Thursday, 20 December 2012

What a year its been...............

..........and the best is yet to come!

This will be my last blog post of the year and as the year is coming to a close, I thought I'd reflect back at all the changes that have happened to me and the reasons why I started this vintage journey.

Village-Vintage - July
I have always loved vintage but due to one reason or another just never took it any further than collecting for myself and the occasional selling on eBay and at the boot sale.  That all changed this year when I found myself in a situation beyond my control and I had to make a decision.

I had worked at the same place for the past 10 years in one role or another until I became Sales Manager 4 years ago.  I have to admit that I probably should have left years ago but with the climate the way it was, I was lucky to have a job and it was ok.  I worked with some nice people, it was easy because I'd been doing it for so long etc etc. There had been lots of ups and downs but it was managable.  That all changed in January 2012 when a new General Manager came on board.  From then on it was hell and I knew my days were numbered even though I had no proof and I was starting to sound incredibly paranoid.  You know though don't you when something isn't right and when I had to start training people in ALL my jobs and giving away my responsibilities to other members of staff, I definitely knew.  Still I clung on though as after 10 years I was virtually institutionalised and had had my confidence knocked so much that I didn't feel anywhere else would want me.  Basically I wasn't good enough for this job, how on earth was I going to be hired anywhere else?

The Country Brocante - Oct
It then all came to a head when I had a meeting with the General Manager  in August and was basically told how nothing I did was right.  I was unhelpful, moody, negative, hadn't done much in the past few months, the list went on.  Now remember I had worked there for 10 years with an unblemished record so basically I had had a complete personality change in the space of a few months.  As soon as I received the letter of our meeting by email I knew I was on borrowed time.  I received the email on the Friday but on the Monday I received another email from the 'Executive Assistant' who stated "I wonder how long she'll put up with this?? Not long me thinks..........." in relation to the email I had received from the General Manager.  I left the next day.............and that is what started me on this journey.

In September I found out that I wasn't going to be able to take it any further so I had to suck it up and move on with my life.

Ditchling Vintage Fair - Oct
This hasn't been easy BUT I am so grateful that I
had my vintage to fall back on.  Without it, I think my situation could have been a lot worse and I would have struggled to gain any confidence or perspective.  Don't get me wrong, I have had some very down days when I haven't wanted to get out of bed and days when I have doubted everything about myself but the vintage and everyone associated with it has helped pull me back in one way or another.

I finally feel as though I have found my sense of belonging.  I feel that this is what I was obviously destined to do and even though I had to go through a rough time to get here, I'm so glad I did.  I have met some wonderful people who won't know just how much they have helped me.  They have though, by accepting me for me and not judging.  I am doing something I love and vintage makes me very happy, buying, selling, all of it.  It really has changed my life and without wanting to sound too dramatic, I finally feel like the person I was and am.  I'm not the person who cries in the morning because they don't want to go to work, I'm not the person who can't bear to be with anyone apart from Mark on my days off because I have to preserve my energy to go into work the next day and get through the day.  I'm not the person who doesn't trust anyone because I think they're going to stab me in the back and finally I'm not the stressed, unhappy person I was.

Village Vintage - Nov
I have gained confidence, a sense of self, met some really wonderful people who I feel I can call friends,  I'm relaxed, I'm happy, I'm fulfilled and all because I left a very negative situation and swapped it for a much more positive one.  I hadn't actually realised how bad things had become until I walked away from the situation and realised that I wasn't actually a person that liked being on their own all the time, that I wasn't a miserable old cow and that YES I do actually have some good qualities and I am able to achieve things!

So what are my plans for next year?  Well, I'm going to have a long hard think over the Christmas break and either commit fully to this or keep it as a hobby.  I think I already know the answer but I just need to make sure I know where I'm heading.  I'm also going to be unleashing more of my creative side by trying my hand at different crafty things.  I loved decorating the mug so Mark and I are both going to be doing that and I have a Felt Fox kit that I'm going to have a go at.   I'm also going to start baking once a month.  I LOVE cakes but never make them so I thought why not next year try my hand at a different recipe every month.  I used to love baking with my mum when I was a little girl so why not give it a try now.

