Monday 28 April 2014

April Is The Cruellest Month


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain

Bit of a cop out, spouting poetry, but my mind is addled with a combination of pain killers and sad news so I'm struggling to find words.

Studying TS Eliot's The Wasteland for A Level English some 30 years ago I found it morbid and achingly self-indulgent, but on reading it again after experiencing love and loss for myself it becomes strangely enlightening.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.

Despite everything that happens to us nature carries on,

Bringing with it beauty and hope.

No matter how jaded we are from pain, grief or just life in general, who could not fail to have their spirits lifted by a freshly opened petal or a green shoot unfurling?

Even in our unkempt wilderness things are looking beautiful.

...and I've painted one of my skip rescued planters in Krista's colours, so she knows I'm thinking of her.

I'm battered and almost broken after another busy weekend. Kinky Melon's got next weekend off but I haven't. There's an adventure and an exciting (for me) announcement on the cards that requires me to be in tip top form later this week.

Vintage Indian block printed maxi dress (gorgeous Jennifer), Copper coin pendant (the fabulous Em), stack of bastard bangles (my lovely friends Cameron & Hazel)

See you soon!

PS If you've got a minute check out my interview with the hip website Le Blow.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Let's Go To Bed

If I went about my dressmaking in a logical manner I'd identify the gaps in my wardrobe and make something accordingly, but that would be far too sensible and I'd probably be bored before I'd even pinned the thing out. I prefer to grab whatever pattern takes my fancy and get stuck in.

So I made a psychedelic nightie from a 1971 Jiffy pattern.
Just the thing for a woman who has slept naked for most of her adult life.

For a "easy cut - easy sew" pattern it almost defeated me, getting the French seams right resulted it being chucked into the bin on Monday afternoon.

But when I spotted this mental-looking vintage sewing dog (complete with scissor reading glasses and a tape measure tail) in a charity shop yesterday for 50p I took it as a sign, rescued the offending garment from the waste basket, unpicked it and ta-dah....

Pattern from my friend Ella, 1970s psychedelic printed nylon (£2.25, Second To None, Walsall), vintage lilac lace (part of a bagful, £2 from last week's car boot sale)
The perfect outfit for a chilled evening of True Detective and half an ancient bottle of wine I've just found at the back of the fridge. It'll get whipped off before I turn in...clothes in bed are just wrong.

A busy day planned for tomorrow - car-booting at the crack of dawn, getting our stock sorted for Moseley's amazing Retro & Vintage Fair on Sunday and there's three pieces of newly acquired vintage furniture urgently awaiting a makeover.

See you soon!

Monday 21 April 2014

Bank Holiday Business

When you're a vegetarian, self-employed atheist without a single sweet tooth in your head then the  Easter bank holiday weekend is little more than a minor inconvenience. I'm not interested in roast dinners & chocolate eggs, B&Q (the DIY chain) is shut and there's sod all on the telly.

As a seller, weekends mean vintage fairs regardless of the date. I gave my Ossie Clark an outing to Bridgnorth on Saturday and bumped into the stylish original owner. She told me that she'd only ever worn my maxi once, for a dinner whilst on holiday in Sorrento.

Despite there being over 800 customers through the door I had just enough time to swoop on this groovy cape sleeve 1970s blouse from my friend Beccy's stall.

The rest of the weekend has been spent doing housework, rearranging stuff and clearing out cupboards - uncharacteristic but for good reason.

I got chatting to a freelance interiors journalist in Stockport last weekend. She's interested in featuring our house in a magazine. At the moment the public have an insatiable interest in quirky, colourful homes created on a rock-bottom budget.

That'll be us, then!

A foray into the cloakroom of doom led to the rediscovery of this - a 1969 portable Sony TV which was in Jon's grandparents' caravan when he was little. Its still in perfect working order, maybe it'll make the crap on the TV a little more interesting.

Who needs the hassle of bank holiday car boot madness - all screaming kids, greasy beefburgers and traffic chaos - when you can find stuff in your house for free?

1970s blouse (Twist & Pout Vintage) worn with satin paisley maxi (courtesy of Helga), silver velvet platform boots and loads of bastard jewellery.

I'm an unabashed bank holiday hater and proud of it.

Linking to Patti & the gang over at Visible Monday.

Thursday 17 April 2014

The Joys Of Second-hand Shopping

The exciting thing about being a dedicated second-hand shopper is that your home and wardrobe are constantly evolving. You just never know what you're going to come back with when you leave the house on a mission.

At the beginning of the week I had no idea that my dress collection would be boosted by another psychedelic maxi ...

or that we'd be spinning our vinyl on a groovy 1960s British-made Hacker record player, in perfect working order, snaffled from our favourite house clearance stall at this morning's car boot sale.

That I'd have a new addition to my Flamenco doll collection

 What a beauty!

that we'd find a psychedelic cow plate

To partner the one we already own.

