Thursday, 16 April 2015

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

I'd forgotten all about this 1960s swimsuit I found at a jumble sale last year so I popped it on, posted this photo on Facebook with a message saying that I was off to wear it in the garden and instantly lost three followers. Were people offended by the gratuitous display of flesh?

Vintage 1960s cutaway swimsuit by Janice Dickinson (20p, jumble sale), white sunglasses (25p, Age UK)

Sod 'em! Life's too short to conform. Hopefully, I'll be getting my kit off (and no doubt pissing more people off) for a good while yet (especially if we're getting the Summer we've been promised) and if that means losing "friends" along the way then so be it.

Nothing as offensive today though, the glorious sunshine we were treated to yesterday is but a distant memory. It was my bed cover capelet & vintage maxi at dawn for this morning's car boot sale and, as usual, even being completely covered from head to toe sent Porno Boy* into a frenzy, giving me a lascivious wink and rubbing his hands up and down his shell suit-clad thighs in glee.

* A regular trader who specialises in dubiously sticky looking DVDs of a distinctly adult nature. 

Wanna see what we got?

Might have to oust a certain Polly Piglet first!

She's taken a fancy to the vintage Tootal scarves. A girl of great taste, obviously. There's a tweed jacket, a couple of head scarves, some tooled leather bags and a 1950s wool blanket I'll have to prise off her later.

Clockwise from top left: Bird print maxi skirt; Velvet tree print midi skirt; lizard handbag (it came in a dust bag, very swanky!); Scots-made gents wool cardi; groovy crimplene maxi dress; ILGWU fake fur coat labelled The Grand, Milwaukee; Batwing sleeve mohair cardi; bamboo handle handbag; See through mac (might nick that for Glastonbury!); Baby blue worsted wool jacket; nylon baby doll; beaded Italian-made handbag; gents corduroy & fake fur coat 

I'm glad I got my sunshine fix yesterday as this afternoon will mostly be spent cleaning this lot leaving the evening free to watch the final episode of Banished, which I'm loving. 

Wearing: Me-made capelet (last seen HERE), 1970s cotton maxi (last seen HERE), ridiculously oversized vintage sunglasses (20p, car boot sale, 2013)

We're back in Bristol on Saturday, trading with the fabulous Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair - details HERE. Come and say hello!

See you soon.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The One Where I Flash My Pants

When I said I loved old things I only meant vintage clothes, classic cars and retro interiors, there was never any mention of ailments from the past and the underarm abscess I was diagnosed with last week sounded positively Medieval to me. Fortunately, with the help of the wonderful National Health Service, the drugs and surgical dressings are doing the trick and the evil thing shouldn't need hospital treatment after all.

Fever down and pain all but gone I was able to join Jon & work at Moseley's Vintage & Retro Fair yesterday, hanging out with the beautiful people of Birmingham's legendary bohemian suburb.

The other day Suzanne shared a few photos of culottes on Facebook, asking if we'd wear them as she wouldn't. I can't find her original link but she was right, most of them -were horrible, like these 100% polyester offerings currently on TopShop's website for 40 quid. Bloody hell, I wouldn't wear those monstrosities to wheel the bin out.

Clockwise from top left: 1960s Jean Allen raw silk culotte dress, 1960s psychedelic suit (Janne's Vintage), me-made curtain culottes x 2 and pure silk culotte dress (a gift from Desiree back in 2012)
Never one to be swayed by fashion, I've worn culottes for years just because I love them. Choosing the vintage option generally means they'll be more flamboyant and voluminous, unlike the latest versions which lack both volume and any hint of pizazz. Don't fall for the tired old fashion editor's favourite phrase, pared down. The new shape is stingy on the volume so the makers can get more out of a length of material and make more money. It's got very little to do with style or "a modern twist on a classic" (yawn).

Here's my latest pair, made by me using some vintage West African waxed cotton (courtesy of my lovely friend Claire, who also gave me the red chiffon maxi I'm wearing in the Moseley photo). I used a 1967 Style pattern which I bought from Mabel's Vintage Carriage last week.

Chalk ware St Peter statue: 99p from a charity shop this morning.

You don't need divine intervention or even much skill to make culottes - just four main pattern pieces and a zip. These took me less than three hours to make even with a gammy arm!

