Deck the halls!

Gosh is it really nearly Christmas? Well, the festive issue of Vintage Life magazine has arrived with our latest article in.

For some ideas on how to decorate your home this Christmas, here is “Deck the halls“.

A vintage Christmas calls for vintage decorations. Add hand made touches with family tradition, to make it all the more special.

In the 1950s the tree was real with delicate glass baubles hanging next to candy, ribbons and candles. The 1960s brought a love affair with artificial trees, especially silver ones covered in cosmic shaped baubles. The 1970s look was anything goes…pile it all on..never mind if you can’t even see the tree!

Whatever your style, here are some ideas to recreate these looks, with a few of our own personal touches added. Why not go back to your own family traditional look or maybe start making your own traditions for your grandchildren to enjoy in years to come.

The Vintage Look

Keep precious glass baubles away from little fingers by hanging them from your vintage lights. They will look beautiful above the dinner table, catching the light as they move. Hang perfectly with clear fish wire or go for the craft look with silver ribbon.

Set the table with vintage crystal to create a sparkling Christmas dinner. A bowl of matching vintage baubles makes the perfect centre piece. Scatter crystal charms all over, add silver, candles and cake tazzas to finish the look.

Don’t forget to add the finishing touches with vintage silver napkin rings and crisp white linen. Everyone in our family had their own individual hand-picked silver napkin ring replacing the need for place names. This eclectic look will add character to your table.

Surprise the postman with bright paper garlands and bells adorning your hallway. Why not make your own by simply sewing a running stitch through lengths of coloured crepe paper.

Hand made touches

Create a soft, pretty effect by adding flowers to the tree. Silk cream and pink roses dipped in silver glitter will shimmer behind your vintage baubles.

Make your own crackers with personalised gifts inside. Or add sparkly vintage jewels to the outside to complement your table setting. Think brooches for the girls, cuff links for the boys. Maybe wrap the outside of the cracker in vintage wallpaper or fabric for a clashing patterned look.

Hand picked holly with red berries make an easy-to-make centre piece. Display in a vintage vase or jug and sit on a mantelpiece. Hang cards from vintage pegs on brown string to finish the look.

Create your new traditions.

Celebrate your childhood with your own children by displaying handmade treasures collected over the years. My handmade pink fairy from the 1970s sits alongside my children’s recent masterpieces to create that 70s eclectic look.

How many of you remember the Blue Peter coat hanger decoration made in the late 70s? This one is still going strong and greets all visitors young and old.

My grandma lovingly wrapped small gifts and hang them on the tree. Each present had a riddle describing the person the gift was for…we sat around guessing, appreciating the time and love that had been put into it. Year after year my riddle was: Who married Henry 3 times? Katherine of course!


Home-grown, Hand-made, Vintage Christmas, Vol 2

We have decided here at Your Vintage Life to share you with you some of our Christmas ideas. They are all based around home-grown, hand-made and of course vintage.

There is nothing better than receiving a gift with has had lots of thought, time and oodles of love given into the idea. So, here are is what we will be doing this year.

Volume 2

Tomato and chilli jam

Our garden is full of tomato plants bursting with red fruit. We have grown cherries, plums and beef….and together they make a wonderful flavour. Most years we have grown them in the greenhouse, but since we have moved we have lost this space. So we grew them in the beds and they have been fantastic.

I love tomato and chilli jam…with cheese at Christmas especially. In fact, I make enough to last all year as it’s great added to pasta sauces and even spread on pizza! It makes the perfect gift…added with cheese and nibbles into the perfect fruity hamper.

So the recipe: Put a glug of olive oil into pan and add 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds. Add heat until they start popping. Then add 1.5kg of fresh tomatoes, 2 onions, 2-5 chillis (be careful how hot they are..I used only 1.5 as these ones are hot, hot, hot) and 1 tablespoon of mixed spice.

