Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Happy Birthday Elizabeth!
My beautiful daughter is 27 today. Where does the time go?
In a blink of an eye she is all grown up when only yesterday she was an adorable baby in my arms.

When they are small, and we were young and struggling, it seems our patience often wore thin.
I used to grow weary of hearing my mother say how I should embrace the days of my children's youth, because it would all be gone too soon, and how she wished we were all young again and back at home with her.

Of course, I used to think she was mad! Oh my! How I longed for the days when my kids could do more for themselves and not be so demanding.
Of course, now I understand why she felt the way she did; and of course, it is too late.
Too late to have those precious days back again, and too late to tell my mom, just how right she was.

I miss hearing the children wake up in the morning and listening while the chatted among themselves as they got ready for school.
I miss the rush as they come through the door at the end of the school day, all talking at once, trying to tell me all that had happened while they were away from home.
I miss kissing the boo-boo better.
I miss watching the tiny 'bird-mouth' open when it saw the feeding spoon coming close.
I miss the smell of freshly bathed children, and tucking them in all safe and snug in their beds.
I miss knowing they are safe and sound under one roof.
I miss them fighting over the 'window seat' in the car - oh yes - I do!
I miss being at home with them and seeing their faces light up on their birthdays.

As each passing year goes by, I realize more and more what a gift their birthday is to me.

Wishing you all the best, my precious daughter.
With all my love,
MomSee more of Elizabeth growing up by clicking here.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Artists to Share

Elizabeth's birthday is March 30th.
She is a grad student, attending New York University, and living in Brooklyn.
I live across the pond in England. Needless to say, important events in her life would be better shared, but that cannot always be.
I wanted to make this birthday we spend apart (again!) special.

Looking for something I knew she wanted and looking for something I knew she would love, but maybe had not thought about 'wanting' I turned to my favourite stomping ground: Etsy.
I am pleased to say the outcome was excellent and the artists deserve recognition for their fabulous goods.

First, I looked for the item Elizabeth was wanting and in need of: a ring holder for her kitchen to keep her rings safe while she prepares food or washes up the dishes.

She had sent me a link to a 'manufactured' ring holder featuring a hummingbird, saying it was 'less scary' than the 'freaky 'hand' ones'. She was describing the Victorian dishes that feature a small, raised hand in the center.
Now I like them, and do not find them freaky or scary, but Elizabeth does not, so they were immediately cast aside, as was the hummingbird - too commercial and a little on the tatty side, if you want my opinion of them. So the search began in earnest.

And it led me to Sue, from Cottonseed.
She was so awesome!
She was fast to respond to my custom request, quick to create a product just for me, and offered her work and shipping both at reasonable prices.
But that was only the beginning; she went the extra mile, including in her packaging an adorable hand-drawn card and a wee bouquet of lavender flowers.

My daughter was so impressed, she wrote a little post about it on her blog, The Brooklyn Clothesline.
She loves her new ring holder and has it in use already in her kitchen. Many thanks to Sue for her charming work and timeliness of creating and shipping. Stop by her shop, Cottonseed, and take a look at all of her wares - you won't be disappointed.

Next, I turned to something I knew Elizabeth would love: a Terrier pillow.

She would love to have a real terrier dog, but for now, she will have to make do with a pillow impostor!
The lovely creation sent to her from Iowa, was hand made and custom ordered from Teresa, from So Blissfully Vintage.

What an amazing woman Teresa is! I sent her a note asking her if she could make a pillow for me in a similar look to what she had used to make a top that had already been sold.
I also requested a colour for the reverse, rather than just white, and with lots of puffs on it, too.
Not only did she respond immediately, but she quickly found the identical fabric, and coordinating chenille for the back of the pillow, and sent photos off to me to ok.

They were fabulous so I authorised the order and paid immediately.
Then this amazing woman MADE THE PILLOW THE SAME DAY! I mean the whole entire process took no more than 24 hours from my first note to her to the the completed item.
Amazing service and fantastic work - well done Teresa!

