Thursday 28 July 2016

Buy, Buy Baby!

What's this, two posts in less than a week at the height of the British festival season? After four years I must finally be getting the hang of this festival trading malarkey. Gilbert's mended, fully loaded and ready to hit the road in the morning and I've got time to blog.

Earlier this year I'd made a concerted effort to photograph and share our finds but recently, by the time I'd washed, mended, ironed & priced the latest vintage buys I'd packed it away and they'd sold before I'd had the chance to show you. So, with a few days off to sort myself out, here's some of the vintage womenswear we found at last week's car boot sale & from the town's chazzas which will be adorning our rails this weekend.

Clockwise from top left: Travona, Italy midi dress; 1960s Harrods linen shift; 1970s Wallis cotton midi; Reflections satin balloon sleeve shirt; Tricel pussy bow day dress; Crimplene nautical blazer; Nina Ferrari crepe balloon sleeve shirt; Harrods Italian knit boating blazer; 1970s flutter sleeve tunic; 1960s nylon shift dress; Blanes, London day dress; Elsie Whiteley candy stripe pussy bow blouse.

Of course I do occasionally get to keep some of our finds. If you follow us on Facebook you'll have seen this 1970s Silhouette number I spotted in a charity shop window whilst shopping for essentials (duct tape & wet wipes) in between festivals.

I can't believe it had been on display in the shop window for well over a week. What woman doesn't need a turquoise cutaway crimplene catsuit in their lives?

I was the only eBay bidder on this gauzy cotton maxi I'm wearing.

Admittedly the photo was poor but having admired them on a few fellow vintage-loving hippy chicks I knew London label Earlybird made some gorgeous dresses and the lady selling it had mentioned in the listing that she'd worn it once - for her engagement party 39 years ago - so I reckoned the condition would be okay and it was. Not bad for £5. Oxfam has an Earlybird on their website for an eye watering £75 - and in my humble opinion isn't half as pretty.

We're trading at the wonderful Indietracks this weekend, situated at the Midland Railway Museum in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside. It'll be the sixth time we've been (twice as festival goers and four times as traders). We're right opposite the main stage, the perfect spot for watching Saturday night headliners St Etienne play. Their 1991 cover of Neil Young's Only Love Will Break Your Heart is our song.

Hopefully Summer will come back (it's been AWOL since Tuesday) and I'll be able to wear the Thomas The Tank Engine dress I made especially for Indietracks again this year.

See you soon.

Monday 25 July 2016

A Week in the Life - Weapons of Mass Destruction, Voodoo Heads & An X Factor Encounter

What a week! Gardening, shopping, car booting, washing, mending, housework, tie-dyeing, shredding Levi's denim, waterproof bunting making, moving the stock into the new Kinky shed, reading in the sunshine (Laurie Lee's Red Sky At Sunrise, what a joy - why on earth did I wait until my 50th year to read him?), taming stray cats, finding vintage bargains on eBay, watching very little (but quality) TV (the BBC's gripping adaptation of Conrad's The Secret Agent and Beck, the latest in BBC 4's Scandi Noir) and socialising. Not exactly a restful seven days but definitely time well spent.

With our mini heatwave it's been cotton maxi weather all week long. I'd made this dress from some vintage fabric Em gave me (last seen here) but wasn't happy with the fit & after wearing it once chucked it in the bottom of a drawer and forgot about it. Three years later I finally found the time to unpick it, resew the seams, add some darts and replace the cheating press studs with proper buttonholes. 

Accessorised with some brass earrings I bought in India from a womens charity project years ago.

A heap of brass bangles, mostly inherited from my Mum.

And this fabulously blingy Freedom at Topshop neck piece featuring crosses & voodoo heads - unworn and still on the original card - retail price £18.99 but mine for £3 from Age UK.

Did I mention socialising? Sitting in 'Spoons on Saturday with some mates we spotted a crowd gathering in the street outside. When we realised it was Chico we abandoned our pints and we rushed out to say hello. For non-Brits or those too high brow to watch populist TV - he was Sharon Osborne's controversial quarter finalist from The X Factor back in 2005.

