Friday, 30 October 2009

Giveaway time!!

Well I'm up to 50 followers so I'd like to say thank you so much to all who read my blog and especially those who take the time to comment. Lives are so busy these days finding time to blog and comment can't come to the top of the priority list as often as we might like but I really do appreciate each and every one of you! So, to show my appreciation I've decided to do a little giveaway. First, a lovely Emma Bridgewater tin. I liked these so much when I saw them I had to buy two - one for me and one for my winner!

A piece of lovely printed paisley velvet and some original chemist labels from a shop in Nottingham before it closed down years ago. There are 10 labels in the packet.

A couple of my padded coat hangers with vintage button trim - these are made in a Liberty fabric called Hera designed by Arthur Silver in 1887 and still one of Liberty's best selling designs. I have to say its one of my favourites too.

Some notelets with vintagey images.

A chocolate scented candle (smells edible!), some vintage ribbon and a little white broderie drawstring bag.

Everyone of my followers will get an automatic chance to win and everyone who leaves a comment will also get a chance. If you also link back to me on your blog then I'll put your name in again so that you have an extra chance (let me know you've done that!)(So you could get 3 chances in all!)

To make it a bit more interesting please mention two other blogs you enjoy and then we can all enjoy following up those links...! I'll leave the giveaway open until the evening of Sunday 8th Novemebr when I shall get the gorgeous girl to randomly pick the winner.

Good luck and have a great weekend.

Love Wend

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A change is as good as a rest!

I thought that this week would give me chance to catch my breath and unwind but it doesn't seem to be working out like that! Still it has been lovely spending some time with my daughter (when she hasn't been writing essays!). Yesterday we ventured into our town centre and discovered this new shop. With a name like this I thought it had to be worth a look!

The windows were intriguing : wire mannequins draped with scarves,

an astronaut helmet TV - (all the rage after the moon landings years ago!)and lots of 60s pieces of furniture,

an old typewriter and lots of albums,

a sixties mirror and more.

I had to smile when I saw the price tag on the mirror - £75! I picked up one of these at the car boot a couple of weeks ago for £1 and it's now hanging on my wall! (below)

But I digress. Tucked in several of the vignettes were shoes. Old shoes, new shoes and upside down shoes? I'd love a pair of these for sitting in a ladylike style with my legs crossed just so that anyone looking could admire my soles!

We went in and I was intrigued at the collection of items for sale. I really like the eclectic mixture of items and felt the whole place had really made an effort to be different. I'm so tired of city centres all having the same shops on them that it really made a pleasant change to see the shoes being sold amongst vintage pieces of furniture, old musical instruments and album covers - there were some great chests of drawers for less than the price that people might spend at IKEA but they were real conversation pieces. I'm afraid I didn't buy anything. I've got rather too used to car boot prices for my bits of vintage and I was probably 30 years too old to be wearing any of the shoes, but I know I'll be drawn back!

Later, thoughts turned to the Vintage and Homemade fair in Northampton on 7th November where I shall be standing. I was really pleased when Annie (Vintage at the Corner House) set this up as it's much closer to me than the fair at Chipping Sodbury which I'd also love to go to. There seems to be lots of vintage activity in the South West but little up here in the East Midlands... For more details check out Annie's blog - see side bar. Hope some of you will be able to make it!

I'm a Kaffe Fassett and Liberty fabric lover as you can see from my stash pictures. I've been assembling some of the things I'll take to the fair ready for pricing and packing.

Lots of my covered coat hangers, vintage tins,


I know repetitive pictures but please indulge me - I've made a lot of these over the years and I always cover the hooks and despite still using some I made in 1982 the binding hasn't unravelled! My gorgeous girl even asked for a lesson on making them last night and was really pleased with herself when she completed her first Cath Kidston fabric hanger!

More assembling of lovely china duos and trios, cake stands, buttons, hankies, butter and cheese dishes, preserve pots and some lovely kitsch 50s pinnies.

You may remember that I bought this eiderdown cover at Swinderby in the summer. This was one of my more expensive purchases but I love the fabric and need to make it go a long way!

I decided to cover some buttons in this fabric and add them to one of my thrifted cashmere cardigans. I refuse to pay full price but I do have a weakness for cashmere. Several of the buttons had got lost so the cardigan was languishing in the back of the wardrobe. It now has a complete set of thrifted eiderdown buttons and I'm quite pleased with the way it's turned out. The pinks match better than it appears in the photo!

Hope that you're having a good week and for those who have half term next week - it's not long now! I'm loving this "time off" thing!
Love Wend

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Magic, cutlery and china!

The picture below is for all those who are mourning the loss of summer. Today I spotted this lovely lupin catching the autumn rays oblivious to the fact it's way beyond its season! Nevertheless it was lovely to see one of the lovely blue spires on 18th October!(don't look too closely at the leaves which are less than perfect and a bit mildewy!).

