Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Went out for a Christmas jumper....

...came back with these beauties!

HIP_345563674.831780 by rosiealia
Yellow 50's bathroom scales: charity shop, £4.

I didn't even want any scales for the bathroom. But, I couldn't very well leave them all lonesome in that chazza shop now, could I?

Pip pip xx

Friday, 2 December 2011

Sew what? Bridesmaids dresses.

Hello darling readers!

In my recent quiet spells, an awful lot has happened. Mainly moving to a lovely new flat, and also some dressmaking jobs!

Let me tell you about the latter.

When I was recently offered some dressmaking jobs, I jumped at the chance.
But, alas, I also quivered at the thought of actually being relied on to make someone a dress. Help! I was panicking. It's not that I wouldn't be able to, but more that I was out of practice post-uni, and for the first time, had no clever technicians to turn to when I got a bit stuck or had confused myself.

I was asked to make two floral shift dresses for two bridesmaids to wear at a september wedding!

Blimmin' heck, I thought, that's someone's wedding day. What if I mess it up? What if I am too slow? What if my machine breaks?
The third is the one that happened. At which point, I must say, I was not the calmest of people. Read: crying and tantrum-ing. It was three days before the dresses had to be finished, after all.

The sewing machine I toiled on whilst at home.

Initially, whilst visiting my family in Norwich, I had gone ahead and made the toile up in white cotton without any real problems, and even come up with two different capped seeve designs. I was feeling quite proud of myself.

But then... I found a new flat and had to move out. Oh dear! Let me tell you that moving (mostly by means of bus with suitcases and bin bags, after work, for three weeks) whilst also in full time work AND making TWO dresses is not fun. Certainly not when I am a total stress head at the best of times! Talk about bad timing, eh?

Add to the mix a lack of suitable furniture, a bad back and, oh boy, what an adventure that makes for!

And then how about a total sewing machine disaster at the last minute? Yeah, why not!
My sewing machine decided to totally pack up on me, halfway through the final making of dress one, and before dress two was even started properly. DISASTER!

Evil sewing machine of doom!

Luckily, the wonderful Angel Adoree, who was one of the bridesmaids, let me invade her lovely home for three days straight so I could get the dresses finished! (And let me tell you, it is a wonderful place)

Want to see the project that nearly lead to my meltdown?

Rather proud of myself, I am!

Pip pip xx

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Winter warmers: line your boots in shearling for toasty feet!

The darkness has descended and that dastardly Jack Frost is back, which can mean only one thing: winter is upon us. Le sigh.
Now I must admit that I am a secret admirer of the winter months; twinkling lights in the darkness, fireworks, the smell of bonfires and best of all, Christmas (it all feels rather exciting, don't you think?). But one thing that I always struggle with is what to wear during the cold months, as my regular cotton dresses and sandals just aren't going to cut it!

Today I am going to tackle the issue of footwear, because no one likes a long day with cold, soggy feet.

A 1945 illustration from Paris et l'Elegance feminine.

On the hunt for a good pair of 1940's-esque boots to protect my tootsies, I stumbled across these Clarks boots on ebay and immediately saw their potential for a turned down, cuffed style...

These brown suede boots have a low, wedged heel and slashed ankles which are reminiscent of snug 1940's styles, but they still needed be just perfect. So I set to work...

For this project you will need:

~ One pair of boots
~ Shearling or faux shearling (I found mine on ebay)
~ 1 pen
~Superglue which will work on fabric/leather
~And some newspaper to prevent any superglue disasters

Step 1:

Lay the shearling, wrong side up, over one side of one boot. 
Trace out the centre-back seam first, and then trace a rough shape, thinking about where you would like the shearling to sit when inside the boot, adding a bit extra around the top to be trimmed off when finished.

