Sunday, 18 November 2012

keeping shop

Hello everyone.  How are you all?  It has been hectic here at the Vintage Squirrel studio but I know that I am not unique in the busy stakes, as every family feels over active at this time of year.  I do enjoy the run up to Christmas and LOVE the day itself.

So, what has been happening up here in the Highlands?  The 'Grand Opening' went well, so well in fact that I had little stock left for the fair I attented a week later but after many late nights and early mornings, I managed to create just enough. Phew, it was a close thing I can tell you!  Robins and plum puddings have sold out over and over again, as per usual, and the order book which has been open for a while now is filling up rapidly.  Almost ran out of Shetland wool but Laura came to my rescue.

Annie Sloan paint has been flying off the shelves.  It's lovely to see what other people have painted, to find out what colours are popular here and to hear how much folk are enjoying using the paint.  I have been busy using it myself and just love it's flexibility and the fact you can create your own colours by mixing the paint.  You can even make coloured wax.  Brilliant!

I had fun yesterday with Beano comics.  Fergus managed reluctantly to part with his most dog-eared two and I immediately got to work and six hours later finished covering a vintage child's chair.  Labour of love but I did giggle a lot and had forgotten just how much I enjoyed reading it!

I love having a dedicated studio space and having removed all my 'stuff ' from the house, we now have some empty cupboards, which I am certain won't stay like that for long.  The studio, however, is full to bursting and I may have to increase work space and reduce the shop area.  I can't believe how much creative baggage I carried around!

What does this week hold?  I will be making some robins and plum puddings of course but have printed some antique cotton sheet from which I am making Scandinavian inspired Christmas tree decorations, which hopefully will turn out as I envisaged.  Doesn't always work out that way though, does it?  Happy creating everyone.

Lots of love,
Katie x

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How long?

Hello!  It has been such an age since I have been in blogland.  Nothing bad has happened, I have just been busy building.  Yes, I know that sounds unlikely, or maybe to those who know me well, unsurprising.  I decided over the summer that rather than employ a joiner to convert the outbuilding I had earmarked for VS studio shop, I would do it myself.  Yes, you read that correctly!  Rob bought me a circular saw and a really good drill and with careful thought, consideration, planning and many lists, I got on with it ..... and actually really enjoyed doing it.  I covered the building in breather membrane then insulated it before lining out the walls and ceiling.  The electrician came to install power and lights.  I insulated the doors, then tongued and grooved them (really enjoyed that bit, so if you ever need some help, just give me a shout!). Two coats of paint and a bit of upcycling and hey presto!  It isn't even vaguely professional and a joiner would probably wince on entering the building but I reckon that no one will notice any of my handiwork because white paint disguises everything.

Before I show you some photos, I must let those who live in the Dunkeld & Perth area know that Vintage Squirrel will be at the Birnam Hotel this Saturday and Sunday from 10 -5 pm both days selling lots of felted loveliness, textiles,  painted vintage things, etc at Exclusively Highland's 'Meet the Maker' fair.  Pop in and say hello, I always welcome a chat!

Still quite a bit to do before the Grand Opening at the end of the month, but I am getting there, in between trying to get stock made for the next 4 weekends of fairs.  Think I'll be burning the candle at both ends for a bit longer and it is going to take a while before I get round to reading some of my favourite blogs but things are good.

Glad to be back, I have missed you all.
Katie x

Sunday, 8 July 2012

En vacances

Hello!  Ca va?  Yes, we have been in France for 9 days, in the beautiful village of Lauzerte.  It has been bliss discovering the Tarn et Garonne, one of the least populated areas of France.  We hardly passed any other cars on the road whilst out on our wee jaunts.  A few walkers pass through the hill top village though as it sits on the Pilgrims route to Santiago de Compestela.

The countryside is rolling and fertile.  Melons, peaches, apricots, nectarines, quinces are all grown.  Walnuts and figs self seed and grow contentedly on the road sides.  Fields full of sunflowers.  The harvest is nearly in.

We swam most evenings at the local swimming lake near Moncuq, when the weather was good and for the most part it was hot but there were a couple of rainy, cool days so we visited museums and churches then!

We had a great day in Cahors, happening upon the town's arty garden festival.....

and spent another lovely day out at Chateau de Bonaguil .....

Will be back soon with some foodie photos.  Need to get to my bed .... we were up before 6 am to begin a day of travel and I am yawning my head off. Night, night!

Katie x

Monday, 25 June 2012

A new obsession

Where to begin?  How about with a "HELLO!"  I have not been hibernating but I do feel like I have been in a dark hole, a bit like the Hobbit really.  Too many trees keeping the sun away from our house.  As a result I have become obsessed with chopping down trees to give us more light.  Our new home could be fabulously bright and airy and I am determined to make it so.  We have taken down nearly 30 tall 60/70ft trees so far.  Boy, is it hard work.  Soon have muscles like Pop Eye!

