The Fiver Curtain

(Vintage Way No. 2)

Finally this weekend I was able to dedicate some time to repurpose a lucky find from some time ago: a curtain in a beautiful shade of blue.

The material: curtain and matching haberdashery (all for a fiver). It feels like a linen-cotton fabric, so not bad at all.

The bathroom needed a small one to avoid or reduce see-through when the lights are on at night.

Luckily the width of the repurposed material perfectly fitted in our window, so the work needed wasn’t a lot.. but bear in mind that currently I have no sewing machine, so it’s hand stitching all the way.

Before being shortened

Out it came (part of) my sewing thread stash (lots of vintage threads and some less old – ebay, charity and market finds). For a quick refresh on some more of my stash, see this old post: Wooden Reels (no, this isn’t it all, and yes, they’re still stored in boxes). If I ever need a colour, I’m pretty confident it’s going to be in there, or at least something closely matching..

In my usual freestyle way, I didn’t do much of complicate measurements (i.e. none). After putting it up on the curtain rail I just marked the desired length in a couple of points, then proceeded to bast and cut the extra length.

The extra length has just been cut off

The bottom has been basted, ready for trying it up

Then the edge was fixed – the result is not particularly pretty, but works. There was a little fiddling with the basting as in the middle section the length was slightly longer. Then the two layers were fixed together with a small, mostly hidden stitch. And that was it: new curtain’s up!

“New” vintage curtain is up!

It still needs a curtain hook to hold it on a side when open, then the haberdashery blue rope can be put to use too.

I was very happy to repurpose the lucky find: “new” nice curtain for a fiver.

Environmentally friendly: check; economic: check. Win-win.

~ ~ ~

As some may have noticed I don’t blog very often. I thought about it, and I believe it’s due to my instinct of presenting things only when they’re complete. This way I miss out on the spontaneous update and just putting it out to the world really.  So I end up having quite a few photos of things I’ve done, seen or am making, but actually posting very little of them. Also, life often gets in the way and throws many things at you – sometimes there isn’t just enough energy left to sit, edit photos and write it all down. I wonder if that’s a common problem with bloggers?

Anyway, next time (this week!), I will discuss:

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“New” Curtains. The vintage way.

In the bedroom there were some really unappealing wooden blinds, which were inherited from the previous owner.

I really dislike blinds (understatement).

Recently I was lucky to find a set of vintage Jonelle curtains, in cotton fabric and made in England. They look like new, clean and crisp. The price tag was very friendly, which was a nice extra. *Happy*

The only things needed were a pole and some hooks to hang it.

And finally yesterday we scored a very nice wooden pole (it has acorn shaped finials!). Acorns and oaks are one of my favourite plants, so the acorn motif was just perfect. *Happy*

Today we took the old ones down and put the ‘new’ curtains up… I just love them!

What makes me even happier is that the whole thing is very environmentally friendly – only the pole is a new product. I even had vintage brass hooks to use, so didn’t need to buy the crappy plastic ones. *Very Happy*

Another day in vintage life style.

Do you like and buy vintage?

The curtains are made of Jonelle pure cotton, in green/cream with a leafy motif.

The curtains are made of Jonelle pure cotton, in green/cream with a leafy motif.

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The curtains finally hung, only need shortening

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The pretty wooden pole with acorn finial

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Vintage brass curtain hooks

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The old wooden blinds.. now gone on Freecycle

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VforVintageLondon and the Flat Cat (the Perfect Pet)

I’ve been an avid buyer (hoarder) of vintage, inspired by the beauty of certain objects and the story they may tell us. This you may already perhaps know if you’ve been reading my blog for some time.

London, where I’m based, has a very bad value for money when it come to accommodations. But what has this got to do with the former statement? Well, being space at a premium, it was necessary to resize my vintage beloved collections.

So VforVintageLondon was born.

You can now find us on Etsy!

