Even before Christianity spread throughout Europe, evergreen plants were regarded as special and people decorated their homes during winter with pine, spruce and firs. The fact that these plants remained green all year round led to the belief that they had supernatural properties and could ward off evil spirits and disease. Adding ornamentation to trees for Christmas probably began in northern Europe around 1000 years ago. Germany is generally credited with the tradition of the decorated Christmas tree as we know it today, but the first documented Christmas trees were in Estonia and Latvia as far back as the 15th century (though these is some dispute between these two nations as to which has the best claim to the very first example). The custom probably migrated to Germany and other parts of Europe from there.

There is a lovely story (conveniently associated with our home county of Devon), however, about St. Boniface of Credition starting the Christmas tree tradition. He travelled to Germany to converted the pagan people to Christianity and is said to have been shocked by the sight of a young boy about to be sacrificed. He was angry and wanted to prevent the tragic event from proceeding so he chopped down an oak tree. To the amazement of St. Boniface and the pagan onlookers a fir tree immediately sprang from that very spot. St. Boniface then decorated the tree with candles so that he could preach to the people that night.

In Britain the Christmas tree custom became prevalent only after the Royal family were depicted gathered around a decorated tree in the Illustrated London News in 1848. This was not the first Christmas tree enjoyed by the British Royal family, but Queen Victoria was a particularly popular monarch and people adopted the tradition because it was associated with her. At this time Christmas trees were primarily decorated with fruit and nuts and were lit by candles.

Attaching candles to tree branches was a tricky business. People tried tying them on with wire or string, pinning them with needles and sticking them with melted wax. None of these methods was particularly successful and, of course, if you can’t keep the candle upright then you run the risk of setting the tree on fire. Therefore candles were lit only for short periods of time and owners had to be vigilant.

The history of Christmas tree lights took a sudden leap in the 1880s when Edward Johnson, a friend of Thomas Edison, decorated a Christmas tree with electric bulbs for the first time. However, these early lights were expensive and didn’t become affordable for most people until the 1930s.

Early Christmas tree lights were much more interesting than the standard modern LEDs. In the mid-20th century glass shapes in all shapes and sizes would adorn Christmas trees – from multi-coloured pine cones to lurid representation of Chinese paper lanterns, you could even find character-based lights such as Raggedy Ann.. Personally, I have fond memories of my Nan’s Christmas tree covered in icicle lights which must have dated from the 1970s or before.

Christmas tree, Barbican, Plymouth 2016

Christmas tree, Barbican, Plymouth 2016

 


Diwali has been an important Hindu festival for hundreds, even thousands, of years. It is also marked by Jains and Sikhs. The origin stories may be different, but the occasion is always happy and celebrates good over evil, light over dark, knowledge over ignorance. Diwali is an official holiday in many countries including Fiji, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Trinidad and Tobago, as well India.

The Hindu festival celebrates the return of the gods Rama and Sita from exile. Diwali, from the Sanskrit ‘deepavali’ meaning ‘row of lamps’, is also known as the festival of lights. Special lamps are lit and placed around the home, and all kinds of buildings are festooned with coloured lights. Fireworks also play a big part in the merriment. Gifts are exchanged, new clothes are purchased and people often feel this is a good time of year to make a new start. The festivities usually last for five days and in 2016 they culminated on the 29 or 30 October depending on the region of India. In fact, some parts of India commemorate the holiday with quite different traditions, in addition to the usual illuminated fun.

In Goa, during Diwali celebrations people also commemorate Lord Vishnu’s victory over the demon Narakasura. Huge effigies of the demon are made from paper mache and then burnt at dawn on the main festival date.


Why not pop in and check out our mix and match lamp range and you can pair a vintage lamp base with a shade for just £30. This is a relatively new option that we offer, but it has been so popular that we are delighted to have been able to extend the range since being in the shop. Our mix and match range offers the best value for money and gives people the chance to customise a base from our budget range with any 20cm or 15cm drum shade.

We try to maintain a selection of vintage lamp bases in wood, ceramic, metal and stone. We have everything from vintage brass from Marks & Spencer to classic 1960s onyx; at the moment we even have a 1960s/1970s Studio Pottery lamp in this range! These can be paired with a variety of 20 cm and 15 cm shades to create great looking, yet unique lamps for anywhere in your house, flat, caravan or student accommodation. The choice of shade is always diverse and includes designer and vintage fabrics in geometric and floral patterns, as well as more unusual designs. So whether you love Liberty prints, vintage William Morris, Star Wars or zombies there will be something to fit the bill. If you can’t find a shade to coordinate with your room, just let us know and we will try to help.

