Thursday, 24 June 2010

Vintage Shabby - Make Do and Mend !!

Hope you're all having a good week.
I must just say I'm so sorry I haven't got back to all you lovely people who have kindly left comments - I know its so shoddy of me.
Its actual time or access to the laptop that's the problem - now we have Will home from Uni, so lots of people wanting access to the web. Its amazing really that all of life can be arranged, paid for, and friendships formed and nurtured all through the marvel that is the web - something that we can't see or touch!
But Sorry all the same - I do appreciate all and every comment you leave, its so nice to think anyone would want to take the time to read about my ordinary everyday life - so very slow and quiet, sometimes you must think its like watchin paint dry!
Well here's what I've been up to this week.....
Treasure from the car boot sale!
A lovely old chair in want of a makeover....

The seat had gone so trusty old Hubby P cut me a new one from some old hardboard from his 'Stash' and he painted the chair for me, in a nice pale shade of creamy white - Farrow and Ball paint no less. The paint was another 'find' at the car boot - its so useful to gather these things together as and when you spot them, and then use them to recycle something old and interesting - extend its life - give it a new life, and enjoy its Vintage qualities.

I rummaged in my fabric 'Stash' and found some pretty Vintage barkcloth - just the job.
I padded the seat slightly and covered it in the fabric - glued and tacked the pretty seat back on and - well - 'Bobs your Uncle' as they say!

One pretty chair - and I got completely carried away and made a little matching laundry box/toy box - anything sort of/handy box really.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Mine is growing madly - I think really it needs some attention, its a bit wild looking, but I must say I quite like it. I'm not one for very formal things - you may have gathered!
A bit - well - slap-dash, wild and woolly at the best of times...... and thats just me ...
Its easy to surprise me - I forget half of what I have planted, like this lovely - huge plant that's sprung up - I had noticed it growing - bigger and bigger - now its flowering, and its so pretty. But I have no idea where it came from - I guess I must have planted it, and I've even less idea what it is - again useless with plant names unless they are common herbs.
Is it a Verbena? I'm just guessing - maybe someone will recognise it - I'm thinking Verbena because of the leaves - no idea!
Its rather magnificent - so enjoying it!

And the Roses - so pretty!

It seems to be a good year for the Roses - mind you we haven't had much rain to spoil them..... yet!

Love this pretty little delicate one...

And this riotous red rose is going mad - flowering its little socks off by the gate. My youngest son bought me this one when he was younger - just a little cheapie one - bought with his pocket money - and its just grown and grown - bit like my little boy!

I just liked the pretty rusty red colour of the new fresh little leaves on this Oak tree, its a 'baby' I grew from an acorn. At the moment it lives in an old galvanised bucket.

How'd you like my new shabby old door?
I just love it - its an old greenhouse or shed door - wonderfully old, battered, weathered and shabby - bit like me!

I dont know exactly what I will do with it yet - I just like looking at it - it pleases me, the faded colours and weathered texture, it begs to be found a corner, to live out its life with my other Vintage finds....
Enough of the old door! am I alone in this love of all that's old and faded, is that why - dare I say - I am with Hubby P and he with me??
Think its time I left you good people and went to bed - Geoffrey says 'Good Evening' - William got some good pic's then the camera batteries died on him - will post them next time.
xx Take care xx

Friday, 18 June 2010

Its That Time Of Year Again! Ahhhh The Fragrance!

The trees are laden with the lovely frothy, frilly, fragrance-d delight!
Yes its that time again - masses of elderflowers - what to do with them?
Its nice to capture the lovely summery fragrance - store it up for times when the sun is hiding away and days of summer have long since gone. We find Elderflower cordial to be the best bet - it can be sipped as a delightful refreshing cordial with fresh water from the tap, jazzed up with sparkling water, or if you must have the giggle juice - add a slosh of Vodka! Its nice as a syrup too - on icecream, or yogurt.

Hubby P as always, was on hand to help with the picking of them - well if anyone ids going to fall out of a tree!?

I just marveled at the wonderful, frothy loveliness of the creamy blooms. I think we must try some elderflower fritters - a bit of a fried, fattening treat - but hey! its once a year!

I had the most important job of holding the basket - and counting the flower heads - the receipt said 20 heads.

All my tried and tested receipts are written in this battered little exercise book, so out it came of the spice drawer.

We picked our 20 heads of elderflowers, gave them a good shake to make sure no little creatures were hiding there, and and they were free of odd leaves etc.

