Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Older........But Not Wiser

I meant to write about this last week, but with one thing and another I didn't get round to it. So here is a belated birthday blog post for me for last Wednesday. I received several lovely presents including this beautiful coffee pot which the DH gave me - the training has paid off!
The pot is Wedgewood, with a Susie Cooper design and it dates from the late 70s. Not especially old, but it's exactly my taste and has pride of place on the display cabinet for now - until a more prestigious home can be found for it!
We spent the Bank Holiday in Cornwall - we rented a small converted barn with another couple and spent the weekend visiting the area around Bude. We made it down to Port Isaac (home of 'Doc Martin'), Tintagel, Boscastle and Trebarwith for dinner on the Saturday. Sunday we got up late, popped into Bude for a couple of hours then made a lovely big chicken roast (Quorn for me!) in the evening.
Apart from a big relapse on Monday, I've been feeling a lot better recently - DH and I have made some big decisions and I've decided to try and look for some help with coping strategies for when things get bad.
I've also made a start on sorting out my craft room - it's very untidy due to a lack of storage and needs a bit of freshening up. The first stage of which was covering my cutting table with some pretty oilcloth fabric. I ended up with quite a bit left over, which I know will get reused for another project. The next stage will be to get some decent storage and maybe a fresh lick of paint. Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Remember Me

This morning I lost Saba, one of my Guinea Pigs. She had obviously passed away in the night, as I found her curled up in her little house with her friend Bridie standing guard. She was about four and a half, but I think she had a problem with her heart. That was due to be checked out by the vet this afternoon, but maybe it was just her time to go.
She was a timid little thing, and always tiny - I think she was a bit of a runt! Runty she may have been, but she was pretty and a little unusual - a dainty little face, sticky-up ears and odd eyes, one was blue, the other brown. She also had her little crest on her forehead, as you can see.
She's modelling one of Jane at Snapdragons Garden's embroidered badges in this picture.

Sleep tight, little one x

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Just a quick one (oo-er missus)!

I haven't given up blogging completely - I just haven't felt much like posting recently.
Although we had a lovely holiday in Yorkshire last month, life hasn't been terribly good to us recently - neither the crafting or Partylite is bringing in any money (both seem to just be costing money instead). I've had virtually no work since May, so no money coming coming in but still with bills to pay. However, I now have some work again, so that will at least ease some of the money worries for now.
There are many, many things that I need to say, the kind of things you only really share in heart-to-heart talks with your closest friend, but an open blog isn't the best place to air these thoughts.
When you don't have anyone but yourself to talk to, it's very easy to end up being overwhelmed with the negative thoughts and feelings that build-up.
One day I will beat this wretched gremlin that moves in whenever I feel down x

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Back Again..

I'm afraid I've been a little quiet this month, but I have had rather a lot going on outside of the computer. I've taken up my knitting needles again to finish a couple of projects, which I'll show you another time. I've been trying to get my Partylite business going, which has involved a fair bit of designing posters and going to events to start promoting. I'm also going to have to get back into sewing mode as I've decided to do a bit of a re-design for my Rose & Bird items. I have a lady next Saturday to have a look at my stuff and possibly offer me some dates for a stall at her fair. I want to up my game for that! On top of all that, I've been trying to keep the house in some sort of order, but it's much more tempting just to do another couple of rows!
The garden and allotment have also gone mad with all this sunshine and rain. We've had loads of strawberries, the black and redcurrants are laden even with the birds taking their share, and we have apples and plums growing as we speak. At the allotment, our lettuces have doubled in size almost overnight, the early potatoes are almost ready, and the french beans have nearly outgrown their canes!
Unfortunately, we have a naughty fox who likes to dig and tip over the containers in the garden. I'm thinking of putting chilli powder down to discourage him, but if anyone can suggest some other humane fox detterants, please let me know.