Teresa specialises in vintage chenille items and welcome custom orders. She has been collecting vintage chenille bedspreads for years and knows all about them - where they were made, pattern names, etc. She is a wealth of knowledge!
Take a look in her shop, So Blissfully Vintage, too, and be amazed at her Easter bunnies and childrens' clothing.


Maggie Elizabeth at 2 years of age

Give-aways! go on and take a peek . . .

This is a quick little note to let you know my friend, Susan, from Hometown Girl, has announced some give-aways, and I am passing along this information to you.
Please go and take a look at them:
Sevi Designs http://sevidesigns.com/
sixoclockstitches http://the6oclockstitch.blogspot.com/2009/03/8-etsy-giveaways.html
Susan has a handmade frame included at sixoclockstitches giveaway and so you don't want to miss entering!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sugar Mice!

We visited lovely Witney, in Oxfordshire, on Saturday.
We were headed to Witney Warehouse to collect a vintage parasol, (or umbrella) that we had seen there the week before. You can just about see the darling little thing in this photograph of the shop's front window:
I will take more pictures of it later, to share with you, once I am finished with spring cleaning and decorating!
After collecting our little item, we took a stroll along the high street and visited some shops.
One was a bakery called Huffins. I was immediately drawn to a tray containing the sweetest little mice!

All set out in pink and white, with wee tails made of string, these tiny creatures captivated me right away!
I asked my husband if they were traditional, (they looked it!) and if he had had them as a child, and his answer was affirmative to both questions.

Of course, we had to have two of them for our grandchildren, Libby and Ethan. They were packed away in a white bakery bag and off we went, heading home, with our two Whitney purchases.
I only wish I had taken some photographs of Libby and Ethan demolishing them on Sunday!
It was a sight to see as Ethan held the tail in his right hand while keeping a firm grip on the doomed mouse with his left!
It was nice to see the children partaking in a bit of English tradition.

I don't know if Sugar Mice are just available at Easter time, or if they are for any time of year, but this was the first time I have seen them.
You might want to try your hand at making some for your children. Here are links for recipes for making them.
Sugar Mice from Foody. Sugar Mice from The Sugar Boy.

Although I didn't get a sugar mouse for our all-grown-up daughter, Katie, that didn't stop the little kid in her from putting in an appearance . . .

Have a great week my friends!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Hair Accessories from the Past for Today's Modern Girls

With modern design so much in vogue right now for home decor, who would have guessed that our modern young ladies would love a bit of vintage flair for the hair?
It seems no matter where we look today we see women wearing vintage-looking hair accessories that include feathers and net, buttons and rhinestones, velvet and satin and all sorts of vintage things!
Feathers bob on slivers of wire; bows adorn necklines and hair; mixed media corsages made with bits from the past combined with adornments of today, peek delicately from behind an ear.

Imagine my surprise when I received a little note from Tiffany, a young artist who had purchased some vintage buttons from my Etsy shop, EnglishPreserves.
Her note provided me with a link to a hair accessory she had made using one of the buttons!
I couldn't click it quickly enough! Here it is for you to peek at, too: GRACE

Tiffany's Etsy shop is called DecoNouveau and features all of her gorgeous hair accessories including: clips, headbands, bobby pins, and drops.

Tiffany is from Texas and creates her little bits of art by hand in her home using only the best materials - and some of them vintage - when she can get them.
She told me "I do most of my work while watching old classic and silent movies to get inspired. Sometimes I get inspired by everyday things -

"Flora" came from the appearance of a beautiful butterfly,which landed on my bike one day and went for a ride with me.
"Kimberley" (already sold) came from a shooting star I saw while up on my roof one night."

