Friday, 20 April 2018

She, She, She Shine On

Today's the day that my childhood home, The Cottage, finally changes hands but I'm not a bit sad. Do you remember me mentioning that when the sale sign first went up I'd had a visit from a couple who loved the house but their property had only just gone on the market and they were only able to make a low offer? Well, I accepted a higher offer from another couple but, after a few weeks, they started to mess me around, asking for a significant reduction in the original asking price. I told them to sling their hook, after all, the house had been empty for years, what was another few months? In the meantime the lovely couple managed to sell their house to a cash buyer for a lot more than they expected, enabling them to increase their offer - which I accepted - and The Cottage is now their forever home (I was offered a heck of lot more than the asking price by a couple of property development companies but I told them where to go). There's a bottle of fizz and a welcome card awaiting H&D when they cross the threshold later today.

Sorry, squeamish people. My bendy body freaks some people out. You should see my arms.

After an iffy start this morning, the gloriously warm weather continues. We went to our first car boot sale of 2018 yesterday in shorts (Jon) and a sleeveless Hawaiian maxi (me!) I did take photos of our finds as lovely blog reader Shelagh had kindly sent me her son's old camera but somehow managed to delete everything.  It's all packed ready for trading at Moseley Vintage and Retro Fair on Sunday (details HERE). It'll be third time lucky for this fair due to the bastard snow. This weekend's obstacle will be trying to negotiate Birmingham's road network as the council have closed the main route for maintenance. I don't know how long it's going to take us to get there - it's usually only 25 minutes, wish us luck!

My Lundby's starting to look good. Here it is in all its psychedelic '70s glory along with the added downstairs extension (which came with another tatty Lundby doll's house - that's project number three!)

As I'm in pink, orange and yellow today's featured room has to be the living room.....

...and as if by magic, here I am!

 I've seen this space used in other doll's houses as a master bedroom with a kid's bedroom on the mezzanine floor. As you know, my house is child-free so I'm keeping it real with an adult-only space (hence the wine!) Beate, it's German Sekt, ready for when you get here!

I love the idea of the main living area being upstairs. I used to have a school friend with an amazing upside-down house with bedrooms in the basement and a split level lounge upstairs with perspex hanging bubble pod chairs, a white space age circular TV set and a shag pile carpet so thick and luxurious her patents used to have to rake it. The carpet is a small scale doll's house in the same shade of russet as the very threadbare original. The rocket floor lamp that Linda made me fits in a treat, doesn't it?

I found this 1970s Lundby Harmony suite on Ebay complete with a glass topped coffee table which now resides in the dining room (as seen in my last blog post). Despite not being a fan of either three piece suites or Dralon at £4.50 I just had to buy it. I removed the shabby pink fringe and replaced it with some orange picot braiding from off the market, much more psychedelic! The perspex coffee table was another eBay bargain, I'd definitely give it house room in my big house.

Remember the groovy wallpaper in The Cottage's bathroom? When it mentioned it on my post recently Sarah, another fab reader, commented that she'd got a slither of the wallpaper in her stash and that she'd be happy to donate it to the house. There was just enough to make curtains and a matching pelmet (very 1970s!) which I finished off with the leftover braid.

The aquarium, funky table and swivel chairs are all 1970s Lundby originals - eBay is brilliant (and inexpensive) when you're a doll's house fanatic!

The plastic piano and stool were in the bag of furniture that came with the charity shopped doll's house. I trimmed the stool with Indian pom-pom braiding and printed off (and scaled-down) the musical scores from the internet. If you're wondering, the sheet music is Carly Simon's You're So Vain. The picture is classic suburban 1970s, The Wings of Love by S Pearson. The plant's another me-made one.

The fireplace came in a job lot of Lundby furniture. The log basket (complete with logs) was in the sale section of an on-line doll's house shop (£1.25).

These two dressers match the one in the dining room. They were originally mahogany (but I painted them white). The books, magazines and other bits and pieces were free printables from a doll's house website.

The details:
  • The pictures were sized down and printed off the internet. They were framed in more of the charity shop frames that I'd painted and gilded earlier this week.
  • The mustard lampshade is another of the kid's egg toys trimmed with braid and threaded with plug chain.
  • The perspex lampshade is an  unwanted cat toy, trimmed with vintage rik-rak braid.
  • The cushions are handmade by me using 30p a sheet felt from Shaw's Direct and finished off with daisy appliques from Walsall market's haberdashery stall.
  • The "knitting" is cotton thread rolled into balls and speared with two shortened dressmaking pins. The vintage poncho pattern is a scaled-down real one.  
WEARING: Jumpsuit made by me from some 1960s Francis Price screen printed curtains which used to hang in a friend's husband's living room when he was a child; Crazy sunnies (gift from a car boot seller); Jeffrey Campbell Woodies clogs (charity shop), Retro jelly basket (new, retail!)

 Time to get my bikini on and catch a few rays (and try not to watch the proceedings over the road).