Would love to hear how all your gardens are doing.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Coming Up Roses

Just a few pictures from the garden, taken in last week's glorious sunshine. Some of the roses we've bought or brought from our previous house, which I can tell you the names of, the others were already here, so goodness knows what they are! They're still pretty though.

'Rhapsody In Blue', a purple shrub rose

'Ena Harkness', a deep red climber

'Golden Celebrations', a golden yellow shrub rose

'White Cloud', a shy white climber

A cream climber that covers the pergola

Another climber

A rather large pink rose, growing under the apple tree.

Don't forget to take time to smell the roses this week x

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Motivational Speaking 101


Kind of appropriate for me at the moment. After 2 craft fairs in a row at which I failed to sell anything, part of me is ready to throw in the towel. But I'm trying to get in touch with my inner 2-year-old - the one that said no! loudly and repeatedly and refused to give up doing what she wanted to do. Or that tiny little part of me that kept going through countless lessons and 4 driving tests before finally passing at the fifth attempt, aged 23. Or the part that gets on a horse despite feeling sick at memories of a painful fall 12 years ago, the part that made me start jumping again.
The point is that this is something I don't want to give up on - I enjoy doing it and it makes me happy (most of the time). I don't know why I didn't sell anything - maybe it was the location, maybe people don't have the money, maybe I'm just not a saleswoman, but there's always next time.
I'm working on the look of the stall all the time - at the moment I'm trying to think of a good way to display my bags. They currently get laid on the table, but I need some kind of rack to hang them on. It needs to be small enough to stand on a 6ftx3ft table, so if anyone's got any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Friday, 29 May 2009

French Fancies

Well, I promised I would show you my French Fabric Finds, and here they are:

These 3 are blue checks and stripes. The one on the left was just 99c, the dark stripe 1,99E, the pale gingham was also 1,99E

These pretty cottons were 5,99E at metre. The last one has 3 photos because it was extra wide and the design gets more complex as you go across it. I wonder if it's meant for very light weight curtains?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Please Help a Fellow Blogger

Just wanted to let you know that Jayne over at Snapdragon's Garden is looking for people to take a photo of one of her lovely badges and send it to her for her catalogue - you get to keep the badge, provided you'll definitely take a photo.
Jayne is such a lovely person - she offfered to lend me a sewing machine when mine broke down even though we've never met and live at opposite ends of the country!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Devizes Craft Fair 23 May

Don't forget that tomorrow (sat 23rd May) the craft fair in the Corn Exchange, Devizes is on from 9am. I'll be there, along with many other craftspeople. Do pop in and say hello!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

City of Light

I'm back from Paris!

I'm afraid there's no vintage pretties due to lack of funds and lack of confidence in my French skills! I also forgot that you're meant to barter in the flea markets, so I thought everything was too expensive. I did find a great fabric shop (Marche St Pierre) in Montmartre, 5 floors of fabric, at very reasonable prices, even with the poor exchange rate. In fact, Montmartre is the best area for fabric shops - there are loads around there. I did buy a few metres of fabric - I'll show those another time.

Meanwhile, enjoy some pictures of Paris.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Charity Shop Bonanza

Yesterday I went on an impromptu trip to Taunton. Mr R&B was going there for a meeting so I decided to tag along for the ride. We caught the 8.30 train (very sustainable) and arrived at quarter past 9. He went to his meeting and I hit the shops. I easily spent about 3 hours looking around, then I had a coffee. Himself rang to say his meeting had finished, so we met for lunch (an omlette for me and ham, egg and chips for himself). After that we got back on the train and went home.

I've never been to Taunton before and I'm very glad I did - there are about 10 shops along the main shopping road. 1 or 2 aren't so great, but I did find one gem of a shop with sensible prices and no bought-in new goods (chain shops take note!). I probably could have bought more than I did, but I didn't want to go over the top and we're off to Paris next weekend, so there'll be more stuff to come. Here are some of the pretties I found:

A brand new 'Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady' quilt £5. The sales lady said it was still in it's packet when they received it and she'd only put it out that morning. I've no idea where it's going to go, but I'm sure I'll find a home for it.

