Wednesday, 7 June 2017

It's Not Class or Ideology, Colour, Creed or Roots. The Only Thing That Unites Us is Doctor Marten's Boots!

Okay, so you may have to have been in Britain in the 80's, and probably of a certain age, to get the reference but you have got to agree with the man.

Doctor Marten's boots (& shoes for that matter), once so beloved of workies and punks are now ubiquitous, holding a well-earned place as a mainstream fashion favourite. Things have moved on a lot since the days of black or oxblood leather., look at all the loveliness above.

And such fabulous children's boots. I am totally gutted that the purple mini-goth ones didn't come in my size.

I have been a proud Doc's wearer for about 35 years. They are comfy, practical and go with pretty much anything, I have even worn them with a business suit and got a load of compliments (I forgot my "proper adult" shoes - needs must. It was all good in the end).

So why am I wittering on? You will never guess what is a 10-minute car ride from me? Only the Doctor Marten's Factory Shop! As luck would have it, I wore my old knackered ones to work in the lab and one of the girls at work mentioned that it was close by. I am in boot-shopping heaven and am planning another visit this month too. There is no such thing as "too many shoes".

The shop sells a lot more than just footwear, with a great selection of socks, bags and clothing, although the few times I have been most of the clothes looked to be mostly small sizes. All the stock is either factory samples or overstocks from their shops so the selection is eclectic and you just have to be lucky. They restock three times a week and the prices are very low considering how much DMs normally retail for. I bought 4 pairs of boots at £40 each but prices range with what the style/colour/original price was. 

So if you are a Doc's fan the place is really worth the trip. If you fancy driving there the address is 71 High Street, Wollaston, Northants, Wellingborough, NN29 7QE. Apparently there is also a Kurt Geiger factory shop in the same area so I will let you know what it is like when finally I find it.

A final word -  the last few weeks have been filled with really sad, needless events at home and abroad. Definitely a time to come together, not drive ourselves apart. Listen to the song. Even though the message is 30 year's old it still rings true.

And bloody VOTE tomorrow if you are in the UK, especially if you are a woman. It wasn't that long ago that we got a voice. Use it.

So do you have a favourite brand or style of footwear? Are you a Doc's wearer or think that they are terrible?  

Take care, lovelies.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Day at the Chazzas

Good morning , Lovelies! For those of you not in the UK, the "chazza" is a charity, or thrift shop. When I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, charity shops were a place you wouldn't be seen dead in but now shopping there could possibly be classed as a national sport. I have unashamedly stolen appropriated the word "chazza" from the lovely Vix over at Vintage Vixen.  It is just such an apt word,  and for me begs to be expanded into things like "chazzamatazz" (displaying a particularly fancy charity shop outfit) or even "chazz-tastic" (a bloody brilliant, but obviously charity shop, find).
Yesterday for me was a very good day for hunting down some charity shop finds. In fact between the junk shop in Bedford a couple of weeks ago and the local Salvation Army shop I have really managed to score some great bargains over the last couple of weeks. Well, they are bargains to me. One (wo)man's junk and all that.

First up the textile and haberdashery stuff. Check out these fab barkcloth curtains. There might be enough fabric to squeeze myself out a summer dress or skirt. Only question is do I go 50's or Mod?

Continuing with the green theme, look at this lovely ditsy floral yardage. Like many vintage fabrics it's only 36-inches wide and feels like a cotton. It has a very soft, drapey hand now it has been washed.  There is 2 yards of this, probably not enough to squeeze anything out it of it but we will see.  Who could leave this behind?

This lovely table cloth and linen tea towel were only a couple of quid each. I have a bit of a thing for lilacs they are just so old-fashioned and a bit cottage-garden. The colours and the pattern are just lovely. 

The tea towel has a little poem all about  the "Willow Pattern" round the outside. It looks unused with no fading at all and will end up being made into a cushion cover for my bedroom at some point.

Couldn't pass this lot up, 10 vintage metal zips for £3, some needles and buttons for 20p and a bag of wool for a quid. There seems to be a whole load more vintage crap stuff down here. No idea if it is because people here aren't really into it or if it is just the greater population density combined with the lack of a student population where I stay. Anyway, no complaints here, this is chazza-heaven.

