Sunday, 15 May 2011

Guilty Pleasures....

It is no secret that I suffer from a condition recognised by many fellow bloggers, as a full blown double dose, china fetish. The only cure seems to be more china. So when so many of you ask about my own collection I  find myself changing the subject or telling them the story of how my husband said; "either stop buying china or open a shop".....I will leave the rest for you to figure out. So when my latest tea set was shoe-horned into my bulging dresser at home, I realised something had to give. I have therefore introduced a new rule. It is called "The one in, one out by law of 2011". I am allowed to indulge my fetish ( it could be worse..dolls or royal memorabilia spring to mind) so long as I abide by this rule. However, I stood in front of my dresser, frown deeply etched on my forehead. Asking me to choose a set to cull is like asking a parent which of their children they would like to give away...Do I choose the 1920's black and pastel tea set I had on lay by for 3 months when I had my first job in the 90's or the Paragon World Famous Roses I had at our wedding or how about the one off, hand painted thirties set with flowers of the month on each piece. I could give up my pink Tucan 1930's set but which one as I actually have two that intermingle perfectly and one is an exact copy of the set that we sold our A-list fashion designer while the other a similar to the perfect pink set that went to his A-list fashion designer friend, and anyway, I had them first( I like to think of myself as a trend setter when it comes to china) Grrrrrrr. I pondered this situation and decided the best thing to do would be to make myself a cup of tea and to think it over. So I did and as the balm of ritual and caffeine calmed my soul a deep calm and a knowing smile crossed my lips. The solution was right before my eyes: I am going to need a bigger dresser.

This tea pot is asking me to come home with me but for now it is for sale in the shop

A pretty set also calling to me from the giant dresser in the shop

I can't resist pink Tuscan china

Luckily this set sold yesterday

my bulging dresser

a new teapot which snuck into our home while we were asleep!

Famous Roses wedding set
My growing 1930's Yee daintee Lady teapot collection

It's not just china look at my growing vintage champagne coupe collection.

 It's not just tea sets that have been whiling their way into our home. Take a look at some of my recent finds that have come to live with us...for now. I say "for now" as I am able to give these sort of things up much easier than my china.

a swan themed Victorian Giant vase

A stunning Crown Devon 30's art pottery piece with a stag

A vintage hand held school bell

A railway lamp from the South African Railway services found in London.

A Georgian looking bronze Lurcher desk ornament

a pair of original Royal portraits

This little pair of Bookends really seduced me as I conducted a little research into them. They date from 1950 when a little Polar bear cub was born, unannounced at the London Zoo - the first ever to be born in captivity. It caused such a stir that the zoo has yet to match the record amount of visitors that flocked to see the cub. The cub was named Brumas after it's two keepers Bruce and Sam (spelt backwards). What followed can only be described as the mass production of tourist wares which were sold to commemorate the occasion and these hand painted bookends are an example. These items are now hugely collectible and desirable and hark back to what I think was an age of innocence when something we take for granted nowadays, was still news. So very sweet.

An original newspaper article with photos
 Another terrible guilty pleasure is this pair of reupholstered 1920's Cane Berger chairs which I got for a bargain at auction and were intended for the shop. For now I have decided to keep them at the lock up because we don't have space for them in the shop. (Under a dust sheet, there is a very real chance they may be forgotten about and one day, I can see them working perfectly in our forever home).

Another guilty pleasure is this printers tray. I have always wanted one and so couldn't resist this chappy a few weeks ago at a fair. I intend to use it to display unusual vintage and antique odds and sods I come across which are teeny or might get lost elsewhere.

and lastly, this week my long suffering husband went down to the famous The Forest Bailif shop on Durham Road to buy paint and came back with a very special surprise gift for me, this stunning lamp made from porcelain. What a great styled item. I love the vintage look, including the flex which is made in the old style cotton braided flex. The base is also ceramic and the shade a gorgeous warm hue when the light is on. Thank you Roxy and Steve XX

Another, and on a slightly different tack, guilty pleasure of mine is vintage clothing. Of course it was never going to escape my attention that Catherine's dress was vintage vintage vintage in style and I knew the Grace Kelly connection immediately but there was something else...almost like ghostly fingers nagging at the corners of my mind, where I had seen that dress before and then, in the middle of a slow afternoon at the shop it came to me.....
Grace Kelly for the lace sleeves and sweetheart neckline

Grace Kelly again for the train and tiny waist

Ahaaaa! Maria in the sound of music!!! That was it. I think the pleats of silk in the gown the pointy bustier V-necked style bodice and sleevesowed much to this famous wedding dress.

Someone else who clearly indulges her guilty pleasure of a love for iconic vintage brides

And so, as all good girls say their prayers at night and ask for kindness, patience and forgiveness I'm asking for all those things too but also, please dear Lord, if I promise to lay off the china, may I have a new dresser? Hx

Monday, 2 May 2011

Brides, Bunting and Bunnies

What a wonderful yet challenging month April has been. The weather has been unseasonably warm and we have enjoyed long, balmy days in the shop. Of course, we have had to accept the down side to the combination of a long school holiday, loads of bank holidays and great weather..everyone flees London for the coast or a rural getaway and who could blame them? We have got on preparing for the busier times which usually follow the holidays. It has not been a full year yet for us at the shop so each month is news to us. We will keep you all posted but holding ones nerve seems to be a skill necessary in retail so when we had our quietest three weeks ever over the holiday, I won't lie to you, we had more than our fair share of sleepless nights and we certainly aren't out of the woods however such wonderful events and celebrations have more than made up for it.

Easter in the shop involved many Maileg bunnies finding new homes.

Our Easter tree was met with delight as we tied teacups, pearls, chocolates and bunnies in the branches taken from our Wisteria.
We saw a trend for Easter gifts for the calorie conscious and had several vintage finds on offer which had a decidedly spring feel to them.

These cutesy Maileg Easter tree decorations lasted three days in the shop and were sold out.

I love these 1930s name place holders fashioned after Beatrix Potter characters which have become useful for shop display.

I also set about making bunting which has been very popular for all the outdoor celebrations planned for this month.

Meanwhile in the jewellery case, many trinkets and pieces of silver have been added including a fabulous collection of sugar sifter spoons useful for strawberry season.

A gorgeous Victorian styled pin cushion and salt and pepper set

Stunning reconditioned 1930's Bridal hair slides, Charles Horner silver thimbles, and various deco brooches.

A lovely silver plate vintage wedding cake knife and lifter.

A beautiful silver plate cut work bon bon dish