Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ain't got no time ...

Just a very quick post to touch base and say I haven't disappeared! Everything here at the moment is just busy, busy, busy ... I'm sure it's the same for all of you at this time of the year.  The last two weekends I've had vintage fairs, both were very good, particularly the last one, when I returned home with hardly any stock!    I forgot to take photos of that one though, but here are a couple taken at the previous one ...

I found this little gonk in a box of old Christmas tree decorations, Millie took a shine to him, and he came home with us!

These are two of the lamps I've been upcycling ... they were very popular so my front room is now full of old lamp stands and shades awaiting a makeover ...

A recycled, upcycled Christmas wreath ....

And I still have this to look forward to next week ... eek! I can't wait!

I was overwhelmed by the volume of comments on my last post, I think the majority of us are in agreement about what makes a vintage home ... it's something we've all done for ever and don't really need to be shown what to do ... I thought the second programme was a slight improvement, but really don't understand the concept of the dipped baskets.  Will anyone be trying those or any of the other makeovers?

I might not be around for a week or so, but will still be looking at all your lovely blogs, just not posting one myself ... but hope to have lots to show you after I've been to Harrogate!

A warm welcome to my new followers ... it's really lovely to have you here.

Take care lovelies!

Love Claire xxx

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Welcome Home

Last week, Blogland was atwitter with excitement, preparing for the long awaited Kirstie's Vintage Home which was aired on C4 last Thursday.  Since then, I've heard nothing.  Apologies if you have done a post on the programme and I've missed it, but I thought we would be awash with comments and opinions.

To be honest, I was a tad disappointed ... I thought it was rather contrived ... too colour-co-ordinated, and, dare I say it? A bit fake.

On the other hand, hats off to Kirstie, if she can persuade people to upcycle old furniture instead of sending it to landfill, then that's all to the good.  Forgive me if I'm getting this wrong, I only watched the programme once, so I may have missed things, but when the flat was emptied, I hope the stuff that was going was recycled, because I've found that whatever you advertise on Freecycle, there is always someone out there who will want it.

The true vintage home to me is one full of eclectic treasures gleaned over the years from family, friends and often the grubbiest of charity shops.  It can't be made overnight, but evolves and matures over the years, staying the same, yet always subtly changing with a little find tucked in here and there, easily blending in with the rest of the landscape.

It was a pleasant, easy watch, and I will definitely watch the series, but I do think it's missing something.  I like Kirstie's no-nonsense approach, and  I loved her first series, Kirstie's Homemade Home, but found it hard to believe that she would really be diving into skips on her way home from work!

I must admit the 1960's, which is the era in which I was born, is not my favourite, home style-wise.  While I love the music and the clothes and the sheer exuberance of the decade, I struggle a bit with the decor.  My daughter, Millie, loves all things 60's (especially the Fab Four)  and I love the way she puts different things together from this time.  My sister Helen is also planning a 60's/70's Living Room, and I'm looking forward to helping her source furniture and bits'n'pieces for it. Kirstie is embracing the 1950's this week, so I'm looking forward to that.

I don't really prefer any decade, as I said before, my home is an eclectic mix spanning the past 70 years and even before.  If I like something, I usually find a place for it, I couldn't live in a home which is dedicated rigidly to a particular time, although I admire people who live like this.  My family would object for one thing ... they just about put up with my eccentricities as it is, and I do like the comforts of the 21st century!

The programme reminded me a bit of House Doctor and (I think I've made this up, but you catch my drift) Clutter Busters! Let's face it, the flat was quite messy and unorganised to begin with, and just with a good tidy up and decluttering session, would have looked 100% better, without having to spend an arm and a leg.

The room was stripped bare of any character and a few iconic pieces were added.  The child's mountain of toys was magically secreted away in a Tardis bedding box, revamped by Kirstie.  In the real world, were would they have gone?

It was the bedroom that made me question why it was called Kirstie's Vintage Home.  To be fair, an upcycled chest of drawers was brought in, and a couple of bevelled mirrors were hung on the wall.  But the star of the show was the bedspread, lovingly made with brand new fabric, featuring an image that meant something to the gentleman of the house.  To me, vintage and thriftiness go hand in hand.  I know this is not a rule of thumb, this is only how I live, but really, who has the money to pay for their own bespoke hand-printed fabric.  Surely a vintage bedspread would consist of fabrics taken from long-ago summer dresses, embroidered tablecloths, Nana's antimacassars and Aunty Vi's rosy curtains?

