Sunday, 8 December 2013


Hi folks

Been rather poorly for the last week so have been mostly sleeping with occasional spells of reading Lord Peter Wimsey or watching made for TV Christmas movies. I was planning to start getting the house ready for Christmas - the decorations are out of the loft and the living room is now cleared of all my vintage stash, so we're ready to get going. I just need a bit more energy first! Think we will pop up the road to the local garden centre for our tree this afternoon and we can slowly make a start. I expect the rest of the day will be spent snuggled on the sofa.

Thank you to all the lovely customers we had at the Frome Super Market last Sunday. We had a brilliant day and had lots of sales too. I enjoyed interacting with customers and it was interesting to see the sort of things people were looking for. We'll be back at the markets in the Spring and I should have a bigger and better collection of goodies by then too.

Take care folks!

Melanie Melanie
English Rose Vintage

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Market Day

Hi folks!

We're definitely on for the Frome Super Market this Sunday. We had a trial run with the gazebo in our garden last weekend and I think things were looking pretty good. We planned the layout and took photos too so that we can set up more quickly on the day. It's a long time since we did a market (back in our chocolate making days) so we're really looking forward to it. 

It's a special extended market from 10am to 4pm so we'll have plenty of selling time. There are going to be a bumper number of stalls too and some interesting music during the day. Take a look at the market facebook page for a taster of what's coming. 

If you're in the area and can get to the market do pop along and see us. Anyone who mentions this blog will get a special 10% discount on our stall too.

Bye for now ...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Frome Super Market

Hi folks!

Last Sunday we went to Frome Super Market and despite the rain we had a great time. The market is held on the first Sunday of each month and stalls are spread over the whole town. There's a wonderful flea market with vintage, antiques and collectibles, delicious food at the Artisan and Somerset Farmers markets, a general People's market and a cute Suitcase sale on Catherine Hill.

We drank steaming mugs of hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows from Lucille's chocolate caravan. Definitely helped to keep out the chill.

Ate amazing Salty Dog brownies from Dark Matters - absolutely scrummy!

Between showers we had a good look around the stalls in the Flea market. I'm hoping to have a stall at the market on 1 December so this was a good chance to see what I was letting myself in for!

There were some fabulous stalls there so it'll be a challenge looking half as inviting. I've been trying to figure out how to display everything and have a huge pile of stock in my sitting room waiting to be priced up. I'm going to add some colour with my collection of vintage scarves which look great hung from these covered hangers.

And I'm really enjoying researching everything - including this fabulous 1950s/60s brooch. I was disturbed though to discover that the fur on this is probably mink so I'll be sending any proceeds from it's sale to the RSPCA. 

I'm waiting for confirmation that I can take part so I'll give you an update as soon as possible. Have a fun week everyone!

Melanie Melanie
English Rose Vintage

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Supersized sketch pad

Hi folks! 

I'm still fiddling about in our spare room, trying to turn it into a useful and inspiring work space. This morning I decided to transform my rather dull grey plastic crafting table into a useful sketch pad and doodling spot. I don't want to run to the expense of a new table when I have a perfectly functional one already but it is a very uninspiring, if practical, plastic fold up table. Great for doing fairs and shows but not great to look at on a daily basis and hardly conducive to flights of creative fancy.

I had thought about putting a pretty cloth over it but I need this table to be practical, especially when I begin to experiment with the resin jewellery again. Resin spills on paper are easy to deal with but resin on a plastic table may well stay there for ever. So, having seen something similar in a silver-smith's work room, I thought how positively spiffy it would be to have a table covered in paper so that I could scribble notes, designs, doodles, whatever, to my heart's content and then just screw it up and recycle when I'm done!

This very simple transformation required a box of greaseproof baking paper, scissors and sticky tape. Simply stretch out the paper, tuck over each end and stick in place. Pop a few extra strips of sticky tape at intervals to prevent it moving about too much. Repeat with another strip overlapping the last one, etc., until table is perfectly covered in paper. The table is plastic so there will be no harm in sticking the greaseproof paper to it with sticky tape.

There we have it - a supersized sketch pad. 

Perfect for researching my latest treasures and taking notes as I go or scribbling ideas as they pop into my head. 

What will you be doing today?

Take care folks
Melanie Melanie

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Open for business

I got the bed. We picked it up yesterday and after a lot of huffing and swearing managed to put it together. It takes up quite a bit of the spare bedroom but as it serves as a day bed, pulls out into a double and has massive drawers for storage, it's going to prove a really useful bit of furniture. It's a perfect lounging spot for reading and snoozing too - I've tested it already. I covered it with a quilt I made with Hawaiian fabric years ago and a couple of cushions and throws for snuggling.

The other good news is the English Rose Vintage shop is open for business again at last. Best of all, Etsy has finally rolled out the facility to accept credit card payments and Etsy Gift Cards to the UK - thanks Etsy! So now it is possible to buy an Etsy Gift Card to be used in our shop or pay for your goods by card instead of PayPal.

