Thursday 29 December 2011

On The Fringe

The flight's booked and we're off to Kerala in less than two weeks' time. As usual we haven't booked any accommodation or planned an itinerary, we'll leaf through the guide book on the plane, make a decision on the first night's accommodation once we land, moving on whenever the fancy takes us.

Hopefully we'll end up somewhere idyllic like the beach we found on our last visit.  

Whilst in town picking up some once-a-day sun protection (conveniently marked down to less than half-price in Asda) and the latest edition of the Rough Guide, I couldn't resist snapping up this 1970s fringed poncho from the charity shop sale rail. Around the touristy beaches of Kovalam and Varkala my usual attire's fine but for visiting the backwaters & cities and for travelling on local trains and buses bare arms are a no-no.

I also snaffled this fabulous, 1950s, hand painted, "Foreign" made, divided dish for £1.50. It's perfect for vegetarian nibbles on my New Year's Eve buffet table.

Fringed poncho (£1.75, Scope) worn with 1970s cotton maxi skirt (the divine Helga), aubergine vest (25p, car boot sale) and Tods' python boots (£7, car boot sale)

It's unlike me to buy something new for a trip. My holiday wardrobe is made up of the same old favourites known and loved for years, I have clothes that have been visiting India for over a decade. I once made the mistake of packing a brand new TopShop maxi dress snapped up in the sales and, unlike my trusty vintage dresses, the bloody thing disintegrated after less than three weeks of wear. I can't wait to get my summer suitcase down from the top of the wardrobe and pick out some outfits but that'll have to wait until our overnight party guests have departed on New Year's Day or they might be crushed to death by vintage frocks.

I haven't had a drink since Boxing day and it's time to get some practise in ready for New Year's Eve.

If I don't see you again in 2011...Happy New Year!

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Flying High Again

Was Christmas all you hoped for? Ours was such a whirlwind of socialising and merrymaking it's almost a relief to have a few nights off before the New Year's Eve festivities. If I see another ounce of cheese, pickled onion, Indian curry or glass of wine before the weekend I might just implode.

I had some amazing presents of the hand-made, second-hand or edible/alcoholic variety. Liz made me this fab bag from vintage fabric complete with a hidden base for concealing booze, perfect for the festival season. The silver cuff and antique coin bangle were both gifts.

That divine minx, Desiree, sent me a fabulous birthday parcel containing this 1970 Katie shirt dress and the metallic silver nail polish I'm wearing ........ well as a groovy fake fur hood, one of her signature floral head dresses and a perfectly fitting, vintage bikini to die for. Our weather is so bizarrely mild at the moment I wouldn't be at all surprised if I ended up wearing it all together.

Even Jacob's confused, he came out of hibernation on Xmas Eve for a snack.

It would almost be a crime to own such an amazing new bikini and not to wear it immediately so we were queueing outside the Indian High Commission in Birmingham just after 8am for a tourist visa. I'm determined to book a trip somewhere exotic before the day's out.

We're hoping to revisit this paradise beach we last visited on Xmas day, 2008. No sunbeds, no tourists, no beach bars, no Western pop music, no water sports or anything except the odd fisherman and a curious cow or three. It's in India but not Goa, I'll reveal all once we've found a flight.

Floral shirt dress worn with black velvet hot pants (70p, car boot sale), Alexis ankle boots (£20, Top shop sale, 2009),  vintage amber beads (Birthday present)
See you soon. 

Friday 23 December 2011

Hippy Christmas - The Alternative Way

We may be home for Christmas but it doesn't mean we have to go down the conventional route of crippling ourselves in debt, piling on the pounds, buggering up the environment and have the waste bin overflowing by Boxing Day.

A new outfit? Why? I've a wardrobe full of fabulous second-hand frocks bought for peanuts throughout the year. I overhear women rejecting fancy dresses in charity shops moaning that they'll never go anywhere to wear them. As my late Grandma used to say, buy it and when the occasion eventually arrives you'll be ready for anything. 

The house is decorated with hand-made and home grown things. The stocking is filled with the cats' presents (balls, felt mice and treats).

The "paper" chain is made from vintage fabric scraps, stiffened, glued and tied with ribbon. It'll be festooning Gilbert, our VW camper van, come the festival season. Fab tutorial, here.

