And so finally the thing we had most been dreading and looking forward to in equal parts, has come and gone without much of the anticipated stress but leaving behind, in a cloud of dust, Hope Cottage, newly re-wired - electrically of course - duly re-plastered and awaiting re-decoration, "hopefully before Christmas" she says, or keeps repeating to herself!
The electrician, a lovely man who has, by all accounts rebuilt my trust in having people in the house to do the work we cannot, following the nightmare experience of having our boiler replaced a couple of years ago.
Martin was great to have around the house for two weeks while he replaced, removed and repaired our outdated electrics. I really missed him when he wasn't around anymore.
The funniest highlight being on the very first day when we had to call out the emergency electricians from our utility company because 'the service head was metal and open' which meant nothing to me when I relayed the above message over the phone as requested by the electrician, but like a good un by the end of the day (and with two rather large men staring into the little cupboard that housed the old fuse box, and said service head, and wondering how to get their shoulders in there to sort out the problem), I knew where it was and what it looked like for future reference.
I tell you this house is an education in itself!
One of said emergency sparkies decided he needed
a 8 year old to go in the cupboard for him, to which I firmly replied my 8 year old wasn't going in any cupboard (my grandson) who sat eating tuna sandwiches with much indifference along with his
sister, isn't it unique the way children take it all in
No worries Nanny has 3 electricians in her house all peering into a small cupboard with an even smaller door, two of them scratching theirs heads and beginning to sweat profusely, but that's ok, pass the tuna sandwiches Nanny.
The really funny thing about the whole episode is when I remembered the following day that the top, the lid actually comes off that cupboard which would have made it all so much easier, but hey the universe had obviously decided to set these guys a challenge on this particular day, and who am I to get in the way of the universe!
Taking refuge with Jasper the cat in the middle of chaos
Hi There,Hope you're having a wonderful summer and enjoying the glorious weather we've been having, albeit a tad windy over the past couple of days, the sun has still got his hat on!Furniture wise things have slowed done here at the moment to make time for holidays and the things that make Hope Cottage what it is, more of a lifestyle than just a business. And so we are harvesting from our garden, in the photo I'm preparing Lemon Balm leaves which I harvested earlier and dried out, this makes a lovely tea which is good for all sorts of things. In the past I've used it for nerve and deep tissue pain, but it also calms in a way that doesn't make you sleepy, obviously as with anything herbal you have to use with caution if you are taking conventional medicines as they can interact. We are also harvesting herbs and soft fruits this year, which have included strawberries, gooseberries and now blackberries, along with rhubarb.In the veg patch we have potatoes, peas, cabbage, garlic and here also we've harvested feverfew and made it into a tincture for future use (it's good for headaches among other things).Holidays this year found us camping in the Forest of Dean during a very hot week weather wise, and not a tree in sight for shade would you believe! Apparently the origin of the word forest means something other than I was expecting when I thought of a forest! It was sooo hot, happily there are no available photos of me with a wet scarf on my head trying to keep cool! but we did have a great time, if not entirely stylish!Needless to say we took camp beds, foam mattresses, duvets and pillows to sleep on as I have decided my roughing it days are over.We had lovely neighbours in our surrounding tents and our immediate neighbour Grace is a new friend. We met so many lovely people over the course of a week and as we didn't leave the forest for 5 days it felt like quite a culture shock when we eventually re-emerged.So that's some of this summer so far, loads more to tell, but that's for another day.How about you, what has your summer held so far?I'd love to hear.Love and best wishes,Jacki
This post started out with the intention of sharing with you the details of our recent trip to Glastonbury and Wells, but I have to say that due to the contrary tantrums of my present laptop it is spiralling rapidly into a hissy fit of the most outrageous kind imaginable, aimed once again at the technology, for which I am both grateful and tormented by on a daily basis!
Plus using one arm to secure a cat who has decided it is his mission in life to sit on said laptop on this day in particular!!
That said as we were travelling to Wells, which was our first stop, I made the decision to ignore the lady on the Sat Nav. Yes ignore, which I have to say is a huge improvement on trying to reason with her for there is no reasoning with her at all. She who must be obeyed had decided we should leave the M5 at Junction 19 and I just said no and stayed on. I got the distinct impression she was very disappointed with me and to show this she took all the road names away and stopped giving instructions at all, at which point Lisa - who was my travelling companion - remarked "I wonder how they got on in the war, when they took all the road signs down"!
Nevertheless, we got to Wells and amongst other things - like the cathedral, which was amazing - found a lovely Vintage/Antique shop named 'La Belle Brocante' which is on Priest Row. With lots of character, French household goods, light fittings, quilts, furniture and loads more, it was a real find and I would definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in the area.
