Friday 30 September 2011

The "Denims" stool

A bit of carving.....I don't know why or how this came about, but when a fork between two branches of hazel looked like a pair of jeans, it seemed natural to carve a cowboy boot and put it on the bottom of the branch! (I's mad...)

The "blocking out" of the shape.

Then the finished carving.

Is it mad? Oh well, my defence is "one's man meat is another man's poison! Now to decide how to weave the top - any ideas?

Monday 26 September 2011

No 1 son's project.......

We're not the only people in the household with projects. No 1 son has a passion for restoration too, except his projects are somewhat larger than ours, usually cars or buildings! I'm sure it's our own fault for indulging his passion for model cars and lego when he was a tot.

Well here it is.........

It's been several weeks of very hard labour for him, but what a result! It was a non-runner with endless mechanical and bodywork problems, but he has persevered and now it is fully roadworthy and has passed the MOT test. It still needs a front end re-paint, but that's non-essential cosmetic work as far as he's concerned and will have to wait until more funds are available. I heard it running this morning.....mmmmmm, a Rover V8, just like a quietly purring big cat. We're very proud of his achievement, this is the third car he's either restored or rebuilt. Well done son!!!

Meanwhile we're plodding on - remember the chair frame that needed refinishing last week? Well here it is now waiting for the cane to be replaced.

I also spent some time over the weekend making a couple more footstool frames from scratch using some hazel from our garden and some recycled bits and pieces that we've gathered together over the years.

We're going to put a really fancy top on this one to contrast with the simplicity of the frame. The second of these frames is in pieces in the background of the photo, one of the legs has two branches and looks like a pair of jeans to me, so it's been christened the "Denims" stool!

Back to the mundane for today though, more "Habitat" cane panel seats.......

If you want to have a look at the work of loads of other really talented craftspeople, then pay a visit to Wendy's blog here, She showcases other crafty bloggers skills every Monday - pay her a visit!

Wednesday 21 September 2011

An Art Deco Bergere and Mr Wegner....again.

I feel like Forrest Gump's Mom saying it, but it is true that in our line of work "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get"! This week so far we span from 1900 to 1970, high Victorian to sleek modernist with a bit of bling in between. Firstly on Monday this arrived......

A high Art Deco, faux painted Walnut, blind sunset cane backed bergere sofa. It weighs a ton! For now we will just be replacing the arm panels, but first of all I've got to find a way of re-gluing one of the joints without disturbing the upholstery - could be interesting.

Then there is this....

Another one!! Hans Wegner's Wishbone chair. This ones seat has been half eaten and stropped by the cat.

Finally a fiddly one....

It's a low bergere armchair. The cane in the back and arms has to be replaced and whilst we're at it, the customer has asked us to "give the frame a bit of a clean". Easier said than done when the upholstery is fairly new, hence the parcel tape and plastic covering every square inch of fabric! I'll post pictures of the revived woodwork soon.

I'm also hoping to return to the black lacquer chair this week to do more repair work, but we'll see if time permits. Our next and last show of the year at Larmer Tree Gardens is just over two weeks away, so we will have to make time to produce some new pieces for that as well.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Good things come in threes

Good things come in threes so they say, well at least they certainly did for us this weekend. First of all a friend arrived on the doorstep with a beautiful bunch of flowers to say thank you for something we'd done. It was completely unexpected so was such a lovely surprise. Then on Saturday, our "apprentice", (kind of our third son really) also turned up on the doorstep unannounced with an invite to his wedding next year. Fantastic!

Then to top it all the postman arrived with this little card.

Such a pretty picture of a house in France. But the best bit was the message inside.

It's always nice to know that people like what you do, but even more special when they use some of their precious time to tell you so. All I had done was wrapped a pot handle, see at the bottom of this post here where I mentioned it last week!

I'm gobsmacked!! Thanks to all three for making this weekend very special.

Friday 16 September 2011

Is there anybody out there that has 6500 chairs for re-caning??

We've just had a delivery of rattan materials, enough to reweave about 6500 average bedroom chairs. The order arrived this morning, just as the first couple of customers were leaving and another set arrived, so needless to say today has been bedlam - lorries, cars and people everywhere!

This is what that quantity of materials looks like.

Then we had to move all of this lot from the delivery van into the store - don't you just love Fridays!

Sunday 11 September 2011

Lovely weather for ducks.....with strong wings!

Well I don't know about hurricane Katia supposedly arriving overnight, but if yesterday is anything to go by then we don't need any more hurricanes, we've had quite enough bad weather thank you very much!!

It seemed like a very long day yesterday at the show and overall it was lovely, except for the weather. Why has virtually every event this year been blighted by the cold, heavy rain or high winds?

Anyway, just for a change I didn't take any photos at all, but I did make a little film, it's on youtube here:

A day in the life of me, my better half and Bernard, (of course).

I felt so sorry for some of the stallholders, the wind was incredibly strong at times and wickedly blustery. One minute everything would be calm then the next, a great whoosh, clatter and bang, someone else's gazebo would be bending or breaking!

We're glad to be home.

And on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, memories drift back to that awful day when it seems the whole world stood and watched in disbelief at the unfolding events. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.

What on earth was I doing moaning about a bit of bad weather!!

