My Blog List

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

On display

Less is more when it comes to displaying collections, but I do find it hard to apply this rule. I am always rotating my collection of tins: I love this current combination.

Last night, with an icy wind howling around our badly insulated front door, I set to work and made a draught excluder from some of the fabrics that have been sitting in my materials pile. Creeping around the house in the small hours, as I often do at the moment, I am sure that it made all the difference.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Local magazine

One of my jobs is editing a local magazine called Nene Valley Living. It's a free title, but I try very hard to make it an interesting read, not just an advertising vehicle, with lots of original articles by local journalists about all sorts of subjects. Perhaps my favourite aspect of the job is commissioning the covers. I am so pleased with our Christmas issue, which was designed and painted by a local artist called Sam Purcell.

I am also lucky to work with a couple of great photographers in my area. Lesley Anne Churchill and Dave Phillips have both produced some amazing shots over the last year. And we do it all on a shoestring budget!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Embroidery treasures

I am fascinated by these three little bookmarks. They are from the 1930s and backed with apple green linen. I look around at the tacky high street Christmas stock and then think about these....I know that life was hard in the 1930s, and people were not generally sitting by the fire creating beautiful things, but I do experience a little surge of nostalgia when I see such amazing work.

Something else that made me happy today - my pink hyacinth is in flower!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Old bottles

I think these are colours for retouching photos. I love the bottles and the names of the colours. They are always inexpensive to buy and easy to find at second hand shops and antiques fairs.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Button tins

A button tin is a very great thing. Finding one at a charity shop (rare), car boot sale (possible) or antiques fair (quite likely) is a happy moment.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Suitcase rescue

I do love vintage suitcases, and I usually spot them at auctions or car boot sales. Last year, I bought a couple that were in need of help, thinking that I could easily get them mended. Wrong. It's incredibly hard to find a traditional cobbler who can do repairs, at least in my area. After lots of sleuthing, I finally found someone who said he could have a handle made for my lovely golden brown suitcase, and I collected it yesterday. It is hand stitched and very sturdy (thank you Shoecraft of Oakham!). It was also £28, a fair price for craftsmanship, but it may mean that I won't be rescuing many more waifs and strays. One very inexpensive tip,however, is to line the cases with vintage floral fabric. I've done this many times and it looks beautiful.

I have just returned from a traditional jumble sale in my local village hall. I have not been to a jumble sale for many years and it took me back to my teenage days, when I loved to root through the clothes and kit myself out. It was at a jumble that I found my prized white Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, a major plank in the foundation of my 70s wardrobe. Happy days.

I am always telling my sons about customising clothes and blending vintage and high street and they look at me kindly before heading off to Superdry. Anyway, this was a fantastic sale: I picked up two cashmere sweaters (love old cashmere) and almost passed out with joy when I noticed a Margaret Howell shirt, plain white with silk cuffs and collar hanging on a rail. £1 only.

I added some wonderful old Puffin books to add to my collection of 1960s titles, a Liberty print scarf and two enamel candlesticks, plus some pretty floral china.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas makes

Once a month when my deadlines are finished, I have a day to recover. I usually go somewhere for a wander, but I am not feeling too well at the moment, so I've holed up in my study and started making some Christmassy things.

I buy the labels in bulk from ebay, and that's also where I found these lovely wooden bird shapes. They worked out at just 25p each. I was going to embellish them, but I decided that I quite like them plain and simple instead.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

An auction find...

Last year, I found this amazing textile at a local auction. It is like a huge shawl, embroidered silk with fringing to the edges. It has lots of patches and some holes, but I fell totally in love with the colours. I couldn't stay to bid for it, so I left a price, and I was so excited when the phone rang to say that I had been successful.
I don't have it on display, as I don't want a teenage boy landing on it, so it just comes out from time to time to be admired.

I saw something quite similar in a new book that I've just acquired: Romantic Style by Selina Lake. I highly recommend this if you enjoy a bit of prettiness in your interiors. It has some sumptuous photos, just the thing for cheering up a dark and cold autumn afternoon.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

This week's find

I found this platter at the hospice shop this week. It looks a little bit festive, and a little bit Scandi, so I had to have it.

Another day, another blanket

My fondness for vintage eiderdowns has been overtaken by a penchant for blankets. This one is new, not vintage, and it was produced and woven in Wales. I love the candy colours. While I wouldn't mind if I never saw another cupcake again, I continue to covet, collect and hoard tea cups and saucers. This one is so thin, it's almost transparent, and I love the flower detail inside the rim.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Vintage sewing jars

I made six of these sewing jars today using an idea from the Ideal Home Christmas magazine. Vintage fabric and wadding makes a pincushion for the top of the jar, which I then filled with sewing items from my large stash of goodies. Over the summer I looked for wooden cotton reels, lace, trims and buttons at car boot sales and it was time to raid the hoard. I got the jars from Dunelm, £1.99 each, and the wadding was 99p for a metre. With a quiet house, empty of boys, and just Radio 4 for company, it was great to get down to some making at last. 

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Vintage Christmas cards

I loved these vintage books as a Christmas card from the National Trust shop, £4.95 for eight.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A day in Cambridge

An autumn day in Cambridge....the high street is mainstream, but off the beaten track, you can find plenty of quirky shops and beautiful buildings, of course.
I loved this contemporary craft shop, full of makers from the UK, and many from the Cambridge area.
Highlights were Angie Lewin cushion covers, Helen Martino's Kiss Pots, and Katrin Moye ceramics.
CallyCo is another great independent store with fabrics, buttons and plenty of haberdashery. Fabric prices are excellent, with natural, thick nubbly linen for around £16 a metre (you can see it above, next to the red patterned fabric). There is a branch of CallyCo in my nearest town, Stamford, in Lincolnshire, too. The shop is beautifully accessorised with vintage fixtures and fittings.