Monday, September 29, 2008

Bridport and Burton Bradstock.

I'd been battling with a cough/cold all week, the redecorating of our landing and trying to fit in sewing time whenever I could, so the weekend was very much looked forward to. Hubby and I decided to take a drive down into Dorset and found ourselves in the town of Bridport, as recommended by Hen on her wonderful vintagey blog.

We started off with lunch in the Beach and Barnicott Restaurant which is in a Georgian house with rooms on three floors, arranged with antique furniture on creaky floorboards!
We went up to the top floor and had the 'Pink Room' all to ourselves!

The food was delicious. Toasted bruschetta with wild mushrooms, feta cheese and pesto.
After the refuel, we wandered around the town. The busy market was in full swing - of course I had to stop and look here.....

We then left the crowds behind and as we were so close to the coast, drove down to Burton Bradstock, where we walked along the Jurassic cliffs......

and then back down onto the beach to feel the shingle between our toes and for one last view out to sea.

I came home with some colourful sewing threads and a hand embroidered tablecloth.
As well as this pretty firescreen with decoupage panel.
Hope you all had a peaceful weekend,
Niki x

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Retail Therapy in the Sunshine.

Haha! All that talk of autumn in my last post has prompted a mini-heatwave here in the this will be a quick post as I would like to enjoy the sunshine while its here....

I visited the Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair on Friday, so thought I would just show a few of my favourite stands that where there....a wonderful dovecote village, each one handmade from salvage, looked really impressive en masse.
Liz's tempting array of goodies are always eye catching.


Jane's haberdashery and textiles just in from France.....
And Ken and Jonathan's impeccably coordinated stand with chalky painted cupboards and lampshades and cushions made from antique French fabrics.
One of my favourite purchases from the trip was this flower painting book dated 1907. I love the illustrations inside, which are a guide for the amateur to copy.

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are today.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
Niki x

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quick Fix.

Well, I guess its inevitable; the nights will soon start to draw in and we will all be cosying-up in our living rooms in the evenings, during the coming autumn season.
One thing I always look forward to is lighting our open fire and having scented candles lit to fill the room with their cinnamon fragrance.
We used to pile our fresh logs on the tiled hearth, but as they dried in the warm room, they would often start to become unsteady and would regularly fall from their neat stack. So I decided to give an old apple crate a quick coat of pale pink paint, to use as a log store. It provides a handy spot to stand my candles too!

I have also been digging out my collection of old handmade quilts to add snugness to our sofas - I do hate to be cold!
They are all a bit tatty, just the way I like them, with many having received repairs and patches over the years.
Actually, I can't decide whether to recycle some of them completely......

I've placed two on the back cushions of the two seater sofa and am considering using them up to make covers.......
Do I go for white cushions?......

Or dramatic black?.........

I'm not going to rush into this project, as we have decorating to do this weekend. Our landing needs a repaint and can't be put off any longer......

Hope you are having a great week,
Niki x

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ashley Hall Fair

Sunday saw the return of the Vintage Fashion & Textile Fair held at the Assembly Rooms in Bath. This impressive venue adds a touch of class to the fairs atmosphere and is such a joy to visit. This was the view from Liz's stand, with the giant chandeliers casting their twinkling white light over the proceedings.

Bronia had her stand next to Liz's, which is where I found these two adorable vintage boxes. One, a miniature set of drawers, covered in red retro paper, and the other is a handmade boudoir box transformed by gathers of crepe de chine with embroidered details.

Other discoveries; from two of my favourite French buyers:
An old chocolate box with metal braid trim.....
Some extremely pretty fabrics with roses and also some hard to find red Vichy check which is a 'must-buy' for me if the price is right! (I have heard of this selling at London Fairs for around £100 per metre! - it is C19th, so has become rare now. I like to include a little as hair ribbons for my handmade rag dolls - see post below)
Two teeny treasures include a tin of lip balm with contents still inside and a pair of miniature porcelain bellows, which I thought were very unusual - not sure what I shall do with them, but they are tiny enough to find a home somewhere.....
These glorious silk ribbon samples date from the 1890's and are as fresh and vibrant as when they were first produced. I am reliably informed that they have remained boxed and stored in the attic of a French Chateaux for all of their life.

And finally, one special purchase to add to my vintage bag collection was this flapper girls compact purse with hand worked ribbon flowers.....
and its original puff and powder still inside!

I had recently been thinking that I should stop collecting quite so many things....but I just seem drawn to these echoes of the past and love to bring them home, when my budget allows. I guess for some women its shoes, clothes or chocolate, for others its a love of old tat! ;-))
I left the fair and travelled home via a local junk shop, where I found this adorable spelter statue of a child with a bird and nest. It stands on a wooden base and I believe it is also French.

Hope you had a great weekend too.
Niki x

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I've Been Sewing.....

I have received many emails over the last few months asking if I intend to make my rag dolls again. As some of you may know, I suffer with an RSI in my wrist, caused by many years of stuffing the dolls limbs so firmly! I have decided to try to pace myself this time and to create one per week up until Christmas, which I hope will not cause the problem to flare-up again. It should also mean that I will have the time to produce the other items on my site. (Family commitments permitting)
I will be making my larger size rag dolls for now, to see if there is any interest. Each one is unique and dressed in my best antique/vintage fabrics and trims. (Please note that they are designed as collectables for display and not as toys)

So the first raggy friend, hot off the sewing machine, is Fleur.
She wears a dress of C19th French toile, with scarlet background and French grey pastoral scenes, flowers and acanthus leaves.
Her French linen jacket was fashioned from C19th sheeting finished by hand and has an assortment of red plastic buttons as decoration along the opening edge.

Beneath her dress is a pretty petticoat trimmed with hand crochet lace.....

and red ticking bloomers cinched at the ankles. Her hand painted boots are embellished with mother-of-pearl buttons and striped ticking tops.
Fleur was added to my website yesterday, but in future I shall add all other dolls that I manage to produce, in with my usual catalogue update and will inform those on my mailing list of the new selection.
If you would like to know more about my dolls, I wrote a blog post over a year ago, here.
I have several displayed in my home. One, dressed in blue Vichy check, sits on an old wash stand in my bedroom.....

Another perches up on a cupboard in our living room, along with her pink painted basket and doll-sized canine friend!
I also have one hanging from a coat hook in my hallway to greet all those who enter!

Enjoy the rest of your week,
Niki x