Monday 30 April 2018

On The Road Again - The Classic Car Boot Sale,King's Cross, London

We made it, but only just! On Friday Jon took Gilbert to fill up with fuel only to break down and have to call the RAC out to tow him back home. The problem was a dodgy fuel pump but, as luck would have it, Jon had a spare in the shed and was able to replace it (no mean feat in Friday's torrential rain) so Gilbert lived to see another Classic Car Boot Sale.

Gilbert's an air cooled bus which, to the uninitiated, means that he has no heating. We left home at 3.30am and with temperatures well below the seasonal average, we progressively added more and more layers during the duration of our three hour journey. By the time we reached King's Cross we were wrapped up like Egyptian mummies. 

Jon's wearing: 1960s leather car coat, black skinnies & brogue boots (all charity shopped)

The minute we pulled into our allocated trading space, despite the Met Office promising us a dry day, the heavens opened. Thank goodness we were prepared with waterproof matting, a Lidl overhead shelter and a heap of tarpaulin sheets from Poundland. We set up our pitch, took a seat in Gilbert and enjoyed tea and crumpets before the gates opened to the public at 10am.

I'm wearing: Vintage pleated maxi dress, fake fur trimmed maxi coat, 1970s platform boots and a 1960s felt hat (all charity shopped)

Despite the atrocious weather business was brisk. Other than nip to the loo neither of us left the stall all day, selling vintage clobber to people from as far afield as Finland, Greece, Japan, Korea, Spain, Germany, Malta, Sweden, Canada, the USA and Australia. 

Photo courtesy of The Classic Car Boot Sale's IG page

Friends & neighbours' pitch, Suzy Loves Milo Boutique (photo pinched from their IG page)

Photo courtesy of Suzy Loves Milo

When the gates closed at 6pm we locked everything away in Gilbert and joined mates Suzy & Rob and Teddy, their cute terrier*, for a brisk walk and a Greek dinner in a sweet little taverna in Bloomsbury.

*The Classic Car Boot Sale is dog-friendly. 

By 9pm we were done in, we said our goodbyes and made the short walk to our accommodation for the night, The County. At £67 (including breakfast) we were surprised to discover that our budget room was in fact in a rather lovely Art Deco era hotel complete with stylish mid-century furnishings - check out that snazzy carpet and the rocket lamp. Not that we spent much time admiring it, we were in bed for 9.30!
Photo courtesy of Classic Car Boot Sale

After a leisurely breakfast we checked out and walked back in King's Cross for the second day of trading. 

Jon's wearing: Vintage 1960s three button tweed blazer, black skinny jeans, brogue boots (all charity shopped)

No rain but goodness me, it was bastard cold.

I'm wearing: Vintage 1960s Sportaville, London psychedelic catsuit & suede coat (both Second To None, Walsall); Felt hat (charity shop); Electric blue boots (retail, sale!)

It didn't take long to set up so Lyndsey Boomerang (pitch below) and I went for a wander before the gates opened at 10am.

Photo courtesy of Boomerang Vintage's IG page

Our friend Paula at Mint Vintage makes these earrings, aren't they fab?

To be honest with you, I was so cold I couldn't think straight. I failed miserably on the photo front and even passed up a gorgeous 1970s suede shoulder bag for £5 - by the time I'd regained my senses it had sold (although I did buy the maxi of my dreams, thanks to my amazingly eagle-eyed friends, Jo & Drew from Retro Bambi).

 By the time I'd got back to the pitch we'd opened to the public and Jon had already sold a pile of stuff. We'd done really well sales-wise on Saturday and I'd resigned myself to Sunday being a slow day. It was for a lot of traders but, for us, it was brilliant. It was really sweet to see some of the customers who'd bought from us last year as well as people we'd met the previous day and had come back with friends to introduce them to us and our stock. 

The rain had addled my brain on Saturday and I never got a photo of gorgeous Style Sixties Sarah but I managed to get a picture of my friends Michelle and Fay, who were meeting up for the first time after becoming Instagram friends. How cold do we look?

At 6pm we packed up, said our goodbyes and started the three hour journey back home to Walsall only to break down 15 minutes from home. Thankfully Jon's a mechanical whizz (you have to be if you drive a classic car) and by torchlight he found the loose connection and we limped home, greeted the cats and collapsed into bed with all our clothes on wondering if we'd ever be warm again!

