101 things to do with a vintage computer

clockOK maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There’s not 101 things to do with a vintage computer in this blog, but there are a few really cool things that I found.

My old laptop is really on its last legs now. It gets really warm, which to be honest at the moment is a bit like having  a heated lap blankie, so not terrible. A couple of weeks ago my second power cable started playing up which isn’t useful when the battery only last about 20 minutes. And yes, I have done the usual trick of sticking my battery in the freezer…

To cut a long story short, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and ordered a new laptop. As much as I love nice shiny techie things due to my geeky nature, I do grow very attached to my laptops.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I started working in IT when it was called Computing and desktop computers didn’t exist. OK, I know that really dates me, but wheat the hell. I like technology. I ended up working in IT because I read a lot of science fiction and the guy at the Job Centre made it sound like I’d be working on the Star Ship Enterprise. I ended up delivering print outs to Finance….

I digress, it got me thinking about what happens to all those old computers. In the 1990s one of the hardware guys at work made me a desk clock out of an old floppy disk and I thought it was pretty cool. I like remaking vintage things, so I though I’d so a spot of research. Here are some of  my findings.

Jewellery is pretty popular, and interesting other things to wear. I can’t imagine that any of these are comfortable or practical to wear…

Now, these two together would make just about any party go… a BBQ and a beer dispenser!

In this next gallery, I like the mix of technology and nature. These old bits of technology are now being used to grow things. I’m wondering if I could manage a ‘vintage computer installation’ down at my allotment…

Finally, I couldn’t miss putting these last ones up. It’s a really mixture – a cat bed, a mail box, a sun catcher, a dragonfly and a loo roll holder!

I’m not sure if any of this has given me any inspiration for what I could do with my old laptop. I think I might just keep it as a lap warmer until the summer arrives…

Hurrah – we’ve started doing men’s vintage!

Well quite exciting news, or what?

We’ve started to stock some items of men’s vintage. I’ve just been photographing the first batch and getting them ready to go on the online shop.

This first batch are mainly men’s vintage tops, including Lacoste, Polo and some cool collared mod tops.

Here’s a sneaky peek at what will be going online this afternoon –

Men's vintage tops

I’ve got a few more items to sort through yet, but I’ve been a little way laid with sorting out some lovely vintage wedding frocks that I picked up a couple of weeks ago…

You can find our Men’s Vintage section here. I’ll be adding more as I sort through!

Vintage valentines…

Vintage ValentineThere were lots of Christian martyrs named Valentine so there isn’t a definitive Saint Valentine associated with our celebration of St Valentine’s Day. As with a number of other similar Christian celebrations, there was also a pagan festival around the middle of February.

Over the centuries this date has been a celebration for lovers and would be lovers.

Since the days of Chaucer there are valentine poems and verses. In the 18th century, ‘off the shelf’ poems and verses became more available and more popular. By the 19th century, those handwritten notes had started to give way to mass produced cards. By the time we get to the mid-20th century, the exchange of cards had extended to exchanging gifts too.

Now, in the 21st century, Valentine’s Day seems more and more like a day created by the greeting card industry. It’s so mass-produced and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a High Street shop or online shop that doesn’t have a Valentine range. You even find vintage and craft markets geared towards Valentine’s gifts.

I thought I’d share a few of the vintage cards so that we might take a few moments to pull away from the mass-produced bulldozer that is Valentine’s Day!

I also love these Hollywood pin up style and homespun images –

Will you be buying vintage for Valentine’s Day, or will you be looking to make something yourself and make that card or gift extra special?

Vintage buttons – it’s all about attention to detail!

I was photographing a few items to put onto the Online Shop yesterday and was admiring some of the buttons on a vintage 1960s dress. It reminded me of how much attention to detail you find in vintage clothes.

I specialise in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s clothes and even the day to day wear dresses all have those little touches. It might be a matching belt in the same fabric or a completely contrasting belt with matching buttons. But it is buttons that really tend to make the difference in the look and the feeling of it being ‘complete’. They very often give the simple garment that luxury touch!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ignoring the quality of vintage clothes. They were made to last, which is why they are still around and still good enough to wear. I’ve even got some handmade dresses from the 1970s and these are massively superior to anything mass-produced for the High Street.

Here are some of the buttons I found that are used for contrast or highlight on the garments:

This gallery shows the buttons that are made to blend in with the garment or just match the material or colour. Sometimes it’s even difficult to pick out the buttons from the material itself:

They really make the outfit, don’t they?

You can also pick up original vintage buttons in some charity shops, if you don;t mind searching through pots of them. Usually you can pick up enough to make a set, and they are perfect for using on handmade or remade items.

And hopefully you’ve only paid ‘button’s for them..

Feeling shirty?

Shirts are one of those things that never really go out of fashion and many styles are real vintage wardrobe staples.

Think about some of those classic black and white films from the 30s and 40s, you can see some real classic shirts styles on the screen icons.

