Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nostalgic Gardenalia

Gardenalia is the theme for Nostalgia this week...

Lots of rustic pieces to give an old fashioned flavour of what can also be found inside.

I'm itching to add some handmade floral cushions to these lovely old wooden chairs, but as the shop canopy is still a work in progress, I can't risk them being outside in range of those pigeons! I've sewn up the sides of the oilcloth and added a line of eyelet holes, so am just waiting for hubby to engineer a pole construction to make it stable.

Most of the time I receive favourable remarks to my merchandise, however there are times when I am left wincing at people's comments that I hear outside. I need to develop a thicker skin I think, and shouldn't expect everyone to have the same love that I have for a moss covered terracotta pot, or the chipped paint on an old piece of furniture...
Then there's the sharp intake of breath through the teeth at the £1 price tag for one of those said Victorian hand thrown clay pots and a mumbling of 'Granny used to have hundreds of those in her shed'...Hmmm...but does she still have them? Or were they all thrown away along with so much that I hear about during the 60's when many wanted new and exciting goods to fill their homes?
It's definitely a challenge selling vintage goods, especially with a shop's overheads, but I won't go into all of that just now, as I'm not in the right frame of mind today to remain positive. Its hard when you see the same people then visiting the kiosk next door and pay £1.25 for a Mr. Whippy ice-cream, or more for tea and cake which is gone within minutes...
So moving on...Other lovelies (in my view! ;-)) include this fabric covered umbrella box...It reminds me of a larger version of the fabulous French fabric covered boxes that I have in my collection. If I had space at home, this would have been a keeper!

I was busy sewing yesterday too and made a shoulder bag with a country cottage and garden image as the central panel, to reflect the nostalgic gardenalia outside.
In contrast are some famous beauties from the 50's and 60's for those who prefer a bit more glamour to their collectables.
(Sophia is sold - thank you! )
Have a happy week...I'm off to develop a thicker skin and give myself a good talking to! :)
Niki x


  1. Re the non buying customers with their snotty remarks:
    much as I know you'd rather they buy from you than get a Mr Whippy, just think of them as the red-necks of the vintage world. They haven't got the intellect to appreciate the loveliness of vintage items & wouldn't know what to do with it even if they owned it.
    So often I get asked how much I'd further reduce an antique that I'm selling, below the already low price that I have it marked at. Bozos like that almost put me off the treasure hunt excitement of finding a lovely antique beneath layers of dust, grime & amaturish paint jobs.
    Keep at it & don't let it get you down!!
    hugs Karin

  2. Hi wonderful !!!!! ;o)
    I love everything photographers on your blog ... do not listen to the speeches of those ignorant people... they are here too!
    Hugs and see you soon, Maria.

  3. Do not let these people get you down! I just visited your pages and store and I would love to own anything I saw through your shop window or your wonderful book! Those ladies who were talking outside your store only see a material object and not the warmth and love that an item becomes imbued with over the ages. I believe that the ability to appreciate subtle loveliness is a gift you are born with and those who don't have that gift are a sad lot indeed. I would be so happy to have a shop like yours, you are a very lucky lady!

  4. Oh Niki... you mustn't let any negativity get you down! We hear it at our shop as well... people grumbling over the price of cookware and gadgets, saying they can get them cheaper at a discount store (well, they certainly CAN find knock-off's at a discount store, but we only sell quality name brands, not cheap knock-offs which won't last in the kitchen for one season)! lol

  5. I do feel for you, Niki, having to put up with people like that. They are entitled to their opinions but I think it's downright rude and ignorant to voice them within earshot. I hear the odd snippet too when I am re-stocking my unit, it's not very nice, (I don't have a very thick skin either). Content yourself with the fact that these people are probably spending their money on mass-produced tat which they'll never see a return on. Your gardenalia display looks great - hope it entices lots of lovely polite customers to come in!