What I came home with! The sleeve of dreams from my latest new old dress and some doll's house donations from my friends
It was a fantastic weekend but now we're absolutely ruined. We've managed to get into town to bank the cash, unpacked the van and put what's left back in the Kinky shed. The plan for tonight is a delivery pizza and a bottle of rum. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

PS Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday and Judith, The Style Crone, Hat Attack #58.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Goin' To A Go-Go

Whenever I wear this insane vintage Shubette of London fringed Go-Go suit I can't help but dance. I reckon it used to belong to Cher, or at least a Walsall woman who was just as cool as she was back in the 1960s.

Rain, rain, go away!

For something that makes me feel so good I'm ashamed to say that I haven't worn it in ages. I bought it eight years ago fully intending to wear it to the Glastonbury Festival but as 2010 was the hottest Glasto on record it was gauzy maxis all the way. I've worn it to work at numerous vintage fairs but in recent years it had started to get a bit snug around the waist - that's until I said no to stuffing my face with rubbish and now it fits me better than ever. Junk food or go-go suits? No competition!

Here it is on the blog back in June, 2011. I was amazed to see a seller selling exactly the same suit on his stall at Moseley on Sunday. His asking price was £80, almost eight times what I paid for mine! As I often tell people, vintage clothes are an investment - buy new and the value depreciates on the first outing, buy vintage at the right price and you'll often get your money back (and more!) if you ever decide to sell. No chance of wearing nothing underneath today, last week's heatwave is but a dim and distant memory, it's back to sunshine, showers, hail and more showers - a sure sign we're trading outside at the Classic Car Boot Sale in London this weekend. (Check out their photo gallery from last year, you might spot me as well as a few celebs!)

It's shopping day today and here's this morning's charity shop finds. Clockwise from top left: French-made bush hat; Block printed Indian cotton kaftan; 1960s St Michael purple nylon nightie (but far too pretty for nightwear); 1970s Linda Leigh day dress; 1950s St Michael navy tie neck blouse; Handmade cheong-san; 1970s Canda blazer; 1990s reissue of 1970s classic, the Simon short sleeved skinny shirt; West German-made leisure shirt.

And what of the doll's house? I've just got to add lights and I'm done and, as I'm wearing a wild print here's the final room to show you, the bathroom with its crazy jungle wall.

I was so excited to win my avocado bathroom suite on Ebay that I shared it on the blog a couple of weeks ago.

Before the Vix makeover

As I mentioned before, the seller had given the suite a shabby chic makeover which just wasn't me (or my doll's house) so I replaced backing with a bright orange mosaic tile instead. I found the Moroccan tile-effect floor paper for 36p a sheet in the clearance section of a doll's house website. The laundry basket was also on clearance and was £1.45 but as it was a modern piece I had to trim it down to size as vintage doll's houses are 16:1 whereas modern ones are 12:1 (something I didn't know until recently).

The details:
  • Bathroom scales made from white tack painted with blackboard paint.
  • I made the bath mat by gluing trimmed down lollipop sticks together and edging them with toothpicks. I stained it with diluted instant coffee. The slippers are lolly sticks and carpet left over from the playroom.
  • The mirror came from an old compact, the frame from a huge lot from a charity shop.
  • The shower is a bent hatpin and a military button. The soap dish is half of a blister pack of painkillers. The soap is an out-of-date hay fever tablet and the transparent shower screen the packaging from a box of grapes.
  • I made the towel rail from off cuts of wood and cotton buds.
  • The shampoo bottle is a straw covered in sellotape. The soap is another hay fever tablet.
  • The towels in the unit are off a dish cloth, the toilet rolls are a single piece of tissue cut into small strips and wound around a straw.
  • I made the macrame plant holder from garden string.

The pendant light fitting is half a cat toy.

That orange electric shaver is still the cutest doll's house thing I've ever seen, I had to make a can of Old Spice shaving foam to go with it . All the other mini toiletries were me-made, too.

I am kind of matching, in addition to my wild go-go suit I'm wearing bright orange lipstick, green eye shadow and posing in front of tangerine dream, Gilbert. There's even a spiky leaf plant (Yukka?) peeking out behind me!

WEARING: Vintage Shubette of London fringed Go-Go suit (Second To None), flared sleeve top, floppy felt hat, Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots (all charity shopped)
Fingers crossed for a dry day tomorrow, I wanna go car booting!

See you soon.

Monday 23 April 2018

At Work & Play

Today I'm wearing a fade-into-the-background combination of pink, red and purple.

Of course, when I say fade into the background, that's only when my surroundings are as bright & clashy (is that a word?) as my doll's house extension, aka the basement chill-out zone and office area, today's featured room.

This vintage radiogram came cheap and was rather tatty. The wood stain was in the garden shed, it was pissing down with rain outside and I couldn't be arsed to fetch it so instead I diluted a tablespoon of instant coffee into a bit of boiling water and brushed it on. It came up a treat.

