Tuesday 28 February 2012

It's either a light at the end of the tunnel, or there's a train coming...

It has been a few weeks of two steps forward and three steps back. As soon as we seem to be getting ahead something new crops up - more unexpected work or a set back we didn't expect. The last two weeks in particular have been very much like this. Unfortunately Mother in Law is not at all well, the nursing home have been phoning us regularly to keep us updated. It seems that she has decided not to eat or drink and this has been going on intermittently since the beginning of February. She has also developed a chest infection and is suffering mild cardiac failure. Alzheimers is a cruel, cruel disease, we have been very grateful for the massive amount of support and information available on the internet and whilst we know that understanding the disease and its progression isn't going to make MIL well again, it does help us and the rest of her family to come to terms with what may happen. Not the happiest of prospects, but we do know that she has the best of care and all that can be done IS being done.

Anyway, life must go on and work must be finished. Talking of which......

They are done....all 45 of them. To be fair there are 7 more that need repair and 2 that are beyond repair, but LOOK, what a wonderful sight to behold - finished!!!!

I can tell you now why these chairs are so special, they normally live here

Not in the castle, but in the chapel. The chairs had to be returned before Easter for the first service of the year and the weddings that are often held in this simply fabulous location.

Now you know why we've been on such a mission! Hey ho, back to the treadmill now......

Saturday 25 February 2012

Dorset Magazine

In the March edition of Dorset Magazine there is a feature on eco interiors......

Two of our little goodies are featured - I'm so proud!

Friday 24 February 2012

It must be Friday

Why? Why does it always have to happen on a Friday?

This was the sight that greeted us at 10am this morning, another 300 kilos of materials to manhandle into the store. Needless to say that warmed us up, although as it is already 11 degrees today, (unseasonably hot) warming up wasn't really a problem in the first place! Two cups of tea later I'm beginning to feel a little bit better.

But the very best news is......we've just finished the last of the undamaged chapel chairs - phew.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Cornwall, Italy & Africa!

I'm still plodding on with the Gio Ponti chairs, the chapel chairs for Cornwall and the African chairs, no time for fun at all!

And I thought you might appreciate another better photo of one of the carved heads on the African chairs....

Somehow reminds me of my cousin when she was just about to burst into tears!!

Friday 17 February 2012

Just musing about living for a working

I just read something and it made me think.......

Apparently the actor Bill Cosby said “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone”.

How simple and true that is. It seems right to try and be as helpful as you can, do all you're able, but at what price? If you succeed then that's great, but if you miss the target and fail, you've let yourself down as well as the person you were trying to help.

We've had this discussion recently with some friends, most of them are self employed people who at the moment, because of the current economic climate are taking on work that they would think twice about taking on in better times. Is that a good thing? When times are hard it is definitely more difficult to say, "No, I'm sorry but this is not my area of expertise" - Work is work and you can't, shouldn't, mustn't turn it away is what we are taught. But are there times when you should say no, or should you take the work on and look at it as good fortune and a chance to excel at something a bit out of the ordinary?

What do you think, I'd love to hear? Leave me a comment or pop over to our Facebook page and enter the poll!


Tuesday 14 February 2012

Out of Africa

A very unusual patient! This chair has just arrived in the workshop.

It's an African chieftain chair and both arm uprights have this same head carved on the top.....he looks a bit grumpy! The weave on the seat is something very different, it is a fairly standard close weave in a fine cord but it is finished off with a crocheted edge. That will take me back to my childhood, I haven't done any crocheting for years, but I'll enjoy it - memories of my Grandmother teaching me when I was 7 or so.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Chapel chair countdown

Thirty five finished........only nineteen more to do. Here are the finished ones so far:

My hands are beginning to ache now, but then that's probably as much due to the cold and damp as the rush weaving. I said in a much earlier post that these chairs come from a very special location.....well if you were watching Country Tracks on BBC this morning as I was, then you will have seen this beautiful place!?! http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00k143b/Country_Tracks_Cornwall_Coast/

I'm also pushing ahead with the Cassina chairs, slowly and laboriously, it's the only way to do them.

