Friday 30 May 2008

Little White Shelf

It feels like high time I should post although it's only been 9 days since my last one. That's not very long really but I know as a reader of blogs that it feels like quite a long time, funny how blogger alters our perception of time.

Mr. Bloom and I took a break this week and spent a few days in Shropshire - not over the Bank Holiday but after it, we never go away for Bank holidays, too much traffic and too many people about. We didn't have great weather but as long as I'm not getting soaked I don't mind too much, you don't need fantastic weather for thrifting! I'll post more about it another time.

The Bank Holiday was spent doing little jobs around the house, nothing much to show for them but things that needed to be done. I haven't been on blogger much in the last week as a result and haven't managed to get round to return everyone's comments so can I just say thank you now and also to everyone who placed an order from my shop too.

I did complete one project last week - the result of which was something pretty. I had a small pine shelf, the twin in fact (non-identical) of the green shelf I have in my workroom. This one was propped against the wall for ages until I decided where it would go - in my kitchen as it turns out. Actually it was hung a few weeks ago, it needed to be painted but I wanted it on the wall and out of the way. It was bugging me for ages that it needed painting so last week when I should have been doing something else, I got the paintbrush out and an hour later - job done. I used the same cream emulsion as the walls so that I wouldn't have to take it down to paint - I'm a big fan of quick fixes! Mr. Bloom wasn't home at the time, he would have been horrified :-o)

I cut out two floral motifs from some old Laura Ashley wallpaper I have and attached them at the top (they are only blue-tacked at the moment as I wasn't sure if they would look right, I think they do but I haven't got around to sticking them properly). I have put a few of my pink lady figurines plus some other bits and bobs. I didn't want to put too much on them as there is quite a lot of stuff in the kitchen already.

The top spot is shared by the pink Southern Belle and Timmy Tiptoes. I used to have quite a collection of Beatrix Potter figures but during a hard spell I had to let them go. I kept Timmy because he is a vintage one. There is an interesting site about dating these figures here, if you are interested. My Timmy has a gold oval backstamp.

On the middle shelf I have my napkin holder lady with a dinner prayer on her pinny.

The bottom shelf has another pink lady with a lacy collar and skirt. I seem to have accumulated quite a few pink ladies, I think they will need a post of their own sometime. I've shown the cruet set before here.

A lovely package came in the post last week, I'd won a PIF from Jennie at Falling Down the Rabbit Hole. It was this cute teddy which Jennie had made herself. Thank you Jenny - I'll do my PIF post next time.

Well that would seem to be about it for now, must get back to more mundane things. Hope you all enjoy the weekend.

Lucy x

Wednesday 21 May 2008


Cartonnage is the art of making boxes, originated in France but very popular in the whole of northern Europe in the late C18th particularly as a pastime for wealthier ladies. They were usually made from card and covered in pretty floral or striped fabric which originally was not glued but hand-stiched in place with tiny stiches. These French fabric covered boxes are very covetable these days. Not just boxes were made but other items such as trays and pictures frames.

One of my favourite craft books - The Cartonnage Kit by Heather Luke (ISBN 0-316-91390-1) gives excellent instructions and inspiration for making these kind of items.

There are lots of ideas for things to make - I particularly like the fabric-covered trays - so handy for all sorts of bits and bobs.

Whilst the book gives detailed instructions on constructing boxes, why make work for yourself when you have a ready stash of sturdy boxes just waiting to be transformed!

The sturdiest boxes are those in which you get perfume gift sets, I never throw them away and I have quite a few stashed away. They provide a good base for the box, I make the lid myself and then get going with the fabric, glue and trimmings.

For this one I used a beautiful vintage french toile fabric lace.

The inside is lined with a complimentary french floral.

This casket style box uses a european toile style fabric, originally used for bedding, I remember having a quilt cover and pillowcases from this type of fabric when I was a child.