Meanwhile, the first order has been placed for this cute and rare cut out of the Perfect Pet. Let me introduce you to the FLAT CAT, a low-maintenance sweet companion:

FLAT CAT the Perfect Cat, a rare cut-out by Blue Q

FLAT CAT the Perfect Cat (Blue Q, 1988)

I’ve been super busy uploading some of my vintage troves to the shop.

Many others will soon be available: vintage costume jewellery, patterns, old tins, accessories, dresses, homewares, folk linens… and more will be regularly added, so perhaps follow me? (cheeky, I know!)

If you find anything you fancy, you can use one of these discount codes:

VFORVINTAGEWELCOME (£5 off on items from £10)

VFORVINTAGELONDONWSB (£2 off on items from £5)

Both voucher codes expire on the 11th December 2016.

Your questions, comments and feedback are welcome!

Vintage postcard, circa WWI

Vintage postcard, circa WWI, probably French

 

repairing

please mend me

please mend me

The title should have read “mending”, really, but as my work hasn’t followed any manual or good practices, I opted for a more humble word.

I am a supporter of repair & reuse: I like the idea that it’s not always necessary to produce new things; often it’s possible to give old items a new life. This is good on many fronts – the environment, the purse and one own creativity. So I have been buying old things with the aim of making something out of them. I’m sure there is some hoarding aspect in this behaviour of mine, but that’s another story…

Today I made a start on repairing a very nice blanket acquired recently for a couple of pounds (a tiny fraction of its new price). It’s a British made all wool throw, made by Burkraft. Beside a thorough wash, it needed a good mending.

Burkraft blanket

Burkraft blanket

Burkraft, dress Stewart, all wool, British made wool

Burkraft, Dress Stewart, all wool, British made wool

The colour scheme is very pretty – it contains most of my favourite colours, plus I love tartans. With regard to the tartan, this is the “Dress Stewart”. A bit of research brought to light that the Dress Stewart is one of the royal tartans (source: Scottish Tartans Authority, Royal Tartans):

STEWART DRESS – The Dress version of Royal Stewart with the predominant red squares replaced by white. Worn by the female members of the Royal family often for evening occasions but also worn for Dress occasions by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Edward.

The yarn used for the mending is 100% pure wool and although I’m not certain, I believe that it is produced in the UK. It comes from a large cone bought from a UK yarn producer.

...and the pure wool mending yarn

…and the pure wool mending yarn

one of the holes

one of the holes, it’s huge

The repair took quite some time, in fact it’s not yet fully done, but you’ll get the idea from these pics:

As you can see from the photos, the results are not to a professional level [***].  Perhaps I should have consulted books from my reference library…. 🙂

Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework (1940)

Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework (1940)

With the same great yarn, I also mended some minor spots in a wool cardigan bought (not really cheap) from a local charity shop. I forgot to take a proper photo of the cardi, but here below you can see it while taking a bath 🙂

Cardigan taking a bath before mending and reuse

Cardigan taking a bath before mending and reuse

and while I’m at it, here is a gratuitous snap of the sheep skin hat (£1 second hand), also enjoying a bit of soaking in the bubbly bath…

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I sense that I have a crash on natural shades at the moment, it must be the sheep influence… baaaaa

farm tin, note the ♡ sheep ♡

farm tin, note the ♡ sheep ♡

It’s getting late, the update on the knitting WIPs will have to go in the next one.

Sweet dreams xx

 

[***]  surfing the net, I came across this UK based company who provides professional mending services: British Invisible Mending. If anyone is in the look for repairing a special item, they may be an option to consider. I think they also do mail orders for those who can’t visit their premises. (Small print: as usual, it’s not an ad and I take no commission out of this!)

 

knit on

Today’s update on current WIPs… I have so many ideas that this morning I had to get up around 6am because I couldn’t rest any longer!

Feline Draught Stopper

The draught sit in the flat has gotten into a bleak state, which required a prompt intervention. Swiftly I consulted patterns, jotted down ideas (I have quite a few more), and this morning I casted on. Looking at the assorted mix of random yarns in the stash, I was actually able to put together some lovely combination of shades. Apart from one, the other yarns have no label – though it feels like a slightly coarse wool.

