Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beautiful Bibury

Having spent a whole week at home, either on my PC, sewing machine or keeping my three girls in check(!), I really felt the need to get out into the world for a few hours yesterday. Hubby and I decided to take a ride out to Bibury, which is a charming old Cotswold village surrounded by picturesque countryside. Bibury was once described by William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England".

The Swan Hotel stands beside the River Coln which runs through the middle of the village.
Its smoothly flowing water provides the perfect home to trout, as well as swans and ducks.

But it's Arlington Row that most visitors come to see. Built in 1380 from Cotswold stone, the row was converted into tiny weavers cottages in the C17th and is now owned by the National Trust.

Even the tiled roofs are made from slithers of the local stone. I loved the mounds of moss growing within the nooks and crannies.

It was a delight to see sheep still grazing in the fields around the cottages, as it was wool which provided employment to the people of the village in the past.

We were so lucky with the weather; it turned out to be pleasantly warm and the sunshine highlighted the mellow old stones in a feel-good glow.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend,
Niki x

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time for a Change......

I'm finding it difficult to believe that it was a year ago that I wrote about harvesting the plums from the little tree in my garden and making jam with the ripe fruits......but here I am again today with a basket filled with pounds of delicious plums awaiting their crumble topping!

And it was almost 18 months ago that I redecorated my kitchen with its red and cream scheme.

I had been feeling rather restless recently and in need of change, so decided to have a few hours to myself and 'play house'. I moved all of my red kitchen accessories into the utility room in order to create a blank canvas. The neutral cream walls and pale painted cupboards in both my kitchen and utility room mean that I can easily swap accent colours around for a fresh new look.

I pulled my mis-matched collection of vintage china out of the cupboards and arranged it on the dresser- all can be used by the family - nothing is too precious.
A gathering of salt and pepper pots here.....
And an apple green trio sits upon a pile of assorted tea plates at the other end of the shelf.
I've also been recycling some of my vintage fabrics within the room. A classic C1950's fabric printed with pink roses on a polka dot background curtains off part of the shelved alcove next to the dresser. It's good to have a hiding place for more kitchen paraphernalia that doesn't need to be on show.

The French tin canisters have always been in the kitchen, I just thinned out the set a little, for a less cluttered feel.
(Yes, the old telephone does work - it's been rewired to modern standards - I love the sound of the old brass bell ringers. Makes touch dialling to the bank a problem though! ;-))
One of my most favourite vintage Sanderson fabrics has been used to curtain off another area in the kitchen.

Threaded onto tension wires, it creates another storage space in the room. I'm sure that these floral fabrics would have originally been produced as bedroom curtain designs, but I love them and want to look at them everyday, so why not add them to the room that I use the most? - Vintage china often features colourful roses and summer flowers, which coordinate well with the nostalgic prints of the fabrics.

Fresh roses are welcome too!

I also needed to make a curtain for the glazed front door. The ceilings are over 10ft high in this side of the house (the kitchen used to be my little vintage shop at one time) which means that I need a long length of fabric when it comes to making full length drapes. I didn't have a long enough piece that looked right for here, so decided to use three! The centre panel is a flamboyant C1950's vibrant pink rose design, which is so cheerful and pretty.
I topped it with this dainty Sanderson fabric......
....and a hemming panel was made from spriggy vintage cotton.

So my cost-free makeover is complete and has produced a calmer atmosphere to our family kitchen. It seems to have created more breathing space with just the things I love or that are used regularly out on display.
I have also been framing some of the 1950's advertisements that I discovered in the old magazines last week (see post below). I loved the 'Blue Hyacinth' artwork from 'Cussons', so this now hangs in our bathroom. I hope to add a few others to my website when I find some suitable vintage picture frames to complete an authentic look.
If anyone would like to email me a photograph of an item that they have purchased from my website, showing it in its new home, I would be happy to include it on a new page that I shall be adding to my website. It could be fun to share ideas and influence like-minded people on this inspiration page and for you to see your treasures on the www.
You can send them to me via the contact page on my website - thanks!
Have a great Bank Holiday weekend,
Niki x

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Treasures from the Past

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who left a comment on my blog or who emailed me privately in response to my previous post. I am so very grateful for your kindness and encouragement to keep doing what I do. At the end of the day, I write my blog to provide a fun and frivolous romp through a nostalgia inspired world and so is not meant to be taken too seriously....there's far too much serious stuff in the real world!

My middle daughter has decided to take a gap year before returning to Uni in the hope that she can spend this year earning some money to ease the financial pressure that will be on her when she goes back. I know that the reality dawned on her when my eldest daughter completed her 3 years with a large debt at the end of it, so I feel that we need to support her in this sensible decision.
Bless her, she bought me the beautiful bunch of lilies with her first wage packet -I have placed them on my chippy green table, that some of you may have seen before. I love to have fresh flowers here when I can - either harvested from my garden, or bought for a few pennies from my local greengrocer. The lilies will remain here until the last possible moment, as I really want to savour these treasures!

And talking of treasures, despite more summer rain, I have managed to attend a few sales recently, so wanted to share some photos of my recent discoveries.

The daisy printed chocolate box contained a vintage lace wedding veil. It is soaking in some Lux flakes at the moment to freshen it up and then I shall return it to the box for safe keeping. The pretty assortment of costume brooches will find their way onto more of my handmade articles.
I couldn't pass up this sweet country style cruet set in the shape of vintage bee skeps, with its pink and blue hand painted flowers and moulded honey bees sitting on top of the salt and pepper pots.
It's been a good week for finding romantic vintage china pieces.

I particularly like the magenta roses on this Victorian jug. Inside, the glaze is very crazed, but it will make a sweet vase for a late summer garden posy.

Cheerful primroses feature on these Deco items - I just love a mis-matched set like this.

A lovely lady who was a 'must-buy'. This unusual ballerina doll has been modelled around a wire framework, so stands elegantly all by herself in a graceful and realistic pose. I imagine that she was created in the 1950's with her amazing nipped-in waist and other attributes(!) to match some of the film stars of the era - lucky girl!
And finally this selection of magazines, also from the 1950's, had to come home with me. The contents offer a fascinating glimpse into women's interests of the time and include fashion, recipes, love stories and interior decorating.
I guess some things don't change, but it was the full page advertisements that I was particularly drawn to.

I think some of them could pass for eye-catching artworks, when placed within a simple picture frame. My favourite is the 'Cussons Blue Hyacinth', which I shall hang in my bathroom to add another nod to nostalgia on its walls! Not that it really needs another, but I can't resist.....
I'll leave you with some other familiar brands, which you may like to select your favourite from.
Have a great week,
Niki x