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25 June 12

The Flood!

A 1950s G Plan sideboard in our sitting room with flood water surrounding it

Have you noticed that we’ve been a little scarce on the blog and social media front since last week?

a flooded corner of our sitting room

Well the reason behind it is that we were one of the flood victims in the Calder River Valley on Friday night.

antique chest in our sitting room with flood water surrounding it

A metre of water lapped at our front & back door and it was soon apparent that we wouldn’t be able to stop it coming inside - it quickly came up through the floorboards to a height of about a foot and a half. We managed to save a lot of our things by putting them on our big kitchen table or taking them upstairs but alas, bigger items of furniture, kitchen cupboards and appliances have been ruined. And there’s now an awful lot of cleaning up to do - there’s a layer of mud on every horizontal surface!

Any further blog posts will be postponed until we get everything sorted out and back to normal. We’ll just leave you with a little clip of video we took on our mobile phone out of a top floor window after we’d retreated to higher ground:


The river and street become one!

29 May 12

Tuesday Huesday: Vintage garden chair

vintage 1970s blue floral garden chair

We’ve been having the most glorious late spring/early summer weather here in Todmorden and our vintage garden chairs have been seeing some action for the first time this year. We completely disagree with whoever came up with, “blue and green should never be seen”!

12 May 12

Chuffed with my ciabatta!

sliced, homemade ciabatta with Todmorden-made Pextenement cheese and watercress

I’m chuffed with my ciabatta! It was my first ever attempt and I think the loaves turned out really well!

two uncooked, homemade ciabatta loaves prooving before getting put in the oven

I used a recipe from one of my favourite baking books, Bread by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter. If you’d like to try making this one yourself, I’ve listed the recipe at the end of this post.

sliced, homemade ciabattadetail from a sliced, homemade ciabatta

There’s always a little ‘hold your breath’ moment as you cut the first slice and have a look at the crumb. Proper, big ciabatta holes!

sliced, homemade ciabatta with fried eggs and Todmorden-made sausages

I had a few slices, fresh from the oven, with a handful of watercress and East Lee soft cheese made locally by the Pextenement Cheese Company… Justin had his with the slightly less healthy option for his Sunday brunch - fried eggs with pork & chive sausages - but it was all local produce too - and delicious he said.

For the biga starter

7g/¼ oz fresh yeast

175-200ml/6-7fl oz/¾-scant cup lukewarm water

350g/12 oz/3 cups unbleached plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting

For the dough

15g/½ oz fresh yeast

400ml/14fl oz/1⅔ cups lukewarm water

60ml/4 tbsp lukewarm milk

500g/1¼ lb/5 cups unbleached white bread flour

10ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Makes 3 loaves

  1. Cream the yeast for the biga starter with a little of the water. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Gradually mix in the yeast mixture and sufficient of the remaining water to form a firm dough.
  2. Turn out the biga starter dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 12-15 hours or until the dough has risen and is starting to collapse.
  3. Sprinkle 3 baking sheets with flour. Mix the yeast for the dough with a little of the water until creamy, then mix in the remainder. Add the yeast mixture to the biga and gradually mix in.
  4. Mix the milk, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using your hand, gradually beat in the flour, lifting the dough as you mix. Mixing the dough will take 15 minutes or more and form a very wet mix, impossible to knead on a work surface.
  5. Beat in the salt and olive oil. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  6. With a spoon, carefully tip one third of the dough at a time on to the baking sheets without knocking back the dough in the process.
  7. 7 Using floured hands, shape into rough, oblong loaf shapes, about 2.5cm/1” thick. Flatten slightly with splayed fingers. Sprinkle with flour and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
17 February 12

Friday Folks: Olivia Pilling

Olivia Pilling in her studio

This Friday, we’re really pleased to be featuring local artist, Olivia Pilling. We first saw her gorgeous, colourful paintings in Todmorden Fine Art. Owner, Dave Gunning was excitedly enthusing about this new and extremely talented young artist that he had just started representing. About a year later, we went for dinner at the Todmorden Vintner and saw two large paintings on their walls… unmistakeably Olivia’s work. When we said to the owners how lovely they were and if they were in fact done by Olivia, they said yes, she’s their niece! Since then we’ve been to the restaurant to attend an exhibition opening of her work - and she’s invited us to another one happening next week - we’re really looking forward to it!

green dotted horizontal line

painting of a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Olivia Pilling. I’m am artist, more specifically a painter. I work in acrylics. I’m 26 years old, and have recently moved to Manchester from Todmorden.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

