In this post, I buy a reproduction of a painting by Gil Elvgren, and trace some of the history behind it. I also have to modify the painting in order to be able to hang it.
Category Archives: Arts and Crafts
It was the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings on Saturday, and as regular readers will know it’s something I like to go to regularly.
I started to put together a skirt & leggings type outfit, but it just wasn’t working, so in the end I went for jeans, boots, and a top. I chose a nice striped top by Phase 8 that I like, along with a Per Una cardigan and a jacket, and overall I think the outfit worked pretty well.
I wore one of my favourite necklaces – a 1920’s/1930’s oriental style necklace in gold or gilt silver (not sure which) with black enamel inlay and 24K gold engraving that I bought a couple of years back. I have a matching bracelet for it but since it lacks a chain I am always nervous about wearing it in case it comes undone and I lose it. But I decided to risk it.
Partway into the journey and I realised that I had lost the bracelet already. Oh no! But at least that meant that I had either lost it in the house or in the car, so there was a chance I would find it again.
I arrived at The Maltings just before midday, and started having a look around. It was quite busy!
I got talking to a seller who spotted my necklace and showed me two bracelets she had that were similar. They were gold, and very good quality, and so unblemished that they looked almost new. One was too small for me, and the other, which fitted me, was £45 which was far more than I wanted to pay. I told her that I had no doubt that it was a fair price but it was too much for me, and she asked what I would pay. I stressed that I wasn’t trying to beat her down to this price, but that I generally didn’t pay more than £25 for a bracelet. She looked rather shocked, but I went on to say that I’d spent under £30 on the necklace. She semi-seriously offered me that on the spot for it because she said it was worth far more, but I declined explaining that this was one of my favourite necklaces and I simply couldn’t part with it. After chatting a little more, I moved on.
Imagine my surprise when, in another part of the rabbit warren that is The Maltings, I found a seller with a very similar bracelet priced at £25. It fit, it had a chain, and it complimented my necklace. It also had more of a patina to it, which I liked. I don’t see this style for sale very often, so it was quite a surprise to see a total of three bracelets in this style for sale at one event.
I asked the seller if she had any movement on price, but she said she did not. So I just paid her the £25 asking price as I really wanted it and it was within budget. She even threw in a box for it, which was a nice bonus.
I also picked up a pair of tiny little silver heart stud earrings that will be ideal for work, for a very reasonable £4
After I had finished at The Maltings, I decided to go home via Fleet High Street, and parked up in the Council car park. I was pleasantly surprised to find that parking was free due to a “Small Business Saturday” initiative by Hart District Council. I think this is a great idea as I have long been of the opinion that one of the things contributing to the death of High Street shopping throughout the country is the cost of parking. Let’s hope that this initiative was a huge success and encourages it to become a regular thing.
My main reason for visiting the High Street was to call into Serendipity. If you’re not familiar with this shop, it’s a small unassuming shop front on the Fleet High Street that belies a large Tardis-like rabbit warren that seems to go on forever, culminating with Daisy’s Tea Room at the very back.
I didn’t find a huge amount there, but I was drawn to a cute & cheeky laundry sign. It was brand new and made in China, but at £12.50 I thought it was just about cheap enough to justify buying. I tried to get it for a tenner but unfortunately the ticket price was fixed. Oh well.
I didn’t find anything else I wanted there, so walked up the High Street popping into the various charity shops, but didn’t get anything other than a DVD. I did get a new scarlet matte lipstick by Maybelline in Superdrug though, which I think will look nice.
When I got home, I hung the new sign on the mirror in my bedroom, which is above (but to one side of) my laundry basket. I think it fits in there quite well.
I then went looking for my bracelet. It wasn’t in the car, or on the driveway, and it wasn’t in my bedroom where I had put on my cardigan (I thought perhaps this is when it might have fallen off), and wasn’t any of the places in the house that I had been that morning.
