the 1940’s beds, improved

Curiously, when we assembled the antique beds after painting them, the beds did not look like this: 1940's-beds-reading-aloud

Instead, each bed lay at an angle, attaching a couple of inches higher at the headboard than at the footboard!

What on earth were they thinking? Have decades of children slept on a hill? Did someone in 1940’s England believe it to be healthier to sleep on an incline? Apparently some folks do. Or was it an error of production?

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Nor was that the only problem. If one used the box springs, the mattresses sat higher than the top of the footboard in the most unappealing way. Without them, there were no supports for a mattress. Mystified, we set about putting it right with my fathers’s kind help.

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My grandfather’s hand-drill was just the thing to bore new holes. Best to be precise on this kind of piece.

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Being thorough, and taking pity on me, he not only levelled the frame but also cut down store-bought slats, attaching metal along the edge to contain them. Very comfortable! This is fiddly work, but I highly recommend it if you’ve an old bed to update.

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Do learn from my mistake – never purchase antique furniture unless you can see it properly assembled, or you’re up for a big project.

Our children adore their level, slatted, painted, new-and-improved vintage beds. Good night!

potter’s case

There’s a wonderful pottery studio deep in the highlands, down a winding road that leads through the woods. I’ve begun throwing pots on a wheel there every week. Clustering round the wood stove, sharing cups of tea with some lovely potters, is very good too. I’ve so craved this work since I studied in England. I want it to be a permanent, regular practice. So, I pulled out my beloved old travel case, battered and stained from years of art materials at school, and fixed it up as a pottery toolbox for my devotions to clay.

potter's case

Clay tools are such appealing things, and a vintage suitcase is just the thing to organise them. There’s something about claiming a spot for tools and materials that is so affirming of any endeavour. The writing desk makes the writer, and so on. I think so. Like hanging a musical instrument on the wall, it is a declaration of commitment.

potter's case

I find that I am better at keeping a thing tidy, and using it often, if I think it is beautiful. With a bit of leftover milk paint, I stained the fabric lining from a loud red to a quiet grey. No doubt it will all be pleasingly clay-spattered soon enough. The make-up mirror puts me in mind of train journeys and face powder. Perfect for checking one’s reflection after a muddy day on the wheel.

potter's case

I’ve tucked my plaster sprigs and stamps into a pocket of the new potter’s case, and a linen apron, given to me by a lovely English potter, folds neatly on top.

potter's case

Quite important to leave space for tea, and for tins filled with snacks! Look out for images of my ceramic work soon, here, on instagram and other friendly places – I’ll be stocking my own, new studio shop.

the globe

Another gorgeous object recently passed down through the family to us. A globe, circa 1961. Isn’t it fine? We’re studying history, the children and I, lucky for me as I seem to have been somewhere else when they were teaching this stuff. (It is a shame we’re not in England, just at the moment when we’re reading about Richard III and princes in towers.).

1961 globe

I love looking at the globe as an object so clearly embodying a moment in history, the political landscape drawn out on its surface, the particular, faded shades of ink, the typography. We talk as much about 1960’s history as we do the medieval history we’re into just now. It is a great object to help us get a sense of the world. There’s always the 1990’s atlas, and modern interactive maps online, to round things out.

the globe, circa 1961

Such a pleasing old object, and still so useful.

(These images are variations from the traveller, part of the series of photographs I’ve been making of my new short & sweet handwarmers and things I love to do while wearing them. You can see all the images, and choose your own kit, in the shop.)

short & sweet seagreen handwarmer kit

short & sweet seagreen handwarmer kit

little miller

Now, if you’ve been following closely for a while, you might recall an antique grinder I acquired at a village shop near the cottage we once lived in. I have great affection for the mill, and for cooking with my family in that old kitchen, so I made a little something with some images I came across the other day.

Simple pleasures.

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p>(If you’re fond of short appleturnover movies like the little miller, you might like to nose around the old schoolhouse. Along the lefthand side of the page, you’ll find it.)

the vintage hairdresser

Remember the good old fashioned local salon I was telling you about, complete with 1950’s Belmonts and barber’s strops? You’ve been wanting a peek at Lutine’s collection of antique hairdressing tools, I know. Here it is:

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Wave clips were pretty much how my grandmothers got their distinctive looks, that and bobby pins. I’d like to develop my skills with a bobby pin.

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I know the tongs look like they would scorch your hair, but they are luxury compared to the slate pencil heated on the wood stove, that Laura Ingalls Wilder curled her fringe with. Now you know what to do when the power’s out, beauty queens. Are the perforated things curlers?

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A comb, brush and mirror set just speak to another era. Sitting down, slowing down to care for one’s hair, such a gentle, intentional thing to do. I’d like to take that up. I’m not sure the last time I looked into a small looking glass, aside from a powder compact. A romantic gesture in itself.

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The straight razor, faithful companion to the strop. I’m very happy with the safer variety, my traditional razor.

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My flat iron isn’t so different, and sadly will break long before this one. Only I’ve missed a picture of a fascinating object, a bowl to gather the hair from your brush, and form it into shapes to pad a hairdo! It is astonishing how fashion changes. Do you use any of these? Thank you ever so much for a glimpse at the vintage hairdresser, Lutine!

Oh – I’ve been writing about writing. If you’ve been wanting to create your own site to write about what you make and do, read it at Folksy.