29 March 2009

One Year On ... Giveaway Time Again ...

On April Fool's Day I shall have been the proprietor of Dairy House Antiques for a whole year. Just recently I've read many blog comments about the speed with which the last few weeks have flown by, but nothing exceeds the speed of the last 365 days. The whole experience has been a huge learning curve, quite exhausting at times, a wee bit stressful occasionally, but most of all it's been exciting and the best opportunity of a lifetime I've ever taken.

We've had an amazing year, with consistently buoyant sales figures, which we've obviously been thrilled about. It doesn't do to become complacent though, and each month we've wondered whether that was going to be the last good month but, thankfully, all is still well ...

Just over a year ago I asked all you lovely bloggers to wish me luck and maybe follow my exploits. You've been so supportive, and many bloggers and blog readers have visited Dairy House in the last 12 months to see what all the fuss was about. It's been great to be able to chat about it and show you a few pictures of Dairy House stock - both mine and that of our dealers.

As a thank you, I thought a giveaway would be in order, and what better - I hope you'll agree - than one of the beautiful Scheurer fabrics that I mentioned in my last post. Those of you who follow Niki's blog will have doubtless seen the photos of the fabrics she bought yesterday. They should whet your appetite! I don't yet know which fabric sample the winner will receive, but whichever one I choose I can guarantee that it will date somewhere between 1875 and 1936 and will be a textile collector's dream. (Update: If you need a further Scheurer fix you can view another slideshow here)

All I ask is that you tax your brains a little and come up with a phrase or sentence using as many letters as possible from DAIRY HOUSE ANTIQUES, SEMLEY. See! Nothing too complicated!

I'll choose the winner on Wednesday evening, 1 April, after I've spent a few jolly hours at the Talent 4 Textiles Fair at Ilminster. After all, a girl can never have too many textiles!

Have fun!


23 March 2009

What I Did in March ...

It's been a busy month! Most of it is too uninteresting to mention, but I'll fill you in on a few activities. I can at least offer you plenty of photos (sorry, no I can't ... see later comments), slide shows and a link to Flickr piccies. Obviously all this is in addition to my usual Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Dairy House!

Before visiting the Bath Decorative Fair, where you may remember I bought the lovely shabby glass-fronted cupboard, the hat block and a footstool, I viewed a couple of auctions and bought more lace, Christening and everyday baby gowns and some lace bobbins. The gowns have been soaked and boiled and are now waiting to be ironed. I had hoped to do that last week, but ran out of time. Sorry, no photos other than the lace (see later).

The highlight of the month was another trip to see Donna. If you check out her website from time to time you may have seen the Scheurer fabrics she had for sale. These fabrics really need a post of their own and I shall probably do one later in the year, but suffice to say at the moment, that I have bought from Donna all the remaining Scheurer fabrics. If you've never heard of them, here is a slideshow giving you a peek of just a little of what I came home with.

We filled 7 or 8 huge plastic check laundry bags with rolls and rolls of fabric samples dating from the 1870s to 1930s. The Scheurer company was a famous European textile printer from Mulhouse in Alsace, France, and their fabric samples went to auction in 2004. They have all now been documented and recorded, and after being passed into Donna's care for a few years they have now passed to me. They are a textile collector's dream and how I shall ever manage to part with them I don't know. I plan to keep some, but the majority will have to be sold as I'm afraid I don't have those limitless funds which would allow me to keep everything I buy. This purchase is an investment which will, hopefully, "see me well".

I was hoping to add more photos, but every time I try I lose my internet connection and get an error report message. Great! And this post was going to be full to bursting with piccies! Do enlarge this one if you can to get a good look at the birds.

Whilst I've looked through the bags at least once and now transferred all the fabrics to gorgeous red and white spotty, strawberry or ditsy floral bags (purchased from here), each time I take out a batch of fabric I find a pattern I hadn't noticed before. The colours are amazing, and considering that some of them are 130 years old, the fact that the colours are as bright as the day they were created is astounding. Some of pieces - all approximately 31" x 19" - have been so stunning that seeing them for the first time made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

So, moving on ... once Pauley and I got back from visiting Donna I'm afraid I collapsed into bed for 36 hours with a cold and a really thick head. Needless to say once I felt better Pauley ended up with man flu which he's continued to suffer from ever since! I have to admit, though, that he really does sound poorly today!

