Sunday, 22 December 2013

The ghost of Christmas past ...

My mind has been wandering down memory lane once again, and as I carry out my Christmas rituals I remember the way things were done when I were a lass ...

Thank you Google! xx

The build up to Christmas was always so exciting, at school there would be end of term competitions, guessing the number of sweets in a jar, raffles and of course The Christmas Party.  A new dress and shoes would always be bought, these would be worn for every special occasion over the Christmas period ... we didn't have drawerfuls of clothes then, and with four of us to clothe it was an expensive time for my parents. On the last day of school it was 'toy day' and I always took my favourite doll, Patricia. My Mam would make her a new dress specially for the occasion and I would wash her and do her hair the night before so that she looked beautiful.

Putting up the decorations was always a big event, and we would ooh and aah over the bubble lights which I so wish I still had ... we would get straw and set up the crib with the figures which my Mam had since she was a child and make paper chains to hang from the ceiling.

Spot the deliberate grammatical error! Grrr ...

On Christmas Eve, when my Dad was collecting The Turkey, my Mam would clean the house while me and my sister and brothers were becoming frantic with excitement ... I would help her to make the trifle and loved crumbling the Cadbury's Flake on top of the cream ... I still make my trifle exactly as my Mam did all those years ago. We would go to bed after putting out the mince pie for Father Christmas, and hope that sleep would come ....

The excitement of waking up and realising that it was Christmas Day ...

One of my best Christmas presents was a Tressy doll ... You pressed her belly button and her hair grew, wound her up with a key in her back and it was short again ... I can remember unwrapping her on Christmas morning, and she came with a wardrobe of hand knitted clothes, a pink and navy skating suit, jumper and skirt and a turquoise lurex evening gown with matching stole.  My Mam will have made these when i went to bed, and hidden them away. I played with her endlessly ... when you see what children get nowadays, Tressy would probably be just another stocking filler, but she was my best present.  

From Google - thanks so much! xx

We would each get a main present, usually a doll for me, a selection box, 2 annuals, and maybe 2 or 3 other bits and pieces. Probably a carrier bag full ... always with the Pretty Peach bubble bath from Avon sticking out of the top.  My Aunty always gave me a Bronnley gift set, soap, bath cubes and body lotion ... this made me feel very grown up, I remember.

So this year, once again as I prepare for the Big Day, my mind goes back to those carefree days, not so long ago, when Christmas was more about sharing and a time for families to get together, than the feast of consumerism it has become, where we all worship at the great God, Tesco ... It was a proper holiday, shops were shut for days, and the January sales were a big event, not starting until after 12th night ...

Along with the traditional favourites, new things are tried ... Peppermint Bark, yum yum!!

But Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a tin of these, now would it?

Whether you are traditional or modern, at home or away, I'll be raising a glass to you, and wishing you the very best Christmas you've ever had!

(and so does Ruby)

Have a fabulous time my lovelies, and looking forward to hearing all about it!

Love Claire xxx

Monday, 16 December 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

Hello my lovelies, and Season's Greetings to you all!

Since my last post, lots has happened ... my little pop-up shop, Thriftwood Vintage was underway ... a wonderful experience, albeit a bit of a roller-coaster one! It all happened so quickly, I hardly had time to draw breath ... lots of lovely friends popped in, it was the sort of place you could just park yourself and chat over a cup of tea, and I really loved that aspect of it ... what I didn't love was the allergic reaction I had to the products used in the Salon, in particular, the hairspray! It was making me feel quite ill, so I made the decision to quit while I was ahead, and so I have now packed it all up and put it away, although I have come home with considerably less than I went with, which is always good ...

But, despite the fact that it only lasted three weeks, I will always have fond memories and no regrets, because I tried, and nothing ventured nothing gained. In hindsight, more advertising is needed before opening, as people really need to know where you are, especially if you aren't visible from the street.  I have always, always, always wanted my own shop, and now I really don't any more, whereas if I hadn't taken up the offer of this little taster, I would still be hankering after my own place, whereas I closed the door behind me not with sadness, but positivity and a little relief. I also found the quiet times very boring ... sitting there, thinking about what I could be doing at home, especially at this busy time of year.