  6. Dear Niki,

    I can understand your feelings. I´collect old remarkable things too, especially pretty kitchenalia, and I´m so in love with them. Some visitors are really enjoyed if they see my little treasures but some say "what do you want with all the old and perhaps damaged things?" "Why have you payed so much for them and why don´t you buy new things?"
    They will never understand that old and maybe rustic things make a house and a garden cozy, warm and comfortable.
    Believe me, you have so much fans all over the world so it is not necessary what say some people.

    And I´m the same - before I buy an expensive meal I would buy lovely old kitchenalia and gardenalia.

    Have a nice week,
    rosenresli from germany

  7. Don't let those negative comments get you down.There are so many more people out there who love your shop..not to mention all of us bloggers!
    I would rather spend my money on vintage items than new any day...and yes..often they are a lot cheaper!

    Bellaboo :0)

  8. Those people don;t know what they're missing, for every one of them there are many more people of more discerning tastes who admire your shop. Everything in your shop is gorgeous and unique - and I know what I would choose given the choice between an item from your shop and a Mr Whippy!!!

  9. Hi Niki!

    I think they (older people that is ) don't understand if they have lived through that era ... they associate the old things with harder times...whereas we view it in a different light and like to give it new life in some way. And we don't have those hard times with which to associate it. My mum does not understand my love for all things vintage .She's lived through the 30s/40s/50s and does not wish to relive it.
    My sister is quite the opposite to me and is horrified when I visit the 'dump!' She likes newer styles and fashions. I also have friends on 'both sides' !!
    I think it's a case of respecting each others views and although I know that I will never 'convert' my family or some of my friends,I can make a good job of showing them how you can mix old and new.
    For me, my love of vintage is a history lesson ...and I always loved history at school. And it can also be a little escape into the past, which I find quite delightful at times!!
    I don't think you should get depressed or even give yourself a good talking to.
    I think you should celebrate every day... even when you give pleasure to just one customer,then you've succeeded!

    A bit of a hasty reply as I am just keeping an eye on a baby Magpie,which is trapped in the greenhouse!!!

    Have a lovely day ! ;-)

  10. Do not change your style. I love all your belongings, I wish I was close by and I would pay you a visit. I have a small shop on my property and like anything else People do like to comment. We can not make everyone happy, we all have our own style and with the mix of everyones it make life so exciting. I have developed thicker skin................due to my passion of collecting, my gardening style and because I like to applique quilts and still do all my own hand quilting............I get criticized all the time..........but I think it has made me who I am cause of it. Take care and just remember you are not the only one out there with those feelings. XO MARY

  11. What a lovely visit and I adore the Glamour mags. What wonderful covers of these notable women. SEa Witch

  12. Claudette3:55 pm

    Despair not...these people are philistines. I get it all the time from my family, but gloat as I may in my good taste, what really irks me is the bad manners. Why is considered ok to slate your home if you like vintage or as they call it "granny" stuff, "tut", "a load of old crap" etc etc. My partner's father is the worst, I find his ignorance a real bone of contention and he is 70! He comes to my home (that has been lovingly filled with antiques, bric-a-brac & charity shop goods) and is very openly derisive. I have brought him to task about his behaviour and told him I wouldn't behave like that in his house. The poor man's idea of design Heaven is the Argos catalogue, knotted pine and a new 700 inch wall-mounted plasma every 6 months. A complete anathema to me!Do I mock him (to his face)? No. Chacun a son gout. I have manners.

  13. Sue S4:45 pm

    Ignore these ignorant people Niki, I agree with all of the comments above..I've been told I live in a museum (!!) no..its pretty, has character and is filled with bric a brac,car boot finds, charity shop finds and some antiques and I love it! Sorry can't do modern/contemporary but I am happy for others to ..leaves more stuff for me to collect!LOL

  14. Hi Niki - Love the umbrella box. Is it still available? Think I might need it!!

    Sue xx

  15. Hi Niki,
    I was in your shop a few weeks ago. It is just wonderful, so many gorgeous things to look at. I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable your prices are and came away with a lovely lot of vintage goodies. I can't wait to come back.
    I know just how you must feel about those silly comments, people don't understand my liking for vintage but I am glad they don't, it is nice to be a little bit unique. Good luck with your shop.