How did you get into the business?
It was by accident to some extent. I was doing my Fine Art degree at the time in Nottingham but over the long summer holidays I’d have small exhibitions at the Todmorden Vintner restaurant back home. I needed to get two paintings framed, so went down into Todmorden Fine Art gallery to get them framed. The paintings were just placed on the floor (apparently lent against the wall of the gallery to one side) when one customer came in and took a shine to them and offered £250 for them, then another customer came in and offered £500, then another came in and offered £750! As a skint 19-year-old student, I was ecstatic when I heard! Since then, I’ve been selling my work through the gallery mentioned and have gone on to sell with four others in the North West and the Midlands.

painting of houses by Olivia Pilling

Who or what inspires you?
I don’t have to go far before I feel totally inspired to paint. I love to walk, and try to do everyday. When I lived in Todmorden on the hilltops, I’d walk to the end of the hill and be surrounded by rugged moorland, patchwork fields, steep cliffs and be able to look down to Todmorden in the valley to my left and Cornholme on my right. Cornholme especially is a feast for my eye, the train-line runs straight through it squeezing through the valley walls. Dotted around are rows of terraces, mills chimneys and zig zagged shaped factories. It’s like a little toy town, it looks very sweet and quaint. The shapes, angles of the architecture really appeal, it allows me to create wonderfully simple fresh planes of colour with one brushstroke but still with a decorative element. I’m unashamedly a sucker for aesthetics and colour. I try to squeeze as much colour as I can into my paintings, and in parts, sections of my work will look abstract as I put brushstrokes of rich colour anywhere I can.

painting of cows in a field by Olivia Pilling

Travelling inspires me, especially exotic colourful places. I was lucky enough to go to India last year, and visited Jaipur known as the pink city and Jodhpur know as the blue city, I was in heaven with the colours and decorative jewellery and clothing, and architecture. I’m planning a trip to Jordan next year. It appears to be an absolutely fascinating place. David Bomberg’s paintings of Jerusalem and Petra are a real inspiration to me, he handles paint amazingly and creates such beautiful paintings.

I love the work of the Fauvist painters, specifically Jawlensky, Vlaminck and Kandinsky. Russian folk art is also an influence - the heavy use of black in the motifs and drawings, help to make the colour pop and this is something I try to do with my own work. I like to play around with light sources in my work. Having light coming from different directions can give a sense of isolation, and confusion, Russian folk art does this very well. It makes the image look quite enchanting and mysterious.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

What has been your greatest success?
I think simply my greatest success is just being able to do what I do for a living. Sounds cheesy I know, but I forget how lucky I am to to able to do something that I love on a daily basis. I came straight out of university and more or less started to sell work immediately. To have someone like your work is great, to have someone love your work is fab, but to have someone actually want to spend their hard earned cash on my work, that’s unbelievable - the feeling never gets old.

painting of a train on a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
I’m not quite sure I have some advice about how to actually get into the business, as the circumstances about how I got involved were quite accidental. The obvious thing to say would be to approach galleries and see if they are interested in your work.
I would say though that if painting is a real passion then you just have to stick at it, and be clear that it is what you really want to do. Sometimes you’re up, sometime you’re down, and sometimes you’ll get knock backs, that’s just the way it is but if you’re passionate about it, then the rest will hopefully fall in to place!

11 July 11

Vintage Fair Fortnight

detail of H is for Home's table display at the Todmorden vintage fair

A couple of weeks ago we blogged about our preparations for taking part in our first ever vintage fair. We put together a vintage fair checklist to make sure that we didn’t forget any of those essential bits & bobs.

You can download it here (it’s a PDF document) if you’re thinking about getting into doing craft/vintage fairs.

exterior of Victoria Hall, Saltaire

Two weekends ago, on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday, we had a stall at the Vintage Home & Fashion Fair in Victoria Hall, Saltaire.

H is for Home stall at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire

Our good friend Duncan came along for moral support and to lend a hand.

Vanroe stall at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire

It was lovely having the opportunity to meet customers & other vintage sellers face to face… something missing when you mainly sell online like we do.

smaller room at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltairesmaller room at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire

Last Saturday, we set up shop again, in our home town of Todmorden  for the Treasure - Vintage Fair meets Handmade event.

exterior view of Todmorden Town Hall

Another gorgeous building hosted the event - this time it was Todmorden Town Hall.

vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

Beautiful inside too - look at that ceiling!

Justin setting up at the vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

Back to the setting up…

Adelle on the H is for Home stall at the vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

…there’s Adelle - ready to meet, greet and share in the vintage loveliness…

H is for Home stall at the vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

…and here’s a closer look at some of our wares!

We’ll be returning to the vintage fair scene in the autumn - hopefully see you there.

27 June 11

Vintage Fair Virgin

H is for Home's vintage fair 'dry run' on our kitchen table

No, don’t worry, this isn’t some kind of weird x-rated blog post!

