30 March 2007

Dairy House Antiques and the Bath & West

I'm so pleased that for now I have put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. Having rented space in two antiques centres and reducing to just one at the beginning of March I was a little concerned as to whether I was doing the right thing. Happily all seems to be going well at Dairy House and Liz (who I mentioned before as the other dealer who moved with me) and I have had a really good first month. We spend each Thursday there, eat lovely egg sandwiches made by Liz from eggs from her hens, meet all the charming customers and hopefully sell to them! (I've just realised this post seems to have an egg theme - eggs in one basket and egg sarnies!)

My half of our room is beginning to take shape although I think I need more space!! In betweeen customers I'm still trying to make it look better, but the more we look at the dark blue walls the more we think we shall have to change them. But the ceilings are 10ft high so there is a lot of painting to be done and I'm not too sure when that can be fitted in! You've seen a similar photo before, but this area is beginning to look a little more coordinated. Still a way to go though!

Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair last weekend was OK. Not my best, but equally not the worst! I was pleased with various parts of my stand and the Toni Raymond pottery was quite eyecatching, especially being set off by the lovely pink curtains I bought from Donna. I took this large selection because of the 3-page article in the AntiqueExplorer magazine - a free publication dedicated to the South-West of England. A few pieces sold, but I'm not too sure if the market is ready for it again yet. It is 1950s/60s hand-painted pottery from Devon and I was rather pleased when I realised that the multi-coloured set matches the colours in my Emma Bridgewater spotty china perfectly.

I'm taking Mum shopping this afternoon - various 'errands', maybe a quick visit to Kelways Garden Centre (clematis £6.49 or 2 for £10), hopefully also a quick 'grandmother of the bride' outfit hunt, and all rounded off with the scurry round Tesco! There's nothing like trying to cram 101 things into the space of about 4 hours. Wish me luck!

Tomorrow is our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Not bad for a 2nd marriage for each of us, is it? I hope the weather's fine as we're thinking of going off on a jolly - on the West Somerset Railway. Paul used to be a trainspotting anorak so I thought it would be nice for him, and I'll get to see the sea at Minehead! One of my cousins is a volunteer on this railway and I think he sometimes drives the train! I don't expect he'll be on it tomorrow though.

29 March 2007

A Good Day Out ...

What a lovely day we all had yesterday. Niki, Debbie (Niki's friend), Donna and I all met at the Ilminster Textile Fair - a super Fair for anyone interested in textiles and a yummy lunch! This is what Niki ate to keep her strength up!

Having told myself I wasn't going to buy much, bearing in mind the wedding is imminent, I ended up with 3 large bags full, and not being one to say 'no more' very often, I added another bag of goodies to my stash when we toured Ilminster's charity shops.

The first 2 photos are of the beautiful embroidery on a kimono that I couldn't resist. The third one is silk on silk embroidery. Superb workmanship and an amazing piece altogether. I'm guessing it measures about 3ft x 5ft. I must measure it tomorrow. These 3 photos look super enlarged.

The crinoline lady is a tea cosy although there is no padded liner. The reversable quilt was a last-minute purchase after I'd thought I'd spent out! How wrong can a girl be!!

Niki and Donna have posted photos from Niki's camera. Here are mine. Debbie is in the middle of the first one.

Thanks go to Donna for showing me how to use the macro button on my camera (must find the instructions!). What a difference it makes!! This is an alstromeria from a bouquet sent to Mum a couple of weeks ago - still thriving. Do enlarge it - it really is fabulous close up.

It's been a busy week so I haven't had a chance to write a post about Shepton Antiques Fair last weekend. I was quite pleased, although Sunday was a poor day. However, once again I bought a few goodies - mainly fabric. I've taken some photos but I'll show you those another day.

I'm contemplating doing a carboot sale on Sunday. There's a local one that starts again this weekend and takes place every Sunday until the end of September. I've never been to it but I understand it's a good one. I tend to be a fair weather carbooter, so it will all depend on the weather. But I have a lot of stock to clear. When I buy 'job lots' at auction I often end up with a quantity of china, glass or linen that isn't really good enough to display at Dairy House or the 3-day Fair. I tend to stockpile it and then take a good load to a carboot. Hubby will be delighted if some of it disappears this weekend!!

20 March 2007

Exciting Moments ...

... well I think so ...

