Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Silver Celebration

I'm just catching up on my blog after being away with my hubby for a few days. It was our Silver Wedding Anniversary and we decided to celebrate by taking a few days off, staying in the lovely town of Ludlow. My post will have to be brief as I am at that stage of returning from a few days away with that feeling that I shall never catch up with everything at home again!...We returned late on Monday night and I then had to be up bright and early to open the shop as usual yesterday...Today I'm trying to get straight, but failing miserably, so thought I'd type a quick post to show you some of the sights of Shropshire and Herefordshire from our weekend...

Ludlow town centre - including 'The Feathers' hotel..
And Ludlow Castle...

There are lots of alleyways and half timbered properties to discover...

As well as a regular market.

What I wasn't expecting to find was a busy flea market and vintage fair! What a happy coincidence, as we'd booked our weekend away quite some time ago...

And there, just inside the doors of the fair was the lovely Viv, selling her wares! - And congratulations to Viv and her husband, who were also celebrating their Silver Wedding Anniversary on the same day as us!
I don't know now how I resisted, but I knew I didn't want to take too long inside the fair, as this was our weekend and I wanted hubby to enjoy it too! Too many conversations about the delights of vintage shopping can have a tiresome effect on our men sometimes, can't they?!

We did however spend a lot of time finding tea shops and sitting for a while supping copious amounts of tea, enjoying the down-time and reminiscing, and just checking that we really were correct, and that we really had been married for 25 years! Time flies...

We also spent quite a bit of time on our feet too, not only in Ludlow and Leominster, but also on a visit to Blist Hill Victorian Town.

Its a fabulous place and well worth a visit. A Victorian style town has been built around the original mines and blast furnaces on Blist Hill.
There are authentic looking shops where you can buy a few selective items that are reproductions of the kind of items that would have been found in the shops of the time...
A grocers and butchers...

The breathtaking pharmacy was of-limits, as it is being used as a film set for a new BBC TV series called the 'Victorian Pharmacy'.

The Drapers was my favourite - You would have loved it! ;-)) I took lots of photos...these are some of them:
Millinery and ribbons.


Luscious lace.

And the shop worker sitting at her hand cranked sewing machine making reproduction garments and bonnets to sell.


The sweet shop was just around the corner.

There were also original cottages which have been rebuilt, brick by brick (or stone by stone!) which you can enter inside...

Each furnished with genuine artifacts and antiques, with 'owners' to tell you all about rural life and the hardship.

Although some were a little more plush than others!

A very good day out for all ages.
Hubby and I went back to the hotel via Ironbridge, which I remember visiting with my Primary school when I was about 10 years old.

Finally, on Monday, we had to leave Ludlow, but we did so by making a full day of it, stopping off at Hay on Wye for a few hours...

And then having an evening meal at Chepstow.


Now, you didn't think I'd come home completely empty handed, did you?!

I bought a few souvenirs and a couple of things for the shop, including this lovely Victorian jug and bowl.
And a huge old florist's basket.

Yesterday was our actual anniversary and we received some lovely bouquets of flowers from family and friends...


And also yesterday, it was back to routine with a bump, but I had a very good day in the shop. First thing yesterday morning, there was an Easter Parade on the Market Place, where all the local primary school children sang and wore beautiful bonnets that they had each created. Parents and on-lookers enjoyed the spectacle...and some came shopping afterwards! ;-))
Just to say - I shall be closed on Good Friday this week. (Open as usual on Saturday)
I'll be back here to wish everyone a Happy Easter and to also share with you some gorgeous designer bags and cushions that I have just bought from a friend, which will be for sale in my shop as from tomorrow...Can't wait to show you - they are STUNNING!
Niki x

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shopping Around...

I know I've written a couple of comparison posts before in my blogs distant past (here and here), but I thought I'd just do the same thing once more to tell you the story of one of my latest finds.
You see, to me, why would someone go off to Laura Ashley for example, looking for a traditional style dressing table and be willing to hand over £750 for this example:

(Photo courtesy of Laura Ashley)
Or £900 for this one:

(Photo courtesy of Laura Ashley)
When there is so much more out there waiting to be discovered?
Each to his own, I know. Of course the high street chains can provide the quick answer, but with a little bit of trawling around the small independent shops, who knows what you might turn up?

Something with a bit more character perhaps, and story to tell?
The 'house clearance' person told me that they had recently cleared a Manor House, which had belonged to a racing driver of the 1920's. (I'm trying to work out who that may have been...)
The home was filled with some beautiful items, one of which was this delightful hand painted dressing table.
I admit that I wasn't actually looking for a dressing table when I spied it sat in the shop window, but instantly knew it was for me. It will eventually go into one of our spare bedrooms when the girls leave home (middle daughter has decided to come home again and will be going to our local uni as from September - 3rd time lucky, as she's changed her mind again, bless she'll be here for another 3 1/2 years yet! - but I won't go into that right now!)
The girls were not impressed with the 'new' dressing table, it has to be said, so for now I've found a home for it in our master bedroom...its a little bit cramped, but I will suffer the lack of space in order to keep it! ;-))

I already had the little blue French chair, which came from a flea market many years ago. It slotted underneath very nicely, as if they had been made for each other.
Lift up the heavy lid and there's a nice surprise - a mirror, with a void beneath for storing make-up etc.

A carefully hand painted flower garland decorates the narrow frame at the corners.

And there's more...

Lift up the side panels and there are two more storage compartments...

Revealing more pretty flowers!
And would you believe it? This little beauty wasn't even a quarter of the price of the Laura Ashley dressing table! So...I haven't been too extravagant...have I?

(A couple of photos taken with flash - I'm never keen on the end results with a flash, but as the dressing table sits in the window, it was tricky to capture.)

I think its that March feeling again; spring is finally starting to make an appearance, and so I do plan on doing a huge reshuffle around our home next weekend during the Easter break, and will justify my recent splurge by saying that I will be ruthless and let some other items go...a few of my treasures will probably end up for sale in my shop, eventually. As I've said in one of those previous posts - you can usually get your money back on a vintage/antique item, or even make a small profit - unlike most modern pieces that usually loose their value as soon as they are bought (unless you keep them long enough for them to become antique too!)
I'm signing-off for now; I have two days to do in the shop (I will be closed on Saturday this week) and then hubby and I have a romantic couple of days planned, as we are celebrating. I may report back next week! ;-))
Thank you to all who made a purchase from my on-line shop - I feel blessed that you hadn't forgotten about me now that more of my time is spent away from my website.
Have a lovely weekend, won't you?!
Niki xx

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back On-Line

I've added some of my hand made cushions to my on-line catalogue - each is made from vintage fabrics and has a new feather filled pad.

Many thanks to all for your patience whilst I settled myself in at ‘Nostalgia at No.1’, Shepton Mallet, and got used to my new (full-on!) routine; sorted out all the direct debits etc for the bills that I shall need to pay regularly for the next few years, and got used to talking to my customer face to face rather than tapping out messages on a key board! By far the biggest adjustment has been finding the time to hand make my stock…but I’m into a steady working routine now and hope to be able to keep up with it. I’m sorry that I haven’t always been able to personally reply to emails, as some things have had to give.
I’m also working toward a few vintage/textile fairs again this year – details of the first one coming up in April can be found on my website.
I’ve added a few items to my on-line catalogue today. If you are interested in ordering anything, I hope you can bare with me - I will get back to you, but I do not have a computer at the shop, so there may be a day or two delay whilst I catch up with emails and orders in the evenings.
Have a great week and thank you again for your patience whilst I make the big changes to my little business!

Niki x