Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Well... I say....Ding! Dong!

Just a quick post to say that I hope you all had a wondrous Yuletide and to wish you a
stonking New Years Eve!

I will waffle on about the recent festivities (including pressie pics!) once I have got the last leg out of the way. My New Year celebrations include a ferry to the Isle of Wight tomorrow evening, followed by a day of pottering about the charity shops. I shall then be morphing into a 1980's puff-ball-skirt-oh-what-massive-hair-you-have-and-are-those-pixie-boots??- mess for the fancy dress party I am attending at The Beards brother's pub.

New Years Day I shall be firmly wedged in hangover land and vowing never to smoke / drink / backcomb my hair / wear a puffball skirt ever again. Pictures of the debauched evening shall, of course, dutifully be posted upon my return .

So -  without further ado ( pineapple.. shake the tree) (dear Gods -  help me!) I shall scoot off. These last few months of blogging have been grand. I have made some most excellent chums (who I hope to meet in the flesh at some point in 2011) and I have had the chance to share my vintage bubble with folk of a like mind. I hope for much more of the same next year!

Right -  I'm offski!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Pretty Patches...

.. when stitched together in a slightly wonky fashion and embellished with lots of other bits and pieces, make a quilt for my Mum's 50th birthday present.

I really struggled with what to buy my Mum. She is a fussy femme and I always have to really hunt for something I think she would like. And considering that we are sharing milestone birthdays this December (her's is today -  but she doesn't know how to switch on a computer -  so I am safe to share), I thought I would make her something that she can keep. Something that I made with love and care ... and a lot of cursing and strops.

Me. Minus any makeup. Not a good look. My hair also looks like I have been touching electrical points with wet hands.

You see. This is my first (and possibly last) patchwork quilt. There may be roses on the material -  but it certainly was not a bed of them. Which is totally my fault. I did no research or reading up, despite following the fabulous Hen House blog, and went ahead in my usual "oh it will be fine" manner. Which is mostly to my detriment. I knew what a quilt looked like. But not the method.

Part of the method should not include turning your back for a quick smoke, thus allowing a fluffy Memphis to sit in the middle of it. *sigh*.

After stitching all the patches together and adding various buttons and bits of matching ribbon, it was time to back it. This is where it all went horribly wrong.

Tools of the trade. Whenever I stitch, be it by hand or on the machine, I always have a
 little bowl to pop cut thread into. Keeps it nice and tidy.

Even my uber organised self could not fix it. It took a very patient Beard to help me. See. What happened was.... When I started to stitch across it diagonally, to effectively "quilt" it, it snagged. And became what looked like a crumpled mess. But, after some serious tears, "just put it IN THE BIN!!" moments and some clever pulling, pinning and stitching, all was saved.

Now. My eyes do work. I know that this is not perfect. It could be way better.
But I made it, for my Mum, and I know that she will think it IS perfect.
Which all the matters to me :o)

This will potentially be my last post of 2010 so...

Thanks for popping in over the last few months
& a tres merry Yuletide & a cheery New Year
 to one and all!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Tale of 2 Trees

Like many of the blogs I have been reading of late, there also seems to be a severe lack of Festive Spirit in the Land Girl home. And I have pinned the blame firmly on the pathetic spindly branches of our 3 ft, pre lit tree.

If you squint -  you can see it. Just. Oh dear. It IS pathetic.

I was ok with it in when we first put the decorations up on the 5th December. There was heavy ... well heavy for the UK ... snow and it seemed like the perfect time. Out came "The Christmas Crooners" CD and the box of decs. An hour later, they were all up and done. A sigh of relief rang round the flat. 

The Festive Beard cunningly covering the fairy light wires with... errr.. masking tape. Blends a treat.

A red light kitchen. Thankfully these lights cannot be seen from the street. Who knows where that might lead.

But it was not to last. As my festive spirit became less, I knew that it could potentially become terminal. And with all my whole family coming to ours for Christmas Day, I knew I had to act quickly. I had to remove the feeble twig. And replace it with this....

Bigger is always better when it comes to Yuletide trees

For a meagre £12.50 (loving half price it's-a-week-before-the-Big-Day sales), including most baubles, lights and whatnots, it may not be as bushy or as overwhelming as I would have liked, but it is decidedly better. In my humble, festive spirit restored, opinion. Let the pictures commence...

I went a bit bauble mental and splurged on 4 of these lovely glass ones. I now have only have 3.
Glass + wooden flooring =  no more bauble

One persons charity donation is my £3.40-for-the-set treasure

Yep. Baubles from the ceiling. I unashamedly pinched the idea from a good friend of mine.
 I keep popping out into the hallway, looking up and saying "Oooooh! Pretty!"

