Monday, 29 December 2008

Advertising for Dummies

Seeing as the New Year is a time for new beginnings, I really must get on with promoting the website. Going completely against my natural instinct to procrastinate til the cows come home, I thought I'd try and get a head-start by throwing open the floor and asking for your ideas. I would really like to get some of my things featured in the press, so any tales of success would be much appreciated!

I also plan to bring you the beginnings of the 'secret project' I mentioned in my flea market post shortly.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Peace and Goodwill To All Men (And Women)


Calm has descended on the Rose&Bird household, presents all wrapped, food all bought and relatives all visited. It will just be myself, the Mr and the Guinea Pigs at home, as it is most years. All that remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Winter Sunshine and Giant Fleas

Hello all!

I have just returned from the Shepton Mallet Giant Flea Market.
Giant fleas, I hear you cry, how horrid! But seriously, folks, there aren't really any large bloodsuckers involved (apart from the odd stallholder, maybe!). This is a more upmarket version of that great British institution, the Car Boot Sale. Except it's more expensive and mostly undercover in the 'relative' warm! There was everything from deer antlers(!) to fudge for sale, with a lot more in between. I spent a good couple of hours wandering around and got quite a nice haul of stuff. I also said hello to my friend Liz (The Washerwoman), who had a stall there. By this point Dear Husband had got bored and gone back to the car, which left me free to peruse the stalls, reasonably guilt-free! You can see all but one of my goodies in the picture below. The other item was a large piece of velvety fabric, but that's under wraps as it's going to be part of a project:

The winter sunshine in the title refers to our journey to the Bath & West Showground where the market is held. It was a pretty drive over - wintry trees, rolling Somerset hills and stone villages. There were lots of cows and sheep in the fields, even lambs in one! Somerset really is a beautiful county, but I think it rather misses out to it's more well known neighbours, Devon and Dorset.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Anyone Seen my Mojo?

Anyone else have days like that? When you just can't put your finger on the pulse? I am having a serious creative crisis at the moment. I keep telling myself the vintage and handmade thing is where my happiness lies, but I just can't get myself in gear to go and make the damn things! I have so many ideas, but how to a) bring them to life and b) make money from them? The website is my main outlet, but as yet I've had one sale as I'm just no good at promoting it. What I am good at is buying fabric on ebay! The shoestring budget doesn't help (I joke not, it's literally shoestrings).

Hmm, bet Cath Kidston never had this trouble!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

What your Mother Should Have Told You...

(Image: 101yarns, ebay)

I was lucky enough to win this and two other editions of 'Woman and Beauty' magazine on ebay a few weeks ago. I can't find much information about it, other than the fact that it was published in the 1940s and 50s. If anyone knows more, please do get in touch. 2 Issues are from 1948, the other from Jan 1950.

It struck me that the problems women faced then are much the same as those we encounter - what to wear, how to manage your budget, who to marry etc. The tone of the magazines is great - much like the women who would have read them it's kindly but no-nonsense with lots of practical solutions. I suppose it's similar to something like Prima or Good Housekeeping would be today. What I do notice is a lack of the showing-off factor you seem to get in so many of today's magazines. You know, the kind of articles where someone waffles on about the 'hand-sourced from Mongolian artisans' fireplace and 'Antique French' sideboard for 20 pages, complete with lashings of glossy photos of stylist's twiddly bits.

I don't know if it's simply because there was less available (some food rationing went on until July 1954) or just that people were more practical and less concerned with material things (particularly having just come through the hardships of World War II). The magazines have lots of ideas for making clothes and accessories yourself and how to get good value and style out of store-bought items. The adverts are really interesting to read - many of the products and brands are still around today - Johnson's Baby Powder, Kalms tablets, OXO cubes, Horlicks, Anadin, Gossard to name but a few.

A feature on 'foundation garments' proves that Trinny & Susannah, Gok Wan and co, are just re-inventing the wheel with Spanx, Magic Knickers and Wonderbras!

Sisters, it's time to listen to the wisdom of our Mothers and Grandmothers - they've been there, done that and bought the figure-crunching girdle!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

New Shop Open

Hi eveyone!

Apologies for the lack of posts, but I've been really busy getting my shop together.