Vintage and Handmade Fair -  Dec
I will be selling at some different fairs too such as the The Vintage Bazaar at Devizes and Hartley Wintney, Pop Up Vintage at Hassocks, The Floral Fringe Fair at Knepp castle as well as all the old favs such as The Country Brocante and Village-Vintage.  I am also thinking about opening an online Etsy shop as a different avenue to sell.

I really can't wait to see what next year brings and on a final note there is one person that I would like to thank in true Oscar speech style and that is my wonderful, patient husband who really has been so supportive and without whom I would never have had the confidence to attend my first ever vintage fair back in July at Village-Vintage.  He completely and unconditionally supported me and my decision to leave my job because he could see what it was doing to me and he allowed me to follow my dreams.  He is a very special man who doesn't even mind sometimes being the butt of my jokes on this blog!

Actually on one final, final note, thank you to everyone who has read my blog and for all your comments, I love writing it and I am looking forward to sharing more of my journey with you in 2013.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Roll up, Roll up, its a Faded Rose Vintage Christmas Giveaway!

Now I hope you are all sitting down because you are going to be stunned, stunned I tell you when you see what prize I have in store for you in my Christmas giveaway.  Before I begin though, let me tell you a story.  I am terrible at drawing, I have no artistic skills whatsoever.  When I was at infant school I remember the teacher giving us a choice of drawing or playing in the wendy house.  Never one to take the easy option even then, I decided to draw a picture.  The teacher gave me a huge piece of paper and I proceeded to draw the smallest bird you can imagine right in the corner.  I couldn't seem to draw any bigger which meant I got terribly upset because I couldn't do it (I was a VERY sensitive child) and so the teacher decided that it was probably for the best that I played in the wendy house which I did quite happily.

Then when I was about nine or ten I decided that I fancied George Michael  from Wham! and decided that I wanted to make a t-shirt with Choose Life on it just like his.

 I proceeded to get a plain t-shirt, a piece of cotton and a needle and started creating.  Why I thought a thin piece of cotton was the way forward I will never know, you couldn't even see it on the t-shirt.  Needless to say that plan was abandoned.

Throughout my school years I got by with no artistic talent and never really thought about it until I had to go for an open day at the Sixth Form College to choose A level courses.  We all got to choose what subjects we would like to sample but for some reason I got put in the Art A level class (you know where this is heading don't you although unfortunately no wendy house was available).  I'm sitting there with a class full of my peers when we are told that we are going to draw a skull of a sheep I think.  Not wanting to draw attention to myself I started drawing thinking 'who cares, just get it over and done with and move on.'  Which is what I would have done if the teacher hadn't decided to come round, stop at me and declare to everyone that 'I really had no idea had I.'  How outrageous I thought, he could have scarred me for life if I had actually been thinking about doing an Art A level but luckily I wasn't although I think I realised at that point that I was never going to have a career as an artist!

So I have basically never done anything since until last Thursday when some friends of mine suggested going to one of those places where you can paint the pottery.  I thought I'd go along and help them as they were making Christmas presents (not sure Mark would have wanted one of my creations for Christmas) but then decided, why don't I make a special little something to give away to one very lucky reader and follower of my blog and Facebook page to say thank you for all your support over the past few months.

And here it is, drum roll please,

A mug decorated by my own fair hand!  You'll be pleased to know that I didn't actually make the mug so there's no chance of the handle falling off.

That isn't the end of the story though as I decided to buy something from someone who really is artistic to put with the cup so not only will the winner get the mug, they will also get.........

............a fabulous recycled heart from the very lovely Viv from hens teeth.  I picked this out at the Vintage and Handmade fair last Saturday although it was hard to choose from all the lovely bits she makes.  I actually would like this for myself but obviously can't enter my own competition ;)

To be in with a chance to win my wonderful, fabulous work of art and Viv's delightful heart then please click on this link to my Facebook page and 'LIKE' my page Faded Rose Vintage.  If you don't have Facebook then please just leave a comment on my blog and I will put all the names together and ask my glamorous assistant, Mark to choose a name at random.

Paul Daniels and his glamorous assistant, Debbie Mcgee (who my dad used to fancy!)
Good luck everyone, I have my fingers crossed for you! xxx

Friday, 7 December 2012

My top finds ever!