A bit about Tiffany from her profile:
I noticed that the vintage style of feathered and decorative hair pieces has come back 'in', but at such exorbitant prices! I try to make all of my work affordable for the average woman to look fabulous on a budget (I know it's tough, I am one myself!) without compromising quality or ethics. It's working out pretty well so far!
Tiffany names all of her pieces after family and friends, and uses friend for her models.
"Melody" is named after her mother (photograph at the top of this post) and "Hanni" is named after her step-grandmother who lives in Germany.

It's such a small world, isn't it?
Tiffany loves custom orders and wedding and prom season is upon us!
Go on and take a look at her unique and beautiful things - I know you will fall in love with them.


The Winner Is . . .

My little give-away has ended and I was surprised to see that not many people entered, but that only meant that there was more luck to those who did enter!

Three people entered the give-away:
Isabelle from Suzy's Vintage Attic
Sunny from The Sunny Bower Art Studio
Mary Isabella from Daisy Bouquet

Isabelle won the draw, but since there were only three entries, I have decided to give everyone a little surprise.
So winners, please contact me with what you would like printed on the bookplates and with your contact information, including your address, to my email, englishpreserves[at]googlemail.com

Thank you for your participation!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Lucky Me!

Lovely Ali, from 'Message in a Teacup . . . Tales from Betty and Violet' (http://bettyandviolet.blogspot.com/) has given me this creative award
and I am now giving it a go as to how to carry out my duties and honour others with it, as well.
So first things first; here are my seven favourite things:
  • I love it when my husband says, "Mind how you go" to help keep family and friends safe on their journeys.
  • I love memories of my childhood and memories of my children's childhood.
  • I love the scent of spring flowers - lilacs and bluebells and daffodils.
  • I love the tiny, yet strong, little forget-me-not blossoms, and beautiful wild violets, springing up wherever they choose, year after year.
  • I love the beach at Lake Erie on the Ontario shore: the bon fires and starry skies at night, the water spray, the wild weather with wind that takes your breath away, the sand and sun and pebble beaches, the fireflies in June.
  • I love the excitement at the beginning of a holiday knowing not what adventures are ahead.
  • I love people who care about others and give of themselves.
Of course, there is nothing as wonderful as one's own family: our children and siblings and parents. This goes without saying.
This was so easy - - - I could go on naming things I adore, but I was limited to only seven!

I would like to share my award and pass it along to these lovely women:
Susan from Hometown Girl (she gave me a similar award when I first began blogging but I didn't know how to use it! Thank you, Susan!)
NatalieJo from Piccalilli Days
Sunny Bower from Vineyard Painter
Liz from The Washerwoman
Isabelle from Suzy's Vintage Attic
Elizabeth from The Brooklyn Clothesline
Phyllis from For the Love of Vintage
Lili M. from Lili M.

Happy Blogging and Happy Creativity!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Happy 1st Year Anniversary, SweetScarlett!!!

I am so excited!
Today my little Etsy shop, SweetScarlett is one year old!
I am generally not a superstitious person, but this is, after all, Friday the 13th!
Not to mention that the Ides of March are fast approaching!
Of course, St. Paddy's Day will offset all of that, with a bit o' Irish luck!

It all began when I wanted to sell the little clothes I make for American Girl dolls.

I have made so many sweet little outfits, in the past, for my own daughters, and I wanted to make some to sell in order to establish a little business for myself.
My goal was to have my couture for dolls have the quality of 'people' clothes, using vintage fabrics and trim, and also be unique, one-of-a-kind clothing.
Special, so that the little girl receiving them would know she was the only person to have that outfit for her doll.

This pink silk nightgown was a custom order from the Alchemy board. It featured antique mother-of-pearl buttons with silk loop closures, self-made piping in silk, and a collar made from a vintage hankie.

The same customer ordered this robe made from 100% cotton Laura Ashley rose print, Bibi.
It features self-covered buttons and Victorian styling.

A dear 'new' friend from Northern Ireland purchased the Shamrock dress from me, after I had purchased the vintage embroidered linen from her, with which I made the dress. Its photograph is at the top of this post.