I've used holly, laurel and ivy from our garden to add some festive cheer and pinned some vintage lurex braid  (bought from a jumble sale back in the summer) to the fireplace for added sparkle. The peacocks usually roost on my chandeliers but they fancied a yuletide change of scenery.

The Trechnikoff ladies are feeling festive.

Pine cones from the trees in the garden.

The tiny home grown tree decorated with handmade crimplene decorations, salvaged sequins, wool, braid and burlap and topped with the rock fairy Emma made for me.

Some people think we'd odd preferring a single, well-chosen, second-hand gift bought with love rather than a multitude of over-blown, expensive gestures. Jon's fair-trade Komodo jacket retails at well over £100 but I snapped it up from a charity shop for less than a tenth of the price. It's going to be perfect for walking to the pub or chilly festival nights.

Extra food? There's no need. We've booked a table at the Indian restaurant for Xmas lunch and we've already got good cheese and crackers in the larder. All we've bought are fresh olives and a couple of bottles of wine. There's always a shop open in multi-cultural Walsall so there's no need to panic and buy more than we need. I don't feel the need to consume more calories just because we're constantly bombarded with supermarket adverts on the TV and besides I'm hoping to be on the beach soon so I don't want to be harpooned .

1960s Jean Varon maxi dress (£4.95, Acorns Hospice) worn with a heap of second-hand costume jewellery

Have yourselves a fabulous time and see you on the other side.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

It's A Wrap

We haven't got a clue what we're going to do on 25th December. Maybe a trip to the pub, lunch at our favourite Indian restaurant followed by an evening of cheese and wine in front of the fire but who knows? Neither of us are big on advance planning so it'll be whatever we feel like when we wake up on Christmas morning. 

Following on from Friday's post about the festive season not having to be a massive stressfest here's my hand-made wrapping. The parcel paper was an 8 metre packaging roll bought from Poundland, I found the raffia lurking in the shed, I bought the henna stamp block for pennies in Tamil Nadu and I used a old pot of fabric dye from my stash to ink the design onto the paper. It took about an hour last Tuesday evening with a glass of rum and a TV murder mystery for company.

The tags were cut from an old cardboard box and hole-punched. After Xmas the recipients can chuck the wrapping in the recycle bin and use the raffia in their gardens, making virtually no impact on the environment. The total cost was around £1.40. I'm linking this to the Ethical Bloggers DIY Xmas.

I bought this brass choker (made by the Karen hill tribe in Orissa) on the same trip as I got my henna stamp. What a strange coincidence.

I usually have this 1970s wool wrap with me for celebrating the Summer Solstice. Midsummer nights at Glastonbury can get a bit chilly. It's just the job for today, delivering Xmas cards by foot, gathering holly and ivy from the garden to decorate the house and popping to the off-licence to stock up the cocktail cabinet.

After a meeting yesterday we've finally sorted out my Dad's long-term care plan. Not only is it a huge weight off our minds but it means that we can start making plans to go travelling in the New Year.

Vintage mustard wool wrap (40p, jumble sale) worn with 1970s lurex blouse (the divine Curtise), Kate Moss @TopShop hot pants, mustard hat, leather and brass belt and suede go-go boots (all car boot sales), 1970s velvet tote (25p, jumble sale)  

Maybe I'll only be wearing tights and boots for another couple of weeks before I can trade them in for a bikini and flip-flops. I can but hope.

Sunday 18 December 2011

Feels Surreal

We seem to be have done nothing other than go out on the lash lately, last night being no exception. I knew it'd been a wild one when I woke up to find various bits of my outfit randomly scattered across the house, a velvet glove in the bath, a false eyelash adhered to the fridge and a trail of bangles leading up the stairs.

The friends we met yesterday are an odd group which include a hyperactive 75 year-old, my late Mum's hairdresser and a sheep farmer. Needless to say that our nights out always end up bizarre affairs with drink-fuelled karaoke sessions until dawn, arguments and rows, tears and tantrums, mislaid belongings, jaunts to strange backstreet pubs and someone having to travel home in the boot of the designated driver's car.

