Monday, 20 October 2014

Nine Go Wild In Walsall

Its been a while since we last had a girls' day out so I was beyond excited to host a get together in Walsall this weekend.

Itching to get into Second To None

After picking up Fiona from her hotel and meeting Emma, Annie, Curtise & Lyndsey at the train station, we staged an invasion of Costa coffee, throwing the waiting staff into confusion. As soon as Gisela, Tania & her friend Vanessa arrived we marched up to Second To None where June was ready and waiting (I'd tipped her off last week).

 We cracked open the cans of vodka & orange and gin & tonic I'd bought from Asda on my walk into town. (I do like to offer my friends the full-on Walsall experience). No corner of the shop was left unexplored, rails were rummaged, cabinets ransacked and even the stepladders were brought out to get to the top shelf.

Once our knees were buckling under the weight of all the vintage swag we climbed the stairs, stripped off and tried all the glorious clobber on. How insane is the print on the shirt Em's got on?

Tania looked fab in this folksy maxi.

Bra out, can in hand, classy to the last.

Is this dress a bit too Jane Austin? Curtise asked, to a resounding No, buy it, you daft bat from the rest of us.

Em's Mum had just treated her to the amazing emerald green wool coat she wore to meet us so she couldn't justify buying this stunner of a 1960s faux fur.

Fiona looked amazing in this block printed 1970s maxi as did Curtise in the chrysanthemum cape dress. Did they buy? You'll have to visit their blogs to find out!

Tania & Vanessa lead the way with Emma and Gisela behind

Purchases made we said goodbye to June and her husband, Dave and headed off for lunch. Lyndsey had to run back to Second To None, in a heightened state of excitement she'd left her cape behind.

Emma, Fiona and Gisela

Fascinating fact: This early 19th Century pub is actually called The Prince Belucher, named after the Prussian general who fought alongside Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. I've no idea where the "Belucher" bit of the sign went. 

Curtise, Gisela & Lyndsey

Fiona, Annie & Emma
We had lunch in posh Wetherspoons (Walsall has two within a few yards of one another). St Matthew's Hall was built 300 years ago and was originally the site of town's first library.

I took the gang to admire the array of goodies in The Chocolate Box, hilariously a sweet shop with a dental surgery upstairs. Its been in business for over 70 years and stocks proper old fashioned confectionery like Teddy Gray's Herbal Tablets, the pride of the Black Country. 

We then went for a whistle stop rummage of the chazzas. Fiona relived her college years playing with this vintage typewriter in the YMCA.

The rails in the British Heart Foundation got a battering.

Call ourselves vintage bloggers? Only £1.99 and still nobody wanted this OBD*.

*Obligatory blogger deer

We visited the Asian trimmings stall where we all cooed and sighed over elephant braiding, lurex pom-poms, velvet buttons and sequined paisley appliqués. 

Once the girls discovered how cheap everything was they were almost rendered speechless.

We waved Lyndsey & Vanessa off then headed to rough Wetherspoons (despite being a former Art Deco cinema its the less salubrious of the two) for a swift farewell drink before the rest of the gang caught their homeward bound trains. 

Fringed waistcoat worn with a 1970s mini (courtesy of the divine Desiree) and a 1960s felted hat (from the lovely Zoe)

What did I buy? This child's fitting 1960s suede waistcoat. 
There's also a psychedelic 1960s bikini to show you but its currently drying alongside the killer swimsuit I got from Thursday's jumble sale.

As they got so much love last week I thought I'd give you another flash of my inherited 1960s boots. Go-Go well (ha!) with the patent vanity case I got from Friday's jumble sale for 20p, don't they?

I'm linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

What a fab day off. Amazing vintage clothes, copious booze and the best company. I can't wait till the next time.

See you soon!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Rumble In The Jumble

When I joined the ranks of the self-employed six years ago, I discovered an underground society to which those in paid employment remain oblivious. The details are often hazy, communicated by Facebook messages (thanks, Shabby!) or via whispered conversations in charity shops. Forget the illicit raves or blues parties of my youth, these days its the wonderful world of the lunchtime jumble sale....... and we've been to two this week.

