Wednesday, January 30, 2008

All the Fun of the Flea!

Well I wasn't going to post about yet another shopping trip(!), but a few friends have asked me what I found at the Flea market on as this was my third buying trip of the month.....I shall show you how restrained I was!......

I have acres of fabrics that I have collected over many years, reels of trims and lace and hat boxes full of millinery flowers, so I concentrated on finding some more vintage costume brooches to add as pretty embellishments to my hand made goods.....

I have already laundered and recycled one of the crinoline lady hand embroidered panels into a pretty springtime bag.....

Two more die-cut Victorian greetings cards to add to my collection.

This one is my favourite, I just adore the colours.....
And another treat for myself (which cost just £4), is this Victorian pin cube, complete with its handmade glass headed pins.

The perfect little collectable to display in my workroom.

And talking of my workroom; in there I had a rather boring, modern, cork pinboard (is it called a bulletin board in the States?), that was very practical, but not nice to look at. Miraculously it fitted exactly within an old gesso frame that I had picked up at the flea market last year.
I felt that the traditional old gold surface was a little too grand for my humble home and so I have given it a dry brushed finish using French grey emulsion paint.
I think it gives it a slightly dusty 'Disneyland Haunted House' look, but that's OK!

I shall have to have a large nail put into the wall to hang it by, as it weighs a lot more than it did before, but far more suited to my vintage style workroom's scheme.

The daffodils that I purchased in Frome on Saturday are adding a vibrant splash of yellow on a sunny windowsill.
Hope you are having a great week,
Niki x

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Day Out in an Old Fashioned English Town.

The sunrise this morning was spectacular, especially so, as we have had so many rainy days recently. It called for a day out with my Hubby! We set off for the historic market town of Frome, Somerset, famous for its wool and cloth trade many years ago.

The steep cobbled Catherine Street has a bohemian collection of individual shops that I love to visit. My favourite is 'Bea & Evie'.......

....where you can find handmade hats, vintage costume and accessories.....
all displayed in old fashioned shop fittings.

The relaxed atmosphere with its distinct lack of cars, makes it a very pleasant place to wander....
Another fabulous shop selling more vintage costume, jewelery and handmade boudoir items.
This impressive old building is now a dance studio.

A working gas lamp dedicated to St. Valentine!

The flower seller at the top of the town......

where I purchased my first bunch of daffodils of this year.
Posies of vintage Violets came from 'Bea & Evie' and I also bought some fragrant soaps from a French market trader. Charity shop finds included the two Violet plates and some 1930's buttons.

Unintentionally, Violets were certainly the theme of the day!
Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend,
Niki x

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Romantic Keepsakes.

A charming trio of early C20th pop-up Valentine cards arrived for me this morning.... Unfortunately I don't have a secret admirer wanting to express his love & devotion(!), well, not that I am aware of!....I had bought them for myself - hehe!
I ordered them from Louise's lovely website, as they were just too scrumptious to resist!

They each stand just 10cm tall, but the detail is incredible - why don't they make cards like this any more?
And they fold flat with a Valentine message on the underside of the stand.
Now, as I mentioned in the post below, I bought the antique lace covered box from Sue last Saturday, as well as a stack of cardboard box blanks. So, using the pretty box as inspiration I have been making my own version, which I think would make wonderful Valentine keepsake boxes.
I used a romantic rose printed eiderdown cotton to cover the top of the box, sandwiching a layer of wadding beneath. A length of vintage cream lace embellishes the top, having firstly been threaded through a dreamy mother-of-pearl buckle.
The antique French ruffled braid trims the edges of the box and disguises all the raw edges of fabric and lace.
I lined the inside base of the box and inside the lid with a section of 1950's rosebud wallpaper.

The boxes themselves are a lightweight cardboard, but should be strong enough to serve as a safe place to store special greetings cards, wedding or christening keepsakes or craft materials such as lengths of vintage lace or millinery flowers.
Another version was made with the stunning French fabric that I had found at the antiques fair last weekend, bound around the edges with petersham ribbon and lace.
I stitched a rhinestone jewel to the lace strap across the top and lined inside with the wallpaper again.
I have also started to make some more of my 1920's style baby powder puffs. They are created from old German bisque doll head and torsos, placed inside velvet puffs trimmed with marabou feathers and antique lace. They sit in delicate china saucers when not in use.
It's been fun to take myself away from the sewing machine for a while......
I hope that everyone is having a great week,
Niki x

Monday, January 21, 2008

More Treasure Hunting.....

It was such a wet weekend again here in the UK, but ever the determined treasure hunter that I am(!), I decided not to miss the antiques fair at Shepton Mallet!
Upon my arrival, I did a quick flit around the outside stands and discovered this beautiful little oil painting on board being sold by my friends, Ken and Jonathan. If you ever get the chance to go to the fair, their stand is scrumptious! When I used to sell at the fair myself, I shared the pitch with them -They always have a large offering of gorgeous French painted vitrines, cushions and lampshades made from vintage fabrics and one-off pieces bought over from France.

I fell in love with the little painting with its reminder to summer days - I think the pink sky sets it off beautifully.

I then headed to another French inspired stand and came away with some stunning fabrics and a handful of tiny ribbon roses, which will be perfect for fairy dolls.

I also bought the handmade sachet for storing handkerchiefs in and some antique braid which I have plans for.... ;-))
It was then time for me to meet up with my friend Helen for a cup of coffee inside one of the halls.
After sitting and chatting for about an hour, we decided it was time to do some more shopping.....
We walked into the main hall where we knew we would find Sue, Liz and Bronia. (You can read more about the trio by visiting Sue's blog.)
Helen very kindly bought the fabulous little boudoir box for me; the blue one with the silk flower on the top - Thank you Helen! x
I bought the Victorian/Edwardian lace pieces and the other little velvet box from Sue. As well as the antique cream silk and lace covered box full of embroidery threads, which I hope to use as inspiration for a new line on my website.
And have you known me go to a fair and not buy vintage costume brooches?!! - I look for them where ever I go, to add to hand made bags and pillows. I found some beauties!

A lovely day, spent with lovely people! - And a great haul to show for it.
I hope you all had a super weekend too!
Niki x