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Smiled Upon

Yesterday, I was smiled upon by the vintage linen gods. I got to wade through a huge basket filled with beautifully embroidered tablecloths, napkins, handkerchiefs, pillowcases, etc., decorated with pretty crinoline ladies, cheery birds, and dainty flowers (and even one or two harps – yes harps).

Needless to say, I was very happy!

Antique embroidered satin silk pillowcase.

Vintage embroidered tea pot cover. Tea cosie. 1930s 1940s 1950s. Floral embroidery. Handstitched vintage linen.

Vintage embroidered linen. Embroidered crinoline lady. 1950s fifties embroidery. Vintage needlework.

Vintage crewel embroidery. Floral embroidery. Vintage embroidered flowers.

Vintage embroidered harp.

Vintage embroidered blue birds. Vintage linen finds.

Vintage embroidered hankie holder. Handkerchief case. Embroider griffin mythical creature monster. Embroidered rampant lion with wings. Vintage embroidered linen.

Vintage emroidered tablecloth. Vintage floral embroidery. Flowers. Shabby chic home decor.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!




Morning Snow

This morning, it snowed.

The world outside gleamed with a strange blue-white. A child on his way to school sang “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

And an owl became a king, with a crown of snow perched upon his head.

February snow one morning in England.


Why hello there and happy new year to you (even if it isn’t particularly new anymore)!

January seems to have flown by. I can assure you my vintage treasure antennae have been keeping busy, and although I haven’t been doing as much sewing as I’d like to have – or should have been doing – I do have a few projects and ideas running wild inside my head, and can feel a sewing binge coming along…

One thing that inspired some of these ideas was a quick trip down to Cornwall earlier on in the month with my mum. The weather was mostly grey, wet, and windy (very, very windy), but then that’s January for you! We only went for a few days, but it was refreshing to be away from home and out and about exploring.

We wanted to travel on a budget, so we stayed in a youth hostel which was the perfect base for said exploring. It was right on the coast, so we had a fantastic view at breakfast time.

Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall, UK. Cornish coast in winter.

Mama Pippin in the distance. Person on beach. Winter coast. Cornish seaside in January. Grey sky and rough sea.

Feather sticking out of the sand. Winter beach walk. The coast in January.

On our first full day, the weather was pretty miserable. It rained and rained and rained, and then rained some more for good measure. We made good use of it, hopping round a couple of towns in search of vintage treasures. We found lots of goodies, including some pretty fabrics and linens which are being put to good use.

In the doorway of one of charity shops we visited, there was a beautiful mosaic. Although my camera didn’t come out very often on that day (it really was wet), I couldn’t resist taking a pic.

Pretty mosaic tiles outside a charity shop in Liskeard, Cornwall.

And I also couldn’t resist a shot of a very sombre looking sea…

Beach at Looe, Cornwall, in January. Rainy beach.

The next day we headed up to Tintagel. After taking refuge in a lovely cafe during a sleety shower (which may also have involved eating some scrumptious chocolate brownie), mum and I headed out for a walk up to the church and along the coast.

Scrumptious brownie at a cafe in Tintagel

Stained glass window inside Tintagel church, Cornwall, UK.

Looking back at Tintagel church, heading along the coastal path, Cornwall, UK.

There was a beautiful feeling of calm inside the church. The wind howled and whistled round it eerily, but it truly felt like the safest place on earth. I didn’t really want to leave. However, I’m very glad I did…

Coastline at Tintagel, Cornwall, UK. Winter walk in January.

Photobombed by a bird in Tintagel, Cornwall, UK.

Photobombed by a bird!

Stream on a walk along the coast at Tintagel, Cornwall, UK.

On the walk back up to the village, there was plenty of ivy, lichens, and tangled branches to admire. I was particularly taken with this patch of ivy on a fence post, because the barbed wire underneath it looked just like it had grown alongside the ivy and become part of the vine (or maybe that’s just me?)…

Ivy growing on a fence post. Sewing textile art inspiration.

After stopping off for lunch in the same cafe we’d had our brownies in, we headed down to Padstow (which was only a few miles off route on the journey back to the hostel). The town itself was very quiet, but we set off for a walk along the beach to keep ourselves amused.

Boats in Padstow harbour, Corwnall.

Sandy shoes at the beach.

Sandy shoes!

Footprints in the sand, on a beach in Cornwall.

We headed back to Dorset the next day, the car filled with sandy shoes, muddy boots, and a stash of vintage finds. And of course, we brought back lots of memories too.