Put them in a brewing bucket - any large bowl/bucket will do.
Put 1.8kg (4 lbs) of ordinary granulated sugar into a large pan with 1.2 ltrs (2 1/2 pints) of water, bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar - this makes the syrup.
To the flower heads in the bucket add the zest of 2 lemons, and then cut them up into slices and add them also.
Pour the boiling syrup over the flowers and stir well.
Add 75gms (3 oz) of citric acid (from brewing stuff shops/chemists) - stir well.
The citric acid is to help preserve the cordial - it keeps for months if properly bottled. You need not use it if you intend drinking - or freezing the cordial straight away.
Cover the bucket/bowl with a cloth or lid, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Next day (24 hours later) strain the cordial through muslin - or similar, bottle in screw top bottles or freeze. I use those brewing - flip stopper type bottles - I think they are used for larger - in the world of beer-y alcohol -y things. I find I don't lose the tops and they are 'user friendly' - but old screw to wine bottles do just as well.
I will make quite a fer batches of this to last us well into the winter, I shall also make some mixed fruit (summer berries, apple etc) cordial. I don't care to buy cordial from the shops - they tend to be loaded with artificial sweeteners and other chemicals, making my own means that at least I have an idea what we are drinking.
Its quite nice in the depths of a cold winter to sip hot cordial - especially if you have a nasty cold or flu - I bet the vitamin C content is quite high too.
Just a nice couple of surprises during the week too -
Postie brought me this lovely birthday parcel fro Juicy Fig - how kind is that!
She knows me so well - a pretty hand crafted card, some delightful handcrafted work - a lovely quilted bread basket, and seeds - can a girl ever have too many seeds - especially now she has a greenhouse!
Thankyou so much!

And before I go I must just tell you of an intriguing meeting I had the other week.
We - Hubby P and I, were selling our 'goods and chattles' at the local carboot sale, it was a nice sunny day - lots of people looking and stopping to chat - nice. I was chatting away to a lady who had come to see family, she was all the way from Sussex. She rented a little stall in an Antiques centre, and bought one or two items to take away with her.
Chatting away and it came to light that she had a Blog - so of course we had lots to talk about!
She has a super Blog - all about the Antiques centre and its goings on - take a peek, and of course if you live that way on pop in and say Hello.
She has a blog - Grandma P's Rambles Through Life
And the Antique centre one -
The centre is called - Pilgrims Antiques West Street Dorking.
That's all for now xxx Take care

Monday, 14 June 2010

An Overly Excited Hubby P With His New Appliance!

Yes! indeeedy! - another Vintage appliance to excite Hubby P - just like his Mother had in the 60/70's - and he, as a boy got to take it to bits to service it.
So imagine his delight when we found one (and on a friends stall too) at the car boot - I swear you can find all of life's riches on a muddy field, the early hours of a weekend morning!
Isn't she sweet? a bonny little Hoover Junior - so 'very' the Allsorts Household!
Of course the absolute wonder of it for Hubby P is the fact that the machines were so well made, it can all be taken to bits - which of course it has been, all bits can still be sourced - on Ebay, which of course has been checked, and it can be mended and maintained - which it will be.

So after lots of this grovelling about on the floor - taking it to bits and much discussion on the merits of Hoover - he had a test drive - he wouldn't let me take a photo of him in action with the hoover - said something about his 'street cred' being ruined! - do they still use that phrase - 'street cred'?
Works like a dream - so everyone's happy, me because I have a hoover that works (my other new posh one is/was on the 'blink' ) and Hubby P because he can fix it, if it too goes 'on the blink'!
Other bits and pieces found at the weekend -
Pretty vintage towel - I've decided I want all my towels to be the bright colourful ones they use to be. They were always made of good quality strong cotton and were designed to last a lifetime, and often they did.
towels today may be bigger, fluffier and coloured to match the bathroom suits, but in my book are just a bit - boring!

I found this rather pretty pink one, I've not seen many pink vintage towels before - so I snapped it up - cheap and cheerful!
Gave it a good hot wash - its come up great.

As I was hanging it on the washing line to dry I saw this name on it - how intriguing! -
Thought I!
Who was E Walker? why did she have to have her name on her towel - was it done during the war - was she billeted somewhere (bring your own towel and all of that). Or was she at boarding school and labelled all her possessions? A story we shall never know - and all arising from a scrap of fabric!
Thinking of Vintage fabric - I found a couple of pretty pieces of barkcloth style cotton, old curtains and the like. I am in the process of unpicking the seams/hems and whatnot, I think I might make them up into cushions. I have some vintage ticking fabric that will look well as one side of the cushion and this pretty floral on the other.

The idea is maybe to try and sell them - where and how I'm not quite sure. Anyone had any luck with etsy etc these days? I find it is very difficult to get a decent price anywhere, for handcrafted goods.
Hubby P and I are having a good old sort out with the finances - trying to simplify our lives, and get the outgoings down! Easier said than done! Another reason to try and up the sales of bits and bobs, pay off some bills.

So this was me this afternoon - wading through all this paperwork - I just hate sorting and filing away - but it has to be done. It amazes - and annoys me the amount of paperwork companies send you just to say how much you owe them, 'Oh and by the way' would you like to buy such and such, or have some more credit - pay on the 'never never' - get yourself in a heap of trouble!
Well 'No Thankyou' !
As my Gran use to say - 'Never a Borrower nor A Lender Be' .....
That's me off my soapbox for now - take care xxxx
N.B. Exciting Geoffrey update comming soon - tried to get pic's this evening, but the camera batteries died on me.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A Birthday Week and Thrifting Treasures!

