2012, A Vintage Year

Here is our latest article for Vintage Life magazine.

2012: A Vintage Year

January is such a cold month, so little money to spend! Start your healthy eating resolution with large home-made casseroles made in vintage enamel saucepans. Choose a 1940s large roaster or a groovy coloured 1960s pan, mix up the winter veg and leave to cook. Invite your friends to a social dinner to share stories of New Years Eve parties. Revive the tradition of sitting round the table, serving from vintage tureens to create your perfect vintage table setting.

February is the month of romance. Buck the trend of giving chocolates and pamper your loved one instead. Give pretty glass perfume bottles and dressing table sets that can sit in her room all year round. This year pick early flowering bulbs, tie together with a bow and attach a vintage brooch for a bit of sparkle. This is the year of showing you care through actions and thought rather than huge spend.

March is the start of spring therefore the time to embark on the annual clean. This year do it in vintage style wearing a 1950s pinny. Clean your cupboards then line them with vintage wallpaper offcuts to give a blast of pattern and cheer all year round. Read old housewife books for hints and tips of traditional ways to clean saving you money and time.

April is Easter time. This year enjoy home-made traditions by starting the day with hand painted eggs served in vintage eggcups. Arrange an egg hunt for friends and family, young and old. Everyone running around in the spring sun, carrying vintage baskets and collecting chocolate will bring laughter and joy and last much longer than the sugar rush.

May brings warmth at last, now it’s time to sort out the garden and pot up planters. This year use reclaimed and vintage pots, enamel bread bins and metal buckets will add real character to your patio. Paint the garden shed in pastels instead of brown, hang home-made bunting to create your own May Day celebrations. Get the barbecue out, invite friends over to impress them with your hard work.

June is all about our Dads. This year resist the urge to buy slippers and socks by adding some retro cool into his life. Give him a magazine subscription teamed up with a 1960s magazine rack, or an album (vinyl of course) by his favourite band sitting in a record rack. He’ll appreciate the thought even though his feet may be cold!

July is picnic time so get on your bikes and meet friends for a summer picnic. Take a handmade crochet rug and vintage parasol to keep off the sun. Choose a 1950s cased picnic set with pretty china cups and saucers or go for 1970s brightly coloured plastic. Wrap sarnies up in greaseproof paper, add hardboiled egg and homemade lemonade. Play old fashioned games like rounders in teams to work off your lunch, then lie in the sun all afternoon.

August is the time to get away. Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing to go camping instead of flying abroad. Relive the traditions of the 1950s by going away with friends and family, camping in a line of tents or caravans! Make it a vintage trip by packing a wind breaker, folding flowery chairs and loads of brightly coloured melamine crockery.

September is back to school! Introduce vintage to your workplace by adding a desk calendar, pen pot or letter rack. Fed up of tea from a machine? Take a teapot and teacup for your perfect tea at 3. If you work from home introduce a 1960s telephone to your desk. adding colour as well as a retro feel.

October and the clocks turn back and evenings start to get darker. Add a vintage clock to every room, an alarm clock for your bedside table, a 1960s kitchen clock or starburst for your lounge and hall. These days we tend to rely on our mobiles to tell the time so turn back the clocks literally this year and return to an age of ticking gently in the background.

November is bonfire night. It’s always cold so this year wrap up in vintage faux fur and chunky knits. Don’t dress the guy in your old clothes….pull out some modern cast offs to create a spectacular fire!

December is of course Christmas. This year have a Christmas Eve cocktail party and invite all your friends and neighbours. Wear vintage glamour and drink from gold rimmed glasses. Shake a mohito in a 1950s cocktail shaker, add ice to a pineapple bucket and pick up olives with candy coloured little forks. Play your old vinyl, have an old fashioned sing along and celebrate your vintage year!

Advertisements

Egg-cellent ideas!

With Easter just over a week away, Your Vintage Life has turned its head to thoughts of eggs……chocolate ones, dippy soldier ones and with our new chickens arriving over the weekend it’s time to get our bonnets on and think of vintage pressies!

Start the day with a hand painted egg and toasted soldiers. We shared this idea in Vintage Life Nostalgia magazine recently…place the colourful egg inside a 1930s Heatmaster stainless steel egg cup, underneath its cover. Imagine your loved ones face when they take the top off to reveal your masterpiece. Tupperware produced their version in the 1970s so use this one for a more retro look.

If you don’t have time to paint an egg, make sure you still eat them, maybe with a hot cross bun dripping with butter. Here are some of our favourite vintage egg cups in bright colours. They date from the 1950s through to the 1970s and are mainly made from melamine.

Then it is gift giving time! How about a china chicken filled with chocolate eggs? 

We have white ones, brown ones and even a yellow glass one….we use them to store our eggs in all year round. The coloured foils look great here against the white ceramic!

Or how about a vintage coffee cup filled with a simple chocolate egg? These gorgeous 1950s orange Palissy coffee cups were a recent find and will shortly be available on-line. The colours are so vibrant and they would look great in both a modern and vintage setting. And, yes we know the egg only just fits inside….surely the bigger the chocolate the better!

Or fill a tea cup with hand-made chocolate truffles..roll them into egg shapes with your hands..don’t worry if they are not perfect; they taste so good no one will care! We have chosen a pretty rose bud tea cup and saucer in fine white bone china. Add a ribbon bow and a home-made card for the perfect detail.

So everyone’s had their gifts…now it’s time for the kids (and adults) to enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt. Hide them all over the garden, remembering to use a vintage basket to collect them in!