Step 2:

Next, cut out the shape you have drawn 4 times (2 for each boot)

Step 3:

Apply a reasonable amount of glue to the reverse side of the shearling, and then carefully place the piece into the boot; lining up the centre back seam first will make this easiest. Once you are sure that it is in the right place, press firmly and hold for a short while until the glue is well bonded. 

Step 4:

Take a second piece of shearling and repeat previous step, meeting the two lining pieces in the centre.

Step 5:

Repeat the same process for boot number two, et voila!

Step 6:

Once the glue is dry, trim off the excess shearling from around the tops of the boots. You may need to add a little more glue under the edges to make sure the lining is firmly stuck.

I also covered those rubber flower buttons with the fabric too, to give fluffy little buttons!

And the result?

Gloriously fluffy boots which will be both warm and cute with wool dresses and fur during the cold months of winter!

What do you ladies think?
Please to let me know if any of you try it. I'd love to see the results.

Pip pip xx

Saturday, 22 October 2011

A moonicure from Minnie Moons....

Now, we gals of the vintage-inspired variety are often seen sporting a nice nail colour, but what if your nails refuse to grow to that glamorous length you want?

I am one who has spent many a year with serious nail envy of those who can grow delightfully glamorous nails, with strength to hold a good nail varnish without immediate chipping.
My nails, however, have never managed to get very long, even with layers and layers of top quality nail varnish and strengthener. So, when I met the beautiful Sharon whilst working with VP, and discovered her new venture into mobile manicures, specialising in the vintage half-moon mani, I invited her over to work her magic on my little nails.

A 1936 Cutex ad from Cosmopolitan magazine, featuring a half-moon manicure.

Sharon goes by the name Minnie Moons, and strives to bring vintage-style glamour to you and your fingertips (and in the comfort of your own home)!

On wednesday, she popped over to mine and set to work on my nails. My nails are rather short still, so with her help, the intention is to get my nails long enough for a pointed 1930's nail shape, with bare moons and tips, so under Sharon's advice I opted for an acrylic overlay to my nail. This means that an acrylic layer is added to my nails which adds no length, but instead acts as a protective layer to give my nails the strength they need to grow to my desired length without breaking. This will then need to be in-filled as my nail grows, and then taken off and re-done every now and again.

My short nails still look pretty impressive with the beautiful silver half-moons, and are now super-strong which will allow them to survive the battering they get at work!

If you would like some glorious nails from Minnie Moons, then you can pop over to her facebook page to can see a list of services available from this clever lady!

Pip pip xx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Ahhh. Blog, sweet blog.

Bonjour, hello and hola my dear readers!

... I am back (at least partially) from my terribly long absence!
The last month and a bit has been utter madness, involving two jobs, a freelance dressmaking job of two bridesmaids dresses (during which my sewing machine packed in), physiotherapy, and moving flats. PHEW!
It exhausted me and left me feeling a little bit frantic, to say the least. Plus, I have also had no internet in my new flat. Which is almost really a good thing, as it has given me a bit of time to settle in/unpack/defrost my brain.

So I do hope you'll forgive me for my absence?

But as I begin to settle into the new place, I can't tell you how different I am feeling! Life is good again. Me and Mr Mike have moved from a little studio flat full of mould and other problems, to a TWO BEDROOM; that's right, we now have a spare room! A spare one. Just spare. I know!? This is a massive change, and once sorted and unpacked properly, the spare room will be great for me to sew and craft in, and Mr Mike to geek out in.

Photos of the new place will follow at some point, once we are a bit more settled and out of cardboard boxes and bin bags, I promise.

In the meantime, I am back with a post about "stuff". Yes, one of my ever impending "stuff" posts. Because, I am back in Norwich with my fam for a few days for my birthday, and of course, Norwich is an amazing place to find wonderful things to purchase!

Today me and my step mum scurried around the city, in the sweltering heat and during this time we popped into the old Loose's for a spot of treasure hunting, obvs. And, as it was saturday, the fleamarket was on upstairds. HUZZAH.