And if all of that was not enough to make me feel full of Yuletide -  then the snow should do it!
My trusty mustard hat and wool skirt combo. Fitted jacket via charity rummage for £4.
Wellies are the only way for me to deal with snow. I had nice, warm, dry tootsies.

I hope those of you who have yet to feel the seasonal sparkles find them soon :)

Ho Ho Ho... gotta go!   

Saturday, 18 December 2010

A spot of shopping outfit post

Yep. There is NO escaping it. The season of general merriment and over indulgence is upon us. And if I had not trod on and killed my Festive Spirit -  I would be hurrahing right about now. Alas. It lies squished on the floor.

 So -  I thought I would brighten my day with an outfit post. This is the way I dress most Saturdays. Unless I am out in London. And then I wear a frock. Well -  the Queen does live there! (sometimes)

Mega rolls going on. The beauty of dirty-I-really-should-have-washed-it-yesterday hair!

I like to be comfy but with a definite 40's look. I do get stares. But who of us don't? It is something that I have to get used to, if I want to dress the way I do.

Jacket via charity shop.

That's all for now. I am off in search of a big Christmas Tree. I have decided that less is definitely not more. I am done with the twig we bought. I want to stamp on it. I am hoping the new tree shall come with a new ready-to-make-me-merry-and-all-christmassey Festive Spirit.

Until next time!

Thursday, 16 December 2010


I have wanted to do this for a while and during the recent snowy weather, I had ample opportunity. There is nothing like being stuck "working from home" to motivate you to do those things you have been putting off.

I picked up these curtains in a charity shop for a purse emptying £2.99 back in the summer. I loved the pattern and thought that they might be long enough for my front room. Alas. They were about 2ft too short. I am rubbish at guesstimating. So I thought that I might make them into cushion covers. Apparently I am lazier than I thought. The material was relegated to the back room. Until it snowed.

I shall let the pictures speak for themselves...

I started off by working on the floor. This hurts the knees and leads to strops. Cutting on the table is much better.

Heaps of extra material in those hems. Let the unpicking commence!

Never under-estimate the usefulness of pegs

Lots of stitching later.... taaaaaaaaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

A dress! Of sorts.     

This is the first garment I have ever made. I used a Simplicity pattern - I forget the number, but considering I managed to avoid following any of the directions, this dress looks nothing like it was meant to. For one, it was meant to have sleeves. And a collar. And a tie back. All of these things are missing. But that aside, I am more than happy with the end result. And for a total of about £10, including pattern and thread, I can't complain.

Pip! Pip!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

St Cyr Vintage - Question Time!

You may remember that a couple of months back I had a pretty jam packed weekend, where I visited St Cr Vintage in Camden? Well -  the lovely owner, Jessica, kindly agreed for me to interview her for your reading pleasure. I am not a sponsored blog -  so I am promoting this shop purely because I had such a fabulous vintage shopping experience there and want to pass it on to people who may benefit. Simple as that.

How and when did you get into the Vintage Trade?
I have been in business for 15 months but I guess you could say I have been "involved in the trade" since I was about 16 - although I didn't originally see my collecting as a business - I've often frequented car boots, selling clothes that I no longer liked/fitted into, and purchasing new exciting and unusual things! I have a passion for all, I don't think I could pick a single one! I like quality clothing, whether it be 1940s or 1970's.  I love the complicated layers of Victorian dress, the long flowing gowns of the 30s, the full skirts of the 50s, the colours and psychedelic patterns of the 60s - I just could go on and on and....

What is your favourite find that you could not bear to sell?
I have an 1846 Wedding dress in immaculate condition which I just could not part with. (Not that it would fit me!)

When not working, what sort of thing do you like to do? Do you attend any "vintage events"?
I am a bit of a workaholic and running the business takes up a lot of my time, but it is very rewarding because it is my passion.  I like seeing new places and I go to vintage events all over the country as and when I can - I would say that it is part work and part pleasure!  I also love going to antique fairs and festivals in the summer.  I am not really one for standing still for long so I enjoy festivals where you can take part in lots of things, dance, discover, build stuff & learn to juggle! I really enjoy listening to music, in particular, early Jazz, Blues, Swing and Reggae.

What is the best thing about running St Cyr Vintage?
It has to be the opportunity to snap up some nice bits for myself, second only to seeing a very happy customer leave with an item that they will cherish!

I do implore you to visit Jessica and her lovely shop if you are in the area and feel so inclined. It truly is the best flesh and bone vintage shopping experience I have personally had to date. They are having a Christmas Party Sale this Saturday, 18th December, which you can obtain a flyer for through their FaceBook Page. Full directions and what not are available on their webpage.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Birthday Tea!

Today is my 30th birthday. Something I am coming to terms with. I know that it is not old. By any means. And I have been told by friends and family alike that "life begins at 30". I sincerely hope so. My slight melancholy was lifted yesterday by The Beard.