I've no idea what brought him to an obscure market town in Shropshire but he was so enamored of my outfit (me-made from a vintage curtain) that I couldn't get a word in edgewise to ask. Darling, you look beautiful. What do you do for a living? He asked. When I told him he told me that I was a fantastic ambassador for vintage clothes. The world would be a much better place if everyone dressed like you. What a sweetie.

We've found some gorgeous vintage clothing over the last week but that's work-related and, as I'm on a break, here's a couple of things we bought for us.

This vintage ironwork planter was from Wednesday morning's car boot sale and came from a florist's shop.

What started off as a bargain at £1 ended up costing us £13.95 after we'd bought potting compost and plants to pretty it up.

I've always hankered after a war rug and pounced on this one, priced at just £2 in the first charity shop we visited on Saturday which led to Jon being asked a million and one times if it was a magic carpet he was carrying as he walked around with it rolled up under his arm. This was a tourist piece made for NATO troops by Afghani craftsmen. I love it. Who needs girly floral motifs on your floor when you can have Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers, tanks and hand grenades?

That's me done. I'm off to spend the day in Wetherspoons. See you soon!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Keep On Truckin'

We paid how much for a pitch? Jon muttered under his breath on Friday afternoon, wrapping his coat tightly around himself in a vain attempt to ward off the unseasonably cold July weather.

The weekend hadn't started well. An hour into our journey to rural Oxfordshire, we'd heard a sickening noise and pulled into a lay-by to discover half of the rivets on our pop top had ripped out. Jon spent a perilous thirty minutes on his hands and knees, wrapping rope around Gilbert in a desperate bid to keep the roof on whilst the motorway traffic thundered past at petrifying speeds.

When we'd mentioned that we were trading at Truck to other festival traders we were met with a sharp intake of breath and the grim words..... It's a very young crowd.

The gates had been open for three hours and we'd only sold a tee shirt. The few visitors who'd stumbled into our pitch were teenagers, giddy from too much cider, trying on our lovingly hand-picked vintage clothing, laughing hysterically and taking selfies whilst, directly opposite, the vintage wholesale business heaved with customers snapping up shell suits, tartan shirts and cagoules at bargain basement prices. Was the Truck going to be a car crash?

We needn't have worried. Once the crowd had bought the cheap essentials necessary to cope with the unexpected cold temperatures they turned their attention to Kinky Melon and the colour and frivolity on our rails. 1970s sequins, vintage leather jackets, crazy Hawaiian prints and Old School sportswear flew out and, with a massive sigh of relief, we'd covered our costs before the Friday headliners, Catfish & The Bottlemen, took to the main stage.

On Saturday morning we opened the shop to discover a queue of people anxious to buy stuff they'd regretted not purchasing the day before. The customers kept coming - young, not so young and some even older than us. Dresses sold to men and menswear to women. Our changing room was in such demand that customers were using our awning to try on stock (thankfully we're tidy campers).

As the temperatures hit the high twenties we were snipping off price labels and bagging up the customers' own clothing as they snapped up floaty cotton dresses, linen crop tops and voluminous shirts, wanting to wear them straightaway. By the most tremendous luck our lovely neighbours, the pizza parlour, kept us in free veggie pizza and garlic bread all weekend - there was no time to cook.

Sunday was even more of a scorcher.  Traditionally a slow day for festival trading we were kept on our toes, not even cracking open a beer until mid-afternoon.

The selfies continued, price labels mysteriously vanished and the haggling was incessant. Clothes were abandoned in the changing room or knocked off the rails and trampled over, drinks cans & food wrappers tossed on the floor with gay abandon, people were chased away when we discovered them using the side of the stall as an alternative to the portaloos and, my major bugbear, mothers of pre-teens scrutinising my handmade items saying, Oh, I don't want to buy it, I'm just looking so I can copy it at when I get home. A relaxing weekend it wasn't but finally closed for the day, sprawled on a picnic blanket with our burning feet cooling in the dewy grass and the stars twinkling in the inky sky, sipping metallic-tasting tea from chipped enamel mugs with the Manic Street Preachers performing with the same passion they had when we first saw them over a quarter of a century ago, well, it sure beats working for a living.