I was scratching my head by this point, and then I remembered that I had transferred the contents of my old hand bag to my new Radley one. And there, inside my old handbag, was the bracelet; it must have fallen off whilst I was moving stuff across. So that was a relief.
Clearly I needed to put a chain onto the bracelet if I was to wear it again with confidence.
I’ve been collecting this style of jewellery ever since I bought the necklace, and now have the aforementioned necklace, the two bracelets, a broach, two pairs of clip-on earrings, and another necklace which is rather clunky and has some damage and which I have never worn.
As luck would have it, the broach has a small security chain on it with a spring clip at one end and a safety pin at the other. Since I don’t really wear broaches, the chain looked ideal for use on the bracelet.
I very carefully opened up the ring securing the chain to the safety pin, removed the safety pin, and then attached the ring to the bracelet. It was a very fiddly job and took me a while, especially closing the ring up again satisfactorily, but I got there in the end. I’m quite pleased with myself for achieving it, even though I say so myself.
Before I got my makeup off, I also managed a quick photo shoot in the outfit I was wearing. I chose the spare room for this, with me sitting in the window. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, although the end of the bed does rather distract from the picture. I could have digitally removed it, but I thought it was far funnier to leave it in and lampshade it with a knob gag. 😀
I’m wearing my new lipstick in this pic, but you can’t really see it very well.
Oh my goodness, I think I have just found the most beautiful bed ever created!
I was looking for something on google and stumbled upon this amazing bed by William Doub Custom Furniture in New Hampshire in the USA.
This is just so “me” it is untrue. The design is fantastic, and the attention to detail in the execution is breathtaking. It is truly a work of art.
No copyright infringement is intended by this post, and full credit is given to William Doub.
I am self-hosting the pics out of courtesy so as not to leach their bandwidth.
Recently I bought a picture frame containing three advertising postcards for OXO, Bovril, and Bisto, mainly because my best friend and I have a running gag about Bisto but also because I like retro advertisement art.
The frame was in pretty poor condition. The backing of the frame was cardboard and was rippled and warped, causing the postcards to bow, the sealing tape was coming away, and it was all pretty grubby. But it was also only £10. I figured that worst case scenario was that I would have to re-frame it.
Upon disassembly, I found the photo mount was actually in fairly good condition and unmarked, and likewise the postcards themselves were in pretty good condition too. This was excellent news.
First job was to address the back. I had the backing board from an old clip frame whose glass had broken, so using the existing cardboard back as a template I marked out a new back, choosing to live with the clip holes as otherwise it would have been more sawing and less backing board left over for future use. I then cut it with a fine tenon saw and sanded smooth with a sanding block.
Next was to thoroughly clean the glass with glass cleaner, which brought it up a treat. The glass isn’t perfect, and has some scuffs on it, but is good enough.
I also decided to attach the postcards more firmly to the mount using brown picture tape. Although this wasn’t strictly necessary as the rigid back board should squish them flat, there is no harm in over-engineering.
Next, reassembly. I don’t have a tab gun, so instead I used panel pins. The first one I tried just hammering in, but it immediately became clear that this was putting too much stress on the frame so instead I used a jewellers hand drill to make pilot holes, which then required only minimal hammering on the pins.
Then I finished it off with brown picture tape. I applied two overlapping layers in order to hide the slots from the clip frame back.
I also moved the hanging eyes up from their midpoint position to a little higher up, and replaced the original string with wire. Since I didn’t have any picture hanging wire to hand, I used some green garden wire instead which should be entirely adequate.
And, at last, it was done. It looks so much better than when I started, even if it isn’t immediately clear from the pictures.
Today’s Antiques Fair purchase – this lovely Royal Worcester figurine of a lady
The seller had £35 on it and said he would let it go for £30, but I pointed out a long and almost invisible hairline crack in the glaze that runs down her entire length, and he said in that case I could have it for £20 and I thought that was fair, so bought it.
It has no age to it (it was produced in 2004), but I just love the shape and pose of her.
Update: The only minor disappointment is that, whilst doing a little research on the internet to find out more about the figure, I found it for sale on Amazon brand new for £19.99. Oh well.
