Hello everyone and Merry Christmas from Nicholas & Steele! As you can see time has flown by and I have been rather neglectful with the blog. Big apologies but not to worry, with new year just around the corner, I have already added 'keeping up with the blog' to my list of new years resolutions.
Well we had a great time in the shop in the run up to Christmas and I am happy to report a promising first Christmas at Nicholas&Steele. With our fair share of inclement weather it was a challenge at times, but nothing that a few late openings and extra open days couldn't resolve. We are so grateful to all our loyal clients and friends who braved the weather especially to support us in our first Christmas. We will not forget your kindness and hope those special vintage pressies went down well with your loved ones.
On one of the quiet days I set about making my 1950's inspired Christmas bunting. I found a wonderful tale in the Ladybird book range about a robin who attempts to steal a bit of tinsel from a Christmas tree for his wife's nest. His best intentions soon turn to trouble when he finds himself trapped and having to hide in the Christmas tree. When one of the children choose him as their present he breaks into exuberant song and the family set him free after declaring it to have been the best Christmas present ever. What a joyous tale so I turned it into bunting using transfer paper. Take a look;
One of my favourite items we had in our shop this year were these fabulous Walnut keepsake boxes hand made and painted by Sarah fishburn.
Each one is unique, and gilded in gold or silver leaf.
But the most exciting arrival in the run up to Christmas was my original Domenica More Gordon dog.
Those of you who have read my blog before might remember me writing (positively gushing) about her. http://nicholasandsteele.blogspot.com/2010/11/day-off-has-to-be-my-new-favourite.html I have shamelessly coveted her dogs from the moment I clapped eyes on them. Domenica held a much awaited sale in the run up to Christmas but as demand exceeded supply (just 15 dogs were for sale) a lottery system was deployed to make the sale as fair as possible. Each prospective buyer had to have their name entered into a hat and a draw occurred on the 10th of December. I could not believe my eyes when I received an email from Domenica congratulating me on being drawn out of 377 names for dog no. 9. I was astonished for two reasons;
a) I have the worst luck
b) I have never won anything
so, when a week later a box arrived at the shop with a sketch of a dog on the wrapping, I could hardly contain my excitement.
This is what we found
It is an English Bull Terrier which we have named 'Bulla' after my Nana's dog who lived in India with her and was a cross bully/staffie.
This is Iona and her Bulla.
This is me and my Bulla
Definitely not as high maintenance (the dog that is) but lovely nonetheless! As these dogs are very special it became my combined Christmas and Birthday present.......for the next few years and so, I hatched a plan as I felt it was only fair. I decided to try to make one for Steve for Christmas of our dog Roxy. I had made one before (also in the previous blog) and so set about making a boxer dog. On Christmas day Steve unwrapped another of my brutes. We now have a sweet little menagerie of felt pooches.
Meanwhile I turned my attention to Christmas at home. Now, as an Anglo/African I admit to feeling the blues at this time of year. My family are 10 000km away in Cape Town and I used to (pre- recession, mortgage, new business) travel home to spend Christmas in the sun however this year, new business and all we decided to spend it here but it is very difficult to get into the spirit when your heart is somewhere else. But, I think we did alright. I decided to stick with a, you guessed it, vintage theme. We also bought a potted tree this year as I simply cannot bare to see our unwanted tree on the pavement in January. (I appear to be turning soft in my old age).
Little reindeers from Steve's mum lined our mantlepiece
Blown glass 50s baubles tied to the tree with ribbon.
Our vintage baby Jesus finally found it's purpose
A sweet Christmas Russ teddy got it's moment of glory too.
and my all time favoutite South African beaded nativity set (complete with weird bug eyed babyJesus).
Our chandelier also got the vintage treatment.
Another wonderful Christmas present was this. I have been hinting quite heavily, for the past few months, that I felt well and truly left out of the 'Steven Nicholas union jack furniture club' and so my wonderful and talented other half made me one for Christmas.
This 1930's bureau was his best yet and I am so delighted to have his best piece to date in our living room.
Roxy opening her present - a walking cape for the cold. (short haired dogs need it in minus weather)
Humans are strange creatures full of contradiction; able to love and care so deeply yet able to be so selfish and silly at times. I suppose they knew what they were saying when they called it 'the silly season' nevertheless I felt humbled and couldn't help but imagine what that little baby who grew up to be a man, and said things like, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" and "blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God" would think of us today. Wherever you are, may Christmas be a time of Peace, love and joy but above all love.