Thursday 28 February 2013

Thursday flea market

First, let me say how much I enjoyed all your tales of first gigs. Many of you saw some cool artists as youngsters - boy bands and New Romantics, metal and country, prog rock and folk, rockabilly and indie.

My most envied? 

Bonsaimum saw Abba, Joni saw the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt in 1976 (and earned a smack from her mum for her trouble!) and Joan saw the Smiths. 

I wish I'd been there!

I have had my usual jaunt with Joanne to Chesterfield flea market today.

We are such regulars now that it takes us ages to get round the stalls, we keep stopping to chat with our favourite stall holders.

Today's finds;

Wicker basket (possibly used for racing pigeons? Now full of kids' bedding and clothes overspill) - £6;
Engine-turned metal and needlepoint tape measure - 50p;
Framed print called A World of Happiness by Zula Kenyon - £2;
1960s fabric - £2;
1950s painted glass jug - 50p;
1960s dressmaking pattern - 50p.

I love the flea market.
I keep meaning to take photos to show you, I'll try and stop talking and browsing long enough to do that next time...

There are 10 charity shops in Chesterfield town centre too.

Anyone with a spare Thursday is very welcome to join me!

1970s Lerose dress - Ebay
Long-sleeve top, waistcoat and bangles - charity shopped
1970s felt hat - flea market
1980s boots - Second to None, Walsall

Spoon ring - vintage and craft fair
Necklace and steel/abalone shell ring - charity shopped
Marcasite bow brooch - had it forever, a survivor from my childhood dressing up box

Gratuitous pussy pics.

Yeah yeah, I know the Google searches will bring some unseemly traffic to my blog now I've said that, but they seem to come anyway!  

Top l-r;
Stalking Charlie (and my shadow)
Perfectly poised Wills
Mean and moody Minnie
Jess and her sunlit halo

Some days are just lovely.

No housework.
No hassle.
Fish and chips for tea.

I don't know about perfect, but it's good enough for me.


Tuesday 26 February 2013

Girls' night out

How old were you when you went to your first gig? 

I grew up in a small rural town where the last bus home from the nearest live music venue was about 8pm, far too early to facilitate independent travel after a gig.

Hence I didn't see a live band* until I went to university at age 18.

My eldest daughter had her first experience of live music last night, when I took her to see Girls Aloud at the Sheffield Arena as an early birthday present (she's 11 next month.)

I have to admit I really enjoyed it!

Girls Aloud may have begun life 10 years ago as a manufactured girl band put together from a TV talent show, but they have made some cracking pop music, and their live show is well-produced and entertaining.

Did we dance?
Oh yes we did!

Eldest didn't seem too embarrassed to be seen with me, though that may change...

She now understands some of the unwritten laws of seeing live music.

The doors never open on time; the band always come on late; and they rarely play for as long as you would like them to (unless they are Bruce Springsteen). 

It was really endearing to see her getting her coat on, ready to leave when the band left the stage, not realising that they would be returning for the inevitable encore. 

But then if it's your first concert, you don't know these things!

Girls Aloud in 2002, the year Eldest was born.

And now.

My own Girl Aloud, 2002 and now.

(She wants you to know she's in her school uniform, not dressed for the concert, OK? She looked cooool.)

We are both a little ragged around the edges and baggy under the eyes after a late bedtime on a school night!

1960s Tricosa maxi skirt - antiques and collectables centre
Cardigan, vest, bangles, necklaces, faux fur, leather bag and hat - charity shopped
Boots - Ebay
Scarf - blog swap gift from Sophie

It's great to be able to do stuff like this with my kids. 

My mum would no more have taken me to a gig than flown to the moon (not a criticism of her, no one's mum took their kids to gigs at age 11 in the mid 1970s, at least no one I knew).

I'm not sure whether Girls Aloud have had much success outside Europe, but if you like a bit of girlie pop, here are both their first and most recent singles.

The Sound of the Underground is my favourite, but Eldest insisted on Something New as well.

There's symbolism in there somewhere.

* The Q-Tips, if anyone remembers them.

What was your first gig?


Sunday 24 February 2013

What I was going to wear... Tamera's birthday party, if I had finished it in time, was this;

But altering this 1960s homemade jumpsuit into a groovy pair of huge wide-legged pants proved slightly more troublesome - and time-consuming - than I had imagined.

I wore the jumpsuit here, for the purposes of making a twat of myself, but it never really fit properly on the top.
It squashed my marvellous knockers into a most unbecoming monoboob, and felt scratchy and tight and uncomfortable. 

But I loved the fabric so much, and the trouser part is fabulous (and it fits) so I was reluctant to sell it on.
So, being a sewist these days (ahem...) I decided it was perfectly within my capabilities to chop the top off and turn it into Wide-Leg Pants of Glory.

See? Gloriarse!

I ended up replacing the zip, and the finish doesn't bear close inspection, but from a distance, I'm pleased with the result.

I'm just hoping Jumpsuit Queens Sarah and Vix will forgive the surgery...

