25 November 2007

Sortings and Findings ...

What a lovely sunny day! Yesterday was bitterly cold in Somerset, but I spent the day snug-as-a-bug sorting the studio to make room for the jumbled contents of the spare bedroom which, as you know, is mostly stock! (And no, I haven't bought anything since I promised not to buy for at least a week)

Today I'm in the spare bedroom sorting the piles of things on top of piles of things on top of ... you know exactly what I mean, I'm sure. Well, some of you might! Anyway, I've just found a super cookery book which I'd forgotten about, entitled Court Favourites which is a collection of recipes from Royal Kitchens. The last chapter is entitled "From Royal Stillrooms" and I thought you might enjoy the following:

TO MAKE HAIR GROW (circa 1653)
Beat three tablespoonfuls of honey well with a handful of vine springs that twist like wire. Strain the juice into the honey. Anoint the bald places therewith.

CURE FOR SHINGLES (circa 1700)
Take juice of garden herbs, mints, grass of each a like quantity, put to it sallett oyle, not so much as to make it appear green, and put thereto as much white wyne and vinegar as of juice and oyle, a handful of dry salt beaten small, and with a feather annoint ye shingles morning and evening.

'Which if diseased or ill-conditioned affects the indwelling soul.' Victoria, June, 1835
Never sit up late. Never stay in bed late in the morning. Sponge the entire body every morning with cold spring water. This should be done at once upon rising. Dry with a rough towel and continue to friction the skin of the whole person for not less than fifteen minutes every day.
Drink four large half pint tumblers of clear cold, or very hot water each day upon an empty stomach. That is to say, upon rising, at about 11 am, at 2.30 pm and at bedtime.
Take a corrective digestive dose of medicine once in each week.
Sleep with the window open at the top - even in wet or cold weather.
Keep the head cool by washing it frequently in cold water and avoid nervousness by resting often.

So now we know! I'm not sure which of Queen Victoria's recommendations I'll be copying. How about you?

I knew I had hundreds of buttons, some of which still need sorting, but I hadn't realised that for 'hundreds' I should think in terms of 'thousands'. Woops ... don't need to buy any more of those for a while. Once I'm sorted I'll maybe add some tins or jars of buttons on the Vintage to Victorian online shop. I could perhaps take this opportunity to apologise to anyone to regularly checks for updates on the site. I can only say that there are so many things happening here at the moment, that there is just no time for photographing, writing and uploading, and whilst the mind is willing, the flesh is weak (well, not weak, but pulled in too many directions). I hope you'll bear with me and not give up on the website. I promise that once I have some semblance of order in my life there WILL be regular updates. I'm just not too sure when that will be.

I need to find a particular book on embroidery which seems to have disappeared temporarily. I'm sure it's here somewhere ... so ... must press on as they say!

Have a jolly Sunday/week ...

21 November 2007

Auctionitis ... and Anne of the Thousand Days ...

... So, yesterday I wasn't able to attend an auction where there were quite a few interesting-sounding Lots. Forget it ... that's what you're supposed to do. Move on ... there'll be another one soon ... and do you really need more stock?

... So, yesterday late afternoon I phoned the auction house to see what the Lots sold for ... and most of the ones I was interested in didn't sell.

... So, today Pauley and I drove up to Cheltenham to view the unsold Lots and came back with a loaded car. Did I really need it? I doubt it. But as you know there's a very fine line between need and want.

This box of linen should bring in a nice return.

These bobbins weren't the best buy in the world when I really looked at them carefully when I got home, but they'll be OK. But if there's someone out there learning to make lace, looking for a lace-making table on a stand and some books to go with the bobbins, then they could have a bargain!

And look at these 2 beautiful hand-made lace cushions.

The threads are interesting and I have no doubt they will sell in due course and the ribbons and braid are good, too.

But this ... well, I haven't taken it out of the box since we brought it home but I'll enjoy looking at it tomorrow while I'm at Dairy House. This is a 1969/70 wedding dress made by Harrods (in its original Harrods box) and it's a copy of the dress worn by Anne Boleyn (actress Geneviève Bujold) in the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days which also starred Richard Burton. Has anyone seen the film? I don't think I have. There is a matching headdress as you can see, and at the bottom of the box is a bridesmaid's dress and headdress, which was made at the time for a 14-year-old. An interesting Lot which didn't sell, mainly because it was added to the sale after the catalogues were printed.

