Thursday, 31 December 2009

handmade garlands

An early happy new year to you!
Well, I am very much looking forward to starting to do the fairs again (and a first for Michael), and since we came back from Brixham Michael & I have been busy bees.

The lovely garlands & hanging hearts have been handcrafted by Michael (from reclaimed wood with original paint, from skirting boards from a very old cottage nearby, I know because I salvaged them when Michael re-did the bathroom & electrics), the shells are recently collected by me and I have strung them into lovely garlands, (Mum has already bought one for her friends Christmas pressie!) The single hearts are similar & also finished with old buttons & shells.
Michael has taken a few days off work to help me with the jobs that I have had waiting for months. He is now in the freezing cold barn (how I wish we were back in the temperate climate of Devon), converting an old utility wardrobe into an armoire for me to use for display, painted eau de nil & and lined with black chinoiserie paper. He is so handy to have around and as he is one of these chaps that is only happy pottering around, what can you do .....?? (I have some sanding jobs for him, that he doesn't know about yet!)
I am hopeful that Malvern on the 31st January will have lots of romantics searching for lovely Valentines gifts, I have kept away from traditional colours and even if I say so myself think that these hearts will mix in beautifully with the textiles & painted furniture.
If you come to Malvern & see my stand, say hello & let me know what you think. It will be my first fair for a number of years & along with excitement & expectation I am feeling very nervous.
Have a good evening if you are partying!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Happy New Year

Hello to everyone, and thank you to my followers, I am so happy to have gained a few more of you in the past few days, it is so nice to know that people out there like my musings ?!
I always feel that the New year starts on the 26th, and I can't wait for the trappings to disappear, so I decided to show you alternative pics from the season, however I just had to show you my makeshift Christmas table, as we were by the sea, I took this fantastic fabric as a cloth and then Mum found the side plates in a junk shop. we added bits n bobs from the beach for the decorations.

My side bar pics are some of the lovely things that we have seen on our hols! If you are new to my blog, I love peeling paint and rusty metal !
The next pictures are from Christmas Day (coincidence, but what some lovely light).........

Rainbow over Brixham (the view from our cottage)

The light & water were so clear

Teenangel on the rocks!
I am currently blogging to "Frankie say Greatest" & Will Young "The Hits", as I wasn't allowed to listen to them on the way home in the new van , four hours listening to Sports commentary, it's too much!

Always hungry.............................grey & calling for food..............

So we are back from Brixham and we enjoyed every minute, the Cotswolds were freezing while we were away, we had days of Mediteranean warmth and sun (we are usually in Dahab at this time of year and are used to the warmth), so it was lovely.
Harbour lights at night

and lastly...........

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Russian art and English funghi......

sorry this one wouldn't turn around

I have recently been watching a fantastic BBC programme on the History of Russian Art, which inspired me to change my blog header. I recently was lucky enough to sail from St Petersburg to Moscow and apart from learning how massive Russia is, a concept that I don't think that you understand until you go and then look at your travels on a map, but also the History of the Art and people.

As with most foreign trips you are taken to the touristy places however there are more interesting places that you may find, we were offered a trip to the Tretyakov gallery, not many people took it up but mum and I went. It is an unassuming building from the outside, but as you enter it is a lovely art deco interior (unfortunatly no pictures, and the gallery loses out here as they only sell postcards/books of the some of the artworks and none of the fantastic deco lighting and chandeliers!). You are shown the portraits, etc,etc and the amazing icons, however we were dragged away from the rooms showing paintings of fantasy fairy worlds, "lordoftheringsesque", incredible! I urge you to watch the programme, I hope that it is on the Iplayer.
Back to the point however, searching through my pictures I had lots of glittery icons and gaudy onion topped towers but I came across this pale mural from one of the churches along our route and decided that amongst all of the excitement of the season something serene would make a change, I hope that you agree?!
MY FUNGHI for Christmas? well apart from Michael (fun guy?! haha), (who has already polished off all of the mince pies), I noticed that my two large willow stumps that we use as seats in the garden have become covered in the most lovely funghi.....

Art and beauty is all around, it doesn't have to be the most ancient and expensive.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Home comfort for Florence & looking forward to Spring

Florence travels with us a lot (when we can find places to stay that accomodate dogs), in Brixham we have stayed at and are renting Harbour Breeze over the holidays, both owned by Grahame and Kay.
brekki at Raddicombe
We do love to stay at but Flo can not stay here, so we haven't been for a while even though I miss the bacon & pancakes with berries & maple for brekkie!
brekki & afternoon tea @ Brookside

Back to the point, as Michael's new van arrives on Thursday we will be travelling in that for most of our trips from now on (as we always cram my Peugeot full) and when I hit the fairs again in January. So Florence needs something shabby chic inspired & comfy as she is getting on a bit, so here she is in her travelling bed......

The basket is old and falling apart, bound together with old string, the lovely fleecy pale blue blanket with satin trim was a car booty find and I have made the cushion with a lovely lilac vintage blanket and have added her name, ( my mum saw it and has ordered one each for Daisy & Mini (the other 2 prisoners, see the pic in the side bar). At home Florence sleeps in a lovely willow basket with feather cushion and mohair check blankets, I'm afraid that we have to rough it a bit in the van! But it can be worth it......