Please don't think I'm trying to say I know everything about the vintage home or that I'm an expert ... I'm far from it ... my home is personal to me and not everyone's cup of tea.  Nor would I want it to be.  I like to be different, but I am always learning.  I think C4 should visit the lovely blogs which I follow, and commission a programme featuring real women who embrace the vintage lifestyle on a shoestring.

Anyone, with a fat wallet, could create 'faux' vintage style in a day ... the high street is brimming with flowery cups and saucers, teapots, lots of ribbon and bows, cupcakes adorning everything from bunting to pincushions, but to me it lacks something ... the faded charm of an old crackled cup and saucer, the frayed beauty of a vintage knitting bag and the glamour that exudes from a much-loved photograph album.

Whilst very pretty, a lot of the new buys don't have staying power.  They're part of our materialistic, throw-away society, which I shy away from.  Don't get me wrong, I do buy new things (usually that look old!) and fit them in along with the genuine finds, but I think that true vintage style has genuine, old items as the backbone, with newer items thrown in to lighten the mix, and not the other way round.

In my head, I always have a wish-list.  A while ago, top of the list was a pair of rosy, flowery 100 inch long curtains for my Front Room.  I found them (above) for £10 at a car-boot sale, but had quite a long wait for them.  That's the secret, you have to be patient ... all the money in the world can't buy true vintage style, it takes time, it takes patience and most of all it takes vision.  The vision to imagine how a certain grubby item can be transformed into an item of beauty that can shine once more.

In my ideal world, if I could pick the presenters of Vintage Home, they would be Tif and Rachelle, aka Dotty Angel and Ted & Agnes, authors of the fabulous Granny Chic.  They definitely know what they are talking about, and would  not be employing a crew of behind the scenes artisans, to actually produce the props, but would be hands-on themselves, each week featuring a different blog writer and giving them their 15 minutes of fame!

In a couple of weeks, I'm off to Harrogate, to the Country Living Fair, where I will be spending my hard earned cash on treasures old and new ... Rachelle is going to be there, can't wait to meet her!

This Thursday evening at 8pm you will find me snuggled on the sofa in my pj's, pot of tea and cupcake by my side, watching Kirstie's Vintage Home ... I'm scared of missing something ... although, I have to say, I've crossed the book off my Christmas list ...

Please don't ring me while it's on... I haven't got Sky, I'm afraid!

Who would you like to present a homestyle show, and what did you think of Kirstie's Vintage Home?

Love from Claire xxx

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Guilty Pleasure ...

Firstly, I'd like to thank you all for your interesting comments on my last post ... it certainly made us all think, didn't it?

I'd like to pose another little question now ... not as profound as the last one, but important nonetheless. What is your guilty pleasure ... or if you're like me and greedy, pleasures in the plural! No saucy replies please ... I'm of a very sensitive nature.

Although I'm thrifty at heart, one thing I can't resist are Emma Bridgewater mugs.  I have been collecting them for years, along with other pieces such as ovenware, jugs, candle holders and teapots.

I usually only ever buy them from the sales, when the prices are reduced and you get one free if you buy multiples, so I buy them for presents for other people and store them away until Christmas or birthdays come around.

I have got rather a lot ... these shelves are 3 mugs deep! I feel that although expensive, they hold their value, and discontinued pieces go for really silly money on Ebay, so they are an investment for my retirement!

Another guilty pleasure of mine is my love for magazines ... this can get rather out of hand ... I have every copy of Country Living magazine since I started getting it 12 years ago ... I just can't part with them, and have sorted them into monthly piles so that at the start of each month, I have 12 back issues to wade through.  OCD? Definitely!

There have been lots of new magazines lately, I love the Simple Things and also Land Love.  I hadn't heard about this one but spotted it in a supermarket and had to buy it.  I set up subscriptions for my favourite magazines using my Tesco Clubcard vouchers, then they don't cost me anything.  Pretty Nostalgic is an amazing magazine and I took out the annual subscription for £36, but for this I also got the Pretty Nostalgic book, which is absolutely beautiful, and retails for £25, free!

