28 December 2009

So That Was Christmas ...

I was so pleased, and amazed, to think I had decorated the tree and dotted the cards around by Tuesday. I'd even cleared the remaining pile of stock from the sitting room floor, and loaded it into the car ready to take to Dairy House on Wednesday.

The decorations range from recent to 1950s - the little red bell (top right) is as old as me, or older, the wooden fairy at the bottom of the picture above was from Father Christmas (aka Hannah) a few years ago, and other decorations have been acquired over the last 38 years or so - a few new ones every year. The little red felt hearts and green felt trees were from Fiona a couple of years ago.

The fairy resting in the branches is the very one which used to sit atop the tree every Christmas when I was a child and the icicle is one of the 3 remaining from my childhood. The rusty robins were purchased from Tracy last year.

Can you see a very young Pauley in this photo?

Usually I'm decorating the tree at about midnight on Christmas Eve, but this year Han and Rob were coming on CE and then setting off on Christmas morning to spend the day with Rob's family. Being so ahead of myself meant I only needed to make up the spare bed and wrap prezzies. The turkey was collected - larger than usual because a family friend of very long standing was coming to stay with Mum over the Christmas break, and Gillie was coming for the day - and all the remaining food shopping was done. I'd catered for the five thousand as far as veggies were concerned, as Mum is a vegetarian and always takes home a doggy bag of loads of different vegetables, bread sauce, apple sauce and so on to last a day or two, and we are a household which loves bubble & squeak!

So off I went to Dairy House on Wednesday, and realised I wasn't feeling 100%. I staggered through the day, got home and decided I really couldn't face doing much other than running back and forth to the bathroom (nuff said!). I felt decidedly worse on Christmas Eve but got through the evening having managed to cook roast gammon, veggies, mashed potato and gravy specially requested  by Han (and she knows EXACTLY what she wants to eat at the moment ... ALERT ... watch out for exciting news at the end of May/beginning of June!!!! ... and then joined in all the present opening.

Next morning it was obvious that I wasn't going to be cooking turkey and all the trimmings and Gillie phoned to say she was poorly again with a straming cold which she had no intention of passing on to Mum (or anyone else for that matter). So we postponed Christmas Day. I made a batch of bread sauce (for Mum) and some sausages wrapped in bacon (for Anne) and Pauley took them next door. This is how I spent the rest of the day

in my new cosy dressing gown and slippers from Han and Rob!

Gloriously blue sky on a peaceful Christmas Day!

We had our Christmas Day on Saturday - I felt rested, having sat crocheting or sleeping for most of Christmas Day proper. Mum and Anne joined us and we had a lovely day. Gillie has just arrived, so we'll have another Christmas Day now!!

Hope yours ran smoothly and you all had a jolly time. Despite not feeling on top form I thoroughly enjoyed the few days - and the rest has been sublime!!!!

20 December 2009

Wishing you All a Very Merry Christmas

Here's hoping you all have a
Very Merry Christmas
with plenty of snow if you want it, and none if you don't!

Thank you all for visiting my blogs in 2009, and for your words of encouragement since I took over Dairy House Antiques. I may not manage to leave comments on yours too often, but rest assured I pop in to view whenever I can and much appreciate your continued support.

The New Year looks to be an interesting one from both a personal and a business point of view, and I look forward to sharing the highs (and hopefully very few lows) with you in 2010.

May the year ahead be a good one for you, too.
Have fun!

The beautiful picture above was painted by my cousin's husband many years ago and has long been a treasured possession


12 December 2009

Way Back When ... a Lot of Words ... and a Date for your Diaries

Way back, in September 2007, when I agreed to buy out the then owner of Dairy House Antiques, Linda Clift came over to the shop. She used to be a Dairy House dealer and was so supportive and full of encouragement when I told her Dairy House Antiques was to become my baby. We chatted about my long-term plans for the business and, among other things, the idea of holding a Textile Fair was popped into the melting pot.

