Friday, September 30, 2011

On the Wagon

I found these two gorgeous images of gypsy caravans on this blog post. The wonderful 'anything goes' attitude towards filling such a tiny living space with sumptuous soft furnishings, colour and texture, may not adhere to any so-called interior design rules, but I just I love this look.
Whilst most of the walls in our home are painted white or soft pastels, I do embrace colour in the accessories and vintage treasures that I love to collect, such as my 50's floral hats crammed into a glazed cupboard in our living room.
And my scrap books that I told about on my blog here, where I save images from magazines that speak to me, show a love of colour, fabrics and those special little treasures vintage or handmade.
There is a large variety of decorating styles that appeal to me...
I really do find it hard to chose just one look and to stick with it...
And just recently I have become a little, (dare I say it?), bored, with the pared-down white interiors with 'tasteful' rustic linens and faded florals....Given the doom and gloom that the media seems intent on reporting most of the time...I feel a need for colour right now to give a bit more cheer and warmth to my surroundings.
It may just be a phase...but we'll see... ;-))
My shop continues to have more than its fair share of colourful objects too, for those on a similar wavelength!
...Anyway, all of this waffling is my way of telling you about where the inspiration came from for my latest make-over project, which was this rather plain little cupboard given to me by a friend who thought I might be able to do something with it.
Its been made from hardboard on a wooden frame, (and has three little hardboard shelves inside) so really needed a makeover.
Anyone who has painted hardboard will know that it is prone to warping when wet, so unless you can thoroughly paint both sides to reduce this risk, it can be a bit of a gamble.
Besides, I had other plans...
I started by painting the wooden frame in a vibrant pink emulsion that I mixed myself.
Yes, I know its bright! :)
I waxed the surface to knock the colour back a little and to protect the paintwork.
Then the fun bit! I found this amazing vintage wallpaper at a car boot sale over the summer. I don't know the make of it, as it was just this half-roll that was available, but it has a very useful wipe-clean finish (almost like sticky-backed plastic) and a fantastic gypsy style design.
The smooth finish of the hardboard made the task of covering it quite straightforward. I used the paper on both of the sides, on the top and for the two door panels.
I realise this won't be to everyone's taste, but it was fun to do and will surely bring a cheerful accent to a boudoir, bathroom or gypsy wagon!
A touch of black in an interior can work wonders to create depth and contrast...
But probably needs to be used in moderation...
I put my black china tea cups down somewhere, but now can't seem to find them...
You haven't seen them, have you?! ;-))
I added a small porcelain door knob...
Then it was off to the shop with it yesterday, where it now awaits a new owner who also embraces a touch of colour in their life.
Have a lovely weekend!
Niki x
PS: Thank you to all who visited my on-line shop and for your interest in my calendars (details in previous post) - Your continued support means so much to me. I've started to dispatch orders, so hope you will be pleased with your purchases and will enjoy your new calendars throughout 2012!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nostalgia 2012

I'd been asked by several people if I intended to create a 'Nostalgia' calendar for next year - With the pressure on(!), a couple of weeks ago I set aside a whole day to take photographs, to put together a new set of 13 shots to make up the next edition.
I decided I wanted to work on a similar design to the 2010 version (below). I had receive one criticism about this design, which was that it was difficult to work out which was the right way up to the photos.
I had taken birds eye views of lots of colour-coordinated items in my collections, piled up in an (artistic!) heap, which is probably where the problem lay. Taking this on-board, this year I made sure that my arrangements had shadows to give more depth. I also used less pieces to make simpler displays.

I selected items from the treasures in my cupboards, but was careful to limit them to a theme for each month.
Millinery flowers was a pretty springtime choice, for example. I placed each collection onto one of my Scheurer fabric samples, carefully selecting a suitable colour to best show off the objects.
I also wanted to include two postcards within each photo...
So these were selected from my keepsakes that I store inside antique sheet music books and have shown on my blog back in 2008.
The postcards that I keep are all special to me and so selecting just a few to use on the calendar was difficult!
But I got there! I have now received my 1st supply of the latest Nostalgia calendar from the printers, (2nd order is in the pipeline) so I would like to offer you a preview here...
The front cover is a taste of what's to come inside - I arranged one item from of each of the twelve themes in a pleasing layout.
January: Vintage tins.
February: Decorative boxes.
March: Millinery flowers.
April: Floral hats.
May: Pretty china.
June: Buttons.
July: Perfume bottles and boxes.
August: Evening bags and purses.
September: Sewing equipment.
October: Shoes. (my favourite one!)
November: Dolls.
December: Sparkling brooches.
Each month has the glossy photograph, plus a gridded page with plenty of space to jot down important events or appointments on the appropriate dates.
I shall be offering them for sale in the catalogue of my on-line shop as from today; at the fairs I shall be attending where you can view before you buy, and at Nostalgia at No.1 too of course.
Hope you like the new colourful calendar for 2012!
I have to be off to work now, but will answer any requests or queries on my return.
Have a great day,
Niki x

