Thursday, November 27, 2008

On the Trail of Vintage Textiles

You certainly couldn't help but feel a little bit festive and fuzzy inside, walking down the high street of the old fashioned town of Illminster yesterday. The traditional shops that line the road all have a 'step-back-in-time' feel about them and had all gone to a lot of trouble to create a Christmassy atmosphere.
Lizzie mentioned the old drapers shop in one of her blog posts recently - I love the shop doorway with its etched glass and dark wood pediment.

The florists had this spectacular display to draw people in - obviously some very talented ladies working here...
And I had to post this photo of the puffed-up pussy! Have you ever seen such chubby cheeks on a cat? This old boy was sat out side one of the shops, watching all the passers-by....
But, the main reason for being in Illminster yesterday was to attend another vintage textile fair. It's only a small venue, but the treasures inside are always spectacular.
This stall holder had a lovely mix of French and American bits and pieces, as well as some lovely fabrics.
And Lizzie's sublime arrangements; I was seriously tempted by the vintage and antique shoes that she had on offer...but had to be restrained with Christmas looming, like it is...
My friend Debbie, who I had gone along with, and I, were able to spend a lovely hour or so chatting and having a delicious lunch with Donna and Sue, who were also enjoying the fair. Here we are with Lizzie, clutching some of our purchases. Lovely to see you again, ladies! x

My finds included this very pretty spriggy printed cotton, in a cheerful colour scheme. Two beaded purses and the very unusual vintage brooches.

They look good enough to eat, don't they?!

Some panels of hand stitched American patchwork, with some very early fabrics.

Lengths of antique lace, flapper feathers and this fabulous Fair Isle sweater, which I have an idea for...;-))

Before going home, Debbie and I called into a new little cafe which had recently opened - the young girl inside was extremely welcoming and she stoked the open fire for us whilst we supped our tea!
A lovely day to punctuate a week of paperwork, emailing and sewing...
Hope you are all having a wonderful week,
Niki x
PS: I would also just like to thank everyone who ordered a copy of my 'Living with Nostalgia' 2009 calendar. I was completely overwhelmed by the response, and so shall order a larger batch next time. They were a big investment for me, so I didn’t know how many to chance having printed! I shall email my mailing list again when I have had some more printed and hopefully I shall have enough for everyone who would like one next time….should be in about 2 weeks, I would think…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A naughty but nice treat that I indulged in far too heavily last night!

My daughters 15th Birthday cake which had to be eaten! Ha!
Suddenly there seems to be a lot of candles and its me that is feeling so much older....

Then another treat, which arrived via the postman this morning, was a complete surprise.

This beautiful array of pink loveliness had been sent to me from Italy by Monica.
Monica has kindly bought several items from my website in the past - her beautiful photographs can be seen on the 'inspiration' page. We email each other now-and-then, but I wasn't expecting Christmas gifts! Thank you so much Monica for your kindness!
I look forward to reading the 'Sew Pretty Christmas Home' this evening.
Now, the treat for us all is that Monica has started her own blog today. Her creativity and photography are stunning, so we are sure of a visual feast - I just know it!
And finally for today; I have had some 2009 calendars professionally printed, entitled 'Living with Nostalgia' with photographs taken from my recently published book of that name.
It is printed a page per month and has plenty of space to jot down important dates and appointments to remember...

As well as cheerful pictures to brighten your day!

I shall add them to my website soon, but for now I have plenty of sewing to finish...
I hope that you are all enjoying your week,
Niki x
Update: Sorry, all the calendars are now reserved, but I hope to order some more before Christmas - thanks to all who placed an order - I was overwhelmed by the response!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time Flies...

I've hardly had a free minute recently, so my poor blog has sat without an update for almost a week...terrible woman!
In between taxiing one of my daughters about to and from dental appointments, a trip to the station so she could get back to uni in Aberystwyth again, Birthday preparations for my youngest, regular visits to the Post Office, and the general chaos that comes with family life, I have been sewing....I have some pieces to finish off, but hope to have another update to my website well before Christmas.....

This morning I allowed myself the time to visit a vintage textile fair in Bath, which was bliss. Afterwards I took a leisurely walk back through the city to try to get myself in a festive frame of mind. Working from home can be a little isolating and sometimes I have to remind myself what day of the week it is, let alone what month we're in! Christmas seems to be fast approaching and I've barely given it a second thought. Its my daughters actual Birthday tomorrow, so after that I shall have to knuckle down...
Some of the individual shops in Bath are getting ready for the Christmas rush. Pretty window displays brighten up the side streets....
(Oh look! There's one of my dolls sat in that window! ;-))

More cheerful reds and greens here too...

