Sunday, 25 April 2010

Devon Nine Pins or Skittles for summer fetes or fun in the garden!

More trove from last week's shed clear out! I've been doing a bit of research on an old set of (what I always called) skittles. As you can see in the picture above, they are wooden, quite fat and have roughly turned bowling balls to go with them. There are nine in all, so they are 'nine pins' and one of the nine is much taller, 15" against 12" for the other eight. That's the 'king pin'.

I grew up in Worcestershire and recall that my Dad had a set of wooden skittles which were dusted off and brought out each summer for the church fete (held on the rectory lawn and grass tennis court). They also had an annual airing at the local flower show which was a highlight of the year. That lasted for two days and a scoreboard recorded the names and results with a prize (maybe a duck - to roam your garden or to go in the pot) after what might be an exciting final round!

I've done some research and it seems that this set is typical Devon Nine Pins or Skittles because of the sizes and fat shape.

They are for sale but I doubt if I have space for them in the shop. (£38 but must be collected from shop or home).

You can find out more about the history of the game at as I did.

This picture is 'borrowed' from the website to show you how they might be set up:)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Sunshine, (fairly) blue skies and vintage china!

After Sunday's big shed clear out (see last but one blog), the kitchen is now VERY full of china! As usual, I am in total denial about the need to sell most of it. I think that I need to find a few more cups but on the whole I'm pretty pleased with what we've found.

It's also given me a few ideas for future projects ... more on that in due course:)

The second picture features a small hoverfly who shall be known as Eric. He turns up whenever we are at the garden table, seems to have a very keen interest in old china and manages to be constantly positioned just behind Mr Fixit no matter how fast he turns around! all very strange ... maybe Eric is really an Early Reconniassance Intergalactic Craft!! Yes, I know too much china and too much sun are leading to an overactive imagination!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Enid Blyton Nature Plates (posters) SALE!!

Since opening the shop I have worked hard to build up my collection of vintage school posters. Most of the ones sold at the moment are by the artist Eileen Soper who did them for Enid Blyton's Nature Series which was commisioned by the publisher Macmillan.

Enid Blyton wrote sixty nature lessons, sixty fairy tales and published 30 school 'readers' each containing two stories for children to read themselves. Eileen Soper painted the 60 'nature plates' to accompany the scheme.

I am frequently asked if they are photocopies or pages torn out of books ... the answer is

"No. They are original posters from classrooms dating from 1949 through the fifties."

I have the best of the collection mounted in card ready for framing and cellophane wrapped. The local framers who do this for me offer This'n'That customers a special deal on the framing of the prints.

There are other posters for sale in This'n'That from the forties and fifties. Some are published by Macmillan but are by other artists. I also have a selection of Nursery Rhyme posters from the 'Gay Way' reading series which I guess is from early 1960's.


I have decided to have a bit of a clear out at home and will be offering some posters which are perhaps not in such good condition as the ones which I have mounted and wrapped but are still great nostalgic treats.

Prices will be from £2 to £6 each with the offer starting on Friday 23rd April!

So, if you are able to visit the shop over the next week or so there are goodies to be found :)

The wonders of ... 'the shed' ... and blue sky!

Sunday dawned bright and blue (sorry for those folk who were stuck overseas but the brilliant blue of the skies was amazing!). Should we go off to the car boot or not? The decision was to stay at home and to tidy out my shed. Yes, we have his and hers sheds and both are jammed full! Mine is (was) the worst with stuff at the back which hasn't seen the light of day in years.

We didn't take a 'before' shot (too horrible) but above is the 'almost done' shot.

Everything was spread out in the garden, sorted and then lots of stuff washed and cleaned whilst three car loads went off to the tip.

These broken crocks (accidentally not hurled I promise), are the result of years of saving little bits for a mosaic idea which has been festering around since I saw Gaudi's work in Barcelona. No, it won't be a monumental building .. just a garden table with all of the colours of the rainbow picked out in vintage china.

Do you recall the mnemonic used in school to remind us of the order of the colours of the rainbow?

"Richard of York gave battle in vain". Maybe you used a different one?

As the day wore on the sky became more blue and the garden more full!

Then, the kitchen filled up as the trove was washed and spread out. Much better than a morning at the car boot. I'd forgotten most of this stuff and found it wrapped in 2004 newspaper!