I love all my finds although having said that, I would say that I'm actually quite fickle when it comes to my finds (luckily for Mark I'm not fickle in my relationships).  I will really, really, really love something and it will be my best find ever and nothing could ever replace it until............the next thing that I really, really, really love comes along.  There are some things however that I will love forever and will never part with.  I love them so much that I thought I would share with you my delights and the things that make me so happy.

First up is a very rare 1930s, mirrored french radio

1930s mirrored radio

This was hard to photograph (thank you Eve Bellamy for the photos!) but I hope you can see some of the detail.  I found this at Ardingly Antiques market and as soon as I saw it across the field, I was there swooping down and sweeping it up in my arms.  I love original 1930s french mirrored pieces and this was my find of the year as they are getting so hard to find.  I asked how much and was stunned when the seller said that it was only £10 as he had dropped it that morning and 2 pieces of glass had come off.  He still had one bit that was easy to glue on and the other bit that had broken didn't detract so for £10 it would have been rude not to.

1930s mirrored radio

That isn't the end of the story though, Mark in his wisdom decided that the radio wasn't quite damaged enough so when he glued the broken glass back on, he decided to do some 'restoration' work.  When I say he felt it wasn't damaged enough, I mean that this must have been what was going through his mind when he decided to take a scouring pad, scouring side up, to the glass panel at the front and proceeded to scour all the radio stations off.  I KNOW, I COULD HARDLY BELIEVE IT MYSELF!!!  I came in at that moment and asked in a calm, high pitched strangulated voice what he was doing to which he replied that he was 'cleaning it up for me'  He had already decided to take off the slightly grubby covering of the speaker and was now proceeding to scour away any value what so ever.  I can't quite remember how this ended but no doubt there was plenty of deep breathing on my part and a mantra going round in my head, 'he was only trying to help',  'he was only trying to help.'
Needless to say Mark is not allowed to 'restore' anything of mine ever again!

1930s french peach mirrored chest of drawers

Staying on the mirrored theme, my 4th most favourite find is my 1930s french mirrored chest of drawers.  Now these really are like hen's teeth and I have never seen one like this here in the UK so I know how lucky I was to find it.  Mark and I had been away just after Christmas and were driving home on New Years day when I asked him if we could drive past my favourite shop Three Angels.  I used to just drive past when it was closed so I could get my fill of french loveliness without being tempted to buy anything.  This strategy DOES NOT work!  I have bought so many pieces when its been closed because I see them in the window and go straight down there the next day to buy them.

The chest I actually saw before we had even parked the car.  I literally saw it as we were driving to the shop from about 100 yards away.  I am very eagle eyed when I want to be. As the shop was shut, I went in the next day, slapped down my deposit and fell in love.  The colour is perfect, I love the etched flowers, its so pretty and glamorous, the list could go on and on.

Gorgeous green cabinet

My third favourite find is this green cabinet that I found in Brighton.  I saw it in the shop window and fell in love, the green is exactly my colour and I wanted it.  Then I saw the price tag.........I wasn't going to be having it (I think my eyes actually started watering!)  A few weeks went by and it was still on my mind so next time I went into town I thought I'd take a detour to the shop just to see if it was still there.  It was and not only that but it had also been heavily discounted and I knew then that it was mine.

It has the original leaded glass and is perfect for holding all my most precious objects.  It is absolutely solid and the shelves are solid wood, it can hold a lot of weight.  I think it is late 1800s, early 1900s although I'm not sure.  It came out of an old farmhouse and the thing I love most about it is..........

........these scratch marks where the naughty farm cat decided to use it as a scratching post!  They are exactly the same on both sides so he obviously scratched on whichever side took his fancy!
This piece is very precious to me and one that I look at daily especially as it has my favourite photos of my mum and dad in pride of place.

My second favourite pieces aren't vintage finds but they are handmade and I think you'll agree, are very special indeed.

