Friday, May 31, 2013

Sofa Project

Three bolts of velvet have been sitting in our living room since January! - You may remember that I mentioned lots of items in our home seemed to be wearing out all at once...
First we replaced the stair runner when I found a replacement at the flea market. Then our thoughts turned to the sofas...
We chose three colours in the end, taking inspiration from the antique patchwork curtains that hang in our living room. I've used vintage fabrics to recover the cushions on our sofa before, but sadly because they've generally already had a life, they aren't always up to heavy wear...
Which is why we decided to buy new velvet fabrics this time. This seemed like a good idea, but each time I thought 'I must make a start', I chickened-out! Velvet is notoriously difficult to work with as it creeps as you stitch. I now have complete admiration for anyone who uses it in their work!  
Wednesday was finally the day I put aside to get the job done. I don't have any more vintage or handmade fairs booked until August, so to have a bit of breathing space has been fantastic. The pressure to always be hand making for fairs means time for home projects is always put on a back burner. 
Anyway, this week, out came the scissors...
I tried to keep it all as simple as I could...the backs of the sofas are actually just continental square feather-filled alternating the colours, I made four covers in dusky pink and three in silvery grey. The rich deep purple was used for the seat pads. 
I just had to hope this mix of colours would tie in with the raspberry red leather of the sofa bases. 

A day's work later and here's the finished result! 

I also made a frilled throw for the footstool.
Its quite a relief now to walk into our living room and not be tormented by the uncut fabric that had been sitting all this time in the corner!

Now I'm trying to decide whether or not to dye the French linen armchair...
Give me another few months to decide! ;-))

Have a lovely weekend - 
Niki x

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pearl Lowe's Vintage Craft

I first met the very beautiful Pearl Lowe when she came into my shop one day. A gentle soul, so friendly and easy to talk to...She told me of a book she was writing and how she wanted to include my shop in it. I was quite surprised at the time, but then didn't really think about it again until she got back in touch with me to ask to borrow some vintage items for the photo shoots.
Pearls lovely book Vintage Craft has now been published and is available to buy
(Visit Pearl's website here for a chance to win a signed copy - You have until June 7th.)
Inside are craft projects to add vintage style to a home.
Here are some of my pieces that made it into the book...
Wallpaper covered drawers.
You may have seen these before in my workroom...I've had them for years.

Antique Ghost Mirror

Here it stands in our living room....

I also lent this one to Pearl, but she chose to use the pretty one with the rose painted panel on it.

Quilted nursing chair cover. 

I showed this make-over here.

Its similar to the linen cover I made for our arm chair. 

 A few more pieces made it onto other pages in the book...

Including one of my angel dolls which Pearl must have bought from Susannah Decorative Antiques and Textiles, who I used to supply...
In fact the back cover of the book (below) shows Pearl standing in Susannah's. 
(Isabelle once showed a lovely tour of this unique shop on her blog here.)
I know its not always appropriate to name-drop, but Pearl is a great advocate when it comes to promoting small independent shops local to her. Her book isn't just full of London stockists and big names, but suggests independent shops, such as those in small Somerset towns as well. (Click here for a YouTube clip which shows Pearl shopping in Bath.) 
I am very grateful to Pearl and Abbey for including my pieces in this lovely book. 

One of my favourite photographs is this one of her bedroom. Pearl has a confident style, where she uses a lot of black in her d├ęcor (Take a YouTube tour here.). I always struggle to sell any of my handmade cushions if they are predominantly black, so perhaps her new book will spark an appreciation for more dramatic, gypsy style schemes! :) 

I first saw Pearls home featured in Rachel Ashwell's book Shabby Chic Inspirations. ...There's even a place for black accessories in a shabby chic interior!
So many pretty touches and lots of beautiful French antique fabrics that I love. 

OK, enjoy the rest of your day. I'm in the middle of making loose covers for our sofas. I'm using velvets, so the project is driving me slightly insane! Hopefully I'll get there by the end of today and will show the results on a future blog post...A little black may feature! :)
Love Niki x

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Busy Weekend.

Saturday was the day of the annual Vintage & Handmade Spring Fair at Chipping Sodbury.
Once again, Michele and Jayne had organised a wonderful event.  There was a fabulous mix of stalls and merchandise to entice the 800 visitors who came through the doors.
I had a very successful day and would like to  thank very much all of those who made a purchase from my stall - Always lovely to catch up with familiar faces and also to make friends with new ones.
Its always a relief when all the hard work that is done up-front, pays off.
These are a few shots of my stall before the doors opened...

This is Fi's beautiful stall, who was next to me.
My lovely friend Helen's stall full of vintage textile treasures. 
Christine's stunning display. I spent a good twenty minutes looking through all of Christine's delights and decided to treat myself to a few lovelies...

Doesn't it all look dreamy together? Christine does this so well...her attention to detail is incredibly meticulous. (She looked adorable too, dressed in vintage fabrics and starched white broderie anglais!)

Ghost mirror backed in fabric.

Dainty hair pin.

Pretty jewellery items on Belinda's stall.
Ali's tastefully created sachets...
And one of her fairy dolls.

Heather of Hellish Designs was also next to me with her fabulous French brocante.
Opposite us was fairyland, courtesy of Jane!

I bought this tiny fairy dress for my daughter's bedroom - She loved it! 
Louise Taylor Bowen had beautiful nature inspired necklaces, brooches and headpieces.
Michele's sweet collection of fuzzy friends.
I forgot to take a photograph of Claire Baker's stand, which was delicious...
but here's what I bought from her. She is a ceramic artist who creates some truly unique pieces. I fell for this cup and saucer trio with its vintage rose decals...
That's my Birthday money all spent up now!

Thanks to Nicole for the latest copy of Pretty Nostalgic magazine - Lots of great articles and inspiration.
And my thanks too to Claudette, who once again, travelled from London with her best friend Noreen to visit the fair...and bearing gifts too! A tin full of scrumptious shortbread biscuits. Thank you C! x

What a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend we had...
Perfect weather for wearing new sandals...

Blowing bubbles...
And family barbecues...

I found time for a spot of buying for my shop too!
Two French lace window panels.
An original watercolour painting.
Victorian papier mache letter rack.
Vintage postcards.
Shoe stretchers which I shall make-over and a Mrs. Beeton's book. I also bought another  Water Babies book from the 1920's, which I shall show on another post with my other copies. 
Cute soft toy lion.
Large china wash bowl, c1920's.
And a pretty china dressing table set.

I hope you had an enjoyable BH weekend too,
Niki x

PS: My thanks to Julie and her husband who came to visit me in my little shop last Friday.  :)