Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

A Very Happy New Year - may 2009 be a prosperous and joyous year for you all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas To You All!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It has been an amazing year and we've seen our little business continue to grow throughout the months; which has meant it has also been a very busy year - so now is the perfect time to say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who has made a purchase from our shop, and to everyone who has spared their time to email or leave a comment here on the Vintage Home blog. We are currently working on many new ideas for the website which we will revealed early next year - and of course we will be adding lots and lots of ever more beautiful vintage treasures. In the meantime, we will be entertaining friends and family over the Christmas holidays; we have a full-house on Christmas day so I will be busy in the kitchen, but I am hoping to relax in the evening with a glass or two of something warming! The cottage is festively dressed for Christmas so I thought I would share the photos with you...

...logs stacked in the inglenook, the woodburner warming the room, and the pretty garland decorating the beam...

...lots of twinkling lights and greenery on the main beam...

...Much-loved decorations adding charm and prettiness...

...the tree in all its glory...

...all that's missing are the presents - yet to be wrapped!

As well as photos of our festive cottage, I'd like to share a tale of Christmas past...

Wartime Christmas

Amongst my collection of portrait paintings is this utterly charming oil painting of a young lady. Inscribed on the reverse is the date it was painted; Christmas Eve 1941 and every time I look at it, my mind conjures up a very special Christmas scene. I imagine a typical 1940s parlour with home-made decorations of paper chains, streamers and lanterns. A fire crackles in the hearth and a clock ticks softly on the mantelpiece above. A small table sits under the window, which is hung with heavy black-out curtains. The table is draped with an embroidered tablecloth and upon this sits a selection of small gifts, wrapped in brown paper and tied with coloured ribbons. The gifts are very unlike today's luxurious and glamorous trinkets, but each has been chosen or made lovingly for the person in mind. Perhaps some nuts, an orange, a knitted scarf or gloves. A wooden plane or boat for the young boy, a ragdoll for the little girl; all very simple by today's standards but so very special all those years ago in war-torn England.
By the gentle glow of the fire, a young lady sits patiently as her image is painted by the artist.

They may have sat there listening to the sound of enemy aircraft overhead and heard the distant wail of the air-raid warning rise up into the night sky. As the hours of Christmas Eve ticked by and the artist and his model exchanged laughter and soft words, her smiling image and a moment in time were captured on canvas. Who was that artist? Perhaps a sister or brother, creating a wonderful present for their parents. Perhaps a young beau, keeping the painting hidden until finished, and then unveiling it for his young lady on Christmas morning.
There is no way to know who painted this wonderful portrait, or the circumstances in which it was painted, but I can't help thinking that the young lady looks so happy and positive, looking towards a good future, despite the uncertain era she was living in.

That's what Christmas and New Year is about, it is a time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the coming year with fresh hopes and aspirations.

Have a wonderful and Very Merry Christmas everyone! Clare & Mike xx

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Are you sitting comfortably..?

In addition to my collections of vintage treasures I also have a thing about chairs, sofas and cushions - can you have too many cushions?!! Our tiny cottage has always been home to a plethora of painted kitchen chairs and don't even ask how many wing-back chairs we have had in the past few years! It doesn't matter where we go, you can absolutely guarantee I will fall in love with a pretty chair of some description! These days, it is a real treat to be able to indulge my love for such items on a regular basis; I buy them for the website which means I am able to appreciate them for a short while before they go to a new home!

This diminutive 1930s sofa was a real find. It has a drop arm and its orginal plain upholstery has been expertly covered in an old Sanderson floral linen.

It's the perfect sofa for a study or studio - yes, you've guessed it, I would dearly like to keep it!

This beautiful old windsor chair is another favourite of mine.

Its rich patina fits in wonderfully with country-style decor...

...and the pretty tapestry roses seat ensures you enjoy a nice comfy seat!

I did buy something recently which I am definitely keeping for myself - one of Hen's gorgeous fabric covered notebooks!

I spied the books on one of her recent blog posts and decided I just had to have one! Hen makes them in all sorts of designs, this one being a patchwork of CK fabrics.

I believe she has added them to her etsy shop, so you'd better be quick if you want to buy one as I'm sure they will be very popular!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas Past and Present...

Earlier this year, whilst visiting an antiques fair we found a beautiful Victorian Christmas box, decorated with holly and a pretty young lady, all wrapped up nice and cosy in her hat and coat. I had planned to display the box this Christmas but then we thought what a lovely idea it would be to reproduce the image for this year's Vintage Home Christmas card!

