Monday, 5 December 2011

Alternative Women's Institute Charity Tea Party

A few weeks ago I went to Nelson in Lancashire for the Alternative Women's Institute annual tea party, which was raising funds for Derian House children's hospice. I had a stall there alongside some other lovely traders, including sparkly jewellery made by my friend's mum, and Bits from Ditz cute jewellery and pretty vintage teacup candles made by my friend Marianne in aid of B-eat eating disorder charity.

Here I am with my sister Ginny, take a look at her sewing blog Buttons and Bobbins! Her outfit is entirely self-sewn and features the 1950s draped top I've been working on, she lent me the pattern after making it for herself. She also crocheted her own snood! My hat and outfit are also self-made, apart from the sweater which was knitted by our mum.

Some of the spread! The AWI ladies worked very hard to create a massive selection of glorious cakes, sandwiches and finger foods, including some special vegan ones for me! Everyone got their own trio of vintage china to use on the day, and a little goodie bag with recipes. Over £1000 was raised for the hospice!

These photographs were taken by the incredibly talented Donna from ClickClickBang Photography, her work is beautiful and her wedding and model shots are something very special indeed.

Here I am with my friend Alison, we've known each other since we were eleven and I love being able to see her, even though it's only a couple of times a year. I can't wait for next year's tea party!

The decorations are up!

Growing up, our decorations went up on Christmas eve, and came down on twelfth night, despite us all being atheists. They were also restricted to a tree in traditional colours, and strictly no tacky plastic things hanging off the ceiling. So nowadays, as far as I'm concerned, December is all about feeling festive in the traditional British, rather pagan sense - feasting, drinking, keeping warm, cuddling up together and decorating your hovel in the twinkliest, gaudiest decorations known to man in order to ring in the changing of the seasons.

These are the same decorations I blogged about last year, I just wish I could get a better picture of the tree - without the flash it's way too dark, and with it it looks matte pink with no baubles visible. In fact it looks lovely and has a warm glow from my vintage bubble lights and muliticoloured fairy lights, it's adorned with loads of tiny metallic baubles in a rainbow of colours, plus some lovely pink deer, shiny glass robots and a huge flamingo wearing a Santa hat.

Last weekend we went to the Christmas markets in town before going to see 'My week with Marilyn', here we are being cold and drinking mulled wine. You can also see Paul's glorious Moustache grown for Movember - you can still sponsor it here should you wish to!

One day, my Christmas house will look as beautiful as this!

Found on The Girl's Girl, originally from BoopsieDaisy's amazing Flickr stream.

Next year I'm also planning to scour ebay for out-of-season vintage Christmas decorations at bargain prices and make a beautiful bauble wreath like this, I think it's a lovely way to preserve them and show them off.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Autumn/Winter wardrobe plan - completed items!

As promised, here are some pictures of the things I've already completed from my Autumn (and Winter) colour plan, which I designed to be a capsule wardrobe of things that match, which should also match stuff I already have and pull into regular use some pieces in my wardrobe that didn't really go with anything.

Pinafore skirt - made by me from a self-drafted pattern
Sweater - knitted by my mum from a 40s pattern
Shoes - Irregular Choice (gift from Aerospace Boyfriend)
Cherry Jewellery - Classic Hardware at Rockers England (gift from Aerospace Boyfriend)

Here's a better view of the skirt fabric and the buttons. It uses black, ruby and teal from my colour plan, along with a neutral brown.

I've now made three of these pinafore skirts - I really want to show you the yellow one I showed a sneak preview of in the post linked above, but the fabric is such a loose weave that I have now ripped the side seam twice, meaning I'm either going to have to wait until I drop a dress size to fix it, or make another one with a slightly larger hip measurement as it obviously can't cope with being pulled tight when I bend over. Curse you, ample derriere!

Everything as before, except boots from Alternative Footwear and skirt made in a black, ruby and white tartan.

Here is the jewellery I already have which fits in with the colour plan, and I can also include all my neutral diamanté and pearl pieces.

These are some lovely new bits which fit in with the scheme - two tropical hairclips made my Miss Tiki, who I met when we both had stalls at the Cheshire Go-Cats Rockabilly Meetup, which was great fun. You can find her trading on facebook here in the Ooh La La vintage swap and sell group, she doesn't have an online store yet but her things are definitely worth seeking out! We swapped for these, she took one of my teardrop shaped fascinators in teal with a cherry and cream orchid decoration.

My little octopus! His name is Osgood, I love him.

Clip - MissTiki
Sweater - Tesco, this is another A/W plan buy, I'll show it you properly when I've finished the skirt it's going to go with!
Red bandana - Rockers England
Navy swallows scarf - Primark, comes in a 2-pack with a cream and brown one with horses on it.

This is the fabric for the next pinafore skirt I'm making, teal with a tiny ticked cream stripe through it. It's more teal than in the picture, my camera/lighting gave it an orange cast for some reason. The butterscotch colour is the lining, another colour from my plan, and the buttons look like little waffles!