Wally and Sasha

My mum and I had 5 cats, Sasha, Fleur, Katie, Chloe and Wally.  They were our family and I used to get a birthday and Christmas card every year from them (obviously my mum wrote them as cats can't write, right?).  When I was at University and used to ring home, my mum would even get me to say hello to Sasha who used to respond with a miaow!  I loved these cats so much but unfortunately when my mum got very ill and could no longer stay at home I had to find new homes for all the cats.  We couldn't have them as Mark is very allergic and suffers from asthma and it wouldn't have been fair on them to be in such a small environment.  Sasha was the oldest and was 22/23.  I managed to find him an old cats home where I hope he enjoyed his last days, I often think about him as he was my favourite and we'd had him since I was a little girl.  Wally was the baby and was so funny.  He was actually named Orlando, shortened to Olly and then renamed Wally because he was! 
Anyway just before Mark and I got married, I discovered James Cochrane and his papier mache pets.  It was a no brainer, I had to get him to make me a model of my beautiful cats and so Wally was the first to be created and I received him as a wedding present from my lovely husband.

Wally is on the left, a funny fluffy thing!
Then when I turned 30, Mark commissioned James to make Sasha, the best birthday present I could have had.
Sasha, a big old tabby with huge paws
Mum and sasha
Baby Sasha and my mum
These would definitely be what I saved in a fire and I love them with all my heart.  I think James did an amazing job and really captured Sasha and Wally.

So what's my favourite find of all time?  Well its got to be these

An old bakerlite radio and a vintage set of eyelashes.  Whats so special about these I hear you ask, well shortly after my mum moved into a nursing home, Mark and I were at a collectibles fair at Hove town hall.  I bought a few bits and pieces when I stumbled upon these eyelashes.  My name is Fiona so obviously I had to buy them.  They even have the original glue and attacher thing.  I have never seen any before or since and actually think its a bit random to call them Fiona!  So we carried on going round the fair when I found this
I really liked it and thought it was unusual but it wasn't until I turned it round that I realised why I had been so drawn to it

The sticker on the back said that it played the song Goodnight Irene and my mum's name is Irene.  It was absolutely fate that I would find both these items at the same fair especially during such an emotional time.  My mum and I together for always in whatever capacity.
I have never seen either of these items since and I have looked for them.  I was definitely meant to find them, they were destined to be mine and I will never ever let them go.

So there you have it, my top finds.  None of them have any particular monetary value but that it isn't the point.  These are the items that give me so much pleasure and that I have a real emotional attachment too especially my cats, radio and eyelashes, I wouldn't be without them!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Well that was an early start..........

A present from my beloved!
.......but wasn't it worth it!  It all started on a very cold Saturday morning when I got up at 3am to get to the Vintage and Handmade Fair in Chipping Sodbury for 8am.  That was the plan anyway and it all started very well.  I heard the alarm, managed to drag my sorry arse out of bed (and Mark's), make a tea and coffee, slap on some mascara and BB cream to look vaguely human, load the car and set off in plenty of time.  We were in a good mood and even the bitter cold and very foggy fog couldn't dampen our spirits.  How we laughed as we reminisced that we used to be coming home at 3am from a club and not getting up at the ungodly hour to go to a vintage fair, how mature we were now.  That was until we got to the town hall with plenty of time to spare and decided to go and get some breakfast a mile up the road.  That was our mistake, it had all been too easy, we were too jovial so of course something had to go wrong!  I left Mark in the car whilst I went to order our breakfast.  I was gone for all of 10 minutes but in that time Mark had left the side lights on, he turned the key and....................nothing.  He turned it again, nothing.  We had just driven 150 miles without hitch and now 1 mile from the destination, our battery decided to die on us.  Well I was calm for all of 5 secs whilst Mark called the AA and then as soon as I heard that they wouldn't be with us until 8.30am, hysteria set in!  Suffice to say the very nice AA man turned up very quickly, changed the battery and we were back at the hall by 8.35am.  No-one even knew we were late!
Now the fun really began.  We found our table and started unloading.  As I have said before, I am very good at supervising Mark in this situation and I actually think there were fewer mutterings under his breath and a lot less sighing than on previous occasions so maybe we're finally getting used to me being the boss in these situations ;).  My usual style of setting up my stall is, get everything out, put it on the table, zhuzh it up a bit and cross my fingers.
Pose dolls
My stall
Keeping guard!
She found her way to a new home
My one consession to Christmas decorations!
I definitely need to work on my presentation as some of the stalls are just amazing and I would love to have that kind of vision but I have my own style which will evolve over time as I get used to doing the fairs.  For the meantime I'm happy and it means I can go off and have a look at the other stalls!
I had met a few of the stallholders before but there were a lot that I hadn't.  I had read their blogs and seen their websites and was now meeting them face to face, they are like celebrities in the world of vintage to me!
Donna Flower
Donna Flower
Donna Flower
 First up was Donna Flower and her wonderful array of fabrics.  She has a wonderful website with every fabric you could wish for and much more besides!  I have visited her website on numerous occasions so it was nice to finally put a face to the name.

