26 January 2007

One New Somertonian

Well, Mum's move went according to plan yesterday. Perfect sunny weather both ends of course, and absolutely no problems. The removal men emptied her house on Wednesday and then did the journey yesterday. Completion of her sale was done by 10.30 am and of her purchase by 11.15 am. The van arrived about 12.00, Mum arrived at 2.15 and the van left at 4.30-ish. We shifted a few things from A to B, came back here for a meal and then went back to play house for another couple of hours, finally calling it a day about 10.30.

Today has been a different kettle of fish. Hannah came to help (complete with streaming cold), we played the tape recording I mentioned a week or so ago of her singing nursery rhymes, and were all in stitches, while we unpacked the boxes piled up in the kitchen. We finished early, about 4.00 and are now off to bed at 8.30 pm. It's been a long and exhausting day today, unpacking about 20 boxes and rearranging furniture.

Tomorrow will be a surprise. We'll see what we feel like doing. But suffice to say Mum's very happy with the move, the house and Somerton. Me? I just want to sleep!!!!

I'll catch up with you all as soon as I can!

22 January 2007

Show and tell ...

This may not be to everyone's taste - red and birds don't necessary spring to mind when we're talking vintage - but I couldn't leave this quilt behind when I saw it on someone's stand at Shepton. It has a couple of repairs, but they're nothing worth worrying about to my mind.

I'm hoping someone will love it when it goes on my website, the launch of which I'm led to believe is imminent. I'll keep you posted.

I've been looking at some lovely 'corners of my home' photos on your blogs recently and wish we had managed to get some work done on the house over the last few months so that I could post some photos too. Unfortunately there isn't one worthy corner at the moment, but I'm getting plenty of ideas!

21 January 2007


I meant to add a thank you to Clare (Vintage Home) and Mike in my post-Shepton post! I had so many lovely comments today about my new business cards. I used the artwork they produced for me some time ago and simply added my name and phone number. Stupidly I forgot to add my email, but I only printed off a handful to see me through this weekend, so I'll make sure I add it (and the website, hopefully). I had a long chat with a gentleman who collects Victorian silver name brooches, all because of my card, and there certainly weren't many cards left to bring home. So thanks to you both, once again.

Ready to put my feet up!

Thank you to you all for your good wishes for the Antiques Fair, and thank you to everyone to reads this blog and bought from me over the weekend. After Friday's mega purchases I behaved myself quite well, and had plenty of customers yesterday which was good. Today was a peculiar day and although there were plenty of people, sales were very slow until an hour before packing up time. And in that last hour I did a normal daysworth of sales, so was able to come home happy and smiling, albeit tired. I'm pleased to tell you both the gramophone and the lovely white cutwork cloth sold - each going to a "good home"!

What I can never understand is how I manage to load everything in the car on a Thursday afternoon, sell some quite large items and then be unable to get everything in the car on Sunday evening at the end of the Fair. I know I bought plenty, but I brought all that home yesterday!

I met a lovely lady called Louise this afternoon. She and her friend, whose name I didn't find out, bought a few items from me and then Louise told me she has read my blog. I was thrilled to meet someone who recognised me from my blog. Whether it was my business card, or whether Niki told her where to find me I'm not sure, but either way it was a pleasure to meet them both. And isn't it a small world. For the first 6 years of my life I lived in Shirley, near Solihull, and her friend did too - and she knows Northampton well. If you read my blog regularly you'll know that is my home town.

No photos tonight, but we'll see what the coming week brings.

19 January 2007

They say you should buy ... (Part 2)

I forgot to mention this ...

and these ...

and here are the doll heads ...

So I didn't tell a fib when I said I'd shopped for you all!

They say you should buy ...

... if you're not selling ...

Well, ladies, I think I shopped for all of you in about half an hour late this afternoon! I woke up to such a lovely sunny morning (the photo doesn't do the day justice) and the realisation that I wouldn't get wet unloading the car. From that moment I relaxed and decided that I would just enjoy the weekend, not get stressed and, despite wanting/needing to boost the coffers, would take it on the chin if the trade day was quiet.

And boy, was it quiet!! But I set up my stand as if I had all day and not a care in the world, smiled at everyone, and moved things from A to B and back to A trying to make it look right. I don't know whether I achieved it, but someone said my stand looked good.

So, this is what I bought - most of which will be for sale on the website if it ever goes live (or isn't sold beforehand), or will be made into something to sell. I really don't know where I think I'm going to find the time to be creative, but I can live in hope.