  16. Hello! this is my first time here but I´ve followed your blog for a long time, Vintage is fantastic, an inspiration and a way of life,thanks for sharing with us all your treasures, and give us the opportunity to think we are not alone in the vintage world. thank you. besos. Lilián.-

  17. I usually 'lurk' but I feel I must comment, ignore those rude ignorant people, do what makes you happy.I have lots of second-hand furniture in our home and I'm lucky, hubby loves these items as much as I do, he just hates having to collect them when I've bought from ebay (a carved oak tv cabinet for £15) or from the local hospice furniture shop. I love recycling fabric into lovely usable items as well. Oh and my son loves the argos catalogue :-)


  18. I know that feeling as well Niki. I remember an older lady'kindly' informing me that they had some nice hats in m and s for £15...yes, but they were probably made in sweatshops by 8 yr olds!!!Yes, I need a thicker skin too!!

  19. Hi Niki, I give you all the credit for being so courageous of having your own business. I'm sure you will figure out the right sales formula to make the rent each month.

    As far as negative comments. IGNORE THEM. Keep doing what you love. If they can't see the value, then they don't deserve to have them. I never lower my prices. There are people who understand the value and will buy it for my fair asking price.

    Be strong and believe in yourself, your style and your ability to run a business. You're a great lady!

    Take care, Ann

  20. Niki no matter what you do in can't please everyone. Try as you just won't happen. Just keep reminding yourself that there are PLENTY Of people out there who DO like what you sell and try not to let thier comments bother you. Your skin will get tougher with time. All the best to you and have a better day tomorrow....Maura :)

  21. Anonymous5:07 am

    I am very isolated in my love of all things vintage - much as I adore my family & friends they have absolutely no idea why I get excited about finding a vintage item - they cannot understand my enthusiasm and this can be very frustrating which is why it is wonderful to visit your blog and get lost in all it's lovelieness. If I am ever fortunate enough to be in your area your shop would be my first port of call - my heart always skips a beat when I see a shop like yours in my opinion there are far too few of them - so ignore the comments of these people who just follow the crowd - your flair and individuality is what makes are very lucky to have followed your dream.

  22. Wow - this post sure struck a nerve with me! In my entire family, NO ONE truly "gets" me or my vintage style. I'm often critized, made fun of and generally thought to be "weird" and told repeatedly how difficult it is to shop for me because they don't feel it's right to buy "old stuff" as gifts. Sigh. I bought an old de-silvering stage mirror today and the employee who rang me up asked me where I was going to get it "fixed"! She looked at me like I had two heads when I explained that was exactly how I like it! If an antique store employee doesn't get it, well then...LOL! Don't let 'em get to you - your taste and style is impeccable.

  23. Oh gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous personified! I love your shop and blog.

    I so understand about the way some people spend money and how they shape their values!

    I just remind myself that there are many 'like me' out there though and blogging is fantastic for that!


  24. Hi Niki, I hope you will take heart from all the comments from your followers who are clearly "on your side". I can empathise as I too had a shop selling vintage in a picturesque village in Sussex, though some years ago now. The worst kind of people were the coach trippers, usually elderly, ignorant and determined to spend nothing apart from the price of a cup of tea. It appeared that criticising merchandise and prices was their idea of entertainment! And they were inevitably women! Don't take it to heart, please.
    Kind regards, Mary

  25. Dear Niki
    It does make you wince if you hear not to favourable remarks from passersby but if you can ignore them and look at all the lovely comments you receive from those who venture inside and your blog buddies I am sure it more than makes up for the nasties. Unfortunately you will alway get stupid throw away comments from those throw away creatures in our throw away society. But what is someone else's rubbish can always be somebodys treasure.
    Have a great day.
    Nicky x