See you soon (hopefully in Moseley on Sunday)!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Purple Haze

I love Wednesdays. It's our official midweek drinking day. White rum, a wedge of fresh lime (ten for a quid off the market), a handful of ice cubes and some diet cola accompanied by a gritty European thriller series. This week we're watching Before We Die and, as is the way with most Swedish dramas I watch, I'll be paying particular attention to the interiors for doll's house design inspiration.

Wednesday is also the day we go charity shopping and today's gloriously warm weather meant that I didn't have to bother with a coat which made me love my day even more. I feel so much more alive with the heat of the sun on my shoulders. Hello, Frank!

I went mad and ditched my boots for sandals, although these aren't the ones I left the house in this morning, I found these tan leather TopShop platforms for £3.99 and insisted on changing into them straight away, much to the amusement of the Banardos staff.

Here's the rest of the bits we picked up and, for the first time this year, I've been able to wash them and peg them outside on the washing line to dry.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: 1980s does the 1950s cotton sundress by Hennes; 1980s cotton maxi with knit bodice; 1980s jumpsuit; Almatrichi of Spain peacock print cotton shift (not vintage but gorgeous!); 1960s Crimplene mini dress; 1970s needlecord smock top (I might have to keep this); 1960s petal collar mod raincoat; 1950s cotton camisole; 1960s silver sandals; high heeled polka dot wellies (festival stock!) ; Daks blazer

I love this hefty book on daily Indian wisdom Jon found for 49p.

So what room in my doll's house am I matching today? Today's purple and blue Dollyrocker's maxi co-ordinates perfectly with the living room.

I love this 1970s-inspired wallpaper so much that I've decided to paper our real house with it. 

The dining table & chairs, glass topped coffee table and dresser are all original '70s Lundby. I replaced the grubby chair cushions with leftover doll's house carpet and painted the previously mahogany dresser white.

The Gustavian style clock is another original Lundby piece, I bought when I was 10 back in 1976 and I'd still buy it now, 42 years later. My tastes have never changed.

The details:

  • Vintage vinyl, download from a doll's house website.
  • Trechikoff  & Walter Lambert prints - I found 30 of these mini wooden frames in a charity shop on Monday for £1.50 which I first painted white and then gilded, I do love a blingy picture frame.
  • Pendant light made from two lids and a plug chain.
  • Old school cassettes - I took a photo of some of Jon's gazillion mix tapes which I scaled down and glued onto cardboard.
  • Cox's apples in a pewter fruit bowl.

Plants made from sellotape & gardening wire and painted with nail polish.

I made the retro cocktail bar from kitchen foil, cardboard, toothpicks and dressmaking pins and covered it with prints of marble, Formica and a vintage NYC skyline. The light box was from Linda (the inspiration behind my doll's house obsession).

WEARING: 1970s Dollyrockers by Samuel Sherman gauzy cotton maxi (Second To None, Walsall, 2010) with a vintage Egyptian Revival gold plated, lapis lazuli pendant by Thomas Fattorini & Sons, Birmingham (part of a set Jon bought me for my 50th birthday)

Cheers, all! See you soon.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Flower Power

Florals, ahoy! The weather's a balmy 12°C and there's a suggestion of spring in the air. I'm off to 'Spoons for lunch and I'm giving the Dollyrockers Edwardian-style maxi I recently found in a charity shop its first outing.

Here's my replacement denim waistcoat, too. I have the feeling you'll be seeing a lot of this over the next few months.

In anticipation of the Spring-like weather we've been promised, I wore my vintage Pucci maxi yesterday.

The dress is from Emilio Pucci's range of American-made lingerie for Formfit Rogers (produced from 1959 until the early 1970s). With a button fastening bodice and cuffs, a side zip and generous pockets it's far too good to be worn inside the confines of the house and I don't - it's had many nights (and days) out on the town since I bought it from Sarah at Tin Trunk three years ago.

Saturday was glorious and I was out in the garden, bare-armed and weeding in the sunshine. Keeping to the theme of lingerie as outer wear I wore this 1970s St Michael off-the-shoulder nightie with that denim waistcoat and a pom-pom choker I made. This nightie has been to loads of festivals and travelled to India at least six times since I bought it for 50p from a flea market in 2010. I've even been known to wear it to bed when it's freezing cold!

And, while we're on the theme of nightwear fancy taking a look at the next room in my latest doll's house project, the second bedroom? Like my recent outfits it's mish mash of floral prints in violet, green and blue with a splash of yellow.

I'd intended for this room to be the bathroom but when I installed my super groovy avocado suite it looked disappointingly cramped. Luckily for me the Lundby extension I'd been watching on eBay ended with me being the only bidder so I was able to relocate the bathroom to a bigger and better space, allowing room for this, a second bedroom.

