Wednesday, September 26, 2007

These are a Few of My Favourite Things.....

Tiny secret treasure boxes.....

Filled with vintage costume brooches.....

And diamante sparkles.

Velvet millinery flowers in vibrant shades.....

And a pretty posy of pansies.

Antique fabrics printed with roses.....

And piles of cosy eiderdowns waiting for those chilly nights ahead.

Crusty and cracked Barbola mirror frames.....

And stately French carved mirrors reflecting the light.

Fresh cut flowers in a vintage china jug.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September Sunshine.

Today the sun was shining, but I couldn't help but think this would be one of the last warm days of the year, so I decided to make the most of it with some outdoor activities.
I recently found this little wall shelf in my friends junk shop. I felt it needed a re-coat of paint so set to work with 'Morris Blue' - an eggshell paint 'inspired by a colour found in many of Morris's wallpapers and fabrics. William Morris (1834 -96) was a pioneer of the Arts & Crafts Movement'.

Perfect drying weather!

Also this week I bought six vintage eiderdowns in wonderful Paisley designs. I thought they would all benefit from a good clean, so loaded up the washing machine with the first one.
In case anyone has ever wondered if it is possible to wash feather filled eiderdowns, let me assure you that it is. I have washed many in my time and they always look the better for it. Do make sure that there are no holes or thin areas, where feathers could escape, or you could end up in rather a mess! They can withstand quite high temperatures, but be aware that the colours may fade slightly; something many of us intentionally try to achieve, for that classic faded floral look!

The secret is in the drying, which needs to be done as quickly as possible so as to avoid brownish watermarks on the cotton covers developing, caused by the colour leaching from the feathers. I tumble dry mine first, then finish them off in the sunshine. September sunshine is just perfect for this!
Perfect drying weather!!

I then turned to my hydrangea bush. Its pink summer blooms have now mellowed to a warm bronzey, red - perfect for drying. Some people say that you should pick them, stand them in an inch of water until it evaporates to create the perfect dried flower heads.
I always hang mine upside down in our warm cellar. This seems to work well and if kept out of direct sunlight, they hold their colour well too.

Perfect drying weather!!! OK, I seem to be repeating myself a little here! But they are best picked when any dew has left and they are naturally drying themselves.

Finally to round off the day, I picked all of the rose buds that I could find in my garden and arranged them in an enamelware jug. If this was to be one of the last warm days of the year, these will help remind me of it for at least a few more days....

Soon it will be time to wrap myself up in one of my cosy vintage eiderdowns!
Hope you are enjoying your weekend,
Niki x

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catalogue Items - Past & Present!

'Something Special' doll. sorry I'm sold.
I have been busy adding over 60 new items to the online catalogue of my website; including 18 items in a new clearance section. Unfortunately this has given me little time to be creative, but I hope to work on some new bags and dolls soon. The photos below include some of the new handmade pieces that I have managed to make since the last update. I hope you will enjoy taking a look.

A small doll collection.

Vintage fabric brooch pillows.

French fabric cushions.

Pretty gift sets and padded coat hangers.
Below are some more photos of pages from the French 1935 Paris Department Store catalogue, as requested by Ginny. Please feel free to copy them if you wish, for use in collage work, handmade cards and altered art.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Refined Surroundings!

Whilst searching for vintage treasures, I am quite used to rummaging in old and tatty cardboard boxes under tables at flea markets, or amongst dust and cobwebs in corners of junk shops; so now-and-then it can be a real treat to visit a fair held in a beautiful venue! -And I have been able to visit two in the last few days!

I can't believe that it was a whole year ago that I last visited the vintage textile event at Claverton Manor (home to the American Museum) in Bath.
I found an amazing full 15 yard roll of unused 1930's Sanderson fabric, which I just LOVE!

I also bought a beautiful Welsh quilt. It probably dates from around 1910 and features cherry red roses and love birds, with hand stitched quilting.
**********Then on Sunday I attended a textile fair in the fabulous Assembly Rooms (home to the Costume Museum) in the centre of Bath. The soft aqua painted ceiling with moulded details and the most enormous chandeliers are truly breathtaking.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Sue who was also enjoying her day out. We took a break from vintage shopping to sample a lovely lunch in the trendy cafe bar!

- Afterward...more shopping!
This is Liz's (who I have mentioned in previous posts) and Bronia's stand with a mouthwatering collection of vintage costume and accessories.
Another favourite stand of mine was Jane's, with her charming stock all fresh from France....I would have loved to have bought everything!!
There were 1920's perfume boxes and magazines, cards of unused buttons......

...reels filled with lace, ribbons and braids and beautiful antique fabrics.
My purchases from the day include some of the above, as well as a fun fabric covered box - I've not seen one with a novelty children's print before and the little deco doll (Thank you Sue! ;-))....

GORGEOUS velvet millinery flowers and fruits in the most delicious shades, French rose printed wallpaper, and trims....

And finally a rare catalogue from a Paris department store, dated 1935.

It is full of illustrations of some of the pretty items available in the shop at that time. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to add some more images to my blog from the catalogue; if you would like to copy and reproduce them for collage work etc.
There are collars and embellishments....

Bridal headdresses and veils....
Underwear and lace to name but a few. It offers a intriguing glimpse into the past that I find fascinating.