Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you all for 2011! What plans do you have to celebrate tonight? We're going to a small party at my friends' house out in the sticks, and I'm taking cupcakes.

One of my resolutions is to blog more - so keep your eyes peeled for more frequent updates!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New Fish Babies!

On Sunday, after a tip-off from my faithful geeky betta fish forum, we went to Leigh to have a look at some crowntail bettas (aka Siamese fighting fish, although of course they are kept apart so they can't get to each other or cause each other damage) they had in. I've had some bad luck with my fish in the last few months and lost a couple of very gorgeous and expensive males, so was happy to pick up these two pretty little fellows for less than £5 each.

The pink one is Clouseau and the orange one is Pumpkin! Both settled in well, eating and showing off to the other fish in the divided tank.

Notorious Kitsch Giveaway at Yesterday Girl!

Jenny over at Yesterday Girl is having a fabulous giveaway sponsored by the marvellous Notorious Kitsch, in which you can win £50 to spend in their online store! Pop on over to enter and you could soon be lavishing fabulously retro gifts on your friends and family (or, you know, keeping them all for yourself).

'Cool for Cats' Christmas notecards, £5.50
'Bullitt' wall clock, £49
'Sew and Save' WWII notebook, £5.00

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Oh, Kitschmas Tree!

This weekend, I put up my Christmas tree. In our house growing up, despite being atheists and the tree actually being a totemic emblem of Europe's pagan past, oddly religious rules were adhered to in that the tree was never put up until Christmas eve, was to be decorated tastefully in red and gold, and was generally low-key.

The trees I remember most from my childhood however, were my paternal grandparents'. They always had a real fir tree which immediately started to turn brown and drop needles all over the carpet, and was covered in amazing 1950s decorations in bright jewel colours. Little glass birds with long tails, baubles like gleaming Fabergé eggs, crackers and nets of chocolate coins hidden inside the tree, and my favourite thing of all - bubble lights! These were apparently America's biggest selling Christmas lights from the 1930s - 1980s, but were and still are very rare in the UK. I was always amazed by the glowing tubes of colourful liquid, bubbling away dangerously among the branches like a mad scientist's test tubes.

So, seeing as my dad has lain claim to my grandparents' set, I purchased some from US eBay and bought a transformer so they wouldn't explode when exposed to UK voltages.

Atop my tree sit a small red flocked deer, and a bizarre long-legged elf from the 1940s. These were my nanna's on my mum's side.

The other decorations are a mixture of shiny blown glass B-movie style robots, this lovely crocodile which I bought at the German Christmas market a few years ago, multicoloured mini baubles and a generous sprinkling of glittery and metallic deer!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A Beautiful Box

I went to my mum's this week, and came home with this lovely old trinket box which was my Nanna's, and was either made by her or a friend. It is made from postcards covered in acetate and crocheted together with faded pink thread, I remember there being one made from seaside postcards too. She would have been ninety this month, I like to keep a lot of her things out on display in my home.

It holds memories for me too because when I was little I always called her Nanna Roses, she had a garden full of them and had lots of Capodimonte style rose ornaments, she also used to give me bags of leftover sugarcraft roses to eat from the beautiful cakes she used to make.

My favourite thing about it is the gloves motif on the front, and when my mirror is finally put up I shall keep this box on my dressing table.

Monday, 15 November 2010

That's a bit better...

What do we think of the new blog design? My grasp of programming can barely be described as 'basic', and I plan to make it better as soon as I learn how!


Right... apparently Blogger has tricked me into upgrading to beta, and I now can't do anything with the coding because it's all in xml not html. If anyone has any knowledge of how to build your own layout using the new format, please let me know! Everything online is for the old format, and I hate every single one of the boring default templates available. I don't want to use someone else's, I want my own. Bah!

Please excuse the mess...

I'm attempting to redesign my blog and am having trouble reconciling the design I am trying to create with the garbage that Blogger sees to wish to automatically apply and keeps copying over my self-designed layout. So, my blog will probably look a mess for a while! Bear with me.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

October's Vintage Purchases!

Only a small amount of vintage shopping has been done this month, because I am poor.

