Sunday, 5 October 2014

Autumn's Bounty

It's been an ordinary sort of week, work, odd jobs, housework, oh and a couple of finds.  Yesterday I had to visit Argos, the hoover was not firing on all cylinders shall we say and a replacement was urgently needed. An hour later the new model was sucking up like a.... sycophant (?) and boy did I need it!  Judging by the amount of filth and cat hair in the dust container, the efficacy of my previous vac must have been about 5%.  One thing's certain, I'm never going to be asthmatic if I can withstand that amount of muck.  How shameful!  Anyway enough about domestic appliances and onto my latest make for this week's Less Is More challenge where the brief is Autumn's Bounty

Items used:
Stampin' Up image
sentiment by Hero Arts
various marker pens and ink pads
clear embossing powder
household bleach

You might wonder why I made an xmas card.  I need xmas cards so this is another one for my stash and fir cones are part of autumn's bounty aren't they?  LIM ladies, if you disagree feel free to disqualify me.
Also linking to Stamplorations - Stamping and Embossing challenge.
                                 Time Out challenge - Stamping (with a twist)

All this talk of autumn's bounty brings to mind my latest charity shop find...

70's frock, very Abigail's Party don'tcha think? hospice chazza £3

....and yesterday's jumble sale bargain

picture (bought for frame) £2

I had my French film poster in mind when I saw this frame although I had no idea if it was the right size, I took a punt as it was so cheap.  By an amazing coincidence the frame is perfect for it so I'm very happy indeed.  Quelle Chance!

All this waffling on won't get the lawns mowed will it?  This little fella joined me in the garden earlier this week, I wonder if he'll be back today?

Monday, 29 September 2014

Watch The Birdie

Another weekend another card.  This one is my entry for Sweet Stampin' Challenge where the request is for men's cards.... how timely, it's my brother's birthday next weekend.  

(oops - didn't realise this side shot has revealed the sticky fixers but no time to take another)

Items used - circle spellbinder dies for dry embossing & cutting frame
card and acetate from stash
Stampin' Up  edge punch
sentiments-PB and Hero Arts

I'm also linking to Brown Sugar - Anything Goes and Simon Says - Anything Goes

I wanted to feature a camera on this card as my brother is a keen and talented photographer, in fact he's recently had his snap of Brighton Pier published in the August edition of Sussex Life, you can see it here.  Unusually for me there's very little stamping on this card just the sentiments on the front and insert.  I don't mind admitting that I find men's cards a pain in the arse and nearly resorted to buying one.

It was a busy weekend which commenced with a gut-busting full English at The Caff followed by hedge cutting, dividing perennials, hanging dusty drawers in the living room and coat hooks and saucepan rack in my craft room.  Look away Emma Kate, I did not countersink the screws or fill the holes with wood filler....they are visible!
(although not very, in this photo)


 What did you get up to at the weekend?  Do tell.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Denbies, dahlias...oh and a card too

I'd almost forgotten that my space in the blogosphere started life as a craft blog, it's been so long since I posted anything crafty.  But with xmas rapidly approaching I've been making a few simple cards now and again so with this in mind here's my entry for the following challenges.  

Less Is More - Let's Face the Music and Dance
Sweet Stamping - Ribbons and Bows   

Items used
Penny Black music stamp circa 2000
Stampin Up sentiment (not keen on this but the size was right)
Xcut heart die
Antique Linen DI, Satin Red and Vintage Sepia Versafine
Red marker pen
Bakers twine
Hougie board for scoring frame

Another thing I knocked up this week was my Poundland tea towel cushion cover....ta dah!

The tea towel isn't really big enough and I should have backed it with a different fabric but I'm too impatient for that and pushed on with a where there's a will there's a way attitude.  OK, it's not brilliant but it sort of works, it'll be covered in cat hair in a week anyway.

On Friday I took Dad to Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking for a tour of the vineyard. It was a belated birthday present and I have to say it was a bloody good one. The tour around the vineyard was accompanied by an extremely interesting commentary about the vines, the permaculture and climate. Also, info from our guide about the surrounding area.... Box Hill, of which, on a clear day there would have been outstanding views, but sod's law it was very misty when we visited. Apparently John Logie Baird lived high up on the hill and used to send test signals to his mate in the town below. The ticket price included a snifter too, a glass of their very acceptable sparkling wine.


Another fabulous place I visited this weekend is Withypitts Dahlias which I read about in Sussex Life.  As it's only down the road from me in Turners Hill I popped down there with my camera, unfortunately it was overcast.

If you're in the area it's well worth a visit, the blooms are stunning, the proprietor told me that they supply Covent Garden market with a choice selection twice a week.

I've just read that red is back in fashion this winter...oh the relief!


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Dusty Drawers

I went to Ardingly Antiques Fair recently where BBC1's Bargain Hunt was being filmed.
You know, it's presented by that Tim Wonnacott bloke....who incidentally must live round here as I've seen him in our butchers.  Anyways as usual at these sort of places, I forgot to take many pictures, in fact I took only two and unwittingly there was a bum theme.

What does that say about me?   I daresay you'll draw your own conclusions.

I didn't buy much but enjoyed chatting to the stallholders and discussing their wares.
I even bagged myself a freebie coat hook from a very nice man who sold my friend Juliette a wooden tea trolley.

I also came home with these knackered and dusty old drawers which I bought for a few quid with the intention of hanging on the wall as they do in those trendy interiors shows.  I'll fill them with crap carefully selected pieces and my Portuguese cock.