I mentioned before that I'd already made some great vintage discoveries for the shop since we moved. Here's a sneaky preview of my favourites. 

I was very excited when I got my hands on these beautiful petit point boxes and tray.

There are two gilt boxes with hand stitched petit point flower panels in different designs. The petit point is in lovely condition as both have been protected by their original plastic covers. The covers need a bit of a clean up to show off the stitching to best advantage so I shall be doing that before I list them.

The tray is quite beautiful, with an embroidered central panel surrounded by lace held between two pieces of glass in a gilt frame. 

Such a pretty set. Can't wait to get these in the shop, although they would look so good on my new dressing table. I must resist temptation...

I have plans for a revamp of the shop soon. I'm working on a new look including banner, avatar, etc. The plan is to use some lino cutting equipment I received as a gift to make my own design, which I will print onto business cards, postcards, tea towels, and anything else I can think of or get my hands on. My aim for this week is to transfer my first design to the lino block and cut it out. I will show you the results - even if it's a disaster!


Sunday, 13 October 2013


Well, the gorgeous 1950s wardrobes and dressing table were delivered by two burly chaps from the second-hand store and have now taken pride of place in our bedroom. I was very relieved to find that they did fit after all. I had somewhat guessed their sizes as I hadn't taken a tape measure with me when we bought them. 

They are very heavy so we were glad of the help in getting them into place. The wood is a beautiful warm honey colour with a delightful pattern to it.

We have a wardrobe each and I, naturally, nabbed the one with most hanging space. Both are beautifully made and they even have hidden drawers in the bottom. We searched for a hidden drawer in the dressing table - hoping for treasure or long lost love letters - but sadly no joy there.

The lovely handles look like glass but are actually plastic. I'm so glad we spotted these - such luck!

We have spent this weekend clearing the mess that is the second bedroom and transforming it into a workspace come spare room. We just need a guest bed now - I'm bidding on one on Ebay now but don't hold out much hope of winning - wish me luck!

More next time on some fabulous finds from our local car boot sale and a pretty floral lace panel I bought on Ebay for the bedroom window.

Take care till then and have a happy week,

Monday, 23 September 2013

Pies and Wardrobes

Hi all

The pie was fab-u-lous. Sorry about the rather awful photo but I snapped this quickly while we were both drooling in anticipation of PIE.

It was very easy to make. I used ready-made pastry to save on time and the addition of big juicy blackberries with the apple was a definite success. My pie dish isn't very deep so there was enough of the filling mix left over to fill two large ramekins and top them off with a circle of pastry. The cinnamon topping was delicious and, although there didn't seem to be much of it when I crumbled it on, it did spread and cover the top of the pie during cooking. I left the sides rustic, rather than crimped, but probably should have brushed them with a little egg or milk too. All in all, it was a great success and no doubt we will be making this again.

I went back to check out those beautiful 1950s wardrobes today and they are on their way! I couldn't pass up the chance of having the matching dressing table too - so crossing everything that they will all fit in the bedroom. There are two matching wardrobes and a lovely mirrored dressing table, all in honey coloured wood, with pretty glass knobs. 

I'm all set for starting my new job - clothes are pressed, new notebook and pen packed ready, nerves on edge. Tomorrow we are having a day off from unpacking - the choice of where we go is all mine so I just need to decide now ...

Take care people,

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Rose Cottage

Hi all

I'm writing this in the kitchen of our new home. It's been a mammoth week and every part of me aches but we've made it here at last. As usual I underestimated the quantity of possessions we (primarily 'I') own but we made sure that our most precious items weren't left behind...

We had to make several trips between Basingstoke and Bath in the end. 

And Leigh had to murder our old sofa ... which was too unsafe for even the charity shop to take. This was the only way we could get it out of the house without taking off the front door!

We've spent the last two days unpacking and still have rather a long way to go. Leigh will be alphabetising the CDs and books - I do believe he loves moving just so that he can do this (!) I will continue to try and squeeze everything into the kitchen although I don't understand how I can have a kitchen twice the size of my last one but still not have room for everything. Where did it all go?

Having said that - I saw a sign today for an undercover car boot sale that starts in October. That's going to be impossible to resist so I'm going to need to organise the spare room pronto to justify bringing any more stuff into the house. 

We're already tried our local chippy - that was our first supper here. It's within walking distance of our new home (if our legs weren't hurting so much) and the fish and chips were not bad at all. We've also tried a local curry house but we have several more to try until we can choose 'the one'. The choice of 'the one' is based on the quality of the Chicken Dhansak (my husband's favourite) and may take some time and a lot of testing. Once chosen 'the one' will be used frequently and it won't matter too much how far we have to travel. We used to drive through snow and ice to get a curry when we lived in North Yorkshire - nothing will get in the way of my man and his favourite curry house.

We're so happy to be here at last - it hasn't quite sunk in. The rooms are light - which is brilliant as our last place was like a cave and we needed lights on at all times of day. We can watch the sun setting from the room at the back of the house too - and it's so quiet. No noisy trains passing in the middle of the night. We have so much more space than before - it feels quite odd though that we can sit in different rooms. We keep checking whether the other one is OK.

