Tuesday 30 August 2011

Look What I Got!

I had hopes of getting loads done today including packing for this weekend's End Of The Road festival but my plans went to pot after the postman delivered a parcel from saucy Antipodean minx Helga so I just had to go and try everything on instead.

This 1970's groovy gingham all-in-one is so me! I've accessorised it with a 1970s elasticated waist belt, a jumble sale vanity case and a snazzy Christian Dior silk scarf (all found for less than 75p) and some ancient TopShop cherry red leather wedges.

This Mary Quant tiger print lycra catsuit and vintage shoulder bag rock my world ! I've worn them  with a 1960s suede jerkin (car boot sale) some Edwardian lace-up boots (British Heart Foundation) and lots of tribal jewellery.

How much do you love this bag? I bet it's not as much as I do!

I'm wearing this fab cotton maxi skirt with an Indian blouse (50p from Islamic Relief) and a Lamani gypsy belt, worn as a necklace. My roots are bugging me so much in this picture I've chopped my head off.

There's also a bottle of New Zealand Kaitaia sauce (because I smother all my food in chili sauce), a pretty vintage bangle and a hipster hippy rainbow belt.

A Stay Strong Christchurch badge. Helga, you know how much I love you.

I'm spending the day with Liz tomorrow so I don't know how I'm going to find time to pack and to make matters worse I stupidly skimped on hair dye and used some cheap Poundland crap instead of my usual Boots' Black so I've got to redo my roots before I do anything, arghhhh!

Monday 29 August 2011

Bank Holiday Booty

To us today meant just one thing, the Bank Holiday boot sale. Forget the lie-in, we were up with the lark wandering around a blustery field in rural Staffordshire, rummaging through other people's junk.  We haven't bought a great deal lately, the school holidays tend to produce a glut of stallholders selling baby clothes and toys or students flogging their over-washed fast fashion, but today was better than it's been in a while.

This Triumph International 1970's "Beat 45" neon swimsuit was 75p. I'm not a fan of the all-in-one on the beach but it works quite well under a maxi skirt.

These 1970s stack heeled leather boots were £1.50

The beaded capelet was 20p

 This is the second one I've found in twelve months, the first got passed on to a dear friend who I knew would work it way better than me, must be karma.

These 1950s figurines were from a couple clearing an elderly relative's house.

After I'd bought the lady for £1 the stallholder confessed she was actually one of a pair and she'd accidentally knocked the man's head off earlier. She gave me the man for free and he's now had his head glued back on.

 I'm a sucker for vintage packaging and couldn't resist this box of 1960s beauty soap.

The lovely seller let me have the lot (complete with the display box) for £1

This groovy 1970s Hollywood pendant was 50p

I couldn't resist this jumbo cord sausage dog for 20p. The lady selling it made it in 1968 for her children who've long since left home. It reminds me of my gorgeous friend (and keeper of beautiful new cat, Elsa) Margaret's blog post earlier this week. Our cats love him.

Original 1970s cord skirt by Dorothy Perkins (£10, vintage fair, 2008) worn with 1980s leather belt (£2, Clothes Show vintage village, 2009)

With just over £5 spent we've got cash for a curry tonight.
Hope you've had a fabulous weekend!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Sew-a-long with Vix - Transforming a boring band tee into a rocking boob tube

The pickings were slim at yesterday's car boot sale but I did manage to snaffle this official Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street tee shirt from a 10p box. I love the Stones but I'm not a fan of tee shirts so I refashioned it into a boob tube.

Here's how to do it.
(All measurements are imperial because I'm a pre-1971 model and therefore non-metric).

  • Measure across the widest part of your bust (in my case, 32inches), halve the measurement and add an extra inch for the seam allowance (which for me made a total of 17inches). 
  • Work out how long you want the top to be and add an extra inch for a hem (I wanted the top to finish just below my waist, making a total of 18inches in length). 

  • Using a straight rule chalk-mark these measurements on to the right side of the tee shirt both at the front and back. 
  • Cut both pieces to size.

  • With the right sides facing towards each other machine down one side using a zig-zag stitch (or hand sew using running stitch) allowing a half-inch seam. 

  • Turned the top half-inch of the printed side of fabric over to the wrong side, pin into place and zig-zag stitch across the entire top. 
  • Sew the other side of the tee shirt together, with the right sides facing each other.
  • Hem the bottom in the same way as you hemmed the top.

  • Using some quarter-inch wide elastic cut a piece the same width as the original measurement (in my case 17inches), securely sewing the end to the inner side seam and then hand-stitch the elastic all across the top, stretching the elastic taut after each stitch.

 The result should be ruched, like so.

There we have it, a cute boob tube in less than an hour. A perfect project for a wet afternoon.

Combined with a heap of my heavy metal jewellery my outfit got a great reception from the bikers in the pub last night.

With the exception of the silver lapis ring (Exam passing reward from Dad in 1977), the huge silver and brass bangle (inherited from Mum) and the Gaia ring (the divine Kitty) all my jewellery is from India. The nail varnish is Barry M's Cyan Blue.

Original 1970s C&A maxi (50p, car boot sale), Stones' tee shirt (10p, car boot sale), peep-toe Russo platforms (£5, Top shop 2006)
Want to make yourself something easy while the weather's rubbish?

If you don't fancy a boob tube there's my big hair tutorial here and my felt chrysanthemum tutorial here.

See you soon.

Friday 26 August 2011

A Quiet Night In

I've already been out three nights this week so tonight it's a quiet night in front of the tv with a cheese salad, time to recharge the batteries in readiness for Saturday night. 

