Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A little splash of pink!

In the spirit of lifelong learning I have begun a part-time course in Upholstery. Well, something had to be done about all those poorly chairs I have accumulated and I certainly wasn't going to pay someone else to do it! I chose this little nursing chair for my first project. Something I might complete in a term so that I don't lose enthusiasm!
I thought I had enrolled on a beginners class but quickly realised that all of the other 'student's had been attending the rolling course for many years and were working on some beautiful restoration projects of quite breathtaking complexity. But still I decided to stick to my simple starter project. I removed the grotty coverings and sanded off all the cracked polish. All the other work in the class is being restored to original condition, but we already have lots of traditional furniture at home, so I decided upon a change....
... and I painted it pink. Or should I say "I painted it PINK!!!!!"
I hadn't expected it to be quite so bright, but it makes me smile every time I look at it!
So, today I took my little pink project along to class. I was late and the only free bench was right at the front. Well, amongst all the brown wax and polish, it was certainly a show stopper..... I'm not sure that was in a good way... but Hey! It's my chair and I love it!
I just need to persuade hubby that he can live with that shade of pink and I might be allowed to bring it home again!
Hope you're all having a lovely week. t.x

Inspiration!

Well I have been most neglectful! I have had such a busy time and what with making the most of these bonus summer days we are having, I have somehow managed to go over a week without a post! So a catch up is called for!
I had a very exciting opportunity to meet a lovely lady who's blog is just like home to me! Allison from The Lark very kindly made time for a cuppa in her whistlestop visit to Europe. I was very nervous, it was rather like meeting a celebrity! But Allison is so lovely and down to earth it was a real pleasure to spend time with her. And just look at the yummy Larkmade goody bag she gave to me! Aren't I a lucky girl?!I wish you had a 'smellyvision' computer screen because those soaps are just divine!
I have also been given lovely lovely flowers - THREE of these Dahlia plants from our kind neighbour (she of the owl cutter) - just perfectly blousy and a delicious apricot pink.
and look at this bunch of wondrous late summer colour - from my photographer friend who's outstanding work you can see at Gap Photos. Stop press! Also as seen on page 36 of October Country Living - without a credit for her work, naughty publishers!
Oh I love those reds and pinks all together!
And then to top off all this friendship, I received an award from the ever inspiring Susan over at The T-Cozy! How lucky am I?!
It was lovely to read what Susan had to say - a real boost! As Susan is kindly sending her readers over here, I thought I would share with you some more of my inspirations from around the house, just for a bit of an eye candy treat (no calories here!)!
As I may have hinted, I have a bit of a china habit. One of my particular loves are the delicate handpainted floral pieces so beloved of the early 19th C. There are trinket dishes everywhere filled with stones, dead bugs, shells and whatever else a little boy brings in from the garden. This one just has my miniature hearts collection and some antique pearl gaming pieces (so that's where they got to!) - the beautiful boy found that heart shaped leaf..
And then there are the casualties. Every piece in this picture has a repair or missing part. I love that somewhere in their history someone cared enough to get out the glue or just find an alternative use after the damage was done.
And then there are the 'tinker repairs'. The whiskering of wire around a broken knob, the rivets (or staples) which hold together two halves of a plate, or the bolts through the bottom of a cracked cup. I even have a heavy glass decanter with a lead repair to the base. All these skills are long since lost, the tinker's don't come to call anymore and we all just replace things too easily. This piece is one of my favourites. It has so clearly been shattered, but the owner loved it too much to use the crock in the bottom of a planter - quite rightly. It is still possible to enjoy those exquisite flower paintings. The painstaking detail in layer after layer of glaze to be fired and then layered again.
These two mugs are similar. The little coffee can has rivets all around the base. The large Christening mug has a crack all around the side which meets a similarly glorious flower painting on the reverse!
These are my latest acquisitions. Of all the cups and saucers and a bowl, no two flower paintings are the same.
A slightly different selection of flowers on each cup and each saucer.

