Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Wednesday 28 November 2012

What I'd Love!

Vintage charm safety pin brooch

Now that I'm not devoted to running the shop any more, I have finally got round to addressing the issue of improving my presence on the 'What I'd Love' shopping website, which The Sea Garden has been part of for some years now. I will be the first to admit I have been woefully inept at keeping my online pages up-to-date and interesting, but I am determined from now on to include a lot more of my own hand-made items, so here are a few pics of new things currently for sale on the site - 

Lariat style necklace with vintage charms

Stitched heart cards

Glass chandelier drop decorations

Details from two hand-embroidered lavender pouches

Vintage Fabric Pack

Lovely 'Savon de Marseille' French soap

I haven't made these boxes myself but they and the little heart tags are both hand-made in Cornwall.

Victorian Silver Scrollwork Pendant on Silk Ribbon

I would really appreciate some feedback from you my friends, and I would be honoured if you would visit my web pages and take a look. Constructive criticism welcome! Are there any items that you have seen me make in the past that you would really like to see available for sale? Are the pictures / is the wording detailed and clear enough? What about my prices; too high/low/about right? As a reward I am giving away one of my Charm safety pin Brooches! 

The winner will be chosen at random from anyone who leaves me a comment.
I would also like to pick your brains about any lovely Vintage Fairs that either you personally organise or that you have visited/heard about that I might be able to participate in next year. At the moment I don't have a single Fair booked, and I need to start finding out where the good ones are. I have a camper van so am willing to travel, although I think I would restrict myself to the south of England, say south of Stratford-upon-Avon. So let me know which Fairs you love, please!!!! Anyone leaving me a message regarding Vintage Fairs will also be entered into the draw for the Brooch. I'll throw in a few more goodies as well as I'm asking a lot from you!
Thank you so much! x x x

Sunday 1st December: As an update to this post I firstly wish to say a huge thank you to everyone who has left a comment! I am finding them very constructive. In answer to one issue that several of you have mentioned about not being able to click to enlarge to view, and that the image size is a bit small, unfortunately because the website is not my own (I am just one of numerous shops listed on the "What I'd Love' website) I cannot do much about it and have to work with what has been provided. But I am going to get in touch with the WIL website designers to see if something can be done to improve things. Perhaps I should take the plunge and start my own personal website, but initially I would like to gauge what response I receive from this one. 

Thursday 8 November 2012

Balmy November Day

Oh it's been a lovely day; I walked from Perranuthnoe on the coast path towards Marazion, and lay on a beach in the hot sun, yes HOT, and the sound of the gently lapping waves sent me into a daydreamy sleep. 

Sparkling, glistening, shimmering ocean

St. Michael's Mount was beautifully lit by the sun and looked very fairytale indeed.

Later on at dusk, the tide had gone out far enough to walk over to this magical isle

Looking back at Marazion from The Mount, a car crosses the causeway.

Then home to light the wood burner and get the place all cosy!

A risotto bubbling away for tea - king prawns with courgette, onion, red pepper and samphire

Such a comfort food for these colder, darker nights.

I am busy preparing for a Christmas Fair which will take place next week at The Cowslip Workshops in Launceston, on the 16th, 17th and 18th November. I will be selling lots of my hand made decorations:

 alongside some stitched textile pieces and a selection of antique items. I do hope some of you will be able to make it. In Portscatho on the 18th November is also our annual 'Homespun Fair', which sadly I will not be able to attend because of the clashing dates. Patsy will be opening 'The Sea Garden' on the day; I know that Gertie will be filling the shop with lots of new Christmas goodies!

Thank you all so much for your continuing support, and I do so appreciate your comments every one; I'm sorry I haven't been 'getting out there' in the blogging community so much lately....... I feel a little Christmas giveaway is in order soon.....so watch this space!

Friday 19 October 2012

A walk in the woods.....

I love to forage in the woods......

and bring back leaves, cones and lichen; such beautiful colours and textures together.

 Inspired by my walk today I decided to have a go at making a paper oak leaf wreath, and if you would like to give it a try too, here's what you will need:

some wire (not too thick but strong enough to keep it's shape.) I had this white wire, but galvanised wire from a garden centre will do just as well; a few beads, and some paper. I used some thick tracing paper and a page or two from an old handwritten book. You'll need paper that's a reasonable thickness or it will tear too easily when you come to wire the leaves.

 I started by drawing round a number of real oak leaves and then cut out the shapes to make templates. Using the templates I then cut out around 26 oak leaves.

With a bradawl I made a very small hole near the base of each paper leaf and thread a length of wire through, gently twisting the ends together to fasten. Another leaf (or two together sometimes) was then attached to the other end of the wire. I used different random lengths of wire, and wound each length around a central wire ring, onto which I had already threaded some glass and faux pearl beads. ( I realised after I had finished making the wreath that I should have taken a few pictures of it in progress - sorry!)

The wreath was intended as a prototype for a possible item to sell at the Christmas Fair I shall be doing next month, but it took about two hours to make, and just what can you charge for something that basically only consists of wire and paper? Sadly as is the case with so many ideas, the reality of bringing them to life is just not cost-effective. So I hope you have a go at making your own!

What's this I see in Godolphin woods?

A pair of eyes and a nose peeping out from a hole in the oak tree.......

The new man in my life likes to have fun with Fimo, and has a quirky sense of humour!

 Hee hee! Putting a pair of teeny eyeballs onto a little clump of moss instantly turns it into a hairy creature!

