Saturday, 29 May 2010


I've been off work this week supposedly to support Niobe while on study leave - provision of drinks, going for walks to clear her head etc but it hasn't worked out quite like that. She has been going into school even on the non exam days! Apparently she can get one to one attention from the teachers who have no students to teach and can get essays turned round and marked within hours! So my role turned into chauffeur only which has given me time to potter and wind down a bit. I do have a couple of little bits of heaven to share with you though. On Thursday I tried a car boot I hadn't been to before. I didn't expect much with it being midweek but found these Laura Ashley curtains from the 80s (how many of you are remembering these from the first time round?).

The ones on the left are I think called Emma and the deisgn is part of one inspired by the Bloomsbury set and Charleston Farmhouse and although I've tried to bid for this fabric on Ebay I've never been successful. The ones on the right were chintz but have lost their glaze (which for me is a good thing). The greeny pair were made by Laura Ashley so I was thrilled to get both pairs for £1!

Then just look at this mirror!!! I already have a couple of these heavy mirrors plain and unadorned but I had only ever seen the painted ones in the Cath Kidston shop. I'm sure I'll be told to wash my mouth out but I cannot bring myself to pay her prices! (I want the job of one of the ladies who trawls towns and cities looking for treasure to sell in her shops - I could do that!). It wasn't easy to photograph without getting the middle aged photographer in the image so this is the best I could do but I just love the Crinoline lady under her rose covered arbour wandering by her herbaceous border.... How much - the cost of a punnet of strawberries - but will last much longer. £2!!

Having just enjoyed Cathy's post over at "Menopausalmusing" I had to share this book found in a charity shop this week. There were no dates etc inside but a quick google tells me its from 1934 and the illustrator is Eileen Mayo. First a facsimile of an advertising poster

It is both fact and fiction giving the history of the circus and lots of background to acts and how they are performed along with stories of the circus and its folk.

I've never been to the circus and was beguiled by the stories. My knowledge is restricted to black and white memories of Bille Smart's on TV in the 60s!

The acrobats are amazing

Love this image of the circus folk with the guy in the foreground taking his "tyger" for a walk. Health and Safety wouldn't let him do that today!

The dancing horses

Delightful endpapers

and next, just for Cathy (although she prefers dancing on elephants!)

Yesterday I went to Newstead Abbey home (once) to Byron - mad, bad and dangerous to know so we have something in common. I suddenly remembered that its home to a very special tree and wondered whether it might be in flower.

Doesn't look anything special?

Now look!

The Handkerchief tree - yes really! (Or sometimes called the Dove tree or the ghost tree). It really does look from a distance as if it has hankies drying in the breeze.

Just look at those flowers - as big as my hand. (As its Chelsea week we'll use the proper name - the white bits are bracts apparently surrounding the little flower in the middle). The slightest bit of breeze causes these beauties to dance on their stalks as if they were the daintiest little things. Wonderful - this week's bit of serendipity!

If you have one of these near you now is the time to visit!

Hope you find time to appreciate something beautiful this weekend!

Love Wend

Monday, 24 May 2010

Show and tell Monday!

I knew yesterdays car boot would have lots of people standing but also that it would be packed with punters so arrived by 6.15 and was well rewarded by the thrifting gods for my efforts.

One lady was selling lots of embroidered cloths and doilies etc. These are the best but they are wonderful! Beautifully laundered and pressed, all had little stickers with the sizes on but she was virtually giving them away so I filled a bag!

The colours are delightful and the stitching is beautiful. One of them still has the transfer showing through so has clearly never been used or washed!

Included in her piles was this blue cloth which I'd learned the day before is a "huck a back" towel. These are made from Irish linen and are highly absorbent but take up much less space than our fluffier counterparts. I haven't tried using them to dry my hair yet but I might just hang a couple in the bathroom for aesthetic purposes!

On top of that is a butter maker pat. The box was full of various bits of an icing set which is what I thought I was buying! When I sorted out all the bits the butter pat maker was lying underneath!

I did like the colours of this old hunting tin ...

but was horrified when I got it home to find painted on the back in pink nail varnish the legend "my pocket money"! Now I have ruined more than one lovely tin by over zealous rubbing and scraping to remove the last vestiges of old labels and glue and was very wary of approaching this in the same way. The paint is so thin that it is easily damaged. Still it was alreay messed up so I gingerly tried some nail varnish remover and - it worked! Don't ever try the little yellow sponges with the rough green surface as they can wipe the paint off in seconds!

One guy was selling off the contents of his mother's home very reasonably (actually I don't think he had a clue what things were worth) and I picked up this huge lovely old enamel bowl - for £3! And that was the moxt expensive purchase of the day! In the picture you can also see some Vernon Ward paintings - I managed to score 4 of these!

I laid everything out on the red trolley in the garden when I got back so that I could have a good look while having my coffee in the sunshine. I'd picked this up at the second car boot of the morning - this one starts at 8.30 so I can be one of the first at that one too! I didn't know I needed a trolley but did think it might come in useful at some of the vintage fairs. I was thrilled to find it wheeled across the car park perfectly! I wasn't sure about the paint job and there are a couple of scars but I have a tin of good old Farrow and Ball's French Gray and was going to make that the reason why I needed to be in the garden for the rest of the day! Until I realised that it might fit my kitchen very well just as it is so I'll wait a while...

What else can you see - oh yes the bobbins and the tins. Oh yes - more tins - I just can't help myself (there's probably a name for it - there's certainly no cure!)

A couple of old biscuit tins and this is a lovely little cutie ...

