Sunday, 27 April 2014

Love your locals

I nearly wrote a post entitled 'Love your locals' earlier this year when my local independent department store moved out of the town centre, where it had been for over a century. It wasn't closing, but it would be changing drastically, no longer a place to potter into for household products and gardening stuff at weekends, but one on a trading estate focussing solely on big-ticket items.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Hollywood Talkies: The First 15 Years

Covering the late 1920s to early 1940s, this is a compilation of songs from Hollywood films. Lots of big names are present, including Fred Astaire singing ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Night and Day’ and Judy Garland performing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A trip to the Shire, or there and back again

Simon on his 1952 Ferguson tractor

So, over Easter weekend I went back to the Shire to visit the Hobbits. In other words, to visit mum and her partner, Brian, in rural Norfolk. I really enjoyed it, and being at the farm made me think a lot about what I love about vintage. The farm has been in Brian's family for over 200 years, and mum brought all sorts of old bits and bobs from my family to it. It was really enjoyable seeing things like old books and even cutlery again, remembering them from decades ago and enjoying using them again. Mum has also collected things, such as an absolute forest of pottery with woodland animals on. I love vintage things because they have a sense of time, and with that comes a sense of stability. Vintage items feel as though they have more connections.

Friday, 18 April 2014

A Very English Affair [book]

From the title you might expect this to be a romance or Aga-saga. Far from it: A Very English Affair by Richard Davenport-Hines is a history book on the Profumo Affair, and its context.

Note for non-Brits: the Profumo Affair was a massive British political scandal in the 1960s, when War Minister Jack Profumo was discovered to share a mistress with Soviet Assistant Naval Attache Yevgeny Ivanov. The girl was young and working class, the man alleged to have introduced her to both men a society osteopath, and all sorts of naughty goings-on were alleged to have taken place, including at Cliveden, the palatial home of the vastly wealthy Astor family. So you’ve got everything: Cold War politics, celebrity, class, sex and money. British politicians aren’t strangers to scandal, so it says something about the Profumo Affair that it is still the One Scandal to Rule Them All.

Monday, 14 April 2014

1940s slip stitch jumper - FINISHED!

Wasn’t this 1940s sweater a quick knit? From cast-on to put-on, just three months. That’s super-speedy for me.

Weaving in all the ends was a real faff (I felt the gap between stripes of the same colour was too great for me to carry unused colours up the side of the knitting), but the stripes did make it very easy to sew the seams up evenly. I adapted the sleeve placement slightly to match the stripes too. The original pattern said to place the sleeve seam about a quarter of an inch in front of the side seam, but I put them together.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A 1950s Lisner enamel jewellery set

You can’t beat a Lisner jewellery set. I reckon so, anyway. My mother-in-law usually gives me money for birthday and Christmas, and I always try to buy something special ‘from her’ rather than just fritter it on beer and pizza. This was my self-chosen birthday present, though it's taken me until now to photograph it. I saw the set on Etsy and couldn’t resist. Earrings, brooch and bracelet for under £40, with postage? Get in my basket! It’s by Lisner, and looking at this adds to my conviction than an unsigned yellow bracelet-and-earrings set I own is also Lisner as there’s such similarity in the enamel leaves.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Vintage embroidery transfer haul

Embroider ALL the things!
I had a bit of a grotty day on Wednesday, so to cheer myself up I bought a bundle of vintage embroidery transfers on Etsy. I got them from Mr and Mrs Magpie's Inexplicable Emporium on Etsy. Mrs Magpie is my friend Claire, but I paid full price and she had no idea I'd be the buyer! She has more tempting vintage haberdashery items if that's your thing, and also custom-makes felt cloche hats to order. Delivery was super-speedy; the patterns were with me by last night.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Remember Me to the Bees book launch

Last Monday night I went to my friend Judy Darley’s book launch. (Judy blogs at Skylightrain.) Her first collection of short stories, Remember Me to the Bees, is now out, published by Tangent Books, so she threw a launch party. It was typically Judy – simultaneously businesslike and creative, with readings and music and the opportunity to purchase books. (If that sounds harsh, I don't mean it to: I really admire how hard she works to make her writing, which she is passionate about, a success, and it makes me realise just how dedicated a person has to be in order to be a writer. I couldn't do it!) The venue was The Birdcage on Clare Street in Bristol, which is a cafĂ©, an events space and a vintage clothing store all in one.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Yesterday, shoes happened

It is spring, and that means my inevitable bleating on about being unable to find shoes.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Jolly Roger?

How did it happen? You think it’s love, you think it’s for life, and then one day you realise it’s all over. I’m not talking about Mr Robot - we’ve been together 20 years at the end of April. No. I am finally admitting that Roger Moore is not a brilliant James Bond.