At last, I return!

Hello people of blogland, I am delighted to say that I finally have my computer back, after three weeks of stone-age living while my laptop spent time at some enormous Tesco corporate repair centre, presumably partaking in electronic enemas and resting its shattered nerves. Apparently they had to replace the motherboard, I'm just glad it is still under warranty, I can do without having to shell out hundreds of pounds on basically the most expensive replacement part a computer could ever need.

I've got plenty of news and completed sewing projects to show you, but unfortunately since the government banned all light bulbs over 40 watts and I am now lit by the dingiest, cheapest bulbs available, my house is no longer suitable for photography after dusk and you will have to wait until grim, frosty daylight slithers over us for me to capture images of the aforementioned sewing projects.

In the meantime here is a picture of the fabric I'm using to make this year's Christmas dress, and the vintage pattern I'm using.

I think Americans call this type of fabric doublekint, I'm not sure if we have another name for it here - it's not something you see commonly in fabric shops in the UK. The houndstooth side will make up the body of the dress, and I'm going to flip it and use the plain black side for the collar. I'm also modifying it to have three-quarter length sleeves as this will be a Winter dress.

If you fancy this design and happen to be a vintage size 20 1/2 (41-35-45) or are able to resize patterns, there is another copy of the pattern available on etsy here. Mine has the cute 50s envelope too!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Teal dress plan - the mock up.

After careful scrutiny of my knitted teal fabric and some unsatisfactory tummy-bulging when I recently tried on some knitted skirts in Primark, I have decided not to make a dress but to stick to the original pattern and have it as a top. I have a suspicion that there's not enough for a dress anyway, I have just over a metre and the pattern uses a lot of excess fabric to make the pleated sections and faux shrug section. It's also much more sensible with regard to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe plan to make a top which goes with many skirts rather than a dress which goes with nothing.

Here is the mock up of the top, cut from some crappy stretch t-shirt fabric. As you can see, I cut one piece out backwards due to the confusing nature of the pattern, and it makes me look really pear-shaped. This is because there are some serious bust issues going on - it's about four cup sizes too small, despite me adding inches to the pattern. It should be relatively easy to rectify now I've worked through the construction once.

The red line shows the underbust line of the top, the green line shows where it needs to be!

Also, I'm not convinced that a top made from a stretch fabric needs the four waist darts shown in the pattern, or that there is any need to cut the front of the top and the bust section as two sets of two mirror-image pieces and sew them together - it seems to me that it would be perfectly viable and much neater to cut each section as a single piece on the fold.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Giveaway winner!

As promised, but later than planned due to computer issues, here is the winner of my 100 followers giveaway!

I used the number generator, and included everyone who commented on the original post.

The winner is (I don't know how to put the graphic in so I just copied the text, argh!)...

Min: 1
Max: 18
Result: 8
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Cheri Pinktrix! Congratulations Cheri, please drop me a line at your_zombie_sweetheart (at) to let me know your address and choice of trim colour and I will send your fascinator off on its journey to Canada!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A spanner in the works.

Sorry to those waiting for the results of my giveaway, my laptop has died so unfortunately there will be a delay in drawing the winner! I'm writing this on my phone, hopefully all will be back to normal soon as the laptop is still under warranty. See you soon blog friends! x

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Moustache Madness, and giveaway!

Just a reminder that if you've not done it already, or fancy a couple of extra entries, my 100 followers giveaway will end at midnight tonight (GMT)! I think that's 1am for my European ladies and about 7-8pm for my US readers, depending on your location! If you've already entered but fancy another chance you just need to blog or tweet about it and leave me a separate comment on the original post. You can win a gorgeous Kalandra Jane Designs leopard satin fascinator!

Also... please support my boyfriend as he grows a moustache for charity in support of Movember! This month-long event advocates the sporting of fine facial fuzz in order to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research's testicular cancer initiative. They hold the event worldwide and support different men's health causes according to region.

He has started a very fine blog to document his follicular adventure, and unbeknown to me he appears to have some fine comedic writing skills going on. You too can follow the development of his upper lip from this... this. (Source, copyright Paul Clarke Photography.)

You can donate to our Movember team here, every penny is appreciated!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Vintage finds - bumper edition!

Today I realised I haven't done one of these posts for ages, I used to do them monthly. So here it is - a whole Summer's worth of vintage rooting. I've probably forgotten a few bits, and I'm going to do separate posts for a few select treasures!

1950s cabinet - £2! This was from a local antique shop, the owner told me he occasionally takes house clearance lots and so buys 'rubbish' in order to get the 'good' pieces - unfortunately he'd also broken one of the glass doors putting it outside, hopefully I'll be able to make a replacement one day. Frankly I think a person can probably make more money nowadays selling 50s furniture than unfashionable Victorian stuff, but obviously his distaste for it is to my benefit!

