Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Exhausted, but elated!

So, Gertie and I are back from the Country Living Fair, almost fainting from sheer exhaustion, but was it worth all the effort? Well.......see that plaque in the top left-hand corner? Every year at the Fair Susy Smith, the editor of Country Living Magazine, goes around and chooses her favourite stand, and this year she chose us!!!! Gertie and I were quite overcome with emotion when they came with the news, and promptly burst into tears! I think it was just a feeling of overwhelming relief that all the hard work we'd put into making everything had paid off. The prize was a bottle of champagne and best of all, a FREE 6m2 stand at next year's Spring Fair!! So yes, of course it was all worth it. I've already started planning more ideas for the backdrop.... 

I could only afford to book a small stand this year so at times it was very difficult to actually know where to position yourself so that customers could see the work on display.

 Gertie and I (with the help of my good old Mum) took everything with us on the train in suitcases (a bit mad). I'd designed the stand so that almost everything for sale was hung on hooks to maximise floor space. This limited us to taking certain things which were not too big and didn't weigh too much, and not items like pictures and cushions. 

I made the backdrop for the stand out of a whole range of original old documents, letters, botanical prints from books, and some of my  drawings. I glued and stitched the papers into position in easily manageable sections, which were then assembled in situ like a jigsaw. And at the end of the fair we were able to take it down again to be re-used.

In the collage I included some pressed plants from my garden, favourite cuttings from magazines, dried petals, leaves and honesty seed cases, and snippets of beautiful vintage fabric.

Two of Jane's butterfly fairy girls standing on old cotton reels, taken from real photographs of Victorian children. Beside them are some of my handmade notebooks that I showed in progress in one of my previous posts.....

Some of Gertie's beautiful cosmetic/washbags, all made from beautiful vintage fabrics with zip fastening, lined and with silk trim.

In both corners I hung an old lepidopterist's (butterfly) collecting box, and pinned my 'specimen' vintage button hair grips and button cards into the cork backing

A few close-ups of the hair grips

And on the shelf beneath, Gertie's tiny crocheted pebbles like sugared almonds....

On a row of hooks in the middle of the stand, a selection of my little vintage fabric bags, some with old letters and photographs printed in panels on the front,

and below, a washing line of see-through bags containing delicious bits of vintage handmade lace, ribbon, trim, old buttons, snippets of fabric and some with old documents, designed to get you inspired to create something like........

this for instance; a little vintage fabric 'sac' hanging from an old French bag handle, and filled with Gertie's home-grown lavender (she let me buy some of it from her and it really is the best).

Gertie's new range of cards feature pieces of vintage fabric and tiny Suffolk puffs, with even tinier Mother-of-pearl buttons

A selection of her recycled pin jars and button jars, alongside her hand-crocheted mobile phone 'pockets'

and her gorgeous vintage lace bejewelled lavender bags.

I so enjoy making up these button cards....

Some of my heart and butterfly decorations, wired with vintage buttons, old chandelier drops and coloured beads.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of our stand and thank you for letting me do this rather self-indulgent post! It was so nice to meet all of you who came to the fair and those of you who are fellow bloggers, special mention to Marie, Gemma and Gill, and also to meet again customers who have been down to The Sea Garden in Portscatho and recognised the name. I hope to see you once more either in Cornwall or at the Spring Fair when we do it all again next year!


  1. I am so pleased for you, so pleased, and your beautiful stall is so 'NOW' and colourful in a beautiful muted vintage way and so original and evokes a homely crafted feeling of you all in Cornwall like it could be a corner of your shop or room...
    Lynn xxxx

  2. Just wonderful items, I love it all. This blog my favorit :-)

  3. Dear Christine, I am bursting with pride and happiness for you!
    What an honor to be chosen by Susy herself.
    Your wall idea is brilliant, and all the crafts so beautiful, everything seems to just flow so well.
    The hair 'grips' the sachets, books. buttons, I'll bet you had people linger there for hours.
    I would have

  4. Hi there - I saw your stand, although you yourself were taking a well deserved few minutes break, and felt it was like standing in a work of art. I hope you sold plenty! Well done with your much deserved prize. I am coming to Portscatho at Easter and will see you at the fair there. x

  5. Wow, wow, wow, what a beautiful and wonderfully long post, you so deserve to win editors choice, so much detail and hard work has gone into your products, and into the beautiful stand as well, I'm so pleased it went so well for you and such a shame I didn't see it in real life, I shall be back to have another look later I think. Well done for carrying everything to and from the show on the train, bet it was a lot lighter on the way home :)

  6. Wow! your stall looked amazing. congrats on the award.

  7. Well I'm not surprised you won - your booth/stand is absolutely mouthwatering and chock full of the most gorgeous things. I so wish I could have been there. You have obviously put in a lot of hard work and your backdrop is to die for and inspired! Many congratulations - you deserve it.


  8. I went on the Wednesday and remember your stall but don't think I could get to have a good look because of all the other people also looking. You certainly had some lovely and original items. Well done for the award. I was exhausted after one day, don't know how anyone survived five!

  9. Everything is just so beautiful...
    Congratulations on your award.
    It is the bunting and the backdrop that takes my breath away.
    Susan x

  10. Wow! well I couldn't get to the country living fair but looking at the photos I think your stand was well deserved of the Editors favorite stall prize, it looks amazing, congratulations!

