Friday, 27 May 2016

Traveling The World - One Charity Shop At A Time

Considering I'd chucked on yesterday's clothes, sponging off the remnants of last night's dinner from my dress on the way out, several people stopped me in and around the chazzas today to admire my outfit. The manager of one of our regular haunts was on the phone when I walked in and waved at me. I overheard her telling the person on the end of the line "That lady's just come in, the one who wears the clothes". How on earth she'd know who I was by that description is anybody's guess, Walsall ain't no nudist colony.

Is it just me or, when you're in a charity shop, are you drawn to things similar to what you're already wearing? Needless to say, I'm always dressed in something vintage and naturally hone in on it, but when I'm wearing a certain colour or style of clothing I seem to find loads more of the same.

Today, with my Guatemalan top, basket from Madeira and Indian chappals, I couldn't stop finding foreign clothes and accessories and by that I don't mean high street fashion made in some grim Asian sweatshop. By the time I'd finished I'd shopped the world without leaving my home town.

Indonesian Batik kaftan - I love Batik even more now I've learnt how to do it.

 This scrap of metallic sari fabric was in the "five for a £1 bin" - I made it into a crop top whilst Jon made lunch. That's the 11th top I've made this week. I'm obsessed with my new-old sewing machine (I'll show you soon!)

A tie-dyed rayon maxi skirt, also made in India. If I try it on I'll want to keep it.

1980s Thai silk boxy shirt. The hipsters love Thai silk and it flies off our rails whenever we have any. Who can blame them? The colours are always wonderful.

I'd love to dress Polly Piglet in this baby Flamenco dress but she'd never forgive me. We often get asked for kids dressing-up clothes when we're trading at festivals so I'll add this to the rail.

Aren't these Mallorca souvenir cuff links fab? They look a million times better now I've scrubbed them.

Seriously tempted to keep this 1970s Egyptian pendant.

A leather trimmed kilim bag from Turkey.

Definitely a keeper, a super psychedelic beach bag from the 1970s. The Costa Brava was the first foreign place I ever visited!

I can't resist a souvenir scarf - here's two (featuring Australia & France) of the three I found today. (The other is from Stratford-on-Avon and, as its only down the road, can't really count as being foreign).

Wearing: Guatemalan top (Kinky's mates Make Do & Vintage) with added fringe trim I cut off a lampshade; 1969 Van Allan maxi dress (one of a pair bought from the original owner, eBay, 2006); Plastic & wood bangles (car boot sales & charity shops); 1970s Madeira basket (charity shop, 2010); Embroidered Indian chappals (Jumble sale); Vintage purple velvet curtains (part of our festival trading pitch)
Its Spring Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK and we're working - the last two vintage fairs before the fabulous festival season kicks off next week!!!!!!!! (Excited? Me? Hell, yes!) Find us at Moseley on Sunday (HERE) and Cardiff on Monday (HERE).

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Take Me Out Into The Green Garden

It's been positively tropical here in sunny Walsall over the last few days. Other than a vintage fair, the pub on Saturday night and a Sunday morning car boot sale I've barely left the garden.

Several years ago we'd grand ideas for growing our own but soon realised that we'd neither the time or inclination so it went wild. It's taken three days of solid graft to clear it of weeds and two trips to the council tip. 

I love ferns and luckily they grow in abundance around here. We've moved a heap of them from where the new shed is going and added a bit of interest with some tree stumps from the wood pile.

When I've blogged about the garden before a couple of readers asked about lawn and yes, we have one. Jon's mown some of it today.

I love this ivy covered apple tree (one of a pair). The apples aren't the prettiest but taste fine. 

Here's Jacob, loving the warm weather and looking fabulous at 41!

Digging unexplored areas of the garden have yielded a few more chimney pots.

Click on the collage for more detail!

The headless gnome and ghostly mermaid came from the parental home, they belonged to the previous owner and are probably Edwardian - so not looking too bad considering they've been outside for a century.

Click on the collage for more detail!

The chicken wire torso (Jon's creation) is threaded with plastic flowers from a 1960s craft kit. I dug up the pots.

Click on the collage for more detail!

Kitsch tat from the house.

The car boot sale is brilliant for plants. I spent a fiver on Thursday and came back with three carrier bags full. Anything that could fit a plant got utilised including rusty oil cans (jet washed first).

I'd admired these Green Man wall plaques at the car boot a couple of weeks ago, handmade by the stall holder. At £2 I'm not sure why I didn't buy one weeks ago. I am a dimwit sometimes. 

I couldn't resist these succulents at 50p each.

This poppy has been threatening to burst open for days and today was the day. I hope the poor thing doesn't get battered by rain later.

That's me done. I'm going to reward myself to an ice cold lager. Cheers!

Wearing: Levi 501 cut-offs (nicked from the stockroom), Vintage block printed top by Indian Imports of Rhode Island , Inc., (99p, charity shop in Weston Super Mare), Aldo boots (£1, car boot sale last year), Tooled leather belt with lion head buckle (33p, charity shop bargain bin), 1970s sunnies (99p, charity shop)

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.

See you soon!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

From Tray Cloth To Crop Top - The Vintage Linen Makeover

Remember the vintage accessories I blogged about here? The collection of bags, hats, stockings and gloves kept in immaculate condition and treasured for decades. This suitcase, crammed with household linen, came from the same immaculate home.We think the date on the newspaper was when the case was last opened.

