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!