Friday, 12 December 2014

Special Seasonal Selection. Including: The Great Wall of China...Current Kitchen Clichés....what the inside of my head looks like...some bargain buys...old fabric...and getting ready...

Humble apologies all round for my lack of input in the ether world. I am now a full two posts behind with replies though I have  read and chuckled over all your deliciousness and kind words.   Not sure when this will ever be remedied - life seems to be taken over by 'other stuff' sadly.  However all of your visits are greatly appreciated - without them there is no point in having a blog in the first place.  

Such kindness is the glue which keeps us together and I thank you from the heart of my bottom. very much.

This is my great wall of china!  Ho ho.  I have been working extra, extra hard to pay to have some cupboards made just so that some  of my car boot china will have a somewhere to go without being stacked in a precarious pyramid formation.  I realise that this is a great indulgence and have spent time discussing the associated guilt with Mrs B.

This cupboard is very tall and thin (not unlike myself.......ha ha!)  previously there was just one shelf on this wall and this cupboard occupies the same footprint as that one shelf.  I did not want to have to rummage to find a particular this is a 'one-cup-deep cupboard'....I am rather partial to a nice cup.

 I appreciate that this type of cupboard is a bit:  'So last year darling'  (in fact I have been discussing this with our local carpenter for about a year! ) but I have had this cupboard love for a long time.

Here is the image from a magazine which I have kept for several years:

Five years in fact.

 We have carefully ensured that our kitchen is full of every current kitchen cliché and you know what 'I care not a fig' : we I have thought about this kitchen for many years and not been able to decide upon a particular 'style' however we live in an Edwardian house so white tiles, larder cupboard and wooden floors go a treat. The clincher was when I was in London a few weeks ago - as I stood waiting for the tube I thought: 'These tiles have stood the test of time  (1863) so if it is good enough for The Underground it is good enough for me!'.

As Ron the builder said when he finished the tiling yesterday: 'The surgery is now open'.

I have carefully placed this paper decoration over the cooker!

 Fortunately I have several old surgical instruments left over from the years I spent working in operating theatres (those were the days my friend).....I can distinguish my Rampley sponge holders (very handy for gripping all sorts of things and extracting dropped items down the plug hole.... as well as tonsils) from my Allis tissue forceps (extra bitey for holding onto little, bitty things - purse making for example!).  I feel very at home with that concept.  Whilst working in theatres I took great delight in learning all the names of the wonderful range of instruments...this is the type of sad thing I like doing.  A bit like learning the names of the boys taught by Mr Chips: OH, COME ON - WE HAVE ALL DONE THAT! '...Pettifer, Pollett, Porson, Potts, Pullman, Purvis...'

Not sure how I deviated onto those subjects : more on surgical instruments another time if needed and indeed I am very happy to debate the virtues of Mr Chips himself (I only have to read the last page to be sobbing into my 1920s hanky).I am rather partial to bit of sentimentality.

I have ordered some extra shelves so that a bit more cramming can take place.  Unfortunately the building of this cupboard has not resolved the storage of the china to be found here (not forgetting the other 'reserve china collections').

Extra cliché factor with lights around the cupboard...

The shelves shown here are about to be taken 'dahhn'.  The children don't know that I have stashed  Quality Street in the big bowl that you can see on one of the shelves.

Taking a break...............

This corner of my new cupboard is perfecto for taking photographs with some nice light coming from the left....thus:

Old milk bottle from Mr Langford...poor Mr Langford

That old step stool which I recovered a few weeks ago has come in very handy indeed. I can now reach the parts that other stools cannot reach.

I will now contrast my thinking with Dom's who kindly informs me that he doesn't have a great deal going on in his head at any one time.  Not that he is an air head but he likes to keep his mind clutter free and rested.  Unfortunately my mind has a mind of its own so it always full and has a little bit of clutter............In order to illustrate this I will show you 'Dom's room'.  This is where he likes to escape - it does not have very much in it.  This is where you might go if you want to r-e-l-a-x.

Does it remind you of an old pub?  

I'm going to buy Dom a bag of sawdust for Christmas - ho ho.  

I am rather partial to milk stout - in fact I love milk stout (room temperature only please). 

Dom's  room used to be my sewing room.

This is how this particular corner used to look some time ago now.

It is the difference between us................

That was back when I could keep things vaguely tidy and some semblance of order

This was the room when Dom started redecorating and I had to move out:


And this was during the decorating least Dom had used vintage sheets as dust covers..........small crumbs............

Wallpaper all gone now (they were only free samples so no cost involved....small crumbs again....

Before this it was Maille's bedroom - this is how it used to look back then:

Times change and each manifestation has been very different to the last. Before the red I had painted it yellow and green.  One day a new family will move in and it will be different all over again.

 This photograph shows my 'sewing' (dump..) room in its pure, unadulterated form - no tidying up - no staging - this is how it usually is (possibly less fabric on the floor than usual though).  What we might call a ruddy mess  an eclectic mix.  My friend Bryony visited this room recently but unfortunately had to be taken out and be given oxygen as she found it all rather suffocating.  I have no idea why she might think that.

