Beat the Monday Blues, Part 3

Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.

So this Monday, I want to share the treasure that is Dotty’s Heart.

The owner, Caroline Robinson, lovingly hand makes fabric hanging hearts which are a perfect gift for your loved one, your child or even your teacher.  I found this site by accident through the wonder of Facebook and decided to order a heart for my daughter Kitty’s 1st birthday.

I sent a photo of Kitty’s letters that are on her wall which are a mixture of greens, pinks, ginghams and florals  asking if her heart could be similar. As it’s her first birthday I wanted a number 1…maybe next year she will get a 2, then a 3 etc! Caroline sent me over her ideas and swatches for me to sign off along the way which showed she really cared about what I wanted.

She got it right straight away and last Friday, Kitty’s heart arrived. Beautifully packaged and a perfect match. For that, many thanks!

So back to Dotty’s Heart……..

She describes her signature piece as “art on a heart”. The first one she created was a union jack heart which was a huge success over the Royal Wedding holiday.

She hand cuts each piece then freehand machine stitches them to create a real sense of  craft rather than the mass produced.  These come in different colour ways too.

She particularly likes dotty material to link in her company name, as well as toadstools. This design is magical and would look fab in a little girls room.

The hearts aren’t just for little girls though. Caroline created a successful Father Day range in various sizes bespoke to each customers requests.

 She hand cut all the pieces, each were stamped, left to dry, then individually stitched onto the heart. Every Daddy would love these!

She has had great success in a short time (she got 1000 Facebook fans in one month!) so is now thinking up new ideas to expand her range. Camper van  pictures (I will have to get one as Herbie has asked for a camper van bedroom when it is decorated), re-creating company logos onto fabrics (what a great idea!) and cute machine stitched hearts replicating your exact handwriting..perfect for a teachers present this time of year.

Have a look at some of her creations, and check out her lovely hearts. She currently sells on Folksy  and through http://www.frooly.com/dottys-heart.

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Play Away!

Hot on the heels of our first room to be finished in our renovation project (as written about in our blog: Fabulous Fifi) we have this week completed our second room!

Our first result was calm and relaxing and…ours! The second is the playroom. We decided some time ago to give up the stand alone dining room….handing it over to our two small children, Herbie (3) and Kitty (1). With the thought of no kids TV in our lounge and no toys underfoot, we have been spurred on to get them to play away in their own little lounge.

So…..we filled it with my turquoise Formica topped  1950s furniture. It is lovely with black and gold swirls all over it…and more importantly it is wipeable! The table has screw on black splayed legs and is now their art table.

Yes, the paint is now banned from my Ercol elm dining table and I am now a lot calmer!

The sideboard is so cute with its cream and white paintwork and blue top. Again perfect for little ones….any marks can be simply re-touched with a bit of paint.

The modern TV stands on this..alongside the vintage toy version.

The old room had an unsightly 70s fireplace in front of the back boiler. We found out it cannot be replaced without changing the boiler…so we built a cover. You now can’t imaging its hiding such a monster…and has now doubled up as a mantlepiece with some of the favourite toys on. Now this house LOVES vintage Fisher Price..and here is just some of it.

The camper van is a firm favourite especially as we have a 1967 VW split screen. The top comes off and forms a boat. Then there’s the record player. I actually played with this when I was younger and is still going strong. As mentioned in our magazine article “Play the Vintage Way” for Vintage Life magazine we think they are fantastic toys especially as they don’t need batteries.

Gosh then there’s the cash register..again my favourite toy when I was younger (maybe a clue that i would spend 20 years in retail)…I used to charge my family to buy tinned food that of course was theres. I would then keep the money! Herbie seems to be repeating history.

The chatter phone and the cottage join them. We also have…are you ready: the farm, the zoo, the school, the Happy Apple, the Jack in the box, the radio, the activity centre, 2 chime balls..the list goes on!

They have shelves in the alcove for all their stacking boxes of yet more toys. The Fisher Price airport and garage stand proud on the first shelf. You can just see their 1970s Tupperware shape sorter in the picture!

We have chosen joint toys for this room..Kitty’s collection of dolls with their rocking crib, high chair and pram all dating from the 1950s will be in her room. Herbie’s ridiculous collection of Tonka trucks will be in his room. So we have Pegasus, the 1970s rocking horse left for them to share, along side wooden bricks and the metal toys.

These were very popular in the 1950s.. factories were given up for war manufacturing during the 40s which resulted in a huge boom in the 50s with metal becoming available again. Often toys replicated the toys of the parents…such as this Mettype typewriter.

