Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Escape To The Dolls' House - Further Adventures In Lundby Land


Real life? At the moment it's in chaos. Furniture piled up and covered with dust sheets, to-do lists as long as your arm and endless trips to the DIY superstore. Time to escape to the mini world so I'm joining Gunvald for a bottle of Swedish wine.


As promised here's a peep at dolls' house number three, my second 1970s Lundby Gothenburg. Initally I was searching eBay for an extention block to add to my other house but found this house listed locally and won it for a bargainous £20.


I thought I'd pay homage to Lundby's Swedish heritage by decorating the rooms in Josef Frank prints. Frank (1885 - 1967) was Austrian born but after fleeing the Nazis, he adopted Swedish citizenship in the 1930s. This design, Varklockor, was created in 1940.


The Lundby stereo system complete with speakers and stand has to be my favourite piece of furniture, the record player arm actually moves and the smoked glass lid is hinged so it can be closed after use.


Liv's leatherette swivel chair is the coolest thing ever. 


Granny's in the kitchen, She's making a Princess Cake, a traditional Swedish layer cake consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, raspberry jam , pastry cream, and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream. She's topped it with marzipan, to give the cake a smooth rounded top.


Another avocado bathroom suite - this time I've tiled it with black mosiac tiles with a slight metallic sheen.


You've seen Liv and Axel's bedroom before.


I thought I'd sneak in whilst they were out. That's the Can Can, London dress I scored off eBay last week.


The banana leaf salon has been on my blog before HERE.


As has the basement bathroom and young Saga.


Granddad's fixing Sven's Chopper bike. 


Signe's sorting out the laundry in the utility room while Jussi the Boxer looks on.


Signe dreams of running away to the circus and escaping the domestic drugery. She's alway buying vintage circus posters from Tradera (the Swedish equivalent of eBay).



The traditional dining furniture (inherited from the in-laws) needed an injection of funkiness and this Swedish designer wallpaper fitted the bill nicely. 



Axel's holding the baby in the living room. He's watching a repeat of Wallander, his favourite Scandi TV crime series after The Bridge.


I've already seen this episode, The Troubled Man, so I'm getting a few tips from my Making Miniatures book.






I made Caroline's dress from a knackered sari and a couple of hair bands - she's planning on wearing it to the office party next month.


Sven's invited Ellias round for tea. He's playing him the latest Abba cassette but Ellias isn't a fan, he prefers Country & Western much to Sven's disgust.




An hour spent playing with my doll's house and my sanity has been restored. I'd better go and check if my paint has dried.

Linking to Patti & the Gang for Visible Monday. See you soon!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Everything's Gone Green - This Week's Secondhand Buys


Today's outfit was shopped from three of my favourite places, a music festival, Colaba Causeway in downtown Mumbai and the Thursday morning car boot sale.


I spotted the dress hanging up outside another vintage stall at the End of the Road festival. It was Sunday afternoon, we'd had a crazy busy weekend and it was virtually the first time I'd ventured further than the Portaloo since Wednesday morning. I'm not generally a wearer of 1980s clothes (I started wearing vintage back then as I didn't like the choice of clothes in the shops) - or am I a fan of knitwear - but the sparkle of those emerald green sequins in the September sunshine captivated me and I had to buy it.


It's hand-made and came from Verona, where the seller found it at a flea market. Neither she nor I could understand why it hadn't been sold over the weekend but I'm happy that it hadn't. The Kutchi waistcoat was bought from a little boutique on Colaba Causeway in Mumbai in 2016 for around 700 rupees (they were still in stock when we went back earlier this year) - there's several unscrupulous Etsy sellers describing them as "vintage" and charging silly money for them, be warned. The 1960s-does-Victorian lace up leather and suede boots were £1 from the car boot sale.



Here's what I wore on Wednesday. The embroidered tunic was one of Tuesday's chazza shop finds - it's modern, long enough to wear as a dress and will make a great beach cover-up - but, as impatient as ever, I wanted to wear it right away so teamed it with my vintage Tarantella of Walsall suede skirt and a charity shopped hat.


And what else have we bought from the charity shops over the last week? Loads!!

Clockwise from top left: Crista Moden of Salzburg wool suit; Grey fake fur jacket with a posh Malvern boutique label; Amazing reversible wool midi skirt; 1980s Dotty P's cropped wool jacket; Angora hat; Roland Cartier suede court shoes; Kadix midi dress; Viyella wool jacket with velvet trim; 1970s Acrylic belted cardi; Burberry wool cap