And last but not least, my favourite bits - the absolutely delicious woolwork cushion cover - in perfect condition and a full 18" inches square and the "impossible to find" mega bobbins. MEGA BOBBINS! MEGA BOBBINS!. Oh joy - I've been after some of these for ages. 50P. 50P!

And the best bit of all - the bowl was the most expensive item. But "what about the trolley?" I hear you say. To which I reply - 50p!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

4.30 - Wake and switch on computer (sad to say this is normal!) Browse Flickr and surf internet ensuring all muscles exercised before getting up at 6.
6.00 - Domestics + breakfast
7.30 - Leave with Niobe. Am tested on definitions of "deontological" and "teleological" - get responses wrong and will be tested later (and its not me who has exams!)
8.00 - Drop N at school
8.15 - Park and walk to station
8.28 - Train to London
10.19- Arrive London - tube to Covent Garden

10.45 - Walk through Covent Garden Arcade - they've heard I'm on the way and have hung out the bunting! Spot a row of elephants - quick blog picture opportunity - snap away quickly - meetings at 11. Grab coffee and sandwich.

These were large models of elephants decorated by various artist and are scattered across London apparently to raise awareness of the plight of the Asian elephant - on the edge of extinction. (I suppose the idea is modelled on that of the Cow Parade which appeared in several cities a couple of years ago)

10.55 - Arrive Somerset House

Somerset House used to be the HQ of HM Inland Revenue but it's now used to house the Courtauld Gallery , a deli and has a varied range of activities taking place all year. (obviously in addition to still housing sonme of our offices). It's apparently the most outstanding 18C building in London (so it says in the guide book) - it doesn't always feel like that when I'm ensconced in the bowels of the building in rooms with no windows, mice and peeling paint!

11 - meeting 1
12 meeting 2
1 - meeting 3 - all these are career development conversations with very lucky graduates who are destined to be working and supporting mimisters in a few short years.
2.30 - Walk back to Leicester Square in search of lone elephants spotting two outside the Royal Opera House.

This one is "Charmed" adopted by Sarah Duchess of York.

Next to her was Ferrous - so called because of his oxide finish - loved the rusty streaks on this one ...

And the extra elephant detail on his back

It was a lovely day and I started to get a bit snap happy -

liked this juxtaposition of old and new phone boxes... which would you use?

And this lovely old 1902 lamp post...

ribbons fluttering outside Penhaligons

You always know when summer's on its way when the Pimms boards appear!

Quick snap for the Cath Kidston lovers

and yet another All Saints window picture (Have seen these on lots of blogs but do enjoy the display - just worry at one enterprise having so many)Tell me - what is the collective noun for a group of Singer machines? A bobbin?

3.05 - Tube to St Pancras
3.25 - Hurtled through St P aksing why I had hung about taking pictures when I had a train to catch - I just did!
3.30 - fell on train giving strong indications of a very unfit middle aged woman. Get papers out to work within the invisible boundaries of the train table marked out by ladies with coffee wearing winter coats and faces which said "don't encroach on my bit of the table"! One manages to spill her coffeee over my notebook. Wonder whether she did it on purpose. Make plans and lists for team for tomorrow. Drop off with mouth open (only realised when I woke). Wondered whether to make public apology but decided my humiliation was already complete.

5.30 - walk back to car , drive to office. This was the Revenue's flagship building for a number of years but it has fallen out of favour and bits are now being sold off. Quite interesting to work in two such prominent building in the same day and reflect that the more modern one is unlikely to be around in another 200 years!
5.40 check e-mails, set up more meetings, become indignant that I'm the only one in the office but rush to see what I can clear before leaving
7.00 - Drive home accompanied by "The Archers" (my guilty obsession)
7.30 - Collect Niobe
7.45 - Arrive home and decide no energy to cook. Time better spent loading washer etc. Await test on definitions (see above) aware I haven't retained earlier explanations. Prepare to explain that part time mum - sorry - mum working part time (subtle difference) doing old full time role is feeling a little fragile, fully accepts that she is lacking in many areas , that no I haven't booked her driving lessons and that Yes I promise to try harder.
8.15 - Give up on the day, upload pictures and devoid of brilliant ideas for a blog post decide to tell it how it is.

Hope you're enjoying the sunshine!

Love Wend

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Small World

Just wanted to share these images from last months Homes and Antiques with those of you who love vintage haberdashery...

I can't say I've ever been a fan of doll's houses and their furniture but this combination of drawing, cottons etc and miniature furniture really struck a chord.

Please preserve me from starting yet another collection...

Moving on, "Vintage mum" has passed on this award to me and I'm supposed to let you know 7 interesting things about me. Thank you Vintage Mum! I'm struggling to come up with anything interesting about me so I'll just say "Take this award and share the love!"

I've also been lucky to receive this award from the lovely Debbie at "Home thoughts from Vintage wants". Debbie has a lovely blog and is co - founder of the Vintage and Homemade fairs in Northampton (with Annie from Vintage at the Corner House)and makes the most gorgeous altered art pieces. Thank you so much Debbie.

I'll pass this onto

"Beach bygones" - for its seaside vintage vibe incorporating a love of East Anglia,
"Useful or beautiful" - because I love Lucille's "less is more" style and wish I could emulate it
"Julia Crossland" - for her delightful illustrations...
Jaboopee - for her wonderful humour and for becoming a special blogging friend - not to mention her fabulous mosaic and handicraft
Cathy - Menopausal musing - for her humour

Please have a look at their blogs if you haven't before - I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Love Wend