Two rolls of Bakers "Windsor" chintz fabric - 18 yds on one roll and 20 yds on the other. A couple of pelmets, rather dirty but beautiful fabric.

I'm hoping that I can justify keeping these two Richelieu panels, but I may have to be firm and let them go.

And ... this little selection from one dealer. The gloves are for me! The white flowers are a pretty brooch and then there are 4 blue napkin sachets and a bag. The red fabric is actually the lining of the bag - the outer is patchworked velvet in very poor condition. But I have plans ... just don't ask me what they are just yet!

I also bought a box of tiny doll heads - but blogger's photo upload says enough is enough so you'll have to wait to see those.

My apologies for the uncropped photos and the rather nasty looking carpet under the goodies. We WILL be replacing it in due course but dusty work on the house needs to be done first!

Wish me luck for tomorrow. And tell me not to move from my stand all day in case I see something else I can't live without ... please!!

16 January 2007

Shepton Mallet Antiques Fairs 2007

Nonnie asked for some dates for the above and so I thought I'd set them out in a post rather than as a reply to a posting so that anyone who would like to make a note of the dates can do so. They run from Friday to Sunday but Friday afternoon is generally for trade (and the entrance fee is £10). Saturday and Sunday are open to all (£5.00). The dates are:

19/20/21 January
23/24/25 March
11/12/13 May
21/22/23 September

I don't have the dates for November to hand.

The one-day Giant Flea Market dates for 2007 are:

28 January
? March (not certain about this one)
17 June
26 August
14 October
and there is usually one in December

The venue is the Royal Bath and West Showground at Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

The nimble fingered among you might also be interested to know that the Stitch and Creative Craft Show SW is at the same venue from 19-22 April 2007.

I thought you might like to see this wonderful linen tablecloth. Isn't it fabulous? I can't find any problems with it at all. I hope it becomes someone's "must have" over the weekend. It deserves a loving home. It was certainly a labour of love ironing it, but well worth the time and trouble.

And Nonnie - it would be super to meet you if you find you can get to one of the Fairs.

15 January 2007

Another Week ...

Another week has gone by already. I just don't understand where that time has gone. Or maybe I do ... I've done another Northampton trip and packed up what seemed like 100 boxes, piled the car high with pictures, treasured photos, bedding (so I can make up the beds when they are offloaded from the removal van in 10 days' time), a family heirloom barometer (to ensure it travelled upright so the mercury stayed where it was supposed to) and other items too numerous to mention. Suffice to say I just managed to squeeze in the car. I popped in to see Clare (Vintage Home) on the way home and she thought it was an hilarious sight!

Moving on ... it's Shepton Panic Week. Two days to sort out the boxes of 'stuff' which went to the storage unit over Christmas, interspersed with a duty day at Somerton Antiques Centre tomorrow and a morning at Dairy House Antiques on Thursday. Thursday afternoon is when the car has to be loaded ready for Friday morning, from which time it's all systems go until Sunday evening. I wonder what the weather has in store for us this time. Not more rain, surely!

I found some lovely embroidery pieces which have been lurking for some time at the back of the store, and I think it's time they had an airing.

The backdrop quilt is a recent acquisition and will have its first outing this weekend. I hope I don't have to bring it home again because I might feel the need to keep it if that happens. I also found a few 1950s aprons which have never before been to Shepton. I wonder if there will be any takers for those.

This super oil painting will be on display, together with a roses tin tray and tea tins which I haven't had a chance to photograph. And what do you think of the wonderful 1950s Decca gramophone with nursery rhymes painted all over it, and signed by the artist?

I think I'll take a display cabinet with me as I have a number of small items which need an airing. Before I call it a night I want to look through a carrier bag which is full of vintage sewing threads etc. I've already found some interesting odds and ends which I'd forgotten about as they were put away "to be looked at later" back in June before we moved.
And I've just remembered the basketful of baby Christening and nightgowns which I need to iron!
I'd hoped to use some of the vintage fabrics I'd unearthed to make some lavender hearts, but I've run out of time (and energy), so I won't be posting photos of those for a while!

09 January 2007

The dolls house and other snippets

As promised, here's a photo of my 1950s dolls house. It's made of plywood and is quite heavy. I took this photo while it was still in the back of the car. As you can see, years in Mum's garage following an attempt to replace rusty windows in the 70s hasn't done much for its health. However, as soon as I have some time to spare it is going to be revamped, redecorated, its chimney pot will be replaced and it will have replacement windows! Somewhere I have boxes of furniture dating from my era and Hannah's. Once upon a time it had fireplaces and working lights. I haven't shown you the inside as there's nothing to see. I need to replace the dividing walls and basically start from scratch. How we could have let it get into such a sad state I don't know. I feel very guilty, but I'm sure it will look lovely again ... in time!

