Friday, 26 February 2010

Seeeeewing vintage ladies!

I treated myself the other day to two new sewing kits that finally arrived in the post the other day. Working in black-stitch, mainly in black yet with the odd bright colour to highlight, I picked out two of the four season collection of 1920s influenced ladies!

With a lady walking along on a Spring day and then again tending to her pretty pink flowers in the summer months. They are both from a company called Catkin Designs. I would link you their website but google/firefox/AVG keep flashing warnings that their page is rather unhealthy for your computer [or something along those lines]. But if you click on the picture for its larger version you'll find all their details on the sewing pack.

Now just have to add them to the "to do" list behind everything else that needs finishing - I wish I had more time in the day to do stuff!

Would be great to hear of any of your latest creative encounters!

Have a lovely weekend everyone

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Lollypop tree :)

This picture that my JJ showed me the other day from where he work - it made my day. It's so happy and fun! Something so very simple yet amazingly fab! A pom-pom tree of lolly pops! Fun times!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Random inspiration

Random, random vintage inspiration .... otherwise known as wasting many an hour daydreaming via google images
What's your recent inspiration?

All images found via random google searches.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

How about afternoon tea in the Ritz Hotel in London's Piccadilly? Get dressed up in a smart vintage suit and link arms with my man and wander through the doors into the grand foyer, greeted by the smartly dressed and perfectly mannered greeter [or door openers - whatever their name is!]

Drink in the atmosphere and the afternoon tea ...

Original post lost to cyberspace
... with posh crust less sarnies, a cream tea and perhaps be tempted with a glass of champagne?

Original post lost to cyberspace

And if your feeling rather rich, or splashing out ....Why not stay over?!

Me and JJ keep daydreaming about our future and the one day we have our honeymoon. We don't want to be engaged long so I guess daydreaming about things now settles out what we want so it makes planning everything much more easily. Spend a week, be together, do posh things like having afternoon tea in Ritz and maybe spending one night there is on our list. Its all just so much an outlandish, crazy and utterly 'us' that I just love the idea!

I'd love to hear if anyone has ever had afternoon tea at The Ritz? Would be fabulous!

All images from google search or The Ritz's website.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Nomnomnom at Betty's chocolate

I know, Valentines Day is just over so the shops start to plant the ideas of Easter and chocolate into our heads again. But my my, I stumbled upon these in the Betty's [York shop] shop window and how utterly gorgeous and yummy do they look?!?!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Caring for your compacts

The internet seems slightly devoid of helpful little tips when it comes to caring for your vintage compacts, needless the same the same techniques can be applied to their contemporary relations. So I've designed this post to hopefully help somewhat [if people randomly stumble across this while googling for help] to at least give you the general gist. While its nothing hard to do, its just sometimes a bit of advice in the right techniques to use when dealing with vintage things is never a bad thing.

The first thing is regarding the buying, obviously buy what you can afford and know your market - there's some great books around and even just spending a couple of days watching items on ebay you'll learn the market, of which brands go for more, what names to look out for, which shapes are the most attractive. While its harder to do this if your buying via the internet, make sure you have, or ask for photos to allow you a good look inside, check the clasp, the hinge, look for any marking on the top or the bottom and that the mirror is still there, held in place firmly and that you can still see yourself in it - any defects, markings and wear and tear should be taken into consideration. I've often come across compacts that are being sold for £7-£10 and they have the most stabbly mirrors you have ever seen - because compacts aren't rare, its really not worth paying that price.

So when you have your compact, the next thing you want to think about is cleaning for which you will need as a rough outline;A duster, Cotton buds, Tiny, tiny amount of water, Furniture polish, Window/mirror cleaning polish and a kitchen towel

The key is to use a little of everything and to not dip or soak your compact into water. Dusters are great for getting off the surface dirt and in its own right can give the compact the basic shine it needs. Some collectors would stop at this point.

For more "embedded" dirt, I tend to use cotton buds lightly dipped in cold water. Not only does it saves the compact from being washed, but the cotton bud ends are perfect for getting in and running around the edges and little nooks.

While many sellers don't remove the powder [the original or the replacement] from the compacts, it is always wise to remove it. Like with any make up powder deteriorates over time, but alongside the hygiene considerations the ageing process that powder undergoes additionally can deteriorate the metal. The powder can be removed very carefully using a spoon/knife with a steady hand. While you might have removed all of the powder, you will find over time a light dusting upon the bottom of the trail will most often then not return, but a quick dusting is all that is required.