The details:
  • Cushions and bolsters made by me from felt and Indian trimmings.
  • The bed cover was made from a pair of toddler's trousers found in a charity shop. 
  • The pendant light was the lid from one of these plastic eggs with a kid's toy inside (from the five for £1 basket in the charity shop) which I trimmed with Indian braid,  threaded a plug chain through and attached to a lid.
  • Bead perfume bottles on a giant sequin.
  • Felt slippers 
  • I chopped off the original headboard and made one from a washing up sponge which I covered in silk and hand-sewed to give a quilted effect.
  • The full-sized version of this Fornasetti chest of drawers retails at £1500 - I cut out a picture of it from The Guardian Weekend magazine and glued it to a cabinet I'd made from a cat food box and topped with the discarded wooden headboard from the revamped bed. The feet are beads and the drawer knobs the tops from dressmaking pins.

When Curtise, Tania, Annie & I went to Chesterfield market a few years ago I fell in love with a vintage Pifco freestanding hairdryer but I didn't fancy lugging it back on the train to Walsall via New Street Station and had to leave it behind. I was excited to find a mini version in the bag of furniture I bought from the charity shop the other day. The West German wardrobe was a £1 eBay find.

My latest doll's house came with the Swedish-made Lundby framed pictures still attached to the wall. Their subject matter was dull (the larger one featured The Haywain, & the smaller a faded Degas ballerina), as I'm sure you know, Vladimir Trechikoff & J H Lynch are far more my style. I copied the wallpaper from a posh website.

The blanket box came from eBay and was a horrible orange coloured wood. I painted it teal and roughed up the edges with sandpaper and shoe polish so it looked less like cheap & nasty repro piece and more like a careworn antique. Just don't call it shabby chic.

WEARING: Dollyrockers by Samuel Sherman 1960s gauzy cotton maxi ; 1990s denim waistcoat (both charity shopped); vintage 1970s sunglasses (Moseley Vintage Fair, 2016); Pompom earrings (made by me); gormless expression (all my own)

I'd better be off, there's charity shops to explore before we hit 'Spoons!

See you soon.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Kitchen Sync

I was just on the way out of the shop after a fruitless search of one of the local chazzas when the manager called me back. I've put something aside for you but I'm not sure if it's a bit old fashioned, she said, handing over this 1960s wool maxi dress in a wild combination of orange and red. Old fashioned? I couldn't hand my cash over fast enough!

A few shops on and I noticed a chunky gold zip peeping out of a box of shoes on the floor. Further investigation revealed it to be attached to a pair of unworn River Island black suede platforms in my size. What with the hat I bought back in the Autumn the entire outfit cost me less than £10. With prices like those who needs high street fast fashion?

 I had got into the habit of photographing our charity shop finds as soon as we got them home but we've bought so much lately I've let it slip. Above are Wednesday morning's vintage discoveries. Clockwise from top left: Loden pea coat by Gloverall, the luxury British designer brand who introduced the duffel coat to non-civilians in 1950; Trina Lewis & Marjon Couture at Baker Sportswear 1970s does the 1950s sundress; Unworn 1960s elbow length silver lurex gloves by Dents (British glove makers with a royal warrant, established in 1777) ; Ivory layered maxi dress with macrame insets by British boutique label, Mr Darren; Mod dress suit in Crimplene by Fulton, London; Donkey jacket (to the uninitiated, a traditional piece of British work wear) and a handmade lined polyester flower print maxi.

As threatened in my last post, I'm coordinating my outfits to match the rooms in my Lundby doll's house so today's red and orange maxi means you get to see the kitchen. Kitchen sync, you see.

The orange fitted kitchen was produced in Sweden by Lundby between 1974 and 1979. It wasn't super cheap (I paid £15) but I'd sold some of the remaining bits from Mum's doll's house as well as some leftovers from the furniture that came with the recent charity shop doll's house so I had a decent wedge of cash in my Paypal account to fritter away on groovy 1970s furniture.

In real life I dislike fitted kitchens - our real-life one is freestanding - but in the mini world I love this.

The washing machine and table & chairs were in the aforementioned bag of furniture as were the pot plants on the windowsill. The light fitting is half a cat toy threaded with a plug chain and attached to a lid from the conditioner that comes with my hair dye.

  • The blind is a piece of paper rolled onto a kebab skewer, trimmed with beads. To replicate the pull I've threaded a snap fastener with elastic. 
  • I downloaded the printable retro food packaging from HERE.
  • The "bin" is a lid from a glue stick with some polythene stuffed inside. The towel rail is a painted lolly stick with push pins for knobs and the tea towels are cut from a dishcloth.
  • The plates are buttons with a scaled down image of a Taunton Vale tray.
  • I made the Atomic-style wall clock from a cork and some dressmaker's pins.

Jon took the van for a service yesterday and explored the neighbouring chazzas to pass the time. I've got a present for you, he announced when he came home, presenting me with this amazing '70s maxi.

Vintage knife pleat maxi (Charity shop, £3); Original '70s suede platform boots & Panda, London hat (charity shopped); Vintage pendant (present from Emma

Killer sleeves, a print so loud you can hear it in outer space and colours that fit effortlessly into my wardrobe, you can see why we've spent the last twenty-six years together. I wonder which room I'll match this dress to?

Wearing: Vintage wool maxi (£5), River Island boots (£1.99), Felt hat (£2.49), Indian choker (present from Ilaria)

See you soon!