Friday 1 June 2012

Birthday Part 1: vintage neutrals

So, it was my birthday ( and I was treated like a proper Princess (as opposed to the house slave I usually refer to!) I spent the day doing NOTHING...bliss. We had planned a walk and a picnic but ended up waiting in the the man to fix the boiler!  
The boys have been working away on some 'projects' up in the loft room for a good few weeks...and I finally got to see the efforts of their labour. 
My presents came in 2 parts - the neutral and the bright. Here's part 1:
Cleggy, known for his present wrapping skills, raised the bar again with the most magnificent vintage case.
We have been collecting cases for a while now to use as storage in the upstairs hall - although I'm not sure I could ever actually use this one for anything other than looking at:
It's adorned with a mixture of papers, doilies, buttons, keys, tags, tickets and other paraphernalia, some from my own workshop. I don't mind...they are usually things I love so much I can't bear to use it's nice to have them on presents made for me! 
[the clay hearts are by clever Naomi, fellow notonthehighstreet seller, here's the link ]
The real beauty is that all the photos are of my relations - mostly on my Dad's side. They are all long gone, as is my Dad, who died when I was young, so these 
little bits of history are real treasures 
(Don't worry siblings...they are scanned copies, not the originals)
The elegant lady is my beautiful Grandma (Nelly!) Check out that hand! Wish I'd inherited her height!
Anyway - inside was full of wonderful packages
And inside the parcels were a range of pictures and hangings and frames - all ready to adorn the biggest wall in the lounge. And the beauty of these are that they either use, or have been inspired by doilies! Lots of them were made by my maternal Grandma (wee Jeanie!) also long gone. The Granny thinks her Mum would love (and laugh!) at me using them now.
About 14 months ago I blogged about my love of a local Manchester artist called Lee Page Hanson. We have a few bits and pieces of his work from over the years (including a little pendant from Nelly) around the house - and have asked him to make special things for friends over the years too. His work is both beautiful and timeless. Cleggy asked him to do a collection of things inspired by the doily - so round plates and tiles (and nuggets) incorporating butterflies, birds and print (my favourite!)

They are absolutely gorgeous (Cleggy's homemade birthday card = top left, complete with one of lee's nuggets. chuckle)
The work is intricately embossed and adorned with shiny metals. They are hard to capture in a photo - I'll try to take some more when they are all up on the wall.
Cleggy then used Lee's work and combined it with frames, plates and mirrors, mostly vintage, to create a veritable gallery! They will look great next to that giant clock we bought earlier in the year (here)
Lee I LOVE them - you are so clever. I can't wait for you to see them all hanging together.

Cleggy also commissioned Annabelle from three red apples to make an embroidery for the same wall - and it fits in so well. The work is called 'a little bird to tell you I love you'...
I have yet to peruse Annabelle's blog (and shop) - but I'll be off to stalk her later!
[I've just realised I've already pinned some of 
Annabelle's work!]
The boys also made matching cards - here are the neutral ones:
Clearly that is more than enough for any birthday....not so! (no wonder we've got no bloomin' money!)

He also asked my blogging pal Anita to create something special- and  she absolutely did.
This little piece of whimsical art is so adorable - it's called 'you are my perfect fit'.
It's like a little shadow box, adorned with trinkets and a flourish here and there. A bejewelled crown sits on top with a little bird. Inside is a pair of shoes (I LOVE shoes) and outside is one of Anita's little paintings of Cinderella and her Prince.
Anita also sent me a wand! I don't recall ever having a wand before - so here I am (playing in the garden with my camera this morning!) with my first wand at 41!
[Anita - I hope you knew when you were making these gifts that they are right up my 'whimsical with meaning' street and that I would love them? They will be going in my bedroom boudoir where I will look at it every morning and know how lucky I am]

I know Anita has lots of visitors to her blog but if you haven't been there yet you MUST! She uses the most exquisite images and writes beautifully - it's good for the soul!
Here are all my 'neutral' doily and whimsy inspired gifts together on the fireplace - still waiting for the large tin of paint to be opened...making me the only person hoping for a couple of dull days next week.
Now, recognising that this set of pictures are beyond beautiful, and hearing my little sister and The Granny saying 'how do you make your house look so nice when it's such a mess' I actually took some photos of the kitchen and dining room for a 'real life' show and tell. But I just couldn't do it. 

