It’s only a Patch but I like it…

When I was little I used to love picking through my Mum’s sewing box. It contained lots of odd things: a wooden darning ‘mushroom’, a felt book of needles that she made at school, cotton reels of every colour, patches of material and various other implements. My Mum patched up our jeans and sewed up holes in our jumpers. She didn’t, as I imagine my Gran did, darn our socks. Although I expect she could if the need arose.

When it comes to sewing I don’t really have any idea what I’m doing. I just kind of make it up as I go along believing that I am now too long in the tooth to learn how to do any of it properly. I look at projects and try to guess how it might have been done and proceed in that manner. I used to read a lot of craft magazines and websites so I have some point, through a process of osmosis, observed how to do various little jobs.

So, when I developed a hole in my rather cheap H&M cardigan I knew I wanted to have a go at repairing it. I am thrifty at heart and although I probably only paid a tenner for it, I didn’t feel ready to let it go yet.

I’m really not calling this a tutorial, if anything, I’m showing you how I did it and I’d advise actually looking it up and finding out how to do it properly.

I started by sewing up the hole by just starting at one end and stitching,  pulling it together. It’s not neat, but it’s a fix I’ve used before, and if you get a good colour match when you choose your cotton it’s not that noticeable and it’ll last for ages.

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Next I grabbed an odd bit of fabric. I have next to no craft supplies at this point in time – this was actually on the lid of some homemade cookies one of my class made me at Christmas. I couldn’t bear to throw it away so I stashed it in a drawer.

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I cut out a little heart shape, immediately regretted it, but couldn’t think of anything easier to sew around so went with it.

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I’ll admit to this first try being a disaster! I stupidly thought I could start to stitch straight on to the heart but it frayed and I had to unpick the first few stitches. This time I folded the edges over and then spent ages sewing around the edge. I think it’s called overlocking. But that might be wrong.

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So there it is, my little heart patch. Far from perfect but I wore my newly customised cardi to work today and it made me smile every time I caught sight of it.

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It is with a cotton customised cardi I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Mid-Century Modern but I like it…

The big news is that the Dr and I are looking for a house. I’ve been wanting my own house since even before I moved out of my parental home. If I’d had a bottom drawer it’d be stuffed full of pretties by now. After years of rented properties with nasty wallpaper, dingy rooms and dubiously stained carpets I’m looking forward to somewhere I can make my own.

I’ve given some thought to how I’d like it to be, and exactly which eras will inspire each space. I have found Pinterest to be my best friend here! For the uninitiated, it’s a virtual pin board, where you can search for millions of existing images or add your own. You can view my boards here: www.pinterest.com/vintagemunchkin

After stumbling across MissWestEndGirl’s blog (www.misswestendgirl.com/welcome-living-room) I decided that she had cemented what I wanted when I saw her lovely living room. After some googling and Pinteresting I could put a name to my style. Apparently the living room I desire is Mid Century Modern.

This is the kind of thing I’m thinking:

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I love the colour palette, the clean lines and the wood framed furniture. Of course, who knows what our house will be like? It could have a large Victorian fireplaces, or (God forbid) be some new build with no soul. It might not work at all and all my twitchy-fingered Pinteresting will be a waste. Until then, I can dream. Dream, and spend hours looking for big square sofas. It keeps me happy!

It is with twitchy fingers I say:

Its only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Instagram but I like it…

Just a quickie today (oo-er!)… Wanted to tell you that I’ve reinstated an old Instagram account. You can find me here: www.instagram.com/vintagemunchkin image I’ll be uploading photos of my vintage adventures. Please follow and like! It is with a pout I say: It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Flotography but I like it…

I shared my wet set with you, and trying some vintage hair styles was one of my aims for the new year. Another aim, and something I think many bloggers must think about, was to improve my photography skills. I was trying to think who I could turn to for some help and the first name that popped into my head was of course Flora Westbrook ( www.birdieflotography.wordpress.com ). Flo is an old friend of my sister’s and I met her last summer when she did a fantastic job of photographing her wedding.

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I asked Flo if she would spend a couple of hours with me, showing me how to use my DSLR camera and giving me some tips for different ways to photograph – from still life type photos (photographing my vintage baking for instance) and of course, learning how to photograph my outfits. Or at least to tell Dr P how to photograph me in my outfits!

So I slipped on my Lindy Bop dress ( www.lindybop.co.uk ) and Flo took me out and about near her lovely home and took some lovely images of me. She then showed me the software she uses to edit and gave me quick tour of how to use it.

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As as you can see Flo takes a great portrait and this was just one of many she took that were fab. She has given me lots of ideas and strongly encouraged me to develop my own style. I am so impatient for this! I know it will take time and it’s going to be months before I have any idea how to use my newly purchased Photoshop software but I’m so excited to try and look forward to all the little triumphs along the way. So, if anyone fancies modelling while I take some (fairly terrible) shots – let me know!

