Beat the Monday Blues

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 introduce to you the gorgeous notebooks from Retro from Scratch.

I first saw these amazing notebooks through following a link on Twitter. When I caught sight I straight away was shouting WANT, WANT, WANT! Then I remembered I didn’t need a notebook but I did need a diary. I casually tweeted to the owner and creator Becky, asking if she did diaries. She didn’t. But she would!

So then started the best customer service I have received in ages. She painstakingly designed the inserts taking time to get it just how I wanted it. She added special pages such as vintage conversion charts such as shillings to pounds which was a nice touch.

The just before Christmas it arrived. And this is it……

Gorgeous huh? Becky scours charity shops, car boots etc for old children’s books that are in need of a little tlc. She removed the spine (which is usually broken anyway) and adds rings.  Hey presto….gorgeous individual notebooks.

I bought this one too!

By day Becky is a trained archeologist who now works in a museum. So she clearly likes old stuff!

She sells on etsy and at fairs around London and Essex. For more details why not follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

The Pop Up Vintage fair

I love the old Ladybird books. We read them to our children and know there are a lot of battered versions out there. These make  such a lovely gift..infact I ended up buying more this Christmas. (If you are a friend of mine expect some this year!). They are beautifully made and well packaged.

One of Herbies favourites

The good pages within are not wasted either as Becky makes them into bunting.  I have some too but am not sure whether to give it up to the kids or store it away for when I eventually get an office! I love the nostalgic feel to it and lets face it…no one else will have it!

Vintage beer mat notebooks are also available. Perfect for the boys!

Here are some of my favourites.


Beat the Monday Blues

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 introduce to you the fabulous cases and bags from uoldbag!

There’s an amazing second hand shop here in Bedford which I can only describe as an alladins cave of house clearance. It’s owned by Pat who I have known for years (my mum used to own the cheese shop next door). I have been going in there forever, loving a root about in all the treasures (and some junk).

When I started the business up I kept going in asking for handbags and cases. They were always gone! To a local girl who “likes to stick things on bags” (Pat’s words). I envisaged a crafty type, sticking beads on bags for a hobby. Now there’s nothing wrong with this but I had no idea this person was creating the most amazing works of decoupage.

uoldbag! is owned by Lisa Tilley.

She lives locally and is a textile designer. She collects vintage magazines, papers, maps and  anything interesting to add to vintage suitcases and bags. The result is truly stunning and unique.

This is also done to create trinket boxes.

She also makes the cutest bags from upcycling tea cosies. The cases are real works of art and beautifuuly finished. I recognise they are not cheap…but think how amazing you will look at the airport carousel!

I caught up with her last week and she was good enough to answer some of my questions.

Where did the name uoldbag! come from?

A lot of people love the name and think there’s some special story behind how I came up with it, but actually it just came really easily. I knew it had to be something around old bag and I thought of a few different versions and did some research and found other companies called things such as ‘the old bag company’. It was finalised by talking through ideas with my partner and he came up with the ‘u’. I wasn’t sure about it at first but then after some more discussion we decided ‘uoldbag!’ was the way to go.

Describe your bags/cases in 5 words

Nostalgic, Fun, Young, Original, British!

What does a typical day look like?

I don’t really do typical days, whilst setting up my business I worked in many different jobs to fund it, which meant I had very different days and no routine. I am currently working full time on my own business which feels great and I’m finally able to focus purely on my own work, but I don’t think I’ll ever have a typical routine. I do what needs doing; I have periods of making and then periods of photographing the products and preparing the images and products for sale.

Then I’ll have periods of admin work, where I’ll upload the products to sites and market them. I’ll also be working at selling them, speaking with shops, organising delivery of sales, sourcing materials and everything else that needs doing. You have to have many heads, which keeps the work varied and I can’t see me ever getting bored. I love the making the most of course but the rest comes with it.

Whats your biggest achievement to date?

 My main achievement to date with my work is creating a range for Paris and Milan fashion week for Paul Smith which were displayed in the shop windows. My main personal achievement would have to be what I’m doing right now, working on my own business full time. I come from a very poor, large, single parent family where I helped raised my brothers and sisters, I was never expected to become anything, but I was determined to make a life for myself and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to help make the lives of others when I’m able to expand and employ people.

Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

I’d like to still be doing what I’m doing full time, be making a comfortable living from it and to hopefully have taken staff on to help me. I hope to have my own shop combined with a studio some day, preferably in London. This is one of my main aims and I hope that this will turn into many uoldbag! shops, but we’ll see. I like to walk before I can run.

And finally, what’s great about Bedford?

Bedford’s a great place to live because it’s quite close to lots of places, the most important being London. London’s great for creatives and an exciting place to live, but is very expensive and a bit manic for me. I love it in small doses but when I spend time there, I love getting off the train in Bedford and feeling the peace and ease. I like the fact, Bedford has the necessary things you need and then if you need something more you can just jump on the train. I also love the parks and river and I especially like the area my studio is based in, which is Castle Road. For a small town, Bedford is quite arty and the creative network is building all the time. I love the River festival and that it’s free and think the council should invest in more events like these that would attract more people to Bedford.

I’m sure you will agree her work is stunning. These are some of my particular favourites.

Check out the website, her etsy shop and join her on Facebook and Twitter.

One thing’s for sure…this is the perfect way to travel and no one will ever pick your case up by mistake!

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