As my teenangel is nearly 16, Christmas isn't quite the same as when he was a little tot, however rather than pressies we decide to have some time away and rent a cottage in the harbour at Brixham (we usually go to the Sinai & dive the Red Sea) however Tom wanted to do some sea fishing & we all love to be by the sea so hopefully it will be wonderful for all....
In the meantime I at this time of year I long for the spring, so here are a few ideas to inspire for planting......

This last picture is of a fantastic nesting box and feeder, isn't it cute?!

I have now got to do some sewing, as I made some blanket curtains for my mum's house yesterday (no heating at all) and she has asked for more please?! So I will have to be busy before I come back for my afternoon fix of tea & blogs (I will be making the mince pies today with the lovely carrot & almond mincemeat that we bought in Bridport, as Michael apparently is too busy to make them as promised! Not to eat them though!!!).
However my day will not be as stressful as the Teenangels as he has Geography, History & PE mock GCSE exams today.........I remember mine as though it were yesterday, although they were much more difficult in my day!!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Tea for two

I haven't seen my friend Jane for a few months now despite the fact that by car she lives about four minutes away!

I am busy here & there, and she has two lovely young boys Josh & Roo (and a surprisingly helpful hubby!), Matt who runs a landscaping business Castle Acre & a beautiful old fashioned plant nursery "GROW". So we do not have cause to bump into each other even at the supermarket (which I hate, but we do not have an abundance of nice individual shops here, that moan can wait for another day!), as Jane has hers delivered by a rather upmarket one! We did go swimming together once a week but I can't face it in this cold damp weather, Jane how ever continues, making me feel more guilty/unfit/fat etc.... oh well another jumper will cover the muffin top!

At the start of the week she prompted me to come out of my self-induced "communication blackspot", so I invited her around for tea this morning after swimming, (I couldn't go as I am painting tables....mmm?!)
ready for tea & mince pies
Flo, desperately under nourished waits for a crumb!

The tea table was set & kettle boiled, and then the text that she had run out of time (as mums do), so I called my mum who came over for tea & one of the mince pies that she had donated in the first place! Mum has now gone home to continue re-vamping a chandelier, our new enterprise which will be appearing soon, and I am off to continue painting.......

Whilst listening to R2 this morning I heard George Michaels song for Christmas (as usual I have forgotten the name) and one by Chris Rea (it had heaven in the title) the first being lovely, the second being thought provoking, try & find them and listen to them...........

Monday, 30 November 2009

Bridport here we come!!

As you know I have recently joined the Vintage bloggers, and having had a fantastic day at the V&H fair, decided to visit the Bridport Christmas market. We travelled down visiting Honiton & Beer & Lyme Regis on the way.

Items that we found on the way, my cousins & I had one of these horses & spent hours on it as children,(destined for Malvern) and although a little shabby the footstool is gorgeous.

Since the last time that we stopped in Lyme there are a few new really nice shops selling vintage & vintage inspired lovelies, however being so excited I didn't take pics & have forgotten the names, however if in Lyme Regis, put your back to the sea and walk up the main shopping street, up the hill, and they are on either side of the road! In one of the shops I met a couple of ladies that I knew from Chipping Norton, isn't it strange when that happens! Moving on......Michael was getting peckish ! After a pasty on the Cobb, we set off to West Bay where I announced that we should gather driftwood, mmm under a cliff face that had had a very recent landslide, in rain, wind & failing light, good idea....????

driftwood booty
This piece is prized & will be made into a coat hook!

Having started the next day at the Beachcroft B&B ( in Westbay, an exceptionally clean & welcoming B&B with very pleasant hosts Sue & Peter. Michael was stuffed to the gunnels with the f.e.b. we went off into Bridport.

I have never been to Bridport, bypassing it for Weymouth where my son has dived many times and we have spent many wonderfully exciting hours driving a rib out at Lulworth & around Portland Bill. So I was very happy to find such a lovely town with lots of individual shops, galleries & cafes, I think this one was "The Green Yard"(?), where we had the first mince pies of the year, almond & carrot (so good that we bought 2 jars & Michael has promised to make some soon)......

.....AND a great Saturday market lining the streets, part of which was similar to a French street brocante. Obviously I found things to buy, a lovely floral chest of drawers, a great tea towel, some retro design cards, baskets (for my Spring garden stand at Malvern flea).

Beautiful shop window displays, we bought Florence's Chrissie pressie here, a nautical neckerchief, ready for Brixham hols!

Retro hair salon with original dryers!

At the end of the market was the Church hall which was full to bursting with the ladies and their vintage wares. I haven't any pictures as I am sure that the ladies will be posting their own!? I bought some soap wrapped in vintage fabric and a beautiful sea shell decoration, and a yellow fabric covered box from Lizzie (
I had a lovely chat with Elizabeth Baer, who had some beautiful French textiles ( ).

Michael was recognised by Sue (, was it that she remembered selling the Union flag to us or that she has seen the photo's of him eating his way around the tea rooms of England?!
Sue is very friendly & helpful, when we travelled over to The Dairyhouse on Sunday she gave us lots of info of places to go (& more importantly let me use the loo before our long drive home!)
The Dairyhouse is a lovely building filled with all sorts of lovely things, this most fantastic dresser which, had my mum's kitchen renovations started would have looked great .......

Bridport had a lot of hidden mooching places, and somewhere behind the Church was a yard with a number of warehouse type buildings, all with furniture and interesting bits & bobs & one shop full of clothing, I really recomend it for a lovely weekend break.

Thank you Dorset