Since I took over in April 2008 it has taken 20 months of hard work, fun, endless encouragement from friends, fellow dealers and fabulous customers, and a smidgin of determination to put Dairy House Antiques firmly on the map. Our dealers have doubled in number, the footfall has increased to such an extent that the carpet is wearing thin, and sales have beaten all expectations. Please don't think we have become complacent, though. We know we are one of the lucky ones, as the antiques trade has taken quite a knock in some areas. However, regular advertising and a frequent turnround of stock has kept the public's interest and we are constantly greeting new customers who have heard about us from various sources.

A few of our dealers stand at Ardingly and Kempton, as well as more locally at the Shepton 3-day Fair and the Giant Flea, and they promote Dairy House wherever they go. Often, when mentioning Dairy House to their customers at these fairs, they are told that the customer knows of us, has visited recently and, invariably, has made purchases.

What is so exciting is the fact that customers are now visiting Dairy House in search of 20th century fabrics and decorative items, as well as those of the Victorian and earlier eras. The word is spreading that we no longer cater solely for those looking for large pieces of Georgian furniture - although we still sell plenty of that - but are able to offer something for the new breed of customer looking for vintage.

As a result 2010 would seem the right time to stage the event which was mooted so long ago, and I am proud to announce that the first

Vintage Textiles and Costume Day @ Dairy House
is to take place on
Sunday 11 April 2010 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

The sellers have been invited and have accepted, the advertising postcards have been ordered and will be available after Christmas, and I've already put in a request to the long-range weather planner for a fine, sunny day.

Liz van Hasselt is very much involved in the planning process, and she and I are gradually putting all the details into place. It's always good to have 2 people working on something like this so that all will be fine-tuned, every eventuality catered for and nothing forgotten or ignored. I know it would have been a far harder job without Liz's input and so I thank her for that. I'm fairly sure we shall have a few giggles between now and 11 April - I expect we shall have the odd panic, too - but with the trusty Jack keeping us on the straight and narrow I'm sure it'll be all right on the day!

Some of the well-known West Country textile and costume dealers will be displaying their wares under the verandah at Dairy House, and the shop will be open all day, giving everyone an opportunity to browse around the 3 floors and buy, not only from the sellers mentioned, but also from some of the Dairy House dealers who will be displaying textiles and vintage costume within their individual spaces.

Both Liz and I will keep you posted on progress via our blogs between now and 11 April and hope that many of you will be able to come and share the day with us.

09 December 2009

Shepton Giant Flea - won't be going ...

Just to let you know that due to "circumstances beyond our control" I won't be standing at the Giant Flea this coming Sunday at Shepton. A friend is having my pitch so if you're planning on going do pop and say hello to Helen.

We've had a bit of a roller-coaster couple of weeks at home what with one thing and another, and it's been exceedingly busy at Dairy House, leaving me with no spare time to get organised for the Flea. Consequently I decided that health was more important and a stress-free few days were vital. After a chat with the organiser, Sue Ede, I've also decided not to do the one in January, but I am booking the February Flea (28 February) and will still have my usual pitch.

So, sorry Isabelle, I won't be taking the threads to Shepton, but let me know if there's anything you need in particular. And apologies to anyone else who was expecting to rummage through the lace and buttons on Sunday!


04 December 2009

Inside or Outside ... It's in the Bag ...

Clare Allen is one of my lovely customers. She regularly pops in to Dairy House looking for just the right lengths and styles of vintage fabric for her bags. This is a photo of one of her advertising cards showing a bag using fabric she bought from me a year or two ago.

Her bags are completely reversible with gorgeous fabric on one side and the softest complimenting nappa leather on the other. The choice is yours as to which is the inside and which is the out! The straps, available in two lengths and a variety of colours, are interchangeable, giving you endless possibilities to customise your bag.

The photos below are of another bag where my fabric has been used ... and I'm delighted to say that I am now the proud owner of said bag. Please excuse the backdrop - no time to set a proper scene this morning so the photos don't necessarily do it justice, but you'll get an idea!