The next day we went to Glastonbury which was a lovely experience with lots of different shops to look around, loads of lovely food too. We also went to Chalice Well and up The Tor, which was in brilliant sunshine on one side when we went up and in dark cloud and rain on the other side when we came down, which actually made it feel like two distinctly different experiences strangely enough.
On the furniture front I'm working on some commission pieces, which are beautifully made 1920's 30's pieces and a pleasure to work with in addition to looking after my Granddaughter two afternoons each week which seems to be keeping me busy (and mobile) I've put some of her art work on Facebook today, so if you haven't already Liked us on Facebook please follow the link at the top of the page and Like us when you get there.
I hope this finds you happy and blessed, let me know how your doing, I'd love to know.
Wishing YOU Many Blessings,
Some of the furniture I've been painting this last few days belongs to my Aunt
who has just had to move into residential care, she had a lovely home but wasn't
able to take much of her furniture with her. One of her other relatives had
arranged for it to go to a charity, I don't know what happened but when I drove
past one evening that week all her furniture was out on the front lawn - in the
rain - I was choked to say the least and I'm so glad she wasn't around to see it.
We managed to retrieve some small pieces and as we were standing there her neighbours came out to ask what had happened, so one way or another we managed to distribute the furniture to people who wanted it in the surrounding houses, we put the word out that people were ok to take it if they could use it or knew someone who could, and by the following morning it was gone, other than that it would have been ruined in the rain.
I'm writing about this because for many years I worked with the homeless community, for a time in resettlement. Its
very difficult to get somewhere to live and also difficult to get furniture for them to use in their new homes, I've moved people in knowing that they would have to sleep on the floor for weeks before the funds were available to get any
furniture at all, so it grieves me to see things thrown out unless they're broken and beyond use. We really have turned into a throw away society, but it all goes into landfill and that in itself is a big problem, or will be for our children and their children if we don't do something about it now.
I'll get off my soap box now, well in a minute! But in a way this is the mission of Hope Cottage Vintage, not all the furniture is old or vintage, as you can see from the site some of it is up-cycled furniture and not too old at all. There are also furniture projects in most towns which will collect any unwanted furniture, they do have fire regulations which restrict some furniture like sofas and beds but other than that they can usually use it, or the local homeless centre can.
Well as I said I'll get off my soap box - for now! :)
The chair in the photo used to be one of two at my Aunts breakfast bar, when they were very small my children used to love sitting on them as the chairs seemed so high to them then, as you can see, Rosie is now trying it out for size.
Love Jacki x
One Friday morning not so long ago I awoke to the sound of an email coming through on my phone, now this in itself could be a cause for celebration as I've been known to sleep through alarm clocks, storms, bit of the house falling off and crashing through the glass ceiling of the veranda! oh yes!!
But on this momentous occasion I picked up my phone to see that I had received an email from someone who wanted to buy these chairs, someone from the BBC, he also wanted me to deliver them asap to the BBC Drama Village in Birmingham.
Well let me tell you I'm not one of these people who hangs around stage doors for autographs - back in the day - or queues to get into things like Britain's got Talent or X Factor (well I did once actually with my daughter, because she had tickets, twice actually, but that's another story). No I'm not one to be dazzled by stardom at all, but this, I have to tell you was such a nice experience.
It was pouring with rain, I had yet another falling out with the lady on the Sat Nav who didn't seem to want to be bothered at all with my request on this day. So I got there under my own steam and an A to Z, (it just has to be a large print one or I can only got to places on the main roads because I can't see to read the small print of the names on the smaller ones!)
Well I got there, then had to find reception to let them know I had arrived, still pouring with rain I stopped to ask directions several times, everyone was so friendly and really helpful, I delivered my chairs to one of the doors of the Doctors set, to yet another friendly and very helpful member of staff.
One of the people I asked directions from was, I realised, a member of the cast of Doctors, the smile on her face said it all, when gradually realisation dawned on me as to who she was.
Well as I said it was a really nice experience and my thanks goes out to everyone who was so kind and helpful inspite of the pouring rain. Needless to say I will be sat in front of the telly every chance I get in the coming months, looking out for my chairs.
Love and Blessings
Well here we are again, just a few weekends ago saw the Christmas adverts arrive on our TV screens and as beautiful as they are (and I do think there are some lovely ones this year), I always feel a mild sense of panic creep up on me when we start approaching Christmas. Anyone who knows me will also know I'm not a great time keeper, and that's putting it mildly - I think I must work in a different time zone to everyone else and so its not unusual for me to turn up with Christmas presents after the big day has actually taken place. Cards are a last minute thing too, so this year I decided to do things differently - as quite obviously whatever else I tried wasn't working, so I planned to get everything done for Christmas by The Winter Solstice on 21st December (today!!!) I have a theory about this because I usually get a huge surge of energy and inspiration around this time which I have always put down to blind panic before, but after the winter solstice, when I realise we have seen out the shortest day and that light is returning my spirits lift, I get that holiday feeling and I want to go sort out my summer clothes in sheer anticipation - yes I do! Doesn't anyone else get that urge? Just me!! I think I need a holiday in the sun.
