Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Newsflash! Yesterday we had our first customers! We had just returned from another run to the lock up when Steve overheard two teenage girls standing outside the shop. "Oh no! They aren't open." said the one. "How do you know?" asked the other. "It's obvious. They've got that white stuff in the windows-dah!" "Well I'm going in" said the other and they walked in just as I was about to unpack my Maileg bunnies.
I recognised them instantly. They had visited my stall at the Wimbledon Village fair and bought a 'build your own charm bracelet' each. They had made a special trip, all the way from Morden, to buy another few charms each. How could I refuse. They took their time choosing charms and I had a little chat with them, explaining they were my first customers, which was met with many giggles and much blushing. These two girls have already decided, they are going to open a cupcake tea room! So lovely and I couldn't have asked for a sweeter first two customers.

We are really starting to have fun now as we spend time dressing the shop. yesterday I used my new dinner service found at the Carboot sale to theme a dresser. I combined glass with the soft blues and I think it worked very nicely. I have also started using the picture rails to display my vintage pictures to their best advantage.This is a Vernon Ward 1950s flight of swans which I love.
His work has now become highly collectable.

Next, I turned my attention to The Maileg Bunnies. These bunnies are imported from Scandinavia which means they don't come cheap, but the quality is second to none. Each bunny has hand knitted clothing, crocheted shoes and sweet little sewn dresses, jeans, dungarees etc. They come in various sizes and have all kinds of accessories like chairs, beds, ironing boards, cupboards, stoves etc. As I was unpacking them, Will popped in. Will is our great friend and local roofer. He has a keen eye for antiques having been raised by a Dad who was in the antique trade for years. He couldn't keep his hands off the bunnies and has fallen in love with one that lives in a matchbox. Ahhhhh!

My favourite is the 'Princess and the Pea'. She has a stack of mattresses and the smallest crocheted pea which goes under the whole lot. It comes complete with a story book and wooden bed. It is on top of the dresser. I wish toys like these had existed when I was a kid.

Next, I set about creating my "man-tiques corner." It has long been my belief that husbands are the enemy. I can't tell you how many sales have been skuppered at the last minute by a grumpy husband poking his nose in and saying, "What are you buying that for?" or "You aren't seriously going to buy that are you?" or "put it down, it reminds me of my mother!" Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!! So, we have come up with a few male proofings;

a) Create an area in the shop especially for blokes. We call it our "MANTIQUES" department. Take a look.
b) Have a bench outside the shop with a sign above that reads "husband chair" and provide vintage comic books and magazines for them to browse through while their wife spends the family fortune.

c) Ban them altogether.

Either way, we will find a way around this blight that is "the husband."

We found an old banner I had won on an ebay auction by accident. I thought it was a flag of sorts but it turns out it was more of a banner from a street party from the Queen's coronation. It says "long may she rule" and was hand painted. I hadn't looked that closely at it before packing it away but last night we noticed that the 's' in 'she' had been added later and that this banner could possibly date from her father's coronation. We hung it up as a shop prop and have decided it isn't really for sale as it is something quite unique and very special.

You might remeber this from the day before yesterday.

We had to move this display to be by the door to make room for our Mantique department. It looks quite sweet there especially as all the bunting is now visible through the side window of the shop.

I had finally sorted some more jewellery and blinged up the mannequin a little more. Mmmmmmmmm!

Finally, a little spindly shelf which I painted up a few days ago was put up on the white elephant and now displays our growing collection of whimsies. Whimsies were given away to children at country fairs in the 30s, 40s and 50s back in the time when the mass production of soft toys had not begun. A prize might include a statuette of children and their pets or a music box. Wade were one of the latest makers of whimsies hiding them in tins of instant coffee and cereal boxes. These are becoming increasingly collectable and if you can get over the apparent 'kitchness' are quite delightful.

Steve also managed to put up our 'deco movie set lights' in the windows which now need wiring.

Having emptied our house of all the shop stock (I swear it echos) and most of the lock up, the shop is in quite a state still and the graveyard even worse but I feel we are starting to make head ways. We have just one more dresser being delivered today and a large round table to bring down to the shop for the centre and then we will be able to turn our attention to the shop front.

We left at 11pm last night and the shop is feeling more like a shop than ever. We have cleared some of the windowlene and I think it has been a good way of allowing the locals to take a sneaky peek at what we are up to. It is all going to come down to them, getting behind us and I hope they approve of their new shop on the block.

Have a lovely day everybody.

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