... So I now have my hands tied behind my back, and you heard it here first ... I'm not buying anything else for at least a week!!!!

19 November 2007

Antiques Fair, Friends and a Surprise ... Now with (some) Piccies ...

I'm not too sure where the last week has gone but the weekend was taken up with the regular DMG Antiques Fair at Shepton Mallet. No photos as I didn't take my camera this time, and because it's pouring with rain I haven't unloaded the car yet - so can't show you any of the goodies I bought!

I'm happy to say that I did 'reasonably' well. Not up to my target figure, but not my worst fair by any means. So thank you to everyone who bought from me over the 3 days. I made a determined effort not to overspend this time as I have a lot of expenditure coming up soon (which I hope to be able to tell you about in the new year) and also, if I'm honest, I really don't need to buy any more stock for at least 12 months!!

However ... I did buy a beautiful 1920s fabric-covered box, which without measuring I guess is probably about 24" long, 12" wide and at least 6" deep. When I can extricate it from the car I'll let you know how close to the actual measurements my estimate is and will update this post with a photo. I also bought a collection of lace collars and other lace - about 75 pieces in total. My other purchase was a set of 2 French silky-soft linen monogrammed sheets and pillowcases together with matching plain sheets and pillowcases. However, they are unfortunately too narrow for a normal-size single bed, so I have already sold the plain sheets separately for sewing projects and envisage that the monogrammed pair would make fabulous curtains or could maybe be used for other projects. Similarly, the pillowcases are not a standard English pillow size but are nevertheless of lovely quality. Oh yes, I nearly forgot ... 20 mainly crepe de chine hankies and 25 linen napkins ... but I think that's the sum total ... or is it? I may find something else when I sort the car contents!

It was lovely to see Niki on Saturday although I didn't get much opportunity to chat to her as I was quite busy both times she came by. However, she brought a beautiful bag she'd made for me from the fabulous fabric she displayed in a blog post last week and I did make sure I had time to thank her and pay!! Saturday also brought Clare and Mike. Clare kindly allowed me to go off for half-an-hour or so (it could have been longer ... time flies, doesn't it). I was exceedingly grateful, as always, because at a busy Fair (when people are elbowing their way along the rows) it's impossible to leave your stand however desperately you might need to escape!!! Several other regular customers came by - it's always good to see them and over the years they have all become people it's nice to pass the time of day with. The weather was good on Saturday, despite the forecast earlier in the week saying that Saturday would be wet and Sunday would be fine. By Friday the forecast had reversed the weather for those 2 days and poor Kelly had to endure a very rainy Sunday. It was super to see her, with Paul (complete with cold) and Georgia. I think Georgia was quite pleased that I had a bag of Maltesers in my pocket!

The surprise came from Pauley. When the garden studio/shed was erected our electrician had hurt his back and was unable to connect the electricity. I've been using an extension reel plugged into a socket in the garage when necessary and had no idea when Garry would be likely to come to do the work. When I got home on Saturday evening Pauley met me at the door and told me to get out of the car and shut my eyes. Odd, but heyho, what had I got to lose? He disappeared into the house, came back, turned me round a couple of times and then told me to open my eyes. And there it was ... my studio ... in glorious technicolour ... that's what it seemed like at any rate! Garry had been, connected the electricity to the fusebox and thus the sockets and light that were built into the studio design, and everything is go, go, go ... soooooo exciting, and such a lovely surprise. Bless him ... he's not such a bad hubby after all!!!!!!

Sorry there are no photos to break up this long screed, but I'll update later when I've taken some, and add 'Now with Piccies' to the title!

Have a lovely week all, despite it being a wet one!

The measurements of the box are 22" x 11" x 5" so I wasn't too far out, was I! The photos of the lace show just some of it. There are another 3 photos, but I thought they were enough to give you an idea of what I bought. The other photo is a lovely sewing basket which realistically needs new fabric, but I rather like it as it is and will probably leave the new owner to change the fabric if they wish.
I'm not sure when I'll have time to get these on the website, so if anything appeals to you please ask and I can give you more details. I haven't unearthed the other goodies, but I'll do a new post later to show you what I bought today (Wednesday)! Please excuse unedited photos. I'm trying to do 101 things here, and unfortunately cropping photos isn't one of them!

