Monday 29 June 2015

Bathing belle

If anyone had suggested to me, five years ago, that there would come a time when I would willingly post photos of myself wearing a swimsuit on the internet, I think my response would have been a robust and expletive-riddled denial.

How times - and people - change.

I haven't been near ironized yeast, any extra pounds are probably the result of too much beer, and the ability to reveal my 51 year old self in a swimsuit, I put down to the confidence-boosting effects of blogging.

I would love a genuine vintage swimsuit, but have yet to find one that fits me properly. So the pressing need for a new cossie drove me to the high street; I'd been putting it off. A lot. I doubt very much that I am alone in finding shopping for swimwear something of a challenge.

This one came from Debenhams, in their 30% off sale. It's got a vintage vibe, I love the ruching and the flirty skirt, and the halterneck straps are detachable. And it isn't black. 

I'm really happy with it.

(No sponsorship or freebies going on here - I bought it with my own money and everything.)

Vintage swimwear inspiration...

and some fabulous hats too.

Swimsuit - retail (sale)
1950-60s straw hat- flea market
1970s platform shoes, 1960s raffia bag, 1960s turban, sunglasses and bangles - charity shopped
Necklace - gift from Gisela


 Turban power...

next time, I need to add a whacking great brooch to the front of mine.

1960s Sherman of London maxi dress

I've mixed up the eras in a hopelessly chaotic fashion here; 1950s-style swimming costume, 1950-60s hat and bag, 1960s dress and 1970s shoes. Oh well.

I'll be wearing my turban to Judith's Hat Attack; I do hope she won't consider me under-dressed for the occasion.

I know I'm horribly behind with my commenting.
Work - it's playing havoc with my schedule.
Tomorrow - I'll have the mother of all catch ups tomorrow, honest!


Wednesday 24 June 2015

Our happy place

Goodness me, a whole week has flown past and I haven't posted a thing. Life has been really busy with a mix of work, socialising, and kids' stuff, which is all good. It might be a challenge initially, but I'm sure I can find a blogging rhythm which fits with my new work schedule.

No looking back wistfully - onwards.

I bought this dress during a lovely day out in Nottingham last Saturday with my dear friends Vix and Tania.

Beautiful, aren't they?

I just love meeting up with these two sweethearts; we potter and browse and chat and laugh, there's always a comment or two from folk about what we're wearing, and the traditional Wetherspoons lunch is cheap and cheerful. Just like us.

Firemen, sweeper-uppers, and Vix. 

Her blog post about our day is here; she has better photos than me, I was useless and took hardly any.

We chatted to the lady from Sherwood WI who had been partly responsible for the yarn bombing. She told me that the conversation turned rather naughty while she knitted those leeks. Can't think why...

A Wetherspoons in an interesting building with a mobility scooter parked outside; ahhh, we're in our happy place. 

We're waiting patiently for out 'Spoons sponsored lunch. Or weekend away, whichever they would like to offer us. Now that would be a freebie worth having.

Tania and Vix lit up the city centre with vintage colour and big smiles. 

The My Sight charity shop had some cracking stock...

but unfortunately Tania nearly got stuck in that vintage beach set, the quilted velvet coat was just too plain and brown for Vix, and the Shelley's platforms were too big. Oh well.

I like the feisty quotation from Nottingham-born writer Alan Sillitoe; Once a rebel, always a rebel, and it's best to be a rebel to show 'em it dun't pay to do you down. 

And after a final pint and a natter, that was that. Our days out always go much too fast,
but we rarely go home empty-handed. 

These well-chosen gifts from Vix and Tan demonstrate the beauty of vintage/secondhand shopping - quirky individual pieces, both useful and pretty, which needn't cost the earth but make perfect presents.

Early 1980s New Looks of California cotton dress - £5, Sunshine Vintage Bazaar
Belt and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)

I've done two days at work this week, and my brain is buzzing with induction and training information.