Shirts were always a big thing for mod girls in the late 70s and early 80s. If you were lucky you could get them from local charity shops, but more likely from Carnaby Street or London markets. Long collars, button-down collars, plain, checked, striped or paisley, teaming them up with a pair of hipster trousers was always a cool look.

Cool shirtsRecently I’ve managed to get hold of some really cool shirts that fit that same sort of style – that mod, come psychedelic, come smart hippy. There are some geometric patterns, checks, velvet and even some frills. They all have one thing in common though – lovely long collars!

Reworked shirts are also still very big at the moment, and you can see them in all the High Street shops. Usually though these seem to be a lower quality cotton with those ‘stuck on’ studs. It’s much better to get a vintage or reworked shirt from an independent shop. They will have made all the changes themselves and you’ll get a real individual piece.

A little while ago I did a blog post on re-working shirts, which you can find here.

Reworked shrtsWe still have a few reworked shirts in the online shop, in various sizes and colours.

There are both sleeveless and long-sleeved, but they can also be made to order, by dropping us a note here.

You can find many of these styles at the Quirky Purple online shop.

What’s your favourite style?

Christmas countdown… finally!

Quirky Purple ChristmasWell, like most businesses, this has been the busiest time of the year for me so far. Having only been a fully functioning business since the 1st September 2012, this is our first experience of the Christmas rush. I’ve finished all my handmade orders now so just fulfilling ready made items. So, it’s just Etsy and eBay and The Pop Up Boutique at the moment.

So, I’ve finally had a bit of time to buy the final pressies and put the tree up!

In between ‘normal’ Christmas activities, I’ve been reflecting a little bit on the first 2-3 months of trading and what worked well and what’s maybe a ‘development opportunity’ (to quote an old company of mine that didn’t like to mention negatives).

GOOD – Clearly setting up this website and the eBay site has brought in business. I’m also starting to see repeat business on eBay, which means people must be liking what they buy! Also, I managed to set up the shebang on a shoestring…

GOODEtsy has been cheaper to maintain but has been a bit of a slow burner and not brought in as many sales. But, it’s a great community and I’ve connected with a lot of like-minded people. That’s a good success in my books!

GOOD – Doing a few markets has been great. It’s been interesting seeing what people picking up and liking in person and the questions that they ask. The Sunday markets at Barton’s have brought in quite a few orders for me. It’s been a really nice atmosphere there too and I’ve been able to meet and network with a lot of other stallholders.

GOOD – I’ve also took park in my first pop up boutique. This has been another interesting experience. Sales there have not been as high as I would have hoped but the learning experience and the ability to meet and network with other people in the same industries has been invaluable!

MIXED – Google Adwords hasn’t driven the right traffic to me and I stopped the experiment quite quickly. Facebook ads have driven up my ‘likes’ but how do I know it’s driving any real traffic to my shops and ultimately converting that traffic into sales? So, a bit more experimenting is needed here on what works for Quirky Purple and what doesn’t. Just because something has worked for one brand/company doesn’t mean it works the same for all…

BAD – At first I focussed on eBay auctions. This was actually an expensive option for me and drove traffic that wanted something cheap, rather than a quality item. I’ve moved over to mainly fixed price listing now.

BAD – I’ve struggled a bit with getting stuff together for the Christmas rush as I should have been planning, buying and making things a lot earlier.

So, this has led me to start to focus on what I want to do next year to try to build on success:

  1. Look to take part in more events – markets, fairs, pop ups. Get a good set of events listed.
  2. Get networking and collaborating more.
  3. Get a calendar together so that I can plan ahead and make sure I have enough stock and variety in place for certain events such as markets or Valentine’s Day etc.
  4. Get a new base so that I don’t keep filling up the spare room and the dining room!

Also in the New Year I’ll be starting up a sister business to set up websites and social media for small businesses. This will see me actually using some of the skills I’ve gained over 15 or so years, in doing similar things for large businesses such as Capital One, Alliance & Leicester, Punch Taverns and Nottingham Trent University. These joined up online places will be easy to maintain and won’t cost a fortune!

P.S. Just realised that I haven’t really finished my orders as I still have a couple of things to make for family….

Not available on the High Street – Christmas fairs, markets and pop up boutiques

We’re pretty excited here at Quirky Purple!

We’re off today to set up our area in our first ever pop up boutique collaboration!

I would imagine that anyone involved in vintage, handmade and remade are pretty busy at the moment. What with online sales, Christmas markets and the like, it keeps us all busy. Not just in appearing at market, but also making things for the market.

Last week, it was getting to the stage that every time I made a zombie kindle cover or tea cosy, I sold it. I was on a zombie treadmill for a few days!

Anyway, back to the pop up boutique. We’ve run a couple of stalls at Bartons over the last few months and this first pop up boutique for Nottingham is a collaboration between Bartons and Bluebird Tea Co.

