Tuesday, 22 January 2013

January brings the snow ...

January brings the snow;
Makes our feet and fingers glow.
Sara Coleridge

The snow arrived on my little island yesterday, and came down all day relentlessly, but not settling.  After the school run it upped its game and settled, putting paid to my plans for the evening.  (A new crochet class, I'll tell you more when I've been!) Today it's melting, and to be honest I'm glad, as I don't really like it ... love the look of it at first, but then I hate the inconvenience, the slushiness and the danger of it.

This morning I walked the children and Ruby to school, and when I came back, had my porridge (looks a lot, but it's a small bowl!) and gave the girls theirs too ... this photo was taken last week, before the snow ...

Today, I've got a rare kind of day ... no appointments, no needing to be anywhere, so I'll tell you my plans for a perfect day.  The children I mind arrive at 7.30, so I got up particularly early and threw some ingredients into my slow cooker.  I love this kind of cooking, quick, easy and great for using things up.  I've used some chicken breasts, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions and butternut squash.  Later, I might toss in a handful of button mushrooms and it will fill the house with delicious smells ready to welcome everyone home later.  With a lovely crusty loaf it's just what you need to warm the cockles!

Chores out of the way, I'm going to be sitting by this ...

In my new to me, upcycled rocking chair ...

Do you remember how it looked when I brought it home?

Annie Sloan came to the rescue once again! A lovely shop was selling EXACTLY (( know, because I've been back to check!) the same rocking chair for £225! It cost me £15 and a bit of paint.

I've got a couple of new magazines to leaf through ...

and a gorgeous book, given to me by my lovely friend Francesca, it's called French General Handmade Soirees and is full of beautiful projects for special occasions ...

Beautiful photography ..

Vintage papers ...

and lots of tantalising recipes ...

I'll sit back enjoying the colour and scent of these ...

and the cheeriness of this little lavender bag, given to me by the lovely Maria and made by The Vanilla Squirrel, using beautiful vintage fabrics and crammed full of heady summer-scented lavender.

... remembering snowy days from winters past ...

Actually, I'll be doing no such thing! Jacob is coming home at the weekend (hurray!!). We haven't seen him since before Christmas, so we're going to have a Christmas Dinner and present exchange ... I draw the line at re-erecting the tree! As you may recall, his room is used to store my vintage stock and also any ongoing projects.  When I open his bedroom door, my mother's words ring in my ears ...

'It's like Ozzy Woods in here!'

(This photo is courtesy of Google ...
 it's not actually Jacob's room, but you get the gist!)

Ozzy Woods was a local dealer who had a large warehouse selling furniture and carpets, and all manner of things for the home.  Health and safety was not an issue, and sofas hung from the rafters, piles of carpets teetered precariously and the path was strewn with various bits of bric a brac.  Local followers may remember Ozzy's and perhaps their mothers used these words too.

So in reality, my day is being spent lugging furniture and boxes from Jacob's room to somewhere else (where, I do not know), cleaning and making it a bit more welcome for Christmas in January.

Keep warm and carry on!

Love Claire xxx 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Read all about it ...

Hello my lovelies! Now that all the fuss and kerfuffle of Christmas and New Year's over (and hopefully the coughs, cold and sickness that goes hand in hand with it!) I thought I'd share some of the lovely books I received for Christmas.

The first book, Junk Genius, may be familiar to some of you, as it was reviewed by Anna, and her review completely sold it to me!

It is written by Juliette Goggin and Stacy Sirk.  Juliette features in Super Scrimpers, one of my favourite tv programmes, and the book is full of practical ways of upcycling just about everything! It's full of beautiful pictures, has a very vintage vibe to it, and is just fabulous!

I don't want to show you too much or I'll spoil it for you ...

There are 80 projects and ideas, some very easy and quick, others a bigger project and more time-consuming.

The next book on my coffee table is Wartime Farm, as seen on BBC at the end of last year.  I loved this programme and my friend Kath turned up with the book last week (not even for Christmas, an unexpected present in January!) and said "I saw this and thought of you"

I wonder what it was that made her say that?

It is jam-packed with hints and tips about making something out of practically nothing ... around the home and in the kitchen and garden, but I think I may give the home-made shampoo a miss!

The photographs are extremely authentic with an amazing attention to detail.  The Baked Potato Pudding sounds very strange, but hey, don't knock something until you've tried it!

Times were really hard and a great deal of effort had to be given to use what was available and the inventiveness of the use of food was amazing to produce meals which were edible and tasty.

 This brings me on to another wartime book, The Diaries of Nella Last.  A film was made for TV of the diaries, called Housewife, 49, with Victoria Wood in the starring role.  Nella lived in my home town, where I've lived all my life, and the diaries are written from her home in Ilkley Road, which was the next street from the one where I grew up. I loved the film but am enjoying the book much more as it so detailed, and we are reading it as it actually happened to Nella. Her worries and fears, joys and triumphs are all chronicled in detail. Nella comes across as a very intelligent woman, quite opinionated, who has a great 'make do and mend' ethos, and is fiercely loyal and devoted to her family and home A great read, highly recommended!