Last Tuesday I gave a talk! Don't laugh! I was asked by a local women's group to give a talk on caring for linens. It was only to be 30 minutes so I thought I ought to manage it OK. If I could keep groups of YTS trainees entertained in college 5 days a week in the 1980s I felt I could probably rise to the challenge of keeping a group of 20 or so ladies interested for half-an-hour. Thankfully the talk went well - I took plenty of before and after examples, a basket of products (Napisan, rust remover, Oxyclean, washing powder, iron-on interfacing/Vilene), items made (or suggestions as to what could be made) from damaged tablecloths etc, monograms cut from otherwise threadbare pillowcases and so on. Apparently it was very interesting - and quite amusing - and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I don't know that I'd want to do too many, but I've already been asked to do another one elsewhere next year.

On Friday I had another birthday - that came round far too quickly, but probably not as fast as the next one! The birthday in 2010 will add a nought and give me a free bus pass. What a scary thought. I mentioned to someone the other day that rather than enjoy the benefits of the free bus pass I think I'd like to buy a tricycle. One of those that you used to see old ladies pedalling on the road. It would, of course, have a nice loud bell, and I'd quite like it to have a trailer so that I could pedal around the countryside with a trailer of linens and textiles. I'd be wearing purple, of course, and a red had, and would carry a stick so that I could run it along the railings as I tricycled past!!! But back to this year's birthday. I was up at crack of dawn in order to meet up with one of the Dairy House dealers at Shepton Mallet. Now I no longer stand at the 3-day Antiques Fair myself I go in early with John, help him unload and then shop. This is where I bought the fabulous quilt, eiderdown and screen that I mentioned in my last post. It wasn't until I was photographing them yesterday that I realised that the colours of the eiderdown and the quilt matched perfectly and they should really stay together. I bought them from different stallholders and certainly didn't realise at the time. The screen is covered in a lovely vintage toile and is yet another item I'd like to keep! However, everything mentioned is for sale, and most of what you'll see in the slideshows or on Flickr are, too. If you see anything you 'need' do feel free to email!!

Here's a Flickr slideshow. I've not tried this before, so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. I've added quite a lot of photos to Flickr and there's a link in my sidebar.

If you stayed with the slideshow you may have seen the eiderdown fabrics which were the result of my 'feathered friend' post earlier this month.

I bought a few other things at Shepton before rushing home just after 2 o'clock. The plan was that Pauley, Mum and I were to go to Hannah's for tea at 4.30pm as a joint celebration: belated birthday for Pauley, my birthday and Mother's Day. So we arrived at the appointed hour and sat outside waiting ... for ¾ hour after which I phoned Han who was still at work and waiting for us to meet her there! We were supposed to be having afternoon tea at Babington House at the end of Han's shift! Woops! Anyway, we arrived at 6 o'clock(!!!!) for our tea and cake - brought in to the Lounge by the Food & Beverage Manager singing Happy Birthday. It was yummy, and so was our joint birthday present: tickets to see Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in May.

The weekend passed in a haze of DH customers, Semley Auction (a couple of Lots purchased, but nothing particularly exciting or worth writing about!) and sunshine! My grand plan for my day off today, and what I thought was to be the last of the sunny weather, was to spend a few hours in the garden following on from Pauley's sterling work last week. Fat chance! I was just answering some emails and contemplating getting showered and dressed, fill the washing machine and escape outside, when I got a call from Dairy House saying that Paul Martin (of Flog It fame) and a film crew wanted to 'pop in' in an hour's time. Considering my journey to DH takes 40-45 minutes and I had to get dressed first, I did well to follow the sound man the last few hundred yards down the A350, leap in the door and be there to greet Mr Martin! They wandered round, did a bit of filming, chatted a bit and left. I then drove home again, by which time it was blowing a gale and raining. So much for my day off. At least it's meant I could sit here this afternoon writing this post.

I still can't upload photos to Blogger without the whole thing crashing, so my apologies ... you'll just have to look at the slideshows and the one photo which I managed to upload.

The next couple of weeks are going to be as hectic as ever. I'm planning on visiting the Textile Fair in Ilminster on 1 April and on 4 April I'm standing at the Gloucestershire (I think) Quilters' Guild Trade Day. I'd give you details, but I can't remember them, other than the fact that I think it's at Chipping Sodbury.

On 18 April I'll be at Bridport Rag Market. More about that in due course.

So, enjoy the rest of March. Let's hope we have some more fine weather soon, especially on 31 March which will be our 32nd wedding anniversary. I might just manage another day off!!!!

22 March 2009

So Many ...

... photos to take ... so little time!