It really was a lovely trip.

A Horse in the House

It’s official: as of yesterday morning, a horse has taken up residence in the house. It was quite unexpected… one minute there was no horse, and the next there was. They’re sneaky like that, you see.

Vintage handmade hobby horse toy.

She was handmade many years ago, by the sister of a stall holder at our local market. She has been loved and cherished, and spent many an hour racing up and down hallways. Unfortunately, she has never been to the races like Epsom or Ascot because she could never find a hat to accommodate her ears.

Vintage handmade hobby horse making friends with Tino the cat.

As you can see, she’s been making herself at home and meeting new friends since arriving. Tino the cat was very impressed with her lovely red hair and fancy collar.

Hobby horse in a vintage hat. Handmade hobby horse in vintage blue hat. Silly pink vintage hat on handmade hobby horse.

She found my mum’s stash of vintage hats and tried a few on for size. But the search for the perfect, ear-accommodating one continues…

Festive Christmas hobby horse.

For now, she’s making do with this one.

Merry Christmas!


I’m a doodler, a scribbler, and a pen and pencil monster. Envelopes are my main victims; flowers, stars, and the word ‘hello’ – in lots of different styles of handwriting and sometimes even branching out into different languages (ooh la la!) – are my weapons of choice.

One of my favourite things to decorate with doodles used to be, of course, my school books. So it made me smile when I discovered lots of wonderful doodles inside a school atlas from the early 1920s…

An interesting character.

An interesting character.

A classic school book doodle...

A classic school book doodle…

Vintage school book doodle, from an early 1920s atlas.

This one reminds me of prehistoric cave paintings.

Ghostly doodle from a vintage school book.

A spooky face.

Doodles from an old school book.

A time travelling doodle?

Little Works of Art

A parcel arrived in the post yesterday morning. A lovely, old fashioned, all-wrapped-up-in-crisp-brown-paper parcel. It was a nice surprise, seeing as I’d forgotten I had actually ordered anything. Inside was a lovely bundle of vintage beer mats.

Ever since coming across a huge box of them at our local market last summer, I’ve had a little bit of a thing for vintage beer mats. A lot of them aren’t particularly interesting, but some of them are just lovely. They are like little works of art. Charming and clever. Get up to date - go electric. Vintage beer mat. Go electric vintage beer mat.They are tiny canvasses, only a few inches across. Bold and eye catching, and beautifully designed. Vintage 1950s Butlins and Baby Bubbly beer mat.Vintage Babycham beer mats.Vintage Bulmer's Cide beer mat, star signs. Virgo star sign beer mat.There were lots of lovely beer mats inside the parcel, too many to photograph. But this last one is something special. I could stare at it for hours and hours and hours… Vintage 1950s lucozade beer mat. Soft drink mat. Fifties. Pop art style.1950s Lucozade beer mat. Vintage soft drinks mat. Pop art style beer mat.Isn’t it just the prettiest, most delightful piece of advertising ever? I love it! (It’s not everyday you can say that about a beer mat, is it?)

So the next time you’re out enjoying a drink, remember to take a quick look at what you’re glass is rested on. It might well be boring – but maybe, just maybe, it might not…

Faded Summer

Summer has been and gone. It was busy and calm, vibrant and lazy, sunny and rainy. Little adventures were had, treasures hunted, stitches stitched. I will miss it, but I’m excited for autumn. Crisp air. Crunchy leaves. Cozy cups of hot chocolate.

This morning, which was cool and chilly and misty, I found a bundle of lovely old photographs at a car boot sale. They made me think of all the photos my mum patiently took and carefully stored when me and my brothers and sister were little. So when I got home, out came the boxes and albums, and with them lots of memories. I made my face sore from laughing and smiling.

There are photos of all five of us children, the five of us plus mum or dad (whoever wasn’t holding the camera), my older brothers on boyish adventures, my twin brother and me looking mischievous, me and my little sister all dressed up in fetching costumes – not to mention all of the ones with the wider family and friends.

In amongst them all, there was one that reminded me of the photographs that had started me looking in the first place. Besides the plastic toys strewn across the grass and the flip flops on my feet, it looks decidedly vintage.

OldPhotoOfJoI’m in my favourite dress. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a dress since then as much as I loved that dress. Strawberry print and strawberry buttons – what could possibly be better? And a ruffled white hat keeps my fair, freckled skin from burning. I don’t remember the hat, but it nicely finishes the look.

