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!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Learning to Let Go

I think I have a problem with letting go of some of the treasures I find for Gorgeous Things. I find it sooooo hard to put some of  those special things into the shop! Why? I don't know. When I find these items, I tell  myself that I'm buying them for the shop, but then I squirrel them away. This is not a good way to run a business!

I have had a serious talk with myself - I must do better! Gorgeous Things Vintage Jewellery has had serious words with me too. I have to think about my lovely customers, and remind myself that it isn't fair to keep these special things for so long. My customers need to see them and buy them  to make their homes Gorgeous. And I need to get my dining room back - which has turned into a stock room. So, dear readers, the time has come to part with the Special Things. And here is one I adore....

This has lots of groovy fabrics from the 60s and possibly early 70s, and is all hand sewn - can you imagine what a labour of love this was? And it is huge - this is my bed and it's a king size. I love these patchworks which are made from leftover fabrics - and this has been made from old shirts, dresses, sheets etc.- I think they tell a story, of another time. I love how the Mary Quant style flowers sit on the dark background - it's a real Flower Power item.

So I feel better now, I've started on the Special Things.

So while we are putting ourselves in the 60s - we might need a coffee from a groovy coffee set? This set is by Midwinter. This pattern is called Coutry Garden. When you look closely, the colours are amazing - I am thinking of using the colours of this set as inspiration for my next crochet project.

Here's a better look at the colours, and I love that lid! The two linen placemats are from the same period - they are a little washed out, so I'm still undecided whether to put them in the shop.
And here's some more floral funkiness! This is a Dorma bedcover in a cotton mix - I think it must be for a single bed, where it would reach the floor. I don't think it has ever been used - the fabric still has that "straight out of the packet" feel.

But it is sooooo bright and cheerful and FUN! I think sometimes we take our interior design so seriously, don't we - I think the time has come for us to have some fun again!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Gorgeous Things Vintage Jewellery

Greetings dear followers of the Gorgeous Things blog - I have to report that GT & Family are on holiday again (yes I know!) so little me (the Jewellery Department) has been left to hold the fort and entertain the dog on her city break while her pack frolic on Caribbean beaches - I've been there myself, it's horrid, they'll hate it, I'm not jealous at all, not one bit!! This is my first attempt at blogging, exciting.... I hope it doesn't all go horribly wrong! Gorgeous Things Vintage Jewellery currently trades through an eBay store - you can find the link on the right of this page under favourite places. Here at Jewellery Towers we source all sorts of sparkly, classic, collectable and just gorgeous vintage jewels from the antique and unusual to the relatively modern with prices to suit all pockets - I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some of my personal favourite upcoming pieces....

I have a bit of a passion for reverse carved lucite whether in the form of ornaments, napkin rings and of course brooches - this is quite a large brooch with 3 beautiful roses in washed out shades of red and pink - it dates back to the late 1950s/early 1960s and these are not made anymore so becoming very collectable. There are more than one of these in the store at the moment.
Rhinestone jewellery is ever popular - personally I can't resist the clear crystal floral variety, pure simple glamour - always stunning against black - a friend of mine uses brooches like these to decorate lampshades around the home and they look fabulous! This is a particularly nice example, large & good quality - you must always be careful of dead or discoloured (yellowed or greying) stones - the foil backing deteriorates with time and moisture - this one is near perfect very sparkly and a fantastic find! 

Do have a browse of the Gorgeous Things Vintage Jewellery store - you may find something you like - here at Jewellery Towers we pride ourselves on excellent customer service, gorgeous safe packaging and value for money so have a look around - a repair and necklace re-string service is also available.

The new jewellery cabinet at the flagship store at Bourne Mill is coming soon as is more gorgeous stock for the online Gorgeous Things Shop so keep checking back.....    

I hope you've enjoyed this little look into my world of 'wearable art' - feel free to contact the jewellery department at, we're always happy to hear from you - in the meantime me and gorgeous doggy will continue to enjoy the riches of the Hampshire summer countryside and try not to dream of white sand beaches, sunset cocktails and fabulous fishes..... hhmmmm.... sigh - on the positive side, the fresh fresh eggs from Gladys and the girls are a total bonus!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A Visit to the Brocante

Well, the Biarritz holiday has been done and dusted.... and what a lot of fun was had! There was some indulgence .. with a little bit of this.
And lots of people watching whilst having one of these...

And there was lots of sun and fun on the beach with my hosts. Here are Little Thing 1 and 2...

And here is me on the beach - (as I see it anyway!) pretty glamorous eh?

But I thought that you might be more interested in one of my little outings - to the Brocante?
I make no apologies for the following totally indulgent photos of fabulous, vintage gorgeousness!

Oh my, those vintage linens are exquisite (unfortunately, also exquisitely priced!!)

The whole street was filled with tatty vans, which were unloading the most amazing treasures.

Nice bit of enamel ware coming up...

The dark table and tall cabinet at the back are made of metal - they have been stripped and polished, and were totally amazing. I loved them - unfortunately the luggage allowance on Ryanair would not have stretched to one of those though! But great ideas for Gorgeous Things methinks!

Mmmm, some girly stuff on this stall!

And some lovely lighting - as you know, I love a pretty chandelier...

It seems a bit disrespectful to just dump such gorgeous lighting on the dirty gravel, don't you think? I really, really wanted to "rescue" some of these!!

There was lots of stuff on view at this street Brocante, and, having never been to one before, it was really interesting to see what was on offer. The lighting and the linens were stunning, but I thought the furniture, china and glassware weren't a patch on the the amazing variety you can get at an English antiques centre (mention no names, but hey, it's true!) And, I guess, partly because of the Euro, the prices were really high.

So, back home now, and I feel refreshed and eager to get on with all my ideas for my Gorgeous Things. Starting with the opening of the Gorgeous Things Online Shop (see the link in my sidebar), where I will be offering various interesting bits and bobs over the coming weeks.