Wednesday, 31 October 2007

I am in love....

Yes it's me again.. what is going on .. 3 posts in 24 hours.. steady on girl... it's not Christmas just yet!
I just had to show you my wonderful new purchase and tell you about Nicky at The Vintage Magpie..go see!
Nicky makes the dearest little bears and bunnies amongst other lovely items and I was completely smitten by her bunnies.. being a bit of a bunny fancier on the sly!!

Well my dear little friend arrived just minutes ago so beautifully wrapped in tissue and ribbons ..and so here she is....looking and smelling so sweet....

.. She is filled with lavender and her name is 'Kitty Old Rabbit'..The label reads .. She loves warm milk and custard, but hates cold beds and loud music..

Well I can assure you she will have a warm bed and I will turn the amp down when my man cranks up his vintage guitars!

Thank you so much Nicky... you clever girl... !!

Roll of honour... award presentation

Good morning everyone..
I was up at the absurdly early time of 4.30 a.m as my man had not altered the alarm clock to British Winter time and we were rudely awoken at this silly hour.. 5.30 a.m is bad enough even the birds were still snoring!
I have been meaning to award some sparkly medals to the people and their blogs that keep me entertained and comforted and amused.. especially as I was given such a lovely award from Carol at Katherine's Dream...
So please step forward to receive your glittery award...
Louise at The Home is Where the Heart is... for the shared nostalgia of our youth
Catherine at Little Red Shoes.. for the most visual treats and witty report!
Annie at Saucerful of Secrets... a warm and cosy blog from a friendly neighbour
Nicky at The Vintage Magpie for her irresistible bunnies and talent...
Fiona at Nonnie and Niki at Nostalgia at the Stonehouse for encouraging me to start a blog in the first place.. Thank you!

✄ Just copy and paste this text below to collect your award..

There are many more of you who have kept me company and to you I send my gratitude and love...

Wear it with pride!
Love Michelex

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Caveat emptor....

Are you someone who makes mental shopping lists that never actually go beyond the grey matter ?
I am a hopeless 'wish list' person.. always flicking through a multitude of catalogues and brochures making tick lists of all the items I lust after.. thankfully these extortionate shopping lists rarely surface further than a momentary longing and I save oodles of money by filing them away in that vast filing cabinet called.." one day my venetian mirror, cashmere socks, velvet coat, fairisle beret, ad infinitum... will come".....I have just been drowned in another day's delivery of pre-Christmas brochures all vying for my attention and money.. some of them..most of them do not go further than the recycling bin but others are carefully stacked in my old wooden basket for the day that I decide I can afford these bright baubles and fancies.. which is very seldom.. Today's offerings consisted of a small neat catalogue called Plumo.. full of pretty pretty temptations.. this was followed swiftly by The White Company catalogue.. oh how I love their bed linen... my purchase from them of embroidered duvet cover and matching pillowcases to end up being used as a dust sheet by the electricians re-wiring our house...!!!!!
Graham & Green is another of my faves.. Cox & Cox... ooooer.. the list is getting dangerously long..
I have been seduced by the 'must have' mercury silver candle holders.. the wall lights cunningly disguised as Cherry blossom.. the recycled, pressed glass, rose- tinted tumblers.... I think I should stop right there..
Where do your weaknesses lie in the world of the glossy pages... please share with me your 'retail therapy' secrets...
I am all ears..

Monday, 29 October 2007

Long felt want......

Today I have wanted to blog but there are too many ' subjects' I want to share and I feel like a child in a sweet shop ...not knowing what to choose because ' I want it all"!
I was going to tell you about today's little escapade but I will save that for a rainy day.. instead I am going to share my slippers with you..
I took a one day course in felt making this time last year at the American Museum in Bath..It was something I had wanted to try for a long time.. textiles not being my usual choice of medium, I thought it would be an interesting challenge and most of all FUN!!!
Well it was a day well spent and money well spent as I managed, much to my utter amazement & my family's, to produce a pair of bona fide, even quite attractive slippers by the end of the one day course..

In my usual Mr Toad way (all or nothing) I became obsessed with felt making... for a month.. and made everyone in sight a pair of felt slippers.. whether they wanted them or not!! For anyone who has made felt (not the boiling method with your best cashmere cardi) you will know just how wonderful the metamorphosis of merino wool strands into a piece of workable felt is so magical..*!*!*!*



P.s This was intended as yesterday's blog.. but I was tooooo sleepy to finish it last night..