Truth is I just want to hibernate up to that point, but that's not possible so the last week or so saw me turning out every cupboard in the house and rigorously throwing out/giving away anything that we had 'outgrown', didn't use any more or didn't seem to know what to do with, black bag after black bag was loaded into the back of the car and driven away. I must say it felt very liberating.
So then I planned to spring clean the house - yes in winter- I always spring clean in winter as well as spring, its a thing I do.
So here I sit on the morning of the 21st after weeks of heralding the cry of 'I have a plan' into the dizzy heights of December - because let me tell you when I go to the trouble of making a plan I expect it to be executed with military precision (and chocolate!) - all my presents complete (I think), cards written (and posted in some cases), decorations done, which I have to say is a great improvement on previous years, but that's another story for another time! Ahem....
And so it's just left for me to say to everyone out there, have a very happy Yule time however you choose to celebrate it, may it be filled with love and blessings and lead you into a peaceful and happy New Year.
Love and best wishes,
Well I cant believe its been so long since my last blog post, time really does fly when your having fun, and together with that so does most of the stock (well not literally of course), but as you can see from the website most of my current stock has now gone to 'forever homes'.
We delivered the chest of drawers one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago and the next day some one came for the linen cupboard, the following weekend the wardrobe was sold and was packaged up and sent by courier to two little girls in the south of England, who I'm told where extremely excited and delighted with it. We had a great time at Hope Cottage decorating the box for the wardrobe to travel in and sent in off in style complete with a big red bow, as you can see from the photo......that's me on the photo looking slightly dazed, its the first time I've sent anything by courier and was convinced at one point that the only way to get it there in one piece was to take it there myself, but common sense prevailed and the fact that I haven't got a big enough vehicle did seem to be a deciding factor!
The staff at Halfords Oldbury were really helpful and gave me some bike boxes as packing to protect it and when the courier came we all went outside to wave good bye - as you do - well I say all, there were two of us and the elderly man who lives next door came too, but then it turned out it was because he wanted to buy our car, which isn't for sale! I'd started to wonder how far I'd fallen down the rabbit hole at this point, but it was great to play a part in making happy memories for two little girls named Amelia and Olivia.
Along with that and to add to the Wonderland theme I seem to have a steady stream of chairs and small tables shuffling in looking a bit worn and waltzing out with a new lease life.
Many thanks to everyone who has liked the Hope Cottage page on Facebook and particularly to Karen who has been working behind the scenes to let everyone know we're here - not sure what she did but it worked!
I still have some work to do on the Facebook page actually as it doesn't seem very user friendly at the moment - well not to this user anyway - but its getting there (I think).
Surely there's a bottle round here with 'drink me' on it !
The vintage desk on the site was, it has to be said, much bigger than I expected when I went to collect it, it came from a local university who were having a clear out and I was told to go round to the loading bay with my little Suzuki Jimny to collect it. Well!
If you saw the desk now you wouldn't believe that we had gotten it home in the Jimny but we did, I'm not entirely sure how, I think it was something to do with prayer - and taking the top of the desk off....
I then drove home with one of the legs lying across the back of my seat literally across my back, the top of the desk slid down the side, obviously two of the seats were folded down and Lisa my accomplice was sitting somewhere in her seat belted up but surrounded and boxed in by the desk. Suddenly it didn't seem like such a good idea and I promised myself I would get my spatial awareness checked at the first opportunity. We passed three Police cars on the way home, it felt like fate and I fully expected to be waved over to explain what I was attempting to do, but no all went well, mainly because I think we were so tightly packed in nothing had room to move about, it was all very strategic....
The desk itself was a medium brown and had obviously been well used but also had some interesting ink marks on the top in the shape of scissors and paper clips that were very appealing, I was loath to paint over them but in the end decided it was necessary in the whole cause of refurbishing the desk itself. having said that I then had to resist the temptation to paint some sort of landscape on the desk top as faced with a huge expanse of cream blank canvass it was quite tempting. As it is I managed to tell myself that people would think it odd and wouldn't want a desk with a landscape painted on the top and so wouldn't buy it. I had already realised that although I wanted to keep the desk for myself - I want to keep most of the furniture for myself - it was large and unless we wanted to be eating Christmas dinner off it, it would have to go as there was only room for the desk or the dining table in the room but not both.
Its had quite a few coats of paint and was a real learning curve for me but I'm really pleased with the finished effect and that makes it all worth while.
