Sunday, 31 May 2009

Signs of summer!

What a glorious weekend we've had weatherwise! I'm hoping the Vintage and Handmade Fair ladies had a successful day down in Chipping Sodbury yesterday. I saw this book cover earlier today and it made me think...

Painting with sunshine... Isn't that what we're all trying to do :: in our gardens, our homes and our lives generally? We decorate and plant and add flowers and prettify adding colour and sunshine to our days and hoping it reflects off those around us.

Today really has seemed like the start of summer. Fresh rhubarb from the allotment - sixteen sticks weighing almost a pound each. And I've seen red tomotoes growing on plants already.

Fresh strawberries - which actually taste like strawberries. Small but perfectly formed with just the right firmness. Not too squishy!

And a huge car boot today. Not too much that took my fancy but I did pick up this frame. Yes, I know I should have taken the wire off the back before I took the photo. Not sure what to do with it yet - paint it white? For £1 it had to come home with me. I should have thought before I put it over my shoulder though. I hadn't reckoned on the joker who saw me and shouted - "You've been framed" and then fell about laughing!

Finally some little bits I did pick up today. This 1948 copy of Peter Pan and Wendy. I've always hated the name Wendy as it's a made up name - made up by J.M Barrie for the book. And from memory she was so very irritating in the book! But when I saw this with the delightful Mabel Lucie Attewell illustrations I had to buy it. It was falling apart so I may well just let it so that I can frame these gorgeous pictures. They are all in single colours - blues, greens or browns. I think I might have to reread it - my memory may have distorted the stroy after so many decades. And then some little medicine bottles in perfect condition. These helpfully state what their contents were, Veno's lightning cough cure, Carrad's Compericum (whatever that might be!), Lung Tonic, Ellmanns embrocation and Swamp root liver, kidney and bladder cure! So glad I don't need any of that!
Also a little handheld mirror and a lovely little crocheted tray cloth under all of those things. Small delights on a lovely summer's day. Well it is almost isn't it?

Hope you've enjoyed your weekend

Love Wend

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Loving luscious lupins

Such a lovely day I went up to the allotment for a bit of light hoeing. The colour of the sky was amazing - especially against this coppper beech.

Always one to see what's in everyone else's allotment I peered over the fence and saw these beauties. I love lupins.

But then joy of joys - these ...

Great colours and just beautiful majestic spires...

I've tried to grow these so many times and they always get eaten by slugs. But maybe, just maybe, if I try them at the allotment I may just have my own dreamy spires.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend


Friday, 29 May 2009

Market Harborough

Yesterday I decided to take my daughter out for the day. She is in the middle of GCSE's and has been studying hard and it is half term after all! We settled on a run out to ...

We hadn't been before and it's a delightful little market town. We wanted to find the Joules shop as we love the fun and functional clothing. That wasn't hard to find as it was almost the first shop we saw on the high street. In fact Joules clothing was like uniform in MH -everyone was wearing it! In fact we didn't buy anything although the shop was great - it was obviously an old house and still had an old range in the wall which was a lovely feature. What we didn't know about was Joules yard...

Hidden behind the shop with its own gorgeous eatery indoors and out, plant stall and architectual salvage was a delightful area to browse. Lots of vintage advertising signs on the walls and a very nostalgic feel to the place. We had our lunch outside surrounded by old reminders of days gone by, gardening troughs, old sinks filled with flowers, a covered area full of tables with mismatched chairs and a huge old wooden pulpit. Unusually for me I struggled to work out what I could do with the pulpit so I had to leave it there. Maybe some things just can't and shouldn't be repurposed.(Not to mention that my car is tiny although I don't let that stop me).

Indoors was also full of nostalgia with the walls covered in vintage music and musical instruments. There was "stuff" as my daughter likes to call it everywhere! Little boxes, old EPs, servants bells, old mirrors. I loved it.

I also liked the way it was casually set out and the whole place had a wonderfully relaxed air. Don't you just love the sheet music idea?

We'll be going back!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Show and tell

I can't believe I haven't shown last weeks car boot treasures sop I'll skip through them quickly now before it's Sunday again! First: the Tala icing set - not in the best condition but "displays nicely" as they say. Also a metre of lovely Laura Ashley fabric and a very yellow butter/cheese plate and cover.

This beautiful embroidered tablecloth with fantastic thistles in a huge circle. The detail in these is amazing . Unfortuantely there are some marks on the cloth itself so I'll shall have to come up with something innovative to make best use of the embroidery. Any suggestions gratefully received.