The 100% Irish linen dress featured antique buttons, and hemstitching along the hemlines of the sleeves and dress, as well as a lovely hand-embroidered shamrock.
Trish also was so kind as to carry an American Girl doll back from the states for me. Emily has been waiting for some time to be a model . . . I must sew some clothing for her to model!

I made another new friend, Irina, who lives now in the UK, but was originally from Russia.
I purchased some hand crocheted flowers from her to adorn my couture, eventually asking her to design some eggs for me, too. Her little Easter eggs embellished my 1920s style Egg Dress, pictured here.
I also made a gorgeous coat and dress, both made with all vintage fabrics and buttons. It is pictured below.
And finally, a coordinating set of pajamas and robe were made and sold - but sadly, not on Etsy.
In fact, none of the doll fashions ever sold on Etsy, and that was so deflating,

I simply gave up and sold them on ebay.
It was important for me to remove the negative feelings I was having about my work and move on to create other things.

And so my graphics background kicked in and I was off and running designing bookplates and calling cards for my shop.

But like most things in life, my shop (and me) is ever-changing.
Right now I am working on some small objects that I do hope will bring a smile and a bit of warmth, charm, and and history to you all. These are your only hints!

I am hoping to have them ready to sell in my shop in a few weeks - maybe less -

as I am having a bit of trouble sourcing some of my materials for them.

I believe they will be a unique product on Etsy, and maybe just about everywhere else, too.
Please keep checking back to have a peek at them, and when you do, let me know how you feel about them. I need feedback!

In honour of the 1st anniversary of my little shop, I am giving away a set of eight bookplates.
All you need do to win is to comment with your name and/or shop/blog on one of the previous messages about the give-away, or, on this post.

Everyone who send me his/her name will be entered to win. My daughter will draw the name from a hat and I will post who won after the drawing.
In order to give folks a bit of time to comment, I will wait until the weekend has passed before compiling a list and conducting the drawing.

I would like to send out a huge "THANK YOU" to all of you. You have kept me going with support and friendship and even a few purchases, here and there.

Bless you all!

PS: With the graphics in my shop now (finally!) picking up, I feel better about sewing again, and will soon be sewing up some more AG clothing. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see in the shop.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Slumber Party!

Not a bed but a sweet little place for the flowers on my porch in America to nestle in a child's wicker baby buggy. We used it on the porch in the summer and in the dining room in the winter filled with poinsettias.

Oh so much fun!
I have never been invited to an on-line slumber party before, and I am not even sure if my participation is going to work, or not, but here goes!

My little nest here in England is still evolving. There is still lots of work to do but we have made a huge dent in it thus far.
My room at my home in America was fitted with a genuine antique double bed, bought on ebay, and fetched from Ohio to New York state in the back of a Dodge Caravan.
I regularly used antique sheets on it - my favourite one being a set from Italy - in pure linen.
Here is a photograph of my room in Williamsville, New York:. . . and then this is one of the two matching four poster beds in the guest room.

We worked on the house here in England, all the time, my first year here, changing rooms, removing walls, installing doors, removing doors, sanding floors, rewiring and installing new fittings, and so much more!
Because my children were arriving in December for our first English Christmas, my husband and I needed to find beds fast!
So we found three single beds on ebay from two different sellers.
One antique iron bed was purchased in London from a gorgeous bedroom way up on about the fourth or fifth floor, in a home that was situated within sight of Harrods.
It had been imported from America (like me!) by its owners who were downsizing and wanting to sell it.The other beds were a set of matching single beds, purchased also in London, but from an entirely different set of circumstances. These beds were being sold by their owners who were newly emigrated from Italy. The beds had belonged to the grandmother of the wife, and had been hand-made in Italy long, long ago. This photograph is just one of the pair of them. It resides in our guest room, where I typically use it as a table for my cutting board for working on my projects! When my very talented friend comes to visit us from the US, I will put her to work painting floral wreaths in the top curvy bit of each bed.

