Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Purple Haze

I love Wednesdays. It's our official midweek drinking day. White rum, a wedge of fresh lime (ten for a quid off the market), a handful of ice cubes and some diet cola accompanied by a gritty European thriller series. This week we're watching Before We Die and, as is the way with most Swedish dramas I watch, I'll be paying particular attention to the interiors for doll's house design inspiration.

Wednesday is also the day we go charity shopping and today's gloriously warm weather meant that I didn't have to bother with a coat which made me love my day even more. I feel so much more alive with the heat of the sun on my shoulders. Hello, Frank!

I went mad and ditched my boots for sandals, although these aren't the ones I left the house in this morning, I found these tan leather TopShop platforms for £3.99 and insisted on changing into them straight away, much to the amusement of the Banardos staff.

Here's the rest of the bits we picked up and, for the first time this year, I've been able to wash them and peg them outside on the washing line to dry.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: 1980s does the 1950s cotton sundress by Hennes; 1980s cotton maxi with knit bodice; 1980s jumpsuit; Almatrichi of Spain peacock print cotton shift (not vintage but gorgeous!); 1960s Crimplene mini dress; 1970s needlecord smock top (I might have to keep this); 1960s petal collar mod raincoat; 1950s cotton camisole; 1960s silver sandals; high heeled polka dot wellies (festival stock!) ; Daks blazer

I love this hefty book on daily Indian wisdom Jon found for 49p.

So what room in my doll's house am I matching today? Today's purple and blue Dollyrocker's maxi co-ordinates perfectly with the living room.

I love this 1970s-inspired wallpaper so much that I've decided to paper our real house with it. 

The dining table & chairs, glass topped coffee table and dresser are all original '70s Lundby. I replaced the grubby chair cushions with leftover doll's house carpet and painted the previously mahogany dresser white.

The Gustavian style clock is another original Lundby piece, I bought when I was 10 back in 1976 and I'd still buy it now, 42 years later. My tastes have never changed.

The details:

  • Vintage vinyl, download from a doll's house website.
  • Trechikoff  & Walter Lambert prints - I found 30 of these mini wooden frames in a charity shop on Monday for £1.50 which I first painted white and then gilded, I do love a blingy picture frame.
  • Pendant light made from two lids and a plug chain.
  • Old school cassettes - I took a photo of some of Jon's gazillion mix tapes which I scaled down and glued onto cardboard.
  • Cox's apples in a pewter fruit bowl.

Plants made from sellotape & gardening wire and painted with nail polish.

I made the retro cocktail bar from kitchen foil, cardboard, toothpicks and dressmaking pins and covered it with prints of marble, Formica and a vintage NYC skyline. The light box was from Linda (the inspiration behind my doll's house obsession).

WEARING: 1970s Dollyrockers by Samuel Sherman gauzy cotton maxi (Second To None, Walsall, 2010) with a vintage Egyptian Revival gold plated, lapis lazuli pendant by Thomas Fattorini & Sons, Birmingham (part of a set Jon bought me for my 50th birthday)

Cheers, all! See you soon.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Flower Power

Florals, ahoy! The weather's a balmy 12°C and there's a suggestion of spring in the air. I'm off to 'Spoons for lunch and I'm giving the Dollyrockers Edwardian-style maxi I recently found in a charity shop its first outing.

Here's my replacement denim waistcoat, too. I have the feeling you'll be seeing a lot of this over the next few months.

In anticipation of the Spring-like weather we've been promised, I wore my vintage Pucci maxi yesterday.

The dress is from Emilio Pucci's range of American-made lingerie for Formfit Rogers (produced from 1959 until the early 1970s). With a button fastening bodice and cuffs, a side zip and generous pockets it's far too good to be worn inside the confines of the house and I don't - it's had many nights (and days) out on the town since I bought it from Sarah at Tin Trunk three years ago.

Saturday was glorious and I was out in the garden, bare-armed and weeding in the sunshine. Keeping to the theme of lingerie as outer wear I wore this 1970s St Michael off-the-shoulder nightie with that denim waistcoat and a pom-pom choker I made. This nightie has been to loads of festivals and travelled to India at least six times since I bought it for 50p from a flea market in 2010. I've even been known to wear it to bed when it's freezing cold!

