Thursday, 19 May 2011

Time for Some Crafty Crochet

Too much work and too little play makes Gorgeous Things a dull lady - and dull is not a word I like to be described as! So after all this "work" stripping out and re-doing the shop, and sorting out all the masses of stock I now have at home, I decided it was time to get the creative juices flowing again by doing some crafting. What better than to resurrect my "crochet project"?

After reading about the Granny Stripe blanket by Lucy at Attic 24 I had to have a go - that was started a year ago. I DO love it - the freedom of choosing colours - any colours I fancy - doesn't have to "match" any interior, it just has to please me - what a great concept!

Obviously, this is one BIG blanket, and it isn't finished yet... I wonder how big it is going to be? This is a tricky decision. I didn't want a tricky decision, though, I wanted to do some crafty crochet! I wonder if it is nearly ready for a pretty picot border? Looks quite good there on the vintage Ercol day bed I'm thinking...
Well, while I'm pondering over that thought, maybe I could just line up a new project, do a few test pieces etc etc. Try out some new designs.... like this snowflake. And I've learnt how to join them together - woooo, now that's clever, I like this effect.

I have fallen for a new blanket design I have seen all over blogland and ravelry - the "flowers in the snow" - I particularly liked this blogger's version  Mias Landliv - and what a lovely blog - if you haven't been over there I thoroughly recommend it - full of bright fresh loveliness!!. It is made up of circles which are then combined into squares which are all crocheted together - using my new found skill of joining with crochet.

So I have bought some coloured cottons - unfortunately, my local yarn shop didn't have lots of bright pastel colours, so I took what I could - as I just HAD to start immediately (you know how it is?). So now I have lots of pretty piles of circles - and it is such FUN.

Sort of heathery colours - ok I think. Now I have to decide "how big" and I have to decide what colour to use to join them all together - obviously it is supposed to be white, but I'm thinking maybe a cream might look better - Hmmmmmm!

Anyway, whatever I decide, there are a lot more circles to be done yet - and that is just fine!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Vintage Festival at The Maltings - DONE!

Well, I survived...... just!

Oh my, all you guys that run stalls at the various vintagey and crafty fairs must have endless energy! I have huge respect for all you people who put such a huge effort into making these events successful. The Vintage Festival at The Maltings was definitely a SUCCESS! So a big thank you to Sally Mills and the team at The Maltings for all their hard work!

There were lots and lots of rooms with lots and lots of stalls - I really wish I had been there as a visitor, rather than a stall holder to be honest - I would have loved browsing around all day. And such a fantastic array of vintage goodies - clothes, jewellery, lighting, homewares, linens..... everything! And there was a vintage fashion show, and demonstrations, and all sorts of good stuff that I couldn't go to - cos I was running my little stall! Lots of people came in vintage dress - and they looked AMAZING! I wish I had taken some photos to show you.

I started setting up the evening before and then continued early in the morning of the Big Day. It is amazing how much time it takes. Lots of packing, unpacking, arranging and rearranging!!

Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera, so I had to take these shots with my phone as I was setting up. But you get the idea...

I really enjoyed meeting both customers and other stall holders. And I have learnt sooooo much.
Obviously, I was exhausted by Sunday evening, after packing it all up to take and the packing it all up to bring it home again, but I was feeling inspired, so on Monday I was straight up to the shop and started on a complete revamp! I packed up all the bits and bobs, reorganised the bits of furniture and added some nice new pieces (new to the shop, that is!!!)
But, oh dear, my house is now overflowing with boxes of stuff - all needing sorting out!! Aaaargh!

But the big question is........ will I do one of these again????
On Sunday night I was saying "never again".... but now?  ... Hmmmmm. I think I could be very tempted!!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Vintage Festival at The Maltings in Farnham

Here's a date for the diary - Sunday 8th May! If you are around, why not come along - it should be lots of fun? It's the Vintage Festival at The Maltings in Farnham.

Gorgeous Things will be in the Long Kiln Room if you wanted to drop by and say hello - I'd love to see you. I've never done a vintage fair before, and so I am both excited and terrified about this event! I've been busy buying extra stock in readiness (quite a hardship, but it just HAD to be done!!) - I've found some fab stuff, I am soooooo looking forward to displaying it. I think I've probably gone a bit overboard, but I'm thinking that it is probably safest to be that way.

I've also been busy rigging up a "dummy" stall at home... mainly to check how much space I have to fill. I managed to get hold of a set of folding shelves a couple of weeks ago, so I've spruced them up with a bit of "Stone Blue" from Farrow 'n' Ball. They should hold quite a bit of stuff. But I have a LOT of work to do yet - I think the key to this stall thing is maxing out on the display space. I have been checking out all the blogs from stallholders of the various vintage fairs - it is soooo useful to get ideas. I still need to get some hanging space - I think I'll be visiting the tip every day next week, hoping that some sort of hanging rail turns up.

