Thursday, 31 December 2009

To 2010 and to you all!

Just wanted to include a couple of festive pictures before it's too late! First a picture of gorgeous girl's festive contribution ...


this lovely hamper filled with goodies made by my special friend and presented in

this lovely vintage tin. Just lovely - right down to the handmade marzipan fruits!

I'd also like to thank those of you who commented on my pre-birthday post! It was lovely to hear from you all. I had a great day out with GG visitng a couple of galleries and talking and laughing. We have a great time when we're out together - we don't get to do it enough.

And so to 2010 - 2009 has been a difficult year in many ways but I shall remain positive and look forward to a year with lots of fresh challenges. I shall muse over these in the next 24 hours and may commit my resolutiions to my blog - if only to ensure that I stick to them!

A very Happy New Year to you all!

Love Wend

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Tomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of my 21st birthday.

This is quite a SCARY thought as I feel very much younger. I try to tell myself that age is a state of mind but my mirror tells me otherwise.

Today I've been shopping with gorgeous girl and have bought myself a purple vest with lovely lace (only for wearing as a layer you understand) and it put me in mind of this poem...

By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

and pick the flowers in other people's gardens

and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

and eat three pounds of sausages at a go

or only bread and pickles for a week

and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

and pay our rent and not swear in the street

and set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Puts me in mind of this lovely film

I'm thinking of getting in a little practice now too! Come to think of it I've been hoarding things in boxes for years, getting fatter and wearing scary clothes (according to my daughter). And I have tins full of pens and pencils and I can't wait to run a stick along some railings!

Love Wend

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas in a cell?

8.00am to the post office and sainsburys for missed parcels and final bits.

9.30 home, coffee and list writing

10.15 - hoovering interrupted by loud knocking at the door. A burly man in a high vis jacket with black epaulettes. Stomach turned - a policeman at the door. I stared preparing myself for the worst.

"Is that your car outside?"

"Yes that's mine."

"Have you put petrol in it this morning?"

"Yes - - Oh my God - I havent' paid!!!" Hand flies to mouth - "I can't believe I did that". Suddenly became a gabbling wreck as I pulled off my slippers to put on shoes promising to pay immendiately and wondering what was going to happen next. Christmas in a cell?

"Don't worry" he said. "Just pop down and pay and we'll say no more. Don't panic get yourself a drink and calm down!"

I hurtled down to the shop and confessed to being the appalling woman who had forgotten to pay. The ladies there were great - told me not to worry - it's not a problem - it happens!

So sorry I said. I really must be menopausal!

Hope Christmas doesn't addle your brain!

Thank you to all you lovely bloggers , your messages and wonderful posts. I love being part of this community and look forward to much more in 2010.

Have a fabulous Christmas!

Love Wend

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Two simple images :

The angel made by my daughter when she was 2. Simple and charming...

And a beautifully simple card sitting on my late father's inkstand in my Mum's dining room.

It should have been his 88th birthday today.

I still miss him.

For all those for whom there is an empty space at the table at Christmas Day...

Love Wend

Monday, 21 December 2009

Today's the day!

17.47, 21st December 2009

A great moment for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Winter Solstice occurred!

From today the days will get slightly longer...

I don't hate winter as such and love the snow (if I don't have to drive).

But I struggle with leaving home in the dark in the morning and coming home in the dark.

And I hate working in an office with black blinds which block out the light.

I crave the daylight all week and soak it up at weekends.

But the passing of the solstice at 17.47 made me dance around the kitchen.

Now I can celebrate christmas!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Is it me?

This will be a photo light post as I've lost my camera. I've no idea how that happened as we are usually inseparable. It hasn't been a good week - my computer died in the week so I lost everything. Recovery is not looking good so I have invested in a laptop. I haven't even taken its plastic wrap off yet!

Last night I went with my Mum to see the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. I know - I should have checked the dress code in advance but I forgot and dressed up - I was going with my Mum after all! I felt as if I was drowning in a sea of greige ( a Laura Ashley shade name which adequately describes that colour between grey and beige)! I hadn't realised that a cardigan was obligatory topped with an anorak. I also had neglected to check out the minimum age requirement which must surely have been 70. Now I know its not that far away for me but I am determined not to let colour disappear from my life as I get older. Why do they do that?

