Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Meal planning

As part of my nifty-thrifty-pseudo-vintage-make-do-and-mend-waste-not-want-not-use-up-the-leftovers resolution I have been planning our meals and shopping accordingly.

I've been doing pretty well at it- our fridge is quite empty and yet the ingredients for sufficient meals seem to keep emerging!

I'm not overly prescriptive about it, I often deviate from the plan- but the baseline is that I buy ingredients for the planned meals and then I use those ingredients. So tonight's planned vegetable curry is actually going to be a risotto- same ingredients, different meal.

I'm finding vintage recipes very useful for this (risotto aside!), they knew how to stretch out ingredients and some of the left-over based meals have been better than the originals!

For example: take any meal with mashed potato... Make potato pastry from the left over mash and chop up everything else. Add tomatoes if it seems appropriate and make pasties.! Really quite splendid.

And if there is one immutable rule of vintage cookery it is this: if you haven't got it, use carrot instead!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Get the Look

We thought we would do a regular 'Get the Look' post to show you how we get our vintage style, or lack of it. Often it doesn't mean you actually have to buy vintage, it is just about picking the right sort of clothes for the era. So here is our Get the Look for what we were wearing yesterday:

Sarah wears:

  • Blouse: charity shop find
  • Trousers: Heyday Vintage Style
  • Cardigan: modern, Hobbs
  • Shoes: modern, Green Shoe Company
  • Hair scarf: modern, Liberty for Comic Relief
  • Lipstick: red and cheap!
  • Hair was pin curled the night before using Lottabody setting lotion. In the morning the hair was brushed out and Sarah discovered that if you rush (fearing baby may wake any moment) then you pay the price!

    So to remedy the poodle situation a side parting was made and victory rolls were pinned at the front. Then the rolled head scarf was pinned just behind them. The hair at the back of the head was brushed flat and the scarf tied at the back of the neck, over the hair. Next a roll was made at the neck, over the top of the scarf and using a rat for shape... and lots of hair pins! The style was finished off by brushing the rolls properly smooth with a soft hair brush and using plenty of hairspray.

    The headscarf keeps things smooth at the back. Looks pretty and helps the hairpins stay firm. Covers a multitude if sins!

Mairi wears:

  • Skirt: modern, The White Stuff
  • Jumper: modern, John Lewis
  • Tights: modern, from a Supermarket
  • Shoes: modern, Clarks
  • Snood: crocheted by Mairi from a vintage pattern
  • Hair: front pincurled the night before with TekniqueBasics setting lotion. In the morning each curl was combed out, reshaped and coiled together with other curls to make three coils on one side of the parting and two on the other at the front of the head and pinned securely. The snood was then pinned in place and the hair fixed with hair spray.
We would love to hear where you got your favourite vintage style clothes from.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Terribly Vintage at the Folk Museum

Sarah and I and our brood met up today at the Folk Museum near Holywood. We decided to go vintage and my middle one also wanted her hair rag curled and wore her 1930s dress.

We went for 40s/50s look. Sarah says she looked like a poodle after she took her pin curls out so put her hair up into the most marvellous rolls with a hair scarf.

I got home late last night so I opted to pin curl just the front of my hair and put the rest in my snood. I tied a ribbon bow to the top of it this morning - something I have been meaning to do for a long time.

We were generally very silly and had a good laugh pretending to post letters at the post office.
We met some dapper looking gentlemen who asked us if our houses were also entirely retro. We told him they weren't (yet) but I have a gramophone, at which point he asked us if we went to tea dances! Oh if only. Sarah said 'No, but we have three children each!' One day we shall!

We discovered that the advantage of being dressed up was that lots of people came to talk to us. And the kind gentleman who was manning the post office and bank opened up the post office especially for us and let the children look behind the counter and have a play with the parcels in the sorting area.

We watched a short re-enactment of the coal strike troubles which tied in with the Titanic exhibition.
Then we had a ride around in the lovely old bus and and stopped off at the farm houses and the old school. The bus door was closed, in true vintage style, with a piece of string!

We ended it all off with a picnic. I had made scones in the morning and brought some home made bramble and apple jam to go with them. I also made Carrot Biscuits which were very carroty and orange!  I also had a flask of peppermint tea, and Sarah brought some lovely home made cake too. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Good Snood!

My snood has arrived! Beautifully wrapped and divinely purple. I looked most eccentric all Saturday- I insisted on wearing it with my jeans and scraggy jumper!

Thank you Vikki at VikkikateMakes!

Rag Rug

Over 12 years ago my then future mother-in-law bought me a rag rug making tool at a craft fair. Some time later I bought some hessian sacking fabric. Over the years I have packed and unpacked these two things for at least three house moves, possibly more - I've lost count.

Now, suffering from a tummy bug, I wanted to do something more productive than staring into space but something that didn't require much thinking or moving and remembered the rag rug tool. Thankfully it didn't take me long to find.

First I had to cut up strips of fabric about 3 x 8 cms or 1" x 3". It is a great way to use up small scraps of fabric.

To insert a strip into the hessian you first insert the pointed end of the tool under two or three threads of the hessian. Then you grab a strip of fabric with the tool and pull it through half way and release. That is it. Plain and simple.

The strips have to be quite close together in order to give a good full pile texture.

This is how the back should look.

It is slightly mind numbing work and I know it is going to take a while but I hope to have a lovely finished rug for the bedside or front door before the summer. I will need to turn under the hem and put a backing on it once the main part is finished. I'll keep you updated on my progress.
Mine is going to be made with blue fabrics used at random but you can make rugs with more of a design too. Here is a great website by Rosemary Stow with some more examples. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


I have been looking for a vintage gramophone for a long time. I found lots on Ebay but most of them were for pick up only and none of them were anywhere near me. However one day one popped up on It's Vintage Darling's Facebook page and I pounced on it. They were very kind in finding a 78 to test on it and reserving it for me until I could go to see it myself. So I dragged the children out of the house with a promise to visit the Planetarium in Armagh, and went to collect it in my dreadful modern clothes. I'm afraid I didn't even do my hair!
I hear the gramophone play when we got there. It took a bit of jiggling to get it to play at the right speed but I was quite pleased with what I heard. After all an old gramophone isn't going to ever sound like there is an orchestra in your living room, but I thought it was terribly vintage!

It took me a while to get hold of some 78s of my own, but eventually was successful in bidding on a whole stack of 1950s records on Ebay. I think the gramophone must have got a bit much jigging on the way home as the arm seems to go too low on the turntable and the weight of it stops the record going round. But I think I know how to fix that so I will try and get that fixed in the next few days. Vintage items do need a certain amount of TLC and I hope I will be an expert soon.
If you are ever near Armagh then do pop down to Markethill and have a look in It's Vintage Darling. It is a lovely shop with all sorts of vintage goodies from up-cycled furniture to jewellery and china. They also hire out vintage china for parties.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Free Snood, how splendid!

The lovely Vikki at VikkikateMakes is sending me a rather beautiful Arthelia’s Attic Snood! Joy!