The first two things; more fawns for my collection! This one is a double bud vase from the 1940s - 50s.

I'm not sure about this one - it was made in Japan and from the paint and styling I'm guessing it's 1950s, but I think it might actually be a Christmas decoration or some sort of advertising display? The log is hollow as if you're meant to use it as a vase, but the way the ceramic was moulded leaves a big hole in the base so it's not watertight. It also has that flat bit on the log where I imagine a sticker or logo is meant to go. I love it anyway!

This was this month's only charity shop purchase. I love the charity shops near me, I can usually find something great whenever I go in! These plates are 1930s I think, and have a few paint chips, but at 99p for the four I couldn't let them stay there. They almost go with my Nanna's cake stand, perfect for if I ever get round to having anybody round for tea and sandwiches (or booze and cake, either way is fine).

These aren't vintage, but the simple T-bar dolly style means they can be worn with lots of outfits from just about any vintage era, and they're practical now the weather is getting colder and wetter. £12, Peacock's stores nationwide, also in charcoal.

I also got the Miss L. Fire 'Sylvie' shoes I mentioned in my Imaginary Wardrobe Overhaul post last week. They were £23.50 which is about half the price Miss L. Fire shoes usually are, so I snapped them up despite the fact I'm not going to be able to wear them for six months. They're really cute and comfortable, although the colours differ slightly from the picture, I suspect because of glare from the seller's insanely pink background. The straw which looks coral is actually a natural beige colour, and the soles are not white but a lovely eau-de-nil minty green. Still some available in a few sizes on ebay!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Last day to get your entires in!

Don't forget ladies, it's your last chance to enter Shona's giveaway over at In The Heyday!

She is giving away one of her lovely 'Fleur' dresses, so it's well worth winning.

If you don't win, you can always pick one up from the Heyday online store, and don't forget to buy me some Navy Swing Trousers while you're there and the Olivia blouse in cherry print, when it's released!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Halloween Pumpkin Soup!

At the weekend, we went to Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton, a workers' co-operative selling gorgeous produce, deli items and vegan foods. As well as a massive haul of tofu and faux meat treats, we picked up some lovely fresh vegetables including a big slice of bright orange pumpkin. The produce section is well stocked with seasonal fruits and vegetables, and they grow many items themselves including the squash, cabbages and some fantastic looking Romanesco cauliflowers that Fibonacci would be proud of.

I made this recipe up when we got home, and it was so easy and tasty I thought I would share it with you. This creamy, slightly smoky soup feeds four as a starter, or two as a hearty supper.


1 tbsp. sunflower or light olive oil
1 medium-sized onion
2 large shallots (or another onion)
3 cloves of garlic
2 medium-sized carrots
600g deseeded Pumpkin
Hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and dill)
1 tsp. smoked paprika

Herb drizzle:

2 tbsp. Tofutti vegan cream cheese, or regular cream cheese if you eat dairy.
1 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
A small amount of soya milk

To serve:

Crusty bread or sliced pittas

The Recipe!

Cut the onion, shallot and carrot into small dice and sauté gently in a large pan with the oil until the onions become translucent. Meanwhile, crush the garlic, and peel and cut the pumpkin into one inch cubes. Add these to the pan and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

Add the smoked paprika and enough hot stock to cover the vegetables, and simmer until a sharp knife can pass easily through the pumpkin cubes. Keep topping up the stock if the vegetables are above the surface, and stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

Let it cool for a few minutes, then add in batches to a blender. Pulse a few times, the soup should still have some texture and shouldn't be totally smooth (unless you prefer it that way).

Pour back into the pan, stir in the fresh herbs and taste the soup before seasoning with salt and pepper if you think it needs it. If you think the soup is a little thick, you can add a little more stock, but mine didn't need it.

To make the creamy herb drizzle, place your cream cheese into a small bowl and mix in the lemon or lime juice. Add the soya milk a little at a time so no lumps are left, until you reach a pourable consistency. Stir in the fresh herbs with a pinch of salt, and add a little more liquid if necessary. Drizzle over your soup, or use as a dip for your bread! Add Some croutons if you like, and enjoy!

