You know the phrase "I couldn't sing to save my life", whoever first coined the phrase must have been like me.
I just can not 'hold a tune'.
I have always been amazed at people who can, people who know what sound they are going to make when they open their mouths, and then can make that same sound the next moment or the next day.
Me, I have no idea what sound I will emit!! Now, when I am vacuuming I can belt out tracks from Evita along with Elaine Paige like my life depended on it - but switch of the backing tape and it is not a pretty sound!
So, when I bought a box full of sheet music recently my husband couldn't believe it - could be alien script for all I can tell.
But I find it fascinating and I think that the patterns the music makes is so evocative and so pretty!
Then there are the great cover pictures, titles, headings, names and composers!
I have sold some sheets to musicians or 'wanna-be' musicians as you would expect but there is also the big population of 'creative junkies' out there and they have taken music to use in a myriad of ways.
Think decoupage, think decorations, think wrapping paper... I have picked out some great ideas on my Pinterest board.
I especially like using pages for wrapping every kind of present this year - more fun than commercial paper and you can pick a phrase of title that means something special!
... and at $2 for a leaflet and up to $10 for a book - very economical!!
What a joy, recently I bought a vintage Simpson's catalogue from 1950 - 1951. Quite a tome, hard backed and consisting of some 557 pages packed full of shopping of the day.
As a child I remember when the mail order catalogues arrived, what fun it was - my sister and I used to carefully go through each page and make a favourite 'pick' from every section! Painless shopping as we hardly ever bought anything.
Now, I love this Simpson's catalogue for a couple of reasons - the 1950's fashions, home wares, jewellery, fabrics and appliances are some of my favourite styles and the items pictured are a great resource for dating things that arrive at the shop... and I used to live in Toronto (no, not in the 1950's!) and so seeing the Simpson's name made me a little nostalgic.
Some nasty little person has been thoughtless enough to snip out a few pages but the remaining ones are a joy to see.
Bags of bags!
The "New York Inspired Pouch" top left...rayon bengaline bag with the handle gathered through gilt metal top - all for $2.49!
Warm and bright coats to cope with than Canadian winter.
The green all wool twill coat has a fabulous cape like collar with grey dyed lamb trim. Wide flaring skirt just yummy and all for $29.99.
What cute grown up designs for the littlies!
Quite lovely although they do look like ground crew landing a 747 with their poses.
And last but not least taffeta all the way with these designs....
Gotta go now and study the other 525 pages as I hope to use them to match up the descriptions with items in the shop on future posts, although sorry to say the prices may have increased a tad.
Yes, my good intentions of seeing this little riddle through to the end hit a glitch - I was a little sick and had to take to my bed for a while and then I lost the thread. But... I'm back now and as Magnus Magnusson (for those over a certain age) would say "I've started, so I will finish". Or my mother would say "You've started this so you will finish it!"
Nine crafty frames... And, it just happens that this week at the shop I seem to have been inundated with vintage picture frames - yes just the frames no old masters here!
So of course I thought they would make cool notice boards, even re-frame an old favourite and then from a little search of all things crafty and DIY I found some great ideas there are out there - see them on my Pinterest Board. These frames are various sizes, most wooden, some painted, some lovely wide oak, some deep, others delicate.
There are some amazingly creative people out there, and maybe they will inspire other ideas! At the moment they sit in a pile just waiting to be re-made and re-designed. OK, the next few weeks of the jingle are going to come fast and furious just you wait, Christmas will be here before you know it!
Just to let you know that Vintage Treasure is featured alongside other Martinborough shops and activities in the 2013 Life & Leisure Insider's Guide to New Zealand!
How cool is that.
To celebrate I am having a Facebook Draw to win a years subscription to Life & Leisure Magazine. It finishes December 24th, to enter be a "liker" and leave a comment about the VINTAGE or HANDMADE item top of your Christmas wish list - you never know Santa may be reading. NZ address only sorry - you can always gift to the Kiwi of your choice. Share the Facebook post for a double shot at winning!
On the Tenth week 'fore Christmas my true love sent to me
Twelve Baubles Sparkling
Eleven Kitchen Gadgets
Ten Bells a' Ringing
Bells and Christmas - jingle bells, sleigh bells, Church bells, and lovely loud dangly bells on Christmas wreaths and decorations. One day I'd like to hear real sleigh bells! The season and bells go so well together. Bells are traditionally used to keep away evil things... but at Christmas they celebrate the beginning of a good thing. So ring 'em out loud!