I found some great cookware. Look at the gorgeous design, I was so glad to pick these up oven-to-table dishes as I had to leave them behind a couple of weeks ago. I was on foot and couldn't carry them. They must have been meant to come live with me.

Staffordshire made some truly funky designs in the 60's and 70's. These dishes were a bit grubby but are both mint condition and look like they have never been used.  They just needed a good scrub. Now I just have to have a dinner party to show them off. Bring out the vol-au-vents and the black forest gateaux!

This little dish and saucer are Denby. It is next to a lovely wee plate and a glazed terracotta dish that I bought at the same time for the princely sum of £3.50 for all three.

Since I seem to be on the 70's roll  of questionable taste™ at the moment I bought these pottery canisters for the kitchen. They are from the Hornsea pottery, the design is called "Bronte"dated 1978. It makes the kitchen feel a bit "Good Life".

I didn't have anything to keep my teabags in so they are nothing if not practical.

I have actually been tracing out some sewing patterns but I lack the fabric I want to make them up in (no excuse bt it is mostly in Glasgow) and only seem to have a curtain fabric shop close-by.  I am really enjoying having a wee hidey-hole but seriously need some storage. Everything is in bags still. Will get there in the end.

So have you found anything great in the chazzas? Car booty bonanza? Or do you hate the thought of buying anything second-hand?

I am glorying in the fact that I had wifi installed (finally) yesterday so will be able to catch up with all your posts soon.
Have a lovely Sunday!


Thursday, 6 April 2017

She's Leaving Home

Hello Lovelies, Well you may have wondered about why it has been so quiet for the last couple of months but in daily life there has been a huge amount of upheaval, all of it work related in one way or another.

Why the Po face?

A few weeks ago I was put on notice of redundancy. All things considered this was not a complete shock but it still knocked me off my feet a bit as it was now so real.  To be honest I was really surprised by my reaction. To say that I work in an industry where job security is not the best would be downplaying things more than a little. This was my fourth time being made redundant. 

Vintage Painting from Ruthven Lane, Glasgow and antique bronze Buddha housewarming pressie

Anyway to cut a long story short,  I am not a fan of uncertainty. I don't mind change but I hate not knowing the when, where or how,  so when a great job came up I jumped ship to another company rather than join “Maggie’s Millions” - Theresa style.  However, this did mean moving to another country, although it is England so only next door relatively speaking. I am however a 7 and a half-hour drive away from home. This definitely ain’t Kansas. It's a huge and scary deal for me.  Honestly, I should buy shares in Pickford's (or my own van).

The Backie! A lot of potential but maybe not if I am not here for long.

I have moved into a rented house with one of my of old work colleagues as we have gone to the same place. It is nice to have some company, he is great and the house is big enough to avoid each other but it is a bit weird to be sharing a house again at our advanced ages. Like the middle-aged "Young Ones".

Another housewarming pressies. This makes me feel like Albus Dumbledore.

The house itself came unfurnished and I didn’t bring much, although I did pack my vintage drinks cabinet  above (it's a bit of a fixer-upper but has a tremendous carved front), two vintage sewing machines, a whole heap of patterns and some random fabrics. I went into the Bedford, my nearest town on Saturday for a wander about. I found a chamber pot so it is now sitting in our tiny wee dining room filled with a house-warming cactus that I need to pot on.  I got a few gifts of vintage/antique furniture from my mates and brought some of the stuff that has been sat unloved in my garage for a long time. I found some great stuff but this post will be short as I am uploading everything by phone.

So that is me. I am missing you all and feeling cut off. They don't fit out internet for another 3 weeks! I have commandeered the spare room for a sewing den so watch this space.

Will keep you posted when I unearth more vintage gems from the boxes.

Take care,
K xx

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Vintage Fur - Yay or Nay? My Ethical Dilemma.

Hello Lovelies! Okay so this may be my most divisive post yet and is inspired by a vintage fur coat that I bought in the local antique/junk ]market /car bootie where I also score my vintage sewing machines.

Sartorially my coat does nothing for me but when these photos were taken it was about -4 degrees Celcius outside and I was totally toasty.

