A lot’s gone on…

Many things have happened this summer, and I’ve not been in a place where I’ve been particularly happy to witter on about them. My little Citroen C3 threw yet another expensive wobbly, which was the final straw; it’s no good doing 60-odd miles to the gallon if you’re going to cost an arm and a leg in maintenance. The girls had become anxious about going any distance in her, thanks to her habit of saying she was in first gear at roundabouts & junctions, when she was in fact in neutral. The second or two while she thought about this & I had no control (she’s a semi-automatic) put us in peril more than once. Even OH became reluctant to take her up to Town, but was heartbroken when I announced I was replacing her. Partly because I’ve chosen to replace her with an elderly but expensive Japanese van that only does half as many miles to the gallon…

There was method in my madness, albeit perhaps not very much. Those of us who play at market traders had outgrown the space available in the bigger car, and ended up just about swearing at each other because neither of us had space for all our stock by the time we’d fitted in the tables, chairs, shelves, crates and our lovely joint assistant. I test-drove a 3-year-old Berlingo Multispace & it was lovely, but hardly any bigger than the C4 GP; deeper, but shorter. The only other option within my budget that was likely not to be on its last legs with rust or having done 300,000 hair-raising miles in a couple of years was a fresh-import Japanese MPV…

So I became the proud owner of a 17-year-old Mazda Bongo Friendee 2.5 TD AFT from Southern Bongos, just as diesel was unmasked as the root of all evil. There was a little bit of budget left over, which I used to have the middle row of seats removed & a mid-conversion installed; that’s a cooker, sink, fridge and a couple of tiny cupboards, plus a little pop-up arrangement that means I can sleep in her when the back seat is folded down flat; this’ll be very handy when we do the weekend “events” next year. In theory, two people can sleep in the elevating roof too, but the mattress would need quite a bit of beefing-up before they’d be very comfortable! There’s also a solar panel, as most of the time when we’re camping there’s no mains electricity to hook up to, to run the fridge, lights & gadget chargers that it would be hard to manage without. And I have made her a set of “silvers” or thermal screens; to buy them would have cost over £80, but 3m of Insul-Bright set me back just £20, 50 suction-hooks £5, and a paint-marked 1970s sheet makes the inside look very pretty!

For all the increased fuel bills, she feels very safe & reassuring to drive, especially after dark; no-one tries to barge you out of the way, and the visibility is great, unlike in the little car. And there’s clearly a lot of capacity for fun; picnics spring to mind, but for one reason or another we haven’t had a chance yet, though we have done one market & managed to take everything we needed with us! We also traded at a car boot sale this weekend, offloading excess stock, and it was lovely to be able to sit out of the biting cold wind in quieter moments, without having to struggle up from a car seat to help potential customers. But I’m very mindful of the increased emissions, as well as the fuel bill; my one way of dealing with this is to try very hard to cut the miles driven down to the bare minimum whilst keeping my business going and keeping half an eye on my dear mother!

Another of The Offspring has moved back in for a year, having found a job locally whilst waiting to do his MA starting next September. Delighted though we are to have the pleasure of his company for another year, this has reduced still further the amount of space we have for stock or refurbs, and increased the mess in the shared areas of the house. And thanks to lighting issues with my stall at Molly’s Den, I’m moving over the aisle to a smaller but more visible space. So I’m trying very hard to refine what I do; only to take on things which can be cleaned, repaired and/or upcycled very fast, and which are directly relevant to my regular customers. But on a positive note, Boscombe Vintage Market is going back to monthly after Christmas, which should help stock flow through our household better.

I’m now struggling to deal with an avalanche of apples & quinces; having had a good rest last year, when high winds stripped the blossom clean off the trees in spring, they’ve gone to town this year & presented us with tons of fruit. There are three trays of apples in store, and numerous bags have been distributed amongst neighbours & family. But I don’t need to make any apple butter or jams or chutney as there’s lots still in the garage from last year & the year before; there’s not a lot of point putting more in there if it’s not getting used. I also have another mega-pumpkin sitting on my lawn, waiting for someone (probably me) to take a knife to it; this is going to be distributed amongst four households, but even just a quarter of it is going to overwhelm my preserving skills & apparatus for a few days!