And, while we're on the theme of nightwear fancy taking a look at the next room in my latest doll's house project, the second bedroom? Like my recent outfits it's mish mash of floral prints in violet, green and blue with a splash of yellow.

I'd intended for this room to be the bathroom but when I installed my super groovy avocado suite it looked disappointingly cramped. Luckily for me the Lundby extension I'd been watching on eBay ended with me being the only bidder so I was able to relocate the bathroom to a bigger and better space, allowing room for this, a second bedroom.

The details:
  • Cushions and bolsters made by me from felt and Indian trimmings.
  • The bed cover was made from a pair of toddler's trousers found in a charity shop. 
  • The pendant light was the lid from one of these plastic eggs with a kid's toy inside (from the five for £1 basket in the charity shop) which I trimmed with Indian braid,  threaded a plug chain through and attached to a lid.
  • Bead perfume bottles on a giant sequin.
  • Felt slippers 
  • I chopped off the original headboard and made one from a washing up sponge which I covered in silk and hand-sewed to give a quilted effect.
  • The full-sized version of this Fornasetti chest of drawers retails at £1500 - I cut out a picture of it from The Guardian Weekend magazine and glued it to a cabinet I'd made from a cat food box and topped with the discarded wooden headboard from the revamped bed. The feet are beads and the drawer knobs the tops from dressmaking pins.

When Curtise, Tania, Annie & I went to Chesterfield market a few years ago I fell in love with a vintage Pifco freestanding hairdryer but I didn't fancy lugging it back on the train to Walsall via New Street Station and had to leave it behind. I was excited to find a mini version in the bag of furniture I bought from the charity shop the other day. The West German wardrobe was a £1 eBay find.

My latest doll's house came with the Swedish-made Lundby framed pictures still attached to the wall. Their subject matter was dull (the larger one featured The Haywain, & the smaller a faded Degas ballerina), as I'm sure you know, Vladimir Trechikoff & J H Lynch are far more my style. I copied the wallpaper from a posh website.

The blanket box came from eBay and was a horrible orange coloured wood. I painted it teal and roughed up the edges with sandpaper and shoe polish so it looked less like cheap & nasty repro piece and more like a careworn antique. Just don't call it shabby chic.

WEARING: Dollyrockers by Samuel Sherman 1960s gauzy cotton maxi ; 1990s denim waistcoat (both charity shopped); vintage 1970s sunglasses (Moseley Vintage Fair, 2016); Pompom earrings (made by me); gormless expression (all my own)

I'd better be off, there's charity shops to explore before we hit 'Spoons!

See you soon.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Kitchen Sync

I was just on the way out of the shop after a fruitless search of one of the local chazzas when the manager called me back. I've put something aside for you but I'm not sure if it's a bit old fashioned, she said, handing over this 1960s wool maxi dress in a wild combination of orange and red. Old fashioned? I couldn't hand my cash over fast enough!

A few shops on and I noticed a chunky gold zip peeping out of a box of shoes on the floor. Further investigation revealed it to be attached to a pair of unworn River Island black suede platforms in my size. What with the hat I bought back in the Autumn the entire outfit cost me less than £10. With prices like those who needs high street fast fashion?

 I had got into the habit of photographing our charity shop finds as soon as we got them home but we've bought so much lately I've let it slip. Above are Wednesday morning's vintage discoveries. Clockwise from top left: Loden pea coat by Gloverall, the luxury British designer brand who introduced the duffel coat to non-civilians in 1950; Trina Lewis & Marjon Couture at Baker Sportswear 1970s does the 1950s sundress; Unworn 1960s elbow length silver lurex gloves by Dents (British glove makers with a royal warrant, established in 1777) ; Ivory layered maxi dress with macrame insets by British boutique label, Mr Darren; Mod dress suit in Crimplene by Fulton, London; Donkey jacket (to the uninitiated, a traditional piece of British work wear) and a handmade lined polyester flower print maxi.