 It would take me a while to explain all these different bits on the table - some I have no idea how they got there and their purpose in life!

I bought this shade for my light ( the light given off by the bulb remains useless to sew by).

 For reasons I cannot explain I thought Mary should wear an original wing collar.  As she didn't complain she has been wearing this for several months now.  Mary is also sporting an old 70s dress which Bronte usually wears but is currently 'in for repair' at the workshop. It might be ready for next summer.  Good old Mary - she puts up with a lot in her old age.

 As I was in dire need I bought this lovely old bowl for 50p the other week - I am rather partial to a nice old bowl (beautifully hand painted with some delicarto flowers).  Also showing are some NEW Liberty print bits which I will eventually sew into a mini-hexagon patchwork purse.....when I get round to it.  It was handy that I had a spare bowl to put those bits of fabric in...........................!

Whilst doing  some cupboard rummaging  I found that I  have more than one of these old deer tins : I left this one out to remind not to buy another one.

At the back of my wardrobe I have been keeping some bits for when I get a new kitchen. I had genuinely forgotten what I had put in there and so far I have found: old fish place mats, some old Tupperware and some storage pots. I know that there are some very nice bits in there somewhere and I may have to venture into the back of beyond (Narnia) to find them.It is not a huge wardrobe (one of the Edwardian built-in ones so rubbish for putting hangers in) but it does seem rather full for some reason.   Not too many clothes in that wardrobe.

The party poppers would take a while to explain but they were part of an teaching event I was helping run and stuffed some party poppers in my pockets in case I had to call the large crowd to attention - fortunately my raucous voice was sufficient.

Ages ago I made a stack of fabric windmills - I then made some smaller ones for brooches.  They have remained on this table ever since...sadly not blowing in the wind.

 My dear friend Bryony thought that I was in need of some saucers so gave me this pile of frilly edged ones (they are beautifully opaque and as delicarto as thin ice). Still thinking through what I might do with them but thank you for the thought dear.

I have finally  had my old Smith clock mended: you can see the pre-mended (is that a word?), pre-dusted (ok - that is not a word!)  version here.  Though the label looks like a 'for sale' sign it was just the old clock menders way of keeping track of his clocks - he buffed the bakelite surround nicely so that  it now shines like a conker.  I have one or two old Smith clocks....I like old Smith clocks.  The orange pot is a nice old china one from the 70s which was going for a pound or two in the local is my undoing.

I haven't been 'out and about' (we know what I mean here don't we) very much for several months but on those rare forays to the 'shops' (we know what I mean here don't we) I have been very lucky...(I wonder what I have missed out on in the intervening months).  Two weeks ago I thought that I would go for a cycle ride in the drizzling rain - I passed the local car boot which had a very sad looking 6 stalls.  Naturally one had to stop and have a gander round.  For £4 I bought all these bits from just the one stall (including the basket):

This is a piece of vintage cardboard

 A little bit of Googling revealed this to be German from the 1930s: it cost 50p and it looks as though it was made yesterday

Complete with a sprinkle of glittery mica

The basket was a bit of an afterthought but as my bicycle basket was already full up this basket was thrown in so that I could carry everything back home. I am going to line it with some nice old Christmassy fabric and use it to dispense Christmas present to my sisters this year.

The stall holder had lots and lots of old Christmas decorations - but I settled for these foil, glass and tinsel wreaths to hang in the hall at home.  I may have some more of these alright already..........

As it was getting chilly I thought that I had also better purchase this nice old travel rug

I have strategically placed these eggs for a 'country living' effect - I did not buy these from the stall holder.  The rug has been carefully washed and now I go round the house draped in this all the time.

From another stall I bought another Conran lamp (thank you to Miss Lazy Daisy for the background information on such lamps).

 Remember that this is work in progress - I don't think that we will finish this much before next Easter - we have yet to decide on other cupboards and colour of the walls.

 I think I was ripped off here as the lamp cost me £3 (I asked if it worked and he said yes and by way of 'proof' immediately put a new bulb in it!) - the other one that I have only cost me £1.  That's inflation for you!  What a sauce.  The stall holder informed me that he had sold another one for £4 earlier that morning so in fact I was getting a discount. Ha ha.

Would you have made those same purchases?  
Do you think that it was worth the money?  
Would you buy it all  even though you have a house full of very similar objet?  
What makes a bargain a bargain?  
What constitutes a 'good' purchase? 
Please define and let me know by way of return.

Next is a bit of unashamed strategic placement of chair and biscuits

I cannot explain my thinking here

Remember my £2 bargain chairs which I bought from:  'The shop which opens slightly more than it used to' shop ? This has now reverted back to' The shop which only seems to be open one afternoon a month' shop

I am now adding in pictures from last year - I promised last December that I would post these photographs - these were taken in December 2013 - sometimes it can take a while to get round to doing things...............

I have yet to get out this seasons decorations but I have one or two stored.  AHEM!  

My children adore Christmas - not because of any presents but because of the decorations and how their home looks at this time of the year. They like it because I go over the top and cram each nook and cranny with some old bits...I like old bits.