What beauty!
And as if that wasn't enough, I found these too.
Once again no two butterflies are the same!
Each one delicately portrayed in unique detail!
On each cup and each saucer.
What fine treasure - so many original works of art.... and all for just £2.00!
Bliss!
Thank-you for stopping by. I will be posting a few catch-ups this week. One particularly exciting new project to share! (Who me? Start more than I can ever hope to finish? Never!) More soon. t.x

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Show and Tell Sunday - Figurines

Well, huge thanks to Cerri for hosting this week's fun, pop over to see who else is joining in today. I have no idea how she fits this all in whilst also keeping her home and family and running her wonderful store - but I'm very glad she does!
As ever I enthusiastically jump in only to find I'm not really sure what to show you! I looked up 'figurine' in the dictionary - well that ruled out all the animals around the house!
I found this dear little chap hiding in the liqueur cupboard......that's a miniature liqueur bottle - he's tinky tiny and somewhere along the way he lost part of his hat.
But I think he's a jaunty little fellow and he makes me smile!
But the little lady who makes me smile most is in the bathroom! These shelves used to be apple green and lived in my mother-in-law's kitchen for 40 years. They were filled with wonderful old seaside ornaments which her children had given her from holidays and school trips. Some of the most wonderful tacky little things more full of love than any valuable antique could ever be! We have all those treasures safe and sound but decided to fill it with our own memories of holidays and places.
Can you see that little lady on the centre shelf? She is my memory of family holidays in Devon up until I was 8. She is a little chalkware Devon violets seller. Once upon a time she would have had some plastic violets in her basket, but they have long since been lost.
But her kindly face and fresh colours remind me nonetheless of the smell of violets and family holidays by the cliffs on long sandy beaches; rock pooling and eating chelsea buns in the teashop and ploughman's lunches in the pub garden. Happy times.
The beautiful boy has started to add his own seaside bits and pieces too. Can you guess which are his?
Have a happy Sunday. t.x

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Hurry, hurry, the season's turning!

Well I have no idea where the time is flying to, but fly it does.
I realise that whoever St. Francis Xavier was, his observation regarding children is suddenly very pertinent in this house. "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". Well, horrors! Suddenly everything my beautiful boy does causes me to glance at his daddy and wonder. Laundry left around the house like it will magically jump into the laundry room? Cups and crumbs left on the sofa? Endless important banging on nails and pieces of wood in the workshop? To his future wife, I am sorry. I failed to prevent these influences before it was too late! On the upside he is empathetic, polite, loving, cuddly, a great cook, and handy with a needle (the last two are not from his daddy)! Phew! Didn't do too badly then!
We baked the birthday biscuits for school. Isn't this the most wonderful cutter? Thank-you lovely neighbour for such a kind and thoughtful gift!
Note: for everyone who has asked - the cutter can be bought online here. Have fun with it! I have lots of ideas for googly eyes in the future! t.x
Amazingly the sun shone down on the birthday bash. A week of rain to wash away all the smelly muck that the farmer had been spreading on every field within 100yds of our garden and then, on the big day, glorious sunshine. Hurrah!
I have been very neglectful of my blog with all the birthday busy-ness. I have not kept you up to date with my vintage finds. Can you see that beautiful pink enamel brooch! It's huge and I love it! Of course I can't show you everything in one go on the basis that I might incriminate myself; hubby has been known to stop by from time to time to check on my activities! (hello sweetie.x)
But this one I must show you. The bunny was knitted for me by my beloved nana in the 1960's. He's a bit flopsy with all the love he's had over the years. I can remember holding him in the white cot in the back room at nan's house. It's one of my earliest memories. And now I have the knitting pattern so even I might be inspired to dust off my needles and have a go! I wonder why she didn't knit the one in a pink frock? Maybe she made it before I was born and so it was a unisex bunny for all eventualities? I wish I could ask her.
Good news on the home front. No the Aga is not on yet, that never happens before mid-October. No, not the heating, that has to wait until real Winter in January and February. But the stove was glowing last night and what a joy to throw off the blankets and finally accept that Autumn is here!
So now I need to beaver away and get some projects ready for my sewing chair by the stove. I'm making a few of these.. you won't guess. I'm making up the base fabric and have not quite decided what to do with them yet!
and I've started piecing a new embroidery picture. I love this stage. It's like painting with cloth. So enjoyable and I get lost in it for hours!
And some more bunting - already thinking about stocking fillers! Simple mini-bunting is always so popular with children for their bedrooms, even teenagers seem to think it's cool! We don't just save it for parties here. Any slight excuse and the bunting is out!
I'm not sure what I'm up to with these squares. But something is wanting to be made with these wonderful colours, I just think this quilt ought to be finished before I do any more! Naughty me!
So, nearly caught up now. Just a few notes of neglect. Lovely Kristin over at Polka Dotted World very kindly awarded me the 'Tree of Happiness'' tag. I am to tell you 7 things that make me happy and I just never got around to doing it. Family, fabric, sewing, vintage finds, baking, my garden, my home. All the things in this blog really. It's my happy place! Thank-you Kristin.x
I was also tagged by The Domestic Novice (go see her gorgeous photography!) with the 'How Quirky are You' meme. Hmm. 6 quirky yet boring and unspectacular details about myself...Only 6?! Well.... No, I can't! I want you to like me! xx
Other things in the pipeline include a 'How to' tutorial for the lovely Tanya over at Lily and Agathe (no idea what to do, but I'm onto it, honest!) and an interview over at Blisschick - thought provoking and much harder than I had expected. I'm enjoying the challenge of the questions and I recommend anyone to give them some thought.
So, Autumn is here. My 'View from Here' for September was taken very early in the morning. The sun is just beginning to peep over trees. Nothing like a farm view to ensure you know what season you're in.
I love Autumn. Bonfires, baked potatoes, leaf prints, and soon our apples will be ready for picking. If anyone would like a bag of Bramley's please just drop by and help yourself! t.xx
'Show and Tell' is back this Sunday, pop over to see Cerri if you'd like to join in!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Tidy blues

