Monday, 30 June 2008

Vintage...swimsuits (or rather swimdont's) glorious technicolour!

My bestest buddy from college days and I, used to dress in vintage clothes from the 1950s..we spent the best part of our late teen and early twenties living our lives like we were in a 50s B-movie surrounded by Hotrods and alcohol and having a whole stack of 50s style fun.
Each Saturday we would visit Birmingham's rag market to purchase a new vintage outfit to wear out, or fabric to sew an outfit or dress copied from a movie star from that era.
Here's some of my old swimsuits...
naughty nautical!

glass fancy buttons,industrial strength boning and super-sized zip!

One phase we went through was to wear vintage swimsuits with vintage Levis....hmm... sounds dubious I know, but at the time our group of people all did it too.. so it was a normal occurrence. Even in winter.


Vintage swimsuits were always available cheaply at the rag market so we had quite a stash between us..perfect we though to wear to the swimming baths one day...
Off we tootled with our vintage kit thinking we looked cute and kitsch and fabulous (oh to be 20 again!!) and took a swim in our vintage swimsuits...

hmmm..the culprit!

Not so long after we looked at each other in absolute horror..our 'swimsuits' had stretched to twice their original size..(oh behold the joys of modern lycra, for '50s swimming costumes have none!) the drag was like wearing a costume made of disposable nappies.. it took all our strength to swim back to the side before we sank forever under the weight of all that worn out elastane.We only hoped that small boys in goggles, swimming nearby..didn't see any 'girl stuff'.. for fears that they would be scarred for life!

plain and sensible

The next part was the worst..we had to work out how to get out of the pool, which bit of costume to hoist up,which bits to hide which bit of the pool ladder to grab..oh the trauma! When we finally rustled up the courage to go for it, it felt like a hundred tons of water were in our pants..our gussets were by our knees and the fabric was SO unbelievably heavy! we scuttled away in total embarrassment,swearing never to show our faces at the baths again.Ever.

my favourite...cheeky tulips!

(Or at least not in a 40 year old bathing suit with worn out elastic!)

Friday, 27 June 2008

Friday ramblings!


As a 1930s wife, I amVery Poor (Failure)

Take the test>

I've had two good things happen this week, the first was a giveaway that I won from krafty keely..although I really don't think I deserved to win...I was entered in sympathy for my appalling score as a 1930s housewife...minus 38 points..MINUS!! oh dear. Pete would wholeheartedly agree with that score as I am totally undomesticated when it comes to wifely things..if you haven't already you must have a go..some of the questions are hilarious..anyway, I won a card of my choice from a selection and a custom made card..which I have already had..I can't show you as its for my mum and dads 50th wedding anniversary on the 5th of July and they sometimes pop by for a read..but I can assure you it's really lovely! thanks Keely!

The second was a blogging award..and such a nice one at that..

Thank you, Thank you Queen of 50 cents, I'm very flattered that I make your day, especially as you live across the pond, as it were!!

So now I have to choose, according to award rules, 5 blogs I'd like to pass it on to..hmmm a difficult one as I love reading so many!

Well, I'll choose Julia's blog, Steph's , Jane's ,Clare's and Sophie's blogs.

These were the first blogs I ever started to read and have loved them ever since, they were my inspiration and they really do make your day with their lovely photographs and inspirational stories, although we all miss Sophie's regular blogging.... please come back Sophie Honeysuckle!

Stephs blog is lovely and I just love the old fashioned words she uses in her writing, It's like reading an Enid Blyton book about the countryside and interiors (smashing!)

Jane always manages to remind me of things I have stashed away and forgotten about, she appears on virtually every blog list and quite rightly so.. Blog Royalty!

Clare's blog is pure eye candy and she's a nice thoughtful blogger too, she certainly made my month, nlet alone my day when she sent me a little surprise to cheer me up not so long ago.

then Julia..Julia never ceases to amaze me how great she is at leaving messages to everyone..and along with her really great blog, it's those messages that really can make your day!

So girlies..this little award is for you...
Hope you agree with my choices!

Thanks to everyone who made a purchase from the shop..I was really surprised how fast things sold..they have all been posted out, so any problems get in touch people won't you!!

Have a great weekend bloggers, see you Monday!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Shabby...a shabby old bathroom stool

A lot of the people I garden for are elderly ladies.I have a lot of time for elderly ladies, I love listening to their fascinating stories about the war and admiring all the old fashioned things like granny blankets and embroideries in their houses..they find it quite surprising that I like their 'old stuff' and know a little bit about it. My gardening often takes far longer than it should as I'm inside drinking tea and talking! Lots of them think its old tat and want to replace it with is better than old in their opinion..and old is better than new in mine! I always ask if they are throwing something out whether it could find a new home with me.
One such item was this old bathroom stool..heading for the tip, I sheepishly asked..If I might have it instead..I feel like such a scrounger sometimes, especially when they say "you want this old thing?" in that tone of voice that makes you feel a bit silly...but I hate to see things discarded that are pretty or have potential and I always offer to pay. My kitchen dresser came this way too, taken out of the kitchen of a fantastic old converted chapel to make way for very modern units it was heading for the builders skip and if I took it away I was doing them a favour... if you don't ask you'll never get!!
I love the colour of this stool, a sort of 1950s duck-egg blue,I love its scruffy layers of paint and overall shabbiness. I do like shabbiness.

Most people would probably sand it down and want perfection, and I must admit I was tempted to repaint it pink at one point..but I couldn't bear to lose the history of it and that gorgeous original colour.
After a quick wipe over and brush off of all the loose paint, I decided to cover the top, which was originally cork but had long since gone,with a piece of Cath Kidston oilcloth, trimmed with some pretty the perfect shade of blue and red.
It's going to go in the bathroom..somewhere to put your cup of tea and magazine on whilst you're soaking in the bath..(or is that just me!)...not bad for a freebie me thinks!!

Friday, 20 June 2008

My latest distractions....

Meet Violet and Florence ...

They are a little shy...

We had a great day out at the Malvern show on Sunday, I loved seeing all the turkeys unfortunately but plently of naughty pigs causing havoc in the arena and lots of every shape and size you can imagine.

These little sweeties were on my chicken wish list, they are Cream legbars, a rare breed that lays blue tinted eggs..beautiful blue tinted eggs that can sometimes be any shade from pink to green to that gorgeous greeny-blue..(think of Laura Ashleys Eau de nil paint!)
They still cheep like baby chicks and are only little, about 12 weeks old and the size of a pidgeon, so wont be laying for a while and the other girlies are being real meanies at the moment so I'm mothering them far too much..any hens that come here are spoilt rotten!!
Betty, who had taken over from Dolly in the broody hen stakes, allowed them to hide under her wings for a while, but then decided she was having none of it and promptly left the nest with a very loud squarky cluck, a hop skip and a sort of clumsy attempt at flying down the garden. She's a bit odd is our Betty...
Thats it. Broodiness over with.

Well, I've bunged some bits in the shop and if anyone's interested,some gingham coolie lampshades over on eBay (theres a link at the top)
I'll hopefully be 'bunging' some more bits in the blogshop over the next few days, I have some lavender hearts to sew together, so they will be next...then some cushions...unless I get distracted again!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Vintage...visiting Grannie

Here's a little bit of my family've heard me talk of Little Grannie, this post is about Big Grannie and her beautiful house.

I adore this wedding photograph of my Grannie,taken in Paris in the1930s

Big Grannie, or Grannie and Grandpa Bunch as we knew them, (Bunch being the name of their dog) lived in a beautiful stone manor house, with large formal gardens ,a paddock, a rotating Victorian summer house and resident ghostie, who searched at night for her string of pearls that had broken and dropped to the floor. An old house that was slightly frightening with its creeking and dark corridoors but also overwhelmingly pretty.

I was only young but I remember this house so well, the smell, the flowery curtains, window shutters, the dark wooden paneling on the walls and the pretty pale blue painted windows. I also loved the gardens, the willow tree,box hedging and endless flowerbeds of English can you get!

I was doing a bit of research to find a photo of what the house looks like today and found to my surprise their house was up for sale again. After my grandparents moved away to a more practical bungalow in the 1970s, it was sold at auction and later became one of the Daily Mail dream homes in the used to have to save tokens out of the newspaper to enter the prize draw to win a 'dream house'.. The Manor house as it is today

The house and 3 acres of land was divided up by the new owners and the outbuildings sold off and re-developed into barn was such a shame and although the front is still the same thanks to a grade II listing, if you've clicked on the link,you'll see that the inside really isn't!
For some reason I'm now the keeper of the old sales brochure from that auction (Oh how I wish the photos were in colour and there were more interior pictures!) I love the descriptions of the rooms which sound vintage even for the mid 70s....'wash house','garden room','pantry' and'dressing room' all conjure up images of English country living to me and the description of the formal gardens and paddock bring summer memories flooding back. I also have the pink striped rosy curtains that hung in the front bedroom..I had them in my first rented house along with the matching fitted bedspreads, they are still as bright as they were in the 1940s. my grandpa

There is a story as to how my grandparents came to live in this wonderful house,having fled from occupied Paris with nothing but a suitcase and with my mother as a French speaking 5 year old, they came to England and lived in the tiny cottage along the road eventually inheriting the beautiful Manor house that belonged to an Aunt, from the Wicksteed great grandfather was Charles Wicksteed...inventor, founder of the first public leisure park in England that was over in the next field from this house of which many a fun afternoon was spent during a visit to Grannie and Grandpas.

Charles was maker of swings and slides and playground equiptment..If you take a look at the swing seats you may be pushing your little ones on at the park...they might just say 'Wicksteed'!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Houston....we have a problem (or three)

Thanks for all your messages recently, especially if I havent got round to getting back to you already..It's been one of those weeks and its all a bit upside down at the moment here..poor old stinky boy came back from his holiday with a nasty infection he'd picked from the pool water that he didnt really want to tell us about..a bit embarrassing you see, finally when he did pluck up the courage as he was unable to take a was too late to get to the doctors and visits to hospitals in the middle of the night ensued..hes now on the list for a small operation..he did make me laugh though by sheepishly saying " mum I didn't really want to become Jewish now" I had to explain it doesnt quite work like I guess now you know what little operation he'll be having! poor bike riding for a while..ouch!
Funny really as this was one of his Birthday cards back in May...!We've had no luck locating a light for my truck..that was such a pain..with it being an old truck, its a salvage or ebay job and it's now not going to pass its MOT without it either! aghhh.. it's my work truck !!
Bad Karma on its way to 'Steve' the 'breaking-of-lights-at-car-boot-sales' person as we speak. hmm.

The house sale really isn't going well either..lots of people have looked round but no-one seems to want to buy at the moment..the credit crunch seems to be kicking in big time..I'm not really that concerned though..which probably doesn't help matters as I really should be! So here she sits waiting patiently for her new owner...
I've managed to get on with a little bit of way overdue sewing..Kathy if you're reading this..I have made that lampshade cover!! (not this one..the other one!) I'll put some more bits and bobs in my blogshop when I get round to it.
ok enough of the moaning...we've got free tickets the Malvern show tomorrow..Yay! it's the summer one with cute animals as well..I'm on the hunt for a pet have been warned!

Now thats what I call a great swap.. a dozen eggs for a couple of tickets..thankyou my nice new neighbour!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Vintage...Sundays thrifty finds

I went to my first proper massive car boot sale in ages yesterday,pursuading the smaller stinky boy to come with me treasure hunting. It was packed out, but I must admit it was one of those car boots where it's mostly cuddly toys or clothes..I got some bargainous goodies though!..

not quite vintage but I couldn't pass these by with my love of red and white polka dots!
another Vernon kitsch it hurts! This little vintage carved plaster mirror was a bartering, just a pound!! was gold and very chipped, but I really like it now I've painted it white.
This was the bargain of the day, stained and stuck behind glass in a heavy oak tray, the chap gave it to me for free!!..(I'm a ace flirt!!) the tray wasn't very nice, so that's gone, this is it now washed ..(not ironed though!)and I'm going to frame it for the wall.
I collect these old signs for the garden,no sooner had I bought it, a chap wanted to by it off me..sorry matey..I know a bargain when I see one!

I was chuffed with my hoard and on heading back we spied that there was a note stuck on the windscreen of The Beast (my old truck)..

I was parked well out of the way near the exit....but that day happened to be the day the worst driver in Worcestershire was out and about and he had somehow managed to smash my front light..I was chuffed he'd had the descentsy to leave a note.. but not so chuffed when I realised the number he had given was a fake one! obviously he did it in full view of others and was going through the process of being humanly by 'leaving his details'... AAAAGGGHHHH!!!!...what an Ar.....bottom vent..he's a bottom vent..poo shute, whatever.. but you get my drift..this is a family blog.

So my thrifty finds at cheap as chips prices have turned out very expensive in the end..

oh well..!!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Pretty... the story of five million eiderdowns.

I have a confession to make.

I am totally addicted to the purchasing of eiderdowns and I have far too many.
It's their fluffy plumpness, pretty covers and snugglyness that I love and their unknown past.
It started from my granny. Little Granny whos house was from the same era as mine. Little Granny whom I have inherited a love of flowers, the 1930s, chintz and gardening from.
Every bed in Little Grannys house was topped with a candlewick bedspread and a pretty eiderdown, co-ordinating chintz flowered curtains hung at the windows, floral hooked rugs on the floor and her kitchen was a cream and red English Rose one. I loved the homeliness of this grannies house, the ticking clocks and the polished parquet floors, the pastels by Cecil Aldin that hung on the walls and the leaded 1930s bay windows. (the toy box was the highlight..filled with Dinky cars and Mable Lucy Atwell books and if it wasn't raining I could circuit the garden on my dads red vintage trike)
I was lucky enough to have one of the eiderdowns from the twin bedroom. A beautiful yellow background with pink ribbons, roses and a little frilled edge.
When we moved house the last time my precious eiderdown was put into a binbag so that it wouldn't get dirty in the moving truck.
It was bin collection day when we moved.
And guess what the bin men took away.. along with a bag of the boys teddies and a whole bag of sheets and bedding and all the dressing up stuff.
Boy, was I upset.
So this is where my obsession started, I've hunted relentlessly for one the same but haven't found it yet,along the way I've found some real stunners...

blue ones...

pink ones...

peach ones...

yellow and green ones...
even new ones!...

I've tried so hard to part with them but I can't, really I can't. I'm completely sad I know, I get them out just to look at sometimes and they make me so happy..they really are so pretty.I have even broken washing machines for the sake of a clean eiderdown.

It's bedding from a time gone past, now replaced with duvets, but I still clutch on to that era with my feathery, plumptious vintage finds...(on top of my duvet)
I must add to this post before you all think I'm some greedy millionaire hoarding away eiderdowns!!.. I bought all but one on ebay..quite a while ago when they seemed much cheaper than what they seem to go for now, and one from Louise Loves website..the first rosy blue that one was quite expensive as it's a double, but I HAD to have it even if it meant eating just toast for a week! looking at them now I think..oops I really do have too many but it would be like parting with a favourite pet if they had to go...and they do get used...honest!
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