I am pleased to announce that Rose & Bird's Emporium is now open for business! Please check out the shop at for vintage and handmade goodies. I'm still adding items, so be sure to check back regularly.

Some of the items on offer:

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Vintage and Handmade Fair

Hi everyone

I've just returned from the Vintage and Handmade Fair at Rangeworthy Village Hall, South Gloucestershire (on til 4pm today). It was lovely to meet some of the blogging ladies, including Lizzie at 'The Washerwoman', 'Lucy Bloom' and Joanna of 'ThingsHandmade'. I'm quite shy, but I managed to pluck up the courage to speak to some of the stallholders. So many lovely things and incredibly talented people there. The fair was pretty busy and people kept bumping into one another, but it was all good-natured. I could have spent a lot more money, but the cashpoint would only give me £10! Never mind, perhaps I'll be able to afford more at the next fair in May. I may even have a stall of my own!

On a different note, my website will be open for business shortly, so please do pop in and have a look.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

New Treasures

Just a quick post to share some recent finds.

The first photo is the picture and mug I found in the charity shops the week before last. The mug was 50p and the picture £1.49.

The second picture is my finds from the Scout jumble sale last Saturday. The two pictures were 15p each and the mug was 10p. I also got another little decoupage picture for 20p and a traycloth for 10p, but I forgot to photograph those so I'll post them tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


I work as a temp at the same university my husband lectures at. I finished my latest assignment there last week and I asked the agency for a couple of weeks off before they give me another one. Although I do get holiday pay, this break is unpaid which is a bit depressing - not much spare change for treasures! I must admit that the more I think about it, the more I realise I'm not a career girl after all - I didn't go to university (partly through choice, partly through lack of opportunity). I've had several jobs since my two years of college, but none of which really led to anything I really wanted to do. I often worry about not having a career - it seems to be one of two expectations of my generation (the other being professionally unemployed, but that's another story) - but in all honesty I'm actually happiest being at home, pottering about doing my own thing. I achieve more satisfaction looking after my home, sewing etc than spending 7 hours a day, 5 days a week looking at a computer screen. (Thank goodness I don't have children as well, I don't know how I'd fit it all in). I really think we should be celebrating the women (and men) who want to stay at home, rather than 'just being a housewife/husband'. Don't get me wrong - a few hours work for an income of your own (and sanity) is important, but work shouldn't be the be-all and end-all of life! I'm very lucky that I can afford to be at home, but I also think we've been conditioned to believe that households must have 2 incomes in order to afford our modern lifestyles - after all, those 2 holidays a year, fancy cars and meals out aren't cheap.

Even if the current economic situation hasn't directly affected everyone, I think now is a good time to take stock and think about the real priorities. I honestly believe that we can all still enjoy life without lots of luxuries - family and quality time is the most important thing.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Home Envy

Inspired by the post over at athriftymrs, I thought I would share my one of my favourite TV homes with you:

The Halliwell Manor, from 'Charmed'
(Charmed - The Halliwell's Coven)

The manor was supposed to have been in the family for generations and, for me, it really did look like it on screen. I could picture the sisters and their loved ones living there and raising their families. It's not strictly 'shabby chic', but it has that air of lifetimes of knowledge and accumulated possessions!

Sitting Room
(Charmed - The Halliwell's Coven)



My favourite room is probably the attic:

The Attic

There are loads more photos on here:


Monday, 29 September 2008

Autumn Winds

Well, Autumn has definitely arrived in the fair city of Brigstowe (an old name for Bristol)! It's cold, windy, the trees are on the turn and it's dark by half past seven in the evening. Never mind, I can curl up on the sofa with some knitting! Hardly a candidate for Feminist of the Year, with all this home-making am I?

It's also too cold to go in the garage and finish off some of my furniture. However, I shall risk rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth from Him Indoors and try painting the drawers indoors on newspaper.

I'll have few projects to show you over the next couple of weeks as I've finally managed to get on with things and several UFOs (Un Finished Objects) are nearly ready.

Less can be said for my knitting - the sweater dress had to be unraveled due to a dropped stitch that could not be located despite a 24-hour search by HM CoastGuard, RNLI and Mountain Rescue tracker dogs (ok, not really, but credit to our emergency services at all times). The red cardigan is just a pile of yarn hanks as well!