Please check out Flo’s site and look out for her on my blog again as we have plans to collaborate soon!

It is with a cry of ‘CHEESE!’ I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Lush but I like it…

There are a few things helping to keep me warm this Winter. To be honest I need all the help I can get, having spent the last 2 years in the desert my tolerance to the cold has all but disappeared. My new commute doesn’t help – it’s the first time I’ve had to use buses and I’m finding they don’t run to time in the same way trains do…

This fella keeps me company most nights, I requested a hot water bottle from Dr P before I came home last Christmas and this was his choice. He’s just as adorable in real life as he looks here and I never get tired of announcing that I’m taking a soldier to bed 😉

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The thing I really wanted to share was this delicious shower gel from Lush. I’ve been a devotee of theirs since way back in the Cosmetics To Go days and I’m consistently impressed but their products. The Dr knows I am a fan so he bought me 2 of their lovely Christmas gifts. If you’re not familiar, they put groups of products together and wrap them beautifully. I love receiving them and they’re fab for Secret Santa gifts!

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I had heard of the Hot Toddy shower gel, but never tried it. On my first use I was smitten. For our transatlantic cousins, a hot toddy is a warm alcoholic drink. It often contains hot water, whiskey, sugar, spices and other ingredients. It’s is supposed to relieve the symptoms of a cold and I think it would certainly make me feel better given that just the shower gel has a lovely warming effect on me! I remember my Dad talking about a drink his family made in the winter, which involved heating the beverage up with a hot poker from the fire. I don’t know if this was a Hot Toddy but I like to think so.

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It’s a deep red colour with flecks of gold glitter. It’s has a delicious, warming, spicy smell with citrus notes. The ingredients include ginger, cinnamon, cloves and lemon and they are all present. It’s creates a beautiful lather and I can feel it warming my Winter-weary bones even as I step outside the door. I am truly grateful Lush, this desert dwelling girl is making her way towards spring with a smile.

It is with a warm tingle I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

*This was my own vintage adventure and I (well, Dr P!) paid for all these products*

It’s only a Wet Set but I like it…

As mentioned earlier, I had a go at a wet set last weekend and I need to update you!

This was one of my targets for the new year – to find some new things to do with my hair. After a quick search of the blogosphere I found some great advice from Tasha at http://bygumbygolly.com and from http://www.retrochick.co.uk/category/hair-beauty/.

I had nipped into Boots and Superdrug whilst in town and grabbed the equipment and products these ladies recommended.

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I bought perm rods and and sponge rollers from Boots, along with a new Kent hairbrush (time to treat myself now I have a newsworthy barnet to work with!) and some of their Curl Creme – this has some great reviews all over the net and it was super cheap! I also got a can of Tressemme Freeze Hold hair spray.

I wanted some StaySet setting lotion but Superdrug were all out, so I bought their own brand setting lotion instead.

I started by washing my hair and letting it dry a little before beginning with the rollers.

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I found it quite hard to roll and make the rolls ‘snug’. Not sure what I’m doing wrong!

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I divided each section, rubbed some setting lotion through it and then rolled it. I did Tasha’s trick of rotating the horizontal bar of each roller to avoid dents at the top of my curls.

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I rolled each section, put a wide, elastic hairband over it and settled down for the night. Now I have heard some people find it really hard to sleep in rollers. I can’t say it was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, I was aware of the rollers at several points in the night. By the time I woke up, the headband had disappeared and so had the roller at the front! I don’t know if it just came undone or I tore it out at some point! These are genuine just-woke-up photo – the things I do for you!

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I removed the rollers with huge excitement – to reveal super curly hair!

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I then brushed just the top part of my hair, until I met the resistance of the curls, to get that flat top, leading to curls 1940s look. This was another Tasha tip! I managed to make that bit of hair that was sans roller come the dawn, into a nice smooth wave across my forehead and secured it with some Tresemme hairspray. I smoothed some Curl Creme on the curls and separated them little with my fingers. A couple of Kirby grips behind one ear kept them where I wanted them. The Curl Creme was fab, giving them shape and a glossy finish without any crunch or stickiness. Definite winner there!

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Overall, I was quite happy with the look. There were a few curls that were too curly, I need to decide on a tightness when I’m rolling. I also think I needed to roll with the hair on an angle? I’m not sure. I’m going to have a look at some video tutorials and see if that makes it clearer. I kept the curls for a few days and it was fun to have a different look.

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It is with a curly ‘do I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Bourbon Spread but I like it…

I first spotted the why-has-no-one-thought-of-this-before phenomenon that is Bourbon Biscuit Spread over at Nikki McWilliams (http://www.nikkimcwilliams.com/blog/) blog. If you’re not familiar with Nikki’s biscuity goodness then get over there pronto, because I guarantee you will fall in love!

