Christmas at the white approach shop

I always think you have to get Bonfire night out of the way before you can really start thinking about Christmas, but, well, I couldn't wait and have spent since Saturday night trying to transform my shop into the Scandinavian image of Christmas I have in my head.  I haven't quiet succeeded in the perfect all white with accents of red and grey but I am pleased with what I have acheived .


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I pride myself on selling unique and affordable items from local independent crafters and artists.  Its important to me to have ideas and products not supplied by other retailers.  I have a wonderful selection of those, including the wooden advent calender made for me by my husband.  It stands approx 4 ft high and is hand painted.  I commissoned a talented local lady to make the numbered bags for me and think the end result it stunning.  A favourite Christmas family piece for years to come.  For Sale in the shop or online for £65.



I really love everything about Scandanaivian style, the fresh, clean look of red and white is particularly  apealing.




Pretty, framed hand crafted picture decoration available at the white approach £27.50




Affordable, handmade table runners, placemats, bread holders, bottle bags and more. 

The front window.  I love these large candy canes.  Please ignore the reflection of the old woman in the window !  If you are in the area would love to see you, pop in for a browse and a chat.



The Blanket Box

We are very busy in the shop at the moment with customer commissions.  Lots of people wanting items given a lick of paint in time for Christmas. 

This blanket box is in the shop today waiting to be collected.  The customer wanted a Lloyd loom style box to match a chair in her bathroom.  We sourced one that was very dirty and badly painted but was in good general condition with no holes or damage.  We removed the old fabric and seating, gave the box a good clean and rub down with sugar soap to remove any remaining dirt and grease. 

With this style of furniture we have found its best to spray paint the item.  It gives a much more even finish and you don't get paint clogging up the gaps.  Several light spray coats are best to achieve an even cover.  But you will need to keep checking the item from different angles and including putting it onto a table so you can see it properly. 

The customer wanted us to retain the original braiding.  A job for my talented hubby, removing the braiding can be a bit tricky but luckily this one had been previously recovered and the braiding had been tacked on so it came away easily.

We put a new thick foam seat onto the lid and covered it with the customers fabric choice.

Sorry there are no photos of the process, we will try to remember next time.

Not a lover of gold myself but I think it turned out lovely.  Just hope the customer is happy.




Creative Family Home by Ashlyn Gibson

I was recently sent a copy of Creative Family Home by Ashlyn Gibson to review.  I am always on the lookout for beautiful books on home decor and style and I can tell you this book does not disappoint.




A bold, bright book crammed full of ideas on home, style and decorating when your home includes children !  The book  " explores the heart and soul of twelve specially photographed homes " celebrates the magic of childhood and whether you have just started a family or have a tribe of pre-teens this book has it covered.



The books covers Creative family style, ideas for using space imaginatively, Print and pattern, Storage and organisation, homework and creative zones and brilliant ways to showcase treasured artworks and prized collections.






Ashlyn visits twelve real life homes all of which are wonderful and inspirational and NOT like they just came out of the pages of glossy magazines.  We all know that kind of living is unsustainable.  The homes featured in this book are imaginative, quirky, bright and interesting.



Perfect for the way modern families live today.  I love the way all the families have combined new, old, recycled, crafts, homemade and included the children's work throughout.  Real imagination without costing the earth.  Homes that are beautiful and say so much about the occupants, such a refreshing change from the flat pack mentality that invades many homes these days.




I LOVE THIS BOOK !

and I'm giving you the opportunity to win a copy .

Just comment below.

 For additional chances you can like, comment and share the link on facebook and twitter

and don't worry, if you don't win :  Creative Family Home by Ashlyn Gibson is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available from www.rylandpeters.com
I was sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review.
Giveaway entry date closes at 8pm on Tuesday  29th October.
Winner will be selected at random.

Something to be said for a lie in

Since opening the shop I work 6 days a week.  Four in the shop and two days as a school secretary.  Leaving the only "day off" Sunday, to clean the house, catch up on the washing, spend quality time with the children and hubby and go treasure hunting of course.  Yesterday I was determined come rain or shine I would make it to the boot sale this morning but its been a particularly tiring week again and when hubby woke me at 6am I already knew there was no way I was dragging my tired bones out of bed to treasure hunt in the darkness and rain.