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Dreams

A few weeks ago a lovely lady came into my shop and asked if I'd like to buy a few items from her, that had once belonged to her late mother. Amongst them was a delightful c1930's handmade wooden doll's bed. As she put it down on my shop counter I reached for one of my medium sized rag dolls that I had sitting on the shelf above my head. I lay her on the bed and declared her a perfect fit, with which the lady became quite emotional. I promised I would make some bed linens for the little bed and would try to find it a good home where it would be enjoyed.

Yesterday I worked on making the bed clothes. I wanted them to have a make-do-and-mend quality about them and the fabrics to be of a similar era to the bed.
There's a little quilt which I made from patches of old pink paisley 'cosy quilt'.
I cut a section of blanket from a real vintage pure wool blanket (avoiding the moth holes that littered it!) I worked a simple wool running stitch across the top for decoration.
Underneath these two is a ticking mattress, which I filled with more pieces of wool blanket. I stitched through the layers with wool loops to hold them in place.
Finally I added a matching ticking pillow, softly stuffed with toy filler. Now to make a doll to fit, as I am out of stock of these at the moment...I may keep the bed for the Vintage Bazaar next month, as this will fit nicely with the theme of my stall. I think I may make a tiny Christmas stocking to hang from the end!
Another caller to my shop recently brought in some lovely tapestry pieces for me to buy.
I always think these work well in the home during the autumn and winter seasons, so I've started making some cushions from them.
This one is teamed with a floral Sanderson linen.

Lots more to achieve...
Have a lovely day!
Niki x

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home & Away

Inspired by the lovely Victorian jug that I bought a couple of months ago at the flea market, I have decided to have a change around in our back living room...
It will be a work in progress for a while, because time at home to faff(!) is limited these days...

But I have bought a set of drawers, that were already painted a rich green, to go in one corner...
And I'm working with some of these lovely antique French fabrics to make some curtains...
(Still VERY much a work in progress.)
I'll reveal all when the room is complete.
The change around has meant that I've had to be brave and say good-bye to the painted dresser that I gave a make-over to recently, and was unable to part with at the time, to make way for the green drawers.
I painted it white and gave it a distressed finish. I also lined the back with toile de jouy wallpaper.
Its now at the shop waiting to go to a new home.
Yesterday was not a day to be inside interior designing though, so with the sun shining we headed off to Bridport.

The vintage market was on again, as well as the retail units in the vintage quarter all being open for business.
This isn't the best venue for me to buy stock for my shop, but its a nice place to have a mooch and it always gives us a good excuse (if one were needed) to head off to the coast afterwards. I did however come away with a few finds, so will show those at the end of this post.
I loved the coats and jackets made from vintage floral fabrics on this stall, but sadly they were beyond my small budget.
So, time to head for Lyme Regis...
and a cup of tea on the prom!
We then went for a stroll along it...
all the way to the end of the harbour wall.
A perfect day.
Purchases, as promised, were:
Homemade jam bought by hubby...Think this was a subtle hint to remind me I need to make this years batch of plum jam! (Plums are waiting in the freezer for me to find the time!)
I thought this rustic rocking horse would make a fantastic display item for the next fair I attend, for my rag dolls (yet to be made!) to sit on...
The children's theme continues with a German toy sewing machine...
A cute (and well loved!) doll's dressing table...
And this adorable c1940's child's dressing gown. I love how the 'make do' philosophy is evident on the sleeves, where the hems have been let down as far as they could go in order to make the gown last a few more months...

I'm keeping this and will hang it up in our spare single bedroom (which I am also working on when time allows! ;-))

Finally a cheerful vintage print of nasturtium flowers.
Hope you had a lovely weekend too...
Niki x