The coat itself is a lovely Musquash fur in pristine condition and is actually a little too big for me. Since vintage things rarely come large enough and I was in need of a new winter coat for this year, I snapped it up swayed by its loveliness. However, now that I have got it home I am having feeling a bit of inner turmoil. As a vintage loving clothes-a-holic it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the siren song of a "good" fur coat. No fashionable lady of yesteryear, with a yearning for glitz and glamour, would have been without her fur - a real status symbol at the time - and the vintage/second-hand shops are awash with them. However, I am a committed animal lover and find the idea of wearing modern farmed fur abhorrent. So where does vintage fur lie in this ethical debate?

First a little history.......

Who wore it best? Source

Musquash fur is derived from the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) which are found all over North America and Canada. Musquash fur was very popular as a cheaper alternative to mink and could be found sheared and/or dyed to more resemble other pelts. The darker the colour of the musquash the pricier the fur.

At the time that this coat was made in the 1930's it is likely that the pelts used would have been sourced at a fur sale such as those of the Hudson Bay Company who sold vast quantities of skins from an unbelievable variety of animals such a squirrels, raccoons, mink, beaver and fox. These skins would have been obtained from animals trapped in the wild and brought to trading posts all over Canada, where they would be collected and shipped to places like London and Paris.

For fox' sake! Couldn't find the source but this is a HBC trading post, apparently.

 Unfortunately, the impact of the fur trade reached beyond wildlife and had a huge, and could be argued highly negative, effect on the indigenous aboriginal peoples of Canada who abandoned traditional ways of life in favour of trapping fur in exchange for bartered goods. Due to the large costs of shipping and handling the wild-trapped skins the latter part of the1930's saw the advent of farmed fur, especially for high-vaue pelts like mink. The fur trade died out somewhat with the popularity of the animal rights movement in the 60's - 90's but has never really gone away. In the last few years it could be considered to be having a bit of a renaissance with many designers showing fur again.

Where the Wild Things Are

So where does this leave me? I love animals and always support animal charities. In my time I have taken in countless stray cats,  abused rabbits and all manner of little lost furries and given them a lovely life. However, I am not vegetarian, although I used to be for many years  and we eat mostly veggie/vegan in our house. I would never dream of purchasing modern fur. However, I am in two minds about the vintage variety. I know that this is still a(n) (dead) animal product, even if it is about 90 years old, and that muskrats died for this coat but I am very much against things going into landfill and like to reuse/recycle as much as possible. Many millions of animals die every year for the production of food. Why are the (leather) by-products of the meat trade more popularly acceptable, or are they? Is the wearing of vintage fur ever justifiable? Does it have the same impact as wearing a modern fur? Could reuse, reduce, recycle ever apply to fur? Do you find fur culturally acceptable and think that this is just first-world angst?

I may be hanging my head in shame

So what are you thoughts people? Am I a completely morally reprehensible homicidal animal slaughterer with my ethical compass set to serial killer or do you think that wearing vintage fur is acceptable as it is a kind of recycling? Do you even care? I am feeling terribly guilty and torn about my purchase. I do own a couple of 60's vintage sheepskin hats. Is this any worse?

Please feel free to comment but play nice people. I know that this is an emotive subject but we should respect everyone's views.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A Stroll Round The Burrell Collection

One of the great things about living in Glasgow is the staggering amount of free art galleries and museums that are open to the public. One of the nicest and, in my mind completely eclectic, is the Burrell Collection which I had the pleasure of visiting last year (but was yet to blog about). Since the building that houses the collection is now shut for refurbishment until 2020 I thought that I would share some of my photos from my trip. There were some absolute gems of antique textiles there as well as some great stained glass, paintings and sculptures.

William Burrell, a Glaswegian shipping magnate, was a renowned art collector who in 1944 bequeathed a collection of about 8,000 objects to the City of Glasgow. However, it wasn't until 1983 that a purpose built museum was opened on the Pollock Estate in the Southside of the city to house these objects. The building, as it currently stands, only displays about 20% of the collection so is being upgraded and expanded. The collection itself covers every period and medium, from gorgeous tapestries to statues from Ancient Egypt.