There’ll be another post along shortly; I’m mulling some ideas over already, but kind of felt I should bring you all up to date before I get too philosophical…

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Blow me down with a feather…

… as they used to say! It’s a looooong story, but for a long time I’ve been saving up for, and agitating for, a stove for the fireplace in the living room. We have lived for long enough with a small 1980s brick-arch fireplace, which wasn’t a terrible eyesore, but really didn’t quite gel with the room. It was a very small opening into quite a large chimney, so created a horrendously cold through-draft, and made a scary loud booming noise whenever the wind outside got up a bit. The energetic draft meant that fires “took” very easily & the flames shot off up the chimney, warming the atmosphere nicely & setting fire to the chimney pot more than once, but doing almost nothing for those of us shivering in the room below. It usually burnt out very quickly, thus necessitating frequent trips to buy wood in winter, even though our garden produces quite a lot.

So a stove seemed like a sensible investment. However it was not a straightforward installation, as the flue bends around a small, now bricked-in, fireplace in the room above, so the liner couldn’t be dropped straight down. And the opening had to be enlarged to something like its original dimensions, or maybe just a bit bigger, as I wanted to be able to pop a kettle and/or casserole dish on the top in case of power cuts, or even just to utilise “free” heat.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, it’s installed now. Mysteriously the room looks a whole lot bigger, and is quite a bit warmer even when it’s not lit, as the vicious draft has just died away now the chimney isn’t “open” all the time. But the first thing that happened was that our ex-feral feline friend took such a shine to the stove that she actually singed her tail, wanting to sit so close to it. A fire-guard or screen was called for…

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There seems to be some impediment…

 

We had a little folding-screen fireguard for the brick-arch open fire. It wasn’t big enough or stable enough to discourage a heat-seeking feline missile from getting into the new enlarged opening. So I started to research fireguards & fire screens… oh dear! However have I lived this long without a bejewelled fireguard?! You could spend an absolute fortune and some of them are utterly gorgeous. I really, really fell for a candle-holding gothic triptych, which would have done the winter job perfectly well & looked stunning with the candles lit in summer too…sadly, it just wasn’t quite wide enough. And nothing was quite the right height, or the right shape, or the right colour.

So I did what I always do in these tricky situations; I went down to the Tip and peered into the Metal skip. And there, bang on cue, were not one, but two candle screens… A bit of fishing with a long, strong hook and they were straight into my car ready for further duties. One, a brass one, is lovely but far too narrow, but the other, in black curly wire, was just about exactly the right height & width, and still had all its little glass candle holders intact, even after being thrown into the skip! They are both wall-hung panels, rather than fire screens, but it hasn’t been too hard to wire two of the folding panels from the old fireguard onto the sides so that it stand unsupported, fills the opening & is quite stable & pretty sturdy too. The brass one has gone for sale on my stall at Molly’s Den and should more than cover the price I paid for both of them.

Talk about serendipity; there’s something almost cosmic about the timing. I decide I really, really want a candle-screen, and lo & behold! A candle-screen that’s almost perfect for the job turns up, that very day. It’d be rude not to use it, wouldn’t it?

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Safety in spiral form…

 

Phew! What a summer!

My feet haven’t touched the ground… We’ve “done” the Larmer Tree Festival and I’ve opened a second, smaller stall, at Toad Hall Country Vintage, which is closer to home and has a very different atmosphere to Molly’s Den, as well as all the normal whizzing around associated with having a bigger family. Especially in wonderful weather, when you live close to the beach… So I haven’t managed to find much time for writing lately, but now I may, just may, have a few calmer weeks in prospect.

Yesterday the weather forecast was grim, so I’d planned a day of catching up at home, but by the time I got up (reasonably close to the crack of dawn) the sun was merrily blazing away, so I hauled the girls (Elder Daughter, Younger Daughter & my Trainee-Daughter-in-Law) out of bed, packed them into the car & we set off to a little town about 35 miles west that’s well known for its “Vintage” scene, as well as excellent local food. We had a great day; the weather held up, we had a treat of a lunch very cheaply at a cafe a friend had recommended, and we found some lovely stuff amongst the “overpriced tat” just like the things that I find & sell!

But my pride & joy for the day is a large yellow & orange insulated water carrier, found at the Household Recycling Centre on our return, for £1. We already have a red & white one, which is slightly smaller & originally belonged to my brother when his children (now parents themselves) were tiny. It’s marvellous; keeps water cool all day (longer if you add ice, which is easy as it has a wide mouth) and holds a useful amount, with a push-tap that even youngsters can operate. Because there were & sometimes still are 7 or more of us, I bought a more recent one a few years back, which needless to say sprang a leak after a couple of years & is now pretty useless, but the old one is still fine. I tested the new-to-us one yesterday evening; it’s clearly seen a fair bit of use & is probably about 5 years older than our original one, going by popular colours, but there are no leaks or drips & the tap works well. So I’m a very happy bunny, having more than doubled our cool-water-carrying capacity! Brilliant for the beach or picnics – or even for days out to places with interesting Vintage Quarters!

