Saturday, 30 July 2011

Tea sets, plates and retro afters

Morning, chaps!
As promised, this week's haul. It's been a fruitful few days and my purse is staying firmly in my bag today. As I am still in my dressing gown and have to dye my hair and tidy up my eyebrows before a big 50th birthday bash tonight, it won't be too hard. I am staying indoors today just to be on the safe side. There was a fleeting moment this morning when I realised I hadn't given the three chazzas in my village the once over for about a week, but I knew that would mean walking past the ironmonger/wool shop and I realised it was far too dangerous.
Wool Corner as of yesterday. (Some of it is hidden in bags.)

More than enough for one person who knows that before long the crochet bug will pass, don't you agree?

Right on to the exciting bits.
Tea set bought yesterday in Strood in Kent for a fiver. No sugar bowl and no plates (I'm so short of a plate... ha ha)but worth buying for the cake plate and the milk jug and it's prettiness. Please note the absolute gorgeousness of the flowers painted inside the cups. I swooned a little bit in the shop when I noticed. It made me more happy than it should have.
Nice or what? How could you leave it there for a fiver? I'm not sure if it's all handpainted but the little orangey blobs definitely are so I didn't risk it in the dishwasher I actually washed it all up by hand which is a novelty for me I can tell you.
Next the Pyrex.
I liked it, it reminded me of Christmas with the snowflakes, even though they're black. No lid but I don't know if it's meant to have one. I've never found a bit of Pyrex with a lid yet. Since I have been looking for this stuff it seems to be getting quite hard to come by which makes it even better when I find a nice bit.
Now plates from Leigh on Sea on Thursday. My heart was beating all fast when I saw these.
These may be my most favourite plates I have ever bought. The colours are lovely and they probably don't show up too well in my David Baileyesque pics. Adore them and actually kissed one this morning while showing them to Teenage Daughter #2's mate who stayed last night. The mate said this morning she loved our house because it felt cosy. I interpreted that into she loved our house because it is always untidy/ messy/ faintly grimy and you are allowed to put your drink down where you want without a coaster. Although this week I have been using this in honour of Amy.
Next up, another plate. The colours drew me to this because they zing and I love pink and green. Best bonus was it was 50p and when I turned it over I fell in love with the writing on the back and wish I could display it back to front.
I took the photo before it went through the dishwasher so it looks a bit dirty. Great writing though, eh?
Bought this picture in the same shop as the ivy plate, it was £2. Loved the poppies on it and even the frame is ok. Black plastic but I kind of like it and will hang it up when I find a bit of space for it.
Set of scales given to me by my sister. In a sort of swap for a table I painted. She also has a Lloyd Loom washing basket that she is giving me that I am very excited about. I may paint these scales yet, I'm not over keen on the flowers.
Also purchased in Leigh was a white, very white indeed, damask tablecloth for £1.99. I nearly did a little jump for joy when I found it. It has a little bit of red embroidery in one corner of the inside so I reckon that is a laundry mark and it comes from a hotel. It has a lovely pattern on it of garlands. It is on the washing line at the moment so no photo.
Now not a charity shop buy but bought from a lovely shop in Leigh on Sea called Mad Dogs and Englishmen. My lovely friend gave me a voucher for my birthday and I bought this.
I had great fun choosing something but nearly fell on this because I have been looking at these little mirrored trays in the An Angel At My Table catalogue (along with millions of other things, there is dribble on the pages believe me) so to get two one on top of the other in a cake stand stylee was fab. The plate behind this was another birthday present. I had spotted it in a market in Hythe but couldn't find the person in charge of the stall so left it. My cousin went back and bought it and wrapped it up for my birthday. How lovely is that?
Back to the chazza stuff.
Shoes, lovely ones, never worn, in my size for £5.99.
I do love a two tone shoe. My wedding shoes were navy and white from Austin Reed (registry office do) and I wish I had looked after them and kept them because I know I'd still wear them now. I might wear these tonight to the bash because I am wearing cream trousers and a black and cream top and some of my Wallis bling so will be a good match.
Finally, last night's retro afters.
Greengage and over ripe nectarine crumble. (Packet mix from Tesco... shoot me.) With heavenly evaporated milk. It is only me who likes crumble, greengages, nectarines and evaported milk so we know where this is going to end up.
Oh my word, what a mammoth post. I hope I haven't bored you. It's quite lovely to have people to show my buys to, other than my sister, who don't think I'm a mental cow or turn their nose up at the thought of entering a charity shop. I also noticed that I have seven followers now! Blige me, I'm not talking to myself! How nice. Thank you for putting up with the waffle if you are reading this.
Have a smashing weekend!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Be Brave With Paint

