Monday, February 28, 2011


I'm looking to cram a lot into my week this week, on top of all the my mind is buzzing with to-do lists and 'don't-forgets'. The cold that is trying to grab hold of me today is just going to have to wait, as I haven't the time for it just now! :)

I thought I'd quickly share a simple blog post today, showing some of the corners of our home.

Not all are calm and tidy corners...

But this is real life. There are pieces that I have collected over the years and which I love to look at. Ideally I need a month off to get outstanding maintenance/housework done on the house and to have the garden looking presentable...but that's not going to happen.

Yesterday I spent all day out looking for goods to re-fill my shop. It was no mean task, I can tell you...the crowds at our local flea market were HUGE. Not like I was used to just a few years many people all chasing the same things...But where do all these people go after the event? They're obviously interested in old things; to make the early start at a muddy field to rootle through tat, but not so many are also shopping at their local antiques and vintage shops.

I would just like to say that, yes, flea markets can be fun, but jostling the crowds seems to be the norm. I bumped into several friends throughout the day and a couple of them told me they were on their way home empty handed, as the crowds were too much, and that they had witnessed some rude and weird behavior by some!

So if I may say, if you are looking for a calmer, friendlier shopping experience, then you would be made to feel very welcome in the vintage and artisan shops of Shepton Mallet. Browsers are welcome and there is no pressure to buy.
I have been told, by many of the visitors to my shop, that my prices are very often more reasonable than those at the antiques/flea markets, and that it is a pleasure to shop because I've done all the hard work of searching for appealing goods.

Also, Saturday being a case in point, I am often offered items direct from the public, when I have the opportunity to buy items fresh to the market. On Saturday afternoon I was able to purchase a large pile of c1950's barkcloth fabrics and curtains. If I have time this week I shall try to show a few photos of them.

All will need laundering first...and that goes for a large pile of c1960's costume that I also bought (including some day and evening dresses), as well as some 50's wool sweaters, and masses of Victorian cotton nightdresses/baby clothes and lace.

For now though, I am just off out to pick up an old washstand which will need a coat of paint before being taken to the shop.

Finally, I would just like to thank Donna for making the trip from lovely Devon to visit my shop on Saturday - Such a surprise! If you have a moment, then please visit her latest blog post where she talks about all the places that she visited over the half-term break. Its a must-stop for any Julie Arkell fans...just go and look at the photos!...

Thanks for stopping-by and have a great week,
Niki x

Friday, February 25, 2011

Completed Projects.

I've been busy finishing some outstanding projects this week...
The collection of plastic dolls, most of which I bought last month, were in need of some clothes...
I used fragments of antique lace and small millinery flowers to give them some simple outfits.
This little doll was given to me by a lovely lady who visited my shop late last year...Thank you Jean! ;-)) I had planned on making her into a Christmas fairy (that's the doll, not Jean! :) ... but I ran out of time before the festive period.
She joined her friends on the shelf in my shop today.
The wooden cot that you may have noticed above, was like this when I found it last weekend...
The paper decals were a little too worn and faded...
So I replaced them with some Beatrix Potter character scraps instead.
Other additions in the shop this week...
Included this old treadle sewing machine, which arrived on Thursday...
I was going to mention it on my blog yesterday, but ran out of time in the evening...
It sold today! - Thank you!
So the shop is looking a little depleted...which gives me a good excuse to go shopping again! ;-))
I do have this little cupboard to go in tomorrow...
which I have just been waxing, after giving it several coats of white paint with a distressed effect finish. (Sorry, no finished photo at the moment)
And the small painted dresser that I mentioned on a previous post has become a keeper! I just couldn't resist! - I know I am weak! (Will show that once its in its new home and full of my bits and bobs.)
My latest sewing projects, mostly bags and cushions, can be seen on my other blog.
Have a lovely weekend,
Niki x
(Pair of black rose vases above are sold - thank you!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vintage Jumble