We also got some lovely olives from the deli counter... mmm, tasty olives.

The Bizarre Ball!

On Saturday, Aerospace Boyfriend and I and lots of our friends went to the first Manchester Bizarre Winter Ball, a big 'alternative' event run by Bizarre Magazine. There was burlesque performance by the fabulous Lola Pops, compereing by the wickedly funny Desmond O'Connor and onstage grotesqueries from The Circus of Horrors.

Lola Pops!

There have been a few complaints that the ball did not measure up to the quality of the London event, but all in all I had a good time and have high hopes that future incarnations of the ball will be even better, as it was great to see an event like this being put on outside of the capital. The bands that were on were fairly dire, but I was pleasantly surprised that the music played by the DJs between and after bands was a good mix with no obnoxious metal, plenty of danceable stuff that the crowd enjoyed ranging from old punk, the B52s and Blondie to Lady Gaga and camp classics.

The Circus of Horrors

I was also really proud to see several of my hats being worn at the ball, so thank you to all my customers! If you fancy a hat for your next event, take a look at my eBay shop, my Facebook business page or drop me a line for custom orders!

Here is what I wore, with my lovely friend Steff. The outfit is tailored latex, and I made it myself, as well as Steff's gloves and hat!

Our Friends Chris and Katie - Mad Hatter hat by me!

Our friend Kitten - Latex hat by me!

Group shot!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Imaginary Wardrobe Overhaul.

I am sick of my clothes. I find myself wearing the same two pencil skirts over and over again, have very few things that match each other, and I have no Winter clothing. My drawers are bulging with black cut-up band shirts which are only really any good for Summer, and I find myself at an awkward crux between my old punk wardrobe and the glamourous vintage wardrobe which I so desire - I've been uncomfortably stuck between the two for years now.

I have some fabulous dresses which are for special occasions, but not much for everyday wear, and I get a lot of compliments on the way I dress, but really I just feel unresolved about it which is a massive bugbear for someone as obsessed with aesthetics as I am.

So, here are some things that would help take my wardrobe in the right direction, if I had the money. Maybe I will save up and get a couple of them.

First, hot on the heels of the 'Mad Men' trend, the 'Rita' dress by Bettie Page clothing, coming soon to Pinup Parade, available soon or reserve yours by dropping an email to the lovely Helen. (Picture from Pinup Parade, hope this is OK Helen!)

I would pair this with these fabulous accessories from Irregular Choice, who have FINALLY released some shoes suitable for vegans, after years of me waiting and coveting - normally there's a partial leather upper or a leather lining, but these are all fabric uppers with a sumptuous velvet lining - great for stopping stockinged feet from slipping out as you walk. Plus they have perspex heels and a MONKEY! Squee. The shoes and the matching clutch bag are available from Schuh stores and online, and I think I am in love with them both. In fact, I almost accidentally bought the shoes a couple of weeks ago, but common sense prevailed and I paid my rent instead. Prying them from my feet was such a sad affair.

In Summer I would match the dress with these 1950s aqua - coloured beads I picked up at a fleamarket, one of my new coral raffia fruit pillbox hats (on sale soon or contact me if you'd like one!) and these cute Miss L Fire 'Sylvie' sandals, which I might actually have to buy before the week is out before they're snapped up by someone.

My next two choices for versatile dresses are also from the Bettie Page line at Pinup Parade, the 'Nataly' and the 'Charm' (this one's in the Sale section too!)

I love the '40s styling and cute cherry print on the Nataly, and the dark colour and sheer fabric make it suitable for a variety of occasions and seasons. I also already have lots of accessories in the right colours to match it. The Charm is a fantastic dress for Winter, and the stretch fabric would make it practical and comfortable as well as sexy!

My next coveted item is a pair of vintage 1950s carved rhinestone lucite heels in a UK6/US8/EU39. Yes, this post was supposed to be about my imaginary practical vintage wardrobe, but if you think about it, they are completely practical *ahem* they go with any colour outfit, the heels are never too high so they're practical for nights out for a girl such as myself whose evenings (and possibly her boyfriend's evenings) are usually ruined by complaints about sore feet, plus they'd match my lucite bag collection.