I have a few treasures to show off that I picked up over the last couple of weeks. The tea sets were £3.95 and £6, the frames £1 for the two and the pie dish £1.49. I also collected a fab 30's display cabinet that I won on ebay for £10 on Saturday. We went over the bridge to Caldicot to get it and had a short walk in the woods by Tintern Abbey as well - it was such a clear, sunny day and the trees looked beautiful in the sunlight.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Sunny Saturday

Thought I would post today and comment on how good the weather has been! The first all-sunny day we've had in ages and it really feels like early autumn, although the leaves have yet to turn. DH has managed to get out and do some gardening - clearing brambles from the vegetable patch. I have some passionflowers that seriously need planting up. I think I'll put them in pots on the patio so they can scramble up the wall with the roses.

On a shabby note, I've actually managed to get on with painting some of the furniture that I bought earlier in the year. The TV stand is almost done and I hope to finish my lovely sideboard this weekend as well. I've yet to finish the curtains and chairs, but I can't do it all at once!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday ....

You're singing, aren't you?

We're off to the land of cream teas, surfers and King Arthur (Cornwall) tomorrow, so I won't be posting for a few days. Seem to have spent most of the last few days cleaning and tidying - so much for time off! One of the disadvantages of working full-time is that there's never enough time to keep the house properly clean and tidy. Never mind, one day I'll be a housewife and DH will keep me in the manner to which I'm accustomed. Yeah, right!

Good news though, the hallway is nearly finished: just need to put our pictures up and books back on their shelves. DH had to buy a new drill in the end as we just couldn't find the right battery pack for his other drill.

See you when we get back!

P.S It is also my birthday on tuesday!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Oh dear...........

The refurbishment of the hall has hit a bit of a snag - hubby's cordless drill battery pack has gone to tool heaven and we couldn't find a replacement. The shelves are on hold until we can get a new one, which will probably be when we get back from Cornwall.

On a lighter note, I found a nice duvet cover and 4 pillow cases in the charity shop on Thursday for £4.99. Was definitely a Cath Kidston one, I think it was one of the ones she designed for Ikea a while back.

Rosali Duvet Set

£39?! Maybe I should sell it instead. Should have bought the other one as well, which was a king size and sold that!

Just this article, I'm sure my fellow Shabby Chicers can relate:

Times Article

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Didja Miss Me?

Didja, didja?!

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats waiting for the next instalment.

After various calamities, the house is more or less in one piece and we are half way to a new hall - it's been plastered and painted, now need to sort out the skirting boards and put some wallpaper up as 'feature wall'. Pressure is on to get it all finished this weekend as my Mum is coming to house site while we're in Cornwall for Bank Holiday week.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Charity Finds...

Have had a couple of hours wandering around the charity shops today. I have about 10 shops all very close to me, although I only went to a few today. I found a little egg-cupboard for £2, some gorgeous M&S curtains for my bedroom for £4.99, a pair of pillowcases for £1.99 and a nice large picture for £3.99. I'll post pictures at some point, but DH has the camera at the moment.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Full Monty

After a disappointing start and nearly a whole can of paint stripper later, I've finally managed to get rid of a load of the old varnish off one of the sideboards. It took some experimenting to get the right amount of coverage and the best way to hold the scraper. With luck, I may even finish it before the Autumn comes and DH wants the garage back.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Busy Doing Nothing....

Well. I'm not very good at this blogging lark am I?! At this rate I might make it to double figures by Christmas!

I have been so very busy, you see! (yeah, right)

No really, I have.

We spent the entire weekend before last trying to put up wallpaper on one small section of the hall and it still doesn't look great. We have done the sensible thing and are going to 'get a man in' to redecorate. But we're going for the slightly cheaper option of stripping the existing paper and replastering, then painting.

I've given up with the sander and have brought out the noxious chemicals to try and strip the varnish off the Original Sideboard. It kind of works, but it's still hard work getting the crud off. However, neighbourly relations will hopefully improve as the sander is having a break. Mind you, at least my sander doesn't go on all day and evening, unlike a rather annoying yappy Yorkie terrier whose garden backs on to ours.
I have also make progress with the Little Chair - it now has webbing on the seat and it's foam back. I'll have a bash at the seat pad and sand down the legs tomorrow. I hope to start covering it at the weekend.