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Loving all things biscuit related I was dying to get my mitts on a jar. My sister ( mrsjmp.wordpress.com ) kindly added a jar to my Christmas gifts (OK, OK I may have heavily hinted – or just outright told her to buy it!) and I had been waiting for an excuse to try it out.

Last weekend MrsJMP and my soon-to-be sister-in-law Elin came to stay at mine. We relegated Dr P to a nearby Travelodge (with a timetable of treats at the cinema) and we settled in for a girlie evening. We had Chinese food, watched Pitch Perfect and Glee and did face packs, nails and I tried a wet set (more on that soon!).

The next morning I cooked up some pancakes and we set the table with my Beryl and Royal Doulton china.

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I also used my wooden Bourbon serving platter from WoodPaperScissors (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/woodpaperscissorsuk?ref=l2-shopheader-name ). Now I don’t think any of us would call ourselves gifted in the field of reviewing foodstuffs, so I apologise for what follows…

We sniffed (look at those curls!):

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We liberally applied them to pancakes with banana:

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And we were impressed to note that the ingredients listed 37% bourbon biscuit, amongst other things!

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For me the taste was quite hazelnutty, and not as dissimilar as I was hoping, to the leading brand of chocolate spread. I’m not really a massive chocolate spread fan, and I was hoping this might have the very rich intense Belgian chocolate flavour that Costa’s Giant Bourbon Biscuit (costa.co.uk) did. These dreamworthy giants have been discontinued and it’s a travesty of the highest order in my opinion…

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It worked on pancakes but for me it’d be too sweet on toast, and MrsJMP and Elin sadly turned down my offer of toast so I guess that they thought the same.

I love the idea – so sweet – and it’s a nice product if you like chocolate spread. You can buy it at Tesco (www.tesco.com) and they also do a Custard Cream spread and a few other variations I believe. Do try it and let us know what you think…

It is with a groaning tummy I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

*These products were purchased by me (Well, MrsJMP actually…) and all views expressed are my own (Or MrsJMP or Elin’s..)!*

It’s only Joan Holloway but I like it…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that anyone who has watched Mad Men must have a little crush on Joan Holloway. Except for me. I have a HUGE crush on Joan.

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I love the whole Mad Men phenomenon, I really do. I do remember finding the first series a little slow and difficult to get into, I frequently scream at the screen when I see the chauvinism and double standards many of the male characters display, but all of this is part of what Mad Men is. I don’t even need to mention the fantastic 50s and 60s sets and clothing. I once invented a drinking game where you have to drink every time you see a dress you’d love to wear. I’ve never played it. I’d be dead.

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Joan is the Office Manager at the advertising agency which is at the centre of the TV series. She manages the day to day running of the office and is something of a mother hen to the many secretaries who work there. If by mother hen you mean a bitofabitch. Which I do. She is a strong sassy character who is efficient and does her job well. She also has the best breasts in the office. Or in any office I suspect. Without a doubt. Not least due to this fact, she is sleeping with her boss, an activity that continues until he has a heart attack and thinks better of it. Well, for a bit anyway.

In season 2 Joan gets married and you can see she is torn between enjoying her job and not wanting to give it up, fearful she will become a bored housewife. It must been a dilemma for many women in those days. Not anymore, we are expected to juggle both. As the seasons roll by Joan’s marriage falls apart and she becomes a single mother. She takes on more and more responsibility at work and proves herself to be more than capable.

So why style icon? Well Joan is a strong woman. And I think women like strong women. Well, I do anyway. We have needed them at multiple points in the past and we still need them now. She works hard to play a difficult game in a world which, as a woman, she has little power. The female characters in this world are expected to prove themselves and be grateful for every opportunity that is thrown their way. She can give as good as she gets, she can be warm and she always. looks. amazing.

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Comments on her clothes are many and varied but I will share my two favourites: Roger Stirling ( her boss) teases her about a man who has the hots for her, stating: “he was all over you that time you wore the red dress, the one with the bow on the back, that makes you look like a present, could you wear it?”

I also love that fact that she spends most of her time swanning around the office with a little gold pen on a chain around her neck nestling suggestively in her décolletage. No biros for Joan! A colleague comments: “She even wore a pen around her neck so people would stare at her tits.”

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Joan’s clothes are great and she does use her sexuality to help her get on. I’m hoping that’s not what women have to do now – I certainly haven’t, but then I’m not as well dressed as Joan and I’m in a different business! Most of her outfits would not be deemed appropriate for the classroom.

She knows how to dress according to her curves and the effect is devastating. The camera loves her and I swoon almost every time she is in shot. Christina Hendricks plays her superbly, and her character is not one-dimensional. She is a girl: she has guts, she is brave and strong, she messes up, she makes questionable decisions about the men in her life, she is kind and all of this adds up, for me, to make her an icon. Go and watch it, go and read about her, there is a lot written about her character which is much more succinct than I could ever hope to be.

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I salute you, Joan.

It is with a huge crush I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it.