This is what I came away with:

Clip-on fur earrings: fleamarket, £5.
Think of all that winter outfit potential.

A WWII era pincushion with Hitler hand-embroidered. 
So you can stick pins in Hitler.
A piece of amazing history and a total bargain.
Hitler pin cushion: fleamarket, £2.

And then I came across this wonderful dress! <3
A 1940's, cream wool dress, with brown leather-covered buttons, and brown wool pom-poms. I had seen this in Loose's a long time ago, and at the time talked myself out of even trying it on as I had already bought some other things and it was more money than I'd usually spend (not to say that it was expensive, as it definitely wasn't). But I went home pining for it and wondering if it would have fit me or not.
So today when I went to Loose's, I was absolutely astounded to see it was still there. I grabbed it and headed to the changing rooms. 
To my disbelief, it fitted me. Almost perfectly. So of course I decided to purchase it; it is my birthday on tuesday after all. Early birthday present to myself, that's all!

 1940's wool dress, £40.

 Isn't she a beauty? 
I am having all sorts of visions of wearing her with my fur earrings, and my brown suede winter boots, and my 1930's brown fur handwarmer.
A perfect wintery outfit!

I know I shouldn't be thinking of winter on such a hot day, but I'm pretty sure any girl would find it difficult not to with this dress in their possession.

What are you lovelies thinking of wearing to take you through winter glamorously?

Pip pip xx

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Meet some chums of mine...

I am in the process of trying to clear out, clean up and pack up my life to move it into my new flat.

During this process I am unlikely to have time for proper, descriptive posts. So I thought that in the meantime, I might introduce you, darling readers, to some of my friends as I pack them away to leave for their new home.

So here's the first two...

Gentleman Bunny and Lucy.

Gentleman  Bunny is made of tweed, has a moustache, monocle and bow tie, and even carries a newspaper in his right paw. He was made for me by my lovely chum Leanne for my 22nd birthday.

To his right is Lucy, a doll from the 1940's that my wonderful mumma gave me for christmas a couple of years ago. She has a plastic face, matted hair, stuffed fabric body and is wearing a blue linen waistcoat/skirt suit.

"Pip pip" they cry! xx

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

My baby...

This is my baby.
My 1960's Singer sewing machine.

Bought for me by my dad and step-mum, and currently living at theirs until I move and have room for it.
When I was home recently I embarked on my first paid dressmaking job, and making the toile on it was fun. This heavy beast works, but I had to make a makeshift spool as the original one was missing. I fashioned it out of a bit of blu-tack and a plastic knitting needle. 
Make-do and mend indeed!

Pip pip xx

Monday, 22 August 2011

A DIY faux-middy cut: the risk that paid off!

For those of you who may not know, a the 'middy' was a style of haircut popular in the 1940's, that was designed to allow curls to settle neatly into a beautiful shape, the layers sitting on top of each other comfortably to give those lovely graduated curls.
The cut consisted of even layers and a U-shaped bottom, with sides that slant up towards the face. The standard middy consisted of 4 inch layers, but there were many variations in different lengths.

Now, I have been wanting and meaning to go and get myself a middy cut for an absolute age, though being the hairdresser-shy girl that I am (I've only been to the hairdressers a handful of times in my life, usually utilising my mum or step-mum for haircutting needs instead) I haven't quite managed it.
So, when reading up on the middy on this Fedora Lounge thread, I was excited to find some mentions of a 'do it yourself' middy haircut tutorial- could this really work? Surely not! I was apprehensive, but read on to find that many girls had said they had tried it and it had in fact, turned out well!

So being impulsive and impatient, as I can be in matters of the hair, I washed my hair and set to work following C-Dot's tutorial.
Here are the 'after' photos...

Shock horror! My un-made up face and bedraggled hair.
But you can see the hair now slants sharply upwards towards my face.

And here you can see the U-shaped back in all it's self-cut glory!