Another box made from 'vintage' Cath Kidston fabric, I picked up a small piece of this at a Car Boot a few years ago, before I even knew who she was!

This box uses a vintage cartouche pattern fabric, lined with Laura Ashley's red toile wallpaper.

Apart from a box and some fabric the other main ingredients are glue and patience. I love 'sticking' whether it's paper or fabric, though your hands do get quite messy.

For quick results you can't beat cards, these are great for filling an odd few moments if you need a crafting 'fix'.

I have been doing some sewing too - these cheeky Scottie dogs. I have been making two-dimensional versions of these, filled with lavender, for my stall in Marlborough for a few years now. I decided to have a go at a 3-dimensional version so that they could stand up on their own. I'm quite pleased with the result.

All these items are available in my shop which I have updated today.

I've been out in the garden investigating what the slugs have been up to - quite a lot as it turn out. It's been my kind of weather today, warm with a nice breeze. I don't tolerate very hot days well, Mr. Blooms loves them - choosing holiday destinations can be tricky!

Hope you've been enjoying the week.

Lucy x

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Mug Shots

I was going to do a craft post this time but I'm not quite ready with it, next time though. Whilst I was making the tea this afternoon it came to me that I could do a post about mugs instead - not nearly quite as exciting I know but a good filler whilst I finish things off. Tea for Mr. Bloom in the blue mug, and cappuchino (my once a day treat) for me in the pink mug.

These are the mugs we use for everyday, I bought a set of 4 in Matalan a few years ago. I didn't use them for a long time as the handles are disproportionately large, but I've got over that now and they are back in favour again.

There are certain rules about mugs in our household (created by me of course).

Rule 1. Mr. Bloom may only use the blue and yellow mugs for his tea and I use the pink and green ones for my tea.

I have been known to make Mr. Bloom transfer the tea to the correct mug if he has inadvertently used the wrong one. My tea just doesn't taste the same from a blue or yellow mug.

The blue and red stripe mugs used to be the ones used daily until I got bored of them and switched to the spotty ones.

Rule 2. The blue and red stripe mugs are to be used for visitors and must always be given with a saucer.

The pale blue mugs on the top shelf were in a Country Living gift basket I received one Christmas. These were used for a while but are a bit too heavy and chunky for my liking, as is the rose one. I have one Cath Kidston mug, bought at a Car Boot sale for 50p. It never gets used.

We also have various floral china mugs, these were acquired for their looks only.

Rule 3. The pretty floral china mugs are never used, whether for visitors or ourselves as they are too small to get a decent drink of tea, unless the visitor only wants a small tea in which case they can be used.

The white china floral cups aren't really mugs but they are a nice big size and you get a mug's worth of tea from them. They can be used on special occassions and tea tastes lovely out of them.

Lastly, this pretty crinoline lady mug might be mug shaped but it is the size of a cup and therefore useless for tea, it does display prettily though.

Most of the mugs live in a cupboard, the shelf I used to photograph them is one that I use for craft fairs (though I rarely do them these days). It's one of those bamboo type shelves that you see all over the place at car boot sales. I spray painted mine white, backed it with some Laura Ashley wallpaper (stuck to cardboard and stapled to the back of the shelf) and pink check wallpaper on the shelves, which I varnished for durability. I was often asked whether it was for sale.

When in use though, it might have looked something like this:

Just a few things I have been making to take to my stall in Marlborough later this week. I have also been doing some other crafting which I will post about next time. Here's another sneaky look though.

Thank you for your lovely comments about Pickle, writing that post did put me in the doldrums for a while, but I'm out again now.

Hope you are all having a lovely sunny week (so far).

Lucy x

Wednesday 7 May 2008

This Week's News

Back to normal now after my last post, ie. comments back on. In case you wondered I turned off the comments because it was an emotional subject (for me) and I appreciate not everyone feels the same way about animals. I didn't want anyone to feel awkward about what to comment or not comment at all, I figured anyone who did want to would contact me via email. Thank you for the lovely emails I received, they were very much appreciated.