Saturday, 27 October 2007

All things Bright & Beautiful.. all pumpkins great and small!

Oh.. what fun I have had today..!!
I was let out again for good behaviour (twice this week!) and so we headed off to Clifton with battered brown suitcase in hand to peddle my wares (Greeting Cards.. ladies if you please !) to some of the delightful quirky shops there..
It is such a grey, wishy washy day weatherwise and so I thought I would spread some colour into your lives with these photos I took along the way..

Pumpkins galore in every shape and size..

Cauliflowers as pretty bouquets

A shopping trolley and boots.. to die for..

My favourite card shop.. especially as they sell my cards!

It was like an explosion in a paint factory ... it certainly brightened up my day!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Lady sings the blues....

Well after my disastrous attempts to find a cup of coffee and sticky bun yesterday, I surpassed myself today and managed not only copious amounts of fresh ground coffee and date cake but cups of Cha and digestives... it's all or nothing!
I am a bit of a tea ritualist and love the whole ceremony of heating the pot and letting the leaves brew to perfect the 'Industrial Strength' tea that my man loves so much..
So please join me in a cup of Rosy Lee...

I have collected blue and white over the years and these are the 'survivors'... being a clumsy oaf at times I have lost some choice items. I am learning not to get so hung up on breakages... there is no use crying over broken china.. or any other breakage..C'est la vie!

Finally folks.. Blue seems to feature large in my home and my bijou bathroom has turned into the blue lagoon..small but perfectly formed!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

So near and yet...

Today's jaunt into deepest darkest Wiltshire was full of surprises! Happily ensconced in the passenger seat admiring the open landscape disappearing into the gloom of a murky day..and anticipating the rich steamy coffee and sticky bun that was the carrot leading me to Marlborough, I was suddenly woken from my sweet reverie by the sudden halt of the car in a layby..Not exactly picnic weather I thought to myself.. but no.. no such hedonistic pursuits for me.. I was shown to the boot whereupon I was told to don walking boots and instructed in jolly spiffing 'Famous Five' tones that we were to climb "Long Barrow' hill to see an ancient burial chamber. Much as I stamped my foot and complained thus that I was cold and feeling just a little bit feeble it was to no avail.. I was marched in ' you have no choice' manner up the hill to a distant stone monolith... Oh what joy! My carefully planned day of licking windows and drinking coffee in Polly Tea Rooms was cut short by the numbing cold and the frogmarch to an unknown destination..
Well... 5,500 years old and mighty impressive was the burial chamber and I managed to smile for a photo even despite the blowing gale and sub zero temperatures.. I galloped contentedly down the hill to the waiting steed and we continued our journey towards mecca.. Polly Tea Rooms..
On arriving in Marlborough.. pretty bustling market town.. I was told the parking meter didn't work and we had limited time to do the necessaries in town.. buy stamps, noodles for supper and drink the much desired cup of coffee...
Polly Tea Rooms was hot and fuggy with cold noses defrosting and the tip of my nose just managed to thaw lightly whilst waiting in a queue for an available table... alas time ticked by and time ran out... so did my dream cup of coffee and sticky bun.. back to the car and home again James.. don't spare the horses!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A day out...

Good Morning .. the other day Sophie Honeysuckles.. asked for our 'Must Haves' and I would like to share with you one of mine..Once upon a time I collected Children's Books for the illustrations.. I had a wonderful collection of Rackham, Dulac, Greenaway etc .. there is a wonderful little antiquarian bookshop in Bath that I often peruse and on my visit there one day I spotted this fine pencil drawing of a cherub... I was totally smitten and after some negotiations with the shopkeeper.. I did an exchange of Kate Greenaway for the Cherub.. a good exchange methinks!