In the meantime I have three pairs of curtains to make, 4 chairs to sand down, repaint and sell on, a bedside cabinet to paint and sell, a tv stand to paint and sell and the other sideboard to lovingly paint and keep all for my very own. Oh and the cake stand too!

I'm going to be very busy for the next month or so. I may have something coming up that won't leave me a lot of time for shabbying, but I won't say too much at this stage in case I jinx things.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Bargains Are Like Buses.......

You wait ages and then three come along at once!

I just realised that I haven't posted for ages, but I haven't had much to say. Which is unusual for me!
Have been back at work this week so there's not been much time for chicing. DH is busy writing a paper to present at a conference next month, so I will have most of Saturday to get on with furniture things. Providing my car doesn't need loads of work to pass it's MOT tomorrow, I may also be able to buy some odds and ends.

Having moaned about the lack of bargains to my forum friends, I then went and won these on ebay:


TV stand


I also got this, which wasn't so much of a bargain, but will be nice, none the less:

Cake/plant stand

You see, I'm great at buying things - but not so great at actually making them over! Never mind, I've resolved to try at get on with at least one crafty thing a day. it's all part of my plan to give myself a big kick in the direction of starting a BA degree course next year. I didn't get the chance to go when I was younger and it's something I really want to do.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

My First Project

Its a ....... sewing box!

It's painted with Craig & Rose 'Porcelain Blue' and I lined it with a roll of wallpaper that I found in B&Q for £3. It's not as perfect as I'd like, but for my first project, I'm pretty happy with it. I'll probably line the bottom section and the lids at a later date, but I got a bit bored and called it a day for now.

I've got to do some housework otherwise DH will accuse me of neglect! Washing-up calls.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Triple Tagged!

I've been tagged by Lace Threads, Sandie and Country Bliss

The rules: Answer 5 questions about myself. At the end of the post tag 5 people and post their names, go to their blog and leave them a comment letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to read my blog for the rules. Let the person who tagged me know when I've posted my answers.

1 -What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was nearing the end of a First Diploma in Horse Studies.

2- Things on my to do list today.

Go food shopping.
Finish my sewing box.
Tidy the house.
Have some dinner.

3- Snacks I enjoy.

Shortbread, flapjacks, cakes.

4- Things I would do if I was a millionaire.

Buy a smallholding and run an animal sanctuary.

5- Places I've lived.

Plymouth, Pembrokeshire, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Bristol.

Tag 5 people

All Things Shabby Chic (Lea)
Snowdrops and Tulips (Honey Pie)
Joannebrown (Cougar Jo)
The Giantess

(can only find 4, everyone's been done

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Caution - Women at Work!

Have bought a sander! A somewhat girly model that no chippy would be seen dead with, but I hope it will do the job. After a rather convuluted effort, the sideboard that I got a second chance for on Ebay was delivered on Thursday evening, so I'm off to start working on it.

I've got the next week off work to try and get on with some of the projects that are waiting to be done. I'm also waiting for this sweet little stool to arrive:

To do:
Finish painting and line sewing box.
Finish nursing chair.
Start easy chair.
Sand and paint sideboard.
Construct sewing table.
Make 3 pairs of curtains.

I'm going to be busy!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

I bought two chairs a couple of weeks ago from a house clearance shop. This is the first one to get the makeover treatment, but it's a work in progress as I'm waiting for a couple of tools to arrive so I can get rid of the old staples before sanding it down and varnishing it. After that, I'll reweb the bottom and stuff the back, then cover it. I've also got to make a new cushion pad. Wish me luck!

Friday, 9 May 2008

An Awfully Big Adventure

Well then, here we are. Seeing as the latest shabby chic must-have (apart from paintbrush and a tin of Farrow & Ball eggshell, colour: 'Dimity'), is your very own blog, I thought 'bottoms up', I'll have a bash at that.

I talk a great makeover, but we'll have to see how the chicing goes over the next few weeks! I currently have a little chair on the go, which I'll post if I'm brave enough. Never having upholstered a chair before, it'll be a whole new experience.

This blog will mostly be about chicing, but please forgive the odd foray onto other topics - my mind wanders so far it sends postcards!