As threatened in my last post, I'm coordinating my outfits to match the rooms in my Lundby doll's house so today's red and orange maxi means you get to see the kitchen. Kitchen sync, you see.

The orange fitted kitchen was produced in Sweden by Lundby between 1974 and 1979. It wasn't super cheap (I paid £15) but I'd sold some of the remaining bits from Mum's doll's house as well as some leftovers from the furniture that came with the recent charity shop doll's house so I had a decent wedge of cash in my Paypal account to fritter away on groovy 1970s furniture.

In real life I dislike fitted kitchens - our real-life one is freestanding - but in the mini world I love this.

The washing machine and table & chairs were in the aforementioned bag of furniture as were the pot plants on the windowsill. The light fitting is half a cat toy threaded with a plug chain and attached to a lid from the conditioner that comes with my hair dye.

  • The blind is a piece of paper rolled onto a kebab skewer, trimmed with beads. To replicate the pull I've threaded a snap fastener with elastic. 
  • I downloaded the printable retro food packaging from HERE.
  • The "bin" is a lid from a glue stick with some polythene stuffed inside. The towel rail is a painted lolly stick with push pins for knobs and the tea towels are cut from a dishcloth.
  • The plates are buttons with a scaled down image of a Taunton Vale tray.
  • I made the Atomic-style wall clock from a cork and some dressmaker's pins.

Jon took the van for a service yesterday and explored the neighbouring chazzas to pass the time. I've got a present for you, he announced when he came home, presenting me with this amazing '70s maxi.

Vintage knife pleat maxi (Charity shop, £3); Original '70s suede platform boots & Panda, London hat (charity shopped); Vintage pendant (present from Emma

Killer sleeves, a print so loud you can hear it in outer space and colours that fit effortlessly into my wardrobe, you can see why we've spent the last twenty-six years together. I wonder which room I'll match this dress to?

Wearing: Vintage wool maxi (£5), River Island boots (£1.99), Felt hat (£2.49), Indian choker (present from Ilaria)

See you soon!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Dresses, Doll's Houses and The Queen Is Dead

Where did that last week go? I would have posted sooner but after Jon took these photos the camera died a death - obviously not able to cope with all that dazzling yellow. We do have another camera, a whopping great pro model bought from a friend a few years ago who, in turn, bought it off another mate. Although it came with the manual neither of us have ever found the inclination to read it and I can't say I'm struck on the picture quality or on the size of the bloody thing. I suppose I'll just have to bite the bullet and buy a replacement for my trusty compact camera some time this week. 

Cher card; 1970s knife pleated mint green sun dress; cotton nightie; vintage tin; poodle scarf; 1970s Boots' make-up bag; massive peacock feather earrings.

Last week Liz and I popped over to Nottingham to meet Curtise & Tania and such was our need for a good old catch -up, a slap-up 'Spoons lunch and a charity/vintage shop rummage that not a single photo was taken. Needless to say I didn't come home empty-handed. Above are the presents Curtise and Tania gave me.

I found this killer Pucci-style cut-out strapless swimsuit in one of the Nottingham chazzas and couldn't resist this classic Vix sleeve chiffon maxi from off a sale rail in the wonderful Hopkinson's vintage emporium.

So what have I been doing with my time during my week-long absence? Messing around with doll's houses, of course! Look, they're breeding....

 I bought The Smiths promo poster behind me from a tout outside a gig in Brum just before The Queen is Dead was released in 1986 ......32 sodding years ago! As I lived in a number of dubious shared hovels when I was younger I took my precious poster to my parents' house for safe-keeping. When I sold a few bits from The Cottage to an antique dealer, he spotted my poster and offered me a couple of hundred quid for it - which of course I turned down, that poster represents my misspent youth. Jon was all mysterious before my birthday and kept disappearing, turns out he'd framed it for me as a surprise. There's a tatty one currently listed on eBay for £595!

On the doll's house front, I've been busy restoring (and de-beigeing) my vintage Lundby. Here's bedroom number one. The partially boxed Lundby Blue Heaven bed, dressing table and wardrobe set were made in 1976 and were a lucky eBay auction bargain, finishing at an odd time on a Bank Holiday. The sink, vase of tulips and chair were part of the bag of furniture which came with the other week's charity shopped doll's house. The mustard doll's house carpet was also from eBay and was a perfect replacement for the grubby original. The pendant light is made from a plug chain, the cap of a bottle of cola and the lid from a tube of glue.