And what about this for a 1960s knitted bathroom mat? Another thing lurking in the bottom of the wardrobe.

I wish there were more hours in each day so that I could give my unit at the Antiques Centre a good overhaul and rearrange my stock. It was my duty day today but we were quite busy so I didn't manage to get much done. I think I'll pop in again tomorrow to give it a quick tidy. I also need to do the window. The front door of the shop is flanked by two large display windows and I dress one of them. I started to clear the old display today but we were quite busy this afternoon so I didn't manage to create a new window by the end of the day. I must do that tomorrow, otherwise our shop front will look very sad. I think it will be colour coordinated this time and I have a feeling it will be turquoise. I usually go round everyone's pitches looking for inspiration and when something 'leaps out' at me I base the window around that one item. There is a brass lamp with a bright turquoise glass shade (not to everyone's taste, but it makes a statement!) and I realise there are a lot of turquoise/greeny-blue items dotted around in other people's cabinets and pitches. It will certainly make a change from the Christmassy reds and greens that have been the theme for both windows over the last few weeks.

I took a few photos while I was there, but the light wasn't very good, so I'm not sure whether they'll be good enough to show you.

But what do you think of this? It's an embroidered satin and silk wedding kneeler in its original delivery box dated 1902, which I bought from another dealer about a month after the engagement was announced. I came across it yesterday when I was rummaging through the store. It's fabulous, and will definitely be a part of the wedding ceremony.

It's been a long day today and I feel ready to put my feet up, so I'll leave you to browse!

08 January 2007

Filter off !!

My thanks go to Cherry this morning - she has kindly left a message telling me that my settings are preventing viewers of my blog from posting comments. Being a relatively new blogger I hadn't studied all the settings properly. Hopefully you will now be able to say hello! I know you are out there - the site meter tells me so!

07 January 2007

Magic Moments

I've just got back from a trip to Northampton to pack more boxes in readiness for Mum's house move. Built-in wardrobes hide a multitude of unexpected treasures as well as clothes! The list of contents included:

The clockface of my grandparents' grandfather clock (carcase long-since gone), Dad's incredibly heavy portable typewriter, the grey top hat he wore to my wedding no. 1, some very kitch padded coathangers, a billiard cue from the quarter-size billiard table we had in the 1960s, a suitcase of photographs from the 1950s to 1970s (didn't have time to look through those, but hopefully I'll be able to do that when they live next door!) and, best of all, the old Grundig tape recorder.

We decided there really was no point in keeping the tape recorder but opened the lid and there was one of those 6" diameter tape in it (the likes of which many of you are probably too young to remember) so we plugged it in and persuaded the tape to start turning. The play button was OK, but fast forward and rewind refused to work. Mum and I then sat enthralled, listening to Hannah's singing recital. It started with All Things Bright and Beautiful, followed by Goosey Goosey Gander, See Saw Marjorie Daw, and practically every other nursery rhyme in creation. The finale was another rendition of All Things Bright and Beautiful. Mum used to look after her when I was at work and I think she was home from nursery with a cold at the time, if the sneeze mid song was anything to go by. Ever the performer she just carried on ... I think we sat there listening for a good half-hour. The best one was what sounded like Treacle Treacle Little Star, although I think that was just poor diction due to her cold!!

So ... the tape recorder must stay. I can't wait for Han's reaction when she hears it!

The car is still loaded up with other goodies - slide projector and hundreds (or maybe thousands) or transparencies and my dolls house (in need of restoration) among other things. Dad made it for me - not sure of the year but it would have been early to mid-1950s. I tried to 'update' it when Hannah was little and made a hash of it, so I'm hoping to do a better job of it when I get a chance.

I'll endeavour to post some photos next time.

03 January 2007

New Year - New Stock

I was hoping my "Vintage to Victorian" website would be ready for the New Year, but apparently it isn't, quite.

So! It's time to get busy! The holiday is over and I have 2 weeks to sort my stock for the next 3-day Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair. It's always a dilemma deciding what to take - whether to 'major' on enamelware and kitchenalia, household linen and fabrics, eiderdowns and quilts or baby gowns, or whether it's better to take a general mix.

