Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Read All About It

Just dropping by with one last, very simple card made at the weekend for this week's Less Is More challenge, where the brief is newsprint.  

Items used
page from an Italian book 
Shabby Shutters DI 
Pear Tart Memento Ink
Crafts Too embossing folder
card and button from my stash.

I say one last card as this will be my final post for a while, I'm taking a blogging sabbatical.
I've been feeling ambivalent towards my blog lately, while it started life as a vehicle for me to enter card challenges, it has evolved into something a bit different and largely it's purpose now is recording my life.  It's a useful tool to mark events and everyday happenings also, which I like to look back at. But everyday happenings are not terribly exciting ....people don't want to hear about my blocked gutters and knackered oven do they?  I struggle to write about stuff when life is...well, just ordinary and I don't want it to feel like a chore.  So I'm taking a break for a few weeks, possibly months, in the hope that a hiatus will give me the impetus and renewed enthusiasm that I feel I am in need of.  I shall still be coming by to see all of you of course, I'm far too nosy to give that up!  Big thanks to all of you out there for reading so far,  I hope you'll all hang in there with me but guess that's a risk I'll have to take.

Ciao for now

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Wonder Walsall

With train tickets booked, ditto hotel, it was off to Walsall I went.  Saturday saw the long awaited Bloggers Day Out, hosted by Vix in her Black Country home town.   She arrived bright and early at the Premier Inn (excellent btw if you're thinking of a stay in Walsall) and we headed off to the station to meet Lyndsey, Curtise, Annie and Em.  Shortly afterwards Gisela, Tania and her friend Vanessa arrived and once fortified by Costa we marched off to the now legendary Second To None for a secondhand shopping experience like no other.

Inside was a veritable treasure trove of vintage vetements, the like of which I'd never seen before. The shop is packed to the gunwales with garments from Victorian times to the 80's and just when I thought we'd rummaged through it all we found another two rooms with rails crammed full of yesteryear's clobber and all at a reasonable price too.

Time flew as we delved through the rails and tried on frocks, skirts, bikini!- to enhance the experience our kindly hostess thoughtfully provided us with a lovely libation.  Two hours later here we all are, exceedingly satisfied with our purchases.

L-R Vix, Vanessa, Tania, Curtise, Gisela, Emma, Lyndsey and Annie

Next stop was Wetherspoons for lunch.  A grand building, St Matthew's Hall was once Walsall's library, the bookshelves now providing an attractive backdrop for more snaps.


These wonderful women agreed to a close-up, here's Em with her great skin... and nails, glorious redhead Curtise and sparkletastic Tania. Thanks girls.

After the best value lunch ever we hit the charity shops...

... the trimmings stall at the market, the old fashioned sweet shop and the Asian beauty store.

Pom-poms were in high demand and at that price, no wonder!

There's loads of attractions to explore in Walsall as this curious child discovered...

 the Leather Museum, (Walsall is the traditional home of the English saddle manufacturing industry)  the New Art Gallery and Arboretum to name a few.  We hardly scratched the surface of what the town has to offer, a good excuse to return eh?

After one more trip to the pub, (it would have been rude not to) it was time to say our goodbyes.
It had been a day of great company, lots of laughs and fantastic shopping.  I urge you all to try a bloggers meet-up,  if it's anything like ours you'll have a bloody good time. 

Oh and just in case you're interested in seeing what I bought..

  70's wraparound block printed skirt

 70's block printed maxi

Didn't I do well?

Linking for the first time to Patti's Visible Monday

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.