Bearing in mind that in the last week the dishwasher, washing machine, printer (crucial for chipper nelly) boiler and car have all broken  it's been grim on the cleanliness front! I've even struggled to provide clean pants (my base requirement as a crap housewife). Apart from anything else I was seriously worried that someone would phone environmental health, or at the very least suggest pest control (ant invasion in kitchen - great!)

So I'm not going to share. This is my happy place.
And goodness knows we all need some happy.
Birthday part 2, colour (and giveaway!) coming soon
fee x
I will share one little photo of Minnie though...this pig has driven me literally crazy this week with her escaping and injuring of ducks! Nelly has suggested getting a spit ready for the Jubilee weekend...just to make her think about what she's done!!!


  1. Ooh Fee, Haapy Birthday! What wonderful gifts! The suitcase is absolutely stunning and what a wonderful way to use all those precious bits and bobs and family photographs! Gorgeous artwork too. I do so love your fireplace!
    Enjoy the jubilations this weekend! Victoria xx

  2. Wow! I have a warm glow thinking about how much thought and work went into your presents (the case is a work of art)and cards, so gawd knows how you must have felt! It must have made your heart sing to think that your husband and boys know you so well and knew exactly what you'd like. A special birthday indeed. Everything is beautiful. Enjoy your birthday weekend!

  3. WOW!!! Just wish my other half was half as good as yours at picking presents that I would just love! Sadly he's a bit pants on that front. Your a lucky lady. Glad you had a lovely Birthday also love the fact you have a pig lol.

    safia x

  4. Happy birthday. It all looks like a dream! Top bloke, your Cleggy.
    Tracy xx

  5. Happy birthday my love. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I've just walked home, tipsy as you like, having gone for a "glass" of wine round a friend's house straight after school. 50 fishfingers later (15 kids were there) and copious bottles consumed, it's safe to say I am all smooth and chuckly. Which means I loved this post even more than normal. Now you know I ADORE Anita. I love her comments on our blogs in her SPECIAL WAY and she is one of my fave bloggers. I love the fact she has thousands of followers but comments on each and every one of my posts.
    She is a legend and what she has made you is super special.
    How lucky you are to have "from the heart" presents.
    Oh god, just looked at my face in the mirror, ROUGE in the cheeks and not in a good way. Must pack the dear darlings off the bed so I can lie down!!
    Have a wonderful weekend and in the words of Anita YOU DO NOT LOOK 41 DARLING GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Firstly - happy birthday xxx

    What lovely pressies.

    Secondly - perhaps we need to get Cleggy to teach the other men of blogland what to do on birthdays :)

  7. Happy Birthday Fee...I enjoyed all of your bits and bobs....umm...Minnie is not so mini anymore? Smiles...Renee

  8. Happy birthday lovely lady ;D Soooo many wonderful surprises for you, gorgeous gifts, you must resemble a cheshire cat! As for Piggy on a Spit, oh no!!!
    Hugs x

  9. Hahaha is that, that murdering pig?! Happy Birthday to you! And oh my, oh my what wondrous pressies!!! I too, know when I am failing as a housewife when I actually consider going and buying everyone new pants rather than struggle with washing and tumbling them!! Huge admission!!!! Have a super 41st year Fee :)

    Jo x x x

  10. I thought to myself. Mmm those little blue hearts look a bit like mine, and on further inspection I realized they were mine!
    So nice to see my work used for something like this. I love it. What a lovely surprise!

  11. OH my word, the case is so gorgeous. Grandma Nelly is beautiful and the gifts are amazing. Cleggy is an utter genius. Naughty piggy though.

    Have a splendiferous birthday. xx

  12. Happy Birthday!!! Glad you had respite from being Dobby for a day :-)
    This post bought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful, and infused with so much kindness and love. What a lovely lovely family you have, and what a kind man!!
    Looking forward to the colour post

  13. FEE!I am at school but on my way home and will come back tonight! OOOOOOO YOU GOT IT!!!!!!!!! are so so so so kind to feature this and HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRECIOUS FRIEND! Back later...Anita

  14. Big Happy Birthday hugs from over the pond. What a gorgeous post full of love and lovely gifts. You have a beautiful family Fi (as if you didn't know already) And I agree, you don't look 41, its all that love and laughter.... keeps you young.
    Oh you have had a bit of crap happening, my daughters car needs attention, its sitting out there looking quite sad, but nothing compared to your lot.
    NAUGHTY Pig, I wonder if you showed her the spit she would lift her game!!
    xx Sandi

  15. Happy Birthday Mrs!! And WOW, oh my gosh you are one lucky lucky lady!!!!!!!! Gorgeous gorgeous gifts, how special. Can't wait to see everything once it is displayed! Jenny x
    p.s I randomly still think of your pig eating chicken story sometimes, haha!

