Friday 26 April 2013

Teacups, Largs

Look at all this pretty vintage china!  It belongs to a lovely little teashop in Largs called Teacups.

Its a great place - and has a marvellous atmosphere.  The staff are lovely, very friendly and welcoming.  Look at this cosy little corner, just right for tea for two and a good blether!

I feel at home when I go there because tea is served in lovely mis-matched china, and as for the cakes .... yum!  Their blueberry cake has to be my favourite although the chocolate cake and scones are delicious too!

So, if you find yourself in Largs over the summer - please go and enjoy a cuppa in Teacups, it is a fantastic teashop.

Love, Liz

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Greenock and the George Washington Connection

On a visit to Greenock Cemetery last year I took some photographs of interesting gravestones.  When I decided to do some research into one of them, little did I realise that I would be taken on a journey back in time to colonial New York and the revolutionary war, the life of George Washington, the medical faculty of Columbia College, New York and life in the US Navy during the British-American war of 1812-1815!  That's before I even mention the Greenock connection.  Here's the grave that started it all.

The engraving on the stone reads - 

Walter Washington Buchanan born 4th June 1777 at Hanover, Jersey USA, died 11th September 1861, his son James Campbell, merchant, born 3rd Mar 1803 at New York died 10th Oct 1868.

My curiosity was aroused by Walter's middle name - Washington.  I wondered why he had been given that name and so I set off on my journey of discovery.  Imagine my surprise when I found that he was given the middle name of Washington because he was the godson of George Washington, America's first president!

But that wasn't the end of it!  In reminiscences published in the Historical Magazine of 1860, Buchanan writes:-

"I am the only individual living that was baptised in his (Washington's) arms at Hanover (Morristown), NJ, on 4 June 1777 with Kosciusko on one side and Lafayette on the other ...". 

(is it likely he was baptised on the day of his birth?)
Tadeusz Kosciusko was born in Poland (1746) and was a national hero there as well as fighting against the British in the American Revolution.  He was made a general and as an architect was involved in the design and building of West Point.  Lafayette was born in France (1757) was also a general in the American Revolutionary war fighting under Washington and was also involved in the French Revolution. 

Walter Buchanan went on to have a very interesting life.  As a child he recalls playing with the grandchildren of Martha Washington - George Washington Custis and his sister Eleanor at the Osgood/Franklin House on Cherry Street. 

Walter's family originated in Scotland and he was sent back to attend Glasgow University, graduating MD in 1798.  He returned to New York and applied to the US Navy for a position and was appointed to the ship "Ganges".  Several of his letters to the War Department remain - he had quite a flamboyant signature!   It was a short-lived career as he was discharged the following year under the Peace Establishment Act.  He returned to Scotland and married a Greenock lass - Annabella Brownlie on 27 February 1802.  On their return to New York, they had two children, a son James Campbell and a daughter Eliza.  Dr Buchanan's career blossomed and he was elected Professor of Midwifery at Columbia College in 1808.  He was also Secretary of New York County Medical Society and was connected with the New York Almshouse (Bellevue?).

When the British-American war broke out in 1812, Buchanan was re-appointed as a Navy Surgeon and worked at Sackett's Harbour on Lake Ontario.  There is an interesting letter from him in "The Naval War of 1812" Vol II edited by William S Dudley (published by US Government Printing Office, 1985) in which he objects strongly to a proposed pay cut!  He was visited at Sackett's Harbour by the writer Washington Irving with whom he seems to have been friends since they were younger.

He retired from the Navy in 1827 and was residing at Greene Street, near Broadway in New York.  In 1830 his daughter, Eliza married a wealthy cloth merchant Alexander Rodger in Greenock.  By 1837 Walter and his family were residing at Mount Pleasant in Greenock.  Sometime in 1843/44 he bought the beautiful house of Bagatelle in Greenock (now a care home).  He was involved in local affairs and continued to practice as a doctor in the town.  Annabella died in 1852 and Walter died of apoplexy in 1861.  In his will he left some knives, forks and spoons which "were so long in the use of President Washington" to his son, James who died in 1868.  James founded the Buchanan Night Asylum in the town which gave shelter and food to homeless people.

From Greenock Telegraph 27 March 1897.
There's a lot more to tell, but what a journey - from revolutionary New York to the flourishing port of Greenock in the 1840s and 50s!  But that's not the end.  My research didn't stop there - the next generation, Walter's grandchildren, are an interesting bunch too - one of them W W B Rodger became Provost of Greenock.

My only regret - I couldn't find a portrait of Walter Washington Buchanan - I'd love to know what he looked like!

Love, Liz

Sunday 21 April 2013

Pretty Charity Shop Find

I'm very pleased with my weekend charity shop finds, especially this lovely little collection of vintage Royal Vale cups and saucers.

They are so pretty.
Have you noticed that some charity shops seem to think that they are antique shops?  I saw some pieces that had tags with full description of piece, a circa date at an absolutely astronomical price!
Hope you had some good (bargain) finds this weekend.

Love, Liz

Friday 19 April 2013

Satin Cushions in Medicine Pink!

The minute I saw this vintage pattern book for quilted cushions, I thought of that dreadful medicine pink colour!  Do you know the one I mean - usually on something satin it was a garish shade of pink and probably found in the homes of whiskery maiden great-aunts of advanced years.  There was also a ghastly green coloured satin which also featured somewhere in the same home - usually on a cushion or lampshade or bed cover. 

I did not know that there were different types of quilting, but this booklet, by Penelope for Needlecraft, shows two - English and Italian and gives good descriptions of them.