Today I'm 21 again ... again ... again ... again ... again ... and postie is just walking down the drive with a bundle of envelopes (although they may all be wedding invitation replies of course). The sun is shining and everything in my little world is good today.

On Saturday the bride-to-be and I went to Bath to look for my outfit and for her to have a fitting. We bought the only things I tried on but weren't 100% convinced. There was a jacket, skirt and camisole which was the most likely, but there was a dress which went with the jacket, too, which I liked (because it fitted) but H wasn't too keen. I liked the skirt but could envisage seeing nothing but creases across the front of it in the photos, so wasn't too happy with that. Consequently I bought it all for P to see on the proviso that it could go back. All but the jacket are going back! Because ... the wonderful lady making H's dress is going to make one for me to go with the jacket. Between us we decided the other dress was too 'mumsy' and the skirt was too busy with the jacket. I'm busy enough as it is, without having to wear busy as well!! So, I'm off the hook ... no more traipsing round shops searching for the perfect outfit. All sorted (apart from shoes (and hat?))! And the wedding dress is going to be wonderful. I'm beginning to allow myself to get excited now!

On Sunday I had a phone call from Dairy House to say a shipper/dealer was in from Tasmania and he wanted loads (and loads) of my enamelware and other items and what were my best prices. His purchases have boosted the bank balance to a healthy degree which is very exciting (especially as he comes over twice a year).

The carpet fitters started laying new carpet throughout Mum's house yesterday and she's delighted with their work so far, is really settling in next door and is happy. So that's more excitement (and relief on our part).

But best of all ... I've lost 10lbs. How amazing is that. I feel so much fitter already, and have been shifting Mum's furniture like a removal man instead of struggling. I'm amazed at the extra energy, although I had to admit defeat last night and was in bed by 9 o'clock! It's working out at about one pound every couple of days, so in theory I could almost lose the 2 stone I was planning on losing a year ago! At least I won't have time to put it all back on until after the wedding! How exciting is that ...

I needed to share all that with you! Have a happy day everyone ... and why not let me know your exciting moments of the week ...

18 March 2007

The photos I promised ...

Here are the photos of the nursery rhyme pictures I bought the other day. The shading is all due to the position of the pictures (on the floor) and the clouds passing by the sun at incredible speed this morning. Not good photos at all, but at least this rounds off the previous post! The glass in one picture is broken, unfortunately, but the rest are fine although the frames could perhaps do with a facelift. I may take them to Shepton next weekend, unless anyone here feels they can't live without them (email). I intend to price them at £10 each, or £35 for the 4 (plus postage).

14 March 2007

My Unintentional Shopping + A Little Bit of Spring

This is the result of my trip to the bank the other day - you see, I'm easily led and it was so easy to call into the antiques centre to see what a new dealer was selling. Really I was only going in to collect some post that had been addressed to me there ...

Without measuring accurately I guess the picture book is about 14" x 18" in super condition with a 1951 inscription to "Dear Susan" (so I had to have it, didn't I! It could so easily have been a gift for my first birthday!!).

And what about the tin rabbit toilet roll holder ... I don't know if Shepton Antiques Fair is ready for that, but it will go over to Dairy House Antiques tomorrow, unless anyone else feels they must have it (£5.00 + p&p).

The two oil on glass paintings are pretty, too. The pansies are in better condition than the chrysanths, but they're both nice.

The Jane Churchill fabrics are the result of two separate ebay purchases. Not sure yet whether to sell them on or get out the sewing machine.

Behind the fabric is a tall stool which completed my purchases. Oh no it didn't - I've just remembered a set of French watercolour fairy tale pictures still in the car. I'll have to show you those later.
And look what I found in the garden this morning.
Plum blossom and violets.
The violets had a close shave as P cut the grass yesterday!

Update Thursday evening: Please email direct if you are interested in any of the above items.

12 March 2007

A Couple of Photos ...

...I'm in decorating mode so this is just a quick post. Thought you might like to see tonight's sunset in Somerton. I'm not sure that the colour is true but it gives you an idea of what the sky was like about 10 minutes ago.

I took this other photo last week when I visited the Bath Antiques and Decorative Fair. I was suddenly aware of all the different sizes and shapes of chimney pot on these properties in North Parade. I can't believe that I'd never noticed them before, especially having lived in Bath for 10 years, but obviously it was a day for noticing things last Wednesday. I hope they enlarge this time.

