Friday, 5 January 2018

In It For The Long Haul - Travel Outfits, Packing & Charity Shop Finds




Compared to what I've worn earlier this week I'm looking rather muted today.


Technically though this isn't today's outfit but rather tonight's as it's what I'll be wearing on my epic journey to India. We're flying from Birmingham to Paris then on to Mumbai and, after a six hour stopover, on to Bhuj where we'll be picked up by a driver sent by the family who own the haveli in Gujarat in which we'll be staying for the first week of our trip.


My dress is (don't faint) a new purchase which I spotted on-line while looking for inspiration, although it's modern I loved the sleeves and the faux Indian block print. I needed something comfortable which wouldn't crease on our long journey and could cope with being screwed up in the bottom of my bag without taking up valuable space and would look halfway decent for the journey home a month later whilst still being "me" - a tough ask. At £7 (including postage) I didn't expect it to look as good as it did on the model but was pleasantly surprised when it turned up. It weighs virtually nothing, is lined and has no fiddly fastenings - one less thing to set the alarms off when I go through departures.


What to wear on my feet? It's too cold to travel in sandals. Last night I remembered my vintage Italian-made canvas & leather pirate boots festering at the bottom of the wardrobe, I think most of us had these in the 1980s, didn't we? These came from a car boot sale and cost 25p. Like the dress they weigh virtually nothing and can be stashed away in my bag for the rest of our India trip and, a massive plus, I can get them on and off without having to bend down - I'm such a cripple when it's cold.


I loved this pompom trimmed length of poly cotton when I spotted it in the "Three for £1" bucket in the charity shop clearance shop on Wednesday. It's labelled as a size 16 so I think it's a beach skirt rather than a scarf, but there's masses of it which should keep my neck cosy on the flight (fecking air con, I hate it!) and double up as a beach cover up when we get to Goa.


In the same bucket I also spotted this Indian bag, still in the cellophane packaging...yes, more pompoms! The lady at the counter told me to get something else to get my £1's worth but I was happy with just the bag and the scarf. I've taken out my Rajasthani leather bag as the zip's on the blink and replaced it with this one.


Jon's travelling in an embroidered denim shirt by Firetrap, Topman carrot-leg chinos, a vintage tooled leather belt and vintage desert boots (all of which he found in charity shops).

Clockwise from top left: Hand loom cotton granddad shirt (bought in India); Diesel tee shirt (charity shop); Hand loom, block printed granddad shirt (bought in India); Swim shorts (birthday present from me); Quiksilver back pack & cross body bag by Clarks', vintage Kangol cap (all charity shopped); Linen trousers (retail, on sale); Sarongs and scarves (India & chazza shopped); Petrol blue shorts (charity shop); Swim shorts (bought for our trip to Corfu); Candy stripe cotton granddad shirt (charity shop); Printed tailored shorts (charity shop); Vintage Gabicci silk shirt (nicked from the stockroom); Pink tailored shorts (bought for Corfu); Black seersucker granddad shirt (bought in India). Not pictured - three pairs of sandals, sunglasses.

You've seen my travel wardrobe so I thought I'd show you what Jon's packed in his bag - well, half in his bag and half in mine, just in case we have any luggage mishaps. I've nagged him to try everything on before he packed it so he doesn't end up with a pair of shorts two sizes too big like last year!


Before I go....look! I made psychedelic granny squares! I was hoping to whip myself up a little crochet halterneck for my travels but I best not run before I can walk...my crochet creation can wait for the festival season.



That's it, I've dyed my hair, done my eyelash extensions and painted my toenails, I just need to have a bath and shave my legs and maybe squeeze in a bit more crochet.

See you in February!


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Absolute Beginners - Vix's Adventures In Crochet




 Happy New Year!!

WEARING: Inherited crochet maxi coat with 1970s Ricci Michaels of Mayfair psychedelic dress (bought from Vintage Relics at The End of the Road festival, 2016)

You may have noticed my fondness for crocheted clothing. The multi-coloured coat I'm wearing was one of Mum's creations from the 1970s - she used to buy hand knits from jumble sales, unravel them and crochet the yarn into coats, selling them to the cooler teachers and trendier mums at my junior school. The proceeds kept her in fags and booze.


She also used to make crochet jewellery. I found this wooden pendant wedged under the skirting board in her bedroom when I was clearing The Cottage before we put it up for sale.


Here's the Afghan blanket Mum made when she was expecting me that I recently deconstructed and remade into a coat


 And the cat blanket from a charity shop I also took apart and made into a cropped cardi.


The shawl the ladies in a charity shop put aside for me because it was weird.


