Posts Tagged ‘vintage’


For Otis. As I sit every night at the moment, huffing and puffing grumpily into a dust mask as we scrape and sand hundreds of reclaimed hardwood parquet blocks, I try to remember that not every purchase of second hand goods from gumtree means blood, sweat and tears. Although Otis’ antique brass bed, acquired at a price to make the bargain hunter in me very pleased indeed, did require some serious polishing and a bit of repair work on three decorative spindly bits, it was nothing compared to the mammoth task of restoring Sol’s bed.

I really wanted a metal bed of a similar age to sit next to Solomon’s, which meant waiting a while for the right one in a reasonable location to pop up. But pop up it did, and we’re all really pleased, none less so than Oti!


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Ah, Gumtree. Source of great amusement (cries of who will buy that?! and, How much?!) and great local bargains, it can also lead to disappointment, which I experienced on Friday. But we got back on the Gumtree wagon the next day with the snapping up of this mid century Ercol-alike Danish coffee table for an absolute steal. Ok, so it was in Macduff (on the very tippy top of the Aberdeenshire coast), but we incorporated a visit to the aquarium and an award-winning fish and chip shop and it was, all in all, rather a nice day out! It won’t stay in this room, which is stuffed to the gunnels with furniture, books and the inexorable creep of toys, but in the -eventual- sitting room. Just once we get that unasked-for water feature sorted…

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I was asked to make some cushions recently and allowed pretty much free rein on the designs, which was great fun. I decided to go with a soft, washed out palate of pinks and mustard with a darker Liberty print thrown in to lead your eye around. Placement of pattern, tone and colour has been rendering me paralysed for some time now. The more I read about colour wheels, variation, large prints and small prints, contrast and variation, the more bamboozled I become and I feel incapable of putting things together. I used to be quite instinctive about it and am trying to get back to that instead of fretting over florals.

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I also used an old embroidered tablecloth for one of the cushion covers, bought specially for the purpose due to its perfectly-sized central motif.

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Chopping it up felt somehow easier having purchased it for that very end. This tied in nicely with the vintage-y feel and use of some 1980s Laura Ashley fabrics (and as troubling as this feels to someone born in the 1980s, I think they do qualify as vintage now!)

Night shot! (Most things are finished at night)

Night shot! (Most things are finished at night!)

The cushion pads were lovely British wool ones, which not only feel fantastic but also have a slight scent of wool which I know the knitting recipient will appreciate!

They’re winging their way to their new owner and her lovely Loaf sofa now.

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And all very red and Christmassy… I have figured it takes me three hours per calendar to embroider the numbers onto the pockets, so by that calculation have a mere nine hours to go!

These are the three fabrics from last year

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And two new ones, (chosen by a client way back in January!)

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On a different note, my hoarding of vintage linens continues: I picked up this sweet little crocheted (I think!) bit of floral lace for one pound in a charity shop.

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I think it’ll look nice on a cushion, similar to these ones I made my sister-in-law.

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In between furious, nay, slightly panicky knitting, and the looming Christmas advent calendars, I completed these three window seat cushions for my sister in law. They are for her guest bedroom which is decorated very simply in neutral colours, and she wanted them to co ordinate with some cream and brown tartan cushions on the beds.

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I used two bits of vintage linen from my ever growing stash and used a very pretty faded floral too. The backs are very simple, made from two overlapping pieces and the fabric backs echo the front of the other cushion.

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The middle cushion has been hand quilted for a bit of texture:

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The pads are from Wool Soft, and are filled with British sheep’s wool- a much more earth-friendly alternative to Chinese feathers or synthetic fillers, and they feel satisfyingly heavy and plump. They also have a very faint smell of wool- gorgeous! I hope she likes them.

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We’re back home in -yet more- sweet summer sunshine reflecting on the past two weeks, filled in the lead-up with jobs, a good deal of sweat, tears, more chocolate, butter and eggs than I care to see again, flowers upon flowers upon flowers, more tears and exchanging of vows, beautiful poetry and prose, dancing, rum punch and then, with the removal of shoes and a top up of rum punch, more dancing.

The thing about a marquee wedding, or similar non-hotel venue, is that it is monumentally more work. There is no wedding planner to co ordinate flower vases with chair hire, and it is up to you and your army of friends and family to decorate, set up, and dismantle. James’ mum did the flowers -so utterly beautifully that if she ever were to consider a change of career from farmer’s wife/mother/grandmother/account manager/insert-ANY-job-here- she would be in some demand. Our uncle and aunt provided the venue of their breathtaking home and walled garden.

Our mum was in charge of the tropical bird photos for the table names, helping us to get ready, and all the emotional support mothers offer as a matter of course. The ushers and all other able young folk fetched, carried, picked up and cleaned marquee windows in blistering sunshine. Too many people to name individually came together for just Sophie and James, a fact that gladdens the heart at such happy support and love offered up so freely.

Sophs designed, bought and directed all of the interior décor, including three ash saplings which were chosen some time ago to lash to the central supporting posts, with hanging glass candle lanterns. In a nod to our Latin American upbringings, she strung papel picado, a traditional punched paper Mexican sort of bunting, from the top of the marquee and behind the cake table. We had it at our wedding too, and it makes for a beautiful alternative to the more British triangular bunting. There was a wee bit of classic bunting on the cakes, though- (which tasted fine!) You can catch a glimpse of it (and of the papel picado) in the photo below of the happy couple slicing into the cake. Sophie’s dress is a 1940s vintage one made from French cotton lace. She looked quite exquisite. James was as handsome as ever in his kilt- lots of kilts at a Scottish wedding of course!

These are just a few snaps taken by the guests- I’ll post one or two official photos once the lovely Laura Sparrow has finished her work.

It’s always a bit… sad after such a big event. So much planning, shopping, organising and dreaming, all finished with in a beautiful flash. But marriage is, after all, meant to be the start. And so here’s to looking forward: good things, guys. Good things. x

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In between peeking at the Wimbledon men’s singles final anxiously, I finished the ring pillow for my sister’s wedding and also marzipan-ed the cakes today.

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The pillow is just a small paper-pieced hexagon design, with velvet ric rac around the edges.

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The middle bit of ric rac is there to tie the ring on and can be removed afterwards should my sister wish to keep the pillow for a teeny tiny chair somewhere! (The rings are ours- quite appropriate as today is our 6th wedding anniversary)

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According to Pam Corbin, aforementioned (many times over) author of the River Cottage Cakes handbook, marzipan is not only easy to make but ‘a thousand times nicer’ than the bought stuff. I can’t argue with a thousand times, really, and had a huge jar of ground almonds courtesy of an Asian supermarket in Glasgow, so I went for it. It calls for brandy, orange liquor or whisky. Well, there was no question: whisky all the way. A short debate over Laphroaig vs. Auchentoshan later, the Auchentoshan won out and I can indeed concur with Pam that it is much, much nicer.

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And really satisfying. It has to dry out for a couple of days before the royal icing goes on, and then they’ll be ready.

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It’s such a long process (the fruit was started in its marinade 18 months ago!) that it’s no wonder these cakes are reserved for the most special of occasions. Oooh it’s all getting quite exciting! Next up: cake decorations…



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