It’s pretty but …

It’s pretty but …..

Sometimes when out thrifting you can find something pretty but it just needs a little extra to take it to he next level.

Here is an example that I found earlier this week.

I love this rose oil painting but it looks a bit 1970’s in its faux gilt frame. I knew it had potential but needed to be given the Lexi treatment!

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I thought I would paint the frame in a vintage-esque colour by the wonderful English paint manufacturer Farrow and Ball to soften the look.

If you want to have a go:

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Firstly take your sandpaper and rub all over the frame. Don’t forget the sides and try and get into all the comers. Sanding it like this allows the paint to stick to the frame.

When you have finished sanding make sure you wipe any dust off as you don’t want bits in your fresh paint.

Mask off next to the very edge of the frame on the painting with newspaper and masking tape to make it easier to paint the inside edges of the frame. If you have a steady hand you can risk it and not bother …..brave move!

I painted the frame with a white paint as an undercoat to blank out the gold colour. With darker paints you may not need to bother but with pastels it is a necessary.

With this particular frame I used emulsion which I know is normally for walls but I wanted a more chalky finish to this frame. Also the coats dry so quickly, it can easily be completed in an afternoon which for any busy crafter is a big deal !

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Now you can get cracking with your top paint colour. I went for a soft pink from Farrow and Ball. It is named Middleton Pink but has nothing to do with Kate, the most famous Middleton of them all !

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Make sure you let each coat dry well between applications. On the day I painted this frame it was sunny and breezy so it dried really quickly. Usually two coats is plenty.

When the frame is really dry you can GENTLY rub back areas of the frame to distress it a little but I didn’t with this one. Rub back in the corners and along the sides to reveal the colours underneath. It can look great and instantly ages painted items and they don’t look so flat.

Here are some examples from a seller on Etsy but sadly there is no seller name on Google images to credit him or her.

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This is how the 70’s rose painting looks now its done. Pretty and less shiny and altogether a softer more feminine look.

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And here it is in place on a wall with a number of other vintage oil paintings. A painted frame really sets a painting off nicely . Have a go, it so easy and looks so fabulous.

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Have a great weekend everyone

Lexi xx

A vintage find from Wales

Anyone that knows me will know I ADORE vintage homeware. For absolutely ages I have been looking for some some sage green vintage tins or enamelware to use to display plants or shabby roses from the garden.

I was inspired to do this this by some pictures I found on Pinterest.

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I love the green tin and the pink roses.

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Image courtesy of http://prettypetals.typepad.com/prettypetals/page/2/

Today I was in Newport, West Wales for the last day of my weekend visiting friends.

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A gorgeous little seaside town with pretty pastel cottages and a wonderful farmers market.

Whilst pottering around I was so happy to stumble across a junk shop, packed to the gunnels with all manner of bits and bobs.

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With shops like this I try and take my time to browse thoroughly as things are piled so high it can be easy to miss exciting bit and pieces!

Today I was really tempted by a gorgeous yellow china beehive honey pot with a moulded bee on the top and some gorgeous vintage sweet tins.

However, while searching through a big basket of the old tins I made a wonderful discovery.

I found this gorgeous, soft green Tala flour bin with a hinged lid and clasp. As you can see the writing on the front has nearly worn off, but that for me is part of the charm!

I knew it would be perfect as a display vessel for cabbagey roses from the garden. I also thought it might be nice planted up with a mini Christmas tree for the holidays or filled with vintage baubles…..the list of uses is endless.

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The gentleman who owned the shop was receptive to my offer and knocked some money off the price and now it is proudly sitting by my Belfast sink ready to be filled with roses first thing in the morning. Happy days !

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Thanks for reading

L xx

A bit of sparkle at Tinsel Trading in New York City…….

I was lucky enough to visit New York last month and I loved every second. Today I am going to tell you about the most wonderful shop. If you love vintage, ribbons, trims and millinery flowers – read on!

 

One rainy morning my friend and I headed a 12 blocks south to West 37th St to the mecca of gorgeous ribbons, trims and prettiness – Tinsel Trading. I had read about this gem of a shop both online and in magazines such as Romantic Homes and American Country Living and had always wanted to go. I’d bought some little velvet pansies on their website a few years ago but its not everyday that you get a chance to actually visit such a wonderful shop so I went armed with my credit card and intended to make the most of my trip there !  I like to think if it as a form of  research!

 

If you had no idea that Tinsel Trading was there and were minding your own business pottering down West 37th, you could very easily miss the storefront. I’d imagined it to be a riot of colour like V V Rouleaux in London but no, just an un-obtrusive, tasteful, dare I say it – minimal window . Don’t be fooled however, this shop is a beauty!

‘see, you could easily miss it!’

When I stepped inside my breath was literally taken away. The industrial type space was packed to the rafters with the most delicious selection of ribbons, flowers, glitter, vintage fittings and fixtures and decorations I think I have ever seen. It blows your mind and for several minutes I just wondered around like a child in a sweet shop, not knowing what to look at first.