There's my 1960s crochet wedding dress bought from a car boot sale for £5 in 2008 and a regular feature on my blog since day one.



One of the matching ponchos Mum crocheted when I was little (this one was hers, I got too big for mine).


 There's the crochet skull cap that came out of the 3 for £1 charity shop dump bin,


The maxi skirt Liz made me for my birthday three years ago.


And I always travel to India with at least one crochet bikini.


This year there's three in my bag!




Mum was an ace crocheter but her genes never passed to me. Any attempt I've made to learn has ended in abject failure but when Jon gave me a crochet book for complete beginners and a kit containing everything I needed to get started for Xmas, I decided that 2018 would be the year I finally mastered the art of crochet.


On Boxing Day I attempted double crochet. After several false starts I'd completed these wrist warmers (or beer mittens, as I prefer to call them) by Friday.




Next I decided to follow the book's granny square instructions only to get to a certain point and for it to go tits up. After yet another failure I turned to You Tube. I found a few tutorials but none seemed to engage until I stumbled upon Jayda's channel (you'll find a link HERE). With her glittery makeup, spangly bangles and big hoop earrings I knew she was the woman for me...and she was! Above is my first successful granny square, completed by 9am this morning.


In my excitement I rushed into town and treated myself the brightest yarn in the shop for just £1 a ball.


Will I be wearing the Vix-made psychedelic version of Cate Blanchett's vintage Dior maxi by Summer 2018? Watch this space!

Linking to Modish Matrons #19 Warm in Knits


Friday, 29 December 2017

India Comes To Coventry - Visiting The V&A's Crafts Of The Punjab Exhibition

  
All dressed up and somewhere to go! This week has seemed almost interminable so when we realised that today was probably the last chance we'd get to visit an exhibition we'd set our hearts on seeing, it was the perfect opportunity to jump in the van and shake off the twixmas apathy.


 On loan from the V&A's South Asian Collection, Crafts of The Punjab is currently on display at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry (the UK's City of Culture for 2021), just a forty minute drive from Walsall.

  
Yes, I know we'll have unlimited access to the most amazing of Indian crafts, textiles and artifacts in just over a week's time but I don't believe anyone can have too much of a good thing!


Even the armour is gorgeous.


The helmet below was made in Lahore in 1850 and features plumes of heron feathers.

 


Early photograph of Lahore circa 1855.


Ceramics, carvings and an ivory perfume bottle.


This watercolour was painted by a 16 year old boy. 

WEARING: Vintage USA-Made Farah wool jacket, 1960s Tootal scarf  & brogue boots (charity shopped); navy skinnies (retail); Leather baker boy cap (End of the Road festival, 2015)

Jon jealously guarding a nineteenth century woven silk textile.





This choli, kurta and dupatta set date from 1855 and are made from silk embroidered with silver wrapped thread. The choli (blouse) is so tiny.



These watercolours, completed in Jaipur in 1905 were copied directly from carpets made in the Mogul royal carpet workshop in Lahore in 1600.


I nearly passed out when I saw this beauty! This silk and mirror work skirt dates from 1850. 


This rosewood carving formed part of an over-mantel in a British officer's home.


These gloriously colourful textiles were made over 140 years ago.



This gents bullion work ceremonial coat from Amritsar dates from around 1850.


This carved table and mirror date back to the days of Queen Victoria but you'll still find artisans employing the same techniques all over India today.


The highlight of the exhibition for me was Maharaja Ranjit Singh's golden throne, made between 1805 and 1810 in Lahore which, before partition, was the capital city of the Punjab.


These gold earrings featuring miniatures painted on ivory come a close second. Dating between 1850 -1900 they were made in Delhi and gifted to the V&A. A near identical pair turned up on the Antiques Roadshow last year and were valued at tens of thousands of pounds.


This Maharani makes me feel under-dressed!


This waist sash (patka) dates to around 1835 and was made in Kashmir.


These watercolours were samples of art painted directly on the walls of palaces.


Early photographs of Amritsar dating from 1850.


Wah! The next time we get up close and personal to Indian antiquities will be in India - I can hardly wait!



The Crafts of the Punjab runs until 21st January, 2018.


10am - 4pm Monday - Saturday, 12 - 4pm Sundays) Admission FREE

WEARING: 1970s Collier Campbell for Liberty, London wool maxi dress and marabou trimmed capelet (present from G&T); Vintage Pakistani bullion work on velvet tote bag (jumble sale); Felted wool hat & original 1970s suede platform boots (Charity shopped); Brass bangles (Inherited from my mum)

Thanks for reading and see you in 2018!

Updated to link to Patti & The Gang for Visible Monday and Judith for Hat Attack #54.