Monday, January 30, 2012



Sorry, not much time to blog at the moment...Normal services will resume as soon as possible :)
Have a great week,
Niki x

Friday, January 27, 2012

French Fancy

Some of you may remember, just before Christmas last year, I completed a pair of patchwork curtains for our back living room. (The post all about them can be found here, followed by a bit of tweaking here!)
Initially I was pleased with all the work, but soon found I couldn't live with so many colours...
The patchwork curtains will look lovely (I'm sure! ;-)) in our spare bedroom, which will be used by our granddaughter when she's a little older and wants to stay for a sleepover. (This room is still a work in progress, which I am slowly getting finished during my occasional free moments at home.)
Anyway, you may have spotted a few changers happening when I posted a glimpse of the room from our hallway...
It started with the makeover I performed on the old tapestry armchair in December, which set the colour scheme back to my favourite red and white.
After taking down the patchwork curtains, I made another set from antique French lace panels (very tatty and full of holes...don't look too closely! ;-)), which I backed in C19th French linen sheets.
I love the way the light shines through them showing up the details and holes; those that should be there, and those that shouldn't really! ;-))
A little toile tieback wrapped around each curtain brings in a touch more red.
I made a small pelmet too from a piece of antique French quilted fabric that I bought many years ago, but lacked the confidence to use...But then I thought, what's the point in having treasures, if they're just stored away and not seen and enjoyed?
So, a few stitches later and it was done...I think it would have once been part of a bed canopy, as I have several more feet of it!
The curtains behind the glass in our fitted cupboard got changed back to red check (again)! (Something I did when we first moved to our house over a decade ago now, so perhaps I got it right first time and should have stuck with it?! ;-))
The French mirror that I bought last year is waiting to be hung on the wall above the arm chair, next to the lilac picture that I love.
With the other chairs in this room, we now have a lovely sociable area, perfect for sitting and chatting without the distraction of the TV in the main sitting room.
Its always been a difficult room to furnish, as it needs to be a walk-through; 3 rooms lead off it and there's the staircase down to my workroom too.

The little set of drawers to the left of the window were originally painted green.
I decided a dusty French grey would be more to our taste...
And I wanted to team them with an old French 'ghost mirror', I believe some people call them...
Which is where the silvering on the back is so distressed, that you can no longer see a reflection... Just the way I like them! ;-))
I painted the mirror frame to match, but I wanted the drawers to have a more French style to them to coordinate better with the mirror. I bought this rose moulding on-line. I would have liked to have bought several, to really go to town on an ornate look, but buying just two would have cost me more than the price of the drawers themselves! - So I settled for just one.
To be honest, the quality was not as good as I was expecting when it arrived, and the measurements given were confusing, so the garland was bigger than I anticipated. Luckily I was able to trim it and alter the shape a little to fit the top drawer.
Once painted, it did look better...
And hopefully is a bit more stylish as a complete ensemble!
Since finishing it, I've also had a play with the bits and bobs on top. There's the antique shoe stuffers that I had as a Christmas gift from a friend, which I have tied together and hung from the mirror. The painted floral mirrored panel is one that I've had for years and years and have always loved. I just propped it against the large mirror.
The single C19th satin wedding slipper is a recent purchase from an antiques fair (yes, it's all on it's own...sadly it lost its partner somewhere along the way), which I teamed with some gorgeous velvet roses (a gift from my friend again) and a little floral cushion that I made many moons ago, which helps them to stand up straight.

Covered in a glass cloche for protection (and less dusting! ;-)).
Faffing complete...time to enjoy the room.
Hope you have a relaxing weekend,
Niki x
I've been trying to add some more links to some of the new blogs that I've discovered recently, into my blog's 'links' on my sidebar below, but they just won't save into my list. Is anyone else having this problem? Or maybe I already have too many and there's a limit? - Am I being rationed?! I'd be sad to have to delete some to make space...Any help gratefully received, thank you.
N x

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The History of Aprons...

The 'Aprons of Love' email has been doing the rounds again recently...I've been sent it again this morning by my Mum...If you haven't seen it before, perhaps you'd like to read it too...

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less fabric. But along with that, it was used for removing hot pans from the oven...
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
When visitors arrived, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy littlies..
And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow,
Bent over the hot fire.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the shells.
In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected visitors appeared, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked outside, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.
They would go bonkers now trying to work out how many germs were on that apron.
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love!

Niki x

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The little wooden bench that used to be under our staircase before this happened...
Has now been moved upstairs to our master bedroom.
It just fits inside the window area, next to my mannequin...
With a few special pillows scattered along it...
And the tapestry that I bought on my last buying trip of 2011, hangs over the back.

I'm slowly getting around the whole house making it work better for us and our generally hectic lifestyle. (More of the living room make-over to come...)
Taking care of our gorgeous granddaughter for a whole day each week is great fun, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but housework has definitely gone out the window of late!...
But you won't tell anyone, will you?! ;-))
Niki x
Dust if You Must.

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Written by Rose Milligan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Few More Treasures...

Latest treasures at the shop...
I was lucky to be able to buy several unused lengths of vintage fabrics from a lady who visited my shop last week...
There were two pieces of this Daisyfield design by Fothergays.

Several metres of this fabulous classic Noddy fabric...
printed in 1964 by Fothergays again.

And several metres of this stunning 1950's rose furnishing fabric still on the bolt.
I shall be using some for cushions etc for the shop...
But some of it may find its way to the V&H Textile Fair next month (if I can bare to part with it!)

I was also able to buy two super-duper hats from the same lady.
The Mitzi Lorenz hat sold the same day...
But there's also this collectable 1960's Christian Dior flower-pot style hat too!

The rest of the new stock had to be hunted out in the more usual manner...
I found:
This old table tennis set (which I bought mainly because of the lovely box).

A couple of cigarette card albums (each contains a complete set).

This neat little ink well.
Vintage ballet points.

A Make do and Mend pamphlet...
with useful tips!

A mirror that I gave a coat of cream paint to on Sunday.
(Lace curtain sold today - thank you!)

A Victorian oil painting on glass.

And some French kitchen canisters.

I've been wrapping more of the sweetly scented French soaps..
Some in floral wallpapers and others in sheet music - Both tied with vintage seam binding and with a tiny violet embellishment.

That's all I have time for this evening...
Thank you for stopping-by and for leaving your wonderful comments.
Niki x