Hello, lovelies.
Yesterday I read on Lakota's blog (if I knew how to do links I would insert one here) that she had bought a piano stool and wanted to paint it but was a bit paint shy. I dived in, as you do, or as I do, and told her not to be scared and just to go for it, not much could happen other than buggering it up and having to start again. Now I'm no Miss Mustard Seed and I don't hold myself up as an expert at furniture painting but I think it's quite easy. Mind you I think my expectations are pretty low and I don't mind imperfections, I think it is the Amish who believe that there should always be a fault in everything because only God is perfect. Or something like that. I don't believe in the imperfections because of any holy reasons, it just makes it easier to paint things and be happy with the results and is also a pretty good excuse for leaving it a bit wrong. Anyway I'm not Amish so it hardly counts does it?
Right, so, I thought I would post some photos of Bits Of Furniture What I Have Painted and hope that it might encourage Lakota to take up her paintbrush and set forth. (You can click on the photos to make them bigger.)
This is a pine dresser that I bought donkey's years ago in Hackney Road. It has suffered years of abuse, the dog has chewed it, the girls have stored crayons and stuff in the drawers and I have stuck drawing pins into it on a regular basis. I painted it in Farrow and Ball's French Gray because that's what I had in the garage left over from the fireplace. Please note the unpainted feet, I should have turned it over and painted the feet first but I was too impatient to do that and wait for them to dry and I am in the 'it won't show' gang. I used liquid sand on this then a coat of white emulsion before the eggshell. I only did one coat because I am a lazy mare and the old man thought it was meant to look like that.The wallpaper on the back is held on with drawing pins, I love a drawing pin. I have five rolls of this intended for the dining room. One day...
Bookcase bought from charity shop in my village for about eight quid. It was that shiny mahogany repro and I did have to sand it down. I used wet and dry and it was fab. No dust. Then the same, coat of emulsion then I think it might have been two coats on this. It was a tin of something that was on the reduced in Homebase.
The bookcase. This was my most ambitious project because we actually had this made to measure (our old house) and it seemed like a lot of money at the time so I had to take a bit of a run up to it. Did the same, coat of emulsion and two coats of Farrow and Ball Old White. (I think.) I took my time on this one.
This is my favourite table at the moment. It cost four quid at a boot sale and was horrible dark brown shiny wood. I did rub it down and because my intention was to start a furniture painting business in my garage (I am so full of bright ideas that last three hours) I did this one all proper. I sanded it, primed it then two coats of paint. Distressed it, (which is a fab idea for sanding off stray drips) and then waxed it. I do like it but it hasn't come out any better than my other things really. And I'm keeping it. I have done another couple of odd bits but I feel I could be boring you now!
Oh yes the 'upholstered' chair.
This is the second lot of fabric I have had on this. I have two of these and this time I cut up a tablecloth. Obviously I have used drawing pins. Mainly due to impatience, I can't wait once I get an idea, I want to do it there and then so buying a staple gun wasn't an option.
So anyway, if you are worried about paint, just have a go. Especially if it's on something you haven't paid a lot for. Don't be scared.

This week I have had some fandabedozee buys in charity shops and as soon as I get a chance I will take some photos and share the bargains. I am getting to the stage where I am panicking about where I am going to put things and today I decided I was all shopped out and told my sister I wasn't going to meet her after I had been to my mum's. But... Teenage Daughter #2 and I slid into Macdonalds for a quick lunch and then I thought, well... I'm parked up now. So we ran round and I bought some more wool (someone stop me, please) in the bedding shop and a full tea set for a fiver in the chazza. I need help. I think it's an illness. When I walked out of the charity shop who do I see but my sister, niece and great niece on the other side of the crossing! So we had a rendition of In and Out The Dusty Bluebells from the baby while I unwrapped a cup to show my sister in the street.
This weekend I am keeping away from retail outlets of any description. Mind you I might go to the boot sale on Sunday morning if it's nice out...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Fantasy vs Reality

Things that make me smile.
Greengages picked from my garden this morning.
A £1 purse from Primies and some lovely note cards to write thank you notes for my birthday presents.
Birthday present from my sister. (Yes, the one with the picture.)
Handmade by moi using bits of old tat I had lying around the house.
The shabbiest chicest candlestick that my mate laughed at when I bought it.
A little tureen that belonged to my nan. Not Edith Florence, the other one, Charlotte Anna. (My nans had very pretty names actually.)
Birdy stuff.