Me-made waxed cotton culottes worn with 1970s dagger collar bomber jacket (Easter bank holiday car boot sale, 50p) 
Two days left on Penicillin and counting - there's a bottle of aged Cuban rum sitting on the coffee table (a gift from some wonderful visitors to our pitch yesterday) and it is taunting me as I type.

See you soon!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Specs & Drugs & Rock & Roll

When people discover that I write a blog they assume I get sent loads of free stuff. I don't. Yes, my inbox might be stuffed with all manner of offers for freebies and promotional opportunities but unless it's something I really need, which is pretty much never as I can find almost everything I want second hand, then the PR department usually get a polite"Thanks but no thanks" in response.

Vintage Osti maxi (courtesy of the fabulous Helga), 1970s velvet mules (Salvation Army, £1)

But, when Glasses Direct contacted me I was interested. They are an award winning British company I've used before as a paying customer and, from the wording of the email, they actually read my blog and understood me and my style. The fact that they'd started their email with Dear Vix as opposed to Dear Blogger was a rarity. They asked if I'd like a pair of prescription glasses from their rather cool London Retro range in exchange for a review and I had no hesitation in accepting.

Back in 2012: Wearing my 1950s specs with a vintage St Michael lounge suit (courtesy of darling Curtise) 

My usual glasses are 1950s originals I'd picked up at a flea market for 20p and had reglazed by an on-line optical company. They're still going strong after five years of daily wear.

2011: Same specs worn with a vintage nylon nightie (again from Helga) and marabou mules

Although my prescription hasn't changed, managing a website, editing photos and the close-work involved with sewing & the endless vintage clothing repairs means I'm relying on my glasses a lot more. I've been after a second pair for ages, but hadn't found anything I liked, so this offer couldn't have come at a better time.

March, 2015

When I used Glasses Direct previously I'd opted for their Home Trial, picking out a four frames that appealed and trying them out at home. This time I tried their fancy pants interactive gadget, using my webcam to capture an image of my face and then holding up a bank card to get the scale right. I could then try on all the specs from the collection and judge myself objectively. (Yep, I am wearing a scarf indoors - the joys of living in a 260 year-old home with draughty sash windows!)

To be honest it was a tough choice, I liked most of the London Retro collection but decided the cats-eye Loren frames looked best. As opposed to plain black I went for the leopard print version - given the choice I'll always take the patterned option.

I scanned in my prescription and a week later the new glasses arrived (along with a cool retro-looking case). The prescription & fit is perfect and I'm very happy. It'll be interesting to see if they last as long as my others , which still get admired and complimented by the optician each time I get my eyes tested.

Am I a shameless sell-out for accepting free glasses? When my Mum was alive she was amazed by how many offers I turned down, Principles won't pay the billswas her favourite saying. While I'll never start flogging corn plasters, anti-ageing creams and dish washing tablets I'm more than happy to accept offers from airlines, music festivals and alcoholic drink manufacturers!

Thanks for all your well wishes. Jon's 100% better. It's my turn (again) now and it looks like there's only going to be one half of Kinky Melon working Moseley Vintage & Retro Fair on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed that the Penicillin kicks in soon, the alternative involves a evil sounding hospital procedure.

See you soon!

PS In case you're curious, I'm reading Never Mind The Bullocks by Vanessa Able, a tale of a woman's solo trip around the sub-continent in India's smallest car, the Tata Nano.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Cat In A Hat

It's just as well so many of our regular customers & fellow traders have become good friends, selling at fairs makes up a huge part of our social life. If we're not absolutely knackered or too late home to meet up with the gang down the pub when we do get a night off one of us seems to come down with something.

This week it was Jon's turn, struck down with the same hideous cold I caught a fortnight ago. He managed to work at Saturday's vintage fair and rallied for a car boot sale on Sunday morning , before collapsing on to the settee for the remainder of the long weekend so we had to miss Adrian's gig on Monday night.

Still, I'm a resourceful soul and don't need to be kept entertained. Nikki & Kurt, a lovely couple of regulars, gave me a pair of 1970s curtains when they called to visit us in Bridgnorth on Saturday, which I spent yesterday transforming into a culotte suit (using a vintage Maudella pattern from darling Curtise, I'd previously used HERE). Jon rose from his sick bed to make the Rouleau straps as they were driving me mental and my incessant swearing was having the same effect on him.