So what am I going to do with a lifelong collection of linen? If I filled our pitch with embroidered tablecloths and cut work tray cloths I know I'd be driven daft by hearing "My Nan had some of them" every five seconds and I've certainly no ambitions to open a vintage style tea room (my catering days are well and truly over).

Instead these beauties have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century. I've refashioned the tableware into crop tops, hopefully to adorn festival goers at the events we're trading at over the Summer. 

Good God, I bet young Vix would be horrified to see her herself at almost 50 years old bra-less and flashing her pierced belly. Mind you, I never thought I'd get to be so ancient.

You might have seen this photo before. That's me aged 12 in the same garden (then my Grandparents'), in 1978. I'm wearing my Great Grandma's wedding dress, which still fits.

Wearing: Tray cloth crop top (made by me), Vintage elephant print handkerchief hem maxi skirt (Courtesy of the lovely Gisela), Stuart Weizmann boots (£2, charity shop), Lamani gypsy coin belt (worn as a necklace)

 The gazebo is still going strong 38 years later!

We're trading at the Roundhouse in Derby on Saturday (HERE). Come and see us if  you can. 

See you soon!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Easy Like Monday Morning

 Yesterday took us to Bath, one of our favourite places to trade. Business was a welcome return to form and we had an ace, sun-filled day hanging out with some of our favourite vintage sellers and making a few people very happy, including the pink haired girl who was going home and chucking out all her mediocre clothes now she'd found the psychedelic skirt of her dreams and the beautiful blonde who felt like a Bohemian princess in the Quad maxi she bought for her prom.

Catching up with the gorgeous Mim was the icing on the cake. She bought her Horrockses' 1960s midi from us a while back and it fits like it was made for her. 

Bath might be brilliant but the steps up to the banqueting room in the Georgian Guildhall are a challenge to say the least. I was quite relieved when our weekly Wetherspoons' date mate cancelled, I don't think my poor aching hip would have got me to the pub and back. We're so knackered that neither of us can face unpacking the stock from the van so, instead, we've bitten the bullet and commissioned a beast of an outbuilding to house our vintage stock from a local shed manufacturer. The parental home won't be around to serve as free storage forever (hopefully) and it would be fantastic to have all our stock within easy reach.

The weather's been gorgeous, perfect for this new-to-me block printed cotton maxi my thoughtful friend, Rosanna, bought from Dorothy Perkins in the 1970s and unearthed recently when she was sorting out her loft. 

Stuart Weizmann for Russell and Bromley metallic wedges (local chazza, £2.99)

My sandals got their first outing today. My feet are the last thing to get exposed to the elements. I'm terrified of damaging them, in our job our feet are our fortune! I'm standing on a row of stepping stones I found hidden under the weeds. Shifting them across the garden was one hell of a work out.

I also discovered a couple more chimney pots lurking in the undergrowth, one is planted out with a Home Bargains' fuchsia and the other awaits a car boot sale pot of ivy. I meant to buy some last week but the only plant seller was a hideous perv who pointed me out to his friend and shouted "Look at the body on that" when I bent over to inspect the merchandise. Talk about how not to make a sale. 

Sunday's work wear: Me-made 1960s curtain maxi, vintage leather top (the much-missed Helga the great), Indian silver Laxmi buckle (Xmas present from Liz), 19th century tribal neck-piece from Karnataka (see HERE), Super shiny hair (Aussie long hair treatment from Home Bargains - I'm very impressed!)

Loving this weather, as you can see the self-employed sun tan is coming along nicely!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday, on time for once.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Finnished! My Marimekko Mini

I had some free time yesterday so I cracked open my pattern stash and made myself a dress from the 1965 Marimekko curtain I found in a charity shop in Cirencester a couple of months ago. (I also mastered the gormless selfie).

Yes, I've finally completed the nightmare that was my Dad's paperwork. Its been seven months since he died and it really has taken that long to get his affairs in order. The accountant was so impressed with my work that I reckon I could have a whole new career ahead of me if I decide to knock vintage selling on the head and, if we have another weekend as disappointing as the one just gone, I could almost be tempted.

Glorious sunshine, record breaking temperatures and cities celebrating their football team winning the league with odds of 5000 to 1 definitely don't make for successful vintage fairs. Given the choice I would have chosen to spend the weekend sitting in a pub beer garden drinking ice cold cider rather than sweltering in a dark municipal building with the heating on full, listening to Elvis covers and smiling at people telling me that my Nan used to have one of them.

Hopefully Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Bath this Sunday will be a welcome return to form, it's usually one of our most favourite events. Between researching inheritance tax laws, calculating historical stocks & shares prices, deciphering government websites and swearing at the calculator we've been preparing for festival season it kicks off in three weeks time! There's a steampunk theme at the first one so we've made some brooches from antique watch parts.....

To lessen the trauma of unwashed festival hair here's some wired head scarves we've made from vintage fabric (Jon dealt with the wire as I'd probably have chopped my hand off) .....

And Dee will be pleased to see that my crop tops now bear a Kinky Melon label!

Honestly, I had ironed this dress before I left the house this morning but trawling the town flea market (wait till you see what I found!) & the chazzas in torrential rain followed by a cheeky drinking session in 'Spoons with a girlfriend was a tough ask.

Dress made from Maijia Isola's Unikko (£2.99), Stuart Weitzmann boots (£2), 1960s Vogue umbrella (50p, car boot sale)
That's a complete outfit for just over £5! Who needs Primark?
I'm hoping this incessant rain does one before tomorrow, the car boot sale awaits. 

Linking to Visible Monday, unfashionably late as usual!

See you soon