We have a great Chad Valley spinning top and kaleidoscope too!

All their cafe/cooking toys (modern) are kept in my 1950s basket….I seem to have lost that one!

So, back to the interior design…those lucky 2 have a great pair of 60s stripe curtains and one of the best lights in the house! It has squares of bright blue glass all around, giving off a lovely glow when switched on. It was a real bargain too…it was free! Adam found it at a house restoration he was working on..it was in the garage about to be skipped. All the builders on site  laughed at his glee…..! We just need things for the wall…a clock, bookcase and pin board for all their drawings.

So children…do you like it? I guess that’s a yes then!

They’ve been framed

For all the people who have read our blog “We’ve got it covered” all about our lovely collection of 1940s/50s Woman’s Own magazines…here are some pictures of them now framed and hung up in our home.

In the hall, above the telephone table we chose the 1945 cover of a woman on a red phone which matched her lipstick perfectly. Another favourite is the 1939 cover of a woman with quite a bit of flesh on show…she looks beautiful.

To complement the yellows in the phone cover, we chose the 1954 lady in lemon.

In the bedroom, we chose classic 40s and 50s ladies with hourglass figures to match our Sanderson Fifi wallpaper.

The gent in a tux has also been chosen to sit alongside all the beauties. For more pictures of this room check out our blog “Fabulous Fifi

Beat the Monday Blues Part 2

Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.

So this Monday, I want to share with you the BEST handmade hair clips a girl could ask for. Any one that knows me, will know I simply love a hair clip! We have pictures of me as a child with a blonde bob, a side parting and of course, a hairclip.

Too many years on than I care to share, I still have the same hairstyle and am still adorning a good clip. Having worked for Accessorize and Monsoon for 10 years I managed to collect a great range of flowers, diamantes, bows but never, ever a BIRD!

A few weeks back at one of Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs, we discovered Now, Voyager. Run by 2 sisters, Felicity and Jess, they are an online store who “believe every single lady has the right to look pin-up gorgeous everyday of the week and that right should be fun and affordable!” And boy to they do it with handmade birds, butterflies, flowers, boats and even knitted cup cakes all for your hair.

Their website is bright and fun..with great inspirational, 1950s feeling photos. It makes you want to do your hair and be a vintage pin up! On the website they say “style is conviction and we do not believe in compromise” and I’m sure you will agree from the styling of the site, to the bunting at their fairs to the fantastic photographs they stand true to this.

Their attention to detail is excellent, their pricing is fair and their sense of humour is huge with their tag line being, “Handmade glamour and silliness for your hair”. So if you want some fun in your life (and hair) this Monday then go check out the website http://www.now-voyager.co.uk

Here are some of our favourites …..

Green Parrot clip £8.50, Copyright Now, Voyager 2010-2011, photo by Doralba Picerno

Orange flying bird fascinator £9.50, Copyright Now, Voyager 2010-2011, photo by Ishan Kemal

Ultra violet bright butterfly fascinator £11, Copyright Now, Voyager 2010-2011, photo by Terry Mendoza www.retrophotostudio.co.uk

Yellow and green boat hair clips £8.75 each, Copyright Now, Voyager 2010-2011, photo by Terry Mendoza www.retrophotostudio.co.uk

Lime orchid aloa clip, £7. Copyright Now, Voyager 2010-2011, photo by Terry Mendoza www.retrophotostudio.co.uk

Dolly straw hat fascinator, £14.50. Copyright Now, Voyager 2010-2011, photo by Ishan  Kemal

Fabulous Fifi

For anyone that follows our blogs, you will know we are renovating a poorly neglected 1920s house. Check out “Our Patterned Palace” for a glimpse of the array of 60s wallpaper and carpet on every (and I mean every) wall. It has been a labour of love but……

We have finished the first room!!!!!!

Our bedroom was covered in pink psychedelic wallpaper which we actually liked, but was not in a good state of repair.

This has been replaced with an amazing wallpaper called Fifi. It is from Sanderson and is part of their 1950s range. Recently they have pulled together a fantastic collection of original prints from wallpapers and textiles which are both eye-catching and fun.

Coinciding with the 60 year anniversary of the Festival of Britain, this range is nostalgic of the many fabric designers who showed their new radical ideas here at a time when this country was just coming out of rationing.

The Fifi design was an original wallpaper which was recently found in someones attic. It depicts ladies with hourglass figures and Dior’s New Look shapes which launched in 1947.