Clockwise from top left: 1980s Reflections disco jacket; Red leather moto jacket; Manfield wool midi skirt with suede detail; Crazy wool jacket; Philip Kunick 1960s maxi dress; Crochet gilet; Suede waistcoat; Handmade cotton velvet paisley print jacket; Greek tunic; Kashmiri wool poncho
Clockwise from top left: Planet wool midi skirt; Mondi of West Germany leather moto jacket; Chinese Brocade maxi dress; 1980s Peter Barron of London pure new wool day dress; Jacques Vert embellished satin blouse; 1970s Acrylic knit
Clockwise from top left: Tootal suede front cardi; Fringed suede jacket; Savile Row shirt; Novelty print 80s polo shirt; St Michael wool jacket; 1950s suede ranch shirt from Seattle, USA; St Michael smoking jacket; Tootal cravats; 1980s Rodeo cycling shirt
Clockwise from top left: Tootal suede cardi; Smoking jacket; Hardy Amies wool blazer; Harrington jacket; Gabicci casual shirt

We're trading in wonderful Walthamstow tomorrow - our penultimate fair of 2018, do come and say hello if you can! As usual we did a trial run before we packed the van but, as the weather wasn't playing nicely Jon used the Kinky Shed and I took over the lounge. Here's what you'll find on our womenswear rails. The 1960s purple kaftan (made in England) was another of this week's finds - if it was smaller it would have been mine!


As we've got a 5am start I've already got my workwear sorted.


A 1970s-does-the-1930s maxi dress by Can Can, London - scored for a song on eBay last week as it had been listed in the wrong category. I love it when that happens!


See you soon.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

All Change! The Case of The Billy Bookcase


Okay, I admit defeat. There are some things you can't find secondhand and, in this case, it was a 80 cm tall Ikea Billy bookcase. I'd trawled eBay, Free-cycle and the Facebook selling sites for months but to no avail, the only ones in the size I wanted were horribly warped or so far away that once you'd factored in the cost of the fuel to the asking price it was cheaper to buy new, so last week we travelled 2.9 miles down the road to Ikea and bought one.

1950s drop-leaf Formica table (bought from a jumble sale over 10 years ago), vintage lab schools (one of 50 we rescued from a school skip after seeking permission), 1970s Frister Rossmann Cub 3 sewing machine (car boot sale)

We'd originally intended to put the bookcase on the landing and, in readiness, Jon gave it a fresh lick of paint and finally finished the wooden architrave around the bathroom window that he started 12 years ago (he likes to do things properly!) Although I'd measured the height and width of the bookcase, once we started to put it together we soon realised that the depth wasn't going to work and the only option was to rejig my sewing area and put Billy in the front bedroom instead.


My Mid-Century glazed cabinet (£5 from a jumble sale, painted with a £1 sample pot) was shifted to where the old bookcase* was on the landing. Before you accuse me of jumping on the flamingo bandwagon, that wallpaper's been up since 2005 - Cole & Son and hand printed, I'll have you know. It retails at £85 a roll but I found it for £6 on eBay. 

*The bookcase is now currently homeless!

I had a mass clear out of my sewing books and stuck a load of my vintage dressmaking patterns on eBay - where they sold in less than an hour. The remainder now fit in the drawer instead of crammed inside two vanity cases. I bought those ridiculous Art Deco penguin bookends from a church fair when I was 20. 


When we moved into Stonecroft back in 2005 I wanted to paint the bedroom walls dark grey, a colour popular in the Georgian era (our house was built in 1750). Back then I had to have the paint custom-mixed but now the rest of the UK seems to have caught up with my interior design choices and I was able to find a near identical shade of grey in Wilko. 


I might not wear grey but it's the perfect backdrop for my collection of Mid-Century art. You might remember me finding this 1950s plaster Amy Winehouse lookalike in a chazza last year for £1.


The print of her Maj with a spray can is by Mr Brainwash and was a present from Krista and Chris when they stayed with us back in 2012.


This 1958 Bernard Buffet print is called "Matador" and cost 75p from a town centre charity shop back in the early 1990s. There's an original Bernard Buffet painting in Walsall's New Art Gallery.

WEARING: 1970s Frank Usher maxi dress (charity shop, 2017), Topshop electric blue boots (less than half price in the January sales), Banjara tribal pendant (car boot sale, 2014)

Sorry about the state of the floorboards, Jon's pulled the rug back to paint the other side of the room and it's left a trail of dust in its wake. 



And the reason why I needed a Billy bookcase? It's the perfect size for Lundby dolls houses, they're both Swedish after all. I realise it's all gone a bit quiet on the doll's house front of late but real life keeps getting in the way. There is some exciting news though, my first Lundby renovation is about to featured in an international doll's house magazine. Here's my latest creation, it needs a few tweaks but it's almost ready to share.

See you soon!

Friday, 2 November 2018

This Week in Charity Shopping - just What The Doc Ordered


It's been a pretty good few days in the wonderful world of charity shopping this week. I couldn't believe my eyes yesterday when I spotted a Dr Martens box on the shelf of the first chazza we visited and discovered these Royal Blue patent boots tucked away inside. They were my size, they'd never been worn and were less than a quarter of the original £90 asking price (the shop label was still stuck on the soles).


Funnily enough, only a couple of months ago, I'd treated myself to my first pair of Docs since the 1980s in their half price sale after falling in love with them all over again after wearing a fake yellow pair I found in a chazza shop. I wore them during the festival season and, what with my hip misbehaving since I got back from Greece, they've been an absolute godsend. If you look closely at my feet in my End of the Road photos you'll spot a hint of lavender.


