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Category Archives: Vintage

Glasgow Vintage

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On Saturday, Lola and I headed to Glasgow to explore the West End’s vintage shops. We had spotted a few last time we were in the city and found out about a handful more online but we were still bowled over by just how plentiful and reasonably priced they were!

Our adventures took us here:The Glasgow Vintage Co was our first stop and a good start – we both came away with purchases (mine was an 80s-does-50s style white and aqua dress, though I wish that green and orange one in the window would fit me!).Retro. We loved this place with its two floors of vintage frocks. The antiques place next door looked intriguing, too, but we were wary of having to walk around the city laden down with secondhand furniture so we didn’t go in! If you look closely, there’s a cat on the steps.Watermelon (I can’t find a website for them but they’re on Great Western Road). Lola got a fab green cord dress in here which might be a 70s maternity dress but is now her Sunday slobbing frock. I tried on a blouse with couples dancing all over it but was gutted to find it was too small.Starry Starry Night, which includes a little jewellery shop, too (again, no website, but it’s on Dowanside Lane which is a cute little mews where the following three shops, plus another antiques store and a sort of modern-vintage shop can all be found). It was crammed and interesting, with the changing room hidden behind a heap of clothing under the stairs – fun!Relics was amazing! It’s this tiny antiques shop which was so crammed full of stuff we could barely get around; there were piles and piles of boxes we couldn’t get at, meaning layers and layers of stuff nobody could see – but the stuff we could see was a fantastic mix of beautiful antiques and wonderfully kitsch tat. There were a bright yellow and a bright turquoise typewriter either or both of which I would have bought if I hadn’t had to carry them around the city for the rest of the day. I could have spent much, much longer in there than time allowed.

There was a little antiques shop across from it where I got a pack of Singer hand sewing needles with a Delia Smith recipe hand-scrawled on the back. Circa Vintage was lovely – bright and colourful and full of really well selected clothes. I got a black A-line skirt covered in bright red poppies and handmade from super-soft fabric. Across from Circa was a secondhand record store which seemed to be staffed by this ginger cat. He was awfully welcoming.

We had thought that was our lot so we caught the metro back into town (we were overly proud of ourselves for figuring it out, especially given that it’s just one big circle with no possibility of catching any wrong trains!) and went on a hunt for somewhere interesting to eat. We soon found the beautiful Lucky 7 and what should it be conjoined with but another vintage shop, Postcard? Hurrah!Of course, we didn’t go wandering around Glasgow only taking photos of vintage shops; I’ll be back tomorrow with the inevitable shots of ghost signs and random prettiness.

Parasol Purses

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Last time I was in Edinburgh, I bought the prettiest vintage headscarf. It was covered in parasols. And mysterious stains.

On Sunday, I chopped the headscarf up (the unstained bits) and turned it into a vaguely protective cover for my Kindle.

Polly was a big help. Here she is measuring the fabric: It was cat sized x cat sized, so just right for lying and licking her bottom on while I waited to chop it up.

There was loads of fabric left over so I also made a compact camera case for Lola; she has a fondness for umbrellas so I hoped parasols would seem like the next best thing.

A Rummage Through Edinburgh

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Yesterday, Kirsten and I met up in Edinburgh for a good rummage through the vintage shops. I may have taken this as an excuse to go a little overboard with Photoshop filters…

We started by heading through the Gardens and over the hill to vintage central: The Grassmarket.

Kirsten’s first purchase was a skirt from Godiva. We loved the size label:We also stopped by the lovely Barnardo’s vintage shop but Armstrong’s was where we had the most fun – and it was so nice to be there on a weekday when we weren’t fighting through hordes of people!

I got a couple of belts and a headscarf with parasols on it. Kirsten got the loveliest green hat.

We stopped for cakes and hot drinks at Hula on West Bow. Hot chocolate with honey and cinnamon in it? Yes, please!I love this one – me taking photos and Kirsten checking in on Foursquare; sums up our day pretty well!

We made our way round a couple of other shops including Analogue Books which is a fab shop with the best old sign above the door:Some more pics from our wanders:

We stopped off for dinner at Tiles on St Andrew Square:

There was also tea and pear tart at the lovely Centotre. I was too busy enjoying the food to take pictures but wanted to rave about the remixed Italian language tapes being played in the toilets – genius.

Eye Apples

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As my fruitless attempts to buy birthday presents continue, I’ve stumbled across a lot of things on Etsy which I want for me, me, me.

I thought I’d share a few of them with you; it helps to justify all the hours I’ve whiled away gazing at them over the last few days!

Click on the images for links to the items.
There are salt and pepper shakers hidden inside this TV set – amazing!

I have a thing for poppies. I want a small horde of mini owls.

Curse my tight, home-improvement-laden budget! Happy Monday everyone and remember: it’s totally not weird to buy presents for random bloggers you’ve never met.

How to Make Digital Fabric Prints

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The one thing I’ve been asked time and again since showing off my pictures is how I do the vintage fabric illustrations like these:

They’re super-easy to do, so I thought I’d show you all how.