For a lasting shine I always finish off with a bit of furniture polish sprayed upon a duster/kitchen towel which just leaves a pretty little shine upon the casing. The same method can be applied to the use of window/mirror cleaner upon the mirror. Some people might turn against the use of the last two parts but I keep/buy compacts for my own personal interest rather then to sell them on for a profit.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Cold Cream and Vintage Beauty

People get in two minds about the use of cold cream [CC] in their everyday beauty regime. Those that aren't put off by the associations of the product with their grandmother [I have one friend totally put off buying this merely because its something she sees lots of old women buying], will get put off by the notion of having lanolin [something sheepie and what is actually in Carmex too] in the ingredient list. Yet CC is the perfect product i've found for cleansing, make-up removal and softening the skin both upon the face and more stubborn skin elsewhere on the body. This 1917 Ponds advert sums CC up perfectly for it will; “cleanse your skin of all the dirt which lodges in the pores through the day, and which, more than anything else, injures the skin”.

Yet a product that your grandmother swore by and is still in manufacture must say something. Long before the advent of endless anti ageing, anti winkle, anti your eyes sagging kinda products, CC was a staple beauty product, it was the one thing our grandmothers would constantly use and is probably why their skin remains so soft and supple. One of the longest beauty products in existence - dating back to the Greeks combination of rose petals, beeswax water and oil resulting in a basic water-oil product; well doesn't that speak for itself?!

The effects of CC are immense and quick to show. While the assumptions that greasy and oily skin products that CC falls into only make some skin types more prone to shine or spots because it consists of fats and water, a good cleansing technique limits this apparent disadvantage. Nevertheless, with my face verging on oily I've never had this issue of CC giving me spots - so i'd like to bust that myth. Hormones in fact have much more of an influence then CC ever has.

Personally I use the Boots Original Formal CC [£3 something for a jolly good sized jar]. Working from the outside inwards the packaging has a retro Edwardian chemist feel. The jar itself is worthy of saving purely to harking back to the use of thick sturdy glass. It is far from the celebrity endorsed anti ageing creams however. With a sweet, clean smell described as "Rose" on the label [somewhat lacks a bit in this smell] it is a thick and creamy mixture which applies well and easily, leaving the skin utterly soft within seconds, and as the "cold" in the name suggests a refreshing feel.

The best results always come after massaging a thin layer of the cream upon your face and leaving it for a while - enough time to climb into your pjs, brush your teeth and hair [a good five minutes]. I remove the cream using cotton wipes and the tonner I purchased and reviewed from Lush a week or so ago, and CC is the best thing in my view for even removing stubborn eye make-up.

Which ever CC you use [for there are a few on the go, Ponds, Boots, Avene to name but three] using a CC is always worth a try especially. If the fact that so many women using it constantly over the decades isn't enough to persuade you, maybe the price and the final result might be.

Do you have any vintage beauty recommendations or tip of products or regimes - i'd love to hear them if you do!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Intimate Thirties

If anyone adores the 1930s like myself then this might be the book for you.

The Thirties An Intimate History has been described as one of the most insightful and colourful contributions to the research and detail of the social history of the 1930s.

Rather then focusing on the historic more professional academic mind, this insight into the flirty decade is retold through the words and the world of its citizens through their journey through life, marriage, death, birth control and social upheaval from the working class to royalty.

Uncovering the real life led by British citizens pre world war two, the hidden facts of the era are uncovered the 994 pages are just drowning in detail. I haven't had chance to buy/read it myself as of yet but every review I've stumbled across absolutely recommends it - even the Sunday Times Culture Magazine, which says something.

[The Thirties An Intimate History by Juliet Gardiner RRP £30 available from Amazon]

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Paul Smith aways's Yummy!!

Alongside my utter love for Marc Jacobs, the perfume - well the "brand" that caught my eye, and captured my nose first was Paul Smith. I absolutely just love his scents - they are always fresh, light, floral and flirty - they sum up long British summers and lazy gardens full of cottage flowers.

And now, Paul Smith is revising Rose - a perfume originally launched a couple of years ago, offering a more summery scent described on the website as "a warm, solar scent [with] top-notes of blackcurrant and violet associate with watermelon and tea ... rose is at the heart of this new fragrance - also composed of a delicate mix of Tea Rose and Damas Rose".

If this Rose [Summer Edition] is anything like his other scents it will be lush, girlie and adorable and via the website is going for £33 for 100ml. Bargain and I can't wait to catch a sniff!!

Any perfume recommendations? Which scent do you just love?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Necklaced compact

I'm torn between utterly loving the reuse and redesign of vintage compacts to hang upon necklaces which in turn are often very art deco [and subsequently glamorous] in their nature. I'm spilt between thinking wow at the reuse and "oh my what have you done?!" Saying that it is an adorable use of a vintage compact and they just "fit" together so well, especially how it hangs off the bow.

