Tuesday, 21 June 2016

We're Not Worthy - Oh Yes, We Are!

Hand on heart, if you'd asked me two weeks ago I was seriously doubtful I'd make this year's Glastonbury Festival but, after taking things easy for a fortnight, the hip pain has subsided into a nagging - but manageable - ache. I'm off to get x-rayed this afternoon but as the doctor won't be able to get hold of me until next week I'm going for it while I still can. We're off to Worthy Farm in less than 12 hours and excited is not the word!

Wearing: 1970s maxi dress (20p, jumble sale, ages ago), denim waistcoat (a friend found in a chazza), excited face (courtesy of Glastonbury)
Our month spent travelling in India and five nights at Glastonbury are our holidays. I know that to most people a week under canvas in a mud-sodden field with limited access to water, a shared communal toilet and a diet of food cooked over a single gas jet isn't an ideal way to spend a holiday but to us it's perfect. A chance to live simply, to do whatever we like; to strike up random conversation with strangers; to discover new music & bask in our favourites; to experience the weird and the wonderful; to drink wine for breakfast & eat chips at bedtime; to sleep whenever the fancy takes us; to put the world to rights over a late night campfire; to dance in the rain; to wander the site getting hopelessly lost....I'm already getting butterflies at the thought of it all.  HERE's this year's line-up.

Past Glastos

In a desperate bid to put off the tedium of packing, I spent yesterday browsing the 'net for all things Glasto. As usual there were photos from previous years' festivals featuring page upon page of celebs & wannabes in the ubiquitous uniform of Hunter wellies, army jackets and cut-off Levis.....and then I saw this vision in psychedelia.

Courtesy of The Telegraph
Paloma Faith labelled "Worst Dressed" by The Telegraph. Get stuffed, you boring old Tory broadsheet, I think she looks amazing. Funnily enough their photographer snapped me last year as part of their festival fashion spread - I wouldn't be surprised if that was for their fail list, too. 

Inspired by Paloma I've made some myself some pompom-tastic jewellery for the week ahead. 

There's no new clothes to show you, you've seen them all before, they've been worn countless times and that's fine by me. They work, make me happy and, being vintage, there's no chance on earth anyone is going to be wearing the same, unlike the girls who follow those lame festival fashion guides in magazines and all end up looking depressingly similar.

In amongst the frivolous chat & rumours on the Glasto Facebook page there's often some useful advice. Yesterday morning someone suggested testing out your waterproofs in advance so, as it was pissing it down, Jon & I donned our rain capes & wellies and walked around the garden for 15 minutes only to discover both ponchos had come apart at the seams - charity shop fail! Normally I'd patch them up with duct tape but, with rainfall of near biblical proportions over the last fortnight I'm not risking it, I went on-line and ordered replacements - paying more for the next day delivery than the items themselves. Never mind, the capes were half price, mine's purple and have over fifty positive reviews.
I've sprayed him with the hosepipe and it works. Weather gods, throw whatever you want at us, we're ready for you.
Just in case you're concerned we're shirking our responsibilities and missing the referendum, living the hedonistic hippy dream in a field, worry not. We're registered for postal voting and sent our ballot papers off a fortnight ago. The other day a couple of random strangers stopped and told us that they could tell which way we were voting by the way we were dressed. So, if you're confused, if you wear vintage you're "in".

See you on the other side - knackered, dirty and hungover but hopefully on two feet and still in Europe!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Slowly Does It

Sometimes the world can feel very bleak, especially after the horrific events of this week, but we have to remind ourselves that despite the sadness, life goes on. Most of the people who inhabit this planet of ours are kind and good and lovely.

Like Lynn and Philip, who we met as customers at Manchester's Victoria Baths and, over the last two years, have become dear friends. They'd spent a week visiting family in Oxford and, en route back home to Lancashire, popped round for a visit on Tuesday. 

If you follow Lynn's blog or her Facebook page you'll already know that she's a super talented artist and creator. She made us this beautiful cushion using her favourite technique, slow stitching. I'm all for taking it slowly, good things take time. That's why I choose home cooking over fast food, the time-consuming but wonderful community of blogging over the instant but inherently vacuous, hash tag driven world of Instagram and shopping second-hand over buying new. Finding the right piece can sometimes take years but when you find it, that's it. You'll never go off something you've spent half  your life looking for.

But sometimes those much sought after pieces all appear within a couple of days.

We have a couple of friends we originally met at a jumble sale (you never know what you'll find when you're queuing outside a church in some godforsaken Black Country town) and like us, love vintage hunting. They're always out and about on our behalf, even on their holidays, finding cool clothing to keep the Kinky rails stocked - brilliant for us, especially when we're tied up with festivals and can't get to the car boots or jumble sales. This dress was one of their finds, bought with me in mind.

Treacy Lowe was a label started by Kathy Lowe Howden, who started working in fashion in 1948 as a buyer for Marshall Fields' Import Bazaar. She took a break from fashion in 1961, returning to work as a fashion and merchandising coordinator for Jaeger in London in 1966. She started Treacy Lowe in 1971 with her husband Kenneth Howden, a retired English businessman. Their garments cost between $120 - $300+ in the mid 70s.  

