Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Autumn's inspirations

Have just gone out in the glorious sunshine to give the pigs water, and found them having a siesta against the wall.  Could have curled up and joined them!  Tried to photograph them, but Ginger wisened up, thinking I was bringing food!  The garden feels at the end of it's abundance and we are thankfully coming to the end of the courgettes!  Have harvested our giant pumpkins which the girls are delighted about.  Can't wait to see our garden lit up by halloween faces.

We're eating lots of pumpkin soup, cup cakes and anything else pumpkin related!  If anyone has any other ideas please would you let me know?!  At the same time I've been painting furniture, decoupaging and cushion making at the wonderful Texworks in Melksham.  Getting ready for fairs and sourcing some items for friends.

Talking of fairs I haven't got round to my thoughts about the Vintage and Handmade fair in Chipping Sodbury on 1st October.  This was my first time, having heard so much about it and having sampled the delights of the Vintage Jumble Sale at Rangeworthy as a taster.

It was fabulous and very inspiring and found my self still there at 4pm!  From Liz van Hassault's beautiful fabrics, quirky and interesting treasures, to Katie Powell's decoupaged boxes displaying wonderful cups and saucers and baskets of fabric, funky knitted ties and belts.  I loved Cowboy and Custard's dear little toy dogs, could happily have gone home with the little westie.  I came home with some fabulous retro fabric from Edwin Dyson and also 1950s inspired fabric for cushions.  Philippa Bowes supplied me with one of her fabulous dresses, edged with lace and quirky patchwork.  I'm always happy to see Fanny Adams liberty lined cardies too and a luxurious retro shirt lined with beautiful bright green ribbon.

Am now finding new things for V&A at Green Park station, Bath on 27th November and Frome Flea on 4th December, including things for Christmas too.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Brocante - 24th September 2011 - Alice Park, Bath

It was a little more autumnal setting up this time, although once Steve and Ivan Weekes had put up their fantastic army dining tent and they and other stallholders arrived with their fabulous antiques/textiles, the cafe and surroundings came alive with colour, texture and temptations.  A fabulous bust of Marilyn presided over pretty French plates and textiles, quirky prints and mirrors.  Steve and Gabi Wakefield's fabulous textiles including smocks and an unusual crotched blanket and Olivia Hyman's charcoal drawings of Bath (which had incredible atmosphere) were a welcome addition.  As were Helen Roskell's beautiful and eclectic textiles interspersed with bags and other decorative items, including a quirky light green ferret box.  Was very tempted to buy for my husband who used to keep them!

The sun did come out and so did shoppers, including regular customers, picnicers from as far as Cheltenham and a couple of enthusiastic friends from Tetbury.  There were also enquiries from dealers interested in taking space at the next Brocante on Saturday 12th March 2012.  It was great to see Eirlys Penn from Scrapiana for her enthusiasm and advice. Have a look at her fabulous blog for her description of the day.

I look forward to seeing you all at next year's Brocantes, with even more stallholders and variety.  With the possible addition of wine tasting and goats cheese!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Just to whet your appetite for the Brocante tomorrow.....

Just a few pics of what will be available at the Bath Brocante tomorrow!  Come and join us at Alice Park Cafe, Lower Swainswick, Bath from 10am until 4pm and have a delicious steaming cappuccino in Alice Park Cafe whilst enjoying the diverse and interesting range of decorative antiques, textiles and upcyled clothes and bags.  Even the weather promises to be good!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Now the holidays are over and the children are back to school, there is the excitement of the second Brocante at Alice Park on the 24th September which is fast approaching.  We just need an Indian summer to arrive on the tail of hurricane Katia!  Three of the original dealers will be coming, and some new dealers including Steve Wakefield who has a gite and sells Brocante.  Come and join us to discover new and quirky finds for your home, or dare I say it for unusual and useful presents for Christmas.

I have been thinking about our recent holiday in Skopelos, one of the Sporades islands which I found incredibly inspiring and relaxing in equal proportions.  As well as being the Mama Mia island, it is very unspoilt and we were very aware of the island's traditions (probably upheld for generations), as we saw in the goat herder arriving on his mules and sitting under the poplar trees when not herding his goats, the beautiful monasteries full of beautiful icons and charminly painted interiors.  We visited the Skopelos folklore museum which was full of treasures, including incredible antique textiles, and clothes, exquisitely embroidered.  The traditional wedding dresses were stunning with skirts in floral folk design and smocks edged with lace, as well as colourful embroidered shoes.

We heard the bell of the beautful 17th century church and house just above our villa and went to invesigate.  The family how own it celebrate Marina day on the 17th July.  In Greece naming days are more important than their actual birthdays and many Greeks celebrate by going to church followed by a celebration.  I can just imagine lotsw of people crammed into the candlelit church, the Priest chanting and afterwards everyone  drinking and eating in and outside the little house.  This was decorated with lace and other beautiful  ceramics and glasses, as well as rugs draped over chairs and on the floor.  This was very reminiscent of the Romanian houses I saw and stayed in in Moldavia.
The Greek family who were so welcoming showed me the lace table cloths (made by their ancestors) and the wooden boxes full of pretty little cups, saucers and glasses used for the occasion.  They would have been perfect for the Brocante!