And that was Truck. We're halfway through the festival season with five down and five to go with a welcome ten day break before Indietracks next weekend, hopefully with just enough time to restock the rails and fix poor old Gilbert and, you never know, we might even attempt to revive our social life.

See you soon.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Monday 11 July 2016

Cornbury, 2016 - A Bit of Posh

Last week we trundled off to the beautiful Cotswolds with Gilbert, our trusty VW Camper, groaning under the weight of vintage clothing. Although the festival didn't kick off until Friday we had to be on site two days before so Wednesday was spent setting up and Thursday doing little more than reading, sipping cider and lazing around. I can't remember the last time we had a day of doing absolutely nothing and it was bloody brilliant. By the time The Cornbury Festival 2016 officially opened we were fully rested and raring to go.

With a pop-up Waitrose, a Pimms bus and regulars that include David Cameron  & Jeremy Clarkson, Cornbury might be nicknamed Poshstock but after trading there for the first time last year we loved it enough to come back. The festival goers are friendly, the location gorgeous, the line-up impressive and the traders are really well looked after with our own trader toilets, water supply and free electrical hook-up....

And the other traders are fabulous. We squealed with delight when we discovered Mandy & husband Or were our neighbours for a second time.

Despite a double G&T being a whopping £7.50 the Gin & Tonic bar was heaving.

With trading hours from 9am until midnight comfort matters and the inflatable settee we treated ourselves to out of some of last week's profits was a lifesaver.

Happily ensconced I held the fort (and a large glass of Morrison's finest Rose) while Jon nipped off to watch Soul II Soul tear up the main stage.

At midnight the arena gates closed, we shut up shop and collapsed into bed knackered.

Saturday morning was bright and breezy and I was happy I'd packed my Mongolian Lamb boa to keep out the icy chill.

One of Friday's first customers was this dapper chap who'd snapped up a vintage tailcoat and a couple of our handmade Steampunk clock-face badges. He wanted to show us how happy he was with his purchases.

With afternoon temperatures hitting a balmy 22 degrees our rail of crazy patterned Hawaiian shirts was in serious danger of selling out.

Last year we'd found the Cornbury Festival goers mostly a conservatively dressed bunch but this year we were amazed at how so many of them were embracing colour, glitter and animal tails.

We'd arranged a girly date with the Tall Tails crew to see a bit of All Saints but missed the first couple of songs not having the heart to disappoint tiny children desperate for tails.

I can't say I was blown away by the 1990s girl band's performance and when they covered a Coldplay track enough was enough, I took it as my cue to leave and headed back to work.

Bryan Ferry was headlining but, as neither of us are particular fans, we listened to his set from our pitch from the comfort of our inflatable sofa.

Who gets up at 9am on a Sunday morning? Cornbury festival goers, that's who! And we were up and ready for them.

Three days in and most women (me included) were suffering from chronic festival hair so my handmade wired headbands went down a storm.

The circus tent and arts and crafts area were packed with early risers looking for entertainment before the main stage opened.

For over a decade Newton Faulkner has appeared at loads of festivals we've been to but to our shame neither of us has ever seen him play. This year I made the effort to catch some of his set and was I glad? He was fantastic.

...And not too unpleasant on the eye, either!

Talking of easy on the eye Mandy and I left the menfolk in charge of our pitches while we watched Seal headlining later. Other than Killer I can't say I'm a massive fan of his music but he's definitely got incredible stage presence.

What is it with Cornbury and people dressed as animals? We've no idea but we like it.

What a weekend! We met some fantastic people, sold even more than we did last year and, despite a punishing 45 hours of trading packed into three days, had an absolute blast.

Next stop Truck! Two days to rest up, restock and find time to make more headbands and crop tops.

See you soon!

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.