  11. Congratulations! Your stand looks gorgeous - wish I could have seen it! I tried going to your shop a couple of weeks ago but you were closed. I'll try again soon! :)

  12. Everything looks so utterly beautiful - A very well deserved win! Congratulations xxx

  13. Sadly I couldn't get there, but my sister Gill told me all about your beautiful stall, and showed me her fabulous goodies. I'll visit you again in Portscatho....I'm only down the road (relatively speaking!) in Penzance.

  14. I am so pleased that it went so well for you. Monday saw me peering through the shop window and I spied some fantastic wool. My sister is going to call in when you are open and buy me some but wondered if you can tell me what is it (and how much a hank is).

    Thank you so much and again welldone for such a fantastic result with the stall.

    Colette x

  15. oh wowza congratulations- im not surprised you are the winner- woohooo your creations are so beautiful- little treasures of cornwall ;0)x

  16. Congratulations!!!! Wow i am so pleased for you to have won the award your stand was beautiful i wish i could have stayed longer to chat it was so nice seeing both you and Gertie, i could have bought everything there and one day when i am next in cornwall i will definately be dropping by to your little shop to say hi!
    Take a well deserved rest now and treat yourselves you both deserve it ladies well done!
    big big hugs

  17. Fabulous Christine! You really really deserved to win Susy's award as it all looks so beautiful I wish I had seen it in the flesh. What a wonderful amount of care and detail you put into it all.

    Sarah XxX

  18. My first time here and I'm truly enjoying myself with all of your beautiful creations! Love to read more, and congratulations with your prize! Have a good Thursday,

  19. Congratulations and very much deserved. Everything you do is so original and as a whole it all looked fabulous. I bought from you at the Vintage and Handmade Fair last November and could easily have bought more. I long to get to Portscatho sometime soon. We holidayed near to there for years when I was young and I must go back and spend time, and money, in your lovely shop.

  20. Congratulations what a fabulous stall - I'm really looking forward to the Easter Fair in Portscatho, but I'm also tempted to go to the Country Living Fair next year!! Sarah

  21. I was at the fair and saw your lovely stand. It was so original - you deserved to win!

  22. I am so very happy for you...well deserved recognition...and from Susy Smith. What an honor, but the photos show that it was meant to be.

    I could just picture you trundling into the train with all your goods. Everything looks lovely and next year's booth is all taken care of now.

    Hurrah and cheers,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green island

  23. A-ma-zing! Such an incredible amount of work - but it obviously paid off! I'm sure you inspired many people!

  24. Congratulations Christine...I knew they would love you! Your stand looks completely magical...Inspiringly beautiful and full of care and so much love. I wish I could have seen it all in the 'flesh', but am thankful to have seen your gorgeous creations at other fairs...I'm looking forward to the summer and visiting Cornwall too...so 'The Sea Garden' is on my list!

    Take a well deserved rest!...I'm going back for another look at your photos,
    Love Niki x

  25. A big well done to you and Gertie!! Your displays are fabulous ;-)
    Sal x

  26. A huge and well deserved CONGRATULATIONS to you both.. Your stand looks magnificent and so courageous of you to take it all on the train!!!
    I will definitely be coming to see you at the next fair.. Three cheers for Christine and Gertie!
    Hip hip.. hurrah!
    Michele xx

  27. Your stall looks fabulous, it would have drawn me in, no question. Congratulations on the award, and I'm amazed you got all that there on the train!

  28. Hi Christine

    I'm so pleased for you! Congratulations - a well-deserved prize. Your stand looks superb, although of course it could never look anything other!!!!

    Hope to see you soon - hopefully at Dairy House next weekend!


  29. Hi Christine,

    I visited your stall at the Country Living fair and I'm not at all surprised that you won Editor's Choice! Your decorating idea for the stall was so different and unusual there was something to catch the eye at every glance!
    I've passed on the Liebster blog award to you.

    Charlotte@Cottage in Totteridge

  30. Congrats! What a nice award! It's so hard to pick a favorite! But I really love the hair pins with the buttons!

  31. Hello, Just found your beautiful blog and now a follower! Congratulations on your award...from what I see, it was very well deserved! Your stand was incredible...only wish I could have shopped...as I loved it all.
    Wishes for a lovely week!

  32. How wonderful, Ive just discovered your blog I am now a follower. what wonderful pieces you sell I would love to have been there on the day to see it all in person and to transport it all in suitcases by train deserves a medal in itself! look forward to more inspirational posts.

  33. What a wonderful display and all the more remarkable for bringing everything in suitcases on the train!
    Congratulations on your award...you certainly have great style and an eye for detail...
    Julie x

  34. An absolutely gorgeous & creative booth... congratulations....
    I also love your individuality

  35. Oh Christine! I'm so very happy for you and feel quite teary eyed myself at your news! Having been a visitor to The Sea Garden over recent years - I'm not one bit surprised that your stand caught the eye of Suzy Smith. Fabulous!
    I hope you're now enjoying a well deserved rest and that you're basking in the glory - hip hip hooray!!!!!
    D xx

  36. oh my goodness, just realised who you are from seeing these pics. I was there and your stall was completely the most gorgeous!! xxx