Monday, 30 July 2012


  During the '70s I went to two 3 month courses on special paint finishes, taught by Leonard Pardon in a studio behind Knightsbridge.   I was very keen on painted and decorative furniture and thought it would be interesting to study the genre.   I have kept the kit ever since and it is time to pass it on - it is very complete with about 20 special brushes of all sizes - some are sable, camel, badger, and so on.  There is also a big set of metal combs for graining in a metal sleeve and a Faber Castell drawing set for plans and diagrams (unused!), lots of paints probably too dry for use now, not forgetting the invaluable white goose feathers!    There is a large file of pictures, recipes and notes from other special effect experts.  I remember the brushes were very expensive, so we had to take particular care in keeping them clean, soft and supple.  I will sell the lot (a biggish box-full) for £35.  Seen and collected near Bath.  Contact E.Baer 01225 866 136 (eves) or  The kit is now SOLD

Saturday, 28 July 2012

How Green was my Lawn


The picture of my 'drying ground' was taken in front of our last house in Freshford. The grassy sloping area was used for drying all the household linens and the green helped to bleach it (with the help of the sun and the moon). I copied this ancient custom when I had to wash a huge roll of fine linen. After halving it to fit in my super large washing machine, Natasha, my grandaughter, and I spread it out and were just beginning to roll it back for ironing, when two important visitors arrived, and from the balcony above, shouted to us to leave it as they wanted to photograph the scene. They were two powerful magazine editors, one from Country Living and the other from Victoria, US home mag., ( a very happy article about my work appeared, it then folded. but is now back in publication).

The villages of Sharpstone and Freshford had been the original homes of Georgian washerwomen using our river Frome, and they washed the laundry sent from Bath where the waters were muddy and polluted; so of course, I was christened the 'Last Washerwoman of Freshford'.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Kaari, my Hollywood Star

I met Kaari a long time ago, just before she set off from her old New York jewellery business to find a new life with her sister in California. She bought from me a small drawer crammed with woven initial name -tapes in lovely scrolly style from pre-war France -- there were about 27X27 X 144, altogether, neatly packed in little cardboard boxes and she intended starting up a vintage linen and laundry business in California. She drove by car from N.Y. to L.A. and that was all she had room for! Within a couple of years she had produced four delightful books about French inspired interiors and other designs, wonderfully coloured and decorated with charming jewellery, paper ephemera, retro fabric designs, including the name tapes, and was being featured by all the ladies' home magazines. She has continued to produce a delectable variety of books, original furnishing ideas, teach classes, and is now planning a 'teach in' week in a chateau in S.W.France to show the French way of life. We have a lot in common and we keep in touch with our respective Blogs. You can see my curtains (French 'Indienne') in this view of  her Hollywood bedroom! Log on to  for colour, style and inspiration.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A pair of Kelsches from Alsace Lorraine

This traditional damask woven pattern is very typical of the covers made for feather bedding.  It only comes in red or blue, and I have had tablecloths and napkins in this design.  The Kelsches were piled up on the bed, usually two below and one above the sleeper and were extremely warm for the very cold winters when there was no heating in the houses.  The feathers were contained in down-proof bags which were sealed tight shut, and sewn with very fine stitches, but these washable covers were buttoned together or fastened with tapes.  They are backed with cream calico   They have become very popular recently and it is good to have a pair in unused condition.   They can make useful covers for shabby eiderdowns, or attractive curtains and covers for kitchens.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Our super-fair at  Yarlington is now past, so I take a little time to thank all who contributed to this highly successful event - both the stall holders who were so good and helpful in every way and the public who came in their hundreds (maybe thousands) to support this special event.  The house and garden are well known for their early Georgian beauty, the decorative interiors, the classic buildings in and around the mansion and the romantic gardens where the flowering plants were at their very best.   There were even Somerset dairy cows in the park so the picture was complete.   Buyers rushed to the bargain Bring and Buy heaps in the yard and carried away bags of loot, leaving behind over £2000 cash for the charities, the lawn looked as busy as Wimbledon, hundreds strolling round the jolly pavilions and gazebos and the Macmillan team in smart green aprons produced delicious plates of home-made treats and keeping the tea kettles boiling.  Yarlington events are always very special and our generous hosts work themselves incredibly hard to make them so.   I have been quite overcome with all the compliments since and thank all concerned for the success which has raised many thousands for Macmillan and the Royal School of Needlework (who provided 4 stimulating lectures about their Royal commissions and history).  This is a fabulous place to stage your wedding or corporate event. Enquiries 01963 210 200.


  This is Lucas McKenna at work creating new signature patchwork designs for the firm SQUINT.  It may look haphazard but the results are a very carefully composed patchwork using many modern fabrics.  There are many more pages about this remarkable man and his work to be seen in SPITALFIELDS LIFE website
which I highly recommend if you have time to spare and get some pleasure from your computer!  Look for Lucas!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


  After a lifetime of doing, making and hoarding, it is time to clear the decks and pass  my goods on to anyone who can make use of them. SO..... when I have my penultimate textile fair in September, I will have a garage sale of surplus (and I hope useful) goods at give-away prices.  These range from sale room narrow display counters (3 matching), cubby holes in a large cabinet,  folding bookshelves, white wire hanging racks and basket stands for shop display and various really large wooden racks for really bulky storage - blankets, linens pillows etc.,also many kinds of fittings, for pegboarding, curtain poles and finials, curtain headings (rings, hooks in many sizes) and some household fittings left over from various country house moves in my life - door fittings, lighting chandeliers, table lamps, etc., and garden stuff - if you are interested to view these in advance, telephone me evenings 01225 866 136 to arrange appointment.   I am anxious to reduce all this as soon as possible before taking it to our local recycle dump!  We are not moving house just yet but trying to make maintenance of our wonderful old house simpler!