Thursday, 30 June 2016

Let's Talk About Frank...PART 1

The 30th of December seems like a long time ago now but that days events affected such a large part of the Deeside community that many of us are just recovering from the damage caused. I will do the refit in a separate post.
Just to take you back, like many others, I was distractedly clinking my way round Costco stocking up for the Hogmanay celebrations, when a frantic call came from the Milton shop. It was just after midday and Lynda informed me that  the River Dee was as high as she'd ever seen and it had burst it's banks. I had seen on the news in the morning that Storm Frank had affected Ballater but I didn't think for a minute that we would be in any danger. I quickly set off to the shop, Prosecco, peanuts & profiteroles bouncing about in the back of the van. On arriving at the Milton of Crathes, it was shocking to see the water already flooding The Wee Boorachie pretty badly. It had just reached the doors at the burn side of our building but still, I was confident it wouldn't come into the shop.........20 minutes later it was seeping under the doors.
Starting to come in the door...

....45 minutes later

The speed at which the river rose was frightening. On my hands and knees trying to disconnect all the cables that run the computer while water was lapping at my feet made me feel like I was in a low budget disaster movie.

Just about at the highest level
The last pic before we abandoned ship

We had to leave the shop at 4.30pm as it was dark and getting dangerous wading about in bum-deep water. I don't think the impact of what had happened really hit home until the next day. The water had totally receded and it was like it had never happened (apart from all the devastation). 

The flooring was forced up by the water

The building then had to be stripped back and allowed to dry, which took around 4 months, then the refit could begin.  I finally opened the doors in mid June, the shop isn't fully opened but I needed to get trading again. I have realised that, since speaking to customers old and new, the loss of stock is what concerns most people, but honestly that is the thin end of the wedge. The stock is the quantifiable, replaceable thing, what is truly devastating is the loss of business. Suddenly there is no revenue coming from the business, the staff lose their jobs and you have no income and the longer it goes on the worse it impacts the business. Rustiques at Inverurie also flooded in January, with the water table rising the basement flooded continuously for 8 weeks! We were able to trade but the whole region seemed depressed and subdued by what it had just gone through. 

As time has gone on, it has became apparent that the business couldn't survive with the revenue from the Inverurie shop as trade was decreasing week on week. This has lead me to make a decision. As I desperately try to get the Milton shop fully operational with its new improved workshop and demo areas, I need to put all my efforts (and what energy I have left!) into it and make it successful again, so sadly, I am closing the Inverurie shop. Frank & the economic downturn was too much for my wee business to cope with.

A heartfelt thanks to my nearest and dearest family who have got me through these past 6 months. I also want to thank all who shopped at Inverurie, please come and visit us at Milton! Lastly, to "my girls", the staff who put up with my disorganised chaos and kept the shop looking great, we can say we tried.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Add Humour to Your Home

What is conjured up in your mind when you hear the descriptions "pleasingly distasteful" or "so bad it's good"?  I'll give you a clue, starts with K. Nope, not that well known American/Armenian TV family, it's a genre and movement that comes in and out of favour and currently it's on the rise. It's a style much beloved by hipsters and the middle-aged alike, KITSCH is cool man!
Budgies, not just for Nana's

But, as with every reincarnation of a trend, the 2016 version has it's own definition.  Lava lamps, for example, they are what most people see as kitsch. Yeah, well they were kitsch immediately after the first one was switched on in all it's globby, glowing glory in the 1960's.  Nouveau kitsch is about being bold and confident. The idea is not to turn your home into some sort of 1960/70's shrine but to introduce fun, humorous and stylish additions to your home that are conversation starters, memory jolters and classic designs. 
Where to start when the high street is awash with second hand shops?
Flamingos, eccentric elegance.
Think about your parents or grandparent homes, the 
items that are still in our memories from childhood and that you have possibly loved and loathed in equal measure for years, then think "ooh, how great that would look in our lounge/hall/toilet". My own foray into the world of kitsch is a 1960's radiogram. It has the most wonderful mechanism and the sound is pretty impressive, playing records is just such a treat.
My own Radio Gramophone
My tip is 
 GO BIG, go bold. A small coupling of wooden deer maybe authentic 70's style but they'll have the impact of a limp handshake and frankly, look odd.....unless styled well. Place under a large glass cloche or group with other interesting items. 

Create a cloche collection like this great one from Cathe Holden

Create a Kitsch corner. Be confident. that none of your friends would have the balls to display a large nail and string picture in their dining room!

My Top Nouveau Kitsch Must Haves:
1.  Ceramic animal ornaments, grouped together.
2.  Flamingoes. In any shape or form, as long as they are big. And pink.
3.  Macrame. Plant holders, door curtains or hanging owls.
4.  Nail & string pictures, particularly of sailing boats.
5.  Pineapples, not necessarily the plastic ice bucket kind.
6.  Cacti. In any form.
7.  Any working mechanical/electrical gadget from 1960/70.
8.  Aprons when at home (not the wipeable kind). Try it, you will be a convert.
9.  Retro glassware.
10.Photo albums. With actual photos. With comments. And pages.
A trio of pineapples, because, why not!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The "F" Word(s)

Epitome of Frippery - A Decorative Key!

