Meanwhile, over at The Packhouse…

18 May

I know the Create Vintage blog has been a bit quiet recently, but I’ve been contributing to The Packhouse website every now and again in my role as guest blogger. You can check in on me over there at, and here is a link to my latest post… {click here} It’s all about that favourite subject of mine – car booting! Yes, it’s car boot season, and already this year I’ve bagged some magnificent bargains, including some more genuine, vintage pharmacy bottles.

Vintage pharmacy bottles

Vintage pharmacy bottles

Meanwhile, my little space at The Packhouse is ticking along. A while ago I commissioned some exclusive, limited edition prints, designed by the beautiful Becky Thurston at Bee Loves Tea Creations. It’s a fine line between words that are motivational or meaningful and those that are just stomach-churningly corny. I thought long and hard about which I wanted to share, and then Becky brought them to life in our very first collection!

We’ve got some more ideas in the pipeline, and maybe a few other little creative tricks for the future up our sleeves too!

In praise of pink

27 Jan

So here we are in 2015!

And in case you were wondering, Pantone – the connoisseurs of all things ‘colour’ – have decreed that the shade we should all be craving this year is marsala; a full-bodied mix of rich red with a hint of earthy brown.

Marsala: Pantone Colour of the Year 2015 {}

Marsala: Pantone Colour of the Year 2015 {}


Of course, ‘vintage’ avoids such frivolous things as fashion. Like eternal style, its appeal is classic and unmistakable. I do think our relationship with it evolves though, and how we mix those elements in with modern environments is what keeps it fresh. Nobody wants their living room to look like a museum {do they…?} but a nod to the new keeps ‘the old’ more alive and relevant than ever.

My love affair with vintage embraces all its idiosyncrasies, and all its glorious imperfections. But above all else, I will always be swept away by that enduringly pretty, perfectly aged palette of pastel pinks, blues, greens and yellows.

This January, it’s been all about the pinks for me. And I’d like to think the fashionable people at Pantone would approve of how some old classics have transitioned seamlessly into the modern world and become bang on trend. Here’s a look at some of my pink discoveries, currently for sale – or just sold – at The Packhouse



The art of food photography {and why a good plate matters}

21 Oct

I spend quite a lot of my professional life with people whose job it is to make food look fabulous on a plate. The ones who photograph it, the ones who cook and carefully arrange it, and the ones who make the sets look pretty. They all work together to compose incredible images.

I could never have imagined how much thought and consideration goes into each shot. Ever stopped to admire that pretty little salt cellar, or that casually folded napkin? These are the details that set the scene, and allow the food to shine. {Read about the role of a prop stylist here}.

There is no doubt that a well-chosen ‘prop’ can make the difference between a so-so and sensational shot. And it’s no coincidence that most of the time, you’ll find the piece that brings that understated beauty is vintage. It’s why I can’t resist a distinguished, decorated platter, or walk past a beaten-up box of old cutlery. While I may not be lining them up for a starring role in a photo shoot, I still think you can bring that beauty into your home, and make your own meals look that bit more marvellous.

Guaranteed to make your food look gorgeous every time, blue platters are big news in the styling world at the moment. Here’s a selection of plates and platters I’ve recently put into The Packhouse.

The blue and white trend has even made it onto the catwalk…

A Julien Macdonald design for this year's fashion week

A Julien Macdonald design for this year’s fashion week

For me, when given the choice between a modern, mass-produced item and one with the charm of true history, I know which I’d want in my life every time. Take these teapots as an example. {What would you do…?}

Brand new or bags of vintage charm? You decide.

Brand new or bags of vintage charm? You decide.

And finally, as with all my pieces on sale at The Packhouse, I only ever buy what I truly love. My ‘blues’ will soon be replaced with a rather gorgeous and sparkly Christmas theme, but for now here are some shots of how the collection has come together and evolved over the past few weeks…

So long summer

25 Aug

It has truly been a beautiful summer. With the onset of the Bank Holiday rain I suppose I’m going to have to surrender to the fact that it’s not long till we’re back in our socks, and shutting the curtains before teatime. For us, the summer has been filled with many precious memories, and there’s just one more getaway before the biggest adventure of all {big school} starts.

Too many highlights to mention, but from pony riding and kite flying, beach combing, pool parties and roller-coasting to dinghies, caravans, veggie picking, sun-drenched suppers and boozy barbecues I’m struggling to think how we fitted it all in.

pony ride



As if that wasn’t enough – there was five weeks of bringing Christmas to life in a sweaty west London photo studio {July is always inextricably linked to turkeys in my world}…

Christmas food shoot - photography Martin Poole {assisted by Faith Mason}; food styling Kim Morphew; styling Rachel Jukes

Christmas food shoot – photography Martin Poole {assisted by Faith Mason}; food styling Kim Morphew; styling Rachel Jukes


And of course, in amongst all of that, I’ve been keeping things ticking over at my lovely pitch at The Packhouse. Towards the longer, lazy days of summer, the theme was ‘florals’… teacups, teapots, cake plates, over-sized pitchers, careworn pictures and pretty pots for flower displays…


During my summer travels, the bargain hunting didn’t stop, and I even managed to discover a gorgeous tea trolley – the perfect transport for tea and cake, and a perfectly timed purchase for the start of The Great British Bake Off!