The frock's nothing new and, along with the shawl, it's featured on my blog several times. I don't own any slobby clothes, even if I'm staying in I try to make an effort to look halfway decent. 

Favourite thing on a Friday? A bottle of rose and the boxed set of Sons Of Anarchy (on loan from a lady I know at the swimming baths).

Vintage crimplene maxi dress (20p, jumble sale), crochet shawl (25p, jumble sale), Lamani coin anklet (Indian street market), Rose wine (The Co-Op)

Have a fabulous evening. Us Brits have a three day weekend and typically it hasn't stopped raining all day.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Now And Then

The rest of the UK seems to be struggling with unseasonably low temperatures and torrential rain but here in the West Midlands, apart from some heavy showers last night, it's been bright, sunny and pleasantly warm for the past week. This is what I wore to this morning's car boot sale.

Long may it last, too. Unlike every other UK blogger who seems to have posted recently, I have absolutely no desire to wear rich berry shades, opaque tights, a coat or boots for a long while yet. In fact I'm happy to cling to my summer clothes until my limbs turn blue.

Blue & brass bangle (Splendid Sandy), all other bangles (Inherited from Mum), Indian brass & turquoise ring (£2, Cancer Research), square ring (Present from Cheryl via car boot sale), 1970s mood ring (My mum's), plastic cocktail ring (25p, car boot sale), nails by Barry M (Cyan Blue)

Besides, I'm rather partial to blue.

Barbara Lohmann silk scarf

This is for Emma-Kate who asked, Could we see a pic of you blonde please? I too have ditched the blonde as its too expensive and hard to get right as a diy job. I'm a red head now and wish I'd done it 20 years ago!

Liz and I out on my 30th birthday in December, 1996

I'm struggling to find photos of me as a blonde, it's been over five years since I went over to the dark side and most of my albums are stowed away at the back of the garden shed. I dyed my hair black after my hip replacement operation, it was the first time in my adult life I'd been pain-free, I felt I'd been reborn and wanted a dramatic change to reflect the new me.  I wish I'd done it years ago, too. I still surprise myself when I catch my reflection in a shop window. My confidence has increased tenfold and everyone I know loves it far more than my natural shade.

Looking a bit tiddly on my 21st Birthday with Liz, December 1987

After Sunday's pub post, Ginger commented, looking great.!! can you post a pic of u when u were teen. just like that :).

In Devon with my Mum just after I'd sat my A Levels in 1985

Can you believe I got into nightclubs and served in pubs at the age I was in this photo (18)? I looked so young! The outfit was from TopShop, I wish I still had it!

Me and the two Lizs.

Here's the three of us out at The Wheatsheaf for my Thirtieth birthday.

And this was us out last night.

1960s psychedlic knit top (the Divine Desiree), vintage crimplene maxi (Her Royal Hotness, Helga), Silk scarf (£1, vintage shop), Ostrich belt (20p, car boot sale), leather Gladstone bag(20p, jumble sale)

We're out again this evening, although we had a great night last night the pub meal was rather uninspiring and a spicy Indian curry is in order.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Quality Not Quantity

I'm back from a gloriously sunny day spent exploring the Black Country for hidden treasures and thought I'd show you what I made with some of last week's car-boot sale crimplene.
Using about a third of the fabric I knocked up this maxi waistcoat, cut from a 1971 McCall's dressmaking pattern, lining it with a pure silk sari I snapped up for 10p from a jumble sale.

I punched in some metal eyelet fasteners (found in the box of vintage sewing bits I bought last week) and laced through a strand of green leather that's been in my jar of vintage trimmings since time immemorial.

Thank you for the brilliant and encouraging comments you left yesterday. Claire made an excellent point, "Yes, you can spend less... but you also have to be driven to consume less too. I realised recently that I still buy loads of stuff I don't NEED, just because it costs little. It's great to say you have seen the marketing games of big brands for the lies they are. But I still don't like the feeling that I am weak for vintage 'stuff' and make meaning in my life by going shopping for it."

She's dead right. It's hard to resist buying every treasure you come across but try to be realistic. Tempting though it may be, don't buy just because it's cheap, vintage or that it'll make a great blog post, buy it because it's genuinely useful, will fit in with your existing decor or that it's wearable and suits you and your lifestyle. You're building a wardrobe and furnishing a home not opening a museum. If you absolutely love it then buy it but if there's any doubt leave it for the next person who comes along. You haven't failed if you come home empty-handed you've merely learnt to be discerning. Spending all your cash on second-hand stuff is no more sensible than splurging it in Top Shop.

I could have bought a vintage black maxi skirt, a 1970s plaid swing jacket, a heap of bangles and a pair of modern platform sole sandals today but I didn't because I'd already got similar stuff at home.

Here's what I did buy:

Compton Hospice (50p)

 I can't resist a souvenir scarf, I adore travel and anything than encapsulates exotic holidays and foreign climes. Occasionally I refashion them into cushion covers but this one's pretty enough to wear. I'd love to know how it travelled from Oceania to West Bromwich.

Virgo slingbacks from Freeman, Hardy and Willis's Contessa collection.
These 1960s silver shoes are my exact size (UK 6.5) and in perfect condition. They were reduced to £1.99 in the PDSA in Dudley.


Handmade maxi waistcoat worn with a vintage mini dress (Sarah Misfit) and my new shoes and scarf
I returned home with a handful of purchases that came in at less than a tenner. I've had a lovely day catching up with my friend Cheryl, had a tasty lunch and haven't wasted too much money on frivolous fancies.