My next set of desirables all come from Trashy Diva and make me salivate wildly. Unfortunately, I'd have to drop a dress size to fit into any of these, as their largest size is a US 14/ UK 18. I do hope to achieve this again soon though, as I lost some weight recently then put it back on by eating carelessly, so a motivation such as this might help!

First, the 'Courtney' coat dress in leopard print, which you can see being worn to full effect here at the ever enviable Freelancer's Fashionblog.

Next, the short version of the 'Courtney' in the divinely retro 'Midcentury Kelly' colourway would look fantastic worn as a top with a black pencil skirt, or with its fluted peplum would be excellent as a short coat with a circle skirted dress where a longer coat would get in the way. The 'Sweetie' dress is just so cute, I love the print with splashes of cheery red and yellow, and the big buttons. It would be great for Summer, nice and light whilst keeping the tops of the arms covered.

My next major desire is an 'Olivia' blouse from Heyday reproduction clothing. They have a black one with a marvellous cherry print coming out soon, which is the one I want! I would also like a pair of their sailoresque Navy Swing Trousers.

Finally, something no vintage girl should be without; the ability to create a finished hair and makeup look to go with her outfits. I have a good grasp of wet setting and a few different styling techniques, but could do with learning a lot more. Lauren Rennells' "Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques" has become a bible for vintage hairstyling newcomers, and is now available in an updated and expanded second edition (pictured here). It's available for around £28 from all the usual sources but is often out of stock due to its enormous popularity!

Lauren runs the helpful and interesting Bobbypin Blog with lots of styling and beauty tips.

A possible contender for its crown (and considerably cheaper) might be the newly-published 'Style me Vintage' by Belinda Hay, brought to my attention by Queen of the Vintage Blogs Fleur De Guerre. I'll let you know - at that price I think I should be able to afford to purchase this book fairly soon and try out some styles!

My last wish is the book ' A Stitch in Time: Vintage Knitting & Crochet Patterns 1920-1949', again featuring the lovely Fleur, this time in a modelling role, along with sixty designs for vintage knitting and crochet projects. Whilst my crochet skills are basic and my knitting skills are nonexistent, I'm sure I could learn easily or get my mum (hello, mum) to make up a couple of the lovely sweaters for me. I've already dropped a massive clanging Christmas hint about this book to someone who isn't a reader of my blog, so I can but hope!

If you don't fancy knitting it yourself but do fancy a 1940s/50s styled sweater, there is a fine collection available at Greetz from Tiz, Dressing4Impressing, Rocket Originals or you can pick up not-too-expensive vintage originals on US ebay.

L-R: Greetz from Tiz, Dressing4Impressing, Rocket Originals.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Blog negligence and general stuff.

I haven't updated this in ages, mainly because I have had no money and have been doing not much that would be of any interest to anybody reading about it.

A few highlights of the last few weeks:

Apple Pie!

It looks beautiful but its bottom was slightly soggy. Deceptive pie.

Had a stall with some hats and some cakes

Built a divided fish tank for my male Betta Splendens (Siamese fighting fish, hence the separators - they are very aggressive to other males and I don't want them ripping each other to shreds).

Citizen Fish

Boris Karloff


Took on some extra work making lovely dresses for Outerlimitz Vintage Reproduction Clothing! Here is the dress I am currently making for them. They have some gorgeous designs, especially their Hawaiian range.

Some upcoming things in the life of Kally:

-Fruit hats!
-More dressmaking!
-Going to the Bizarre Winter Ball!

...and probably some other things too, hopefully some of which I will blog about.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Lovely new hat pictures!

A while ago, I sent some of my hats over to Sweden to be photographed by the very talented pin-up photographer, Emmelie Åslin. When I finally get round to developing a proper website for my business, these will be some of the product shots. What do you think?

These hats are some of my retro and psychobilly designs; I plan to do a seperate post with some of my more authentically vintage-looking reproduction 1940s - 50s millinery.

Until then, I'm currently having a sale in my ebay shop,Kalandra Jane Burlesque and Retro, where most items are 15% off until next week!

Photographer: Emmelie Åslin -
Model: Chesty von Ellem -