Friday, April 29, 2011

Couldn't Stay Away...

I've still have lots to do at the moment, but wanted to check-in to my blog today, with a quick round-up of some of the things that have been going on around here. (I have been updating my other blog fairly regularly with my latest handmade items - I'll include some others that I missed at the end of this post.)
Hope you all had a very Happy Easter...
This little watercolour was painted by my Mum and was sent to us as our Easter card - Isn't it cute?!
It was wonderful to enjoy some fabulous weather over the extended weekend.
The garden is taking a lot of my time and energies, but with rewards such as these lilac blooms, it's worth it.
The wisteria has been a riot of tumbling flower heads and fragrance. I've trained it around the top banister of our raised deck, which means it surrounds us when we sit out there...
Which is just what we did on Easter Sunday. All three of our girls (and middle daughter's fiancé) joined us for a barbecue.
Youngest daughter made this scrumptious cake for afterwards.

I've had to continue sourcing stock, not just for the shop, but for the upcoming fairs too...(April has been a difficult month sales-wise, with so many Bank Holidays, but I know retail is like that and so I have to carry on buying during the lean times, in order to have a good assortment of stock for when visitors are looking to spend again.)
Some of these items will come with me to the Vintage Bazaar on Saturday.
I've been stitching the lovely antique glass buttons onto cards this week.
I may save the wonderful old salmon pink French undergarments for the Talent for Textiles Event at Glastonbury.
The brown wooden item below is actually an old lampbase, with a large lead disk in the base to give weight and stability. It was no longer wired for its original use, so I have just managed to finish turning it into a flapper doll head hat stand this morning, again to take with me on Saturday. (She can be seen towards the end of this post.)
The Victorian bread plate is sold, but the Victorian papier mache rose decorated box can be seen in my shop.

Framed pictures and embroideries for the Vintage Bazaar...

And a c1930's handmade painted shell flower garland necklace...
For me! :)
I've wallpapered the back boards of these painted corner shelves with toile de jouy paper. They'll be great for display on my stalls.
Fairy folk have been appearing...
I was pleased with how this one turned out...I always strive to make each fairy or angel a one-off - This one has wings made from a tape measure, and a notable 4" waist! I've named her Mocha Lottie!
A Fallen Angel with lovely antique lace costume.
and a tarnished golden tiara!
And a pretty in white fairy with a few red highlights, a scheme which I always think sits well in a French inspired home, amongst the old tickings, toiles and faded florals - She's called Lola.
I've been tying up bundles of I know I can't keep everything, so must be strong...Great for tiny projects...such as 'mouse-bunting'! (As suggested by my friend Helen! :)
The c1930's style flapper doll hat stand that I mentioned, was completed in the nick of time.
All of the components and materials are antique or vintage, to give an authentic look as possible to her.

Cloche hat made from French Deco velvet, sweet moulded dolls face and Victorian ostrich feathers.
I've also had fun putting together some pretty little sewing repair kits. Each on a vintage china saucer, with handmade pincushion, reel of thread, a few buttons and coordinating card.
If you can make it to the Vintage Bazaar on Saturday, I'm sure you will have a wonderful time! - Opens 9am till 3pm. (My shop will be closed whilst I attend the fair.)

And finally a bit of good news for Shepton Mallet. It did seem that after all the high profile publicity brought to the town by the Turn Back Time BBC TV series, it was sad that nothing very much happened in the town on the back of it all to regenerate the high street. I realise, as with most things, it takes money, but there was so much enthusiasm by local residents to do something after the series aired at the end of last year, it was sad when it fizzled to nothing...(I've noticed during the last couple of weeks that there have been quite a few Australian visitors coming into my shop - All of whom said how they had enjoyed the Turn Back Time series that has just been shown down-under.)
It seems it will take individuals (or small business partnerships) with courage to step-up and be brave enough to take-on one of the empty shops that are available to rent, to slowly and surely regenerate the still struggling town centre...(It surprises me that this one is still available, as it strikes me as a viable business opportunity, ready and waiting, with the direct link to the TV show as added marketing/promotional potential. Why do other premises keep being chosen over it, with the additional stumbling block of 'change of use' having to be granted by the local council, from originally a retail premise to either cafe, restaurant, winebar etc.?)
The large shop below, has stood empty for many years. Last year it sold at auction. Sensitive restoration work, initiated by the new owner, has finally started this week to rebuild the crumbling façade. Why? - Because a new shop is coming to town! Exciting! :)
Have a great Bank Holiday weekend...
I may be absent again for a short while.
Niki x

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Signing-off For a Couple of Weeks.