Little Thing 2 and I had a lovely time the other day "upcycling" a mannequin, which I might bring along to the fair. You can just see part of him in this photo. I have no idea why I got him - the fancy just took me!! We've covered him in colourful fashion magazine clippings.

And I have been collecting vintage luggage - I thought that it is a great thing to bring along to a fair, as I can use it to pack all the goodies in to get to the fair, and then I can use them to help display. I thought I might use one case to put my pictures in...

Well, lots more work to be done here! If any of you have any tips for me, I'd love to hear them. I've got lots of embroidered pictures - they are really pretty, but the frames are a bit boring, so I shall have the paint pots out on those next.

I'll let you know how it goes!!!!!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Look what I've got!

I have to admit that I am finding it hard to be upbeat with my half empty nest. That happy, jumpy, excited feeling I usually get when playing with my Gorgeous Things has been passing me by! But then, the other day, this little kitchen cabinet popped into my life, and I am feeling a little tiny bit of the old bounce returning.

It needs some care and attention - look the poor old drop down leaf is dangling by a thread! If I take that strap off, then the whole thing half falls off. But the colour is sooooooo 50s and all the knobs are original, and in great condition. Now, here's the thing, I am a painter of furniture, so I would normally get the sandpaper and paint out and set to..... BUT this is in its original colour which, I think, is totally and stunningly fab. A bit scratched and scuffed, but still FAB. So no paint will be sloshed over this old girl! She will be carefully washed with some good old fashioned Vim powder (remember that stuff? I love it); her poor old broken leaf will get some new hinges; and she will get a soothing coat of wax to protect her. And then she'll be off to Bourne Mill where she'll be used to display my ever growing 1950s kitchenware collection. I suppose I ought to offer her for sale as well, but I'm not sure I can bear to part with her just yet!

So what else have I been up to whilst quietly pining for Little Thing 1, you may ask? Well, maybe you won't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway. The clue is in the word - pining - I have been painting a few pieces of pine furniture I have had skulking around the workshop for longer than they should have been! AND I have been playing with a new paint colour (new to me, that is).

I normally use a very neutral palette, because a) that is what I have always used in my house, so I am used to it and love it, and b) because I assume my customers will find it easier to fit into their homes. But I rather rashly decided to start experimenting with some stronger colours. So this is the first piece off the production line - in Farrow and Ball (of course!) Stone Blue. Of course, I couldn't resist a little bit of decoupage on the interior of those doors - just jollies it along I thought. But, silly me, when I took it up to the shop on Friday I forgot the shelf - duh! So, I shall be sprinting up there as soon as I have finished this post to put the shelf in - let's hope noone has noticed!

It is a pretty strong colour, but I am SOooooo pleased with the result. What do you think? It provides a lovely blast of colour in the shop - I love the way it looks with the Midwinter tureen (pattern Cassandra).

So here is a gratuitous photo of it nestling in the shop.

oops, just slipped another quick picture of the shop in! I had a little reorganise on Friday - I removed some of the "stuff" off a couple of the pieces of furniture, as I think people can't see that the furniture is for sale when it is obliterated by things (even if they are Gorgeous Things!). But I still think there is too much stuff on the furniture - ah well!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

So Happy, but So Sad

I can't believe that the time has come to wave off Little Thing 1! Her school days are done and now it is time for her to move on to the next big step in her life.

I'm so happy - she has done well at school, and she is going to a very good place - a very good place indeed...... And she is a lovely, lovely person (completely unbiased opinion here, you understand!).

..but I'm so sad. There are so many things left unfinished, so many more things I wanted to do with my little girl.... but, I've run out of time. So today she is packing her bags and I shall leave her in a very special place.

Christ Church College, Oxford  By Iñaki Lasa Rodríguez - Panoramio

...and I am SO proud.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Stanley Dog - and Back to my Old Ways

Well - what do you think of this little fellow?
Doesn't he look like Cath Kidston's Stanley dog? I love the grumpy expression! He's definitely coming to the shop.
I made a big effort last week to make a start on clearing my excessive amounts of stock from home - and get it in the shop where it should be (no I can't keep it all - naughty me to even think it!). So I tried to be really organised, and put together a little system - picking a box; going through the whole box; getting rid of the unsuitable items; preparing and pricing the rest; and getting them into the shop. Yes, I even wrote down a little flowchart to help me focus on making some progress (sad, but true!) So, how did it go you may ask.
 Well, I cleared quite a bit, but still not enough to actually use my dining room. But, this week, after putting the new stock in the shop, I decided that the shop was beginning to look a little drab; it needed a bit of pick me up. Ahhhhh! I realised what it was missing  - my old ways - you know when I just pick and choose stock according to how I feel, and what I think would look nice with the rest of the stock in there. SO........ it's back to my old ways this week (but just this week, cos I really must get that dining room cleared!). I'm picking and choosing ........ Ooooh, it's lovely....... the freedom to just go whereever the mood takes you. And that is how the Stanley lookalike came out!

