Wednesday 29 August 2012

Devon Views

A few views of some of the places I saw in Devon.
 We stayed in Ilfracombe, in a guest house up from the town. The landlady and her husband were typically slightly eccentric, but very helpful with local area advice, and the breakfasts were delicious! The high street in the town is quite run down. I think the recession has hit hard here. I don't think the fishing industry is what it was, and the tourist industry probably isn't either. My friend felt that the town was upcoming again, but I didn't get that impression really. A bit of a sad place, but with some very pretty parts. I did my best to spend holiday money there anyway! I bought a painting from a local artist in Clovelly, and Cassie's new sheepskin rug in Ilfracombe, and we had lots of meals out and drinks. The name of this cafe seems slightly wrong-the word cravings has too many negative connotations in my mind.
 I love this sign for bait-and it did change a little each day, so it is not lying when it says today's bait.
 Victorian advice on the church in the town, a very gothic  looking and  imposing building-there is a picture of it at the end of the post.
 This made me laugh! My friend was once fooled by some pretend cakes in a cafe in Rye, so maybe this is necessary information after all!
 A row of seagulls.
 We went for a walk along the high street-beyond the shops, but planned to go to the harbour for dinner, and it would have been a long way round to retrace our steps. I made the daring decision to venture down this alley as there are always these sort of alleys in steep seaside towns, connecting the different parts. I think my friend was dubious but off we went, and were rewarded with a couple of interesting views, and it did end more or less where we wanted to be.
 The roof of the Victorian church in the distance.
 We visited two attractions-Clovelly, and Arlington Court, which is a Regency manor house owned by the Chichester family. Members of the family were big collectors, and especially interested in natural history, so I found it a very interesting place. It was also quite small for a manor house, and somewhere it was very easy to imagine living. It houses a carriage museum which was quite interesting too. The chair above is from there, as is the little moonstone mouse below. Though he may be glass, I am not sure.
 There was a touch feely dress up room, aimed at children but which I quite liked too. This poor old fox stole was very soft. Much softer than my stuffed one.
 Below are a few pictures of Clovelly. It is a fishing village built on a very steep hill, with cobbled streets made from stones from the beach. It is very steep! It is also private-so you pay to go in at the top. People live there and their homes are basically one big tourist attraction. It must be a weird place to live. I wonder if they get really excited when the tourist season ends-I think I would.
 It is a very pretty place, and the sun made it especially so. It was hard to get photos with no people in-in fact most of them have. I love this picture and the next one-the colours and the bunting.
 There were quite a few cats in Clovelly. This one really reminded me of Lily. She rolled over for me to tickle her tummy, then got me! Just like Lily does sometimes! She is also the little ginger belly that Lily has. She is her Devon double!
 This cat was fast asleep on the chair when we walked down, and still fast asleep when we walked up much later!
 Back to Ilfracombe. This sign is for the Tunnels beaches. There are tunnels dug through the slate cliffs which allow access to the private beaches.
 I love the sign below with the ferns growing out from between the tiles. It actually says discounts not disco, and was one of those hardware shops with everything, like a cavern. It sold wool and crochet hooks. I bought two balls of wool and two hooks as they were so cheap!
 Back to the church to finish. It is quite scarily imposing isn't it? 

Monday 27 August 2012

A New Love??