As promised, I've finally got round to adding some photos of the simple guest bedroom make-over that I completed last week. All done on a very tight budget, by using the existing furniture that was crammed (including a 4' double bed) into what was originally our only spare, and which was realistically just a single room.
Now that daughter number two has moved out, and is happily living in her own flat, its been an ideal opportunity to create a more comfortable room for our visitors.
Previously, our daughter had an oriental theme to her bedroom...

After repainting the ceiling in pure brilliant white, the dominant raspberry red walls needed to be blanked-out with cheap white emulsion.

Then, with my 'buy one get one free' pots of 'spirit' (pale green) emulsion from Focus DIY, the walls were filled-in with this lovely restful colour.
The floor had a fresh re-coat of paint to finish. (I use Farrow and Ball 'Great White' on most of the floors in our home...luckily I had half a tin left from a previous redecoration, which was just enough for the bedroom.)
The light fitting, alongside all the furniture, found its new place on this other side of the house.
Dressing table beside the window...
And French bed and wardrobe on the opposite wall.
When the bed is not in use, I shall cover it in one of my favourite antique French toile quilts.
When guests arrive, this will be swapped for a comfy duvet.

Eiderdown is optional!

It was a few years ago that I tried to unify all of this mismatched furniture with a paint effect. I also added the elaborate pediment to the rather square wardrobe.
The tiny cupboard under the sink was another project, that I posted here, back in 2007.
A few pictures were hung on the walls...
including this bedtime wish...
With my 'lovely ladies' taking residence beside the dressing table.


With no room for a bedside cabinet, this standard lamp casts a glow for bedtime reading. I made the lampshade from an old French fabric.
The curtains, that I once mentioned here, were made from pastel pink cotton sheets and lace tablecloths.
Our eldest daughter is coming to stay for the Easter hols tomorrow, so will be the first to test out the new bedroom! :)
There has been rather a lot of furniture moving around our home (once again!) - My dolls house has moved up to the single bedroom, where I will be creating a fun place for younger guests to sleep-over. More of that in a few weeks time, after I catch my breath after all the recent shifting about...But by moving the dolls house (and the cupboard that it sat on to my workroom) it freed up this space in our back living room. The slim dresser that I mentioned I couldn't part with after I gave it a paint job, has been ensconced here.
It awaits some of my china to fill its shelves.
Outside I've been doing a little bit of work...
Auriculas were planted into clay pots, and placed beside our porch.
I just love their old fashioned look.



Elsewhere it seems everyday there has been more and more plants to enjoy coming into flower. The extremely hot spring has brought everything forward in leaps and bounds.

I always thought lilacs flowered in May!

At the shop I've been doing a bit of furniture shifting too! A pretty painted dresser slotted into one corner, and I've bought two new pieces this evening, which will need a little bit of work before they arrive at the shop next week.

The shop is full of lots of fun pieces just now...including this fabulous 70's tiered cotton dress.


With several Bank Holidays coming up within a short space of time, its difficult, when self-employed, to take time off unpaid, but I hope to use the time wisely and be prepared for the fairs that are imminent. (Here in the UK we have two days over Easter, one for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate, and then the May Day holiday) I changed my shop's windows, ready for the Royal Wedding, a few days ago and have sold two angels with little crowns on already. I have just one left in stock, so hope to make a few more next week.

I shall be working on a few other last minute items to take with me to next Saturday's Vintage Bazaar, in Frome - Full details here. And it won't be too long before the Talent for Textiles Event at Glastonbury, where I am keen to make the right impression with carefully selected merchandise, as this is the first time that I have attended such a fair. I have added full details of both of these fairs to my website (under 'fairs') as well as to my blog's sidebar.
This will be my last post for a while. I'm taking a short break to concentrate on sewing, spending time with my girls, enjoying the gorgeous sunshine while it lasts (perhaps doing a little gardening), and recharging.
Wishing all who read my blog a very Happy Easter,
Niki x