Monday, 19 March 2018

Buying Vintage

Be warned this is a long post! 

I think sometimes that I was born out of time.  Not always going with the flow and the fashions, and going more with the things that I like more than anything else.  I tend to be a bit of a "clutter-bug" but that is me and my personality.

I think looking back on things that I have always liked older items in preference to new so it is no wonder that I am more and more introducing "second hand" items back into my household.  I am more interested in making a home from recycled new to me bits and bobs than I ever was and that includes furniture. I like the mixing the blending of different textures, different mediums like crochet and patchwork, linen and lace. Unfortunately and probably it is a good thing at the moment is that I cannot squeeze any more furniture into the house on the grand scheme of things -  well not where we are but  it does not stop me looking and dreaming and I do have ideas for the future.  Quite frequently I see lovely antique pieces round at the charity shop lovely individual pieces for not much money.  The other week I saw a beautiful drop leave card table with twisted legs - I hesitated far too long on that as by the time it had talk and I had convinced myself I could lever it into the house someone else had bought it, but it was a cracker and the price was good at £60 as well.  The same happened with a little drop leaf pine bureau.  Now that would have suited me down to the ground.

I have a lot of pine furniture in the house some of which needs to be done up my dining table and one of my dressers in particular but no wonder they are about 30 years old for the table (which is a big chunky farmhouse table with six chairs and two carvers) and 35 years plus for the two 6 foot dressers and the corner pine dresser and then I have the pine shelving (an old dresser top) which I do not have room for at the moment.  Nothing has ever been done to them apart from a good polish with beeswax and so a little tlc is on the cards for this summer.I have been researching methods of how to achieve this a I love my pine furniture very much having it in the dining room, lounge, bedroom but to me pine furniture exudes warmth, texture and the natural touch to any room.   Even my kitchen is pine.  It has to be wood, its firm, its solid it lives and breathes still and is sturdy with a clumsy clot like myself.  My Great Aunt's sewing table also needs a little tlc.  All plans to achieve at some point or the other and when I can get into the shed to start repairing/restoring them.  I need a bench first in there so that is on the to do list as well.

At the moment the second hand thing is very much objet dart, small pieces or pieces that can be recycled in use like my sweetie jars for pantry storage, linen, tablecloths, cushion covers, anything that smacks of a gentler time and age a prettier time with the smell of beeswax and pot pourri scenting the air.  Beautiful china and dining sets all the frilly bits if you will.  Roses, pansies, violets, honeysuckle, Lily of the valley, all pretty and beautiful decorated items but the images are useful too especially for accessories and decoupage.

Because of my mother's poorer background financially which she always felt as though she was not good enough (although not in other respects).  When Mum and Dad decided to get engaged and then married they saved up for new furniture.  My mum had always had second hand items so it was a big thing in her scheme of things and she predominantly had new items throughout her married life to my father,  However they were saved up for.  Her and my father were engaged for two years before they married and they bought a dining set of table and chairs with sideboard, a three piece suite and two fireside chairs,  bedroom suite of large wardrobe, small wardrobe, dressing table and bed,  a Lloyd loom bedroom chair, ottoman and bedside cabinet and paid for the wedding.  So I was very much bought up with the ethos that it was not good to buy second hand (something about standards and impressions etc - but it was a different time).  These days I could not give a hoot for me its not about what people think but in me acquiring the kind of home that I want within my own budget.  If that means buying the odd expensive piece then that happens but I do save up for it and I do make a lot of things myself which also saves an awful lot of money in the long run.  A lot of the time I have learned as I am having a go at stuff.

The other day whilst on Etsy I found some remnants of a harvest scene Sanderson fabric called "Ceres" which is fully of poppies, proper wild cornflowers, wheat heads, reminded me very much of an English harvest, very colourful and I fell in love and I bought it.  There is enough I think to make a table set but not much more.  It very much reminds me of an English summer harvest.  Liking it very much and not appreciating that it was indeed a vintage fabric going back to the 1970s I have been looking for some curtains or fabric that I could buy for the dining room.  So far I have only found the blue colourway on Ebay 10 metres for £150 whereas the colourway I am after is as the photo below.  Ceres pattern is a current pattern of Sanderson but it is not the pattern I am after.  Can I find it - well not at the moment but I am ever hopeful.  Something will turn up.  This fabric is just right so I do hope with careful looking that I come across some.

I have over the years collated quite a bit of stuff for the dream home Sanderson Rose and Peony curtains and fabric for the front room together with the flower tapestry panel cushions and recycled vintage fabric. 