Things that have not made me smile this morning.
Manny's penchant for sleeping on white linen French tablecloths.
Manny's penchant for dragging said tablecloths to more comfortable spots. And for sleeping on (and sometimes having erotic moments with) my dressing gown.
The dining room table complete with washing to be put away.
The utility room. It deserved two pictures because it really is a massive tip.
Lovely chair covered in coats and handbags. Oh dear, they're all mine.
Towels on the sofa.
Shoes left in mental places.
The old man's attempt at sabotaging my pretend dressing table.
More chairs covered in more clean washing to go away.
I can't believe I am posting photos of my untidy house on the

I have my work cut out today tidying up this lot.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bargaintastic and a roll call.

Hello campers!
This afternoon Teenage Daughter #2 and I have been shopping for holiday stuff. Mainly for her really but I have bought a few things for myself. (No? Really?)Anyway, I won't go into the Primark tat that she wanted, (suits me for holiday purposes and the teenage 'wear once' mentality) but will dive straight in and furnish you with details, plus illustrations by me using the medium of photography, of my bargaintastic afternoon.
Photos first. Ahem, please note that I have kept the kitchen tiles and the badly needs oiling wooden worktops out of these pictures by the use of a vintage (unironed) tray cloth as a back drop.
Feast your eyes on these little babies...

Bling City.
I hope you have been exercising your mental arithmetic skills and adding up prices as you go. If you have then you will see that the total cost for all this loveliness was £11.00. Now you will have to take my word for this because Teenage Daughter #1 has nicked the memory stick and taken it off on holiday to Malia so the camera only takes about five photos without it, and I couldn't be bothered to take two lots of photos so you could see the before prices. The total cost before reductions on this little lot was £67.00. Yes, SIXTY SEVEN POUNDS reduced to ELEVEN POUNDS. I am shouting because I am a little bit excited. I know I do maffs and that in school but I can't work out the percentage on that but it's big. That much I do know. As of today Wallis is my favourite shop and I shall be gracing them with my custom on a regular basis. I also bought a top that, to be honest, didn't look promising before I tried it on, but looked great on, fitted a treat, didn't make me look tooooo fat despite having across stripes and didn't make the chesticles look too big. (Which is always a concern.) All in all, and with the further purchase of a pair of reading sunnies that are pretending to be Ray Ban Wayfarer II's, I am a happy bunny. And, the best bit is I had Debenham's vouchers, so it hasn't cost me any money at all.
Hurrah! I could roll around on the floor with joy.
I phoned my sister immediately I returned and told her to get herself down to Wallis to partake of these wonderful bargains and she told me I had to post pictures on my blog so she could check them out. So I have.

Having a nice relaxing start to the school holidays, the squares are coming along nicely.
Two shots because I like the look of them in a pile. There are eighteen and I am going to make 30 then have another roll call and decide if that's enough. I have also had a practice run of making the square from the bag pattern in the cute & easy crochet book and I don't like it. I will have to hunt another square down because I inadvertantly bought the wool to make it with last week. I was intending to take it on holiday along with about six books and all the home magazines, hence the reading sunnies. I'll see.
On the way back from the shops I drove through Rochford which is five minutes up the road to me but a place I never go to because there is not much there. I took the detour to see if there are any charidee shops there and saw two. Both closed due to the time and both look as grungy, smelly and toot ridden as anything. Obviously I will be getting myself along to them at some stage this week. The good news is that neither of them are chain shops, they are both something to do with saving horses so let's hope they haven't been poshed up beyond recognition.
Last weekend I did my good and best deed for the year. Whilst walking through TK Maxx in Chatham with my sister I spotted and actually dug out from behind thousands of other items, the most beautiful picture ever. As I was pulling it out said sister was not taking too much notice. I said that if it was 20 quid or less it was coming home with me, (I am trying to cut down a bit,) and when I looked it was £25. I made the fatal mistake of umming and aahing and before I knew it my sister professed love for it too and said that she would have it, had the ideal place to hang it, and reminded me that I have barely a centimetre of space left to hang anything on my walls. Anyway, I gave in. I let go of it and did the big sisterly thing and graciously (well nearly...) said I would forego this vision of beauty and let her have it. We fake tussled over it for a few seconds, she always knew she was having it and then took it to the till and paid for it. I felt very virtuous and sisterly and generous and it will look fab up in her bedroom. Best bit is she made me carry the blighter back to the car. I didn't bang it against anything on purpose on the way home. Honest, guv. I have told her that next time I go round there if it's not up on the wall I'm having it. She has till Friday. I hope you're listening Mrs and also that you feel suitably guilty! (She knows I love her really and it did make me feel nice that she had it. )
Well that's enough rambling on from me I think. I am going to try all my bling on with my new sunglasses and top and sit and crochet a few squares.
Happy Days!