Yes, I'm just like this little fella, bumbling about but trying to do the right thing and remember it all.

Not much chance of that, but I'm doing my best, and enjoying it!


Wednesday 17 June 2015

Hardly Hawaii

It's been a funny old day; overcast yet warm and humid, with occasional outbursts of both sun and showers.

It's also been my last day as a volunteer; the next time I'm in the shop, I'll be an employee.

Although the weather was only very vaguely tropical, I thought a Hawaiian dress was appropriate. 

Originally, this was a maxi. It's unusual for me to shorten a full length frock, and I don't quite know why this one didn't feel right as a maxi. It's made from a substantial cotton fabric, so maybe it felt a little stiff and voluminous. Whatever the reason, it has been languishing unworn for ages in my should it stay or should it go now pile, so I finally made the decision to go for the chop.

I shortened the sleeves while I was at it, and I'm pleased with the makeover, I'll actually get some wear out of it now. That splashy floral print is too good to leave unseen.

  I have a backlog of vintage finds to list on Ebay. Somewhat belatedly, I've realised I am about to have a lot less time, so I'd better crack on with some selling.

1960s Mod dress
1970s floral/lace midi dress
1970s Trina Lewis white maxi dress
Lindy Bop dress, BNWT
1980s-does-50s red prom dress
1970s-does-30s black lace dress (showing the back view because it's so sexy)
American-made square dance red ruffled petticoat
1960s brown/lace maxi dress
1970s kimono-sleeved floral midi dress

Who says there's no vintage in charity shops these days?
(Yeah, I know Lindy Bop is repro but someone will like it, I'm sure.)

 Leather bags from the 1950-60s, including an Essell and Waldybag.

The above items are either currently or intended for sale, but the next batch are mine, all mine!

1960s Jaeger red wool coat
1960s black/lurex dress (requiring some work to repair)
1960s C&A striped jacket
Hawaiian parrot print cotton dress
Sheffield-made Viners cutlery 
1960s large June Rose Pyrex bowl

This beauty isn't going anywhere either;

 a gorgeous 1950s tapestry bag, accompanied by the fabric showing underneath and a handmade lavender-filled heart, all of which were gifts out of the blue from the lovely and talented Emma (who blogs at Painted Style). I'm thrilled! It's no secret that I love a vintage tapestry bag..

1960s Hawaiian dress - flea market
Chain belt, flower, bangles and necklace - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale) 

And to finish, some (blurry) photos from our family night out last Saturday. 

We went to the 60th birthday party of our friend and neighbour, Gustavo.

Thirteen years ago, we had just moved to the area and were looking for childcare for Claudia to enable me to return to work. Purely by chance, we stumbled across Norma, Gustavo's wife, who works as a childminder, and there began a fantastic relationship. We never had a moment's concern about childcare, and both Norma and Gus were incredibly kind and supportive when Nina was born and ended up in Intensive Care. They had Claudia and Owen to stay, and generally made a stressful time rather easier to bear.

They are originally from Chile, but came to Britain in the mid-Seventies. Gustavo was active in left-wing politics and fled to escape persecution and imprisonment (and probably torture) under the Pinochet regime. They left everything behind and came here with nothing but each other. He and Norma built a life from scratch, they have three great (grown-up) kids, and Gustavo remains as passionate as ever about education, inclusion and justice. Oh and he's a fabulous cook, musician and dancer too.

It occurred to me, as he was telling us of his continuing involvement in a campaign to secure compensation for victims of torture, that those who spout alarmist, hate-filled propaganda about the evils of immigration could learn a lot about generosity of spirit, hospitality and courage from this couple. 

I'm very proud to know them. And the party was brilliant!


Friday 12 June 2015

Best laid plans

I have worn this dress many times, and featured it on the blog fairly often too.

 I love it, everything about it, and when the thin cotton fabric finally disintegrates, I will shed real, salty tears.  