We do love a basket…for the shopping, picking the home-grown veg and flowers into and of course for collecting chocolate eggs!! We will need a few more to fill this beauty….

It is traditional to have a big family dinner served from your best china. In years gone by, the whole set would only be used at Christmas and Easter…why not follow this tradition by laying a formal table and serving your vegetables from vintage tureens? We have a great collection online dating from the 1920s through to the 1970s. I love the 1950s bright yellow Midwinter one in the centre of the photo.. and it’s the perfect colour for Easter! The styling is so obviously from the 1950s with its high curved edges.

Then for the easter cake! Whether it’s a whole Simmel cake or tiny cup cakes make sure you display it on a vintage cake stand. We have chosen a simple, elegant white bone china one with gold edging to really show off the yummy cakes. Last year we made chocolate cornflake birds nest cakes with so much chocolate in, no one could manage more than one! We found these hand painted decorations last week too..they are wooden and designed to hang from a plant or tree. They reminded us of Christmas decorations and are perfect for decorating the cake with.

Then what to do next? We reckon after lunch it’s time to sit back and eat all that lovely chocolate!

Hope we have inspired you just a little with our vintage egg-cellent ideas!!

Happy Easter!

Spring into action!

As Spring is almost here, Your Vintage Life has written a new article for Vintage Life magazine. It refers to the wartime campaign of “Make Do and Mend” and “Dig For Victory”, highlighting that this ethos is as relevent today as it was 65 years ago. Filled with ideas for Easter gifts and how to bring a little bit of colour into your life this sprintime…it is all you need to motivate you to Spring Into Action!

 Spring into Action 

“Make Do and Mend” was introduced during the Second World War, encouraging women to be thrifty, making the most of their limited housekeeping money. The campaign suggested ways of recycling clothing and textiles, re-knitting woollen clothes, making blouses from pillowcases and skirts from men’s trousers. They were also given tips on how to use less and save more.

 “Dig for Victory” was another campaign encouraging people to turn gardens into allotments to provide food for the family and the community. This would save money and ultimately free up valuable space on the merchant shipping convoys for war materials. Both campaigns became a way of life until the end of rationing in the 1950s.

Both are as relevant this springtime as they were 65 years ago. Spring is a time of hopeful new beginnings, with blossom covering the trees, daffodils in full bloom and the annual contemplation of de-cluttering the cupboards. Now is the perfect time to re-introduce the old campaigns, combining the recycling of vintage with the individuality of handmade and home grown.

Bring the outside inside

Enamel kitchenware has been around since the 1700’s but it wasn’t until the 1930s that it actually became fashionable. The pre-war housewife loved it for it’s easy to clean, non porous finish as well as it’s chic new look. As it came in a variety of bright colours such as terracotta, green, blue and white, always with an alternative coloured edging, she could really start to co-ordinate her kitchen for the first time. However, it’s popularity declined in the 1950s when the even easier to clean melamine was introduced.

Why not add a real home grown feel to your kitchen window sill this spring, by planting herbs and chillies in vintage enamelware? Jugs, flour jars and deep stew pots are perfect and by mixing up the colours your kitchen will have a brightness that will compliment all the flowering bulbs outside. 1950’s children made and grew an indoor garden; planting grass lawns and rockery flowers as well as making trees and benches from plasticine. Why not have a go, using a vintage enamel deep baking tray and watering regularly. Alternatively, pick bunches of home grown tulips with a vintage basket and display them in an enamel jug.

Introduce spring florals to your home

Vintage wallpaper is a great way to add nostalgia to your home as well as giving it a fresh new feel. Finding original wallpaper is not easy, however single rolls are out there to be found. Give a tired space a burst of spring energy by hanging pastel floral designed wallpaper on a feature wall. 1950’s homes were not shy of a pattern or two, with many enjoying clashing patterned walls and curtains within the same room! Don’t waste the offcuts though: wrap your favourite hardback books to protect them or to personalise a notebook for a gift this Mother’s Day. Once you have cleaned out your cupboards, why not paste eye catching wallpapers inside to offset your vintage china. It will bring a smile to your face every time you open them, long into the winter months.

Hand paint your eggs

Traditionally every Easter, children made hand crafted bonnets and decorated eggs. This year, surprise a loved one with a hand painted boiled egg in a vintage eggcup for breakfast. Lay a tray with your favourite teacups and hide the egg in a 1930’s Heatmaster egg warmer. Designed with a lid and inner felt jacket to keep it warm, this is the best vintage eggcup you will find. Imagine the smile on their face when they lift the top off! For a retro look use the Tupperware plastic version designed in the 1960s

Tea and chocolate

Supermarkets entice you to buy Easter eggs from Boxing Day but this year why not make your own chocolate treats. Home made truffles taste fantastic and make great gifts. Have a go at making them egg shaped…..it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect! Everyone will be so impressed that you spent time creating something, rather than just throwing a shop bought egg into your trolley. Personalise them even further by placing them in carefully chosen vintage treasures; a teacup, a jelly mould or a finger bowl champagne glass are all ideal. They will need to be eaten within 3 days, but the gift will last a lifetime.

We can learn a lot from the 1940’s creative thriftiness. Simple thoughtful pleasures of mending, recycling, growing, making and spending time rather than money, were the values of the day.

“Do Mend and Make” is our reworded campaign for 2011….be inventive with your home by reusing and mending vintage pieces then give them your own handmade individual twist. Just think of it as your own personal victory!