Monday, July 30, 2012

Downtime in Devon

Hope you are enjoying the summer that's finally arrived...
We spent a lovely week in North Devon...tucked away in the middle of nowhere in a converted ancient saw mill. (Me, hubby, youngest daughter and her bestest buddy.)

The owners were professional gardeners and we were free to roam their plot and use the swimming pool.

Days out included getting up close and personal with lots of lovely creatures...

Another day we visited Clovelly - A traffic-free village, where donkeys are used for carrying goods up the hill. Sadly, as with many places these days, it is quite commercial. You arrive at a tourist centre and pay to enter the village. I do understand why, as the village is privately owned and the money raised is used to keep the village as it is...

The entrance fee includes access to the fisherman's cottage.

Its a steep climb down to the harbour...

But the return journey back up takes a little more effort!

A more relaxing day was spent sunning ourselves at the beach, where we hired a beach hut.
Lynmouth....Lovely! :)
Now to let you into a little secret...
Our middle daughter is getting married in October! I'm going to be a mother-of-the-bride...Blimey, I feel so old! ;-))
We're doing virtually everything ourselves...not just to save money (although that is a BIG factor as daughter has come out of uni in debt and she of course has her little-one to bring up now), but also she wants to make the day as personal to her and her fiancĂ© as possible, keeping it a simple and fun celebration for the two families coming together. There's not going to be an overriding theme, but various elements will feature, including vintage (of course!), lots of textiles (she completed her degree in fashion and textile design), autumn (it will be early autumn), English country/garden (we live in a small village), handmade (we all love being creative) and most importantly, un-pretentious (cos we're really not! ;-))
  For the last few months I've been furiously collecting vintage china and various decorative items and storing them all here - hence the big clean in the spring. Autumnal shades of yellow, orange, red and green is not a colour palette I am particularly comfortable with, but I am enjoying the challenge! We are also working on lots of little craft projects for the big day...making one of each item for over 120 guests, takes a LOT of time, I've discovered! I have a pile of bunting pennants that reaches over 18" high that all need stitching onto cotton tape...cutting that lot out took me several days and several corn plasters on my fingers! I'm sure it will be all worthwhile in the end when we step back and think we did that...
We're catering the buffet ourselves too...(*gives a nervous giggle!* :)...Cooking is not my forte. We're not the 'dinner party' types and I like to keep things simple, always in the hope that I can't mess that up too much! There will be lots of cakes using family recipes (daughter is having a baking party at our house, rather than a hen night), so at least guests should be able to fill up on calorie-filled sponges if nothing else! Not quite sure how the logistics of getting all the decorations, crates of china, the flowers and the food to the village hall is going to pan-out yet, but will keep that in mind for nearer the time...(another nervous giggle!)
Our daughter is a big fan of Rock & Roll Bride, which is somewhere we both like to visit to be inspired - She's not a church and 'white meringue dress' kind of a girl, so we're looking to create something a little less traditional, but bringing the elements above that I mentioned were important to the happy couple. 
Anyway, enough said for now, as we want to keep some surprises for the family on the big day. I'll be posting a little less frequently for a while, whilst preparations are made and miles of bunting is stitched! If all is successful on the day, I may include some of our ideas on my blog with some tutorials for the projects we used to make the day special and hopefully unique.
Niki x
PS: I'm still hand making items and sourcing vintage goodies for my shop, and the fairs too, so please feel free to visit one or both any time! ;-))

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Olympic Games - London 2012

A 'Coalport' figure which belonged to my late Grandmother.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taking a Break...

My weekend buying trip turned up a few delights:
A teeny little book, some velvet forget-me-not flowers and some vintage brooches.

Lovely greetings postcards

Vintage 'Ladybird' book with the cutest pictures

A large pieces of antique linen with floral design
Three Connoisseur magazines from 1913...
With some wonderful costume plates inside.

And this little cutie! :) 
On our way back home, Hubs and I decided to call in at the Walled Garden at Mells. I was reminded about it after reading my copy of Pretty Nostalgic magazine, which featured this pretty garden, including it on the front cover. We have visited it before, but only during the busy Mell's daffodil festival

It wasn't until we sat outside the cafe, where a copy of Country Living Magazine lay on the table, that I realised it is featured in this publication this month too! 

(I stopped buying Country Living magazine about three years ago when every issue seemed to have an article or promotion for CK, which became a bit tedious - But it does seem to have improved again now.)
There is a beautiful spread all about the garden and its owner and florist Jo. 

Jo has created a wonderful garden full of typical country perennials,which she uses in her floral bouquets.She also uses a lot of salvaged items to add interest and surprise. 

Here is the piano that can be seen on the front cover of PN magazine.
With magnificent flower arrangements on top.

Here's a quick tour of the grounds...

A country shop is housed in an old green house, which is kept cool by panels of floral fabrics hung at the roof-line. 

More details about the garden (which is free to enter), can be found on the website here

Once back home, I decided to get on with making some chutney. I bought some supplies from the market, plus I had lots of plums picked from my garden last year(!), which I had stored in the freezer.

Plum chutney about to be cooked in my £2 car boot sale aluminium cooking pot! 
Nearly ready...
Then carefully and quickly into sterile, warmed pickle jars.

Then the mangoes...

Lots of jars to mature for a family event later this year...
Just the aubergine chutney yet to do...
I'm going to be taking a break from my blog for a short while...
I'm also closing my shop for a week, due to family commitments...there is just too much going on and I need a little time to breath...
I shall be closed from July 14th until I re-open again on the 26th July - Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you Jill for the summer posy! ;-))
I'm looking forward to a little time spent with my family. My middle daughter has her uni graduation ceremony coming up soon and there is the general busyness that seems to arrive with summer...

Our youngest daughter's school prom/leaver's party was last night
...another milestone passes...
Enjoy the summer - I hope it brings you many happy days,
Niki x