It is weirdly appropriate that our front door is emblazoned with a rose - so we have named the place Rose Cottage. It's not really a cottage (more of a bungalow) but it makes the place sound cozy and couldn't be more fitting for our English Rose HQ.

We still have a ton of things to do here. We spotted some lovely 1950s wardrobes in a thrift shop nearby but unfortunately it wasn't open so we will have to go back tomorrow and check if they are the right size. There's also a beautiful dressing table as part of the set - I'm seriously wondering whether the bedroom will look too full if we get that too.

We've already invested in a new sofa from Ikea - after years of second hand ones we thought this would be our main treat. We've also picked up an Ercol coffee table on Ebay that looks great with my Nan's old display cabinet. It can be hard to feel very inspired about rental homes but I'm hoping that I can create the kind of home we wish for even though we're limited to what we can do here. 

My next task though is to make this Sour Cream and Apple pie. I'm going to add some blackberries too as there are so many around at the moment. Fingers crossed it will taste as phenomenal as it looks.

I have two more days at home before I start my new job. Time to find my work clothes and try to get my mind in the right place. I have lots of plans for the future and look forward to sharing them with you...

Take care folks
English Rose

Sunday, 8 September 2013

From B to B

Hi all

Things have been a little quiet on the blog for a while and I've temporarily shut down my English Rose Vintage Etsy shop - but there's a good reason for this - I've got a new job in Bath and we're moving house! Bath is such a beautiful city - we really can't wait to get over there. It also has great associations for us as we took our honeymoon there back in 2000. So life has consisted of packing boxes and bubble wrap for the last few weeks and there's been lots of driving back and forth between Basingstoke and Bath.

We're going to have much more space than we do now and I have lots of plans. I've even been making scaled drawings of the rooms on squared paper and moving around little paper versions of our furniture. Does anyone else do this - my husband thinks I'm hilarious! I find myself lying awake at night, not worrying about the new job or the move, but planning cushion covers, colour schemes and furniture restorations.

Just a few miles from our new home is the fantastic Glove Factory Cafe in Holt. I can see this becoming a firm favourite.

The food is amazing and I love the colourful origami bird mobiles. Next time we go I will even think to take some pictures of the food - I'm afraid I was so hungry and it was so delicious I'd eaten it before it occurred to me. The old factory buildings in Holt are fabulous too.

I'm planning a relaunch of the shop once we are a bit more settled and I can find everything again. I have plans for a new banner and logo - which will depend a lot on learning a new skill - more on that later! I must get off now and do some more tidying and packing. 

Aren't these little fellows adorable?
I saw them under the sink in the cafe loos
they look so sad and forlorn
I may have to go back and rescue some ...

Bye bye peeps,
Take care

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Victorian Calligraphy

Hi again!

I thought I would quickly share with you this Victorian (1878) legal document that I've just listed in the English Rose Vintage shop.

It's quite a beauty! Three very large pages (about 26 x 21 inches) of lovely calligraphy on vellum including signatures and various seals and stamps.

The pages are still joined at the bottom by fabric ties, held in place on the front with red wax seals. It would be relatively simple to separate the sheets so that they could be framed separately. There seems to be plenty of information online about taking creases out of vellum, although I've never tried this myself. I'd be interested to know if anyone has done this.

The document relates to a Mortgage of property in Marylebone (then in Middlesex) on behalf of Mr Frederick Mark and Messrs Constable Curtis and Frederick S Clarkson. It is for £1,500, which would have been a very considerable sum in the Victorian era. I had a lot of fun trying to find these characters online and managed to trace some information regarding the Constable Curtis family as that is such a distinctive name. There is a record of a Constable Curtis who died on 30th March 1909 at The Hall, Great Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. He was a retired Captain of the 12th Royal Lancers and left the huge sum of c. £59,000 in his estate. I think this is the same person, as the Mortgage was witnessed by Edward Constable Curtis (Gentleman), Constable's eldest son.

A fascinating piece of history that I think would look wonderful mounted into antique frames. There are also endless possibilities for scanning the document and using this gorgeous calligraphy in crafting projects such as decoupage.

I'm planning another treasure hunt tomorrow morning so there will be no lie-in for me this Sunday! 

Whatever you're up to this weekend, have a happy time,

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Very Juicy

Howdy peeps!

I'm going to be listing some new treasures in the shop over the coming weeks so here's a sneaky look at something new in the English Rose Vintage shop today. It's 8.00am and I've done something useful already today - woo hoo!

This little ceramic citrus juicer has tiny little bunches of purple flowers on the inside and 'A Present from Evesham' in gold lettering on the outside. 

It's quite a delicate little juicer, at just over 3" across, and is perfect for gently squeezing lemon on a fillet of fish or squeezing a little lemon in your tea.

I'm hoping to get out to do some more treasure hunting this weekend - hope this gorgeous weather keeps up a little longer!

Take care