Busy times

Most of last weekend was dedicated to picking items from my vintage collection to pass on to the next vintage enthusiasts (that is, listing them for sale on my Etsy shop VforVintageLondon).

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It’s always hard to part with things you picked and liked, but it’s not possible to keep it all… so let’s spread the love.

And there are more little treasures (at least to me) that have been photographed, waiting to be added…

But there’s no rest ahead!

This Saturday I’m hand delivering a thing of beauty: an old mannequin head that I sadly have to let go (sigh, my heart is aching, now I’m having second thoughts, third even, “I might change my mind”).

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And Sunday I’m again at the Alternative Sale with vintage jewellery, handmade upcycled wooden boxes and quirky items (which there is no shortage of).

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As a reward for my work, I ordered these old beauties…

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(Can I still change my mind?)

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The kindness of strangers

That’s a lofty title for a simple blogpost, I admit.

There isn’t a philosophical commentary on kindness and people to come, sorry…. I don’t think my boring style of writing would be up for the task.

Anyway, what I’m meaning to talk about today is natural dyes. And incidentally mention Freecycle.

The natural dyes have been kindly donated by a sweet elder lady through Freecycle (a site where one can offer or ask for free things). Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. […] Membership is free”. Isn’t Freecycle a wonderful thing? And there are local groups across the world, I believe. I’ve used it to give and get items countless times – it’s fabulous. Go check it out, maybe there’s a local group near you?

The lady was offering quite a few of colours, dyes and art supplies. I hope she didn’t have to relocate or downsize, but she was just tidying up her home. I didn’t want to be nosey and ask…

Back to the main topic, I’ve long been curious about natural dyes. The only experience with them was in my teens when I used some walnut powder to dye the dark squares of a chess board I was making.

I’d love to try them again. Two things hold me back though: lack of space and the desire to avoid any harsh chemicals. So I’ll need to do a bit of reading on the best way for me to fast the colours. And then I may need to wait to have space somewhere at some point to do the process.

This is what I was kindly given:

  • madder
  • quebracho red
  • pomegranate
  • logwood purple
  • teal
  • indigo? (unlabelled blue powder)
  • woad
  • Brazil wood chips
  • cutch
  • sorghum
  • old fustic
  • cochineal
  • some unused packets of tannic acid and cream of tartar

If you have advice on easy and gentle dyeing, please do let me know 🙂

PS I’ve just learnt that off Freecycle (wikipedia link), a new non-profit organisation was born in the UK: Freegle (wikipedia link). I think I’ll join them too!

Antiques

I’ve always had a passion for vintage and quirky items and recently it steered towards antiques.

Of the many items I acquire, a part is then let go and sold on my Etsy shop.

Apart from yarn and silver, there have been a few antique finds recently. Some of them will soon be listed on the shop, because, you know, space….

The latest trove is a vintage (possibly antique) tray with beatific cutout paper decorations and brass corner elements. I love those old papers and faces.

Then there was this beautiful antique large teapot , with its orientale feel, delicate flowers and details that are slightly in relief.

Just last night an exquisite copper and brass miniature set made in England by Peerage sold and is now ready to be shipped to Arizona.

There are still many pieces that need to be listed but as the shop is a hobby, I can’t spend long hours listing, so from time to time I get around to add some item 🙂

A few more finds that I still have to decide whether to keep…

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:

“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!)