So here it is, we have made some slight alterations - can you spot them? - and added a special Christmas greeting inside. Once all the cards are sent the box will be empty again - all I have to do now is decide what to fill it with; any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

and the Winner is...

Thank you all for your patience and your lovely comments; I am overwhelmed to have received so many! Sorry I made you all wait for the draw; we had a busy old time on the website during November thanks to a mention in one of the homestyle magazines and the Independent. This meant we were rather pre-occupied for a while there, but we have now picked a winner! As I hadn't had time to write all the names out I asked a friend to pick a number from 1 to 111 and she chose 23, so congratulations to Fiona of Gingham and Flowers who was the 23rd comment. No-one actually guessed the prize which is the most adorable little Barbola mirror, although Heart in the Country came very close with her guess of a hand mirror, so there is a little prize on the way to Kim. I have decided to add a few extras to accompany the beautiful Barbola mirror including some yummy chocolates, a floral scented candle, a handstitched Christmas stocking and one of our exclusive Christmas cards; hope you like it Fiona, and a big thank you to everyone who took part. There will be another giveaway in the near future - watch this space!

We have switched the Christmas lights on at Vintage Home - if you pop along to the home page you'll see them twinkling away merrily! The website is being updated this week with some rather beautiful items, so keep a lookout! I'll be back in a day or so with a Christmassy post for you all! See you soon..!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy 100th to Vintage Home and a Giveaway!!

Well, I've finally arrived here and this is my 100th blog post! I'm pretty sure I would have reached this monumental milestone a good deal earlier were it not for our website keeping us super-busy! So, in celebration of a 100 posts I am hosting a giveaway. Pictured in the photos is a pretty gift box and I have placed a very special Vintage Home treasure inside. Everybody who leaves a comment on this post will have their name entered into a draw to win it - whether you have a blog or not, and wherever you are in the world, I would love to hear from you.

The identity of the hidden treasure will remain a mystery until I announce the winner on my next post. I will say that it is something rather special and if any of you would like to have a go at guessing what it is, there will be an extra giveaway should someone get lucky with their guess!

I will draw the winner later next week - so until then 'Good Luck' to you all!
Update 25th November: Sorry that I haven't drawn the winning name yet! The draw will take place end of next week - it's been pretty hectic here over the past couple of weeks (all will be explained in my next post!) and so if you haven't yet left a comment then there's still time. Will see you all next week with the name of the winner... Clare

Monday, November 03, 2008

Wanted! Do you have a 1950s Home...?

...and do you want to see it on TV?!

I am hoping the world of blogging will be able to help with this rather exciting request! Do any of you here in the UK remember the recent BBC2 TV programme 'Supersizers Go... Seventies' which was aired back in the Summer? It was a very entertaining programme and really great viewing for those of us who were children in the 1970s! Well, the producers of that show are about to start filming the second series of the historical food programme and this one will be entitled Supersizers Go... Fifties! The idea of the programme is that the presenters, food writer Giles Coren and comedienne Sue Perkins, spend a week eating, dressing and living in the 1950s. The producers therefore require a typical house from the 1950s period to be their on-screen home. Although it would be nice if the exterior is in keeping with the period, the most important thing is that it looks right on the inside, particularly the kitchen.
Filming is due to take place over a couple of days of the week commencing 24th November - but don't worry, no overnight filming is required. Maximum filming days would be 12 hours and cooking all of the food for the presenters on location will be Fifties celebrity chef Mary Berry.

If you - or anyone you know - has a 50s style house (and in particular a 50s kitchen) and live in or around London, or in the nearby counties, they would really love to hear from you. If the idea of having a film crew and TV celebrities invade your house appeals to you and you have the right sort of home, then please contact me (email is on my profile page or see the about us page of the webshop for telephone number etc.) I will pass your details onto their researcher, Nick Adey, who will then contact you to discuss it further. By the way, the producers will pay a fee for the use of your home! Also, if any of you have particular memories and stories of day-to-day living in the 1950s, they may be interested in hearing from you.

Thank you!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Winter Blues and Cosy Treats!

Hasn't it been cold lately?! It seems we have headed straight into Winter here in the UK! The cold snap was our cue to add some warm and cosy eiderdowns (including the sweetest cot eiderdown!) to the website, along with lots of other fresh vintage stock!

In keeping with the icy temperatures, we found this exceptionally pretty floral fabric with a soft blue background which acts as the perfect backdrop for some of our lovely new additions to the shop! Here are just a few of them:

Delicate Sweet Peas and Love-in-a-Mist print...

A box with handpainted seasonal Christmas Rose and Holly adorning it...

Pretty 'Daintee Ladyee' teapot...