So many gorgeous purchases to show you ...

Fabrics from the 1870s to 1930s ... a stunning eiderdown ... a beautiful handstitched quilt ... a mountain of lace ... lace-making bobbins ... an early toile screen ... and ... and ...

I'll do my best to get photographing while I'm at Dairy House today ...

Meanwhile, hope you're all enjoying this glorious weather and spending time in your gardens!

06 March 2009

Feathered Friend and Another Week Flown By - More photos added 8.3.09

I realise I have inadvertently been rather quiet on the blogging front. This last 3 or 4 weeks has flown by in a frenzy. Days off have been gobbled up with things to be done and no time to do them in, and here we are at the end of yet another week.

The list of things to be done today was endless, so I decided a little displacement activity was called for. I needed to reach some boxes at the back of my shed, which I'm desperately trying to call my studio, and whilst I haven't yet reached them I have cleared some of the route. For several months there has been a pile of exhausted eiderdowns waiting to be parted from their feather innards and today was the day. If I wanted to reach the boxes I needed to shift the eiderdowns, so a quick change of plan, and instead of ticking things off the 'to do' list let's disgorge the feathers today. Why not! Today is as good as any other day and I felt in the right frame of mind to tackle the task.

So, with appropriate (ie NOT black) clothing I opened up the end of an old duvet cover, ripped open the end of each eiderdown in turn, and poured, shook and flapped the first eiderdown contents into the duvet cover. Fine. Not too many feathers escaped. I repeated the actions with numbers 2 and 3 and although there were a fair few feathers fluttering on the lawn - rather like the results of a cat/bird battle - things were going well. Until we got to number 4. Just as I began to shake the eiderdown contents into the duvet cover I heard Mum open the gate into her back garden, looked up to say hello and ... feathers everywhere! I hadn't put the end of the eiderdown far enough into the cover and half the contents ended up on the lawn. Why I tried to gather them up I have no idea, but I ended up looking as if I'd been tarred and feathered. By the time I'd finished I decided the boxes could stay at the back of the shed until my next day off!!!

Meanwhile, in the house, Pauley was sorting boxes of DMC cones as I've had several orders for them over the last week or so. The next task was to tie up a few more fabric bundles. The Country Living mention had meant almost all the previous batch had been sold and stocks had dwindled to unacceptable levels. Here are the makings of new bundles.

Earlier in the day some of last week's auction buys were laundered and hung out on the line. They've now been ironed and are ready to go to Dairy House tomorrow.

This week has been another buying week (what a surprise!), with some gorgeous painted muslin and satin doilies purchased at auction. Aren't these Kate Greenaway children fabulous! Do click on the photos to see the exquisite painting.

There are 10 with paintings of fruits and flowers which are a little worn. I won't try to overload Blogger and show you those now, but I may add them to a slide slow later - photos now added (8 March). I'd forgotten about the 3 Louis Wain style cat paintings, so I've added those as well.

These two doilies were are beautifully painted, too.

Finally I went to the Bath Decorative Fair last evening after a day at Dairy House. The new WEADA (West of England Antique Dealers Association) booklet was being distributed at the trade evening, so I went along to collect our boxful and chat to the dealers who were exhibiting. The Bath Decorative Fair is a prestigious annual event and this year it was opened by Paul Martin, of Flog It fame. Normally prices are too high for me to contemplate buying anything, but last evening I made 3 interesting purchases which didn't break the bank, and I also made a charming new contact. There were plenty of other fabulous items, but most of them had four-figure price tickets. Here are the photos I was unable to upload when I wrote this post on Friday. The cupboard has a gorgeous roses 'sticky-back plastic' on the shelves. I love it and would like to keep it but sadly Pauley doesn't go a bundle on shabby chic!!! Also I do have to remember that I bought it as stock to sell!! I love the footstool too, and I've been looking for a hat block for ages and couldn't believe my luck to find one in a basket of treen all priced sensibly!

Hopefully I'm now back in blogging mode and I'll show you some more photos soon.

02 March 2009

Printer Cartridges ...

Just a quick post to enquire whether anyone uses these printer cartridges:

Canon BCI-24 Black and Canon BCI-24 Color

I have 7 Colour and 3 Black unopened boxes. I've no idea how old they are as we've had our new printer for about 18 months now. I'm guessing that some of the cartridges may be up to 3 years old. I don't know if they have a shelf life or not - I can't see anything on the box.

If anyone can use them please email. They are yours for the price of postage.

This is the start of blitzing the office!!