Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

Well I had made plans for the weekend, but they didn't entirely come to fruition...The garden was calling to me for most of Saturday, but I thought I would quickly tidy up my middle daughters bedroom first. She left home for uni last weekend taking a lot of her things with her, but her room was still left in turmoil. It's a funny L-shaped room, but there's really no need for it to be. There is wasted space on the landing, which could be knocked into the room...she had always refused to have it done, as it would mean that the loft hatch would be in the bedroom, which she said would be spooky!

I've always allowed my girls to have their bedrooms as they like; in fact my daughter painted her bedroom herself...those who know me would know that the bright yellow wouldn't have been my choice! ;-))

Let's just say, for a small room, it was particularly untidy, despite half the contents now being in a halls of residence over in Wales! It took me pretty much all day to have the room looking clean and tidy. We've decided that after Christmas we shall indeed be moving the wall and door, which will create a square room. I'll then be able to redecorate and finally say goodbye to the yellow...I'm hopeful that daughter No.2 will get used to my choice if she only has to see it during the holidays, and the extra space she'll have will hopefully make her see that we were right to change the layout of the room.

It takes a bit of getting used to having two spare bedrooms now...things are certainly a lot quieter around here...
It takes a bit of getting used to only buying enough food for 3 as well...ooops! ;-))

Anyway, moving on....the gardening didn't get done on Saturday, as the blitzing of the bedroom took a lot longer than anticipated.
It's a beautiful day today though, so hopefully when the dew has dried off the hydrangeas, I will be able to harvest them this afternoon...

I did find a bit of time for some thrifting.
Amongst my finds were a 'few' buttons! ;-))

Some lovely old glass Christmas baubles.

A little Carlton Ware dish, sadly missing its china spoon, but I always feel these are worth buying for the box alone! LOVE those colourful flowers on the lid.

And some vintage textile pieces including an unusual embroidered linen cushion cover with tufty flowers!

Another project that I had planned for the weekend was to create the china flower garland on my old mirror. Thank you to everyone for your suggestions as to what adhesive I should use. Many of the flowers had long china stalks on the back, which would have been difficult to glue down in the position that I would have liked. In the end I decided to try regular linseed oil putty; which of course we didn't have any of at home, so the project was put on hold until I was able to go out yesterday to buy some. Last night, whilst hubby was out for the evening, I settled down with my pot of putty, knife and china flowers, (and my 'Miss Potter' DVD playing on the TV) and had a go...

The putty meant that I could embed the stalks into it, which did seem to work well, but I have no idea if it is actually going to be successful, as it takes between 21 and 28 days for the putty to dry!

So although I have created the garland that I had in mind, I don't actually know if the putty will hold them all in position.

I shall just have to be patient and leave well alone for a few weeks. If it has worked, then any putty that is visible will be given a touch of green paint to disguise it.

I'll let you know if it turns out to be a complete disaster!

And if it does work, then I think it will make a pretty dressing table mirror for my daughter's bedroom when it receives its make-over next year.
Have a lovely week,
Niki x

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Feeling

A little card to say 'thank you' to all who visited my on-line shop - I have posted out lots of calendars already, so they should be with you all very soon. I hope that you will enjoy using them throughout next year!
Update: I've been asked a couple of times: Yes, any calendars that I have left unsold will be coming with me to the V&H Fair. (I will also be bringing postcards.)

And now the Friday feeling is kicking in and its time to look towards the weekend...
If the beautiful weather continues, I think I shall be spending mine in the garden, cutting some of the plants back for their winter sleep. I'll scatter the hollyhock seeds around, as they've finished flowering now and I'm happy for them to grow where they please...

Perhaps I shall harvest the hydrangea heads and sedums too, for drying...

They're a lovely rich red now so should hold their colour well for at least a year.

Maybe a little blackberry picking will be on the cards as well...My middle daughter made some jam a couple of weeks ago, with the first bramble fruits of the season, but she went off to Uni last weekend, taking all the jars that she made with her, except for this little bit!...so I think I'll have to get the jam pan out again...

I also have plans for this old Deco mirror. It had a crinoline lady painted on it, but sadly it had been left out in the rain at the flea market and all the paint had lifted, so the seller let me take it away for nothing. The remainder of the paint wiped away easily, so I'm left with a plain mirror ripe for a little make-over.
I've been collecting the broken and chipped flowers from old posy ornaments and I think I have enough now to create a Barbola-like garland across the top of the mirror.

I've been putting it off as I wasn't entirely sure what glue to use. 'Araldite' is good and strong, but is expensive. A glue gun is quick and easy, but I thought the flowers might easily peel away from the smooth mirror glass. The other option would be to use tile adhesive, but that could be unsightly...if anyone has made anything similar, I would welcome your suggestions as to what glue might be best.
Whether you have grand-plans or not-so-grand-plans for this weekend, I hope you have an enjoyable one with plenty of relaxation and doing what makes you happy.
(Love those stripy socks - adorable!!)
Niki x

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Update

Just to say that I have updated my on-line shop today. There are a few handmade items including brooch pillows, 10 vintage gift sets and a patriotic doll. (More photos can be seen on my other blog)

I also took delivery of the premium calendars yesterday, so these have also been added to the catalogue....

With a separate category for the calendar-paper version with matching postcards.

I hope that you will enjoy taking a look when you have a moment.
My thanks to all who made a purchase from the last update and for all your friendly emails over the summer,
Niki x

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pink & Green Theme

Lizzie has just been saying on her blog how a colour scheme often appears, quite by accident, through her antique finds when she's been out on one of her forays. Funnily enough, the same thing often happens to me too...