Something to keep her nice and warm...

A painted tray for serving breakfast in bed...

Beautiful fabric sewing box covered in stocks...

A divinely shabby chic mirror for those reflective moments...

...and to finish, a montage of some of our past treasures!

A huge thank you to everyone who has visited the website recently and made a purchase. As promised, we are continuing our search for all of your requests - and happily finding a good many of them!

We have a busy few weeks ahead of us; there are several buying trips, an anniversary giveaway and a special addition to the website. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and week ahead, see you all soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Day in The Cotswolds

We treated ourselves to a day out recently - we live on the very edge of the Cotswolds and at this time of year the landscape is beautiful. One of our Antipodean customers was in England with her family and whilst they were here to enjoy the sights and sounds of London, we offered to show them the beauty of the English countryside.

After collecting the travellers from Oxford station and getting acquainted in person (we'd shared many emails over the months so it was lovely to meet them in person!) we set off for Chipping Norton, the gateway to the Cotswolds. This historic market town is known for its famous landmark, Bliss Mill - shown above - a 19th century Tweed Mill - now converted into apartments.

Our first stop was the Station Mill Antique Centre - of course!! We enjoyed a browse and a few purchases were made, all destined for down under! We had hoped to enjoy a coffee and cake in their cafe but time had flown and we were booked in for lunch at The Falkland Arms in Great Tew.

This beautiful 16th century inn has everything you could want in a traditional English pub; an inglenook fireplace, flagstone floors and beams - and great food!

Great Tew is often referred to as 'the most beautiful village in England' hopefully these photos will give you an indication of why this is. Despite the rather overcast weather that day, the sun did show its face a few times!
We nicknamed this cottage 'the gingerbread house' - the roof is such a lovely shape!

Many of the houses in the village are thatched.

Most of the hedges are shaped and manicured!

This sign amused us!

This house drew our attention - if you enlarge the photo you will see that housemartins have been nesting under the eaves of the thatch - and have a handy ledge for their toilet!!

After a wholesome and filling lunch at the pub, and a stroll around the village, it was back in the car and off to the eerily named Lower Slaughter. The name actually refers to the old English name 'slothre' for a wet or muddy place! The village is set beside the Eye stream and has a 19th century mill as its attraction.

Plus of course, some very pretty houses!

We then set off for Burford, one of my favourite Cotswold towns. We are regular visitors and enjoy the variety of shops that it has. Our first port of call was a cosy traditional tea shop - but when our friends spied the nearby antique centre we decided refreshments could wait! We rounded the day off with tea, coffee and cake, before squeezing into the car alongside their many vintage purchases (how did they get everything in their suitcases?!!) and then setting off for the station!

It was a fantastic day and a real treat to see England through the eyes of visitors - it is easy to take things for granted when you live right in the midst of the English countryside! We really enjoyed our time with them and were totally enchanted by their lovely little girl!

After such a wonderful day out we are now back at work and busy adding lots of vintage stock to the website - the latest treasures have been added today and more will follow in the coming days..!

Until next time!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

All Kinds of Everything!

Well, Autumn is well and truly here. The wisteria foliage is turning and the geranium leaves have taken on rich and vibrant shades. The logs are stacked under the window and we are enjoying cosy nights by the woodburner.

We've been super-busy here with the website so a big thank you to everyone for your custom. We are currently updating the shop throughout the week in order to keep the stock levels up! As well as visiting antique fairs over the past few weeks, we've been doing a spot of 'titivating' in the cottage in preparation for a photo shoot. I won't say any more at this stage but will let you all know when we are in print!
So, here are some piccies to show you what we've been up to!

I gathered together some of my favourite things and filled our old dresser. I love the old chocolate boxes with the pretty ladies on them, but they are getting harder to find. Victorian mugs are another of my passions - those shown here are some of my favourites.

Next, it was time for new curtains!

These are hiding the white goods and have been made from a pretty mix of vintage French and English fabrics - the green check is an old tablecloth. The curtains they replaced had been there over 10 years so it was certainly time for a change!!

We have added some beautiful vintage treasures to the website recently. This is a pair of amazing parlour prints.

The roses are spectacular and the frames are works of art in their own right! Just look at those dewdrops on the petals - wonderful!

There are lots more gorgeous things to see on the website from rosy prints to rosy rugs, all perfect for adding cosiness to your home as the days shorten.

Talking of shorter days, here is a rather moody photo taken across the lane, the sky is looking rather wintry don't you think?!

I hope you've enjoyed the photos - I'm off to light the woodburner now and snuggle up for the evening - enjoy the rest of your week!