Recently I found a jewellery rack for sale on Amazon. It’s the first one I have ever seen for purchase that doesn’t require you to remove the back from a post earring, push it through a hole, and then reattach the back. Instead, you put it through a larger hole and then let the earring drop down into a much smaller slot, which then holds it.
The rack is available in silver or matte black, and comes in either ‘standard’, or in ‘deluxe’. The latter has an extension add-on that slides into the standard part to increase the total amount of storage space.
I chose the ‘deluxe’ in black but with an idea in mind to improve on it; I have a spray can of Antique Bronze paint and had the idea of spraying the rack a mottled bronze and black.
I got the balance of bronze to black pretty much spot on first time with the lower add-on part, but for the upper ‘standard’ part I completely overdid the bronze. With hindsight, I should have not been painting in fading light!
Fortunately, I had a spray can of matte black so was able to bring it back again. It took me several iterations to get to a point that I was happy with.
Once happy, I then gave it two coats of clear lacquer and then mounted it on the side of my tall chest of drawers, which is right next to my dressing table.
I have been on the lookout for some shelves to go above my dressing table, and finally found something suitable on Amazon from a seller on the Marketplace. They do two versions; both the same height and the same number of shelves, but differing widths. On the photographs, at least on cursory inspection, they looked to be the same so I made the assumption that they would be the same apart from width.
These were ordered at a cost of £87.90 (£75 + £12.90 delivery) for the pair, which I thought was a little steep although they had very good reviews on Amazon.
The shelves arrived sometime in the following week. They turned out to be sturdily made, consisting of 2cm thick shelves and end boards, with the back made from 1cm tongue-and-groove planks. Although sturdy, they felt a little hastily thrown together and slightly wonky (Note: as in, not straight. They weren’t wobbly or anything), but that could well be a Shabby Chic thing I guess. They were painted in a uniform cream eggshell colour, as advertised. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom now, I decided that the supplied colour was not suitable and that they should be white, and so ordered some white chalk-based Shabby Chic paint by Rust Oleum.
A few weeks later, when the weather was nice and I fancied tackling the painting, I wondered how best to paint the shelves and looked around the garden for inspiration. Sat in a corner, quietly rusting away, were the steps for a rigid-framed above-ground pool that I had once owned (and which gone to the tip many years ago). They’d been squashed flat, but were good enough for what I wanted. With the addition of two opened-out wire coat hangers I was able to hang the shelving units by their mounting holes using the steps as a frame.
It was whilst painting them that I realised they were not the same. On the wider shelf unit, the bottom shelf was flush with the bottom of the back board, whilst on the narrower unit, it was not and there was some back board below the bottom shelf. This was rather annoying and, of course, since I was in the middle of painting them they could now no longer be returned. However I figured that, given I was going for a Shabby Chic style, this probably didn’t really matter. In fairness to the seller, when I went back and looked on the photos on Amazon it was very obvious that they were not the same and also the seller didn’t even claim that they were. It was just a bad assumption on my part. With hindsight, I should have contacted the seller and asked for a price of a matching pair; one wide and one narrow.
Also that day I sanded down one of the chairs using an orbital sander. Strictly speaking, this isn’t actually necessary when using chalk-based paint as it doesn’t require preparation or undercoat, but I did it anyway. It came up pretty well. I then painted it with the same chalk-based paint as I had plenty left over from the shelves.
The next day, when the shelves were dry, I drilled holes in the wall above the Dressing Table for them, using my laser spirit level (pew pew!) to ensure they were at the same height and also level. When screwed to the wall I considered it a job well done.
Unfortunately, the next day in daylight, I realised I had made a terrible mistake on the colour. Although there is some white in my bedroom (from the wardrobe doors, the skirting board, the door to the en-suite shower, the ceiling, and the door into the room), all my furniture is cream. The white of the shelving units clashed quite horribly with the Dressing Table and the other furniture. And, worse, with hindsight the colour the shelves had originally been supplied in might well have sufficed. *sighs*
So back onto Amazon, and I ordered ‘Clotted Cream’ chalk-based paint by Rust Oleum, and also some Rust Oleum clear furniture finishing wax.