I turned over and went back to sleep for two hours.  I woke up feeling much better if not a little annoyed with myself that I had missed all that potential treasure at the boot sale.  Nothing for it I would have to go out searching "just in case".  The boys really didn't want to leave the house and hubby was happy pottering in his shed so off I went.  I have several places I like to visit on the Sunday and they certainly didn't disappoint today.

Here is a little taster of the goodies I found .



You might wonder what I could possibly want with this beauty, but I can tell you my heart skipped a beat when I saw it.  A genuine French Plum drying rack !  A what ? I hear you say...




A plum drying rack, a rack for drying all those delicious French plums from the sunny orchards of France.


Anything remotely French, vintage and rustic is so desirable at the moment.  I LOVE it and I have a great idea for using it in the shop (unless, of course I sell it first ).




Next up this great galvanised Herb and Flower drying rack, it has all the hooks too.  Would look fab hanging from the ceiling with herbs and flowers (obviously) or even pots, pans or cups etc .




Love the colbolt blue of these glass Salt and Pepper pots.




A large, silver painted wooden letter Y.  Just because I love collecting random large letters and thinking this could be the start of my YO, HO, HO for christmas.  Or maybe somebody called Yolander or Yvonne will buy it.



and finally for now because I have to spend some time with my family before I start all over again.



A huge ceramic bowl and platter in the most divine Mink colour.  So as it turned out, my little lie in today was worth it.

Linking up with MagpieMonday

The wood burner

The nights are drawing in and there is definitely a chill in the air.  I do love this time of year but I also dread it because of the cost of the heating bills.  We try to put off turning the central heating on for as long as possible.  Layering on the clothes and reminding everyone to close doors, put more clothes on, turn down the radiators etc etc. 

Recently hubby and I have spent more and more time discussing the possibility of installing a wood burner, we know several people who have them and apart from looking fantastic they are supposed to be really good value for money and super efficient.  As we live in a 1930's house we already have the fire places (with unblocked chimney's) in place.

While we discuss the pros and cons further I thought I would have a little day dream,  here are some I really like the look of.



How wonderful is this one in a bedroom complete with a full sized picture wall of a winter
 woodland !


We could do this in our living room as the layout of the chimney in the room is the same.


oh Rustic Love !


Now this one is really me !



Modern style

all pictures from #pinterest

Hellooooooo I'm back !






So I thought it would be a good idea to pop off and become self hosted, combining my online shop and blog.  I thought I was being a very clever bunny but it turned out it was far too complicated for my simple brain to navigate.  I had to rely on a very clever geek fairy to help me everytime I wanted to perform a simple task.  Quick blog posts and pictures were a thing of the past and as for trying to set up a workable postage system for my online shop ! FORGET IT !

Now a lot has happened in the last year to keep me away from blogging  (realising my dream of my own shop for one ) and to be honest I did actually loose my blog mojo  but now I have the shop pretty much up and running I feel I might have some time for the odd blog post or two.

I've no idea what has changed in the world of blogger or even if anybody will read my blog anymore but, well if you are out there.......

Waves hello.


Painting time

Day one as a shop owner.
The realisation of what I have taken on has started to sink in.
Only one thing for it, get the paint brushes out and start painting.  Luckily both hubby and Jacob were willing assistants today.
A lot was achieved.
EXCITED !

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Jacob makes a start on the awful pine counters.  I was going to throw these but actually think with a little bit of a makeover they could be really useful to store paint and other essentials.

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Meanwhile, Nigel makes a start on the wall outside the shop.  We are tucked away from the high street so need to make the space as inviting as possible for our customers.

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First coat coming along well.  What do you mean, What am I doing ? I'm the boss!!

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More painting....

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bit more painting

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Not a bad morning's work.  Think I need to go home for a rest.

I did it !