I have painted a fern pattern in a very pale green around the top of the desk which finishes it off well. I know there is a tendency to paint everything white or cream but I try to paint only furniture that needs to be restored, if it's marked or well worn but solid it's worth restoring. With the desk I also painted the insides of the drawers which gives a very light, clean effect.
When furniture first arrives it usually goes into the workshop and is cleaned and sanded down there, I also check for any potential problems and decide how to deal with them then bring the piece into the indoor studio to be painted.
Each item has several coats first of primer then base coat sometimes a coat to seal the colour then a top coat and two coats of varnish to finish. But to be honest each piece is different and it's where experience of painting furniture over the years comes into play as new furniture needs different treatment to vintage furniture and with vintage furniture it can depend on the era of the piece as to how I treat it anyway.
Well that's the story so far of the vintage desk, it's still looking for a 'forever home' so if you think you are the person to provide this you're welcome to contact me.
Love and best wishes until next time,
Well it really did feel like summer may have finally arrived for a few days this week. I actually got to sit in the veranda when I started writing this post with the doors open - and not a cardigan in sight! Well that's not strictly true - there was one on the back of my chair - just in case, you understand. Ahem!
It's all been very productive around here in a domestic sort of way, I've washed just about everything I can find that's washable (and one or two things I 'm not sure were washable now!) But anyway it's all clean!
Quite a few people have asked me to write about the stories behind some of the vintage furniture on the site, as everything does have a story.
To do this I have to remember to take photos of the furniture when it first arrives !
I'm not great with a camera it has to be said, anyone who has known me for even a little while will know this, but in this digital age it seems to be getting a lot easier to produce photo's that are the sort of thing that people would want to look at without screwing their faces up.
So to this end I thought I would tell the story of the vintage sewing machine in the photo's attached, which sold at the week end.
It has to be said that when I stood at the door and waved it off ( I made it look like I was waving good bye to the people who bought it, so as not to worry the neighbours!) it felt a bit like saying good bye to an old friend.
So here goes;
The Vintage Sewing Machine
I was four years old when we first moved to this house and the sewing machine belonged to our new next door neighbour, my Mother who had her own sewing machine - which I'm still using - would say in awe how wonderful our neighbours sewing machine was and how she liked the cabinet it was in. As I understand from my Mum it was used and serviced regularly over the years and when our neighbour died the local church held a mini sale of the things her family kindly donated and my Mum as you would expect made a bee line for the beloved sewing machine, then gave a donation that would make sure she got it, then she gave the sewing machine to me!
With strict instructions to look after it and not to leave it in the sun!!
This I have done for the past ten years or so, as it was quite a heavy duty machine I was able to make sofa covers and curtains and lots of heavier stuff like that, but I haven't used it for two years and as it still had the electric wiring from when it was made in 1958 it has to be said I was less keen to use it as the time went on.
The truth is too that I like my Mum's sewing machine, there's something very meditative about turning the handle and working at a slower pace with the manual machine than with the electric one. But I did want our neighbours machine to go to a good home, so I put it up for sale anxiously and waited, on Sunday it sold and was collected on Monday, the lady who bought it reassured me she would give it a good home and explained that she renovates old sewing machines. Interestingly like my Mum she said she really liked the cabinet it was in.
What are your vintage stories? do share.
Have a great week end.
Next blog - The Vintage Desk.
Well its been quite a week with loads happening here at Hope Cottage. First off I decided to move the blog page to the front of the site, as hope cottage is set up in rooms etc. I decided that it made more sense to put it before the rooms so we can roam through the wanderings of my mind before wandering through the rooms of Hope Cottage!
Next up we have a new Twitter account for those of you who don't do Facebook, its Hope Cottage Home so please check us out there by just clicking on the Twitter button at the top of the pages.
Thank you to everyone who has liked us or messaged me on Facebook it's been great getting your messages through.
One of my most exciting moments this week has been becoming a Brocante Home Affiliate - even if I did go out more this would still be sooo exciting - I have been following Alison May's blog at Brocante Home for a few years now and as well as giving excellent advice and information she is also an incredibly, interesting, funny and sensitive writer.
She is based at www.Brocantehome.net but if you want to visit her Boutique just look for the Vintage Housewife motif at the bottom of the side bar on this page and click on that, it should take you through to her shop where you can get some really helpful and interesting downloads about keeping house the vintage way and all the treats we can make to bribe ourselves with! So please pop in and see for yourself.
Hope Cottage Vintage also opened an online shop at www.Etsy.com which is an online market place for creatives, not all of our stock is online yet and there is still more furniture in the workshop waiting to be bought back to life so watch this space for more information over the coming weeks.
Hope you're having a good week and had a great Bank Holiday - wasn't the weather wonderful! - Have a great time and see you soon I hope.