Friday, 4 October 2013

What's a Bain Marie?

Tomorrow I'll be at the  North London Vintage Market. As always I look forward to this venue. There'll be great stalls including mid century ceramics, textiles, furniture and of course Kitchenalia! Refreshments are yummily provided by My Little Cake Tin! I'll have lots of new items including a beautiful sky blue Bain Marie. What's that, I hear some say? Well it's a double pan where one smaller pan sits inside the other which is filled with water. The smaller pan holds sauces, custard, porridge or anything which needs to be heated gently. It avoids the sauce sticking the bottom. It's great for melting chocolate. I also have two small enamel flour bins, one in classic white, the other in cream n green with stencilled writing which is really lovely. Cream n green is a current n lasting theme in my choice of enamel and tin items. It reminds me of creamy roses on fresh green stems, crisp cauliflower peeping out of green leaves and I could go on but I won't. These colours can also be found in a1940s Salter scales, a three tier Tala cake tin and various bowls, plates and tins. These will all be available at the market tomorrow as well as at Thursdays at Spitalfields.

My stall recently at North London Vintage Market

Friday, 6 September 2013

I'm back!

Hi there, well I'm now back in the swing of things again - Spitalfields yesterday in the boiling heat! Must have affected the customers too as there weren't so many for me! Still, it was great to be back n get my brain in gear for buying n selling again. After an exciting two weeks waiting for grandchild no 2 to arrive after getting back from Scotland, he's finally here and appropriately cute n beautiful! I can begin to concentrate on business, hard as it is. Tomorrow, it's North London Vintage Market at St Mary's Church Hall, Cranleigh Gardens, London N10. It's been two months since the last one so I'm looking forward to it. It's always such a lovely market with great stalls, food n atmosphere. I've got lots of new things to sell including a washstand with a pale green enamel basin with the cutest tiny plug n matching soap dish. See photos on Twitter. My name is the same. I'll have another supply of  pie dishes in various colours from pale blues to greens n classic whites with blue edgings. These are always popular and especially at this time of year when we start thinking of warming food such as fish or veggie pie. I've got a lovely white Bain Marie pot for cooking sauces or heating custard.  I'm getting hungry talking about all this food! See you there tomorrow hopefully.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Sun,sea and swallows!

Here I am up in the west coast of Scotland. The weather is great, though unlike London I can breathe wonderful fresh sea air. We've managed to see the fledgling swallows before they fly off to South Africa. We've watched them emerge nervously from their nest in the eaves to sit for a while on one of the rafters to work up the courage to fly. Now already in a few days they are off soaring into the clear blue sky searching for food on the wing, returning only in the evening like errant teenagers who've come home past their curfew time!
I've managed to source a few goodies so far for my stall. Even on holiday, I'm always on the look out for interesting items. A little trio of duck measuring spoons and a lovely green and white storage jar are my first buys. It's only been a week so give me time!! Oh and also I couldn't resist some beautiful bone china flower brooches and earrings. They are so delicately made using dainty pastel shades. I don't normally go for jewellery but they were so hard to resist and remind me of pretty china teacups which I sell so they will fit in with my usual stock. I imagine they may have belonged to a nice elderly lady who looked after them and cherished them so I will look after them carefully too until it's time to hand them on to another careful owner.
Life here is very different from London and a wonderful contrast. Walking on an empty beach with the dog running in and out of the water chasing the oystercatchers, eating lovely fresh seafood, picnicking on the beach and for a change having to shelter under the shade of a lovely old beach umbrella. I've been swimming too, the water at first freezing but exhilarating too. Up here is a lot like Cornwall but without all the people! It's so refreshing and really does seem like being on a desert island at times. If I see a figure in the distance on the beach, it's like, 'what, people on our beach?'  In between enjoying all these glorious experiences, I will continue my quest for new stock.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Monkey business!

