Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful

I've noticed there are a few blogging ladies who are a little out of sorts at the moment, with some deciding to take a blogging break. It can be hard keeping a positive blog going, when life becomes a trial.

I read Jane's post this morning where she was listing all her current reasons to be cheerful. Sometimes focusing on the little things, can help put the bigger picture in to perspective. Jane was also asking other bloggers for their reasons to be cheerful, so I thought I would list what's currently making me happy...
1: Enjoying those simple, quiet moments of just being at home.

Giving myself five minutes during each day to think about nothing and 'just be'.
2: Blue skies.

Need I say more?
3: My spring garden.
Particularly these glorious lilac blooms...

And the promise of so much more to come...

4: Relishing the details.

I love to study the work of past handicraft workers. This embroidery has been carefully hand stitched to create a beautiful garden scene on a black satin covered tin lid.

And antique lace fascinates me for the painstaking work that was poured into it.
5: My freshly painted glossy red chairs.

6: An evening spent chatting with hubby by candlelight.

7: A fun floral pair of cotton sheets and pillowcases bought for £3 at a charity shop - Freshly laundered and ready for dressing the spare bed for my in-laws who arrive tomorrow. (So please excuse while I take a short break.)

Stay cheerful!
Niki x

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Weekend of Fresh Air and Paint Fumes!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend...It was blowing a gale here, but hubby and I decided to get on with some more clearing of our garden on Saturday. We needed to remove two conifers from the shrub border, which had taken over somewhat. All the other shrubs and bushes were given a good hair cut, as was the lawn.
Later on Saturday I began the task of painting our kitchen dining chairs. I chose four different colours, painting two chairs in each of them. I used a buttery cream, a mocha (deliciously named 'frothy coffee' on the tin), the grey that I used recently for the glazed cupboard, and a vibrant pillar box red gloss.
I took my inspiration from the colours in the old ticking patchwork curtains in my counter top unit.

By the time I got to the eighth chair, I had painted enough intricate spindles to last me until the end of the year! (Trouble is, if I'm honest, some will need a quick second coat, but I'm trying to ignore that for now! ;-))
They look a lot fresher though and I'll tie the laundered floral seat pad cushions back on when they've finished drying on the washing line.

I decided to add some antique cream lace to the shelf edges in the cabinet (below), so its all looking fresh and finished in our kitchen.

Some cheerful flowers bought from my local greengrocers this morning are helping to disguise the paint fumes.

As is the homemade boiled fruit cake cooling on the wire rack.

I have my in-laws coming to stay with us this week, as from Thursday, so need to be the good hostess! Blogging may take a backseat for a few days, whist we keep them entertained and enjoy their company.
My daughter and I made a quick visit to a car boot sale on Sunday morning, but pretty vintage items were very thin on the ground. (It does seem to be getting much harder to find lovely items here in the SW - although that could just be me being a lot more selective now-a-days - I mean there is only so much that you can fit into a family home!) There were plenty of toys and modern china, if that's your thing, but anything beyond 5 years old and in good condition was elusive. I'm so pleased that I've had my large stash of vintage fabrics squirreled away for so many years, as I shall always have those to utilise into my handmade items for my website and fairs.
This is the view from the car boot sale which makes the lack of finds a little easier to bear!

Have a great week,
Niki x

Friday, April 24, 2009

'Love Pink'

Last year when I was coming to an end with the production of my book, I contacted photographer and writer Sally Page for some advice about publishing. Sally and her partner set up their own publishing business some years ago and now have several titles available in 'The Flower Shop' series - Sally was very kind and generous with the information that she passed on to me. I also sent her a copy of my book for her honest opinion, but at the time could not have believed where this was to lead...

Sally's sixteen year old daughter Libby was in the process of putting together a glorious book entitled 'Love Pink', which was to be a celebration of everything pink, from fashion and flowers to fridges and fairies, for the pink enthusiast to enjoy! On seeing the photography in my book, Libby asked me if I would be interested in submitting some of my particularly pink photographs to include in her venture. Of course I was delighted to agree and supplied 10 photographs to be included.
A couple of days ago a parcel arrived for me a little earlier than I was expecting, and my copy of 'Love Pink' was here!

