Recent Finds

042Just the other Weekend as the sun shone for the first time in a long time our family set off to find some treasures. There is an old market town in The Peak District, Leek, that holds a small collectables, vintage / antiques market every Saturday. Not huge just enough stalls for you to potter amongst and find a couple of none essential but much needed goodies.

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My oldest son enjoys the perusing and ambling, marveling at army badges bits of bullets and other war paraphernalia. My other boy unfortunately soon gets board and has to be promised cake at some point He doesn’t see the excitement an old box can bring.

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What could possibly be inside?……….

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A bit of this, a bit of that, one mans rubbish another lady’s treasure. So what treasures did I find on this day?

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First this lovely Beatrix Potter tray for just £2.00. I know what a gorgeous find. And then ……

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This beautiful book on British Butterflies published in 1951. Whilst I have read some of the book and it is of course interesting, it’s the sixteen colour plates that really drew me too it. That and the gorgeous print on the dust sleeve.

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And of course the youngest was appeased with a not so vintage pair of play handcuffs.

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Spanish Treasures

Whilst perusing a small vintage shop the other day I spotted the Spanish dancer. Skirt all a ruffled and striking a pose of intensity, with the elegant curve of her back, her flamenco prowess on full display. Amazing isn’t it that I got all this from a needlepoint tapestry, but it was love at first sight she drew me in the moment I saw her. You see the art of Spanish dancing is woven into my very artistic, dramatic being.

In my early years I used to do a little bit of Spanish dancing, Spanish dancing you understand not fancy flamenco. My wonderful nana, Betty, she taught me. In the Monk’s Chest in here hallway (now in my hallway) was an assortment of Spanish treasures, castanets, Spanish dresses, shawls even a mantilla. On our weekend visits my sister and I would unfold the seat of the bench to reveal the mass of lace, fringes, frills and bright colours and with excitement we would layer ourselves in these beauties. Then, gathered in the lounge, nana would raise her arms above her head into a soft but firmly set arch, twist her upper body and tilt her head to one side. Her prodigies would do the same, of a fashion. Nana’s face would set into a passionate, wanting glare which my sister and I would reproduce as pouting lips and wrinkled eyes.  Her foot would then flick up behind her returning quickly to the floor in a stamp, we would follow suit and soon we would all be pounding around clicking our castanets, flouncing our skirts  and shout “Ole”.

Nana was not Spanish, in fact she was half Italian half Irish born in Egypt but she too had been doing Spanish dancing since she was young which made her a perfectly qualified teacher. Here she is in her teens with her handsome matador.

My Spanish dancer also has a matador and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even notice him, so transfixed by her was I.  “She’s part of a pair?” I exclaim head twisting around searching for more ruffles and colours. Above a cupboard stood in the dark is the solemn matador, up there on his own I’m not impressed. He is brought down, dusted down and placed down next to the senorita. Instantly the two speak to each other and I can see these hot blooded lovers belong side by side. Sold and home they come.

It’s not just the subject matter that drew me in but the craftiness, the handmade brilliance of the pictures. Needlepoint tapestry is something I’m yet to try but I’m sure when I do I will love it. The neat little rows of stitches in tonal shades, bright shades, light shades, dark shades which all add depth and contrast to the image, intrigue me. How one tiny stitch with another tiny stitch and another with a little bit of patience creates something so beautiful.

Not entirely sure where they are going to go, maybe in the lounge that I am currently half way through painting, where ever I will need to let the husband see them first. Not braved that one yet.

P.S on the same shopping trip I also bought these…..

Blouses

I love a good blouse, there is something so grown up and chic about them. Apparently they originate from peasant dress which doesn’t quite fit with my lady of the manor blouse and pearls idea.

However the Victorians brought separates to woman’s wardrobes and a skirt and blouse became  acceptable  day wear.

From there on in designers and dress makers have conjured variations of this ladies shirt,embellishing with lace, embroidery and beading, The collars have rounded into a 60’s Peter Pan style, sharpened for the 70’s disco look and at times softened  into a kitten bow. Button front or back but I would say usually with a sleeve cuff. The variations are endless. To me the difference between what I consider a ladies shirt or a blouse is that a blouse has a touch of femininity.

My favourite way to wear a blouse is with a good pair of jeans, heels for the evening, pumps or trainers for day. Now I know this is not fashion rocket science but it works and you know what they say, If it ain’t broke…

And any of the following vintage finds available from Freda and Me would rock this look.

From Humble Beginings

For my first post I thought I’d share some of the lovely things I’ve made over the last couple of years.

This clutch is made from some curtain fabric that came from my grandmas house. It’s an original 50’s print fabric and I love the design so much I have cushions on my sofa in the same fabric. This was one of the first bags I made and I included a little matching purse. The gold buttons come form a year I did working for Jaeger during my degree, maybe keep that a secret.

I love old linens and these beautifully crocheted pieces I imagine as vase mats or on an old fashion dressing tables. These days people don’t have much use for them and I find lots in charity shops and at markets. I hand appliqued the pieces to an organic linen to make  a couple of cushions, finished with vintage buttons on the reverse. There is still one left in my Etsy shop.

This necklace is made from a crocheted flower which I beaded and sequined. All the materials I use are up cycled, remnant pieces of wool, old necklaces for the beads and sparkly tops for the sequins. I love the idea of making something beautiful from peoples unwanted items. I’ve made lots of these over the last couple of years, people seem to have liked them, this one is still in my Etsy shop.

This was a bag I loved and was very sorry to see go when I sold it. I was filled with delight when I found a bag of old zips in a charity shop. I hand stiched them all on because it gives a cleaner higher quality finish. The lining is an Aboriginal print fabric. I think I still have some left I’ll maybe do another.

Finally this corsage, made from bits of material, up cycled beads and a vintage button.
More of the things I make are shared on my Pintrest Page and items for sale you’ll find at Etsy .