We love the fact that our customers can come to us and get a completely unique lamp for a really reasonable price. Take a look at some of the different options that are available right now…


Well, it has certainly been an exciting few weeks for Gosh! & Absolutely. We have been busy rewiring, stitching, sticking and generally crafting because on Friday 19th August we opened a shop! Much as we love doing craft fairs there comes a point when the appeal of running a hobby business in this way wears a little thin (that point is when you are literally hanging on to your gazebo in a howling gale and don’t have enough spare hands to catch your falling stock). We will still be doing the odd fair because of course we want to spread the ‘ban the beige’ message far and wide (or at least across East Cornwall and West Devon).

Our new shop is based in The House that Jack Built, an arcade of independent businesses in Plymouth’s historic Barbican area. The House that Jack Built has been around since the 1980s and many Plymothians have fond memories of the fairytale scenes in the corridors between the shops. We are situated towards the rear of the arcade facing The Parade and are just a stone’s throw from Sutton Harbour – dangerously close to all the ice-cream parlours, fudge retailers and fish and chip shops the area has to offer.

Anyway, many lovely people came to join us for the opening and we were touched by the messages of support we received – not least from all our neighbours in The House that Jack Built.

We hope many of you will be able to visit us soon.

Opening times:

Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday – 10:30-16:30
Thursday – 10:30-16:30
Friday – 10:30-16:30
Saturday – 10:30-16:30
Sunday – 11:00-16:00


When our customers want a lampshade, very often they want it to match with existing decor or to complete the look of a particular lamp. We love to help by sourcing a range of different fabrics that fit a specific brief, to give our clients the opportunity to achieve a look that they will really love.

We were recently commissioned to make a shade for a standard lamp and matching cushion for the bedroom of a four year old girl. Our client, Joanne, explained that she really wanted something that would be bright and fun enough to please her daughter, but would also be suitable as she got a little older. Joanne had already decorated the room and painted the lamp base in a lovely teal colour. In this case we were supplied with a photograph of the lamp in the room along with a favourite item, the stylish ‘LOVE’ cushion that was used for inspiration.

This gave us plenty to go on. We found a diverse selection of fabrics that picked up on different elements of the room using the colours and motifs that were apparent in the images.

After first narrowing the choices down to two preferred options Joanne selected her favourite and we create a bespoke 45cm drum  handmade lampshade for a standard lamp with a matching accent cushion. We think she made a great choice and her daughter looks pretty happy too!


Our lovely ‘Chinese Peony’ vintage lamp would make a lovely addition to any home aesthetically, but did you know that it could also bring you plenty of luck too.

Many flowers, plants and animals have certain symbolism with East Asian tradition. The lamp base on this lamp, which is in the style of a Chinese ginger jar, is covered in peonies. Peony flowers are a very lucky symbol in China where they are know as the ‘king of flowers’. They represent royalty and virtue as well as romance. The shade, also featuring peonies, is made from vintage Japanese kimono cotton. The shade depicts dragonflies too, which are one of the oldest symbols in Japanese mythology. Despite their delicate appearance dragonflies symbolise the idea of never giving up, because they only ever fly forward. They also represent strength and happiness to the Japanese and are one of their national emblems. So why buy not something more than a lamp – this one might add atmosphere and illumination to your life as well as your room.


Having recently been lucky enough to spend two weeks in Goa, I thought I would share with you some of the colourful (literal not figurative) experiences I shared with my family. Admittedly the beautiful countryside is somewhat spoiled by the vast quantities of rubbish which litter the roadsides, but as you become immune to this you notice more and more of the striking and colour-laden scenes around you.

We deliberately visited Goa at a particularly vibrant time of year. The festival of Holi, when coloured paint powder is thrown or smeared on fellow revellers in a show of happiness to celebrate spring, was our introduction to India. In a slightly jet lagged state we sat in a beach bar gazing out at the stunning ocean view as the kids began to get into the spirit of the day. On the slightly sweaty hike to another bar, we were already quite a sight compared to most of the Goans. Further paint throwing by the children (and many of the grown-ups) meant there wasn’t a single inch of pale skin left. Even more than three weeks later my son still has slightly purple hair! In Goa Holi forms part of the Shigmo festival and there were decorations for the whole time we were there. The roundabouts were covered in bright banners and umbrellas and the Hindu temples were covered in lights.