Funny that his surname is Woods........

Farewell for now my friends!
x x x

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Cotswolds Revisited


I had a really lovely day at The Cotswolds Vintage Fair; Billy and Monty soon found a new home to go to and it was great to meet up with customers old and new. Ali had organised everything so well, and saved me at the last minute with a table, which I'd forgotten I'd said I would bring myself!

Of course there were so many beautiful things for sale, and I managed to have a look around at the end of the afternoon. A wonderful Edwardian corset caught my eye on a mannequin on Jo's stand, and I'm afraid I succumbed. It's the kind of thing you don't see often, and I'm so glad I did buy it because it fits me perfectly! I get a real buzz from wearing genuine antique garments.

The heavy downpours that had punctuated the day (in between gorgeous bursts of sunshine) had dissipated by the time I'd finished packing up after the Fair, and I decided to have a wander up and down the beautiful wide high street of nearby Broadway.

I have very fond memories of this part of the Cotswolds, as I spent several glorious summers camped in a caravan at Childswickham with my Mum during my college years.

This view sums up The Cotswolds for me: rolling hills and sheep; beautiful!

Of course I had to revisit this magical place - Snowshill Manor - house of my dreams!

The garden is a series of small intimate 'rooms' on different levels, planted with cottage garden flowers, 
and old stone buildings and a pastoral landscape form a perfect backdrop.

'My garden sweet enclosed with walls strong,
the arbours and ayles so pleasant and so dulce'

Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire is the creation of one man - the architect, artist-craftsman, collector and poet Charles Paget-Wade. He bought the  four-hundred year old house in 1919 after seeing an advertisement in Country Life magazine. 

Wade had inherited from his father sugar estates in the West Indies, which enabled him to restore Snowshill, then much in a ruinous state. Whilst Wade himself chose to live in a small cottage in the garden, Snowshill Manor House became the setting for his enormous and varied collection of objects of craftsmanship, gathered mainly from antique shops and dealers in England, but also from his travels to Europe and the Far East.

His collecting fever began at the age of seven when, inspired by his grandmother's 'wonderful cabinet', he started buying small curios out of his pocket money. Throughout his life he searched for items not because they were
'rare or valuable; there are many things of everyday use in the past, of small value, but of interest as records of various vanished handicrafts.....each piece made by the hand of a craftsman has a feeling of individuality that no machine could ever attain.'

Wade was collecting in an age before the antique shop had been invented, so his 'hunting trips' took him to all kinds of interesting, strange and out-of-the-way places: '......by narrow alleys, up obscure yards, to old inns, coach houses, stables long-disused, scrap iron yards, ships chandlers, sheds by watersides, old maltings, mills and barns. To ancient attics, chilly cellars, gaunt garrets, cobwebby crypts and mouldering vaults. To old tumbledown sheds, propped and patched, with dim mysterious interiors heaped high with accumulations of the ages.'  

This is one of his recollections: 'At St.Neots there was a little shop in the living room of a tiny cottage. It was kept by one of the town road sweepers, so it was only open on Sunday afternoons. His name was above the door written with walnut shells applied to a board. The room was so crammed full entry was quite impossible. The old man would stand in the doorway with a kind of fishing rod with a spring clip at the end. With this he retrieved objects at the far end, often wrecking others on the way.'
How marvelous! 

Due to the fragility of many of the objects, light levels are kept to a minimum with muslin curtains at every window, so the quality of my photographs is a little compromised, but I hope they give you a sense of the absolute treasure trove that Snowshill is, and entice you to go and see for yourself.......

In the attic are numerous items related to weaving, spinning and lace-making.

This doll's house was made by Wade c. 1910 and furnished with 19th C furniture

The grocer's shop below was one of Wade's favourite toys. It was kept by Robert, and customers came from Wade's sister's two dolls' houses. The shop had drawers and painted wooden canisters which opened, all filled with real tea, rice, coffee, cloves, lentils, sugar and spice.

The "Museum Room" is one of the most interesting as it contains photographs, mementos and many original watercolour paintings executed by Wade himself. 

Part of Charles Paget-Wade's fantastic collection was period clothing, shoes, hats, bags and accessories, but these are now housed in a separate National Trust property as they could not be properly maintained at Snowshill. However there is always a changing display of a number of these items on show in the Museum Room. 

These scarlet silk slippers are to die for!

Lots of exquisite ribbons and trims, and this quilted silk bonnet was my favourite.....

Just above the floor in the Museum Room are two tiny windows, with a teddy bears' picnic in one and a darling little sitting-room interior in the other. Most people simply miss these altogether, as they are specifically designed for small children to discover......

 Wade was a prolific maker, and created whole villages and harbour scenes which were installed in the garden around the pond and along the walls. It is easy to say that Wade never lost his childhood delight and fascination for small things and the sheer pleasure of playing.

These are just some of the little houses and buildings he created for his 'village' in the garden

In 1946 Wade married and spent many of his remaining years living on his inherited estate in the West Indies. He still retained a lively interest in the house and continued to add to his collection, until in 1951 he presented Snowshill and its contents to the National Trust. What you see there today remains as he left it, a perfect memorial to an incredible man.

Although I must have visited Snowshill 20 times I never tire of visiting this dreamy house and garden nestled in the Cotswold hills;

'Treasure beyond measure
Imaginative mind
Magic key to open
The realm of anywhere'

C.P.W. 1883 - 1956