2 fabric pieces, 50p each. I was amazed to see a box of remnants (I never see fabric in the shops at home) and I nearly missed them, but I heard another customer rummaging.

This little picnic basket, £2.50. Sadly empty of it's contents, but will come in handy for my craft fair table.

This lovely original painting, £10. I wasn't sure whether to buy it or not, but I dragged DH to have a look and he seemed to think it was ok, so I bought it. It really needs a frame, so it won't be going up just yet.

I also bought 2 old Ordnance Survey maps, but those are for the DH for his birthday. He likes looking at old maps!

We've been at the allotment today, digging some more beds. With luck we should be able to get lots of things in over the next few weeks. We've already planted strawberries, a rhubarb crown, runner beans and early potatoes. At home we're growing on courgettes, pumpkins, butternut squash, tomatoes, aubergines, sweetcorn and various other things.

I'll post some pictures another time!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sunday, Sunday....

Well, yesterday was the second of this year's craft fairs in Bath. After last month's miserable showing I wasn't looking forward to it - I didn't sleep much for worrying about it. In the end it turned out pretty well - I was only £7 away from paying for my table. I've yet to see £12 of that as it's for a commission, but fingers crossed it'll all go well.

I've had many a dark moment over the last few months wondering if I'm doing the right thing in trying to get all this going - but yesterday was so encouraging. In just a month, my table looked much more professional, I had carrier bags and I've actually sold some items! Roll on next fair!

Unfortunately I had to turn the job down as I wasn't happy with the contract, but I'll be making the most of the time I've got now. I have loads of ideas for new products - a painted range, novelty cushions and notebooks to name just a few. We're off to Paris in a couple of weeks and I intend to do plenty of 'research' in the flea markets. A few items may also find their way home with me (thank heavens for Eurostar!), which should give me lots more inspiration!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Give a Little Whistle...

As Jiminy Cricket said to Pinocchio 'When you get in trouble and you don't know right from wrong/give a little whistle/give a little whistle'.

This time last week I really wasn't in a good place, but it's suprising what a difference a week can make. I'd just finished an assignment and I didn't have a job to go to, I didn't really know where I was going with either Rose&Bird or Partylite and I was extemely worried about money.

But today, things are looking up - I was offered another assignment starting next week which will leave me with 2 full days a week to dedicate to my own projects and I'll have some money!

I've also found my creative side again, and I'm working on several new lines to take to the craft fair on Saturday. Pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Everything must go!

I need to make some space (and some money!), so I'm having a grand bazaar of shop stock. Please take a look at the items available and make me an offer on anything you fancy (except the quilts) through the blog.

Many thanks

Monday, 13 April 2009

Sunny Days

Haven't had much time for crafting or blogging recently - the allotment has been a hot-bed of activity since Friday. After a few hiccups, with Mr R&B's Argos special drill not being up to the task - the base of the shed was finally completed. Saturday saw the walls and roof going on, with the felt and window being completed yesterday. I spent today painting the shed blue - everyone else has brown or green, but I've always got to be different to the rest!
I'm sure there'll be a few friendly mutters from the old-timers - but who cares?

I pointed out the other day that allotment holders are much like their plants - you don't see them all winter, then the first bit of sunshine and they're out, digging and planting for the coming year.

We got our overgrown plot at the end of February and in just a few weeks, it's starting to look like a proper allotment. We were quite lucky as the council got contractors in to clear a lot of the rubbish and turn the plots over, but we still have a way to go.

We plan to get the potatoes in shortly and then start planting out everything that's growing on at home. Our dining table looks like Kew Gardens at the moment!

