Monday, 23 April 2018

At Work & Play

Today I'm wearing a fade-into-the-background combination of pink, red and purple.

Of course, when I say fade into the background, that's only when my surroundings are as bright & clashy (is that a word?) as my doll's house extension, aka the basement chill-out zone and office area, today's featured room.

This vintage radiogram was cheap & tatty but the wood stain was in the garden shed, it was pissing  down with rain outside and I couldn't be arsed to fetch it. In desperation I diluted a tablespoon of instant coffee into a bit of boiling water and brushed it on. It came up a treat.

 The desk was listed as a set on eBay along with the blanket box in the bedroom. In my rush to snap up a bargain I failed to notice that it was 12:1 scale. Vintage doll's houses are usually 16:1 scale so it looked far too big and clunky so I sawed off the pedestal legs to shave off a few crucial centimetres. I wasn't at all keen on the colour of the wood so I painted the desk with blackboard paint, sanded down the edges and the drawer fronts (the places which tend to get the most wear) and buffed them up with brown shoe polish. Hopefully it looks less like nasty repro and more like a well-loved family heirloom.

The chest of drawers was another modern piece (£1.20 from the clearance section of a doll's house website) to which I gave the same treatment.

The flamingo curtains are folded paper. Like previous rooms, they're glued to a wooden kebab stick and finished with two wooden bead finials. The chair is vintage Lundby and was cheap on eBay.

Bibi commented on my last blog post that, for the ultimate in '70s decor, I needed a vinyl beanbag. Lacking any vinyl in my stash I used the rest of the charity shopped kids' trousers left over from the bedroom quilt, cut out a coupe of circles and a rectangle, sewed it together and stuffed it with lentils. Pizza and beer, anyone? My cans are pieces of white tack, painted red with a press stud glued to the top.

A friend gave me the 1970s Matchbox Hot Wheels car at Moseley yesterday. Mini Stephen Squirrel loves it.

The basement is just like our proper house with guitars, amps and black and white cats everywhere. Sadly there isn't a four pack of beer or a pizza on the table.

The details:
  • The corner sofa and tiled coffee table are 1970s Lundby, the "cushions" are vintage 1950s braid from the car boot sale which I cut up, stitched and stuffed with cotton wool. 
  • The supersize lampshade was the lid from a posh facial wash Liz bought me for my birthday - now I can remember that gift for ever!
  • On the wall are more of the charity shop mini frames I painted and gilded. I love those creepy Margaret Pearce big eyed prints.
  • The shelves are lollipop sticks I cut up and painted white. Most of the ornaments are beads my friend Sarah sent me. The tiny wooden horse used to be in a cacti my Grandma had on the kitchen window sill when I was a little girl. Goodness knows how old it is.
  • The plants are more sellotape, garden wire, nail varnish, old lid and loose leaf tea creations.
  • Sarah also sent me the electric guitar. Jon told me that I needed to make a Marshall Bluesmaster amp to go with it, so I did!
  • The vintage typewriter was a right fiddle to make. I filled it with salt to keep it stable (thanks for the tip, Aril!) The camera & Kodak film? Well, I am a blogger!

Anyway, enough of the play, how about work?

That's if you can call hanging out with the beautiful people of Moseley work! Check out my vintage cape-sleeved cotton maxi which arrived in this parcel of goodies from Sarah on Saturday morning.

We haven't done that many fairs this year but this was the best one so far. I think that after the previous two were cancelled people were desperate to come out and spend their money. You don't get many of the annoying "My nan used to have one of them" brigade at Moseley, just people who appreciate (and buy) proper vintage. 

Clockwise from top left: 1950s dress; Fake fur jacket; 1970s tiered maxi;  Fake fur coat; West German-made midi dress; 1970s polka dot dot blazer (needs buttons, I'll do that later); Fake fur jacket; 1960s lace shell blouse; Fake fur; Printed cotton velvet waistcoat.
Despite selling lots the van wasn't empty for the return journey. When a trader tells you that they're giving up selling vintage and need to sell off all their stock at a good price, well, it's just got to be done.

Vintage folksy-style dress worn with Vietnamese choker (courtesy of Krista) and Lotta of Stockholm clogs.

First rule of vintage selling is...don't try on the stock. Oops! I'm doing Kinky Melon a favour really, smaller sizes can take an age to shift, I'm just looking after it...honest!

Gaynor, a super cool, vintage lovin' girl I met when she bought a dress off us years ago, popped along to give me these incredible hand-made Swedish-style clogs she bought from Scarborough-based company, Bjorn last year but never wore as they crippled her. As I'm obsessed with all things Swedish (Lundby, Scandi Noir, Lotta of Stockholm and Goat to name but a few) I'm delighted to report that they fit me perfectly. I'll be wearing these beauties all Summer long.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.
See you soon!

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.