Thursday 28 February 2013

Blooms, Babes and Broom Brooms

I've become a bit entranced by these chrysanthemums brought by guests about a month ago. They have been through all sorts of phases. I like these pictures below because they show them at their fresh youthful best taken in sunlight and their faded glory by dusk.

This is new to me. I saw a movie card online, which I rather sneakily printed off and put in a frame. I loved the bright saturated colours, wonderful costumes and fake easternness of the poster. Paulette Goddard has never really been on my radar: my only knowledge of her was that she was married to Charlie Chaplin. And I've never heard of this film, but I think I would like to see it. Look who else was in it. Gypsy Rose Lee.
I keep trying to curb my acquisitive nature, but with limited success. On the right below, another new Alpine picture to add to my collection. It's a hand-tinted photo. I couldn't resist.

I've mentioned my favourite poet before and my favourite writer. Now it's time for my favourite cars. 

There's four of them: Morris Traveller, Fiat 500 estate, Nissan Figaro and Austin 7. None of them practical I know, but undeniably cute.

How about you, have you got a favourite motor?
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Monday 25 February 2013

Travel: I've been to Bristol and Kaftanistan

Clifton in Bristol is one of those inner city places which manages to retain its own distinct character. The locals call it Clifton Village. It has that sense of self-containment. To enter you cross a bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The experience and entry to Clifton costs you 50p.

Long rows of multi-storey terraced Georgian town houses, which even when not particularly well cared for exude a faded elegance. Soft pastel colours, wrought iron balconies, large windows which soak up the light for those indoors and give fascinating snapshots of lives lived for those on the outside.

A place of flower shops and delicatessens, junk shops and cafes. A place for the young and fashionably bohemian. I stop by for lunch with friends on my regular trips south.

My friend's turquoise and gold fingernails. Humble breakfast tea served Japanese style.

In other news, Kylie and Curtise have been doing it, and I have been doing it too! Do you remember this? Kaftan versus MuuMuu? Vix sent me off into the realms of fantasy. Liz Taylor in Mustique she said. Ooh, I thought, that sounds nice. So I set to with an old curtain which was in this house when we bought it.

I tried for this (left), but ended up with something which feels more like this (right). Never mind. I can fit an awful lot of undergarments under this and that is just what I need right now!

I am linking to Lakota's Ta-dah Tuesday and Wendy's Thrifting Tuesday.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Then and now part 2: Hello Sailor

Here's another piece from my grandmother's wardrobe. It's navy linen with white contrasting piping and buttons.
Nice scenic location for a happy holiday photo. That's the face I pull when the man is taking photos of me. "Have you taken it yet?"

I wonder if they went for a nice cuppa in that cafe up the pitted road? My memory was that they usually took their own. George would stop the motor anywhere and start brewing a pot of tea. Carparks, fields, nowhere was exempt. On one occasion I'm sure we picnicked beside a dual carriageway. The general advice was to 'take no notice'. That advice was given quite a lot.

The tools of his trade were a little gas stove with a travel kettle on top. As you know, George was the drinks monitor. Lily would do the sandwiches. 'Do you want ham or egg? Are you going to have a pickled onion?'

If I saw this dress in a shop I would never try it on because it looks too plain, and yet I love it. It feels quite cheeky on. Makes me come over all 'Hello Sailor'.

I've followed Lil's example and teamed it with strappy sandals, which I recently won for a ridiculous 99p on ebay.

I'm sure I've seen another D L Barron dress in Blogland recently...
All that talk of food earlier is making me a bit peckish, which reminds me.

I'm a bit of a sucker for good packaging. A bit of nicely designed cardboard or paper and I am half way to handing over my cash. Throw in a bit of word play and I'm done for.

I'm not really a pie girl. If you want to know who ate all the pies, look elsewhere. Crisps, cheese, olives? Guilty as charged.

However I would make an exception with this range, and where would I start? With the Heidi pie of course!

Washed down with this wine, Longue-Dog, which comes of course from the Languedoc. Genius.

Monday 18 February 2013

I'll show you mine if you show me yours

I so loved reading all your claims to fame. What a great bunch of coconuts you all are!

This post is in honour of Kylie who recently said the title line to me and to Vix, who has serendipitously just posted the twin post to this.

I do have an office, but it's buried in junk, and it's a bit cold, so this is it. The de facto freckleface HQ. Where all the important business takes place. Like reading blogs and that. Watching things on ebay that I forget to bid on. Playing scrabble online. All that sort of critically important business.
In a corner of the dining area sits an eighteen year old two seater habitat sofa with loose covers which I made and dyed red, and cushions which end up squashed daily. I'm always plumping. 

On the wall behind is an original oil painting of an alpine scene with chalet. I bought it from a lovely couple for £1.50 at the car boot. I wanted to give them more, but they were desperate to get rid of it. 
There's a little stool to one side for my cuppa. It's actually part of an old washing dolly which I bought in my first week in Nottingham, when they used to have a market on a Wednesday night. It's covered in a crewel work linen square I got from Newark Antiques fair years ago for a pound. 

