Sunday, 25 September 2011

In which I go to a vintage faire.

After the craziness of the past few weeks of working full time as well as doing university work, I thought that I might treat myself to a well deserved break. Whilst procrastinating I did my usual vintage faire search and found that there was one soon to be hosted at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery which is very close to where I live...and it was free entry. I awoke early- I always try to get there before everyone else has the chance to get the best bargains!

The faire filled up four of the large galleries in the museum. There was a wide variety of stalls and sellers all featuring different treasures from amazing fashion to books to retro home ware. There was even a stall that played old songs from wind up gramophones!

I really enjoyed the vintage faire. It was really great having one so close to me;  It meant that I didn't far to lug my booty ( one wool coat, one leather coat and a scarf) back home. I was particularly happy to see the museum being used well. It sits in the middle of the University of Salford campus and is often ignored, bar the coffee shop which serves impressive steak and onion baguettes, Mmmm! Myself and others must walk past the museum several times a week and always promise ourselves a visit inside but never actually do it. The one little niggle that I did have, however was that the lighting was not that good which has created some bizarre effects on photographs but I suppose a vintage faire is about the shopping experience, not photography which is why it is only a little niggle.

Featured seller- Donald and Miss June Vintage Living.
Whenever I go to a vintage faire I alway choose one seller who I advertise as a really good stall holder. I generally use twitter and facebook to do this but from now on I shall do this on here.

On the corner was a stall that was very strategically placed: it was just where everyone had to walk past it to get to the next room and opposite another stall that was reigned over by a disinterested seller who sold overpriced items. I really dislike stall holders who have this attitude- if you can not look interested in your items and happy to be there I will not buy from you. It is as simple as that.

This is why I went to the stall on the corner. The sellers looked friendly and were happily chatting away to customers. I glanced at the leather coat on the mannequin and thought it was lovely. Straight away the seller came over and started to discuss the item with me; she was enthusiastic, knowledgable and just a downright lovely person! Needless to say, I bought the coat and as I sit here typing I am looking at it adoringly.

The seller informed me that they generally do vintage fayres (find them in the Manchester area) but are now expanding on to the internet. At the moment the website is slightly restricted but I have absolutely no doubt that over time it will grow to be a wonderful emporium of vintage goodies. In the meantime, if you live near Manchester or are willing to travel, please keep an eye out for their stall- it will be the one with the excellent range of vintage clothing and the nicest seller that I've ever met behind it.

Just an odd little something!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Newly in love...

Tally ho there! I have done some more shopping (sometimes, even when embodying the war time spirit, one has to speculate to accumulate as the saying goes!). The best purchase has new bike!

It is a 1985 Raleigh Solitaire Shopper bought from this gentleman's Ebay for a very satisfying sum. I did not want to spend a large amount on something that was essentially a cheap run around for university and to get a pint of milk (and living where I live, there is a high risk of it being stolen!)

I picked up the bike from a short distance away and took it straight home where I promptly removed the original 'accessories' that came with it, namely some reflectors in Kellogg's character shapes, and painted over the Micky Mouse bell. I used some blue lacquer over the Micky motif and I must say, it looks rather smashing! I then used some cheap cream cleaner for 32p on the body work and promptly washed it off taking all the dirt and grime with it. I then used some cheap diluted vinegar on the chrome which added a lovely shine. 

The bike is an absolute pleasure to ride and I can now do a 30 minute walk in 5 minutes on my beautiful new stallion ( it's called Mable in case you were wondering!)

Why this is make do and mend: Whilst i've had to spend money on a bike, I do believe this is make do and mend for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it will reduce how much I will have to use my car- obviously, I can't cycle the 100 mile journey down the M6 to visit my parents but it does mean that I can travel slightly further afield in a shorter amount of time without using petrol. Secondly, buying a previously loved bike has saved it from the scrap heap. Finally, buying second hand means that a new bike, including energy to transport and make has not been used. 

Also, I really wanted one and I look cool on it, so there! :)

P.S. I did try and attach a picture of me riding the bike, but they all looked like I was superimposed in for some bizarre reason. If anyone could offer me some insight as to why that might be I would be very grateful. 

Here is a picture of my visage for the mean time:

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Beauty of Old Books

I always find that there is a beauty in old books. 

I enjoy going to the library and picking up a book that someone else has previously read and hopefully enjoyed. I love flicking through yellowing, crisp pages and I personally find dog-eared pages a hallmark of approval- they suggest that the book has been read many times, hopefully the original owner will have gone back to the story time and time again. 

Sometimes when I go to the library for research into whatever essay I am writing at the time (unfortunately doing an English degree means that I do not get to read for leisure any more) I deliberately choose the most tattiest looking edition on the shelf. Hopefully when I open the book there will be lots of meaningful scribbles and annotations which can offer an amazing insight into the text that I have missed. 

image from
One of the best parts of acquiring a new book is discovering what is hidden within it. This can be an inscription, either mundane or loving or a receipt or an old shopping list that one of the original owners used to mark the page, or an old photograph. All of these little artefacts, however insignificant bring humanity back to the front of my mind- someone else has touched this book and read the same words I am reading. On a frugal point old books are cheap. They can be acquired for free from a library or cheaply from Amazon, Ebay and charity shops. In addition, buying old books is recycling. 

I can understand why some people may want an e-reader: maybe they enjoy the portability that they offer or value the copious amount of text that they can hold, but for me crawling under a blanket with an old tatty book is the only way to read. 

I really would like to share this with you

Gem says to use old leggings but this works just as well with an old pair of tights as well. I've just done it and it literally takes 2 minutes. Amazing!

Please excuse the awful picture!

Friday, 2 September 2011

She blinded me with science!

I am sure that some people will say that you can never have too much glitter. This is certainly true in some aspects but not when it comes to clothes for interviews! 

I had a lovely (vintage, naturally) red shirt that I really wanted to wear for upcoming interviews. I really love the colour; I think it is daring and the interviewer will hopefully remember you and give you the job! However, this red shirt had glitter on it which falls off everywhere all over the rest of my lovely suit so it had to be dealt with.

I pondered for a quite a while as to how best remove all that glitter- I certainly couldn't pick it all off ( there was a ridiculous amount) and tape might damage the item. I knew a chemical was going to have to be used, but which one? All of a sudden I thought of my science lessons at school and wondered whether glue (which attached the glitter) was alkali or acid so I did a quick google and discovered that it is an acid and so I needed an alkali to get it off. I searched my cupboards- shockingly I had no bicarb. I tried toothpaste which was quite effective but I realised I would need approximately five tubes to get all the glitter off. I then tried soap which was amazingly effective: I had an old bar of Lush soap (Ice Blue I think it was) that didn't suit me as it made my skin feel quite dry so I scrubbed the soap all over the shirt and left it for a while. I later came back and gave the shirt a rinse- all the glitter had come off! The alkali soap had neutralised and dissolved the acid in the glue which meant the glitter had nothing to adhere to so it fell off. 

So there have been two lessons here; firstly that to get glitter off clothing just apply some soap, and secondly that paying attention in science class can actually be helpful at some point in your life- I've only had to wait nine years!