Information from the Vintage Fashion Guild website.

Treacy Lowe silk midi worn with vintage tooled suede belt (50p, car boot sale) and Aldo boots (£1, car boot sale)

I've got Ossie Clark, Miu Miu and Pucci in my wardrobe but this dress is by far the best quality garment I've ever had on my back. Gossamer light, fully lined and f*ckin' fabulous. My friends know my taste to a tee.... and that's why we're happy to let them shop for Kinky. 

I was hyperventilating when I spotted this Freedom for Topshop breast plate in the Salvation Army charity shop yesterday. It still had the original price tag of £18.99 attached. I was more than happy to pay £5.99. To me, charity shopping isn't about buying something as cheaply as possible, it's finding something you love at a price you can afford and helping out a good cause at the same time. Who in their right mind wants to give Sir Philip Green any more money?

This Indian block printed midi dress was another Salvation Army find, on the sale rail reduced to £1.99. Similar dresses are selling for silly money on eBay yet this had been hanging up in a charity shop for a month and didn't sell at the original price of £4.99 - hardly extortionate!

Block-printed Indian-made midi, silver costume jewellery and 1960s suede jacket worm with Aldo leather boots (£1, car boot sale)

Traidcraft is still in business. Founded in 1979 it sells fairly traded goods and runs life changing development projects and campaigns around the world. The drop waist, button-thru' style is exactly the style of dress I was wearing for my post-O Level work experience in 1983 so I'd say this is from the same era.

I found some good jewellery yesterday - the faux turquoise necklace was 99p, the Mexican silver and real turquoise bangle (on the right arm) was 49p and the Indian bangle with the paisley filigree design (top one on the left) was 50p.

This British Mist 1960s suede jacket was another find by our friends. Its got circular pockets, petal shaped lapels, a self belt and worn just on the right side of knackered. I've been after something similar for most of my adult life - it's a keeper. 

As usual, I'm totally obsessed by the Euros and haven't missed a match yet. I had to laugh at myself having a long discussion with a roofer in the avenue this morning about Italy's fluid style of play, the strength of the Icelandic team and the euphoria of Daniel Sturridge's goal. With my disinterest in weddings and babies, preference for nuts and crisps over chocolate & cake and not finding either Tom Hiddleston or the bloke who plays Poldark remotely attractive, my ex-work colleagues were probably right, I should have been born a man.

See you soon!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Hey Ho, Let's Sew - My Creative Corner

I've got a plan, I announced to Jon on Sunday, thereby scuppering his plan for spending the morning recovering from a boozy late night involving a home-made (by him) Indian feast, footie-lovin' visitors, beer, the England match and an in-depth post match analysis.

My plan? To move Jon's wardrobe from the spare room into our bedroom, shift mine over and create a sewing area within the cleared space. For the past few years I've sewn in the stockroom, having to move rails to use the machine, climbing precariously over vintage clothing to get to patterns & sewing notions stored in boxes on a high shelf inevitably with most of it falling on my head, sending a shower of buttons scattering along the cracks in the floorboards. To pin and cut out a pattern meant moving furniture in the lounge to get floor space large enough (tricky when you mostly make maxi dresses).

The task isn't all for my benefit. With the super duper Kinky Melon storage shed arriving next Monday we'll able to transfer the stock from the house, freeing up the room we stored it in (once the garage) into a music room for Jon. After eleven years he'll finally be able to move his guitars from the bedroom and have space for all the weird and wonderful technical stuff piled up around the house.

Ta-dah! After a few hours of hard labour (Jon's, not mine. I'm under strict take-it-easy orders) we have a sewing corner. I say we as you well know, Jon's a bit of a sewist, too.

Look there's space for a mannequin (from a jumble sale) and everything! Now I can just flick the switch on the machine, plonk myself down on my seat and sew. No more moving rails and boxes out of the way or risking life and limb scaling ladders to reach things and with enough natural light to thread the machine needle without resorting to a torch, reading glasses and a magnifying glass. There's a large enough floor area to pin and cut out patterns, too. 

My stash of buttons, elastic, trims and notions are now all within easy reach of my seat. The Mid-Century glazed cupboard was £2 from a jumble sale, livened up by a coat of sunshine yellow paint from a Wilko tester pot.

The seat was one of fifty vintage lab stools we rescued from a skip outside the local boys' grammar school a few years ago. Although he said we could take them, we insisted on giving the school caretaker some beer money and sold all but two of them to an antique dealer for a decent profit. Jon's sawed a few inches off the height of this one so that I can sit comfortably without putting too much strain on my hip.

I bought this 1970s New Home machine from a jumble sale for a fiver a couple of years ago but initially couldn't get the hang of it. Liz serviced it for me the other day, I've read the instruction manual properly and now I absolutely love it (hence two photos of it in one blog post). The 1950s red Formica drop leaf table was £1.50 from a jumble sale.

We've managed to find space for the fabric stash, too. No more scrabbling under the menswear rail to get at it. Its stored in a Lloyd Loom blanket box, another jumble sale find, which we've reupholstered with a 1940s ticking pillow case (from the same source as the vintage linen, seen HERE.)