We’ll start with a distinctly tatty 70s T-shirt with an amazing nautical print:

I love this T-shirt which was a hand-me-down from my then-flatmate in 1999. It’s mis-shapen now and has teeny little holes dotted all over it… it’s about time it got recycled into something else. But the good thing about this project is that it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do with your T-shirt (or curtain or pillow case or whatever) is stick it in your scanner.

So, one scanned bit of fabric:

Now all you have to do is draw on it. This can be done is MS Paint or any other basic drawing package, but I use Photoshop; unless you’re absolutely confident of your ability to draw well first time, the layers in Photoshop are invaluable.

Create a new layer and draw your image on it. I actually prefer to draw my image on several layers, one piled on top of the other, as it allows me to move different bits of the image around and delete or filter just one part at a time. For this image, I used one layer for the boat, one for the body and one for the head.

You could also draw a stick figure on a separate layer to use as a guide, then delete it when you’re done. I don’t often do this because my illustrations are scrappy, but it can be useful if you want nice, tidy lines!

Happy with your drawing now? Good.

In the layers palette, hold down CTRL and select all the different parts of your drawing (not the fabric background), then right click and select “Merge Layers”. This will leave you with one solid line drawing.

Colour your drawing in using the Paint Bucket tool.

I still wasn’t completely happy with this one; the background was a little too sharp for the dreamy effect I was trying to create. I selected the fabric background layer and applied a radial blur filter at a very low setting:

Still on the fabric background layer, I then used the gradient tool set at 20% opacity to add a sky blue corner. And that’s it – from tatty old T-shirt to illustrated print:

Look What I Got!

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Steve was fast asleep this morning and the mountain of dirty dishes was clattering and chinking in the kitchen, trying to get my attention; I donned my jacket and headed for the charity shops instead.

And look what I found!


I’ve been wanting a pair of battered brown binoculars for ages – there’s a great view from my flat and my grandfather’s old telescope is a bit too unwieldy. I was so pleased, I decided to take a heap of pictures of this one pair of binoculars from assorted different angles; it’s only now occuring to me that, for some of you, this might not make much of a blog post… but look at them! I struggle to believe that you’re not as excited as I am; I shall put a lack of comments down to envy. That’s it. There’s no more likely explanation.

And, because I don’t want to be selfish and keep all the fun for myself, here, I’ve even made it possible for you to see through them:

Shiny Bright Baubles

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One thing I love about this time of year is all the bright, pretty colours everywhere! Even though I wasn’t looking for decorations, I found myself rooting through a huge box of Christmas tree baubles in the Salvation Army shop on Thursday just because they were shiny. At 25p for a bag of eight, I couldn’t resist buying these old thread baubles to decorate future presents with:


Vintage Crockery Haul

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On my lunch hour today, I went to my favourite charity shop on the hunt for pretty vintage crockery for tomorrow night’s sparkly birthday party. It did not disappoint:

I’m particularly smitten with the bowl and serving dish filled with autumn leaves, but cupcakes in shiny gold paper cases will look lovely piled on the plate with green flowers.

Saturday Thrifting

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A few days ago, Elsie at A Beautiful Mess blogged about her quirks and guilty pleasures. Ever since, I’ve been trying to think of some (illustratable ones) of my own but… you know… what with being perfect and all, it was kind of difficult.

Comedy arrogance is certainly not one of them.

Anyway, this morning I was wandering around the Salvation Army charity shop down the road from my flat. It’s one of the few left in town which doesn’t realise the value of its own stock, so it’s still possible to get a gorgeous vintage bargain in there!

And… that’s one of my guilty pleasure habits.

Not getting a gorgeous vintage bargain exactly; getting a gorgeous vintage bargain I neither need nor intend to use. For example, today I came home with two books of sheet music (when I can neither read sheet music nor play an instrument), a knitting pattern for wombat-shaped toys (I haven’t knitted a stitch in my life) and a single bed sheet (when our bed’s a double):

Look at that dapper moustache! How cheerful he looks with his cavalcade of happy songs! Look at the song titles! Sheet music joy!
I’m not so clear why I wanted the Beethoven one…

I would quite like a knitted wombat toy…

Of course, some of this will get re-purposed for my shop. The sheet music will probably turn into paper “song birds” and the fabric has multiple uses (and might help justify having bought Things to Make from Odds and Ends because I liked the hideous lampshade on the front).

More usefully acquired were these Avon playing cards (50 pence!). How cute are they? And seasonal, too…

I bought them planning to turn them into gift tags or business cards but, now that I’ve got them out of the box, they’re not going anywhere; I’m far too smitten with them.

Things I did resist buying included a funky pyrex casserole dish (as I already have a stack I never use) and this blanket (because it was itchy):

I also resisted this fab old suitcase. The catches don’t hold any more and it’s too big for the “I need a cute retro suitcase” photo shoot I have in mind, so I thought I was being sensible leaving it… Then I got home and realised it’s the perfect shape, size and colour to turn into the coffee table our living room is sorely lacking; I’ll be going back on Monday lunchtime to see if it’s still there!

I love that it still has the name tag attached!

In other Saturday news, our new (working!) TV was delivered today. Here we are, watching it scan for new channels:

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