1960s jumpsuit and 1970s peasant blouse - Ebay
Belt, bangles and rings - charity shopped
Hair flowers - charity shopped and retail
Long beaded necklace - gift from the birthday girl herself, Tamera
I think most of us agree that altering vintage clothes is fine, if it turns them into something wearable and more appropriate for the owner.
And despite the swearing as I struggled with very slippery fabric and not being finished in time for the party, I am happy.

I'm off to check out what all my dear friends have been up to this weekend.

I'll be over at Patti's as usual, being highly Visible on Monday.


Friday 22 February 2013

All tomorrow's parties

Doesn't the weekend roll around quickly?

I don't know where this week has gone.

I had all sorts of plans for sewing, including altering something to wear to  my fabulous friend Tamera's birthday party tomorrow, but the time has got away from me...

So here I am, in my hand-me-down dress from who knows where, ready to join all the fabulous ladies at tomorrow's party!

I have been on the hunt for a 1960-70s stainless steel pendant, and have finally found one.

Although it isn't marked anywhere, I like to think it was made here in Sheffield, the UK's Steel City.

1970s English Lady maxi dress - flea market
Ankle boots - community fair
1960-70s suede jerkin - gift from much-missed Lucy
1970s suede bag - gift from new human-growing Kelly
Necklaces and ring - charity shopped

We spent a lovely day with my dear friend Patsy and her daughter, browsing the charity shops, going for coffee, and introducing them to our favourite Chinese restaurant.

Patsy's daughter behaved impeccably and took this photo for me.

You can see what my kids were like...

I told you - they've gone feral.

I was looking on Youtube for clips of Nico and the Velvet Underground singing All Tomorrow's Parties, but all the examples I saw were Nico in her more ravaged later years, and I wanted to show her at her most iconic and beautiful.

So here's the song, accompanied by some stunning photos of a gorgeous woman.

And here, there is a great clip of her singing Femme Fatal (I wasn't able to embed it, but do go and watch it.)

Have a delightful weekend, check out the party frocks over at Tamera's!



Wednesday 20 February 2013

Life in soft focus

Half way through half term, and I have been very lazy.

Lying in, staying in my PJs, cobbling meals together out of whatever's in the freezer, letting the kids go feral... It's great!

Yesterday, I managed to drag myself, Seldom Seen Kid and Littlest away from the TV/iPad/Xbox/PC and out into the sunshine.

I found these leopard print creepers in a charity shop, and though they aren't my usual style of footwear, I couldn't resist - and they are very comfortable on my developing bunion.

It's all about the glamour.

It was one of those bright, sunny but chilly days, with signs of Spring, blue skies, and gambolling lambs kids.

Littlest fell over and grazed her cheek, hence the red patch on her face. Her condition  means her skin is fragile and tears easily, she is forever in First Aid at school and I have become adept at bandaging and dressings (she can't have anything adhesive as it rips her skin, so no plasters.) 
That girl is high maintenance...

The building the kids are running around in front of is an old Victorian school situated at the end of our road, now converted into a  mosque.

The seating area, grass bank, and woodland garden have all been developed and maintained by a local development organisation.

Black dress and long sleeved top - retail, ancient
1960s scarf - jumble sale
Leggings and 1960s vinyl bag - Ebay
Shoes, sunglasses and bangles - charity shopped

We were on a mission to the Post Office, a charity shop, a cafe, and the camera shop, to see if they could advise me about my badly-behaving camera.

Imagine my a) delight and b) chagrin to be told I had the wrong batteries in it...
They weren't powerful enough, apparently.
I thought all AA batteries were the same. I am an idiot, clearly.

The nice man was good enough to sell me some decent batteries and not laugh out loud at me, and to wait until I left the shop before he rolled his eyes.

And after that - new tripod, super-duper batteries and all - I managed to take today's photos with the camera on the wrong setting so they are all scuzzy and grainy, like old Polaroid shots.

I rather like it, I'm in soft focus.
And look, someone appears to have inflated my tits with a bicycle pump while I wasn't looking.
Nice knockers!
(Thanks to Clare for the reminder of that sadly underused word.)

1960s Debroyal maxi skirt - The Queen's Drawers, vintage fair
T-shirt - retail, at least 13 years old
Cardigan, shoes, tights and bangles - charity shop
Sassy Vamp headdress - gift from the acrobatic Desiree

I have been slightly less lazy today, and spent hours going though the kids' clothes, making piles to pass on/donate to our jumble sale/make into dusters because they are trashed.

I have tidied toys and books, moved furniture, rationalised cuddlies, and chucked out a load of broken old crap.
With several breaks, of course.
For lunch, lots of cups of tea, photos, chatting to the kids, fussing the cats, singing along loudly to the radio, etc.

Doesn't everyone wear a headdress to do domestic chores?
They should.

Brooch - gift from Super Freak Sarah
Short blue necklace - charity shopped
Longer blue beads - my mum's (I think I pinched them, had them for years) 

I suppose I'll have to put the camera on the proper setting for my next set of pics, but for today, I'm enjoying the fuzzy benefits of soft focus.