Saturday, 23 July 2011


What a sad and tragic waste of a young life and a massive talent.
RIP Amy.

Friday, 22 July 2011

School's Out!

School's out! Hurrah for school holidays. And double hurrah for not being a teacher and having to go in during the holidays to set things up for next term! Although I don't work on Fridays I went in this morning for the year 6 leavers assembly. I held it together through most of it, but had tears rolling down my cheeks when they sung Silver and Gold (that might not be the correct name of the song) and linked arms and begun to sway. That was me gone, snivelling into a tissue and being stared at by a hall full of children. Too soft for this job. Anyway, it's nice to know I have six weeks of no work ahead of me.
Right, this weeks charity shop purchases.
First we have the two tureens, or dishes, I'm not sure of the technical term. Two dishes but only one lid. Not a massive disaster as one of them is too far gone on the inside to use for anything other than pot pourri or flowers, so I will use the lid on the one that's ok.

I love the colours on these. I don't love the colour of the tiles in my kitchen, or the smears that show up nicely in photos. I will be searching for another venue for photos. The next square I crochet for the blankie will incorporate some of these colours. My stash of wool has grown a tad as once again I accidently went in the ironmongers just to look and before I knew it I was walking out with some. The new colours have added a new dimension to the blankie, that's what I'm telling myself anyway. Eleven squares made (I've had a busy week,) thirty one to go. This will be a holiday project. While I'm on the crochet I bought the lovely crochet book that I've seen on a few blogs, the one with the pavlova and the tea cosy you could bite. Crochet porn or what? I love it and may take a break from the grannies to make something out of it. I'm feeling the granny square bag in a big way but don't think my sewing skills are up to the lining. I'll see.
More photos. My boss bought me this...
as a 50th birthday present. It was filled with lovely things, a bottle of pink sparkles, a lovely felt purse with a handpainted mirror inside and some gorgeous smellies. I nearly fainted with joy and have plans to have a picnic very shortly even if it's in my own garden. Please try not to look too closely at the most attractive Baxi Bermuda gas fire and yorkstone fireplace in the background of the photo. They are the worst thing in this house and will go as soon as a) I can talk the old man into a new boiler, b) the subsidence is sorted. (That is another post, when I can face it.)
One of my other presents was this,
I love them! I haven't quite decided where they are going yet but I think they need to be up on the wall with a plate in the middle. I have a perfect large cream platter but not sure it will show up on my cream walls. I also have a mirror in a frame that I might take out and put these in. Not sure yet. I will let you know once the decision has been made.

The other big event this week was The Day Manny Ran Away To The Boy Scout Camp. Yesterday morning the little darling decided to squeeze through a hole in the fence and try to join the Cubs. After 45 minutes of chasing him round a field, (the old man, not me) trying to lure him with a shortbread tin of dog biscuits and swearing and shouting, the old man managed to get him into the toilet of the scout camp and get him back on the lead. All this at 7am on a rainy morning. Anyway, he is grounded. Only allowed out on a lead until we get a new fence panel and is also firmly in disgrace. He also stinks and will be bathed as soon as I get a chance. If he does it again I am buying him a uniform and sending him off camping for the weekend.

PS I forgot these,

I love the colour, it probably doesn't show up too well in the pictures. Yet another thing (or two things) to find a home for. I need a bigger house. Or better still an extra one for the overspill.