This weaving is also hard on the hands, so I'm doing myself no favours I guess! 

Saturday 11 February 2012

Snow and panier prototypes

First snow of the year and it confused our resident blackbird "Mrs B", she really struggled to separate the bread from the snow yesterday.

It has been so cold and damp, but we soon warmed up when we had to move a massive pile of boxes into the store, a delivery of weaving materials weighing in at just under a ton. Hard work - so why does it always seems to happen on a Friday when you're already worn out?

Had a lovely afternoon working with a student from Bournemouth Uni who is entering her work into a competition in New Zealand. She wanted to make a pair of crinoline paniers for her design, so she made a mini prototype.

She left with an armful of cane to make the full size version. I hope she wins the competition, if it was based on enthusiasm and commitment she'd win hands down! It's great to see such creativity, I'll keep you posted on how she gets on.

Thursday 9 February 2012

We've made a decision about Bernard the Bedford TK horsebox

This year we're doing less shows than ever before. We have only definitely committed ourselves to three - Dorset Art Weeks and Holton Lee in June, then Stock Gaylard Oak Fair in August - that's it.

It will also be our last Summer season with "Bernard" the old Bedford TK Oakley horsebox as a backdrop and living accommodation. It's been a hard decision to make, but the time has come to move on and do things differently. We don't use Bernard enough, he needs to move around and be out and about more often, so in the Autumn he will be up for sale. Sad, but we have to be realistic, it will be a wrench to let him go after all this time, but there must be someone else out there who is looking for exactly what Bernard has to offer.

So this Spring when the weather improves we will bring Bernard out of his Winter sleep for the last time

Let us know if you are interested in becoming Bernard's new custodians. If you would like to see a potted history of our seven years with him, look here.

Sunday 5 February 2012

The "Dogstool" and chairs needing a new home

The two tier footstool made specially for the elderly dachshund is finished, I hope he likes it.

So now a question, does anyone know anyone who can give these chairs a good home?

There are a matching pair of each and all four were kindly given to us to rehome with someone who is prepared to spend some time to lovingly restore them. The young couple who have asked us to do this are emptying a house and just couldn't bring themselves to throw these lovely old chairs on the tip. They believe passionately in recycling. So......... any takers?

The two medallion backed chairs are mahogany, the frames are fine but as you can see, all of the canework needs to be replaced. The medallion cane is "blind", in other words each individual strand will need to be cut to size and hand woven in place - no mean feat, but these chairs are worth it.

The two little bedroom chairs need a clean, re-glue and the seats re-weaving.

Come on there must be someone out there who wants a really good project, especially for these cold dark nights! Please e-mail me or leave a comment, you will need to collect them from us here in Dorset.

Oooh and P.S. please pop over to Wendy's blog here:  http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog/2012/02/handmade-monday-52/ and congratulate her on a whole YEAR of supporting other craftspeople - hip, hip......! Well done Wendy.

Thursday 2 February 2012


You may or may not have noticed that a new button has appeared here on the blog, (top left)....yes we've joined the world of Twitter. Now I'm not a great social media fan, (I find Facebook a bit odd) but I have to say that I AM enjoying Twittering. We haven't got loads of people following us, but that doesn't matter - I don't mind being "Billy No Mates" - it's all about quality not quantity!

If you're a twitterer too please feel free to tweet us - @formerglories.

Meanwhile we have finished 28 of the chapel chairs and tomorrow hopefully we'll do just one more because we have a dozen or so cane panels to replace. Looking forward to a bit of a rest at the weekend!

Kids and Crafts

I'm eating lunch, but just had to have a break to share this wonderful site with you. it's here:


Now if you have small children around you, you're going to love the ideas here for recycling throwaway stuff into exciting things for small people to entertain themselves. I love it!!