The fairy lights have been strung up in the Corridor...

And decorations have started to appear on the lampposts.

The beautiful fir tree now stands in front of the Abbey and Pump Rooms, ready for the opening of the Christmas Market...

with the wooden chalets in the square patiently awaiting their vendors.

Back home, I've just snapped a few shots of my purchases from the fair. Lots of lovely French fabrics again...have you ever known me to walk past them?!

Beaded daisies, which I thought could look pretty hanging from the Christmas tree.

I just loved the pale blue silk velvet ribbon and these tiny forget-me-not flowers.

Finally, fluffy mohair scarves from Lizzie to keep some more of my dollies warm!
And in between cooking the dinner, cleaning, doing the ironing etc.(you know how it goes!), I've been making-over a cupboard!

I bought this large 1930's utility glazed cabinet for £20.
Gave it a coat of French grey paint...

Lined the back of it in glamorous pages from an 1890 French magazine...
Quickly covered the shelves in fabric using my staple gun.
And hubby and I hung it from the wall on our landing.

I wanted to use it to display my vintage shoe collection properly.
I can now appreciate them more here and they will be kept dust free behind the glass.
Hope you are having a lovely weekend,

Niki x

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fair Days

I couldn't pass up these French boudoir lovelies on a recent trip to an antique fair, now could I?
There is a pair of little circular cushions covered in textured damask and silk. A sweet little half-doll pin cushion attached to a sewing case. One of my favourite items was the tiny patterned silk purse with celluloid clasp, containing loose powder with a combined powder-puff and mirror inside...
An incredibly intricate fabric covered box, stitched by hand and studded inside with beads on a pale blue ruched lining. The dainty dressing table mirror with scroll metal frame is just 7 inches tall.
I love the fabric case printed inside and out with art nouveau poppies. And just one sparkling costume brooch this time, to add to my collection that I mentioned in the post below.
I also bought some more rare French fabrics with my dolls in mind. As well as the lovely Scottish mohair scarf which will be recycled into a coat for one of them.
I'm sure I shall never tire of finding these gorgeous old floral fabrics....sigh....

This one is a pure silk mixed fabric and is printed with the prettiest pink rose garlands.
And a C19th cotton with a simple little rose motif - just lovely.

I also bought these pottery rose buds, French again, which I intend to thread up with lace to hang from our Christmas tree.
And lastly this little chubby chap pleaded with me to bring him home....or did I imagine that?! Anyway, he seems happy here amongst the tête-à-tête in my kitchen.

I also wanted to mention the 'Vintage & Handmade Fair' which is being held this Saturday. Sadly I'm unable to attend; something Sue knew I was a little miffed about! So she very kindly offered to take along one of my rag dolls to sit on her stand!

I have made this little lady especially for the fair. She is dressed in a c1930's rose printed French cotton dress, with a beautiful pale green background. A spriggy print petticoat with broderie Anglais hem and a pair of ankle length bloomers made from C19th French ticking.
But the piece de resistance of her festive outfit is her pure wool coat, which I have made from a large section from a Welsh plaid blanket. It's finished by hand and trimmed with c1930's hand painted wooden buttons.
Sue asked if I could name her Myfanwy, which I think is fitting, given the origin of the blanket!
So Myfanwy will be seated on Sue's stand at the fair, with the perfect vantage point for viewing all of Sue's beautiful wares and also all of the other stalls in the hall.
Wishing all who have booked a stand, a wonderful and prosperous day! See you at the next one!

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has placed an order on my website recently. I have been kept very busy wrapping, packing and despatching parcels for 3 or 4 days.
I have also had several emails from people asking if I intend to add some more handmade stock to the listings soon. I am hoping to later, and so may not be able to visit other blogs for a little while.

Running my website keeps me very busy, on a daily basis, which often limits me to the amount of time I can then spend on sewing. It can be very difficult to find a balance when there are emails to answer and orders to invoice for. Of course I am very grateful for the orders, but with no crafting time, I have no new stock -This is my only source of income, so please forgive me if I don't come to visit your blogs for a little while. Thanks!
Have a great week,
Niki x