We sat down (in the stalls as Mother doesn't like heights)and I had a delightful view of 60 brilliantly polished black shoes and grey trousered legs but not a lot above that.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band were the band behind the fabulous Brassedd Off film released some years ago. My mother grew up playing the cornet as the only girl in an all male band with my grandfather, a euphonium player, so I confess to having always enjoyed a good brass band. (There's lots of normal music I like - honest!)

The conductor arrived, the band struck up and I was enveloped by the wonderful rich tones of this fabulous band. My foot was tapping and I had a broad grin on my face. (Rather different to seeing David Bowie or Eric Clapton where I'd be likely to embarrass anyone with me!) I know its not everyone's cup of tea and is very much a northern "thing" linked to the pits and the large employers but their professionalism, skill and absolute pleasure was clear to see. They put on a fabulous performance and I loved it. I know it brought back precious memories for my Mum too. I admit to losing several tears when they played "Danny Boy" with the lights down and wearing their pit helmets with the helmet lights on - except they were brand new shiny white helmets which had clearly never seen a pit. And while I'm glad that we no longer have thousands of men suffering the daily toil of the pits and the resulting dreadful lung diseases I can't help but be sad for those who are still struggling with the fall out from the closing of the pits - especially in Nottinghamshire where the impact lives on...

So I have questions - why don't brass bands attract younger people? Have these bands had their day? What music would you go to with your Mum?

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well!

Love Wend

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Part of my large library pile. I must be the library's best customer. Whenever I see a new "must read" book in the shops I make a mental note of the title and reserve it. It costs me all of 25p each time. Two calls from the library told me I had reservations to collect. So included in the books by my bed now are

Cath Kidston's "Sew". I've been wondering whether to buy this so I look forward to taking some time to browse it thoroughly. Will I make anything from it or will it sit on a shelf alongside several other such books which seemed like a good idea when I bought them?

Julie Myerson's "The Lost Child". Julie was in the year below me at school (although I don't remember her being there). I've read all of her books and enjoy every one. Culture vultures amongst you will have seen her on many late night culture shows on TV. Her books are always thought provoking and this one in particular caused a stir when published this spring. It's a heart rending story of motherhood and Jeremy Paxman called it "the most controversial book of the year". If you haven't tried her yet I can strongly recommend her. (Its a little weird though for me sometimes as while I'm blithely reading she drops something in from her youth which immediately transports me back to mine - today there was a reference to her being called into see the head at school. I could immediately picture the scene - I'd lived it too, right down to the description of her looking like "the Queen, with her little black dog". I haven't thought about the dog for years but remember him being called James and how everyone wanted to walk him at lunch time. (Actually it was more about having the chance to get out into the Arboretum where the boys from the school across the road hung out rather than any desire to spend time with the dog with 4 inch legs!) (Apologies to all dog lovers - I wasn't James's biggest fan!)

Her book "Not a Games Person" was full of similar references: to wooden horses (which always provoked something akin to a panic attack in me!), the cellars in which we changed for gym - "smelling of rubber and feet" - I can smell it now! She remembers the Miners Strike when there was no heating at school and certainly no games as it was too cold to get undressed for anything, and Mr Jones,the caretaker with the purple nose - I'd forgotten him and his nose until I read this book! Isn't it funny how somebody else's memories can bring back images that were buried so long ago?

This book about trademarks is a fascinating read giving the stories behind many of our famous trade marks.

I thought I'd found the secret behind the gentleman on my darning thread card but then realised that mine is a different man from the man in the book - Cardinal Wolsey: the man whose name became synonymous with unshrinkable woollens and socks!

Thrifty Chic seen on many a blog keeps coming home with me - I have it out for a few weeks, return it and pick it up again a month later. I love the ideas in here and am filled with inspiration every time I browse the pages.

I think I'm in denial. I know how much there is to do before Christmas but keep procrastinating. I have had to accept it's well and truly on its way and spent more time than I would have liked finding the old Advent calendar - made of small brown envelopes and pegged to a string. It's past its best and something of an embarrassment as it was hastily put together some time back. But Gorgeous Girl is something of a traditionalist, (and to her a tradition can become such after only a very short time) so it has had to go up! It was speedily assembled a few nights ago and I was in deep trouble on Thursday when the third envelope was found to be empty! I'm severely lacking in the Festive department and although GG is nearly 17 she's still a little girl at heart. Recently I found a note atop a carrier bag on the stairs which said "If you leave my presents on the stairs I will find them!" When I told her I had found her note to Santa she told me it was to me, not Santa, as he wouldn't be so stupid! She has a point -if a little rudely made!

