Foreign fleas!

Athens' Flea MarketI’ve just come back from a little trip to Athens. I’ve been to quite a few Greek islands but never actually been to the capital.

One of the things that surprised me a little was that they have a Flea Market. Lots of lovely little shops selling all sorts of handmade items (and some tat from China too, but I could ignore that). It was really nice walking through all of these on our way to the Acropolis. There were lots of cool things made from olive tree wood which I really liked. Quite a few artists and various clothes.

Athens' Flea Market StreetAs we got nearer to the Acropolis the shops gave way to a sort of car boot sale without the cars. Lots of locals selling all sorts of things.Some really nice bits and pieces there. Lots of books stalls too which I usually like to browse, but these ones were all Greek to me 🙂

There were lots of nick-nacks that I wanted to get but we’d only traveled with hand luggage – otherwise I’d have grabbed lots of stuff!

I wished I’d taken a few more photos now, but we were short of time and supposed to be concentrating on making our way to the Acropolis so this was really a bit of a whistle stop trip through the streets…

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Crochet toilet roll dolls

Toilet Roll Holder Doll Ages and ages ago I mentioned crochet toilet roll holder dolls in my post More Tea Vicar about tea cosies.

Well, I regularly get searches and even requests for patterns for these lovely retro items.

Like may children of the 70s, we had one of these in our toilet. There seemed to be 2 main styles – crinoline lady and Spanish lady. I’m guessing the popularity of the Spanish variety was due to the rise of foreign holidays to sunny places like Spain.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make on of these for a while now and just not getting around to it. Well, drum roll please, I have finally got around to purchasing some dolls! This means I need to get cracking on doing the crochet.Toilet Roll Holder Doll

I’ve had a look at some patterns for inspiration. I say inspiration because I don’t think I ever manage to follow a crochet pattern or a food recipe without ‘improving’ it – which to other people just means me fiddling with something that probably works for 99% of the population…

I think I’m going to start with a Spanish inspired creation. I’ve got quite a good selection of nice bright wools in my stash so it would be good to use them up. Once I’ve done that one, I’ll adapt for different colours and styles.

Well, when I say different colours and styles, and if I’m true to form, I mean that my second one is like to be  zombie toilet roll holder!

Toilet Roll Holder Doll

What would be your design or colour combo for one of these? Would you match the colours in your bathroom or go all out for vintage colours and designs?

If you would like one of these dolls to grace the smallest room in your house – then you can find it here Quirky Purple crochet toilet roll cover doll on Etsy.

I spotted a mod on TV today…

As any of you who know me or just read my blog, once a mod, always a mod. Anything 60s tends to catch my eye…

I’d got the TV on in the background whilst I was updating this website and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a beehive. It caught my attention.

Stacie StewartThe TV programme was just moving onto a cookery slot and a lady called Stacie Stewart was cooking a pie. She had a fab beehive! Once the TV had caught my attention properly I also saw she had a really cool 60s dress on as well.

So, I thought I’d better look up this lady. She actually describes herself as a mod and recognises that she dresses to blend in her love of the 60s and mod, so not a classic mod style. I like that. I think a lot of us do that to a certain degree. I can’t believe I haven’t come across Stacie before. Here’s a link to her website, Stacie Stewart Website, where she talks about how she became hooked on the 60s and mod.

Of course everyone knows these days that Bradley Wiggins is some new styled ‘King of the Mods’, in fact the BBC even wrote an article about mods during the summer olympics – Bradley Wiggins – what is a mod – so I guess it’s a little bit back out there in the media….

Is mod starting to return more strongly? I’m not just thinking about the more high-profile advocates like Mr Wiggins, but there seem to be more soul and 60s nights promoted near me. There’s one of the Quadrophenia Nights in Nottingham in a couple of weeks. Or is it just that I’m primed to notice these?

Anyway, this article from Mod Culture always makes me laugh – 10 varieties of mod. Which type are you? Do you recognise any mates there?

Oh and it’s the perfect opportunity for a gratuitous Quadrophenia picce 🙂

Quadrophenia

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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..