Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Amaryllis with a Mind of Their Own!

When I planted three Amaryllis bulbs at Christmas time, I expected to have an amazing display of flowers in varying colours.....

Well, I have these amazing blooms in the most vivid red that are stunning....but all is not as it seems...
One of the other bulbs has come up blind, with no sign of any flowers, just leaves....
And the other....well, that has only just woken up, so who knows what that will be doing, but I do spy two shoots....

Oh well, not quite the spectacular display I had imagined! Think I shall have to work on my green-fingers....

Yesterday I received a pretty parcel of goodies from the very kind-hearted Louise, from this fab blog. How sweet of her to send me these beautiful old lace trims to use on my handmade dolls.

She also enclosed the adorable vintage postcard. Thank you Louise, although we live hundreds of miles apart, I am touched by your kindness and I shall enjoy using them all.

I updated my website yesterday too, with over 40 items, including both hand made goodies and vintage treasures. Special thanks to all the wonderful people who made a purchase yesterday.
Thank you! - you are very much appreciated. Niki. x

Sunday, February 25, 2007

'Wash Day' Blues?

I hope that this post doesn't sound like I am trying to teach your Granny to suck eggs! - But it is aimed at anyone who may have walked past those piles of fabulous embroidered vintage linens at a flea market, because they looked a little sad and grey, or yellowed with age.

I recently purchased several pieces of hand crochet work and yellowed linens. (Hope that shows in the photo.) They can be rescued very easily and bought back to their original glistening white.
Bring half a large saucepan of water up to the boil. (I use this old enamelware casserole pan for the job.) Then when it is at a rolling boil, turn down the heat for a moment and add a washing powder tablet. It will fizz, so take care that it doesn't boil over. When it has calmed down, turn the heat back up and add the vintage textiles. You need to keep it boiling, as this is what will lift out the discolourations.

It should only need to boil for about 5 minutes and you will be able to see the transformation. Remove the items from the pan and rinse in cold water.

This method will sometimes work to remove stains from the colourful embroidered tablecloths of the 1950's. I am not suggesting that you should try this with anything precious or antique, but it is worth trying on a vintage item that you are ashamed to use, as it looks dingy; it may just rescue it from it's embarrassment. Or try the ones that can be picked up for pennies at car boot sales, because they have tea stains....
They deserve a second chance!
UPDATE: Sunday pm.
I have had several comments from my American friends, who do not know what I mean when I say washing powder tablets. You could use a spoonful of washing powder instead - The sort for the laundry, not the dishwasher. But PLEASE don't try it on anything precious, just cottons and linens that you would have otherwise discarded.

Hope this helps, Niki. x

Friday, February 23, 2007


I am very sorry for so few posts this week and for even fewer comments on all your lovely blogs! (I promise I feel really, really guilty!) I have been using all of my time to do lots and lots of crafting, website photos and write-ups.....(Watch this space...)
I hope to come and say 'hello' this weekend...have a great one!
Niki. x

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vintage Talc Tins

In my bathroom I have a collection of vintage talc tins and toiletries. Last week I was lucky enough to add to my collection - I bought this pretty 'Gardenia and Sweet Pea' tin from my friend Clare's new website. It arrived beautifully packed in pink tissue with a lavender sachet attached.
I have an old glass fronted cabinet in which to display my treasures.

Well two actually...!!

And all of the toiletries that we use everyday are hidden away in a cupboard under the sink!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Romantic Prints.

I love the calm colours of these two old prints that I found in a second hand shop on Friday. They probably date from the 1920's and feature flapper girls in a romantic setting.
Things are not so calm at home. It is half term so it will be interesting to see how much sewing time I will be allowed before my services as a taxi will be required!

Have a great week,
Niki. x

Thursday, February 15, 2007

From the Heart.

As a continuation to the Valentine's theme, I wanted to share with you an item that I purchased several years ago. It is a silver satin fabric, heart shaped box, made completely by hand many decades ago. On lifting the lid, I found a hand embroidered message lovingly stitched inside with pale blue silk.

It reads: To dear Margo
Many happy returns of the day
Love -
Odette & Baby
I wonder what Odette had placed inside for the lucky Margo to enjoy.

It rests on my dressing table now, where I store a 1920's wedding camisole and wax flower garland.
**Sigh** I do so love treasures from the past....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Happy Valentine's Day!"

Happy Valentine's Day to all....hope you enjoy lots of love, hugs and kisses today!

With a sprinkling of old fashioned romance.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Patchwork Lampshade.

Here is an idea for an unusual lampshade, using a selection of favourite fabrics. Firstly, I made a paper pattern of the wire frame and added a seam allowance. Eight fabrics were required for this large shade; I used floral prints from my vintage fabric collection.

Once cut out, they were stitched together on the sewing machine. The whole thing was then pulled over the frame and I hand stitched it around the top and bottom, pulling it taught. The hand stitches can then be hidden beneath a piece of fabric binding, glued in place.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Little People!

Lots of new little people, made by me.....

....And made by the little people; well my 13 year old daughter Emily, after school yesterday!

Thanks to all who made a purchase from my website today, it is very much appreciated. Niki xx

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Authentic Vintage.

I visited Carol's blog this morning and was inspired by a quote that she has on her sidebar. It reads: 'I would rather own authentic vintage than designer fake.' I have to say that I do agree with that too. That's not to say that I don't have any repros in my home, but where possible, I would always prefer to have the real thing. Apart from the fact that these old time-worn objects have far more appeal to me, they are often cheaper too!
For example:

My fabric covered C19th French drawers cost £18.00 at an Antiques Fair.
Cath Kidston's drawers cost £45.00.

Our original French armoire cost around £400 from eBay, including delivery.
Laura Ashley's wardrobe costs £1575
I have a large collection of vintage fabrics and have paid from £1.00 to around £30.00.
Kate Forman's are £39.95 per metre.

The eiderdowns that I have found over the years, have ranged in price from £10.00 for a tatty one, that needed a good wash, to around the £50 mark.
Cath Kidston's are £110
Sometimes it can take a bit of time to find the original article, but that is the fun of it. When you finally find what you have been searching for, you feel rewarded.
And think about the environment; Antiques are the ultimate in recycling!