Here is a little china BELL decorated with a sweet snowy Christmas theme. Kitsch or quaint depending on your viewpoint. No makers mark but great for the seasonal decorations.
Royal Doulton made this quality, delicate china BELL decorated with pink flowers.
It is the Mystic Dawn pattern H 5103 (c) 1983. Perfect for those holidays when you want to stay in bed and have people fuss around after you - just ring the bell and they'll come running. Yeah right!
Now for something a little different - a pair of crystal dumb BELLS
These little guys are actually knife rests. Stop those turkey carvers messing up the tablecloth!
While you may not use knife rests most of the year - what a special way of making the Christmas table look elegant and sparkly!
A bit less elegant but familiar and traditional, this basket weave Christmas BELL decoration group.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet, the words repeat
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
Thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Bell decorations come in all sizes colours and materials. Lots of vintage decorations in the shop - and more arriving each week up to Christmas - hang on the tree, on a door knob, around a gift, as a hostess gift. Vintage decorations are very versatile and fun.
This is my favourite Royal Doulton pattern of all times - the Blue BELL gatherers, probably because I remember walking through the bluebell woods in my childhood, and picking them from the hedgerows.
This plate is 26.5 cms across and so makes a lovely wall plate or could be used to serve yummy treats.
I can't write about bells without showing the little brass people BELLS. These are just the best... they ring loud and true and have such lovely personalities.
Be they, Dutch children, Welsh ladies - (must be Welsh, with that hat eh?) or crinoline ladies they are all pretty cool. I do have an embarrassing number of styles of these in the shop as I like them.
This Royal Albert pattern is Heather BELL, a delicate blue flower with a grey leaf.
One of many Royal Albert patterns available
What better time than Christmas to stop and relax with a 'nice cup of tea' from a lovely china tea set. They make fabulous gifts too.
From the Oxford Book of Carols the BELL Carol. You were all expecting Jingle Bells eh? Sorry it's not in this book!
The Oxford Book of Carols sounds like it should be comprehensive enough for most people... with over 200 carols with music.
The preface says "Carols are songs with a religious impulse that are simple, hilarious (?? really) popular and modern. Well, it was published in 1954 humour may have evolved since then!
So don't be left wanting at the piano this Christmas here is a tome that will see you through the pickiest of carollers.
I wonder what percentage of New Zealand homes has some BELLefiore china.
I think it looks like one of the most festive patterns around with the deep red and purples and green trim.
It could have been made for Christmas! We have individual pieces for sale from plates to little pots.
Forget TV, LED, LCD, HD, HGV or whatever, this Christmas gather round and listen to the Queen's message on a crackly old bakelite radio. You won't mind what she says as it'll just sound great.
BELL made this one and it works! but even if it didn't, isn't it a great ornament.
I have radios that work and don't work - you can tell by the amount of dust on the valve thingys which are which!
OK, So not all the 10 BELLS were ringing but they do ring out for Christmas in their own way don't they?
All the above items and their buddies are available in the shop or if I get my act together this week in VintageTreasure my on-line shop. Email me for more info on any of the things.
On the eleventh week 'fore Christmas my true love sent to me
Twelve Baubles Sparkling
Eleven Kitchen Gadgets
I remember hearing Jo Seager talk about kitchen appliances, bakeware and gadgets and say something along the lines of "remember this Christmas - they are never appropriate gifts, they are vital pieces of kitchen equipment - flowers, jewellery and chocolates are gifts!"
Well, with this line-up of vintage kitchenalia I beg to differ, as while they may be useful they are also so much fun to use or display. Most have been used in kitchens for 40 or 50 years and will probably go on for another 50!
Summer began yesterday in Martinborough and instead of soup thoughts turn to salads, remember green leaf salads with tomato, cucumber and boiled eggs and not a piece of mesclun sight!
No. 1 of 11 - Boiled Egg Slicers
These are the tools for an authentic retro look to the eggs, if you want them sliced or quartered wedges there is a handy tool made to deliver. The metal slicer, looks like a multi-cheese slicer, was made by England, this one by Nut Brown others are nameless but wonderful little things Don't be tempted to try them for cheese though they'll be broken in no time! The wedger slicer has Tokyo Japan and a Pat number. Usually made from aluminium both probably date from the 1940's on.