After following all the steps in C-Dot's tutorial, I dried, spritzed with setting lotion, rollered and slept.
And then I removed my curlers in the morning with baited breath-

Hello graduated curls.

Hello curved new shape.

And hello little curls around my face!

Sorry for not having better photos, I took these when my chap was away so of course, using my iPhone I was rather limited.

But all in all, I would say that if you are pining for a middy-style and are hairdresser-wary or your purse is empty then maybe it's worth taking the risk with this clever little tutorial. I'm very glad I did.

Pip pip xx

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Vintage Patisserie- book launch and sneaky peek!

Now, I'm pretty sure that most of you ladies will already be familiar with Angel Adoree of The Vintage Patisserie, if not from her appearance on the 2010 series of Dragons' Den then perhaps from her numerous appearances in the uk media recently, or her newly released book The Vintage Tea Party Book.

Yes, this flame-haired vixen is one talented lady!

She also happens to be my part-time boss.

On wednesday I was lucky enough to work at her book launch party, and boy was it fabulous!

I arrived straight after a shift at my full-time job, and joined Angel and the rest of the girls at the venue, which they had been working hard to transform. We added the finishing touches, donned our black dresses, aprons, heels and red lippie....and then we waited for the guests to arrive.

Here's me in a 1930's dress, serving the guests 
Photo snapped by the dear Penny Dreadful.

The night was a success- guests danced along to the live band Benoit Viellefon & His Orchestra who played some wonderful tunes, whilst we made sure no-one went hungry and no glass ran dry. An amazing array of people turned out to celebrate with Angel; friends, family, bloggers and media. I had the pleasure of doing the hair of Redlegs In Soho, and Katy from Vintage Victory, along with many other lovely ladies.
Now, as I was on duty, I of course captured no photos, but pop over to the blogs of Retro Chick and Penny Dreadful for photos of the party!

At the end of the night, the VP team were all gifted a copy of the book, with a little message from the lovely Angel, as well as a bottle of King's Ginger liqueur and a goody bag that were filled with all sorts of exciting treats.

The King's Ginger liqueur was developed in 1903 especially for King Edward VII; my favourite historical man for his influence on the development of menswear (I wrote my dissertation on this subject).
So although I'm not sure if I really like ginger, having not knowingly tried it since I was a child, how could I not try it when it was developed for my monarch of choice!
And it is 41%. Blimey.

But now, onto the book!

I can honestly say it is just the most beautifully designed and well thought out book. I mean, gosh, just look at it! Pick it up and it's weighty, packed full of ethereal illustrations by Adele Mildred and recipes, tips and how-to's. The book has lots of very tasty looking, beautiful recipes for things like a 'salad cemetary' and 'spinach and parmesan mini-muffins', alongside various tea-cocktails, and even Angel's legendary scones...which I can confirm are the best scones you will ever taste!
It is not only a cookbook, oh no! It also contains tips on where to source props, how to make aprons, how to dry edible flowers, and hair and make up ideas....perfect or what?
I may or may not be biased, but I think you probably need to own this book. Mine will certainly be taking pride of place on the shelves in my new kitchen once I've moved.

So in short, Angel Adoree is one very, very talented lady and I can honestly say that I am incredibly lucky to have the pleasure of working for her. Keep your eyes peeled because I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of her in the coming months!

Pip pip xx

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Haul of the charity shop kind.

Now, you all know I have a penchant for le charity shops. And I have a particular love for the charity shops of Wymondham, the little town my mumma lives in.

Here are my finds from my most recent visit with my ma!

Firstly some slightly themed buys...

This lovely green checked homemade maternity shirt was only £2.50.
Yes, I don't need this...but I can put it away...until me and Mr Mike decide to have our sprogs- that's definitely acceptable, right?

This wooden pull-along dog toy is lovely and has little leather ears! He was £1, and my mumma convinced me that I needed to buy him and again keep him (at hers) until we have some sprogs. 
She just wants another baby to fawn over...can you tell?