Vintage solid teak tea trolley with detachable rose-design tray

Vintage solid teak tea trolley with detachable rose-design tray

New Girl

18 Jun

Finally, this week, the fruits of my harvesting and gathering have reached their destination! I’m thrilled to announce that I am the new girl at fabulous Surrey interiors emporium, The Packhouse!

I have wandered its rambling staircases, and strolled the never-ending levels and little alcoves many times, and always hoped I would have my own little space in this style-lovers heaven.

Transforming my blank wall into a selling space was a daunting prospect, but here are some snaps of how it all shaped up. For any locals, please do pop by. You can find me at the top of the stairs {immediately on the left} next to Cafe Fig – all my labels have the code ZRM13. Will keep you all updated with how it evolves…


packhouse 1 packhouse 2 packhouse 3 packhouse 4 packhouse 5 packhouse final



Treasure hunting

21 May

There’s nothing like a deadline to galvanise you into action. In less than a month I will be selling my stock in brand new {super-smart} premises. The pressure is very much ON.

Buying and selling vintage is not like browsing a catalogue and placing an order. You can’t visit a showroom and choose a job lot of stock. There is no ‘wholesale’ option. Rather, the process depends purely and simply on chance, and a bit of good fortune. Not only that, but, ‘the value of vintage is on the rise’ according to The Sunday Times Style {18 May 2014}. Which means it’s getting harder to come by. See what I mean about pressure?

Luckily, the buying crusade got off to a dazzling start this weekend. I visited one of my favourite un-tapped locations. Wall-to-wall vintage, with some truly outstanding gems, it wasn’t just the sun that was shining at the end of the day. With the car loaded to the brim full of magnificent buys I felt more than a little relieved that we’d be in business for opening day.

Highlights included….

A wash of pale green and blue vintage ironstone to add to the existing collection. I love their thick, rounded edges, pure pastel colours and simple, timeless silhouettes.

An assortment of vintage blue and green ironstone crockery

An assortment of vintage blue and green ironstone crockery

These vintage Dutch bulb crates were originally used for storing and transporting bulbs in the famous horticultural area around the south-west of Amsterdam. With solid wood construction and a metal mesh base {essential for allowing air to circulate around the bulbs and prevent them rotting}, they are stackable and versatile. Each one is entirely unique, stenciled with the grower’s name, and with their own little bit of history attached. Up-end them and you have a ready-made memo board. On their own they’re a genuinely beautiful storage option.

Vintage Dutch bulb crates

Vintage Dutch bulb crates

10 green bottles. Well, several. At least. Almost everyone who sells these bottles seems to be fanatical about finding them. I love hearing their stories. They scour old municipal dumps, fields and beaches to dig them out – that’s commitment. My last good find was a haul of apothecary bottles, this outing seemed to turn up sauce and condiment bottles instead. As with all good, collectable vintage, they’re becoming scarce.

Vintage glass apothecary and condiment bottles

Vintage glass apothecary and condiment bottles

Vintage {quite possibly antique} hinged gentlemen’s shoe lasts inscribed with ‘Faulkner & Son, London & Cambridge’. How classy would these be as a Father’s Day gift?

Faulkner & Son, London & Cambridge, vintage hinged Shoe Lasts

Faulkner & Son, London & Cambridge, vintage hinged Shoe Lasts

An assortment of filthy, but fabulous, vintage cutlery. A bit of a scrub and they’ll be good as {in fact, make that better than} new.

Assorted vintage cutlery

Assorted vintage cutlery

A variety of pretty, patterned blue and white platters. What every lovingly-made supper dreams of being served up on!


Blue and white platters including 2 Adderley Bone China 'Blue Chelsea' cake plates

Blue and white platters including 2 Adderley Bone China ‘Blue Chelsea’ cake plates

And a final bit of sunshine. Yellow makes an occasional appearance in my collections, and these sunny finds seemed just about right for the start of summer.

yellow jug

Johnson Bros. ‘Pareek’ milk jug

Vintage Art Deco style yellow coffee pot

Vintage Art Deco style yellow coffee pot

There was more, but I’ll save it for another day. See you soon…

Memory lane

23 Apr

Nostalgia, I suppose, is an occupational hazard for anyone in the ‘vintage’ game. A by-product of loving old stuff. But, funnily enough, my nostalgia has been prompted recently not so much by things from my distant past, but by things from the more recent present. You could call it stuff that I have loved and then lost. Intentionally lost, of course, or {more accurately} sold. But even so, I have discovered that it’s possible to miss things that were never part of your life anyway.

When I set out to find beautiful vintage things, the prerequisite is always, always, always that I love them enough to own myself. ‘It’ has to have enough of a pull to make me think that if I didn’t sell it, I would happily live with it. And so it is that I have been reminiscing about some of the more remarkable finds, wondering where they have ended up, and who is loving them now.

Some favourites that have found their way to another new life feature here…

Create Vintage discoveries

Create Vintage discoveries

And finally, beauty can be found in many places, and one unexpected treasure I came across lurking at the back of our garden shed last week was this decaying pair of scissors. So functional, and borderline brutal in their proportions, but somehow full of symmetry and rusty charm.


Rusty scissors


In memory of Emma

20 Feb


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!