Tapestries and Textiles - Forgive the terrible photos. These wee housed under very low light.

I was tempted there by an exhibition of medieval stained glass, which was additional to the normal glass on show. I love the rich colours and the details.

Lovely Lady with Moustache and Sheep

Reminds me of Lord Flashheart for you Blackadder fans out there

Getting Medieval on your A**

And some lovely sculptures.

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed a little snippet of the collection and apologies for the quality of some of the photos. My cameraphone was ill-equipped to deal with the low lighting required for the more delicate exhibits. I always feel like a wander in a gallery or museum invigorates my creative mojo. 

If you are in Glasgow and fancy some art, a selection of the Collection is on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum along with the plans for the building refurbishment. They have the Alphonse Mucha exhibition on there at the moment so it is a very good excuse to pop along. I am off there this weekend!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

(2016) You Taste Like Tear Stains and Could-Have-Beens

Hello Lovelies!  I am just posting up to wish you all the best for 2017!

I am sorry for being M.I.A for a bit. Life here has been a bit hectic, for good and bad reasons and blogging has become a casualty of that. 2016 really was a funny old year, though to quote Jarvis Cocker "Well, I can't see anyone else smiling in here".  I will be very glad to start with a blank page.

I have been reading your posts and commenting in my free moments, which have been few and far between, but have been thinking about how everyone has been getting on a lot.

I really have done very little in the way of sewing, knitting or anything much since my last posts from August (AUGUST!!!!).  We had quite a fruitful harvest in the garden but I left most of it for what I thought were the birds. Oh dear, b@$tard slugs!

There have been a few vintage buys and a couple of gifts like these fabulous curtains that I have coveted from afar for the last decade.

They were up in my brother's Victorian house when he moved in and belonged to the last very elderly lady occupant who had been born in the house. I have no clue about their age. They are such a gorgeous colour and so heavy I am wondering if my modern walls will take the weight of the curtain pole with them on. The photos don't do them justice. I can't wait to get the living room repainted and them up.

Literally the Town Centre. Was very cute

I looked at an old house in Kirriemuir which is commuting distance from my day job. It was lovely but needed a bit more structural work than I was prepared to do and had no garden.  Didn't think that this would bother me until I saw the place. I do like an outside space.

Was worth the trip though as Kirriemuir is a lovely (wee) place and there was a fab statue of Bon Scott, the late great singer of AC/DC who was born there and lived in the town until he was six. Apparently they have a small rock festival there every year called BonnFest.

Kirriemuir is also the birthplace of J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan and there is a small statue commemorating this in the town square.Apparently, the town is also famous for its witches. I don't know if I would have believed that until I saw this shop window below. Sprogzilla was totally unimpressed, she thought that the place was like the setting for "Hot Fuzz". Can't imagine why?  So moving plans are on hold for the moment as we will see what this month brings.

I also went to see The Damned for their 40th Anniversary tour at the start of December. They were brilliant but it was mostly full of men of a certain age. Makes me smile to think that Punk is now that old. Obligatory grainy phone pic below. Blaming being at one side of the stage for only getting shots of Dave Vanian.

So apart from that there has been nothing but work.
No resolutions here or promises as it cuts me up too much when I can't get things done.
 Just work hard,  create things that make me happy, laugh loads and (most importantly) spend as much time as possible with the people that I love.

Hope that 2017 brings you all joy and (hopefully) this will be the start of a busy blogging year!

K xx

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Being Beige

I am on my holidays so I have decided to paint the whole house, starting with the dining room (I have done one toilet and the kitchen already). The place was trashed when I moved back so EVERYTHING needs done. It is depressing and the sunshine just shows up the muck more. 
 Gone with my beloved colour, I am breaking out in chronic "greige" as I would really like to sell it before the end of the year. I blame Kelly Hoppen. *grumble*

Feel for me, not a sniff of sunshine, except through the window. 

More corset posts to follow. I am waiting for a new busk as the size that was recommended in the pattern is too long for my short waist. 

Until later peeps, I have a hot date with a brush!

Hope that you are having fun and enjoying the beautiful weather.