This one is a bit trickier because I am really just guessing it is for scooping eggs out of the water and then once shelled, for holding them while they are cut through for slices. A customer has also told me it works great or onions. Another customer thought it may be for hauling nappies out of the soaking bucket - wrong!
I don't think they have ever improved on this style of potato masher.
No. 2 of 11 The Potato Masher
The classic potato masher can be found in lovely coloured handles: red, green, blue and this yellow stripe with white.
Sturdy, 50 years old and beating out the youngsters for durability, looks and performance - Mmm... sounds like a few of my friends!
This one is Made in England from the Skyline brand, made of chrome and wood.
Another great wooden handle this time found on a roller mincer chopper thingy.
No. 3 of 11 The Roller Chopper
Tala made this little chopper works great for herbs when used on a wooden board. I like how these things were engineered so well, this has a nifty little thumb stop to give you maximum pressure for chopping.
No. 4 of 11 The Sensible Bread Knife
Although the blade says "all purpose" stainless steel made in Sheffield - this is the perfect bread knife. With a wide, serrated, long blade, a nice round wooden handle it could cope with the biggest loaf of bread.
Yes children, not all bread comes ready sliced!
I have knives like this in the shop and some have 'Bread Knife' engraved on the blade. Yes, very helpful for those dumb housewives who were constantly get their knives mixed up!!
While I am on the subject of engraving on blades - isn't this gorgeous?
No. 5 of 11 Beautiful Engraved Cutlery
There seems to be more workmanship in some older cutlery with beautiful engraving on blades or carving on handles. Just one piece makes a cheese platter, dessert or serving dish look elegant.
The rounded blade makes scooping and spreading easy. Great for icing or buttering.
There are lovely patterns on fish knives and fancy using bull rushes and waterfalls as the decoration on this one - very sweet.
No. 6 of 11 The Butter Curler
There are a myriad of styles of butter curlers around. The yellowy-green handle is made by Nut Brown, it oozes quality as the brand always does. A simple pulling action will scoop out cute little butter curls.
The red one is Tala brand and I am sure the additional side features makes all the curls uniform. Nothing worse than different size curls eh? Go on give it a try at your next dinner party, along with the prawn cocktail, see just how retro can you get!
Now for something I get asked for quite often.. especially from all those hot-handed bakers around.
No. 7 of 11 The Pastry Blender
This one is Skyline and I know it's a pastry blender 'cos it says so on its side arm!
How else would you get the butter chopped into the flour without getting the dough all hot and bothered? I don't actually have much of a need for one of these, I have to take a whole day off work to make a pie, but the experts tell me it works a treat.
Sugar tongs - not so much a gadget as a utensil, or even a piece of cutlery...but I am on a one woman mission to reinvent these guys.
No. 8 of 11 The Sugar Tong
You can still buy sugar cubes, and if you do, you'll need a pair of these tongs for sure.
However if you don't use cubes then you might still need them for - olives, little hot things, petit fours, bread and butter pickles, lollies out of the jar, ice cubes, tea bags out of the cup or pot, hors d'oeuvres, something smelly, asparagus, small spaghetti (maybe?), things at the bottom of tall jars, pickled onions... the list is endless, you'll wonder how you ever managed without them!
No. 9 of 11 The Mouli ParsMint
Probably my favourite item in the kitchen, this reminds me of my childhood and making mint sauce for Sunday roasts.
This one has lost its wooden handle end a common happening - makes no difference to the performance!
It works so well... parsley or mint, and I am sure other herbs we just never got that adventurous at home, there is nothing better than this little mouli.
Forget the multi-use ginsu knives.
No. 10 of 11 The Tomato Slicer
Here are a couple of special little items for slicing tomatoes. Be it in one go through the whole thing or a delicate one slice at a time option.
The knife has a serrated edge for cutting and then this balloon end for picking up the slice and moving it to the sandwich, salad whatever. Clever eh?
How do I know if it a tomato knife....you don't have to be too smart!
To show that I don't live in the past all the time here are a few new things that I like and I think they may stand the test of time.
No. 11 of 11 The Veggie Cutter, Brusher, Slicers
I do like these little guys - they make me smile and you don't need writing on the blade to tell what they are for - they each tell their own story very well. Cute eh?
All items are available in the shop and so contact me for details or to ask about any other kitchenalia treasure on email. I will also keep adding items to my Internet Shop so check it out once in a while.