The beautiful boy is safely and happily back at school with a lovely new teacher. Being the 'Birthday Boy' always makes for a good return!
On the first day he was gone, I spent some time in my favourite Norwich coffee shop,
But I couldn't hide there all day so, eventually, I had to return to an empty and quiet house. How I hate the end of the holidays, I always feel a little bit of the blues.
So I decided to get busy doing what always cheers me up; sorting and tidying in the workroom. Nothing particularly constructive, no cutting or sewing, but just folding, sorting and enjoying my space. Reminding myself that there is a good side to having a bit of time for me.
I have plans for this basket of off-cuts and scraps. All sorts of treasures hide in there.
Great-granny's workbox needs attention!
These are looking a bit less tangled,
and these look so pretty in this vintage plastic basket, I haven't the heart to sort them into orderly rows.
I've also been having some fun on Flickr. I've joined a new group for some inspiration and have uploaded images of my own embroidery work to share.
This piece has one of my favourite buttons!
And so, quietly, slowly, the empty-ness is turning into busy-ness. All of a sudden 3.30 comes around and it's time to go and get my boy. So, no sewing being done, but time well spent and soon I shall be back in the pink!
Now I need to go and quickly make some biscuit dough so that this evening we can decorate Friday birthday treats for class. Will post pictures soon. The beautiful boy was given a wonderful new biscuit cutter as a birthday gift. Tomorrow will be baking day for the party this weekend. Thank-you for stopping by. t.x

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Fishing!

Well the man and the boy had an early start for fishing and they were back by mid-morning full of their Fishermen's Tales; it was this big!
I had decided to do a bit of fishing around too, in one of the many blanket chests around the house which need to be organised and sorted through from time to time. Do you remember binca sewing? I love the fabric and colours of childhood sewing. These were grandma's;
These were mine, heaven knows how many years ago!
I especially liked the pink binca - of course!
The beautiful boy has been adding to the family collection. These were worked at 4, 5 and 6 years old. He received an award for one of them!
Did I mention that he got an award for his sewing? That's my boy!
I still love to work stitch samplers, but now I work through different stitch dictionaries creating my own reference pieces.
Pink fabric is still preferred! This time it's aida fabric which I think of as 'binca for grown-ups'!
Tomorrow I shall have the house to myself all day and my little fishing expedition has got my fingers itching to spend it in the workroom. Hope you all had a lovely weekend despite the rain. We have the beautiful boy's birthday barbecue next Saturday with his school friends and their parents- I am forecasting glorious sunshine.... or else! t.xx