What was I thinking?
Feb '09

'Hmm, napalm or flame-thrower?' March '09
(rare appearance by yours truly)

Today (13 Apr '09)

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Quick Reminder


Just a quick one to remind you that it's the monthly Craft Fair in St Michael's Church, Bath this Saturday (eeeeekk!)

I've been alternating sewing, swearing at the machine, stuffing birdies and moments of panic that I may not be ready, but I'm now on the home straight!
I felt quite queasy at the thought last night, but I'm actually quite looking forward to it and to quote Doris Day 'que sera, sera'!

Hoping I'll see some of you there, please do say hello!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

On The Road Again

('Village Fete' by Roger Dellar,

Thought it was high time to let you know which craft fairs I'll be attending this year. The first is Crafts In The Crypt at St Michael's Church in Bath on the 4th April from 9.00 - 5.00.

2nd St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm
23rd Corn Exchange, Devizes. 10am to 4pm
30th Town Hall, Marlborough. 10am to 4pm

6th St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm

4th St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm

22nd Corn Exchange, Devizes. 10am to 4pm

5th St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm
26th Town Hall, Marlborough. 10am to 4pm

3rd St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm

7th St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm
21st Corn Exchange, Devizes. 10am to 4pm

28th St Michael's Church Crypt, Broad St, Bath. 9am to 5pm

5th Town Hall, Marlborough. 10am to 4pm

Further details can be found at Apple Tree Craft Fairs

Do say hello if you're visiting any of these events - my stall will also be 'Rose & Bird'. Look forward to meeting some of you.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Wot, No Posts?!

Gosh, I've just realised that it's been over a month since I last posted!

I make no apologies - this is my blog and I do have (or try to have) a life away from the computer! I've had some real ups and downs recently - I've really been questioning what I do and whether I should just stay as an office drone rather than try to strike out by myself. I really don't know if I'm going to be ready for my first craft fair in April, but I'm going to give it a bloody good go!

My mum has been staying for a couple of days and it's always good to spend time with her and just talk - she is the most grounded person I know and makes me feel a lot more positive about everything. We had a lovely trip to Bath yesterday and I saw the place through new eyes - we explored some of the streets off the main drag that I hadn't actually been to before. I also found a fantastic costume jewellery shop in the Guildhall market area - I've been in there several times and never seen it before even though the lady has been there 4 years! As money is tight at the moment, I just bought 2 little porcelain flower brooches from the bargain basket at 50p each.

Sometimes you just need to slow down and take stock - you often end up seeing things in a completely different light. I feel a lot more positive about things at the moment. The fantastic weather has also helped - birds are singing and nesting, flowers are appearing and spring is definitely nearly upon us.

On a sadder note, the ongoing problem with a would-be developer cutting down protected trees at the back of our house has reared it's ugly head again. The chain saws started up again on Saturday morning and straight away our Councillor and the 'action group' were mobilised.
To cut a long story short, land at the back of our house and some of our neighbours was sold to a developer who put in for planning permission for 21 flats. it was refused on various grounds and part of the land was designated as an area of nature conservation and a tree presevation order passed. We (the residents) believe that the developer is trying to pave the way to getting planning permission through poor management of the woodland - thereby rendering the TPO ineffective. I'm not normally a person to get involved in these things, but this is an important issue - we have few green spaces left in the locality and this particular space has significant biodiversity.

Sometimes you just have to fight for what you believe in!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Letter From (or to?) America (and Canada, Australia and Europe too)

Just a quick note to let all my overseas readers know that I'm now offering shipping from my store Rose&Bird to Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. (Don't forget to contact me for a shipping quote before placing you order).

I really hope you'll enjoy browsing my products for sale. I have lots of exciting new handmade goodies coming over the next few weeks (just as soon as I get that machine fixed).

I'll also be on the road during the Spring, so if you're visiting any of the fairs I'm attending (alerts nearer the time), do drop by and say hello!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Technical Errors

I sat down at my sewing machine today to try and bring you some fantastic handmade creations, only to find that it's been in touch with it's union and is now on strike! It appears to be demanding healthcare benefits as it's not been serviced since I bought it about 9 years ago. Who knew domestic appliances were unionised?