I have worked in a shop before, but at least if you are employed, you are being paid for doing nothing, whereas when it's your own, there is always the worry that costs won't be met.  I have really had my eyes opened to the plight of new small businesses, and I take my hat off to them because of the overheads that they have ... mine were minimal compared to some and I made a nice little pot of money for Christmas, but in these days of rising prices it must be a constant struggle.

Now I'm at home once more, and life is settling back into its routine (I have my boy Harry back from Uni, and Jacob is due back on Christmas Eve, so life is good) and Christmas is slowly getting itself together, I am looking forward to catching up with you all (it seems so long, and I've really missed you).  Thank you for all your good wishes, they really buoyed me up, you are all so very kind and thoughtful ... and please, don't be sorry for me as  I am really happy with the way things have turned out, and just look on the 3 weeks as a longer than usual vintage fair! I have lots of plans for the time ahead and am really looking forward to the new challenges of 2014.

Take care, my lovelies ...

Love Claire

Monday, 2 December 2013

My crazy busy life ...

Phew, what a week that was! I'm a bit glad it's over and done with, I couldn't cope with all that malarkey for very long, I don't think ... I got the keys for my little shop, Thriftwood Vintage, 11 days ago ... and opened 7 days later! That week was spent lugging furniture, stock and all manner of things to the shop at the crack of dawn (before the hairdressers below started work, because I didn't want to be jeopardising their customers) and after tea, late into the night. But I did it ...

I bought a bright orange pine plate rack from a furniture warehouse, and after we had been delayed by half a day by a very inconvenient power cut, Steve drilled it to the wall for me ... and that was my starting point.  I then painted it very quickly with Annie Sloan Country Grey, and filled it with vintage loveliness and fairy lights.  The decor in Thriftwood Vintage is a bit gloomy, and with no time to paint I decided that 'mood' lighting was a must! So lamps and fairy lights have made a big appearance ... my home is looking very sparse now!


A Christmas corner has been created, complete with tree, ice skates, stockings and a pile of vintage toys and games under the tree.

I have had to be inventive in maximising display opportunities ...

The green garden bench has also been giving a new home for the time being! 

Mince pies, carrots and a message for Santa ...

But best of all were all the lovely customers, friends and family, who dropped in to say hello ... thank you so much for all your good wishes, they mean so much to me!  Everything happened so quickly that I didn't have time to think and now my old friend Doubt is creeping in ... I know I've done the right thing because this chance will never happen again, and I would have always had regrets if I hadn't taken the plunge and forever wondered "what if?", but I wouldn't be me if I didn't worry ... really I have nothing to lose at this stage, and if I do decide it isn't working, I can just pack it all up again ...  I really hope that doesn't happen though.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one week, me and Millie set off on Friday to Harrogate to The Country Living Fair.  I have a new phone that I haven't quite got the gist of yet, so am just using it for Facebook on the run, and taking photos ... I think I've managed to download one so for now that's all you're getting, my lovelies!

Rachelle & Tracy

For the second time I met blogging royalty Rachelle from Ted & Agnes blog and Tracy from Olive and Harry blog (combined, their stall was called Olive and Agnes).  We had arrived there too late to book onto their Liberty wreath making session, but when they'd finished we found their delightful stall, full of their unique bits and pieces. We had a lovely chat about crocheting, sewing, dogs,  my new shop (Rachelle had seen me mention it on Facebook!) Rachelle's new book, and of course, her last book ...
Thank you Amazon! 

It really was like chatting to old friends, they were so lovely, even though I was a little starstruck and giddy, and when we walked away, Millie said "that's made your day hasn't it?" and do you know, I think it had ...

I really need to get back to earth with a big bump, and start sorting out Christmas ... I hope you all have a quiet, peaceful week, and don't forget, if you're in the area, there'll always be a big welcome at Thriftwood Vintage!

Thriftwood Vintage
221 Rawlinson Street
(above Hairport)
Cumbria LA14 1DW

Opening Times
FRIDAY 10-4.30PM

Have a wonderful, peaceful week, my lovelies ... looking forward to catching up with you all!

Love, Claire xxx