After years of dreaming about owning my own shop, I actually sign on the dotted line on Monday !
I received an unexpected call yesterday from the landlord of a property I fell in love with when I saw it recently.  The shop was newly up for rent but already had somebody else lined up to take over (luckily) for me the lady still has a property to sell in France and wasn't in a position to move as quickly as I was.
Today feels a bit like the morning after the night before.  I am feeling excited but really nervous too.  This is is not a decision I have taken lightly.  I've given it lots of though and looked at many, many potential shops spaces in recent years.
Can I make it work ?
Can I earn enough to afford it ?
Will people come and buy ?
What do I sell ?
How much do I rent space out for to other independents ?
How will I manage the childcare ?  Holidays ? Sickness ? etc etc etc
All I know is the space, although tucked away at the back of town (Exmouth) has so much potential.  Needs very little work to get it up and running and has a wonderful sunny outside walled space !   My instincts said go for it and so I have.
Here are some pics of how it looks at the moment.
I have big plans.
wish me luck .....

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The entrance

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Inside, looking from the back of the shop.  All the stock belongs to the current seller.

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From the front door looking back into the space

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My hubby with that "here we go again" look on his face.  He knows his considerable skills are just about to be called upon.

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The outside "walled garden"  can you see it !!! can you imagine how it might look ???

Force Charity Shop

One of the questions I am most asked is "where do I get my stock" .  So I thought I would give you a peak into one of my favourite treasure hunting shops is the Force charity shop in Heavitree.
I mentioned them last week as they are always winning national awards for the amount of money they bring into the charity.  Unilike many charity shops these days who have jumped greedily onto the band wagon because of the vintage trend, Force (mostly) don't charge extortionate amounts for their items.  Consequently the stock turns over very quickly, the customers always have something new to look at and are happy with the cost, and the shop gets lots and lots of lovely cash.
Sorry about the quality of the photos I was trying to take pictures on my phone without anybody either seeing or having their picture taken.

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As you enter the shop you have the till and the ladies, mens and childrens clothes section.  Always lots of great bargains and most of the clothes are sold for a flat rate of £3 unless deemed "special".  All items are always in great condition, nothing is smelly, rarely anything wrong with them.  All clean and ironed before put out on display.  I recently purchased a brand new pair of boots (with next label for £69 still on the bottom) for £6 !!

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Up the step and turn left you have the childrens toy and book room.  Lots of lovely clean toys on sale and often many collectable items.  Childrens books on sale for 20p each.

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Out the door, turn left and you have walls lined with nic nacs, picture frames, toiletries, vases and more

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Into a long room filled from floor to ceiling with shelves full of crockery, ornaments, pictures, music section, teapots and more.

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This is where I get most of my plates from.  All the plates stacked on the floor are just 10p each, bowls usually 50p.  You won't find anything on these shelves over £3.
The room at the end (sorry didn't get a photo ) is full of bedding, cushions, haberdashery, buttons, fabric, knitting patterns and more.
back up and off to the right, outside into the "lean to" is where small pieces of furniture, garden wares, picnic bits, plastic homewares, flowerpots and the 10p cups and saucers are kept.
Looks like somebody beat me to it on this day.  Not much to choose from.

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This is what I found that day.  The brown cups and saucers out of the 10p box are Wedgewood.

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So there you have it.  I missed out the main book room and the front display room which contains all the big pieces of furniture.  Sorry, but as you can see its a real treasure trove.  I love it.
Linking up with Liz at MagpieMonday

Ralph Lauren Denimware Thrifty Find!

Today I had possibly my best ever thrifty find !
A complete 20 piece dinner set of beautiful Ralph Lauren denimware for just £2 !
Yes, £2 !!!  10p per piece to be precise.
My favourite charity shop has a policy of selling its plates, bowls, cups and saucers for 10p each.  Their reasoning is they have so much stock donated it allows them to turn it over quickly and make a good profit.  and what a profit they make !  Consistently voted the top Force charity shop in the country, they have won many, many awards for the funds they bring into the charity.
Most of their stock is very reasonably priced, although they are quite canny and do their research.  They have experts in all areas and compare most donations on Ebay and the like before they put it on the shop floor.  Most of the high value stock goes off to auction and sometimes I will see an overpriced item in the shop because they deem it "current", but in the main it is a treasure trove of bargains.
It has become harder to find good stock, but if you have the eye and your timing is right you might just find a real gem like I did today.
Discontinued in 1997 the Denimware range was part of a collection called The Kate Reversed collection.  I believe from the 1980's and much collected today.


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I adore the dark blue colour which closely resembles dark blue denim.


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Linking up for the first time in a long while with the wonderful Liz at magpieMonday