Today I am being let out for good behaviour.. I earned several Brownie points yesterday for completing an ironing & washing marathon and part of the kitchen now resembles a Chinese Laundry..I discovered something wonderful whilst unpacking some boxes that were left- overs from our house move 18 months ago (18 MONTHS AGO!!!!!) still haven't discovered the tea strainer or the diamond studded tiara (ha ha ) No sorry... I digress... I found two unopened packets of vintage linen sheets that were originally from my great uncles hardware shop circa 1950 - 60's. These sheets are pure luxury.. crisp virgin white sheets.. fine linen ...smelling faintly of mothballs.. hence the laundry ! One of my favourite sensations is climbing into bed and feeling the sheer unadulterated pleasure of sliding between cool linen sheets.... it would have to be my dessert island luxury item...not much good in a hammock though!
So back to today...and reality.. heading for some hills ... will point the motor in an easterly direction and see where we end up..maybe.. Marlborough.. Polly Tea Rooms.. oh yummy...!
Mr Pig aka Pickles has been given clear instructions how to use a tin opener.. he however has other ideas... fresh prawns in the fridge.. just need to find the crowbar!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

J is for Jelly...

I just had to tell you about this adorable book that I found today when visiting the Black Swan Arts in Frome..

I am almost ashamed to admit that I can't sew.. when there are oodles of you out there with endless talents and inspiration with needle and thread... my dear mother was an excellent haberdasher.. she could make clothes, toys, quilts .. the list goes on..and being from Belgium she had some fine fabrics that she brought over to England after the war to make her clothes .. a lady with style and panache. I .. alas.. did not inherit these qualities.
I am however very willing to learn and having just bought a beauty of an old sewing machine.. Singer Model No: 99 ..from a charity shop this weekend, I have no excuse now.. this book of witty and darling little characters will inspire my first efforts... watch this space and be prepared to laugh..

I shall leave you with these flowers picked from the garden.. the dying embers of summer.. jewels in the frost!

Oh .. and my J is for Jelly... another Cowboys & Custard production..

Bon nuit !

Room with a view..

Bonjour tout le monde
well Nonnie.. I must say it is very tempting to lie around all day and look at the view..I spend a large amount of time looking out of our windows.. I am sure the neighbours think I am a 'curtain twitcher'! I am constantly gawping at A) the view B) the garden to see how it is growing.. IF.. it is growing and thinking what I should have planted where..
We..(my man and I) talk often about where we will end out days when we are out to pasture.. I would find it very difficult to give up this view that we have and live somewhere where we only see the next door neighbours fence.. We have been spoilt!
There are some views in this world that are unforgettable and I carry them around to look upon when I seek some mental yoga..
the hills of Tuscany is just one of my favourites.. this was the view from out Tuscan villa rental last year.. Just sublime...morning mist slowly clearing to show .. castles in the air!

The view from our living room this summer ...

Where do you go to (my lovely... and other songs from that era) when you want some mental escape??
Pray tell me .. where do you find yourself visiting in your dreams.. both awake and asleep ??

Monday, 22 October 2007

O frabjous day!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'

I have just had a phone call from You Magazine/Sunday Mail... they are going to feature my Christmas Cards in the Nov 25th YOU Sunday supplement .... have I finally come of age!! I am so chuffed..
Pickles was over the moon too... more fish for supper methinks!

Boudoir blog! (Could this be a new rap??)

Hello loyal bloggers
Well yesterday as you know I had a little bit of a wobble... induced by a profoundly moving blog I read..
I nearly lost the plot for a moment but I am back on track and I hope you haven't been scared off.. just yet!
I have had a wonderful weekend.. several hours of grubbing around in the garden planting endless bulbs of miniature narcissii and alliums, parrot tulips and snowdrops.. not wishing to fast forward my life.. I can't wait for spring and all that it brings in the garden..I felt very virtuous after my garden work-out so I then ate rather a large chunk of chocolate.. well I hated to be a party pooper and not celebrate the fact that it was Chocolate Week.. that would be churlish now wouldn't it!?
I have also enjoyed the kind and warm comments that I have received from my visitors.. Thank you!
My boudoir is my sanctuary, painted in a pale pale blue that offers a sea of serenity... Sophie at Honeysuckle's .. asked for 'Must Haves'.. well the mirror on the wall is my 'Must Have'.. it was made in France 1800's and is another one of my favourite treasures.

Whilst the rest of the house is a cacophany of clutter .. my boudoir is an oasis of minimalism.
Hot air balloons, swans, herons, swallows are just a few of the magnificent flying machines that pass by the boudoir window.. it is a three storey house with panoramic views and much too see! Wish you were here .... seeing is believing!