Summers fade. The summer in the photograph faded quite a while ago. But in each summer, and each season, there are memories and stories that don’t. They take a place in your heart.

I hope you have a happy, healthy, and memory-filled autumn…

Larmer Tree 2014

Hello there! Sorry it’s been a while. The last few weeks have been very busy preparing for – and then trading at – the Larmer Tree Festival as part of Boscombe Vintage Market. The market was invited back after last year, and it was a fantastic (and completely exhausting) 5 days. Boscombe Vintage Market bunting outside the Vintage tent at Larmer Tree Festival 2014.As usual, there were lots of lovely things to be found inside the vintage tent… Pink butterfly clips in the vintage tent at Larmer Tree Festival 2014.Inside the Boscombe Vintage Market tent at Larmer Tree Festival 2014.Toucans and parrots guarding the vintage tent.And outside… SAM_3674Funny faces outside the vintage tent at Larmer Tree Festival 2014.We enjoyed yummy food in the sunshine… Churros and chocolate sauce.And got very wet feet in the rain… Thunder and lightning and rain at the Larmer Tree Festival 2014.SAM_3719And, yes, that’s inside the vintage tent! Oops!

All in all, it was a very good few days. Bring on next year!


At the market on Saturday, I came across a raggedy cloth doll sitting sadly in a box on the ground. It looked like it had seen better days, but also like it could live to see a few more. So, despite being a little worried about the possibility it might be cursed (it did have a bit of a deranged look about it, with it’s wobbly arms and legs, and it’s floppy head), it came home with me and out came the unpicker.Raggedy vintage cloth doll, before being mended. Vintage harlequin doll, jester doll, circus performer doll, acrobat doll. I found all sorts of things inside – sawdust, rags, bits of knitting, yarn, crumpled up paper, and plastic bags. I’m not surprised it didn’t look too well! Vintage cloth doll piece, during mending.The fabric pieces were washed and ironed, then stitched back together again. I refilled it with more conventional polyester stuffing this time – not a plastic bag in sight!Before and after vintage cloth doll restoration. Vintage doll. Circus performer. Acrobat. Harlequin. Jester.Mended cloth doll. Circus style, harlequin, jester, acrobat doll. Red, green, orange, blue.Strangely, I often find that mending something is more satisfying than making something from scratch. I feel happy to have added to it’s story.

So there you have it – mended.

Upcycled Tea Card Tags Tutorial

Last year, I discovered the world of vintage tea cards. I had never heard of them or noticed them before, but ever since I first realised they existed they’ve been popping up all over the place. My favourites are the ones illustrated with flowers or birds, so when I see a bundle for a reasonable price I snap them up for my crafty purposes.

And that crafty purpose is usually upcycling them into tags…Vintage brooke bond tea cards, upcycled into gift tags. Price tags. Vintage tea card craft idea. Upcycled recycled repurposed.I like to have a stash of them for pricing items for shows and markets, packaging my Etsy sales, and wrapping gifts. Made in big batches, they’re well worth the time.

They couldn’t be simpler to make. If you’d like to make your own, here’s how…

What you’ll need:

  • Vintage tea cards
  • Reasonably thick paper, or not-too-thick card (You want enough thickness so that the writing on the backs of tea cards doesn’t show through, but not so much that it makes it difficult to stitch.)
  • Sewing machine (I have a needle set aside for stitching paper as it blunts the point, and I always give the machine a good clean out after stitching with it – there’s lots of papery dust!)
  • White thread
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick (It doesn’t need to be strong glue, just strong enough to keep the tea cards stuck to the paper for stitching.)
  • Hole punch
  • String or ribbon

Step 1). Glue the tea cards to paper or card. Vintage Brooke Bond tea cards ready to be upcycled into tags.Step 2). Sew around the borders of each tea card. Tie off all loose threads (I tend to leave the tying of threads until after all the sewing is done, as it saves having to stop and start). Vintage Brooke Bond tea cards, being upcycled into tags.Making price tags. Upcycled gift tag idea.Step 3). Cut out each tea card. Upcycled gift tag or price tag idea. Vintage Brooke bond tea cards upcycled into tags.Step 4). Punch a hole at one end of the card. You can leave them without string and just attach to ribbon/string when needed for wrapping a gift, or you can loop string through straight away. An upcycled Brooke Bond tea card. Gift tag idea. Vintage style price tag idea.And there you have it! All you have to do now is use them…