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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Devon finds

I think this was my favourite purchase from the Totnes vintage market last Friday. 

A crochet country cottage tea cosy which is in pristine condition. Thank you Vintage Chick!
I also found this shabby old shelf.

I love the little compartments. I am going to use it for my very occasional sales as I will be able to display all sorts of small treasures on there. The small toffee tins were bought for me by my eldest son who texted me from home early on Sunday morning. The conversation went like this:
"Mum, I am at a car boot sale and I have found some old tins, do you want me to buy them for you?"
Me: "Are they pretty, do they have writing on?"
Him: "They are old tins. That's all."
Me: "Are they red? Do they have the words 'toffee' or 'sweets' on them?"
Him: "They are toffee tins. One of them is a red toffee tin."
Me: "Okay, if you can get the price down a little bit, I will have them...."
He bought them for me. I have taught him well!

Little cake pans. I am growing a collection of these. 

And this is my souvenir poster. 

A pretty old mirror from the RSPCA shop.

And finally, my doodled impressions of Devon. x

Welcome to my new followers. It's lovely to have you along.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Time off in Totnes

We were staying in the middle of Totnes, which is a very busy and pretty small town. When you live in a village, as we do, I always think that it's extra-exciting to holiday in a town. And this is a lovely one. There are lots of independent shops, a small market place with a busy Friday and Saturday market, galleries and book shops, health food stores and a tolerant, laid back kind of atmosphere. 

And yes, there was quite a bit of vintage and handmade in evidence. I particularly enjoyed the Friday vintage market. I arrived at about 9am, and spent a wonderful hour just rootling around the stalls in the sun. First of all I headed straight to Shabby Chick, having read about this lovely pitch on a number of blogs.

Pretty gorgeous isn't it? Amanda is the lovely lady who owns the stall, and she has such a great selection of carefully chosen florals and chintz at very reasonable prices. I think we need to see a bit more...


Eventually, I did manage to tear myself away, having made a purchase. I didn't manage to photograph my buys today, but I will do it tomorrow. Here is a snap of the rest of the market....

I found the most delightful shelf here, and I will show it as soon as I can. There were lots of other things to see and buy though, local honey and bread, cheese, and an organic cut flower stall which was doing a roaring trade in pretty bunches.

I had three 50th birthday presents to buy and you could not find a better place to do it. This shop was a real favourite, and it was just a few minutes away from where we were staying. Its name was Inspired Buys.

It had a really eclectic mix of things. I bought the vintage hotel poster in the window...

So much to explore:

I had to pop out one evening to take pictures as the streets were so busy during the day.

To get into town, we had to walk over the river bridge.... gorgeous.

I've showed you one of the walks we took which started on the river bank in my last post. On our last day, my son and I took the house bicycles and rode a mile or two out of town in the other direction, to Dartington Hall. After a very waspy cup of tea in the excellent Venus Cafe, we went to explore the gardens.
I am sooo glad we did (it was a bit stormy by now and we almost headed home). 

It was a very special place. Free to go in and wander.

This hobbity little house was empty, but there were signs of life. A pair of hobnail boots and a mug on the sink. Very intriguing. We sheltered under the roof while the storm passed. The paths were glistening.

And then it was time to cycle home again

So there are some very happy memories of Devon. 

Last instalment tomorrow, just to show you a few finds...

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Three go wild in Devon...

Devon was just beautiful last week. We have come back feeling so relaxed and even a bit sun-kissed as we had great weather. I won't be a holiday bore, but here are just a few shots of West Country loveliness. Mainly, we walked along the coast paths, sat on the beach, ate fresh crab sandwiches in the sun, discovered Dartmoor and the winding lanes of this greenest of counties.

The walk to Strete above Blackpool Sands was perfect.

The bay is secluded, and very pretty. After a couple of hours sunbathing, we went to explore and ended up walking to the next village.

I loved the way that the landscape changed in just a couple of miles. Meadows, woodland, pastures, streams...

Just three of us on holiday this year. Eldest son stayed to work at his summer job.