I remember growing up in the 1970's (yes, when dresses really were that short! ;-)) ...
Money was tight in our family, which meant play times were very creative. I always remember the excitement I felt when a local organisation held a jumble sale. My friend and I would always be one of the first in the queue, with a few pocket money pennies grasped tightly inside our colourful beaded purses. Those few coins would be all that were needed to buy lovely things to fill a carrier bag to overflowing. Favourite buys were fun clothes for dressing up in...these would include floaty and frilly nylon and satin bed jackets and lace trimmed nightdresses, slips and petticoats - The kind that I used for my re-vamp it challenge in 2009.
We'd also wait until the end of the sale when the organisers often let what was left, be taken away for nothing...this was the time to select some clothes in pretty fabrics that I could cut up and sew with. One of my makes years ago was a toy clown whose body was made from lots and lots of Suffolk Puffs (Yo-yo's - I think the US girls call them) - Just like this chap, who is probably from the same era, which I happened to find at the weekend! (He will be heading to my shop tomorrow...If I can bare to part with him :)
Those simple childhood pleasures have certainly had a bearing on the lifestyle I have led throughout my adulthood.
Anyway...It seems that Jumble Sales have become few and far between these days...Maybe its because we recycle so much more?...It seems easier just to throw items into recycling bins, than to organise a fun event :( Our village primary school even has a grand collection day once a year, where textile items can be taken to the school to be recycled, and the school gets paid for the tonnage...nothing is available to buy, which is really sad...
We also send a lot to Charity shops these days too...or we try to make some money for ourselves by taking our unwanted goods to sell at a car boot sale.
When there has been an occasional Jumble Sale (usually on a Saturday morning), I've always been working, or had family commitments...I can't remember the last one I attended...It must have been when my own children were small...I would buy flowery pillowcases to make into baby dresses when they were tiny!
Well, as I say, I can't remember the last time I had the fun of a good old rummage through piles of clothes and bric-a-brac...Until now, when two opportunities have come along at once! Sadly I can only attend one of these, but (depending where you live) you may be able to attend two on the same day! I promised my friend Jill that I would mention the Jumble that she is organising, to be held at Saltford, to raise funds for the huge Saltford Festival and Country Market Day that she is also organising for this summer. It will be on Saturday 5th March in the Saltford Hall.
I'm sure it will be a great event, with lots of bargains to be had...And you'll be supporting a worthwhile cause too.
I won't be able to go as I will be having a stall at the Vintage Jumble Sale organised by Michele and Jayne. The exciting thing about this sale, is that all the goods available should be vintage, so it may be like stepping back in time and be reminiscent of those sales from our childhoods.
I've started sorting through some of my stuff at home...I have lots of books from the 1930's, including wonderful children's story books with colour plates. I also came across my vast stash of fabrics from the 80's and 90's (hope they're not too modern?) - these were from when I made rag dolls with an American/folk art style and include homespuns and cottons printed by Rose & Hubble and Debbie Mumm - these were expensive at the time, so I hope they will be of use to someone...I know I can't keep everything, so it would be nice to think that they could be made use of. I have generously filled around 8 carrier bags so far, full of fat quarters and useful scraps.
I still have lots more cupboards to sort through, if I can find the time before the sale. If you can make it there on March 5th, I'm sure it will be a fun event and offer a chance to take home a few treasures at reasonable prices. Just to say that my Hubby (bless him!) has offered to man my shop for me on that day, so Nostalgia at No.1 will be open as usual.
This week is a busy one for me...If I can check into my blog again, I will, but Wednesday is expected to be an emotional day. It's been a long wait for my lovely Nan's funeral, which has made it difficult to move on when goodbyes need to be said. My Nan, was a fantastic role model and she instilled in me a gratitude for the little things. I feel lucky to have a part of her, as a part of me. She was a truly lovely and faultless person and we will all miss her greatly, but we remain grateful in the knowledge that her life was long and happy, and that we each have a lifetime of happy memories of her.
Niki x

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weaving a Tale

Thought I'd just stop by to show how far I've got with the make-overs I mentioned on my last post...
This is the Lloyd Loom blanket box that I bought, which you can probably see needed smartening up...
I didn't want to change the original paintwork, as this will devalue a piece, but the upholstery was yucky!
First I removed the fabric that had been attached rather badly with bent nails! This revealed the old fabric beneath.
Rather than going down the usual route of a floral furnishing fabric, I thought I'd try something a bit different. I have several French food sacks from the 1960's that I have wanted to do something with for a while. Luckily, my favourite one was just the right size.
It was simply stretched and stapled over the original fabric, into the wooden frame of the lid. The excess was carefully trimmed away.
I had a card full of vintage braid, which was ideal for hiding the staples. This was glued in place.

Done! - Potting shed chic! Ideal in a conservatory/garden room, or rustic kitchen.
The little glazed dresser that I mentioned is still a work in progress, as it will need several coats of paint.
A quicker make-over was the one I had planned for this little file drawer.
I used a vintage toile de jouy cotton fabric glued in place.
It would make a lovely storage box in a sewing workroom.

I also painted this pine plate rack, which needed freshening up after a previous paint job!
It made it into the shop window today.
I'm sold - thank you!

I always find it strange how things turn up when I go out vintage shopping for the shop. Sometimes a certain colour scheme runs through my finds....sometimes an era links them...but this weekend it was a basket theme!
As well as the Lloyd Loom blanket box, I found this little wicker hamper...

I added the vintage china and linens, to make it a picnic set for two.
This fabulous 50's tea tray with basket sides continues the theme...
Fun and fabulous!
The tray sold today - Thank you!
And the pièce de résistance is this large French two tier storage basket stand.
Ideal in a country kitchen for keeping all your fresh produce to hand, or as a sewing basket perhaps?
Loosely continuing the basket story, (well, baskets are a form of weaving ;-)) I also found several weaving loom shuttles.
By coincidence, I found the old book about weaving too!
Other finds, completely unconnected, include some pretty framed pictures; one an original watercolour painting...
Some 50's greetings cards, most with padded satin inserts...

And a lovely old leaded light window pane.
Sorry there's been a lot of posts about my shop again...Tomorrow is my day-off, so hopefully I will have a day where I don't have to think about it...But then there is that dresser waiting for another coat of paint... :)
Niki x