This cheeky monkey was bought from my lighthouse man! (See other blogs). He's pretty old I think n is beautifully jointed with beady glass eyes. I am tempted to hold onto him! Talking about monkeys, I've recently been clearing out our loft which has thirty years worth of memories up there. There were hundreds of cuddly toys, some very special and some bought randomly by my children at school fairs, charity shops etc for twenty pence or so. I have found these characters from the monkey family of various sizes, colours and characters (see below). All this time, there has been a veritable zoo above my head. Some of them are heading to new homes.There must have been a secret loft world which I have now disturbed. Baby clothes, toys, games, tins, as well as pure rubbish, if rubbish can ever be pure! I don't think so, considering how dirty I am when I come out after a session cleaning up there! It's amazing how much we keep. Often the things we keep are really beautiful items worth holding onto for future generations. My daughter's baby has inherited some of her mummy's clothes, even her christening robe as well as lots of great toys from the eighties! I have photos of both of them wearing the same things thirty years apart! However, there are things which I think, why on earth have they been kept!! An old pair of trainers?? Two old pillows? A broken football game where the spinning teams have no pitch to play on as it was used as a stepladder until someone's foot went through it! Why you may be wondering, did I hold onto these things? Well, your guess is as good as mine. One positive thing though is that my and other people's hoarding instincts protects items which will become our collectables of the future. When I sell a lovely old tin, I wonder where it came from and why someone held onto for all these years so that I could find it and then pass it on to someone else. I do often wonder in this minimalist age, where will all the collectables of the future come from? So at least when I'm despairing as I trail through my loft treasures/trash, I can feel some justification in holding onto things so that they may one day be someone else's treasure bought from a stall just like mine. I think part of the problem is that it's hard to treasure something which is so common at the moment such as all the big Roses, Quality Street tins which abound around Christmas time. Even I have thrown quite a few of these out after using many of them to store pens, nails, candles etc and exhaustingly ran out of ideas for any more uses. But perhaps in forty/fifty years time when they're a bit bashed and maybe tin isn't used anymore as a material, those very same tins will be fawned over by young people. You just never know!!!

They're escaping from the attic!!!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Woof woof!

Last Saturday was another lovely day at North London Vintage Market. We even had a dog show with lots of funny characters, dogs n their owners included! The proceeds went to North London Hospice. It was great fun. We took our dog along too. She even had a bath to prepare for the big day. Alas she didn't win any of the categories which were: best dressed dog and owner, dog with attitude and rough diamond. As a Border Collie, she definitely has a category of her own for intelligence. It was really great to see so many people with their pets out in the sunshine. That's the last market until September but of course I'm at Spitalfields as usual every Thursday. I've got some lovely T G Green Cornish Ware mugs together with a mixture of blue n white egg cups. I've still got a couple of Chef-ware jugs. Along with my haul of china from the lighthouse, I also have some great blankets, patchwork, knitted and crocheted, in beautiful jewel-like colours. I think now that the sun has finally put his hat on, I may keep them in storage until the autumn. Look out for them here later in the year. Meanwhile the enamel fest continues with lovely clean lines of blue and white plates, mugs, bowls n pie dishes. These are great for picnics, camping and some for going straight  into the oven for a great apple pie!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

I've got the blues, greens n budgerigars!

green and cream colourways and budgie tin

Pie dishes and loads of utensils
As I mentioned in my last blog, I will be at North London Vintage Market on 1st June 10-5. This will be the last one until September so do try to come along. As usual there will be a real mixture of vintage stalls including clothes, jewellery, textiles and  home ware, as well as delicious food and refreshments. This time there will be some stalls outside and hopefully a dog show with proceeds going to North London Hospice. It should be a really good day. For more details see:   I'll be there with some of my recent finds including Cornish ware dinner plates, pudding dishes and side plates as well as jugs. I also have what is sometimes known as the poor man's Cornish ware, made by Chef Ware. I think Woolworth's stocked it but don't let that put you off as the famous design, 'Homemaker', was also sold by them! These are also blue and white striped and are just as handsome in a different way. There are lots more utensils in an array of colours including yellow, orange and the classic cream and green. Talking of green and cream, these are one of my favourite colour-ways in enamel and  tin items. They remind me of creamy white blossoms in the garden surrounded by fresh foliage. A classic combination. The photos I'm showing are examples of  these colours together with my one remaining budgie tin. The writing on top says, 'bird sand' and the one I've already sold said, 'bird seed'. It's amazing that such mundane ingredients were sold in such attractive tins! All of these items will be at Spitalfields Thursday market until then so some of them may be snapped up but there will always be more to follow!

Beautiful blue enamel

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

It's been too long!!