Oh yeah, didn't I mention?  I've just returned from a few days on the sun soaked Algarve.
Only my third trip abroad this year... I'm making up for the five years that I didn't have one holiday.
This was my first time to Portugal, I stayed in the historic maritime town of Lagos in a villa owned by my friend, we had a fine time eating sardines, drinking sangria, seeing the sights and lapping up the rays.

Beautiful ceramic tiles cover surfaces everywhere.

This stunning mural sits behind the altar in the church of Santa Maria

Lagos was the gateway for the first African slaves into post-medieval Europe, the slave market above goes back to 1444.  Thought provoking facts I think you'll agree.

Now back in Blighty, I finally got round to ironing some clobber I recently bought at my first vintage kilo sale which is held monthly in a Worthing warehouse.  I did quite well although I think a couple of items are 'vintage style' rather than the real deal as they look unworn. That's OK I'm no purist.

clockwise from left - home made maxi, denim skirt, striped shirt, cheesecloth shirt,
groovy patterned blouse. 

At £15 per kilo (there's just over a kilo here) I finally found some sensibly priced vintage
 'down South'....think I'll be making a return visit next month.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Beaucoup de Bargains

French junk is trés chic, n'est pas?  And what with all the telly programmes of late showing us what and how to buy over there I was dying to see what I could score without spending too much dosh, whilst on my recent holiday.  I googled the local tourist office before leaving home to see if there were any flea markets in our area while we were there, but didn't have much luck with that.  However, upon arrival into the area I spied a Brocante, so one day when the weather wasn't all that, we headed off.  Major disappointment... it was so expensive!  I had my eye on a pastis bottle but the price at this establishment was  €19. What???  The shop owner, a miserable bastard saw my camera, put his palm in my face and said 'Non!'.  I still had the lens cap on!  Suffice to say we did not stop long.  Fortunately I'd also asked the local bar owner if there were any junky type Brocantes nearby and she recommended this place. 

After M'sieur Grumpy Bollocks Thierry was an absolute delight.  A very affable chap who, when asked if it was OK to take pictures, stretched his arms wide and replied 'bien sûr'.

Thierry's was a veritable Aladdin's cave with stuff in several outbuildings and canvas awnings.

If religious statuary is your thing, there's loads of it knocking about in France.

Here's what I bought.
two glasses, embroidered table runner, wooden peg rail, religious statue- €10 the lot.

 I didn't have the heart to haggle as he was such a nice bloke and I thought €10 was reasonable.  The next day we were up early and off to a couple of Vide Greniers I'd seen advertised earlier in the week, where I managed to snaffle a rustic saucepan rack/shelf and a lovely pastis bottle for 50 centimes!
( The glass was an early birthday present from my brother and SIL.)

More glasses were bought at a Brocante event at St Cyr en Talmondais, a neighbouring village
together with a rusty pitchfork head, that I've yet to find a home for
set of glasses and fork - €1 each

.....and a few more bits besides.


The day before we came home I dragged Dad back to Thierry's, bought more glasses and this fabulous 1972 film poster, total cost €5.

So buying in France doesn't have to be expensive, there are bargains to be found, you have to keep looking......I reckon rural areas are better.  Any of you have tips for vintage shopping in France?
 Me, I can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

En Vacances Episode 2

Just three short weeks ago whilst enjoying the French sunshine, we took advantage of the lovely long days and did a fair bit of sight-seeing.  First up was Bourgenay, a bittersweet visit as we had camped here in the 70's and have wonderful memories of those times but I knew that it had changed drastically.   Driving into the village, now renamed Port Bourgenay due to the massive new marina, I couldn't believe what I saw.  An abundance of ghastly pastel coloured holiday complexes, I could have been in Florida!  Thankfully Camping L'Esperance has hardly changed and is now a municipal site. In the 70's it was run by the nuns from the Convent opposite which although also still unchanged looks very incongruous sat amongst neapolitan ice cream coloured monstrosities, which I purposely avoided in this snap.

On the way back through Talmont St Hilaire Dad was keen to stop at the motor museum.

Not really my tasse de the but actually I found it quite interesting.  There were several vehicles dating from the late 1800's and many more stunning later models, including...

OK, not stunning exactly but I had to include it didn't I ? It's a French motoring icon and I drove one for ten years... Of all the cars I have owned, the 2CV was my favourite.

Another icon, the Citroen DS, in my opinion the sexiest car ever.

...and check out this beast of a car which raced around the tracks of Le Mans in the fifties.

Later on in the week we visited Les Sables D'Olonne, home of the Vendee Globe


 where walking along the prom amongst the thousands of holidaymakers,

I bumped into my old friend Libby... how incredible was that? 
Unfortunately we were so busy gassing I forgot to get a photo.

Coulon was also on our agenda, sometimes referred to as Le Venise Verte of the Marais Poitevin
 due to the miles of canals and waterways in this area.

Wandering around the village we came across this clutch of Mobylettes, which evoked more memories... bombing around the French countryside on the back of one of these as a carefree teenager. No crash helmets in those days...oh the freedom.

This little town of Mareuil-sur-Lay was recommended for a visit

and so we did, very picturesque it was too.

Lucon was our nearest town and it was here I stopped at the tourist info centre to enquire whether there was anywhere I could buy a ball of wool...(I was on the home stretch of the crochet and sod's law I was a tiny bit short.)  Happily the lady receptionist understood me and directed me to a wool shop down the road where I managed to get a near perfect colour match.

Outside were a number of quirky vehicles planted up with various shrubs and trees. 

Lucon's cathedral spire is a landmark for miles around and behind it are Les Halles
 where the bustling food markets take place twice a week.

 One of the main attractions of a holiday in France was, for me, the chance to go rummaging at the Brocantes and Vide Greniers...but if you want to see what I bought there you'll have to come back soon.