Monday, 20 June 2011

Pays your money takes your chances...

This Saturday we wombled on up to Wimbledon common to take a last minute table at the Wimbledon Village Fair for the third year in a row. We hired a large van and filled it to the rafters with a large selection of our stock.

The met office 5 day weather forecast had been about as optimistic as a Greek spreadsheet and we knew we were facing a windy and wet one, needless to say we were totally unprepared for what was to follow. After all, who would expect anything other than inclement weather the weekend before Wimbledon Championships?

 We arrived at 7.30am and by 10.30am trading began. Around 10.35am the rain began.

Inside, everything was bright and happy and dry....

a while later our original WWI Union Jack bunting was looking decidedly soggy!

The day turned into a game of musical chairs as our beautiful Kelly Swallows piece did the hokey cokey being in the gazebo one minute out the gazebo next while we 'shook it all about' in the rain. (chair or us? Both couldn't fit). Am still recovering from the chill, but the chair is perfect and wonderful (and still begging to come and live with us.)

The sun made an appearance briefly as did  sky-blu-pink , a wonderful follower of our blog. It was so lovely to meet Geraldine, also a teacher and crafter of beautiful things. She re-homed one of our pretty tins and truly bought a ray of sunshine with her. Thanks Geraldine. In spite of the brief sunny spell, moments later the heavens opened but this time it meant business and our gazebo sprung a leak. 

At lunch time a particularly cheeky gust of wind blew all the bits off the top of our dresser and broke several of our pieces......sniff.

The day got worse and worse until eventually the rain got so bad we all huddled together in our gazebo catching up with friends who we hadn't seen for a while....a great bonus.

At the end of the day it all began to feel like a Greek tragedy. Sadly we had only made a handful of sales and lost more in damage and breakages than we had made. It became clear that had we spent a day in bed, we might have made more money, but we made some great contacts, caught up with friends and handed out many cards which hopefully will lead to new visitors to our shop.

It behoves a Wimbledonian to have their photo taken with their hero and inspiration -  The Wombles! We have a lot in common (ha ha) after all; "Making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folks leave behind" so when Steve saw Haydon, The AFC Wimbledon mascot, walking along he hailed him over to pose for a family snapshot......aaahhhhh.

And so our day ended and we skulked home wet, cold and slightly dejected but determined to keep our chins up. It worried us that in a crowd of around 10 000 there were absolutely no signs of shopping bags just foody things. In years past we would have cleared most of our stock. I hope we make it out of the woods intact and like our Wimbledon AFC friends, make a big come back next year at the fair... in the meantime we spent today putting the shop back together and ourselves. We know that we are on the right track just perhaps at a difficult time which requires a strong nerve and a determination not to let it get to us and so it was great that we had a successful and profitable day in the shop today...phew,  thanks for listening and keep the faith...we have fight in us yet.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Happy Fathers Day to our Dad

Life Lessons

You may have thought I didn't see,
Or that I hadn't heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.
Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we'd grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It's written on my heart.
Without you, Dad, I wouldn't be
The woman I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.
I've grown up with your values,
And I'm very glad I did;
So here's to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid.
By Joanna Fuchs

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Weather for Ducks...

This morning I caught a chill at the fair. I awoke to clear skies and so walked around to our local fair for a mooch with nothing but a cardi on for warmth. Within half an hour the heavens had opened and it was rained Happily my thoughtful other half came to my rescue and found me hiding under a great big tree sheltering from the downpour.
Nevertheless, I had enough time to fill two shoppers with a few sweet bits. Take a look;

a 1930's pottery jug and a large scotty dog
a set of beautiful bowls

A TG Green mixing bowl

a pretty floral pottery dish and a set of six blue ice cream dishes

A selection of vintage jewellery including a rare Charles horner silver christening bangle.

Pretty plates for cake stands, a green glass vase and a pin tray

a 1950's large matchbox cover by Lesney
A 1950's pewter Cigar box made in Stratford-upon-Avon

A glorious 1950's Italian painted vase and a mini glass cake stand

A pretty biscuit tin
As I set off this morning with the streets to myself, a few pounds in my pocket, my shopper to the ready I thought how happy I felt. I know that times are tough and all of us are having to tighten our belts, but in the last few years Steve and I have been through the mill with a few life challenges and we have learnt that all the things that we thought made us happy were just that... things! We never really needed them. So I don't miss my days of shoe shopping in Wimbledon village or scouring the many sales on the High street. These days all I need to feel happy are a few bucks in my pocket and the prospect of a good day of scouting out lost treasures. Pass me the anorak! I have also learned that generally all these things actually do pass and that the real skill in life isn't what to do about the difficult times but what to do through the difficult times because we do eventually come out the other end, it's the manner that we get through them that matters.

So when this week looked set to be a quiet one in the shop, we determined to keep upbeat and so busied ourselves with a combination of business 'housekeeping' if you like, with a few new projects thrown in for good measure.

We had a few 'odds and sods' hanging about in the back room including pottery cups and saucers which although pretty are not fine enough to add to the china hire so I set about re-purposing them.

 Firstly the cups became pretty three tier candle holders for a shabby chic dinner table. Tall taper candles also look great in these.

 While I squirreled away with the upcycles, Steve was very busy doing our accounts- a job neither of us enjoy doing, both being of artistic temperaments but Steve soldiered on and made a large dent in the paperwork. Excellent Moneypenny!

I then set about making cake stands from pieces that had slight damage to them but were too pretty to discard. We began making these three years ago and have found they are still favourites with our customers.

This Ianthe silver plate candle stand had lost its little sconces which held the candles in place so I found these two tiny cups which I thought were quite sweet and attached them in their place.

I also made these biscuit plates combining plates and glasses then embellishing them with porcelain pin cushion dolls.

These adorable Kewpie doll figurines looked so sweet perched on these baby shower biscuit trays.

 These biscuit trays were made from Cornish Blue plates and Staffordshire egg cups.

During the week, I tucked into my copy of Mrs. Beeton's Good Housekeeping book and found so many hilarious 'gems' of wisdom I wanted to find a way of presenting them as fun quirky pieces for the modern home so I found a collection of odd plates and set about scribing some of my favourite quotes.

A couple of weeks ago we supplied several vintage pieces for Julia Boggio's newborn baby shoot. The results were posted on her blog I Carried a Watermelon.  I am sure you will agree a rather scrummy combination.

With a week to go till the Wimbledon Village Fair, I feel a little like lovely Gwyneth above.
It's always a great day out with loads to see and do and a good opportunity to let people know what we are about. With this in mind we have decided to go quite big with the upcycle theme and see what sort of response we get. Finger's crossed.

For now, I will just be happy with a day minus the ducks!