1960s suede mini (courtesy of Liz), 1980s bodysuit (jumble sale), 1970s Stirling Cooper fringed velveteen jerkin (Garbo Antiques @ Vintage Village at Stockport Market Hall), original 1960s go-go boots (inherited from my Mum), crazy tights (courtesy of Kerry, House of Harrie Hattie)
On Wednesday we set up and sorted the donations out for the regular Methodist church event, yesterday we served the buyers, cleared away and bagged up the leftovers for the rag man and today we went to another jumble as ordinary punters.

Jumble sales are a Black Country way of life. Whilst the weekend ones are packed out, the week day ones aren't quite so hectic. The buyers tend to be the retired and stay-at-home mothers along with a handful of second hand dealers and there is little competition for vintage stuff. Most of the regulars chuck anything old in my direction. Apparently I'm known as "that nice girl who dresses weird."

Want to see what we got?

This Sona percolator makes a mean cup of coffee but, according to my friend Gail at Essentially Eagle Vintage, they sell pretty well which should help towards the flight fund.

I found all three pairs of 1950s skates in the same donation bag, the cream pair at the end have bells threaded through the laces with Queens Ice Club, Bayswater W2 etched inside. I haven't been ice skating since I was a teenager but they'd look fantastic hung on an interior wall.

This Rococo mirror has a fair bit of age to it, it fits in well with our mirrors in the bathroom (there's a song there!)

This hideous thing actually lights up and plays Its a Long Way To Tipperary. Unsurprisingly it was unsold at the end of the jumble so I had to rescue it, much to Jon's disgust.

More Spanish tat.

See, Jon gets stuff too. A groovy retro ice bucket (with the 1960s guarantee still inside) and a vintage camera.

Some Scottish jewellery (complete with the tartan gift boxes)

...and a fascinating 1937 edition of Every Woman's Enquire Within covering everything from animal husbandry, politics, travel advice and beauty tips. 

Whilst there's a fair few vintage clothes on offer I only buy stuff that excites me, like this amazing array of 1970s dresses.

I also found the vintage swimsuit of my dreams but that'll have to wait for another post.

Wearing: 1970s Crimplene maxi dress (the lovely Linda at Hey Homewrecker!), bastard massive 70s Stainless Steel cross (£1, car boot sale), 1960s go-go boots (as before)

...and here's something I wasn't tempted with - the biggest pants in the world.

Jon'll be taking Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique to Bridgnorth tomorrow - alone! I'm having the day off. He's a star, isn't he?

See you soon!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Skinny Love and Prints Charming

I know, I know, I need another vintage maxi dress like I need a hole in the head but since when does necessity come into the equation when you spot a groovy print like this one? Buy what you love when you see it (and, obviously, when you can afford it) and you'll never wake up at 3am wondering why you passed up on that perfect frock. 

 Its a two piece beach set, made from fast-drying nylon and ideal for sunset strolls along the seashore in Goa but, as I've yet to find a flight at the right price, it'll do for a wet day in Walsall. 

I'm planning on attaching the halter top to the skirt with a perspex ring - I know I've got one somewhere!

That bracelet with the brown glass stones? Some work colleagues bought it me for my 21st birthday. The Lapis ring? My Dad bought for me when I passed my Eleven Plus almost 37 years ago. My taste in jewellery hasn't changed in a lifetime.

After numerous requests here's how Jon skinnies-up his trousers. Isn't it funny that nobody bats an eyelid if a woman uses a power drill or rewires a plug but seems to think that a man who sews is a bit odd?  Get with the 21st Century people! 

  • Put trousers on the wrong side out and pin along each side of the leg, allowing some room for movement.
  • Take them off and machine sew up both sides of each leg using a long stitch setting. 
  • Turn the trousers the right way. Try them on in front of a mirror.
  • If okay then turn inside-out and sew over the first row of stitching using a shorter length stitch setting.
  • Try on again just to make sure that you're happy.
  • Trim off any excess fabric using pinking shears (if you don't have any of these then use normal scissors and zig-zag the raw edges of the fabric to prevent fraying).
  • Wear with pride.