If I have time later I'll post some more photos - having decided I needed no more stock for about a year I shopped this afternoon on my way back from the bank!

05 March 2007

A Good Day ...

... am I really naughty to pray for torrential rain for the next Giant Flea Market at Shepton? The weather was so awful yesterday that there very few outdoor pitches and everyone made straight for the huge hall where I always stand. I think we all had a brilliant day and I for one had the best ever sales.

Because it is so vast people normally 'do' the outside pitches first and then, having spent most of their money, wander into the Showering Pavilion much later. I arrive at 7.30 in order to get a space in the limited undercover parking (always good for carting linen and eiderdowns in and out), the public is allowed in to the showground at 9.30 but don't get to us until towards 11.30. I find I do all my selling in about 2 hours and then have a slow couple of hours before beginning the packing up process.

But yesterday the crowds (yes, despite the rain there were crowds) were in with us by 9.30 am and the selling started and carried on at a steady pace for most of the day. It was a treat to see shoppers with money instead of shoppers struggling in with bags containing articles of all shapes and sizes and empty purses! There was certainly a happy buzz in the hall yesterday!

Niki and Clare came to see me and I'm looking foward to seeing what Niki makes from the fabric she bought! Thank you both for your purchases. I'm sure you'll do well with your goodies!

So, if you see someone doing a rain dance in Somerset prior to Easter Sunday (the next Giant Flea Market) you'll know the reason. I know some of you will be hoping for beautiful sunshine for Easter Egg hunts and happy family days, but I'd like some rain please!! Could you just make do with a scorching hot Easter Monday? I'll be forever in your debt!

03 March 2007

More Goodies

Last night I started sorting through the pile of linen and textiles I brought out of the other Centre and found all sorts of items I'd forgotten about!

Awful photos, but 2 pairs of children's curtains - the farmyard pair look in tiptop condition but I'm not sure of the date (probably 1970s fabric), but the other pair have the sort of wear you would expect from a pair of early 1960s used curtains. I can't decide whether to use the fabric for another project (when?) or sell them as they are. Meanwhile I'll find a space for them at the Dairy House.

Then there's this lovely set of an embroidered tablecloth, large traycloth, napkins and teacosy. It looks really pretty, but there is a fair-sized pink colour-run mark on the cloth.

And finally a pair of Sanderson screen print single bedspreads. Again, do I sell as is (not perfect) or make some wonderful items with the fabric. Decisions, decisions. Still, I won't be doing anything with any of it today. Too much to do ... too little time!

Have a jolly weekend.

02 March 2007

Toni Raymond

Two posts in one day - anyone would think I had nothing else to do!

I picked up a copy of the new antiquexplorer magazine today and it looks as if I shall have some good bedtime reading. It is full of kitchenalia articles! And from a quick browse I know what I'll be displaying at the next Shepton 3-day Antiques Fair on 23-25 March. (Unfortunately, I don't have time to sort through it all in time for this weekend's Giant Flea)

Apologies for the flash and shadow on the paper!
Those of you who have followed my blog from its inception in September last year may remember that I was lucky enough to purchase the complete kitchenalia stock of a dealer who was changing direction. I still have so much in store that hasn't yet been catalogued, dusted/washed or priced, including quite a substantial amount of Toni Raymond pottery. It would seem it may be due for a come-back. I certainly hope so!
Does anyone have a collection? If not, don't hesitate to let me know if you want to begin one. I'm sure I can start you off!!!!

Fuzzy Jumble

I've created another blog, mainly because of yesterday's post and the phrase "fuzzy jumble" which I thought would be a good name. I've given my maiden speech, but whether I ever post to it again will depend on any number of things - not least you, dear reader!

01 March 2007

The Blue Room - and Where Did All This Come From?

If I can keep my eyes open I'll finish this post and upload the photos of "what I did today". Having taken a carload of stock to the Dairy House on Tuesday and thinking I had plenty of room, I got there this morning to find Liz (moved from Somerton as a new dealer for the Dairy House) had dropped off the rest of my stuff from Somerton yesterday afternoon and all I could do was stand and stare. Where had it all come from? Thinking about it seriously for a moment I realise that I had so many built-in shelves as well as free-standing ones in my unit at Somerton that things were able to hide in corners and appear invisible.