The rivets on the base of the bag are on both sides as protection when you put your bag down and the hidden magnetic catch means that the bag will close whichever way round you choose to wear it.
Do pop and have a look at Clare's website. Some of you may already have met her, or her bags, as she has exhibited at the Country Living Fair and the Spirit of Christmas at Olympia.

02 December 2009

Yellow is the Colour ...

... or Mellow Yellow ... either way, Donovan has hit the nail on the head for the latest Dairy House colour combination ... Moira and I were busy this morning rounding up this week's selection! Pop over to the other blog to see all the pics, but here's the taster!

26 November 2009

Coming Home ...

Usually I listen to Radio 4 as I make the 40-minute journey to Dairy House 4 days a week, but recently I've transferred alliegance to Radio 2 for the outward journey, but return to Radio 4 on my way home.

I've never been a particularly great Terry Wogan fan, but do enjoy singing along to the songs of my youth - hopefully no-one notices!

Yesterday morning I set off as usual and drove the first couple of miles with tears streaming down my face as this was playing

Did any of you see them on the Evening of Remembrance on BBC1 on 7 November? I think I need to add their debut album onto my Christmas list.

25 November 2009

Bridport Christmas Market: Saturday 28 November

I should have mentioned this before, but those of you in the vicinity of Bridport, the south coast, Dorset or Somerset this weekend are in for a treat. Not only is there the usual street market on Saturday but also the Bridport Christmas Market in St Mary's Hall - full of wonderful textiles and other goodies to help you build up your stash of Christmas gifts!

I'll be there, along with The Washerwoman, Lindiblog, Vintage Lizzie and the other West Country textile dealers of Talent for Textiles fame. It promises to be a jolly day and the hall will be packed to the gunnels with linens and textiles and all sorts of other treats. Do come and see us if you can - and perhaps you'd like to bring fine weather with you!!

20 November 2009

Vintage & Handmade Fair - a few photos

By now you will have read everyone else's blogs regarding the Fair. Most were quicker off the mark than I, but this is the first opportunity I've had to upload my (blurred) photos. Thankfully a few are OK!
I'm so glad I travelled up as far as Almondsbury on the Friday afternoon, to stay in the same hotel as Donna and her lovely Mum. We were greeted with a fair amount of blue sky when we set off on our 20-minute journey to Chipping Sodbury, and were all incredibly lucky to be able to unload our cars before the rains came.

Here's lovely Viv, aka Hens Teeth. Her work is superb and I'm hoping to commission her for a special something sometime in 2010.
And here are Jane (Jane and the Happy Crow) and Christine (The Sea Garden) - who were opposite me.

Sadly, no other photos of other people's stands came out well enough to post, and these are the best 2 photos of mine.

Our customers didn't desert us, despite the squally weather during the day, although the conditions were too bad for some. Such a shame, but very sensible not to travel long distances with such wind and rain.

Everyone worked so hard to make the day a success and certainly a jolly day was had by all.

I had a little suitcase of knitting and sewing patterns, together with some 1940s Woman and Woman's Own magazines. This knitting pattern caused quite a stir ... one lady purchased it for a knitting friend. I'd love to see the expression on her face when she opened her gift!

We all know by now that everyone had a lovely day, and so here's to May 2010 and every success to the Vintage & Handmade Fair No 4.

02 November 2009

Vintage & Handmade Countdown ...

Looking through my photo archives I've found something else which I plan to take to the V&H. One of these is sold, the other isn't. Whichever one isn't (I can't remember) will be coming with me ...

Plus a few bits and pieces like this ...

Did I tell you about the box of interesting bits I lost about 2 years ago? I found it last week and these will be making an appearance ...

As will plenty of this ...

And possibly this ...

I did wonder whether I should take some of this ...

but decided that I really didn't want to carry too much heavy stuff. Fabrics are heavy enough, but that has the added bonus of being unbreakable! Maybe the Toni Raymond pottery will have an outing at the May 2010 Vintage & Handmade Fair. I can't imagine I shall have sold it all by then!

I'm hoping someone will take a fancy to these ...

or possibly this gorgeous fabric which is, in fact, a pair of fairly short curtains. If they're too small for your window then perhaps the fabric should be given a new lease of life as a group of cushions ...

