Tag Archives: Unique Chique

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.

How to make a memo board

9 May

It has become increasingly apparent that we need somewhere to stash the never-ending stream of pictures, paintings, postcards, party invites and general paraphernalia you acquire when you have a little one living in the house. The solution, I figured, would be a memo board. And so I set my mind to creating one using one of my many collected vintage frames.

Here’s a little step-by-step I snapped last week while making the most of a lovely day in the garden…

You will need… A frame {I used a lovely vintage one which I painted in Chalk Paintdecorative paint by Annie Sloan in Old White}; chicken wire {a medium gauge}; wire cutters; staple gun and 10mm staples; a pair of sharp scissors; hessian or other fabric of your choice.

memo board step 1


Step 1: Cut the chicken wire to size

memo board step 2


Step 2: Staple into place {not too many staples at this stage – you’ll go over it again when you place the fabric}

memo board step 3


Step 3: Cut the hessian or other fabric of your choice to size

memo board step 4


Step 4: Staple into place at regular intervals

memo board step 5


There you have it…

memo board step 6a


Finally I painted some sweet little wooden shapes I had and stuck them onto wooden pegs.



And here it is in action {see what I mean about the paraphernalia!} Truly handy, and an adaptable, stylish way to create an ever-changing collage of your everyday bits and pieces.

finished memo board


A variety of memo boards will be for sale at Unique Chique in Alton. Prices vary depending on frame size and style, but generally start at £40. For specific size requirements and bespoke commissions, including individual fabric or colour requests please email hello@createvintage.com.

Pot luck

25 Apr

It’s fair to say that paintbrushes have been quite the preoccupation these past few weeks. But that doesn’t mean the quest for beautiful things has come to a stop.

Mind you, I have had to diversify my taste a little to keep up with demand in my new home – Unique Chique in Alton. I’m getting the distinct impression that the people of Hampshire like a more literal version of vintage.

So, as well as my own personal choices – something sleek, simple, timeless, stylish, like these elegant stoneware Purbeck Pottery coffee pots…

Purbeck Pottery coffee pots, £20 each
Purbeck Pottery coffee pots, £20 each

I’m also throwing in a bit of chintz – like this Johnson Bros. Victorian teapot…

Johnson Bros 'Victorian' teapot, £25

Johnson Bros ‘Victorian’ teapot, £25

After all, you’ve got to give the customers what they want. Right?


Create Vintage comes to life!

20 Feb

After months of planning, plotting and obscenely over-purchasing vintage homewares, one dream has finally come true for Create Vintage. From Saturday I will be selling a few of my treasured finds at Unique Chique in Alton, Hampshire.

Today I’ve been dusting down and sprucing up everything I can find that will bring a spring cheer to the shop. These colourful jugs in various shapes and sizes just about capture the collection I’ve come up with.

An assortment of vintage jugs including Wood's Ware, Spode, Johnson Bros. and Grindley

An assortment of vintage jugs including Wood’s Ware, Spode, Johnson Bros. and Grindley

I’ve chatted about Unique Chique on this blog before, but never said much about its owner, Emma Webb. To put it frankly she was pretty much the person who gave me the confidence to get going on the Create Vintage path. She’s hopelessly modest {so she’ll hate this mention} but her story is a real inspiration…

Emma trained as a commercial pilot and made it to Captain before her 30th birthday. She then moved into private aviation as a pilot for a corporate jet operator. Unfortunately illness led to her losing her medical. But, 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.

Three years on, she is moving to bigger premises, expanding her range {which includes Chalk Paint, decorative paint by Annie Sloan} and planning to share her skills with craft courses and workshops run from her friendly back room. She’s still only 36 years old.

I am so delighted to be part of her latest chapter. I’ll be helping out in the shop as well as giving things a bit of a PR push. You can find Unique Chique at 53 High Street, Alton, Hampshire. Her website is www.youruniquechique.com.