H is for Home's vintage fair 'dry run' on our kitchen table

We’ve been preparing for our vintage fair debut for the past few weeks.

making felt letters for bunting for H is for Home's 1st vintage fair

We’ve made our felt bunting…

making felt letters for bunting for H is for Home's 1st vintage fair

making felt letters for bunting for H is for Home's 1st vintage fairmaking felt letters for bunting for H is for Home's 1st vintage fairmaking felt letters for bunting for H is for Home's 1st vintage fair

…sewn some of our vast collection of vintage buttons onto card…

sewing vintage buttons on to card in preparation for H is for Home's 1st vintage fair

sewing vintage buttons on to card in preparation for H is for Home's 1st vintage fairsewing vintage buttons on to card in preparation for H is for Home's 1st vintage fair

…made our tags…

making tags for H is for Home's 1st vintage fair

…and have turned our spare bedroom into a vintage fair waiting room - packed to the gills with gathered goodies!

H is for Home's vintage stock packed up and waiting for our 1st vintage fair

If you’re in the area, we’ll be at:

and

(If you’re not on Facebook, you can see the info here)

Both events start at 9.30am - come down and see us - we’re sure they’ll both be great days out!

18 June 11

What a Show!

Gordon Rigg Garden Centre floral display at the Todmorden Agricultural show

Regular readers will know that we’re based in the Pennine market town of Todmorden, and today was the town’s annual agricultural show.

View of the Todmorden Agricultural Show through the trees

It was held in the lovely setting of Centre Vale Park - surrounded by trees.

Incredible Edible display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There was all manner of stuff to see - a funfair and brass bands playing in the bandstand.

food stalls at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

lots of local food produce - pies, preserves, meats, fruit, vegetables, honey and cheese…

Pextenement Cheese stall at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

…and stalls selling outdoor wear & country attire…

outdoor clothing stall at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There was some great vintage farm machinery on display.

vintage tractor on display at the Todmorden Agricultural show

red vintage tractors on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

The stars of the show, of course, were the animals!

horses on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

horses on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

Some were being judged, some were racing…

ram on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

sheep on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

goats on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

…and some were there simply to be petted or appreciated for their beauty…

pigs on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

…horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, birds of prey and bees.

various birds of prey on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

bird of prey on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There was a really good crowd - young & old.

bulls on parade at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There were some dark clouds and drizzle  in the morning and a few worried looks, but it brightened up nicely.

bull on parade at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

bull on parade at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

It was a really enjoyable afternoon - thoroughly recommended if you’re in the area this time next year!

21 February 11

Five Flea Finds

Collection of items picked up at Todmorden fleamarket

This week was very successful at our local flea market… with 5 really good vintage finds for the shop.

vintage Festival of Britain catalogue picked up at Todmorden fleamarket

First is this original catalogue from the Festival of Britain held in 1951. We’ve really enjoyed browsing through this booklet. In addition the run down of the exhibition itself, there are some fantastic period ads.

vintage chocolate brown enamel Finel kettle picked up at Todmorden fleamarket

Next up is this enamel teapot made by Finel. It was covered in dust and badly tea stained inside, but it’s come up beautifully - a good wash revealed the lovely pattern and the inside bleached clean & white.

vintage Bavaria West German porcelain coffee pot picked up at Todmorden fleamarket

This 1960s coffee pot couldn’t fail to catch our eye. We’ve actually had a set in this pattern before - what a great design with its simple, stylised flowers.

vintage handpainted Arabia sunflower plate picked up at Todmorden fleamarket

This plate was at the bottom of a pile. We could just see the petal edges poking out. We’re glad we made the effort to dig down a bit! It’s a lovely vintage hand-painted sunflower plate produced by Arabia of Finland.

set of 6 vintage Ridgway

Finally, we have this tea trio - a set of six trios to be precise. It’s the Amanda pattern produced by Ridgway in the 1960s/70s - bright, cheerful and very usable.

All worth getting up early for!

In addition to the five finds destined for our shop, you may also have noticed some wine glasses in the background of the group photo. We were down to our last couple of decent wine glasses (and we do love a glass or two of red wine in front of the fire!). We’ve been looking for new ones for a few weeks now and were determined to pick some up in a charity shop or flea market. There they were - lovely wine glasses - large bowls, long slim stems, nice quality - £2.50 for a set of 8!! Now that was a great buy!

3 February 10

Perfect Pitch!

Perfect Pitch blog banner

We recently decided to upgrade our space in the local antiques centre from a cabinet to a room-sized pitch. It will enable us to sell a much wider variety of items. It’s our usual mix of mid-century modern, handmade objects and rustic antiques.