This South American apron along with a number of vintage printed pinnies are hoping they'll be packed in a bag as they'd quite like to find new homes ...

As always I shall be taking too much, but Gillie is coming with me this time, so I hope she'll be ready to flex her muscles and join in the melée - the long corridor between the carpark and the hall seemed incredibly long at the last Fair!! I hope it's grown shorter in the last 6 months!!

Needless to say, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be plenty of this ...

and plenty of these ...

in all colours, shapes and sizes!

And these are just the items already photographed. The rest will be a surprise!

30 October 2009

Words to live by ...

I'm displacing again, and doing some computer housekeeping. It seemed like a good idea at the time ...

I found the following, entitled 'Words to live by' filed away in 'My Documents'. Not sure when I received it, nor from whom, but thanks to whoever it was. I don't think I've breached copyright by blogging it - it was probably extracted from one of those silly round robin things that we all receive from well-meaning friends from time to time!!! Some are a wee bit silly, but a couple of them may cause a smile!

Accept that some days you're the pigeon,
and some days you're the statue.

Always keep your words soft and sweet,
just in case you have to eat them.

If you can't be kind, at least have the
decency to be vague.

Never put both feet in your mouth at the
same time, because then you don’t
have a leg to stand on.

Ever notice that the people who are late
are often much jollier than the people
who have to wait for them?

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't
more people happy?

You may be only one person in the world,
but you may also be the world to one person.

Some mistakes are too much fun
to only make once.

Don't cry because it's over;
smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty, some
are dull, some have weird names, and
all are different colors but they all
have to learn to live in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can
enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Happiness comes through doors you
didn't even know you left open.

Did I ever show you these photos? I'm guessing 1956 and 1960 but can't be certain! Long enough ago for it not to matter, even if it does seem like yesterday ...

After that little reminisce it's time to get on with what I was supposed to be doing before I got sidetracked ... sorting out the office in order to move around some furniture. I have to say I've more or less wasted my day off. It's been relaxing, but there was so much I needed to get done today ... including scrambling into the shed/studio while the weather was fine to find some specific items for the Vintage and Handmade Fair in two weeks' time. I think today was the last fine day, so the things I had in mind might just have to wait until the next V&H in May 2010

I've been itching to do some sewing again but until the office is sorted, and I have found a new home for my sewing machine, I'll have to contain myself. However, I finally picked up a crochet hook the other day, after popping along to the new bead/stitch shop at Semley which sells Debbie Bliss and Rowan yarns among other things. The shop is housed in a beatifully-converted barn and is less than a mile from Dairy House. I notice on their website that as well as their usual Monday-Saturday opening they are open this Sunday, 1 November. I'm not sure if this is a new thing for every Sunday or a one-off. Maybe they're going to see what Sunday opening is like in the run up to Christmas. If Sunday visitors to Dairy House are anything to go by I imagine it will certainly be worth their while. Yesterday in a quiet couple of hours at the end of the day a friend came to spend some time with me at Dairy House so that I could teach her to crochet! We have such plans ... I'm not sure that they'll come to fruition this side of Christmas, but there's always next year ... it'll be such fun to be creative again

Have a jolly weekend, one and all. I imagine it will be trick or treat for many. Not for me though, thank you very much!

21 October 2009

Riding off into the sunset ...

On the way home from Dairy House last week ...

A selection of goodies which may be making their way to the Vintage & Handmade Fair on 14 November ...

Plenty of photos added to the Dairy House blog yesterday. See you there!

13 October 2009

Mission Impossible ... and a little displacing ...

My daughter and her lovely hubby are coming for supper on Friday (although we're only an hour away it's difficult for us to meet up as we all work such long hours). My mission yesterday was to clear the sitting room floor and all other flat surfaces of stock, stock and more stock.

Needless to say the mission continues today as I got somewhat sidetracked yesterday. Because the old eiderdown I'd been unpicking was still needing to be emptied of feathers, Pauley and I attempted that for a change of activity. Many sneezes later that job was done.