When those arrived, I took the shelving units down and sanded them and also the chair, and repainted with the cream paint. Then the next day, gave them a light sanding with a fine sand paper to smooth out the paint brush marks a little, and then applied the wax to seal them.
The result is much better, and I’m happy with it. The shelves are now back up on the wall and populated with some of the trinkets and nick-nacks I have bought during my visits to Antiques and Collectors fairs, although there is room for plenty more.
I’ve stayed with the original cover on the seat of the chair for now, but I plan to source some suitable material (possibly from an old pair of curtains) at some time and re-cover the seat.
I also need to find a lamp or wall light too, as that corner is a little dingy and needs some additional lighting.
As you’ll know from previous posts about Project Reorganise, I have been on the look-out (amongst other things) for a chair for the Dressing Table.
I visited my parents one weekend a few months back, and they let me have a good rummage through their sheds and garage. These have become the repository for stuff that they have collected over the years, and also for the remaining possessions of both my sets of grandparents, all now deceased, since neither of my parents have any living brothers or sisters.
I told my mum I was particularly on the lookout for a chair for my dressing table and she showed me two chairs that she had out in a shed which might be suitable that I could have, which I happily took. There were several others in differing styles, but those were the only ones I felt would work.
In the garage there were a pair of vintage hand-powered Singer sewing machines which were in a pretty poor state and very rusty. I asked if I could have one of them as a conversation piece, and my parents were more than happy for me to have one. Whether or not I will actually put the effort into refurbishing it is perhaps open to debate.
There were also two 1930’s lamp shades in a sort-of Art Deco style which my mum was very keen for me to take away.
I hope to sell those on, as I really don’t have a use for them.
She also pretty much forced a candelabra on me which I don’t really like (and she *really* doesn’t like) and I definitely plan to sell that on.
Another thing that caught my eye and caused me to go “Oh WOW!” was what appeared to be a Chinese painting on white porcelain, framed in fretwork, which had documentation on the back which appeared to be dated 1988, and rubber-stamped with text that seemed to say it was an antique of over 100 years of age. It had been bought by my maternal grandmother on one of her many foreign trips and, knowing her, was probably quite expensive. My mum said she was happy for me to have it as I have a love of the orient and several items of oriental furniture, and also she isn’t really that keen on it. So that seemed ideal for everyone.
There was also a wooden bead curtain that my mum was keen for me to take. I can’t decide if it is delightfully kitsch or hideously awful. 🙂
I’d been telling my dad about the cast iron railway sign that I have over my gate, and he told me that he also had several cast iron railway signs, which he had acquired decades previously and were original to the best of his knowledge.
It turned out there was a small “Beware of Trains” sign, and a pair (duplicates) of a much larger sign. He suggested that I had the small sign, and one of the pair and he’d keep the other. And, further, since one of the pair was in fairly good condition and the other was in pretty poor condition, I should have the better of the two. The smaller is of indeterminate age but the larger is dated 1893 and could well actually be that old.
I’d like to mount them on the outside wall of my house next to the gate, although I do worry about the rust on the larger sign and wonder if I should restore it before doing that in order to protect it from further deterioration.
Finally, my mum gave me a vintage 1940’s belt and headscarf that had belonged to my paternal grandmother, and also a cute lipstick holder with integral mirror by Stratton, which probably dates from the 1960’s or 1970’s.
There were a few other things that might have been of interest, but we were running out of time so that was all that I came away with on that visit.