So now I have to make a concerted effort to find all those vintage baubles I've picked up for pennies at car boots etc over the last few months and do something lovely with them.

Hope you're having a good weekend,


Saturday, 28 November 2009

Reasons to be cheerful - for Julie Arkell fans

Julie is holding two workshops on 27th and 28th March 2010 at Hope and Elvis, Harley Gallery Welbeck, North Notts. Louise Hope is hosting the workshop at her studio at the Welbeck estate in Welbeck. I've been to several of Louise's workshops and they have always been great fun. She runs lots of workshops on the vintage theme and a day in her studio can provide enough inspitration to keep you occupied for months! I've wanted to go to a Jule Arkell workshop for ages but they never seem to be in the right place at the right price. This one is £55 and there were 3 places left when I checked on Saturday. Move quickly if you want to take advantage of what is likely to be a great day! A quick google will bring up lots of hits for Julie if you're unfamiliar with her delighful papier mache based vintage inspired dressed creatures (that doesn't sell them very well) - just take a look...they're worth checking out!

Love Wend

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The scream!

Is it me or is the world spinning faster and faster? My roles in the last few days have included -

manager, coach, mentor, civil servant of a much despised department, wage slave for the council, mother, chauffeur, Chair of Governors, teacher, psychologist, daughter, crafter, cleaner, cook, gardener, shopper, lifestyle coach, to name a few. (And sometime part-time witch I think!

I often feel like a professional plate spinner with my full time job, a part time job and two voluntary roles. Normally everything is fine but this week instead of all the plates happily spinning atop their poles I'm running along the line of plates trying to catch them before they fall and failing.

This week I am guilty, for the first time, of forgetting to turn up for my school uniform shop duty on Saturday, as I was busy doing some part time work for the council. I wasn't aware of this fact until one of my co-volunteers asked me how it had gone! (she was off "with permission"). I shall shortly be off to much heavy apologising and donning my hair shirt again.

I've made a few moments for me tonight to look at other blogs and and have found myself envying those who have had a lovely afternoon by the fire, perhaps undertaking a little light crochet or crafting, baking or sewing while dreaming warm thoughts as the rain drops softly against the window. I don't like envy. Mental note to boost my energy levels! Any ideas?

Oh and did someone mention Christmas is coming?

Hope your week's going well!

Love Wend - drowning not waving!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Simple pleasures

I received through the post a couple of surprises...A free DVD courtesy of Maltesers current promotion. One happy gorgeous girl as it was a Hugh Grant film. Anything Hugh is acceptable.

A pack of large cards from Paul Smith. I'm obviously on his Christmas list! I don't buy Paul Smith - I'm not a fan of "designer". I am however a fan of great architecture and as his flagship Nottingham store is in a beautiful listed building I sometimes pop in to see what he has done with it and must have put myself on his mailing list.

I have to say this mailshot was delightful and put me in mind of Jabopee's (see sidebar) toy illustrations.

Delightful old images arranged amongst his socks, watches, cosmetic bags and wallets. I delight in lovely advertising and will stop in the street to take a picure of a favourite hoarding.

And last but not least my lovely giveaway goodies from Mary Poppins. This lovely package contained all sorts of goodies wrapped in tissue with pretty little stickers to secure them. Little picture frames, star shaped candles, tissues, hankies and more

A lovely crocheted potholder - although it won't be going near any of my pots - its far too special for that! And what's the red checked item which is sitting on my exact same red checked cloth? Thats's the back of the fairy sachet in the first picture!

And look at this delightful little bird serviette. I popped over to Mary's blogshop and see that she uses serviettes etc to cover wooden letters and they are lovely. All I need now is a tutorial! Thank you so much Mary (who even popped a little something for my daughter) for this generous and thoughtful giveaway. What a great community blogland is!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Hope all is going well at the Handmade and Vintage Fair. I had thought to drive down but given the weather warnings decided against it. Its just as well as I had a man banging on the back door at 9am telling me a section had snapped off one of my trees and was hanging dangerously over the pavement. He invited me to look - in socks dressing gown and sans makeup - not a good look - and he was right - a large chunk was hovering suspended only by a wisteria tangle with the main body of the trunk also split. Less than an hour later he was £300 richer and I was treeless. It could have been worse - if it had fallen right over it would have come through the roof and killed us both. So that's another of my lives gone, (cats get nine, how many do we get?) Anyway I'm coming back as a tree surgeon next time! It's not a bad hourly rate is it?