Another great source of colour was the local market in Calangute. An abundance of multi-coloured fruits and vegetables, some of them meticulous stacked, some of them spread out, were protected from the blazing sun by vivid fabric shelters. There were colourful saris, cotton dresses and t-shirts everywhere you looked, not to mention the ever-so striking array of bed sheets.

We spent one morning at a lovely Portuguese villa extended and converted into a stylish hotel, the Shanti Morada. Admittedly, we were primarily there to take advantage of the fabulous pool and Jacuzzi bar (soft drinks of course!), but I would love to go back and stay there. All of the rooms were furnished with antique carved wooden beds and wardrobes and the bathrooms had roll-top baths as well as separate showers. There were several small lounges each with a different feel for chilling or escaping the midday sun. The pool area was decorated with Portuguese geometric tiles as well as Hindu statues. Colourful bunting bedecked a path which led you through the beautiful gardens up to the hammocks for reading and relaxing.

Everywhere you look in Goa there is colour. Many of the buildings are decorated with bright contrasting paints, especially the Hindu temples which seem to come in every colour imaginable. And I can hardly talk about Goa without mentioning the gorgeous golden beaches and the splendid show of brightly hued flowers. There is, of course, an abundance of wildlife too – cows and water buffalo everywhere, I caught a glimpse of a wild monkey from a taxi, but the most colourful creatures were the birds.

Rachel


We’re always excited about Christmas here at G!&A headquarters, but even more so this year as we have a lovely few fairs lined up and some great stocking fillers. See below for all the details, which will be updated as we get more information from one or two of the organisers. Though not a conscious choice we seem to have stuck to South Devon for our Christmas season this year and we will not be straying over the border into Cornwall at all – we’ll definitely make a point of popping over in the New Year. We wanted to do a couple of local markets here in Plymouth, but you will also be able to find us in Brixham, Kingsbridge and Exmouth. And don’t forget if you can’t make it to any of these fairs you can always find a selection of our products at Devonport Live Cafe and Rockpool Trading in The House that Jack Built.

  • Saturday 7th November, 10:00-16:00 – Sherwell Church Christmas Fair,  North Hill, Plymouth
  • Sunday 15th November, 9:30-15:00 – Pretty Posh Christmas Fair, Exmouth Pavilion
  • Friday 20th November 17:30-21:30 – Jeremiah’s Journey Christmas Craft & Gift Fayre, Boringdon Park Golf Club, Plympton
  • Saturday 28th November, 10:00-19:00 – Brixham Christmas Market, Scala Hall Brixham
  • Friday 4th December, 10:30-15:30 – Campus Christmas Market, Roland Levinski Building, Plymouth University
  • Saturday 5th December – Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas, Fore Street & surrounding area

Hope to see you somewhere soon!


We are very excited to announce that you can now find a selection of Gosh! & Absolutely products at Rockpool Trading in the House that Jack Built on Plymouth Barbican. Our charming ‘Barbican’ lamp is in the perfect location, just a stone’s throw from the Plymouth Gin Distillery. The 1950s Wade Royal Victoria ceramic barrel had been converted to a lamp base around the time it was produced. We found this fun nautical fabric in just the right shade of blue and chose an oval-shaped shade to mirror the shape of the base. You can also buy our fabric covered lanterns for battery operated tea lights in vintage, designer and character fabrics. Plus there are several of our famous craft kits in their new shape (but just as cute) kilner-type jars. Rockpool also stock our badges magnets and rings made from fabric covered buttons.

There are loads of great local designers and makers at Rockpool Trading (not just us), so it’s the perfect place to pick up a unique gift or unusual home accessory – from a giant ceramic mug to skateboard bunting! The shop is based in ‘The House that Jack Built’ which is a fabulous arcade of independent shops that you must seek out if you are visiting Plymouth. Little kids love the winding corridors with hidden surprises and big kids love the fantastic array of bijou shops.


Gosh! & Absolutely can now be found in the excellent Devonport Live Cafe and Shop.  We are very pleased to have some of our products stocked alongside various other local artists and makers, whose attractive works adorn the walls of the cafe. Due to the fact that we have a physical outlet you can now buy lampshades in Plymouth without visiting Gosh! & Absolutely at craft fairs or shows. You can also find a selection of our vintage lamps, handmade cushions, tea-light lanterns and fabric craft kits. So to add a little colour to your life get down to Devonport Live Cafe and take a look! It is a lovely space in George Street, Devonport, west of Plymouth city centre. It’s tucked away from the main thoroughfare, but well worth a stop if you are in the area. As well as the opportunity to pick up fantastic handmade goods or beautiful artwork for your home or as a gift, you can grab a snack and a cup of tea. The kids can enjoy a well-stocked children’s corner and you can have hassle free lunch made from locally sourced produce. Unfortunately, the cafe is not open on Sundays, but don’t worry because this week (28th June) we’ll be at the Devonport Park Sunday Summer Fayre, just a stone’s throw away.