Sputnik legs! It also has glittery backing paper and curvy glass shelves. My friend Ciana helped me bring it home, and all I can say is that carrying two small children about must make you strong - she heaved it around with ease, I was a sweaty, wheezing heap after pushing it upstairs on my own!

1950s/60s shelving unit - £15. I love this, after getting rid of our massive hefty old CRT TV, I got the small new one and wanted something vintage to put it on, where I could also display some of my immense collection of trinkets. This came from a seller in Failsworth Mill, a large antiques and collectables centre where the prices are reasonable and the many stallholders are amenable to haggling!

1950s amoeba shaped mirrors, £3 each from a vintage jumble sale, held by a friend-of-a-friend who was selling her possessions in preparation for a move to France.

50s clock - £1. this was running when I got it from the same vintage jumble sale, stopped by the time I got home, started working again after I took out and oiled the workings, and promptly stopped again three days later. It's been going for so long that a hole inside that holds a moving part has become slightly oval instead of round, so it keeps going out of alignment.

1930s Lloyd Loom seat/basket - free! I got this by bargaining with the seller from whom I bought the shelving unit above, it was originally priced at £10, which is still fairly reasonable seeing as it is in completely original condition - most Lloyd loom furniture you find has been repainted, but this retains its factory paint job and deco foliage upholstery. It's strong enough to sit on and is currently hiding a small proportion of my laundry mountain.

Lustreware vase - £7, haggled down from £10 from the same seller as the shelves and basket. Another item for my fawn collection!

1920s-30s uranium glass bowl for my collection, £5, car boot sale.

Enormous glass cake dome, £5, car boot sale. Not vintage but still useful!

50s cats - £1.49 each, charity shop.

Vintage style metal memo board from Rose & Co., won in a raffle by my mum and stepdad. Aerospace boyfriend immediately drew a huge penis on it in dry-wipe marker, as he does with most things.

Beautiful 1950s diamanté necklaces - these belonged to my grandmother, were given by her to my sister when we were little, and my sister passed them to me recently as they are too glitzy for her and too likely to attract the small grasping hands of my niece!

Amazing vintage fully fashioned stockings, still in their original packaging and with spectacular pearl and rhinestone adornments at the heel! These will be saved as they are very special and were part of a swap I did with Miss Matilda. I sent her the framed 1920s prints I blogged about here, which came up very nicely with a bit of cleaning!

She was also generous enough to send me this beautiful jewellery as a gift - I squealed with delight when I opened the package, it used to belong to Lana Turner! Her daughter, Cheryl Crane, auctioned some of her belongings a few years after she died, and I remember drooling over the lovely things for sale at the time. Thanks again, Miss M! You are lovely! xxx

After I received the jewellery I spied this book for £1 at a car boot sale written by Crane, and decided to read a little more about Lana Turner's life. I've only just started it, but it is filled with scandal!

Movie monsters book with Christopher Lee on the cover, 20p, local church jumble sale.

Esther Williams biography, £2.99, Oxfam charity shop. I really enjoyed reading this, she's very frank and funny, and I'm glad she is still alive and lending her name to an amazing range of swimsuits! This one and this one are my favourites, they also do a black one with cherries which is beautiful but I can't find it anywhere in the UK. My only criticism of this book is that Esther's co-writer and editor, Digby Diehl, has a tendency to repeat things such as historical details and lists of names which have already been mentioned in previous chapters.

Max Factor biography, £1 from the pound shop in Burnley, a gift from my mum. This was really interesting as it gives a great insight into the man behind the company. I, like many people I expect, wasn't aware that Max Factor was an actual person, I had assumed it was just a brand name. He was a Hollywood makeup artist and cosmetics developer in the golden age of cinema, and this book is a great read for fans of films from the 20s-50s as well as those interested in the history of cosmetology.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The beginnings of another addiction!

Two new vintage frames! Plus my current ones at the bottom. I'd ordered the red ones and was waiting for them to arrive when I saw the green lucite pair for sale, they're perfect for me! This means I now have glasses which will match most outfits in my wardrobe, though I doubt that will stop me from buying more in the future - I love having another excuse to accessorise. They also all fit in with my Autumn/Winter wardrobe colour plan.

I can't wait to get my prescription lenses put in them. I have a feeling I'll have to start wearing glasses more often anyway, I'm sure my eyes have gotten worse since I first got glasses six months ago so I'm having them re-tested on Wednesday.

Here's a lovely film from the 50s featuring some amazing glasses!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

100 followers giveaway!

As promised, I'm hosting a giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers - I'm now on 102 actually!

Here it is! I'm going to give away one of my gorgeous Kalandra Jane Designs leopard satin fascinators! The winner will be able to choose from black or red trim on the hat, and I will post worldwide.

To enter, you need to be a follower of the blog and leave a comment below. For additional entries, post about this on your own blog, mention it on facebook or twitter and leave me a separate comment with a link to it (that way we all get to cross-promote!)

Good luck everyone! I'll announce the winner in two weeks' time, on the first of November.