What a relief - I and the gorgeous girl have finally made it to half term. She started 6th form this term and we have both had an extremely busy few weeks. I'm having this week off with her for some time to catch up with ourselves and for me to try and sort out some goodies for the Homemade and Vintage fair in Northampton on 7th November. We'll be baking and visiting plus having one of our days out somewhere we haven't been before.

I wasn't expecting a good car boot today as I thought it might be too chilly for the stall holders but I went for a wander anyway and wasn't disappointed! My favourite find of the day was this Black Magic box which must be 40 years old - I've never seen one like this. I asked the price and was told it was £2 for the contents. I hadn't picked it up and was surprised to find it full of cutlery (and nice quality cutlery too!) Reader, I bought it. When I got home I found there was a lovely pair of sugar tongs too!

I loved this Arthur Woods tankard/mug with its delightful floral pattern. It must be 1940s or 50s, I guess and has just the right amount of crazing - I like a little crazing but not so much that the item looks discoloured. This was only 50p!

The lady in yellow attracted me and so she had to come home too along with the matching cotton bobbin!

This lovely plate and little jug were also snapped up and stuck in the top is one of a bag full off hankies I bought. I'm a bit wary of buying these unless can see them properly before I buy but I took a chance. There were about 40 so for £2 I'm hoping there will be at least a few that are worth keeping! They are currently bathing in a bowl of very hot Biotex! I'll inspect them more closely when they are clean and dry!

I love it when you go out expecting it to be a fruitless trip only to find all sorts of things you hadn't expected!

The Tunnicliffe's "Portraits of British Birds" Brooke Bond Tea cards book was complete - not sure what I'm going to do with it yet but the cards are delightful.

I actually picked up two boxes of "shake words" both containing little wooden blocks with letters printed on them. Such a shame these simple little games aren't attractive to children these days. I still enjoy playing them!

Last but not least a batch of Ladybird books (from the 70s I think). I shall enjoy taking some time to sit and browse through these with a coffee this week. Can anyone remember which lovely blogger has a link to a Ladybird site which tells you how old your books are?

Oh I've noticed I'm very close to 50 followers! I must start thinking about a giveaway...

Hope you all have a good week.

Love Wend

Monday, 12 October 2009

Visited by a Lady and some Admirals!

Last week I finished reading "The Behaviour of Moths" by Poppy Adams. It was described by the Guardian as "A gothic tale of madness, sibling rivalry and lepidoptera, Adams is a skilful entertaining storyteller". Lepidoptery being the study of moths and butterflies. Now I'm no fan of moths - we have a love hate relationship. They loving living with me and I hate having them. They have long outstayed their welcome in Ticking Towers.

I had hoped for some insight into why they should always choose the better quality and more expensive jumpers rather than the blanket I picked up for a pound at the charity shop. I was appalled to see they had munched through my favourite, bought only last winter Joules cardigan but had left alone the chunky Aran ("don't think you're wearing that with me, mother")jumper. Sadly I was disppointed. I learnt a lot about the life cycle of moths and what is within a cocoon (don't ask - its disgusting)but nothing as to their food preferences. Any hope of tempting them out of the cosy confines of my wardrobe with something else they might enjoy feasting on was dashed. Having said that it was a good read although not quite the page turner I had expected.

I thought nothing more about the winged creatures until I was hanging the washing out on Saturday and ducking dark shadows overhead which all seemed to be aiming for my overgrown ivy. I actually can't stand things fluttering around my head but these little beauties stopped me in my tracks for a good half hour. There were lots of them so I rushed for my camera and took some shots.

Apparently there was an influx of Painted Ladies earlier this year and "Autumnwatch" had been urging people to contact them if they knew where they had all gone to. I did spot one Painted Lady (she was took quick for me to get a picture) but the rest after a quick google check were Red Admirals whom I'm sure should all be cocooned up nicely for winter.

Anyway they could be seen for most of the day having a final flutter around the garden and basking on the ivy in the lovely autumn sunshine and sunning their fabulously vibrant wings.

I'm not the best at taking pictures but I have to say I like this final one with the detail in the antennae.

Hope you aren't having too much troubled with winged creatures...

Have a good week.

Love Wend

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Yesterday I worked at Somerset House in London so took the opportunity to visit ORIGIN The London Craft Fair which is being held in the courtyard this week and next. It consists of 300 makers showing their work over two weeks - one set of designers this week and another set next week. After picking myself up off the floor at the £10 entry - I know I'm mean - I handed over my money and browsed for a couple of hours. I know we all have our favourites when it comes to crafts and most of mine centre around textiles and anything vintagey so I thought I'd share a couple of designers that were new to me along with an old favourites. (With apologies to the ceramics and jewellery lovers but there is plenty for them too at the fair!) - Love the name, love the product, lovely lady!

Lisa Tilley makes "vintage bespoke accessories using reclaimed materials". I loved all these old bags combined with bits of maps, pictures and old patterns. The picture above was taken at the fair but the ones below are her pictures taken from the internet (as agreed with her)

Aren't they fabulous - she has actually embroidered the cross stitch design on this one.