Hen's Teeth
Hen's Teeth
Another person whose website I have often visited is Viv's from hen's teeth.  She makes the most wonderful purses, bags, scarves, the list goes on and I actually purchased a little something form her as a prize for a little Christmas giveaway I will be doing in the next few days so keep your eyes peeled!

All things vintage and Beautiful
All things vintage and Beautiful
All things vintage and Beautiful
Opposite Donna were Stephen and Judy from All things vintage and Beautiful.  I had met them at Hartley Wintney and then saw them again as buyers at Village-Vintage.  It must have been an omen that I saw them at Village-Vintage because the next thing I knew, I had a stall at the next fair they were doing!  Their stall is always so bright and cheerful that it just makes you smile.

Country Cottage Chic
Country Cottage Chic
 I then met Jayne from Country Cottage Chic.  Jayne actually organises these fairs along with Michele so it was great to meet her and say hello as I had only had email contact before.  Mark was particularly taken with the circus above but unfortunately he doesn't have any room in his hallway to display it! (yes I am that generous, he has the hallway to display his man toys!)

Lovely ladies of the W.I Rangeworthy
One of my favourite stalls, the tea and cake stall!  This was run by the ladies from the Rangeworthy W.I and the chocolate cake was delish.  Unfortunately I had to share with Mark but I made sure I had the biggest bit(s)
Jenny Barnett - Needle Felt Sculpture
Jenny Barnett - Needle Felt Sculpture
Now this stall intrigued me as I had never seen Jenny's work before but I loved her felt sculptures so much that I actually bought one of her kits to make one myself.  I am notoriously bad at anything that involves drawing or making, I'm all fingers and thumbs but I thought why not, what could possible go wrong (basically I'll get annoyed after 5 mins because it isn't looking how it should and Mark will have to finish it!)  You can buy the kits and see Jenny's work on her website Jenny Made 

Cowboys and Custard
Cowboys and Custard
Cowboys and Custard
The next stall was one after my own heart.  Michele from Cowboys and Custard has a wonderful array of old toys that I just love.  In fact the fairy at the top of this blog is from her stall, I thought she was brilliant and not quite as demonic as my other fairies I bought a couple of weeks ago!  Michele is also co-organiser of these wonderful fairs AND still finds time to seek out all her wonderful old toys.

Nostalgia at No.1
Nostalgia at No.1
Nostalgia at No.1
I have visited Niki's website Nostalgia at the Stonehouse many times and have even visited her shop in Shepton Mallet after visiting a fair there.  Her stall was magical with all her handmade fairies and angels and other gorgeous characters.

Hellish Designs
Hellish Designs
Hellish Designs
Hellish Designs
On the right of our stall was Heather from Hellish Designs.  She had gorgeous handmade french linen cushions and lampshades plus lots of other vintage goodies.  She also has a very nice blog which is well worth a read (just click on the link above)
The Vintage Box Shop
Canvas and Cloth
Emily and Camilla's stall
And lastly but by no means least were Emily, The Vintage Box Shop and Camilla, Canvas and Cloth.  We had a great day with these two and couldn't have asked for better neighbours.  I hope we see them at another fair soon!

So that's it, my account of a fair which was a departure from my norm and you know what, I loved it!  The Vintage and Handmade Fair was absolutely wonderful and both Mark and I really enjoyed ourselves.  It was so well organised and the hall was decorated just right and really got you in the festive spirit.  I loved meeting new customers and enjoyed telling them about my different vintage pieces.  I love to tell a story so it was nice having a captive audience!  It was also great to meet so many stallholders whose blogs I had read but had never met.  The fair was busy as soon as the doors opened at 10am and I don't think it stopped all day, my kind of fair!

As they say, a change is as good as a rest and I certainly feel re-energised after attending this fair :)