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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Not sure...

I have acquired a table from my father- in-law. It's not my usual taste, but I've always rather liked it. In fact, we had it in our very first house in Hackney but swapped it for something different when we moved here. It's a late 1950s/early 1960s Swedish table. I've seen some similar ones in magazines, but it was a pic in Selena Lake's book Romantic Style that sort of got me thinking that it might work in our house. I'm going to live with it for a few weeks and see...not sure at the moment, really not sure.

Selina Lake's version. Pic taken from Romantic Style. Photo: Debi Treloar. Book published by Ryland, Peters & Small
Our first house was a tiny  railwayman's cottage, hidden away in Hackney, East London. It was Victorian and had beautiful pine floorboards. I always liked the modern white of the table against the old wood floor (and I loved that house so very much, but there was no room in it for babies!). Our current house is modern, and so there is no new/old contrast. One to think about, anyway.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Summer days....

Well, finally here in the UK the weather is absolutely  beautiful. Sun, fluffy white clouds and a light breeze, it's sensational. Hard to believe that I was wearing a woolly hat and winter coat last Sunday afternoon! You may well wonder why I am sitting inside writing this blog rather than enjoying every last ray: well, my day started very early with a car boot sale, and I've been busy in the garden doing chores since then, so I've popped in to cool down for a bit. Plus, everyone is out doing various things, so it's chance to snatch a quiet moment and a glass of something cool....only water! 

The car boot sale was huge and packed, the biggest yet this year. I had some interesting finds this week. Some 50s curtains, embroidered tablecloths, fabric remnants, old patterns and a simple blue Lovatts jug:

Cannot wait to get this camp bed set up. It's made from khaki canvas and dates from the 1960s. It just looks brilliant. The seller said he wanted to keep it but his wife had made him get rid of it. I plan to pile it high with cushions for some summer lounging and once I've figured out how to assemble it, I shall take a photo. 

Something else that made me happy today was a little Noah's Ark. I love the old Victorian children's Arks, and would love to own one some day. This isn't especially old, but I did think it was sweet:

Two by two...

I also found a tiny cradle, which I shall enjoy fixing up, and some more plants. 

I love this quote, from Alan Hollinghurst's book, The Stranger's Child, which sums up an English summer afternoon for me:

"The front door stood open, in the summer way, into the shadowy hall. Beyond it, the garden door too stood open, the afternoon light glinting softly on polished oak, a china bowl, one could pass right through the house, like a breeze..."

Welcome, summer.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Come outside

A window of opportunity presented itself today. Magazine finished for June and proofs signed off. Sunny day. Husband away. One son at school and the other in an exam. Time to pop outside and do some potting up. Had a lovely afternoon filling my tubs and containers. I am no gardener, but I do try...and I've got a gorgeous display of alliums this year, too. I love these plants with their pom pom heads (and have Foxtail Lilly to thank for introducing me to them).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Old friends

In the mood for some escapism tonight, so here are some faces from the past....

Mum recently found my old doll bed and passed it on to me, so I have a home for all those stray bears. Most of these are family toys: the ancient koala was my husband's, two of the teddies were mine from childhood, one was my youngest son's favourite baby toy. Only the rabbit and the two dogs are newcomers. What is it about the faces of old toys? My son and I find them hilarious. The rabbit always looks disapproving, but the bears are so laid back and have benevolent smiles. The koala? He's the grand old man.

I've been doing lots outside today (trying to get away from the work email), gardening and repainting things and it was so warm and so sunny. Nothing is quite finished yet, but progress was made.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

That's better

The skies were leaden again today, but we decided to just go to the open garden anyway. I am so glad we did. The house is very grand, and surrounded by huge limestone walls. I drive past it every week as I take my son to his guitar lessons, and I have always wondered what's behind those impressive ramparts. It's much larger than I'd realised, and there are acres of grounds.

Pretty amazing. I must admit, although I admire the grandeur, it's the nooks and crannies which I find more appealing.

 We found these roses scrambling over a sheltered wall.

These tiny cream roses are lovely. Imagine an old shed covered in these.

An arch of wisteria.

Lots of secret windows, summer houses, follies and arches.

There was a huge memorial which turned out to be for the Victorian owner's dog, Pompey. Obviously a much loved friend. This old shepherd's hut took my fancy:

I wouldn't mind holing up here when I'm feeling outnumbered...wouldn't say no to bunking up in this cottage in the grounds, either. 

I have a real thing about Victorian greenhouses, and this one is a beauty.

In fact, the outbuildings were all beautiful.

We finished our tour with tea and cake in the cobbled stableyard. Who needs sunshine anyway?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Making the best of it

I couldn't take any photos today as it was the greyest of grey drizzling days. I was hoping to get my step ladder painted and various other outdoor projects done, but it wasn't to be. Instead, I tackled a wild area of the garden and shifted barrow loads of goose grass, ivy, buttercups, dandelions and last autumn's leaves. I have plans to go to a gorgeous open garden tomorrow to inspire me. Here's hoping. x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

May blooms

Not much time to say hello to my blog today, as it's deadline week, and the magazine has grown an extra four pages over the last couple of days, so lots to do before Friday. But I had to stretch my legs at lunchtime, the first time in over a month that I've walked my route, and it was looking so lush, I had to take some photos. So many blossoms, green, green grass and cow parsley growing  like I've never seen it before!

Creamy fields full of it....

Beautiful dry stone walls....

I don't usually like yellow, but these fields are looking amazing, too.

Safe to say that I didn't really want to come inside for another session on the computer...

Sweet May.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

What a weekend

                                                Sharon's stall

The Foxtail Lilly vintage sale was a great success yesterday. The sun shone, the crowds came, and I think everyone did pretty well. Really, the setting could not have been better. Tracey's lovely garden and little barn shop, with a large area out front where six sellers set out their wares. People sat and had tea and cakes in amongst the stalls.

                                                 Jane's stall

                                           My stall

                                    Tracey's outside stall, staffed by Poppy

So many wonderful things, all with a slightly different style. For me, it was the linens which were really popular. I didn't sell many larger items, but tablecloths, runners, lace and fabric remnants were flying out (totally different to my sale last week, where it was the big pieces of furniture which sold). My vintage toys did well, too. And once I'd made a few sales, I did treat myself to a couple of things, too. This pretty cakestand:

Some fabric:

And a lovely embroidered hanging, but that will have to wait for another day, as I'm still considering how and where to put it up. Today, my muscles are screaming after lots of lugging and standing yesterday, but I felt really wired after the sale, and didn't sleep well. So, as we were both bobbing about the house at about 6.30am,  youngest son and I decided we'd pop out to our local car boot. I am very glad we did, too. The fine weather had brought out the sellers today. 

 A cute tin, coloured wooden bricks, a vintage pinny, buttons, books, lace trimmed pillow cases, lots of lovely cheap plants and this little bag:

What has happened to my 'no more china' rule?? This tiny Copeland cup was the first thing I bought....

My best buy of the day had to be a lovely step ladder for £3. It's going to get a coat of paint and a new home in our garden. 

Youngest was a great help this morning, carrying and nipping back and forwards to the car. We were all done by 8.45 and headed to McDonalds where I treated him to his favourite breakfast. Now I just have finish planting my new plants, and find homes for all my old (and new) stock....