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Friday, 30 November 2012

The twinkly lights of Lille

We had a lovely trip to Lille. A flying visit but we managed to pack a lot in. Mainly of the shopping, walking and sightseeing variety. It was just as pretty and festive as I'd hoped it would be. Those French really know how to do things, each window beautifully decorated and lots of time and trouble taken to gift wrap even the smallest item (even when there was a large queue, and nobody sighed or rolled their eyes, either!).

The lights outside the station were particularly magical and I loved the pink carousel in the main square.

The little Christmas market was very sweet, selling lots of festive treats such as gingerbread, hot pear cider (yummy), roasted chestnuts and peanuts. 

There was plenty to see apart from the market, and we walked miles. I'd visited the city earlier this year, so I knew roughly where to go. We had dinner in a small, traditional restaurant, where pot au feu was on the menu. 

We found a few vintage shops....

This one was lovely, although as my mum pointed out, rather a lot of photos of naked ladies :)
I really enjoyed the shop window displays. There are some large chain stores in Lille, but so many tiny independent stores seem to be thriving as well. I wish I knew their secret. In my own town, a vast Primark has just opened and I fear it will crush the little traders.

This ballet dress was in the window of a shoe shop....and this enormous cat was part of a florist!

I bought some treats for Christmas presents, little jars of pickles and mustards, packets of gingerbread stars and small bottles of wine for grown up stockings. Some fat quarters of floral fabrics from a haberdashery for crafty friends, and one vintage find, a tin of mother of pearl buttons. We were loaded up when we boarded the Eurostar home, and our feet were very tired!

See you tomorrow for the giveaway results. You can still enter!

P.S A few of my buys from Lille

Mum and I at the Christmas market...

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A mini break

Tomorrow, all being well, I'm going on a mini-mini break with my mum. We're off to Lille on Eurostar, to see the Christmas market and have a mooch around the city. I'm desperately hoping that our trip won't be delayed by floods, high winds or more rain, because we're only there for one night. There's certainly a lot of water around us at the moment:

The fields have turned into lakes.

Two people I know have written off their cars by driving through puddles which turned out to be very deep, and of course there are some sad stories on the news of people who have been flooded out of their homes. I can't imagine what that is like. Here's hoping that the rain has stopped now. See you on Friday and I hope that I might have some lovely French photos to show you. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

My torn heart

Last night I was ensconced by the fire with a basket of fabric remnants and a heart shaped wire that I found during my big clean up. I decided to give it the rag wreath treatment. It was only a single wire, so it's not as fulsome as the round wreath, but I quite like the results. As before, I cut long strips of fabric, ribbon or lace and just knotted them on. And, in a super-thrifty measure, I even saved the ends of the strips that I trimmed off to make into patchwork baubles later.

             Heart wreath on my favourite cabinet

Closes December 1st.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


It is so grey and gloomy outside today, that I felt it was time for something cheering. A GiVeAwAy!
I have put together a few small items from my collections: 

* a bundle of vintage fabrics for patchworking or any crafts
* a tiny pincushion in a vintage madeleine tin
* a selection of old mother of pearl buttons
* some home made patchwork baubles for your tree (or branch)
plus a couple of surprises....

All you have to do is to become a follower, if you're not already, and leave me a comment telling me your favourite style era (1930s, 1950s, Edwardian etc). I'll put all the names in a hat on Saturday December 1st and draw a winner.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Clearing the decks

I promised myself, after the last sale, it was time to reclaim the house. No more piles of stuff on their way to a stall, I need to put everything away, organise my home - and my mind, which seems to be a bit all over the place at the moment. So, while everyone was out at football this morning, and with the sun streaming in, I set to work to make some inroads into this (and there is a lot more, out of the shot!).

I haven't seen the surface of this table for quite a few months now. After a flurry of putting away, lots of trips to and from my shed, some beeswax polish and a bit of elbow grease, it was looking like this....

You didn't really think it would end up being completely empty, did you? 
The fabrics on top of the table are my finds from the Vintage Christmas Boutique at Woburn Abbey. I really didn't buy much, although I was tempted lots of times, but mainly by things such as Edwardian sheer lace dresses for £95, which was never going to happen.

At the Foxtail Lilly sale, I spent just a couple of pounds on this gorgeous little brooch:

I am delighted by this. It is so clever. 
Now I am off to clear the decks still further (I hope) by putting some of my unsold items on ebay.
Hope you're having a good weekend. 

PS I shall be doing a giveaway next week. Watch this space!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Feeling seasonal?

Even if you don't do Christmas until December, I would defy anyone not to have felt just a little bit seasonal at Foxtail Lilly's Christmas preview evening last night. Tracey, Rick, their family and team of helpers had pulled out all the stops to clear out an old barn so that they could expand the event and include some extra dealers. The place looked beautiful, twinkly and glowy.

Here is the barn, where we were standing.

And some of my things. 

I sold lots of small items, all the things that I put in the rummagey areas. It's funny how sales go. No big items at all. That shed of mine will have to stay full until next season's sales roll around again....

Mulled wine station.

I love these jumbo snowflakes

This year is galloping away.....

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A bit of pretty

Little lavender pillows. Betty and Violet

I finished off a huge pile of work late last night to make time for a day off today. Fellow blogger Foxtail Lilly and I set off for Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, to a Vintage Christmas Boutique fair organised by Betty and Violet. It was extremely foggy outside, but off we went into new territory and, apart from getting lost (I always get lost)  it was absolutely lovely. I haven't taken exterior pics, as it was so gloomy, but inside, a real treasure trove of vintage and handmade awaited. So many talented people making and displaying their are a few favourites.

These toile mice were gorgeous:

Lots of seasonal shimmer and sparkle.

Vintage dresses, shoes, bags and accessories galore.

Kitchenalia by Carole at  Her blue display....

And her red one....

And all rounded off with smoked salmon sandwiches and home made shortcake in the tea salon.

A thoroughly good day out. Tomorrow, it's Foxtail Lilly's Christmas preview, so I'll be getting my own wares ready tonight. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas covers

We were making the cover picture for the December issue of Nene Valley Living today. These are only my quick snappy snapper photos, not the real thing. Twigs and baubles was the theme. It took ages to get every bauble hanging in just the right position....but I am very lucky to be working with my friend and colleague Lesley Anne Churchill. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Rag wreath

I've been busy making this rag wreath, triggered by an idea in the little Christmas makes magazine that came free with Prima this month. It only took me one evening to complete and it's a good one to do while you listen to music or watch TV or sit by the fire. The main component of my wreath is an old Cath Kidston night shirt, the softer the cotton the easier it is to tie on the strips of fabric. I also used up lots of stray ribbon, the kind you collect (or at least I do) from chocolate boxes and parcels, and can't bear to throw away. I bought the wire wreath  from Amazon. It started life like this:

I cut the fabric into strips and knotted them on to the wire. 

I squeezed on as many strips as I could.

This picture above shows the wreath just before I finished the final layers of fabric.

I bought three lovely craft books from The Works yesterday, one of them is the much talked about Granny Chic. It only cost £5.99 and then there was a 10 per cent discount on top. I picked up an unexpected piece of extra writing work last week, from a new magazine which contacted me out of the blue. So, the books were my little treat to celebrate.