I love how when pleated, paper resembles fabric. I found the swan wallpaper on this website (HERE) and glued it to a kebab stick trimmed with beads from a broken necklace to replicate a curtain rail.

The wall lamps are Indian toothpaste caps, the mini pom-pom trim was salvaged from some fancy Xmas present wrapping. The picture frames were on the walls in my other Lundby doll's house (Oops! That'll be house number four!)

Here's some of my bedroom mini-makes. Thanks to Sarah and Aril who both suggested using beads as perfume bottles which I glued to a super size sequin from an Indian garland. The cushions were made from a 30p sheet of felt and decorated with daisy appliques which I bought from the Asian haberdashery stall on the market a couple of years ago. I knew they'd come in useful one day. The hairdryer was made from a bead, a drinking straw and a piece of knicker elastic.

I've just realised that this dress co-ordinates with the bedroom - no surprise really as I've decorated the entire house in colours I love to wear. In fact I might have to dress to match each of the rooms I'm going to show you over the next week or so.

WEARING: Handmade 1970s chiffon maxi (Hopkinsons of Nottingham); Pewter boots (New, retail sale); Indian choker (Age UK)

Linking to Patti & The Gang for Visible Monday.

See you soon!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Cool In A Kaftan

I bought this crazy 1970s cotton kaftan for a song in a charity shop last week. In an ideal world I'd be wearing it with a massive straw hat and over-sized sunglasses and be swanking about in the sunshine but it's Easter in the UK so I'll have to settle for boots and a thermal vest instead.

People have very short memories, Snow at Easter! they exclaim in amazement, posting images of white gardens and impassable roads on social media. Looking back at my blog from five years ago this week, you can see that it's not so unusual.

Luckily for us none of the dreaded white stuff we were threatened with has materialised, instead we've experienced rain of biblical proportions. Our avenue was so badly flooded on Saturday morning that we had to phone the council to send an emergency team out as the water was too high for the postman to get to the house and when you're anxiously awaiting your latest eBay purchases that just won't do.

Easter's a bit of a non-event in this household. Into neither God or chocolate the only notable date this weekend was yesterday, 1st April, our 26th never-had-a-wedding anniversary. In true Vix & Jon style we celebrated by exchanging homemade cards, watching brutal Scandi Noir and toasting ourselves with supermarket own brand white rum and diet cola. The photo above was taken in Goa by a man we've known for eight years and secretly call Mullet due to his terrible 1980s hairdo. He's a shopkeeper in a tourist season and works as a wedding photographer back home in Kashmir the rest of the year, hence the cheesy composition. Which reminds me that I still haven't blogged about our time in Goa, I must see to that soon.

I've spent a large part of the weekend Spring cleaning to justify spending most of today messing with doll's house stuff. Whilst tidying I came across this chicken and egg necklace my parents bought me when I was eleven as an alternative to getting me an Easter Egg, which invariably used to sit in the cupboard until the end of May when my Dad would end up eating it for me.  

Yesterday I popped over to The Cottage as I wanted to peel some of the wallpaper off the bathroom walls before the new buyers moved in. Sadly it's as firmly attached as it was when Dad put it up in 1971 but I've taken a couple of decent photos and shall print it off and paper the doll's house walls with it once I get the next restoration underway.

I've been finding some great things for my next doll's house lately on eBay. Not being the type of people who eat big Sunday dinners means that any auction finishing at lunchtime can often be won for very little money. This '70s avocado bathroom suite was last Sunday's buy. I added the orange tiled background myself as the seller had given it a bit of a naff shabby chic makeover which wasn't really my thing. That tiny electric shaver is the cutest thing ever. 

Today's make is this chaise longue which I made from a 1970s fabric covered diary, a cat food box and some beads from a charity shop necklace. 

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday and the Modish Matrons; Natalia, Beate and Tina for No Matter The Weather.

See you soon!