 The desk was listed as a set on eBay along with the blanket box in the bedroom. In my rush to snap up a bargain I failed to notice that it was 12:1 scale. Vintage doll's houses are usually 16:1 scale so it looked far too big and clunky so I sawed off the pedestal legs to shave off a few crucial centimetres. I wasn't at all keen on the colour of the wood so I painted the desk with blackboard paint, sanded down the edges and the drawer fronts (the places which tend to get the most wear) and buffed them up with brown shoe polish. Hopefully it looks less like nasty repro and more like a well-loved family heirloom.

The chest of drawers was another modern piece (£1.20 from the clearance section of a doll's house website) to which I gave the same treatment.

The flamingo curtains are folded paper. Like previous rooms, they're glued to a wooden kebab stick and finished with two wooden bead finials. The chair is vintage Lundby and was cheap on eBay.

Bibi commented on my last blog post that, for the ultimate in '70s decor, I needed a vinyl beanbag. Lacking any vinyl in my stash I used the rest of the charity shopped kids' trousers left over from the bedroom quilt, cut out a coupe of circles and a rectangle, sewed it together and stuffed it with lentils. Pizza and beer, anyone? My cans are pieces of white tack, painted red with a press stud glued to the top.

A friend gave me the 1970s Matchbox Hot Wheels car at Moseley yesterday. Mini Stephen Squirrel loves it.

The basement is just like our proper house with guitars, amps and black and white cats everywhere. Sadly there isn't a four pack of beer or a pizza on the table.

The details:
  • The corner sofa and tiled coffee table are 1970s Lundby, the "cushions" are vintage 1950s braid from the car boot sale which I cut up, stitched and stuffed with cotton wool. 
  • The supersize lampshade was the lid from a posh facial wash Liz bought me for my birthday - now I can remember that gift for ever!
  • On the wall are more of the charity shop mini frames I painted and gilded. I love those creepy Margaret Pearce big eyed prints.
  • The shelves are lollipop sticks I cut up and painted white. Most of the ornaments are beads my friend Sarah sent me. The tiny wooden horse used to be in a cacti my Grandma had on the kitchen window sill when I was a little girl. Goodness knows how old it is.
  • The plants are more sellotape, garden wire, nail varnish, old lid and loose leaf tea creations.
  • Sarah also sent me the electric guitar. Jon told me that I needed to make a Marshall Bluesmaster amp to go with it, so I did!
  • The vintage typewriter was a right fiddle to make. I filled it with salt to keep it stable (thanks for the tip, Aril!) The camera & Kodak film? Well, I am a blogger!

Anyway, enough of the play, how about work?

That's if you can call hanging out with the beautiful people of Moseley work! Check out my vintage cape-sleeved cotton maxi which arrived in this parcel of goodies from Sarah on Saturday morning.

We haven't done that many fairs this year but this was the best one so far. I think that after the previous two were cancelled people were desperate to come out and spend their money. You don't get many of the annoying "My nan used to have one of them" brigade at Moseley, just people who appreciate (and buy) proper vintage. 

Clockwise from top left: 1950s dress; Fake fur jacket; 1970s tiered maxi;  Fake fur coat; West German-made midi dress; 1970s polka dot dot blazer (needs buttons, I'll do that later); Fake fur jacket; 1960s lace shell blouse; Fake fur; Printed cotton velvet waistcoat.
Despite selling lots the van wasn't empty for the return journey. When a trader tells you that they're giving up selling vintage and need to sell off all their stock at a good price, well, it's just got to be done.

Vintage folksy-style dress worn with Vietnamese choker (courtesy of Krista) and Lotta of Stockholm clogs.

First rule of vintage selling is...don't try on the stock. Oops! I'm doing Kinky Melon a favour really, smaller sizes can take an age to shift, I'm just looking after it...honest!

Gaynor, a super cool, vintage lovin' girl I met when she bought a dress off us years ago, popped along to give me these incredible hand-made Swedish-style clogs she bought from Scarborough-based company, Bjorn last year but never wore as they crippled her. As I'm obsessed with all things Swedish (Lundby, Scandi Noir, Lotta of Stockholm and Goat to name but a few) I'm delighted to report that they fit me perfectly. I'll be wearing these beauties all Summer long.