Sunday, 21 October 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam

Woke up at dawn to see a swan flying past my line of vision.. I can't even begin to describe the view from the boudoir without doing it justice.. it is many superlatives rolled into one! Stunning ... will do for now.
We live on the northern edge of the city of Bath and the house teeters on the edge of the hill overlooking the whole bowl of Bath.. Bath Abbey, and spires litter the scene and the most beautiful part is the wrap around trees skyline.
I am so so fortunate to live here.. I love my home, I love my life (now) and I love my boys.. the man the boy and the tabby!
I am feeling a little more than emotional today so please forgive my hormonally induced words.
This whole concept of reaching out to people can be overwhelming.. on the one hand I can tell you about my pretty, pretty home and passions of all things vintage..and then you can scratch the surface and see who I am.. if I let you.. life is not all about the chintz curtains and the bowl of roses..(or is it cherries?) I feel as though a dam could burst with all that I have to say to those that care to listen.. but is that what this is about.. or do I just want to show you the paintwork?
Gosh this is a bit heavy for 9.a.m Sunday morning.. have I scared you off those loyal passers-by?? Please don't go..
I shall rapidly change the subject and show you before and after photos of The Kitchen for those of you who made admiring comments about it. It wasn't always such "Gorgeous" kitchen the photos will tell.

P.s Niki at Nostalgia at the Stonehouse, Carol from Katherine's Dream and Holly from Holly Woods have all qualified for the Greeting Cards.. I have decided to award three of you as no-one else came forth to offer suggestions about the mystery ingredients..It is in fact my Chinese Herbal tea that I am having to drink for medicinal purposes! It is made from Chinese Angelica, Bitter Orange, Saffron, Liqourice. A nice glass of chilled Lanson would be much more preferable.. the taste of the tea is enough to make a an orange pout!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

A little bit dotty!

I have been masochistically meandering through some of the truly inspiring musings 'out there' and there are so many 1st Division players that I look up to.. I haven't even got my boots on yet!! I shall not be deterred though.. ever the perfectionist.. a Virgoan trait I am afraid!
I have been going a bit dotty this week trying to juggle home, garden and work.. not complaining though.. this is me.. all or nothing! My man calls me Mr Toad as I have bursts of passion to the exclusion of everything else.. be it Maine Coon cats, Felt making, my latest collection of vintage snowbabies ... and polka dots are just another of these.

Another of my passions as you are aware by now.. is my love of childhood nostalgia..
I love to visit Clifton Village in Bristol which is a mini version of Bath but with a bit more 'bite' if you know what I mean?!
I espied this charming little tin in a kitchen shop display window.. and it was love at first sight.. I did a bit of detective work and tracked down the owner and seller who happily sold it to me from the display as it was on loan to the kitchen shop.
I am so please with it and the intention was to save a 'small' ransom for my Christmas fund but alas our coins of the realm do not fit the slots.. it was designed for sixpences .. my old pocket money.. how nostalgic.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Table Top Productions

Today has been an 8 out of 10 day!! Productive and very satisfying..
I can spend days spinning around chasing my tail and achieving diddly-squat, but today I feel as though I have actually achieved something. I have recently received an order from a local shop in Bath to supply them with some of my Vintage toy box frames...but now my stock is drastically depleted I have to start creating more for an up and coming Christmas Fair and continue to keep my web-page stocked. I know this reeks or shameless self promotion.. and I suppose that is exactly what it is but being a one man band, like so many of you, without an agent or PR, I have to try and reach the masses if I am to make some success of this new business.. sink or swim syndrome.

Here is one of today's creations..

I have a very high tech work room...aka.. the kitchen table

A soggy subject..

Good morning all... I hope you slept well and have had your bowl of porridge!
In reference to one of my newly discovered and fave blogs... Katherine's Dream..
I just wanted to say.. The Notebook has to be one of the best cries I have had for a while.. I love sad films.. Far From the Madding Crowd was my first when my parents took me to see it and I cried silently in the car all the way home.. Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources .. nearly broke my heart! The Railway Children... seen it dozens of times and it still cracks me up!.. Love Actually.. just the opening scenes with people hugging and greeting each other..Birth with Nicole Kidman... Sense & Sensibility.. Anything about unrequited love or lost love...
I am not prone to bursting into tears at the drop of a hat.. but other people's loss, lives, loves can really stir my emotions..
I would love to hear from those of you who like soggy hanky films..

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


Who's a lucky girl then...? Me me and me! Thanks Katherine's Dream for my lovely award via Santa..
I am so chuffed... I am still a fairly virginal (cough cough) blogger and I have already received an accolade.