I’m sure you’re all desperate to know when and where you’ll be able to find Gosh! & Absolutely in the coming months, so we won’t keep you in suspense any longer. The last Sunday of every month from May until August we will be at the Friends of Devonport Park Sunday Fayre from 11:00 – 16:00. This is a great community event with stuff for kids and grown ups in the lovely setting of Devonport Park, which means you can even bring the dog. In July we’ll be at Liverton Country Fayre, near Bovey Tracey. This is a real family friendly event which helps to raise funds for the local school. We’ll also be in Plymouth Guildhall at Bow Events Handmade Fair which will feature a huge range of beautiful hand-crafted items, a great place to pick up a birthday or wedding gift, or just a little something for yourself. We’ll be busy bees in September too as you will be able to find us at Freedom Fields (Plymouth) Country Dog Fayre. This should be a fab day out for all the family and proceeds from this event go to Ponderosa Ponies. To wrap up the Summer we’ll be at A la Ronde Craft Market in Exmouth, which looks like it will be an amazing venue!

Gosh! & Absolutely summer season craft fairs:

  • Sunday 31st May 11:00-16:00 – Friends of Devonport Park Sunday Fayre
  • Saturday 13th June 14:00-17:00 – Cakes and Crafts, Lamerton Village Hall, nr Tavistock
  • Sunday 28th June 11:00-16:00 – Friends of Devonport Park Sunday Fayre
  • Saturday 4 July 12:00-17:00 – Liverton Country Fayre, Blackpool School, Liverton, near Bovey Tracey
  • Saturday 11th July 11:00-15:00 – Bow Events Handmade Fair, Plymouth Guildhall
  • Sunday 26th July 11:00-16:00 – Friends of Devonport Park Sunday Fayre
  • Sunday 30th August 11:00-16:00 – Friends of Devonport Park Sunday Fayre
  • Sunday 13th September 11:00-16:00 – Country Dog Fayre, Freedom Fields, Plymouth
  • Saturday 26th September 10:30-16:00 – A la Ronde Craft Fair, Exmouth

Hope to see you all soon!


Town v Country cushions

Town v Country cushions

We were super chuffed that so many people entered our Facebook cushions giveaway.  We had such a lot of entrants that we felt we ought to do a proper draw so we asked budding actress Scarlett from the Stage Stars Group to do the honours and a name was drawn at random on Sunday 10 May. Congratulations to our winner, Renee!

It was great that the competition achieved so many new page likes, but it was also really useful to see which pairs of cushions people liked best. You can get a sense of things when you go to craft fairs but sometimes it feels like people are just being polite when you’re standing right there in front of them! We offered five different pairs of cushions and asked entrants to choose their favourite. Our ‘Town v Country’ pairing was by far the favourite with nearly 40% of the vote, though it seems that many people thought it was a black and white pattern when in fact it is navy blue. Another popular choice was ‘Tattoos & Tea’. The least popular choice was our ‘Holy Cowgirl!’ pair, but the reason for this maybe because it was the only set not to be shown in the post before you clicked through the images. So next time we might only suggest four options! The cushions featured in our giveaway are available here from our cushions page.

If missed this opportunity keep an eye on our Facebook page for more giveaways…

 


Well, we have been pretty busy at Gosh! & Absolutely HQ in the past couple of weeks, preparing for the Miss Ivy Homes & Gardens Show next weekend. We’ll being showing off our new ranges of fabric combinations, so that our customers can buy or order lampshades and cushions in fun co-ordinating fabrics. We’ll be focussing on our ‘City vs Country’, ‘Enchanted Wander’ and ‘Cut up your Dresses’ ranges, but we’ll bring along some fabric swatches too, so if these don’t hit the spot we’re sure you’ll find something you love. You may have guessed that we’re not really big on beige and boring, we rather hope our colourful combos will liven up or complement your decor and put a smile on your face.