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

Friday 20 April 2018

She, She, She Shine On

Today's the day that my childhood home, The Cottage, finally changes hands but I'm not a bit sad. Do you remember me mentioning that when the sale sign first went up I'd had a visit from a couple who loved the house but their property had only just gone on the market and they were only able to make a low offer? Well, I accepted a higher offer from another couple but, after a few weeks, they started to mess me around, asking for a significant reduction in the original asking price. I told them to sling their hook, after all, the house had been empty for years, what was another few months? In the meantime the lovely couple managed to sell their house to a cash buyer for a lot more than they expected, enabling them to increase their offer - which I accepted - and The Cottage is now their forever home (I was offered a heck of lot more than the asking price by a couple of property development companies but I told them where to go). There's a bottle of fizz and a welcome card awaiting H&D when they cross the threshold later today.

Sorry, squeamish people. My bendy body freaks some people out. You should see my arms.

After an iffy start this morning, the gloriously warm weather continues. We went to our first car boot sale of 2018 yesterday in shorts (Jon) and a sleeveless Hawaiian maxi (me!) I did take photos of our finds as lovely blog reader Shelagh had kindly sent me her son's old camera but somehow managed to delete everything.  It's all packed ready for trading at Moseley Vintage and Retro Fair on Sunday (details HERE). It'll be third time lucky for this fair due to the bastard snow. This weekend's obstacle will be trying to negotiate Birmingham's road network as the council have closed the main route for maintenance. I don't know how long it's going to take us to get there - it's usually only 25 minutes, wish us luck!

My Lundby's starting to look good. Here it is in all its psychedelic '70s glory along with the added downstairs extension (which came with another tatty Lundby doll's house - that's project number three!)

As I'm in pink, orange and yellow today's featured room has to be the living room.....

...and as if by magic, here I am!

 I've seen this space used in other doll's houses as a master bedroom with a kid's bedroom on the mezzanine floor. As you know, my house is child-free so I'm keeping it real with an adult-only space (hence the wine!) Beate, it's German Sekt, ready for when you get here!

I love the idea of the main living area being upstairs. I used to have a school friend with an amazing upside-down house with bedrooms in the basement and a split level lounge upstairs with perspex hanging bubble pod chairs, a white space age circular TV set and a shag pile carpet so thick and luxurious her patents used to have to rake it. The carpet is a small scale doll's house in the same shade of russet as the very threadbare original. The rocket floor lamp that Linda made me fits in a treat, doesn't it?

I found this 1970s Lundby Symphony suite on Ebay complete with a glass topped coffee table which now resides in the dining room (as seen in my last blog post). Despite not being a fan of either three piece suites or Dralon at £4.50 I just had to buy it. I removed the shabby pink fringe and replaced it with some orange picot braiding from off the market, much more psychedelic! The perspex coffee table was another eBay bargain, I'd definitely give it house room in my big house.

Remember the groovy wallpaper in The Cottage's bathroom? When it mentioned it on my post recently Sarah, another fab reader, commented that she'd got a slither of the wallpaper in her stash and that she'd be happy to donate it to the house. There was just enough to make curtains and a matching pelmet (very 1970s!) which I finished off with the leftover braid.

The aquarium, funky table and swivel chairs are all 1970s Lundby originals - eBay is brilliant (and inexpensive) when you're a doll's house fanatic!

The plastic piano and stool were in the bag of furniture that came with the charity shopped doll's house. I trimmed the stool with Indian pom-pom braiding and printed off (and scaled-down) the musical scores from the internet. If you're wondering, the sheet music is Carly Simon's You're So Vain. The picture is classic suburban 1970s, The Wings of Love by S Pearson. The plant's another me-made one.

The fireplace came in a job lot of Lundby furniture. The log basket (complete with logs) was in the sale section of an on-line doll's house shop (£1.25).

These two dressers match the one in the dining room. They were originally mahogany (but I painted them white). The books, magazines and other bits and pieces were free printables from a doll's house website.

The details:
  • The pictures were sized down and printed off the internet. They were framed in more of the charity shop frames that I'd painted and gilded earlier this week.
  • The mustard lampshade is another of the kid's egg toys trimmed with braid and threaded with plug chain.
  • The perspex lampshade is an  unwanted cat toy, trimmed with vintage rik-rak braid.
  • The cushions are handmade by me using 30p a sheet felt from Shaw's Direct and finished off with daisy appliques from Walsall market's haberdashery stall.
  • The "knitting" is cotton thread rolled into balls and speared with two shortened dressmaking pins. The vintage poncho pattern is a scaled-down real one.  
WEARING: Jumpsuit made by me from some 1960s Francis Price screen printed curtains which used to hang in a friend's husband's living room when he was a child; Crazy sunnies (gift from a car boot seller); Jeffrey Campbell Woodies clogs (charity shop), Retro jelly basket (new, retail!)

 Time to get my bikini on and catch a few rays (and try not to watch the proceedings over the road).

See you soon (hopefully in Moseley on Sunday)!