Friday, January 30, 2009

A Little Piece of Paradise.

Some of you may know that I ran a little shop situated on the side of my house a few years ago...

Whilst I have been sitting in my basement workroom this week I have been thinking about it a lot - I'm such a nostalgic person and am always wearing my rose-tinted spectacles! ;-))
But in many ways it was easier to run the physical shop that it is to run my on-line one.
When I didn't have any customers in the shop, I could beaver away at my sewing machine making lots of pretty items from vintage fabrics.

When each piece was complete, it was just a case of writing out a price tag, adding it to an attractive display somewhere in the shop and then waiting for a lovely customer to come through the door looking to buy.

I do miss the interaction with customers too. Whilst I am very grateful for all the emails that I receive now, it isn't quite the same as actually talking to someone and seeing the look on their face as they walked into my shop for the first time - it was rather full!! - But these lovely ladies rarely walked out empty handed!

This week the RSI in my wrist has been giving me some problems, so I have had to leave my handmade dolls to one side and work on some smaller items that require less stress, for the V&H fair. It will be lovely to actually talk face to face with like-minded ladies again there, as I said, this is something that I miss. I'm hoping that some of the old customers to my shop will be coming. Many of them don't have the internet, so are no longer able to shop with me on-line, so it will be great to catch-up.

Anyway, enough of my whingeing - the photos on this post are all from my archives from around 2004 (when I had my first digital camera - so I used to take lots!)

Please indulge my look back over some of them...they serve to remind me how many items I have made over the years, so I should perhaps expect my poor wrist to object sometimes!
The photos also remind me that I am settled; in that my look hasn't changed over the years and I am still enjoying making a wide assortment of treasures from the beautiful vintage floral fabrics.

The fact that over 5 years down the line, I would still like my bed to be dressed in this way, is testament to that.

And I can't beat fiddling with even the tiniest of fabric scraps to make feminine boudoir style pieces to beautify the dressing table. (I'll be making some of these cuties for the fair.)
So I hope you will enjoy my small selection of photos of the goods I used to make to be placed in my own little piece of paradise....
Lovely lace and cherubs...

Useful shoulder bags fashioned from the good sections from damaged quilts...

Small items of furniture were revamped...

Bold 1950's fabrics added a colourful statement to the mix.

Piles of patchwork cushions were always for sale.

Along with boudoir bags for the vintage-loving girls.

Peg bags to make the chores a little more enjoyable...
With the more mundane utilitarian items receiving a floral beauty make-over too!

Garden gift sets...
and vintage stock was constantly being sourced. Mountains of floral eiderdowns were laundered and dried, along with piles of linens and curtains.

sigh....I do miss you little shop...
Have a lovely weekend.
Niki x

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All White?

Now that's a sight for sore eyes...
Dainty white snowdrops just beginning to unfurl.
And another pleasing sight... a busy mornings work inspired by the seasonal purity of white...

8 plump cushions to add a touch of spring colour to the home.
OK, I'm off to the dentist now...hopefully I shall have shiny white teeth when I return!
Have a lovely afternoon,
Niki x
Update: Just for you Teena - the floral barkcloth backs! N x

Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Did You Get That Hat?!

I had promised myself that this year I would stop buying glossy magazines and put my pennies towards wiser or more necessary investments. So, I was rather cross when I found myself flicking through February's edition of 'Homes & Antiques' in the supermarket this morning! - But I'm actually quite glad that I did, as I suddenly spotted an article on vintage hats. I confess that the copy did find its way into my shopping trolley and will be my treat this evening in front of the TV.
If you have read my blog in the past, you may know that I have a passion for millinery lovelies and cannot resist these old floral confections, with their diversity of style, colour, shape and materials.
What surprised me with the magazine article though, was that the photo shoot appears to have been staged at 'Bea & Evie's', one of my favourite shops in Frome.

I haven't read the piece yet, but I feel sure I'm going to enjoy my indulgence!
There is also a review of last night's episode of 'The Antiques Roadshow' that was filmed in the Bishops Palace Gardens at Wells. Another of my local haunts!
My second treat of the day was waiting for me when I returned from my shopping trip. A brown paper parcel tied up with string! Whatever could it be? I wasn't expecting anything in the post...

It was a Valentine's Day gift from Monica! Beautiful handmade cards and a box of chocolates...I will be spoilt this evening! Thank you again naughty lady - you are very kind.

Something else that I wanted to share with you - I never cease to be amazed by the vintage discoveries that can still be unearthed. Hubby and I were actually in Wells on Saturday for a few hours and called into 'The Trading Post', there. It's a little rough n' ready inside, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this beautifully hand painted tray in one of the furniture salerooms.
It's quite large and weighty, even before loading it with afternoon tea, but is delicately painted with a soft moss green background and a limed oak frame.
Another surprise find over the weekend was this c1950's plaster lady with pretty floral costume and a spill holder behind her.
I feel lucky that she lacks the usual chips and missing chunks that is so common a find on these vulnerable plaster statues.
And then there were these tiddlers! I am reliably informed that these miniature buttons would have been made during the time of the queen's coronation. They are fabric covered and appear to be unused - something that I shall soon put right!