Last night was no exception, two of the group stormed off in a huff, Jon lost his hat, there was a dispute with a waiter and I danced with a hunchback in a tracksuit to The Smiths' This Charming Man.

1970s turquoise maxi dress (£5.99, St Giles Hospice), Velvet boots (Office), Velvet gloves (Jumble sale), Fake fur collar (handmade)
At least I didn't wake with a hangover as we're out again in a bit. More booze, more curry and undoubtedly, more fun.

Clutch bag hand made by Liz
See you soon.

Friday 16 December 2011

I'm Dreaming Of A Crimplene Xmas

As the lady working behind the counter of the Co-Op bank put it so succinctly this morning as we surveyed the scowling, pinched faces in the queue behind me, "Christmas spirit, my arse". 

I'm usually away at this time of year and I'm amazed by the outrageous behaviour and lack of manners at this, the season of goodwill for all men.

I queued in Marks and Spencer for a box of chocolates to give my favourite charity shop volunteers whilst enduring a legion of disgruntled pensioners huffing and puffing about having to wait whilst over the road in Poundland people abandoned their loaded baskets in the aisles as they couldn't be bothered to join the long queue snaking around the store. The Big Issue seller was told in no uncertain terms to "Feck off, mate, charity begins at home", charming, huh? If buying a gift for a loved one stresses you out that much, why bother? 

There's no last minute rush for me, there's only a handful of people I have to buy for these days. I shop all year round at car boots, charity shops and jumble sales with suitable recipients in mind. There's designer clothing with the labels attached, books still cling wrapped, current high street jewellery carded & unused and even shrink-wrapped DVDs and CDs. My presents are wrapped in plain brown paper hand inked with a wooden printing block I bought in India and tied up with household string.

Intending never to spend another Christmas at home we gave our Xmas decorations away to charity years ago. After Emma sent me my fabulous customised fairy I just had to create a worthy abode. Jon was sent out to prune one of the many fir trees in our garden and we popped the branches in an old clay flowerpot  wrapped in an old hessian sack salvaged from a spice bazaar in Tamil Nadu (especially for burlap-loving Lakota) and secured with a length of vintage woven braid.

 I cut out the printed circle designs from a length of 1960s crimplene with pinking shears, hand-stitched two   together and stuffed them with the innards of an old cushion.

The giant sequins were unpicked from a top I bought from a jumble sale and hand sewn to a piece of wool forming an alternative to tinsel.

Of course, not having to faff around hunting for presents means that unlike the majority of the population of our town I can peruse the empty charity shops with even less competition than normal. This white 1960s Grecian-style maxi dress was today's find.

I'm off to catch up with some blog reading before I hit the pub.
Have a wonderful weekend and see you soon.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

A Rockin' Dolly & Dollyrockers

Emma, a lovely reader, sent me this especially customised vintage Xmas fairy and I absolutely adore her. Dripping in bling with her black hair piled into a top knot, lurex hot pants and go-go boots, who on earth could she have got her inspiration from?

The postman's been a busy boy today. I also got a fabulous parcel from the gorgeous Kitty.

 I do love a Dollyrockers label and was beside myself with excitement when she sent me this fabulous velvet & taffeta halter-neck mini dress to add to my collection. Dollyrockers was a collaboration between Samuel Sherman and Dolcis shoes and modelled by Pattie Boyd, one-time girlfriend of George Harrison and active between 1963- 1975.

Along with the frock and a heavenly vintage waistcoat (to be seen shortly) Kitty also included an amazing Woodstock DVD and a fab maxi dress pattern.

It's freezing here today and there was a covering of snow when I got up this morning. I'm hoping to wear this frock when I'm out with the girls on Friday night but by the look of the weather forecast it seems like it'll be accessorised with my wellies and a thermal vest..brrrr!

I made this muff (stop that Sid James'-like sniggering) from reconstructing a couple of fake fur hats and lining them with a red fleece all found at jumble sales. The gold muff chain was my Great-Grandmother's. My awesome witchy pal La Dama sent me the brass choker.

Here's some of my other Dollyrockers numbers:

Mine. all mine!

I may be a hardy Northerner but even I'm not brave enough to show my bare back to the world today.

There's no excuse not to have a Xmas tree up now, looks like Jon'll be sent out into the garden with his chainsaw later!