This eiderdown is the latest eiderdown to cross our threshold. Each new one I find usually has pride of price at home for a week or two before it goes to either one of the antiques centres or I take it to a Fair. Some have been known to stay with me for nearly a year until I'm really firm with myself.

I usually have a table of kitchenalia with a shelf of jelly moulds for "my regulars", and then fill the rest of my pitch with the textiles. Sometimes the regulars just come for a chat and I go home with not one jelly mould sold, but on these occasions it seems to be the eiderdowns that sell. At other times I might go home with all the eiderdowns but may have a run on damask tablecloths. One thing is for sure, if I decide not to take something I get asked for it 3 or 4 times - linen bedding being a prime example. Two fairs ago I sold 8 single linen sheets so made sure I had plenty the next time and not one sold. I had no linen pillowcases left to take to the Fair and it seemed that every visitor to my pitch wanted a pair!

The blankets in the armoire are staying - they're being collected for the wedding. Odd? Not exactly! The seating in the bar area of the marquee will be straw bales (she is marrying a farmer after all), and the blankets will lie on top of, or over, the bales. At least that's the plan. Anything can change between now and May! The eiderdowns on the top, and the lovely pink one on the lower shelf, will be going to Shepton. The one on the right is one of a pair ... not sure about those yet. I have another pair on the single beds in our spare bedroom and I can't decide which ones to keep! Blogger won't let me show you the other ones at the moment.
I'm off to my storage unit shortly to sort through some of the linen and kitchenalia that hasn't yet seen the light of day. Hopefully I'll find something I'd forgotten about which can become the centrepiece to work from.
Well, I can't stay chatting all day - there's work to be done. I've unearthed my sewing machine and I have ideas for some of the damaged linens I'm expecting to find in the store. I may not have time to produce anything between now and Shepton, but at least the ideas are beginning to flow ...
I seem to be having a problem with the spacing between paragraphs on my posts at the moment. Not sure what I'm doing wrong!
Have a jolly day!

02 January 2007

Hannah, circa 1976

Do you remember the "Memories" post a few weeks ago, when I couldn't upload the photo of Hannah? I've just found the same photo on another CD and this time it's worked.

She was about 2½ and we were on holiday in North Devon. I think this was taken on the beach at Ilfracombe, but it could have been Croyde or Woolacombe. But no matter ... this is she, my little girl who gets married in May.

And this is her mother, circa 1998 - on the gin again! Purely medicinal, of course!

This was taken in the garden I showed you photos of yesterday, and I was obviously taking a well-earned break!

01 January 2007

Happy New Year

It's a beautiful, bright and sunny morning here - one of those which makes you feel Spring is just around the corner (although I think that's being a little optimistic!).

Thank you for visiting my blog over the last few months. I hope we'll get to know one another better during 2007 - do please stop and say hello if you have time so that I can pay back the compliment.

I finally found the photos I was looking for and they're now on my computer. There aren't quite as many of the old garden (2 homes ago) as I thought, so I obviously haven't found them all yet. In the meantime here are a few to whet your appetite.

We knocked two cottages into one in 1999. The large extension at the back of the first one had already been built when we bought it. A few months later the second cottage (the white one) came onto the market and having thought we were downsizing from a large house in Bath and getting rid of our mortgage, we ended up with the same amount of space, the same sized garden and an equivalent mortgage! But it was 4½ years of fun.

The first garden (above) was half lawn, half bare veggie patch and a couple of ornamental trees. Some 3ft high interwoven fencing, a berberis hedge and two large conifers created the boundary between the two cottages. We ripped out the hedge and burned the fence, but kept the conifers. Looking through the door, the end of the lawn is about the half-way point and the pi├Ęce de resistance was a walnut tree just beyond. Behind the walnut tree we erected my pride and joy - a 10 ft x 12 ft greenhouse.

Some of the second garden had been used for vegetables and the rest was rough ground. Many man-hours later and I was in seventh heaven! In 4 years I grew a 160 ft x 55 ft jungle and loved every minute of it. I hope I can do the same again, although I'm a few years older now, not quite so bendy but full of the same gardening enthusiasm for the challenge ahead. This photo is taken from halfway down garden no. 2 looking back towards the house. Believe it or not there's a pathway from where I was standing back under the arch. As a friend once said - I do "joined up gardening"!

And to finish off, here are a couple of evening skies from our last cottage. Please enlarge these if you can, the colours are amazing!

Happy New Year everyone!