Tuesday, 22 December 2009

How Christmassy am I?

Wasn't it exciting to have snow on the ground while finishing off the shopping? I can't remember having snow so close to Christmas before. Hope it didn't cause you any problems, but I think it's just lovely! I'm feeling pretty darn good now, having packed and posted my final parcel, and declared myself officially on holiday! Yay!!

As you can see, we got the tree up last week, and have smothered it in baubles. We've only got our little white tree this year, as we decided that was all we could manage to do. However, we put as many baubles on it as we do with the big tree, so I'm happy. Also because we followed one of our kitsch Christmas traditions, and drank snowballs while we decorated the tree. One of those Christmas treats I can't resist!

These deer are a mixture of vintage and not-so-old. I'm particularly pleased with the newest member of the family, the 'filigree' plastic one, I got in a charity shop recently.

I couldn't resist some new additions. These fluffy, camp reindeer came from Paperchase. As I took each one out of the box, I decided to give them reindeerish names.
"Olga, ...Ferdinand, ...Mitzi, ...and..."
"Nigel'" said Mr Kitsch.
So that's what they're called.

Hope you all have a happy time and enjoy the holidays!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Winter Weekend Wonders

I had a fun and successful weekend. On Saturday, the Festive Flea Market at the Folk House was excellent. Much to my surprise, I sold lots of badges and magnets, and I only have one pincushion left! I have to say that I was pretty pleased with my stall. You see, my natural inclination is to cram as much stuff as possible on the table, in the hope that there will be something to please everyone. Clutter is my style. Of course this does not work. It's overwhelming and it looks bad. A bit of space makes things look more special, and shows them to their best advantage.

It seems to have taken me an extraordinarily long time to realise this. I can only put it down to being a bit slow on the uptake, sometimes! Even at the Vintage & Handmade Fair, I overdid it despite myself, and put too much stuff out. But on Saturday, I think I managed to keep it just on the right side of junkyard!

On Sunday, we met a friend visiting from London, and went to Gloucester. I'm not sure why we thought about Gloucester, really. Mainly because it's somewhere we hadn't been before. And in all honesty, I may not go again. To be fair, we probably didn't see it at its best, on a wet Sunday afternoon.

I had checked online, and was quite excited about the promise of a "Winter Wonderland" in the city centre. A more accurate description would be a large tent surrounded by fake snow. (We did see a polar bear, but that's another story.) So we wandered round Gloucester Cathedral, where the choir sounded wonderful, but we weren't allowed to go and look. We tried the coffee shop for afternoon tea, but the lady behind the counter had clearly had a trying day, and although it was only ten to three, she told us very firmly that they were no longer serving. The cloisters are impressive, though, with some wonderful stained glass, including the rather charming elephants above. The cathedral has been used as a location for the Harry Potter films. Presumably you need those magical powers to get in there...
Like the cloisters, my advent calendar is a bit medieval, with interesting windows. (Whoa, smooth link, or what?) This photo is a bit old, and there are now more windows open than closed! This means it's time to get Christmassy. I don't have any more fairs before Christmas, and the online orders have dried up a bit, so I'm definitely starting to feel a bit holiday, a bit festive. Hopefully we'll get our tree up tomorrow....

Monday, 7 December 2009

Lemons and Art

If life gives you lemons, make lemon curd! Every now and again, I need homemade lemon curd. It can't be shop bought, it has to be homemade. It doesn't have to be my home, mind. I'm quite happy for someone else to do the work. The W.I. do a very good line in lemon curd. I used to get it from their stall at the farmers market. But I don't work near that market any more, and so I have started to make my own. I'm rather pleased with the result. It's not difficult, and tastes SO good!

Lemons have also turned up recently in a painting Mr Kitsch and I bought. Back in May, when we celebrated our 20th anniversary, we agreed that instead of buying each other presents, we would buy a piece of art. Circumstances intervened, and we never got our art. So when we saw this painting, and liked it, we decided this would be our anniversary art.

It's by a local artist called Sarah Duncan. We got it at the private view of Art Presence, the Christmas group show, which includes some of my work too. I keep mentioning it, I know, but it's actually the first time my work has been up in a gallery (as opposed to fairs or markets), so I was a bit excited.

All the artists have to do three sessions 'invigilating', and I did my first one on Tuesday. What I didn't know is that one of the essential duties is to go out on the streets, handing out flyers and encouraging people to venture down the rather hidden alleyway where the gallery is. Well, it only rained a bit, and I was quite pleased with myself for managing a cheery, if damp smile at all the poor people I accosted.

We actually did quite well, considering it was a wet Tuesday afternoon, and I like to think that my superior flyer-distributing skills played their part! Sadly, no-one bought anything of mine. I wonder if I put people off by standing behind people, shouting "BUY IT! BUY IT!"...?

P.S. If you're in Bristol on Saturday, there are lots of cool Christmas markets to go to. I will be selling vintage and handmade at the Festive Flea Market at the Folk House on Park Street. (10am to 3pm)

Friday, 4 December 2009

The Winner!

Many thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway and gave feedback on my choice of shop names! I had a record number of comments (66! One was my own, though.) As promised, a winner was picked yesterday at random by Mr Kitsch. He picked number 23, and the 23rd comment was from hetlieveheersbeestje. Her blog is in Dutch, but I think the title means 'The Ladybirds'. You can read it in English using Google translate (button at the top of the page), but the auto-translation has a strange and rather quaint effect on the words!

In a spirit of Christmas largesse, I'm also going to give a runner-up prize. The second number to be picked by my lovely assistant was 11, and the 11th comment was from m.e. Cathie, who is from Australia. How very exciting to be so international! I'll contact both winners for their addresses, and get those parcels packed up as soon as possible!

It was great to read all the feedback on my shop ideas. As for the names, when I also included the comments on Flickr, I had 19 votes in favour of 'Nearly Teatime', but 23 for 'Hey Tiger!'. Many people gave me the wise advice to go with my gut and pick the name I truly wanted, but honestly, I just don't know any more!

The great thing was to get the feedback that both names are okay. Some of you also confirmed my feeling that 'Nearly Teatime' is sweet and nostalgic, and 'Hey Tiger!' is more sassy and upbeat. Trouble is, I don't know which I am! I like so many different styles and like to try so many different sorts of projects that it's very hard to know what my style is. 'Eclectic' about covers it...

I think 'Hey Tiger!' has an edge in that regard, in being a bit more neutral, whereas 'Nearly Teatime' conjures up some definite images. So I'll probably go with the popular vote. I'll let you know when I launch my shop.
Thanks again to you all!

Don't these vintage Christmas labels make you feel all warm and cosy?