Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Farewell to the throw-away age

(Click on photos to enlarge) With many thanks to an idea about doors given me by Sarah, over at her 21st century housewife blog

In this respect, I am talking about people who spent their money frivilously when it was easily-earned. We've never really been in that category, although I am ready to stand up and confess that over the years we have over-indulged in books . . . but what price knowledge, or the escapism in the written word?

Suddenly, with the economic crisis, it is "hip" to economize, to repair, to make from scratch (think of the knitting craze amongst those who call themselves "celebs"), to downsize, to cook your own meals, to actually USE leftovers!, to have posh frock exchange parties and even to have your shoes repaired instead of chucking them when they needed reheeling. It is the New Age of the Good Life again - everyone wants an allotment or to grow their own, and back-garden hens have never been more popular (though when I grew up, all the neighbours had them, AND grew their own fruit and veg.)

Here at Bovey Belle Towers it was always thus. I've taken some photos this morning to show different ways in which we have repaired, mended or given old "things" a new lease of life. When we were renovating the house - e.g. during the first 16 years we lived here! - we saved money wherever we could, and re-used wood, metalwork, beams, stones, etc to refurbish. The old door into the Dairy has been nibbled by rats and rotted from contact with damp cobbles, but an effective repair was carried out in a traditional way, by cutting back the damaged wood in a zig-zag pattern and then making a repaired piece to fit:

The other doorway into the room (which was turned into a bed-sitter for my mum) was missing and we made a new stable door, with a little moveable wooden bar which allowed the top half to be opened if wished. The hinges came from a huge old rotten barn door, and the wood was also recycled from an old farm building.

Here is a project which has been waiting many a long year for my husband to get around to fixing (no rush now the children are all grown up!). I think it was bought at auction in Dorset in fact. Beneath it is a little stool made from ash, one of two made for our girls when they were small, though the little wretches rocked on them so much that the legs became loose and had to be glued back in! It's stood on the Medieval style table my husband made (again using wood which came from Dorset with us) and which now has a matching bench, and will go with our son when he finally has a place of his own.

Then there are the sewing projects. The zip has broken on this warm winter jacket, so I have started to rip out the stitches and have bought a new zip to set in.

This shabby little bit of embroidery was amongst the pieces in a drawer I was going through recently. Taking an idea from someone else's blog (Cupcakes at Home perhaps?). I am going to save what parts of the design I am able and incorporate them in little cushion covers for gifts at Christmas.

Here is some material I got cheaply from a shop in Brecon which has now sadly closed down. I am thinking about incorporating it into a new quilt for our bed.

Below is a pretty little embroidered tablecloth I rescued at the Car Boot Sale last weekend - all of 50p! - and now it is washed and ironed I will find a table to put it on.

Finally, here is a much-embroidered but sadly grubby (stained beyond repair) picture I bought in the summer. I was hoping to wash it and brighten it up a bit, but it was obviously put somewhere damp as the staining won't come out and the material ripped in washing, but not so it will show when it is back under glass. Someone cut the design right up to the edge though, so I can't mount it in the traditional fashion and it will just have to be laid carefully against the glass when it is reframed.

I shall have a gentle nag and get my husband to fix that Victorian child's chair now, so we have "before" and "after" photos.


nita x said...

jennie, i love the little table cloth you purchased for 50p wow, and the picture, its a shame the stain didnt come out , but still lovely, the hours that must have gone into it.:)
look forward to seeing the chair renovated.

MrsL said...

The doors are beautiful, BB. I love good, honest, properly done repairs to everyday things, it adds so much to them.