Tight bodices, nipped in tiny waists and full wide skirts. Splashed with purple and green it looks amazing with our Murano and Whitefriars glass collection.

I love white walls…perfect for showing off your vintage homewares. Teamed up with cream stained floors the room is bright and calming.

People often think white with cream is wrong, but i love it. Look at our Panton lamp against the cream of the wallpaper.

The room is quite big so we have added a 50s chair, a glass topped kidney shaped table and a cocktail cabinet.

No….we are not drinking martinis in the bedroom!  It is full of my glorious 1950s bag collection: lucite box bags, Dorset Rexs, Atlas window pane bags, Caro Nans, Enid Collins, Midas of Miamis…..I LOVE THEM!!! They are kept behind glass to protect them from sticky fingers!

All we need now is some curtains and to find frames big enough for our amazing vintage magazine covers, as mentioned in our blog “We’ve got it covered“.

Let us know what you think of Fabulous Fifi?? And maybe check out the whole Sanderson 50s range…

Beat the Monday Blues Part 1

Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.

So this Monday I want to share with you the most perfect cushions, beautifully made and beautifully designed.

Eclectic chair is the creation of Heather Linnitt who is based in North Leeds. She is an upholsterer but also makes cushions  often from vintage fabric as well as vintage silk scarves and the most stunning Japanese kimono fabric.  She also makes contempary ones out of fabric that has simply caught her eye. They don’t cost the earth and will make any sofa or bed simply divine.  She offers a great service of making cushions from your favourite bits of fabric especially for you…you can even have pompom trims. Just contact her via the website.

In a recent interview with UK Handmade she discusses her stunning cushions, saying “I am a big fan of colour and pattern and I love the vintage/retro look mixed with contemporary furniture and accessories.

I like a bit of faded elegance, something that has seen a bit of life and is a bit worn around the edges.” I love the description of faded elegance, it sums up some vintage fabric so well.

The kimono fabrics are, in my opinion the best. She describes them as “a piece of art, very often handpainted, the colours and designs are out of this world”. I’m sure you will agree.

The silk scarves ones are equally lovely. She says ” They are far too beautiful to simply tie up around your neck, and with a bit of reinforcement from some interlining, they make stylish vintage cushions.” My favourite one reminds me of a Mondrian meets Rothko….the colours are divine. I cannot quite believe it was once a scarf!

One of the cushions has been featured in this months Homes and Antiques magazine (alongside our furniture and homewares). This shot is totally gorgoeus and their blue rose cushion sits pride of place in the middle of the sofa.

Here are some more gorgeous creations. Make sure you check out her website at http://www.eclectic-chair.com

Love your Habitat

I often mention Habitat in my articles as their influence on our homes during the 1960s was massive. The baby boomers rejected their parents stifling dark wood and chintz wallpaper, instead preferring the sleek new design that Habitat offered. It is with great sadness that a store that brought modern design to a whole generation in a time of great optimism has gone into administration.

Sit Terence Conran opened his first store in 1964, on the wrong end of Fulham Road. A white painted shop filled with products that people wanted. It was the first store to merchandise the stock into room sets so the young could browse and imagine they too could live this stylish life. Having spent over 10 years in Visual Merchandising myself pulling together these kind of room sets, I cannot believe there was a time before stores did this!

Half the store was full of the country cottage look (something you don’t generally associate with Habitat), the other with modern design.

But did you know?

They were the first to introduce the pasta jar at a time we were discovering Italian cuisine. Conran credits the business success down to this product as Habitat was one of a handful of retailers to sell them just as overseas package holidays to Italy began to be popular.

They were the first to introduce the wok in a time we were travelling further afield and discovering asian food. Habitat paved the way for families to cook differently and move away from meat and 2 veg.

They were the first to sell the duvet, freeing up our time and providing comfort. Duvets changed the look of our bedrooms as before we were stifled in blankets and eiderdowns. Again, this would have been something we saw on our travels and Conran was quick to jump on the idea.

They were the first to introduce the paper moon lampshade in 1967. In the middle of the space race, planet and spaceship like designs were popular especially within lighting. The paper shade allowed everyone to have access to this modern shape but at an affordable price. Students loved them and still do today.

They introduced the silver mesh frame Eames chair…now a design classic and worth a fortune.

They sold furniture designed by the great designer Robin Day.

And their best seller…..the chicken brick. A terracotta ceramic mini oven that allows meat to steam cook in its own moisture. They have sold millions since their first year

We loved you Habitat as you gave us the passion to love our habitat.

For more reasons why we love Habitat check out our blog “Flat-Pack Backlash”