When I got home, I sent a photograph of the Chinese picture, and also the documentation on the back, to a friend who speaks Cantonese. After consulting with someone else for a second opinion, she came back to me with the news that it appears to be somewhat, shall we say, “misleading”, and that the inscription on the picture itself says (roughly) “Falling Stream”, then who it was painted for (a “Mr Shanzon”) and by whom, and that it is dated 1986. The documentation on the back looks like it is an export license, under the column headed “Dynasty” it says “Recent”, and the rubber stamp certifying it as an antique may have been applied in error (or dishonestly), or perhaps it is certifying the age of the wood of the frame, or something. Who knows? But this doesn’t bother me in the least – I wanted the picture because I like it and not because it is valuable.
In the next instalment. I’ll tell you how I restored the chair and made it ‘Shabby Chic’ with chalk-based paint, and also how I got some shelves for above the dressing table.
I was at one of the bi-monthly (as in, once every 2 months) Antiques and Collectables Fairs at Sandown Park Racecourse on Sunday, and was looking forward to catching up with Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery. Amita and I had already exchanged a few emails prior so I knew that she would be attending and likewise she was expecting me to be there too.
When I arrived I saw that she was busy, and indeed this continued for quite some time although we did see each other and managed a smile and a wave. But eventually she had a moment and we were able to talk.
She was keen to see what I had done with the conversion of the Pilgrim bracelet to a necklace, and also of the conversion of the earrings from posts to fish hooks. I was wearing the earrings, and we both agreed that they sat far better like this. The Centre of Gravity was completely wrong with posts which caused them to drag downwards, whereas with the hooks they hang naturally.
Amita was also nice enough to say that the necklace looked great when I showed it to her – I wasn’t wearing it because the chain turned out to be too long for the neckline of the dress I was wearing. I will have to shorten it some time.
Whilst we were chatting I suddenly interrupted myself and said “Ooh! I like those!” as I spotted a lovely pair of enamelled metal drop earrings in the shape of Swallows. Well, I’m presuming they’re Swallows – I’m no ornithologist. At £5 they seemed like a no-brainer purchase.
Amita also mentioned that she now has a Facebook page, so I made sure I followed that. It’s at https://www.facebook.com/Lovethatjewellery if you would like to follow also.
Incidentally, it also gave me the idea to set up my own Facebook page to complement my Twitter account, so if you’d prefer to follow me on Facebook rather than Twitter then you now can at https://www.facebook.com/hayllamas
I didn’t want to take up too much more of Amita’s time, as I was very aware of how busy she was, so I let her be after that.
Also at this fair I saw an unusual Japanese-style necklace with a butterfly motif which I immediately loved. Again, I think it is enamelled metal although, unlike the Swallows, it is dull and matte rather than gloss. I don’t know what the age and provenance of it is, but I tend to buy stuff that I like rather than getting too hung up on that.
Even the clasp on it was interesting. It uses a spring-loaded barbed tongue into a socket and has a square of enamel on it. I’m not entirely sure it is meant to be upside-down though.
The seller had a label price of £34 on it and I asked what the best price might be. She said the best she could do was £25 and I thought that was a fair price so didn’t try to haggle down any further than that.
The only downside of the necklace is that it is very snug on me and sits almost as a choker which I’m sure it’s not meant to. It’s probably designed for a much slimmer and more delicate Asian woman rather than my fat Western neck. I’m not sure what can be done about this. Maybe if I can find some similar chain I could perhaps extend it a little.
Another necklace that caught my eye was one with lots of flowers and butterflies (are we seeing a pattern here?), predominantly in green, with green glass pendants. I was in two minds about this one, but a price of £10 swung me towards a “yes”.
I decided I had bought quite enough by now, and fortunately didn’t see much more to tempt me, so left not long after.
The only other purchase to report on was one I made a couple of weeks ago at a small Antiques and Collectables Fair in Hartley Wintney. I bought these tiny stud earrings in a butterfly design. They are Sterling Silver (although I confess I can’t see a hallmark on them, so maybe they aren’t) but at £4 I don’t really mind. What is important is that they are my new favourite daily wear studs when I’m in guy mode and I absolutely adore them.
Apparently the “Swallows” are actually Swifts. I told you I wasn’t an ornithologist!