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Synchronicity at work…

Wikipedia’s definition of synchronicity:

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, where they are unlikely to be causally related. The subject sees it as a meaningful coincidence, although the events need not be exactly simultaneous in time.”

Well…

I often get asked, “Wherever do you get all these treasures? You must spend all your weekends at car boots & jumble sales!” Which I would love to be able to do, but alas, life doesn’t always work out like that; I have lots of other calls on my time, though I do have two jumbles on my “hit list” this weekend. So in order to maintain some kind of flow, some continuity on the stall, from time to time I resort to buying stuff in from the wholesalers. It doesn’t necessarily work out cheaper, and I’m always aware that they will have cherry-picked the really good stuff for their own “headline” stores, so although they are reliably good value, I’m not getting the very best bargains, and am thus not able to pass them on. However sometimes I strike lucky… this little lot arrived today, from the wholesale arm of a well-known charity:

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50 magnificent vintage hats, which should keep my stall buzzing all summer long! Provided, that is, that not too many of them end up on my daughters or my trainee-daughter-in-law… This elegant confection has already made its debut on Facebook:

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and they are clearly going to provide us with days of entertainment!

I’d already decided to make some major alterations to the layout of the stall at Molly’s Den; books are selling steadily down there, but aren’t very visible from the aisles. And the kitchenalia on the shelves at the back might as well be in Outer Mongolia; despite being clearly visible, things just stay put there, but usually sell within days when I move them forwards towards the aisle. So I thought I’d find some bookshelves, put them along the back with some interesting vintage titles & reasonable prices clearly visible, and possibly some of the more dramatic hats too, and see if that tempts people further in. But no inexpensive bookcases turned up, for weeks on end, on Ebay, Gumtree or Freegle/Freecycle. Reluctantly, I decided to invest a whole £30 in a pair of cheap & cheerful bookcases from that well-known Scandinavian emporium, which I happened to be virtually driving past yesterday. They had 16 in stock when I checked online a couple of days beforehand, but by the time I got there, they were all gone, and they’re not going to have any more in for weeks! So, back to the drawing board… 

Luckily, last night, there was a small pine bookcase, just the right height, for £10 on Gumtree, which I was able to pick up this morning. It was close to Molly’s Den so has gone straight onto the stall, although it’s not yet in its final position and won’t be filled up until after the weekend. And an hour or so later, you could have knocked me down with a feather when I found the following Scandinavian item, marginally damaged but perfectly safe & sturdy, in the wood skip at the Recycling Centre – and look what else was there, too!

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Cat not included!

More hats! And all for less than I’d have paid for one new bookcase. If that’s not synchronicity at work, I don’t know what is.

Please, do actually look…

Several times lately, I’ve been restocking my stall at Molly’s Den when ladies of roughly my own age have drifted in & rummaged through the clothing, looking wistfully at the floaty 70s maxi-dresses, comfortable kaftans and cheesecloth tops. Then they usually sigh deeply and say to me,

“Oh, I’d so love to be able to wear things like these again! It’s such a shame I’ve put on so much weight; we were so much smaller in those days, and vintage clothes are all so tiny!”

Erm, no, actually. NOT all vintage clothes are tiny. Quite a lot of mine aren’t; they have come from America & Germany, two countries where people have traditionally not been built like pixies. And I’m in great danger of clearing my rails of all the larger sizes and chopping them up to make bags with the fabrics; I thought people would be delighted to find vintage clothes in normal sizes, but actually, they’re not even looking! Now it may be that people are just being nice, and they don’t really want to revisit their youth and float out of the door in psychedelic glory or swathed in cheesecloth, but there are plenty of ordinary-sized vintage clothes out there; maybe not with the nipped-in waists and tulip skirts that we did wear back then, but you’d find plenty to fit & suit you on the rails if you actually looked.

Undoubtedly the sizings have changed several times over the span of years that my clothing covers, and from country to country too. I have clothes & dressmaking patterns ranging from the 1940s to the 1980s. (In case you’re surprised at that, to an 18 year-old fashion undergraduate, which a number of my customers are, the 80s are pretty much pre-historic & certainly count as vintage. They do love a batwing sleeve…) In the 40s a 36″ bust meant you were a size 18, now you’d be a 10. Or so it is in the UK, but not in the US; you’d be a size 6 there, and something else altogether in Europe, where inches are not overly popular anyway.  So I don’t bother with size tags, especially not as a fair number of the garments are handmade; I provide a tape measure & a mirror and there’s a changing room elsewhere.

