Thursday, 6 October 2011

All around my house

As always, with a change of season, I feel the urge to change my surroundings.

Just a tweak here and there - a few pot geraniums that never made it into the garden can have an extended flowering season on the window sill indoors

a little table has been painted with a Farrow and Ball paint in the living room - one of a nest of tables bought for a song at a charity warehouse, with ugly damaged varnished surfaces but with shapely, elegant legs with a little carved detailing



the others await the same treatment

an old Edwardian chair bought off eBay for £15 and collected from a cold dirty barn several years ago,  patiently waiting for a little attention in the meantime, has finally been rewarded with a thorough sanding
and a scarce coat of grey paint - this has been sanded and it now awaits another scarce coat of a lighter grey to give it a soft faded look in contrast with the heavy brown varnish I sanded away.

The chair will be re-covered in either a natural linen or a ticking - I havent yet decided.

Some new teal coloured cushions to pep up the old comfy sofa in the family room

a bit of home shopping with a new mix of old cushions on this sofa - I made the two smaller cushions a while ago from an old 1950s printed cotton fabric.

And a new inspirational book has arrived in timely fashion for the autumn change around

French Essence is a beautifully photographed, large, hardback "coffee table" kind of book, pure heaven for any lover of France, the french way of life, french brocantes and french interiors, and beautifully written by Vicki Archer, whos blog you can enjoy here.

I urge you to visit her blog for a taste of France.

or maybe add this book to your Christmas present list or why not treat yourself?

I'm sure you won't regret it as it is so beautifully written as well as bursting with such evocative photographs

Fuelled by both my visit to the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair at Battersea Park, mentioned in my last post, and the above book, I have also painted another charity shop buy, this lovely shaped barley twist table that I picked up for a few pounds a while back.

This is the table before - a great shape but with a stained top that still showed after stripping back, so an ideal candidate for painting.

whoops! spot the dog chew in background!

I have painted and gently aged it to match the small chest of drawers and mirror in the hall painted a while back.

The Decorative Fair was a wonderful treat, a feast for the eyes. (Now over, was on at the end of September for a few days)  An easy place to get to if arriving by tube as a courtesy car service operated every 10 minutes (although it was more frequent in practice) from outside the Sloan Square Hotel just across the square from Sloan Sqaure tube station, each car seating 6 visitors with 2 in the boot.(I am assuming this service is provided for every Fair!)

Yes, that was us - in the boot - despite our provincial excitement at being in London in Sloan Square for a day out (although both hardened commuters after having done our time living and working in the metropolis for years, in a distant past, care free child free life), we arrived in no uncertain style in rear facing seats in the boot of an Espace, giggling like children in the back of a volvo on their way to a Theme Park making faces at the driver of the car behind. ( Actually we didnt make faces although were sorely tempted to!).

Through the busy traffic, over the bridge and turning through the gates into a surprisingly green haven amongst the buildings we found the venue, on the site where part of the Festival of Britain celebrations in 1951 were held.

Of course this year we celebrate 60 years on from the Festival of Britain, and in the entrance area there were some wonderful examples of 1950s furniture and art work in recognition of the anniversary. Indeed throughout the fair there were exhibitors of some beautifully shaped mid century modern furniture.

We had a free ticket for two from an advertising leaflet in Homes and Antiques magazine, and exchanged this for a booklet of exhibitors which acted as our pass in and out (for two people) for the whole of the 5 day event - so had we wanted to we could have returned for another visit another day.

And to us this is was a grown up theme park of antique stalls rather than scary rides, but the adrenalin pumping thrills and excitement were there just the same as we moved from exhibitor to exhibitor, feasting our eyes on the most perfect painted chests and armoires, delicate and intricate birdcages, statement lamps made from the most diverse antiques you can imagine from guns to violins to cricket bats and topped with glorious feather lampshades, antique quilts and boutis and torchons, american feedsacks and scottish spongeware, smooth and worn wooden handled vintage gardening tools, iconic 50s chairs, beautiful golden walnut art deco cabinets, delicate china and silver, beautifully inlaid Tunbridge Ware boxes, elegant french chairs and sofas covered in plain linen, stunning chandeliers and wonderful works of art.

The Fair is on three times a year and I for one hope to return at the end of January for the Winter Fair, on from the 24 to 29 January 2012.

Back on the home front..........
The tomatoes are ripening beautifully now, and aswell as eating them raw and cooking with them, many have been frozen whole or await being made into sauces or passata for the freezer

My daily walks through the woods and around the orchards are proving bountiful in terms of chestnuts for roasting on the woodburner


And the orchards are overflowing with fallen apples, so each morning I collect a few windfalls of differing varieties not often seen in the shops, such as russetts - I wonder where they go?

Yesterday large empty crates were stacked at the end of some rows, labelled Export - Braeburns.

What madness is it that we can usually only buy French or South African braeburns in our supermarkets when here in Kent we are growing them for export?
And in a week when the news included more people than ever using free food handouts of past date supermarket goods, the orchards here are absolutely swimming with windfall apples that are mainly undamaged but not good enough for sale.

Just lying there slowly rotting - the orchards smell of fermenting apples
Were I an apple grower here I would want to open up my orchards this time of year, after I have safely gathered in my crop to sustain my livelihood, for all to come and pick up the windfalls for free - but then I always have been a dreamer.
Oh dear, my ideas of society, communities and living were heavily influenced by the simple and good Barbar the elephant stories of my childhood I fear - as well as Enid Blyton - ah well.