 Hi anyone who is still reading this. I promised I'd write more regularly but life gets in the way. I've been doing Spitalfields  as usual, buying and selling and generally enjoying myself. It's a great place not only to work but just to be there. Since last writing, I've been up to Scotland where it was snowing all around us but not actually where we were staying! Strange! I managed to collect a few goodies to sell and some of them have already gone. T.G. Green pots and a nice mixing bowl went very quickly. I bought three lovely tobacco tins from another stall holder. They were such amazing colours. One was bright yellow and blue, one brown and yellow called 'Brown Beauty' and the one I have left is called 'Nosegay'. It's a fab combination of bright green and red. They are big enough to store items other than tobacco in! The other day I bought a wonderful collection of items from a man who used to own a lighthouse in Ireland. All the items came from there. It's a really interesting collection including TG Green plates, bowls, cups and jugs. This blue and white cornishware is so fresh and reminiscent of the coast, always popular and sells quickly.Also included in my haul are a pile of patchwork quilts together with Figgjo Flint Norwegian plates decorated with prawns, mussels and vegetables in such beautiful realistic colours that they seem to be coming alive on the plates! Gradually these things will be appearing on my stall at Spitalfields and also at Crouch End Vintage Market on June 1st. This will be the last market until September so do come along. More news about it nearer the time. I missed the last one as I was away in lovely Whitstable for my birthday treat. We had amazing weather and spent lots of time on the beach eating fish n chips n sipping champagne!! It's such a lovely town with lots of interesting shops. We also visited Deal which has a lovely row of shops in what I think is the old part of the town and includes a great furniture shop with a cute cafe at the back. I was very spoilt!
Cornishware plates and cool blue enamel
I've been meaning to post this photo for a while. A young woman came to my stall and bought this basket. She promptly popped her little pooch inside and walked off very happy with her new doggie carrier/basket!

A happy pooch in his new basket!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

To split or not to split!

Curious objects
I had a strange request at the weekend. Someone asked me if they could buy one butter pat. If you're not sure why this sounds a bit odd, then perhaps you're not sure what butter pats are. They are small wooden paddles with ridges on one side and they were traditionally used to create blocks of butter when making hand made butter. The butter was slapped around to make rectangular shapes. They are very handsome and are nicely tactile. To split a pair is like splitting a cruet set. I had to explain to the customer why I was reluctant to do so and then explain what they were and how they were used. Sometimes I know what it feels like to work in a museum. I'm often asked about items on the stall and I do my best to explain what the item is and what it is used for (of course that's assuming I know what it's for myself!). Sometimes I buy items which I really don't have a clue about. I must photograph some of them and maybe someone reading this can tell me! Often I have items which are so beautifully crafted and so detailed and beautifully made even though they are created for such a small mundane kitchen job. For example, a bean slicer, a mincer or a nutmeg grater. I'll look for some of these objects in my stock and put photos on here. Then you can see for yourself.

North London vintage market
North London vintage market was very good as always. It's lovely to see regular customers as well as new ones. I sold a good lot of items. I always enjoy it there. The atmosphere is very reminiscent of a village hall. We had a new person serving the food and refreshments. The food was fantastic. Samosas were so tasty and the cakes so dreamy. Well done!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Facebook and milk bottles!

Hi anyone who reads this. I've been really remiss recently at attending to this blogspot. You may be just reading this after me being highlighted on Old Spitalfields Market Facebook page. If so, welcome! This is the kickstart I need to get me going again. I don't have any excuses except that I was really ill a few weeks back with the dreaded flu bug but that's no excuse for the rest of the time! Thank you to Nana who works for Old Spitalfields Market who recently highlighted my stall at Spitalfields. Cheers! Also thanks to Mike, manager of the market on Thursdays who has also featured me on his Facebook page (Old Spitalfields antique and vintage flea market). You can look at my stall on both these pages.
It's been hard work at the market in recent times as it's been so cold. We still get the intrepid regulars to whom we are always grateful to for their support even in such dogged circumstances as of recent weeks. I am still doing the regular monthly market at Crouch End. Info can be found on northlondonvintagemarket Facebook page and on Twitter. The next one is on 2nd March 10-4. There will be lots of exciting things there, vintage clothes, textiles, homeware and a great cafe for goodies.
These are some of the items I will be selling there.The teaset is by Kathy Winkle who produced china in the fifties. The marbled coffee pot is French. The large wide necked milk bottles make great vases for a few flowers, minimilist but effective. I even have some tiny ones which were used as school milk bottles, very cute. I look forward to seing you at either Spitalfields or Crouch End.
I am now going to try to write this blog at least once a week! Thanks for reading this.