Quite a few of the top-quality, pristine-looking vintage clothes are in fact tiny. This is because they were bought back then, quite probably in the sales, by people thinking, if I lose half a stone, I’ll be able to get into it. But they never did, so the item has languished unworn at the back of the wardrobe for 50-odd years. However, if you don’t mind that something isn’t completely unworn – and if you did, you probably wouldn’t be looking in a vintage shop anyway – most evening/Sunday best/party clothes will only have been worn a few times, and hence they have survived, when the everyday items were worn & mended until they disintegrated, and may well have been cut up & used for rags or patchwork after that. So yes, the things you see in the windows of the coolest “Retro” shops in the high-rent locations may well be tiny, as well as horrendously expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find anything to both fit & suit you.

So, get yourself down to a vintage shop like Molly’s Den or market near you – there’s one in Boscombe this Saturday, as it happens – and have a good hunt around; you will almost certainly find something to fit you, provided the stallholder hasn’t given up stocking them! And you may well save a vintage treasure from being chopped up & turned into a bag, if it’s been on the rails for 6 months because the customers the right size to wear it have assumed there won’t be anything there for them, and haven’t even looked…

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Erm, please someone explain, why might it be immoral…?

… to buy something in a charity shop, then sell it on at a profit?

It’s a discussion I was having with my elder daughter this morning, and have had with others online over the last few years. Once or twice things have got quite heated. Why do some people feel that we are somehow cheating the charity, if we’re paying the price they are asking for an item? Most of them are pretty savvy these days & aren’t likely to sell an original Picasso for the same price as a fake Constable print in a plastic frame. I will only buy stuff in a charity shop (thrift store, to our American cousins) if I actually need it for myself or our home, OR if I’m certain I can at least double my money on it. But that doesn’t actually mean that the charity could have got twice as much for it, and I’m cheating them. Nor does it mean I’m doubling my money with each purchase.

For a start, many of the things I have picked up from them over the years have needed work put into them to achieve the higher price. They’ve needed cleaning, servicing or mending, maybe some parts supplied & fitted. Clothes may have needed a bit of surgery; for example, a 1970s Lurex jumper is actually more valuable without its sleeves at the moment, as the students like to wear them as tunics, with a belt. For another thing, part of my expertise, such as it is, is knowing what my customers are interested in & will buy; charity shops by & large are very general, selling a bit of whatever comes in in saleable condition, but a large proportion of their stock is of no interest to me & my customers whatsoever. You have to hunt quite hard for “treasure” and be prepared to pass by a lot of dross on the way, although one man’s trash is, of course, another man’s treasure. So part of my “mark-up” is because my customers, by & large, don’t have the time to hunt through twenty-odd shops for one piece of genuine 1950s fabric for their vintage caravan renovation project. But they know they will likely find 4 or 5 pieces to choose from on my stall. One or two of those may have been picked up in charity shops, but the rest have come via car boot & jumble sales, house clearances and other contacts, so that’s another reason why I am not just a parasite leaching money away from charities; they would never have seen a penny of the money for those pieces in the first place. And some of my stock is bought from charity shops that have failed to sell it in the time they allow things to be “on the sales floor”; at least they are getting something for it from me, and usually a fair bit more than the ragman would have given them.

I have expenses I need to cover, too. Stalls don’t come free, and people are often shocked when they find out what the stall fees are; yes, it does cost more than a car boot pitch, or a table-top at a school sale. This is because the organisers will have expenses they need to cover too, like staff, proper advertising & rent. I use fuel to find stock and more to get it to where it needs to be. My washing machine uses energy & consumables and I go through coat hangers, safety pins and even price labels at an alarming rate. So it’s not just a matter of buying something for £1 at Oxfam, carting it off and selling it on for £2 at Molly’s Den or Boscombe Vintage Market.

Can someone please explain to me why people get so upset about the idea that I can buy something in one place and sell it on at a profit in a more appropriate place, if there’s a charity involved? I would not take the bread from the mouth of a starving child to sell it, as one slightly hysterical online commentator once accused me of; it doesn’t seem equivalent at all to me, but am I missing some important idea or concept here?