Friday 9 September 2011

Last minute job

Still a bit tacky, but finally I have got around to repairing, cleaning and refinishing this French medallion table top that we have had for years. At last it can be reinstated in pride of place at the back of our stand, (without me feeling embarrassed that it is grubby and unloved!)

Now we really are ready for the show tomorrow - I think!

Footstools for Frome Cheese Show

Just three new ones for the show tomorrow, (so far....).

A little wartime CC41 frame with an "antique" colour paper fibre rush seat with chevrons.

A taller "Arts & Crafts" green stained stool with a "river rush" paper fibre seat.

And finally a pitch pine framed footstool with a whacky stained rattan splint seat.

Another little job that was really enjoyable this week was this woven pot handle.

It makes a nice change!

Hope some of you can make it to the show tomorrow, fingers crossed for better weather hey?

Wednesday 7 September 2011

It's been a good year for the marrows.....

Well strictly speaking, it's been a good year for the overgrown courgettes! The constant rain we've had has meant that they could be neat, modest, little courgettes one day and massive marrows the next - we're drowning in them and we've only got five plants!

So some creative cooking required. We very quickly exhausted all of the usual fried, steamed, stuffed and curried recipes so are now onto the more exotic.....chutney, soup etc.! Then on Saturday I saw a recipe on the telly box........

Not a very good photo I know, but it was yum. Fillet of fish lightly fried in olive oil and served over part boiled then olive oil fried seasoned new potatoes and courgettes with a sauce vierge made from some really unusual tomatoes donated by our next door neighbour, masses of parsley from the garden, shallotts and a small dash of juice from a lime. Ooooooh.

There are two more huge (2 foot long) marrows to cut and about fifteen courgettes......any more ideas anyone.....please? I've given loads away already, even the neighbours are "marrowed out"!

Sunday 4 September 2011

Not exactly a day of rest.

It's I must be cleaning - again. The only consolation is that these are the last of the books from Mother in Law's house. Yippee!

It's taken all day to hoover, wipe and dry them, then they were sorted into history, novels, gardening etc. and boxed ready to take to auction. It seems an awful thing to do to break up one person's lifetime collection, but I don't know what else we can do really. It's a very difficult situation to be in, it seems wrong to dispose of someone's possessions whilst they are still alive and physically well, but equally we know that dementia doesn't improve over time and these are just things after all, things that she can no longer use.

The rest of the week has been successful, we waved our youngest son off to a new job in north Somerset for a couple of months, (he's enjoying it so far...) And we also waved goodbye to a lot of finished furniture so the workshop is much tidier and more spacious now.

These were two rush seats woven for a restorer friend of ours, the rest of the work was mainly cane panels. Next weekend we'll be at Frome Cheese Show on Saturday, so most of this week will be spent replenishing our stock of finished footstools for the display.

And just for a change, a word and wisdom of the week - because today in by book cleaning I came across a Thesaurus and a Book of Quotations, so I thought I'd make use of them!

Ephemeral - Brief, evanescent, fleeting, momentary, passing, transient.

Hmmm, just like life.

"I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own" H. G. Wells.

I'm with you on that one H.G.


Thursday 1 September 2011

What a superb and extraordinary weekend.

More about last weekend.......

The morning after Stock Gaylard we were up at 7.30am to set off for the Cotswolds. Within 5 minutes of getting there, the first man arrived to collect some of Mother in Law's furniture. With the house now (hopefully) sold, we have to do the final clearance of the remaining bits, so we advertised them on Ebay. From 11am onwards it was non-stop collections until about 3pm! We had such a laugh with the lovely folks that bought the furniture. The first family turned up with their nephew - a lovely man, he was so polite, very sweet and luckily also very strong, which was just as well because when they tried to take a wardrobe downstairs, it wouldn't go, so my other half, nephew and uncle had to dismantle the whole thing moreorless into matchwood!

Meanwhile the second set of people arrived, two ladies with their elderly but very spritely mother who had joined them for the trip as she loved the Cotswolds so much. I made mother a cup of tea and she sat in the garden enjoying the air. The two ladies had arrived complete with toolbox and were dressed in very sensible "furniture removing" clothes. The three of us then "set to" dismantling another bigger three door wardrobe, (well actually some of it dismantled itself when the shelves and back fell out!) Between us we managed to get the whole lot downstairs in pieces, then as they were loading it into the van, one of the ladies stepped on the mirror and cracked it! They didn't mind too much as the wardrobe was for their teenage nephew - (does he seriously want to look at himself in a full length mirror!!)

Anyway, as it turned out, none of the people collecting had ever used Ebay before. The nephew of the first family is a musician who had a massive hit record a few years back. The two ladies are currently building their own eco friendly house, (out of marine ply and newspaper according to "Mum" who I would have been quite happy to bring home with me because she was so lovely!) and their house build will be on Grand Designs next year.

Once everyone had left, we decided to make the most of the dry weather and have a "tourist" trip to Stratford Upon Avon. We used to live in a little village called Alcester a few miles from Stratford when we were first married, so it was like stepping back in time for us. It has changed over the passing years, but is still as beautiful as it ever was. It's hard not to be impressed by the Tudor achitecture and the river. I didn't have my camera with me, but I took a few snaps on the phone, this is Shakespeare's house:

And this is a row of Tudor buildings now used as shops.

What a superb and extraordinary weekend we've had. But now it's back to the mundane - work!