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady Rose and Honeysuckle curtains, including bedding, fabric and a couple of other designs for the bedrooms. (sorry not a good photo has come over more blue than cream green and pink) have been collected - as I have said I know what I am after and I am prepared to wait for things which helps on the finance side of things.

Also the poppy design for kitchen/diner.  I also have duvet covers and I have plans to make these larger as I have a super king size bed and the duvet covers need expanding as they are too small but are the sizes that were available at the time.  I have thought of a way to do this using patchwork and embroidery (not sure whether this will be hand or machine embroidery at the moment but the embroidery will be sympathetic to the design of the duvets - although each one will probably be slightly different to the other.  I also have lots of kits , pictures, etc to work from the Edwardian Lady Craft book as well as a long term project a hexie quilt so everything I am doing at the moment is on a very long term basis and then it will all come together. 

I am also after some lovely quality linen sheets which I can embroider also with sympathetic designs such as roses and honeysuckle to make it really pretty.  I have been collecting pretty mis-matched white cotton pillowcases and cream ones to give that vintage look to the bedding as well.  It does not have to be a perfect match its the prettiness that I am after more than anything else.

In an effort to improve my embroidery skills I have sent off for a kit from Maggie Gee who does some beautiful beginners and more advanced needlewomen.  She has a kit for a poppy and also for rose and honeysuckle.  I have bought the rose and honeysuckle and it is indeed a beautiful kit.  This design would look lovely on some bedding.

The link to her site is here:

Here is her Etsy Link

She is also on Facebook and her shop site is here

For the spare room I have a yellow and green pretty duvet set and that room has been prepared very much on the basis of shabby chic with recently a pale primrose feather satin eiderdown in immaculate condition and pretty cotton linen being added. It was the bedding set I had when I was at home and there is nothing wrong with it at all.  My Nan made the curtains for me from two of the patterned sheets as there were no curtains available for the set at the time. So that room is in effect done apart from a rug or two.  I have already made a crochet blanket for this room.  My Nan always had proper feather eiderdowns  in her home and they were always so warm especially as the cottage bungalow she lived in was so cold.

When I was small mum had a couple of fireside chairs with wooden arms.  When they upgraded their furniture (replaced is a better word as I am not so sure about the upgrade) the fireside chairs went to my grandmother who still had them until the date of her death.  The same happened with my mum's three piece suite which was a little cottage three piece suite consisting of a three seater settee and two armchairs in a bluey grey moquette which she bought covers for and then replaced.  My Nan had this suite up until two years before she passed when the daughter of her daughter in law asked if she could buy it which is what ultimately happened.   Nan had made her own Sanderson Rose patterned covers buying the fabric on the roll in a sale at the Co-Op (when they used to sell fabric) on her little hand machine  and without a pattern for that little settee suite and it looked fantastic.  She made her own smocked cushion covers in plain velvet to complement this and it looked fantastic.

I have also inherited some beautiful pieces the remnants of my Great Grandmother's/Nans dinner service which deserves to be on display in a glass fronted dresser to show it off to its best advantage, together with my green utility china, my Pop's binoculars, his squeeze boxes the antique rosewood boxed one and the more modern one. My Mum's 21st birthday china, my 21st birthday china, collection of Wedgwood, cut glass, crystal etc. etc.

So overall I have some grand ideas - in reality perhaps half of them will not be realised but it keeps me occupied and something to aim for - I have a vision and that is what I am pursuing a little at a time - even if it does not materialise as I envisage it will take me further than expected in any event.  If you aim high it always takes you further than you would have otherwise have  been expected to achieve.  That is my experience in any event.

Oh and something for myself.  I love china so it was a natural extension to go on to these beautiful brooches.

And an embroidered one as well:

I also bought this which I thought was a brooch and which is in fact a free standing small picture.  I wondered whether it could be turned into a fancy buckle for a belt for my jeans.  What do you think.  I may have to speak to OH about this but it is a beautiful piece in any event.

Right am off to potter.

Catch you soon.



1 comment:

  1. I too enjoy the older household items and textiles. I think they are more durable, better made, than the furniture that's out there today. In my opinion it has more character too. It gets me to wondering what the people were like who might have owned it last... How far its come...I'm such a day dreamer but there's a history behind this beautiful old stuff. I go to flea markets and charity shops. And have missed out on some wonderful things because I hesitated. I use to be able to find wonderful tablecloths and doilies and such at flea markets for very reasonable prices. But now there harder to find. I think they've become popular over here and dealers know this as their prices have also risen. I could buy 2 new tablecloths for what some of these vendors are asking. Good hunting to you!


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