Need to go and find all the beautful cups and saucers and bowls that I have ready to take to my Brocante.  I am particularly thrilled having found a beautiful tea service at the Talent for Textiles fair at the American museum and two unusual Alfred Meakin jugs from the giant Flea market at Bath Racecourse.  Come and See!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Bath V&A fair, Green Park, Bath

I was delighted to actually do the Bath V&A fair, having set up my Brocante at the same time as Naomi was setting this up.  It was a great venue, with a real market feel to it.  It was light and airy with much hustle and bustle and dealers selling interesting things.  Notably Sue Stokes as ever, Ken Howarth from Decorative Details with their wonderful cushions covered in French fabrics and painted furniture and chairs etc  I almost felt as if I was walking into a room, as it was so beautifully set out.  Victoria Burton from Puce and Co had some fabulous Brocante too.  You can see my leanings towards the Brocante for inspiration!  I bought a beautiful beaded sash from Susie Needham that had come from a 1920s dress, and admired her vintage clothes and fabulous retro lobster print material.  She can be found at the Talent for Textiles fair at the American Museum on Thursday 1st September, which I am greatly looking forward to.  Kirsty McLatchie had an interesting selection of more modern Brocante finds, with some fabulous industrial lights.  I was very grateful to Janine Payne from Retropots who inspired me to read more about retro ceramics and also gave great advice about tweeting.  I sold well and met some interested and friendly buyers, as well as spreading the word about the next Brocante.  Glad to catch up with Catherine Stokes too with her beautiful vintage china and cakes, only sorry I didn't get to taste one.  I'll have to wait for her next secret tea party.  Think Naomi did a fantastic job and would definitely do it again.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Am very excited after visit to Texworks in Melksham earlier this month.  This is an incredible and progressive upcycling venture set up by Steve Weekes, who runs sewing workshops and drop in sessions where she gives people a chance to give old clothes (from modern to vintage) a new lease of life.  Steve has created an incredibly friendly and inspiring atmosphere, and as I drank my coffee I chatted to the women who were there about what they were creating.  One lady was making a mac from some vintage curtains, another a cushion from pretty gingham remnants.  I look forward to participating in September.  I the meantime you can contact Steve  Otherwise you can see her and learn more, and see some of her beautiful upcycled items at the Brocante on the 24th September.

The Next Brocante - 24th September 2011

Following an extremely successful first Brocante in Alice Park on the 11th June, the next Brocante will be in Alice Park, Lower Swainswick on Saturday 24th June, from 10am til 4pm.  We hope to have glorious weather as we did at the last one, and a touch of Boules and Pastisse to add to the atmosphere!
To date we have Charlotte and Adam Calkin back again selling their beautiful and unusual antiques and textiles.  (I bought a fabulous campaign stretcher from them which has become a regular feature in our garden, and will hopefully be used in our bell tent camping this weekend).  Sue Stokes who sells stunning antiques and textiles, quite a lot of them French and quirky, will be joining us again too.
I am thrilled to have some new dealers on board too.  Helen Roskell who sells antique and vintage textiles, accessories and small decorative collectables is taking space.  I met Helen recently at Mrs Baer's "Talent for Textiles" fair in Bradford on Avon where she had a delightful stall. 
Other dealers are interested and I'm awaiting confirmation from a few.  I hope to have 12 in total.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

First Bath Brocante - 11th June 2011

After the torrential rain the evening before, which I had spend trying to find extra gazeebos in my road, I was relieved to wake up to a beautiful day.  As I arrived at Alice Park, surprisingly calmly!, Serena Simpson, a friend and dealer had already set up and created a wonderful start and beautiful backdrop made from vintage fabric,with her wares on and surrounding.  I recently found out from a Mum who's daughter swims with my daughter that she had bought a stunning painted cupboard from her.  The vintage tent was beginning to be put up, and a lady showed some interest in my decoupaged cupboard as she walked her dog.  The park was really beginning to come alive and people seemed to be arriving to walk, play tennis, set up stalls and to open up the cafe.  I was needing to smell the caffeine at this stage!  In all there were eight dealers selling an exciting mix of decorative and retro antiques, vintage and antique textiles and clothes as well as beautiful dried herb garlands.  There were rows of beautiful vintage clothes arriving, including a very theatrical striped skirt and ruffled shirt, reminiscent of early circus acts portrayed in Fellini films.  I tried on a beautiful 1940s black floral dress that I was lucky to be able to wear for most of the morning, and indeed managed to find its way into my cupboard!  There seemed to be a steady flow of people arriving and the cafe seemed to fill up quickly, creating a wonderful and very French atmosphere.