You may have already read Sue's or Niki's posts that last weekend was the big flea at Shepton Mallet, and I ventured out that way too. Sue was there with her gorgeous selection of fabrics, lace and trimmings and it was lovely to meet up and have a natter and a rummage. Sue is the first blogger I have met 'in real life' since I started my blog. Unfortunately I didn't manage to bump into Niki, maybe next time though.

I didn't think I'd bought that much but when I put it all out to photograph it does look rather a lot!

As you know, the great thing about fleamarkets and boot sales is that you never know what you might find, and it's usually not the things you might hope to find, but this time I did find a lot of things that I'd hoped for. Lots of fabrics, lace and millinery flowers (I definately wasn't expecting to find so many of these).

A rather nice handmade boot and some vintage powder still unused.

Some lovely fabric covered books and pretty vintage lampshades

This google-eyed figure is so cute, once upon a time she was a present from Bognor Regis. In fact I looked a lot like her for much of the day!

I'm not sure when I'll be going again as I'm rather spent out now :-(

As it was a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, some DIY was almost obligatory (by Mr. Bloom, of course, not me!). The kitchen windowsill tiles were finished, it looks so neat and tidy now, and work was started on the architraves on top of the cupboards. If you look on top of the cupboard you can see some teapots and jars I had put up there for storage. They were left in place while the architrave was attached and guess what - we can't get them out now as the gap is too small - oops!

I've been doing some crafting too, that's for my next post.

I just had to show you this clock I bought for my dad's birthday (he's 77 today - Happy Birthday Dad!) My dad likes gadgets, clocks and flying so this seemed quite appropriate, plus what else do you buy for a dad who doesn't need anything - a flying alarm clock!

When the alarm goes off, as well as beeping the whole clock takes off and flies around the room - you have to get up to catch it and switch off the alarm. Actually I probably need this more than my dad does as I'm terrible at getting up in the morning, but it would probably end up in small pieces after the first day!

Well, that's my news for now, hope you're all having a good week, I must get round and see what you've all been doing.

Bye for now,

Lucy x

Saturday 3 May 2008

This Little Girl

This little girl kept my feet warm at night.

This little girl woke me in the morning with a sloppy wet kiss.

This little girl could melt even the most hardened heart.

This little girl was always happy - except on bonfire night when she was terrified.

This little girl loved chewing sticks - and my best shoes.

This little girl loved life and lived it to the full.

This little girl could be a proper little madam.

This little girl loved me unconditionally and I her.

This little girl went away much too soon.

This little girl will never grow old.

Canine Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia is a disease I knew nothing of, it's symptoms are initially mild - lethargy, lack of appetite, and can be progressive or appear suddenly. Other signs can be pale or jaundiced gums, ears and eyelids. In AIHA antibodies attach to the red blood cells and cause the body to believe the red blood cells are a "foreign invader". This causes the immune system to attack the red blood cells and destroy them. It is serious and it can kill. If detected early enough, it can be treated though the dog will most likely be on steroids for the rest of it's life. The cause of AIHA is not known with certainly, fortunately it is rare. Studies suggest that middle-aged female dogs and certain breeds are at a higher risk.

My little girl was 6, her symptoms were mild, we thought she had a bad tummy, like dogs do. When she didn't improve after a couple of days, we took her to the vet - we were told we had a very sick dog. The vet showed us her gums - they were yellow (why didn't I think to look inside her mouth). She was admitted immediately for treatment, she died that night.

You can read up more about this disease on the internet, one site is here, but there are many more. If you have a dog, especially a female, please read up and be aware of the symptoms to look out for. I don't want to worry you, it is uncommon, I just wish I'd known what to look out for.

My little girl was called Pickle - it suited her personality. She went away 2 ½ years ago, I think of her every day, it broke my heart.