In actual fact, it appears to be a tensioning issue that I can't resolve. Despite a phonecall to my technical advisor (my Mum, in Bournemouth), the issue appears to be terminal and it will have to go to the machine hospital down the road. Annoyingly, my other machine is also playing up, despite being serviced just after I received it from Freecycle last summer. Sadly, I'll have to pull out of the Feb flea market as I don't have the money to fix them or the time to make enough things before the day.

In better news, we're about to take on an allotment. While for many people the waiting list is as long as your arm, we were only on the list for about a month before we were invited to have look at the site last Saturday. We're just waiting for our tenancy agreement to come through so we can get a key. We've had no post since Wednesday due to the Royal Mail cancelling deliveries here because of the snow.

A frustrating time all round!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Shop Local(ish)


Having done our weeks' shopping in the local high street today, I though I would share with you a few other small shops I can thoroughly recommend.

The first is Beyond France Vintage Linens, so-called because they source their products from around Europe, particularly Hungary and Romania. Excellent products, a good range of prices and fantastic service. Top tip for crafters - check out the clearance linens section for damaged items that can be remade into your own treasures.

The next is Palatial Lace Interiors, who can be found on ebay. They mainly sell lace curtains, but also often have a selection of vintage fabric remnants and larger pieces. Again, great products and fantastic service.

My final tip for this post is A H Naylor Textiles, again on ebay. They sell a range of new interior fabrics, particularly Globaltex and Prestigious textiles. Excellent prices and brilliant service too!

Friday, 30 January 2009

And The Winner Is..........

The name drawn from the vintage flower hat was..............


Let me know your address and I'll send them out to you post-haste!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I'd Like To Thank..........

I've received my first blog award from No danger of tear-stained Kate Winslet style acceptance speeches here, just a short and sweet thank you!

The authors say that blogs who receive this award are exceedingly charming. This blog invests in proximity in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be new friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandisement. Our hope is that when ribbons of these awards are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give your kind attention to these writers.”

A condition of the award is to pass it on to 8 other blogs. I've read so many blogs by so many lovely people, it's hard to choose just 8, although a number of you have already received this award. I'd just like to say it's been great taking a peek at all your lives and talents!

The 'winners' are:

The Washerwoman

Nostalgia At The Stonehouse

A Thrifty Mrs

Country Heart and Home

Country Cottage Chic

Snapdragon's Garden

Jane and the Happy Crow

Things Handmade

Monday, 26 January 2009


This is my first giveaway! Angels aren't really my thing, so I'd love to pass these two on to a good home.
If you'd like to be in with a chance, please leave a comment below and/or click to become a follower. I'll draw names on Friday. Good luck everybody.

The Floral Dance

As flowers seem to be a major theme in my home, I thought I would share some of them with you. Some are thrifted, some are not - but all are definitely floral:

Monday, 19 January 2009

All Systems Go

Many apologies for the previous post - I'm afraid that was not a good day for me. I know everyone has their bad times and I really shouldn't moan - there are so many people so much worse off than I am. In some ways, I'm almost thankful that the only things I was worrying about was how to get people buying non-essential items from me as well as someone else.

I've now decided to take the plunge and have a stall at the Shepton Mallett Flea Market - somewhat scary, but I'm sure I can cope - I've survived a few car boot sales in my time and at least this is inside! I'm also going to sign up for craft fairs to be held in Bath, Marlborough and Devizes throughout the year - so watch this space!

This is a selection of the things I'll be taking with me, which are also available currently on my website:

PS - I have one favour to ask of you folks - if you regularly read my blog, please would you consider clicking the 'Follow this Blog' option - it's about half-way down the page, above the list of blogs I follow. Many thanks x