“Shopping” in your own home…

I’ve been puzzling over where to put my bread maker. Although my kitchen’s quite big, at 12′ x 15′, I don’t have a lot of worktop. One reason for this is that it’s always covered with clutter, but another reason is that there really isn’t very much, just a 4′ stretch between the cooker & the sink. For many years my trusty breadmaker has shared this with the enormous fruit bowl & the spill-over from my woefully inadequate spice rack; am I the only cook who could do with a full cupboard-sized spice rack? I really do use them all regularly! The breadmaker is in regular, if not constant, use, but I’d become increasingly aware of how much its great white plastic dome intruded on the rustic look of the place, such as it is. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I moved it onto a small table on the other side of the room, where it looked much more at home. The problem was, the rackety little plywood table, with a crumpled, water-damaged top, was a “sacrifice” picked up specifically & needed for its parts; the legs are now installed on a workbox/footstool and the leg connectors have rescued my lovely pink Lloyd Loom chair. But I couldn’t think what else would be the right size; the space isn’t in use for anything else, but it’s pretty small.

Until I noticed my Swedish-made step-stool in the utility room, that is. The top is just the right size & the footprint’s not too big for the space. A good height for a breadmaker, too. But – it’s in constant use, as a step-stool! So I’d made up my mind to pop into my favourite Viking emporium when I go to pick up son no. 3 for a dental appointment next week, and invest a whole £11 in another one.

One of the very minor precautions I took before last week’s storm, which luckily passed us by with very little damage, was to fill both our big camping water containers with tap water in case of any interruption or contamination to the supply; it’s not unknown for our local river to burst its banks. I emptied these early this week, let them dry out & went to replace them in the shed. On – surely, that’s an Ikea step-stool…? I did a proper double-take; I hadn’t a clue I owned two of them! A vague memory surfaced of having picked one up for someone who’d mentioned that they wanted one, but had got one literally the day before I found this one; I must have stuffed it out there soon after & was just using it to keep some camping stuff off the damp concrete floor.

This wasn’t the first instance of finding I’d already got something I thought I needed to go out & buy. It’s always happening with fabric and kitchen utensils – I’ve lost track of the times I’ve spent good money on a modern minor electrical appliance, only to discover that the old hand-operated one was better, quicker & easier both to use and to wash up afterwards – but has also happened this week with lamps and suitcases, oddly enough. I’ve been really busy moving my stall at Molly’s Den into the main warehouse as well as preparing for Boscombe Vintage Market, and didn’t have time to go shopping for things I thought I needed. Which was lucky really, as it turned out I didn’t actually need them, so would have wasted both my time & money. And I do now “shop” my existing wardrobe before even thinking of buying anything new, and look at how I could team things up differently or tweak details to make a “new” outfit. Not just for financial or indeed ethical reasons: I’m an odd shape & when I find something that both fits & suits me, I need to treasure it & hang onto it as long as possible!

I expect most people are much better organised than me, and don’t lose track of their possessions & clothing, but to anyone else whose home resembles the storage area of a secondhand emporium (which in our case it actually is) – don’t wear yourself out running up to town to buy a whatever-you-think-you-need – you’ve almost certainly already got one somewhere!

Interesting!

Earlier this week, I did a Ebay listing for a spinning wheel that was being sold for charity. Which sold, within two hours, for a price the previous owners didn’t dare dream of, to a lady who has got a great bargain. And as you do (well, I do) I thought I’d have a little peek at what else was around locally; something I don’t normally do any more, in order to avoid temptation. I was amazed to find the next closest listing was for a wheel that I myself had had for sale down in Molly’s Den, which had still been there that very afternoon. Normally I’d have been delighted to think I’d sold it on, but it had been listed at a very high price with what I felt was a very misleading description; it was described “very old” and made of “oak or walnut” when in fact it’s from the 1980s and whilst bits of it may be oak and/or walnut, the base is MDF. The problem with that was that it was pictured on my stall… I really didn’t want any of my regular, knowledgeable customers associating such a misleading description with me! So I messaged the seller to point this out & asked them to change the picture. Nothing doing; no reply…

Next morning I trotted down to Molly’s with some new stock, and was amazed & appalled to find the wheel still there, unsold. The blighter had listed MY wheel for sale, without my knowledge or consent.  I have no problem with a) people selling things on behalf of other people, I do it myself sometimes, or b) people buying items from me, then selling them on at a profit; that’s what we’re all doing and it’s fair enough. If they can get a higher price than I can, no problem. But I do have a problem with someone selling on something of mine that doesn’t yet belong to them, at a huge profit & with a misleading description; apart from the element of fraud, to me it’s completely unethical for a number of reasons. Eventually I did get a fairly incoherent response from them, telling me to “get a grip(!), you get your money & I get mine, where’s the problem?” The problem is, mate, you are selling something that’s not yours to sell, with a misleading description & without the owner’s knowledge or consent, and if you can’t see what’s wrong with that, the problem is with you. Anyway, I’ve physically removed the wheel and he has “removed” the listing (eventually, under pressure, and by dropping the price drastically & presumably getting a friend to “buy” it) but the story’s not over yet as far as I’m concerned.