I'm especially please to have found several honeypots and quite a selection of old plates and 50's tumblers.

The pixie mug on the right is my favourite and so I went through the usual inner wrestling with "to sell or not to sell" but the shop won and it's sitting there along with the others as I blog!

The cottage tea pot and biscuit barrel were a complete revelation! I can't even recall when I bought them. My guess is that they were made mid 20th century or maybe earlier. Note the daisies on our lawn which is more like a salad than the striped green glory which Mr Fixit aspires to own!

Finally, a glimpse of Pegasus. He was sculpted by Totnes artist Richard Dawson Hewitt. Richard only uses 'found' materials for his work and made this large Pegasus in 2003 from recycled frezer baskets! We freshen him up (Pegasus not Richard!) with a coat of white paint each spring. Then, he will sit on his stand behind some shrubs looking as though he is leaping over the hedge.

I often have smaller pieces of Richard's work for sale in the shop. You will also see them (at much higher prices) at the Dartington Cider Press Centre. I'll try to do a feature blog on them soon.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

More cards in the pipeline ....

I just seem to be 'on a roll' with the cards this week (see previous blog). There are lots of other jobs to be done, including the dreaded end of year paperwork but I continue to happily while away the evenings with what I believe is termed a 'displacement activity' (being busy with something other than what really needs to be done) ... twas ever thus!! :)
Hope you like them. They will be included in the late Spring giveaway and will turn up in the shop in a couple of months.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

New This'n'That 'collector cards coming soon!

At the moment, customers are offered one of the beach hut cards which were introduced in late summer 2009.

Soon I'll have an updated version of the 'Donkey on the Beach' card. (First available in 2006 if I remember correctly).

Then there is a new card with this delightful picture such as may have been featured in one of those early 20th century schoolgirl stories. I imagine the girls having wonderfully old fashioned names ... all suggestions welcomed!

Last but not least is this picture taken from a 19th century colouring book. The little girl behind the breakwater looks all set to fly at any minute!

The new giveaway cards will be available later in April when they come back from the printer. However, I'll only be using one at a time to pop into bags with purchases so subsequent visits to the shop will give you different cards. I know that some bloggers can't get there so I'll be saving some for a giveaway later in the Spring.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Time to blog and to 'boot' once more

I am sorry to have been absent from the blogging world for so long. Many thanks to any followers who are still out there to see the return of the prodigal ... well I have been pretty busy but also having a good time:)

In January we went away to the Caribbean on a two week cruise. It was amazing! We only recently started to take hols abroad. I never dreamt that there was somewhere so filled with all shades of blue and where my achy bones stopped aching ... heaven. So, instead of it being a holiday of a lifetime, as in once only, we have just booked for next January and so a serious saving campaign has begun:)

Then, in March, it was Paul's (aka Mr Fixit, This'n'That's unsung and unpaid hero, my husband) 65th birthday so we went off to Herefordshire to be close to friends and family for a week of celebrating. Didn't take many pics but here's one of the sunset from the farm cottage which we stayed in. It's a lovely place called Hidelow House with barn conversions and cottages to let. We have stayed there lots of times over the years and I heartily recommend it. I will try to put a link to their website in the right margin.

Anyway, I am filled with resolve to do more blogging in the coming weeks and months. I've really missed keeping in touch with everyone and have been so pleased to see some bloggers in the shop! Thank you:)

Today we went to the flea market at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Haven't done that for ages. It was great fun and, as you will see from the pics .... very productive (if equally muddy!) with lots of new 'trove' lined up for the shop.

Last but not least ... how many bloggers recall these old style Brownie uniforms with the ties which were, for me anyway, rocket science to tie?!! I seem to recall that they were supposed to double up as a sling if you met up with someone who had a broken arm whilst wearing your uniform ... never happened to me ... what about you?

Happy Easter from Lesley & Lidi at This'n'That !

These lovely Easter pics are Lidi's work! It's great to have a 'resident' photographer at This'n'That. The first two have been on sale as Easter cards (I love the 'tribute to Anthony Gormley' style chics!) The other two pics are of some of our Easter stock. Sorry that they are small but I've not yet mastered the art of taking an emailed jpeg and 'puffing it up' .... it's on my things to do list though:)