The obvious next step as I was passing was to empty the car after the Giant Flea Market at Shepton on Sunday. Obvious because the contents of the sitting room (and by this time the kitchen, too!!) has to go somewhere and the studio is still awaiting a good clear out to make room for all these other things. It was such a lovely sunny day that it was far more important that I should be outside savouring the sun rather than inside squinting as the sun shone through the window don't you think?

In between all this I needed to sort some buttons into drawers and boxes. Have I ever mentioned I like drawers?? And buttons??

Another displacement activity was soon needed, so I sorted out the pile of recently acquired table linens, which had also found their way to the sitting room, into more piles. I'd cleared a space by removing the eiderdown and emptying a box, so there was room to make more piles! These fell into the categories of needing to be washed, just needing ironing, charity shop, polishing cloths for one of my DH dealers, keep for 'projects' and finally those beyond redemption. As luck would have it a Help the Aged worker dropped off a sack whilst I was emptying the cary. He's more than happy to take as much as I can leave outside for him tomorrow. Great ... that meant move on to attack the garage and find the 2 boxes and a bag of charity shop stuff that has been making its way further and further towards the back as other things have piled in!

So far this morning I have displaced admirably ... I've taken some photographs, and sat writing this post. Soon I shall have to be brave and put my sorting head on again in an attempt to reach the finishing post. I must finish today as Dairy House beckons tomorrow and Thursday, leaving Friday to food shop, take Mum to the garden centre before preparing for our visitors!

If I get a move on I could empty everything that remains in the sitting room out into the garden. It's another lovely day so maybe if I got that far I could then empty the shed and refill it ... and whilst I'm doing that I could begin to sort things into piles for the Vintage & Handmade Fair on 14 November and the Christmas Market in Bridport on 21 November. Now there's a good displacement activity! At least if I've emptied the house Pauley could stay inside and lock and bolt the doors so that nothing can creep back in (until Saturday)!

My vintage mannequins are breeding again. There are currently 2 in the hall, one in the car, one in the studio (plus the little wicker one I used to use for display at DH, and that scary one from way back with the wooden arms) and 2 at Dairy House. Prices range from £100 to around £350.

Moving on to blogland topics, Niki dropped off my calendar order at Shepton Flea on Sunday. Like this year's calendar, 2010 offers a vintage feast for your eyes every month, and each colour-themed photo has a backdrop of Scheurer fabric. I believe they will be available at the Vintage & Handmade Fair.

Last evening, when I'd finally escaped tidying mode, I caught up with a few blogs and, starting with Treefall saw that several bloggers have been making their own scarves. This prompted me (at midnight) to search out the scarf I made in 1978. It's a wool tartan and I'm delighted to say that those wool nibblers haven't found it in 31 years and it's (as we speak) moth-free. I've worn it every year, bar 2008, but it will become part of my 'keep warm at Dairy House' wardrobe any day now!

This particular scarf is over 5 feet long (64" width fabric) and the first one I made. That year there were many wool tartans and check fabrics available in the shops and I made and sold endless scarves by simply stitching along the sides and ends, and fraying up to the stitching. At the sides I stitched a mere ¼" in, to has as little fraying as possible, but I left a couple of inches each end to make a decent frayed edge. Such a quick and easy method. I used to do the sewing when I got home from work while Hannah played. We would then drive to collect Pauley from work and I would fray the edges while we sat in the car waiting for him. Gillie's then husband worked at the same place and we would park our cars side by side and chat while I frayed. I'd forgotten this, but when Gillie came back into our lives in 2002 (by visiting rather than just Christmas letters and cards) she reminded me, and said that whenever she thought of those Northampton days she thought of my scarves!!! Fame, had I but known it

So ... the time has come. I can't put off the evil moment any longer ... shower, dress, attack ... I may be gone for a while ...

Update: I've received an email request from Hannah for baked ham, mashed potato and gravy! As the clearing has progressed reasonably well so far I thought I could spare a moment or two to look through this ...

I now know how I must lay the table ...

and how to cook the meal ...