The mantelpiece is an ever changing composition. Change one thing and everything changes. When the picture is taken that moment is held.

Life is stilled. A still life.


This is a shop window for the ok corral.


We created the ok corral because there are so many lovely things but we didn't want to keep all the lovely things - just some of them.

By Joy Jolliffe, Oct 6 2016 09:56AM

Embroidered pictures are very popular with our customers and they are with me too. We unearthed a little stash of pictures recently and included was this lovely example. It's beautifully worked, with a variety of stitches and a colourful palette. A harbour scene that had something extra that I didn't register at first. Then I saw it; areas of the backcloth are dyed in different colours to further enliven the scene. The sea area is blue, the hills are green and it really does add a lot of depth to the composition.

Directly beneath we have two shiney metal containers. One is marked, 'Preserves' and the other, 'Tea Time'. The Preserves pot has masses of surface pattern and will hide that ugly old jam pot. The Tea Time pot is charming and has sweet tea time images on the surface: A tray set with tea things and a little clock permanently held at 4 o'clock. Tea and toast, perfect!

We're clearly thinking in pairs this month, with two FORSTER jars balancing the mantelpiece at the opposite end. Just like the more familiar Kilner jars, tho' these are heavier. The mellow metal lid rims have gentle vintage ageing and with the glass lid it's an airtight jar. Perfect for bottling fruit but they look brilliant filled with all sorts of edible or decorative things.

We don't often find vases in pairs but the green glass duo in the middle of the mantelpiece did arrive together. They've known each other a long time and we don't want to split them up! 1940s, mid height, with wide uneven rims. They display flowers in a pretty and natural way and are perfect for our over enthusiastic Michaelmas Daisies.

The painted tray behind the flowers is very special. The more I look at it the more I love it. I think it's made from papier-mache as it weighs very little. It's coated with matt black and then decorated in the most exquisite way with hand painted flowers all around the rim. It shows a selection of some our loveliest flowers; cowslips and crocus, bluebells and snowdrops, tiny strawberries... breathtaking and completely delightful.

The Trevi Fountain. A must see for travellers and this print is a gem. We love these loosely illustrated pieces. It shows a perfect day's sightseeing with elegant tourists and a wonderful sky. Optimistic and cheerful, yes we like this. It's a nice big example too in its original frame and ready for that space on your wall.

The clear glass candlesticks, our final pair this month. We like pressed glass a lot. These are mid-height so safe on the dining table and still able to hold long elegant candles. We mix and match the colours of the candles and the candlesticks as they group so beautifully. Candlelight is always a little bit magic and as we head towards winter it feels warm and cheerful too.

All the items on the mantelpiece will appear on the OK shelves soon.

By Joy Jolliffe, Aug 31 2016 12:10PM

As you can clearly see, we're having a bit of a tray-fest this month. The shot doesn't show the full collection but it's a start.

The tray on the left is an all-time favourite with us and our customers. Made from fibreglass and sometimes GLASS FIBRE, they're hardwearing and wipe-cleanable. They seem to live forever and are super-vintage items. This one is printed all-over with summer blooms: Mostly roses but with a few Michaelmas Daisies too and lots of foliage. The metal rim around the edge of the tray is still in place and that's helped to protect it, so it's an all-round goody.

The Melmex tray in the middle dates from the 1960s. Psychedelic leaves and flowers clash and collide. They want to burst off the flat surface and just grow and grow! Exuberant colours tamed by the darker browns. A chaotic design that is at the same time, well considered.

Tray number 3 suggests an altogether different mood. I love strong blues - so calm and bright and clear. Arts and Crafts and peacock feathers all come to mind. It's a slim elegant shape too and in pristine condition. Kept for best by someone else and now it's your turn to enjoy it.