After a bit of a cull all my patterns now fit into a couple of vanity cases.

The 1950s bin came from a jumble sale (where else?) and featured a grannified rose design , I scanned a few vintage pattern sleeves from my stash, printed them off , glued them to the bin and trimmed it with pom-poms to Vixify it up a bit.

Bias binding and my ever increasing supply of blingy trims (they keep appearing at the car boot sale and it would be rude to snap them up).

The only coloured threads I have to buy new are white & black, all the rest are found second-hand for pennies.

I've never bought a new zip in my life. Some are found in charity shops & car boots and the rest I salvage from vintage clothes too tatty to sell.

As a vintage seller I need an endless supply of buttons. You'd be amazed how many potential buyers can't sew. Spot a missing button and they'll expect a huge discount to get it professionally replaced. Again, none are bought new, either bought in bulk at car boot sales (usually found stashed away in vintage tins on the house clearance stalls) or salvaged from clapped-out clothing.

I've hung some of my favourite fabric to inspire me. I used the soldier print HERE and the Marimekko HERE. I snapped up the super bold 1960s floral curtain for £2 from a car boot sale a couple of weeks ago, I'm thinking it might be reborn as a high waisted maxi skirt.

WEARING: Phool maxi (belonged to blog reader, Sabine's mum in the 1960s), 1970s framed print (from the lovely Dee, see HERE)

In case you're wondering, this bell sleeve lace maxi was a charity shopped Mexican-made tablecloth a few hours ago!

See you soon.

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.

Friday, 10 June 2016

A Day Without Dressing Up Is A Day Wasted

 This skirt has been hanging on the Kinky Melon rails for over a year. Every so often someone will pick it out, sigh and put it back, saying they never go anywhere to wear it. Sometimes a prospective customer will try it on but, even if it fits perfectly, I'll be told that they don't think that they can get away with wearing vintage and hand it back.

I could point out that they're telling me this either when they're visiting a vintage fair, where at least half of the people there are dressed to the nines or they're at a festival and, unless it's the dullest festival in the world, boring dressers are the minority.

I could suggest they could make a bold print less dressy by adding some aged suede and your favourite leather sandals, haggled over at a flea market on your travels.

Bastard massive feather earrings (TopShop clearance sale, 2010), Vintage 1960s "Alfred Tricker Crafts" snakeskin & stainless steel choker (Car boot sale)
Or that by piling on your favourite accessories stops an outfit looking overly vintage, it just looks like you own your style.

I could tell them this....

Designed by birthday babe, Suzanne

Even if life is mostly spent doing the mundane stuff, there's no reason on earth why anyone can't wear a fabulous vintage piece to do the supermarket run, trawl the charity shops or pop to 'Spoons for a quick pint. What's the worst that can happen? Someone in skanky leggings and a stained vest might laugh at you and seriously, do you really need their approval?

Vintage tapestry print cotton maxi worn with 1960s suede waistcoat and a pile of ethnic silver bangles

But, you know what? That skirt deserves a better life. Sod the lot of 'em...I'm keeping it.

Thanks for the hip love, still waiting for an x-ray but things are feeling a little easier. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

On The Road With Kinky - The Acoustic Festival of Britain

We did it, The Acoustic Festival of Britain, our first festival of Summer 2016, done and dusted. The sun shone, we sold lots, met some great people and the only thing we forgot was an extension lead which we never needed in the end. As it had been nine months since we'd last done a festival we were decidedly out of practice and it took a mammoth seven hours to set-up. Absolutely knackered and bastard freezing we were tucked up in bed by 9pm - not very rock and roll! 

Friday morning - day one. The sun was shining and we were up bright & early and ready for business. One thing I hadn't planned for was my hip completely f*cking itself up, rendering me utterly useless for the entire weekend. Luckily I had a decent view of proceedings from my chair.

Belly dancers on every corner.

Morris dancers galore.

All kinds of festival fashion....

and interesting characters.

Day two and more sunshine! 

This gorgeous customer decided to wear the green maxi she bought from us straight away.

The Jive Aces sounded great and their manager popped in to peruse our rails, leaving with a few purchases while Paul Young walked past but didn't visit, his loss!

Day three - more glorious sunshine. One of our lovely neighbours, Michelle from the Zen Zone, gave me my first ever Reiki treatment. While it didn't heal the pain I was so chilled out that I no longer cared.

Acts included Midge Ure (who wasn't great) and The Sons of Clogger (who were).

As temperatures soared to 24 degrees we did a roaring trade in Levi's cut-offs, Hawaiian shirts and vintage cowboy hats.

The ice cream van must have gone home a millionaire.

The festival was steam punk themed, which many of the punters had never even heard of. It went down so well the organisers have decided to make a regular thing.

...and we'll be making it a regular thing, too. See you next year, Acoustic Festival!

Fingers crossed that the X-rays the doctor is sending me for show an inflammation rather than a dislocation - we've got Glastonbury in a fortnight and nine festivals to trade at, I haven't got time for a another hip replacement.  

Linking to Visible Monday.