Of course we will also have a selection of ‘new old’ lamps (as my son would put it). We have sourced yet more fantastic vintage lamps and brought them back to life with beautiful bespoke shades. Many of them aren’t available on the website yet so you will have to come along to the show if you want to get your hands on the most recent batch. This is your chance to find a truly individual lamp to suit your style – from the classic Parisian inspired style of the 1960s, to the studio pottery of the 1970s and the bold red and white of the 1980s.

Plus we have this gorgeous 1960s fabric in blues and indigos, such a fabulous print as this is hard to come by, so don’t miss the opportunity to get lampshades and/or cushions in this design as we have limited stocks!

We are very excited as there is just one week to go until the show. Spring is most definitely in the air, and I for one am itching to get going on the redecorating. If you feel the same then the Homes and Gardens Show is a an absolute must – with more than 60 exhibitors! Hope we see you there.

Stylish Homes & Gardens Show, Mount Edgcumbe, Sat 28 – Sun 29 March 2015

 

 


We love a challenge! Recently a customer asked us to fix up this tropical standard lamp and make a coordinating shade. As you can see this was no ordinary lamp, but a fabulous statement piece carved with palm trees and tropical scenes. The lamp cleaned up beautifully and with new electrics it was all ready for the finishing touch. An eye-catching piece of furniture like this needed an equally striking shade. We were delighted when our customer chose the pineapple fabric from the options we provided.

Find out more about why pineapples are such a popular motif in the home at houzz.


Problem! My daughter has had a lovely ‘high up bed’ for her birthday, but now the wall light is in completely the wrong place for her to read in bed. This is a serious issue for my little bookworm, so what could I do in a hurry? Well, funnily enough I’m not short of lamps… I also had a spare Disney Frozen pillowcase. The simple solution was turn to turn the pillowcase into a pretty lampshade for the little madam, and hey presto I am ‘amazing mum’ (at least until I do something she doesn’t like quite so much).

Hopefully, this serves to show that if you don’t like any of the gorgeous fabrics we choose for our lampshades, then you can choose your own. Just get in touch to find out if the fabric you have or the fabric you have found on-line is suitable and we can give you a quote for a lampshade of your choice.


Do you have an old lamp in the loft or the garage? If the answer is yes and the reason it’s not in use is because of the lack of a stylish shade, then we can help. Send us a photo of your lamp or lamps. Tell us something to help us find a fabric that you will love – if it has to be blue to match a room, if you really like retro or hate floral – hints like these will help. Then we’ll send you a choice of fabrics that coordinate with the lamp stand and we’ll recommend a style of shade to best complement the base. If you like one of our suggestions then you can order a bespoke lampshade handmade by us. And love your lamp again!

These lamps were given to me by my mother-in-law, without shades. I love the quirky designs of Alexander Henry fabrics, so I chose this industrial print – the swirly smoke echoes the shape of the base. The lamps bases aren’t that big, but the print on the fabric is quite bold so I opted for a 20cm (small) diameter in a taller than average shape. They now decorate my living room and they look pretty good.

So if you find a lamp base you love with a shade that you don’t then get in touch. We can also help match ceiling shades to your existing decor. Just post a picture to our Facebook page or send us an email hello@goshandabsolutely.com

No obligation to purchase, what have you got to lose?

IMG_4477 - 1 IMG_4479-1 IMG_4480 - 1


This weekend you will be able to find Gosh! & Absolutely at the Miss Ivy ‘All Things Vintage and Festive‘ fair at Dartington Hall, nr Totnes. On Sunday 7th December, 10:30-4:30, the Hall will provide the venue for a fabulous festive extravaganza, including live music, beauty parlour and even an interactive demonstration to help you select the perfect outfit for the holiday season. There will be 45 different stalls, so even if you don’t want lamps, cushions or mirrors you are sure to find something to go home with. It will certainly be the best place to find unique, handcrafted or vintage gifts for yourself and all the family. At just £2 for entry (children under 12 go free) it will be a an enjoyably festive experience and we are really looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!


My son, like many other small boys, loves dinosaurs. This hooded scarf design was developed initially for him. The stitch that creates the effect is called crocodile stitch – but it is perfect for dinosaur scales. My sons prototype was so popular in the playground I thought I ought to make a few more of them. He loves to chase his friends, roaring away in full T-rex mode!

The idea of the hooded scarf is based on practicality and is a result of being the one who ends up carrying discarded items of clothing. The hood is warm and cosy and can be secured with the scarf ties. The hood can also be pushed back off the head when your child gets too hot from running around pretending to be a stegosaurus.

We’ll be developing more animal design soon, so if you have any ideas please let us know.