Saturday, 29 September 2012


This week we are returning to the Yorkshire Dales, our home for several years before we had to move back to the south of England three years ago. Lots of old memories, both happy and sad, will no doubt be stirred up but most of all we will be thinking of little TD, who sadly died a year ago this month. We had lots of fun with him when we lived in Yorkshire and here's a few pictures taken at his first Christmas with us (he was about 8 yrs old). He got so excited unwrapping his little red jumper and he looks so smart in it! The winters were bitter cold up in Yorkshire and we think he appreciated the bit of extra warmth.

Hope you all have a happy week - the Etsy shop and blog will be back up and running when we get back.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ginger on tap

I found this great book a little while ago in a small antique fair and have finally listed it in the shop.

When I was young I thought one day I might be a brilliant tap dancer. Sadly this was not to be, possibly something to do with having size 8 feet. I pictured myself elegantly tapping away like Ginger Rogers but in reality never learnt any of the more complicated moves. There was still a great feeling to be had though tapping away on the kitchen floor and I miss that.
I thought about taking it up again as an adult but, as most of the beginners classes available were for young children and the only adult class I found was filled with ladies in leotards who looked as if they'd been doing it all their lives, I never quite had the nerve.
I was so chuffed when I found this 1930s book on how to tap dance at a small antique fair last year and I couldn't believe it when I leafed through and saw these illustrations of the moves featuring a very young looking, dark-haired Ginger Rogers.
There are 39 lessons in all, each with photos, written instructions and a short musical score. As well as Ginger there are several young starlets of the day including Lonita Foster, Catherine O'Neil, Eunice Healy, Eleanor Coll, Raye Davis and Betty Nylander - all sporting natty little outfits. This illustration of Dorothy Dare in a spotty number and matching headscarf is one of my favourites.
I've discovered that some of these girls had brief careers on the stage or in films in the 1930s but many are sadly lost to history. Such a shame - I wonder what happened to them?
Such a charming book and, although I may never take up tap again, I feel inspired to sit back on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn and watch my old Fred and Ginger movies. Bliss.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blue Birds

Vintage tins are great for storage and these two lovely old toffee tins look good and are a useful size too. Made in the 1950s or 60s, these tins once held a luxury selection of Blue Bird Toffees. Part of the treasure I found at a car boot fair a couple of weeks ago, both are now listed in my Etsy shop.
One has a great Chinoiserie design on the top and red/gold designs on the sides.
The other is decorated with pictures of English castles.
Both tins have a bright orange design on the inside of the lid, bearing the Blue Bird logo and company address.
Blue Bird Confectionery was founded in Worcestershire, England in 1898 by Harry Vincent. Their toffee was originally called Harvino but Harry changed the name to Blue Bird after watching Maeterlink's play 'The Blue Bird of Happiness'. The company left the West Midlands in 1998 and became part of Needler's. Unfortunately, the toffees are no longer made as Needler's was purchased by Ashbury confectionery in 2002 and all previous Blue Bird lines were discontinued.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Edwardian Card Case

This lovely Edwardian card case is something I've had for some time and have finally listed in my shop.

I spent some time researching this today and initially I was a little puzzled as to it's use. The tiny pockets inside are too small to hold much - but I managed to find some very similar items online. What would we do without Google I wonder?
Cases such as this would have held a small amount of money but were mainly used to carry calling cards, stamps, tickets and other small items. In Victorian and Edwardian times calling cards would have been used by any lady or gentleman of means and the etiquette of leaving cards when calling on friends and acquaintances was widely known.
This lovely example is made from crocodilian skin, most likely alligator, and has 925 silver trims on each corner on the front. The silver trims are each marked '.925' and 'S & Co', which stands for Steinhart & Co of 14 Newhall Street, Birmingham, England. Steinhart & Co imported items such as card cases, cigarette cases, etc., from 1900 to 1929 and the other marks on this piece, a triangle and a lower case 'g' indicate that it was probably made in 1906.
I love the aged look to this piece too. The alligator skin is shiny in places and a little dry in others, and the silver trims are tarnished almost to black. The stitching on one of the inside pockets is missing but the other is still intact. There's also some rusting to the metal frame but the push-in clasp works as if made yesterday and I think you'll agree, the overall effect is charming.


Monday, 10 September 2012

More Booty

Finally went car booting again on the weekend after a bit of a quiet summer due to the wet weather. Sunday was beautiful - sunny, hot and dry - so I was up bright and early and spent a couple of hours scouring the stalls. Here's a few pictures of the wonderful things I dug up.


Lots of marvellous things to research and list in my Etsy shop in the coming days. I think that I'll be keeping the fossil (at the back on the left hand side of the first photo) as it will fit perfectly in my collection and I'm also pretty tempted by the lovely oil painting!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Roman Holiday

I've returned at last after my summer break. I didn't consciously decide to take a break - it just sort of evolved. After our two week holiday in Cornwall in June I reopened our Etsy shop but was feeling too lazy to do much! Without the shop and blog to occupy me I've enjoyed reading more, crocheting (more on that later) and generally mooning about. It's been lovely but I feel ready now to give the shop and blog my full attention.
Before I begin to talk about all things vintage though I've some pictures of a last minute anniversary trip to Rome that we made a couple of weeks ago. We'd never been to Italy and with the last moments of this very wet summer ebbing away we decided to try and grab some sunshine before it was too late. Of course, August in Rome turned out to be sweltering!

We spent much of our time walking all around the old part of the city looking at all the usual touristy sites.

Stopping along the way for some fabulous gelati. The best was from Venchi on the Via della Croce, not far from the Spanish Steps. For me - dark chocolate and cherry together with mascapone and fig; for Leigh - extra dark chocolate. No photographs of the ice cream I'm afraid - it wasn't around long enough! 

We squeezed in as much art as we could in our time there, which is not difficult when great sculptures, such as this fountain by Bernini, are in every Piazza.

And Caravaggio's are to be found in the churches.

The beautiful perfection of the Pantheon's dome was every bit as impressive as we imagined. 

A three hour guided tour of the Colosseum and Forum,  even on a very hot day, was well worth it. The Colosseum was impressive, despite it's familiarity, and our guide was so informative we were even inspired to watch Gladiator again!

Our hotel, the Marcella Royal on Via Flavia, was a short walk from the old part of town but a lovely spot to retreat to at the end of the day. The roof top bar became our favourite spot for a beer or Limoncello before bed - and I admit to developing a bit of an addiction to very chilled Limoncello. I now have a bottle sitting in the freezer for late night tipples!