Just for fun I Googled How To Wear A Jumpsuit Over 40. (Seriously, if you get to our "advanced" age and don't know how to get dressed then there's really no hope, is there?) The experts (i.e. frumpy looking bloggers who dress like prospective Tory party candidates) suggested that to pull off (don't you hate that phrase?) a jumpsuit then one must keep the accessories to a minimum. This prompted me to pile on the heavy metal, paint my nails in Barry's M's Blueberry Ice Cream and top the lot off with an original 1970s felt hat picked up from Sunday's car boot for the princely sum of 10p.

They also advised us old biddies to stick to a jumpsuit in a neutral colour, avoid prints and chose a more fitted shape to elongate and flatter a small frame. If purple swirls and 22 inch flares make me look like an obese dwarf then so be it. Mind you, they'd doubtless be getting their ugly shapewear knickers in a twist about my waist length hair, bare arms and black eye liner, too.

Spring is definitely here, Jacob emerged bleary-eyed from his box this morning and after a warm bath he's strolling around his pen in the sunshine tucking into Little Gem lettuce and peeled cucumber.

I've had him since 1975 which makes him 40 this year. I wonder if he needs any style advice from the experts? 

See you soon!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Your Carriage Awaits, Milady!

What on earth am I doing, hanging around a railway station on a wet Friday morning in marabou feathers and 6" platforms?

I warn you now, this is an image heavy post so do feel free to scroll down and say nice shoes if you're short of time (50p from a car boot sale a couple of years ago if you're wondering).

Welcome to the wonderful Chasewater Railway Museum in Staffordshire. Shockingly, despite it being a mere 7 miles from Walsall, I'd never visited until today.

 Even in the rain it's fantastic. 

Wearing: Vintage velvet jacket, skinny jeans, early 70s cherry red Docs, Tootal scarf, vintage waistcoat

Wearing: 1970s wool maxi and matching marabou trimmed cape (Xmas present from dear G&T of Baboushka Vintage)

So what was I doing hanging around a railway platform? Only opening a shop!

This is Mabel's Vintage Carriage, a joint venture between Kinky's friends & fellow traders Pumpkins Vintage & Jam Sponge and Mustard Designs, a glorious emporium packed to the rafters with vintage china, pre-loved homewares, French-inspired up-cycled furniture, handmade soft furnishings and gifts made from retro fabrics.

As Walsall's unofficial, bargain-basement, vintage vixen I was bowled over when they asked me to cut the ribbon and garble a few welcoming words to the crowd who'd braved the inclement weather.

A snip and a smile and we're open.

Let the shopping commence!

This is the interior, which has taken weeks to get this pretty. At IndieTracks, the music festival held at the Midland Railway Museum in Derbyshire, Gilbert, our trade tent and us are absolutely filthy with smoke, diesel & coal dust after a just weekend spent on the sidings.

I bet there isn't at least one thing you want to buy. 

I left with a vintage dressmaking pattern and a psychedelic toilet from a 1970s dolls house. 

Liz was thrilled to find a 1960s copy of her favourite ever Enid Blyton book, The Magic Faraway Tree.

The prices are exceptionally good, too. Dressmaking patterns start at 50p, I spotted a wooden cantilevered sewing box for £12 and a gorgeous 1950s patent leather Kelly bag for £15 

Loads of us vintage lovin' girls like a steam railway but often when we visit there's nothing other than old train magazines, souvenir tee shirts and scale models to buy. At Mabel's you can take home a pretty memento of your day out. 

Schmoozing and boozing with the gang.

Dawn's groovy customised 1960s sweater is from Babouskha Vintage

Liz in vintage St Michael, Gail rocking the leopard print.

Meg in a fab 1950s chiffon blouse

Loving Helen's dress!

Liz made Al's waistcoat.

You can visit Mabel at Chasewater, Platform 1 Brownhills West Station
Pool Lane (Off the A5), Burntwood, Staffs WS8 7NL
Open weekends & Bank Holidays

Shop officially opened, Cava drunk and purchases made it was time to take our own vintage carriage back home.

We're trading HERE in beautiful Bridgnorth in Shropshire tomorrow. Come and see us if you can.

Have a fab long weekend!

Linking to Patti & the gang over at Visible Monday.