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Sunday, 27 February 2011

A long time coming....

Finally, the newly covered chair is in place. I went to fetch it yesterday. This has taken an unfeasibly long time to organise, as I fell for some expensive fabric which I had to save for. It is also very difficult to find someone who makes loose covers for an affordable price, as it is a very skilled job, and when you do, they are usually booked up way ahead, as is the case with the lady who made these. Anyway, it's all done now and I've had fun putting it in place and titivating. 
My younger son's only comment was that: 'it is very pink.' He is right, it is pinker and less washed than I had imagined, but no matter, the other family members seem fairly accepting. So long as the chair provides a comfortable base for watching Match of the Day, I think they are probably happy!

I had a very lucky find last week. A beautiful crochet blanket for an absolute song. I had a strange premonition that I was going to find one that day, but given the inordinate amount of time I've been spending in charity shops of late, perhaps it was bound to happen. 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Nene Valley Living, March issue

The March issue of Nene Valley Living is out.  I tried something new on the fashion pages this month. We have a small budget for our editorial pages, so models and make up artists are out. Photographer Lesley Anne Churchill ( and I used her kitchen to pose the clothes on lots of vintage props, most of which came from my shed! Lesley Anne did a lovely job, and I am very pleased with the results.

I particularly like the shot of Monty the dog (pictured next to my legs in floral wellies). He was very put out by the camera. Every time Lesley Anne put the lens to her eye, he let out an indignant bark, which made me jump and pull the lead.
People are always telling me that I have so much 'stuff.' Well, now I've proved that it has its uses!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Work in progress

At last I have started making a little patchwork quilt. I have collected so many lovely vintage fabrics over the last couple of years, and apart from making them into cushions, my sewing skills have limited the options. But I am DETERMINED to try and master some new techniques. Patchwork seems to be fairly straightforward, so long as I stick to squares and straight lines to start with, and so I've begun.
My fingers feel like sausages when I hand sew, but hopefully, it will get a bit easier. And, as always, I am motivated by the thought of the end product....

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Tea time

I am never very keen on foodie blogs. Although I love eating, I think it takes a really great photographer, and a few tricks, to make food look really appetising. But I might make an exception for these Tunnocks tea cakes, as they make the perfect accompaniment to my jolly M&S tea towels.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Vintage books

I love old books and I have amassed quite a collection over the last 20 years or so. Displaying them is tricky, but I like them to be readily accessible, so I often just pile 'em high.

Beatrix Potter's Ginger and Pickles (below) is dated 1909. It wouldn't interest a serious collector because it's falling to bits and has some strange brown marks on the pages. But I love this copy, especially the illustrations inside Ginger and Pickles' ill-fated shop, with all the old tins and the tiny drawers behind the counter. It's rather a strange tale, but contains a timely warning about trying to live on credit!

I always pick up old ABC books if I see them, and a recent find was this Babar version.  

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

It's so quiet....

The sun shone for an hour this morning, flooding the rooms with light. Everything is very peaceful in the house: I am working at home, my husband is away for a few days, one son is at school, the other curled up in bed reading. No football on the TV, hockey shoes, shinpads and homework all over the floor, phone ringing, just a few moments of quiet....I'd miss the family hurly burly if it wasn't there, but it's nice to take a moment...
Plus, this is going to be a 'before' shot, as the green chair shown above is off for its makeover tomorrow. New loose covers, which have taken me an age to sort out, but should happen this week.

Monday, 14 February 2011

A little secret

At first sight, this little cupboard looks very unimpressive. Just another brown cabinet, typical junk shop fare. It was covered in cobwebs and smelt distinctly musty when I picked it up. But further investigation revealed that it's a home-made sewing cupboard, with a sliding compartment concealing storage space for fabrics and a little drawer. On top, the tray is perfect for cotton reels, pin cushions and trimmings. There are even little holes down the side (right) to house knitting needles.

A quick once over with my lavender polish, and it's perfect. Even if I had endless money for fine antiques and a Georgian farmhouse in which to display them, I would still prefer quirky things like this (okay, so I wouldn't say no to the farmhouse....)  

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Shine a light

Jobs don't always get done very quickly in our house. There is always so much else going on that fixtures and fittings can sometimes take a while to be attended to. This gorgeous chandelier is one of them, but it was worth the wait. I know it is very kitsch, but I love it. I first saw it in a magazine many months ago, and, like many items which appear on the homes pages, I could never actually find it in the shop or on the website. But patience paid off, and finally I spotted it in store.  It is called Bohemia and it comes from British Home Stores. 
This is all part of my plan to bring colour into our hall. I have some vintage bud vases (1960s ones I think) displayed on a shelf nearby, which pick up the shades in the chandelier. Just a stripy rug or runner to save for next, and it should look much more inviting....  

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Things that make me happy

These coloured linen tablecloth were purchases from the Antiques and Home Show at Lincoln this week. They just shriek 'spring' to me, and I love them. I bought them just before the Lost Wallet incident, so I hadn't fully appreciated their loveliness until the drama was over and I'd got everything safely home.

I am not sure that my shots capture the cornflower blue background of this cloth. It really is a beautiful thing, and washing away the musty smell and restoring it to lavender-fragranced fabulousness was just the tonic I needed in a week which has been filled with sad news in our small community.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Vintage shopping spree

A day off and I went to the Antiques and Home Show at Lincoln. I love arriving early and seeing a huge village of tents and marquees, trailers and caravans with vintage wares spread out around them. It was a beautiful day: cold but crisp and sunny. I started well, and had a wonderful time rummaging out some fabrics, and old suitcases, gathering together the bits and pieces that I love to collect or use for magazine covers.

But, disaster struck at lunchtime when I found that I had lost my wallet. Aided by a lovely security man, I retraced my steps and looked everywhere for it, but it was nowhere to be found. My friend Tracey was on hand to cheer me up and lend me some emergency funds, but I felt very downhearted. It takes me a very long time to save up for my antiques fair trips, and to lose half of the money in one go was very hard to handle.
I got home with a heavy heart, only to find a message flashing on my answerphone. My wallet had been handed in, complete with cards and cash! I've just been back to collect it. The person who handed it in hadn't left her name or address, so I won't be able to thank her or to say how grateful I am for her honesty. Antiques people sometimes have a fly-by-night reputation, but I think this proves that they're a pretty solid bunch!