Monday, 21 February 2011

Vintage Valentine

As a single gal, living in London, Valentine's day used to fill me with dread. It wasn't so much the fact that I was on my own as I loved being single, it was more the incredible pressure society places on the importance of being in a pair. I believe the gift of being single is grossly underrated. (I feel I should say, at this point, that I love being married but it's that I am married to Steve, not that I am married that is important to me.) Having lived firmly on both sides of the fence ( and sometimes even on it) I celebrate both as equally wonderful and edifying experiences. I accept that a romance can happen with others, with places, with experiences with beliefs but the most significant romance is the one we have with ourselves.  So, Happy Valentines day one and all no matter who you are or who you are with.

In the spirit of the day we decided to celebrate 'love' in a window display and so my paper cut heart garlands finally got an airing while in the shop shiny chocolate hearts were handed out to all our customers. I created the garlands by cutting hearts from vintage and recycled papers and sewed them together. This is a really easy project and can be adapted for all kinds of themes.

I also created a simple, non-fussy-straight-to-the-point Valentine's card from a quote from my favourite novel. (answers on a postcard if you know the novel and context)

Some of you might remember a late night maneuver which we carried out whilst setting up the shop. This week saw Steve transporting a large union Jack cabinet in similar fashion by the light of a midnight moon. Take a look:

Use sack barrow and cloth to secure and cover cabinet.

Squeeze it out through the side gate

Smile for the lady with the camera in her pyjamas

Try not to look like a complete freak pushing furniture around the street at midnight...again!

Place in the window

 and...tadaaa! One lovely Union Jack cabinet goes on sale!

Steve then turned his hand to a rather urgent quest, completing a set of chairs for the first vintage wedding we had booked at the London design museum. We had this set of ladder backed dining room chairs in the lock up which we turned our attention to. Each was stripped, painted, hand waxed and reupholstered. Take a look;

stripped and sanded chairs
Re-upholstering the seats in a glorious red gingham

 Every now and then a friend comes to the rescue and this Friday evening was no exception. On the eve of our wedding hire, Steve and I found ourselves both exhausted after 12 hour days in the shop with lists of things still to complete. Enter, my good friend and fabulous life coach Sarah. Sarah doesn't just talk the talk, she walks it and so she appeared, in nature of our fairy godmother, and waved her magical (practical) wand around the shop helping us regain our strength (and sense of humour) by just being.. well...Sarah! Once order had been established she then continued by rearranging parts of the shop that had been depleted for the wedding hire. Just look at her work.

Lovely little shelf display

Baby table sweet.

Sarah faffing

Sarah, pictured above, is more of a faffer than I am. It is addictive and we had to drag her from the shop before she rearranged everything! The wedding hire goods was left ready for the 7.30 am pick up in the morning. We had a sleepless night, as if it were our wedding we were worrying about. Take a look at the run up to Saturday

Our fabulous designer Talitha Hitchcock's stylish label
Steve cutting dividers for the vintage hire boxes

China for 110 people as well as various props
It has taken weeks of sourcing, washing and packing

Many props were readied for hire
It filled a rather large van which we packed then sent on it's merry way into central London...gulp.
A sneaky preview of how it all looked at the wedding, styled by Florence Blue and Photographed by Lee. Isn't it gorgeous!
Steve spent the following day, once everything came back with only one cracked cup, washing the china and repacking it. What a wonderful event to be a part of.

Meanwhile back at the shop, This week saw the arrival of Sophie Smith original cotton print aprons and children's apron sets.

The fabric is her own design called "Dora's Rose" Dora being Sophie's beloved Nan.

we also added a beautiful 1930s  down quilt

a lovely handled serving dish
A beautiful Sadler teapot and sandwich plate set
a lovely Hammersley toast rack
A glorious Queen Anne art deco style tea set
Tea for one gift sets

a selection of vintage perfume bottles

Gorgeous 1930's pressed glass candle stands
Perhaps as it was because of Valentine's day or just the universe knew we needed the boost but this week was a week of flowers.

Flowers from Lania
Roses from Veronique
and a bouquet from Our lovely nephew Mark

This week was a tough one in terms of the extra hours of work in preparation for the wedding. We weren't always feeling the love it has to be said, but it was all worthwhile when we heard that the wedding had been lovely and saw a photo or two. 

We now turn our attention to our next project; styling a little magazine shoot on How to throw your own Royal wedding party. With this in mind I have started collecting royal memorabilia.

This week also saw the end of our current round of Art classes and we break for half term. It has been an exciting  first half term and we have had some wonderful moments of creativity and spontaneity. I look forward to the next round.

As the sun stays up a few minutes longer on our little shop every day, it is with anticipation that we await the spring. February is the month of love, the month of first tulips, of early weddings. It's also a tough time as the winter clings on and sometimes the depression hits but have faith people. You are not alone we are all in this together.....Spring is coming....Hx