All three beds were in need of some painting so my husband had them stripped and then repainted in powder coating.
The two Italian beds are in our guest room, and the American bed is in my daughter's room.

We wanted to buy our bed as an antique, too, but to get an antique one as a king size bed (equal to our queen size in US terminology) would have cost thousands, so we settled for a reproduction - well - for now anyway! This is our bed made up in a duvet from the Pottery Barn in the Iznik range. No curtains yet! LOL! We have them now - a lovely dotted Swiss white cotton.
My favourite pastime is designing and making over houses. And we have had so much fun doing this one. There is always something new to do and to chat about but today is all about beds!

Next time more on my obsession with vintage linens!
Oh, I could write a book . . .

Two Days to Go . . .

OK, so now let's see . . . I have decided to have a give-away!
I would like to give away a set of eight bookplates to someone who would like to have a set of bookplates! LOL!
Anyway, just look in my shop, decide which graphic you would like to have, and then submit your name here. The winner can select any graphic or I can use one of your own for a custom order.
I will put all the names in a hat and have my daughter draw one as winner.
So send me your names!!!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Three Days and Counting!!!

Why is it that time goes by so fast these days?
I just noticed that in three days I will have been a member of Etsy for one whole year!
Where has the time gone?

I MUST do something in honour of the day . . . but what?
(Why is it so hard to think these days?)
Any ideas out there?
Help me decide what to do to mark the occasion, please.
I am thinking about having a sale, or perhaps a give-away.

Tick-tock, tick-tock . . .

Saturday, 7 March 2009

For the Love of . . . Peanut Butter!

Being an American, living in England, it is sometimes necessary to explain our love of the peanut and all of the derivatives thereof.
Trying to explain the joy of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on fresh, preferable squishy, white bread, gets to be quite the challenge! (Most Brits crinkle up their noses at the description.)
Not to mention the deliciousness of peanut butter cookies, and oh yes the all-time-favourite: the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.

Now here is the rub: you can buy Reeses PBC here on this fabulous island - you see them right there at the end of the counter as you wait in the queque in Morrisons, but sadly, they are not the same as those in the US. In fact, they are made in Canada, do not taste the same, and often are stale, probably sent via surface mail in a boat right up the Welland Canal, to the St. Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean!
Mind you - when you are deprived of them for ages, they will do in a pinch as a substitute, but nothing beats the joy of a tasty, fresh Reeses Peanut Butter Cup right from the good old USA.
And it gets even better at holiday time.

Each holiday brings with it the tasty cups in new and lovely shapes: the egg at Easter; the pumpkin at Halloween; the tree at Christmas. These are particularly good because the have more of the filling and less of the chocolate.
They come six to a pack and are gone in a flash!
Because once a bite is taken from them, you only want to have another and another!

Now here is the point of all of this: You know someone really loves you when they send you these special treats in the post all the way from America. Postage costs are astronomical and probably are more than three times the cost of the product, so it is true love when you find the postman at your door, first thing in the morning, holding a package that bears one thing and one thing only- the coveted Reeses Peanut Butter cup, in egg form, in a MULTIPACK of INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED eggs!
I have been away so long I didn't even know they were sold like this!!!
Complete with an Easter 'Cat' card, and creatively shipped in a cereal box, what more could someone want?
A huge 'THANK YOU' goes out to our son, Jonathan, and his girlfriend Stephanie, in North Carolina for thinking of us and treating us to such a wonderful tasty delight!
We love you and miss you!!!

Monday, 2 March 2009

. . . and then there were three

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the farm on Sunday to find three lovely lambs in the pen!
The owners have named them: Emily is the first, brown-faced little lamb; the white lamb we were calling Chloe has been named, 'Rosie'; and the newest little lambie is called Izzy.
Izzy was only four days old on Sunday. You can see remnants of her umbilical cord in some of the photos. Her mom had triplets and there wasn't enough milk for all three siblings, so she still gets to be one of three in her new home in the pen.
Enjoy the pictures - and a big welcome to Izzy!