Friday, 24 February 2012

Meet Norman

 This is Norman,he belongs to a customer of mine who lives down the road from my shop.
Norman is a cheeky character who likes to push his luck on many levels most of which involve breaking the rules.

We first met last Summer when I had this wonderful French bed in the shop.

Norman LOVED this bed and, since I kept the shop door open in the Summer, he took every opportunity to sneak in and make a bee line for the sumptuous bedding, in particular, the antique French hand croche throw. 
Of course I wasn't going to put up with this and the Human v Feline war had began.
 The battles went on with neither side surrendering.
One day,however, the winning blow was dealt in the form of a grain sack cushion; the target being Norman's bum.
I looked on as Norman flew out of the shop dragging his bruised pride behind him.
It took nine months but eventually Norman decided to bury the hatchet and came over to forgive me.
Well, thats the version I'd prefer to believe as the truth is probably closer to the fact that his addiction to my shop had the better of him and he just could not help trying the old slipping in trick.

Today the cold war came to an end as I extended the blanket of friendship and Norman kept me company till closing time when upon the strike of 5 he strolled off back to his residence like a prodigal son.
On a different note...
Do you ever have these days when you start getting things done; ticking off your 'TO DO' list and suddenly you realise that a vital part you need to continue your project is buried somewhere in the garage. So,fuelled by the urge to complete the task, you dive into the abyss of collected 'collectables'; things you store in case they come in handy; things that have some kind of emotional hold on you; junk!
I'm a hoarder, there's no denying it.
Well,that was me on Monday when I needed a hammer to put some pictures up. I thought that having them propped up against the wall on the floor for the past 18 months was long enough.
After about 20 minutes of throwing things around and swearing like a trooper I gave up on the hammer but was pleased to stumble across my long lost paint sample pots from The Little Greene Company.
I was so exited. I rushed back inside and, like a woman possessed, I started painting anything that stood still long enough.
One of my first victims was this antique French metal wash stand which I brought in to use as a temporary dressing table.

 I could only bring myself to paint the inside of the two little drawers. I love the very distressed original grey paint on the exterior of this stand. It would have some wonderful stories to tell if it could talk, like where has its top gone? It was most likely made of a lovely piece of marble which was damaged at some stage. What a shame.
On my journey through the depths of the garage I came across a bathroom mirror which is doubling up as a top until I find the right replacement. 

The marble shelf may be original, I'm not sure, but the ceramic soap dish attached to it is most definitely not.It works well as a jewellery hold though.

My next target was a vintage letter rack. I had already painted and aged it, giving it a lovely, neutral and 'safe' look with Farrow and Ball's Skimming Stone and Hardwick White.
I was on a mission though and after a coat of the newly found turquoise paint, the rack gained a bit of an attitude.

I was a whirl wind, a tornado with a paint brush; I was on a roll and heading for a long forgotten barley twist side table. Its dark stain gave it a sad and heavy appearance and I was about to change it,pronto !!!
Unfortunately, in  my painting frenzy, I forgot to take those all important before & after photos. So, what you see below is the end effect of 3 layers of paint; TROPEZ BLUE followed by MISCHIEF both by The Little Greene Company and topped with a coat of  COUNTRY CREAM by Annie Sloane.
What do you think? Should I add it to my ever growing stock in the shop? Will there be any interest? I'll let you know.

well, got to go, its my birthday today and my dear friend E has just joined me in the shop bringing lots of goodies and a home made white chocolate and raspberry cake so,you must understand, I have my priorities!

 Wishing you all a fabulous weekend flooded with sunshine.

Friday, 17 February 2012

This time last week.

Just a quick note a week on from the snowy Friday when, having to pick some milk up, I decided to take a walk through Bourton-on-the-Water. 
Its one of the most enchanting places when dusted with the white stuff.
It'll take more than snow to stop these cafes from opening.
In fact,there seems to be a distinct denial of the season.

After coming home I caved into their emotional blackmail and took   Benny and Liam out for their walk.
This is Benny. He's the last one out of 4 rescues we had for 15 years. Now 16 he's very wobbly but still eager to go out for a sniff-around.
Liam doing just that and...
...keeping a lookout.
Well, I did say that this will be a quick, or rather a short post so let me sign off with a little touch of blue.

Till next time.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Love is in the air...

In today's world of war, turmoil and hatred its easy to succumb to the notion that romance is dead.
Every year, however, we're reminded that its very much alive although slightly more tainted by commercialism.

 These beautiful works of art originate from India. They are exquisitely hand painted on Alabaster tiles, depicting scenes of courtship,love and romance in the Mogul empire.
I had both of them in my shop, hanging by the door, directly in front of my desk where I could see them shimmering in diffused daylight.
My intention was to take them home when I found something equally stunning to replace them with.
A lady walked in one day. She looked some what anxious and a little desperate. She floated round the shop like a trapped, confused butterfly, not quite comfortable in settling on any of the available items on sale.
" Is there anything I can help you with?" I asked.
The look in her eyes told a story of love, passion, pain, loss, loyalty and gratitude, but above all it was her quivering voice that betrayed a deep rooted,albeit emotional, romantic inside her. 
" It's our anniversary and I wanted to buy my husband something special; something to show my gratitude for all his love and devotion throughout all these years"
There was a sound of finality in her voice which discharged a sense of sadness and pity on my part. 
I cannot explain exactly what made me do it but I found myself staring at the Mogul paintings. The emotions in them are almost tangible. One feels like a voyeur privy to a secret lovers's meeting where vows of unwavering love, devotion and loyalty are exchanged without hesitation.
" These are PERFECT !" she said as she caught the objects of my attention in her sight.
Her eyes light up and her voice resonated with a melodic sound of hope.

Although at the time it was heart wrenching parting  with either one of these pictures, my reward was her beaming smile and the warm look she gave me as she left the shop tightly gripping her 'Golden Fleece'.

I have since found out that she died shortly after and that the picture was her parting gift to the man she loved.
You may think that this is rather a poignant story but to me it shows that, even in our darkest hour,love can be the lasting mark we leave on this world.

 I made a whole series of Valentine cards from hand made rag paper and wrote some of my favourite quotes on them. 

When you make things of personal value, you will notice them everywhere.Mine are hearts.
Just a few things thrown together in a Valentine theme.

This is not a very good photo as I had to reduce quality to fit into the blog. 
Its a little heart shaped ramekin I filled with roses and dressed with moss; was bought by a gentleman who bumped into his old flame.Sounds like they picked up where they left off.
  a beautifully fragrant flower placed on a bed side table,
 or just a romantic walk  amongst nature's wonders.
It would be nice to hear  how you spent your Valentine's Day so get in touch and reassure me that romance is not dead. 

Whatever you embark on, I wish you Love.