A new piece of Poole Pottery from the 1950s or 60s arrived this week

A posy bowl

I just love this pretty design

And it matches my other two pieces - a little collection growing here I think

Well, so much for my good intentions of posting little and often - sorry for such a long post, and thankyou so much, you are my faithful blogging friends indeed if you made it this far!

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  1. A post packed full of goodies. You certainly found the perfect spot for those geraniums. I enjoyed looking at all of your transformations, you do so inspire me to do the same. Good idea about the apple orchards too

  2. I loved your family room with the new cushions and everything in it....all your furniture re-do's were amazing! what a wonderful post!

  3. Everything about your home looks invitingand cozy! I'd open up the orchards as well. Such a waste...

  4. You've been so busy! I really enjoyed this post and seeing your furniture makeovers. Em xx

  5. Your painted furniture always looks so good!
    You have been busy with one trip and other! Love the geraniums on the window sill, very cheery.
    Lisa x

  6. Hi Gill, lovely post. The barley twist table was clearly a bargain. I've only ever seen them for exorbitant prices. What a fab trip to London, I'd like to get there myself in January. Your house looks really cosy. Super Poole Pottery, very collectable. We've just had a wood burner installed, I'm going to try to roast chestnuts too. Lesley x

  7. I love the barley twist table and your painted glass cabinet. One of our neighbours has put a box outside their house full of Bramleys and a sign saying" falldowns- please help yourself." To see that outside fruit orchards would be great.

  8. Oh your home is so lovely and cosy!

    You've done wonderful things to your painted furniture bits - they look so good now. (I really must get on and finish painting my projects before wet winter weather sets in and it's too cold and damp to do anything.)

  9. Lovely lovely photos, a real feast for the eyes!

    Helen xx

  10. Hi Gill
    Just trying out your comment box for you, hopefully this is sorted and you won't miss any comments.
    Have a great weekend,
    Vivienne x

  11. Just a quick note to say that I have changed the way comments are left and now have this pop up box rather than the embedded comment form, as Vivienne from greenrabbitdesigns has very kindly taken the trouble to let me know that some bloggers are experiencing problems leaving comments with the embedded type.

    I hope this makes things easier, and many apologies to anyone who has experienced problems in the past unbeknownst to me!

    Gill xx

  12. Thanks Vivienne, it worked!
    Gill xx

  13. Oh my goodness! So much wealth of inspiration and thought here!

    I understand why you were so happy to return home after your summer holidays because your house is beautiful.

    All that furniture you have worked on... dear Farrow and Ball comes up trumps with a little knowhow and talent.

    Yes, to your apple orchard idea and yes, I am a dreamer too. It makes me so sad to watch Nature's bounty going to waste.

    Have a beautiful end of week.

  14. Lovely table makeovers. Love the art work on the wall behind the sofa too!

  15. Echo your thanks re comments box on blogger. thanks for the advice Gill

  16. I saw the title of your post and into my mind came the song "all around my hat" !!
    You certainly made up for lost time with that post! You've certainly been inspired.
    I prefer the popup box too- makes commenting and reading posts so much easier

  17. Hey Busy Lady! I haven't stopped by for a visit in a long time and I'm so happy I did. Your painted furniture has me thinking of a few projects I need to do myself!
    Enjoy the lovely fall weather.

  18. Hello Gill! I do love all your wonderful painted furniture, and your light and pretty home. I have one of those twisty legged tables too, which I painted cream a few years ago...I still love how it looks. You are clever the way you can recover your furniture so well too.
    Seeing all the fallen apples on the ground makes me feel sad too, such a waste.
    Have a happy weekend.Helen x

  19. Your restored furniture is so beautiful, I love that you find the bargains (I never find anything like this) and reuse and relove what could so easily have been thrown away.
    It seems such a terrible crime that those apples lie there to rot. We have given all our harvest festival donations at school to the local food bank this year. It seems a growing concern and makes me so grateful for what my family has.
    Becky x

  20. Hi Gill,
    Lovely to see what you have been up to, the painted furniture and your cosy home look beautiful and inviting. I must finish the bits of furniture I started but got side track decorating, autumn has the same effect on me!
    Those chestnuts look wonderful, they rarely do well here.
    I thoroughly enjoyed 44 Scotland Street and am about to start Espresso Tales, thank you for the recommendation. x

  21. Dear Gill,

    You have been very busy! I love the way your chairs and table worked out. Wish I had more time to restore old furniture like you do. It all looks so good!

    Have a lovely weekend,

    Madelief x

  22. Wonderful change of season post Gilly! I love your little painted table, you certainly gave it/them a new life, they're lovely! I feel like sprucing up a bit around here now and going to a farmstand!
    Happy Autumn...
    xo J~

  23. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! What a gorgeous post.... and DANG IT, I still haven't painted any furniture and every time I see something you've painted I'm so disappointed in myself for not having done it yet. I WILL get around to it, I WILL!!

    Linda. xox

  24. Oh, just lovely! That nest of tables never looked so good! And that book - but I am on a book diet so must remain strong. (We'll see how long that lasts...) C.x

  25. Such a lovely visit with you, Gill, as usual! :)

  26. I love the top few pictures - gorgeous room xx


Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment - I love to read them!
Gill x