The shapely jug standing in front of the blue tray is a complete wonder. The deepest navy blue but so reflective and glossy that it never looks dark. It is purest white inside and has glistening fine gold lines as decoration around the rim and handle. There are two pierced holes, one on each side, near the rim. Interesting! Made for a metal handle presumably so the jug's for liquids rather than flowers? Feel free to use it for either it'll look gorgeous.

The metal biscuit barrel has a clever colour range too. That maroon lid is pretty unusual and looks stunning with the mottled green base. The Japanese style twigs and blossom design is beautiful, the white lifting the other two colours. Inside the lid there's a small sealed compartment that rattles. It contains 'moisture absorbing material' to keep the contents crisp. Well, if that doesn't take the biscuit!

The glass ball. It's good isn't it. No self-respecting 50s/60s studio should be without one. A perfect sphere of blown glass with just a hint of green. We left the orange knotted net in place as it adds protection but without the netting they're very tactile.

We bought a heap of table numbers. Gold and black! We couldn't leave them behind. We have from 3 - 24 with some missing in between but what can you do? We have to have these things. So, choose a number. Your age, your house number, the year of your birth...

All the items on the mantelpiece will appear on the OK shelves soon.

By Joy Jolliffe, Jul 28 2016 01:11PM

The red ceramic jug really ought to be saved for Christmas. Red's not the only Christmas colour but it does work extremely well at that time of year. It just fits with our mood for blazing fires, cosy lamplight and warm interiors. It provides a friendly glow in the winter kitchen too and a cheerful bright spot all year round. I filled it with leaves from the smoke bush/tree that lives in the OK garden. The tree is enormous and the red leaves deepen in colour as the summer progresses. It links so well with the next piece! It was meant to be.

It's a little mid-century ceramic vase. The deep, glossy maroon surface is enlivened by dashes of gold and white. Inside is rich chocolate brown, strong, make no apologies, bold colours. Imagine a pot on a potter's wheel with a small round base running up to a much wider rim. While the clay is still leathery, the potter gently squeezes the rim together until it becomes a slim oval. That's the shape of the vase, simple and quietly elegant.

Bold and confident is how I would describe the OXO tin design. Red, white and black; could any colour combo be stronger? The chunky letters with drop shadow effect jump off the lid. OXO tins rarely surface these days. Once all the cubes are used up it's perfect for storage so people hang on to them. They're pretty tasty on display too so here's one for a lucky customer.

The plate at the other end of the mantelpiece is more of a mystery. The maker's stamp is obscure so there's no provenance but that's not really what we look for when we're out hunting. This plate is beautiful, whoever made it. The wide blue rim is ethereal, a breathtaking colour. The painted scene is glorious: A brightly coloured bird with outstretched wings is about to land in the midst of a profusion of plants and flowers. The plate's rim is protected by a slim metal ring and it's all in pristine condition. Beautiful on display or decadent on the table - your choice.

Here at the OK Corral we LOVE enamel. Anything really - plates, bowls, teapots, coffee pots. This is a humdinger! It's an older piece with thick enamel and an early plastic knob on the lid. It's the most luscious double cream colour. The slim black rim and the black knob make a stunning contrast. The inevitable vintage chips are black too and seem to enhance rather than spoil it. I'm a real fan so I've got nothing negative to say about it! Perhaps I should hang on to this one?

What do you think of the grey and green combo? Pretty good isn't it. The two green candle holders were a lucky find. Pure geometric deco style. Quite big and heavy too which is good for a low candlestick. The last remains of a dressing table set and they hold their own beautifully. We think they look fab with really tall candles, so glamorous! We haven't included them with the item as they add so much weight and therefore cost to the postage. Try them with different colours, you can't go wrong.

Birds and their Eggs. A subject we never tire of and we know lots of our customers love these old books too. The illustrations are beautiful and there are two double pages of egg illustrations. Personally, I find the gentle mix of colours on eggshells truly heavenly. The text is written for children but as we often find in these older books not at all patronising. A school prize maybe? Perfect for the end of term. Hope you have a great summer!


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