Found on KariBeth's etsy page, they new life to vintage finds, from necklaces hung with pocket watches, keys and photograph frames to name but three. They really are a sweet vintage and charming delight.

Have a peek and see what you think!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

A rumble in a flea market

So yesterday me and the parents went for a look see around Pickering [North Yorks]. Its a cute little market town with lots of wonderful [although some rather expensive] antique shops and a flea market - which is always great for those of us who are thrifty/vintage at heart.

Anyway, this weeks treats ended up being;

Finds from left to right - vintage cut glass with tin lid trinket box [£6], Mary Ann and The Scapegoat both republished by Penguin Classics in 1962 [£1 each], unstamped 1950s red and gold powder compact [£8].

I could have brought oh so very much more!!
Sat in a cabinet stuffed with random finds, this glass cut trinket box was labelled "very old trinket box". With that subjective kinda label its hard to date it really, apparently there is the thought that the sharper the glass, the older it is. Well this glass is sharp so it matches somewhat. Whether this assumption is true or not i'm not sure?

The top is rather dinted, yet rather then seeing it as a distraction I tend to see it as something that adds charcter to it, as some part of its hsitory. You can't always expect old things to perfect.
Of course being a magpie to compacts how was I not going to treat myself to another. It was rather weird actually seeing loads of them in one place, and being able to see them before it was purchased seeing I'm so use to buying them blind on ebay. In a way having the background and the knowledge from Ebay it helped a lot in knowing what to look for and the prices.

Compacts aren't that rare, some names are, some shapes are [ie Stratnoid, Bakelite, half moon] and in the wider scheme of things the market is full, full, full of Straton compacts. At least 70% of the compacts at the flea market were Stratton's - they are great if your just collecting them for the fun of it, not so great if they want to charge you £9 or more for one. - its often questionable if they are worth it when you see how cheap they can go on Ebay. You just have to careful of what your buying and to a point I stay away from them.

Saying that I often get attracted to some of the lesser none or even nameless compacts that I find, ones that although might not be branded offer something eye catching. Red itself is a colour rarely found in compact design and I was even more so attracted to this compact because of its size - one typically smaller then the norm, its amazingly good clasp and its "tap flap" influenced stiffer.
It's got an amazing gorgeous shape to its mirror it has a design that I can't even try and explain. The stiffer itself is edged in the metal of the compact, which makes me come to think its influenced by the 1930s design of tapping the stiffer to get a fresh and light dusting of the powder to then be used upon the face using your puff. I may be wrong. Either way its a refreshing and different inside to a compact.

The two Daphne du Maurier books were from the little Pickering bookshop just opposite the North Yorkshire Moors Railway [which if you ever get the chance is a must to go on-board a working stream train!]. du Maurier is one of my all time favourite authors and i'm working on collecting them all if I can in the older either Penguin or Pan editions.

Do you have any vintage finds you recently stumbled across? Any bargains to speak of?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

VINTAGE: A "Nostagic" Generation?

I stumbled across this BBC on-line article regarding the recent development into the "obsession" and increased promotion of nostalgia and vintage into everyday life. It's popularity growth is aided not only by advertising, but through an apparent "sickness" and desire for the past, a longing for a better time, which isn't so apparently suffering with economic downturns, terrorism and social upheaval.

Or maybe it's just the current "in" thing. Just a passing phase?

Its all to easy to say we, and i'm using the BBC grouping as those of us who reached adulthood during the 1990's and 2000s, look back on say the 1930s or the 1960s wearing rose tinted glasses. Anchored in a world of tension we reflect upon previous decades for what they were, what they had, albeit through rose tinted glasses - something that rarely enters the nostalgic equation.

I know personally that I adore the 1930s, it's just my era. But it would be all to easy to be lost in the glamour of the fashion, of the stars and films of Astaire, Leigh, or even Tierney to name but three without passing an eye to the memory of the economic depression, the social upheaval and the dawn of the Second World War. You have to take the good with the bad, you can't be blindfolded against the negative, because equally it comes to shape the era just as much, possibly even more then the positive. Yet today's society allows us, anyone to reflect through endless TV documentaries, the internet and visual signs upon these lost decades, allowing us a glimpse and a hope of making them real once more.

But this reflection doesn't have to be for the era of your grandparents, it could just be for the 1980s, from your Victorian christening robe to your 1980 shoulder pads. To be "into" nostalgia, according to the BBC article is to feel better about yourself, to return to this former time especially considering the routine and the tedium of contemporary life, of rush rush rushing around.

