A little while ago I bought a rather unloved Teddy Bear. His mohair was matted and bald in places, his eyes were loose and he had a rather saggy appearance. He even came to me wrapped in a bin bag! As a child I collected bears (or at least as much as my pocket money would allow) and as an adult I still love them. Old bears in particular hold a significant charm for me, my parents still have my Grandpa’s bear that was in his house when it was bombed during World War II. Plus they continue to stand the test of time in terms of their enduring popularity.
It’s been a long time though since I last bought a bear, but when I came across ‘Rawdon’ (I might have been re-reading Vanity Fair at the point of naming) I had to buy him despite his less than favourable appearance. I’m not sure the photos show just how woeful he looked when he first arrived home.
I’ve sewn bears in the past, but it’s another thing entirely to undo and remake one. After some consideration I decided to undo the back seam on Rawdon’s body. It’s the last opening to be closed when making a bear, so working backwards it seemed like a good place to start. To my surprise he was not only filled with traditional wood wool stuffing, but upholstery padding as well! I assume this is an old repair by a previous owner. Unfortunately this combination only served to make Rawdon both hard and lumpy and floppy at the same time. I extracted all the stuffing, replaced any decent wood wool and then used modern stuffing to fill in the gaps. I also found an old and broken growler inside the stomach.
Next I opened Rawdon’s head (sounds awfully mean really) and the same combination of strange stuffing products fell out. I reattached his glass eyes and restuffed him carefully. I repeated the same process on each of his limbs.
I then cleaned up his mohair as much as I could. The photos don’t really show it, but he’s changed quite a bit in colour. Finally I tentatively removed his red paw coverings and was delighted to find his original pads still intact underneath.
With a brand new bow and some new friends, I think Rawdon now looks rather dapper sat upon the chest of drawers. He’s also grown two inches in height!
Yesterday I took great pleasure in attending the Country Living Christmas Fair at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. I had a wonderful time, discovered some amazing new talent and was generally spoilt rotten. The fair ends on 13th November so there’s still time to get yourself down there. In the meantime, here are my must see stalls!
The fair, much like Country Living Magazine is always a beautiful spectacle before you even begin to start browsing. A giant Christmas Tree glittered away on the second floor, enormous bunting hung from the rooftop and the scent of Cinnamon, Spiced Apple and Mulled Wine seemed to follow you in a dreamy festive haze. After recovering from a slight sensory overload I made my way to this Christmas Cabin, designed by none other than textile extraordinaire Jan Constantine. You may have to fight an overwhelming desire to cross the barrier and spend an afternoon in this festive hideout, but take note as many of the items inside can be found on stalls at the fair.Vintage was a huge theme at this year’s fair, with everything from old milk bottles to bobbins upcycled into lights. So if your house is in need of a few unique and striking accessories make sure you keep your eyes peeled.Next I made a beeline for Mary Kilvert‘s stall. A designer and illustrator whose sheep design textiles and home-wares threaten to make even the most devout minimalist smile, I couldn’t resist her brightly coloured creations. Mary even designs wallpaper covered in quirky houses! Keeping in the festive mood I discovered a designer who was new to me Halinka’s Fairies. Halinka makes decorations that have such movement and skill, you could easily spend hours mesmerised by them. Halinka obviously has a real eye for movement as even her ballet dancers display lifelike turns and twists of their arms and waists.
The fair is not limited to homewares or decorations though. There’s also adorable designers such as Poppy Children. This stall stands out instantly due to their fabulous dress shapes and fabrics. They even make a few dresses in adult sizes (I can feel a mother daughter promenade coming on). I challenge any Mother of a girl not to feel an almost uncontrollable urge to buy one of these designs. But how would you pick just one?My feet were rather worse for wear at this point, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically run for one of the cafes situated about the fair. Instead make your way to the food stalls and sample some of the most delicious homemade delicacies.After a good rest and several cups of tea I found my way to the Millstone Mills stall. Not ones to see pepper and salt grinders as mundane; they have taken this most basic of household items and transformed it into a stylish and functional piece that exudes class. If making your own is more to your taste though, there are plenty of stalls selling festive and fun kits. These beautiful traditional mohair toy kits are from Emily’s Ark. I did buy something larger and rather more blue from this stall but I’ll save that for a future post Unfortunately I can’t feature all of the wonderful stalls at the fair, so if you can make it along do try. Tickets can be purchased on the door, full details including an exhibitor list and floorplan are available on the website here.
I’ll post up some more pics in a few days including some of the wonderful items I brought home.
Cake stands are incredibly popular at the moment. They range from the very modest to the exceedingly grand and you can spend anything from a few pounds to a few hundred on one. If you are like me however, you may often find yourself admiring vintage plates but think you have no use for them. Today I’ll sure you how to turn those odds plates into the most fantastic Cake Stand in no time at all!
What You’ll Need
2 or 3 plates of your choosing (mine have came from a variety of charity shops and antique centres)
Cake Stand Fittings (these can be bought very cheaply online, Ebay is a brilliant source)
Ceramic Drill Bit
First things first you will need to mark the centre of each plate at the back as a guide for drilling. Some cake stand fittings come with guides to help you. Mark with a non permanent marker.
Place your plate upside down onto a worktable or protective piece of wood and using a ceramic appropriate drill bit, slowly begin to make a hole where the mark is. Repeat with all plates.
Give the plates a wash to remove dust, then attach the cake stand fittings. That is all that’s required to make a bespoke, individual and enviable cake stand. They also make fabulous and inexpensive presents.
I now have more drilled plates than stand fittings, I just swap and change as the mood strikes me
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