Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Boudoir Doll Make-over

I would like you to meet Francoise - She is a skinny French boudoir doll dating from the Flapper era! Whilst she seems quite happy sitting here in a state of undress, I felt she needed a new wardrobe.......

I selected a collection of vintage fabrics that I thought reflected the era from which she came and made a pair of long bloomers, a petticoat, a dress with an amazing printed design and a fabulous deco velvet jacket. The white fur collar was original to her.

I also created a flapper style headdress using pink silk velvet ribbon, some vintage feathers and millinery flowers.
That's better....a more sophisticated look for a chic French mademoiselle!
I will be adding Francoise to my on-line catalogue very soon.......

Monday, October 29, 2007


I have just returned from a relaxing week away, spent visiting our relatives and also a few days on the Norfolk Broads in a boat that we hired.

The beautiful scenery and glorious autumnal weather allowed for a good recharge of the batteries before the busy run-up to the festive season.

Good food helped too!! There were plenty of cream tea stops.....

and evenings spent in the cosy country pubs.

(My youngest daughter and her best buddy, who came too!)
A souvenir of the holiday was this pretty Victorian rose bowl.
I am now refreshed and ready to finish off the handmade items with a festive feel that will be added to my website's on-line catalogue very soon....

Friday, October 19, 2007


I will be closing my website for one week, as from tonight. Please be aware that I will not have access to my computer during this time, so I shall not be able to answer emails. Reservation requests, mailing list subscriptions and general enquiries can still be made, but I will not be able to reply to them until Monday 29th October. Sorry for any inconvenience.

I have been working hard on some new hand made items with the festive season in mind, which will be added to the next on-line catalogue update in November.
I hope you all have a fabulous week and I look forward to getting back on-line soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vintage Tea Plates

I recently enjoyed reading Jane's post on her blog about her collection of vintage china mugs. She takes great joy from finding them at car boot sales and using them everyday. I can relate to this as I also love vintage china and have a 'thing' for small transfer printed tea plates!

I loved it when the girls were younger; they would rush in from a day at school to select the tea plate that they wanted to have their after school snack served on.....

We had a few breakages along the way, but that really didn't matter. The beauty of a mismatched 'set' is that you can add pieces as and when you find them and if you love the design they are sure to sit well with others in your collection.

They can be sourced from many different places quite easily; Car boot sales, charity shops, flea markets, antique fairs and websites are all great hunting grounds.

Having so many tea plates recently led to an embarrassing moment for me. Clare and her husband Mike came for lunch, so of course the vintage china needed to come out! I opened the cupboard door and as I did so.....

...the stack of plates came sliding out of the cupboard and went skimming across the kitchen floor with quite a crash!
Surprisingly none of them broke this time! My husband jokingly remarked that that will teach me for having a tea plate for every day of the year! Mmmm...blush!

So I have since added some to the shelves here, so the pile in the cupboard isn't quite so precarious!

My favourites!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Frivolous Fun!

Some of you may know that I collect hats from the 1940's and 50's and I like to display them on vintage hat stands. I have several boudoir stands with Flapper girl dolls heads attached to them. These seem to have rocketed in price recently and are now beyond my budget to buy. They mostly date from around the 1920's and 30's and were often made in Germany or France; it is becoming increasingly difficult to find them in good condition due to their age.

As it seems I will no longer be able to add original ones to my collection, I decided to create my own. At a car boot sale I found a 1930's wooden candlestick and a lovely Japanese doll that was about the right scale. I painted the candlestick a lovely aqua green and removed the dolls head from her body (!) and began the process...
Although she had a lovely face, I wanted her to fit in with my original girls and so I decided to repaint her features and add a little more pink to her cheeks.
I used acrylic paints, which seemed to work well on her fabric covered face.

She needed a hat, so I cut a strip of genuine deco fabric and joined the side seams to make a tube. I ran a gathering stitch around the top and pulled it up tight to create the hat shape. I had been saving the short length of hand worked tapestry ribbon for something special; it would make a pretty brim for the hat and would resemble a classic flapper cloche hat.

These scruffy little flowers from the 1930's made perfect accents on the stand. I used a glue gun to assemble the piece adding a marabou feather boa around her neck.

Here she is completed - she has cost me a lot less to make, than to buy an original, so I'm pleased!

And here she is with some of her flapper girl friends!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Old Fashioned Christmas Cake.

My youngest daughter and I have spent some time together today and made our Christmas cake. Every year we use an old fashioned recipe which is very straight forward to follow for a great result! For those interested, here is the recipe:
8 oz Plain Flour + 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
8 oz Butter
8 oz Muscovado Sugar
4 oz Currants
6 oz Sultanas
6 oz Raisins
4 oz Glace Cherries
8 oz Mixed Candied Peel
1 oz Ground Almonds
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Mixed Spice
4 Eggs
A little Rum or Brandy

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs a little at a time. Add a little of the flour.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together and then add to the mixture.
Finally add the rum or brandy and stir well.

Place the mixture into a well greased double-lined cake tin.

Bake in a warm oven, 140°C (gas mark 1) for about 3 hours.

Once it is cooked, cool on a wire rack having carefully peeled away the greaseproof paper.
Then as an extra treat, pierce some holes in the top with a skewer and drizzle a little rum or brandy into the cake. This can be repeated once a week up until Christmas and the cake will become extremely rich and moist, a deep brown colour and delicious of course!
Store wrapped in foil in an air tight tin.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nell Gwyn of Old Drury

I'm not a big fan of spiders, but even I cannot help but admire their creative side!

And talking of creativity; once in a while I find a treasure for my on-line catalogue, the like of which I know I shall never see again......
On a recent buying trip I discovered this amazing handmade doll. She really is a one-of-a-kind and has been so very carefully created with incredible attention to detail.

Her head and torso are made of wax and she has the most perfect little ringleted wig! Her stunning dress has been made from pale blue satin with a cream lace overlay all stitched by hand.

So she bares a few life scars? - don't we all?! Her nose and chin have received a small knock, but I'm sure a small application of foundation cream could rectify this! I still feel she has great charm and is a very unusual doll.

She has been made to resemble Nell Gwyn and holds a basket of oranges in her porcelain hand.

Underneath her wire framed skirt is a large dome shaped void, so she can be used to hide something beneath! She stands an impressive 40cm tall and would certainly be a talking point!

I have updated my on-line catalogue this morning, where you can find more details of this charming Nell Gwyn doll. (Sorry I'm sold.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cupboard Love.

I recently found this rather plain looking little cupboard, which I felt was ripe for a make-over.

I gave it a couple of coats of cream eggshell paint.

When it was completely dry, I distressed the edges, rubbing the paint away with some wire wool.

I cut a small section from the antique French wallpaper that I bought at the Bath fair a couple of weeks ago to fit the door panel. PVA glue was used to secure it in place.

I also used a piece of the wallpaper on the inside of the door, turning the pattern on its side for a slightly different look.

I just needed to change the small brass knob for a more attractive glass one and the make-over was complete.

I had planned on adding this to my website, but I feel it would make a lovely little bedside cupboard in my eldest daughter's bedroom.......

Hope she approves!