Angels ..

Oh what a difference a day makes.. the sun shines and all is good. Today Pickles the cat has decided to venture outside and smell the roses.

I wanted to share one of my favourite possessions and explain how 'she' came into my life. I lost my dear mother six years ago and the same Christmas my darling man commissioned a very talented local artist 'Cleo Mussi' a mosaicist extraordinaire, to make an 'Angel' to watch over me. My angel is so special and has certainly kept an eye out for me over the last few years. Cleo's work is inspirational, witty, unique and I am a huge fan.. Please take a minute or two to visit her beautiful site

This is for all the angels out there and especially, the friendly angels who have welcomed me to this world of blogging.. Thank you!

P.s No-one has guessed the mystery ingredients yet.. clue: It is not pot pourri!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Rainy days and Tuesdays..

Well.. what a day...the cat enquired if we had an inside loo so he didn't have to get his paws wet..
He has claimed my newly planted border just outside the back door for his new latrine.. all very convenient!

I put my crafty fingers to work today and made yet more Christmas cards for the unsuspecting public and played around with ideas for new frames as my beloved 'Curly' is leaving home so soon, to be displayed with some of his friends in a new home.
I have to be cold hearted and let him go.. or is it ruthless, as money is at stake here ... ching ching!

I have a little brain teaser for anyone that's passing..
If you are the first clever sausage to identify the 'stuff' in the photo and name accurately one of the ingredients then you will become the proud owner of 5 hand-crafted.. no less.. greeting cards from my latest range.. see the Cowboys & Custard link.
This may sound tres difficile but I am sure one of you will have seen this 'stuff' before.. that is if anyone is listening..
Bon chance!

Monday, 15 October 2007

My family and other friends

Here are a few of my new friends.. they don't say much but that's o.k as I am losing the art of the spoken word as each day passes.. and even writing this is tricky enough.. where do those elusive words hide when you need them most?
I spend large amounts of time talking to my cat.. he is quite responsive but I sometimes suspect we are not on the same wavelength.. His chat is all about 'where is the next meal coming from.. and is it to my liking' .
I have grown quite fond of my 'frozen friends 'and find it hard to say goodbye to them as they are sent off to unknown pastures.
I shall miss 'Curly' as he is my hero ... some cowboys never die!

What's it all about ?

__Ha Ha said the clown... see him and others on my Cowboys & Custard web page at Not on the High Street then you'll see what I have been prattling on about.

A case of insomnia ..

_Saturday morning and all is quiet in the world outside and inside.. _I have had a disastrous night's sleep... words colliding and colluding in my head. Not the best sleeper at the best of here I am tapping out more words and trying to explain to my disgruntled cat, why his breakfast is not what he ordered!__I can see how addictive blogging can be but I am in danger of losing sight of my original blueprint by talking about blogging itself.. this is about Cowboys & Custard and the inspiration and aspirations of a frustrated artist!__So back to the blue-print..__Having completed an apprenticeship in Antiquarian Bookbinding in the 80's I then wandered into a short affair with upholstery that led to chair caning then picture framing...' flighty' you might say ??? well more .. restless and seeking something to call my own.. and then there was (drum roll ) Cowboys & Custard.._I have always loved vintage and the world of small and miniatures.. worlds within worlds.._I too have a yearning to return to childhood ... just for a day.. and be reunited with my beloved toys, books and dolls..._Now I can indulge in this second (nay ..third) childhood and create small worlds in a box .. all very self indulgent but fun!_So welcome to my small world and take a step inside all that is Cowboys & Custard ....

Home is where the art is...

__Well here I am at last ... penning my first blog and already anxious that I don't run out of ink too soon !_It was my brother (amongst others 'Thank you Niki and Fiona' ) who prompted me some time ago to start a blog and like using a mobile phone and middle age, I finally succumbed.._I have been fascinated, intrigued, addicted, enthralled, inspired, amused and above all .. full of admiration for all the blogs I have stumbled across and so I thought it high time I joined the world of armchair authors.__Cowboys & Custard was born on January 1st 2007.The name came to me.. maybe in my sleep.. but it evolves from a love of childhood nostalgia. Being a product of the 50's I have a passion for that, graphics, toys, literature (good old Enid)_nursery food.. custard of course! The cowboys part must come from the tomboy that I was and being raised on Bonanza and High Chapparel..__

Just testing the water first.. A bientot