Aaah - a crinoline lady. Just a £1 for this little treasure. I've noticed I'm building up quite a little collection of crinoline ladies but I'll show you those another time.

Two lovely finds - a 1948 Christmas Good Housekeeping with the most amazing adverts -just 50 pence, and Needlwork for Girls. This started off as a delight until I remembered the horrors of school dressmaking classes and having to run up a dirndl skirt, the like of which no self respecting girl in the seventies would have been seen dead in. The teacher seemed to be on a one woman mission to put me off sewing forever. Fortunately brains are amazing things and often delete or put into a "don't go there folder" your worst nightmares - until something such as the pictures in this book triggers those memories!

And finally another Vernon Ward print from 1950, a creamy yellow jug -a piece of utility ware? (Not entirely sure on that but hoping), the Huntley and Palmer mint cremes tin and the little green jug. And most of it was less than £2!


Sunday, 24 May 2009

Thrifty Chic?

I've been reading Lucy's blog over at Attic 24 (see sidebar) and am currently enjoying "Thrifty chic" the book she refers to :: (got it from the library as I'm too mean to pay for it!) I feel as if I have been living the thrifty chic style for some time now as much from necessity as anything else, but aso because I love the thrill of finding cheaply things that will fit in with my style.

I have an aversion to paying more tax than I need to so am avoiding pay VAT on anything I can. Obviously almost anything new attracts 15% VAT so in these difficult times it makes sense to buy at charity shops, car boots etc. It's also much greener, attracting a lower carbon footprint and reducing landfill.

I keep an open mind when I'm out and about so that I can take opportunities when they come up rather than having fixed ideas of what I'm looking for. Lots of people give me things these days as they know I will find a use for them. These pictures show my thrifty chic approach in the garden. The first has verbascum in a rusted catering size Nescafe tin! I have several of these which I have had hidden in the flower borders while they rusted naturally over the last couple of years. I also use one or two Victorian tiles to brighten up dull spots in the garden.

The second and third picture both show plants in old chamber pots which have been picked up for pennies but are both chipped. I've also been known to hang beautiful tea cups from branches if they have a chip rather than throw them away. There is a limit to how much you can have on display in the home! And when they get caught by the frost and break they're turned into crocks for drainage in the bottom of my planters (or end up as fragments for mosaic). These pots all stand on an old ladder which I meant to paint but didn't get round to. It's now been standing in a corner for long enough for ivy to have entwined itself and the whole effect is lovely if I say so myself!


The show's over - or is it?

The cherry blossom this year has been superb without being spoilt by frosts. What a shame that it can't be captured and savoured all year. The good thing about Mother Nature though is that she always has something else tucked up her sleeve.

I spotted this iris bud from my kitchen window this morning ready to unfurl at 9am

One hour later it was starting to slowly stretch its tightly bound petals having been warmed by the morning sunshine.

At 11am she was well and truly building up to something spectacular! (Suddenly became feminine in her magnificence!)

Another hour on and she's resting after the strenous effort of unravelling such majesty! I suspect tomorrows storms will spoil her radiance but in the meantime I shall savour her glory...

Love Wend

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Stress relief

Yesterday after a manic few weeks at work and having a daughter with cabin fever in the middle of GCSEs I took a day off so we could have some together time. We drove to Stamford for the day. The drive there is beautiful with magnificent views that catch your breath as you drive by. We had no plans other than to enjoy ourselves.

Why the typewriter? It was in a shop window above lots of planters putting on a delightful spectacle. I went in closer to read what was on the paper coming out of the machine to find that it was full of details about the flower shop within.

Then I saw the delightful little arrangements in jugs and set upon old glass cakestands close by the typewriter and realised that I was at "Miss Pickerings" flower shop which I recall seeing in "Country Living" way back. The displays in Miss Pickering's shop are superb and to get an idea of her ethos view her website at Her strap line is "Modern flowers, vintage passion". These arrangements aren't like any you would find in the average flower shop but something on an entirely different plane. They're full of cottage garden annuals and the sort of thing you wish you could pick from your own garden. Nigella,amaranthus, hydrangea, alchemilla mollis and lavender - just heavenly.

We browsed and lunched and browsed some more enjoying the lovely independent shops. Stamford has managed to keep all the chains - WHS, Boots etc separate from the independent shops and has also hung on to scores of old stone buildings which other, less enlightened, councils would have pulled down and replaced.