For Lizzie it was green and red that ran through her treasures recently, but for me it seemed to be a green and pink themed treasure hunt over the weekend...

A Barbola topped frosted glass powder bowl and puff...

A pink and green Welsh waffle blanket, plaster pink paisley eiderdown, a green painted table and the two French vitrines; one pink and one green!

A dainty vase...

And the boxes that I showed in my last post.

Also over at Lizzie's, you may have seen the boudoir doll sat on a lovely old chair in her holiday cottage in France. Well I was able to buy this faded lovely from her over the weekend...

(Notice she's wearing a pink dress!) I ran a few repairs to her outfit last night, replacing the shredded lace of her bodice. The pink millinery flowers will be fastened to her wig, where part of her hair is missing. I somehow need to create some fluffy eye lashes which are also missing, to repair her shoe and give her some thumbs if I can.

And the pink and green theme continues with this old wooden deckchair. This morning I took off the old stained canvas and wiped down the frame. I love the old chippy green paint, so that's a keeper...
I thought this gorgeous old Barkcloth fabric would make a pretty replacement sling. It's good and strong, despite being a vintage fabric, and using it double, front and back, will increase its durability.

I stitched up the sides, turned it through and then used upholstery tacks to join it to the frame.

A feather filled matching cushion, hooked on by elasticated loops, adds a touch of luxurious comfort.


And talking of colour; over the summer I started to design the 'Nostalgia' calendar for 2010. I love colour and don't think I could live with a very restrained colour palette in our home. Red is one of my favourites, for its cheerful feel, even on a cold, wet day, but I also like more toned-down aqua blues and greens too...it depends on my mood...
The calendar is a riotous rainbow of every hue, with a different one representing each month of the year. I gathered together various little treasures from my personal collections and assembled them into a pleasing arrangement for each month, with a different Scheurer fabric as the background on each.
There will be a choice this year between a quality calendar-paper version with a matt finish, which will be teamed with a set of 13 matching postcards. And a premium card version (the same as last years) with a glossy finish.
Here is a preview for anyone interested:
The front cover with a rainbow of colours and the collection of postcards...
Silver for January, red for February and yellow for March.

Violet represents April, pale blue is May, and June is Ivory.
Pastel pink for July, August is red, white and blue, and September, magenta.
Orange and black for October, bronze browns for November and finally green for December.
I am awaiting delivery of the premium calendars, which are due to arrive this week, so I hope to have both types of calendar for sale in my on-line shop by the end of the week.
Niki x

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chasing the Next Buck

The last three days for me have been spent rummaging through tantalising piles of antiques, vintage goodies and general old tat! And to be blessed with such gorgeous weather in which to do just that, made it even more of a pleasure.

Having been a stall holder in the past at these events myself, I know what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. Not only does your stock not get ruined by winds, or rains, but customers are generally in a far better frame of mind for buying and are out to enjoy themselves.

Another presence that has a bearing on a fair, is the attendance of TV film crews!! I believe there is a love/hate relationship for the filming that goes on at the big antiques fairs, particularly by the stall holders...

As you walk around the fair, it isn't difficult to miss the presenter of the show, in this case Tim Wonnacott, or the 'experts' huddled in a group with their contestants, as they make another episode for 'Bargain Hunt'.
And as you walk around it isn't difficult either to hear the annoyance from some of the stall holders...

For some I think it is too much of a distraction. Crowds end up watching the goings-on, rather than looking at the wares for sale on the stalls. This also causes a few bottle-necks, when the flow of people can't get past the camera crews sandwiched amongst the stalls.

Also, the fact that the show encourages the contestants to barter for their goods can cause some bad feeling. In my view this programme is the wrong way around - I mean generally antiques and vintage goods are bought at auction, and then sold at fairs for a profit. Those who watch the programme will know that the teams have to buy at a fair and then sell at auction, with an aim to making as much profit as they can, which they then get to keep...

It's tough enough for stallholders to sell anything, without having their customers trying to squeeze every last penny of profit from an item.
Of course it's always nice to think you've bought a bargain, but in my view the 'best price' is the one that the stall holder offers when asked, and there it should stop.
It costs over a hundred pounds (some are over £200) to have a stand for a weekend, added to that, travelling costs and the outlay for stock, a dealer's mark-up can be tight.

I had to walk away from a few treasures over the weekend, due to cost, but can at least sleep well in the knowledge that I didn't push a dealer beyond what he was happy to accept for an item. I fully accept that some dealers will 'try it on', asking far more than what an item is actually worth, but in my view they will only sell the item if someone falls in love with a piece, and what price can be put on that? - Sometimes goods are worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for them.

Of course the flip-side is the effect that these TV shows have in a positive way, in that they encourage people to visit the fairs, rather than shopping on the high street. They also educate, creating people who are more informed about the treasures to be found, and also the fact that antiques are generally a wise buy, even when a little more than its considered value was paid. Antiques are usually a wise investment and will generally either hold their value, or increase, particularly when well cared for.
This was in no way meant as a rant, I just wanted to voice my views, knowing both sides as I do; the desire to find a bargain, as well as the need to make a profit, just to pay the bills.
And just look what can be found when 'the best-price' is asked for and accepted...
I have bags to unpack in our hall (above)...Always the best bit...coming home to sort through and admire the bounty again, and to decide what can be sold and what 'needs' to be kept! ;-))

Treasures hidden behind the lovely old screen which I was pleased to buy yesterday...
Here's a sneaky peek at some of the pretties on the little green painted French table...
The ones below were found at the car bootie this morning...
And my 'best buys' from the whole weekend below...
Hope you had a lovely weekend,
Niki x