This post from last year explains why the dress has a particular place in my heart as well as my wardrobe.

Thankfully, it's holding up well to repeated wear.

 1970s maxi dress - community fair
Necklace, bangles and sunglasses - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)
Laughing - at Charlie, he was chasing a bee

I have a start date for my new job (the week after next), and I'm feeling that familiar combination of excitement and anxiety at the prospect of doing something new.  It will be fine, I know it will, but I also know I have a lot to learn, and I want to be good at it, now.

 I'm trying not to fast-forward too much. It's better to make good use of the time I have left before the toad, work, squats on my life again.

Time for charity shopping - I've found the usual eclectic mix of things this week.

Vintage suitcase - £4 (plus one Jess, free)
1970s Kathie Winkle-designed plates - 50p each
1970s blouse - £3
1960-70s Spirograph-inspired copper brooch - £2
1960s Dents long gloves - £1
1963 Penguin edition of Rebecca - 50p
Hush Puppy sandals - £3
1970s West German-made Tower weighing scales - £3

Pretty vintage fabrics - shall I make dresses, skirts or flares?

According to this 1950s tin, Oxo is refreshing and stimulating. News to me.

Now, I had plans for this blog post, and for this evening, neither of which have come to fruition.

I was all set to do my first ever link-up, on the theme of old faithfuls, favourite outfits, or new clothing crushes which could grow into the Real Thing. How hard can it be, I thought, to cut and paste the HTML code into a post? That's all there is to it...

Err, not so. For some reason, the blue button failed to appear, the link didn't work, and I ended up deleting the post and going to bed last night in a right old huff.

Despite encouragement and tech support from Patti and Kezzie, I ditched the idea. A woman's gotta know her limitations.

And that was only a minor irritation at the side of today's news that the Fleetwood Mac gig in Manchester has been cancelled due to illness, with no plans to reschedule. I am soooo disappointed. Simon's offer to get the kids to sing Don't Stop for me instead is, quite frankly, no consolation at all.

I bet it's Lindsay Buckingham who's poorly. Bloody diva.

 C'est la vie.
I expect we'll head out for a curry tonight instead.

And if you feel inclined to tell me about your favourite frock (or your favourite Fleetwood Mac song) in your comment, that will go some way to mollifying my downcast and frustrated heart. 

Have a great weekend!


Monday 8 June 2015

Is it normal...

to go out in your pyjamas, young lady?

A man shouted this at me today. Mind you, he was standing outside a pub with a drink in his hand at the time, and I suspect he'd probably been there a while.

He was wrong on all counts - I'm neither young, nor a lady, and this jumpsuit certainly isn't intended as nightwear. 

As to whether my dress sense is normal - well, who cares?

I made the jumpsuit from a vintage sheet and this 1967 pattern. 

It was surprisingly straightforward, although I had to take it in significantly and adjust the placement of the bust darts. As a piece of sewing, I'm really pleased with it; it's a great fit, the sleeves and zip are the neatest I have ever achieved, but I do wish I'd had a go at matching up the print.

Ah well - maybe next time.

Jumpsuit - surprisingly well-made by me
Hair flower, chain belt, bangles and platform sandals - charity shopped

Joanne, Sue and I were out this morning taking photos of statues for a project Sue is working on. Of course we fitted in a coffee and plenty of chat along the way.

We found war memorials in Dore and Gleadless;

a squat and grim-faced Queen Vic in Endcliffe Park;

The Spirit of the Woods and his accompanying imps and woodland creatures in the Botanical Gardens;

and the handsome yet rather sad bear in the Bear Pit.

There's Sue re-enacting a scene from Blow-Up.

He didn't seem to mind, he's used to the attention.

So that was a good start the week, unsolicited wardrobe commentary from a pissed-up stranger apart...

Hmm, what ridiculously abnormal item of clothing shall I make next? 

Taking my PJs over to Patti's for Visible Monday!