There’s enamelware, ceramics, glass and fabrics… we’ve had some fantastic vintage posters framed for the walls… there are clocks, lighting and larger pieces of furniture.

It’s been quite a busy week - there are slideshows below charting the move.


BEFORE
(Items cluttering up our lounge, waiting to go)


DURING
(boxes to unpack, shelves to put up & pictures to hang)


AFTER
(More tweaking will surely be done, but we’re happy with the result so far)

Come pay us a visit if you’re ever in the area!

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1 January 10

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland banner

footprints across a snowy field

Hope you all had a great Christmas.

close up of snow-covered red berriesclose up of snow-covered black berries

We’ve had picturesque, snowy landscapes in these parts…

cottage on Todmorden Edge in the snow

farm on Todmorden Edge in the snow

looking down on the railway line with grass in the foreground

…this meant lovely walks throughout the holidays…

flock of sheep in a snowy landscape

flock of sheep in a snowy landscape

..with crackling fires, hot tea & mulled wine on our returns home.

Statue of a bird and fir trees in a snowy landscape

It made this year’s Christmas very special.

snow-covered branches

snow-covered trees in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden

We remembered to take our camera out with us quite a lot and captured some of the stunning scenery…

Todmorden Town centre in the snow

snow-covered gravestones in Todmorden Unitarian churchyard

…and we even have a bit of action footage to share with you!!

Thanks for all your support & encouragement throughout 2009.

snow covered seed head and trees in the background

Wishing you all the very best for the year (and decade) ahead.

14 December 09

Say Cheese!

We were having our end of day glass of wine with some amazing cheese, wondering what to write for this week’s blog post… why not talk about cheese?  We do love a bit of cheese in this house!

Of course you need something to store it in…

…to cut it on…

…and to serve it upon

Todmorden now has its own cheese-maker called Pextenement Cheese Co. They produce a lovely cheese called East Lee Soft - it’s absolutely perfect with crackers or oatcakes. We’re looking forward to trying the cheddar and Camembert-style cheeses they’re currently developing. We’re quite well served with cheese retailers in our area. Special mention must go to The Cheese Place in Haworth. It’s about half an hour’s drive away, but well worth the trip. Friendly, knowledgeable owners - and great cheese. So if we’re ever undecided as to which direction to head out… we think of those wise words from Wallace -  “Gromit, that’s it… cheese… we’ll go somewhere where there’s cheese!”

29 June 08

M is for…

M is for... Market

Todmorden Market stall

We live in Todmorden - and run our website from here too.

It’s a small market town in the Pennine hills on the border between Lancashire & Yorkshire. The market is one of its major assets.

Olives for sale on Todmorden outdoor market

Thursday is flea market day, with a mix of regular traders & one off stall holders having a clear out or raising money for charity.

Free cakes with the bric-a-brac on Todmorden Outside Market

We try to get there most weeks, trawling stalls for potential H is for Home stock. We’ve picked up all manner of things over the years - from 200 year old chairs to 1960s lamps.

Bric-a-brac for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

Some traders know what we like now and draw our attention to things they’ve got or will soon be getting hold of.

Bric-a-brac for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

After the secondhand stalls have been scoured, there’s a great place to stop for coffee - it has an unbelievable choice of teas & coffees all on display on their shelves… with homemade cakes and doughnuts to boot!

Exchange Coffee

Florist on Todmorden Indoor Market

Jam for sale on Todmorden Indoor Market

Also on the inside market are a florist, greengrocer, cheese stall, biscuit seller, haberdasher, butchers, bakers, but alas, no candlestick maker! Having said that, there’s Dawson’s - a great, traditional hardware stall that never fails to have that little brush or screw that no one else seems to stock. They, no doubt, have candlesticks… and the candles that go in them too!

Dawson\'s Hardware

The market has at least 4 different butchers - everyone has their own regular or favourite. Ours is Paul Standsfield whose stall greets you as you enter through the main doors. He is Fudge’s firm favourite too as he’ll always throw in a big, tasty beef or venison bone for him.

Standsfield Butchers on Todmorden Market

On other days of the week, the outside market has the usual range of food, clothing and homeware stalls.

Todmorden Outside Market

Cheese for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

Fruit & veg for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

Special mention has to go to Alexander Gourmet Med, a Mediterranean food specialist who’s usually there on a Saturday. The owner is extremely passionate & knowledgeable about everything he sells. He knows where it was made, which family made it, the methods they used and what makes it unique. We buy great olives & other antipasti, honey, chocolate, coffee, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. He’s an endless source of birthday & Christmas presents!

Alexander Gourmet Med Mediterranean stall on Todmorden outside Market

We hope you get the chance to visit one day!

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Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh