Monday, 23 November 2015

It's All Greek To Me!

Trading in Bristol last Saturday. Marabou-trimmed cape & maxi (Babouskha Vintage)

I booked a pitch for a fair in Cardiff this coming weekend thinking that as we were trading in nearby Bristol the day before, we'd pack up, drive over the border & have a leisurely Saturday night in a cheap hotel, leaving us refreshed and ready for Sunday, our last fair of 2015. Did I check the calendar? No! I'd got my dates mixed up and Bristol was last week, we're actually in Prestwich on Saturday, a four and a half hour drive away from Cardiff. Saturday's fair doesn't finish until 6pm so by the time we've packed down and reached Cardiff it'll be well after midnight. What a dimwit.

So I've decided that this week shall mostly be spent taking it easy so that we can rebuild our waning strength ready for the final full-on fling. Sunday will be our 36th vintage fair of the year and, combined with ten festivals this Summer and a handful of car boot sales, we're well and truly knackered. 

All but the frying pan are vintage saucepans, naturally!
Plenty of good, home-cooked food is on the menu. The week kicked off with veggie sausage, poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans (above is what remained - absolutely nothing!) I made Punjabi-style aubergine (find it HERE) and a lentil & butternut squash curry (find it HERE) in the slow cooker last week, eating half and freezing the rest to enjoy this week. 

So-ugly-its-cool vintage lamp from a car boot sale, Lloyd Loom bedside table rescued from a skip, Loren glasses by London Retro @ Glasses Direct, book part of a charity shop 3 for £1 deal, Cole & Son hand-blocked wallpaper from eBay.

For a woman known to average a book a day my reading been woefully slow of late and it's taken me weeks to finish a book as I fall asleep within minutes of getting into bed. This week I'm making an effort to go to bed earlier and finish my current read, a gritty Police thriller set in Liverpool, and hopefully make a start on Phantom by Jo Nesbo.

Evenings shall mostly be spent snuggled up in front of the fire catching up on some quality TV. I'm gripped by London Spy, it's wonderfully dark and stupendously good. Now Arne Dahl's finished we'll be getting our Scandi fix with series 3 of The Bridge, the beautiful and incredibly complex Saga is my hero. I'm not sure what's going to replace River, it finished last week and I'm bereft. The plot might be far-fetched and Damian Lewis a dim and distant memory but I'm still addicted to Homeland.

The cold snap is a nightmare for those of us with crap joints so I'm being kind to myself and substituting the killer platforms for more sensible footwear. Luckily practical doesn't have to mean ugly. My Mum's original 1960s boots are fleece lined with a prosthetic hip friendly block heel.

Minerva 1970s kaftan worn with original Biba boots, Native American Chieftain pendant (car boot sale) 
On Saturday I spotted something metallic sparkling in another trader's bargain box and hauled out this embroidered kaftan with a Greek label.

A couple of the other traders hail from Greece so I asked them about it, wondering if it was the Athenian version of George at Asda (Walmart). Apparently not. Minerva turns out to be quite a desirable vintage label which commands high prices back in Greece.

I'm off to spend the rest of the day in Wetherspoons and I'll be wearing my maxi length sheepskin over the dress as its absolutely freezing. (Bloody linen, I did iron it before I wore it, honest!)

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.

See you soon.

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Caped Crusader & Some Vintage Finds

I've found so much great vintage lately it's getting quite ridiculous. This is one of four capes (yes, four!) I've bought in the past week.  

Wearing: Welsh tapestry cape, tribal print 1970s maxi and original leather platforms - all bought at Sutton Coldfield Vintage Fair.

Here's the second, a classic Welsh Wool tapestry number in a harder to find midi length. It's so cosy, like wearing a blanket. Perfect for the predicted zero temperatures we've got forecast for the weekend.

Clockwise from top left: Hendrix-inspired suede waistcoat; Suede blazer; Jaeger wool cardi; 1960s Farah jacket; Suede driving gloves; 1950s Doeskin waistcoat; 1970s Trench coat; English-made Tartan cap; 1950s Harris Tweed blazer; 1960s Philip Collier wool jacket; St Michael herringbone trilby; 1960s Leather lace ups; 1970s Dagger collar, novelty print shirt; Vinyl briefcase; St Michael blazer; 1970s Donkey jacket, Sears 1970s needlecord blazer.
It's the time of year when people are clearing out their houses in readiness for all the new tat they'll acquire over the festive season. There was a huge queue outside the Cash for Clothes hut this morning and a couple of the charity shops we visited had notices on the door refusing any further donations as their stockrooms were full. 

Clockwise from top left: Greek key print maxi skirt; embellished 1970s midi; 1960s Evans Outsize psychedelic shirt; Suede & leather jerkin; Simon Ellis maxi; Fred Bear fedora; Crimplene & lurex maxi; Cotton printed maxi; Dorothy Perkins evening blouse; Lolita-style 1970s midi; Chiffon sleeve 1970s midi; 1960s mini dress; David Conrad suede coat; Corsonia 1960s wool coat; 1960s Dermore of Mayfair velvet evening top.
It's a great time to be charity shopping. Most people are obsessed with Xmas shopping and, as the vast majority shudder at the thought of giving second hand gifts, it means the chazzas are quiet, eBay's dead and there's rich pickings for us. If we bought all the old stuff we saw we'd go bankrupt so (believe it or not) we exercise restraint - we pick the best and leave the rest. After all, not all vintage is good vintage.

Of course, most of what we buy is for Kinky Melon. My own clothes still fit into a couple of wardrobes, with the out-of-season stuff (halternecks, floaty skirts, gauzy cotton & silk maxis and bikinis) packed away in suitcases ready for India and for next Summer. I don't try on our stock purchases, they're washed, repaired if necessary, tagged and hung on the shop rails out of temptation's way. Every £5 spent on me is one fewer night's accommodation in an Indian B&B.

 I spotted this embroidered & tasselled wool cloak (number 3!) on another Judy's trader's stall in Liverpool last week. Luckily she'd taken a fancy to some 1970s silver crochet bellbottoms on our stall so we did a swap. Not sure if it's Moroccan or Afghani but I love it.

Another trader had saved this caped catsuit especially for me and, as she sells her stuff at bargain basement prices, it would have been daft not to buy it. It has a blue ILGWU label inside which means it was made between 1964 - 1973 (judging by the fabric and the style, definitely '70s).

Just in case you're wondering I bought THIS black velvet capelet (number 4!) when I was out with Curtise & Tania last Thursday.

Mexican wool cape (Sutton Coldfield Vintage Fair) worn with City Swingers 1970s moss crepe maxi (British Heart Foundation), sheepskin hat (Salvation Army, years ago) and 1960s lace-up go-go boots.
Jon tells me that we've got to leave at 5.30am for Bristol tomorrow morning so I'd better get myself & my outfit ready for a 4.45am alarm call. No drinking or shenanigans for us. That'll have to wait till Monday.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Colour Purple

I've got a bit of a thing for purple at the moment. It's the perfect antidote to a miserably wet Wednesday mostly spent doing the end of year accounts and battling Storm Barney to deliver them to the accountants around the corner.

It figured heavily in my weekend wardrobe, too. On Saturday I chose a feather-trimmed velvet maxi bought from good friends (& fellow Judy's traders) Make Do & Vintage. I originally wore the cross pendant I'm wearing today but Jon said I looked like a vicar and as I was trading in the crypt in Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral and, as you well know,  I've never been one for appropriate dressing .
Vintage velvet maxi worn with 1970s leopard platforms and a pendant I made from part of a jewelled Lamani gypsy head dress 
My passion for the colour have been contagious, I sold out of purple maxi dresses when we traded in Liverpool.

1970s maxi worn with 1980s purple suede boots and yesterday's pendant
On Sunday I wore my geisha print maxi at the Sutton Coldfield Vintage & Art Fair.

It's not a passing fad. I've been wearing it for nearly 49 years. Mum detested wishy-washy pastels and dressed me in purple as a baby. Well, it was the 1960s...

My Wetherall of Bond Street cape has featured regularly on here since I started blogging.

What to wear underneath my cape is always a puzzle. It works best with a mini dress with sleeves and I've worn my usual three to death so I knocked this up. There wasn't much of the fabric so I had to make it a lot shorter than the pattern suggested. Back in the 1980s the lads from the boys' school used to call me Nice Legs Shame About the Face and they probably still would. I'll just have to remember to wear big pants if I'm planning on doing any bending.

The mega-shortness of the mini shows off these studded 1960s suede boots to full advantage. They came back from our chazzing trip to Sutton Coldfield a fortnight ago. After seeing a fake fur coat in the shop next door for £95 I had to check with the woman behind the counter that the label did say £6 and not £60. As you can probably guess they were six quid. Thank f*ck for that. I'd have been devastated to have left these beauties behind. Modern boots aren't made for slim calves, they make my legs look like a broom in a bucket.

Me-made mini - made to a 1972 Living pattern using 1960s psychedelic Dicel (charity shop bargain bin) and a 22" metal zip salvaged from the rag bag. Worn with a vintage stainless steel pendant (car boot sale), 1960s go-go boots (Birmingham Settlement) and bastard massive hoop earrings (£1, Punjabi dress shop)

We're trading in Bristol on Saturday (see HERE) and hopefully I'll have time to photograph and share some of the incredible vintage finds we've had recently before they've all been snapped up.

See you soon!

Friday, 13 November 2015

When Bloggers Meet - Wine, Women & Wetherspoons

There's little a younger woman can do that an older one can't - shop for England, put the world to rights over a pint, explore new places without getting lost, dress how the f*ck we want or strike up conversations with strangers - just don't expect us to be too hot on technology. This was our feeble attempt at a selfie.

Thank goodness for a kindly policeman who, observing us cackling helplessly at our feeble attempt, offered to take our photo before arresting a fare dodger.

I know that I seem to meet bloggers almost every weekend but we're working and I rarely have time for more than a quick chat. How I wish I could spend more time with some of the wonderful women I've bonded with on-line and who've made a special effort to travel to one of our vintage fairs to say hello.

Yesterday Curtise, Tania & I managed to co-ordinate our time off and spent an entire day together doing what all the best meet-ups consist of, choosing a random place to meet, trawling the charity shops for vintage gems, a boozy & delicious lunch in Wetherspoons (gourmet vegetarian Mexican burgers with chips & onion rings), a bit more shopping and a lot more alcohol.

..and what treasures we found! This 1970s-does-the-1930s Tina Warren maxi was made for Curtise.

I found some great stuff.

We can't get enough of these 1960s waistcoats. They're a Kinky best seller. 

A gorgeous military-styled cotton velvet capelet. The same label as my huge sleeved maxi (seen HERE)

I love a cross body bag, they're perfect for festivals and car booting. At 99p this 1980s Italian leather beauty had to be mine.

I can spot 1960s lurex at 100 paces, made back in the day when Dorothy Perkins was a hip and happening label.

Not one but two vintage Jean Varon dresses (there was a third but that's another story). The stylish puffed shoulder of this 1970s midi caught my eye on a rail of otherwise mediocre high street frocks.

Top quality stands out a mile. I knew this tartan maxi was going to be something good when I spotted it peeping out from the centre rail the second I set foot in the charity shop. Even if you have no interest in vintage fashion whatsoever John Bates (aka Jean Varon) designed Emma Peel's wardrobe in second half of the first season of The Avengers in 1965 - 1966. 

Curtise gave me this fabulous 1970s sequined top by Vera Mont, set to become a festival staple, I reckon. Tania made the groovy lavender bag (and grew the filling herself).

 She also gave me this stunner of a midi dress - a style I rarely wear but love on other people. The paisley print fabric looks very Liberty-inspired and it shows off my 1960s go-go boots a treat.

WEARING: 1970s midi dress, vintage go-go boots & felt hat (car boot sales), Original 1960s Biba dragonfly & velvet choker (inherited from Mum), 1970s coin pendant (gift from Em)
What a fantastic (and much needed) day out! Blogging friends are the best. I'm definitely doing more of this in 2016 - this year's schedule has been punishing.

Oh dear, Mr Policeman, you're a bit wobbly.
Back to reality. Just five more fairs until the selling season winds down & the Xmas madness takes over. We're in Liverpool with Judy's tomorrow and Sutton Coldfield on Sunday, do come and say hello & browse our rails. We're not as scary as we look, honest! 

See you soon.

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.  

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

I Never Thought It Would Happen With Me And A Girl From Clapham (and Trowbridge)

Last week was a bit of a write off, no sewing, very little blogging, a single day spent charity shopping and, in my haste to pack for a back-to-back weekend of vintage fairs, I neglected to photograph our finds and promptly sold the lot, ours for just a fleeting moment.

Yesterday I woke up raring to go. I had a head full of ideas and couldn't wait to put those thoughts into action. After I'd shoved a couple of loads of washing into the machine, unpacked the van and devoured a late breakfast I remodelled five mediocre maxi dresses into far more fabulous minis then set about creating this....

A psychedelic go-go coat - the bastard love child of a 1960s quilted dressing gown and a past-its-prime fake fur coat, finished off with some yellow Bakelite buttons salvaged from a moth-eaten 1940s tea dress.

I was so excited by my creation that I wore it to go charity shopping this morning. It reduced one lady to tears as it reminded her of a coat her mum had made her as a teenager in the 1960s. I'd call that a success so I'm linking a day late to Patti's Visible Monday.

 As I previously mentioned , last weekend was a back-to-back vintage extravaganza, kicking off on Saturday morning at an ungodly hour normally only seen if we're off to catch a flight or going to Glastonbury.

The weather on the two and a half hour journey down to Bath was atrocious, we could hardly see through the windscreen for the rain. The unload at The Guildhall isn't the easiest, a tiny service lift and two flights of winding marble stairs. By the time we'd set up we were half dead and soaked to the skin but that's soon forgotten when you're in surroundings as gorgeous as these.

Sian, a Facebook follower whom I'd never met, messaged me the night before, kindly inviting us to use the private car parking area outside her flat , saving us a small fortune in parking fees. She turned up later to introduce herself and gave us free drinks vouchers for a local coffee house. Isn't social media a wonderful thing?

Wearing: Me: 1960s John Marks poppy print velvet maxi (Vintage village @ The Clothes Show, 2008) Jon: 1970s Double Two gingham shirt, John Collier 1960s jacket, skinnied up vintage trousers (all charity shopped).

Business was brisk and the turn out was great. It's the third time we'd traded in Bath with Judy's and takings were the best yet. 

 The most exciting thing was meeting Mim for the first time, who'd braved the filthy weather to travel over from Trowbridge and say hello. What a beautiful girl she is, her blog photos don't do her justice. We hugged, giggled and chatted, giddy with excitement. Her lovely husband had to model a duffel coat for a customer interested in buying it as a surprise pressie for her boyfriend as she thought they were of a similar size. He did a great job and she bought it. Jon and I wished we could have accompanied them on their cheeky afternoon pub crawl round Bath.

After we'd packed up and lugged the stock into the van we headed to Croydon, another 2 and a half hour journey. Our friends (and fellow traders) had booked the four of us into a cheap hotel which turned out to be ridiculously luxurious with an affordable bar, some great veggie options on the menu, the most comfortable beds in the world and an inclusive buffet breakfast. We were able to stay up until after midnight as we didn't have to set the alarm until 6.30am (a lie-in!). The journey to Clapham only took 25 minutes. What a refreshing change.

Wearing: 1970s Alexander Clare halter neck maxi (99p, eBay) and velvet jacket with massive sleeves (Leibchen Vintage)

 A problem with the Tube meant Clapham wasn't quite as busy as everyone had hoped but we did well sales-wise and were more than happy. I was excited when several customers who'd bought off us in Brixton last month told me that they'd had come especially to browse our rails and I met Kate, a long-time blog reader. I was thrilled when Michelle (who blogged at The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe until she had a baby 8 months ago) turned up with her partner & her beautiful girl and surprised me. We've followed each other for years so it was like we'd been mates forever. 

We packed up, loaded the van and arrived back to Walsall three hours later, just in time to watch Saturday night's X Factor accompanied by a large rum and coke and a packet of crisps - we're so rock and roll!

Wearing: Psychedelic go-go coat (made by me), vintage white leather boots (from Emma-Kate), silver jewellery from India, nails by Barry M

So what's happening this week? We're frantically trying to restock the rails ready for another double dose of vintage selling (and I will capture my finds this time), there's talk of meeting up with some cool ladies on Thursday and I haven't read a blog post since last week so there's some serious catching up to do! We're in Liverpool with Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair on Saturday (HERE) and Sutton Coldfield, home of the expensive chazzas, on Sunday (HERE). 

PS If you love vintage & art, live near Northampton & are free on Thursday night then one of my friends is helping to organise a charity fundraiser. Do support her if you can. I'll be with her in spirit. Details HERE.

See you soon!