I really should be on commission, shouldn't I?

Just thought I'd share a few pictures from last week with you ...

Ruby, looking embarrassed in her Halloween get-up ...

Love the way the light filters through this old window ...

My Halloween window display ... lovely pot pumpkin from Poundland!

Cup hands ... here comes Cadbury's ... who remembers these mugs?

and Millie's decoupaged guitar, a real labour of love!

Audrey, one of my chucks, went Absent Without Leave last night and it got too dark to look for her.  I was worried and hoped that she wouldn't be too frightened what with all the bangs and crashes of Bonfire Night.  This morning, Oliver, my eldest, checked his Facebook, and there was a photo of Audrey, strutting around someone's back garden! I went round and the lady told me to feel free and go and get her ... Audrey is very highly strung and skittish, and she ran away and hid when she saw me! Steve is going to have to finish work early and we'll perform Operation Chickenrun together!

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

Love, Claire xxx

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Look for the silver lining ....

This post may ramble on a bit, so feel free to leave now!

The other day I read a sentence in a book that I skipped over, then thought about it a bit, and then went back to it.  It basically asked the question "if, before you came into being, you were shown a video of how your life was to be, would you still choose it?"

I've been thinking about it for days now, looking at my life as though through a film, going through the whole range of emotions, sometimes feeling quite maudlin, angry, happy, sad, and very, very nostalgic.   

There have been amazingly happy times, very sad, traumatic times, exciting days, lots of very ordinary even boring days, but they have been my days...

I remember a friend once commenting that I had had a very tragic life, more than most people, but I totally dispute that.  I don't want to come across as a sad, bereft person, who hasn't coped with what life has thrown at her.  Admittedly, sad, almost overwhelming events have happened, but much worse tragedies have occurred in other peoples lives.

We could spend the rest of our days dwelling upon what has happened to us, not enjoying the life that we have been given, wallowing in grief and affecting those around us with our sadness.  Or we could throw ourselves into a mad, crazy life, trying to obliterate everything but on the way obliterating ourselves.  Or we could accept what has happened and try to move on, enjoy our lives but never forgetting the events that have shaped who we are today.

In answer to the question, I'd put the video in the machine, press Play and sit back and watch the show...
I'd linger over the 60's, admiring the homes of my Nana and Aunties, the style of the decade and the music.  The Butlin's and Blackpool holidays, the never-ending summers, and the Christmases, when looking back at them, we got so little compared with today, but then it seemed so much. And the birthdays .... you always knew when it was someone's birthday, because when you got up in the morning there were 2 bowls on the draining board.  One contained red jelly, the other pink blancmange ... exciting stuff!

The early seventies weren't a very happy time, and my teenage years were fraught with the usual angst and trauma, but I'd still keep the machine playing ... rewinding to see those faces lost in time, and fast-forwarding through the embarrassing  bits.  In the late seventies, I left school, started work, made new friends, but kept the old ones too! The eighties saw my first holidays abroad with friends, pop concerts, late nights, discos and fun ... The mid-eighties gave me motherhood for the first time, and settling down to marriage in 1989, and more and more lovely babies, through to the late 90's, intermingled with sadness and loss.

The years spent bringing my children up were the happiest of my life, although challenging and to many people even humdrum, this is what I was put here for.  I'll never be a feminist, but making a home for my family is what I know and love the best.

I'd play the video through to the end, and yes I would choose this life all over again.  Although eventful, and at times unbelievably sad and traumatic, as I said before, it's my life.  I could have pressed the eject button and been given one much worse.  I don't believe I could get a better one.  I have a wonderful husband, amazing children, brother and sister I love with all my heart, and beautiful friends, some of whom I have known all my life, who have been with me through thick and thin, happy and sad, and know all there is to know about me.


So there you go, sorry for rambling and hope it hasn't been too nauseating .... but what would you do? Press play, fast forward, rewind ... or eject and hope for something better?

Have a lovely Sunday ....

With Love, Claire xxx