  16. Wow! I am completely and utterly blown away by your creative and thoughtful Mr! I didn't think such men existed!

    I couldn't possibly comment on one particular thing because there are simply so many beautiful bits in this post I shall have to go back and peruse each picture more carefully and then follow your links.

    In the meantime, the happiest of birthdays to you.

    Heather x

    PS. Eep, I'd forgotten your heathen pig and his penchant for chicken!

  17. I am again, CHUCKLING at 4:00am!

    Oh Fee, I had to come to give a proper greeting. I came by way of my school computer (naughty me, I am NOT supposed to use social media at works!!!) so I left a short comment but I had to come back to say how LOVELY all of your gifts are. YOU HAVE GOT TO FEEL like a princess indeed after being lavished with so many loving gifts! I was so thrilled when you MISTER contacted me and commissioned me to do this. Oh dearest, YOU LOVE SHOES?????? I am making a line of paper shoes that would knock your socks off! I am so glad that you like your wand. Wave it from time to time to relieve stress! teeeheee.....GO OUT and wave it over that PIG and see if she turns into a nice little piggy. Oh dear, has she attacked ducks???? RUN AWAY!!!

    AND your fireplace mantel....YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE that I have one almost the same. When I was preparing your gift, I had it sitting on my mantel for about a week before I wrapped it up. Who would have thought that this little theatre would be sitting on a very similar mantel in ENGLAND.

    Well my sweet Fee, enjoy all the LOVIN' and thank you so much for coming to visit. I look forward to seeing YOU FIRST next Friday as we launch off to PARIS! I cannot wait to see what you are going to do. OH! HAPPY JUBILEE MY DEAR! Anita

  18. Happy Birthday! Princess for a day!! And with gifts worthy of such an event. That has to be the best present wrapping I've ever seen. Lucky, lucky you to have such thoughtful people in your life x

    I don't think I could make a single corner of my home look as pretty as you do ... yours may be a mess out of shot but it is clearly a lovely house.

    Dare I suggest a children's story book is next for you and Cleggy... The Very Bad Pig!

  19. Happy Birthday, lovely Fee! Your presents are all absolutely beautiful and so perfect for you, what a sweet family you have. I loved the suitcase idea, and the boy's cards are adorable, as well as the wonderful commissioned artwork...clever (and thoughtful) Cleggy too!
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Helen x

  20. Happy belated Birthday Fee, How lucky you are you are to have such beautiful and thoughtful presents! .....they certainly know your style!

    Have a lovely weekend.
    Fleur xx

  21. Unbelievable birthday! Happy, Happy, Happy for sure! Your family adores you and it shows! Those gifts were all from the heart and what talent runs in your family and friends! It was amazing to see such heartfelt greetings and gifts. Your gifts were all so beautiful...even the wrappings! I am blown away! To be so loved is every person's dream! I wish you many more days like that and what a wonderful, loving family you have.
    I'm not so sure about that pig though! LOL!

  22. Aww such a lovely post!
    Sending you very best wishes for your birthday and thanking you kindly for your sweet words on my blog!
    I soo loved your suitcase of memories..
    Have a Jubilant weekend!
    Maria x

  23. Hi Fee! What lovely pressies! Cleggy really is a prince amongst men! There may be another little pressie for you if you ever get your ass down to Amanda Bloom Hairdressing!....definitely not one for the neutral catagory though I have to say! Hope you are very much enjoying Jubileeing! xxxx

  24. Oh Fee. I am stunned at all the effort your gorgeous family put into making such a memorable birthday for you with such lovingly, hand-made gifts. They are all treasures. I am so delighted you had a fabulous time - you deserve it all and more, Sweetheart! J x

  25. Hi, how incredible your birthday gifts were, I have soaked up every little detail, the time, effort and thought were unbelievable, i'm sure you will enjoy them all. Jayne x

  26. Well Cleggy surpassed himself again this year, you received some amazing and thoughtful things all wonderfully wrapped as usual. Happy Belated Birthday Fee. xx

  27. Wow, what lovely gifts for your birthday. That suitcase is amazing.
    Love your post.Bev


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I LOVE reading your comments!
fee x