Having spent a week making the dolls, I have had plenty of time to think about practical matters like how to label them. The idea that I wanted to use up some of the job lot of vintage postcards bought from eBay ages ago occurred to me. I don't want to hand write labels, or to print them with letters as these two methods would take ages and probably not be very satisfactory. I wondered about printing them in my printer, and probably could do this, but then a more exciting idea filtered into my brain. How about an old typewriter?Another excuse for browsing on eBay was born. It didn't take me long to find my prize, an Olympia Splendid 99, for a not too unreasonable price. It was delivered really quickly, and worked fine, and I was having fun trying out ideas when it stopped working. I rang a typewriter repair person-well-his daughter, who happens to live locally, and she said he would ring me back, but he didn't. I then worked out that it was probably the fact that the ribbon had run out. I am waiting for ribbon to arrive so have had to leave it. Then Andy reminded me that he has an old typewriter. I had not thought about this, so after a bit of hunting I unearthed it and had a go. The carriage was locked, but there was a lot of info on line about this one,(a Remington from about 1930) and I found out how to unlock it. Again the ribbon was pretty worn. I had fun looking at it and fiddling with all the little controls-they are such intricate machines, then put it away for now. Next I found this blog- (a very interesting blog, not just about typewriters!) and was fascinated with how many typewriters seem to be available at flea markets and charity shops in Switzerland. Not so here I thought, not being able to remember ever seeing one for sale anywhere. There are loads on eBay, and quite a lot of them are quite expensive. By this time the typewriter thing was becoming more than a means to an end. The whole world of typewriters was becoming fascinating. They are beautiful looking objects as well as a practical ones. I like the names too. I bid on a beautiful German model which thankfully I didn't win, as it went to £62!
 The Olympia Splendid 99
 The Remington Compact

 The Olivetti Lettera 22
 The side profiles of all three machines.
 Names and information.
The Olivetti is an Italian design, but was manufactured in Glasgow. I think it is from around 1962. The Olympia is from about 1965.
Anyway, back to the tale of the typewriters. The next stage in my new obsession was the sudden desire to go to fresh junk hunting grounds-in other words-boot fairs! I found a great website showing all the boot fairs in London, and decided on one in Pimlico. I arrived at 11.30. By 12.00 I had bought not only a typewriter, but some lovely and very cheap yarn, a 1920s photograph of a lady called Miss Chummie La Mara, a small brown suitcase which was just the right size to fill a gap in my graduated pile of them, and the most beautiful little teapot I have ever seen, silver (plated) and round like a ball. The yarn was the first buy, then, only two stalls further on I spotted the typewriter. I wisely pressed a key, to see if the ribbon mechanism raised the ribbon like on my Olympia. It did. I enquired as to the price. The lady directed me to another lady who was selling the typewriter. 'I don't know' she said, 'how much would you like to pay for it?' '£5' I said, adding one more to make it £6 as she looked as if five wasn't enough. The first lady provided me with a Harrods carrier bag in which to bring home my very heavy new friend, and I went round the rest of the market very quickly, feeling very pleased with myself. I didn't get it out of the bag all day, as I was busy finishing my dolls. When I did I saw that the ribbon was not in the mechanism. I managed to get the top off, and carefully re-thread the ribbon into the little clips. Then I found how to detach the ribbon, sorted out a bit of a tangle underneath the spool, mended the ribbon with a small amount of tape (like they used to do with sound tapes and films), put it back on, and, hey presto-it works! After all this I looked up this make and model, an Olivetti Lettera 22-loads on eBay-mostly pretty expensive. I found this interesting article about it, (link below) the designers, and special features. It does not have a 1 as you can use the lower case letter l to make it. Some of them don't have a 0, but mine does. I love it!  But oh dear, not another collection. Something is going to have to go, maybe, one day, or not...
Olivetti Lettera 22 Typewriter

Here is the teapot!

Friday 24 August 2012

Faces and Clouds

I have been working on dolls again after a long gap. A friend of mine is opening a vintage clothing shop in October and is interested in some of the things I make, These four dolls have taken me nearly a week to make-a day to sew and stuff, another day on the dresses, one on their cardigans and one on their faces and hair. A labour of love more than one for profit I think! I have enjoyed making them though, so am not complaining. I hope my friend likes them! I will show you them all when completed.
The clouds were last night and I thought they were lovely so am sharing them too.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Cafe du Coin, St Malo-The doll bar!

Just the best place I have ever had a drink-though maybe not the best to make me sociable, as I spent the whole time taking photos and staring around! This bar is decorated with dolls, many, many dolls. Collections within the collection-a line of Joan d'Arc puppets, a shelf of Mexican dolls, a group of travellers in the desert, ships, circus imagery, a stuffed albatross (coincidentally I also saw a stuffed albatross in Devon), doll arms and legs as the beer taps, swings for bar stools, the most enormous art deco chandelier. Just amazing. And made my doll collection look modest and restrained.

A little piece of England!

Love it!