But, I bet you'd like to have a look at some of the other things. I have an amazing Art Deco uranium glass dressing table set. The shapes of the trinket boxes, and the sunburst pattern of the glass is SooooooooO Art Deco - I love it!

And this little measuring tape - so cute - it has a little button on the back which makes it retract. Quite distracting, cos it makes you keep pulling it out and retracting it, rather than getting on with the sewing!

And on the subject of sewing (or indeed knitting, tapestry or crocheting) I thought these lovely crafty books would go down well in my growing crafty section of the shop. 

Of course, anything with Kaffe Fassett's touch is bound to be uber-colourful, and these books do not disappoint on that front. But I was also really interested in the alphabet charts, which could be applied to embroidery, tapestry or even knitting - but particularly nice for embroidering onto some plain linen napkins, I thought.

I had to share these tapestry cushions from the books with you - they are totally gorgeous!

And after all that, who wouldn't like to have a sit down in this chair to flick through the lovely crafty books?
Yes that is a tapestry screen - all hand stitched, amazing!

No sitting around for me today, though, I must be off to Bourne Mill to rearrange my room and display these lovely treasures.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Little Bit Of Elbow Grease

Over the last few days I have been busy, busy, busy getting stock ready for the shop. I am much better at buying than I am at selling my stock - no surprise there! But my house is totally overflowing now, and while Mr. Thing and Little Thing 1 are away (more about that later), I have been working through some of my backlog. But it can't just be work, work, work, can it? So I have picked a favourite project to keep my creative juices flowing.
Yes, I love a chair project. I think it's because I get to do a little bit of everything - and I haven't done anything with fabric for ages. So, how did it start out? Well, this chair came from auction as part of a lot which I was after for the Lloyd Loom Chair (ah yes, that's another project yet to be finished...). This is what it looked like when it came home.

Not the nicest thing is it? But, I could see from the shape that it did have potential. So, first step was to take the seat out and sand down the woodwork. Then I applied some white primer.

... and it's already looking better. Another coat of primer, and then it's time to crack open the tin of Farrow and Ball. I love applying that first coat of F&B - it's so exciting to see how it transforms the furniture. This time I was using eggshell in Bone, which is a fabulous soft grey - it seems to take on the colour of whatever is around it, so you can use it in almost any colour scheme, and it has that sort of "already used" feel.
So after another coat of the F&B it was ready for the most time consuming part of the whole process - choosing the fabric to recover the seat. This takes me for ever - I had to go through
1) my stash cupboard,
2) my huge box of "washed but not ironed yet" fabrics and linens that I've bought for the shop, and
3) a couple of boxes of "not even looked at properly" linens.
I just needed to find that perfect fabric which suited the style of the chair. I came up with a few possibles, but settled on these vintage curtains.

... a romantic toile de jouy - which was hugely disappointing! Why, you ask? Because I really, really wanted to use either some vintage embroidered linens or some of my funky 70s fabric in some sort of patchwork. But they just didn't suit the chair - especially now I'd painted it in the soft grey colour. So, I reluctantly took the curtains apart and pressed the fabric. Then I used the old cover as a template to cut out the toile, trying to centre up a "scene", and cut some new wadding. My excitement over my new creation was growing now, and it all started to come together rather quickly after that, and I forgot to take any photos of this phase - sorry. But basically my stapler was put to good use!
The secret to getting a good finish, is to take care over the tension of the fabric, leave the corners to last, and take care to create nice neat even folds. It all went really smoothly, I was soooooo happy. All that was needed next was to cut out and sew on some backing to make the seat lovely and neat.

and there is was - all lovely and neat and clean and gorgeously shabby chateau.

But is isn't finished yet - it needs to be distressed. This will have to wait for another day, cos the paint needs more time to get nice and hard before I get to work on it! I have to admit that I find the distressing bit quite hard, cos I like to do a nice paint job, so it hurts to shabby it up! But I know it will look much better once it's done, so I'll steel myself to get down to it tomorrow so that I can get it in the shop before the weekend.

Whilst I was looking through my boxes of linens for this project I came across some of the most lovely hankies, which I just have to share.

This one is my favourite! But these ones are cute too.

And then I found this amaaaaaaazing bright, bright shocking pink HuuuuuuuuuuuGE crochet doiley, isn't it amazing?

So, back to the absence of Mr Thing and Little Thing 1 - they are doing a charity bike ride - from Winchester all the way to Gibraltar - that is a LONG way! And it's for a charity that is very important to me - Cancer Research UK - you can read about it here. Apologies for the quality of the photos, but my usual camera has been taken on the bike trip, so I'm having to use Little Thing 2's camera, which I'm struggling with a bit!