The modern collector: A bevy of beautiful brooches

A male friend once said to me that the word 'brooch' was one of the wonderful words starting with 'B' that he associated with the fairer sex. I'm pretty sure at the time, I just raised my left eyebrow at him and gave him a scathing look (as I have been known to do, ahem). But when he elaborated, I could see his point and years later, his comment has stayed with me. Like blondes, breasts and Brigitte Bardot, the brooch is undoubtedly feminine, womanly and glamorous. Brooch collection

I've been collecting and wearing brooches for longer than I can remember. I inherited my great Aunt Betty's collection of costume jewellery to play dress-ups with at the age of about 7. Later, I also inherited pieces from both my grandmothers' collections and ever since, my stash of sparkly pieces has slowly grown. Charity shops, eBay, car boots and antique fairs, are all ripe picking grounds for pretty new additions. I'm fairly selective these days, only truly sparkling pieces or unusual shapes tend to catch my eye.

The modern collector: brooch collection

I don't have any pieces that are really worth anything very much. No diamonds and pearls. Nothing that would make the chaps at the Antique's Roadshow get excited and in a fluster. But I love my little brooches all the same. I like to wear several at a time, usually a couple of bigger ones paired with a teeny one or two. I used to worry about making permanent holes in soft fabrics with the pins but then I found this handy make-up sponge tip!

Uke, brooches and owls

Pictured is only a small portion of my collection. I'm currently in two minds about how to display them. I used to hang them on these homemade Liberty fabric hoops but found they were a pain to take down when I wanted to wear them. I'm thinking a box frame like these might be the solution. At the moment they are pinned to a black velvet square in a box in my drawer.

Unlike my silk bed jackets and vintage nightwear, I do wear my brooches. Some have sadly lost a stone or two along the way but I know I'll get them repaired. I think they look best on black velvet, a heavy wool winter coat (or cape!), or dressing up a denim shirt. Do you wear brooches? Or are they too granny chic for you?

x C

P.S. Read the first and second posts in the The Modern Collector series.

Always room for one more cake stand.

My big sister arrives for a visit next week.  All the way from New Zealand. This a very small selection of her very large collection of vintage depression glass cake stands. Obviously collecting stuff runs in the family.

I know we'll be doing lots of shopping, eating and drinking cocktails.  There'll be many visits to the V&A (where she worked for a little while) and Liberty for afternoon tea.  And I may have found a junk shop with a bit of a collection of cake stands just like these... how many do you think she might fit in her hand luggage back home?

See you soon Sarah. x

Tea with Susie

I'm back on a self-imposed teacup buying ban at the moment. My shelves are overflowing with china and each time I take down a vase or book I'm terrified something is gonna bite the dust. But gifts are okay right? One of the recent additions to my collection is a beautiful 1930's Susie Cooper trio. A pale greenish-grey and cream number with delicate burgundy decoration.

The trio was a 30th birthday present and considering it's age, is in almost immaculate condition. There's just a bit of light crazing on the bottom of the plates, which is hardly noticeable. I like to think it used to belong to a dark-haired, elegant lady called Elisa.  A thin woman who drank her tea unsweetened, black and never with cake.

According to Wikipedia, Susie Cooper (29 October 1902 – 28 July 1995) was a prolific English ceramic designer working in the Stroke-on-Trent pottery industries from the 1920s to the 1980s. She worked for many firms, including Wedgwood, and was even awarded an OBE in 1979.

Her work is pretty and very collectable. This is labelled (on the plates not the cup as shown above) 'A Susie Cooper Production, Crown Works, Buslem'  so dates back to when she was running her own business that she started in 1929. There's a good site here, which has loads of information about collecting Susie Cooper.

Bunny Egg Boiler

Best Easter present EVER. Bunny rabbit egg cup by Quail from Liberty.

There's a bit of an Egg cup theme going on here. The first present I gave him was a vintage egg set from a charity shop by my work (ahem as seen on Sophie Dahl's cooking show might I add).  More egg cup gifts have followed, including a Badger and Wolf from the same range at Liberty. You can see them here. I need to get the Fox next.

Here's some other bits and bobs from Easter:

And today is Friday.  It's been a busy long four day week. Yey for the weekend!