I don't personally adore vintage life, vintage finds, vintage things because it makes me feel better about myself, I just feel its just where I actually fit in. Maybe I just don't fit in with contemporary life - yet I say this and I know I don't have traditional social outlooks - in that manner i'm very "now". I love vintage finds, because it is who I am. Maybe I am rather lost in today's society. While I don't dress vintage, at least not yet - work doesn't really allow that, I still lose myself in the life and the times of the 1930s - that is my era.

I guess i'm just a magpie.

If you want to have a look at the article for yourself you can here upon the BBC. Would be great to hear your views on it too! Why do you think nostalgic reflections are growing in popularity?

Friday, 5 February 2010

LIFE: Seaside Dreams

I dream of ...
Snuggling by the fire
Building sandcastles
Eating fish & chips out of their wrapper on the seafront
Writing in the sand

What are all your dreams right now?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Wooden Hearts

From the season of being jolly to the season and day of love - I guess everyone's attention goes to that day of love. I get in two minds about the day - its totally over commercialised and love and treats should be given all throughout the year rather then on just one. But maybe its just good for some absent minded lovers to be reminded of the importance of their partner.

Down that old, over crowded with tourists lurking, cameras in hand, pushing and shoving streets called York in the Shambles is a little little shop E.J. Freeborn & Son, a little shop selling wooden gifts alongside restoring and making furniture.

A quick peer into the window showed the display of fruitwood engraved wooden love hearts, worded with cute little notes 0f "I love you", "Be my valentine", "Forever Friends" and "I miss you". They are gorgeously soft and smooth to the touch, each with their own little distinctive natural patterning. Alongside these a basket of varying sizes from micro to large of plain love hearts.
If you're looking for something simple yet meaningful these kind of gifts are along the right lines. Too many people [i'm a bit cynical] spend too much money in an attempt to try and prove something, to prove their love, or to make things better. It's not about how much money you spend, or what you do. You shouldn't have to buy something to prove it, you shouldn't just do it one time a year.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Lush Toner Waters and Helping Hands Girlie Treats

My blogging might become a bit hit and miss for a while - I kind of need to sort my head out a little and try and fix myself up in a proper job that doesn't make me feel like i'm wasting my degree or knackers me out mid week. I'm caught between the battle of saving money and saving myself and I guess my blog distracts me too much, I blog when i'm meant to be doing job applications or hunting for them. But fear not i'll still be around and i'll still post and comment. Or at least I need to work out how to multi task, but anyway I've managed the draft of an application so here we go back to blogging ...

* * *
But back to business;

My latest treat was two lovely things from Lush. People do really really rave about this shop mainly because they are all handmade, fresh, organic and just smell super yum. While I love their bath bombs and their shampoos, I've had a mixed experience with their conditioners which just left my hair ultra greasy, I've always been a bit iffy about trying things, I guess sometimes its due to the cost. But I need to treat myself every once in a while, so I did and I brought;

[Tea Tree Toner and Helping Hands]

The Tea Tree Toner Popular Water [costing £3.25 for 100mg] is designed specifically for oily to normal skin - skin which normally would be more spot prone for using such products. To be used within your beauty routine after your cleanser, this spray offers a refreshing and ultra clean way to tone your skin using grapefruit and juniper berry waters. The smell is powerful, not to say its so overpowering you can't use it, but it is there, nevertheless this toner is brilliant for removing stubborn make-up, especially eye-liner and mascara that I've found that often more cheaper toners have issues with properly removing. However any issues with the smell is overcome with the freshness and silky clean shine upon your skin.

This isn't to say that a toner is the key alone. For a good toner to work, you need to use a good cleanser and in time I do plan on blogging about the need for the contemporary reinvention of the cold cream as the dream cleanser.

I know I've blogged before about my horridly dry hands before and i'm constantly open to new products to have a go with, so I kinda of got very tempted into trying this Helping Hands hand cream;
And yes it does look as yummy as the image suggests. At £6.10 for 100g it isn't the cheapest hand-cream compared to other high street versions and I was planning originally on trying the Palmer's hand cream. But I saw this and, with the chamomile and honey moisture to soften and nourish, almond oil, shea and cocoa butter base to add even more moisture, I kinda had to try.

It really does work. You don't need much - it goes far and like the toner it has a bit of an odd smell. But its makes my hands more softer and "normal" then anything I've tried before, it even helps with cuts and the redness I often get over my knuckles.

In the newspaper they always offer you when you end up at the till, I spied in the retro part the Ginger Fragrance which they described as "a light and lovely scent with a rich rosy heart and spicy scent that dance all around you. Picture it with Fred Astaire". But an online/postal order only and £30.15 for 40g has anyone ever tried it? Smelt it? Recommends it?