In memory of Emma

20 Feb

emma

A year ago today I wrote a post about my lovely friend Emma Webb. She was three days away from opening new premises for her shop, Unique Chique. Up to her eyes in planning, she was frantically co-ordinating signs and stock for opening day, and capably masterminding the logistics of retail.

One year later, I am still coming to terms with the terrible news that – two weeks ago – Emma sadly died after a long illness. She had battled courageously for so long, with incredible strength and dignity. It’s unbelievable to think she is no longer here.

Emma led an extraordinary life. She trained as a commercial pilot and became a  captain before her 30th birthday. She then moved into private aviation, but shortly after, unfortunately, her illness meant she was unable to fly. Rather than mope around, she used her recuperation time to go along to one of Annie Sloan’s furniture painting courses, start to revamp her own furniture and eventually set up shop selling her pieces.

Her shop was filled with beautiful, original discoveries and creations. Most of the furniture pieces were found and transformed by Emma herself. She had a great, individual eye, and her shop was truly a statement about her tastes and personality. And, she was one of the country’s first stockists of Chalk Paint decorative paint by Annie Sloan.

I was lucky enough to help out in her shop once a week for a few months. Over cups of Vanilla Chai, we would chat endlessly about gorgeous things we’d seen… dreams we had… plans in the pipeline… More often than not, we would wrap up our days with the same words: ‘So many ideas, so little time.’

Emma was selfless and generous with her encouragement and advice to me. She was quiet and modest, but focused, determined, and hugely creative too. Always ready to share her knowledge and skills, she was liked by everyone who was lucky enough to meet her, and had a smile for anyone who came into the shop. She achieved so much in her short life, but tragically had a whole lifetime’s worth of more ideas and inspiration to share. I know I’m not the only one who will miss her so, so much.

In a flutter

16 Jan

Happy New Year, and hope you’ve had a great start to 2014.

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. The ‘proper’ job is full-time and full-on. Just before Christmas I did manage to sneak in a little bit of creative time though. I was commissioned to produce a picture for a lovely lady who had recently bought a Create Vintage framed butterfly print. Butterflies are clearly her thing as this time around she wanted me to recreate a visual she’d seen, which features our fluttery friends.

The result is this…

'You Make my Heart Flutter' print in hand painted vintage frame

‘You Make my Heart Flutter’ print in hand painted vintage frame

Brought to life by a talented art director friend, I printed it on rich, ink-loving cartridge paper, and popped it in a hand painted vintage frame. Sweet!

We wish you a merry Christmas

24 Dec
Christmas robin in  hand painted vintage frame

Christmas robin in hand painted vintage frame

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2014. Hope that it’s another vintage year!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

17 Dec

Traditionally the season to bring out your ‘best’, I’ve amassed quite a collection of beautifully festive vintage bits and pieces recently. No reason why they’re not adorable for any time of year, of course, but particularly suited to an extra special Christmas table. Here’s a selection…

Paragon China Bride's Choice Teapot

Paragon China Bride’s Choice Teapot

F. W. & Co (F Winkle & Co Ltd) 'Florence' platter

F. W. & Co (F Winkle & Co Ltd) ‘Florence’ platter

Soho Pottery Ltd Solian Ware serving terrine

Soho Pottery Ltd Solian Ware serving terrine

Royal Albert Bone China teacups

Royal Albert Bone China teacups

Royal Albert Bone China tea plates

Royal Albert Bone China tea plates

teaspoons

Assorted vintage cutlery

Assorted vintage cutlery

vintage forks

sugar shaker 2

Beautiful vintage sugar shaker

Beautiful vintage salt/sugar cellar

Beautiful vintage salt/sugar cellar

Pretty fluted pressed glass cake stand

Pretty fluted pressed glass cake stand

Pressed glass cream jug

Pressed glass cream jug

Pressed glass water pitcher

Pressed glass water pitcher

Vintage cut glass cake plate

Vintage cut glass cake plate

 

Pink Christmas

12 Dec
Vintage baubles

Vintage baubles

Christmas – the one time of year where vintage enters almost everyone’s life. Whether it’s your treasured tree-topping fairy, or a handmade childhood decoration, those Christmas details that make an appearance year-after-year-after-year are the ones we love the most.

I discovered a new treasure for the collection this year… A set of vintage pink baubles in their own endearingly aged box. Camp, and gloriously Christmassy!

On the first day of Christmas…

1 Dec

As the perfect antidote to my little girl’s Christmas wish list this year {which is predominantly pink, plastic or princess-related} I am craving some homespun, traditional touches for Christmas.

The decorations aren’t up yet, but we have begun our festive celebrations with these beautiful little knitted stockings. Handmade by her granny, we have strung them up in a vintage frame with a little treat inside for every day from now until Christmas Eve.

individual stocking

pile of stockings

red stockings

Homemade advent stockings

Homemade advent stockings

 

From the sublime to the ridiculous

14 Oct

Thought I’d share a few snaps from last Saturday’s outing to the Harvest Craft Fair at The Herb Farm. It was a good chance for me to dust off a few of my Create Vintage finds.

herb farm 1 herb farm 3 herb farm 4

Harvest Fair at The Herb Farm, Sonning Common

Harvest Fair at The Herb Farm, Sonning Common

I had various pale blue pastel pieces, which I always think look really fresh and modern, and relevant. They haven’t lost any hint of their charm despite their years of use, which makes this colour scheme one of my absolute favourites.  Just because something’s old doesn’t mean it has to look old-fashioned.

After a busy day behind the stall, I ventured off to a car boot sale on Sunday morning and discovered some more beautiful things. This Swinnertons jug and Johnson Bros. teapot  in sunny yellow both make me smile. I discovered plenty more, but I’m saving up a few pieces for an exciting project, which I’ll share at a later date.

Swinnertons 'Majestic Vellum' jug

Swinnertons ‘Majestic Vellum’ jug

Johnson Bros. Goldendawn teapot

Johnson Bros. Goldendawn teapot

In the meantime, although I’m usually attracted to pieces which are as relevant today as they ever were, sometimes you just have to go with something that has an absurd beauty. Totally impractical, but utterly gorgeous, I give you these vintage apothecary bottles. Once containing treatments for all manner of ailments from Ringworm {really} to Permanganate of Potash {who knows what grim affliction that treated}, as well as Glauber Salts and Nutritive Pomade For Nourishing and Beautifying the Hair, I simply love them.

An assortment of vintage apothecary bottles

An assortment of vintage apothecary bottles

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