Before anyone has an attack of the vapours, this is not a Parental Advisory or explicit post!  I have recently changed the Rustiques tagline to "Purveyors of Fine Furnishings and Frippery". Just say it out feels good to wrap your chops around such a great bit of alliteration doesn't it? But, what the heck does "Frippery" mean? I hear you think. Similar to another great "F" word, "Falderals", their meaning is a bit all over the place as they are fairly ancient words, but the definition I have taken is this:
An embellishment, ornamentation, a decorative object of no significant use, a gee-gaw(I have no idea, but it sounds great, and let's reintroduce it into common parlance).
Tiny Wooden Owls - Cute vs Use!
Anyway, you get my drift. Sometimes we just want to own a thing because we like it. It appeals to us. It possibly stirs a memory, or relates to our aspirations. Or it would just look fine and dandy on our mantle piece. The point being, everything we own should have a function, especially if that function is to make us happy.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Let's's been a while!

Yes, Rustiques is still very much alive & kicking!  I have to admit that the past couple of years have just flown by and as the business has grown I have neglected the blog, well, abandoned really. I feel bad, and I am back on board with it and hope to be posting regularly with renewed vim and vigor!(Hmm, sounds a bit like cleaning products).

Well, what is new? For a start I opened a second store in May 2014 in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. So that really has taken a lot of my energy. A bit like having a second child I suppose, it's waaaay more than twice the work! I have also been working on the website, which I am adding to continually. The staff role has also increased and with permissions pending (they are a shy bunch!) I hope to introduce you to all the wonderful people who support me on a daily basis. Without them Rustiques would not!  
Stick with me folks as I continue my journey, I hope to give you insights as to what the Rustiques "concept" is all about, the people who make it work, the suppliers & how we choose stock, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and all the exciting buzz around the paint & sundries and not forgetting the customers without which we couldn't succeed!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Call Me Old Fashioned...

The telephones I ordered at the trade show have arrived and they are fantastic! So cool! They are all fully functional with a push button dial. The 1950s style Diner Telephone is my favourite. It has slots for coins and makes a proper "kerching" noise when you deposit a coin!
 It comes in cream, black & chrome.  The desk telephone comes in black & chrome. It is a really "weighty" phone and feels great to use.  Now for those out there of a certain age you will remember the Trim Phone, I couldn't resist when I saw them. I had flash-backs to the telephone table in the hall and our dog going mad everytime it made it's shrill ring!
To add a bit of glamour to the shop I have brought in a range of necklaces.  They are vintage style and incorporate watches, charms, lace & leather.
It's just too difficult to choose a favourite!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Time to Buy

This week I spent two days at a trade fair in Birmingham at the NEC. All I can say is my poor feet have just about recovered!  The NEC is HUGE and this years show was bigger than ever with 20 halls open.
It was great to see all the stands even in the sectors that are totally unrelated to what I do! My other half came with me and he was determind that I should buy this chair and desk.

I have to say I was tempted and may well buy them for later on in the year.  What I did buy, however, are these telephones, just fell in love with them. And what's not to love about a '70s Trim phone, which incidently is called that because "TRIM stands for Tone Ringer Illuminated Model: it was the first phone to ring using a modern electronic warbler rather than the traditional bell mechanism".
 Don't say you don't learn anything from my blog! I have to confess that I also did some Christmas stock buying, I know, it's ridiculous in February, only just packed away last years decorations!
After two days constant walking it takes a few days for the old legs to get back to normal, not all of us opted to make full use of the "Rest Zone".

Friday, 27 January 2012

Let's Catch Up!

First of all, what can I say, sorry. I have been neglectful of my blog {hangs head in shame}. The end of the year was obviously an extremely busy time in the shop and all my energy was going into dealing with all the festive merchandise. And of course there's the post Christmas lull, which I fell into! Now I have had time to get my "mojo" working again and I am firing on all cylinders, well nearly all, a bit of an MOT may be needed!
There is lots of great new stock coming in to the shop and a theme of love seems to be filtering through, must be the time of year, from cherubs to hearts, that's amore!

Everyone loves a heart and I have a selection of candles, frames, decorations and dishes all heart-shaped.
I am even feeling the LOVE for painting again!  This occasional table was painted with Pure then crackleglaze and a top coat of Graphite. It was a bit of an experiment but I am happy with the result.

Amy, my Saturday girl, painted this sweet little table with Provence. I was very impressed! 

                      The shop has been quiet which has allowed me to paint  pieces of furniture that have been patiently waiting for my attention!  It's so easy to accumulate various bits that are ideal for Annie Sloan treatment but I struggle to find time to do them justice. I have had this wall unit in the back of my van for about 5 months! The poor thing desperately needed a paint-job, so a lick of Greek Blue with Pure on the drawers, new knobs, bit of stencilling and a few wee mirrors! Yes, there is quite a lot going on, I might paint over the stencilling.

 The next thing to get "Sloaned" was a bureau. It had been lurking about the workshop area for months and I was starting to get used to it and was using it to store all sorts! So this week I went for it!  A mix of Chateau Grey & Versaille, I poured the colours into a tray and just mixed it as I painted with it.
For the inside I used Aubusson, it's one of my favourite colours. I stencilled a motto, decoupaged a picture, used some Craquelure. (the drawers are Versaille but look a funny colour in this photo!)
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