I have also been busy making for the Moy Field Sports Fair in August. I have a stall for both days. Remember the fabric I screen printed?  Well, I made it up into 4 large cushions.  Naturally, I have backed them with wool tartans that are woven in Scotland - it's such lovely fabric to work with. 

After writing this, I will make a start on painting some small pieces of furniture for the Fair.  I know that August seems a few weeks off but our schools finish for the summer holidays this Friday (blimey, how did that happen so quickly?!)  so spending hours felting, painting or sewing is not really an option during the day.......bit boring for others really.  

Had a run of visitors recently too.  Spent some great days out visiting galleries with Binnie.  I love this huge lizard by Helen Denerley which adorns the front of the Kilmorack Gallery. 

Went to Dornoch and had a wander round the Cathedral, you know, where Madonna married Guy Ritchie.  It was full of American tourists, I guess for that very reason..... or possibly they were playing golf at the Royal Dornoch.  The windows are wonderful.  The village is pretty and interesting.

Before I go here is a photo of Mr Chainsaw.  I am Chief Stacker.

Must catch up on some blogs now.
See you soon!

 Katie x

Friday, 18 May 2012

A wee jolly to the far north east of Scotland

Hello!  Thank you all so much for the lovely comments you left on my last post.  Also, another cheery 'hello' to new followers!

I was hoping to show you some photos of the inside of our house today but the weather has been overcast, drizzly, cold and rubbish for taking snaps, so as soon as we have a sunny day, I'll get photographing. 

Yesterday, to escape this poor weather, I made a packed lunch and jumped in the car with Rob, as he had a meeting in Brora and had to pop into Golspie too.  We knew it was going to be dry in the far north east of Scotland, so why not, I thought.  Whilst he was busy, I enjoyed a wander round these two pretty coastal towns.  

Lisa's Hairdresser.  How cute and gingerbready.  Look at the curly lead detail on the ridge too. 

 pretty cottages and old lamp posts,

gorgeous but neglected, decorative railing on a bay window

and homemade garden sculptures,

made of twigs above (they had also made a fox) 
and shells and stones below.

And you know me, I'm a sucker for wriggly tin in particular.  Here is the Episcopal church in Brora and an enormous wooden, tin roofed building, which has an industrial/agricultural feel about it, in Golspie.  The dormer windows are wonderful complete with tall iron finials.

I lit the wood burner just before I sat down to write this and have realised that I failed to keep an eye on it, so I had better go and either try to rescue it or begin again! 

Hope you have a lovely weekend.  I am hoping for sun and warmth ... yes, highly unlikely but you never know, the forecasters could have it entirely wrong!

Katie x

Saturday, 12 May 2012

We made it .....

Hello.  I have missed you all.  I would have been back sooner but I only found the camera cable tonight - ah, the joys of moving house and unpacking ..... although we still have quite a few boxes to get through.  So, here we are.  Once up the drive it's not so hard to see the house for the trees!

 Trees to the front of us

 and trees behind.  They do make fabulous sturdy poles for the washing line.

Once we cleared some of the piles of seasoned limbs, cut them into logs and stacked them neatly on the verandah at the back door, we began felling trees.  I think we have cut down 6 or 7 now but it's a slow job and heavy work, plus you have to find somewhere to put it all that is not in the way of trees that have yet to come down.  Those nearest the house are about 60ft high and will require professional felling because they really are VERY close and leaning towards it .... and I'm not sure we want a giant hole in the roof. 

Treasure has been discovered.  It's some sort of old agricultural iron tank of unidentifiable purpose.  Fergus has decided it's a bomb, dropped in WW2.  He is chuffed to bits because it is large and the hole it lies in is HUGE, which means that there is slightly less digging to be done to create a life size (yes, I know, I groaned silently too!) WW1 trench, complete with dugout.  Still there is enough space for us all to achieve our garden dreams.

 Between us and the big wood  is an area of 'clear fell'.  This is a fabulous habitat for all sorts of wildlife.  On our first morning, we sat at the table, drinking coffee and watching deer and listened to the birds. I haven't heard such bird song for years.  Perthshire, where we lived before is so heavily farmed, large tracts of arable fields that aren't so conducive to bird life.  A red kite is nesting nearby and he flies right over the house most days.  We have seen red squirrels and the neighbours had a pine marten in their garden recently.  Pheasants abound and drive the dogs to distraction.

Right, I am looking forward to catching up with some of the lovely blogs out there.  Much reading ahead.  So glad I found the camera cable.  See you next week.

Katie x