 

'vintage shop fittings

 

Luckily, I was there with my friend Lou and she is a vintage and ribbon lover too, so was happy to while away a good hour or so looking at things.

I decided to work in a methodical fashion around the shop as I was worried I’d miss something vital! So, I decided to head to the trimmings section first at the far back right of the shop. Sectioned in colours and stacked on shelves almost floor to ceiling the choice is really quite overwhelming.

I picked some polka dot grosgrain ruffled trims in bubblegum pink and white from here, and the same in black with white polka dots and added them to my basket. Next, I worked my way around to the ribbon section, which again, is vast. Take a look below….So vast in fact that they need ladders to reach the ribbons at the top!

'how many metres of ribbon do we think there are here ?!'

 

From the ribbon row, i chose some gorgeous grosgrains in aqua with a turquoise saddle stitch edge and also a pale pink with a lime green saddle stitch edge. I also put in my basket a reel of the finest pale pink silk ribbon as it was just so pretty.

 

My visit was the week just after Easter and so there were a couple of lovely Easter displays still out. I had a good look and the things were gorgeous. Little wreaths made of speckled eggs, tiny glittery eggs and rabbits by Wendy Addison and tiny bunches of decorative flowers. If you dont know Wendy Addison’s work you  must have a look at her website. She makes fantastic sparkly numbers, letters, animals and signs which are covered with glass glitter. The silver glass glitter dulls with age and almost looks tarnished and is fabulously vintage in appearance.

 
‘glitter is a girls best friend’

 

I put a gorgeous packed of tiny blue glittered eggs in a minute nest into my basket and a glittery pale pink rabbit decoration in too. I know Easter had passed but I couldnt leave them behind. I also bought a silver sparkly number 1 and 9 to hang in my house. I live at number 19! Plus a huge 3d glittered star for the top of my Christmas tree.

Next was the part of the shop I knew was going to cause me the most trouble! There was a whole wall of cardboard boxes stacked one of top of another and these are filled with all sorts of faux flowers in every colour in the rainbow. From big cabbage roses to tiny primroses and daisies. Some are silk, others leather or felt. It was just torture trying to decide what to buy! Most had pins on the back to they would be ready to wear on a dress or jacket but others were wired . The vintage velvet and paper flower bunches were my absolute favourite and I snapped up a couple of bunches. I also bought some sweet little peony brooches that were only $2 each, perfect for customising clothes or soft furnishings. Oh yes, I also popped a few bunches of chocolate-brown wired toadstools into my basket as I’d never seen brown ones before and couldn’t resist! In one of the boxes, Lou and I found a selection of tiny decorative birds, one of which you can see perching next to the Tinsel Trading business card.

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop in was a central island unit filled with little glass vases full of all manner of vintage notions. Lovely old pearl buttons still on their original cards, antique buckles and reels of old metallic threads and ribbons. I found a couple of beautiful moulded buckles made out of some sort of resin that was formed into tiny roses. These roses were in all the pastel colours and the buckles I chose were exquisite. I can imagine them being worn in the 1950’s on a pretty full-skirted dress. So gorgeous. I also picked up some fabulous reels of vintage grosgrain ribbon in various colours. Still on its original packaging it was manufactured in Dallas, Tx. I thought this would be awesome for photo shoots and styling, especially at christmas.

 

 

By this time I was getting in serious need of a Starbucks so had another quick walk round the shop to check that there was nothing else I had to have! I loved, but didn’t buy, the paper tubs of glass glitter and the lovely striped reels of ribbons…….

 

 

Just as I was going to the cashier to pay I spied this drawer full of vintage spools of metallic threads. How amazing do they look? I’m not totally sure what they would be used for but they do look wonderful. I can imagine them being used for weaving insignia or something to do with military uniforms but I think they would look equally as fabulous wrapping gifts at Christmas!

'ooh'

 

I paid for my basket of loveliness and did nearly have a heart attack at how much I spend but I don’t really mind as everything is so unusual and unique and who is to know when I will get a chance to go back and visit the shop again. Got to stock up when you can I say!

It wasnt until a few days later when I was back in Washington DC that I actually had a chance to have a close look at my bags of goodies. Everything comes in cellophane bags (like we do in Lexi loves!) and this just means that all the pretty flowers, ribbons and little birds look even more attractive. I took a few pictures of my items but some I have kept secret to use in photo shoot styling so will show you those later in the year.
 
I really would urge you to go and visit Tinsel Trading in you are in NYC, it is truly inspirational and awe-inspiring. Just make sure you save up before you go! I also visited a cute little button shop which I will blog about in my next post…..
 

'I cant bear to use anything yet...just going to look at these for a while!'

 

'look at those little buckles..'

 

‘reels of vintage grosgrain’

Thanks for reading.

Bye for now, lexi xx