Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Black swans, old friends and vintage weddings....

What is it about this time of the year that inspires a fresh burst of creativity, a yearning for change and a renewed sense of courage to try the things you have been putting off for ages? My classes fill up with the art terrified, fresh opportunities present themselves in the form of strangers with ideas and we dare to try something a little more risky, run that little bit further or book a much longed for holiday. That's January for you and we certainly have had our fair share of change at N&S this month.

All signs of Christmas have been cleared away  (a huge relief after what is a long season for shops) and a new open and fresh theme for the new year prevails.

Pretty florals, fun objects and cheerful colours abound.

Tin plate cars and vintage toys

Nursery Kitch from the 1950s

1950s silver plate teaset
Pretty duos

A selection of pretty china and a simply gorgeous pair of Kate Greenaway original framed prints

The largest teapot I have ever seen, a beautiful Paragon piece

A 1950s jigsaw puzzle

A selection of old books to tuck into on cold rainy Sundays.
A lovely tapestry depicting an idyllic reading table in front of an open window on a summer's day
and a pair of vintage Brambly hedge christening duos.
and in other news.....
N&S are the official first shop to stock Royal Wedding goods in Wimbledon. (it's our attempt at irony)
 Another exciting tidbit is that N&S have supplied a few props for the Premier of Black Swan, a movie which has critics swooning over Natalie Portman's brilliant portrayal of a squeeky clean ballerina turned black sheep (or is that black swan?)

What was so strange was that the very next day on arriving at work, the bus stop across the road from the shop had been changed overnight to display the rather spooky movie poster. Even more coincidental  had been my  inexplicably sourcing of a tutu, a pair of vintage ballet shoes, a pop up ballet book from the 1950's and several swan ornaments, pictures and even swan trays just the week before. I hadn't even heard of the movie until the stylist walked into our shop!
Naturally our window became a themed display.

Classic 50's Vernon Ward framed prints
   A Staffordshire swan ornament

Swan Lake colours
Pretty swan vases
But my all time favourite new piece in the shop this week was Steve's latest dresser painted in a fabulous 1980's Lime green retro colour, a hue in the fantastic new Crown Retro range.

Steve did such a brilliant job with this one, even styling it with his choice of 50's kitchenalia.
I also put my hand to a little creative meddling (obviously infected by the January bug too) with these Pat Albeck 1960s iconic vintage fabrics which I have been saving for a special project. I wanted to create panels which celebrate her sense of fun and play. Many of you would recognise her newer designs which she has done for Emma Bridgewater and the National trust. I wanted to add my own twist and so used all original vintage odds and sods to embellish the work. Take a look.

They add a really funky, bright vibe to the shop and any day now I might actually sell an original art work. 

Meanwhile, a party occured this week which saw some of my ex-pupils from HSW back under the tutelage of their "Mrs Nicholas-Steele" and what raucous fun it was!

At Christmas, My dearest and oldest friend Amanda (the one who climbed up my tree in Belvedere road when we were 5 years old and has been following me around ever since... hee hee) posted this horrendous yet absolutely endearing photo of my sisters and I and herself and her sister Cath, wearing identical dresses purchased from South Africa's equivallent of M&S "Woolworths' in the early 80s. Here we are outside St James church, Cape Town on Christmas day. It amazed me, when looking at all of us, that we turned out fairly sane nonetheless and actually, I am so proud of us girlies and the variety of ways that we have overcome, loved selflessly, gone on great adventures, trusted faith and dared to dream. I love you girls all so much and wanted to say thank you for the laughs, the prods, the words of encouragement and for helping me to discover who I am and for never judging me. Sisters in life now and forever.
And so last week, when I visited Amanda in Whitstable and I discovered a jem of a shop in which  N&S plastic seriously strained a muscle, it was not even blinked at when Amanda was given the sharp end of a a rather large London underground vintage poster to carry through the High Streetwhile the boys wrestled the bits of furniture and other bits to the car.
To close my blog off, a little breaking news. Nicholas & Steele have decided to expand their business into the vintage wedding hire arena and will be providing china for 120 guests, props and furniture etc for a wedding at the London Design Museum in February. We are very excited (and very busy) sorting and sourcing vintage cups and saucers, cake stands, a chaise Lounge, lamps etc.

and while thinking of it all I revisited our wedding which we held in Greyton, South Africa in April 2009. I leave you now with a few of my favourite details for inspiration or, if you like me can't resist rubber necking a wedding!
Have a wonderful week.

PS. Yes, I had no life for a year while planning this wedding.