How are you doing this week?
Sharp, focused and definite? 
Or dreamy, floaty and a bit aimless?


Sunday 17 February 2013

I'm making it!

So the kids have a week's half term holiday coming up.
We have no great plans, but oh it will be good to take it easy in the mornings and stay in our pyjamas if we feel like it.

I am emphatically NOT a morning person.

I am a dress person.

And a coat person.


This dress (1970s, I think) was another 99p bargain from Ebay, and it is a slightly bizarre creation.

It has been altered - the white front panel, the eyelets and the white lace-up tie have been added at some stage of its life.
Obviously a previous fine-bosomed owner had the ingenious idea, and the skills to execute her plan, for which I am grateful - I wouldn't fit in the dress either without this adaptation!

Polka dots and a ric rac print - what's not to love?

I make no apologies for the reappearance of Lady Feminella and the sequin beret - both are favourites, and perfect for a sunny, almost-Spring day.

As promised, I am revealing my sewing projects, but don't expect miracles - I haven't made anything to wear in 30 years, so my skills are decidedly rusty...

(If Lakota does her Ta-Dah! link up this week, I'll be there.)

The skirt is made from the fabric I bought at St Mary's vintage and craft fair last weekend, using this tutorial.

The tutorial is quite straightforward and I had no problems making the skirt.

However, it looks much straighter and less A line on me than on the model, presumably because I have bigger hips. I deliberately made it a slightly longer length, and followed the instructions about measurements, but the pleat at the front is pushed out when I wear it, again because of my hips, and the elasticated back looks slightly pouffy around the bum...

I think these are all issues of my shape vs. the shape of the skirt - I could have made the front pleat a little bigger, and in fact there is a further tutorial suggesting adaptations for a curvier shape.

Don't know what I'm looking so miserable about,* I made a bag too!

I followed these instructions to make a reversible tote bag, using fabric from a 1970s smock dress which made me look 7 months pregnant and hence was never worn, and a 1950s remnant I picked up in a charity shop. 

The straps were the contrasting ties from the dress.

I'm quite pleased with myself, and I daresay the kids will have to fend for themselves over half term as I run up bags and fiddle with skirt measurements or even attempt making something from a proper paper pattern.

And don't laugh, all you real dressmakers out there,  because you'll be getting a tote bag for Christmas this year, whether you want one or not!

*I'm a bit miserable because I think my camera is on the blink, it keeps turning itself off despite having new batteries... Having just bought a new tripod, I fear I may now have to repair if possible/replace if not the camera... Oh crap.

Never mind.
If my sewing skills continue to develop, I can whip up a new camera out of lurex and ric rac.

I'll be joining Patti and all her Visible friends as usual on Monday, see you there!


Thursday 14 February 2013

The power of love

Those who have been reading my blog for a while might guess (correctly) that I am not much interested in Valentine's Day.

I'm not a very romantic person...

However, if it involves dressing up and wearing a wig, I'll have a crack at a Valentine-themed post with the best of you!

And this is what happens when you find a 1980s leather pencil skirt in a charity shop for a fiver, and then hear Jennifer Rush belting out The Power of Love on the radio...

Blame Radio 2 and St. Luke's hospice charity shop.

I have never owned a leather skirt before, but I am quite taken with this one.

I discovered it is possible to wear it without looking like an escapee from a 1980s music video after all.

You live and learn.

1980s leather skirt, sheer purple blouse, belt and sequin beret - charity shopped
Boots - Ebay
Houndstooth cape - gift from The Velvet Goddess Sarah
Tights - retail (sale)
Gloves - gift

I had a lovely morning in Chesterfield with bessie mate Joanne.
I had made the classic mistake of changing bags at the last minute and managed to leave my purse at home, so she had to fund my shopping...

Now that's love!

I, or rather Joanne, bought fabric (I've been sewing!) and a cute vintage skirt, currently in the wash.

 The fruits of my sewing labours will be revealed soon.


The fruits of my dressing up are ready for viewing now!

What is it with me and wigs? I always go a bit bonkers when I wear one...

1980s leather batwing top (aka Bonnie Tyler) - bought from 80s Karaoke Queen Sarah
Sparkly tights/fishnet tights, shoe boots, necklaces, bangles and sunnies - charity shopped
Vintage pearl necklace - gift from Valentine Supermodel Tamera
Leopard print trilby - Ebay
Wig - car boot sale

I don't believe in soul mates, in One True Love, or Eternal Love.

I appreciate the mythical beauty of Plato's vision of humans split asunder, but I don't believe we are walking the earth in desperate search for our lost half who will make us whole.

I think we make the best relationships we can with those who are available to us, and that we have a better chance of doing so if we feel pretty complete just as we are.

Sharing a life, and love, with anyone else is a bonus.

 But I can enjoy a power ballad as much as all you romantic souls, so go on, sing along as loud as you can - you'll be glad you did!