Then around one busy blind corner I saw these beauties. Alliums with heads the size of tennis balls! I couldn't get close without risking life and limb but managed to get these pictures of them wafting in front of the gravestones along the roadside. Such a simple display - with wonderful impact, the glorious purple set against the grey of the tombstones, neither stones nor flowers managing to stand upright.

Just a lovely day spent enjoying each other's company and the sights around us. Mental note to take more time out to smell the roses...
Love Wend

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Favourite things

Yesterdays weather provided lots of oppportunities for running in and out of the rain . I have stacks of gardening to do but within a couple of hours of being at the allotment the rain came down. Within minutes of being back home the sun came out albeit briefly so I snatched some pictures of some favourite things.

My deco W: or is it? Its stamp says it's handpainted by Gibsons pottery but I haven't managed to find anything else out about it. It was bought for me because it looks like a W, but why a W? Is it an early piece of advertising - (Weetabix?). There's a little bunny at the base nibbling on some corn with some cherries decorating the first flower holder. Any ideas greatfully received - its one of my special treasures.

Then part of my haberdashery corner. My jars of ribbons and suffolk puffs waiting to be turned into something lovely and this little Art Deco sewing/mending/ladies kit.

This little treasure is unused except for a missing brass safety pin and these four pristine discs are housed in a dinky matching box. Two discs of threads for mending ones stocking, some hair pins for securing those curls or "waves" and a dartboard effect of brass safety pins. (Nobody has "waves" anymore do they?)

Funny isn't it how some of the smallest bits and pieces we have are those we cherish the most? Its one of those things I'd have to grab in a fire! It was found at my first vintage fashion fair in Leeds. Isn't it lovely when someone picks up something absolutely delightful, buys it and presents you with it saying "I saw this and thought of you"?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Making it all worthwhile

I had to go to London yesterday for several meetings. This involves two three hour journeys door to door and can be frustrating when the people I'm due to meet don't turn up! I've recently decided to work this to my advantage to prevent myself becoming too wound up about it. I now try to incorporate just a little bit of me time so that there is a part of the day to look forward to. This time I knew where I was to head to given the opportunity - Broad Street in Covent Garden
I knew I would find this beautiful bronze sculpture by Enzo Plazotti. Isn't she lovely? It's difficult to get a good shot of her face but it's her elegance, serenity and poise that beguile me.

But then look at her perching so delicately in front of one of my favourite icons - the K2 telephone box. What a pairing of delights for me! I love the fact that certain phone boxes are listed so that they are retained for the future. And these, under the shadow of Covent Garden's Opera House, seem ideally placed.

Its surprising how those snatched few minutes become the most important feature of the day. Just briefly there was a peace and tranquillity that this scene offered to me setting me up for the rest of the day...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A cacophony of colour

A visit to a local garden centre this week, (to cheat and buy some "somebody else prepared earlier plantlings" for my allotment) made me gaze in admiration at the depth of colour and beauty which nature can produce. (I think someone has been having colour wheel lessons and has decided to put together the most dramatic combinations they can find!)

I do wonder whether nature has produced these fabulous flowers, with such an amazing depth of colour, without any help from any genetic intervention but will forgive the plantsmen if so on this occasion.

The tulips were in the grounds leading to a bird sanctuary and were unfortuantely encased in wire but you could get a good view if you stretched up and over the top of the wire!

The colours just got better...

resulting in these simple black beauties. I just love black/very dark purple flowers which have a striking elegance as they sway on the breeze...

Anyway I got so distracted by the flowers I completely forgot about buying my veg plants. I'll just have to hope that nature performs some more of her magic on the rows and rows of seeds I've planted and that the wind doesn't pluck the little darlings from their tender roots!

Love Wend

Saturday, 9 May 2009

A bit of fun

I love "street humour" (intended or otherwise) as I drive about. Little things that bring a smile to your face are worth celebrating. Here are one or two I've spotted this week. First an Osteopath in Oakham. Once I'd spotted the sign I understood but was initially taken aback to see a spine in a cottage window!

Next, a barbers shop in Burton Joyce village, Nottingham, very full of its own self importance and determined to be noticed : "The Tonsorial Emporium". Not only does it has the impressive sign there are several canvases showing off the skills of the barbers hung around the outside of the building.

Finally "Junk and Disorderly" in Uppingham, Leicestershire. What a great name for a little junk shop.

Question : why do antique shops always have a chair outside the door? I know that's how we know there is an antique shop but where did the practice originate?