Tiptoe through the tulips

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last blogged. Where has the time gone?

Last week Phil and I visited Keukenhof Gardens near Amsterdam. The gardens were absolutely spectacular with millions of beautiful tulips. My parents and I had visited the gardens – many years ago – when I was studying in Amsterdam.  But it was obviously very cold  that year and there were no flowers in bloom at all in April!   I’ve wanted to re-visit Keukenhof ever since…

Thankfully this time the gardens were looking at their best when we visited.  I thought I’d share just a few of the beautiful flowers so that you can have a little stroll through the gardens with us…

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Like a child at Christmas….

I was as excited as a child at Christmas yesterday when the postman brought me the first edition of PaperCrafter magazine.  Let’s Make Cards has undergone an extensive make-over to become the lovely PaperCrafter, which will be launched on Thursday.

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Not only is PaperCrafter full of fabulous projects – which I’m now desperate to try – but it also has a gorgeous collection of papers, cards, ribbons, stamps, die-cuts and embellishments… and…

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… last, but CERTAINLY not least (…in our opinion!), is a lovely feature on Peony and Thistle!

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 How exciting is that!!!

Britain In Pictures

I’ve often admired the lovely ‘Britain in Pictures’ books while browsing in secondhand bookshops. I love the beautifully designed covers and the fabulous illustrations inside. But I had no idea of their interesting background until I undertook a little research when adding some of these wonderful books to our shop.

 

Publication of the ‘Britain in Pictures’ Series started during the second world war. The books were designed to be a celebration of Britain’s contribution to the arts, science, industry and culture.

Their aim was to boost British morale during the war and to help maintain British national identity. A bit of patriotic propaganda in print!
 

The books are beautifully illustrated with colour and black and white pictures and many of the books were written by the most famous authors of the day, including George Orwell and Graham Greene.

 

Publication of the series continued after the end of the war – between 1941 and 1949 a total of 132 titles were published. The books cover a huge and, sometimes eccentric, range of topics – Waterways and Canals, Ship Builders and Fishermen, Butterflies, Hills and Mountains, English Villages and, my favourite title of all, Life Among the English.
 
These books are an absolute joy…. Full of all sorts of snippets of fascinating information which give a wonderful insight into life as it was before the second world war.
 
I think I feel a new collection coming on….

Inspiring Upcycling – Lee Broom Decanterlights

I often come across beautiful crystal decanters on purchasing trips for vintage goodies for our shop. Tastes have changed over the years and many people no longer feel the need to put their whisky or sherry into a decanter – no matter how fabulous it may be! So I was really delighted to discover these amazing decanterlights by interior and product designer, Lee Broom.

All photos copyright of Lee Broom

It’s great to see that some of these wonderful decanters have been given a new lease of life and can keep on sparkling prettily!

What to do with those vintage hankies…?

Since reading Homes & Antiques’ feature about vintage hankies I’ve been thinking about what to do with my own little hanky stash. I’ve been buying pretty hankies here and there as I go round searching for vintage goodies for our shop.  I can’t resist them – they’re so pretty and they weigh so little that it’s easy to persuade myself to buy them whenever I see them.

So here are some of my favourite ideas for using beautiful vintage hankies…

 Mama Loves Papa

BHG

Country Living

Grannies Hankies

Noodlehead

Martha Stewart

Country Living

Bird and Banner

I’m still undecided about what to do with my own little hanky collection but I’ve had lots of fun browsing around for ideas  … watch this space!

Inspiring Upcycling – Kelly Swallow

Kelly Swallow’s rescued chairs and sofas are beautiful. As she says on her website ‘each one is individually sourced then re-invented with a collection of designer and vintage fabrics’.  They certainly make you smile!

I particularly like the chairs covered in German flour sacks…

and Hungarian mangle cloths … ( I didn’t know what a mangle cloth was until I discovered Kelly’s chairs!)

 And how about re-using old rugby shirts like this?

All photos copyright of Kelly Swallow

Kelly’s website has lots of inspiration for creating amazing chairs. You can even design your very own bespoke chair … so what would YOUR bespoke chair be covered in?