The coaster is one of those balsa wood painted and gessoed Italian ones which we bought a few years ago in San Gimignano. The little basket which I decorated with some edelweiss braid, sits down the side of the sofa. It holds knitting stuff and dust. 
There's a gold leather Moroccan pouffe in front to hold the laptop when it is not on my lap, or for my feet when the man of the house's knees are not available to me. I wish I could tell you I had bought it in the souks of Marrakech, but far more prosaically, it was ebay.
The other 'table' is a Baret Ware tin tray on legs with a Chinese scene. That was 50p well spent at the old carbooty. It was in one of those dealers bits where they have loads of boxes for you to sift through. I caught a glimpse from afar, and went hopping over there like a magpie who'd caught a glimpse of gold. I do like a bit of Chinoiserie.

I think the Chrysanthemum, like so many other plants originates from China.
This is my side, by the lamp. It would be in the User's Manual if there were one, but he's a chancer, so quite often he nabs it.

Honestly, life is a constant struggle.

So now, what I would like to know is what does your blogging space look like?

Sunday 10 February 2013

Happy Chinese New Year

May the year of the Snake be auspicious.

I came across this story which I thought was quite fitting for today.

This painting, 'Chinese Girl' popularly known as the Green Lady, by Tretchikoff is due to go up for auction next month. It will be only the second time it has been sold. The first time was by the artist to an  American lady and now her family is selling it.

The model was a lady called Monica Pon and here she is recreating the look. Very much in keeping with what Clare has been doing recently on her wonderful blog.

Not as well known, but here is Alicia Markova immortalised as the Dying Swan.

I wondered what it must feel like to be a muse, to know there is a likeness of yourself gracing thousands of strangers' walls?

And then I remembered.

Here's a his 'n hers claim to fame. It might not be popular art, but look! We inspired matching horror book illustrations!

So, two questions. Firstly, do you have a favourite Tretchikoff and secondly, any claims to fame?

I also wanted to say thank you so much for your lovely comments on my last blog post. You really are so very kind. xx

Friday 8 February 2013

Then and now part 1: My lucky number's 19sixtyTwo

When I was about 12 or 13 our grandmother opened up her wardrobe to us. She had a lifetime of clothes and she fancied a clear out. We got suits and dresses from the 1940s through to the 60s. It was amazing.

But at that age I was short and skinny, so the first thing I did was take things up and take things in. The second thing was wear the clothes to death, so a lot of them no longer survive.

But I do have a few choice pieces remaining and here is the first of them.

Oh look, there's George, plying his wares again. Look's like he's got the Port open this time!

My grandmother made this two-tone dress to wear to my father's 21st birthday party, so I can date it exactly to August 1962. She would have just turned 44, which is exactly two years younger than me now.

It was a very special occasion because it also happened to be my Mum and Dad's first date. Can you spot the lovebirds?

Well anyway, the date went well and a few years later I came along, ready, willing and able to take care of The Dress. It's made of a heavy dupion silk with loads of fabric in the skirt. Great for twirling in.

At around about the same time, her sister, Aunty Dolly gave us her old make-up. Lipsticks, rouge and perfume. That's Dolly with the blonde hair playing the piano. She wore her hair like that until the day she died.
Shortly thereafter, I was in a supermarket in Paris and the checkout girl had done her hair and make up just like this, with little perfect circles of rouge and drawn on freckles over her nose. She looked so amazingly cute and I wondered if she had the same Bourjois rouge as me.

She looked like a little Parisian Lene Lovich.

Monday 4 February 2013

This week I shall be mainly stripping

In our bedroom. The Last Bastion of Grottiness.
Look what I found on the wall Curtise! It's Lord Woody and I, getting ready for tennis.
Vix, those arse-scratchers get everywhere. Invasion of the Arse Scratchers.

I have a full week off work and no commitments other than to myself. Can't remember the last time that happened. What an incredible luxury. Aaaah...

So I had breakfast in bed. Start as you mean to carry on.

I've been doing a bit of titivating. I'm a sucker for these little sets of shelves. Got them at the YMCA. There was no price on them, so she said £4. I did an amateur dramatics shocked face and sucked my teeth. I said I was thinking £1.50. She said no way, £3. I said £2.50. Wheeling and dealing. Ducking and diving. Tight as.

Despite the fuzzy photo, I am linking to Wendy's Thrifting Tuesday.

In other news, there's a slightly evil undertone in the kitchen. I have my suspicions about the dishwasher.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Tennis, friends and cake

I was called a little minx at tennis on Thursday. A while ago I was named The Smiling Assassin. But mainly they just tweak my plaits and call me Pocahontas.

I do love a nickname.

This is my tennis racket from school. No expense spared, this was Woolworth's finest. When I first took up tennis again a few years ago, I innocently brought this racket along. The girls had a good old laugh, cheeky buggers. 

They nicknamed him Woody. Lord Woody of Winfield.

The man of the house said I should have recreated this Athena poster. Dream on.
I have a nice weekend of friends coming over. So I baked a cake. Banana tea bread. It's a bit dry if I'm honest...
My first visitor was my lovely friend Serena. She brought me this adorable key ring which she made herself. The little sachet smells of lavender. Heavenly!

Serena and I met when we played touch rugby together, so this post has turned out a bit sporty. Very fitting with the Six Nations cup starting this weekend. Will you be watching?
2009 was a good year, we won the league!

To help get you in the mood, here is Dan Carter who plays for the All Blacks.