishing off making these patchwork eggs.

I bought a pack of scraps from Cambridge market last week and I wanted to put them to good use.

Wishing you all a relaxing day... and a Happy Mother's Day to my Mum....

Friday, 8 March 2013

Pretty Pastel Style

Something lovely came through the post yesterday. Selina Lake's new book, Pretty Pastel Style with photography by Catherine Gratwicke. 
There are so many interiors books on the market now, but Selina Lake's are my favourite because the homes are attainable and they all have heart and soul. You know when you look at them that you don't need £££s to create something similar yourself.

My favourite image is this one: kitchen lust!

But there are so many more beautiful interiors:

And this one:

I did wonder how the book would incorporate vintage and retro, but it has been done really well, with plenty of traditional French-style prettiness, as well as lots of lovely retro (I love that trolley full of seventies wallpapers in the above picture). I will spend hours poring over this, I have only just begun and I would highly recommend it.

I am feeling inspired because the builders are currently in our house, refitting our bathroom. It's long overdue, our small family bathroom takes a hammering, the Cath Kidston style really didn't suit the male contingent, and there is always a queue in the mornings. Although it's only one room that is being gutted, the house seems to be in chaos, and there are dust sheets and bootprints everywhere. I've gone for practicality in this new room. My only concession to vintage is the rectangular tube train style wall tiles. 

Our builder is great, and when I took him and his mate a mug of tea this morning he told me that he'd noticed that I liked 'old fashioned bits and pieces.' I agreed that I certainly do. 'I am going to bring you a present next week,' he said. 'Something I've had for a while now and I've never known what to do with it....'
A vintage-friendly builder! I'll keep you posted....*

* It's a tiny bottle, with a printed label and copperplate writing.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Unexpected treat

I had a lovely trip out today, swapping Sunday chores for a trip to Judy's Affordable Vintage fair in Cambridge with my friend Sue and her 14 year old daughter. I've wanted to go to a Judy's event for ages now, but always seem to miss the boat. When Sue suggested it, I was keen. The fair was mainly clothes, shoes and accessories, but what a great place to rummage. Racks and racks of lovely frocks, jackets and jumpers.

I found one fabric stall, a dealer I've met before at other fairs. She had some lovely buys. The fabric above was £6 and I l-o-v-e it. There was more....

I bought one cashmere jumper. Saw lots of dresses, but I'm quite happy with my new Sea Salt one, so no need for any more. This was pretty though:

There were some lovely vintage-attired people around. These two ladies were great fun...

A lovely way to spend a Sunday morning.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

An evening out

Yesterday evening I interviewed the author of this book in front of a small audience at a nearby literature festival. It's the first time I've ever done an interview on a stage before. I spent about a month reading and re-reading this lovely book, and for the last week I've been learning my questions. I was nervous just before the event, but I need not have worried, because the author, Rachel Joyce, was lovely. She was an actress before she was an author, so she had a great voice, and she did some readings from the book. The interview was held in a large church in nearby Oundle. There were about 80 people in the audience. I think it went smoothly. One old lady told me afterwards that she couldn't hear a word I said ("not a single word!") but we were wearing microphones, so I am not sure why that should be :) 
I would really recommend this book. It's a beautiful, if sad, story, about an unassuming man from Devon who goes out to post a letter to a dying friend one day. Just as he is about to drop his letter into the box, he decides that he will deliver it to her by hand instead, and he sets off to walk to Berwick on Tweed in just the clothes he is standing in. Along the way he meets many people, each with a story to tell, and learns a lot about himself in the process. The descriptions of the landscape and the seasons are sublime. 

I got these gorgeous  tulips as a 'thank you.' 

And this bargain bunch was from the market yesterday. The stall holder seems to throw a bit of everything into his bouquets. 

The new issue of the magazine arrived with a spring like cover. 

Have a lovely weekend.