And the surprise Afternoon Tea he had booked...

Where the devil is that train?

Ah. Swish and suave.

I loathe mince pies. But it would have been rude not to nom it. So I did.

In this shot I appear to be showing less than the 1940's decorum I usually like to display. My apologies. If you happen to have noticed the dress -  its an eBay purchase.

Little mini, but surprisingly filling, sarndviches.

Plenty petit four. I have a suspicion that I have spelt that wrong.

Nom nom nom

These ones tasted a little like perfume.

So I took the taste away with some scones. Warm ones.

And that which we could not finish, we got to take home!

Lovely roses...

In what else other than a tea pot!

It was a great experience and one that I shall always remember,  but it is a lot of money for little bits of cake and bread. I think it is the thrift in me that cannot let that part go. But -  that said, those scones sure were yummy!

So onwards into the 30's I go... wish me luck!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

When You Have Hat Hair - outfit post

Keep the darn thing on, I always say!

The hair under this mustard hat from Camden is something no one should see. I didn't even want to look at it myself. What started off as a quick "this-will-do-for-the-commute-and-I'll-sort-it-out-when-I-get-to-the-office" do, became a "dear-sweet-dumplings-NO!!-NO-ONE-SHALL-EVER-SEE-THIS-HORROR!!" nightmare.

A bit of cunning pinning and a roll and I was sorted. Ish.

Why can't I just smile? Why do I find it so hard?

Hat - Camden... Skirt & top - charity rummage... belt -Primark... cardy  - H&M.
I need to get a smaller belt. This one is too big for me now
Also -  gotta love Bran Flakes.

But -  I am finding it harder to be parted from my hat. Not just this one. Any in my collection. And this brings with it the temptation of being lazy with my hair every day. As the winter grows longer, the delicious possibility of staying in bed for 3 extra minutes is something I shall find hard to ignore.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Good Night Sweetheart

I often wonder where my love of the 1940's came from initially, before I started to inhale history books on the subject. And thanks to a bit of random TV flicking followed by some unabashed YouTube surfing, I think I have pinpointed it. A 1990's TV show in the UK called "Good Night Sweetheart".

 I was hooked then, aged 12, and have a feeling that, if I ignore some of the 90's sitcom crummyness, I shall be hooked again. It combines 2 of my favourite things -  time travel and the 1940's. What's not to love?

Starring Nicholas Lyndhurst of "Only Fools and Horses" fame in the title role of Gary Sparrow, a time traveller, and a veritable host of well known "oooh!-what-else-has-he-been-in??" faces, it first aired in 1993 and ran for 6 series, coming to an end in 1999. I had no idea that it ran for that long - probably because I became more interested in boys and started hanging out down the field -  so I am keen to watch it all. The box set it on my Yule time wish list.

Gary Sparrow played by Nicholas Lyndhurst

Gary, a TV repair man (remember those?) by day, finds the time portal by accident and stumbles into a Blitz bombarded East End London whilst on a call out. He enters the first pub he finds, called The Royal Oak, and asks directions. Confusion and disbelief ensue when the air raid is sounded and Gary finds himself in the cellar of the pub with dust and glass everywhere.

Phoebe was played first by Dervla Kirwan and later, Elizabeth Carling. I always loved Carling in this role

He meets Phoebe Bamford, daughter of the landlord, who is married to a serving soldier. They soon begin a relationship that is helped along by Gary's uncanny knack of getting hold of rationed items. Who knew it only took chocolate and nylons to win a girls heart? Oh, and singing Elton John songs on the old Joanna?

Yvonne Sparrow played by Michelle Holmes and then Emma Amos. I always preferred the original.

However, back in the 90's, Gary has a thoroughly modern Milly of a wife in the form of Yvonne. A bit of a ball breaker, and pretty mean to Gow for most of the time, it is hard to see why he was with her in the first place. He proceeds to have simultaneous relationships in the 40's and 90's.

Ron Wheatcroft played by Victor McGuire

Gary sets up a second hand shop, where he sells pristine 1940's vintage, with the time portal in the back yard, so that he can flit back and forth between his "then and now" lives. He is constantly aided and abetted by his friend  Ron Wheatcroft, who wants nothing more than to have a glimpse at life through the time window, but cannot pass. That would probably be just my luck if I found myself in a similar situation.

As mentioned the series ran for 6 years and  with a total of 58 episodes, including a Christmas Special, with various historical figures making an appearance such as Winston Churchill and George Formby.

It may lack the sophistication of a modern sitcom  (excluding the likes of "My Family")  but I love it. Roll on Yule and a potentially fulfilled wish list! I am tentatively looking forward to a snowy and cold January in the company of a DVD fest! (I have just read this post out to The Beard -  so I am hoping he has taken the bait)

Can you remember what first sparked your interest in your vintage-ness?


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