But I’ve found it rather interesting to see & hear other people’s reaction to this. Half of them have understood instantly why I’m outraged, but the other half have been unsurprised & basically said, “Erm, what’s wrong with that? It’s what our bankers do all the time! And if he can get more for it than you can, well…” And it’s not the split I would have expected, with other traders being unsurprised and everyone else being appalled; most of the traders have been horrified (and rushed off to see whether he’s listed anything of theirs) but some of my perfectly-nice friends have failed to see why I’d have a problem with this. I’m still trying to get my head around this; not sure whether they just haven’t taken on board the implications, or whether my entire worldview is hopelessly old-fashioned & innocent. But at the very least, it has huge implications for anyone who regularly buys from Ebay; no wonder some sellers are so vague & unhelpful! And – why is it so hard to report a genuine problem to Ebay?

Would be interested to hear what my regular readers (OK, any readers, really) think of this conundrum: is it morally OK to offer for sale goods that aren’t yet yours, without the owner’s knowledge or consent?

What happened next…?

Just a quick post to let you all know I’m still here! Just busy looking after my young PGs, my stall at Molly’s Den, and planning a little holiday in France at the start of September. I’m beginning to see the point of package holidays… by the time you have sorted out transport there & back, transport whilst you’re there, insurance, somewhere to stay, whilst trying to please as many of the people as much of the time as possible, you can quite see that travel agents really do earn their keep.

But what’s on my mind today is stories. One of the things I love about doing a stall at Boscombe Vintage Market is the sense I share with my elder daughter that all the things that pass through our hands have stories of their own, or play a part in other people’s stories. And when they come to us, we play a little part in those stories, whether we mend them, clean them up, re-purpose them somehow, or just find new homes for them, albeit usually at a profit, or that’s the idea. When you sell something to someone face to face, you usually have some sense of where the story is going; part of the fun of it all is chatting to your customers & getting to know their likes & dislikes. But when I leave an object on my stall down at Molly’s, I don’t know what happens next. Sometimes I almost feel a pang of guilt when I place things on the shelf; it’s as if I am leaving them to their fate, which may just be to be an on-trend ornament for a few months, then thrown out without a second thought when the “vintage” fad passes. I have no doubt that many people will value & look after their carefully-chosen treasures, but not everyone thinks like me! Which is probably a good thing, or no-one would ever throw anything out, in case it could be mended or the parts come in useful somehow… I know I have regular customers down there, but I don’t know who they are or what they’re looking for.

I might just put some cards on my stall asking anyone who’s interested to leave a comment here about their purchases and what they intend to do with them. I wonder if anyone would respond? It would be good to hear, sometimes, what happens next…

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What stories has this little 1950s tin tea set played a part in?

Phew!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted in my life. But we did it! DS3 is home safe & sound, we’ve celebrated this in style, and somehow we managed to get our stall at Molly’s Den ready for the Grand Opening as well.

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I really didn’t know what to expect; I felt that due to time constraints, we’d only managed to get half of what I’d planned done, sorted out, prepared & over there. But it did look kind of like I wanted it to, sort of slightly olde-worldy farmhousey, cosy & comfortable. And hopefully intriguing… Some of the other stalls are gorgeous, stuff to die for, so I wasn’t really expecting too much to start with, until I’d got it straight. But this was the same stall today, after two visits to tidy up & bring other bits & bobs in…

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The chair has gone. The sewing machine, the little table, the Laura Ashley curtains, some of the kitchenalia, the old saucepans, and a couple of rugs have also gone. I think some books may have trotted off to pastures new too. So I am rather pleased! I have lots more stock, more coming in all the time, and lots of bits I can mend, alter & make anew to try out down there too. Let’s see if I can keep it up…

And now I finally have ten minutes to stop & think, I’m going to have a go at this too: 30 Ways To Save £1 so watch this space for my entry, hopefully very soon!