Sewing box, £6.99.

This keyring has an 'R' embroidered on it, and a bell.
Noisy and therefore not appropriate for actual key carrying, but obviously meant to be. 

A yellow plastic-coated wire plate holder...will be perfect for my new kitchen!*

*We are moving to a bigger flat in september, where I am going to have a sewing room! 
I can't quite believe it!

Though it does mean you may be hearing less and less of me for the coming months (or at least get shorter bloggins) while we pack/clearout/paint/move/get internet installed etc etc. Plus I am working two jobs, and  doing some freelance dressmaking on top of that. I feel exhausted just thinking about it!

So if you're wondering where I've popped off to for such long periods of time- that'll be me running around like a headless chicken wearing clothes covered in paint! Tee hee.

Have you bought any great bargains of late?

Pip pip xx

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sailing on the broads!

That's right.... I sailed a boat!

Well, sort of.

I am currently nearing the end of a lovely week spent at home in Norwich seeing friends and fam.

On wednesday me and my chums went out to the broads and joined a lovely group of people on a boat where we spent time sailing, playing games, picnicing and drinking!

We slept on a boat that had been bought in the 70's, and was a bit rickety but totally lovely! In total there was 16 of us sleeping on it, and it has bunks all the way round 3 walls of the inside, and a little kitchen area. It has permanent moorings out by some fields of horses and  a little village.

Please forgive me for a lack of decent photos...I was a bit apprehensive as phones + boats + water = risky. Especially when Rosie is involved! So my phone (which is also my camera) spent most of the time in my bag on the main boat preserving its battery.

During the day we split off from the main boat in groups on sailing boats and a row boat.

I can now say that I have been sailing in a proper sailing boat. And I can also say that it was absolutely terrifying. I didn't know I was quite so wimpy!

Every time the wind settled down and we got a good speed up, there would be one almighty gust and we would almost capsize! I loved it...but it was also bloomin' scary.

Here are the few pictures I captured of our adventure....

 This is what I wore to the boat:

If you look really carefully you can see it has yachts, men in rowing boats and hula girls!

Needless to say I was suitably innapropriate in my clothes, so I must admit that I had to resort to wearing a grey jersey jumpsuit, that I had borrowed as pyjamas, whilst sailing... not my finest hour!

And no, I'm afraid I don't have any photos of this! Haha.
(If you're lucky, I might be able to track some down for one of my pals and add them at a later date!)

Pip pip xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

My daddy got me a uke!

Yup, I got a ukelele!

Now I just gotta learn to play it.

Pip pip! xx

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Just a quick hello!

Oh, dear readers!
I have been bloomin' awful at keeping you up to date and though I'm sure no one's noticed my absence, I do really need to get over these nightshifts so life can resume as normal!

One more tonight so this is just quick post to show off my lovely new-to-me Tara Starlet dress I bought off a lovely lass...

Yellow catseye sunglasses: vintage fair.
Yellow floral Tara Starlet 'Home Front Dancing Dress'.
Bamboo bag: collectors fair.
Clarks Originals wedge sandals: ebay.
Green wooden bangles.
Bamboo bangle: Daisy & Lola's in Norwich.

I just ADORE Tara Starlet's dresses. This is my second, and I just love the way they hang, and feel to wear. The only reason I don't have more is because they make my purse cry a little! But are worth the pennies when you pop one on and swish around in them and realise how delightful they are.

This is what I wore today to mooch around the free bits at Vintage at Southbank in the sun!
I have heard pretty mixed reviews, but I can't complain about the free bits....
Well, apart from the fact that there were so many stall with things I wanted, but that's hardly a terrible thing. Bad for my purse however! I came away with a few bits which I am sure will creep up onto here when normality resumes. 
What did those of you who attended think of the festival?

Now, I am off for another nightshift shortly. Le sigh!
Toodle pip! xx