The Docs I'm wearing here are called Pascal and they're made from exceptionally supple leather. I was a bit worried about these Lamper boots as patent isn't the easier leather finish to wear but I've had them on since 9am this morning, I've walked around the supermarket, Ikea (I know, don't die of shock) and B&Q and eight hours later there's not a blister to be seen!


My other favourite finds this week are the 1970s fringed suede skirt and the soft-as-butter vintage Shelly's, London tan leather knee high boots. The silk Kate Moss at Topshop blouse was a £2.50 chazza shop bargain a month or so ago.


Although I share my vintage finds regularly on the blog there's a lot of stuff I buy in charity shops each week that never get a mention. For me, the real joy about charity shopping isn't just about the glamorous pieces, it's finding the ordinary, often mundane, things that I resent paying full price for. Whenever I need something I ALWAYS search for it secondhand before I buy new. Society is shockingly wasteful, spend a bit of time trawling your local charity shops (or those further afield if the ones near you aren't up to much) and I can almost guarantee that you'll find what you need for a fraction of the original price and without costing any more of our earth's precious resources. Take this black top I wore with one of my most recent acquisitions, a 1970s Indian block printed wraparound skirt. I'd never dream of going out and buying a black top from a proper shop (how boring!) but it's been a staple item in my wardrobe ever since I bought it secondhand last Autumn.


 People often recoil in horror at the thought of buying secondhand underwear but things don't need to be worn to end up in a charity shop like, for instance, this Marks and Spencer bra with the tags still attached and mine for the princely sum of 50p.
 There was a box of these TopShop socks in my local hospice shop the other day, marked up at 3 pairs for £1. I've no idea how much they were in store (Walsall's high street Topshop, like our Marks and Spencer, shut down a few years ago) but I can guarantee it was more than 33p so I bought the lot. These are remaining pairs that I haven't yet worn.


As you know, unless I'm in India, I always paint my nails. I was thrilled to find three discontinued Barry M nail paints which the chazza manager kindly gave me for nothing as I'd already spent quite a bit in her shop. The Nails Inc (£1) is a gorgeous shade of green and it shares its name with my namesake, Queen Victoria.


I'm not a brooch wearer generally but this one is bastard massive - just the way I like my jewellery. The cuff with semi-precious stones had a price tag of £40 attached - but cost me £2.95. I'm sure I don't need to explain the Indian bracelet except to say it was £1.50!


I love a vintage Indian silk scarf and always snap them up when I find them. The brilliant thing about living in a multicultural area like mine is the wealth of Asian and textiles readily available in our charity shops.


Jon and I are voracious readers and these paperbacks will be donated back to the charity shop when we've finished with them.


I can't resist retro kitchenalia. The red saucepan was made in Czechoslovakia, the orange pan is by an posh Swiss company called Spring, who are still going today, and the '70s tea service is by Staffordshire Potteries.


I left home almost 35 years ago and have yet to buy a new tea towel,  why would I when there's a wealth of fabulous vintage ones in charity shops? I'm reluctant to use the Ulster Weavers' lobster or the Welsh dragon with the Design Centre, London sticker on so I'll probably frame them instead.


Remember these Moroccan leather belts being the in thing back in the early 2000s? I loved them but could never justify spending £35+ on a belt but, as I'm always saying, if you wait long enough the thing you want will always turn up in a charity shop.


Hardly the most glamorous thing in the world but a pack-a-mac is always useful to keep in the van just in case and although camo isn't really my thing, at 50p I couldn't leave it behind.


Doing my research for our next Indian adventure I've been advised to pack a hat as it can get quite chilly in North India in January especially if you're travelling about in a tuk tuk. I'm not generally a woolly hat wearer but this slouchy River Island number with a pleasing metallic thread running through is perfect.


I love it when the clearance charity shop has a £1 day, it makes you reconsider things you wouldn't normally buy like these two Indian-made pieces, neither are wildly exciting but I loved the colours. Despite the odd shape, the burnt orange dress looks surprisingly good on and both are now possible contenders for the travelling wardrobe.


I loved the cape sleeves on this gauzy cotton blouse but loathed the wishy-washy blue colour, so I dyed it with Dylon's Espresso Brown (£3 in Wilko). It fits into the rest of my wardrobe perfectly now.


And if your charity shops really are rubbish then search eBay. I honestly do believe that there's nothing you can't find on there, it just takes dedicated searching and lots of patience. Recently Jon and I have been discussing getting a new armchair for me as the seat pitch on our Egg chairs (see below) are just too low for my troublesome hip. I'd found the chair of my dreams on a super cool website but managed to find the same one, which had been used for an hour on a photo shoot, for a third of the price on eBay - it should be delivered next week.

My beloved Egg chairs - found at a car boot sale.

Our weekend off will mostly be spent shifting furniture.

See you soon!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.