Too gorgeous to use but then I just love the idea of standing at a carousel just to be able to shout - that one's mine!!

Then "Smith and Coates"

This lady makes the most gorgeous childrens clothes from recycled woolen jumpers and her own details - liberty fabric trims and beautiful crochet edging. The first picture is from the website but the other two were taken at the fair and haven't turned out as well as I'd have liked.

The colours are beautifully muted and soft - it made me wish my gorgeous girl was 10 years younger!

And in case you haven't come across her before I must introduce you to Jennifer Collier who makes dresses and corsages and 50s bathing hats and shoes and brooches and more from found bits and pieces... (These are picures from her site - again agreed with Jennifer yesterday)

For the woman lacking a sense of direction or for someone who knows exactly where she's going - a pair of stilettoes made from an old map.

A paper hat or hair pin (waterproofed just in case its brolly weather)

And finally a dress made from postage stamps... Those of you who have visited before will know I have a whole stash of stamps waiting to be used...No I don't think I'll be attempting anything quite like this - I know my limitations. I'll stick to covering the odd wastepaper bin. I've followed Jennifer's work for a couple of years now and have a couple of her brooches. I'd love to have one of the dresses in a box frame.

Hope you're finding things to brighten your week! Do you have any favourite designers to share?

Love Wend

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

My awakening conscience?

The Awakening Conscience by William Holman Hunt

I've been giving a lot of thought to Floss's challenge to herself (at Troc, broc and recup - see side bar) following Dottie Angel in drastically reducing the amount spent on new goods. I've wondered whether I could actually give up buying some of the bits and pieces we buy to give ourselves a lift - the odd magazine, a tin of paint or a tray of pansies for the garden. I mentioned it to my gorgeous girl who thought her mother finally needed collecting by men in white coats! I have actually been gradually reducing my expenditure on new goods for some time and I'm far more likely to be found at a car boot or a charity shop than going into the city centre to the department stores. Earlier in the year I did a post about my determination to not pay VAT where I can possibly avoid it which by and large means buying second hand where possible.

So I had been wondering what else I could do to reduce my carbon footprint and I have discovered Freecycle. Now I may be way behind the times here but I hadn't heard of it before and decided to give it a go. I've had my piano since I was 6 and I no longer have room for it nor the inclination to play (other than when I'm annoyed when I will bash out Beethoven until I've calmed down!) The gorgeous girl took a dislike to playing when she realised that practice meant more than turning up for the lesson itself. So the piano had become a glorified photo stand and it was time for her to go.

Freecycle is a site where you list what you no longer need and people can ask for said item. No money exchanges hands and the person wanting the item collects it. So I listed my beautiful piano and within minutes a graduate student e-mailed me to say she'd love it. I agreed she could have it but was amazed at how much interest there was in her -old peoples homes, families etc. Yesterday a pair of removal men came to escort her off my premises and take her to her new home. I have tonight received an e-mail from the lady who had her to say that she and her friends had a wonderful evening last night playing her and singing Christmas Carols! It was lovely to find this simple transaction had given such pleasure.

I also responded to somebody requesting on Freecycle a piece of IKEA furniture that I happened to have languishing in my garage for her little boy to store his toys in. She collected it this evening (with a boot half full of other items that had been gifted to her). She was thrilled that within minutes of her asking for this item I had responded.

Apparently sometimes things can go wrong but I have to say if you haven't tried it give it a go! I've just put my first request on for something I would like. I'll let you know if its successful! I'm still wondering about Floss and Dottie's challenge but this for me is another step in the right direction of reducing waste and landfill and letting others benefit from what we don't need.

Have any of you tried Freecycle and did it work for you?

Love Wend

Friday, 2 October 2009

Where is the bell pull?

After some of you were amused by the extract from my St John's First Aid to the injured I thought I would share a couple more extracts with you.

I've managed to find that the book was published in 1913 just before the First World War ...

In case of poisoning -

Send for a doctor at once, stating what has happened and the name of the poison.
Except where the lips are burned by an acid or alkali promptly give an emetic as follows
a) Tickle the back of the throat with the finger or with a feather
b) mustard - a dessertspoonful in a tumblerful of luke warm water

In all cases when the patient is not insensible give milk, raw eggs, cream and flour beaten up together, animal and vegetable oil and tea.

When the person threatens to go to sleep keep him awake by walking him about and slapping his face neck and chest with a wet towel. Slapping the soles of the feet may also be tried.

When a woman's dress catches fire

a) lay her flat on the floor at once flames uppermost
b) smother the flames with anything to hand, rug, coat, blanket or table cover, if made wet so much the better.
c) if a woman's dress catches fire when nobody is by she should lie flat, flames uppermost, smother the flames with anything handy, and call for assistance, or crawl to the bell pull and ring. On no account should she run into the open air.

I was going to include more but some of the advice is positively scary for those of a delicate nature! I'm so glad I was born in the fifties!

Hope you all have healthy and accident free weekends!

Love Wend