  26. Julie Bell, Oxford1:28 pm

    Hi Niki, all of the older generation that I know who have come to our home are absolutely fasinated with all my vintage finds, and believe me I have a house full. My mum is tickled pink with it all and when she visits she hunts around our home for my new finds and loves each and every one of them. Even my daughter who is 23 and her friends are all into it.....Ive trained them well, even the men say how cosy it feels and thats saying something! I know its not to everyones tastes, so ignore those people they dont know what they are missing with their mass produced over inflated buys...that leaves more for the rest of us. As you know it took us 2 hours to get to your shop at the weekend and every mile of that journey was worth it when I stepped into your shop and I can tell you this it wont be long before I am back again. Keep smiling Niki, x

  27. I love your gardenalia display, it's beautiful! I can't wait to come to visit your shop, which I will do as soon as I can!
    I know how it feels to get nasty comments, I used to get so many wonderful comments when I had my shop, but it was the nasty ones that really stuck, it's always the way! Ooh and when the children came in to spend their pocket money and picked something up, only for mum or dad to say 'Wouldn't you rather go to the sweet shop?!' and off they went.. that wasn't fun either! You have lots of fans though, so keep smiling!

  28. Thank you to everyone for your helpful advice and comments - I'm feeling good today!
    Niki x :)

  29. Guenievre7:43 am

    Bonjour Niki,
    n'écoutez pas ces commentaires désagréables (il y aura toujours des gens mécontents ) Beaucoup de gens aiment le "vintage" (il n'y a qu'à regarder les blogs anglo-saxons ...)
    Cela peu sembler "désuet" à certaines personnes, mais tous ces objets, vêtements, ont bien du charme et une certaine élégance !
    Personnellement, j'aime beaucoup votre blog et adorerait visiter votre boutique. Ne laisser pas tomber votre activité, surtou pas !
    Sorry to write in French but it's easier for me to express my (long ...) opinion :-))
    I've forgotten : I love the fabric on the box.

  30. There are always people who want to appear superior. They will make fun of your goods, belittle it. I'm afraid I do the same with modern, abstract art. I don't understand it, you see, so it's really a reflection on my own shortcomings. Same with those Mr. Whippy people. You stick with the nice people like us!! xx

  31. Hi Niki

    Be true to yourself ~ my grandad always used to say this and it has real meaning in so many situations! Do what you genuinely love and this will shine through ~ as it already does in your beautiful shop and creations. It is hard selling vintage and antique ~ I find this even at specialist antique fairs ~ sometimes I would love to ask why someone has actually paid to come through the door and what are they actually expecting to see or are looking for! I wish I could develop a thicker skin too ~ the mumber of times I have heard a whisper of 'ooh that's a good idea, I could make one of those at home for a lot less money' when looking at my hand~made items makes me a bit despondent. I wish I had the nerve to reply with a witty remark but never do ~ afterwards, I just think that the satisfaction of knowing that it would be impossible for them to buy all the ingredients and make it for themselves at the same price is good enough!

    Ali x

  32. Hi Nikki - glad to hear you feel better today! Don't let the negative people get you down - you have many followers who absolutely love your vintage treasures and wish you well...I once had a shop opposite a dentists, and some people used to announce 'just looking - well I'm a bit early you see...' then make sarcastic comments on price or stock. I used to say they could leave a charity donation as we were a private museum...soon shifted them! Anyway, we all wish you well, and hooray for your blog!

  33. Hi Niki.. late as usual but very interested to read your feelings about disparaging folk. I share your feelings of exasperation at times.. and remember one or two folk at the V & H fair in May.. picking up items on my stall and almost dropping them in shock at the price tag.. then interestingly I was told by a well established dealer that my prices were too low on some items. Can't win!! It does upset me at times that the craftsmanship and quality of vintage items that have stood the test of time are overlooked by mass produced tat..
    Hope all your customers are appreciative this weekend.
    Michele x

  34. Hi Niki, I found this post very comforting as s 'vintage seller'. I think my thick skin is growing constantly as I experience the 'how much?' kind of customer. We know what we love, and we know the value of what we love, and we have to stick together! Keep your chin up! xx

  35. Niki, your shop front looks absolutely lovely. p.s. let's just say that some people can be very "funny", those non-vintage-appreciating types especially :)


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx