antique seed case

Deep in projects for the winter fair, I thought I would wade over to make a photograph of the antique seed case for you. Just now I am playing about with objects in it, little sewing kits and other useful old fashioned things.

antique case


p>I found this old seed display case on the island this summer, and thought it would be just fine for small pieces in my little studio shop. Having migrated from Minnesota to Ontario, then travelled to the Pacific, it now lives in our island cottage opposite the cabinet that I reworked and repainted. It is quite charmingly handmade, beautiful without a thing in it. I shall pack it up, quite full of things in it, this weekend, and take it up the hill to my table at sunday’s local winter fair. If you’re around Victoria, do come by for hot apple cider and good handcrafted things.

carding wool

We’ve had a series of early autumn afternoons that were just right for sitting out on the porch, drenched in pale sunshine, and doing some handwork. I’ve been carding wool.

carding wool

This is a bit of local fleece, already washed by a friend. It’s full of woody bits, so carding outside is perfect as it sends them flying. I love the action of pulling at the fibres, with the carders brushing in opposite directions, large arm movements and strong ones. The sound! Therapeutic. And a workout, the pleasing, destructive-productive kind, like wedging clay or hammering hot iron. Then small movements, with the carders paired handle-to-handle, to roll up the fibre again, all clean and brushed out in beautiful alignment, ready to spin, or full, or needle-felt, or stuff into some kind of wonderfully useful thing, which is what I’m doing with it. Speaking of ready to spin, I’ve set up the old spinning wheel I’d brought from England, I want to show you very soon.

You might like to read about our experiments in dyeing wool with plants, too.


Over at the autumn Highland Heritage Fair, not so far from our little cottage, they held a tug-o-war.


Such an entertaining bit of fun, suspenseful, silly, everyone pulling together. The tug of war dates back at least to ancient Egypt and China, and was made popular in Britain in the 1600’s by an enthusiastic Lord Simpson. It is at once Olympic and yet requires little skill to thoroughly enjoy.


My girls prefer to sit in a tree and watch this sort of thing, but somehow it wrapped up a day at the fair (of fiddling, a hay-toss, pottery, the opening of a new local museum, and of course, fabulous tables from the likes of a local stonecarver, an old-time photographer, jam preservers and bakers, a fuller & beader, and yours, appleturnover) just perfectly.

little round table

Although I was looking for furniture at the antiques fair, just one little piece came home with me. It’s a small, round Edwardian table, similar to the demi-lune yet less ornate, the sort of thing that could function well in a lot of different places. Unlike the massive project of painting our dining table, chairs, and our bed, the little table took an afternoon to rework.


The little table was suffering a little from a loose piece on one leg, and some stains on the surface, but it sanded down well and took the chalk paint easily.


I like to use a couple of coats of country grey on pieces that need to draw back a little, remain subdued, and when it is sanded back just so, there are some wonderful textures that come up. I love how painting the furniture draws attention to the shapes; this one has just enough of the ornate to carry the eye around, but not so much to be busy.


For now the little round table is just right in the corner of our living room. Of course it is putting the
beside it to shame, but one thing at a time! I need to study some
before I tend to that one.

I received our custom mattress today, for the long awaited antique bed. Hurrah! I cannot wait to see it all put together.

the antiques fair

My little children and I spent a glorious day wandering around the Ardingly Antiques Fair. It was just our kind of thing, stall upon stall of fascinating objects. We’re shattered, and ready for a quiet evening before we do it all again tomorrow! First I’d love to show you a few of my finds.


Most of these were under £6, and the sort of things I’ve been searching for for years. I’m especially thrilled about the demijohn, I dream of homemade cider and perry. The trug is delightful, just the size for coming along on foragey walks.


How nice to find some more silverware, these pieces are English, and a steal. They were only sold in groups, but each group is different from the next, so I’m content. The children and I also found tiny perfume bottles for our scents, and I now have a lovely penknife of my very own. They are hoping to make a choice between lockets at the fair tomorrow, and there’s a few other corners I hope to explore. Follow me around the antiques fair if you like.