Then add 2 cups (500ml) of cheap malt vinegar and 1.5 cups (330 g) of brown sugar. I always cook in cups using my Tala measuring cone!

Bring this to the boil and then simmer for about 2-3 hours. Stir throughout. Easy peasy!

Add to sterilised jars, add a label and store until December! They should last 6 months..mine last year lasted longer.

Pour the hot jam into the jars, tighten lids immediately and turn upside down for 2 mins. Then they are ready to be decorated!

Now I’m not totally into the gingham topper, so this year I’m using bits of old lace linen we have had for a while. Tie with string or ribbon…perfect!

Make a gift in a vintage basket or hamper, adding some vintage side plates. Mix and match different colours and patterns, or add a set…whatever you choose make sure there’s enough for the whole family who are receiving the gift to eat their cheese and jam from!

Or why not add to a vintage bread bin instead of a hamper…this way they get a wonderful gift as well as the yummy food! Wine is a perfect addition too.

I know a great website which sells an empty hamper or basket along with cellophane and bow if you don’t have a vintage one spare! Check out Your Gift Basket

Enjoy….and remember it’s not long til Christmas when you can open up and start eating!!! For more Christmas ideas click here!

For more bread bins, baskets and side plates just click on the picture!

Daddy Cool!

As Father’s Day is approaching, my children (with a little help from me) need to decide what to get their Daddy. The shops are full of mugs and T-shirts saying “I love my Dad” but we, at Your Vintage Life feel this isn’t really the way forward. Why not shower him with retro and vintage gifts so he is a real Daddy Cool!

(Luckily our man is a retro man so already a Daddy Cool!)

Here are some ideas that may help to inspire you..

First stop in our shop should be Your Vintage Office….does he work from home or in an office?

If so, why not get him a magazine rack…he could put his filing into it…or all those classic car mags we seem to have lying around the house! Surely this will look better than the classic “in” tray

Or a retro telephone? BT produced fabulous coloured phones since the 1960s which look great in a retro or modern setting! Our telephone collection is a little out of control (one in each room) so maybe I wont be buying another this Father’s Day!

Or one of these funky desk calendars? With one of these there’s never an excuse for forgetting the date therefore forgetting your birthday!!!

We love the orange one….and will look great on his desk.

Or does he like to groom??? These mens vanity, sorry grooming kits, are stylish and will look great on the bathroom shelf.

The pots are shiny stainless steel, the combs tortoiseshell and the case a soft brown leather. This is  the perfect gift to make him into a classic gent!

This hard brown case is stunning, with its original glass pots and silky lining. It even has its original key! Just imagine how smart the original owner of this must have been.

We also have a 1950s trouser presser in its original box made by Pifco. I love the styling…such a gentleman with his slicked back hair!

Or a 1950s boxed pair of clippers? Even if he doesnt want to use them, the packaging will look great on display! 

Now in my experience all men dream of being a whizz at the cocktail making…spinning the bottle around in a Tom Cruise fashion! Why not visit Your Vintage Cocktail Party for some ideas for your Dad…we have ice buckets, soda syphons, ice crushers and shot glasses. Add a bottle of whisky and I’m sure he will be thrilled!

All mens like a barbecue… FACT! We have fab picnic treasures for perfect outdoor dining afternoons (and evenings) perfect for this amazing weather we are having. Bright retro colours, space age shapes and durability..what more could he want! How about the 1960s bright orange Pac-A-Pic with its separate trays for the whole family?

If he loves his interiors, have a look at our coloured glass.

While some are very pretty and perfect for Mum, we feel the shapes of these 60s medicine bottles will be perfect for him. Display on a window sill so the light shines through them into the room…and be the envy of the neighbours!

We have blues, greens and ambers still available.

And finally, for the Dads that can actually remember the record “Daddy Cool”, what about a 1960s record rack…we have singles ones and LP ones…

Happy Father’s Day from Your Vintage Life x