So, by 4 o'clock this afternoon we were in hysterics - not quite rolling about the floor but definitely tears streaming down our faces and doubled up with stitch from laughing so much. Don't ask me why - I haven't a clue. But then they're usually the best laughs aren't they. Exhaustion might have had something to do with it, or maybe the fact that everything in my little room upstairs was still there and hadn't been brought down, and it was quite apparent that we needed to take over the whole shop rather than what, a week ago, had seemed like a massive room that we would never be able to fill. If you could have seen me standing in the hall catching the eiderdowns Liz was throwing down to me from my room upstairs ... thankfully I managed to stop her throwing one of the really heavy quilts. Aren't the therapeutic qualities of hysterical laughter just what you need when you really feel you just want to sit down and put your feet up!!

Liz left at 5.00 but I still had too much tidying up to do before I could leave. I took these photos just before I left at 6.30 to show you how much I've done (the room was empty on Tuesday morning) and how much I still have to do. Two walls are pegboard which is useful for hanging up a lot of the enamel, but all I've done so far is hang things to get them off the floor. Please be assured that what you are about to see is not a display. It is panic tidying and there is an absolute chasm between the two. I need the stepladder in order to make full use of the pegboarding, remove the paintings belonging to one of the other dealers and make a good display. As you can see this is just the kitchenalia. The linen is piled on two sets of free-standing shelves behind me and most definitely couldn't be photographed. The eiderdowns and quilts are lurking in Liz's pitch off to the left behind the pegboarding. Some are in a French iron cot and some are piled haphazardly in her wardrobe. We're not talking colour-coordination here, but I'm hoping to pop over on Saturday to make everything look a little more respectable and to load up for Shepton.
You may prefer to look with only one eye. The room is painted in a colour that can only be described as VERY BLUE. The pegboard covers a window (DHA owner isn't keen on daylight!) and consequently something quite drastic will need to be done. Once I sort out the fabrics, curtains and linen, I'm sure that with some clever draping and hanging the effect will be quite eyecatching rather than a fuzzy jumble. (Don't you think that's a good name for a blog? Fuzzy Jumble? I might have to set up a second one!)
So here we are. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is still a full garage and half a storage unit of stock waiting to be let loose. If anyone sees anything they feel they can't live without then please let me know. I'll be more than delighted to sell it to you!! Enjoy ...

I don't know whether it's just my computer, but I'm unable to enlarge these photos.
Postscript, Friday: Following Clare's suggestion I deleted the photos and uploaded them again and I can now enlarge them. Thanks Clare!

Progress ...

... on all fronts.

Bath or shower? I don't know about you, but I'm a shower person and this last 8 months showerless has been purgatory. But yesterday everything was connected and I was in my element. The rest of the bathroom is functioning as it should - bath, basin, loo and heated towel rail - and we're pleased with the tiling.

However, the plumber has to come back to fiddle about under the bath and put the panel on, but wants to wait until we've sorted out the flooring. Rain is coming in through the window frame where the dividing wall was knocked down so that needs to be made watertight, and the end of the ugly old overflow pipe has been left sticking out of the wall in the bathroom. Not a pretty sight, but obviously one job too many for the plumber. So we'll have to contemplate that for a week or two and decide how best to remove the offending item. I'm not overly confident about the basin taps as they seem a bit wobbly, so when he returns I'll get him to check them.

My website is progressing, too. I've seen the front page today and I like it. If I can find enough hours in the coming weeks to photograph everything and write up the descriptions it should be up and running by the end of March.

Further progress this week is the removal of all my stock from Somerton Antiques Centre. This has all gone to Dairy House Antiques. I spent several hours there yesterday unpacking boxes, and shall be there all day tomorrow sorting out the vanload that was dropped off for me today! I knew I had a lot of stock, but I'm amazed at actually how much there is. Once I've unpacked it all I shall be re-packing some of it to take to Shepton's Giant Flea Market on Sunday.

A new association has just been formed - launch date 28 March - for antique dealers in the West Country, and Dairy House has become a member. WEADA - the West of England Antique Dealers' Association - covers the whole of the south-west. They are producing an informative booklet giving the names of all the member dealers, totalling in excess of 70. Further information can be obtained from their website (currently under construction).

And finally ... the wedding invitations have gone out and the first reply is back.

I've just noticed the time - it's 1.17am and realise I'll never be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning if I don't switch off this machine NOW!