That we'd rehouse a plant in a funky '50s woven plastic planter

Or light up our mantelpiece with some fairy lights

Or treat Gilbert (our VW Camper van) to some fab 1960s Tupperware storage containers. 

Second-hand shopping is a slow process and it can take years to build up a collection or find that one special something you're after but how exciting it is when you finally do. Your sought-after, much longed-for purchases will be far more precious to you than something bought off the shelf from a soulless department store.

How excited am I? Along with our friends Lyndsey & Steve at Boomerang Retro, Kinky Melon got featured in Vintage Village's Finds Of The Fair for April.

Have a fab long weekend - if you've got one. We'll be selling our wares in Bridgnorth on Saturday and maybe hitting a car boot or three on Bank Holiday Monday (that's if the weather plays nicely.)

See you soon!

Monday 14 April 2014

Boot Sale Tales & Vintage Sales

 There I was on Thursday morning, arse in the air, rifling through a box of old tat at the car boot sale when a woman's voice behind me asked, Like 1960s and 1970s clothes, do you? 

We promptly struck up a conversation, swapped numbers and earlier today I went round to her place to buy a heap of gorgeous vintage clothes she'd inherited from her aunt. This amazing cape dress was just one of the treasures, here's most of the rest:

Getting up at the crack of dawn to stick on false lashes, do my hair and pick out something fabulous to wear isn't the behaviour of a mad woman, its the best way to get access to the good stuff. I doubt I'd get offers like this if I shuffled around dressed in the standard car booting attire of  scraggy pony tail, grotty jeans and a hoodie.

Anyway enough about me, how about Kinky's weekend?

Yes, it really, really, really is!

The mural and this groovy corner were snapped at Seven Miles Out, an amazing arts centre & cafe directly opposite the Victorian covered market hall that is Stockport's Vintage Village.

Kinky's pitch
We met so many cool folk and, despite it clashing with a big football match, sold loads. We enjoyed every minute. The good people of the North West really love their vintage.

What we wore:

I wore a 1970s psychedelic Corky Craig of California maxi dress Krista-licious gave me along with my cape-tain (seen HERE) and a shed load of junk jewellery, including my favourite recycled fruit wrapper bangle from the super groovy Señora Alnutt and my hoop earrings from Queen Helga.

Jon's shirt is a 1960s Carnaby St original from darling Curtise. His trousers were from the sweetest Squirrels and the Crimplene For Men safari jacket was nicked from Kinky Melon's stock room. His eBayed R Sole boots are his pride and joy.

1970s turquoise cape dress with a St Michael floral shopper (from Clare)
A busy week ahead beckons. We're restocking Blighty Bazaar and preparing for the Vintage Easter Fair in beautiful Bridgnorth, Gilbert's being naughty and needs a damn good seeing to and, as you can see from the state of that pot, the garden needs some serious attention.

See you soon!

Updated to link with Bella's Shop Secondhand First 'cos I do! 

Friday 11 April 2014

Nothing Says Spring More Than Yellow Bri-Nylon

Said darling Curtise when I thanked her for sending me this insanely bright top.

1960s Dorothy Perkins maxi (vintage fair, 2009), Frida pendant made by the awesome Tamera

She apologised for the elastic being a bit clapped out but I didn't mind at all, I'd never done shirring before but in my anxiousness to wear my new top I grabbed the elastic, switched on the machine and set about it without a moment's hesitation, shouting Just call me Shere Khan to Jon. Shir can, get it? Ha! Never a dull moment in our house. 

Not that I'm one for seasonal dressing, I wear a bikini when its hot and a coat over the top when it isn't.

None of this running off to the shops for a new wardrobe when the season changes. Its lurid Hawaiian prints and gauzy cotton maxi dresses all year round for me. After all, isn't that why  thermal underwear was invented?

Look at me, getting down with the kids and taking a self portrait (I can't bring myself to type the "S" word, text speak appals me).
There is a hint of Spring in this pretty 1970s Richard Shops maxi I found in a charity shop this week. After an epic buying mission that's taken in charity shops, car boot sales and a secret rendezvous behind the back of a Black Country church hall its one of the few things I'm keeping for me (and, in line with Vix's Rules of Wardrobe Maintenance, I've removed a couple of items from my wardrobe to accommodate it).

This ridiculous 1970s shopper is also a keeper. the man selling it looked at me like I was some poor care in the community candidate when I screamed Oh my god at the top of my lungs when I spotted it at yesterday's car boot sale.

Taken by the lovely Dawn at My Vintage Events
We're venturing to the North West this weekend and taking Kinky Melon to Stockport's Vintage Village. If I didn't own it already I'd be hyperventilating over the stock we're taking. I feel quite sad for not having the time to photograph it all and record it for posterity before it finds new owners.

Have a fantastic weekend - see you on the other side!