What a busy week -
a Birthday Week for me, lots of lovely people popping by and sweetest Birthday Wishes - enough to turn a Girls head!
The sun has mostly shined his little socks off -

Its so nice to be able to hang the freshly ironed shirts outside to air - gives them that lovely 'fresh air-y' scent, its nice to see them wafting in the breeze - an upside to the chore of ironing, not that I do a lot of ironing I'm afraid, just Hubby P's 'tidy' shirts and the odd dress, and of course my best white linen and lace - but that's more a labour of love!
Of course being my Birthday there was a lot of 'eating of cake' and flowers, and gifts to enjoy - a very spoilt Girl I'm embarrassed to say!

The cake was as scrummy as it looks, and don't you just love the pretty rose! Gifts from my Son's - they know me so well!
And how about this intriguing and clever thing - how novel is this - a Geranium in a bottle!
What a lovely original gift from special friends.

I cant wait to see how it grows!

Car boot treasure hunting went ahead as usual - just cant miss the buzz of the car boot sale!
I managed to rescue this old battered mini greenhouse - I know it looks a bit grim, but after a good wash down with some hot bleach-y water -

It looked just fine.

I had a special mission for it.

I made a little table to stand it on from what I could find lying around. I had the legs/frame of an old sewing machine, so I made a top for it from a bit of old wood. Its not as posh and pretty a job as Hubby P would have done - but its does the job, I cant expect him to do EVERYTHING! He is so pressed for time - its this having to go to work business, it gets in the way of everything!

I wanted the mini greenhouse to go in the corner of my big green house - a kind of a super propagator.

It works really well, seems to really boost the seedlings!

On to the prettier stuff - just look at all this lovely lace.
Beautiful stuff, a real Vintage find - I am doing the usual, keeping a bit for myself and selling some on Ebay - you can link to my Ebay from my side bar, take a peek if you like lace and fabrics.
Just to think of a project now to set off all the lace-y loveliness!

And for a ' Whistling Experience' how about this for a kettle!

Finding this rather large kettle took me right back to my Grandmothers kitchen, she would light the gas - pop the kettle on and I would listen for the whistle.
Lashings of tea in a big brown teapot to have with our egg and soldiers!

Not really designed to be used on the electric hob but pretty to look at.

The cream and green colour on the handle matches well the 1940's big green enamel tea pot, used for high days and holidays when 'lashings of Earl Grey tea' is simply a must!

Speaking of tea I think its time for a nice cuppa ....

A quick hello' from the boys - just chillin!
xx take care for now xx

Sunday, 6 June 2010

...And the Flags are just Magnificent!...

Hope you all had a nice weekend, and the sun shone his little socks off for you!
Just look at my magnificent Flag Iris growing 'great guns' in the pond - the pond is a tad overgrown and a bit 'wild' but I'm sure its good for the wildlife.

The front of the cottage - a wonderful show of Turks cap Lilly's bobbing away in the breeze. The scent is lovely and wafts into the house when I open the windows to let the warm fresh, summery air in.

Tin bath is 'up and running' - thanks to the efforts of Hubby P one evening its now in place in the greenhouse, looking like a very effective deepbed to grow all manner of lovely crops.

I planted it up with some seedling/plug lettuces given to me by a kindly friend, and a couple of sweet pepper plants. lots of seed too, but of course they are not showing yet - hopefully we will have beetroot, radish, and a few carrots - the radish are just showing today, amazingly fast germination.

These are my Tomatillo's - first time I have grown them, anyone know anything about them? I really don't know what to expect - it was a bit of a 'Oh yes - sure, I'll give them a go!' sort of a buy! They were cheap and cheerful!

This weeks project!

Sorting out my sewing corner - it was a bit of a shambles.

First of all I cleaned out my 'bits' tray - this old money/cash drawer (I lined it with the colourful felt) holds all the sewing bits and bobs - pins, scissors, tape measure etc and all the 'stuff ' a crafter collects - 'useful stuff ' - bits of ribbon, odd buttons, colourful scraps of paper - you know the sort of things. Well it had all got a bit out of hand - so a sort out was in order.
Now I found this at the car boot sale on Tuesday - don't you just love hessian - is it the smell? the texture? just something so 'rustic' about it!

Its a kind of folding screen/display board thingy, I thought it would be ideal in the wall behind my sewing machine and other 'clutter'. I could use it to pin up all the random bits and pieces that usually get heaped up on the money/cash drawer and lost.

My turning out and tidying turned up this rather lovely chart from a vintage copy of Womens Own - how great is that - just love the colours and pretty border designs.
It looks so well on the hessian.

So all is tidy again - for a while.
It my even inspire me to sew - that's if the sun goes in and I cant play out!
xxx That's all for now xxx take care xxx