Don't know what it is about these cushions that makes me shiver - really dislike them - must be some awful childhood experience.  Probably being told to sit still and not fidget while sitting on an overstuffed, smelly horsehair sofa with a slippery satin cushion behind me!  Most likely in the home of some old dear Mum had dragged me along to visit!  I actually remember a scary parrot in a cage by the window too - good grief, all this from a wee booklet!

Anyway, this woman looks quite calm - must follow her example.

Happy Friday!

Love, Liz

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Bright Crochet Granny Squares

Here are some photos of my latest work in progress.

Using brighter colours than usual.

Just love traditional crochet granny squares!

Love, Liz

Sunday 14 April 2013

Saving the Best Till Last

I've saved the best till last.
This little vintage(?) tea set was part of last weekend's riches and it is absolutely beautiful.  I think that this is one of the prettiest I've ever seen.

It is called Hazeldean by New Chelsea.

The cup has a beautiful little pattern all around the scalloped rim - gorgeous.  Don't think I could ever part with this one.

Look at the little flock of birds - so sweet!
 Hope you are having a lovely weekend full of fun, friends and, most importantly, FINDS!
Love, Liz

Thursday 11 April 2013


Cowboys!  I used to love watching cowboy series on tv when I was young!

The Virginian - anyone remember that tv series!  It ran from 1962-1971 and was all about a ranch called Shiloh, its owners and the cowboys who worked there.  The Virginian was one of the main characters, he was a bit mysterious and we never got to know his real name or much about his background.  He was played by the actor James Drury.  My favourite was Trampas, played by Doug McClure - I had photos of him on my bedroom wall.  Remember the theme music?

After that came The High Chaparral (1967-1971).  Ranch owner was John Cannon played by Leif Erickson and my favourite - his son Blue Boy, played by Mark Slade who had the most gorgeous blue eyes!  Yup, had pics of him on wall too!  Another favourite character was Manolito played by Henry Darrow - he was a bit of a rascal.

I also loved Alias Smith & Jones starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy - "two latter day Robin Hoods"!  I remember taping the titles and playing it over and over, How sad is that?!?!?  But the ultimate cowboys were, of course Butch and Sundance - swoon!

All these photos come from my Fab 208 Annual from 1971. 
Love, Liz

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Greetings From Australia

No, don't worry, I haven't emigrated!  Its just the message on this cute little embroidered cloth.  Look at the little koala - sweet.  Wonder who sent it over from Australia?  I found these linens in a local charity shop.

Meant to blog about these pretties ages ago, but they've been languishing at the bottom of the ironing pile for weeks a few days.

Such lovely vintage embroidery - each flower is a different colour and the border is so pretty.

Makes a change from cups and saucers, eh?

Love, Liz

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Lady Luck Gives and Takes!

Here's the second part of the weekend haul.  I love these little Balfour green and gold trios.  There were only two of them, but they fit in well with some other green and gold sets that I have.

Then there was this Grosvenor set.  Six cups and plates but only two saucers, but I'm sure I'll have some other spare saucers that will look good with the cups.  The bonus with this set is that there was a milk jug and sugar bowl to match.

Thank you very much for all your good wishes for my new enterprise.  I've got lots to think about - setting up a website, getting business cards etc - so much to do - so little brain!

For those of you who think I'm lucky, here's a wee story about what happened to me today which will even the score a bit.  My very front tooth veneer came out at weekend.  Breathed a sigh of relief as it was in one piece, so I put it somewhere very safe until I could get an appointment to have it put back.  Appointment was this morning.  Just as I was about to leave the house I carefully wrapped it in a tissue and put it in my coat pocket.  I had a ten minute walk to the dentist, went in, placed tissue on her tray and hey presto ... dah, dah, dah ... no veneer!  Emptied pocket, and handbag - no sign of it.  Searched waiting room floor - nothing.  Checked reception area - not a sign.  Got home and checked everywhere - nada!  So I'm now going to have to pay for a new veneer - I just had a crown fitted last week and I've an appointment with the hygienist tomorrow!!!!  I've got a splitting headache, I'm so annoyed at myself, how could I have been so careless!  So, the moral of this story is - lady luck giveth, BUT  she also taketh away!!!!!


Love, Liz

Monday 8 April 2013

Lemons and Florals - Vintage China, Of Course

At last it has all been washed and sorted and I can show you some of my lovely weekend vintage china finds.

First of all there is this little Sutherland china tea set.  Don't thing it is very old, but it is a really pretty, delicate shade of lemon.

Then there was this set - its Ainsley china and I have to admit that I wasn't very taken with it till I saw the saucers - they are the most gorgeous shade of green.  Really sets off the florals and stops it being too overwhelmingly flowery!

There were just two cups and saucers, but eleven tea plates, so I'm going to make a few little cake stands with the extras.  Well, when I say that I'm going to make cake stands, what I really mean is that I'll get hubby to drill the holes in the plates.  He really won't mind because I got him a new superduper drill for Christmas and he hasn't had much chance to use it yet, so I don't think he'll complain too much!

I've decided that as my china collection is growing all the time, I'm going to have to do something with it.  So, I'm doing a bit of research locally to find out if there is a niche for hiring it out for tea parties, small weddings etc.  I'm quite excited about this, so wish me luck!

Detail from inside the cup.
There's more vintage gorgeousness to come so kee ....... ee ...... eep watching!!!!

Love, Liz

Joining up with the Nifty Thrifty today - come on over and see some lovely finds.