Inside, Libby has written a four page section entitled 'Vintage Pink', which includes my photographs, along with a few paragraphs about me and my small business.

I am thrilled to bits with how my photos have come out on the printed pages, with them having received the expert editing from Sally's family run publishing house Fanahan Books.

The book also contains many of Libby's own photographs, as well as the responses she received from journalists and celebrities who replied to the 'pink questions' she sent them.

It's a joy for all pink lovers - Libby has recorded details of her six months spent searching for all things pink, which includes roses, shoes, lingerie, sweets and even pink houses.

Very generously, 70% of the profit made from each book will be donated by Fanahan Books to breast cancer care.

If you would like to order a signed copy by Libby of 'Love Pink', they are available directly from the Fanahan Books website here.
I would just like to congratulate Libby on my blog for this wonderful achievement. She has produced a lovely book and should be very proud of herself. Libby hopes to progress to fashion collage after leaving school, where I am sure she will do extremely well in her studies to become a fashion journalist.
Niki x

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Spring to Remember

Clear blue skies, 20 degrees, bursting buds and frothing greenery....I NEEDED to be outside this morning...
I'm sure a few of you blogging ladies in other countries must be fed up with reading on many of the UK blogs, about the gorgeous spring that we have been experiencing this year. So, forewarned, I'm here to enthuse on my blog too! After two years in a row with no real sign of the four seasons, we are relishing whats been happening...a proper winter with deep snow falls and now a spring with mild temperatures and plants doing what comes naturally...
It really is a feelgood tonic and the best therapy to be outside at the moment taking it all in and keeping on top of the weeding and general care of the plants.
So much to do, but with rewards such as these dainty cowslip flowers, who is to argue?

Certainly not Miss Millie! She and her sisters are very happy ladies...

Bulbous clematis buds fit to explode...
Alongside the the wisteria branches that are so over-laden this year; I wait with bated breath for their spectacular performance. I planted this one at the base of our raised decking, so the fragrant flowers are at eye level on the upper balcony, right outside our back door.
Gardening with free range hens wandering where they please, is extra work, but I think what they give back to the soil(!) is a bonus, and most plants tolerate being walked on to a certain extent.
I'll leave you with a few photos of our front garden (a chicken-free zone), which is lush and untrampled...but needs I better get back to it...
Niki x

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Boudoiry Peep-Toe Pretties!

As with the word 'grannyfying' (or should it be spelt 'grannifying'? see post below), another word that entered my vocabulary a few years ago was 'boudoiry'! (Or 'boudoirie'?) I was at a flea market with a friend of mine when the word just slipped out as I caught site of an opulent coppery orange, richly ruched velvet 1920's cushion. My friend fell about laughing at the time, but since then, it has become a buzz-word for us when we discover those feminine, sensuous and luxuriously frivolous items at the know the kind of thing?...

It's a look that I am often drawn to in vintage and antique items, or is one that I produce in my creative pieces, often without me realising it. It once hit me when I had my stall arranged at the Shepton Mallet Antique Fair. The neighbouring stall holder (a man) looked up and down my stand and declared it to look like a 'tart's boudoir'! So, feeling rather defensive I said with a smile, 'Perfect, that was exactly the look I was going for!' ;-))
This week I wanted to create a few one-of-a-kind items for my table at the V&H fair. And once again, my subliminal boudoiry tendencies have emerged through my latest piece! :)
I took a pair of aqua satin and suede high heeled shoes, with a distinctly 1940's look to them, and started to embellish. The innersoles were lined in a gorgeous C19th French cotton toile de jouy printed with pink roses on a dramatic black background.

I added a vintage pastel pink braid to the edges and a black lace bow to the suede heel backs. The stiletto heels themselves were dusted with German glitter in a vintage pink colouring. I adorned the satin peep toe fronts with matching satin ribbon bows and stitched twinkling vintage diamante buttons to the centers. More back lace adds a sophisticated touch, and some soft white feathers from an old hat provide a cute feminine flourish!

They wouldn't really be suitable to wear now, but could be a glamorous boudoiry display piece for a pretty dressing table top or a frivolous and fun accessory for a dressing room shelf!
Teetering off for now (ha!),
Niki x