We took the path that you can just see on the fields above...I love this view. It would make a great oil painting, or maybe a lino print. 
We also explored Dartmoor. I think I've only ever driven through before, and I loved its wildness. It was so easy to lose the Bank Holiday crowds. Carey and I went for a beautiful walk and hardly saw a soul...just some wild ponies and some inquisitive cows. As well as moorland, there is the River Dart, fringed with rowan trees which were loaded with bright red berries.

And we came across these magical stepping stones...

We were staying in the centre of Totnes, house and cat sitting for some old friends. They left a list of suggestions for us, and we had great fun exploring somewhere new every day. This walk started from the house and took us to a village called Ashprington.

I was delighted to find one of my favourite things, yep, a roadside stall....

We walked about 10k that day, so this was a welcome sight...

I'll pop back tomorrow with more about Totnes, the vintage market and a few finds.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Off on my hols

I'm off to Devon for a week. Hopefully I'll be breathing some sea air, taking some moorland walks, and exploring the delights of Totnes. I can't wait! Back soon. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Small finds

I went to two car boot sales today. My favourite find at the first one was this little tin. 20p and the flowers are from the garden. There is nothing better than a shabby old tin to start the day off well! I like the colours of this.

The second car boot was this afternoon (I wish more car boot sales were in the afternoon) and here I purchased an enormous zinc bath tub for £3 (destined for the garden of course), a battered old brass curtain rail with curtain rings (this is for my 'some time' house), a very small walnut table and some books to take on holiday next week.

I also bought a few kitchen things for my son, because he will be going to Manchester University in a month's time. We've all been so relieved and happy these last few days. I've only visited Manchester a few times, but it seems like a wonderful city, buzzing and busy, very different to where we live. I've warned my son that he will be getting a least one! 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Seasonal inspiration

A new picture for today. I drove by a roadside stall last week, screeched to a halt and took some photos. I love roadside stalls, with the honesty box and the jumble of seasonal things for sale, so I thought I'd have a go at painting one. I'm looking for displacement activities today as tomorrow will bring A level results to my eldest son. I have no real idea what to expect. He is out, busy working his summer cafe job, so I am just trying to put it all out of my head for now....what will be, will be etc
A new batch of September magazines has provided some great inspiration, I have another idea which I might start later. There were some beautiful images this month.

Country Homes and Interiors

LandScape (bit biased, as I have some articles in it this month) but do love their nature photography

Country Living, a lovely September issue

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Folksy Summer School - Part 2

One of the best things about the Folksy Summer School that I went to last weekend was the way it combined a full programme of inspiring and helpful talks with some hands-on crafting. It's good to vary the pace when you're trying to take in lots of information and this was a lovely way to achieve it. This mini workshop (above) was one of Gemma Nemer's: she was teaching how to make tiny fabric flowers. But there was also the chance to try lino cut printing, to watch screen printing, book binding and, on Sunday, making a vintage-style soft toy with the super-talented Sarah Pinney of 

Screenprinting with Sue Westergaard.

Sarah from Northfield Primitives and her suitcase of wonders

I was partly at the weekend to hear people's stories, so that I can write about some of them. Sitting and crafting together was a great way to find out about some of those individual tales. I met so many different sorts of makers: cat collar makers, hat makers, clothes customisers, potters, crochet sculptors, a woman who dyes wool, fine artists and jewellery makers. Even on the bus back to the station after the weekend was over, we were still chatting and swapping cards and tales.

Creativity was all around, including a spot of yarn bombing....

I do love this tassel bunting.

Creative ways to spread the word about a business....

So there were many highlights of the weekend. A brilliant photography workshop by Lyndsey James who managed to shoehorn hundreds of simple tips about taking a great product shot into a seamless half hour demo. James Green's linocut workshop, John V Willshire for making me think, Andy Poplar of Vinegar and Brown Paper for a down to earth story of dropping out of the corporate world and setting up on his own, and Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire of Mini Moderns on running an established design company. I also enjoyed hearing Chloe Haywood of Hatastic talk about her journey from hobby to hat empire.
So that was a lovely weekend, and I came home with some souvenirs, too.

My Folksy bag: 

A vintage dog (and yes, I was the only one who sewed the ears on back to front)

And a caravan lino cut