11 November 2007

Poppies ...

... mean a lot to me.

My grandfather was in WWI. He came home. Aunts and uncles were in the forces in WWII. They survived. My dad helped to liberate France, went on in to Belgium and Holland, and his Regiment was one of the first in to Belsen. He came home. My brother-in-law was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal after the Falklands War. My dad died 34 years ago tomorrow, 12 November. It was a Monday, the day after Remembrance Sunday. Two days before Princess Anne's first marriage, six months before my daughter was born.

Poppies ... mean a lot to me ...

06 November 2007

It's Arrived ...

... and I might soon, once again, see the sitting room floor, and be able to invite Gillie to stay and sleep in a bed ...

Here it is ...

Not the best photo, but the slideshows below will show how quickly it was erected, and what a glorious day it was. Weren't we lucky! To think we had a blue, cloudless sky on just the day in November that we needed it - perfect! It would be nice if you can last through the slideshows (there had to be 2 because there are so many photos), but I'll quite understand if you have to go off and make a cuppa.

I have to say that the Booths Garden Studio team was a fantastic trio and despite setting off from Corby in the very early hours this morning, and having a tyre blowout on the motorway, they set to as soon as they arrived just after 9.00 am. They had finished and left for home just after 4.00 pm and other than stopping just long enough to down the odd cuppa, they worked solidly throughout the day. A happier bunch you couldn't wish for.

I've already started to fill the studio, thus creating a wee bitty space in the garage. Finding the sitting room floor and the spare bedroom will take a little longer, but as you'll see, there will be plenty of space to store all the linen and textiles and other stock. I even plan to have a space for my sewing machine, just in case I have time to use it!

The studio is predominantly for storage, but it is also intended as a place where I can sort all the textiles etc without creating a fabric mountain in the house. It will be a treat to be able to see what I have and plan what to take to the Fairs without tripping over everything. It'll take a while to get it just how I want it, but I have a feeling it's going to be fun!

We've also had a jolly weekend. If you read Clare's post the other day you'll know she was expecting visitors on Saturday! Clare and Mike are THE perfect stop-off en route from Somerset to Northampton, and they offer a very good lunch! What's more visitors get to view the Clock House in all it's glory. The photos on Clare's blog are lovely, but the CH is even better when you see it for real. We spent a relaxed couple of hours enjoying lunch, a good gossip and lots of oohs and aahs when we inspected the Clock House. Sorry, no photos! We then carried on our way, calling on my aunt and uncle before ending up at Gillie's in the evening. Plenty more gossiping, eating and imbibing before the day was over, to get in practise for lunch on Sunday!

We made the trip to Northampton to help celebrate the 60th birthday of a friend who we have known for half his life! I worked with his wife at Manns Brewery in the 1970s and am godmother to their elder daughter. Although we thought we were just joining the lunch party, because we were staying over until Monday morning we were able to prolong the day and go back to their home for fireworks and nibbles. It was a super day, and we met up with a few people we hadn't seen for over 20 years.

Before leaving Northampton we drove past Mum's old house to see if work had started on it. When she sold she was told the purchaser was a developer who intended to extend and convert the house into at least 2 flats. Work had definitely started, the garden was non-existent, the back of the house was gone. I lived there for a few months in between marriages in the 70s but it was never my home as such. Despite that it was quite upsetting. I wish now that I had insisted that we had dug up more plants to bring down here when Mum moved. They had said we could, and had we realised just how much desecration there would be then I think we would have. I haven't told Mum, nor did I take photos. She had been very happy in her little house for over 30 years and I think it would upset her to see it in its current state.

Anyway, we had a good journey home, coming back via Bath to collect some draft minutes for the British Legion which I type up every year.

This coming weekend there's a French Market in Somerton and I'm sharing a stall with another Somerton dealer. Hopefully the weather will stay fine as we're under a gazebo in the Market Square. Could be fun!

Enjoy the rest of the week!

It seems that slide.com wants you all to join my fanlist again - aaaargh - and blogger has decided not to give this missive any paragraph breaks. If you've stayed to the end give yourselves a pat on the back! ... It would seem I lie - there ARE paragraph breaks now. Just a little something to make you laugh ... remember the buttons I sorted and photographed a week or so ago? I tipped the box upside down today and had to do it all again. Wasn't best pleased, as you can imagine!