Thursday, 28 July 2016

Items of Appeal

I've discovered that I can look at a lot of things and no longer 'need' - or even strongly wish - to own them, if I simply take a photo. I have an odd feeling that if the image is in my camera the thing is 'mine'. Crackers, I know.

Before we leave the house to visit Cragside's garden, I thought I would share some of the items that really grabbed me.

This unusual table is oak and it can be expanded by replacing the long straight pieces with wider ones.

It sits in front of an enormous Inglenook fireplace in which there are four stained glass windows, representing the seasons, designed by William Morris himself.

What to love best? 

The ornate screen, the wooden lounge chair, the crystal decanter or the silver cigarette box? Or how about just the fact of having a sauna in the basement of your house?

I'm not generally that fussed about china, but I thought this was exquisite. 

A butler's tray,  easily acquired at many antique shops. 

Then I'd have a use for Bill's mother's many tray cloths.

Down in the kitchen, a whole row of ceramic hot water bottles! 

And a row of copper watering cans. Can you imagine what these might cost these days? I'll settle for my large, functional green plastic 'can's. Bonus: they don't need polishing!

Floor to ceiling cupboards. With nice little dust-catching details, but I don't care, I think they are lovely.

In the butler's pantry, a tray for carrying wine bottles. First I've seen of this design.

A dressing table. 

Love how the curtain 'puddles' on the floor. You see that a lot in National Trust houses. I'm sure it is one of those 'conspicuous consumption' things.

The cheval mirror, the lovely shaped chair with lush embroidered fabric, the funny bay window in the alcove.

Another dressing table, in the window but not right next to it. I hate seeing the back of furniture in people's windows. The incredible hexagon patchwork quilt, a shallow couch just the width of the bed.

Oh, this desk and its accessories! 

The leather inlay, an embroidered folder for 'Telegrams', the scales to calculate postage, pens, ink bottles and blotter. The sweet little book case, a holder for notepaper and, best of all, the letter holder that reminds me of the opening credits of Downton Abbey. My grandmother had something similar at one time and if I ever find one like it, I shall make a purchase!

 And of course, a crystal vase (not vAs, like I say it, but vahz) with flowers.

Not to forget, illumination provided by a brass standard lamp with long silky fringe.

Is it a sign of mental illness that the details of these little stairs lift my heart? The neat cream paint, the simplicity of design, and especially the bottom step wrapping around just does me in.

Bill and I both snapped photos of this beautiful screen, silk fabric below and exquisite woodwork and glass above.

I'm not expert enough to tell if this bedspread is machine or hand embroidered, though being in an Arts and Crafts house, the latter is quite likely.

Being a book lover I guess I'm allowed a passion for book cases. You see these around and I'm always charmed. Can't say whether they are a less or more efficient use of space/just a different shape perhaps. Probably a terrible temptation for small boys to swing on.

Another leather inlay desk and bookcase, but this one has brocade folders for letters. How sumptuous is that?

Well, I enjoyed going back through my photos and remembering the day. I've been several times to Cragside and yet I forget how lovely it is.

If you'd like to see more of the collections held by the National Trust, you can view them online here

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Cragside Walls

I found myself snapping photos of wall coverings at Cragside. Many of the wallpapers were of William Morris design. 

I can never decide about his designs or about the Arts and Crafts movement either. I tend to think they are lovely to look at but I'd never want to live with them.

Perhaps my house just isn't large enough?

Or is it because it is all just so bright and busy?

I really do think you can have too much of a good thing.

Bill couldn't believe I liked the tiles. 

Well, I did and I didn't. I liked the colours and the patterns, but tiles on a hall wall seemed rather cold, particularly in a house built of stone.

I think I looked at them and saw counted cross-stitch, which I used to love doing; or maybe my next granny square project? I would wear some of these patterns, say on a blouse or even a jacket.

I found it quite exotic, different to my painted walls at home. 

I've just realized I've posted a wallpaper sampler!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Cragside Continued

Decent photos inside Cragside were mostly impossible owing to the dim lighting. That said, the place was lighter and brighter than I remembered it from our last visit. 

As though they had cleaned a layer of grunge off the whole place.  It wasn't sunshine, since it was overcast outside. No idea how that happened.

I'm obviously sharing some of the lousy photos anyhow. You'll get sort of an idea of how the place looks.

I generally gasp over the architecture of the National Trust places, and certainly I loved a lot of this about Cragside. However, I'm never going to own anything one-millionth as grand, so why long for it? I can certainly aim for smaller bits, like lamps.

Mind, I'd think long and hard about selecting some of these. I loved the idea of the hanging lamps with long fringe, but it does suggest you know exactly where your furniture will be placed for the next 100 years.

Rip some pages from a book, stitch to a frame. Done!

I like to keep my options a bit more open.

Some looked like a potential craft project and others just were lovely to look at.

One lamp in particular has become an iconic symbol for the place.