Thursday, March 17, 2011

Devonshire Delights!

Firstly, thank you for the comments received after my last post. To June, who asked 'We went to Castle Dorgo many, many years ago before we got married and I have always wanted to visit the NT's A La Ronde. Do they allow you to take photos these days or do you have to seek permission - usually in NT properties they are a bit stuffy about that sort of thing - please tell!'

Thanks June; To answer your question: Yes, it seems amateur photography is very much allowed in the National Trust properties now, provided you don't use a flash. I even double-checked with one of the volunteers whilst we visited A la Ronde, as I wanted to make sure! I do think the NT are trying to make visits to their properties more enjoyable and to have less roped-off areas so that artifacts can be enjoyed at close quarters. There are signs where it is not advisable to touch surfaces, but these are very discreet and don't detract from the experience. We were even asked if we'd like to play the piano in the music room! One lady obliged - which seemed to make the house more alive and real.

To follow on from yesterday's post, I thought I'd show some of the treasures that I found in Devon at various places.
Some lovely vintage mohair scarves came from a Totnes charity shop - These will be recycled into cosy jackets for my handmade rag dolls.

If I can just mention my dolls here for a moment...I have been receiving on average at least one email enquiry about them each week, asking when I shall be making more. I realise that I don't produce as many as I once did, when I had my on-line shop, but running the physical shop now, takes a lot of extra work (the daily accounts are something that has to be done - like it or not!) Then, when items such as cushions are selling well, I have to concentrate on making plenty of those, rather than the dolls which are VERY time consuming. I love making them, but they are a labour of love, as I like to make each one unique and special.

I do feel now though, that the stock in my shop has reached a critical mass, which should mean I have more time to hand make, rather than the constant sourcing of vintage items. I am very grateful for the continued interest in my dolls and to the additional followers who seem to have stumbled across my blog somehow. I no longer have as much time to spend on my blog or visiting others as I once did, as I have to make every minute count. I am hoping to make some new dolls and fairies to take with me to the fairs I have committed to over the next couple of months, rather than having them sitting on a shelf in my shop. I am adding two new prestigious fairs to my list this year and will provide the full details on my blog's sidebar and my website as soon as I can.

Anyway, to continue with the Devonshire delights! - Interesting little finds discovered in Newton Abbot...

Love this little sweetie - A half-doll topped swansdown powder-puff! She reminds me of some I made a few years ago here - That's something I think I should get back into...(How many hours are there in a day?!)

I did quite well finding some lovely Victorian china items too...



As well as some slightly newer pieces, such as the 50's tea pot...
And an Edwardian vase and candlestick.

This cottage print came from the antique shop in Okehampton...I need to make up my mind if this is a souvenir I need to keep! ;-)) - It's so pretty and would be perfect with the others that we have at home!
This rather plain case was a surprise discovery...I've not seen one before - it could be an early forerunner to the television! It opens up to reveal a stand to support some flip-over pictures and a book.
Lift up the charming cherub picture...
to reveal a window. At the side of the case are two holes with a winding mechanism. As the book is read out aloud, the handles can be turned to move the pictures past the window, to help tell the story. It needs a bit of work, as the original handles are missing, but I hope to improvise with something suitable...I've not seen one before and once again I am surprised as to what is waiting out there to be found.

This gloriously cheerful laundry basket is in near perfect original condition and will find itself in the shop later this morning. Its an ideal height to sit on and has a wipe-clean fabric covered lid.
I bought this linen covered mannequin torso from Lesley, at This n' That' in Totnes. I may add some antique lace to it, to disguise the few marks on the front. Lesley had some lovely pieces in her shop and its always a pleasure to visit. Good luck to all those taking part in the Nostalgic Mix Fair this month...wish I could be there! :(

One of my favourite finds was this stunning Victorian jardinière stand (sadly without its original pot on the top, but still gorgeous!) Found, again, in Okehampton...Perhaps not where you would expect to find such a beauty, as this town is clearly suffering from a low-footfall and the general lack of interest that some high streets now seem to have to contend with.
You never know what you might find if you're prepared to look anywhere and everywhere! ;-))
The owner of the shop was very friendly too, despite us keeping her open beyond her normal hours.
Finally, to finish, I'd like to show you three vases that I bought last week, in a similar vein to the pedestal above.

I bought them from Julia, who I spent the day with last November, at the Compton House Christmas event. We have been able to keep in touch since, when Julia makes a visit to my shop every now and then. She has an eye for beautiful antique and vintage china, and hopes to be opening her own shop in the near future. She will be making a new life down in Cornwall, so when she is up and running, I will let you know. I have a feeling she will start her own blog soon too!

I was very pleased to buy these from Julia, as I have a customer in mind for them, who I hope will find them irresistible! ;-))

Who could resist?!

I'm off to the shop now and to arrange all these new treasures on the shelves.
Have a great day,
Niki x


  1. You must be a lucky girl, you find always so much beautiful things. I love the victorian china pieces and especially the cute laundry basket. I wish we would have such treasures here in germany too.

    Have a nice day,

  2. Hi there, here in Australia they are showing the BBC1 Turn Back Time series, I am loving the beautiful Shepton, another one on the list to visit when I get the chance to come over.
    x Sandi

  3. Hi Niki

    I always enjoy looking at your finds. A lovely selection again. I love that 50s teapot!
    Isabelle x

  4. You've found some fab things, well done! Your dolls are truly amazing :) so beautiful.

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  5. What beautiful finds! So good that the NT has become more "visitor friendly" isn't it. One of the NT properties I visited with my daughters here in Australia also encouraged the playing of their piano - my youngest daughter willingly obliged and it really transformed the whole place - it has also stood out in her memory as one of the most interesting excursions we've had together! :) The cottage print is just beautiful (you should keep it and enjoy it!) - I have the very same poem on a plaque in my garden. Thank you for a lovely post! God bless, Brenda

  6. OH I love it all - I am a vintage/flee market trawler myself, and get so inspired when I see people who do it for a living. WOW. I am following you now, as I love what you do, and can't wait to see what you find next. Please come visit me sometime, maybe you like what I do:)
    A xx

  7. Lovely 'finds' Niki!!
    Newton Abbot has so many charity shops..I hope you found them all... and that you enjoyed your Devon trip!!


  8. Dear Niki - Thanks for that. It certainly seems that the NT are getting round to realizing that this is what people want - to view the properties and to take something away with them which is not just a guide book which is looked at that day and then put in a drawer and forgotten about.
    Some gorgeous finds on your visit to Devon!

  9. I personally would keep the print, I love it.

  10. Hi Niki,

    I never manage to say hello to you but I will at the V&H!!

    Love your dolls :-)

  11. Lovely things Niki, your friend Julia is so lucky, she will be living my dream!
    See you soon
    T x


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