Vintage daisy print two-piece (RetroRags, Vintage Village at Stockport) worn with a £7 fake fur jacket and a bastard massive 1970s pendant (from the gorgeous Em)
Since I last blogged we've taken Kinky on the road to Nottingham and to Stockport. Both events were fantastic but man, consecutive 5am get-ups and two 14 hour days sure have taken their toll. We're like zombies. How I used to work for a living I'll never know.

Still, onwards and upwards. There's a jumble sale to help out at & another vintage fair (HERE) to prepare before the week's out.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

In The Leather

Once upon a time I used to do outfit posts, these days its a matter of chucking my camera in my bag and grabbing impromptu photo opportunities between appointments. This one was taken by an undertaker taking a cigarette break between funerals! 

The bronze saddle, some of Walsall's street art, dedicated to the town's leather industry

Its been said that Jon and I are Walsall's unofficial ambassadors, forever bigging up our much-maligned home town on my blog. My affection for our town hasn't gone unnoticed, we're currently helping out with a project which, hopefully, I'll be able to reveal the details of very soon.

With two vintage fairs booked for this weekend I've been so busy that I haven't worn lipstick or gone further than the wheelie bin since Sunday night but, as part of the project, we needed to meet up with a few people in town today. 

And in-between appointments we popped to Walsall's Leather Museum to see something I'd fallen in love with on the Black Country Echoes festival website.

This! Made in 1969 by Walsall Leather Company, Tarantella, this gorgeous suede jacket really should be mine.

The factory started, like many, in the back of a house by Edna Kirby. Tarantella had a largely female workforce and became internationally famous for their leather gloves supplying companies like Marks & Spencer.

Unusually for the time, Edna Kirby valued her women workers, allowing them to continue working after they married and had children, even providing a crèche. However, in August 1970, after introducing family planning clinics for her workers, the story was picked up by the national press and the workforce was portrayed in a negative light, causing great upset for her female staff. Edna's reasoning behind it was quite simple, she'd lost many skilled workers through unplanned pregnancy, which was a blow to the factory when so much time and expense was lost spent training them. 

Edna sold the company in the early 1970s after pressure to pay her workers by the day rather than by piece work. The workers were kept on but the quality of the materials decreased and the company closed two years later.

Wearing: Second-hand skinnies, Vintage blazer, 1960s Tootal scarf, contemporary wool flat cap, Clarks' boots

Although I've been to the Leather Museum before (including attending a shoe-making workshop) I couldn't resist admiring the array of  handbags and luggage made in Walsall.

That snakeskin vanity bag, the gents top hat case, the places that suitcase must have been!

A variety of Walsall-made leather goods,

These boots were a common sight when I was growing up.

Hardy Amies wallets and Asprey of Bond Street, high end leather goods which started life in Walsall factories.

Contemporary leather including bags by Anya Hindmarsh and gorgeous hand made silver jewellery by our friend Jolene Smith.

Fashion bloggers go berserk over Mulberry, don't they?

Walsall-made dog harnesses from the early 20th century. The bull dog doesn't look very impressed. 
Suzanne - look, pugs!

I love this - proper pride in this factory's work.

If, like me, you're a fan of the TV show Salvage Hunters, you can imagine Drew going wild over the original factory equipment in these workshop installations.

When I first started work these clocking in machines were still widely used.

Sadly we didn't have time for a guided tour or a panini in the coffee shop but we'll be back. Its a short walk from our house and over the road from Second To None, Walsall's legendary vintage emporium!
Wearing: '70s Psychedelic skirt by Jeannie Jersey, Finish-made 1970s suede boots, 1970s green suede jacket, 1960s felted wool hat, 1950s beach bag
If you're in Nottingham (HERE) or Stockport (HERE) this weekend click on the links to come & say hello and to shop Kinky Melon. If you want to catch us before the end of the year click HERE for a full list of our fairs.

See you soon.