These hooks are the best - better than an old paper clip which some have been known to resort to........

Bauble selection can be a bit tricky.  I have gone on before that you should look for seasonal things out of season - I found lots more of these during the summer at the one or two car boots I went to. Don't go looking for nice old decorations at Christmas - look for them on during the height of summer.

Assemble your 1960s tinsel tree and embellish:

I did put more decorations at the top - it looks a bit weighed down at the bottom  here (not unlike myself...)

Some rogue crepe paper decorations have snuck in

Over the decades I have gathered a few old birds (steady!) and I particularly like these peacock types.

...and some old crackers (m'lud)

These are also from last Christmas

Perhaps I posted these last year but I cannot find them on this blog if I did

Talking of things of a bargain type nature:
A charity shop has been given a huge donation of fabrics - several van loads in fact - the sort of fabric which someone (not unlike myself) will one day also have to donate back to a local charity because  I she never got round to sewing all the things that  I  she always intended to make....ahem!!  Anyway I went a bit bananas with it all - it was very cheap and I chatted, as always, with the shop assistants.  We went through all the fabrics : I was suggesting what they might make and who might like this fabric and that fabric.  I help sort the synthetics from the woollens  and we laughed about hot pants and pantaloons.

I liked this Sanderson fabric.  It is a large design though so not too sure what I will do with it.

I also bought a bin bag of  old cotton velvets  in a beautiful range of colours (£7.99 so a bit pricey but oh so lovely) .  Would you have bought this too? Someone please appease my guilt. 

I am going to make some velvet lined purses and some little velvet lavender-filled cushions - all  tied up with prettiness. Oh! I will also make some vintage velvet hot water bottle covers - essential stuff I think....I will tie them up with vintage lace and ribbon.   I might get it all done in time for Christmas....might.

I was told how I had missed out on all the really nice fabrics and that people were buying hundreds of pounds worth!  Oh my! It's a good job really.

As you can see from  the old label this top piece is embossed so has extra richness I think.

 I suggested making craft packs for Christmas presents and how people might like to buy small pieces in order to make small things.  To illustrate this very fact I went home and made a zipped purse from two of my purchases and then travelled all the way back to donate it back to the shop.

 How we laughed!

By chance I thought that this lovely tweedy fabric went very nicely with some old Vyella for the lining  Funnily enough I already had an old button  to sew on the front. The other fabrics are all from the same fabric purchase.

I tried extra hard to make my bottom neat for Christmas

 Many months ago Dom bought two old chairs from a local salvage yard (you can see one of them in the previous image of Dom's room.  Were you paying attention?).  They need recovering and we were thinking that  some old tweedy fabric might suit rather well.

 The charity shop happened to have yards and yards of old original Harris Tweed - just the sort of tweedy old  fabric two old chairs might need in fact. I bought two designs

This one is particularly delicious with a peppering of  mist, moors and heather amongst the threads

It all goes nicely with the room

I think that it will be while before we get round to it but tweedy covers these chair will have.

The light shown here was one of the very first old things which Dom and I bought together 30 years ago (from a junk shop in Weedon if my memory serves me right) - it is from the 1930s I think and has served us very well over the intervening years.

In case you were wondering that we just decorate all the time and never leave the homestead : we do get out and about but I don't think that is particularly interesting for you to read about ('....and she thinks that this is?......')

I had lots more to show and tell but I had better leave it there.

Work beckons and am going to try and deck the halls this very day......that would be quite a few decos to put up I think if you remember this.

"And they called it cupboard l-u-u-vv........

Someone help me............p-l-u-eeeee-eeee-zzzz"

(Join in at the back)

PS: This is a delightful little deer which Bronte made from felt last year

Complete with little tail

An emergency  sub PS: I cannot now remember the context but last night I had occasion to say to Bronte: 'Well, that's your pigeon" (it might have been in relation to her not really wishing for anything for Christmas).  Bronte then exclaimed that she had never heard me use that expression before and what on earth did it mean!!! WHAT!  Well I'm sorry if you are not aware of such phrases but that's your pigeon...ho ho!  I have since found out that it is used in Australia, New Zealand as well as the UK so could we please start a: 'That's your pigeon' fan club'? Please place the emphasis on 'your' rather than pigeon - it changes the whole meaning without that.  Just sayin'

Proper, full PPS: I also recently bought this delicious old vase from the CS.  

The birds have eaten the little bit of holly which I had carefully cultivated in the garden (from a cutting of a cutting of a holly tree which was growing outside the maternity wing of the hospital where I was born (January) - PHEW!!!) 

However  there is an abundance of old plastic holly in this house and I think that works rather well (plus one of my old tatty robins)

PPPS: This is the Christmas display from 'The shop which used to open slightly more often than it used which now never opens again' dating December 2012!!   It really has taken me a while to posting some of these photographs.

I remember that I very much wished to buy this table but of course the shop was never open......

Final PPPPS: Ending with a mosaic of some of my favourite Christmas bits from the past few years

Festive cheer all round.

'Tis the season to be jolly 

La, la, la
la, la, la, la, la

Better go : those mince pies don't make themselves you know!