Pop Up Boutique details

Pop Up Boutique details

We’ll admit to being a little bit excited! It starts on Wednesday 5th December at 12pm and runs through until Christmas eve. There’s also a launch night at 7pm on Wednesday 5th December with mulled wine and mince pies (and I think there are also some other lovely goodies). Opening hours are on our Events page.

I hope we see a few of you there. Remember, this boutique has things that are not available on the High Street. You don’t want to buy the same as everyone else. Buy something different, original and maybe a one off!

James Bond – girlies and gadgets!

I went to see the latest James Bond about a week ago – Skyfall. I do love a bit of James Bond!

Basically I love all the old 60s and 70s Bond films, especially Sean Connery and a bit of Roger Moore – although only the early Roger Moore – when he started wearing pastel safari suits I kinda lost interest…

Oddly enough I even love all that misogynistic stuff that Bond does so well. There’s barely a Bond girl that doesn’t have to wait for Bond to save her (Oh, James, James) or jumps into bed with him during that first 20 minutes of the film and then dies some horrible death (painted in gold or has poison dripped into her mouth).
Still I also love the Bond girls and all their outfits from those first 2 decades of films. Then again I used to love Miss World and Eurovision during the 70s…. I loved the way the Saturday papers came with a centre page insert of all the contestants listed so you could add your own marks as the shows progressed.

Also let’s not forget those James Bond girl names – Honey Rider, Pussy Galore, Mary Goodnight, Solitaire, Tiffany Case,Chew Mee, May Day, Domino, Vesper, Kissy, Pleny etc.
As Bonds go, I do think Daniel Craig is a good Bond along the lines of Sean Connery. As someone recently commented (sorry, I can’t remember who), he actually looks like a Bond that could kill people – it’s in his eyes… The latest Bond , in my opinion, was missing a couple of big things – a massive car chase and Bond girls. Yeah, yeah, I know there were a couple of Bond girls but nowhere near as much as usual… even that lame ones.

Still it’s always a good excuse to share some piccies of Bond and some Bond girls  just look at these fashions!

From Russia With Love - Tatiana Dr No - Ursula Andress Thunderball - Domino Tomorrow Never Dies - Paris
The Spy Who Loved Me - Anya Goldfinger - Jill Live and Let Die - Rosie Diamonds Are Forever - Plenty
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Teresa Octopussy - Octopussy The Man With the Golden Gun - Goodnight Live and Let Die - Solitaire
Goldfinger - Pussy Galore Die Another Day - Jinx View To A Kill _ May Day For Your Eyes Only - Bibi

Hmmm, oddly enough once I’d complied the list above I noticed that the majority are eith in bikinis or in bed…

Now, who’s your favourite Bond or even your fave Bond girl?

Halloween goodies – zombies, skulls and Jack o’Lanterns

I can tell it’s Halloween in a few days – I’ve had a run of zombie items being bought from the online shops. Unless of course, it’s because Zombie Fallout 6 came out recently, or in fact the new series of the Walking Dead is out now.

Anyway, I was just doing a review of stock in the store as I’ll have to replace a few of the items I’ve sold, and I realise due to my obsession with all things horror, I do have quite a few Halloween related items in the store. So, I’m going to shamelessly list a few of them!

Zombie GoodiesZombie Goodies

Kindle, eReader, tablet and iPad covers, tea cosies, mug cosies and hats.

Skull GoodiesSkull Goodies

There are Kindle, eReader, tablet and iPad covers, plus mug cosies and hats (adult and child).

Pumpkin Tea Cosy

Jack o’Lanterns

We’ve got Jack o’Lantern tea cosies in the shop. These can also be made as hats, Kindle eReader tablet or iPad covers.

Just use this form to request a custom item.

Halloween mixed
We also have lots of clothes in the online shop that would be suitable for Halloween or even on the run up to Christmas.

There are lots of different sizes too. Have a look around and see what you like!

All of these, and more, can be found in  our online shop on eBay.

Yesterday was market day!

Barton's Sunday MarketYesterday we did our first stall at NOT the Camden Market in Beeston near Nottingham. They run on the first Sunday of every month and last month we went to have a look around, liked it, so decided to do our first ever stall there.

I knew that it would be different to our eBay and Etsy shops, so I wasn’t sure what stock to take, so had to take quite a mixture of goodies. This meant quite a lot of trips to and from the car, but it was worth it to see what things people liked at this market, rather than on the online shops. I also took along some new things that I hadn’t even tried online yet.

Well, we sold a few things and took a few orders, spoke to some lovely people, and made some new stallholder friends. It was also encouraging to have a few people say that their daughters would love the clothes we have and would bring them next time or point them in the direction of our online stores.

Also, we were asked a number of times if we would be at the next event as folks were already starting to think about Christmas pressies – we’d better get cracking on more Christmas stock!

Quirky Purple stall at Barton's Not the Camden Market Quirky Purple stall at Barton's Not the Camden Market Quirky Purple stall at Barton's Not the Camden Market