 The last book is one that I hadn't heard about before I received it on Christmas Day from my eldest son, Oliver.  He was a bit worried that I wouldn't like it because it was sub-titled 'The Essential Guide to Modern Day Homemaking' .  It was the word 'modern' that caused his concern! He needn't have worried, because as all of us vintage-loving ladies know, vintage is the new modern! Not that being 'on trend' bothers me at all ...

It's written by Clare Nolan, the Lifestyle Editor of You Magazine (Mail on Sunday), and I always enjoy her articles as they are very aesthetically pleasing.  The book did not disappoint at all, and is full of beautiful photographs, very vintage inspired!

It mixes old with new, which is the most practical way of achieving a 'modern vintage' look, as I don't think I could live in a completely authentic vintage home ... although I admire those that are so dedicated to vintage, that it is a way of life to them ... I like my modern day comforts too much!

 A lovely, informative, coffee table book, to be dipped into time and time again for ideas and inspiration.

 So that's it my lovelies, book review over! I'd love you to share what you're reading at the moment, and what books you got for Christmas, as I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks ... Amazon's going to be very busy!

Have a lovely week, and stay warm!

Love, Claire xxx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Hey, Big Spender!

I know, I know, we're well into the New Year, but better late than never! I hope you've all had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and escaped any illness ... me and Harry succumbed to the Christmas Lurgy but are over it now, and it's nice to start to get back to 'normal'. As my sub-title is 'a diary of vintage, thrifty adventures' I realised that my posts have been sadly lacking in this department recently, so thought I'd share with you what I've been up to lately.

Some time ago, I saw a cooker made from a bedside table on a load of old tat blog so decided to borrow the idea as my sister was buying a log cabin for her grandchildren for Christmas and it needed furnishing inside.  Steve did all the work and I bossed him around  instructed him, but the cooker was well received ... I only wish I'd known of this idea when my own children were little, instead of spending large amounts of money on plastic rubbish kitchens and the like.

With everyone in the family back at work/school/college yesterday I decided to go thrifting as I hadn't done this since before Christmas, and I was starting to go a bit stir crazy! (There was method in my madness too, as there was no-one to witness my arrival back home with crates full of stuff!) I'm glad I went yesterday or I might have missed this little lot! All these items were purchased for £12 and that included a donation.

Thirty-nine pieces of Wood's ware crockery, including a teapot, milk jug, cups, saucers, side plates and dinner plates all for £3!! They were predominantly in the green Beryl colour, but the lady then found some Iris pieces and said "I'll throw these in too, love, to get rid of them and make some space". To think this crockery has survived almost 70 years shows that it has staying power, so that'll do for me!

A lovely dessert spoon set in leather case ... this looks unused, and I can imagine a young bride receiving it as a wedding present and putting it away 'for best' ... I hope that 'best' arrived and that she did get to use it.

Lovely, shaped standard lampshade.  A bit tatty and not really my colours so requiring a bit of Granny Chic, I think ...

Little Hornsea squirrel to join my growing collection of fauna ...

and a lovely little wooden cow on wheels who just asked to be rescued ... could do with a little tlc and a bit of a polish (but then again, couldn't we all?) ...

This is the best treasure that I've unearthed for a long time, so I hope it's going to be a good year on the thrifty front. I'm trying to have a 'no-spend' January, but this doesn't include thrifting obviously ... you have to speculate to accumulate, after all! I'm only buying necessities, such as food ... and never paying full price for anything, if I can help it.  Just try and have a week of living off what you already have instead of shopping for more stuff you don't really need. Think of the time you'd save trawling around a busy, soulless supermarket, not to mention the money!

This Sadler teapot is my alltime favourite piece of treasure I have ever found! I discovered it in a charity shop before Christmas, which I only go to once a month, when I collect my chicken food, and it was only £3!! I absolutely love it as hearts and flowers are my favourite things, and the two combined on a beautiful china teapot is just perfect.

I advertised on a local site requesting a reasonably priced old, wooden rocking chair and this is what I got ... it too needs a bit of care and attention, but I've got plans! I saw a very similar one in a local 'shabby chic' shop, which had been painted, waxed and distressed and was priced at almost £300! This little beauty was £15 and is definitely a keeper.

I'll just share my lovely red tulips with you ... these are one of my favourite flowers and a reminder that spring is on its way, bursting through the dark, grey days of winter!

I would like to thank you all for visiting and leaving such lovely comments on my last post.  I was overwhelmed by the volume of visitors sharing their stories with me and by the kindness, support and loyalty you all give so freely. I was really touched, so thank you, once again.

See you all soon,  keep warm and carry on!

Love, Claire