“A Trouble Shared is a Trouble Halved.”

I spent the last couple of days in Cambridge, celebrating Big Sis‘ birthday, having a jig to The Syndics and kayaking on the Cam. I also discovered a gem of a shop, The Old Chemist Shop Antique Centre. It’s certainly a gem. I didn’t have time to quite explore the shop fully – kayaks wait for no man, as they say – but I was in there long enough to spy a rack of clothes, some lovely cake stands, blue and white crockery, and bundles of other stuff I can’t begin to describe. Highly recommended.

I also found a good stack of magazines, including some from 1938 and 1939. I’ve been reading them this morning, and have come across an excellent selection of problem pages. The advice is being given by Leonora Elyes. You can see her steely gaze and common sense countenance above.

I have picked a selection of the problems and advice for you to appreciate how far we’ve come since 1938, or perhaps not! Click on each image for a larger version of the image.



As well as Leonora herself offering advice, problems were printed for other readers to offer their advice, not so different to today, eh? Then the chosen prize-winning answer would be printed the next week, like the problems below.





Memories are made

In our house,  cards were always hand-made.  Whether it was for the  special care and attention that went into making them, or the purely practical fact that the nearest shop with cards was at least a half hour drive away, on Mother’s day or birthdays, out came the felt tips, colouring pencils or paints. This continued long past the cute scribbly drawing phase, and into adulthood. I have different memories of doing this; I remember one birthday where I decided to have the letters ‘Happy Birthday’ to pop out from inside the card. Colouring each and every letter and the cutting out took me all day. The card was only handed over in the evening after an intensive day of colouring, and presumably little time to spend with the family member whose birthday it was. I also remember using a picture of  Tommy from the Rugrats as inspiration for a card that threatened my Dad with an image of what he would be looking like imminently, in his old age, as he turned 40.

So, like thumb-sucking, this is a habit I have failed to shake off. Apart from making Moll and Mostin cards, up until recently I was still painting cards for friends and family.

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This card was discovered as my friend Lizzy was doing a clear out. I had completely forgotten about its existence. It’s not the neatest example of the genre, but perhaps one of the original story book cards, like the invitations I make now. I wonder how many cards there are, hanging around the ether, that I’ve made and have forgotten. The answer is probably quite a few, since my memory for this type of thing isn’t all that hot.

Excitingly, I am also about to start designing a party invitation for the lovely Lizzy and Ryan. I’ll update when it’s designed, printed and sent out. So in quite a while then!



Paper Rose Weddings

Good morning everyone. It’s another morning when the sun is creeping up and the sky is cloudless. It looks like a beautiful day, but the news coming through the radio this morning is chilling. The fourth night of rioting has just passed, and violence has spread to the Midlands and North. Happily, the clean up operations by locals are spreading too.

It’s a difficult situation to respond to, and I am not equipped to theorise on the best way to do so. It is important to mark the moment, and beyond the perpetrators, to think of those who have lost lives, homes and business.

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On an entirely different note, this post is to introduce my new wedding range. Those of you I met at Vintage 2011 or markets recently might have seen me clasping a bouquet of paper roses.  I have been selling garlands of them or small hair clips of roses for a while now; I got some gratifiyingly enthusiastic squeals of excitement when people spotted them on market stalls. I took that as a hint.

I also made myself a few to wear at a wedding a couple of months ago.  I decided it might be nice to share the love a little.

Paper rose bouquets, corsages and button holes, or table decorations are all now available to order. Paper Roses can be varied, made with a whole range of vintage paper, or with solely map or music papers. I am also waiting impatiently for an order of fascinator supplies so I can start making a whole range of them too this week – photos of those to follow.

Help needed!

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Hello ladies and gents. Today I’m requesting a bit of advice. Let me explain.

As I have been blathering on about for a while, I’ve been moving house. Good news – I’m nearly done. The other good news? Well, I’ve rediscovered lots of clothes I’d forgotten I had. Always the way isn’t it? Wearing the same things all the time and losinglots of fogotten treasures in the clothes Narnia at the back of the wardrobe.

One of the dresses I’ve rediscovered, that I never really forgot I had, was a present from my Great Aunt Margie. In actual fact the Great Aunt Margie whose nickname at school was Mostin. She’s a great scouter for treasures, loves a charity shop and particularly an auction, although this dress I think was found a little dress shop. She spent a lot of time chosing it for me and we were both excited when I finally made a trip to her house and picked it up. But that was about a year ago now.

So where’s the need for help? Well, I haven’t worn it. That’s my challenge and I need some advice on two counts.

1) Where in London or in travelling distance of London can I wear a sparkly dress? Where is formal and fun enough so I don’t feel overdressed?

2) How should I wear it? One of the reasons I haven’t worn it yet, other than not having a good event, is that I don’t know how to style myself in this type of dress. Give me a 50s style dress with a big skirt, then I know what to do. This dress flummoxes me in how to wear it.

The dress hangs to my ankles, not quite to the floor. My upper arms suffer from british pink speckled appearence. It’s not very fitted and tends to hang. Can I get away with a belt?

So please, ladies and gents, some advice. Hair? Accessories? Jewellery? Any other ideas for styling? Send me your ideas, send me links to pictures. This dress deserves an outing and a Great Aunt deserves some nice photos of said outing. Help!