The beauty of using aran weight yarn is that progress is so immediate, which helps motivation. In the picture of the WIP, you can notice the beautiful Canadian birch needles that Joahnna from FlorePoste kindly sent me recently – I love them!

The pattern is free and can be found on Simplicity’s website or on Ravelry. You can see the finished item in the background of the second picture:

Feline Draught Stopper, the beginning

Feline Draught Stopper, yarn selection

Elder Father knee caps

Last night I moved the stitches from DPNS to short circulars (30 cm) and it made a big difference in ease of knitting: no nasty dropped stitches anymore (yay!). A little progress, now faring at 20 rows, not much but getting along.. The yarn is a pleasure to work with – it has a compact softness and a springy hold.

Elder Father knee caps

Vintage

I received a delivery from the USA with a sweet floral dress (60s?) by E. D. Juniors of San Francisco and some Bernat wool kit for babies (40s-50s?). The E.D. brand was apparently fairly popular in the 60s-70s – I wonder if any of the US readers know more about it?

vintage peasant dress in floral pink, by E.D. Juniors of San Francisco vintage peasant dress in floral pink, by E.D. Juniors of San Francisco vintage peasant dress in floral pink, by E.D. Juniors of San Francisco

Bernat Baby Pak, ca. 1946Bernat Baby Pak, ca. 1946

Innsbruck, life and a spinning wheel

I’ve been visiting Innsbruck (Tirol, Austria) after long – had a great time seeing all my old friends and chatting endlessly. It was also good for the soul, to reconnect with the past, where it had been dropped about 7 years ago. It feels like life has come to a full circle and now I can join different pieces of myself.

In the post I’ll show some pictures of the many I have taken in time. And a special scarf. And an old wheel…

First a few impressions from Innsbruck:

When I was there, tidying up I found a scarf I started about 7 years ago and left unfinished when I had to relocate to the UK in the space of a week. It was a strange moment to pick it up again. Luckily no moth damage in sight! I decided to simply continue the knitting, because it’s akin to integrating my past in my present and making a new future. I know the pattern is nothing special and the stockinette is curling at the borders… but it’s special to me.

a special scarf from the past, life comes to a full circle

a special scarf from the past, life comes to a full circle

A very good friend of mine there gave me an old spinning wheel. I’m not a spinner, but intend to try at some point – I already acquired a little British fleece and more will come soon: Wensleydale, Bowmont and Lincoln. I am hoping that among those reading there may be someone who is a keen spinner and could tell me more about this wheel (pretty please). It seems to me that pieces may be missing, but to be honest, right now I can’t make head or tail of it!

the old wheel

wheel detail

wheel detail

wheel detail

(in the next post there will be plenty more images from Innsbruck…)

What does a mouse do with a £20 note?

Well, there are many mice in this universe and I cannot tell you what each one would do, but I can report on what the mouse I know has done.

Firstly, it went on a stroll through the local high street, where – by coincidence – there is a high concentration of charity shops.

While there, it thought that in winter there is a bad draft coming from the windows, and maybe this could be fixed somehow. Likewise, it is impractical to have needles here and there, and a little needle holder may be useful. Said mouse also has a liking for blue and red combined together – a bit like you would have in some folky/nordic patterns.

Thus, the mouse proceeded to purchase various material for making and upcycling projects. I was a bit puzzled by what the mouse could do with the things it got. I could not guess, so the mouse had to explain me. I wonder if you can guess? The mouse kindly allowed me to provide some photographical clues.

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And this one is not a clue, but simple evidence:

a little blue, white and red dress

a little blue, white and red dress

the little dress, front view

…and there is also some pale blue lining.

what a cool brand name

The brand is Happie Loves It. You cannot not love this.

As a little side note, I will inform you that it is customary in our household to blame a phantom mouse for any misfit – mostly involving culinary excesses, like having an ice cream in the night.