And to finish, one final surprise of the day: This evening I was catching up on reading some of the comments left on my blog recently. I came across one published on the 'Tighten the Purse Strings' post below. It was from 'Millie'. I duly clicked on her highlighted name, expecting to come across another blog that I had not yet discovered, but it lead me nowhere. I feel touched that a complete stranger would write with such sincerity and kindness, that I just wanted to thank you Millie on my blog.
It is one of the nicest comments that I have received in a long time and I am gratified that you would take the time to put your feelings into words on my post, especially when it sounds as if things are not so good for you just now.
I am very grateful for all the comments that I receive on my posts. If truth be known; English lessons at school were never my strong point, so it is flattering to me that I have visitors to my blog who enjoy my wittering(s)!
Hope you have a wonderful week - I have lots of sewing that I need to make a start on, which I hope to do tomorrow...
Niki x

Friday, January 23, 2009

Catching Up...

Firstly, THANK YOU, to everyone who entered my giveaway below - I was totally overwhelmed by the response it generated and was unaware that so many knew of my little ol' blogs existence! I've discovered so many more blogs through doing this too that I didn't know where out there. I am only sorry that I couldn't provide more prizes to share out, but sadly there has to be just one winner, which I have selected randomly from the hat. And she is...

Tina of 'Sweetina', well done to you! The above group of nostalgic lovelies will be on its way to you very soon.
A long awaited treat last week was disrupted somewhat when poor hubby came down with the bug that is doing the rounds...Sadly he was too unwell to venture out to the theatre that he had booked tickets for several weeks ago, for us and our girls. So the girlies and I headed for the bright lights on our own for an evening of sing-song! - The Bristol Hippodrome was showing 'Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat'.

The lead was played by Craig Chalmers, who did a fantastic job - in fact, the whole cast had been very well selected and all fitted their roles perfectly, each putting their heart and soul into their performances. It really was a feel-good musical with memorable songs telling the story from beginning to end.
Cameras weren't allowed in the theatre, so I've added this official photo from Google showing Joseph in that amazingly colourful coat!
Unintentionally I think, the patchwork coat design inspired the outfit for my latest rag doll that I am working on. It's in a somewhat more subdued colour scheme (!), but I've fashioned the mohair jacket from strips of vintage woollen scarves, as well as a patchwork skirt in toning colours from vintage cottons.

I had considered keeping her when she's finished for the V&H fair in May, so that I'm not rushed nearer the time. But its such a good feeling to finish a doll, as they take a long time to complete, that I just want to have them added to my shop as soon as I can...
I have managed to make some small pieces for the fair already, but I'll show those a lot nearer the time.
Over the last couple of weeks I have received two emails from different ladies asking if I have 'help' at home. (Sorry, I couldn't help but giggle a little.....if only!) I do hope that my blog posts don't come across as if I have a simple and perfect little life, with me sat at my sewing machine making frivolous things all day, with someone else doing all the unpleasant stuff in the background!

There are five of us living at the Stone House and I have to put my family and our home first. Hubby works from home too, so there are always cups of tea to brew throughout the day. And just like everyone else, I do all the cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, ironing, polishing, dusting, laundry, ironing, gardening, shopping etc...etc...during the week. I just choose not to mention all of that tedious malarkey on my blog! My sewing time has to fit around the household chores and bringing up the family.
Anyway, moving on...
I must admit that I also succumbed to the bug by last weekend, but wasn't going to let it stop me visiting an antiques fair on the Saturday! Talk about commitment!
I am glad that I did make the effort to go though and was pleased with the pretty things that I discovered...
The old French pink and cream lace skirt hem has already been used for the rag doll costume above.
And I can't wait to use the fine white cotton nightgown for a similar rag doll too.
These deliciously floppy millinery roses reminded me of the old painterly postcards that I love to collect. I've displayed them for now amongst my antique shoe collection.

Lots more sparkles found themselves snapped up!
I particularly liked this floral brooch, with its crystallised buds and hand tied posies.
This little china treasure is a tiny 4cm across - I'm amazed that the forget-me-not flowers have survived the years intact.

I was also on the lookout for some more 'special' vintage buttons for some handmade ideas I have that I want to try soon - thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.

I bought some beautiful silvered glass ones and small fairy-like glittering buttons.

I always love the ephemera stalls and came away with these charming Victorian cards.

And talking of cards, hubby and I have been organising a Golden Wedding Anniversary party for March, in our spare moments, for my in-laws. I would have loved to have made my own invitation cards, but as usual, time does not allow. I did however find a brilliant website where you can customise your invites to suit the occasion.
Our cream card ones fasten with gold organza ribbon bows and are printed inside in brown. If you are looking for classic invitations, then I would recommend this website - we received ours within a day of finalising our order!
I would finally just like to thank everyone for their kind feedback regarding my websites new look and to thank all of those who placed an order or two from the on-line catalogue...I spent three days wrapping, packing and driving parcels off to the post office, so purchases should all be with their new owners very soon.

Sorry this is a bit of a mishmash post, but I just wanted to catch-up with what's been going on here and to check-in after being away from my blog for a week - thanks for staying with me.
I now need to get back on my sewing machine again and get creating some more dolls and decorative adornments...and do the housework of course!! ;-))
Have a great day!
Niki x
PS: This is a message for Beverley in New Zealand in the hope that you will read this blog post! I have been replying to all of your emails, but I believe that you are not receiving them (have you checked your spam/junk files?)
Beverley is coming to stay in London soon and was asking about the best places for vintage shopping. I'm not sure that I can be of much help, as I haven't been to London since I moved away from Hertfordshire to the west country in 1985! Perhaps if anyone could help her, they could leave a message in my comments? Thanks so much! - Just hope that you read this Beverley, as I would not ignore emails!