On Thursday I was in London for meetings for work but once they had finished I hot footed it over to Islington to the Country Living Fair. When I arrived at 3 it was packed and difficult to see but by 4 it was thinning out and became easier to move. There were lots of the usual country style stalls as you'd expect but also some new names.

I hadn't come across "Bombki" before. Michael Peterson is the mind behind this company and he designs and makes these Christmas baubles some with traditional themes and some very contemporary.

He sells either in collections as you can see on the pedestals - French, London, American or as individual pieces. I liked the London Eye...

and the car collection.

I particularly liked the French seed packet labels from "Burgundy Brocante" and bought some of these to play with. They are apparently copyright free so you can do what you like with them - I checked!

There were some stalls for the vintage lovers amongst us...

and I did like the old Christmas baubles on this stand. But at £39.50 they seemed very expensive. I know that people are asking that price on E-bay

but I had struck lucky at the car boot last weekend and picked up this little lot for 50p! I also picked up some wooden coat hangers which included these lovely advertising hangers in amongst them.

I think they are great - just look at the address on the top one - 54 Mumps, Oldham. Poor little hanger - starting out life living with a high class "tailor" and ending up living with a rather shabby round the edges former "Taylor"!

I also spotted another Vernon Ward picture which came home with me. To be added to the flickr group. Now can you help me girls - there is a blogger who has recently shown us her "Wall of Flowers" pictures. Does anyone know who she is? I've tried to track back to find her as I'm convinced she must have at least one Vernon on her walls but no luck so far. If anyone has any ideas do let me know...

Have a good weekend


Monday, 9 November 2009

Viva vintage!

What a weekend! Saturday saw the first Vintage and Homemade fair in Northampton. I say first as I'm hoping that following such a successful event Ann and Debbie feel inclined to organise more in the new year. I'm tempted to do something similar in Nottingham! I couldn't fault the organisation - we had lots of people through the door, great decorations and music, a great atmosphere and lots of lovely stalls! The picture at the top is of part of Ann's stall (Vintage at the Corner House)

Laura of My Vintage Party

Ann from Vintage at the Corner House

Debbie from "Vintage Wants Not Needs"

Ann Marie from Birdcages and Butterflies - see the trademark birdcage...

More of Laura's lovely cakestands...

Elsie Sparrow's stall was an Arkwright style bicycle stuffed full of goodies and flanked by two lovely deckchairs with her "Dammit" dolls and lovely Union Jack hot water bottles - gorgeous girl had to have a Dammit doll and I had to have the hottie...Sorry I didn't actually get a shot of the bicycle.

Ann's stall had some gorgeous bits on it - just look at the Stanley dog there at the back! I had to restrain myself there and now wish I hadn't!

I did succomb to this lovely rose covered chocolate box set of drawers from Ann...

A great day. I'd like to congratulate Ann and Debbie and say (holding up my glass of wine) - here's to the next one! Thank you ladies! And a big thank you to all those folk who came along and supported us all. (Not to mention to the cake maker extraordinaire too!)

So after all the excitement of Saturday I nearly forgot to draw the winner of my giveaway! Suggesting that you gave me some of your favourite blogs has been great as I've found my way onto lots of blogs I hadn't been to before and have ended up following several of those. Also I have some new followers so welcome to all of you. Its great to have you along! I love getting all your comments but I also like to encourage others - I know how long it was before I dared put my foot in the water!

Anyway, I remembered in the end and gorgoeus girl drew the winner out of the Emma Bridgewater tin and the winner is (big drum roll) ...

So congratulations MARIGOLD JAM - let me have your e-mail and I'll put your prize in the post.

I was so pleased with the number of entries I had and thank you all, especially those who did something very techie to get me linked into their sidebars to introduce more people to my blog - you know who you are - that I decided to have another winner and that winner is JABOPEE - the prize won't be quite the same but I hope you'll like it all the same!

Have a good week!

Love Wend